Monday, January 19, 2009

one of the better legacies a president can leave behind

No doubt, much will be debated about the good and bad of the Bush II Presidency. Personally, I think it was mostly a good one, up until the end with the bailouts that I fear mark an end to the US as it should be.

For all of that, here's a part of his legacy that is worth remembering with gladness, though maybe also with the wish that it had been stronger. Still, maybe it was about all he could have done.

Another thing is, it puts the lie to the libs who say that he did nothing concerning abortion.

Bush Had Best Pro-Life Record of Any President, Say Pro-Life Groups

Friday, January 16, 2009

made of fail 4

Obama Interior Nominee to Consider New Ban on Oil Drilling in USA

( - President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of the interior nominee, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), said he will consider restoring parts of an expired federal ban on offshore oil drilling, but told that he has “no idea” how much of the drilling restrictions should be reimposed.

“I think there is no question that the elimination of the offshore oil drilling ban was one of the biggest accomplishments of the not so accomplished 110th Congress,” said McConnell. “It would be a step in the wrong direction to restore the ban. Obviously, I and my colleagues are going to oppose that and hope that does not happen.”

Rep. Barney Frank said that though he is focusing on financial issues right now, he hopes the administration will try to restore a “general ban.”

“Obviously many of us want to have a general ban,” said Frank.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

movie review--the unborn

Horror, as a movie genre, suffers from a lot of baggage. Some of the previews that were shown when I saw "The Unborn" highlighted some of them--violence, gore, and sex that add nothing to the story but are gratuitous.

I'm not a big watcher of horror movies, with the expection of some of the older classics, like "Dracula" and "Frankenstein". In recent years, the two movie I've seen that I would consider the most effective horror movies would be "I Am Legend" and "Silent Hill".

"The Unborn" comes close to them. Perhaps if some of the crudity and sexual stuff were taken out of the first half-hour of it, it would have reached the same level, because it was a fairly well-though-out and well-made movie.

I do wonder how much of the mysticism references is really in the Kabbalah, though I did recognize the one kind of prayer or chant the group at the end was speaking from another thing I saw not long before, the anime series "Silent Mobius", though there were a few differences.

The story could be summed up in a typical fashion (as could most movies, I would guess)--girl is haunted by some strange being, seeks help from a spiritual guru-type who at first doesn't believe her but then has his own encounter with it, some people die, there's a creepy kid (though not a little girl this time, for a change), there a big final encounter where the big evil spirit-dude gets cast back to wherever, and our heroine lives, though not exactly happily ever after.

It does well in setting the mood, and I must give kudoes to the actress who played the heroine. Once the movie got going, she did pretty well in convincing me the viewer that she was a fairly rattled and on-the-edge person who was fighting a losing battle (much like the character's mother) unless she got some help.

Another big plus in the movie was Gary Oldman, playing the guru. I do think that he is one of the more under-rated actors out there--you could line up the characters he's played, and be not a little surprised that one person had done all of them. Unlike a Tom Cruise (whose characters seem to be all the same), Oldman seems to become the character rather than the character becoming him.

In this movie, though, I would guess the character wasn't a very difficult one to do.

And in a movie season where the main theme seems to be fighting Nazis ("Valkyrie", which I refuse to watch (yeah, Cruise has a really convincing German accent in the ads, right?) and the other with the new James Bond actor in it (who does sound rather Slavic)), "The Unborn" probably gets extra kudoes for finding an original way of working in the Nazis (though I don't know if such experiment were actually performed by them) as the ones responsible in a primary sense for the troubles.

Here are some thing of special interest to me.

When prepare to perform the exorcism, Oldman's character, a Rabbi, calls in an Episcopalian (can't remember if he was a bishop or not) to help with it. When the exorcism goes bad, we see the Episcopalian kneeling and praying right before the evil spirit things jumps into him to take over his body for further mayhem.

I don't know if there was suppose to have been any meaning behind that or now--given that the Rabbi was there at the final confrontation to dismiss the spirit, perhaps there was a certain pro-Jewish religion and/or an anti-Christian thing showing through. Hard to say that, though, since they played the Episcopal as being essentially a pretty good guy willing to add his two-cents to help the girl.

And while I have my doubts about this, I would guess there's a chance, a remote one, that it's a bit against Episcopals. Maybe the statement is that some Episcopals don't really believe and so are open to being manipulated by such beings. And for myself, I think, well, isn't the Bishop Spong an Episcopal? And Eugene Robinson? If so, well, I would find myself in agreement, at least to some extent.

But that's a stretch, I know.

Perhaps the thing that struck me, and that gave me pause, was right at the end. The spirit had entered the girl's boyfriend, and she and the Rabbi had finished reciting a Psalm that had the effect of dismissing the spirit (or so we think), but in doing so the boy is thrown from a second floor down to the first, and with the girl holding his head he's dying. His last statement was in a since one of the more chilling ones I've ever heard in a movie. It was something like "Will I ever stop falling?"

I was uncertain at the end if the movie resolves everything or not. I don't know if the discovery of the condition that caused the haunting to begin was now safe and the haunting over, or if it will go on to another generation.

But, despite some things I didn't particular care for and maybe some plot weaknesses, overall it was pretty good. If you like horror, you'll probably like this movie.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

ramblings from watching too many bowl games

The game isn't over yet, but I'm watching lowly Utah put a scare into the 'Bama Crimson Tide, and for all that I'm an SEC fan, I'm loving it.

For one thing, I'm not a big fan of Saban. He hasn't exactly struck me as being one of the more charactr-filled of persons out there, most especially with his short-notice leaving of the Miami Dolphin head coaching spot.

Also, it's merely another reason to consider the college football BCS games as jokes. Utah has a 12-0 record, and if they win this game, their claims to the national title should be taken seriously. Of course, it's an 'if', but even so, the fact that they're playing as well as they have so far should be worth more than a little bit.

(and if you throw in Ole Miss' win against former #1 Texas Tech, whom Alabama beat to win their SEC division, than the whole thing just gets more deliciously messy)

I have an observation. There are three things in college football that are useless, or even worse than useless.

Marching bands, cheerleaders, and dance teams. This observation also applies to basketball, though the band there isn't marching.

The time of the marching band if passed. Perhaps it served a function at one time, but now it's nothing but a big out-of-tune noise, and needs to die a merciful death. It adds nothing to a game.

Cheerleading needs to end, and any father who values his daughters would agree. Maybe in the past, cheerleading was a good thing, but that time is passed, and now cheerleading has become nothing more than an excuse for young women to show off some flesh for the camera and the spectators. And it anything, it's even worse in the pros.

And what is the use of dance teams? Really, are they anything more than just a way to raise up a next generation of pole dancers?



It's been a strange and difficult year, with graduation and injuries taking a lot out of the UK football team. And towards the end of the year, it seemed like the team ran our of gas, or out of heart, or something.

But in the Liberty Bowl, they showed a lot of heart, and in the end came out ahead. And at the least this Cat fan is happy about that.

Oh, and Utah just finished putting a major whooping on Bama.

And the whole championship picture just got uglier and messier.

And I'm loving every minute of it.