Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the brink

I've been scared shitless for some time of being where we are right now. Basically since about five minutes after I realized that I had taken on more debt than I'd probably ever climb out of. 

I try to not pay attention to the chicken-little stuff, but now Warrren Buffet is talking that way. If we're really circling the drain, then I guess I do hope they nationalize the fuck out of the markets to cushion the fall. Then start getting people used to the idea of rationing and conservation, a la England when they wrapped up their empire and its related revenue streams post-WWII. Just start taking the pain in as humane a way as possible. The sooner everybody admits that this ponzi scheme couldn't last forever, the better off we'll all be.

At least I'm not still working for investment bankers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Terminator Season!

"Sometimes they go bad. No one knows why."

PICTURED: In the season premiere, Cameron goes on a rampage due to a malfunctioning chip. OR IS IT?????

I'm such a nut for this show, and I'm thrilled that it's back on the air. Week after week, it respects--and expands upon--the world of the James Cameron films, while being mercifully short on the overt references and corny in-jokes that saddled T3.

They even outdo T2 in one sense: John Connor is played here by a kid who can deliver the requisite emo pout, minus the  douche chills. The rest of the cast is strong, but the real star is Summer Glau as Cameron, the alleged "good" Terminator. As she did in Firefly/Serenity, she gives a performance that walks a razor edge between confused innocent and unhinged monster.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Pictured: Chris Dodd, Government Guy

I'm somewhat capable of understanding the arguments on both sides of this. I read the Economist occasionally, sometimes even facing the right way up. But I can't for the life of me figure out if this bailout is a good thing or not. Maybe it's just the least awful of the options in front of us.

All I know is that when I first heard people saying that we needed to bail out Wall Street, I somehow had the sensation that I was being sold a sports stadium. Do you realize what a disaster it'll be for our economy if Shelbyville gets the sports stadium instead of us? You want those three, possibly four net jobs going to Shelbyville?

How can you not get nervous when George Bush goes on TV and tells you that the solution to all the problems is yet another round of spending like a drunken fucking sailor. I do like how everyone seemed to be for it, and then Bush comes out in favor of it and suddenly everyone's skeptical of it. When you're George Bush in 2008, every day is opposite day.


Dude, there's not a space there, even for you. I understand you must be pretty excited about being one of the first Yanks to own one of those things, but that doesn't mean you just put it in the crosswalk. The rest of us can still see it. It's slightly smaller than a regular car, it's not Wonder Woman's invisible plane.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Edie & Roxy

Keeping up with a baby is a full-time gig. Just ask my two-year-old, who always seems to have her hands full making sure that baby Roxy doesn't play with things she shouldn't play with. Or taking toys that she is allowed to play with out of her hands. Or placing toys in front of her just so she can take them away two seconds later. 

They say at this age the older kid has a hard time with the creeping realization that the little one isn't just another temporary houseguest. Edie takes the attitude of a small-town sheriff, with the baby something like a teenage hot-rodder who's rolled into town for repairs. Edie won't cross the line into outright brutality. She sees it as her job to behave in a sufficiently harassing manner so the young troublemaker doesn't get any ideas about staying put for a spell.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Since Will Eisner and Frank Miller were my two favorite cartoonists as a lad, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this. On the one hand, nobody needs to prove their Eisner-fan stripes less than Frank Miller does. I wouldn't even know who Will Eisner was if not for Miller. This is a guy who used to take up space in his top-tier Marvel book to plug a strip that had been defunct for 30 years. It's just disappointing that he appears to have made a movie that's less about the Spirit comic than about Frank Miller's late-period preoccupation with boobs, blood and bad dialogue. Like practically everything he's done post-1980's, the trailer leaves me scratching my head; it seems like a bad parody, and I can't tell if he's joking or not.

I should have known it might turn out like this after having read Eisner/Miller, the book-length cross-interview that Dark Horse published a few years back. In parts you just had the sense that the two of them were on separate wavelengths. Like the following passage where Miller is about to talk about Sin City: Family Values.

EISNER: The book I'm working on right now is about a family that immigrates from Eastern Europe in the 1930's and struggles to make a living in the garment district while keeping their traditions alive.

MILLER: Oh yeah, my book deals with a lot of the same themes. These two hot chicks get it on with each other and then go around shooting everybody with uzis.

Okay, I might not have exactly transcribed that word for word, but it's not far off.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008


I finally caught this on DVD. (I don't get out that much. A trip to the video store is a big event around my house.)

I had heard that the movie is great up until the ending, which I heard described as confusing and pointless. I can understand the confusion, because the movie fakes you out. It's pretending to be a certain kind of film that you've seen a million times. The kind that only flirts with existential dread. When Tommy Lee Jones showed up early on, I actually said to my wife, "Oh, it's Tommy Lee Jones, everything's going to be all right now". Which is exactly what I was supposed to think.

Like the motorist pulled over by the police cruiser in an early scene, you respond automatically to certain signals that reassure you that a safety net is in place. But the safety net hasn't held, and the tent around you is on fire. The film leaves you standing, slack-jawed and dull-eyed like cattle, watching the bolt aimed at your brain but failing to understand its purpose until it's too late.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Faith and Edie playing in the rain at my in-laws' beach house, Galveston Island, TX, April 2007.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Madame President

DAY ONE: What the hell were they thinking nominating this woman? She's clearly insane. I guess it's over for McCain.

DAY TWO: Oh, I get it, she's the kind of insane that's great on television. Well, hopefully the Democrats won't play into the Republicans' hands on this one.

DAY THREE: We're dead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little known fact

Little known fact about me: my kisses can now heal pinched fingers, skinned knees, and insect bites of all kinds.


MSNBC removes Olbermann and Matthews from election coverage.

Why does this annoy me. It's just this nagging feeling that the other side would never do this. Try telling Fox to muzzle their top people because they're coming off a little too partisan.

Apparently it was a necessary thing to do, because some people organized an anti-NBC chant at the RNC. I mean, a chant. Something that you should stop being intimidated of after about the fourth grade.

What is it about Democrats that they feel they have to just go and stuff themselves in the locker voluntarily?

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Dark Knight

"A vision of the failure of our idealism before the inexorable tide of entropy... a Sartrean paranoia of no hope for escape, no possibly of exit... the dreamlife of mice in their sterile maze that is this sprawling microcosm of all of the miseries and suffering of the world."

"The failure of reason is the great bogey of this modern day... The dam's broken and you can't put the water back; and though it's not obviously an allegory for them, suddenly the film functions as stark reflection of our anxieties that we might be too late to save the planet, too uncertain of the terms to win the war."

"Midway through, I realized that the picture was genuinely upsetting me, that I was actually terrified by the places it was allowing its Joker to go. This Joker isn't carnival sideshow, he's not Jack Nicholson crazy--this Joker is cross-the-street crazy. The glittering beauty of it is that the character is scary because his madness is born of sadness and possibility."
-All quotes from Walter Chaw, filmfreakcentral.net

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cindy McCain

I never would have thought that anyone could make that robotic, wicked-witch quality work for her, but $300,000 later it sort of does.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Grandpa Ivan

My in-laws were in last week. One afternoon, maybe because so many people have come and gone recently, Edie went completely off the rails in a mind-bending two-hour tantrum. She talked her way out of time-out four times, and like a jerk I kept falling for it. 
After she'd exhausted both of us, I was giving her a lecture about being nicer to her Grandpa Paul. Possibly keen to change the subject, she started asking where her Grandpa John was. Seattle, I said. "And... where's my... Grandpa Ivan?"

This was actually my Grandpa Ivan, who she only knows from photos. What do you say? I guess you say he's not with us anymore. Not knowing what else to talk about, I start telling her how she would have liked him, and he was very kind to me when I was a little boy.

Explaining my grandfather to my own child, maybe I just suddenly got kicked in the ass by the circle of life, you know? Or mabye it was because her tantrum had me at the end of my rope already. But I instantly lost it. Which made her freak out all over again and I had to get it under control. 

Friday, September 05, 2008


Ha ha, just fucking around. I'm not going to go see that garbage. 

In honor of George Lucas' latest disappointing piece of film, I've been poking around a site called "The Secret History of Star Wars", which devotes several articles and an e-book to asking the question, where and why did Lucas go so wrong.

The surprising short answer is, he didn't. The new stuff is actually representative who he is when left to his own devices. He's never been much of a writer. The first Star Wars was created through a tremendous effort (by himself and others) to overcome his own limitations. He labored for years like a mad genius, absorbing any sci-fi or adventure he could get his hands on in the service of his vision, constantly rewriting and hating himself for not being better at it. It didn't hurt that he had a support system of film-school pals with names like Spielberg, Coppola, Scorcese, Milius, and Kaufman. But nobody but him could have come up with the concept. 

Strangely enough, digging in to this history actually has the effect of re-awakening my admiration for the man.


Monday, September 01, 2008