Saturday, October 16, 2004

Blogging in the Wine Capital of Canada

I'm at a cabin just outside of Oliver, B.C. - yes it has wifi - with friends Dan, Joanna, Andrew, and Erin. We just came back from a day of winery tours. Today we checked out Tinhorn Creek, Hester Creek, Silver Sage, Desert Hills, and Carriage House.

We just finsihed up some nice cheeses, and after some Niel Diamond, we have moved onto German Drinking songs and now - if you can believe it - we're taking a Night Flight to Venus with Boney M. There is a record player in this wonderful cabin.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Kerry's World: Sept 10th Foreign Policy = Carterism

The Belmont Club has a fascinating discussion of the big New York Times Magazine feature by Matt Bai on Sen. Kerry's foriegn policy position and the War on Terror. In short, the article - and Kerry himself - want to return to the 1990's when everything was okay.

"Kerry's world, in a way, is where one goes if George Bush's vision proves false: the frying pan, as a place of refuge if one lands in the fire. As a negative vision it will always hold some attractions; which will grow in proportion to failures in the Global War on Terror and fade in proportion to its successes. Roger Simon succinctly described Bai's article as a plea to return to "business as usual", a call to the past from "the ultimate conservative". It is heartbreakingly pathetic in its own way."

Powerline adds, "We saw a preview of the futility of Carterism in the face Islamism in the Iranian hostage crisis that terminated the Carter presidency. For those who learn from experience, the case for Carterism is even less compelling in 2004 than it was in 1980. Kerry's resurrection of Carterism in the face of the Islamist war against America would indeed alter the perception of us very, very quickly, although I fear we would not be around long enough to appreciate it fully."

It's shocking that anyone could be interested in this sort of strategic retreat. Which is why I am surprised that some - like Andrew Sullivan or Josh Chafetz of Oxblog - are still even considering Kerry at all. There is one issue in this election and the choice is either between a September 12th forward fighting strategy, not of containment, but of liberation or a world of September 10th where we continue to bargain with tyrants, where we lose our will in a body of United Nations red tape - or worse corruption, and where we empower the enemy to strike us again because we are living in a dream world. Actually it isn't much of a choice at all.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Cold Exile

Varifrank has an excellent post on why George W. Bush is stronger than Kerry. He makes a great point at the vocabulary that the two candidates use. And then there is this:

"Churchill stood on the rubble of his capitol and flashed the V for Victory, While Men like Charles Lindberg and Teddy Kennedys father talked at length about our eventual defeat by the superior forces of fascism. Churchill didnt listen to the voices of defeat, and people hated him for it. The adulation that the world feels for him now happened after Victory was assured, I suspect the same will be true of President Bush, after Victory is assured, everyone will say he was always their hero. For now, he lives in the cold exile that results whenever you do the right thing instead of the popular thing."

cover I finally got around to reading Friday's National Post today. I've read some film reviews by the Post's Katrina Onstad. I'm not really that impressed, but it wasn't until today that I noticed that she is pretty lame. In her feature column, "Royal, Extra Cheese" on her selection for overrated movie, she picked Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. That's fine. But her argument - it seems to me - misses the point. She calls it "soulless" but I think she's wrong.

"In 1994, emerging from the cautious era of political correctness, relativism was the new standard for aesthetic judgment. High and low culture had the same currency. It would have been snobby to say that endless talk about fast food and kung fu movies gets boring after a while (Pulp Fiction is more than two and a half hours long)," writes Onstad. "But it seems equally snobby for Tarantino to depict "low-lifes," criminals and others who dwell on society's margins as emotionless caricatures. While he's praised for introducing veracity and real life talk into genre pictures, these people don't actually sound real (what could Tarantino know about real life?); they sound like low-lifes from the movies. There is something desperate and sycophantic about all this referencing, as if he's a kid seeking the approval of his parents, the movies. Tarantino clearly aspires to be a star, dating loudly and casting himself in his films. He's trying to turn himself into celluloid."

I'm not impressed. I'm not saying Tarantino and this movie aren't over rated, but I am saying that Pulp Fiction will be I'm a huge Virginia Postrel fan, and her book "The Substance of Style" could be referenced here to explain why style (see more in my review of Postrel's book at ESR)- in this case Tarantino's potent mixture of pop-culture, retro-culture, great music, great dialog - is actually what makes Pulp Fiction so powerful. I don't think she's read it. Taratino's style is his soul.

It is, in effect, this very simple concept: cool matters.

Watching. Listening. Reading.

cover *I'm pretty sure James Spader just said,"You disaprove of me. That warms my cockles" on Boston Legal. Shatner and lines like that? It's must watch - and I hate legal shows.

*The new Tom Waits album "Real Gone" is pretty good.

*Test drove a Nissan Frontier pick-up this weekend. It's pretty nice, but if feels like a small car made up to look like a pick-up. It just didn't seem real comfortable. Great ride, and smooth - and made for the most part in Tennessee. The sales dude seemed surprised that I would even ask - and more so that the fact it was built in Tennessee warmed my cockles (thanks Spader!). I've been driving around a Dodge Dakota most of the weekend. It's much better than the Frontier. It's bigger. It truckish. I'm thinking about it. Sharpen your pencils Dodge.

*Currently I'm reading Thucydides' "The History of the Peloponnesian War" It's as excellent as I remember. I hope my friend Sonja is enjoying it as much as I am. We'll see.

Turkey Wines

For some inexplicable reason it's Thanksgiving here in Canada. I think it is so that come November 1st we can skip immediately to playing Christmas music in the malls and such. I ventured up to the folks place to have some Turkey. I brought the wine.

cover For Turkey dinner I chose - well, truthfully Charlie at Liberty Wine suggested it - a Bonny Doon 2003 Malvasia Bianca. It was perfect for Turkey. What's particularly fun about Bonny Doon wines is just how off the wall the stories are on the back. The Ca'del Solo label is described this way: "Ca' del Solo is an enological kingdom in exile whose ancestral lands are located at the spiritual locus of the Soledad-Piedmonte-Liguria frontiers. Due to their temporary quartering at Bonny Doon Vineyard, the inhabitants speak a grahmatically unique dialect and exhibit a predilection toward esotericism and accordions. Many of these idiosyncratic citizens are continually going "solo," embarking upon projects that are sometimes risky, sometimes wrong-headed, but always according to their own lights."

cover Of course tonight I ate a few leftover Turkey Sandwiches - which are really the only reason to have turkey at all right - and paired it with a pretty nice pinot noir. It was some 2002 Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir from the Family Division of Sebastiani. Pepperwood Grove says, "Light Ruby color, with intensely perfumed aroma of ripe black cherry with a hint of vanilla toast. Nicely balanced palate of cranberry, pomegranate, cinnamon and clove spices which finishes with subtle toasted oak notes." But I agree with the tag at Liberty - the subtle but clear hints of Cherry Cola are pretty cool. Wine and Cherry Coke? Only good can come from it. And yes, it does go well with turkey sandwiches in case you are wondering. And yes, I would be this again.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Years in NYC

If you're in the New York area, you can catch "The Years". Apparently you can catch them October 12th in Brooklyn at The Hook and then on October 13th in New York they'll be playing the CMJ 2004 Music Marathon at Arlene's Grocery in the East Village. If you're in NY, check them out and tell them Jackson sent ya.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Canadian Sailor dies in Sub Accident

Now, news that one of the crew of the newest Canadian sub has died. This is simply terrible news.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Dick Cheney: Rally Killer

Before I get into my reax to the debate tonight, can we get Ron Reagan off of MSNBC? My god that little weasel just looks small compared Chris Mathews, Andrea Mitchell - and he makes Joe Scarborough look like a total non-partisan heavyweight. I'm just saying.

Now, how about this Dick Cheney. What a performance. Can you use the word virtuoso? Probably not. I'm sure Michael Moore's heart did that sort of Homer Simpson thing tonight - extreme close up and then four repeated heart attacks - as he made Edwards look less credible than Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny." As Dr. Hibbert would say, "Well, that's the first case I've ever seen of a man suffering four simultaneous heart attacks."

I loved the hardball Cheney was playing tonight. Especially that momentum killing moment when he said, as President of the Senate, that Edwards was never on the job and worse they'd never even met before this. Ouch. Plus how can you not like a guy like Cheney who choses not to bother with followup time if he doesn't think he needs it. Incredible.

I think Russert was on the ball when he said Cheney could take over Trumps role on The Apprentice. Senator, you just aren't cutting it. You're fired. Brilliant. Jeff Jarvis blogs it and leans on giving the edge to Edwards, Wonkette sort of live-blogs - not impressed - and cute Wonkette was also doing NBC too but with Ghostbusters references, Stephen Green live - er drunk - blogs it (well he is "The Vodka Pundit"). Meanwhile NRO's Kerry Spot blog makes this great point:

"If I ever need to sue somebody, I’ll call John Edwards.

If I ever need somebody killed - like, you know, terrorists trying to kill me or my family - I’ll call Dick Cheney."

Isn't that what the whole election is about?

SFT Reaction

I'm watching the VP debate right now if that gives you any question as to what I find more important tonight - and judging by today's Speech from the Throne (SFT), no wonder. And we'll get to VP Cheney's home run performance soon enough.

What was in the SFT? Who cares. But I'll tell you somethings that really were not in it. The word defense appears once. Terrorism, once. Military, not a word. Although soldier was used three times. Free trade zero. Taxes, twice (although there was no mention of tax cuts). Thank goodness we'll have a national daycare program. Phew.

I guess that is why the Conservatives are planning on adding some things - some things which could bring the government down. Conservative leader Stephen Harper won't say what these amendments are, but he mentioned - hinted really - that missing from the SFT were the themes of tax reduction and democratic reform.

But maybe we could get some real talk about the military. New government, new PM, and yet we have to wait for a total foreign policy plan? Come on - the "new" sub we just got from Britain was dead in the water today on its "maiden" voyage. Sure the promise of 5,000 troops is, well, promising, but - and it is a big but - what are they going to do and what equipment will they have to fight with? Yeah - we don't need a plan for the military. Boy that report sure get the 9/11 commission treatment and give out a copy to everyone to learn what is going on with our armed forces and foreign policy. [Update: Are we really going to stand for this crazy Danish Imperialism? (via OxBlog)]

Bring the government down faster please.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Rove's Grand Strategy?

You know, if you put Karl Rove (A) into an equation and factor in the less than thirty days left to go in the campaign (B) and multiply in some Kerry post-debate momentum (C. yeah, I said it whatever) and run a quick bit of math (A+B x C) and you totally get possible moments of Kerry triumphalism and then hilarity for the rest of the campaign as Kerry gets to run for a short time as pompous front runner (A+B x C = Bush Victory). Fun.

See Vodka Pundit for more.

Space Blogging

So this crazy SpaceShipOne makes it into space for the second time in two weeks, wins a $10 million X-prize, has been licensed by Branson for commercial spaceflight, and kind of inspired a whole new space race. Glenn Reynolds' column points out this cool fact, "The launch -- coming, as Boyle notes, on the anniversary of the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik -- represented in many ways the final triumph of capitalism over communism."

It's all pretty cool. And capitalism wins, again.

Canadian Politics

I didn't get a chance to read much of the news today, so now it's catch-up time. But then you get down to reading some Canadian news and you get this.

s. That we basically pick the judges - for our highest court in the land - without any debate, review, or oversight. Who are these people that will get to decide the laws of this country when the House of Parliament outsources its power? And. really, making them dress up like Santa Clause just cheapens the whole thing doesn't it.

Then I read that the Conservative Party is basically going to let the government stand by telling us that a few of their MP's will be, well, absent during the crucial key votes. You see they don't want to anger the population by bringing down the government so soon. Like we even care.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Canadian Air Industry Hilarity

Bourque splashes the news that, fresh from 18-months in bankruptcy, Air Canada is planning to repaint their planes. (Here's the new paint job). And reading all this reminds me of how much fun following the Canadian Airline industry is. All intrigue all the time.

Ridiculously Expensive and Huge Condos

cover I was up in the depths of West Vancouver's British Properties for a short jaunt today. The size of the new houses up there is, well, insane - they are huge. I love it. One place in particular "The Boulders" caught my eye. Sure at the bargain basement - heart attack inducing - price of $868,000 you better get a pretty impressive view. And it looks like you do. The reason this particular building struck me was simple.

It was really the only one that didn't look like all the other houses and buildings in the surrounding area. It stood out. And the views of the city would be excellent.