Thursday, June 30, 2005

Woody Allen

Woody Allen has stated that, "As a filmmaker, I'm not interested in 9/11 - it's too small, history overwhelms it. The history of the world is like: He kills me, I kill him, only with different cosmetics and different castings. So in 2001, some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis. And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral - not important. History is the same thing over and over again."

I don't know what to say about this- "it's too small"? And essentially saying that the Holocaust is not important? I'd expected better of this film-maker, particularly as he's famed for his love of New York- for him to dismiss the murder of 3,000 Americans like this is simply unbelievable. And the very concept that political questions are not important? I guess then that it doesn't matter to him that people fought and died for the freedoms he enjoys in America today, for the way of life that has allowed him to live in wealthy comfort in Manhattan? Frankly, I'm disgusted.

Here's a snippet from his IMDB bio page-

Made what was apparently his first and probably his last appearance at the Oscars in Hollywood in 2002 to make a plea for producers to continue filming their movies in New York, after the 9-11 tragedy.

I guess film-making is much more important than mere politics?

Blogger Layout Fix

As you can see the problems my site has been having are finally fixed. If you're having problems and the previous "code fixes" haven't helped then try this from Blogger Buzz:

    How To Use The Setting
  1. Sign in to your Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the "Change Settings" icon next to your blog
  3. Click "Formatting" under the Settings tab
  4. Choose "No" on "Enable float alignment"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I like this one

A Swedish man, Ulf Hjertstrom, who was held hostage in Iraq alongside great Australian Doug "A******s" Wood, has apparently hired bounty hunters to track down his former captors. He says,

"I have put some people to work to find these b*****ds. I invested about $50,000 so far and we will get them one by one."


Hat tip to Fjordman for the story.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Standards in Journalism

I know that standards in journalism are not what they once where but this is just ridiculous. In an article on guns seized by police in London (in an area where gun crime had gone up 44% despite a complete ban on handguns) "journalist" Ben Ashford reports on a Beretta .9 millimetre. That's right- point nine millimetre. Now, I understand that some people have no idea about guns whatsoever but surely even the most hoplophobic person in the world must have some comprehension of scale. Point nine millimetre.

Ben Ashford, our firearms expert, goes on to tell us about the "deadly" Beretta, standard issue to the US Marines (not just the US Army, you understand, but

"the Beretta cal-9
Parabellium is the standard issue weapon of the US Marines. They are rarely found this side of the Atlantic, but cops fear more are entering the country."

How hard would it have been for Ashford to walk into his local Waterstones and go pick up a gun book and find the entry for the Beretta 92? Don't journalists
do research anymore? Reminds me of an article I saw in lad's mag Loaded not so long ago where they referred to a "Glock .17". Aren't editors and the like supposed to check for simple factual errors? I think this says a lot about the current state of the press and it makes me wonder, just what other errors are they making?

Hat tip to War on Guns for the link.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Michael Moore School of Documentary Making

From Michelle Malkin comes this news of a new series called "30 Days" from the film-maker Morgan Spurlock of "Supersize Me" fame. The aim of the show is to basically repeat his film format with other subjects- to see what they can accomplish in thirty days.

One of the shows will introduce an American to Islam- however, we won't get a real insight into the Religion of Peace- because the end result of the "experiment" has been pre-decided:

"Morgan wants the show to demonstrate to America that we are Islamophobic and that 9/11's biggest victims are Muslims."

Sounds like a real ratings winner to me. This is sure to win over American audiences.

This guy makes me want to puke almost as much as Michael Moore.

"When I met David Stacy, about halfway through his 30-day experience, I was amazed at how uninformed he was. This new "expert" on Islam never heard of Wahhabism--the extremist Sunni strain of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and informs the terrorist-breeding madrassa schools throughout Arab and other Muslim lands. He was unfamiliar with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. He did not believe me when I told him that Hezbollah had murdered hundreds of U.S. Marines and civilians in Beirut and elsewhere. He seemed mystified to learn that President Bush shut down American Islamic charities, like the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, for funding Hamas and al Qaeda."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Today's Round Up

Just a few quick items to note today-

First up is a brand new conspiracy theory regarding Katie Holmes' relationship with Tom Cruise- just what happened to her during the 16 days in April of this year when she was "missing"? Was she brainwashed by Scientologists? Oddly, the one explanation that's missing from this story is that she and Cruise might have been spending those 16 days together. If you know what I mean.

Who needs a gun to take down big game? Not this 73 year old Kenyan grandfather who was attacked by a leopard- he dropped his machete and instead chose to reach down the beast's throat and rip its tongue out. Don't mess with that man.

Remember the attempted chemical attack on Jordan? The trial is under way and this is revealed- after the fall of Afghanistan at the end of 2001, Zarqawi and other al Qaeda veterans made their way to Iraq, where, secure under the wing of Saddam Hussein, they plotted chemical weapons attacks on countries friendly to the U.S., as well as the murder (successfully carried out) of an American diplomat.
In other words, Saddam Hussein did have links with international terrorism. Odd that this isn't getting major press coverage, isn't it?

Finally Fjordman reports on the barbaric practice of honour killing- murdering members of ones family to protect "honour"- if only these people had any idea of what that word truly meant. Despicable. "My daughter fell over and broke her knee. I took her to hospital and there the doctor told me she was pregnant. So I killed her. It's as simple as that." It's utterly chilling that these words could come from a mother's mouth.

A little local news now- the IRA has finally admitted that they murdered a fourteen year old girl in 1973- a death that they had previously blamed on British troops. They also murdered a British soldier in "retaliation" for the girl's death shortly after. No apologies for that I see.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Some Short Movie Reviews

Managed to get to the cinema a few times recently.

The most recent flick I saw was Mr and Mrs Smith and I've got to say that I enjoyed it immensely. Of the two stars, Pitt is the more charismatic and convincing in the role of a covert assassin and bored husband. Right from the start when he gets wrong how long the couple have been together, he seems at home in the part. The film contains a fair bit of action and a well done car chase sequence- this is directed by Doug Liman of course- and a nice amount of humour. It all gels well together and its well paced. Much more fun than I was expecting it to be. Just one thing- if you can, see this in a cinema with a good sound system. There's one point where Jolie begins firing a pump action shotgun and the seats in my local cinema vibratred with the noise. This is a good film that I think has been badly affect by all the hype about the stars' relationship. Go see it and enjoy yourself.

Next up is Frank Miller's Sin City. Wow. If you're a fan of the graphic novels you'll be stunned by how close this is to the source material- scene for scene- and that's the reason why it works. It captures Miller's bleak, amoral world perfectly. Sin City is aptly named, filled with corrupt politcians, crooked cops and every type of low-life scum-bag imaginable. It's in this morass that three very different heroes emerge in the three separate stories that make up the movie. First we have Marv, a none-too-bright heavy dosed up on medication because he gets "confused". Marv sets out on a mission of vengence, of justice his way, that is staggering to watch. No one and nothing gets in his way and he thinks nothing of murder and torture to succeed. The thing is though that Marv is eminently likeable. He, like the other two leads (Bruce Willis and Clive Owen), is an honourable man. He has his own code and everyone we see him hurt in the film- and he does a considerable amount of hurting- is a bad guy. He's played to perfection by Mickey Rourke in surely the best performance of his career. For many fans Marv is Sin City and the fact that he's been done so well is testament to how well the source material has been handled.

The other tales are The Big Fat Kill with Clive Owen and That Yellow Bastard with Bruce Willis. The latter is excellent as Hartigan, the honest, honourable cop that gives everything to save a young girl. Personally, I also liked his story better than Owen's, but there's really not much between them. All three tales work together and give a pretty good look at Miller's very dark noir world. There's more to come- Rodriguez has stated that he intends to film all of the Sin City graphic novels- so go and see this one now. Preferably on a big screen to get the full effect.

Finally, there was Star Wars Revenge of the Sith. I'm a big geek but even my faith in the Star Wars franchise was shaken by The Phantom Menace- it's not that it was a bad movie, its just that too much of it was juvenile. The pod-race aliens were, by and large, merely cartoon characters and I don't need to say anything more than Jar-Jar Binks. You know what I mean. But Darth Maul saved the movie for me- Ray Park was astounding as the Sith apprentice and I was only sorry that they killed him off so soon. Attack of the Clones restored my belief that Lucas actually knew what he was doing- Hayden Christensen was wooden and the dialogue was stiff and unatural but, hey, it's a George Lucas movie- that's what he does.

ROTS proved that all along Lucas had a vision- though it sometimes felt like he was making it up as he went along. Episode Three validates his skill as a storyteller and, for me anyway, it lifts up the first two films. Christensen shines as the burgeoning Vader- his descent into the Dark Side is fantastically done- and the effects are a cut above. I watched TPM after seeing this and the scenes on Coruscant just don't compare- just take a look at the sky in ROTS- it's perfectly done. Coruscant looks like a real place and Blade Runner is no longer the ultimate futuristic city. McGregor is also better in this film as Obi-Wan, he finally seems comfortable in the role. Natalie Portman is relegated to supporting actor, but in her big emotional scene towards the end of the film with Vader she's completely convincing.

I had intended to review this film when I first saw it but I was stunned by it. It's a superb piece of film-making. Cinema exists for films like this- there's just something magical about Star Wars. That this might signal the end of Star Wars gives it more impact as it's the end of a mythos that mattered so much to me and my friends when we were kids playing with action figures and toy space-ships. When Order 66 is issued and Anakin returns to the Jedi Temple it's heartbreaking. Finally, when Obi-Wan and Anakin do battle, well, it works. The last scene is a superb touch- and it'll make you want to go and watch the original trilogy once more. Revenge of the Sith is the film that Star Wars fans have always wanted to see and it ties together the old and the new better than I could have hoped. Just awesome.

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson has appeared in not much that I've seen- does Eight Legged Freaks count?- so I can't really comment on her ability as an actress, but she certainly seems to hark back to a time when celebrities actually looked glamorous and seemed to take care of their appearance. She's also due to appear in The Black Dahlia based on the novel by the utterly superb James Ellroy and also in 24 in 2006. Let's hope that they keep making that show. Jack Bauer needs to have quite a few more "bad days".

Land of the Dead

I've got to say that I'm a huge fan of zombie films- and that many of them are pretty dire. Something that doesn't often stop me watching them. In the genre there are few truly good films- among them are the Dawn of the Dead remake, Versus, Shaun of the Dead and the original Romero films Night and Dawn of the Dead. While Day of the Dead is ranked with the other two parts of the trilogy by fans, I'd have to argue that as a movie, it's not quite in the same class. Sure, it's got some really gross effects but the acting and dialogue aren't on the same level.

As such, my hopes for Romero's new Land of the Dead were not high. It's been many years since Romero ventured into the world of zombies and I guess I thought that he was past it. Well, according to the review on Retrocrush, I'm wrong- Land of the Dead gets a good write up and Romero's idea of the zombies evolving sounds like it has been handled well. Could be the genre is going to get another classic to add to the (short) list.

BTW, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead fame get to appear as zombies in LOTD. It's pretty cool that they've gone from being fans of the Romero films to actually being in one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

CIA Goes Video Gaming

It's not just the US Army or Marines which has their very own video game anyore- the CIA is now investing in one too.

While the Army has America's Army and the Marines have Close Combat- both used to train troops the tactics they might eventually have to put to real use- the CIA now wants to get in on the action. They want to have a 3D virtual training environment to train their operatives with- and expect a civilian friendly version to hit the shelves soon too. The idea is that the game will enable them to train people the skills they need without the use of highly expensive and time consuming training facilities.

Roll on the Playstation release!

Race Across America

While the Tour de France is the biggest hyped cycling event on the calendar- and one of the ultimate sporting events ever created- the Race Across America must surely be the toughest cyling race. Taking its participants 3,052 miles from San diego to Atlantic City, the race has no timebreaks- any time you spend sleeping or resting is added to your overall race time. As such, the racers will spend very little time sleeping, racing on their bikes throughout the night.

This has got to be one of the most daunting endurance events anyone could undertake. And it certainly deserves much more attention than it gets. The RAAM website is pretty well done and contains all the updates you could hope to find. Go check it out.

Teenage Threat

I was slightly disturbed the other day to read that the Department of Homeland Security is being urged to put airline schedules ahead of safety by rushing their security checks.

To reduce flight delays at these airports,
DHS exempts a number of passengers from US-VISIT security screening if necessary, including teens, elderly, families, foreign pilots and religious workers such as imams

While Dhimmi Watch chose to focus on the danger of the foreign pilots and religious workers, it seems to me that teenagers are also an emerging threat. Sound stupid? Well, a number of teenagers have been caught wearing explosive vests trying to sneak through check-points in Israel. It seems to me that if you know that a teenager is not going to be looked at as closely as an adult and you want to carry out a terrorist attack, then the thing to do is use the teenager. When it comes to these kinds of checks, the only clever strategy is to check everyone you can.

If you're going to start making exceptions then begin by excluding the non-Muslims. Is that profiling? Good. If America was at war with China, would we be protesting the fact that Chinese were being given more attention? Well, probably the moonbats would be up in arms about that, but if you're a rational human being it only seems logical to pay attention to the section of humanity currently posing a threat- not all terrorists are Muslims, but the War on Terror is focused on Islamic terrorism. That's a plain and simple FACT. When heads are being sawn off they aren't chanting, "Praise be to Buddha." And they aren't protesting about abuse to the Bible in Gitmo.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Couple of Links

First up, Doctor Sanity (via Michelle Malkin) gives us a pretty handy diagram of what the media is obsessed with versus what they appear to be completely indifferent to. What media bias?

A very good take-down of the ridiculous media-circus which has sprung up over the so-called abuse of terrorists at Gitmo. I'm so enraged about the stupidity (I can't ascribe it to anything else but hatred of America) of the American media over this (and it is mainly the American media that's keeping this farce going) that I'm not even going to start. Things would end up getting smashed. So go read this instead.

Mark Steyn also points out the obvious truth- allegations of American soldiers "desecrating" the Koran cause riots, protests and condemnations all over the world. Infidel African tyrant destroys a mosque...Nothing. Not a peep. Double standards, anyone?

Monday, June 13, 2005

A little variety

Here's a story that all Leftists and liberals should read- just to illustrate was an oppressive society is really like. A man and a woman face a year in prison for - wait for it- hugging and kissing in the back of a taxi.

Not all of Hollywood is anti-military- Brittany Murphy is stripping down to the "bare minimum" for Maxim magazine for a special pin-up for the troops. "My cousin is overseas right now and he's a Marine. Maxim's doing a very kind thing in which they're sending, I believe, over 20,000 magazines overseas - and to our Bravehearts in the States," she said. Well done to her and to Maxim for actually showing a bit of support for the men and women serving America.

Jihad Watch reports on a New Post op-ed piece in which the "rightness" of Muslims being killed in the course of Jihad operations is discussed. It's revealing that top Islamic scholars give it the okay- so much for the Religion of Peace. Worth reading it all but check out this piece-

Yet another Egyptian theologian, Hisham Abdul-Zahir, says the insurgents' killing of Iraqi civilians is "totally unjustifiable under any circumstances."

"Tattarrus is relevant only in the case of Muslim women and children who are captured in a war by the infidel," he says. "In such a situation, it would be permissible to kill them to prevent them from being converted into other faiths by the infidel or abused by infidel soldiers."

So, it's totally unjustified under any circumstances apart from when you might have to murder some women and children? Better have a dead woman than have one convert to another religion? Is there any other religion in the world which advocates killing its members to prevent them from renouncing their faith?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Catch Up Time

No posts for a few days- recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning- but here are a few stories you might find interesting.

Quentin Tarantino to write/direct Beverly Hills Cop 4? I'm not a huge fan of Tarantino- Kill Bill 2 was a massive waste of time and money and he should have condensed the story into one film- but his movies are certainly watchable. Perhaps a vehicle like this could bring a return to the days of the likes of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

A consortium of high school students and retirees has developed a paint which is self-sterilizing, with the aim of reducing the spread of infections via frequently touched surfaces in public areas like schools. They have added a common detergent ingredient found in shampoo to the paint. Simple but effective.

A NASA scientist is developing a high-tech robot skin. The aim of the body-covering sensor is to enhance the abilty of robots to function when working along humans in space exploration but I can see this having Earth-bound applications.

Scientists are possibly, just maybe on the verge of cold fusion- or if not that, then a hand-held X-ray machine. Looks like the technology of science fiction is slowly but surely becoming science fact.

The Cassini probe seems to have discovered a "cryovolcano" on the surface of the Saturn moon, Titan. The volcani vent erupts ice instead of lava and may be the source of the high concetrations of methane found on the moon.

The Mercedes Benz Bionic car has a diesel engine which gets 70mpg and meets emission standards. It's also an ugly looking brute.

Scientists have found a bacteria which will eat toxic chemicals and produce electricity.

Moonbat extraordinaire Al Gore believes that New York will have to be evacuated within decades because of global warming. I guess he took The Day After Tomorrow a little too seriously.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Education and education budgets are not normally high on my list of priorities but since I have two young daughters- the eldest of whom is due to start school in 2006, I'm beginning to pay more attention. Primarily I'm wondering why the education system in Britain is constantly being tinkered with- seems like the system worked perfectly fine when I was at school.

Anyway, I found this while reading the always excellent Smallest Minority- along with a fantastic one on the Constitution- and I just had to post it too. Really, please do read it, even if you're not particularly interested in the topic. It's that good. Then have a think- sometimes things don't work as well as they should- institutions are big, cumbersome, cost too much and don't deliver the product they should. What's the solution? Sometimes, I think, things need to be scrapped completely, just done away with and started afresh. If you read this article, I think you'll agree.

A Modest Proposal for Saving Our Schools

Senator Tom McClintock Date: May 15, 2005

The multi-million dollar campaign paid by starving teachers’ unions has finally placed our sadly neglected schools at the center of the budget debate. Across California, children are bringing home notes warning of dire consequences if Gov. Schwarzenegger’s scorched earth budget is approved – a budget that slashes Proposition 98 public school spending from $42.2 billion this year all the way down to $44.7 billion next year. That should be proof enough that our math programs are suffering. As a public school parent, I have given this crisis a great deal of thought and have a modest suggestion to help weather these dark days.

Maybe – as a temporary measure only – we should spend our school dollars on our schools. I realize that this is a radical departure from current practice, but desperate times require desperate measures.

The Governor proposed spending $10,084 per student from all sources. Devoting all of this money to the classroom would require turning tens of thousands of school bureaucrats, consultants, advisors and specialists onto the streets with no means of support or marketable job skills, something that no enlightened social democracy should allow.

So I will begin by excluding from this discussion the entire budget of the State Department of Education, as well as the pension system, debt service, special education, child care, nutrition programs and adult education. I also propose setting aside $3 billion to pay an additional 30,000 school bureaucrats $100,000-per-year (roughly the population of Monterey) with the proviso that they stay away from the classroom and pay their own hotel bills at conferences.

This leaves a mere $6,937 per student, which, for the duration of the funding crisis, I propose devoting to the classroom.

To illustrate how we might scrape by at this subsistence level, let’s use a hypothetical school of 180 students with only $1.2 million to get through the year.

We have all seen the pictures of filthy bathrooms, leaky roofs, peeling paint and crumbling plaster to which our children have been condemned. I propose that we rescue them from this squalor by leasing out luxury commercial office space. Our school will need 4,800 square feet for five classrooms (the sixth class is gym). At $33 per foot, an annual lease will cost $158,400.
This will provide executive washrooms, around-the-clock janitorial service, wall-to-wall carpeting, utilities and music in the elevators. We’ll also need new desks to preserve the professional ambiance.

Next, we’ll need to hire five teachers – but not just any teachers. I propose hiring only associate professors from the California State University at their level of pay. Since university professors generally assign more reading, we’ll need 12 of the latest edition, hardcover books for each student at an average $75 per book, plus an extra $5 to have the student’s name engraved in gold leaf on the cover.

Since our conventional gym classes haven’t stemmed the childhood obesity epidemic, I propose replacing them with an annual membership at a private health club for $39.95 per month. This would provide our children with a trained and courteous staff of nutrition and fitness counsellors, aerobics classes and the latest in cardiovascular training technology.
Finally, we’ll hire an $80,000 administrator with a $40,000 secretary because – well, I don’t know exactly why, but we always have.

Our bare-bones budget comes to this:

5 classrooms
150 Desks @ $130

180 annual health club memberships @ $480


2,160 textbooks @ $80


5 C.S.U. Associate Professors @ $67,093


1 Administrator


1 Secretary


24% faculty and staff benefits


Offices, expenses and insurance


This budget leaves a razor-thin reserve of just $216,703 or $1,204 per pupil, which can pay for necessities like paper, pencils, personal computers and extra-curricular travel. After all, what’s the point of taking four years of French if you can’t see Paris in the spring?

The school I have just described is the school we’re paying for. Maybe it’s time to ask why it’s not the school we’re getting.

Other, wiser, governors have made the prudent decision not to ask such embarrassing questions of the education-industrial complex because it makes them very angry. Apparently the unions believe that with enough of a beating, Gov. Schwarzenegger will see things the same way.
Perhaps. But there’s an old saying that you can’t fill a broken bucket by pouring more water into it. Maybe it’s time to fix the bucket.

Friday, June 03, 2005


No posts for a few days but I just had to comment on this- the UN is reporting that material has gone missing from 109 sites in Iraq. Material which could have been used to make chemical and biological weapons. That would be WMDs then? The same WMD that Moonbats have been insisting since the war began that didn't exist? I guess Saddam needed those banned long range missiles for some peaceful purpose? Here are some choice excerpts from the article:

The commission, known as UNMOVIC, previously reported the discovery of some equipment and material from the sites in scrapyards in Jordan and the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

Perricos said analysts found, for example, that 53 of the 98 vessels that could be used for a wide range of chemical reactions had disappeared. "Due to its characteristics, this equipment can be used for the production of both commercial chemicals and chemical warfare agents," he said.

The report said 37 of 405 fermenters ranging in size from 2 gallons to 1,250 gallons had been removed. Those could be used to produce pharmaceuticals and vaccines as well as biological warfare agents such as anthrax.

So, we had nothing to worry about when all that was in Saddam's hands?