URLs du Jour

2009-10-05

  • We've noted in the past that, on the topic of Obamacare, Consumer Reports (CR) was acting less like the tough, independent, skeptical, pro-consumer organization it claims to be, and more like a mindless shill, even to the point of adopting talking-point lingo widely realized to be less than honest.

    Now, it's worse; the blogprof notes that CR is running pro-Obamacare TV ads. (And, via that post, also check out this detailed takedown of CR's specious propaganda from William Jacobsen.) A very good argument for letting my subscription lapse.

    (Original link via Instapundit.)

  • I admit I laughed at the Saturday Night Live opening monologue, the theme being President Obama's lack of concrete results on major fronts:

    Funny, but as you might expect, it's basically a leftwing critique: Obama's failure to execute a progressive laundry list. Betsy Newmark points out, depressingly, that Obama has done plenty enough.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:04 AM EST

Lonely Are the Brave

[3.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Of all the movies Kirk Douglas has made, this is his favorite. It's also his son's, Michael's, favorite. Myself, I gotta go with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Kirk plays John W. "Jack" Burns, cowboy. In a neat trick, the movie opens with a vast open wild horizon, Jack at a campsite with his horse, Whiskey. It's a Western! But then you hear roaring, and Jack looks up to spy three jet contrails overhead; it turns out that it's set sometime in the mid-twentieth century. And Jack's very much a man out of time, as the forces of civilization are closing in on the last remnants of the wild west.

The plot relates Jack's final struggle with The System, as his old buddy Paul has been jailed for helping wetbacks. (Yes, I know that's not PC, but that's what they say in the movie.) By judicious picking of fights, Jack manages to break into the jail where Paul's being held. He proposes a breakout, but Paul's decided that the outlaw life is no longer for him. So Jack escapes alone, and becomes a wanted fugitive.

There's much to like about the movie: there are a lot of familiar faces with a lot of acting talent: Gena Rowlands plays Paul's wife, Walter Matthau, William Schallert, and George Kennedy as pursuing cops. Carrol O'Connor as a truck driver. And even Bill Bixby has a small role as a chopper pilot.

Also Bill Raisch, the original one-armed murderer from The Fugitive, plays… well, a violent one-armed man here too. Man, did that guy ever get typecast or what? (He was in Spartacus too, credited as "Soldier Whose Arm is Hacked Off". Ouch!)

The movie has a Dalton Trumbo screenplay, based on a novel by noted civilization-hater Edward Abbey. Don't want to spoil things, but it's kind of a downer, and more than a little heavy-handed.

The DVD has a little documentary at the end, with Kirk Douglas himself reminiscing in a couple places. His speech is heavily stroke-impaired, but he still has a pretty good sense of humor, wise-cracking about his scene-stealing horse, Whiskey. And even now, he's blogging away at MySpace at 92 years of age. God bless him.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:04 AM EST

Longshot

[Amazon Link]

A Dick Francis protagonist is known for resourcefulness, bravery, and the ability to handle a good deal of physical punishment. In Longshot the hero is even more of a rock-solid character than usual. John Kendall is a (temporarily) impoverished writer, waiting for the royalties for his first novel to come in. The cold London winter is tough when you don't have enough money for heat; even if you are, as John is, somewhat of a survival expert, having written a number of popular guides for people in dire straits. (Kind of like the recent "Worst-Case Scenario" series.) Against the better judgment of everyone, he wangles a gig to write a biography of a larger-than-life horse trainer, Tremayne Vickers.

Pretty soon John is enmeshed in the details, some sordid, of Vickers' extended family and his employees. He's asked to step up to the hero plate almost immediately, as the car transporting him to the Vickers estate crashes into a water-filled ditch; John, of course, saves everyone.

As John arrives, it's in the midst of a manslaughter trial: one of Vickers' jockeys is accused of the wrongful strangulation death of a young girl at a party. Shortly afterward, another young girl is found in a remote stretch of woods, also strangled. Almost against his will, John is caught up in the investigation, and it turns out that the murderer is willing to keep killing to cover up his tracks.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:03 AM EST