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Weblog Archives Added
Saturday, April 30, 2005 - 3:20pm cst:

A new addition to the home page is the Archives link for all these weblog comments of mine. The archive is updated every two weeks, so that's where I put the entries from the first half of this month. I'm still creating all this in Dreamweaver (instead of the usual blogging software), so I'm still making changes as the need arises.

I've also added the now-standard static links to each entry, so if you read something that you wanted to pass along to friends, you could just sent them that link. Again, it's all standard issue for weblogs.


Doctor Who Episode 5 - Dalek
Saturday, April 30, 2005 - 3:10pm cst:

This week sees the return of those oddly lovable pepperpots - the Daleks! What new cheap gimmicks will the writers come up with to keep these cheesy '60s robot-monsters fun? Expect to see at least one "float up the staits" gag, especially since few viewers watched Classic Who's "Rememberance of the Daleks" from 1988. Hint: it's out on DVD.


Dream on Silly Dreamer
Friday, April 29, 2005 - 2:45pm cst:

I received a letter today from Merry Clingen, who was one of the former Disney animators profiled in the documentary Dream On, Silly Dreamer. She offers some examples of Disney's reckless spending that spiked the budgets of their animated films, which resulted in rediculous numbers (e.g. $150 million for Treasure Planet).

So thanks, Merry, for the letter. I'll try to print it here next weeks. Or maybe I should hang on to it for that Ghibli book I'm telling myself to write.


So Let Me Get This Straight
Friday, April 29, 2005 - 8:00am cst:

I missed the Bush press conference last night, so let me see if I have this right. The President's plan to save Social Security is to, let's see...cut everyone's benefits?

Please tell me Bush fell off the wagon. It really would make me feel safer to blame all of this on Jack Daniels.


Final Day at Bank Training Classes
Thursday, April 28, 2005 - 2:00pm cst:

Today is my final day of classes for the new bank job. It's been a lot of fun and the pace has been fairly quick. This is largely because this current class has only two students! Wierd. Thankfully, I was graced with a terrific classmate named Maria; she has to brave an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic to be here.

So my thanks to everyone who helped make this possible. Now I'm off to TCF Bank, where my miserable sales skills will end my career, bankrupt Minnesota's banking industry, and derail the economy. But that's okay, because what I really want to do is direct.


Speculation on Nintendo Revolution
Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - 1:00am cst:

A weblog writer at BrokenSaints.com has some interesting details regarding Nintendo's upcoming Revolution console.

Some of the features Nintendo may be looking to integrate include gyroscoptic control, touchscreen integration, and wireless technology. Interesting so far, but certainly not revolutionary. The real revolution may be it's display:

Okay. No major revelations there, but I bet its got you thinking about future game design and interactive potential, yes? Yes…but for me, the first twinge of excitement regarding this machine didn’t come until the final pieces of the long-rumoured DISPLAY puzzle fell into place:

- the IGN boys posted this regarding a patent for Nintendo’s upcoming display technology, which I linked to a few days ago. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to glean that this conceptually portrays a form of 3D image projection.

- at a major film conference called ShoWest just last month, a panel featuring George Lucus, Robert Zemekis, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, and a satellite feed from Peter Jackson has studio reps, journalists, and theatre owners seriously jazzed about their plans to integrate cheap digital stereoscopic 3D (like recent IMAX features or the oldschool Captain EO experience at Epcot) into ALL major chains by 2007. Lucas even showed several minutes of the original STAR WARS with remapped visuals that popped off the screen and hovered in front of audience members. When an agent friend of mine was chatting with Rodriguez (there to pump Sin City and discuss his experiences with Spy Kids 3D), he mentioned how they were aware of a game machine beating them to the mainstream 3D market.

- the next day, I contacted another strangely influential industry pal/pundit and shared my thesis purely for fun’s sake (and perhaps some extremely lame bragging rights). The final shiny block of tetrisy knowledge slid into place when he excitedly shared the following - that the Big N had shown a real-time 3D add-on for Gamecube behind closed doors…AT LAST YEAR’S E3. It has since gone MIA. This is the sound of four rows dropping.

Again, please don't treat these as solid facts or gospel truth. But Nintendo is seeking to rattle the game industry; they simply cannot survive in the current business model. Is this how they plan to rewrite the rules? And, more importantly, could such an idea prove successful? Questions, questions.


CIA's Final Report: No WMD's
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 12:00am cst:

Add this final report to all the others:

“After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,” wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.

“As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible.”

I don't gloat about any of this. I would give anything to have wrong about Iraq's WMD, just as I would give anything to bring back all the dead and wounded. But the fact remains that the Bush administration either demonstrated horrible incompetence with Iraqi intelligence, or they lied to us.

Personally, I would argue the latter. But at this point, it's largely academic; Iraq is a damn rotten mess, with no real end in sight, and we're stuck with that. And I honestly don't know when this will end. I do know that if the powers that be have their way, we will never leave Iraq. Ever. Think about that.


Get Firefox
Monday, April 25, 2005 - 8:00am cst:

Frustrated with Internet Explorer? You should be. It's a lousy train wreck. Switch to Firefox. I've been using it for several months, and it's infinitely superior in every way. Firefox rocks.

I've added a Firefox button, so you can download the Mozilla browser. Oh, and Mozilla won't sell you out to the fundamentalist right, unlike some other companies (cough).


Gannon-Guckert Given Day Passes For 2 Years
Monday, April 25, 2005 - 12:35am cst:

Well, now this is interesting. According to recently-released FOIA documents, Jeff Gannon-Guckert-What's-his-name visited the White House 200 times (over a two-year period) with a day pass. More than a little unusual, bit this is par for the course when it comes to Gannon-Guckert.

It gets even more interesting:

Guckert made more than three dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One - which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.

America Blog has more to read, as well as the FOIA documents so you can read for yourselves. Just how more surreal can this whole affair become? I suppose it would be asking too much for the press to start investigating the whole G-G mess, but somewhere in the back of my mind I remain an optimist.


Top Ten Movies for May 2005
Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 8:46pm cst:

Oops! D'oh! How could you let me forget about this column? Nice big update of movies and DVD's to hunt down and enjoy.


Doctor Who Episode 5 - World War III
Sunday, April 24, 2005 - 4:30pm cst:

The second half of the two-part story, featuring ugly green aliens that have infiltrated the British government. Promises to be a lot of fun. I haven't watched yet, so don't spoil any surprises for me. Next week: Daleks!


FBI Protects Bin Laden's Right to Privacy
Thusday, April 21, 2005 - 12:20am cst:

This is very bad. Very, very bad. Some very serious questions about Bin Laden have gone unanswered for three and a half years. It's time we got some answers from this White House.

In a September 24, 2003 declassified “Secret” FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”


Howl's Moving Castle US Trailer
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - 11:05pm cst:

Ain't-it-Cool News has posted the American-release trailer for Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle. We have to endure the annoying simple-plot narrator that appears in all previews, but the movie looks absolutely terrific.

Disney is set to release Howl's on June 10, including both dubbed and subtitled versions. Howl's is a runaway success in Japan (second only to The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro in grosses) and is expected to draw over $500 million worldwide. Disney should be commended for giving Miyazaki's latest the treatment and care it deserves (now if Disney's theatrical run of Nausicaa includes subtitles, I'll really be happy).

Looking at the release schedule, I'll stick my neck out and say this should be the summer's best movie and an almost certain shoo-in for an Oscar.


Ann Coulter, or That Wacky Liberal Media
Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - 1:10pm cst:

On the more extreme end of the GOP, we find Ann Coulter, who, for some baffling reason, has been given star treatment with a cover spread in Time. This, to me at least, is another example of the decline and fall of mainstream American journalism. I don't object to her being profiled in Time, but I will object to a willfull bending of facts in the service of playing nice with the extremist right.

Ann Coulter is a shining example of the Republican Party's decent into extremism and bomb-throwing propaganda. Her penchant for inflammatory comments and false assertions would be easily dismissed as comedy if she weren't always being carted out on Fox News and other cable news channels. I'm half-expecting her to pull off the mask and reveal herself to be Andy Kaufman.

But whether or not Coulter really believes Tim McVeigh should have bombed the New York Times building, or that John Walker Lindh should have be executed "in order to physically intimidate liberals" is beside the point. The point is that she is willing to employ violent, almost fascistic rhetoric to silence any dissent or criticism. This is dangerous, not only to our democracy but also to us personally. We've seen how threatening rhetoric against judges in wake of the Terri Schiavo affair can spur violence against judges.

Someone who isn't too bright may just get it in his head that some judge, government official or "liberal" deserves what flamethrowers like Ann Coulter are spewing. We've seen that very thing happen ten years ago this week in Oaklahoma. And the language of violence has only continued to seep into mainstream conservatism. Sooner or later something is going to explode. Again.

Time Magazine should be ashamed of themselves. At long last, have they no sense of decency? Send them a letter and tell them you feel the same.

Think Progress also has a short sampling of Coulter's distortions and lies, which is a good place to start your own researching. Dewa mata.


God Bless Sen. Voinovich
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 11:50pm cst:

I've been following the nomination of John Bolton to Ambassador to the UN on and off (thanks largely to my training at my new bank job), another dispiriting pick from the Bush administration. I'm assuming you already know about this man and his disdain for the UN, so I won't bother with the long speeches.

The Democrats are, thankfully, lined up in opposition, but in order to keep the hearings in committee, we needed a brave Republican, an honest Republican, to step forward. It seems earlier today that Republican has arrived in the form of Sen. Voinovich.

I clearly have no love for this President or his allies, but I also have no patience for blind party loyalty. If America is going to function as a healthy democracy, it needs decent Republicans who aren't going to be swayed by the party's continuing decline into extremism. Voinovich's opposition to the Bolton nomination is a step towards that sanity.

You know things are bad when Richard Nixon is considered a flaming liberal in comparison to today's GOP. So my thanks to Voinovich, Hagel, McCain, and other such Republicans.


44% Positive, 56% Negative
Monday, April 18, 2005 - 1:45 pm cst:

Bush's approval ratings continue to fall, thanks to the Shiavo fiasco and his attempts to end Social Security. I've assumed for some time that Bush's numbers wouldn't drop far below 50 percent, but it seems voters are (finally) paying some attention.

So does this mean we're going to bomb another country?


That Oh-So Liberal Time Magazine
Monday, April 18, 2005 - 1:35 pm cst:

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. Par for the course.


Doctor Who Episode 4 - Aliens of London
Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 7:05pm cst:

The first of a two-part story. I'll comment after viewing.

Update (Tuesday): Oops, forgot. I think this was the best episode of the new series yet, full of modern wit and depth of characters. The monsters are scary and slightly cheesy, and the cliffhanger is Doctor Who all the way. Great fun from a show that doesn't take itself too seriously (the bane of most modern sci-fi).

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