Saturday, August 31, 2002

TIME FOR A CAREER CHANGE
Like most men who grew up in the 60's I've always dreamed of being some sort of spy. For some reason being a suave, worldly man seems to appeal to most young boys. Maybe it's the cool cars that always drive through the adventures, usually equipped with weapons and neato gadgets. Heck, you even get to play with miniature, heavily armed helicopters. Who wouldn't want to have a job like that?

But it's now time to face the bitter, bitter truth. The time to become the secret agent of my dreams has passed me by. It takes a handsome, confident and slim man to fill these shoes (I look more like this). I fall short on other qualifications as well. While I'm pretty handy with a gun, I can't do knives at all. I'm also not lucky (or crazy) enough to invade secret bases armed only with a suppressed handgun and some explosives
.
With these drawbacks ever in my mind, I've decided to become a super-villian and rule the world!

What I have to do is build secret lairs, recruit and equip an army of henchmen, and develop some doomsday weapons and unstoppable super weapons. I'll also have to recruit a few unstoppable and incredibly large personal henchmen to do the dirty work for me. I'll have my evil yet geeky scientists install a bomb in each henchman that will detonate any time someone says "Bond. James Bond". That should keep me safe from the only threat to my bid to Rule the World! Bwah ha ha ha!

I'll also recruit a number of gorgeous women (what super-villian doesn't have a few babes wandering around?). With my army of babes I'll .....

Well, actually, if I have an army of babes wandering around the lair then my desire to rule the world would probably fade.

This is why I could never succeed as either a super-villian or super-spy. Lack of career strategy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

WHEN WILL THESE PEOPLE LEARN
I was reading the news when I came across yet another study from Harvard that states suicides are highest in states with higher gun ownership. Geez Louise, here we go again.

I've mentioned Harvard's odd vendetta against firearm ownership. Every six months or so they come out with a new study supposedly showing that guns are bad bad bad. The media outlets heavily report the latest study, giving plenty of air time to the professionals at Harvard. Then someone who doesn't happen to be working at that particular Ivy League school takes a look at the data and decides that Harvard made it all up. For some reason that doesn't seem to be worth reporting.

So far as the latest study is concerned Dr. Matthew Miller admits that he can't prove causation, but that doesn't stop him from saying
that guns are to blame for more suicides.

Miller, Miller. Hey, isn't that the guy who made his name at Harvard by authoring a study stating that guns should be banned because people are afraid of them? And didn't he come out with another study showing that college students who drink own guns? After that I think he authored another study which stated that binge drinking leads to gun ownership. Somewhere along the line I think he also proved that smoking leads to a higher suicide rate among white males. It's all here, in one of my old posts.

The data from the latest study isn't on line, but I'm pretty sure what we'll find when it's examined.

TIME TO GO A-VIKING
About a thousand years the meanest mo-fo's in the Western world were a bunch of hairy guys living up North called the Vikings. Mainly a loose confederation of tribes related through marriage, religion and language, these illiterate yahoos would gear up and go down south to steal, rape and pillage in their long ships. These guys were such a terror that they even managed to play the old protection racket game. They demanded that England pay them off or they'd stomp some English butt. This is something that the Brits remember very well.

Times change. Life goes on. History ebbs and flows. Cliches abound.

It would seem that the countries where the descendants of the Vikings live (Norway, Denmark, and Sweden) banded together in a joint defense effort to develop a submarine. The effort was dubbed Project Viking (of course). The idea was to produce a do anything weapon. They wanted a small, shallow draft, ultra-stealthy sub for operating in shallow littoral waters. But they wanted it to have long range and deep-diving capability for operating in the open ocean. The sub was to have a few large diameter torpedo tubes to launch large long-range torpedos in case they have to attack surface ships, and they'd have a few smaller diameter tubes for anti-submarine work and laying mines. They were also toying with the idea of equipping the craft with small anti-aircraft missiles mounted on the periscope to attack ASW helicopters. The main thing, though, was to do this for a bargain price.

Whew! They want everything, don't they! And they don't want to pay too much for it, either.

Now Jane's Defence is reporting that Norway is pulling out of the project even though the cost analysis reports haven't been completed yet, let alone a working prototype. I suppose that they finally realized that you can't stuff 50 pounds of whale meat in a 10 pound bag.

YOU CAN TELL HE DIRECTED AND WROTE THE FILM
I went to see Clint Eastwood's new film, Blood Work, over the weekend. In general I enjoyed it. Mr. Eastwood stars as a retired FBI agent who is convinced to try and find the killer of a young woman, even though he's recovering from a heart transplant.

I was interested to see how Mr. Eastwood handled an action role since, as this bio page reveals, he's now 72 years old. It turns out that he didn't do too badly. He never did anything during the combat scenes that was too outrageous. During the first gunfight someone fires off seven rounds from a revolver, but it was explained later in the movie that it was one of these new 8 round S&W revolvers. It's not often that they actually care about such things in the movies.

I did have two problems with the film. One was that the plot was pretty much a cliche. I had it all figured out about 15 minutes after the lights dimmed in the theater. I kept waiting for some plot twist that I couldn't see coming to reveal itself, but to no avail.

The other problem is with the female lead, Wanda De Jesus. She's 28 years old and she plays Mr. Eastwood's love interest. Here's some more pictures so you can see who Clint's 72 year old character is snuggling up to. (And she can act. Honest!)

Every time the two of them started to spoon I kept thinking how Ms. De Jesus' grandfather is probably younger than Mr. Eastwood. It pretty much made the movie come to a screeching halt for me. It didn't help that Clint was showing more skin than Ms. De Jesus, either. Oh, I'm sure that Mr. Eastwood doesn't see any problem with this. After all he's been a Hollywood icon, rich and influential, for longer than his co-star has been alive. He probably has to hire security to keep all of the 18 year old supermodels at bay so he can get some sleep. But it doesn't seem to happen to the rest of us very often. (Any 18 year old supermodels out there are welcome to prove me wrong. Just Email me to start the ball rolling. Please!)

Hmmm. Just an idle thought here before I go. Let's say that a movie is released where a 72 year old woman is the star, and she has a sexual relationship with a 28 year old man. Even if the relationship has little to do with the story, how would the public react?

ANOTHER DARN MOVIE REVIEW
This is the last post about movies. I promise.

The last movie I saw over the weekend was the new Mel Gibson movie, Signs. During the film I was entranced, fascinated. It was only after the movie was over and I left the theater that I realized it was one of the worst films I've ever wasted two hours of my life to sit through.

The good things about the movie are legion, all of which had to do with the way the movie was crafted. The acting is top notch, with the two kids playing Mel's children delivering performances that have to be seen to be believed. Character actors were allowed to have whole scenes to themselves, enriching the film for a few moments before exiting. The best feature was probably the way the director built tension through shadows and things only glimpsed instead of blood and gore. A superbly made film.

The bad things were legion as well, all of which had to do with the plot. Without giving much away I can say that Mel plays a farmer that suddenly finds a cryptic symbol carved out of his crops. By the middle of the film it's apparent that the symbol marks the spot where a rampaging horde of invading space aliens will land. But when Mel discovers this it turns out that Mel the Pennsylvania farmer doesn't own a gun! Not only that, but he makes no effort to get one after he finds out that his farm is Omaha Beach and the alien D-Day is a-coming.

A friend of mine named Ralph actually hails from the back woods of Pennsylvania. When I mentioned this little fact to him he remarked "Damn! It's easier for me to believe in the aliens than a Pennsylvania farmer who doesn't own a gun!"

Ralph always could cut through the horsepoop in jig time.

There are other problems with the plot. Many, many problems. I don't want to list them here because there might be some people reading this who are planning on viewing the film and I don't want to give anything away.

AS THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY
It would seem, at long long last, scientists have discovered how a gecko's feet can stick to stuff.

Now I may die fulfilled and at peace.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

SORT OF LIKE ONE HIT WONDERS
I recently posted something about an old television show entitled The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. In the post I mentioned the cool theme music that started each epsiode. This got me to thinking.

There's a bunch of cool music that is used for only a few seconds. Decades after the show was taken off of the air we might not be able to remember our favorite episode but the music certainly stays with us.

So what's your favorite 1 minute of music? Mine's the Hawaii Five-O theme.