They Say You Got To Stay Hungry

… hey baby, I'm just about starving tonight:

  • Bastiat nailed it:
    The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.
    But as this quote from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine demonstrates, Bastiat's "present-day" is ours too:
    the message to young voters is pretty simple… we've done the largest expansion of the student loan program in American history… we've done a health care reform that allows youngsters to stay on their family insurance policy until age 26, and we've done important credit card reform that has helped young voters. So we have their attention…
    Democrats are the party of plunder. And they want you to know it.

  • I'm not a fan of Mike Huckabee, but he's right:
    In the wake of NPR's firing of contributor Juan Williams over comments about Muslims, Mike Huckabee is calling on the next Congress to cut the radio network's funding when it convenes next year.
    My only gripe is that he's using Williams' firing as an excuse. Government has no business funding radio stations unless they're broadcasting into Commie dictatorships. When the stations act like Commie dictatorships, it's a different thing entirely.

  • Obfuscating politicians would do well to study the remarks of English soccer coach Arsene Wenger, who was asked about the readiness of one of his players:
    "Is he ready to start for England against France next month? If you asked me the reverse question, is he not ready to start for England, then it would be difficult to not say no."
    I believe that several Star Trek computers short circuited themselves trying to figure out whether this was a "yes" or "no".

  • I have listened to Bruce Springsteen's 1984 hit song "Dancing in the Dark" hundreds of times. And seen the video (with an impossibly young Courtney Cox) dozens of times.

    But I had no idea what the song was about until I heard Mary Chapin Carpenter sing it. Once, on my car radio, pre-iPod. Ever since, Springsteen's version has sounded jarringly stupid to me. (Sorry, Boss.)

    MCC's version was kind of tough to find, though. Some good person has made an MP3 available right here. Check it out.


[Amazon Link]

I continue to work through Dick Francis's great older novels. This one, from 1991, has a far-fetched beginning, but quickly settles down to a nice tale of sleuthing and peril.

The protagonist is Peter Darwin ("no relation," he keeps saying), a British Foreign Service officer. He's on his way back to assignment in England after being overseas for years. A stop in Miami leads to a chance encounter with a older married pair of English nightclub singers, who wind up getting mugged. They're slightly traumatized and Peter agrees to accompany them back home to Gloucestershire, where they're due to attend their daughter's upcoming wedding.

Which in turn leads Peter to meet the soon-to-be-wed Belinda and Ken, who are veterinarians at a local hospital. But Ken's in a spot of trouble, as a number of horses that came under his care have been dying for no apparent reason. And, before Peter can go on with his life, there comes word that the veterinary hospital is on fire. There's clearly something nasty going on.

All that is coincidental enough (and takes about fifty pages to happen), but (also coincidental) Peter's roots are also in the area, and he remembers some of the local characters from his youth. He resolves to stick around a bit and see if he can't figure out what's going on and try to save Ken's reputation.

And, this being a Francis novel, of course he does. But not without experiencing some mortal danger.

Last Modified 2012-10-02 2:09 PM EST


stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Not just a stupid movie, it's a movie that assumes that you're stupid.

The culprit is solar neutrinos. No, really. The sun pumps those out all the time, and usually nearly all of them pass through you, me, and the entire planet without raising any more fuss than a John Updike poem.

Unfortunately, in 2012, something has turned the solar neutrinos badass. And they party down in our planetary nether regions, causing increased seismic activity, vulcanism, and massive tsunamis as the crust becomes uncoupled from the molten core. Or something. And the Mayans predicted that.

We are shown how this impacts a broken L. A. family: John Cusack as the ex-husband of Amanda Peet, who's currently being wooed by Thomas McCarthy. There are also irritating kids. On a separate plot track there are Good Scientists (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton), Evil Politicians (Oliver Platt), and a noble President (Danny Glover). And Woody Harrelson plays a loon with a radio show.

But the real point of the movie is destruction porn, showing the ever more violent death throes of Mother Earth. Cusack's family narrowly escapes death about every five minutes or so, which is an excuse to show (without gory detail, which would detract from the "fun") the demise of nearly everyone else.

Way too long, and stupid all the way through. The filmmakers apparently think you're watching it solely for the PG-13 carnage, to which they only have to add flimsy characters and clichéd plotting. Extra half star for Woody Harrelson and the special effects.

Last Modified 2012-10-02 2:09 PM EST