Saturday, July 31, 2004

Of Wine & Orthodoxy

Professor Bainbridge has two distinct posts. The first is about the recent crop of new Catholic priests who are more in line with the orthodoxy of JPII than their 60s/70s counterparts (Thank God!).

The second post brings up a very touchy topic --- corks! More specifically, should wineries start using screw caps on the bottles, or should they continue with corks. The Prof is starting to lean towards the former. I'm a purest, and a stickler for tradition and romance. The corks must remain! It's just not the same without 'em. MSNBC's web site has quite a few articles on this topic in their Wine Section.

Friday, July 30, 2004

The "Non-Manchurian Candidate" (not a review)

I find it curious that Hollywood remakes a film about Chinese ("Manchurian") communists infiltrating the American political system during the height of the Cold War. And this remake apparently doesn't even have a single Manchurian in sight? Given that we're in a post-9/11 era, you’d think the most logical (and believable) contemporary up-take would be Al Qaida/Islamic Extremists surrepticiously making it’s way up the U.S.’s political chain of command.

But noooooooooooooooooo. It’s those "evil" and greedy U.S. corporations that covertly inject themselves into the head of the Vice Presidential candidate (read: Richard Cheney). Funny, but wasn’t he also to blame for the global warming freeze-over (a nonsequitor, I know) in "The Day After Tommorow?" Didn’t they even have a Cheney look-alike actor in that roll? Our current VP sure does get around. Why, he must be Satan himself, I guess. Who’d a thunk it?!

"Evil" Democracy is to be blamed for everything, with "Evil" Capitalism at it’s heart. But... wait... isn’t it that same “Evil” Capitalism run by those "Evil" Corporations that’s paying the salary to all those enlightened thespians? And isn’t it that "Evil" Democracy that’s giving them the Freedom to display their vacuous inanity on the silver screen for all to see?

*sigh* …whatever…

EC:WC FCA - Kill Bill: Vol.1

This is a WCC review:

I admit that I had no interest in seeing this film when it hit the theaters. And I was reluctant to rent it when it came out on DVD. "Reservior Dogs" is waaaay overrated. "Pulp Fiction" was a unique and clever breakthough film, although it's extremely tough to handle in spots. "Jackie Brown" was cool, but underwhelming, and showed QT's hand that he might be stuck in a rut.

With "Kill Bill: Vol.1" he's just rehashing old tricks... and it's boring. It's a smorgasbord of film styles: green-tinted late-60s/early-70s B-flicks; martial arts B-flicks of the same era; Japanese anime; slasher horror movies of the 80s/90s; "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Matrix"-type highwire action sequences; the absurdly comical "Monty Python's Holy Grail" (though not intended to be comical); and the no-longer-oh-so-cool non-linear plot pointing.

It's got some moments, but Quentin is too full of himself to realize that he hasn't really done anything new and different. It's nothing more than sloppy stew leftovers.

2 wine bottles out of 5. Drink it only if you are a serious Tarantino devotee.

Kerry wants Bin Ladin handled like O.J.

What a frelling idiot! Not even a full 24 hours had passed since he delivered his acceptance speech at the DNC, and Kerry actually made a public statement that Osama Bin Ladin (if caught) should be tried in the U.S. courts. If you even think that this is an appropriate and effective course of action, read this....please.

Another NW#327 Passenger Speaks Out

Malkin has the latest (Part 14). Another passenger on the Northwestern plane chimes in on that frightening flight, comfirming the situation as reported by Jacobsen. Also, the Syrian Ambassador cried "racists" with regards to this whole story, claiming that the Syrian band "performed in the past six months in places such as the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center and the Juilliard School." He then had to admit that it's not those 14 musicians who've performed at those locations, "but that other Syrian musicians had."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Swift Boat Vets ain’t too thrill with their “comrade-in-arms”

This is sure to become a growing story. I’d be interesting to see if “60 Minutes” ever does a segment on this subject (I'm not holding my breath).

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was launched on May 4, 2004 at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington. As of May 17, 220 of the 229 Swift boat veterans contacted by the group have agreed to sign an open letter to Senator John F. Kerry that challenges his fitness to serve as America's Commander-in-Chief. Signers of the letter include the entire chain of command above Lt. John Kerry in Vietnam: Lt. Commander Grant Hibbard, Lt. Commander George Elliott, Captain Charles Plumly, Captain Adrian Lonsdale USCG, and Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman.

The book Unfit For Command by John O’Neil (due to be released very soon) will chronicle John Kerry’s four-month tour of duty in ‘Nam. Sure to be an eye opener.

The two web sites related to this whole story are here & here.

All Hail the Prince of Propaganda

Michael Moore was at his bombastically bloated best at the Democratic Presidential Convention this week. And they loved him (no surprise). Take a few Tums before reading the entire text of his speech. (Hat-tip to Hugh Hewitt)

I was almost certain that Howard Dean would’ve become their 2004 equivalent of Pat Buchanan (remember the '92 Republican Convention?). Well, the Kerry campaign was able to reign in Dean. So, Moore took the crown instead. All Hail Michael Moore - the Prince of Propaganda. He is the "Pat Buchanan of ’04." Come November 3rd, I’m sure many Democrats will bemoan this fact (if they aren’t doing so already).

Do us all a favor. Read this book. In fact, buy the book and give it to everyone you know who saw and believed that agitprop drivel called F911.

More Malkin

Malkin continues with here updates on the terrorists’ front. Here's the latest regarding NW Flight#327 (Part 13). Looks like the Washington Times is picking up the story now.

French Fried Bananas

James Lileks has a daily blog that is well-respected and widely read. I’ve tried to “get into” his stuff, and it’s taken a while to properly absorb it. Maybe it’s the '50s throwback layout that (for some reason) is a bit off-putting. Well, I must say that yesterday’s entry here in response to his interactions with Regis Le Sommier (American Bureau Chief of Paris Match, a French magazine) at the Democratic Presidential Convention is without doubt an excellent example of some fine writing on the subject of French complicity and prevarication.

He provides a few links (which will link to more links) which must all be followed in order to fully grasp the totality of the background of Le Sommier, Paris Match magazine, and France’s perpetually soiled hands with regards to Iraq. Prepare to have your browser program ready for multiple tabs or windows. It’s a long read through all of the links, but well worth it!

When you’re done, I’d suggest you then go buy The French Betrayal of America by Kenneth Timmerman.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

One nabbed in Iowa! More infiltrating from the south?

Malkin comments and links to two stories. In the first story reports of a possible sniper/terrorist nabbed in Iowa by a state tropper after a routine traffic stop. The contents found in his car is frightening. Brings back memories of the DC snipers case from a couple years ago.

The second story brings to light a potentially deadly situation where terrorists may be crossing the Mexican border into Texas. This has been a growing story that may soon break in the mainstream media.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Malkin marches onward...

Malkin has Post 12 here, in which it's discovered that Nour Mehana (the Syrian "Wayne Newton" who's the singer of the 14-piece band on NW Flight#327) has a song on his recent CD entitled "Mother of a Martyr" - a song consoling the mother of a Palestinian "martyr." She links to a report here that details the lyrics of the song.

Now, I'm a lyricist (or at least I was one for quite a number of years, hence my monicker). Although I am critical of bad literary works, lame/laze art and propagandist drivel, I'm sensitive to censorship issues - especially when brought forward by overly aggressive & wild-eyed, desk-pounding interpretors. A number of years ago I was gathering petition signatures behind Frank Zappa, who was doing a bang-up job metaphorically poking his guitar pick in the eyes of Al & Tipper Gore.

But, it gives one pause when you take the totality of this "Syrian casino band on Flight#327" story, and then find that one of their song lyrics praises the actions of suicide/homicide bombers. The song, in and of itself, doesn't mean anything. Heck, it's no secret that a large percentage of Middle Easterners would like to push Israel into the Mediterranean Sea. But, in this volatile era of war against terrorists & militant extremists, a heighten state of awareness may be warranted. Especially when 14 Syrian crooners with expired visas are acting strangely on a flight across America.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Political News of the Day

Hat-tip to for a great little link about President GWB. Nicely stated!

Also, Captain's Quarters (one of my regular reads) is in rare form today. They comment as well as link to the Teresa Heinz Kerry story where she gives a blanket statement about certain unnamed opponents being uncivil and un-American. Then she immediately denies what she said, and goes about being completely uncivil herself in her forceful denial (and all on video, too). Classic!

The Capt.Q also point to an article about the so-called "non-biased" reporting by the mainstream media outlets (ABC, NBC, CBS, NY Times, LA Times and Wash. Post) in regards to their coverage of the consummate liar, Joe Wilson. The evidence of their blatant bias is damning. But, of course, that ain't gonna change anything. Bernard Goldberg had it right in his book, "Bias." He paid a heavy price for admitting it, too. But, he's all the better for it.

EC:WC FCA - The Station Agent

This is a WCC review:

This wonderful independent film (shot on Super-16mm) is like a slow moving freight train, riding the twin rails of loneliness and aloneness. It is NOT a depressing film, despite what my first sentence might lead you to believe. Quite the contrary, it delves into the lives of three individuals who (due to unique circumstances) are struggling with their current states of aloneness.

Finbar is a quiet gentleman. One of ill-suited stature in a one-size-fits-all-but-you world. The loss of his friend suddenly jolts his passive passion for trains into motion. In his new environment (a rundown train station in a Jersey backwater town), Fin is forced to interact with Joe - a lonely puppydog of a guy who's couped up in his ailing father's coffee truck (conveniently parked right outside Fin's new digs). Olivia (a regular customer of Joe's) is a recently separated wife and a struggling artist who's own disheveled loneliness was trust upon her by a tragic event.

All three of these people are isolated from the world, and not by choice. But, with Joe's incessant promptings, the three are forced to interact with each other and with others. And they all end up the better for it, though not without experiencing some necessary growing pains.

The film's pacing (via Fin's point of view) is both deliberate and contemplative. Any faster and you’d miss the nuances of each character’s personal cross in life. Any slower and the film would stop dead in it’s tracks. This film will have you laughing hysterically one moment, and take you to the verge of tears the next.

WCC-Trub gives this "little-film-that-could" 4 wine bottles out of 5. Maybe even 4-&-1/2.

EC:WC FCA - Matchstick Men

Another brief EC review by proxy from Vic:

Just an "ok" movie. Surprise ending, BUT IT DROVE ME CRAZY!! I started to become nuts myself. ECC-Vic gives this flick 2-&-1/2 wine bottles out of 5.

This is another film I rented a few months ago. I thought the film was very clever, and the ending had a very good payoff. If you liked films such as "House of Games" and "The Usual Suspects" then this movie is right up your alley. I thought Nick Cage gave a great performance (as usual). WCC-Trub gives a slightly better rating of 3-&-1/2 wine bottles out of 5.

EC:WC FCA - Under The Tuscan Sun

By proxy, this brief review is by Vic the "East Coast" critic:

Not a bad movie, but there was very little character developement. It was made to attract women viewers, I know, but I thought it could of been a better movie. ECC-Vic gives this flick 2-&-1/2 wine bottles out of 5.

I (the "West Coast" critic) rented this movie a few months ago. It's a "chick flick," but it seemed to try too hard to be that genre. I thought Diane Lane's character was a little too over-the-top ditsy, and the plot was a bit far-fetched. This movie was based on the book of the same name. I have not read the book, though I do know that it was a big seller. Word of warning to those who've read and loved the book --- the ending's completely different. WCC-Trub also gives this flick 2-&-1/2 wine bottles out of 5.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

More from Malkin!

Michelle Malkin continues her follow-ups to Northwestern Flight 327 story here (Part 10) and here (Part 11). She also touches on the illegal immigration issue here (probably THE biggest issue here in California and the entire Southwest) and how terrorists may be exploiting our weaknesses at our southern borders.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

My first "official" Quake!

Got woken up this morning by my first "official" earthquake. It happened around 5:55; a 4.3 quake that was centered 4.7-miles SSE of Carpenteria. A sharp and persistent jolt that lasted for about a minute or so. After living in California for almost 10 years, I have now been officially "baptized" a true Californian! I feel so honored.

Now, I have experienced the occasional tremor in the past. But this was different. My first experience (apparently) occurred in the summer of '89 - two months before the "big one" that hit San Francisco. I was in SF at the time on my first vacation to California. A friend and I were spending nine days up and down the CA coast, and we weren't even a full two days into our trip when a pre-cursor quake broached the mid-night calm while we slept in the hotel room.

Problem is, I didn't remember a darn thing (hence the "apparently"). My friend, meanwhile, was shaken out of bed, freaked out, and yelled, "what's happening?" He later told me (begrudgingly) that I calmly turned in bed and said, "It's just an earthquake. No big deal," and went right back to sleep. I don't know why, but my friend was not comforted by this. But, since I don't remember experiencing that quake... well, that just doesn't quite count.

A few months ago there was a 6.5 that hit the Paso Robles area on the Central Coast. I was working near the San Fernando Valley area at the time, and only felt a slight queaziness in my stomach as my computer monitor swayed ever-so-slightly left to right. Nope! Too far away to have any real effect. That didn't count either.

And anything under a 3.0 ain't even worth mentioning. I've had cars and trucks driving over my parking lot's speedbump outside my bedroom window that cause more rumbles than a so-called "2.4 tremor."

So, this morning... finally... something strong enough and close enough to initiate me into legitimate California citizenship. I shall accept it with pride!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Another Update - Terrorism in Flight

Malkin continues her updates on the "Terror in the Skies" report here (Part 8). The related article which she references is found here.

It looks like they were a Syrian band that did play at the casino. Annie Jacobsen was on CNN last night, interviewed by Aaron Brown. She's still convinced that, although they may have been musicians, their behavior was too suspicious throughout that flight, and that it may still have been a dry run or a "probe." Given all of the information that's come out so far from many sources regarding this incident (as well as testimony from other airline employees regarding their own experiences over the last few years), I'm leaning towards that opinion as well. I urge everyone over these next several months to be cautious, diligent and observant (while remaining calm, cool and collected).

Update: Michelle has yet more information on this growing investigation. (Part 9) It appears that ALL 14 of the Syrian band musicians had expired visas! (*sigh*)

Here's a take on the "Muddled Middle"

Here's an intriguing characterization of this country's "muddled middle." Not the middle class, but those annoying "middle-of-the-roaders" - that 10-20% of the electorate who (because of their cluelessness, indecisiveness, moral ambiguity, or lack of intestinal fortitude) cause this great nation to fecklessly flap in the breeze from time to time. (Hat-tip to Betsy.)

An Ode to Samuel "Sandy" Berger (with deepest apologies to Dr. Seuss)

"I am Sam. Sam I am."

"Did you stuff your Sandy pants?”

"I did not stuff them. I did not stuff my Sandy pants."

"Did you stuff them here or there?"

"I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff them, not a chance.”

"Did you take those secret docs? Did you stuff them in your socks?"

"I did not stuff them secret docs. I did not stuff them in my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff them. I’m not France.”

"Did you take them from the box? Are you acting like a fox?"

"I’m not a fox who took the docs from the box. No secret docs inside my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff them,” was his chant.

"Did you shred them? Did you? Did you? In the trash? Where, oh where’s that secret stash?"

"I did not, did not shred the stash of docs in socks into the trash."

"I know you have them. You will see. You may soon just have to plea."

"I will not, will not make a plea. Not in my trash! You let me be. I’m not a fox who took the docs from the box. No secret docs inside my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff them,” said the sycophant.

"You lie! You lie! You lie! You lie! How could you just flat out lie?"

"I did not lie! I will not a plea to docs in socks! You let me be. I’m not a fox who took the docs from the box. No secret docs inside my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff my Sandy pants. I did not stuff them,” he continued to rant.

"Say! In the dark? Kerry says he’s in the dark! Is he really in the dark?"

"I really kept him in the dark."

"Would you, could you, please explain?"

"I did not lie! I will not a plea to docs in socks! You let me be. I’m not a fox who took the docs from the box. No secret docs inside my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them anywhere!"

"You did too stuff docs in socks! Witnesses are on the dock."

"I did not stuff them. I’m not France! My name is Sandy. See? Here’s my pants!”

"Could you, would you, be Clinton’s scapegoat?"

"I would not, could not, be his scapegoat!"

"Would you, could you, alter votes?"

"I could not, would not, alter votes by taking docs to Kerry’s dolts. I will not be Clinton’s scapegoat. I will not even try to explain this inadvertent shell of a game. I did not lie! I will not plea to docs in socks! I’m not a fox who took the docs from the box. No secret docs inside my socks. I did not stuff them here or there. I did not stuff them ANYWHERE! I did not stuff my Sandy pants! I did not stuff my Sandy pants! I did not stuff them. May I please have back my pants?”

"You did not steal them. SO you say. Liar! Liar! You will pay. Tell the truth, or you will pay, I say"

"Sam I am! If you will let me be, I will testify it wasn’t me."

"Uhh, Sandy? What’s that sticking out of your socks? Are they those missing secret docs?"

"Say! I HAVE the docs! I do! I do have those docs! I took them," said Sandy Pants! “This WILL alter votes! And I WILL be Bill’s scapegoat. And I WILL go to jail in shame for playing this political shell game. And I DID lie. I’ll have to plea to docs in socks. Oh my, oh me! I am the fox who took the docs from the box with secrets here so plain to see! You see? I did so stuff these docs in socks. I did so stuff them here and there. I stuffed them practically EVERYWHERE! I did so stuff my Sandy pants! Just let me serve my time in France!”

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Berger In The Joint? (or, "Why does every frelling DC scandal have to end in "-gate"?)

So... if it was Condi Rice (the current NSA to Bush) who admitted to "inadvertently" taking highly classified 9/11-related documents and stuffing them in her slacks and pantyhose, how do YOU think the mainstream national media would be covering this story? Hmmmmmmm??? Berger's also an advisor to the Kerry campaign... uhhhhh... he was, that is, until Kerry dumped him faster than you can say "Edwards bump? What Edwards bump?"

And another thing... WHY does every political scandal have to end with "-gate" (as in "Watergate")? Watergate was/is the name of the hotel where the Nixon scandal took place. There is no "gate" anywhere! Nor should that word be attached to every frelling scandal that comes out of DC. It's lazy journalism. Unimaginative, to say the least.

We must come up with original names for each scandal that crops up. Any ideas for properly naming this one? I'm open to suggestions. (heh-heh-heh)

Update on Terrorism in Flight...

Michelle Malkin has more updates on this growing story here (Part 6) and here (Part 7). She's pretty convinced that what happened was not a hoax, nor a major exaggeration.

For a full accounting of the story, Michelle's archived links are as follows: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. Follow her links to various investigations and commentaries by others on this important story.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Terrorists Dry Runs, an Overactive Imagination, or a Hoax?

Michelle Malkin has been doing a bang-up job of following these two stories by Annie Jacobsen here and here.

I strongly suggest that you start with Jacobsen's first report, then read through all of Michelle's updates and analysis (starting at her July 15th entries, then moving forward from there to the present) before reading Jacobsen's second report. I also suggest you follow various blogosphere reports for various takes on subject, and the related larger issue of airline and national security. Also, keep your eyes & ears open to mainstream media reports on this incident within the next few days.

Although I do believe that Mineta's "politically correct" screening policies are ridiculous, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Yes, there are non-Middle Easterners (men & women) who are sympathetic to the terrorists cause and who can easily be recruited,

2) People can be used as unwitting "mules" to either carry items or to help carry out plots,

(These two points alone let's you know why Middle Eastern men in their 20s & 30s aren't the only people who should be screened at airports, etc.)

3) It is possible that some of these "suspicious" people may very well be U.S. Agents or Marshalls keeping an eye on things,

4) If a "suspicious" person ends up having a clean background check, and is not carrying anything suspicious, what else can be done other than to keep an eye on his/her future activities? I'm sure the Feds are doing just that!

Much more can and should be done by HSD & FAA in order to protect the homeland. In the meantime, keep your wits about you when you fly, especially on long distance flights. Remember, airplane seats are flotation devices that make great "sheilds." Also, let the Marshalls and Flight Crew do their jobs, but if you are called upon to assist - "the pen is mightier than the sword" (aim for the eyes or throat). Hat-tip to USS Clueless.

Be safe, people!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Brothers & Sisters Forever

I just received an unexpected package from my older brother, Ray (aka, Vic the East Coast Film Critic). At first, I thought it might've been a gag gift (heck, my birthday isn't for a couple months). But, sometimes siblings will do the pleasantly unexpected. So, I opened the package in anticipation.

Well, he must've read my July 11th post entitled "Fragrances & Memories"... because I'm staring, teary-eyed at an old 8x10 framed photograph of us five siblings... at the beach... Atlantic City... 1965. I'm not quite 2-years-old in the pic (with proof, I tell yah, proof that I once had blonde hair). I'm surrounded by my four brothers & sisters; all of us in bathing suits, dripping wet, tanned & smiling... sitting on that infamous inflatable raft at the edge of the Atlantic.

THANX, RAY! I needed that.

EERIE UPDATE: My "Fragrances & Memories" entry was dated July 11th. But, my brother's package was postmarked July 6th! That is just freakin' me out.

A More Accurate Description of "The Two Americas"

Now, here's a more accurate description of the "Two Americas" by Charles J. Sykes (the July 15 entry).

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Some Constitutional Amendment Ideas to Chew On

How about a Balanced Budget Amendent (like 40+ of the States have in their own Constitutions)? One that includes:

1) A requirement that Spending increases by no more than the increase in the rate of inflation plus the increase in population, on a year-by-year basis,

2) A two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress in order to increase Spending above that rate, good for only one year,

3) A two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress in order to increase Taxes, good for only one year,

4) One half of all yearly surpluses automatically goes toward Nation Debt relief, the other half being returned to Taxpayers,

5) A Presidential Line-Item-Veto (as 40+ States already have in their own Constitutions), with a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress in order to override the veto.

6) A Ban on all non-germain, rider amendments to Congressional legislative bills.

Speaking of Taxes... How about a Constitutional Amendment to Repeal the 16th Amendment, thereby ending the Income Tax and the I.R.S. in one fell swoop. We can then go back to collecting Federal revenues the way our Founding Fathers intended.

How about a Constitutional Amendment to Limit Terms for both offices of Congress (just as there already is an Amendment to limit the terms for President - Two Terms. 8 years, 10 years maximum):

1) Two Terms for U.S. Senate (12 years. 15 years maximum due to vacancy appointments),

2) Six Terms for U.S. House of Representatives (12 years. 13 years maximum due to vacancy appointments).

How about a Constitutional Amendment to put appropriate Checks & Balances on the Federal Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court to limit Judicial Activism and instill Judicial Restraint when the Courts overstep their bounds into legislative and executive realms:

1) This could include instituting Judical Term Limits to 20 years or a Mandatory Retirement Age of 75 (whichever comes first).

Just a little food for thought.

USAF Maj. Gregory Stone's family ain't too thrilled with Moore

Hat-tip to Townhall. Seems that Moore the Boor may have some legal issues soon. It's always good to get a dead soldier's family on your bad side, right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I'm #50... I'm #50... I'm #50...

I'm all ablush. In a post by the Evangelical Outpost on the influence of Hugh Hewitt, this fledgling blog of mine was mentioned as the 50th Hewitt-inspired blog. Certainly didn't expect that. Thanx guys!!!

Partial Quote: "...After reading In, But Not Of I was emboldened to start a blog of my own. It didn’t take me long to find other bloggers who had been similarly encouraged so I created a tribute site, Hewitt Inspired Blogs, to recognize this community. With the addition of Arbiter of Common Sense, the site now lists fifty blogs that were started because of Hugh’s suggestion. A small platoon of bloggers labors away because of the influence of this one man. Imagine how we could impact our culture and the world if each of these fifty were to inspire others in kind.

Visit the HHI blog and scan the list. If you read or appreciate any of the blogs listed send Hugh a note of thanks. Without his impact and encouragement, the blogosphere would be a veritable Pottersville..."

Click the above link to read the full story!
And check out the HHI link in my sidebar for a full list of "The 50"----->
In fact, check out ALL those links in my sidebar. They all make for great reading.

Awesomely On-Point Cartoon re: F911

Their July 13, 2004 editorial cartoon Burnin' regarding Moore's boorish F911 fodder just says it all. (Hat-tip to LGF!)

Monday, July 12, 2004

EC:WC FCA - Big Fish

This week’s West Coast Film Critic DVD Recommendation is..... “Big Fish”

A Tim Burton film (Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.) filled with the quirky and the fantastical, unfolding his recent vision as no one else can. Steeped with parables, allegories and metaphors, the film carries with it a poignant story about the strained relationship and unique bond between father and son. Deep within the film is a larger message about reconciling with those you love, with the past, and with yourself. The DVD includes several extra vignettes that delve into the making of the film, the development of the characters, and the nature of understanding the improbable.

This critic gives “Big Fish”... 4 wine bottles out of 5. It’s definitely worth a sip.

When Moore is Less...

Now here's a telling quote from the former Soviet Bloc:

"We were used to such messages in the communist days. Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda. It was a weak film that tells us nothing new." -- VACLAV KLAUS, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the MICHAEL MOORE documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Fragrances & Memories

The extended stay of the "June Gloom" has finally evaporated. It's the typical weather we get along the southern California coast... a thick marine layer that blankets the coastal cities, and hangs around for much of the day until the sun finally decides to burn it off. It was a bit persistent this year. But, this weekend, it has faded. It lingers just off the coast, yet keeps a respectful distance.

It was an opportune time to head to the beach and get some color in my cheeks (even if only for a few minutes). I flopped on a hat, flipped a couple towels over my shoulder, gripped my faded copy of St. Augustine's Confessions (I'm halfway thru it, and am determined to finish it... eventually), grabbed a bottle of cool water, and headed to the harbor's coastline.

As I walked across the sand and climbed over a small dune, I smelled the salt air. And in my next inhalation, there it was... subtle... in the distance... but it was there. That unmistakable fragrance of... creosote! Pine tar. And in the blink of my eye I'm no longer 40 years old. I'm 12... 10... eight years old. And 3000 miles away, facing an opposite compass direction, viewing a completely different ocean.

Now, don't laugh. Let me explain. Creosote is used to preserve and protect the boardwalks & piers along the Jersey shore line. It's necessary, and it's lathered on during the off-season. But, during the summer, you can sometimes still smell it... subtle... sweet... yet pungent... and mixed with the salty sea air... and the Planter's Peanuts... and the popcorn... and the salt water taffy.

It's Atlantic City, before the casinos overtook the town. It's the Steel Pier with it's diving horse and diving bell. It's the Million Dollar Pier, not as a fancy outdoor mall but as a vast pine planked playground of games and rides and thrills and screams and laughter.

It's Margate... and Lucy The Elephant... and the long-forgotten Casablanca Motel. It's buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken... and Gino Giants and Sirlioners. It's rubber rafts... beach umbrellas... the wift of Coppertone... and bronzed skin. It's family vacations... and temporarily forgotten worries. It's that home away from home. And it's memories of Mom, who went to the open arms of our Lord a little over two years ago.

"I miss you, Mom," I said to myself as I smiled, squinted at the sun, took another deep breath, and continued my brief trek across the sand.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


What the frell is the EC:WC FCA, you say???

It's the East Coast:West Coast Film Critics Association. My older(emphasis mine) brother, Ray, and I will have these occasional long distance phone chats, yammerin' about everything under the sun... from family, work, music, to the latest flick we've watched on DVD or in the theaters. Ray remains on the East Coast while I've been out here in southern California for the last 10 years, and we've jokingly called ourselves the East Coast/West Coast Film Critics.

I figured this would be an appropriate place to post our musing about such films, from time to time. Nothing too serious in our reviews... kind of a layman's take on what works and what doesn't work on the screen. I'll make a posting, and he will attach a comment to the post.

So, whenever you see a post heading that beings with "EC:WC FCA..." then you know that a film review is in order. I, Mike, (aka, Trubador/Trub) am your trusted West Coast Critic, and Ray (aka, Victor/Vic) is your trusted East Coast Critic.

As always, your comments are welcome. Please remember, though, that I am the Arbiter of Common Sense, so all reviews are final. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Today's quote: "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Red Auerbach

And you thought he only coached basketball?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Welcoming comments from strangers after only one day and one post? Thanx, peeps! This blog will be slow in the making, but patience is a virtue (so I'm told).

By request... I'll just reiterate what I e-mailed a friend a few weeks ago. Come November 3rd, the election results will be as follows:

BUSH ---- 56% (35+ states)
KERRY -- 42% (12 states... 15 max)
NADER -- 2%

And Republican gains in both the House & Senate

Tonight's ending quote:
"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enflames the great." - Bussy-Rabutin

A conservative quoting a Frenchman... will wonders never cease?

P.S. Thanx to the "g" man! (you know who you are)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Flog the newbie with a soggy noodle!

Greetings, all!

I'm (relatively) new to this world of blogdom. I've been a regular follower of Hugh Hewitt, Captain's Quarters, Powerline, and quite a few others. I plan to include my own little interjections in this space, as well as post my favorite links.

I'll be back soon... so be kind.

I shall end this first post with this thought:

"One cannot obtain objective reasoning from a foundation of subjective truth. For if truth is subjective (and therefore relative), then any reasoning that follows will also be subjective and relative. Only by facing, acknowledging and accepting the existence of objective truth can one even attempt to attain any semblance of objective reasoning."