Banana Counting Monkey
Friday, May 17, 2002:
Attack of the Clones
Took the day off from Real Life yesterday and went with the rest of the Monkey Circle to see Attack of the Clones at the Colossus Theatre. Two shows, 330pm and 7pm. Didn't dress up as Yoda or anything else Star Wars, but that's more out of lack of time to assemble a decent Dark Jedi outfit. (Why be good? Good is dumb.) Yes, I am a Geek, and proud of it. I'm having cards made up so I can say i'm a card-carrying Geek. (no, not really.)
Anyway, I'll make general comments, and then spoil ever last dammed thing about the movie.
First, only one space battle? I feel cheated.
The fighting was great. Lucas seems to be trying to make each lightsabre duel a very different style from the previous ones.
The dialogue. Ah, the dialogue. Wood. Pure oak. Don't they use contractions in a galaxy far, far away? It's okay for people to say "we can't" instead of "we cannot", especially when discussing emotional issues. In that context, "we cannot" just sounds....wrong.
Anakin Skywalker is an annoying prat. Haydensen does a great job of the acting, it's just that Anakin Skywalker really isn't very likeable. Do the Jedi teach nothing of "personal responsibility"? Well, Lucas, does live in California. Draw your own conclusions as to whether he picked up some of the entertainment industry's mindset.
The romance felt incredibly forced. Really, really forced. There's romantic tension between two people that can build and you can feel it by just observing it, and then there's just tension. Han and Leia had the first in Sw IV-VI, Anakin and Padme have the second.
Speaking of which, Natalie Portman. Very nice, very, very nice, perhaps I'm just being jealous.
I see that Mr. DenBeste has taken George to task over the combat tactics employed in Attack. (Spoiler) I agree with him about the restrictions that George has imposed on himself with his first trilogy. One thing I find really unnecessary is Lucas' trying to have everything in the later movies have root in the new ones. Fine, showing Boba Fett's origin is alright, but oh, let's show where the Death Star came from too. That was a bit too much for me.
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Collapse of the Left?
Andrew Sullivan, noting the recent discontent and voting against the elitist parties of the intellectual consensus concludes that the Euro-left is collapsing. (Thurs 16th entry)
I disagree. In Canada, we've had the Reform party (now renamed the Canadian Alliance) win official opposition status despite a media smear campaign similar to that waged against Fortuyn. (Headline of Maclean's Magazine "How Scary?" with a picture of the Reform leader of the time, Stockwell Day). The Alliance has been the opposition for nearly a decade now and shows little sign of being able to break the Liberal party's (the main party of the intellectual consensus in Canada) grip on power. Voters may register their discontent by voting for new parties which do not support the leftist approach, but there's still a long way from gaining seats and opposition status to actually winning power. I think what we're seeing here is a slight pushing back of the euro left, but by no means a collapse. The collapse will only be apparent in retrospective once free-market/pro freedom/ individual rights parties are in power.
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I see the VodkaPundit is back, and detailing his hassles with the new improved airport security processes. This seems to have opened a vein of public discontent, as many people are pouring out their hearts at length about their own experiences in his comments section.
Well, my trip from Toronto's Pearson Airport to Punta Cana was very uneventful security wise. Nothing has changed post Sept 11th! Same questions, same dumping pockets into tray and getting my bag scanned. No greater number of security personnel, nada, zilch. The complacency is truly comforting. Ah well, thank goodness we don't have any terrorists in Canada. Papa Jean tells us so. [Sarcasm off]
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$0.6471 USD, Up 0.0034 USD
Wow. Nearly 65 cents US. I'm impressed.
I've been down on the Canadian dollar ever since starting this blog. I guess this is the time I'm supposed to admit I'm wrong and be proud of our dollar.
I've been watching. It's the USD that is falling relative to other currencies. If I'd seen the CDN strengthening relative to the USD and other currencies staying the same w.r.t the USD, I'd be more optimistic.
For the last year an a half, I've watched Nortel Networks stock go from $120 CDN (sept 2000) to close today at $4.35 today. I've watched the incredible optimism whenever Nortel rallied and made back some of its losses. "It can't go any lower: it's Nortel!" has been the refrain that I heard from clients at $100, $90, $80, $70, $60, $40, $30, $25, $20, $25, $15, $12, $10, $8, $7, $6, $5 and now $4. One thing I learned from this is that the prevailing trend continues until there is a serious change to make things turn in a real sustained manner. Rallies are short term movements against the trend, the equivalent of breathing in before exhaling. Nothing has changed in Canada economically. The government is still bloated beyond belief [ I met a woman who works in the Employment Insurance office in Winnipeg in the airport while on vacation. She mentioned how she had 2.5 hours of paid breaks a day, and basically spent her time doing nearly nothing.] The taxes remain high and the nation is still devoted to sheltering inefficient industries that have long past their ability to be self sustaining. The dollar will resume it's fall soon enough.
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CNN: NumbSkull News
While down in the DR last week, my only source of news was CNN. (No, I don't want your pity. Stop that.) I'd stopped reading cnn.com a long time ago out of general annoyance with their coverage, but never really watched CNN and made a judgement of it. Well, the jury is in, and the blood pressure is up.
First, during the standoff at the Church of the Nativity, I began to be amazed at the things the reporters would say with absolutely no conscious reflection on what they were saying. One reporter detailed that the final holdup on a deal regarding the final 13 terrorists holded up the the church was that Arafat was insisting that their rifles belonged to the PA. What? Wait a minute! Back up! Reporter starts focusing on the Israeli intransigence, etc, etc, etc.
Arafat said the rifles belonged to the PA. Are these terrorists that Arafat has previously claimed to have no control over? How does Arafat know that the rifles belong to the PA? Did he, perhaps, give them to these men? Why would he do that if he had no control over them? Are these rifles even legal for the PA to own given the restrictions in the Oslo accords?
Not that any of these questions would ever occur to a CNN reporter though. I can only hope that Arafat's arsenal has been reduced to the point that 13 rifles is a really big deal. It was probably just a negotiating tactic though.
Then there was the big CNN build up to Carter's visit to Cuba. I have now seen what a media blowjob looks like, and Castro was getting serviced, Carter was taking seconds. You'd have thought that earth was just about to make contact with an alien race complete with impossibly advanced super-science and only our noblest representative was advanced enough to take the bold leap to understanding and communication with this incredible nation. The amount of gushing was appaling. The lack of reflection was insane. One bright and chirpy reporter was detailing how Cuba had all of these social institutions that the US doesn't have, and detailed them enthusiastically. In particular, she detailed the Cuban "sports schools" that take children at an early age and - her word- compel them to attend. No option, compel. I sat there, slack jawed. Did she realize what she had just said? Did she understand what is meant by the word "compel". Does she care? I think she understood perfectly well, and doesn't care. Not even worth a moment of her thought. Forcing kids to study what they have an aptitude for? How noble! If only the US wasn't so wasteful! Was the attitude that came across.
My only consolation is that if CNN's coverage was bad and spiked my blood pressure, then the CBC's coverage would have given me a heart attack.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2002:
What I learned in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Women like to lead. As a matter of fact, they refuse to do anything else.
The featured drink at a separate table in the lobby bar is incredibly weak. One can drink several of them in rapid succession expecting to get drunk and just end up sitting there waiting for it to hit. And sitting, and waiting until realizing that because it's all inclusive you don't even have the satisfaction of demanding your money back.
Presidente beer is unelectable by any standard, even american standards.
Americans are the friendliest people in the world.
Even a really good cigar can clear a bar in under two minutes.
Airport PA systems are designed to be unintelligible.
A bag of Doritos costs the equivalent of $6.60 cdn or $4 USD.
There's nothing like the feeling of warm surf washing over your feet and the sand sliding out from underneath them as you bask in 30C sunshine.
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It's not always true that "you get what you pay for", however it is true that you never get more than what you pay for.
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