Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boys, Go Get Me a Rope...



Wow, if Tucker Carlson thinks Michael Vick should have
been executed for being involved in dog fighting you
have to wonder what punishment he would demand if
Vick murdered a human being.

Maybe execute all of Vick's relatives too?

Tucker Carlson: Michael Vick Deserves to Die - Sports Blog - CBS News

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Favorite Films of 2010



It's kind of funny how the really good movies never
seem to show up until at least November. Which I
suppose is easy to understand...a great movie that
comes out in February is pretty much forgotten about
when the Oscar buzz starts up later in the year.

So, here's my list of favorite films from the past
year. There are a few critically praised ones that didn't
make the list because I haven't had a chance to see
them (The Fighter, Rabbit Hole, Blue Valentine, True Grit)
but I will give you what I've got...


1. The Social Network- To be honest, I'm not sure
how accurate this movie is. But the crackling
dialogue and manic energy made this a real treat.

2. Black Swan- I'll be surprised if Natalie Portman
doesn't win a Best Actress Oscar. I knew pretty
much exactly where this movie was going but didn't
care because it was done so well.

3. Get Low- a drama about aging and regret. Robert
Duvall is wonderful as the outcast who wants to
attend his own funeral.

4. Fair Game- a powerful film about an important
story...the Bush administration's reckless
punishment of Valerie Plame because her husband
dared to tell the truth about what he didn't find
in Africa.

5. The Town- a good, hardboiled crime drama set
in the Boston area.

6. The Kids Are All Right- things get complicated when
children raised by a lesbian couple look up their
sperm donor father. A warm, funny look at what happens
in all human relationships.

7. Tron Legacy- go see it in 3D. The plot is a bit silly
but the sights and sounds will blow you away.

8. The Ghost Writer- I was a little underwhelmed by
the big "secret" at the end of movie but it was still
a well-written, very well-acted piece of film.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...



All I want for Christmas is for all my blogger friends
(and anybody else who happens to frequent this place)
to have a nice holiday and an excellent 2011.

Friday, December 24, 2010

BAH!



Paul Krugman on the huge government expansion that never
happened.

The Humbug Express - NYTimes.com

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Running the Table




Wow, it's too bad we don't have more of these lame-duck
sessions. I can't believe all the stuff Obama and the
Dems have managed to get done since the election.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So, What Now?


So, they passed the tax cut/jobless benefits extension.

Nobody's completely happy with it but at least it got done
with nobody getting shot and no rioting as far as I know.
So far so good.

I was s little surprised today that the stock market didn't
have a big gain. After all, the talking heads on the Fox
Business channel have been saying for months that companies
are holding back because they're insecure about what tax
rates they would have to pay in 2011. Seems like this deal
would make them all brave enough to get back in the game.

Wait a minute, is it possible taxes AREN'T the reason
companies have been holding back?

What's your opinion? Do you think this deal will help the
economy or is it just another foolish effort to delay
the inevitable hard decisions coming our way?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tears of a Clown



John Boehner gets all teared up when he talks about pursuing
the American Dream. Too bad he works so hard to prevent
lower and middle class folks from achieving it.

The Tears of John Boehner - NYTimes.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Favorite Books of 2010



This was the year of the Big Book for me. I published
a 524 page memoir and enjoyed some pretty weighty novels
by other folks.

I'm currently finishing my favorite book of the year,
"The Passage" by Justin Cronin. It's an epic tale
that takes place over nearly a century and has a large
cast of characters. Some people might just call it
a well-written horror novel but I give Cronin more
credit than that. I would say it's The Stand, The Road
Warrior, Salem's Lot and Lonesome Dove all rolled into
one.

Yeah, I know the Road Warrior was a movie and not a book
but what the heck...

Some other really good reads from this past year:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen: a fine novel about three
people who meet in college and how they affect each
other's lives over three decades.

Under the Dome by Stephen King: nobody writes horror
better than SK and few modern writers do a better job
of understanding how complex life in a small town can be.

Flood by Stephen Baxter: The story of humanity's plight
when the oceans start rising and just don't stop.
And global warming isn't the reason.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby: a wonderful novel about
obsession and what happens when the celebrity you
think about all the time suddenly gets mixed up in your
life.

How To Be Good by Nick Hornby: this actually came out a
few years ago but I wanted to mention it because I just read
it this year and it's so damn entertaining and thought-provoking. A novel about a failing marriage and what happens when a grumpy
husband decides to completely change his outlook on life.

You Call This a News Channel?



Media Matters reporting on the leaked e-mail directing
Fox reporters to always assist the global warming deniers.

And please spare me the comments about it being cold
somewhere today. We all know that isn't how this works...

FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science | Media Matters for America

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 2010 Film Encyclopedia



I'll be doing a personal movie "best of" list pretty
soon but right now I just wanted to share a really
helpful article I found on Salon.com. If there's a film
that came out in 2010 and you want to know something
about it, just check out the list!

The Movie List - Our Picks: Movies - Salon.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Music: Best of 2010



This wasn't a big "album" year for me. I had a
few favorites but I also spent some time just listening
to the radio and then buying individual songs on ITunes.

Here's a list of some albums I liked a lot.

Neil Young- LeNoise: Amazing space guitar with a
good amount of solid songwriting thrown in. For me,
this was probably Neil's best complete album since
"Rust Never Sleeps".

Arcade Fire- The Suburbs: It doesn't grab me like
Neon Bible but I still keep going back and exploring
it. Less fire than before but in some ways it's
more interesting.

Slash- Slash: Just good, dumb fun. Slash plays the
guitar and several different rockers sing the songs.
I especially liked the one featuring Andrew Stockdale
of Wolfmother and "We're All Gonna Die" with Iggy Pop.

Ben Folds/Nick Hornby- Lonely Avenue: A great comeback
for Ben Folds. I'm not sure exactly what the English
novelist Nick Hornby contributed (probably lyrics) but
this is a really satisfying disc. My favorite cut
is "Claire's Ninth", the poignant tale of a 9 year
old girl who's trying to deal with divorced parents
on her birthday.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- Mojo: there are
five standout cuts on this disc and the others are
kind of standard. But the mood overall is loose
and there's a nice, bluesy quality I haven't heard
them really display before.

The Kids Are All Right soundtrack: When I saw this
excellent film in the theatre I kept getting
distracted by all the great songs. It features
"The Youth" by MGMT, "The New World" by X and
a wonderful old David Bowie cut called "Win" I
somehow had never heard before.

Beach House- Teen Dream: they continue to amaze
me. Dream pop at it's best.
------------------------------------
A few honorable mention discs:

Band of Horses- Infinite Arms
Posies- Blood/Candy
Joe Satriani- Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards
------------------------------------
And some singles I just really loved:

School of Seven Bells- I L U (this woman's voice makes me melt)
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes- Home
CocoRosie- Lemonade
Los Lobos- West LA Fadeaway
Secret Sisters- Big River
Surfer Blood- Swim
Gorillaz- Stylo
Broken Bells- The High Road
Peter Gabriel- Heroes
New Pornographers- Moves
Menomena- Taos

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanks, Tea Party!! Now Shut the Hell Up


So far it doesn't look like the GOP is gonna be all
that influenced by the naive fools who helped them in November.

Tea Party 0 For 3 In House Leadership Fights | Mother Jones

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Triple Threat


Well, all the right teams won this weekend...the Huskies
have a legitimate shot at a bowl game, the Ducks will
play for the national championship and the Seahawks are
still tied for first place in the NFC West. I'm a happy
football fan.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Chinese Perspective



Tom Friedman on how the Chinese government might be
looking at us right now.

From WikiChina - NYTimes.com

So Many Zombies, So Little Time



One of my favorite pop culture writers (Chuck Klosterman)
talks about why modern life is so much like fighting
off hordes of zombies...

How Modern Life Is Like a Zombie Onslaught - NYTimes.com