February 07, 2007

Wednesday is Poetry to Kick Ass By Day: Robert Burns

My beloved Caps are in a slump. Tonight they were listless and slow, and lost in a shootout to a shitty team...again. Clearly, they need some poetry to stir their blood, and who better to do it than Robert Burns?

Besides, annika and I both missed his birthday last month...January 25.

Robert Bruce's March To Bannockburn (1793)

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power-
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland's King and Law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa',
Let him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die!

Posted by: Victor at 12:00 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 204 words, total size 1 kb.

February 06, 2007

The Second Annual AJFF: Elizabeth Taylor, Part One

As promised, we begin our tour of Elizabeth Taylor in the 60s. I might just as easily have called it Elizabeth Taylor, the Richard Burton years. She and Richard were the Brangelina of their day, and they made nine movies together during that decade.


Taylor and Burton began their affair during the filming of Cleopatra, while they were both married to someone else. Today we'll take a look at their second movie together, released the same year as Cleopatra.

The V.I.P.s, 1963

A movie poster for The V.I.P.s promises:

ELIZABETH TAYLOR... and RICHARD BURTON... in a story about... that exciting chemistry: man and woman! The emotions... are measured... in megatons!
The copy is deceptive, because V.I.Ps is really an ensemble film. If you count up all the Academy Awards owned by members of the cast, the total comes to six. Taylor won two, Maggie Smith won two, Margaret Rutherford won one (for The V.I.P.s) and Orson Welles won an honorary Oscar. That's not to mention Richard Burton's seven Oscar nominations (he never won).

Despite its dream-team cast, the movie is not another Ishtar. There are some really good performances, most notably Louis Jourdan's as Elizabeth Taylor's paramour.


Taylor does what she can with a script that assigned her the least interesting character. Her performance is subtle, and as usual she conveys as much with her eyes and a tilt of the head as she does with her lines. But Jourdan's character is the one we get to know best. It's a love triangle story. Jourdan is the playboy gambler who has stolen Elizabeth Taylor away from her rich husband, Richard Burton. Interestingly, at that time, Burton was in the process of stealing Taylor away from Eddie Fisher.

The other plot lines involve Rod Taylor as a charming but unlucky Australian businessman and Maggie Smith plays his girl Friday, who's secretly in love with him. Orson Welles plays a characature of a film director, who tries various schemes in order to dodge the onerous British tax system. Welles's storyline is intended to be comic relief, but ends up being totally forgettable. Welles was in the middle of his second European exile, and perhaps he needed the money.

Since the movie centers loosely around a transatlantic airline flight, it's fun to see a romanticized version of passenger air service, Fifties style. In the movie, BOAC assigns a special guy just to take care of the first class passengers. When the flight is delayed, they all get luxury suites in the BOAC hotel, and a car to pick them up in the morning. Nice.


But even back then, there were nasty flight attendants. Here's how Margaret Rutherford as a disheveled, pill popping duchess dealt with one impudent stewardess:

Duchess: Conductress... Conductress!

Stewardess: (coolly) Did someone call something?

Duchess: Yes dear, I did. Will you please put this thing in the hold.

Stewardess: In the hold?

Duchess: Well, wherever you do put luggage that isn't wanted on the voyage.

Stewardess: If you had wanted this with your other luggage, you should've thought of that earlier, shouldn't you've?

Duchess: (regally) If that is a question to me personally, yes. If it is a general comment on human behaviour, it is an extremely unoriginal one, and hardly worth making. Kindly dispose of this hatbox.

Stewardess: But I have no room.

Duchess: Well then, you must make room, mustn't you dear.

Rutherford's character has some really funny lines, but giving her an Academy Award for that tiny part reminds me of Jack Palance's Oscar.

Maggie Smith, whom I love, and whom you probably know best as Professor McGonagall of Gryffindor House, is wasted in The V.I.P.s. If you want to see how wonderful an actress she is, do rent The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie right away.

I gave The V.I.P.s a 3 out of 5 on the Neflix scale: "liked it." Put it on your movie watching queue only if you're a serious ET/RB fan, which I hope you will be by the end of this film festival. But before I leave you, I want you to look at the chair in this next screencap closely.


Strawman is probably the only one who may recognize it as a Poul Kjærholm design (at least a knockoff). When I was in Denmark last summer, I had the pleasure of seeing a Kjærholm exhibit at the Louisiana museum on the east coast of Sjælland. I totally want that chair.

Posted by: annika at 11:23 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 752 words, total size 5 kb.

Ronald Reagan Day

Don't forget today is the birthday of my great hero, Ronald Reagan.

He was also Maggie's hero.

via Good Lt at Jawa

Posted by: annika at 01:40 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 28 words, total size 1 kb.

February 05, 2007

Did You Hear About The Crazy Astronaut?


This is some pretty wild shit.

An astronaut drove 900 miles and donned a disguise to confront a woman she believed was her rival for the affections of a space shuttle pilot, police said. She was arrested Monday and charged with attempted kidnapping and other counts.

U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak, 43, who flew last July on a shuttle mission to the international space station, was also charged with attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery. She was denied bail.

. . .

Police said Nowak drove from her home in Houston to the Orlando International Airport to confront Colleen Shipman.

Nowak believed Shipman was romantically involved with Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, a pilot during space shuttle Discovery's trip to the space station last December, police said.

Nowak told police that her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship," according to an arrest affidavit. Police officers recovered a love letter to Oefelein in her car.

. . .

When she found out that Shipman was flying to Orlando from Houston, Nowak decided to confront her, according to the arrest affidavit. Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers so she wouldn't have to stop to urinate, authorities said.

Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.

Dressed in a wig and a trench coat, Nowak boarded an airport bus that Shipman took to her car in an airport parking lot. Shipman told police she noticed someone following her, hurried inside the car and locked the doors, according to the arrest affidavit.

Nowak rapped on the window, tried to open the car door and asked for a ride. Shipman refused but rolled down the car window a few inches when Nowak started crying. Nowak then sprayed a chemical into Shipman's car, the affidavit said.

Shipman drove to the parking lot booth, and the police were called.

During a check of the parking lot, an officer followed Nowak and watched her throw away a bag containing the wig and BB gun. They also found a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, $600 and garbage bags inside a bag Nowak was carrying when she was arrested, authorities said.

Inside Nowak's vehicle, which was parked at a nearby motel, authorities uncovered a pepper spray package, an unused BB-gun cartridge, latex gloves and e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein. They also found a letter "that indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein," an opened package for a buck knife, Shipman's home address and hand written directions to the address, the arrest affidavit said.

Police said Nowak told them that she only wanted to scare Shipman into talking to her about her relationship with Oefelein and didn't want to harm her physically.

"If you were just going to talk to someone, I don't know that you would need a wig, a trench coat, an air cartridge BB gun and pepper spray," said Sgt. Barbara Jones, a spokeswoman for the Orlando Police Department. "It's just really a very sad case. ... Now she ends up finding herself on the other side of the law with some very serious charges."

If convicted of attempted kidnapping, Nowak could face a maximum of life in prison.

Her first mistake was going to Nick Nolte's stylist before the arrest.

Posted by: annika at 10:11 PM | Comments (17) | Add Comment
Post contains 562 words, total size 4 kb.

Rudy Is In

You may have sensed that I am a fan of Rudy Giuliani. While I haven't yet decided who I'm going to support, Rudy definitely makes the short list. And it's a very short list. I've already done the math on him, and nobody has yet debunked my theory. In fact, I'm the only one I've ever heard talking about the New York factor.

In a nutshell, my theory is this: People say Rudy is vulnerable on social issues, meaning he won't win the Red States. But people forget that he has a serious shot at winning New York, even against Hillary. And if Rudy wins NY's 31 electoral votes, he can pretty much thumb his nose at the South and still win the presidency. And I say, if he wins NY, he'll probably get NJ, and possibly PA and CT, too. Let me tell you, that's a scenario that scares the hell out of a lot of people. That's why no one's talking about it.

Now that Rudy's all but announced, you're going to hear a lot of people repeating the same mantra: "He's too liberal to win the nomination." Don't you believe it. The media wants you to believe it, because they know how formidable he really is. They've seen the polling. The "three-G"* conservatives want you to believe it too, because Rudy gives them nightmares.

But before you give in to the anti-hype, read this article in City Journal, entitled "Yes, Rudy Giuliani Is a Conservative". You may not come away completely convinced, but at least you'll know he's not the antichrist, as some want you to believe.

He cleaned up New York when the rest of the world had written it off. Ask any New Yorker. Pre-Giuliani, you took your life into your hands walking in the park after dark, or just riding the subway. Broadway was a shithole. There used to be certain neighborhoods where nobody wanted to live, that are now impossible to afford. New York had a genuine Renaissance in the 1990's and it was thanks to Rudy Giuliani. New Yorkers won't forget this.

Of course Rudy led that Renaissance in the face of withering criticism from the left. He made enemies, and as his tenure was winding down, his enemies seemed to have gotten to him. The Diallo shooting didn't help, either. But then came 9/11, and people saw again that this man was a courageous, principled and born leader. Flawed yes, but that's only a reminder that he's human like all of us. Rudy's personal problems are not going to dissuade New Yorkers from supporting him. They voted overwhelmingly for Clinton too.

Don't forget also that Giuliani is an amazing speaker. He gave the best speech at the 2004 Republican Convention. His style is spontaneous, populist, and deceptively effective. While Zell Miller fired up the base and Schwarzenegger won over the pundits, Rudy's speech was the most articulate defense of the War on Terror that has ever been given to a national audience.

Giuliani has also positioned himself well, by staying out of the administration. To move forward, he will need to come up with an approach to the Iraq mess that navigates the gulf between his unequivocal support for the War and the subsequent truth that Bush and Company have fucked it all up. On that issue he may lose ground to McCain, who has also been unwavering in his belief the Iraq was the right thing to do, while at the same time he's never thought we were doing it right.

In a sense, all Republican candidates except for Hagel are hamstrung by the success or failure of the President's Surge plan. No pro-war Republican will be elected on a victory platform if victory isn't within sight. Mark my words, if the Surge fails to show progress within the next 12 months, we will have a Democratic president in 2009. I think McCain and Giuliani have the best chance of convincing independent voters to stay the course in Iraq, but ultimately I think they'd lose to a cut-and-run Democrat if we don't start winning soon.

Finally, back to Giuliani's social liberal weaknesses. To those who don't like Rudy because he's pro gay marriage, I say where have you been? Gay marriage is here. It's a reality. The only way to put that genie back in the bottle is by a Constitutional Amendment, and good luck with that one. Same goes for abortion, and I'm about as far to the right on the abortion issue as it is possible to be. Rudy does worry me about gun rights, but he made a good first step at winning my confidence two days ago when he said:

I think those are the kinds of justices I would appoint - Scalia, Alito and Roberts. If you can find anybody as good as that, you are very, very fortunate.
I'll keep watching. But as it stands now, Rudy should be the front-runner and I'm skeptical of any polls that don't have him at or near the top. His opponents in both parties will be gunning for him now. Rudy's never been shy about fighting back, so it should be a very interesting campaign whatever happens.

* Guns, gays and God.

Posted by: annika at 08:11 PM | Comments (19) | Add Comment
Post contains 880 words, total size 5 kb.

Cold Blast Pushes Global Warming Off The Front Page

The words "Global" and "Warming" were conspicuously absent from tonight's NBC Nightly News, I'm here to tell you.

The good news, if there is any, about what's being called the Midwest Cold Blast, or alternately, the Cold Snap, is that we won't be lectured about Global Warming again for at least another week.

Posted by: annika at 07:48 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 71 words, total size 1 kb.

February 02, 2007

Ground Hog Day Haiku

phil says early spring
biden says obama's clean
long live barbaro

Posted by: annika at 08:40 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 19 words, total size 1 kb.

<< Page 2 of 2 >>
62kb generated in CPU 0.13, elapsed 0.2892 seconds.
67 queries taking 0.1849 seconds, 230 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.