URLs du Jour

2009-07-16

  • First off, P. J. twitters the Constitution. Sample:
    Flame on -church+guns. No GIs n cribz. No frisk w/o ProbCawz Due Pross rox Plea5th Get off my lawn SpeedTrialz w/jur&shystr. Pwr 2 D Peeps.
    Why, it's written so a 15-year-old could understand it! Please fetch me a 15-year-old.

  • The Washington Post is editorially opposed to the House Democrat plan to fund "health care reform" via a huge surtax on high-income taxpayers. Good for them, but for true eloquence on the general topic, read Captain Ed at Hot Air:
    Nowhere in the Democrats' plan do they explain why 2.1 million Americans should have to pay to reform the health-care system for 300 million Americans, nor does the Post explain why 2.1 million Americans should have to pay for the massive deficits created by Democrats in Congress and Barack Obama. Both accept the notion that government exists to transfer wealth without explaining at all the basis for a free government to do so.  If we need massive health-care reform, then the costs should be borne by everyone -- and when that happens, you will find massive health-care reform to be a lot less popular than when Obama, Rangel, & Co try to pass it off as something for nothing.
    Chiming in and piling on is Eric Lindholm at Viking Pundit:
    This President and Congress have already decided - like the apocryphal Winston Churchill story - that the "rich" are a piggy bank to be smashed in perpetuity. Now they're just haggling over the price.
    We've mentioned before that once you swallow the "progressive taxation" pill, you lose any objective notion of fairness or equitability in the tax code. A politics that promises you goodies that you won't have to pay for is inherently corrosive to liberty and limited government; looks as if we're gonna find out how much.

  • When they run out of rich people to tax, though, it turns out potheads look promising.

  • I don't want to seem like a fulltime Richard Feynman blogger, but Bill Gates bought the rights to the "Character of Physical Law" lecture series that Feynman gave at Cornell back in 1964. And's Bill's put them up here. (I'm pretty sure you're out of luck unless your browser can handle Microsoft "Silverlight" content.) The lectures are "annotated" with various links, pictures, and subtitles, clearly a labor of love. There's more background at John Tierney's blog here.

    I'm not sure how accessible the lectures are to everyone, although Bill Gates says that his 10-year-old son can grasp them. (You can consider that a challenge if you want.) I watched the first one last night, and thought Feynman did a great job of communicating the wonder of universal gravitation: the grand mechanism that holds galaxies together also handles the mundane chore of keeping your ass in your chair. I liked it; you might too.

  • Did I see an "Evony" ad over there on the right at some point? For all I know, maybe there's one there now.) Anyway, they can be, um, eye-catching; you may have seen them elsewhere.

    Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror has done some research and concludes that Evony ads "take advertising on the internet to the absolute rock bottom." See what you think. Warning: it has to do with increasing cleavage, and it's illustrated. (Via Galley Slaves.)


Last Modified 2009-07-16 7:04 PM EDT

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

[3.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Note: the old version. I'd seen this when it came out back in the 70s. The recent remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta caused John Nolte to reminisce, and mainly point out that the new version was significantly worse. That was enough of an incentive to queue it up at Netflix.

It's a taut little thriller, kicked off when Robert Shaw and three other guys hijack a subway train in Manhattan. (The "Pelham One Two Three" terminology means that the train originally left Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx at 1:23pm.) They demand a million bucks for their hostages, and their main communications conduit to the outside world goes through everyschlub Walter Matthau, playing transit cop Zach Garber.

It's much different from today's thrillers. The body count remains low. Although there's violence, the screenwriter didn't feel compelled to plug in a scene of gratuitous mayhem every few minutes, lest the audience be bored. Acting is first rate, and there are some funny bits. (On the other hand, there's a lot of f-wordage (etc.), in a way that did feel gratuitous. I think that was an early-70's phenomenon.)

It was kind of fun to see Doris Roberts as a super-cynical wife of New York's mayor, and Jerry Stiller in a supporting cop role.

And the last shot is classic, one of my all-time favorite movie magic moments.


Last Modified 2012-10-06 6:05 AM EDT