Friday, May 27, 2005

"Star Wars VI"

John Podhoretz at The Weekly Standard does not seem to like Episode III:
Ever since he began making his second set of Star Wars movies a decade ago, Lucas said that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith would be the unvarnished story of the young knight Anakin Skywalker's degeneration and conversion into the black-helmeted, black-outfitted Darth Vader, the villain of the first three films. The tale of woe it really tells is that of George Lucas himself, the final chapter in the sad degeneration of a vital, vivid, and highly amusing moviemaker into a dull, solipsistic, and humorless incompetent.


I liked Revenge of the Sith, but it's true that Lucas's dialogue has never been the strongest. It doesn't help that Hayden Christensen is such a poor actor. And his brooding stare is not very convincing in proving he is becoming evil. Oh, well. I wasn't the casting director. In the end, Sith does pull it off, and it is much better than the previous two offerings.

Friday, May 20, 2005

"Show what 'support our troops' really means"

Treat the troops. I like it.

Call it "treat the troops." And it should not become a big institutionalized social movement, just something all of us do once in while.

I started my campaign two months ago when I was in a local toy store. A young man in an Army uniform was shopping for some toy cars, presumably for his kids. As he stepped up to the counter, I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Let me take care of that."

He blinked. I asked the clerk to put his purchases on my bill. I shook the young man's hand and told him, "Thanks for serving your country."

We exchanged a few pleasantries and he left, Hot Wheels in hand. That was it. No big deal - or big cost. Just a token of thanks.

Thanks, David Perlmutter, for the grand idea.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stretching an analogy

Comparisons seem to have been drawn between the yet-to-be-released "Sith" movie and the Bush administration.


Lucas wrote the meat of his epic -- and, presumably, the back story as well -- decades ago. I doubt Vader's rise to power has anything to do with any Bush.

"NASA tests solar sail technology"

This is so cool. But, I wonder, how do you make it stop, and how does it "hover"?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Bashing Newsweek

David Wallace-Wells has a good roundup of the whole Newsweek debacle. This event cheapens journalism, and it should make anyone suspect of any news article that cites a nameless source. Let's hope to see much less of this in the future.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

"Police arrest two suspected human skinners"

What the hell is wrong with Tanzania? A nine-year-old boy skinned for $18? I hope the actions of these human wastes are in no way indicative of the general population of that country.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Whataburger Field

The family and I are going to Corpus Christi in June, and I can't wait to catch a Hooks game while I am there. Quite a nice view from the stands of Whataburger Field.

The area around Corpus has always been a favorite destination of ours, and we try to get down there at least once a year. Haven't been fishing on the bay in a while, and I doubt that we will this summer as well. Maybe next year. I will at least take the kiddos to see some fish in the aquarium, or maybe we will watch fishermen pull sharks up on the pier in Port A.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"Cassini Spacecraft Spies New Saturn Moon"

This is cool.

Gotta love that Cassini. I expect scientists will be chewing on the data it sends back for the next few decades.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bashing the pope

In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Carlin Romano makes a poor argument for viewing the new pope with suspicion ("The Pope's Sins of Omission"). The disdain is unveiled.

Are the invectives fair? Yes or no, they implicate the new pope's character, not just his theological beliefs. Ratzinger's elevation to Pope Benedict XVI propelled two controversial parts of his life into the spotlight. The first was his membership as a young man in the Hitler Youth, then in the antiaircraft youth division of the Wehrmacht, later in the Wehrmacht infantry itself.

The second was his 24 years as prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, charged with investigating and sometimes punishing Catholic faculty members and priests accused of departing from Church teachings. That office directly descends from the Roman Inquisition that burned at the stake approximately 160 people, including the philosopher Giordano Bruno, between 1542 and 1761.

C'mon. You may disagree with the new pope, but at least give him a chance to prove himself in his new office. Comparing him to the Inquisition is unfair and betrays the author's own prejudices.

If failing to speak (60 years ago, and as a child no less) loudly enough against the evil actions of the Nazis is a direct indicator of the nature of a person's soul, then there are many more in America alone who should be condemned by Romano as well.

Friday, May 06, 2005

"Dems Booted From N.C. Church Over Politics"

I voted for Bush in 2004, and I go to church. But this is just ridiculous.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Being 'No. 3' in al-Qaida a Risky Job"

The next guy they promote should just sit on the front stoop and wait for the good guys to come and get him. He can even wear a sign around his neck saying, "I am the new No. 3; please don't kill me".

_The first man dubbed al-Qaida's No. 3, Mohammed Atef, was killed by a U.S. airstrike on Kabul in November 2001 as the Taliban regime crumbled in Afghanistan.

_Abu Zubaydah, the next to assume the role, was captured March 28, 2002, in the eastern city of Faisalabad. The Saudi-born Palestinian survived gunshot wounds in the stomach, groin and leg, and has been in U.S. custody ever since.

_Zubaydah's replacement, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was arrested in Rawalpindi, near the Pakistani capital, on March 1, 2003. He also is in U.S. custody.

_Ramzi Binalshibh, another top bin Laden deputy, was arrested in the southern city of Karachi on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
[Emphasis added]

Of course, by now, all the current or potential No. 4s have already volunteered for less dangerous work, such as putting together roadside bombs.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Texas League standings

Little Rock leads in the East with Tulsa half a game behind, and Midland leads in the West with San Antonio 3.5 games behind. Check 'em all out.

Keep crackin' them bats, boys.

"Oklo: Natural Nuclear Reactors"

I did not know such a thing was possible.

Creating a nuclear reaction is not simple. In power plants, it involves splitting uranium atoms, and that process releases energy as heat and neutrons that go on to cause other atoms to split. This splitting process is called nuclear fission. In a power plant, sustaining the process of splitting atoms requires the involvement of many scientists and technicians.

It came as a great surprise to most, therefore, when, in 1972, French physicist Francis Perrin declared that nature had beaten humans to the punch by creating the world’s first nuclear reactors. Indeed, he argued, nature had a two-billion-year head start.

If nature can make nuclear reactors, operate them for a couple billion years, and keep the waste stored safely away for practically forever -- well, that just about destroys any argument that nucelar energy is unsafe.

I say, build more reactors. Fire them up. And let's clean up our air for good.