Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Inconvenient Penguin...

Tonight I am going to the premiere of my friend & colleague's, Todd Lampe, new short film "An Inconvenient Penguin" in West Hollywood.

Todd creates these hilarious short flicks, and this is his biggest project yet. In this one he spoofs two sets of films at once - the plethora of penguin movies like "March of the Penguins" with Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". I've seen a rough cut already and was laughing my a** off. Two showings tonight @ Lammle's on Sunset Blvd.

You can catch the trailer here. The official website is here. And you can check out Todd's previous short flicks at his Precipice Productions website. He's planning on submitting it to many of the film festivals throughout the country.

Good luck, Todd!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lame attempts at being artistic #5...

Jen's post about art (which I referenced in the previous post) made me realize that it's been awhile since I've posted some art pix of my own. They're simple shots; nothing fancy. Hope you enjoy 'em.




LADYBUG SERIES 5 (yellow w/ bee)



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Definition of Art...

(Hat-tip to Paragraph Farmer):

Jennifer of Et Tu? (a former atheist who is now a Catholic, and has been chronicling her journey on her blog), has an interesting post about poetry and art:
"At some point after my conversion, I heard about the concept that true art is beautiful, in some form or another, and that in order to be beautiful it must convey truth. I didn't get it. How can art be true?..."

She goes on to discover:

"Art is the secret handshake of the children of God, the inside joke among those with souls. The spark that is ignited within us when we are touched by a work of art is a spark of recognition: the artist has brought us a souvenir from our homeland beyond the material world, the place that none of us should know about, but all of us do. To connect with a piece of art is to connect with the artist as a fellow traveler, to realize that you are both walking the same rocky road, and that he is homesick too. And it matters because true art, art that seeks a connection of souls, makes it harder to devalue and dehumanize one another. It reminds us what it means to be human."

Read the entire post here.

On a related note, it's time again for the Ventura ArtWalk - what was originally a tri-annual event on Saturdays in downtown Ventura has now become a bi-annual event that covers the entire weekend. This weekend is the Spring event, and the Autumn event will be in mid-October. For more information, click here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oil prices have NOTHING to do with supply & demand...

... nor do they have much to do with the "weak" U.S. dollar. Read between the lines from the comments of the OPEC chief:

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah el al-Badri said Sunday oil prices would likely go higher and that the group was ready to raise production if the price pressure was due to a shortage of supply — something he doubted.

"Oil prices, there is a common understanding that has nothing to do with supply and demand," al-Badri said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Rome.

Oil prices reached a new high Friday at $117 a barrel.

A host of supply and demand concerns in the U.S. and abroad, along with the dollar's weakness, have served to support prices, even as record retail gasoline prices in the U.S. appear to be dampening demand. Crude prices have risen as much as 4 percent last week.

The OPEC chief said the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries "will not hesitate" to increase production if the group thought the higher prices were due to shortages. But he said more oil will not solve the high prices.

OPEC's production levels were just one of many factors, he said.

"But how much higher it will go, of course it depends on a number of things: the political situation, whether there is a natural catastrophe, whether there are speculations in the market, whether there are strikes in certain producing countries. So there are many other factors other than OPEC production," al-Badri said.

As I have always suspected, the increase in prices have less to do with supply/demand or the status of the dollar, but more to do with the OPEC nations (most of which are in the Middle East) who are doing this to spite the Western World by using it as another "front" on the war with radical Islam.

How to deal with this problem? Easy!

Drill in ANWAR (upper Alaska, only two square miles of land out of 500,000 in that state), drill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, extract oil from shale - extracting in place, not via excavation - in the four-state region of Colorado/Utah/Wyoming/Montana. These three things alone would supply us with 1/3 of the total amount of oil we annually export from overseas.

In addition, build new refineries (something which hasn't been done in over 25 years).

Build new nuclear fission power plants (one thing that France has done right. Notice that no accidents have occurred anywhere in the world since Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island? The industry has learned from these incidents and have become much safer).

Dump the stupid, corn-based ethanol fiasco (which is inefficient in that it takes too much energy to extract and convert ethanol from that source, plus it raises the cost of all other corn-base products as well as corn itself - for food and also for animal feed, which raises beef and chicken prices). Instead, import the more efficient sugar cane-base ethanol from Brazil and other South American allies.

Invest more in fuel-cell technology, nuclear fusion technology, and other alternative energy technologies (provided that they are promising, efficient, and cost-effective).

And, finally, break up OPEC and make individual producers do their bidding in a true, free open market system. This will foster competition while also letting the world know which oil-producing countries are doing suspect dealings (i.e., making known which questionable regimes they support by analyzing the pricing deals they make to sell their oil).

Links for Coverage of the Papal Visit to the U.S.A.

For those of you who are looking for extensive and quality coverage of the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the U.S., I point you towards the following on-line resources:

* EWTN's dedicated site for full texts of all of the speeches, addresses and homilies, plus audio, video, photos, and commentary.

* Christopher (of Against The Grain) who opened a new website called "Benedict in America" specifically for the Papal visit.

* Rocco at Whispers In The Loggia for wonderful commentary.

* Fr. Zuhlsdorf for comprehensive liturgical and papal analysis.

* Paul at Alive and Young for some personal experience, reflection and humor.

You can't go wrong with these resources. Of course, you can also read Pope Benedict's works such as his book "Jesus of Nazareth" and "The Essential Pope Benedict XVI" (a compendium of his writings over the years), as well as all of his individual books and writings via Ignatius Press.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cult of Personality & Oprah...

/queue the Terrence Trent Darby music/

Oprah Winfrey may have gone too far in exploiting and distributing the teachings of a questionable New Age writer.

On Monday night, Winfrey conducted her weekly Web "event" seminar with New Age writer Eckhart Tolle. His message: "Life is the dancer and you are the dance."

Got that?

The seminar was No. 7 in a series of 10. On the first 90-minute Webcast with Tolle, Oprah extolled the author’s virtues, calling his best-selling "New Earth" book "one of the most important books of our time," the seminars one of "the most exciting things I’ve ever done."

Read the full story here.

So is this what happens when you're regularly exposed to the rants and ravings of "Rev." Jeremiah Wright? You either run away from him (resulting in your rejecting the Truth of revelation in Jesus Christ - something Wright was supposed to be preaching, but wasn't - and thus making yourself vulnerable to false messiahs and false religions) as did Oprah, or you have him be your spiritual mentor for 20 years (and thus manufacture/transform yourself into your own false messiah) as did The Obamessiah?

There's really only one thing to do for these lost souls... PRAY FOR THEM! They obviously need it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Speaking of dopes...

Jimmy Carter, the undisputed WORST president of the 20th century, has chosen to visit with the Hamas leaders.

Via Fox News, what say one of these so-called leaders of Hamas?

A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that "the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital," would soon be conquered by Islam.

The fiery sermon, delivered by Yunis al-Astal and aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, predicted that Rome would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe."

"Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion," al-Astal preached, "so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security and consolidation of power, and even to conquests through da'wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world.

"Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our prophet Muhammad," he added.

Al-Astal last June preached how it was the duty of Palestinian women to martyr themselves by becoming homicide bombers.

"The most exalted form of jihad is fighting for the sake of Allah, which means sacrificing one's soul by fighting the enemies head-on, even if it leads to martyrdom," he said in a June 23, 2007 interview.

"When jihad becomes an individual duty, it applies to women too, because women do not differ from men when it comes to individual duties," he said, calling Jews "the brothers of apes and pigs" who should "taste the bitterness of death."

Friday's rant repeated that theme: "Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam.

"I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them.

"Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls – and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets, his companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire at whose brink they stand."

Nice to see that Mr. Carter has maintained that impeccable and pristine integrity of his.

The gift that keeps on giving...

New things emerge from the Tony Rezko trial in Chicago (via RedState), with more intriguing links to The Obamessiah:

The Chicago Sun Times Rezko blog is reporting that Barack Obama attended a reception organized by his mentor, Tony Rezko, for Iraqi zillionaire Nadhmi Auchi:

When Tony Rezko held a reception at his home for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi on April 3, 2004, White House hopeful Barack Obama and his wife were also there, Stuart Levine testified just now at Rezko's trial.

Who is this Mr. Auchi?

He was charged in the 1950s with being an accomplice of Saddam Hussein, when the future tyrant was acquiring his taste for blood. He was investigated in the 1980s for his part in alleged bribes to the fabulously corrupt leaders of post-war Italy. In the 1990s, the Belgium Ambassador to Luxembourg claimed that Auchi's bank held money Saddam and Colonel Gadaffi had stolen from their luckless peoples. In 2002, officers from the Serious Fraud Squad raided the offices of one of Auchi's drug companies as part of an investigation of what is alleged to be the biggest swindle ever of the NHS. With allegations, albeit unproven, like these hanging over him, wouldn't you think that British MPs would have the sense to stay away?

Yah know... earlier this year artist Shepard Fairey designed a limited edition poster for The Obamessiah. It harkened back to the old-style communist posters from the first half of the 20th century. The design was meant as a compliment, and the left wingnuts loved 'em:

I like this one better:

Or, how about this one?:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What kinda of nut am I?

(hat-tip to the Happy Catholic for this one)

Given the old saw about California - it's the Granola State: one-third fruits, one-third nuts, and one-third flakes - and that I've been a resident here for almost 14 years, I always considered myself one of the "nuts"......... but, which nut?

You Are a Hazelnut

You are very unique and distinct. You may even freak some people out.

Most people don't really know how to interact with you.

You get along best with anyone who is super sweet.

But you really do get along with almost anyone. You just need a chance to wow them.

An Inconvenient Penguin...

My friend and colleague, Todd Lampe, is putting his finishing touches on his short film, "An Inconvenient Penguin".

First screening is set for April 30. Submissions to all the film festivals to follow. Lots of tongue-in-cheek humor. I saw a rough cut of the film last week, and was laughing uncontrollably the entire 20 minutes.

You can watch the trailer here.

Obamessiah the Elitist Snob...

Why, it just gets better and better.

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest... they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

The Obamessiah steps in it BIG TIME, and both the Hillary and McCain camps are already starting to pound him hard on it.

Add to that his recent comment about pregnancy as "punishment":

“Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old," Obama said. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn't make sense to not give them information."

Allahpundit and Captain Ed both comment here.

Santorum on upcoming Pope B16 visit...

(Hat-tip to Creative Minority Report)

Great article/commentary from former PA U.S. Senator Rick Santorum on the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI: (from the Philadelphia Inquirer):

Is Pope Benedict XVI coming to America to drop the hammer on the president for the Iraq war? You might think so if your gospel comes courtesy of the mainstream media. It's more likely that the pope will speak about the war at the United Nations as he has in the past - as a church leader addressing the challenges of finding a pathway for dialogue between two faiths in conflict.

The pope's only official church meeting is with all 213 presidents of Catholic undergraduate colleges and universities. Given the traditional and orthodox educational philosophy of this former university professor, as well as the sad recent history of Catholic higher education in America, one might well expect fireworks.

Since Vatican II, most Catholic colleges have sought to reduce their relationship with Catholicism and the church to a one-word marketing pitch - Catholic. On most Catholic campuses across the country, you might be surprised to learn that most professors are not Catholic and that the Catholics are often nonpracticing. These Catholic colleges routinely host speakers and artistic productions that oppose core Catholic teaching when they're not blatantly anti-Catholic, and I'm not just talking about Barack Obama's appearance at Mercyhurst or Hillary Clinton's at King's College. Even the gold standard of Catholic colleges, the University of Notre Dame, will soon drop below 50 percent Catholics on its faculty and have on-campus performances of The Vagina Monologues.

Most core curricula, if that exists, provide little exposure to the Catholic intellectual tradition. Even in the theology departments, which are supposed to be certified as authentically Catholic by the local diocese, students have to search long and hard to find a professor who will provide faithful Catholic teaching.

As for campus life, most Catholic colleges have abandoned their mission and duty to help shape the moral and spiritual formation of its students. In loco parentis has been reduced to facilitating loco behavior. It is nearly impossible to distinguish a list of authorized student organizations at Georgetown from those at Penn.

Read the entire commentary here.

Comparing the economy from 12 years ago...

From the NRO. Link here.

WMDs in Syria???

News may be coming out soon about the possibility that some of those missing WMDs from Iraq found their way into Syria. Two links are here and here. Keep an eye on the Jerusalem Post in the near future for the developing story.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Just a little political observation...

(Refraining from mentioning what prompted this post.) When your liberal friends (out of nowhere) suddenly start quoting Ronald Reagan and the Declaration of Independence in order to try and convince you (a conservative) to vote for The Obamessiah, that just tells me that they must be very worried.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Congrats to the Jayhawks!

Congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks for winning the NCAA National Championship. It was a heck of a game; tight, with a bunch of mini runs, and going into overtime.

Three key notes:

1) Memphis’ achilles heel - free throw shooting in the clutch - brought them down late in the game.

2) Both head coaches were mentored by the great, incomparable Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

3) This will be the third time in the last four years that my Villanova Wildcats lost in the Tournament to the eventual champions: North Carolina in the Sweet 16 in 2005, Florida in the Elite Eight in 2006, and Kansas this year in the Sweet Sixteen.

Villanova will definitely be a Top-12 team in the pre-season polls next season. With freshman guard Malcolm Grant opting to transfer to get starting playing time (something he won't be able to do with Villanova's deep bench at the guard position), it opens up a scholarship for Jay Wright to get a tall, wide body under the basket - something they desperately need given that their tallest player is 6'10" sophomore Drummond (who broke his ankle in the tourney, and who has been hampered by injuries both seasons). If the Wildcats can get a true center, they'll definitely become a Top-5 team for next year.

My Southern Puddle-Jumper Experience

Per request from an on-line friend, I was able to find my notes from a unique airline flight I had a couple years ago from Birmingham, AL, to Charlotte, NC (It was after my 2-day visit to EWTN). I call these relatively short flights "puddle-jumpers", and the flight attendants on these puddle-jumpers in the South have a tendency to stray from the normal safety protocol script that you get at the beginning of your flight. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think you had just stumbled in a "Night At The Improv". What follows (practically verbatim... it was so funny - and unexpected - that I had to take notes) was the "routine" given on that surreal flight from the female comed-... uh, I’m mean "flight attendant". The names and airlines have been omitted to protect the guilty.

"In the seat pocket in front of you there is a safety card for you to follow along. It’s got pretty pictures. If you’ve heard this a thousand times before, at least pretend to read over the card. You people in Rows 15 and 16? You HAVE to read the card.

For those of you who haven’t driven in a car since 1964, shame on you! For the rest of you, you’ll need to fasten your seat-belt just like you do in your car.

Please put you seats in the upright and uncomfortable position for take-off.

In case of an emergency, yellow oxygen masks will drop down from the ceiling. If you have a small child, or if the person next to you is acting like a small child, please put your mask on first before assisting the child.

If you happen to be in the lavatory when an emergency occurs, for your convenience a mask will drop in there as well. It’s a little different, just pull down the tag that says "pull". After you’re done screaming, please place the mask over your face and adjust the straps accordingly.

If we should happen to need to land in one of the 3000 swimming pools between Birmingham and Charlotte, your seat may be used as a floatation device.

There’s no smoking allowed at any time during this or any other flight. There is, however, smoking allowed on the wings. If you can light it, you can smoke it. But, you’ll be gone in 60 seconds.

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only six ways to leave this airplane: two in front of the aircraft, and four in the middle.

If you need a personal light to be able to read during the flight, press the yellow button above you. If you need assistance from one of the flight attendants, press the green button. Pressing it once is free. Press it three or four times and you’ll be charged $5.00 per press. Press it more than five times and your seat will be ejected. You think I’m joking? Just try it!

We may experience turbulence during the flight. If so, please remain seated and keep your seat-belt fastened. We wouldn’t want you to get a headache for the rest of the day.

Thank you for flying ________ Airlines."

Only in the South.

You can imagine the looks on everyone’s face during and after that "opening monologue".

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Conservative vs. Liberal, among other things...

Sean over at The Blue Boar had a thought-provoking post which generated an intriguing discussion in the comments section. Kyro over at Chesterton and Friends made his own post, and Sean did a follow-up. I dove into the deep end of the comment pool so rather than duplicating that info here I'd suggest you read the posts (linked above) and all of the comments.

The subsequent issues of Just War and torture have been delved into much deeper by Against The Grain and Mark Shea (dueling sides) last year. I'll leave you to browse/weed through their archives (Grain's and Mark's) for their in-depth analysis (which got pretty animated at times). The posts are spotty and go back over time, so you may have to scroll down often to get to the pertinent posts. Other bloggers have been involved in the discussion, and they are linked within the individual posts.

UPDATE: Kyro adds a new post on the subject. Well worth the read.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My April Fools Day Joke...

Come this November, your choices for President of the United States will be from these three narcissistic candidates:

Lady MacBeth (the Hill-dabeast):


The Obamessiah (the Inexperienced Empty-Suit Charlatan):


Doctor Strangelove (the Aged Hot-Tempered McMaverick):

OHH.... WAIT.... That's not an April Fools joke!