Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Movie Blogging

The last three movies I've seen have all been very good. First Sideways, then National Treasure, and now The Incredibles. I know, The Incredibles? Yes. The Incredibles. I can explain the first two easily, but The Incredibles was cool too. At one point, the music and scene was so mid-60's James Bond, I thought Connery was going to appear.

And leave it to Virginia Postrel to lead us to the hidden gems of design pointing this interesting design blog by Jessica Helfand who writes:
Yet as the pace quickens and the action builds, the design does too. Slick designer vehicles (think Philippe Starck on steroids) transport us to new architectural destinations: here are sites dotted by grand concrete allées, framed by volcanic window treatments and walls of perfectly gridded weaponry. Even Syndrome, the villain’s sensurround computer screen is well-designed, boasting well-kerned Bank Gothic letterforms within an icy blue-grey interface. It’s design run amok, at once exquisite and terrifying: Fritz Lang‘s Metropolis meets Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Japan.

There is plenty of good stuff there - read the whole thing as they say. I think the design is more worthy of discussion than say how red state cool the movie is. Well, red state cool, is pretty awesome.

Greatest Canadian Aftermath

Thank goodness the news cycle on the abomination that was CBC’s “Greatest Canadian” debacle. After the voters gave that dubious honor to healthcare Godfather Tommy Douglas the world kept spinning in Canada.

Author Pierre Burton – writer of one of my favorite books on WWII, Vimy – dies at 84.

Meanwhile, President Bush made his first visit to Canada and was greeted with insults from the socialist flower children of The Greatest Canadian, Tommy Douglas. See that? That is like squaring the circle people. 200 people showed up in Vancouver to protest. 200? For the record, we should note, our last Prime Minister would get more protestors than that. (See the protest photos in Ottawa over here. http://www.amalgamatedlampblack.com)

Best reaction from the Bush visit. Rod Dreher, NRO: “If Canada were a TV character, it would be Jan Brady, perpetually whining, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" about the United States.”

And of course while the successful conservative Bush begins his 2nd term victory lap, some new thoughts on the conservative leadership at home. Terence Corcoran, in the Financial Post today, unloads upon Stephen Harper. “The Conservative party is abandoning conservative values as part of a deliberate strategy orchestrated by party insiders, including some of Mr. Harper's old brain trust. Disappointed at their election loss, hungry to be in on power, they have come to believe that victory will only come to a party that shifts toward the centre and beyond. They have polls to back their strategy, showing Canadians might not want less government, lower taxes and greater individual freedom.”

Sunday, November 28, 2004

What a completely stupid waste of time

"The Greatest Canadian" enterprise is obviously a disastrous blemish on our history. Can you even imagine previous generations trying to do something this boneheaded? Among the top ten choices are incredibly embarrassing ones including: a hockey player, a bad suit wearing hockey coach, a fruit fly studying environmentalist wacko, or the man who burdened us with the idea of national heath care (thanks a lot you peasant). How any of these dopes could conceivably be ahead of John A. Macdonald in the "voting" is beyond me.

Terry Fox, Sir Frederick Banting, and Alexander Graham Bell are all fine choices. But let's be serious, these individuals are really are only in the running by virtue of where they were born or living. By eliminating these three, and the first four, we are left with Macdonald, Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson. Are you even serious?

Please don't encourage the CBC by participating in this completely stupid show. And what, no Mulroney in the top ten?

Blue Christmas for Wal-Mart

Here's an interesting discussion about the not very hush-hush disappointing Thanksgiving shopping numbers for giant retailer Wal-Mart. If you read Dispatches you know I'm a big fan of the store - even though I really only go about 2 times a year.

It's hard to figure out why the sales numbers are down: no tax rebate checks in pockets, or that Wal-Mart is more about getting everyday Milk-type items, or that they didn't lower prices as much other retailers, or I guess you say that other retailers lowered prices more to attract people from WM.

The future of warfare

Interesting article over at the New York Time by Tim Weiner on Lockheed Martin. "[I]n the post-9/11 world, Lockheed has become more than just the biggest corporate cog in what Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. It is increasingly putting its stamp on the nation's military policies, too."

And it seems all fairly impressive. Mobile labs, the size of a Laptop, to help soldiers in Afghanistan tell friend from foe with the data of 470 million finger prints, turning the U.S.S. New Jersey into a mobile surveillance ship capable of monitoring the ports of Philadelphia and Camden N.J. 24/7, and robot soldiers.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Defending the economy

About a week ago my good friend Rob - a financial planner - was going on and on about the dangers in the economy. Sure, he was referring to the U.S. economy and the state of the dollar, but my god, he was throwing down some serious negativity.

Call me an optimist, but apparently I am not the only one ignoring the "economic disaster" sweeping the world. And I like what David Brooks has to say. Seriously, when were we going to hear that, "we're in the 11th month of the most prosperous year in human history." Well, er, I guess we just did.

I'll drink the Kool-Aid. At least until January.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I'm so ronery... So ronery...

I really don't know what to make of this North Korea speculation.

Kristol Clear

Like a sweet neoconservative PEZ machine, William Kristol dispenses the sugary PEZ talking points on the Iraq situation. In short, Bush's first few weeks since reelection have inspired some new confidence in these waters, but Bush needs a new friend in Defense - "Is John McCain, or Rudy Giuliani, or Joe Lieberman too much to hope for?" - to really give the Bush Doctrine its wings.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan tries to translate the Kristol tea leaves. It mostly involves banging the drum for more troops in Iraq. But I think I'm with Roger L. Simon on this issue. I don't know how many troops are really needed in Iraq. I'll take it that the military will say when they want more and that they can be as wrong as anyone else.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Conservative Triple

Damian Penny breaks down the stand up triple in Canadian politics today. Advantage conservatives as Fox News gets a CRTC stamp of approval, Bush stomping Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish is fired, and then as Penny tells it, "Alfonso Gagliano allegedly tied to the mob. All within 24 hours. Do days get any better than this?"

Probably not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blogs on the West Wing

It's totally funny to watch fictional - Wonkette-like - blogs make a mockery of The West Wing's Josh Lyman character. (via Instapundit)

Replacing Safire

Hugh Hewitt has got a top five list on who should replace William Safire on the New York Times Op-Ed pages. Goldberg, Hayes, Lileks, Robinson, and Steyn. It's like a murderers row lineup. I think Goldberg would be amusing if only for this reason. He's in his early thirties and could be on the pages for the next 40 years. You couldn't tell me New York wouldn't be changed with that onslaught.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Quaint Soviet Shout Outs

While the CBC tries wastes money trying to figure out who we think is the greatest Canadian, one of the finalists' sons is off spreading the good word about communism and drinking with some Bolsheviks toasting Che Guevara to our friends in Russia. (via Let it Bleed)

Let the pile on begin. Of course, that starts with Trudeaupia. "Pierre Trudeau was a communist fellow traveler who admired Mao and Castro. He wasn't appalled in the slightest at the gulags, re-education camps or other tyrannical methods. So why be surprised that his son Alexandre goes off to Russia to the Hammer and Sickle Cultural Centre, drinking vodka and singing revolutionary songs with the Bolshevik Party?"

Will the good times ever end on the left? You sometimes get the feeling that the left is a lot like the villains in the Scooby Doo cartoons. "...and we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for these meddling..." er, American capitalists.

Shaking up the Spy House

cover Watching Porter Goss shake up the CIA is - after the cabinet shuffling - the best show going in politics today. NRO's Cliff May (with backup from Micheal Ledeen) is wondering why there are CIA employees quitting becuase Goss's Chief of Staff is "brusque." In fact, May is doing more than wondering, he's demonstrating that James Bond wouldn't be such a wimp if 'M' was a grump. (Read more at the CSM and Defense Tech. Oh, and the Belmont Club.)

This is outrageous. And I wonder what will happen the week as Goss politely asks his new charges to be good soldiers and back administration policies. On a certain level this all makes sense. I mean, shouldn't the intelligence or spy agency kind of be secret? Well at least low profile. At any rate this situation looks like it will get worse before it gets better - at least that is what Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard seems to be uncovering.

Meanwhile, in my own backyard (yawn), no shake up or realignment in our spy community. The Head of CSIS and highest ranking defense bureaucrat have officially - after 10 months - basically switched jobs. Nothing to see here friends. (Globe and Mail) At least we don't know anything about our spy agency right? Hey let's confirm the head of CSIS. Oh, wait, we don't do that either. The least we could do would be to give him a cool name.

Update: I was just reading Atlantic Monthly and they have published the memo by Anonymous - 22-year CIA veteran Micheal Scheuer - outlining ten instances when the senior intelligence bureaucrats, not "legal 'walls', organizational structure, or inadequete budgets - have been at the core of our intelligence failure against Bin Laden." I'm guessing that having two senior bureacrats at the CIA quit isn't the worst thing to happen since 9/11.

Condie to Foggy Bottom

coverCondie Rice is up for the job at State. This is like Shaq in the paint. A slam dunk (no pun intended to a certain former CIA Director) And Roger L. Simon is already talking about Condie vs. Hillary in '08.

Andrew Sullivan points to a TNR piece that suggests Rumsfeld is only sticking around long enough to outlast Powell. That is a competitive relationship - probably more healthy for the nation than we are lead to believe. But there is also speculation that Sen. Joe Lieberman could be tapped at Defense. I think, even though this would be another blow to the Democrats in the Senate, that this would be a great move. Not just for Bush, but for Lieberman. Talk about putting a nail in his association with Gore. (More speculation over at Daniel Drezner's blog.)

Is watching the cabinet come together for Bush's 2nd term the funnest spectator sport ever? Okay, maybe it is just me. Then again, learning that John Kerry has $45 million leftover (plus another $7 million in legal money) for a 2008 Presidential run might make the next four years really, really fun. If he runs, and Hillary runs too, should we expect the unexpected and some crazy third candidate to emerge? Yep, it's probably just me.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Joe for the Troops

Virginia Postrel notes that Starbucks is sending over 50,000 pounds of coffee for the troops in Iraq who have been complaining about the lame java they get from Haliburton. Say what you will about Starbucks coffee, but the company makes good decisions consistently. And what do you know, profits are up 46%.

Psy-Ops South Park Style

Who knew. Apparently the U.S. Psy-ops trucks are blaring the theme song to "Team America: World Police" while on patrol in Fallujah. (Via Tim Blair) Excellent.

From Paris to Red State America

Jonah Goldberg finds this excellent little article in the Dallas Morning News by a French conservative, Fred Gion, who is offering to sell his apartment in France in hopes of soon moving to Red State America. That's awesome!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Paul Martin totally hearts Arafat

Kevin Libin over at The Shotgun finds the Paul Martin reaction to Arafat's death. "Chairman Arafat personified the Palestinian people's struggle to see their right to self-determination realized." I guess Paul Martin totally hearts Arafat.

What a joke. And Mr. Prime Minister, you can kindly take my part of your condolences on behalf of all Canadians to his family away now. I'm sure they'll be fine with all the money they've stolen from the Palestinian people. Wake up and smell the coffee pal.

Theo van Gogh & The reactionaries

Austen Bay has yet another great article up this week breaking down the stakes in Iraq. Read the whole thing as they say.

New York State of Mind Part 3

I had two personal things on my list during my stay in NYC. I get 1/2 of them done. I failed to make it to Nat Sherman to pick up some cigars. (Boooo!) However, I did make it to Vintage New York to taste the wines of New York State. (Hooray!)So here is some wine Blogging from the Big Apple:

cover Vintage NY was the best deal in town. 5 tastings for $5, and the wine was pleasantly surprising. It was great. Our wine hostess, Sara, was excellent with advice and conversation. And we enjoyed watching frantic SoHo locals demanding quick help for their dinner wine selections. Hilarious. Some of the best wines we tried were: a 2000 Osprey Dominion Cabernet, a 2000 Lenz Merlot "Old Vines", the 2000 Wolffer Merlot Estate Selection, a 2000 Macari Bergen Road, and a 2001 McGreggor Black Russian. They were all outstanding red wines. I think I liked the Wolffer best, and I'm not really a Merlot guy. But it and the Osprey were big thick chewy wines.

I even managed to sneak in a Pinot Noir - although Sara didn't think I should bother. It was pretty good - just as good as some of the ones from B.C.'s wine region. It was a 2001 Atwater that was light but it was very pleasant - and exactly why I like Pinots anyway.

Everywhere after our time at Vintage NY, we were on the look out for these wines, but they didn't seem to be very popular with the locals. It reminds me of how people used to perceive B.C. wines in the 1990's.

Arafat Dead

Max Boot pulls no punches in his Arafat article (via Glenn Reynolds). "It is considered bad form to speak ill of the dead, but I will make an exception for Yasser Arafat, the pathetic embodiment of all that went wrong in the Third World after the demise of the European empires."

Comparing that to the content on the cable news channels I've watched today is pretty interesting. And what time in the morning does President Jimmy Carter start swigging back the Mint Juleps anyway? Speaking of remembering on this day, let's not forget about Arafats real 'diplomacy' over the years.

Remembrance Day

Today is the traditional day of Remembrance and it is interesting to attend these ceremonies (I was at mine across the street at Victoria Park) while American and Iraqi troops fight door-to-door in Fallujah this week and 18 soldiers have died thier this week already fighting insurgents. Gives you something to think about for the rest of the day.

Last year on this day, I posted about Vimy. This year, do a little investigation on Canada's fighting men at the Falaise Gap.

Update: The news that some ABC stations may not air "Saving Private Ryan" out of fear of the FCC is just crazy.

New York State of Mind Part 2

cover And what about food and wine and everything like that? I thought you'd never ask:

We went out to dinner twice. The first place was Artisanal - a wonderful little fromagerie. We actually ate in a tiny room surrounded by cheese fridges. We started with a nice selection of cheeses before moving on to dinner and of course, who could resist chocolate fondue and cheesecake for dessert. We had a great Pinot Noir with dinner from ZD Wines which was an excellent treat. As a special bonus I ran into National Review Online Contributing Editor Deroy Murdock who I hadn't seen since meeting him at an IHS seminar in 2000. I think he was as surprised to see me as I was. You fly all the way to New York and don't expect to see someone you know.

The second restaurant - picked out by a great New Yorker - was Milos. Of course the irony that the original Milos is in Montreal did not escape us. But I digress. It was also very good - although don't need to do Greek and seafood very often. The swordfish was excellent and the Turley Zinfandel was to die for. This wine was so jammy it should have been served with toast or peanut butter - or better, both. It was a great dinner.

What was really funny about the dinner - and the trip in general - was hearing some real New Yorkers (real Blue Staters) muse about the post-election situation in America. I found it laughable that anyone who lives in New York right now could really be upset over George W. Bush being reelected. Look around people, is anyone is really hard done by? I was on my best behavior being in the city for work, but any New Yorker who thinks moving to Canada is the answer, needs to go much easier on the red wine!

I was in the city for give or take 5 days, and if this is America under four more years of Bush, we should brand it, package it in six packs, and sell it on Amazon.com. I've been to New York 4 times and it always seems to get better. It's different now - the one touristy thing we did was go Liberty island, and there is a hole in the skyline that changes the city. The Ground Zero site also changed the city, yet across the street was Century 21 and dynamic engine of capitalism keeps chugging along.

The point here is that New York is the same New York with or without George W. Bush, and for all the talk by Michael Moore America about "Jesus Land" is a little much. Bush did get 40% of the vote in the state after all. And sure, I'll admit it, Kerry kicked Bush's butt in Manhattan. You don't have to look further than this Ted Rall piece to see why there is a disconnect.

"By any objective standard, you had to be spectacularly stupid to support Bush... So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world." No wonder Andrew Sullivan notes that this could be one more reason why Kerry lost. And no wonder why some Americans think moving to Canada would be so great - mostly because Canadians have that same superiority mentality of being better. So do the French. (I'm just saying) But this kind of overstatement - or worse, more like this one - are just plain silly.

New York State of Mind

I got back last night from a world wind stay in New York. What a city! I wish I could say I was there for all fun and no work, but I was there to attend the Ad-Tech Conference. But you know what they say about all work and no play...

The conference was really good. I wasn't expecting to here that much about blogging but there I was sitting behind the esteemed Jeff Jarvis who was blogging the conference. He's every bit as nice in person. That was for the session with Gawker Media's Nick Denton - who I was pleased to have the chance to visit with after the session. It was cool.

cover I can't stop talking about the hotel we stayed in. The Hudson was amazing! (See more here) It's one of those places - for me anyways - that you just don't want to leave. I know, I know, you're in NY - you have to leave the hotel. Don't worry, I did. But the hotel was excellent. The atmosphere was lively, with excellent funky music playing everywhere. And it was darkly lit - well, except for the accents of bright green light here and there - with great places to sit and people watch all over the lobby. And the hotel bar was a great place to start and finish an evening.

Although the $14 drinks were perhaps a little much. And some of our fellow travelers buy into the hotel's hauntedness. I did here some pretty weird noises one morning too, so maybe it is haunted. Oh, and the seared tuna in the cafeteria restaurant was excellent- in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Edwards Future?

I think he'll at least be back in 2008 for a primary or two, but has his political ship sailed? Virginia Postrel unloads: "He lost the vice presidency and didn't help the ticket at all. He gave up his Senate seat, and it went to a Republican." Ouch! He's the new Gore. What does he do for the next 3 years before the election gets cooking.

Bush Wins!

Okay. I'm about 12 hours late. But George W. Bush did it - he won realection. Now this wasn't the 10 point landslide I had been predicting it was still a solid victory. It nice to see it has already pushed Micheal Moore over the edge (and you might be able to bid on Moore's relevance at eBay too), driven the British press absolutely batty, - "How can 59,054,087 be so dumb" - made much of the left wing Bloggers even madder, and even given John Kerry his best speech/momment of the entire campaign.

To the press in Europe. Hey, how many times could we say how many dumb people live between Paris and Berlin. Who's counting - there is clearly enough dumb to go around. Speaking of counting what happened to the fired up youth vote? I guess listening to P Diddy and Ben Affleck tell them to vote sounds about as cool "Surviving Christmas" (Gigli 3). In fact, as NRO's Jim Geraghty notes, there was many hanging chads of conventional wisdom in 2004 that amounted to, well, business as usual. If I was advising the Democrats after thier 2nd straight big loss I would concentrate on why their leaders - Kerry more so than Gore - lose and become slightly more likeable (of course Gore would grow a beard and start listening to Dean and MoveOn.org but...) and give fairly good concesion speeches. What is it about losing to Bush made them better? Oh and as others have noted. Just give up on the youth votes man.

Note: I'm sorry I couldn't do any blogging down the stretch. Basically, in the past two weeks the Red Sox have won the World Series, George W. Bush has a 2nd term, and Dispatches posted not a single word. Not much of a blog then is it. Truth be told I've just been very busy at work. Hopefully blogging can resume this week. But we've heard that one before haven't we.