Gonna Strike All the Big Red Words

… from my little black book:

  • Lore Sjöberg discusses what the Library of Congress did and did not say in their recent intellectual property ruling. The article leads off with:

    [FBI Warning]

    … which, appropriately enough, I filched off the Wired site. Hey, I'm a subscriber, so it's like totally fair use, man…

  • The Survey Center of the University Near Here released its recent polling for the New Hampshire Congressional and Senate races. Summary:

    • Democrat Congresswoman/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter outpolled Republicans Frank Guinta by 5%, Sean Mahoney by 9%, Rick Ashooh by 8%, and Bob Bestani by 11%.

    • In the Other District, sorta-Republican Charlie Bass leads Democrats Ann McLane Kuster by 18%, and Katrina Swett by 17%. Jennifer Horn leads Kuster by 2% and Swett by 4%.

    • In the Senate race, Republican Kelly Ayotte leads Democrat Paul Hodes by 8%; Bill Binnie leads Hodes by 3%. Hodes (on the other hand) leads Ovide Lamontagne by 6%.

    Follow the links for details. For Shea-Porterphobes like me, head pollster Andy Smith provides a reason to not slit our wrists just yet:
    It is important to point out that Shea-Porter does not break 50% against any of her challengers, a critical indicator of weakness for a Congressional incumbent.
    And if you're looking for a grain of salt, here it is: the UNH pollsters had Barack Obama beating Hillary Clinton by 9% in their final poll released the day before 2008's New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Hillary wound up winning by 2.6%.

  • Genius law professor Eugene Volokh notes a sentence from President Obama's recent remarks to the National Urban League:
    We should all make more of an effort to discuss with one another, in a truthful and mature and responsible way, the divides that still exist -- the discrimination that's still out there, the prejudices that still hold us back -- a discussion that needs to take place not on cable TV, not just through a bunch of academic symposia or fancy commissions or panels, not through political posturing, but around kitchen tables, and water coolers, and church basements, and in our schools, and with our kids all across the country.
    … and notes that you would have to be either an idiot or a lunatic to attempt an honest discussion of race around your workplace water cooler. If you don't know why, click on over there for some free legal advice.

  • Chewbacca fights Nazis while riding mutant squirrel. That is all.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 8:58 AM EST

A Town Called Panic

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Maybe it's me. Netflix again predicts I'll adore a movie. In this case, "based on your interest in Annie Hall, Being John Malkovich and The Big Lebowski". I liked those movies a lot, still do, but this one not so much.

It is stop-motion animation, with plastic figurine characters acting in imaginative surroundings. (Also: they speak French, albeit with English subtitles.) The primary characters are "Cowboy", "Indian", and "Horse". Cowboy and Indian want to build a barbecue pit for Horse's birthday; unfortunately, a stuck zero on their computer's keyboard causes them to buy 50 million bricks instead of the desired 50. This sets off a chain of bizarre adventures.

Normally, I don't mind "bizarre". But in this case, it seems that the script was co-written by a four-year-old who may have gotten into the family Chardonnay. Imagination is great, but you have to make me care, at least a little; that didn't happen here.

I could be wrong: this guy at the Kansas City Star says that the movie "at first smacks of childlike chaos" Agreed. But also claims it eventually "segues into subversive sophistication." If so, I missed it. I'm more like this guy at the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "I watched "A Town Called Panic" without the assistance of any controlled substances, and that might be why I hated it."

One neat thing: little homages to other animated features, like Wall·E and Finding Nemo. But they made me wish I was watching those instead.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 8:58 AM EST