- He was the son of a renowned classical pianist.
- After spending one year at the California Institute of Technology he was recruited by the army to be part of the Manhattan Project, for which he first got a year of special training in PA before moving to Los Alamos at roughly the age of 20 to be part of developing the atomic bomb. This had a profound affect on him (as it seems to have had on most involved and as you'd expect) and was not something he apparently talked about much.
- While later working for the Army near Boston he started two companies to develop speakers. KLH where he was the H to Henry Kloss' K and Advent, both names that my run ins with stereo equipment had planted in my head.
(This one is for TClog, who apparently has been missing my rants)
I have the good fortune of not knowing many lunatic Republicans, and that’s saying something given how they seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days. Perhaps the ones I know are smart enough not to get me going, but I don’t think that’s true. Mostly I think it’s that
But, even though I don’t have the chance to ‘converse’ with these fucking idiots very often, I read and see what they say. I’m aware of all their talk about ‘taking the country back’ and ‘not recognizing the country they grew up in’ and all their blather about big gubmint, out of control deficits, and the like. I’m here to say that, while their may be a teeny tiny kernel of actual belief buried deep in the dark heart of their statements, 99.99% of it can be attributed to sore-loserism and latent racism. And to avoid the inevitable loss of credibility by playing the race card, I’d say the racism part is the lesser of the two, but it’s not some fringe motivation that can be attributed to only the nuttiest of the nutty.
The easiest things to refute are their concerns about big gubmint and the deficit/debt, for you see, when their chosen leaders were in charge (Saint Ronny and W – they didn’t like HW because he raised taxes to fix the deficit) , both of those things grew at an amazing rate.
I may not need to remind you that W inherited a budget surplus, with the debt on track to be paid off (this as the result of a vibrant *tech-bubble* economy and some efforts by the Clinton administration to get things on a better course – partly taxes, partly pay-go, partly other stuff). They were so concerned about the ‘negative’ impact of the surplus that they thought we should return to a deficit and ultimately to an enormous national debt. They did this through three principle means: huge tax cuts for the wealthy ($1.6T worth – keep in mind the so-called stimulus bill was less than half of that), Medicare Part D (the prescription drugs for seniors bill – which they lied about the cost of to congress, and specifically forbid Medicare from negotiating drug prices) and ‘emergency’ funding for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (this despite the years and years they dragged on). I think you can make the case that some of this spending was for the right reasons, but nonetheless it exploded both the deficit and the debt. These are very fiscally responsible people….
They created a terrifying enhanced role for the government through large chunks of The Patriot Act (the very name of which cowed legislators into supporting a draconian surveillance state). Medicare Part D required an army of people to manage, and the number of ‘contractors’ toiling in our various wars and spy agencies is truly mind boggling. Those that claim to desire keeping the government out of their lives should have wanted nothing to do with any of this.
So, their concerns about big gubmint and ‘out of control’ deficits are rank hypocrisy and ultimately tied into them being sore losers. It’s not their guy running the government, so now all of a sudden they are deeply concerned about all of this. They’re liars. They don’t give an actual shit about those things, they only want to be running things again.
The racism charge is a bit trickier, because almost inevitably when you talk about racism people start imagining the Ku Klux Klan and lynch mobs. But racism is far more subtle and insidious than that. Recall from Obama’s speech on race in
The interesting thing is that most of ‘the other’ that they fear are poor people, but they attribute their stereotypes to ethnicity rather than economic circumstance. They miss the commonality among those at the bottom – that they are poor and have very few opportunities. They also have no where to go but up, and since the xenophobe thinks there is only so much up, they feel threatened.
But the racism moves to a different level when it comes to Obama (though this mostly affects the fringiest), for he is as much like ‘us’ as he is like ‘them’. He and his family resemble everything that white middle-America strives for, but they’re black. Church going (more actual church attendance than W), lovely well-mannered children, a dog, well-spoken, well-dressed, well….pretty much everything
And through it all the country is mired in an economic catastrophe, and nothing amplifies people’s innate fears like the stress that comes with not knowing how things are going to turn out. I’d bet money that there was a spike in racist sentiment during the Great Depression, for none of these fears are new or novel.
So when your asshole neighbor or coworker complains about how Obama is a socialist and that things were better before, tell him/her to suck it (arguing actual facts with assholes gets you nowhere).
Masterless samurai comes to town on the brink of collapse as two rival gangs fight for control. He uses his skills to help the regular townfolk rid themselves of the gangs and the strife that comes with them. Toshiro Mifune stars, as he does in most of the Kirosawa films you may have heard of - Seven Samuria, Roshomon.
A really good movie with some great cinematography. A great early scene features a dog carrying a human hand in its mouth to indicate the level of decline the town has experienced.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - 1966 Sergio Leone movie featuring Clint Eastwood as The Good, Eli Wallach as The Ugly, and Lee Van Cleef as The bad. Wallach really gives the stand out performance of this movie.
Not sure how I managed to live to 38 without seeing this in its entirety, but I can admit that it's true. I watched the new 'Expanded Edition' courtesy of Netflix streaming, a 2:58 minute whopper of an epic. (The original version was still pretty freaking long, at 2:41)
Lots of great things, both from an acting point of view and a directing point of view. Very surprised by the scope and epic nature of the movie with huge sets and cast of thousands. I think I'd always assumed this was more like the austere 'Dollar' movies, but it's really more in line with either the bible epics of the day or it's young grandchild, Dances with Wolves.
Clint is good as the pretty boy 'blondie', and the hair, so luxurious....
Both highly recommended.
Other than to say it is worth your while, especially to experience on the big screen, I have only a couple of nits to pick, and then a return to the meta narrative that has framed these conversations from the beginning. Spoilers ahead...
The biggest little nit in #6 regards the manner in which Harry witnesses the death of DD at the hands of Snape. In the book he was an entirely reluctant (having been frozen in place under his invisibility cloak) witness, while in the movie he has been compelled by DD to watch and do nothing. This choice, while somewhat understandable given they chose to forgo all plot points related to silent spell-casting, is completely at odds with the very nature of Harry. While he was able to abide DD's wishes in the cave in order to secure the alleged horcrux, there is no way in hell he would stand by and watch Snape kill DD without being restrained. Harry hates Snape about as much as he hates inaction. Harry's constant willingness to throw himself into the fray, despite the misgivings of all around him, is part of what makes him such as appealing character. Harry is selfless to a fault. Showing him otherwise is an affront to his character.
The second nit regards the lack of pageantry surrounding the death of DD. The song of Fawkes the phoenix, the respect shown by merpeople and centaurs alike, and the general sense of gravitas that should go along with his passing has been left out. Perhaps this becomes the beginning of #7 or finds a home in an expanded DVD edition, but either way, that seems wrong. After 2:33 minutes, another 5 showing the importance of this event should have been included. They could have still returned to the discussion amongst Harry, Hermione and Ron in order to allow the audience to leave buoyed by their resolve, but DD should have had his moment.
Third nit: burning down The Burrow? I understand that the whole wedding plot in #7 could be difficult to make sense of, and could possibly be left out, but good grief, burning down the Weasley home really seems to have been unnecessary.
And now for the meta. No one seems to have read or found interest in the previous posting about how HP would have been better as TV, but I think the idea of a denser, more serialized HP would have been great. So much has to be left out of an 800 page book to fit it within the running time of even a long movie, stuff that matters, and stuff that helps put flesh on the bone of the detailed world that JKR created. Dozens of minor characters and the little details of their lives. all of them helping to round out and make Harry Potter real; most of it flushed down the toilet. It's a bummer. 7 years of 22 episodes (or perhaps combining books 1 and 2 into one season) could have really been magical.
The other meta is the decision to eliminate Harry's inner voice from the movies. So much of the books is in Harry's head, and while Daniel Radcliffe (along with all of them) is really coming into his own as an actor, you simply can't get all the details across with a look. Perhaps it would have been hokey, but it seems like it would have been worth a try, in some form or other.
And none of this to say that I don't like the movies. I do.
Since they only ever seem to kill/capture the supposed #3 (the most dangerous job on the planet), can we definitively say that Bush et al were the most incompetent boobs in history? If Cheney sees only ends and cares little for the niceties of means, and he consistently failed to achieve those ends, what does that say?
I'd actually bet money that this latest intrigue involves a program far more sinister than assassinating bin Laden...something done by the CIA on American soil, or creepier.