My DD214

Veterans should be a thing of the past.

Assorted links for 21 May 2006

21 May, 2006 4:00 PM Posted by | Linkage | 3 Comments

DaVinci Code decyphered: It’s crap

As I have predicted (not that it was a particularly difficult prediction to make), The DaVinci Code is apparently a steaming pile of dung. The final big warning sign on this one was the lack of advanced screenings for critics, but now that the reviewers have had their chance the reviews are almost uniformly scathing.

If you know me at all, then you realize that this is good news. I revel in reading reviews of bad movies. And while there's a great selection over at Rotten Tomatoes, take my advice and read Devin Faraci's take over at CHUD. It is bar none the finest bad movie review I've ever read. Allow me to provide you with some highlights.

The Da Vinci Code is a terrible movie. It’s a movie that’s too stupid to appreciate it’s own stupid origins, and so it takes itself completely seriously. The stupider things get, the more seriously the movie takes itself, and the more seriously it takes itself, the funnier it is. The movie isn’t content with its own stupidity – it actively assumes that the audience is operating on a simian mental level (although considering how bad the writing in Brown’s original novel is, maybe the movie is overestimating the fanbase)...

Meanwhile, Jean Reno shows up as French law dictates that he must appear in any Hollywood movie shot in that country. Other great actors appear and shame themselves and their families for generations to come.

It's a shame that the movie sounds so tedious, because I would have enjoyed going to see a movie that was terrible in a Battlefield: Earth style. There's something so decadent about going to see an exceptionally bad film whose budget could have eradicated polio from Africa.

18 May, 2006 12:18 PM Posted by | Movies | 5 Comments

Your mom designed your logo

Today's Achewood is exceptionally funny (a nice change of pace from its last crap storyline).

17 May, 2006 5:17 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | Leave a comment

A little nail for the 9/11 Pentagon conspiracy theory coffin

A public interest group called Judicial Watch petitioned the US Justice Department to release the only known "videos" of the attack on the Pentagon on September 11th. Judicial Watch hopes that the release of this video will put the conspiracy theories regarding to the Pentagon attack to rest, but sadly, I'm not convinced that it will.

The "video" is in fact a collection of sequential still shots from a Pentagon security camera; tinfoil hatters will simply claim that the video was doctored. And in fact, it would not be tremendously difficult, given the strobe-light effect that the video gives to the events. In both videos, the aircraft appears in exactly one frame (at 1:26 in the first, and at 0:24 in the second) which is followed by the fireball caused by the crash. Even in the one frame where it appears, the airliner doesn't particularly resemble a passenger jet as much as it looks like a prop in a poorly thought out Coors Lite commercial.

The moment in video 2 where the aircraft is visible The moment in video 1 where the aircraft is visible

(fancy red boxes indicating position of Flight 77 by yours truly)

I admire Judicial Watch for their efforts, and I can imagine that they're somewhat disappointed that the videos obtained for the public through their hard work are so equivocal. Occam's Razor and some blurry, low-res time elapse photos are not going to sway those who really believe that there's more to the story.

Related links:

The videos, hosted by Judicial Watch

BBC coverage

An excellent rundown of 9/11 conspiracies in New York Magazine

17 May, 2006 12:49 AM Posted by | Just a thought.., News | Leave a comment

Music – Greg Weeks

Greg Weeks (previously covered here) took quite a few listens to grow on me, but I can highly recommend his most recent album, Blood Is Trouble. Weeks' music is a low-key, folkish affair, and his musical maturation seems to have followed along similar lines as that of Jeff Tweedy. I had started with one of Weeks' earlier albums, 2001's Awake Like Sleep, and was left somewhat unimpressed. Awake is spare and intimate, but in the end lacks dynamism and is too monochromatic to be really engaging. My decision to give him another shot recently and get Blood Is Trouble off of itunes, then, was a good one, because Weeks has come a long way (or latched on to a better producer) since Awake.

Blood Is Trouble employs some of the same tricks (slightly discordant arrangements and other-worldly sounds) as Wilco's monumental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but scaled down for Weeks' one-man operation. "Made" (the ominous-but-catchy song from Awake Like Sleep heard in the Adidas advert campaign that brought Weeks to my attention in the first place) is far and away his best track, but Blood is a very good record and a rewarding listen.

15 May, 2006 12:32 PM Posted by | Music reviews | 1 Comment

Heavy reading and light thinking

Here's a couple of interesting reads and some random thoughts.

  • From the New York Times: The contents of some old trunks found in the basement of Steve McQueen's house reveal detailed plans for the epic motorcycle adventure movie he had planned for years.
  • From Slate: The growing marginalization of the independent bookstore.
  • Writer Douglas Rushkoff (fascinating Wikipedia bio here) has an amusing and thought-provoking rant on the obsolescence of faith and religion.
  • My parents saw Mission Impossible 3 before I did because my New York City friends are too put off by Tom Cruise and/or overly cynical about Hollywood blockbusters. The other impediment is that I refuse to go to the movies alone.
  • I've read Ahmadinejad's letter. It's still digesting.

15 May, 2006 12:30 PM Posted by | Just a thought.., Linkage, Movies | Leave a comment

Full English text of Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush

Check it kids. The White House didn't release it, but Iran's government did. Analysis from yours truly after I get through it; the letter isn't exactly terse.

13 May, 2006 3:44 PM Posted by | News, Politics and other hazardous materials | 1 Comment

Inter-blog gambling

After being summoned into a fray over at the other day, I got into a different (and altogether more amiable) disagreement with Matt from that fine site over the prospects of our US national soccer team in this year's World Cup. And you guys know how I can get when I'm passionate about something. So I did something rash. The skinny is this:

  • If the US men's national team advances to at least the quarter finals of the Cup this year, then will pony up review copies of books, which publishers send to them because they're famous and stuff.
  • If the US men's national team does not advance to at least the quarter finals of the Cup this year, then My DD214 will become a Hello Kitty blog for a week folllowing their elimination.

(here's the thread where the actual bet was made)

So Clay and Will: but starting reading up on Steve Cherundolo and the fucking Sugarbunnies. But mostly the Sugarbunnies, because the odds are not in our favor. You see the danger in unilateral action, kids?

11 May, 2006 12:24 PM Posted by | Just a thought.., World Cup vs Hello Kitty 2006 | 7 Comments

Trailer Tuesday… (on Wednesday)

  • This new Superman trailer made me a believer. I was never particularly excited about this project, despite the involvement of Bryan Singer. But this trailer completely sold me. It's worth checking out just for the experience of seeing Kevin Spacey channelling Gene Hackman.
  • A new trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's new flick The Lady in the Water is up, and I think it's great. People who dislike Shyamalan's movies ("I knew there was going to be a twist. Why does he always have to have a twist?") shouldn't even bother to click. In fact, never go to the movies again. Find a quiet place and die.

10 May, 2006 11:43 AM Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment

Noteworthy stuff on two totally distinct fronts

I'm up waaaay too late after work, but there's things you need to see.

Firstly, the NYT drops the science on why the United States' trade embargo with Cuba is going to go away. And no, humanitarian concerns have nothing to do with it, unless your idea of humanitarian aid involves Cadillac Escalades. I realize that the article doesn't say that explicitly; expect some analysis from me tomorrow.

Secondly, if you're a nerd like me, then you really need to see Bungie's brand spanking new trailer for Halo 3. Even if you haven't the foggiest notion what Halo is, just watch the trailer. The dramatic musical stings will let you know when it's time to get the jibblies.

There was also good stuff on Iran in the paper today that bears discussion, but it's going to have to wait until after my Greek & Roman Religion final tomorrow afternoon. Wish me luck.

10 May, 2006 3:18 AM Posted by | Just a thought.., Linkage, News | Leave a comment