Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Curiously Good Movie I Was Trying To Think Of

The movie I mentioned Wednesday night to Pete and Christmas to James, et al. was Johnny Ganddaar. It is Indian. Do not be put off by the first 5 or 10 minutes or the Bollywood conventions. The story is key, …as always. 

Monday, December 22, 2008

what we can learn from dinosaurs

I’m always on the lookout for news about dinosaurs. Scientists have now determined that among many theropods, a group which includes T. Rex and Velociraptor, fathers were in all likelihood the sole caregivers for their young. For the evidence, see “The age of Paterfamilias rex.” So, it turns out that the most ferocious, badass creatures ever to walk the face of the earth were doting dads.

All those absent fathers who somehow think that being tough and macho consists of fathering children and then abandoning them obviously haven't considered these grim killer dinosaurs.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. I thought this was (in)appropriate.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's torture being an American

Here is something almost as surprising as the subliminal advertising 'coincidence'. The day after I watched Taxi to the Dark Side, the New York Times runs a front 'page' editorial on how we should proceed with the Bush administration's revocation of the Geneva Convention (the only democracy to ever do that) and their approval of torture for 'War on Terror' prisoners. I certainly don't expect any convictions or even a tribunal for war crimes against Bush, Cheney, or Rumsfeld. No officer or above was ever tried for the torture and homicide of prisoners. 

Government influence or, perhaps, simply patriotism seems as powerful as subliminal advertising. Even after the U.S. admitted using torture, 35% of us felt it was justified in the war on terror. 

Subliminal Advertising

Reminded me of that final scene in The Usual Suspects
Derren Brown

What is Obama Thinking?

Has Obama's seeming desire to appease everyone already gone too far? At least many liberals (clearly one of his largest support groups) are beginning to complain that he has.

Warren and Obama

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a Wonderful Bailout

This has nothing to do with the ongoing discussion, but I just saw “It’s a Wonderful Life” on television and, even though I’ve seen it about 50 times, it took on a whole new meaning for me in light of recent events.

The movie really gets going when the financial people start making questionable loans to noncredit-worthy people:
You see, if you shoot pool with some employee here, you can come and borrow money. What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.
Nevertheless, some people, like today’s ACORN and the people behind the Community Reinvestment Act, defend the practice:
What’d you say just a minute ago? ... They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home?
Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down that they.... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about...they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?
Sure enough, the bubble bursts and the money dries up:
Where’s that money, you silly stupid old fool? Where’s that money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison. That’s what it means. One of us is going to jail – well, it’s not gonna be me.
And, just like the conservative Republicans in Congress, some refused to help this young upstart investment banker:
You used to be so cocky! You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me a warped, frustrated old man. What are you but a warped frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help. … Why don’t you go to the riff-raff you love so much – ask them to let you have eight thousand?
Like today, things looked pretty bleak:
No securities, no stocks, no bonds. Nothin’ but a miserable little $500 equity in a life insurance policy. You’re worth more dead than alive.
But, at the darkest hour, when everything seems lost, in a heartwarming conclusion which must have inspired Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plea to Congress for the $700 billion, the wife of the young financier steps in and collects enough from the public to prevent financial ruin:
Mary did it, George! Mary did it! She told some people you were in trouble and then, they scattered all over town collecting money. They didn’t ask any questions – just said: “If George is in trouble, count me in...”
This was pretty much the same way the more recent bailout was handled, and it brought the same tears to our eyes. Of course, like our own bailout, given the existing hefty federal deficit, most of the funds ultimately came from overseas investors:
I just got this. It’s from London: “Mr. Gower cabled you need cash. Stop. My office instructed to advance you up to twenty-five thousand dollars. Stop. Hee-haw and Merry Christmas. Sam Wainwright.”

* * *

$ 700 billion buys a lot of angel wings, and there must have been an orchestra of bells ringing last fall. And soon, the the bells will be ringing again when the guardian angels for auto industry executives get their wings.

One more thing...

Look what happens when you deny gays their rights: They steal children.


Until I figure out how to expand comments on the same page, I'm going to write longer responses to previous posts in a new entry. Jim, I think the type of equality you're wary of is not the same thing as guaranteeing equal opportunities for very different types of people.

The odious form of forced egalitarianism of which Kurt Vonnegut and the insufferable bore Ayn Rand wrote have nothing to do with the idea of equality of opportunity. Lessening civil rights restrictions actually encourages diversity and differences in society. For example, granting gays the civil right of marriage eliminates the social pressure for them to enter sham marriages or look for a "cure" in religious re-education camps. Diversity is furthered when minorities feel freer to live a life in pursuit of their happiness.

Also, while I consider it worthwhile to study and discuss gender differences, it seems to be rather short-sighted to use them to justify social policy. I think I speak for all of us who consistently read trashy celebrity blogs when I say: it would have been an absolute travesty if Britney Spears were awarded child custody over the much more responsible Kevin Federline just because she happened to be a woman.

Lastly, abandoning the term "marriage" and replacing it with the totally bland, emotionless, newspeak-y term "civil union" just because gay people want to be included in the fun smacks of the argument ender, "I'm taking my ball and going home!"

Revisiting with a Twist

As much as I don't really want to restart the gay marriage discussion, there is an interesting 'video blog' on the NY Times. Essentially they are proposing what I said at the beginning, that perhaps we should just forget 'marriage' and call everything a 'civil union', backdating all previous 'marriages' to 'civil unions'. 'Marriage' would be a religious ceremony. 

Of course the basis for the argument and of many arguments now-a-days is the emphasis on equal human rights for all—certainly a good thing. Essentially man-man, woman-woman, man-woman unions would be perceived as the same. Now here is what I find interesting. Is the effort to ensure equal rights for everyone, diminishing the differences between people? In the case of men and women, shouldn't there be some promotion of their differences? Each has strengths (although I can't think of any for man right now) which would appear to be diminished by insisting on total equality. 

Don't get me wrong. I find Ayn Rand completely nonsensical, but I'm just putting this out there for comment. I know this is too abstract also. I'm trying to think of an example, perhaps custody. I would assume (hope) that the woman's strengths would make custody of children in a marriage unequal on the side of women. I'm not sure what the current law is. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas in NYC

Spent Saturday afternoon 12/13 at Times Square/Rockefeller Center/Fifth Avenue, tens of thousands of people jammed together. All you could do was go with the flow. And stop when the flow careened against something (like the ice rink). Why were they there? Why was I there? Same as it ever was.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

President takes on the monsters...

President To Face Down Monster Attack, Own Demons In Action-Packed Schedule

2008 Golden Globe Awards Nominations

It seems as though Hollywood is trying to make it a trend to nominate equal numbers of independant and major production films this year. My only complaint is that The Dark Knight only got one nomination (at least give it the Best Picture nomination). However, I am happy to see that both Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express are in the runnings. And it's about time Bruce Springsteen gets nominated for another Golden Globe.

No more excuses

Ken Mink, guard, Roane State Community College

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The photo Barack Obama did not want you to see.

Obama catches sight of Sean Hannity.


This is really funny. I am studying in the library in this kind of comfortable recliner chair. And there is this guy in the next chair over to my right studying biology. He is usually sleeping though. Every 20 minutes or so he will wake up, rub his eyes, look around, turn the page in the text book that is sitting in his lap, and then fall back to sleep. This cycle has been going on for the past 2 or 3 hours.

Movie Rec: The Wind That Shakes the Barley

With Cillian Murphy.
It won the Palm d'Or (the highest prize at Cannes) in 2006.
It takes place in the early 1900s, during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War.
Generally it got very good reviews across the board (i.e. English and Irish alike). And apparently it was the highest grossing independent Irish film ever.

Though there was a bit of controversy.
From wikipedia:
Tim Luckhurst of The Times called the movie a "poisonously anti-British corruption of the history of the war of Irish independence" and went so far as to compare Loach [the director of the film] to Nazi propagandist director Leni Riefenstahl.

I don't think the guy had seen the film, so take that for what it is.

Anyway, see it. Its pretty great.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Enhancing the Brain

An article in Nature touts the responsible use of brain-enhancing drugs. Anyone else enamored with the idea of transhumanism? Because this guy is.

Administration Details

This blog has been up for over week now, yea! In a few days, I am going to re-invite Harveys from the email list that have not responded. If you are already an author and received an email, just ignore it. Also, if you wish to add events (reunions, Prince Gallitzin, weddings any other Harvey event) to the event calendar email the details (time, place etc.) to and I will add it as soon as possible. For an 'interesting' stat, the web browsers used to view our blog over this past week,

I was wondering where bill murray got to...

Yes it sounds like a tabloid news paper... but I wish Bill Murray would stop by my shindigs
Is Bill Murray the New Party Boy?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Harvey Milk

When you get the chance, make sure you take the time to see the new film "Milk" about the rise and subsequent assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office. I think it has only opened in LA and NYC, but once it gets to your locale, do see it. It is a very well-made movie, the acting is superb (not just Sean Penn, but the entire cast) and of course it is as relevant today as it anything, as homosexuals around in California and around the country attempted to finally gain the civil rights that had been denied them. It was both one of the most uplifting and depressing movies I have seen in a long time - a great one for the holidays.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thoughts on Willow and Politics

Long before The Lord of the Rings was committed to celluloid, there was Willow.

Willow is one of those sword and sorcery epics in which an ordinary, rather diminutive fellow is plucked from his pedestrian, ho-hum life by events beyond his control and then called upon to – well – save the world. Of course, here, as in other stories, he gets help along the way from some talented warriors and a powerful sorceress.

I draw your attention to one of the movie's more memorable scenes: as a pitched battle rages between the armies of good and evil, Joanne Whalley (as Sorsha, daughter of the villain of the picture and a leader of the evil forces), finds herself transfixed by the figure of Val Kilmer (as swordsman deluxe Madmartigan) battling a two headed dragon which he eventually dispatches with enough derring-do to make Errol Flynn jealous. Just watching Madmartigan wield his broadsword is too much for her to resist (hello, calling Dr. Freud) and -- there on the spot -- she falls head over heals in love with him and joins the good guys.

I’ve always wondered about the plausibility of this scene. That is, until now.

Kathleen Parker, the southern conservative syndicated columnist, was among the harshest critics of Barack Obama during the campaign. Back in May, for example, she questioned his patriotism in her column, suggesting that Obama didn’t "get" American core values. Now, after seeing him in action, she has become hopelessly enamored. The day after the election, she wrote:
Fess up. You wept. OK, I’ll go first. Tears came twice. First, when John McCain hushed his booing crowd to acknowledge the significance of this nation’s electing an African-American to the presidency. Second, when Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech.

And more recently, she held up the Obamas as models for conservatives everywhere:

You want Ward Cleaver? Meet Barack Obama. Michelle is June Cleaver with a law degree. Family values don’t get any more traditional than the Obamas, who ooze marital bliss and whose adorable daughters make feminist cynics want to bake cookies and learn to smock.

Though we may perish of boredom, the Obamas may do more to elevate the American family than all the pro-marriage initiatives conceived by those who claim to speak for the deity.

And what about Obama’s change we can believe in?
The change we’ve been waiting for may not be immediately quantifiable, but personal responsibility, educational ambition and smart public diplomacy — all by example rather than exhortation — could go a long way toward curingwhat ails us.
Of course, Parker is not the only dyed-in-the-wool conservative to swoon for Obama. Guys, too, have fallen under his spell. Mr. Conservative’s son, Christopher Buckley, ended up endorsing Obama, and lost his job on the National Review for it. And David Brooks, token conservative columnist for the New York Times, can’t suppress his admiration for the guy (“And yet as much as I want to resent these overeducated Achievatrons [Obama’s cabinet nominations], I find myself tremendously impressed by the Obama transition.”)

Sometimes, the good guy is so good, we just can’t resist. Unfortunately, Obama’s dragon has a lot more than two heads – economic collapse, spiraling deficit, and a foreign policy in shambles, among others. But don’t get too discouraged, though. If he can woo the likes of Kathleen Parker over to his side, he may be capable of anything.

writing a paper on saturday night...

Thought I'd post up another comic i had found...

and i will keep posting these until someone comments, or tells me other wise

In honor of the season: Best Rock and Roll Christmas Songs Part II

U2 does a fine job with this song, but nobody -- I mean nobody -- does it like Darlene Love. Even after all these years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

In honor of the season: Best Rock and Roll Christmas Songs

I particularly enjoy the wink at the beginning.

thought i'd post up this lil thanksgiving gem

I stole it from some random site, so if they stumble on this site they can ask me to remove it.

Yea Pittsburghers

Canadiens continue to lead All-Star voting - NHL - Yahoo! Sports

This article posted on December 2 had Crosby trailing third place by 65,000 votes and the lead by 80,000. Today his total is 470,703 and he is first among forwards in the Eastern Conference. Montreal cannot be happy as they had a player in all six starting positions. No longer will the first line consist of one team. Now Malkin just needs to move up into third and Rory Fitzpatrick into first for defensemen.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cloning Neanderthals

At Thanksgiving dinner, I talked a bit about this article on mapping the genome of Neanderthals (and the eventual possibility of cloning them). I bet this won't be too controversial.

Picture gallery of the flood in Venice

Despite extensive property damage, the Venetian flood seems pretty awesome.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thought this was a very interesting article about SES and schooling...

Cal Study: Poor Kids Lack Brain Development

Thought this may bring up some discussion about our responsibility as a society to help those in need, especially if poverty keeps them from performing fully in this world.

Harvey Thanksgiving Pics

Here are a few shots from the sporting events. Thanks for having us out! If you have trouble with the downloads, let me know. Spencer

Help me-Do not Buy a Mac

Sorry Apple inc. stock owning harveys but we need to stop this trend-- "Microsoft Windows falling below 90% market share for the first time according to Net Applications and Apple's Mac OS X approaching 9%."

The consequence of increased marketshare-

Apple Quietly Recommends Using Antivirus Software (PC World)

Noooooooooooooo! I am giving up computers if I ever have to load Norton anti-virus on my mac.

Edit- As written in the comments section (thank goodness...for now)-