Friday, January 11, 2008

Here's our guy Ron Paul...

In case you missed it, there's an early 90's era newsletter making the rounds from Ron Paul (most likely written by one of his subordinates) that doesn't make Ron-o look too good.


This sounds about right for the casually bigoted remarks I recall from living in the greater Houston area about that time.

Paul's defense?

"Libertarians are incapable of being a racist, because racism is a collectivist idea."


Lately, it's been a lot of this...

thanks to Randy for the comic

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Political Apathy

I don't care about the Presidential Primaries, nor, really, about the Presidential election.

I suppose that makes me a bad American. Whatever.

Maybe its the news cycle and the same coverage of the same candidates you see over and over. (The first headline I've seen about candidate Bill Richardson was today when he dropped out of the race. Just sayin'.) The coverage of the elections on CNN and other outlets is full of breathless anticipation, but they don't ever seem to actually care as much about the candidates' records. They do care about how Candidate Y isn't doing as well as expected and what tricky maneuver they can pull or what volume of money they can drop on TV advertising in order to change opinions.

And here's the thing: the tricky maneuvers and the TV advertising seem to work well enough to sway those undecided voters.

I particularly don't care about the Primaries as I have a hard time believing that the Primaries in Iowa or New Hampshire are indicative of much but what people who bother to vote in Primaries, who happen to live in Iowa and New Hampshire, think.

Mostly, I'm just not sure that the best candidates ever get enough attention from the press to give them a fighting chance once the press decides which candidates make the best stories.

I guess I'm now old enough that years go by faster, and it just doesn't seem that long ago that we were enjoying stories about Swift Boats and falsified reports of the President's military service. I know its going to get a lot uglier before it gets better, and that there are a lot of people out there who are part of political campaigns (or who are not but who can afford airtime) who want to win so badly, minor issues like the truth aren't really something to worry about if they get in the way of winning.

I know democratic politics have never been clean. I'm not going to dwell under an illusion of some halcyon days of the American political process, believing the best man won, or, that, heck... the best person would even be willing to run for the job.

I think these days I'm much more interested in local politics and/ or state politics. I live in Texas, and I'm pretty darn sure that I know who is getting my electoral vote, and I'm fairly certain there will be an (R) next to their name on the ballot. It's not a secret I've not been a huge fan of the current administration, nor of the President when he was merely the Governor of Texas. So perhaps the fact that I've voted against Bush multiple times and never seen him lose sort of begins to make one wonder what the point is...

Locally, there's a lot less that seems like an inevitability. Bonds can be passed or turned down. Measures and ideas can be brought to ballot that I can feel effect me.

Unlike national politics, in local politics there's no pondering of things like "Why does the fact that the citizens in Sugarland keep electing Tom Delay mean that he has influence over the rest of the state, let alone the country?" Certainly that's a side-effect of the system, but it still seems kind of silly to me.

I'm not saying I don't want to live in an elected representative government. It beats an authoritarian dictatorship any day. But I'm not comfortable with the smirk people like to throw on when you grumble a bit about these things and say "What, you mean you don't like politicians and politics getting poltical?"

I guess my answer is: No. I really don't. The trust I'm being asked to place in the yahoos I'm sending to office is undermined by the fact that I don't believe half of what they're saying, and I have to be suspicious of the other half because I have to wonder if they're making claims just to get elected. If I suspected that someone I was interviewing for a job was lying to me just to get the job, I wouldn't hire them. And I certainly wouldn't want to trust them with my money, so why on earth would I think that's a good way to choose someone to be responsible for a nuclear arsenal capable of atomizing the planet?

The fact that there are folks who are willing to jump on a candidate's campaign is odd to me, too. I guess maybe I've just never been enthralled enough with the political process enough to want to wear a funny hat and cheer for some yahoo. I guess if someone came along who I didn't find at least a little sketchy, I might think about joining up. But I sorta think that by definition, anyone who thinks they know enough to make decisions for that many people, you kind of have to wonder. There are many ways to serve the public, so what's the drive that gets people to decide to hold office?

I know I'm being cynical and cranky. But if you see a lack of political coverage here, I thought I'd let you know why.

Here's the thing: I do believe in democracy, and I certainly believe in every citizen getting a say with their vote, and an opportunity to run for office if they meet minimum qualifications (and I don't find being 35 and born in the US to be too tough a standard for the guy who keeps their finger on the button). I just think we could probably expect a bit more out of our candidates, and, more importantly, our press. It's not a gameshow, but since that's how Wolf Blitzer seems to want to treat it, the candidates have all figured out their strategy for not getting voted off the island.

Anyhow, I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

How Much is that Robosaurus in the Window?


Robosaurus is on the auction block.

For the first time, I know exactly what I want to do with my life.

Read here.

Thanks to Randy for sending the link.

The object of my affection...

2007 Wrap-Up Part Three: Sports

And we're back.


UT Football

Well... It's tough to say it was a building year for the Texas Longhorns. This was Year 2 without Vince, and Year 2 when I cringed my way through the multiple personalities of Colt McCoy at QB. Add in an offensive line which didn't always look that interested in protecting Colt and a secondary that seemed to slow, too small and often perplexed by every offense which they faced.

And, of course, UT lost to an A&M team for the second year in a row. An A&M team which, on paper, they should have manhandled. The bottom line is that A&M wants it more when UT faces them down.

The Holiday Bowl brought me some small feelings of good cheer as UT walked all over ASU in the first half and kept it up pretty well in the 2nd. Once again, and this is just my feeling, but I sorta still believe the Big 12 is just a lot tougher conference than the Pac-10. This year I would put virtually any Big 12 school up against ASU and I'd expect pretty much the same result.

Dallas Cowboys

Oh, the season held such promise. And then Romo started "dating" Jessica Simpson.

My Superbowl dreams of Cowboys v. Pats now seem in a great deal of jeopardy.

My God, TO was getting along with the team... it was going to be great...


The Spurs won. Again.


Did not win. Again.

Baseball and Steroids

For some reason, I'm completely in denial about Roger Clemens taking steroids. Bonds? Sure. But Clemens? No reason it couldn't be true, but I thought he was just a guy who liked to eat a lot of red meat and pasta or something.


As much as everyone wants to freak out about the list of names, what they should really be looking at is why Selig and MLB have ignored the rumored use of steroids and not asked the players to do so much as pee in a cup for their million dollar salaries. After all, high school athletes have to do the same, as do employees at Subway.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

DITMTLOD: Sean Young as Rachael in Blade Runner

I dig Blade Runner. Depending on my mood, its easily one of my favorite movies. Sure, it's clunky in parts, and there are multiple cuts with different meanings, but this isn't a post about the arcane magic of Blade Runner. This is a post about a 13 year-old League raising an eyebrow in honor of Sean Young as a robotic noir love interest.

It's not accurate to refer to the Rachael character in Blade Runner as a Femme Fatale. In fact, for a noirish crime drama, there is no woman trying to take Deckard out unless you count both Pris and Zhora, neither of whom use seduction in the "kill Deckard" technique and so aren't really femme fatales in the sense I understand the term.

I saw Sean Young as Rachael before I was aware that Ms. Young had an odd reputation in Hollywood circles. And I am positive I had seen the movie before the Catwoman debacle. In all likelihood, I didn't know who Sean Young was when I saw Blade Runner the first time.

Rachael the replicant is smokin'.

Not to belabor a point, but I might add this movie also had Daryl Hannah in punk-aesthetic and Joanna Cassidy running around in nothing but glitter. But I guess, you know, the whole "trying to kill you" thing was a bit of a turn-off when I was 13.

The character of Rachael was (spoiler alert) of course a "replicant", ie: a synthetic human. More human than human, if you will. And, of course, that lent a certain odd, doomed mystique to the character as she progresses down her character arc and adds her to the distinguished line of Lady Robots of Interest (we can begin with the robot Maria from Metropolis and follow through Ghost in the Shell).

Mostly, though, Rachael personified the elitist ice-queen of the detective flicks, sometimes the wife or daughter of a shady millionaire in Chandler novels. Like other good ice-queens, Rachael was tough on the outside, but once past the frosty exterior, she falls for the bedraggled detective.

And, of course, what guy doesn't want to see himself as a tough guy detective (no, it doesn't matter how young or old)?

Rachael examines a note from Rick. She will check "Yes, I like you".

Or, more to the point, what wanna-be hard-boiled detective doesn't also want to think that if he finds the right angle, the lovely but generally unpleasant girl will fall madly for him and will no longer be so unpleasant? (My suspicion is that this generally does not really work out.)

Aside from a shot or two of Sean Young's thigh when Deckard and Rachael get their groove on, Rachael is always dressed in throwback outfits, lifted from the Lauren Bacall gowns and dresses, particularly the big-shoulders-era. I think we were to understand the wardrobe suggested what the script did not explicitly mention, that the suggested social role Rachael had been placed into was of the elite, living above the squalor of the streets. After her introduction, Rachael's huge fut coat seems oddly out of place on the streets of LA versus how it might look among the heights of the Tyrell pyramids.

Whether Young developed Rachael's mannered speech and movements, I really have no idea. Certainly the casting away of those behaviors becomes part of the movie and character as she finds out the truth about herself.

But, there's that toughness to Rachael that's necessary to a film like Blade Runner or, in fact, a believable love-interest for a hard-boiled detective film of any stripe. Rachael does, after all, pick up Deckard's gun and save the day when Deckard faces off with Leon. She does decide to take her life into her own hands once she realizes that her memories were nothing but implants.

Depending upon your preference for which cut you want to watch, Rachael may or may not have much time. Let alone Deckard (late breaking spoiler. Sorry).

Raccoon eyes for Rachel

So, a salute to Sean Young's portrayal of Rachael. That's a Replicant in the Media the League Once Dug.