Tarry for the Nonce

July 25, 2003

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 12:52 pm

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Jo-on!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

How is Amazon treating you, Koz?

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Do You Believe, Marcus?

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 12:49 pm

I don’t always agree with Roger Ebert, but his review of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (sent to me by Brian Weichel) is a stroke of genius:

. . . the leaders of Europe are going to meet in Venice and that the mysterious villains will blow up the city to start a world war. The League must stop them. When is the meeting? In three days, M says. Impossible to get there in time, Quatermain says, apparently in ignorance of railroads. Nemo volunteers his submarine, the Nautilus, which is about 10 stories high and as long as an aircraft carrier, and which we soon see cruising the canals of Venice.

It’s hard enough for gondolas to negotiate the inner canals of Venice, let alone a sub the size of an ocean liner, but no problem; “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” either knows absolutely nothing about Venice, or (more likely) trusts that its audience does not. At one point, the towering Nautilus sails under the tiny Bridge of Sighs and only scrapes it a little. In no time at all there is an action scene involving Nemo’s newfangled automobile, which races meaninglessly down streets that do not exist, because there are no streets in Venice and you can’t go much more than a block before running into a bridge or a canal. Maybe the filmmakers did their research at the Venetian Hotel in Venice, where Connery arrived by gondola for the movie’s premiere.

Bombs begin to explode Venice. It is Carnival time, and Piazza San Marco is jammed with merry-makers as the Basilica explodes and topples into ruin. Later, there is a scene of this same crowd engaged in light-hearted chatter, as if they have not noticed that half of Venice is missing. Dozens of other buildings sink into the lagoon, which does not prevent Quatermain from exalting, “Venice still stands!”

Now back to that speeding car. Its driver, Tom Sawyer, has been sent off on an urgent mission. When he finds something–an underwater bomb, I think, although that would be hard to spot from a speeding car–he’s supposed to fire off a flare, after which I don’t know what’s supposed to happen. As the car hurtles down the non-existent streets of Venice, enemy operatives stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the rooftops and fire at it with machineguns, leading us to hypothesize an enemy meeting at which the leader says, “Just in case they should arrive by submarine with a fast car which hasn’t been invented yet, I want thousands of men to line the rooftops and fire at it, without hitting anything, of course.”

Later, there is a sinister encounter in a Venetian graveyard, among the crumbling headstones. But hold on: Venice of all cities doesn’t have graves because the occupants would be underwater. Like New Orleans, another city with a ground-water problem, Venetians find it prudent to bury their dead in above-ground crypts.

But never mind. The action now moves to the frozen lakes of Mongolia, where the enemy leader (whose identity I would not dream of revealing) has constructed a gigantic factory palace to manufacture robot soldiers, apparently an early model of the clones they were manufacturing in “Attack” of the same. This palace was presumably constructed recently at great expense (it’s a bitch getting construction materials through those frozen lakes). And yet it includes vast neglected and forgotten rooms . . .

I think he is being harsh. The movie wasn’t that bad. It certainly wasn’t good, but I am inspired to acquire the graphic novel. So I figured it fulfilled its marketing purpose.

Cheers.

July 22, 2003

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 9:57 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Makarand!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

To one of the EMX survivors . . .

July 18, 2003

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 9:56 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Helen!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 9:55 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Kevin!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

And good luck as you start at OSU!!

July 17, 2003

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 9:53 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Gen-na!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

I hope the college search is going well.

July 13, 2003

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:51 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Va-al!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

I hope you are having a good time in Lithuania!!

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 9:52 am

Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday to you!!
Happy Birthday, dear Bon-nie!!
Happy Birthday to you!!

Muchas smoochas, goddaughter.

July 11, 2003

Jackson Hypocrisy

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:10 am

Mona Charen concurs:

Our global deployments are already vast. The United States maintains 116,000 troops in Europe (which includes 1,500 in Bosnia and 1,800 in Kosovo), 37,000 in South Korea, 43,000 in Japan, 9,000 in Afghanistan, 150,000 in Iraq and several thousand scattered in places like Egypt, Djibouti and the Philippines . . .

It is most heartbreaking to consider the plight of Liberia, and also to reflect that so many nations of the world are scarcely better off. If we intervene in Liberia on purely humanitarian grounds, it seems likely that we will raise impossible hopes in the minds of other oppressed people around the globe. Rescue by American GIs may come to seem a worldwide entitlement . . .

John Quincy Adams said 180 years ago that America was “the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

Perhaps someday the world will maintain an all-volunteer force of liberators to save places like Liberia and Burma and Sierra Leone. But that day is not at hand, and the United States cannot range abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.”

Liberty in Liberia

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 10:56 am

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting column where he chides:

It was the left that led the opposition to war in Iraq. Now it is the left that is most strenuous in urging intervention in Liberia. Curious . . .

The only conclusion one can draw is that for liberal Democrats, America’s strategic interests are not just an irrelevance, but a deterrent to intervention . . . The only justified interventions, therefore, are those which are morally pristine, namely, those which are uncorrupted by any suggestion of national interest . . .

This is the core lunacy of Democratic foreign policy. Either it has no criteria for intervening militarily – after all, if we’re going into Liberia, on what grounds are we not going into Congo? – or it has a criterion, and its logic is that the U.S. Army is a missionary service rather than a defender of U.S. interests . . .

Foreign policy is not social work.

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