Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas and Desperate Mothers

You know your mother REALLY wants a grand-daughter when she sends you a dress for your cat for Christmas:

(Or maybe its a decorative kitchen towel...)
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

November 2009 Netflix Summary

November 2009 Netflix SummaryArrived at HomeReceived at NetflixDays at HomeMonthly Average Days at HomeCost Per Movie
Zack and Miri Make a
Hard Candy11/1211/2311
The Boondock Saints11/1211/175
Dirty Pretty Things11/1811/3012
Streets of Mexico City11/2412/2430
El Callejon De Los

Ten movies from Netflix this month - most of them are catch-ups for things I've missed in the last few years. Timeline sucked, I can understand the appear of Twilight, and Zack and Miri, yeah, whatever. Dirty Pretty Things was very good and deserved all the acclaim it got, but my two favorites this month were Hard Candy - very intense and extremely hard to watch, even besides the obvious core revenge-fantasy scene - and Boondock Saints, a great little action/vigilante flick that is all the more amazing given the story of the guy who made it, told in the documentary Overnight. And El callejón de los milagros was a pretty good Mexico city movies, not as good as Amores Perres, but it tells a couple of compelling stories and stars a very young Selma Hayek (she was what, sixteen like her character here was?).

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Myths, Truth, and Fiction About Presidential Death Threats

A horrifying statistic was bandied around last summer - the number of weekly death threats against President Obama is 400% higher than those against President Bush the Second. To cut to the chase, that was never true and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said so last week in his congressional testimony about the two party crashers at the recent White House state dinner:
"The threats right now ... is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents at this point in their administrations," Sullivan said.
Secret Service: Threats Against Obama No Higher than Normal (CBSNews.Com)

(His full testimony should eventually be available on the house committee’s hearings page.)

The alleged 400% increase was given in several places, including on the air at CNN (search for “400"), though the CNN anchor didn’t give a source, but other media, like the U.K. Telegraph does and provides the source, “according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service”. So it was a journalist with a new book to promote who was the source for this figure, so it should have been suspect from the start.

And it turns out that this wasn’t the first story rebutting the 400% increase figure, but now with the Secret Service Director saying this in congressional testimony, that should put the matter to rest. If their budget was really as slashed as Kessler alleges and threats had increased, why would Sullivan deny that?

Another, related, story, ran this week in the Times Picayune because it look place just up the road in Poplarville (though it, too, is really old news):
Mississippi man receives probation for Facebook death threats
The twist here, though, is that the threat-maker was black and only posing as a white supremacist on Facebook. And what is absent, again, from this and a few other stories about threats against the president are any details about how he was found - it just says he was charged with sending the threat from a Poplarville computer. So like the skin-heads who were apprehended a week before the 2008 presidential election and whose internet activities were part of the case against them, the Feds must be able to get access to server logs and such without too much trouble in these cases. Fine by me; I guess its just when alleged terrorists have their e-mail monitored and libraries are asked to turn over information about their public access internet computers in related investigations that people complain.

So its a good thing that threats against the president remain constant no matter who is office; race and policies don't affect the number of crazy people out there. What we won’t see during this administration are fictitious representations of presidential assassinations and assassination plots against the president, like the movie and at least one book, that came out when Bush II was in office.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saints Beat Redskins to Go 12-0

My prediction/mock-up for the front page of the Times-Picayune tomorrow:

Saints Beat Redskins, go 12-0

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alabama Wins SEC Championship!

Where is your God NOW, Timmy Tebow?

Tebow Wept

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Careless Military Uniform Errors in Movies

Anyone who’s an expert in any field or, hell, just works in any profession, can point out all manner of errors and mistakes in a movie that touches upon their area of personal experience. And any veteran knows that just about every military movie gets at least some details wrong. Minor uniform errors are common but, jeez, you’d think the wardrobe people could at least get the rank insignia oriented in the correct direction, right?

Mexico City” has several scene set at the U.S. Embassy. The Marine Corps guards in their Dress Blues look authentic, but at least two of them have their enlisted rank insignias on their arms upside down. This is one screen shot:

Military Uniform Error 1

And this is another:

Military Uniform Error 2

Stupider still is that in another scene, the rank insignia is correct:

Correct Military Uniform

There’s discussion in some forums that such uniform errors are deliberate either because its illegal for people to wear uniforms who aren’t actually in the military (try, with exceptions, including for actors portraying military personnel, duh), or because it’s a not-too-subtle anti-military protest. More likely its just some lazy costumers and continuity people on set.

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