Monday, October 30, 2006

San Francisco--pregame

It's ten of ten, eastern standard time, and ten of seven pacific time. I'm in an ex0pens8ven hotel which strangely doesn't have a television, waiting for the time we have to get together with group for the trip. I slept ten hours (including a couple pretending to sleep around two local time). I would have done this earlier, but I wasn't able to figure out specifically how to log on to the hotel's wai fi. (I sort of did, but it cut out.)

First I want to talk about United Air lines. I 've flown a couple of times this year, but not on them and they've had some bizarre and disturbing innovations. Like , charging for food and having free movies, and not the other way around as it traditoinal, and charging fifty bucks for extra seating and then, as in the case of the guy sitting next to me, not giving them it.

The big problem getting here was not the flight, or the fact that I was stuck in the middle for both legs of it (we had a stop in Denver), but getting to LaGuardia airport. The best shortcut is to take the R or W trains to Astoria blvd, and then get on the M60, something I've done lots of time, but this time the W was completely cancelled and the R was stuck underneith the East River. Only they didin't tell us this and the R I was on stopped at 57th street and we were told that that was the last stop. The only way to get to Queens was to head back to 34th street and get the F. Shit!!!

I was running late, so I figured I'd go to 42nd and take the shuttle to Grand Central and then take the bus to the airport, The Shuttle wasn't working for some reason and when I ran to GC, I discovered I had missed the bus by scant minutes, and the next one wouldn't have arrived until ten minutes before talkoff. So I had to blow $20 on a taxi...24, I forgot the fact that he charged me for the tolll under the river.

Getting from the airport to the hotel cost almost as much, but that was really easy as I had planned to do that from the getgo. The hotel is very nice, having a free wine-tasting (where I blew my alchohol quota for the month) and had a very good time discussing politics with a lobbyist. The polls look very good. The National Review website has the Democrats getting a 24 seat majority in the house and a tie in the senate. That should be cool, and we should probably do somewhat better. There only being eight days to go...more when we get to PIXAR.

Friday, October 27, 2006

ten days out.

Some Senate polls.

Chafee: 33%
Whitehouse: 43%

DeWine: 43%
Brown: 54%

Menendez: 40%
Kean: 39%


Nelson 64%
Harris (R) 29%

Tester: 48%
Burns: 42%

Ford: 47%
Corker: 45%

Cardin: 52%
Steele: 40%

Allen: 49%
Webb: 48%

Talent: 50%
McCaskill: 48%

Casey: 51%
Santorum: 39%

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I"m going to San Francisco over the weekend

This is going to be one hell of a daytrip. If I had to pay for it myself I wouldn't go, but they're going to pay for it, so what the hell? I'm going to blog the whole trip from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning.

This is gonna be cool.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

non-news from the Daily Mail

This is a British paper:

It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

It reveals that executives would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity. Further, it discloses that the BBC's 'diversity tsar', wants Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air.

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.

Fun fun fun. Still, I'm voting democrat.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Something to think about after the election

Here’s a nifty piece of trivia: There was a 1974 Democratic National convention.

It took place in Kansas City in December of that year and didn’t nominate anyone for anything. What it did do was adopt a charter for the party, which codified the McGovern reforems of 1971, and helped get the party ready for the ’76 elections slightly less than two years hence There was another one in 1978, and during the ‘80s the party bigwigs decided that the practice wasn’t worth the effort.

Well, I think a third midterm convention early next year might indeed be worth the effort.

I was at the 2004 convention and while there were a number of planning and issue conferences when the “con” wasn’t officially in session, the thing was obviously only a show for television with balloons and motivational speeches from famous politicians and a few people drafting a “platform” which went from the printer to the garbage can faster than you can say “Spungebob Squarepants.”

We have a chance to take back Congress three weeks hence, but what then? Yeah, there’s lots of stuff we can agree on, but we need an articulate program which everyone can rally around by the time primary season starts in January of 2008.

What we need is a 2007 Democratic National Convention. The delegates should be selected in the pre-1972 way. Local and state committees choosing party activists who want to network and plan. This is because we’re not going to select a president, but write a platform that actually MEANS SOMETHING. Find the issues that everyone in the party can actually agree on and work for. “Bush is a prick” is fine as far as it goes, but that’s a negative. It won’t cut the mustard because he’s going to be gone in 2009 whatever happens. If the current polls are close to being accurate, then we’re going to have to have the appearance of trying to do something in the new year, and an outline legislative program for the summer and fall of ’07 would be just what is needed.

The best place to do that would be at a midterm convention sometime in the early spring and a commitment from the new congressional leadership to try to pass some, if not most of these proposals during the summer and fall. This is because by the spring of 2008 the presidential election will be in full swing and everybody’s attention will be on that.

Whatever you think of him Newt Gingrich managed to get his “contract on with America” through the House with efficiency and speed. We should be able to do something like that, if only to have ads saying “We tried to pass A, B C and D, but the evil Bush administration vetoed it.”

If we (God Forbid) LOSE the midterms, a convention would be even more important, and would be a good place to figure out how best to start from scratch for the rest of the century.

So how about it?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Revolution has been postponed

The grand revolutionary demonstration which was supposed to "drive out the Bush regime" had only about 500 people in Washington, DC and about five thousand nationwide. Brilliant!

Friday, October 06, 2006

NYFF day three: Reds

This is one of the big ones, and the last major film to ever have a built in intermission:


Written and Directed
By Warren Beatty

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” George Santayana famously said, and this maxim is no more apparent than in this golden oldie from 1981.

90 years ago, there was a presidential election going on, and there was a war. Snooty art exhibits and effete intellectuals looking down their noses at the unwashed masses and claiming to act in their name, too.

People wore strange clothing and the music was early ragtime instead of rock and hip hop, but other than that, the people are all very familiar. What’s strange about this film is that were it not for the strange music and costume, most of the dialogue could have come from the 2000s.

John Reed (Warren Beatty) was a journalist and intellectual who was slightly famous for his book on the Mexican revolution. Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) was an early feminist who was outgrowing her husband and professionally latched on to Reed, following her to Greenwich Villiage and hanging out with the likes of playwright Eugene O’Neill (Jack Nicholson) and ├╝ber-anarchist Emma Goldman(Maureen Stapleton)

The chattering classes then are the chattering classes now. The technology was more primitive but the people are the same. Disillusioned with the war and the status quo, they became radicalized and headed to Russia to watch the Revolution there. They had a real blast.

John Reed as Sean Penn. The silly infighting between far left factions still goes on, and the president still thinks he’s God.
To understand today, you have to understand the past.

The film is long, very long. In fact, it was the last major release to actually have a built-in intermission. The action in the film has the structure of a series of flashbacks in between genuine interviews with the last survivors of that time. The “witnesses” are really interesting and their reminisces, pertinent.

The acting is terrific and we’ve got a bunch of old masters back when they were still rather young doing what they do best.

The film’s coming out on DVD after a very limited theatrical re-release. Catch it if you’ve got the time and wait a couple of weeks and rent it if you don’t.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NYFF day two: Exotic stuff

Sorry it's taken so long, but there's been the high holy days and some other stuff I had to do. I should have even more stuff up tomarrow:


Written and Directed
by Zacharias Kunuk
and Norman Cohn

This film has no real plot. The year is 19112, and it’s somewhere in the far, far north. The family of the aging shaman Avva (Pakak Innukshuk) and his rebellious daughter Apak (Leah Angutimarik) have been hired to take Knud Rasmussen (Jens Jorn Spottag) and his crew of anthropologists (Jakob Cedergren, Kim Bodnia and Pierre Lebeau) to the island of Iglulik, somewhere near the pole.

The Inuit family sings for the anthropologists, then Avva tells the story of his life, while in the background, Apak makes love with the ghost of her dead husband and insults his successor and her old boyfriend Nuqallaq(Natar Ungalaaq).
For most of the film, scratch that, for ALL of the film, nothing happens. There’s a point near the end of the film where the band sort of converts to Christianity in order to get some lunch, and the ending is completely out of place and badly done. This film is mostly an anthropological reconstruction of Inuit life a century ago and the unfortunate effects of those naughty missionaries. There’s too much exposition and not enough plot. We’re not even sure which white actor is playing the title role, here. What good is that. We’re promised the Journals of Knud Rasmussen, and we don’t even get to find out who the guy is!

The acting is okay, as far as semi-professional productions go. Ms. Angutimarik is very cute, and as the main character, pretty much dominates the movie. Unless you’re interested in Eskimos, give this film a pass.

Inland Empire

Written and Directed
By David Lynch

So David Lynch has done it again. What exactly he has done is hard to say, but he most definitely done it again. The most interesting part is the rabbits, but that’s only because he allegedly had the footage gathering dust for decades and wanted use it. But why would he do that?

The rabbits (voiced by Naomi Watts, Laura Harring and Scott Coffey), are on stage in a funny animal sitcom, which is being watched by Julia Ormond [I think], while she’s channel surfing and sobbing over something which may have happened before or will happen later. No one knows, for sure.

As part of a show on a possibly different channel, a mysterious stranger(Grace Zabriskie) who visits a glamorous movie star named Nikki(Laura Dern) in her Hollywood mansion [where the rabbits reside in a different dimension] and starts prophesying about her next movie role.

This prophesy is true, as the great director Kingsley(Jeremy Irons) has indeed hired Nikki and Devon(Justin Theroux) to play the lead roles of Sue and Billy, as well as lending Kingsley’s assistant Freddie(Harry Dean Stanton) money from time to time. For twenty minutes, we have a genuinely coherent movie, including a subplot about our two leads cheating on Nikki’s husband(Peter J. Lucas), then the whole thing falls apart into a million pieces, where the rabbits return and Nikki is sent to the planet of the bimbos and is forced to dance the Locomotion while her husband joins the circus.

But what’s happening in 1930s Poland? you may ask.

Were it not for the great performances, this would be the worst movie of the year. The last third makes no sense whatsoever, we think one thing and are then forced to realize that the entire thing is one big come-on, a giant bait-and-switch in which we get absolutely nothing, and that makes it all the more infuriating.