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“Even though in the spring winds flowers bloom and green increases, when the autumn frost comes, leaves fall and trees wither. This is the judgement of Heaven’s Way. There is logic in striking down something when it has peaked. When someone rides his luck and does evil, you strike him down when his evils have peaked. In that sense, using weapons is said to be also Heaven’s Way. At times, because of one man’s evil, thousands of people suffer. So you kill that one man in order to let the thousands live. Here, truly, the blade that deals death could be the sword that gives life”

-Yagyu Munenori, The Sword and the Mind (1632 AD).

You Are Romans
You are Romans.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Random Link o’ the Day:

http://www.nasa.gov/

Am I the only one looking forward to a government shutdown? Am I the only one who remembers when Newt and Boy Clinton shutdown the federal government nothing happened? Isn’t nothing what conservatives expect from the government (Outside of dead terrorists)? Mitch Berg notes how we won’t even get nothing, we’ll actually get stuff.

War of the Worlds

In a lot of ways I believe that today is the true golden age of science fiction films. Not only are great new works like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” available, but Hollywood is revisiting old classics like this one.

This film, “War of the Worlds” is a remake of the 1953 story of the same name, based on the H.G. Wells book of the same name. Despite all that repetition, this film delivers what the previous incarnation couldn’t, but the changes in story make a number of oddball plot holes that need to be ignored if one is to enjoy this film.

I don’t want to get too far into the plethora of problems with the updates version of story, as it might act as a spoiler to the film. However, the big question that persists in my mind was “when did they bury the tripods?” In the film, the aliens are transported to their killing platforms, called “tripods” by lightning. However, that just begs the question, when were they put there? Why weren’t they detected when the subways were built, how did they know they would need shields, and how did they know where the major cities would be?

If you can get past this major point, you’ll enjoy this film. Spielberg puts forth a classic work of science fiction in a way the filmmakers of 1953 could only dream. The death ray, the aliens, the carnage, all are incredible. This is a great looking film, and the special effects are on par with any movie out there.

One of the more notable points in the movie is when the main character, Ray Ferrier, is walking with a large group of refugees when they stop at a railroad crossing that is signaling that a train is coming. Then the train crosses the screen, it’s on fire, the whole car. This glimpse of devastation (we get plenty) is rather poignant, and it ended up being rather humorous. It was a very powerful scene; it showed the total desperation in the faces of those that were taking on the mental pressure of knowing that they were being exterminated.

Another element that was enjoyable in this film was the shift from the floating craft of the 1953 film to the “tripods” that matched the described craft from the book. The movie shifts between the retro look that matches the book, to the modern aspects of war fighting. This it accomplishes quite well, like I said, it’s a good looking film.

As for the acting, there’s nothing really all that spectacular. Tom Cruise is what he always is. Dakota Fanning plays the young daughter of Mr. Cruise’s character, and does so well. There are some noteworthy performances by bit players in the film, one of whom is Camillia Sanes, who plays a TV producer that encounters the Ferrier family and fortuitously describes all the “need to know” details that would have required a narrator. Of course, the beginning and ending of the film were narrated by Morgan Freeman anyway.

This movie is not perfect, it’s not great, it’s not grand, it’s just an okay production of an aged sci-fi yarn. The special effects are spectacular, the plot holes are many, the desperation feels real, and the aliens are stolen from “Independence Day”. Have your popcorn in hand, and let you rational mind wander for awhile.

Movie Review

War of the Worlds

In a lot of ways I believe that today is the true golden age of science fiction films. Not only are great new works like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” available, but Hollywood is revisiting old classics like this one.

This film, “War of the Worlds” is a remake of the 1953 story of the same name, based on the H.G. Wells book of the same name. Despite all that repetition, this film delivers what the previous incarnation couldn’t, but the changes in story make a number of oddball plot holes that need to be ignored if one is to enjoy this film.

I don’t want to get too far into the plethora of problems with the updates version of story, as it might act as a spoiler to the film. However, the big question that persists in my mind was “when did they bury the tripods?” In the film, the aliens are transported to their killing platforms, called “tripods” by lightning. However, that just begs the question, when were they put there? Why weren’t they detected when the subways were built, how did they know they would need shields, and how did they know where the major cities would be?

If you can get past this major point, you’ll enjoy this film. Spielberg puts forth a classic work of science fiction in a way the filmmakers of 1953 could only dream. The death ray, the aliens, the carnage, all are incredible. This is a great looking film, and the special effects are on par with any movie out there.

One of the more notable points in the movie is when the main character, Ray Ferrier, is walking with a large group of refugees when they stop at a railroad crossing that is signaling that a train is coming. Then the train crosses the screen, it’s on fire, the whole car. This glimpse of devastation (we get plenty) is rather poignant, and it ended up being rather humorous. It was a very powerful scene; it showed the total desperation in the faces of those that were taking on the mental pressure of knowing that they were being exterminated.

Another element that was enjoyable in this film was the shift from the floating craft of the 1953 film to the “tripods” that matched the described craft from the book. The movie shifts between the retro look that matches the book, to the modern aspects of war fighting. This it accomplishes quite well, like I said, it’s a good looking film.

As for the acting, there’s nothing really all that spectacular. Tom Cruise is what he always is. Dakota Fanning plays the young daughter of Mr. Cruise’s character, and does so well. There are some noteworthy performances by bit players in the film, one of whom is Camillia Sanes, who plays a TV producer that encounters the Ferrier family and fortuitously describes all the “need to know” details that would have required a narrator. Of course, the beginning and ending of the film were narrated by Morgan Freeman anyway.

This movie is not perfect, it’s not great, it’s not grand, it’s just an okay production of an aged sci-fi yarn. The special effects are spectacular, the plot holes are many, the desperation feels real, and the aliens are stolen from “Independence Day”. Have your popcorn in hand, and let you rational mind wander for awhile.

If you want a second opinion, try Chumley from Plastic Hallway

Life just keeps chugging along,

Brian Edstrom actually posted some text, a lot of it, on bloggers. It’s more than I think he’s ever written (though methinks he’s cheating by putting up a class assignment).

Besides politics and news, blogs allow for the expression of one’s life. An apathetic blogger could write about the weather, his/her day, a “how to” on making delicious peanut butter jelly sandwiches, or whatever he/she wants. The content of a blog is not as important as the ability to write a blog. While specific content may make a blog more popular and increase traffic, the blog itself represents the freedoms the United States was founded upon.

Brian’s blog is a lot like what he describes: wastes time talking about the weather, how his day went, how unemployment drains your life, etc. His mom comments occasionally, surprisingly his mom and I agree all the time. That’s a little scary.

Doug Bass from Apprehension has a must read post (it’s short and to the point)

Finally, a report you’re not going to hear anywhere:

Air pollution down

This ain’t a story from CFACT neither, it’s from LiveScience.com

Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the group found that the number of counties in which unhealthy air was recorded fell significantly for the first time in six years, to 390 from 441 in last year’s report. The new report covered 2001 to 2003, while the previous one analyzed pollution levels from 2000 to 2002.

The association attributed the dip to cool and wet weather in the years studied, government controls on Eastern coal-fired power plants and improved vehicle emissions standards. Areas of the Southeast accounted for much of the drop in pollution.

The story goes on to turn this news into bad news, but the point is there, the air is getting cleaner. It’s fact. What the kids call “empirical data.”

News Roundup:

The economy is doing better than expected

Poll on the box office

What does Hollywood need to do? Lower ticket prices, improve the quality of their movies (More Batman Begins), get theatre owners to control audience behaviour, and to quit releasing the DVDs so soon after the theatre run.

Here are the two reactions to my last column. One of the letters, though negative to my viewpoint, delivers the greatest compliment ever published about one of my columns:

… Andrade’s cutting wit and incisive rhetoric…

Cutting wit? Really? Yes!

Also, for those of you interested, here is a column on religion that my editor wrote.

The only thing I want to add to my post about the Bush speech is something my father hinted to in the comments section of that post. It is the fact that Vietnam was not a military defeat, by all measures the U.S. was winning every engagement and were inflicting heavy casualties on the V.C. and North Vietnam regulars. The reason Vietnam became a quagmire was because of the failings of the civilian leadership (“Hey Hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today”).

The lesson of Vietnam should be that we should never fight a war to tie. The lesson of Vietnam should be not to restrict bombing targets and mire the process in beauracracy. The lesson of Vietnam should be not to spend American lives without an obvious and open purpose.

Bush (and his team) have learned the lessons of Vietnam. The opening moments of the war were a series of precision guided bombs targeting Saddam. This never happened in Vietnam, there were no attempts to kill the North Vietnam leadership, Ho Chi Minh and Co.

Bush then went to war on the ground, and with precision the country of Iraq fell, with very few civilian or allied casualties. In the aftermath, attention was focused on all the characters in the Iraq’s most wanted card deck, and most of them were captured. Since then, we’ve assisted the Iraqis in forming a government and holding an election, we have trained a bunch of security forces (160,000 of them).

Not bad for 27 months of operations.

The only way to turn this event in our history to defeat is to listen to the likes of Senator Ted Kennedy, or to listen to Howard Dean. If we do that, remove our troops from the region, we leave Iraq defenseless, and chaos is likely to follow. If we allow that, we run the risk of turning Iraq into another Iran or Syria. If we did that, if we allowed that to happen, we condemn that region to further strife, and we invalidate the military sacrifices we have already made in Iraq.

The only road to victory for the terrorists is through the Democratic Party.

This is a test of fortitude. We cannot crumble under this pressure. If we show any weakness, we only invite further attacks on U.S. civilians. Ted Kennedy and Co are trying to reward terrorism. Let’s not allow that to happen.

I listened to a portion of the Bush speech (text) today on the radio, and by the wonderment of technology, I checked an AP article from the interent available on my cell phone. I don’t have any immediate reactions.

Well, I do.

“Duh”

That’s my genius reaction to the Bush speech. I would even add a “well” to the front of that, but that would be overanalysis.

It’s tough rebuilding a nation…Duh

We must stay the course or we’ll plunge Iraq into chaos…Duh

It’s tough training people to fight terrorists…Duh

Saddam was evil…Duh.

Jay Leno isn’t funny…Duh

There was nothing in the speech earth-shattering. I’m glad he gave it, but I found it superflous. All you need to show someone like me is the terrorist/insurgent body count compared to voter turnout. Voter turnout was around 70%, there are thousands of dead bastards.

Case made.

I’ll try to sleep on the speech and see if there’s anything more worth analyzing, but I doubt it.

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