Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Recommended Viewing

Here's SNL's take on the much-lampooned conversation Bush had with the soldiers in Iraq, previous coverage of which I've discussed here and here.

Unimpeachable

No, it's not the new M. Night Shyamalan flick, it's the reality about GW. As the Fitzgerald investigation links to more and more higher-ups, most recently Dark Lord Cheney himself, there's an almost-palpable giddiness among some on the left who are absolutely certain that the next step must surely be the "exit, stage left" of the Figurehead himself. Not so, says Ted Rall, who makes a pretty strong argument that we're in it for the duration. I gotta agree with him, m'self, and for all the same reasons he outlines.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Recommended Reading

Here's the best summation I've yet read of the entire CIA leak scandal drama, giving a pretty decent rundown of all the relevant information and key players up 'till now. Probably as close as we're going to get to a scorecard for this whole sordid affair.

After you're done with that, click on over to Frank Rich's column from yesterday's New York Times, which goes even deeper in examining the motives and series of events that ultimately led to "Plamegate":

For Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush to get what they wanted most, slam-dunk midterm election victories, and for Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney to get what they wanted most, a war in Iraq for reasons predating 9/11, their real whys for going to war had to be replaced by fictional, more salable ones. We wouldn't be invading Iraq to further Rovian domestic politics or neocon ideology; we'd be doing so instead because there was a direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda and because Saddam was on the verge of attacking America with nuclear weapons. The facts and intelligence had to be fixed to create these whys; any contradictory evidence had to be dismissed or suppressed.
Even with all the talk of editorial bias and outright incompetence at the Times in the wake of the Judith Miller fiasco (which itself came in the wake of the Jayson Blair fiasco), none of which I'd be hard-pressed to disagere with, Rich has been and continues to be one of the best op-ed writers out there.

Tell Me You Love Me

If you take a glance over at the right side of the page underneath all the various links and archives and whatnots, you'll see I've added a way for you to rate this blog, courtesy of BlogHop. I'd be much obliged if those of you who enjoy coming here every so often would be so kind as to send some love my way by clicking on the green button on the far left. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Viggo Strikes Back

I've had the good fortune to interview actor Viggo Mortensen twice now (check out the video here and read the article here), and both times I found him to be that rarest of Hollywood creatures -- thoughtful, articulate, and thankful for those opportunities when he could just speak his mind and not worry about having to flog some film release or other.

A new interview for The Progressive magazine, in connection with his film A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, is no exception, and finds the actor reflecting on Hurricane Katrina, Cindy Sheehan (including his visit to Camp Casey in Crawford), and much more. Here are his thoughts when queried on hopes for eventual change in the current political paradigm:
I think most Americans will look back on this period since 1980 as a morally bleak, intellectually fraudulent period of history. There will be a certain amount of shame, a feeling we were part of something wrong. People standing outside of this country can see this because it’s very obvious. It’s like looking at a spoiled brat, a kid who’s totally out of control, but because the parents are really rich and because they own the school, you have to put up with it. America is an empire in decay. But we don’t have to lash out and do damage on the way down. We can reverse some of the damage we’ve done. It’s possible.
Read the rest of the interview here.

From Trickle to Torrent

It's amazing how thoroughly the Valerie Plame affair (or "Plamegate," if you prefer) has left its mark on seemingly every aspect of the Figurehead's Administration, serving as a rallying cry to many of just how its seemingly unapologetic corruption runs from stem to stern.

The faint promise (well, faint hope, anyway) hangs in the air of forthcoming indictments from the independent prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, currently in the midst of investigating what could turn out to be The Most Important Criminal Case in American History and presumably aimed seeker-like at Turd Blossom Karl Rove & Company.

Given all this, it's amazing how much information is finally starting to emerge. What was initially the slowest of trickles from this, the most secretive White House in recent memory, has now built up to a veritable typhoon of new information. When taken taken together, we are shown a frightening portrait of the results of unchecked power in the hands of a malevolent menagerie of arrested development adolescents.

It seems more and more disgruntled current and former staffers are working to distance themselves from the mass of morasses the junta has managed to accumulate in so short a span. To wit, there are these charges from Colin Powell's former chief-of-staff which are backed up by Newsweek, which features an in-depth look at the mechanics of Cheney chase for the Iraq invasion, with some insight into the Cosa Nostra-like regime the veep presides over.

All this comes right on top of the very embarrassing and very public flogging administered to Judith Miller over her connection to Plame Leak. The New York Times reporter, who served 90 days in prison before finally outing her source as Cheney advisor Lewis Libby, was at first heralded as a First Amendment Martyr but has since shown her true stripes as just another administration crony.

Now add to that pile new charges that former Christian Coalition head and occasional Bush advisor Ralph Reed had a part to play in the ongoing corruption probe that has already forced Tom DeLay (seen here smug as ever in his mugshot) to vacate the House Majority Leader's post. But wait, there's more. There's also the continuing investigation into allegations that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist engaged in insider trading. Starting to see a pattern here? What we're looking at is an absolutely unprecedented number of legal squabbles threatening to engulf the entire crony-infested facade in a web of graft and corruption.

And let's not forget Iraq, where even after the ostensible "success" of last week's constitutional referendum, beating a hasty retreat has taken precedence over Bush's goals of establishing in Iraq a shining beacon of democracy in the MidEast.

Taken together, one emerges with a picture of a president so mired in self-deception that he has effectively taken a daisy cutter to his own legacy -- pre-emptively, at that. All of this has in turn buried America's image as The Last Superpower -- internationally, if not domestically (there's plenty of delusion to go around, after all).

I'm sure we'll all be watching with much interest over the coming days and weeks what (if anything) will finally come of the Fitzgerald investigation.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

For the independently wealthy Trekkie in all of us...

Now that Paramount has cycled through all the iterations of the STAR TREK franchise, I would've thought they'd found every possible way to fleece the fanbase. But I guess it was only a matter of time 'till they brought out this space-devouring package. I'm just wondering who could possibly be insane enough to drop two-and-a-half grand on this monster 212 DVD collection.

(Remembering that there are people who actually speak fluent Klingon...)

Oh. Right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday DVD Roundup

Back again for another of my sporadic glances at new DVD releases on what has turned out to be one of the biggest release dates for new product in recent memory. A veritable plethora of new platters has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public today, with just as much trash (Who exactly demanded a director's cut of ELEKTRA?) as treasure (see below...):


Today's biggie is of course BATMAN BEGINS, being unleashed in both a no-frills "cheapo" version and a deluxe "extra spiffy" version for the connoisseurs. Don't really have too much more to say about this reboot of the Batman film franchise, having pretty much stated all my thoughts and then some here when the movie first came out. As far as the DVD goes, while I'm looking forward to the seeing the various behind-the-scenes goings-on, I'm a little disappointed in the lack of (director) Christopher Nolan and/or (writer) David Goyer commentary. Still, that's a small complaint for what appears to be a truly jam-packed package.


In case that isn't enough of the Dark Knight for you, today also marks the release of Warner Bros' long-promised, long-delayed BATMAN ANTHOLOGY, collecting the four films that make up WB's previous go at the Bat-franchise, begun with much ballyhoo in '89 with Tim Burton's BATMAN, and crashing to Earth so infamously in 1997 with Joel Schumacher's BATMAN & ROBIN (which Burton once referred to as "The Gay Icecapades"). This eight-disc set is popping at the seams with all manner of features new and archival, including commentaries on all four flicks by their respective helmers. Despite my utter abhorrence for the franchise-busting Schumacher entries, I'm still sort of looking forward to hearing his full-length audio apology for the latter two flicks. It might end up being more entertaining then the movies themselves...


But wait, the Bat-party doesn't end there. We also get the 1943 movie serial BATMAN, which is memorable not for its solid acting or intricate plot (neither of which exists), but rather for its eschewing of traditional comic book villains like The Joker or The Penguin in favor of the evil scientist Dr. Daka (a blatantly offensive Japanese stereotype played by the very non-Japanese J. Carroll Naish). If you like hearing your superheroes refer to "those Jap devils," or you're still nursing a grudge from Pearl Harbor, it seems your ship has finally come in...


It's not all Bat guano today, mind you. Playing catch-up with his DC Comics cohort, The Last Son of Krypton also makes an appearance. With Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, and even Tom Welling already having gotten the digital treatment, it was only a matter of time 'till the very first TV Superman, George Reeves, made his DVDebut. The first season release of the 1950s television series ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN hit today, featuring 26 black & white half-hour episodes. Not having seen more than a few minutes of this show to date, I'm both looking forward to and skeptical about giving these plates a spin. While I'm cognizant of how well-regarded it is by both historians and those who grew up during the era, I curious to see if it'll hold up well or just be an embarrassing curio from a more innocent time.


In other release news, there's also the first season (well, half-season anyway) of HE-MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, following the ten episode "best of" release that I previously mentioned here. Now you can look forward to even more poorly-animated cartoon violence (but with a lesson at the end of every half hour) for your DVD-buying buck. Cant' wait.

And that's the roundup until next time...whenever that is.

    The Magic of Editing

    This one's a little old, but it's absolutely hysterical, and a real comment on how the Hollywood machine can take the most original of ideas and homogenize the crap out of it after running it through the mass-marketing machine. Imagine Stanley Kubrick's seminal THE SHINING by way of Nora Ephron. It'd probably look a little like this.

    (Also, read a New York Times article about it here.)

    Recommended Viewing

    After a week's sabbatical, Jon Stewart and THE DAILY SHOW are back with a vengeance. During last night's return, all it took was one segment for Stewart and Co. to absolutely lambast the newsmedia for its disaster-happy coverage of the rain-soaked East Coast. Without skipping a beat, they immediately followed that up with some well-placed japes directed at last week's satellite "conversation" between Bush and some "randomly selected" soldiers in Iraq, not to mention the ensuing media fallout (you'll recall I discussed Keith Olbermann's coverage of all this here).

    Also of note, last night saw the premiere of the Stephen Colbert's DAILY SHOW spin-off, THE COLBERT REPORT. Being one of those not blessed with Comedy Central, I didn't see the show in its entirety and thus can't say how Colbert's schtick plays once it's been freed from the confines of the occasional DAILY segment and unleashed on a series all his own. However, this clip, with the newly-minted host livin' the life of (O') Reilly, is amusing enough, and seems to signal the general direction in which the series is headed.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Yo...!

    It's official. Hell has frozen over.

    After nearly a decade of shameless stumping, and several close calls, Sylvester Stallone has finally signed a deal to direct and star in ROCKY BALBOA, the sixth film in a saga that began (along with the actor's career) in 1976. I knew as soon as this news hit the trades that we were surely in for a long spell of jokes on all the late night talk shows revolving around Stallone once again donning the star-spangled boxers at 59. But even so, this is one trip to the well that I'm actually looking forward to, believe it or not.

    Despite his current residence in Has-Been Central, there was a time when Stallone was not only one of the foremost power players in Hollywood, but also one of its most talented behind-the-scenes craftsmen. Heck, he won an Oscar for the screenplay for the original ROCKY, and he was even nominated for Best Actor. Granted, such choices as COBRA or JUDGE DREDD seem to call into question the man's judgement, but as a child of the '80s, I've always held out hope that the guy could pull off some kind of late-career resurgence. The idea of Stallone returning to Rocky starts sounding a whole lot less ludicrous the more you think about it.

    Though you wouldn't know it from the jingoistic propaganda of 1986's ROCKY IV and its "Rocky wins the Cold War singlehandedly" plotline, the series always foregrounded the struggles and travails of the main character, and Ol' Sly has made no bones about how closely he relates to the role. Indeed the line between character and actor blur regularly throughout the series. It's hard not to see Stallone himself reflected in the montage depicting Rocky's meteoric rise in ROCKY III (You know, "Eye of the Tiger"...).

    Conversely, it's hard not to see the parallels with Stallone's own career when the champ falls from the pinnacle of his success in ROCKY V. A new look at Rocky Balboa thirty years later could prove to be powerfully symmetrical not only with the other films n the series, but with Stallone's own career. Also, titling it ROCKY BALBOA as opposed to affixing the next Roman numeral in the sequence at the end clearly delineates this as something separate from the other films. More of an epilogue, the way THE GODFATHER PART III is for the character of Michael Corleone (though nobody seemed to like that one except me so maybe that's not necessarily the best example...).

    Given all this, I think that the actor's current slump (which has lasted pretty much from the last ROCKY flick in 1990 until now) could prove worthy fodder for what is purported to be the final chapter in the saga of the Italian Stallion. I don't know about anyone else, but personally I'm rooting for the Southpaw Slugger to pull out one last victory before that final bell.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    The Way to eBay

    I consider myself a fairly adept eBayer, but it looks like even I've got a lot to learn.

    So much for political capital...

    While I'm sure that even as I type this the gathered legions of the Lunatic Right are busily plotting and planning their way out of the sinkhole their Imperious Leader has led them into, there's still no debating how precipitously GW has dropped in recent months. What once was a presidency composed entirely of spit, polish, and above all swagger, now seems to be increasingly laid bare for the corrupt house of cards that it is. It almost seems like some well-deserved cosmic payback for all his post-election chest-thumping about having earned the "political capital" that he would now gleefully cash in.

    Some are calling it a perfect storm. Me, I'm thinking more along the lines of karma. But heck, don't take my word for it, read all about it here.

    SERENITY...No?

    I've been meaning to post this one for awhile, but with SERENITY rapidly tumbling down the box office chart (despite a stellar fresh rating via RottenTomatoes.com), I figure it's now or never to rally folks to check out this fantastic flick before it's gone from the big screen forever.

    While the lack of success for the movie has been disappointing, I can't say I'm especially surprised that it hasn't lit up the record books, given the marketing campaign seemingly crafted to turn away anyone not already intimately familiar with Joss Whedon's intricate sci-fi world.

    If the utterly unappealing posters and TV spots, or no-name cast didn't turn you off, then the footage of fanatical self-styled "Browncoats" proclaiming their love for the FIREFLY television series (upon which the film is based) was sure to finish off any stirrings of interest you might have had. Heck, I love the show and those guys creeped me out.

    But forget all that. See for yourself what you're missing out on by watching the first nine minutes of SERENITY here.

    Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Done?

    Okay, now that you've been completely won over and/or your curiosity has been sufficiently piqued, run out and see SERENITY. And then, after you see it, you can go ahead and send me an e-mail thanking me.

    Don't worry, I won't mind.

    The Skull is on Fire

    Yet another in Marvel's comics-to-screen adaptations is looming, with Nic Cage assuming the role of GHOST RIDER, and you can see the trailer here (in WMV format). Can't say I was ever a huge fan of the character, though he did enjoy a brief surge of popularity in the early '90s. That said, I'd be a whole lot more inclined to see this flick if it wasn't for the inexplicable sanitization of what is clearly an "R" concept for the sake of a PG-13 rating. That, plus the TV movie-level staging, courtesy of DAREDEVIL director Mark Steven Johnson, and the hammy performances on display (specifically Wes Bentley as Blackheart) make this a definite fence-sitter for me. From watching the trailer, I have this sneaking suspicion that it's going to be ELEKTRA all over again. And if you've seen ELEKTRA, you know that's not a good thing. If you haven't seen ELEKTRA, then good on you.

    Olbermann Unleashed

    There was much hay made yesterday about yet another White House PR event backfiring when what was meant as a feel-good photo op of GW "conversing" with some soldiers in Iraq via satellite turned out to be yet another bit of administration stagecraft when footage of the soldiers actually being coached by a White House flack as to what to say, how to say it, when to pause, etc. The resulting debacle? Let's just say that it's a rare occasion when I actually feel bad for GW.

    But wait, it doesn't end there. This was followed by one of the more tempestuous White House press briefings in recent times, where poor Scott McClellan was virtually under siege by the press corp. Let's just say that when Fox News' Carl Cameron has the long knives out, you've got trouble. Anyway, Keith Olbermann was good enough to shine his COUNTDOWN lens on these twin fiascos on his MSNBC program yesterday, and the footage has been posted via OneGoodMove.org, along with Olbermann's look at the political aftermath.

    On the subject of Olbermann and COUNTDOWN, earlier this week he also featured a fascinating look at what he calls "The Nexus of Politics and Terror," examining the conjuction between political expediency and the fluctuations of the terror alert scale. You can check out the video from that segment here, and read Olbermann's lengthier blog entry on the subject here. Highly recommended, both.

    Craig in Bond-age

    Earlier today in London, Sony Pictures and EON Productions held a press conference to confirm what has turned out to be the worst kept secret in filmdom -- Daniel Craig is the new James Bond. While most people's reactions to the largely-unknown Craig seem to be split between "huh?" and "wha--??", I personally dig it. While I would've liked to see Brosnan get the chance to take a "victory lap" before he walked away from the role, there's also no doubting that the rugged, unconventional Craig more closely resembles the character as Ian Fleming described him in the novels (except for the blonde hair).

    If CASINO ROYALE, the first "serious" adaptation of the book that introduced James Bond to the literary world, is indeed an attempt to get back to the character's darker, "grittier" roots, then I think Craig is ideally suited to the task. However, Given Brosnan's proven audience pull (his four films have taken in a staggering $1.5 billion, out of the franchise's $4 billion total take), I wonder if EON's "baby with the bathwater" approach will pay off or prove a very costly decision in the long term. The last time they tried to take the character back to his literary roots resulted in the widely-derided, little-watched two-film Timothy Dalton era (which really ended up being more of an excursion than an era, though I happened to like both of his films).

    One thing I'm still somewhat confused about is the premise of this new film. It's been touted in several different places by director Martin Campbell, writer Paul Haggis, and most recently producer Michael G. Wilson as a BATMAN BEGINS-style rebooting, but it's also been announced that Judi Dench and John Cleese will be reprising their respective roles as M and Q from the Brosnan films. So which is it? Restart or continuation? I have to say, my preference would be for the former rather than the latter, as I don't think there's anything really "wrong" with the Bond franchise that would necessitate a ground-up restart. DIE ANOTHER DAY may not have been perfect, but it was no BATMAN & ROBIN, that's for sure.

    Either way, look for CASINO ROYALE to hit theaters next year during the traditional late Fall berth of all Bond films since GOLDENEYE.

    (Edited to add the first official publicity shot of Craig as 007.)

    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    No News Like Bad News

    Wow, it's a regular bumper crop of bad mojo for the Junta these days. Between the ongoing brouhaha over the utterly-inexperienced (but deeply religious *wink wink*) Harriet Miers, Turd Blossom Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame leak (which is increasingly pointing in the direction of an indictment), an Iraqi constitution which isn't doing a particularly good job representing the, y'know, constituents, and all-new cliff-diving poll numbers, the list is virtually endless -- and that's on top of all the other cronyism-and-corruption shenanigans we've come to expect from the Usual Gang of Idiots. Here's a nice rundown of some of the most recent bad news that's hammered Bush Country.

    Gore '08?

    It's funny what a difference a few years makes. Back in 2000, it didn't seem the Democrats could have put up a blander, less appealing candidate for the top spot than Al Gore. Five years and one John Kerry later, an Al Gore ticket for 2008 is starting to sound not just palatable, but downright appealing. With a growing list of populist, rally-the-masses speeches like this one under his belt, and the prospect of a Hillary presidential bid growing increasingly unappetizing, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this idea gained traction as the '08 race draws closer, despite Gore's own protestations to the contrary as recently as yesterday.

    Here's Arianna Huffington making her case for the former Veep.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Will the new 007 please stand up?

    Ever since incumbent 007 Pierce Brosnan was unceremoniously given the heave-ho by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the venerable James Bond franchise has been bombarded with all manner of casting rumors. Over the past year, everyone from Orlando Bloom to Eric Bana to Goran Visnjic have been tipped at one time or another to don the famed tuxedo and Walther PPK worn at various times for varying durations by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and, up until 2002's DIE ANOTHER DAY, Brosnan.

    Well, the furor seems to have come to a boil over the past few days, and it looks like Sony Pictures (who acquired the billion-dollar Bond franchise in their recent buyout of MGM) is finally set to announce who will star in CASINO ROYALE, film 21 in the 43-year old series. So who's vodka martini will be shaken, not stirred, you ask?

    While official word isn't due until Friday, pretty much all the smart money seems to be on actor Daniel Craig, who is familiar to me only from his role as Paul Newman's son/Tom Hanks' nemesis in 2002's ROAD TO PERDITION, though he's gotten some strong notices for this year's LAYER CAKE. Will it turn out to be Craig, or is this more misdirection from Her Majesty's Secret Service? I guess we'll find out on Friday.

    From THE ONION...

    I experienced something similar recently when I re-watched the THUNDERCATS show...
    Nostalgic Memories of LAND OF THE LOST Ruined in DVD Release

    TORRANCE, CA—Fond memories of the Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday-morning TV classic Land Of The Lost were quashed by a weekend viewing of its first season on DVD, 38-year-old Don Richards announced today. "You can't expect the cheap blue-screen to look good today, but man, what a steaming pile," said Richards, who has abandoned the idea of introducing his childhood favorite to his 7-year-old daughter Bailey. "I can't believe how much they re-used that same shot of the same tyrannosaurus approaching Marshall, Will, and Holly's cave. And that Cha-Ka was such a bad Planet Of The Apes rip-off." Richards still holds out hope that his as-yet unwatched Lidsville DVD set "stays true" to his memories.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    The Shipp Hits the DVD

    Yet another item from my DVD "sacred cow" list makes its much-delayed foray to the digital medium. Last week saw Warner Bros. announce the impending release of 1990's THE FLASH television series, which lasted 22 episodes before it was gone in a...well, you get it. The show starred John Wesley Shipp, known to an entire generation as "Dawson's Dad," and in a clear nod to the then-recent BATMAN, the hero was garbed in a ridiculously overmuscled bodysuit (which appears to made of felt). It's been years since I've seen this, so I'm prepared to be utterly mortified at my younger self's bad taste, but I'm hoping it won't have dated too badly. Between NOWHERE MAN and this, it hasn't been a bad few months for DVD announcements. Now if only they'd get around to releasing the syndicated SUPERBOY TV show from the late '80s/early '90s.

    Look for THE FLASH to hit shelves on January 10th, and check out the original announcement here.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    "Ignorance is the parent of fear . . ."

    That's from Moby Dick, and it sadly seems to be more and more applicable to our listing, listless Ship of State (or as I call it, the Pequod). For proof positive, look no further than last week's widely-derided rah-rah session by an Ahab-esque GW. This speech saw the dusting-off of an old Bush Administration standby -- the Fear Card, or as I like to call it, the "Booga-Booga" Factor ("If we don't stay in Eye-rack, them ter'rists is go'n gitch ya -- and ever'one you love...!").

    All this is of course to bolster the rapidly-descending support for his Iraq Adventure, and yet nothing seems to be taking. It really makes you wonder how much longer the center can hold on this disaster. What does it tell you when someone like Zbigniew Brzezinski, NSA Advisor under Jimmy Carter, and hardly anyone I'd put up for sainthood, is saying things like, "Flailing away with a stick at a hornets' nest while loudly proclaiming 'I will stay the course' is an exercise in catastrophic leadership."

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Recommended Viewing

    Here's a nice one-two punch courtesy of OneGoodMove.org on the ongoing fiasco in Iraq. First is Andy Rooney breaking it all down into the stark dollars-and-cents picture, and then Jon Stewart brings up the rear with his patented velvet touch.

    From THE ONION...

    This one cracked me up.

    Just don't forget the Heisenberg Compensators...

    Apparently someone in the US Military is a STAR TREK fan, according to this article in the Scripps Howard News Service.

    Last year, the Air Force spent $25,000 on a report, titled "Teleportation Physics Study," to examine possible ways to teleport humans and objects through space.

    The military has a long history of funding research into topics that seem straight out of science fiction, even occultism. These range from "psychic" spying to "antimatter"-propelled aircraft and rockets to strange new types of superbombs.

    Ah, our tax dollars at work.

    (By the way, I defy the non-Trekkies out there to make heads-or-tails of the heading for this post...)

    Back a-bloggin'

    Well, it took AOL the better part of two weeks to ship me my new high-speed package (which is kind of paradoxical, when you really stop to think about it...), but I'm back up to speed (no pun intended), and ready to blog away. The thing is, so much has happened in the past two weeks I genuinely don't know where to begin.

    First, there was Tom DeLay's indictment, followed immediately by his "Woe is me" World Tour to several major news outlets, which in turn led to more contradictions emerging in his various statements, all of which is now trickling down to his replacement as House majority leader, Roy Blunt. Naturally this set the blogosphere afire, with those on the Left ready to set off fireworks in celebration, and those on the Right proclaiming a vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

    My thoughts? I'd be shocked -- shocked -- if anything lasting came of this. I'd be positively verklempt if DeLay actually served a single day in jail over any of this. Corruption? Are you kidding me? That's as much a part of modern politics as lying and kissing babies, and the naked gall with which its done these days shows that these people have absolutely no qualms about it nor any fears about getting caught. Ultimately I predict DeLay will get a slap on the wrist, a token stern talking-to, and it'll be back to business as usual. Notice how every article on the subject takes great care to point out that Tom DeLay's departure from the role of majority leader is only temporary. Like I said, business as usual.

    Moving on, Bush nominates Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, prompting a collective "??" from pundits and politicos across the spectrum. Since, like the rest of America, I know absolutely nothing about Miers I can't really say much about how she'll pan out, two things immediately spring to mind. First, she has absolutely zero judicial experience. Zilch. Nada. How do you figure she gets a shot at the big chair?

    It'd all be absolutely dumbfounding, except for the fact that she's an old Bush Family friend, and she's GW's White House Council, and thus it becomes perfectly clear that, like ousted but still-feisty FEMA head Michael Brown, cronyism has won the day yet again. God bless America, right? I will say this, though, anything that makes the twin harpies of the Right, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin, squirm is maybe not such a bad thing...

    Bottom line after all of this, I'm absolutely sick to death of politics right now, so let's shift gears entirely. Watch this trailer for the upcoming CURIOUS GEORGE -- based on the children's books we all read growing up, and starring Will Ferrell as the Man in the Yellow Hat -- which proves one simple universal truth I learned a long, long time ago: You can't go wrong with a monkey.

    Heh. Monkey.