March 28, 2018

Otequay of the Ayday

Yes, there were a fair number of funny lines. But forget writing, acting, directing, and the rest, it was positively thrilling to see something fictional transpiring on the television screen that reflected the half of America that has been so consistently and deliberately hidden from view or reviled by Hollywood. You almost couldn't believe your eyes. Was this actually happening? When were Matt Damon or George Clooney going to walk in to set these people to rights? It had to be coming after the commercial. But it didn't.

The show reminded me of how much I liked the real "Deplorables" while covering the presidential campaign. They were the furthest thing from the caricature promulgated by Obama, Hillary, and other elites, but kind and decent people with normal struggles as portrayed in this new Roseanne series. Not that the producer-star doesn't give the other side their innings. Her sister Jackie, who comes back as a life coach in a "Nasty Woman" sweatshirt, has her moments and is usually shown sympathetically, if a little goofily, in the show.

Everyone's a bit goofy -- and that's the point. You're struck by how long it's been since people in our society have been able to talk to each other in something resembling a civil manner -- and maybe even poke fun at their own foibles and opinions. If only they could be like they are on the Roseanne show, quirks and all.

Roger Simon on the premiere of the resurrected "Rosanne" show.

Now I'm sorry I missed it!


From a Q&A with the show's producer:

How did it develop that Roseanne was a Trump supporter?
When one of my agents called me to bring up me going back on the show, the way he pitched it was "Roseanne in the time of Trump." Originally I thought, like everybody else, that she would not be a supporter of Trump. But the moment we got in the writers' room with Roseanne, she really wanted to be a supporter of Trump, not because she is one herself, but there are a lot of people in the Midwest who voted for him. We had debates and discussions. [Writer] Dave Kaplan and I were two of the people who had least understood that there are people who voted for him who aren't misogynists or racists and who felt betrayed by other administrations. They really believed Trump was going to do something for them. It made sense when we really talked about it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2017

Movie Review Corner

I may post this on Facebook. But I wanted to let my freak flag fly a bit.

I saw "Beauty and the Beast" today. In a theater, just like other people do sometimes. I've been to theatres to see "Serenity" and the "Atlas Shrugged" -- oh, and Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" but I rarely, rarely go. I saw the trailer for BATB and thought I wanted to see that on the big screen. I snuck off to a 10:30 am showing on my day off.

I bet all you parents have seen it seven times already, but holy freaking cow! That is such a masterpiece I an just starting to come down.

I'll rant a little bit for art: the film is lush and verdant. The acting, sound, music, effects, and cinematography are beyond parallel. But I come hear to praise Ricardo and Smith, and all modernity.

What a gift to live in a time of such wealth that $160 Million can be frittered away on middlebrow entertainment. I loved the Whedon "Much Ado.." It remains a work of great genius. And I believe they spent around $749.50 on it. Well, plus catering.

BATB is a $160,000,000 movie. Roaming through the woods, they'll look down an untaken pathway. It will be five seconds of film and you can guess they spent a million.

All the writers and musicians and costume designers and computer animators get to do what they love and still eat (Sister dagny once reminded me to never forget the animal trainers -- so I shan't!)

At the end of the day, they have an enthralling masterpiece which I suspect will make magnitudes more for Disney and her shareholders.

How can we not be gobsmacked with awe?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:29 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'd give it 3 stars; very respectable, but I just don't like big-hollywood production with big names who can't necessarily sing. None of the songs were botched or unpleasant mind you, but were not of Disney quality. I did enjoy watching Hermione jump into a new roll, but can't say the story really pushed any new boundaries.

An example of one where everyone really, really, could sing (thereby I _loved_ it) was "Pitch Perfect." Other examples of what irked me here are "Evita" and "Chicago."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 3, 2017 1:09 AM
But jk thinks:

Huh. De Gustibus non est Disputandum I guess.

Of your list, I have only seen Chicago -- which I liked well enough. What is funny is that both the lovely bride and I thought Disney had captured the classic musical vibe and integrated it into modern CGI filmmaking and animation.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2017 10:18 AM

March 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Americans' voluntary contributions to arts organizations ("arts/culture/humanities" institutions reaped $17 billion in 2015) dwarf the NEA's subventions, which would be replaced if those who actually use the organizations -- many of them supported by state- and local-government arts councils -- are as enthusiastic about them as they claim to be. The idea that the arts will wither away if the NEA goes away is risible. Distilled to its essence, the argument for the NEA is: Art is a Good Thing, therefore a government subsidy for it is a Good Deed. To appreciate the non sequitur, substitute "macaroni and cheese" for "art."-- George Will
Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

You mean, a fundamental human right, like Big Bird?

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2017 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Something like that.

And "Democracy NOW!"

Posted by: johngalt at March 16, 2017 6:48 PM
But dagny thinks:

Hey if art is a fundamental human right, I'm pretty sure my vaulting is an art. And there's a beautiful Oldenburg yearling colt up in Canada and hes only 11K. Pretty sure we NEED that colt. :-)

Posted by: dagny at March 17, 2017 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh, and four or five more like him no doubt.


"Need" is much different in the eye of the holder than the eye of the want-er.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2017 3:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I found an article that found the salaries of the NPR folks we're so used to hearing (even me, who stopped listening to NPR ages ago).
Steve Inskeep: $355k base
Michelle Norris: $265k
Robert Siegel: $322 in 2010-2011.

Cry me a river over budget cuts, just don't get the shoes wet! I'll post that to FB when their "number" hits the news which will be no-doubt faithfully parroted by my liberal friends.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 17, 2017 4:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously? Those are like POTUS level salaries. (Or mayors of small California towns.) What gives?

Posted by: johngalt at March 18, 2017 5:22 PM

January 5, 2017

Reality Tee Vee Latest Gambit

Shared without comment.

Well, now that the video has been censored it seems that commentary is the only thing left. I'll gyp that too:

The show was written by directors Heydon Prowse and Jolyon Rubinstein, who defended their satire and said it was targeting online grooming that had enticed thousands to join ISIS.

"It is important not to pull your punches in satire," Prowse said in a statement. "You have to be fearless or it undermines your credibility. You can't go after [former Prime Minister] David Cameron for five years like we did and not go after ISIS."

The BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hat Trick Productions, which produced the show, sent Prowse's statement.

"I support and defend the right to criticise and satirize events like this," Oz Katerji, a journalist, told the BBC. "To be honest, I think this is about two years late."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Disturbing to see this pulled. The hacklers' veto stands.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2017 6:04 PM

September 17, 2016

Do you hear the people sing?

In yesterday's 'Les Deplorables' post the "soundtrack" I linked was one I chose. I hadn't read far enough into the article (the second sentence, as it turned out) to learn that it was the same song the Trump campaign selected.

He took the stage, introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the 'Les Mis' anthem 'Do You Hear the People Sing' blasted through loudspeakers.

The article includes a brief video of the introduction, but it only captures the end of the intro and the beginning of the speech. I am so moved by the synergy of the spectacle I am left only to attempt a recreation of it myself.

This moment is reminiscent of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster, created by a supporter and then going viral. The 'Les Deplorables' imagery was created by pro-Trump blogger Keln, whose blog post on its creation and adoption features a commenter writing, "You are a genius......the trump movement has its logo."



And here is a nice version created around the video game 'Assassin's Creed.'

Some see the rebellion being against "the rich." It wasn't. It was against the aristocrats. More specifically, the monarchists.

The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection républicaine à Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.

Long live liberty.
Long live republicanism.
Long live the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.

And like Trump and his "Deplorables" the June Rebellion was largely a movement of the working class:

Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 1, 2016

Jerry Doyle, RIP

Another B5 cast member now sleeping in light: a wonderful tribute.

Posted by nanobrewer at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2016

What Game of Thrones Teaches us about TGreer.

I have missed the GoT phenomenon, though I know many who have not been so fortunate.

Blog friend tg has written a superb piece which he advertised on Facebook as "easily the harshest, least charitable, and most judgmental thing I have ever written on the internet." And, as I say in my lesser charitable, harsher and more judgemental posts: "we'll just put him down as a 'no' then."

Readers who interact with me on other forums, comment threads, or e-mail groups where discussion of American pop culture are par for course are aware of how much I despise Game of Thrones, the books that inspired it, and the adulatory sub-culture that has sprouted up around it. It should not be surprising to find that I agree wholeheartedly with the tenor of all of Mr. Elkus's arguments, and the substance of most of them. Elkus's piece is long and far-ranging, and I recommend you read all of it. His thoughts on Game of Throne's invasion of American political rhetoric and culture--especially our inability to discuss atrocities that are occurring in the real world without dumbing them down to a series of Game of Thrones memes--is particularly on point.

I live in a glass house plastered in Buffy, Angel, and Firefly posters, so I am tempted to withhold judgement; I have not seen any GoT and confess to a certain coolness to the whole genre of modern edgy dramas including even superbly crafted ones like Breaking Bad and the US version of House of Cards. You know where to send the hate mail.

The whole post is excellent, but the great hook here from our well-read blog buddy was this challenge to contextualize these stories with reality.

This is a blog about history, politics, and strategy. My field of expertise is East Asian history--but more specifically, the role that war and empire has played in its history. Examining the atrocities and tragedies of the past is what I do. In this line of research it is easy to forget the real cost of wars and turmoil, to reduce suffering to statistics, battle diagrams, and theoretical abstractions. I fight this temptation by reading memoirs. My rule is that I read one at least once every other month. I find a personal account of someone who lived through the worst of what human beings have done to each other so that I do not forget what abstractions in the mind of strategists become in the world of flesh and smoke. I've read dozens of them. They are accounts of soldiers, diplomats, refugees, and survivors. They do not read anything like Game of Thrones. There are powerful--even beautiful--novels like Vaddey Ratner's In the Shadow of the Banyan that depict events far more horrifying than anything that has happened in Westeros, yet somehow muster an emotional range that exceeds what Game of Thrones can offer. There is a realness to these books that Game of Thrones cannot hold a candle to--and when you meet those who write these kind of books you realize how insulting such a comparison is.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2016

Movie Night!!!

Some killer movie recommendations:

Poverty, Inc: an outstanding, not a quarter as polemical as it sounds, look at the failure and harm of the current, NGO foreign aid model. ThreeSourcers will weep at the universal human nature to be productive. Cheap rental or purchase from Amazon digital.

Tim's Vermeer: How, how how did I miss this? Tim Jenison is a regular guy save for three things: 1) he made enough money in the dotcom boom to pursue eccentric pastimes; 2) he is buddies with Penn & Teller, so his eccentric pastimes can be recorded in film; 3) he is bright enough to discern the method he believes that the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer used to create his paintings.

With engineering skills but no particular art skills he first recreates a copy of Vermeer's studio in a warehouse in San Antonio Texas. Then, he paints one of Vermeer's famous works. It's a stunning celebration of the great heights of humanity. Currently available om Starz®, which I have added to my Amazon account.

Trust me -- I'll refund every penny spent to anyone who is less than enthralled with either of these.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2016

Not just a football game

Super Bowl 50 is more than just "Super." It will be an epic battle between good and evil.

"Use the force, Peyton!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas, Humanity!

Beatles music joins streaming services

The deal involves rights to stream 224 songs from the original 13 studio albums released in the UK as well as "essential" collections including Past Masters.

The tracks will be made available from 24 December.


"It's a big PR catch as it helps communicate that the platforms are 'all the music in the world' - which is the value proposition of streaming services."

Well, all the music except for Adele. And Taylor Swift. And The JK Boxed Set.

UPDATE: Available now on iHeart Radio, among other places.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2015

Tejas Levantamiento! (or, "American history as reimagined by the Tea Party")

I lived in Texas once - for a year. The year was 1986, which happened to be the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas. I didn't really know what that was all about, except that Texas became a state fifty years before Colorado.

As a product of Colorado, educationally and culturally, my opinion of the Lone Star State was mediocre at best, being the source of a great influx of temporary and permanent visitation to my home state and preceding "Californicans" as the great scourge upon the Colorado countryside. Yet with age came wisdom and a new appreciation for the fiercely independent western nature of the people of Texas.

During my short residence there I did journey to the Alamo, and toured the old fort inside and out. But that's as far as my curiosity took me at the time. And so I was captivated by the early promos for History's 'Texas Rising' which said, "the Alamo wasn't the end, it was the beginning." I've now watched the first two of five episodes in this "epic series event" that aims to bring the fight for Texas independence to life.

It didn't take long for me to recognize that the portrayal of events would be unpopular in some circles. After all, the Mexicans and the Commanches "were there first." How could white men defeating those indiginous groups ever be considered "winning independence?" It's European colonialism, pure and simple, right?

"This movie isn't just bad -- the politics are dubious too," the liberal newspaper the Guardian wrote in a piece called "Texas Rising: American history as reimagined by the Tea Party." "Texas Rising is a movie that glorifies the campaigns of white settlers in land that technically belongs to Mexico and was initially settled by Native Americans. There is not an inkling of post-colonial reflection about what that means in the great scope of history. The line between good guys and bad guys is drawn as simply and thoughtlessly as it is in a backyard game of Cowboys and Indians."

But the charge of white-colonial bias fell flat during last night's segment. Portilla, one of Santa Anna's lieutenants [spoiler alert] was addressing Texian Colonel James Fannin. "You are a filthy wetback. You swam across the Sequin River, illegally. You are in my country now." Then Portilla murdered Fannin with a gunshot to the front of his head. One can almost imagine the NRA and Tea Party patches on Portillas sleeves as he parrots this modern nativist sentiment, in reverse.

Still, I am captivated. The story is compelling and the history captivating, whatever liberties may or may not be taken. It is a good background for future learning of the true history which, being from a time and place prior to internet and cloud storage, remains quite murky to this day.

And besides, not all the reviews are bad.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2015

Armchair General

I found this disturbing:

The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.

'If ISIS enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction... it will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery which we saw in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.'

But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.

These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.


Posted by JohnGalt at 6:25 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

That 130 is a beautiful sight -- unless you're the target. If we only had a Commander-in-Chief who was serious about defeating ISIS...

I do have give a shout-out to another Close Air Support vehicle that I love, though, the A-10. As much as I respect the 130, I can buy seven Warthogs for the same price, and that BRRRRRT sound of her primary weapon is nothing short of iconic. Only a complete traitor would be pushing to decommission the A-10.

My apologies for my scanty participation, by the way -- the day job has really been insistent on having my undivided attention. I've barely had the time to make a nuisance of myself on Facebook, and only during non-paying hours...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 21, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The A-10 is a great aircraft. Her forte is obliterating armored vehicles, however. "Spooky" and "Spectre" and "Ghostrider" (planned deployment in FY2017) are well suited to anti-personnel duty, in bad weather and at night, in addition to obliterating armored vehicles.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you click through for the video? It's the best I've ever seen. Not only can they visually differentiate between armed men vs. women and children, they can see weapons being carried. Collateral damage = lower.

But I'd already taken up so much column inch with the still shot I linked it rather than imbed. Never let it be said that I lack humility.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:57 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The other thing the C130-based designs have over the A-10 is "linger" time and long-range fire. It can wait anyone out, and I believe with some of it's heavier ordnance (like a 105mm cannon) it can shoot from out of earshot.... giving a whole new meaning of the old term "whispering death."

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 26, 2015 11:58 PM

April 27, 2015

I May Never Watch Anything Else

Penn Jillette on Jon Caldara's show. Magnets in the air prevented me from watching its broadcast Friday, but it is on the Intertubes:

Every minute rocks, but at 17:30:

We can out-left the Left and out-right the Right on all the stuff that people really feel. It is purely American!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

Well, I am the last guy in this galaxy to follow nb's sagacious counsel and see Interstellar. Man, I loved it. I paused it to type this quote into my iPad, but I needn't have bothered -- a trip to IMDB shows this as the top quote. And now I see it made it into nb's review as well. Worth another visit all the same:

Cooper: We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.

Great film. There are some quibble-worthy elements, but I found it refreshing to be treated to a smart film that used beauty and score for impact.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2014

"The Terrorists Have Won"

In the wake of Sony Pictures decision to mothball their movie "The Interview" in the wake of terror-like threats against movie theaters, even so far as invoking the images of 9/11 (what, are they going to fly jetliners into the Cineplex?) the punditry today has turned to criticism of Sony for "backing down" or "caving in" to terrorists.

Let's think about that for a moment...

Has this happened before?

And did it work then too?

Um hmm.

So those who lecture Sony that their decision will have a chilling effect on the movie industry should look in the mirror and ask themselves, "Did I feel the same way about Muhammad cartoons?"

Weakness in the face of those terror threats was arguably the foundation for the Sony hacking, and for the strategy the state-worshipping North Koreans chose for spiking the film about their "Dear Leader."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:42 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

They may have won, but the terrorists have at least given the incomparable David Burge some choice material for tweeting:

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 18, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at December 18, 2014 9:16 PM

December 1, 2014

Re-contacting the Contact Discussion

The first commenter in 4 days who wasn't either jk or myself was here, and the post in question is off the page. Sheesh!

Click here to revisit the commentary on 'Cry Havoc and Let Loose the "Contact" Spoilers.'

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:58 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Holiday rules are in force -- I bumped it to today. Click or just scroll down a couple...

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2014 4:17 PM

Cry Havoc -- and Let Loose the "Contact" Spoilers!

[Bumped for comment activity -- originally posted Nov 21,2014]

Party like it is 1999! JK has become the last person on the planet to see "Contact," discussed in post and comments this week.

I liked it plenty but do not plan to rank it up there with Serenity. Some of it may be the terminal 1990s-ish of it. At least it wasn't the 70s; the 90s were berry berry good to me. But the computers and President Clinton cameos jar one out of plotline immersion.

It gets three and a half stars right off the bat for location footage of the VLA -- I went to school for a year right down the road from the VLA in Socorro. Dialogue gives the location as Socorro, but I think the actual location is Magdalena.

Bonus points [seriously, we're ignoring potential spoilers in a 17-year old movie now, are we not?] for the ambiguity given to her experience. It reminded me of "Normal Again," one of my five favorite Buffy episodes. Buffy spends half the episode in a mental hospital with a kindly doctor telling her (living, happy and married) parents that she has constructed this fantastic world where she is a superhero. She spends the other half in Sunnydale fighting monsters.

I'd like to watch Contact again, but I only got a 24 hr. rental. But on first, I think they did the same admirable job of not taking sides.

There are many interesting questions asked. I think I see why it is loved and perhaps why in one case it is not. The production is good (I bet mind blowing in '97). I am on record as an anti-Sagan grouch but was not bugged by Saganism. The lovely bride thought it lacked for sympathetic characters. I think I could find twenty minutes to trim. But these are small beer in a ThreeSources review.

What did I miss?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:09 AM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'll take this:

1. An excellent story of a scientist struggling mightily against various nefarious sources (competing scientists, doubtful colleagues, speedbump bureaucrats...) that attempt to sway, thwart, divert, etc... many times over the frustrating banality of ignorance, with a sprinkling of greed and envy.

I found Ellie's character heroic, perhaps sympathetic... I could relate. I also found Foster appealing back then, which surely helped. It was a mystery and an adventure rolled into one, with a great script. No real villain to wrap your bile around: brilliant! The premature death of her father wasn't played up for sympathy but became integral to the story.

2. I also found the deist sub-theme probing and intelligent, with Joss posing some worthwhile questions to both Ellie's atheism and the storefront, instant-conversion of the others'. It also fed the story (well, a dramatic and fun diversion really), by allowing Joss to play spoiler and Drumlin (T.Skerrit) to show a conniving side - and the mass of agnostics to find a way to hang their risk-aversion hats on (and perhaps position themselves for payoff?).

3. The science sure seemed solid (which helped me relate to Ellie), and the hoopla - bad and good - around the discovery of ET intelligence felt just right.

4. The inclusion of historical figures: digitized Clinton, Leno, King, etc... touched me. Sorry if it seemed Passe to others after Forrest Gump.

5. I found the denouement terrific: I LOVE IT when aliens are portrayed in this fashion. As far from Star Trek as could be (and I like Trek). Bablyon 5 did this a time or two (looks like very similar time lines too: B5/S4 was in '97 and featured a similarly filmed confrontation with humans v. "first one" aliens in the conclusion to the Great Shadow War), and I've always preferred enigmatic aliens in books.

It really hit on all levels for me. It was at that time, my favorite all time SF movie. Clearly still in the top 5.

My favorite line: "so beautiful.... they should have sent a poet."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 23, 2014 12:08 AM
But jk thinks:

No arguments. (Well, I might classify Dr. Drumlin as villain -- he did not tie up Jodie Foster on the train tracks and twirl his mustache, but he shut down two of her projects and then claimed credit.)

Other than that, all your points are valid -- and I did like the movie. To show good faith, I'll add another plus: the scientists listening to the data streams as audio over trusting a scanner. Then the blind guy hearing the harmonic that inspired them to look at interleaved data. Cool.

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 11:34 AM
But dagny thinks:

OK, I apologize for the delayed response. This got all the way off the front page before I got back it. "No time to say Hello, Goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"

It's been quite a few years since I saw the movie and read the book, but this is how I remember it:

My serious problem with Contact (Book and Movie) was a fatal flaw that clearly others saw as a feature. JK gives bonus points for, "ambiguity," whereas I went looking to figure out who had ripped the last chapter out of my book. The movie was fairly true to the book and therefore suffered the same problem.

Were there really Aliens? We're not sure. Did she really go anywhere? We don't know. Didn't someone teach these people in second grade that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end? This one is missing the end. A few loose ends I can deal with, but leaving off the conclusion??? I found it very frustrating as an audience. So any stars, I might have given it along the way got subtracted at the end due to frustration. Guess I've never been much into watching movies for the cinematography. 1 star left.

Posted by: dagny at December 1, 2014 3:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hi Dagny,

wow, that must have been some let down for you, but now I'm intrigued at how the non-alien aliens were written.

That Dr. Arroway did travel through some sort of wormhole to meet an altered version of a Vegan is the accepted theory. James' Woods character and the lady bureaucrat alluded this near the end when they noted if she had been traveling at the speed of light for only some # of seconds (which was how long their external tracking had lost her capsule), then that could have represented Y# of minutes which was the amount of time that her recording device noted (yet, conveniently, all static). It seemed plausible, but I did not check the math; I got through one course in "Modern" quantum physics but I don't remember how and do NOT want to remember why.

Still, with the fate of the Hokkaido based wormhole maker not mentioned, it did leave more than a few open holes.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 1, 2014 11:14 PM

July 3, 2014


It's Art! It's a Rant! No, it's an art-rant.

There are a million great lines in "Buffy," but if pinned down to a favorite, it might be Spike in "Becoming Part 2." Angel (as wicked, evil, brooding Angelus) has got a plan to destroy the world. Spike jumps sides to prevent this. As he explains to Buffy:

"We like to talk big. Vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?"

I like people for different reasons. I am overwhelmed with joy that people create art.

I'd perform a DIY root canal with a dull bit before I'd watch most of the singing reality shows like Idol, Voice, America's Got Talent, &c. They all have a bad incentive structure. You have to impress an audience in 30 seconds, which may be entertainment but I question whether it is conducive to art. I don't mean to be snobbish, there are some good folks who come out of that scene sometimes. But I know for a fact that anybody I call a hero would be laughed off in the first day so the judge could display sardonic wit.

And yet I find I really enjoy the cheesy summer replacement for Idol: "So You Think You Can Dance." I know nothing of dance. Every dance I ever attended, I was either on stage playing or sneaking beer in the parking lot. I enjoy Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire, but it is like watching Gaelic Rules Football -- interesting and enjoyable, but I understand only the surface layer.

SYTYCD is bring my appreciation chops up a bit, at least for choreography -- the fine points of performance still elude me. But these kids, and they're all kids, work so hard and dedicate so much to an ephemeral bit of joy. The show forces them out of range: the hip-hoppers have to tap and the tappers have to do ballroom. The competition and voting seem a necessary evil which I avoid. There was a local girl a couple years back for whom I sent a few texts, but I just watch.

The performances are frequently breathtaking for their beauty. I was thinking last night that, like Spike, I love people. Then this morning [uh, oh, tortured segue alert!], a friend of this blog and Facebook friend celebrated a recurring street fair in his adopted hometown:

I love Thursdays on First! Folks are setting up tents, unpacking merchandise, firing up their grills and getting hard work done in anticipation of a beautiful day. There is so much creativity in an event like this from the glazes on a pot to the spices in a recipe. The human spirit thrives in a market place. I know to some that might sound crass and materialistic but it is true nevertheless. We gather with our crafts, our food and our music. We buy and sell, eat dance and engage each other in peace. Free people, free markets and fish tacos...I'm digging it.

In spite of the court decisions that do not go our way (I was only doing 39...) and our friends' gross misinterpretations when they do, it is good to be people.

Happy Fourth, Y'all.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2014

Review Review Corner

A friend (and a friend of this blog) posted a link to this on Facebook a few weeks back. I read it and missed the byline. It was written by David Harsanyi, and last night I read it again because he tweeted "most important thing i've ever written"

ThreeSourcers know my appreciation for Harsanyi; and, damn if about every word in his most important piece isn't accurate; but I will confess that I enjoyed "Frozen" more than "Tangled."

Sunday's Review Corner will tackle Orwell's literary criticism and I don't think I need a spoiler alert that George will pick up some stars. Orwell and TS Eliot's deep and intellectual criticism remain a joy on their own and a key to deeper appreciation of the art they reference. But I am a blues guy still. And there is an element of art that some may call spiritual and some will call left-brain, but it is one step beyond our ken.

I have no children, but I am a fan of Disney's animated films. When I saw Tangled, I said "yeah, that's pretty good" and went on with my life. Frozen was more immersive, and it might be the social media buzz around "Let it Go." I've now heard it sung by firefighters and Marines -- the best is Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel & The Roots. When I finally saw Frozen, I had heard the song and had a hook.

I'll confess to Harsanyi that at the end of Frozen, I thought "what was that all about?" Then I saw that it was adapted from Grimm's "The Snow Queen." Okay, then -- for Grimm that is straight up. It is an usual story to say the least. But repressed internal powers and fear of hurting those we love are extant human emotions.

Fair cop about the depth of the male character as well. Yet if may channel Dr. Helen Smith for a second, the Disney princess procession is leaving increasing little room for male characters at all. I imagine the next will be set in a seraglio with no males whatsoever.

At the end of the day, Harsanyi is right. But I've seen Frozen four or five times (I suspect that's what's known as "morning" in houses with youngsters) and enjoyed it every time. I watched Tangled once, and then again after reading Harsanyi's article. I may watch it again now that I know it was Harsanyi -- talk about appeal to authority. It is good but it is not nearly as captivating.

There's a chord change in the Neville Brothers' "Tell it Like it Is" that makes me cry. It is more than resolution, it is transcendent. The Frozen plotline does not hold up to intense scrutiny and several characters are weak. But many of its sequences are captivating: Olaf dreaming of summer, Elsa's Ice palace, returning to the trolls.

All Hail Harsanyi -- but I'm still going with Frozen.

UPDATE: I muffed the Twitter conversation by "quoting" but the thread is rather enjoyable, even if my side is not well represented.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2014

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Merging Buffy and the Allman Brothers! Is this a great country or what????

[ThreeSources fave Eliza Dusku] has joined the cast of "Midnight Rider," a biopic about Allman Brothers singer-organist Gregg Allman, in which Allman will be played by William Hurt. According to the trade publication, Dushku will play the woman who inspired the song "Whipping Post," which Allman first recorded when he was 21.

"Oh Lord, I feel like I'm dyyyyyyyin'..."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Alan Tudyk was on an episode of 'Justified' this season. Ain't postin' no pictures though. I'll just look at this one instead.

Any word who will play the woman who inspired the song "Sweet Melissa?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2014 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

No, but on Facebook I did suggest Armin Shimerman, who played Principle Snyder (and Dr. Potter in Atlas Shrugged Part I) could play Cher.

I do love the sound of my own typing...

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2014 5:12 PM

September 17, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Joss's (Is Joss Whedon like Jesus and Moses and Bill Gates that he gets a singular possessive of Joss'?) Much Ado About Nothing gets a scholarly review from Shakespearian Hoss Stephen Greenblatt in the New York Review of Books.

The squabbling between them takes place in public, under everyone's watchful eyes. This is a world in which everyone is constantly observing everyone else--"nothing" in Elizabethan English was pronounced "noting," and this is indeed a play of much ado about noting. To understand the culture out of which Shakespeare is writing, it helps to read Renaissance courtesy manuals like Baldassare Castiglione's famous Book of the Courtier (1528) or, still better, Giovanni della Casa's Galateo or, The Rules of Polite Behavior (1558, available in a delightful new translation by M.F. Rusnak).3 It is fine for gentlemen and ladies to make jokes, della Casa writes, for we all like people who are funny, and a genuine witticism produces "joy, laughter, and a kind of astonishment." But mockery has its risks. It is perilously easy to cross a social and moral line of no return. Whatever quality or error is being mocked "must be such that no noticeable shame or serious harm could arise from it; otherwise it would be hard to distinguish quips from slander."

Out on DVD/Blu-ray/Amazon Instant October 8.

Hat-tip: Whedonesque

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Joss Whedon on "The Empire Strikes Back:"

To which your EW interviewer blurted: "You think Empire had a bad ending?"

"Well, it's not an ending," Whedon explained about the 1980 film, which had a cliffhanger leading into the next entry of the series, Return of the Jedi. "It's a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn't end I'll go to a French movie. That's a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can't just build off the first one or play variations."

And a whack at Twilight.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

First, an aside: I could not have done better choosing the episodes for SyFy's Buffy Marathon last night. I would not have picked Buffy vs. Dracula. But I would have been wrong. Even though all are on Amazon Prime anytime, I watched "Hush" and "Buffy vs. Dracula," and DVR-ed "Once More with Feeling" and "Fool for Love." Still awesome.

Yet I post to link to a review of Much Ado About Nothing, written by NRO intern Will Allen.

Joss Whedon's depiction of this most playful Shakespearean comedy is a sheer delight. It is also a rebuke, a surprise, and a challenge, in that order.

First the rebuke. Filmed in twelve days at Whedon's California mansion, this film flatly rebuts the conviction (on eye-popping display in this summer's The Great Gatsby, Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger, and Pacific Rim, among others) that a film can be improved simply by adding more: more thundering explosions, more cranium-cracking sound effects, more cataclysmic bloodshed -- and, often, more footage. (For a detailed critique of this trend, see Christopher Orr's brutally funny takedown of The Lone Ranger at The Atlantic.) While hardly trifling at 109 minutes, Much Ado barely moves the scale alongside today's swollen blockbusters: Gatsby, 143 minutes; Man of Steel, 143 minutes; The Lone Ranger, 149 minutes.

Hat-tip: Jin Geraghty, who liked it too.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:18 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Very cool article on the clothes and costume treatments in "Much Ado About Nothing:"

This is not The Cabin in the Woods. There are no big sartorial clues in Much Ado About Nothing for a switcheroo mid-point that makes you go " I get it". Nonetheless, director Joss Whedon's always inventive costume designer Shawna Trpcic could not resist the urge to pepper his film with subtle meaning. Plus everything on screen is contemporary set but shot in black and white. In costume terms it is a far tougher job to be seen and yet not seen, and even more so without the use of colour. Delicate application of fabric and pattern is vital.

I. artless and male, missed most of the subtle clues enumerated in the article; but I was struck by the costumes, even forgetting that there was no budget and little time. Joss was rooting around in actors' closets. Yet -- and I am a big fan of B&W photography and film -- I remember being struck the classic beauty of Amy Acker's clothes and the comedic, slapstick cop suits of Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk. Sean Maher's Don John is painfully dark; his formality of dress underscores his distance from his brother and his brother's friends perfectly, while adding a cold, villainous professionalism.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)
But terri thinks:

I remember thinking everyone was dressed just perfect except that I would have made Hero and Beatrice dress slightly less similarly, but anything beyond that was not appreciated until this article.

Posted by: terri at July 12, 2013 4:35 PM

July 2, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

By my troth, a book in Octob'r due...

Joss Whedon's new adaptation of Shakespeare's classic comedy has already been acclaimed as "a masterpiece".

This official book features an Introduction by Joss, his full screenplay, and a gallery of photos from the set. Also included is an extended interview with the director, discussing his approach to the play, and the production of the film, shot in just 12 days at Whedon's own house.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I know y'all're sick of hearing about it, but we saw it a second time Saturday (with Blog friend and Weldon aficionado, Terri). It is a masterpiece and has spread from the "art cinemas;" you can see it at the AMC 24 in Westminster or Century 16 in Boulder (or the Esquire in Denver if you're feelin' artsy...)

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2013 11:43 AM

June 22, 2013

Five Stars and Two Snaps!


Be troth, ne'er have I gone to th' cinema with more rais-ed hopes! Yet verily twas I, and indeed the lovely bride, bewitched by the Bard's tale as by Mister Whedon spoken.

It was awesome! Shakespeare and Whedon really are a great match. This film is predominantly funny, but has dark characters and intensely dramatic sections: like Buffy in blank verse.

Five stars. Don't wait for the video -- get thee to thy local art cinema!

Posted by John Kranz at 9:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Who's in?


Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | Comments (1)
But Terri thinks:

Definitely would be in, but will be camping that weekend......
If you end up holding off, let me know.

Posted by: Terri at June 11, 2013 6:49 PM

May 16, 2013

Meanwhile, In Buffy News...

Can't wait. Can't wait:

Hat-tip: Whedonesque blog

Posted by John Kranz at 5:44 PM | Comments (3)
But dagny thinks:

The lady in the middle (no idea what Buffy character she played) is now a kind of fun character named, "Root," on a show called, "Person of Interest." jg and I like Person of Interest if there is anyone looking for more TV to watch.

Posted by: dagny at May 17, 2013 12:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Did not know that, I will have to take a peek.

For the record, Amy Acker played Fred (Winifred Burkle), the Texas Physics prodigy on Angel.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2013 12:46 PM
But jk thinks:

From IMDB Quotes:

"Angel: Fredless (#3.5)" (2001)

Fred: [talking obliquely about Buffy] So, now that she's alive again, are they gonna get back together? Angel and that girl with the goofy name?
Wesley: Well, *Fred*, that's a difficult question. I think it's fair to say... , no. Not a chance, never, no way, not in a million years, and also... nuh-uh.
Fred: But you said he loved her. And of course she's gonna love him back, 'cause he's so strong and handsome and he really listens when you talk. I-I mean, if you go for that sorta thing, why wouldn't it work?
Cordelia: Let me break it down for you, Fred.
[imitating Buffy]
Cordelia: Oh, Angel! I know that I am a Slayer, and you're a vampire and it would be impossible for us to be together, but...
Wesley: [imitating Angel] But... my gypsy curse, sometimes prevent me from seeing the truth. Oh, Buffy...
Cordelia: Yes, Angel?
Wesley: Oh, I love you so much I almost forgot to brood!
Cordelia: And just because I sent you to Hell that one time doesn't mean that we can't just be friends.
Wesley: Or possibly more?
Cordelia: Gasp! No! We mustn't!
Wesley: Kiss me!
Cordelia: Bite me!
Angel: [entering, surprising everyone] How about you both bite me?
Fred: You're back!
Charles Gunn: How'd it go?
Angel: I think those two pretty much summed it up. To be honest I really don't want to talk about it.

Posted by: jk at May 17, 2013 12:49 PM

April 23, 2013

Meanwhile in Buffy News

I am in physical pain waiting to see this. The UK Trailer is out and this doesn't help:

UPDATE: Warning! This embed will not shut up after showing the trailer, you have to hit pause/stop. See how long we can stand it...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (5)
But Terri thinks:

Did you see this? Amazing.

"The film was shot in 12 days at locations in and around Whedon's Santa Monica home."

Posted by: Terri at April 23, 2013 12:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On your first tease I said nothing, as I fully embrace my knuckle-draggedness and find nothing appealing in 'Dollhouse comes to the Shakespeare Festival.' But I do find something redeeming in the provided clip: The "RIPD" trailer that follows it! (Yup, I do like both kinds uh music...) To be fair though, RIPD seems to be 'Tombstone does MIB.' Is anything original anymore?

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2013 5:42 PM
But jk thinks:

De Gustibus... RIPD looks fun but I can wait for video on that. I'm toying with the idea of flying to Seattle for a screening of Much Ado.

I really have a soft spot for Shakespeare done in modern settings. They did that Scottish Play in 2006 set as Melbourne drug lords. I recommend that highly.

To see Joss do it with Fred & Wesley as Beatrice and Bendick...

Posted by: jk at April 24, 2013 6:04 PM
But dagny thinks:

Note to knuckle-draggers regarding Shakespeare: You might prefer it in movie format to what you were forced to read in High School. Iambic pentameter is hard to read because you want to read each line separately rather than read each sentence. When an actor does it well, it's terrific stuff. I am particularly fond of Kenneth Branagh's interpretations, Much Ado about Nothing, Henry V, and I prefer his Hamlet to Mel Gibson's. Then there is always West Side Story.

Posted by: dagny at April 25, 2013 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Knuckledraggers plural? (Now that was just plain mean...)

If you have not seen the 2006 Macbeth I highly recommend it -- one of my favorite movies evah. I know you're not into gore but it is spectacular imagery.

There's also a decent 90's vintage Much Ado with Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington and a very very young Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson on House, MD). We watch that as a warm up.

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2013 5:59 PM

March 28, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

Add to the list of things I do not understand: film distribution.

Joss Whedon screened Much Ado About Nothing" at SXSW this year but the first I have heard about actual release is today: a UK DVD Release on October 7 and in UK Cinemas June 14.

I cannot wait; the lovely bride and I watch the trailer every day:

Awesome, or what?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

WOW! I love it already.

Posted by: Terri at March 29, 2013 9:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Doesn't it look great? We watched an Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington dramatization from the mid 90s. And we really do watch the trailer a couple of times every day.


Posted by: jk at March 29, 2013 12:58 PM

February 25, 2013


At last! Some Oscar news that is not terminally vapid! Ari Armstrong celebrates Anne Hathaway's big win -- and her understanding of "sacrifice;"

Reporter: When you look at how much work you had to do to prepare for this role [for The Dark Knight Rises], and then also a rigorous role in Les Mis as well--when you decided you wanted to be an actress years ago--this is the kind of stuff you signed up for?

Hathaway: Very, very much so. I didn’t sign up for a lot of it, but I did sign up for this. . . .

Second Reporter: As soon as you mentioned Les Mis, I noticed you stroking your hair [which was cut off for the role]. . . . That’s exactly what he's talking about, making those sacrifices for the roles that you're passionate about, and cutting your hair was one of them. Can you talk about those sacrifices that you have to make?

Hathaway: They don't feel like sacrifices when you’re making them. I mean, I love what I do for a living, and getting to transform is one of the best parts of it. So I never think about it like that.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:03 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Can you talk about sacrificing six dollars and seventy five cents for that combo meal you ate for lunch?"

George Orwell, line 3 please.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2013 6:18 PM

January 30, 2013

Meanwhile, in Buffy News...

I'm looking forward to this film. Herald Scotland:

It was confirmed last night that Whedon, creator of the long running TV hit Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as well as 2012's Marvel blockbuster Avengers Assemble, will walk the red carpet outside the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Whedon will be in Scotland on February 24 to attend the GFF closing gala film, which is the UK premiere of his version of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

Whedon, 48, will introduce the film and also take part in a short question and answer session about the film, which is in black and white, afterwards.

I also like that they led with Buffy -- then added "as well as ... Avengers." Wha hae, Scots!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2012

Meanwhile, in Buffy News

Cabin in the Woods star Kristen Connolly one of Rotten Tomatoes' 25 Breakout Stars of the Year.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

I'd love to play the calm voice of reason and decency for a day, but am not acquainted with Justified -- sorry.

In fair warning, CitW has all the elements of a teen gore flick. But they are not used pruriently.

We work with what we have.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2012 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Gosh golly, a fair bit coarser'n this.

Dagny objects to all the bad choices made by people genetically predisposed to make bad choices. But this quote sums it up for me:

Raylan Givens: Sometimes, we have to make deals with lowlifes because we have our sights set on life forms even somehow lower on the ladder of lowlife than they.
Posted by: johngalt at December 27, 2012 5:11 PM
But dagny thinks:

I wish to divide some semantic rabbits here. I do not object to the choices of such people. I just don't find them entertaining.

Posted by: dagny at December 27, 2012 6:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The lowest rung of lowlifes aren't what's entertaining, the things Raylan says in his pursuits of them are. Things like:

Winona Hawkins: You're a little old to be fighting, aren't you?
Raylan Givens: Certainly too old to be losing.

Ava Crowder: Didn't the district attorney order you to stay away from Boyd?
Raylan Givens: It was more of a suggestion.

Raylan Givens: I'm going to need an ambulance, and a coroner.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2012 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And a request: If'n you happen to have a copy of CitW on one of those old-fashioned, round plastic thingeys, would you lend it to me?

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2012 5:14 PM
But jk thinks:

My copy lives in Amazon's cloud, sorry!

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2012 12:05 PM

December 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

If Ms. Winfrey can mobilize one of our most powerful publishing houses into action as though it were a pack of panicked cadets at reveille, what chance does a mere author have to escape with her dignity intact? With the possible exceptions of Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy, every writer endorsed by Ms. Winfrey has seemed fawning and peripheral when sitting next to her on a couch during her show. Jonathan Franzen will be remembered by wiki-posterity for his ingratitude, his made-for-TV 2001 spat with Ms. Winfrey and their subsequent uplifting reconciliation. So spare a thought for Ms. Mathis, whose career is assured but who will know as she passes through the battery of photo-ops and gassy interviews that her novel has been transformed into just another of Oprah's Favorite Things, along with panini presses and shea-butter bath soaps. -- Sam Sacks, reviewing "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis
Posted by John Kranz at 3:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2012

Even the Children Learn

I respect the sobreity of brother Ellis' prior post but I do believe caution is in order. There's another equally possible outcome. After all, none of the republics which failed throughout history had the internet... or YouTube.

This episode has been on my mind since the summer of 2008. Now, on the eve of the referendum vote, it finally seems fully appropriate.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:56 PM | Comments (1)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thanks for that. Amazing how a little Star Trek can brighten up our notions of the future!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 5, 2012 7:34 PM

October 8, 2012

Howard Roark, Call your Office!

Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to a great Camille Paglia piece in the Wall Street Journal: How Capitalism Can Save Art. Paglia fans will know her columns resist brief, bloggy summarizations, but she decries the lack of vitality in visual art and holds the hallowed halls of academia culpable.

Unfortunately, too many artists have lost touch with the general audience and have retreated to an airless echo chamber. The art world, like humanities faculties, suffers from a monolithic political orthodoxy--an upper-middle-class liberalism far from the fiery antiestablishment leftism of the 1960s.

Avant-garde died with -- rather was killed by -- Andy Warhol, says Paglia. And nothing has taken its place. ThreeSourcers will also appreciate her commentary on craftsmanship (in the term's finest, gender ambiguous usage). Artists like Warhol were conversant in industrial arts: they made things, fixed things, and adapted things from the factory floor.

She has some kind, McCloskeyesque words for capitalism qua capitalism, then notes that the bright spot of art is the most commercial

Over the past 20 years, I have noticed that the most flexible, dynamic, inquisitive minds among my students have been industrial design majors. Industrial designers are bracingly free of ideology and cant. The industrial designer is trained to be a clear-eyed observer of the commercial world--which, like it or not, is modern reality.

Capitalism has its weaknesses. But it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.

Over the past century, industrial design has steadily gained on the fine arts and has now surpassed them in cultural impact. In the age of travel and speed that began just before World War I, machines became smaller and sleeker. Streamlining, developed for race cars, trains, airplanes and ocean liners, was extended in the 1920s to appliances like vacuum cleaners and washing machines. The smooth white towers of electric refrigerators (replacing clunky iceboxes) embodied the elegant new minimalism.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2012

Real Genius

As the FNG at this superb site, I'm still learning the ropes and wanted to see if I could post images.

We learn from the Toronto Sun that Shera Bechard, citizen of the Dominion of Canada and former "girlfriend" of Hugh Hefner, has been admitted to the United States on an O-1 visa. The O-1 visa allows individuals of "extraordinary ability" to come to the United States for up to three years. It is often referred to as the "genius visa."

Among her other extraordinary accomplishments, Miss Bechard was "Miss November" in 2010 and started an online photo sharing craze called "Frisky Friday" through which women were encouraged to post photos of themselves in their underthings. On Fridays. Aside from the alliteration, we fail to understand the extraordinary nature of her abilities in this area, but back to our quest to successfully post a (tasteful) image on this site. We found ourselves unable to accomplish this, and resort to a link for your perusal to evaluate Miss Bechard's extraordinary qualifications for her visa:

SFW Link

We suppose that is genius, of a sort, but given the doctrine of stare decisis we are now wondering if most of the O-1 grants for the year are going to go to attractive women who are willing to disrobe for all the world to see.

Just askin'.

UPDATE: (jk -- let me help with that embed, code, EW...)

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:34 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure why. I always read ThreeSources for the articles.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 5:52 PM
But Terri thinks:

And yet another citizen remains unemployed (or underpaid (underdressed?)) as this immigrant takes the job that might have belonged to a card carrying member of the booby union.

Welcome Ellis! (My favorite character in the book.)

Posted by: Terri at June 29, 2012 5:53 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Thank you, Terri! Of course, there are a lot of people to like in the book but I love the way Wyatt goes on strike. Also, Ellis is so curt and harsh when he meets Dagny I think she wants to sleep with him.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at June 29, 2012 6:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Johngalt may have something to say about that 'round these parts.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 29, 2012 8:08 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Boulder Refugee, you tryin' to stir up trouble?

Brother jg, the references are entirely to the characters in the fictional universe of Atlas Shrugged. Any resemblence to actual persons, living or dead, is thoroughly disavowed by the Secretary.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at June 29, 2012 8:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:



There ought a be a law against a blog that's this much fun.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2012 8:59 PM

March 29, 2012


Is editorialist Michael Taube "dreaming in Technicolor?" That's how he describes people who believe Jane Fonda will give a favorable treatment of Nancy Reagan, whom she portrays in her upcoming film. But Taube may be guilty of the same thing in believing that a conservative movie studio could be a commercial success.

Third, actors and actresses would need to get on board. Many Hollywood conservatives and libertarians would initially be frightened to make a leap of faith and join this new studio. But all you need is a small handful of recognizable silver screen veterans, and a decent amount of emerging talent, and a good cast can be created.

There's a risk involved, but the reward could be immense. Meanwhile, if the studio was able to encourage some friendly Hollywood liberals and centrists to sign up (and there's no reason why this can't happen), the task of hiring talent would become much simpler.

The partisan vitriol of the left already borders on a lynchmob in the non-fiction media world. To expect anything less than hatred and blacklisting in the fictional media seems quite naive. Too pessimistic?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 3, 2011

Paris of the Midwest

Today's Bing wallpaper image of Cleveland, shown below, made me think of another midwestern city with an ornate history and a rust-belt reputation - Detroit.

That ornate history is tangentially referenced in the "Imported from Detroit" ad campaign for new Chryslers, and more directly so in this one they didn't use. Adorned with original architecture and art works funded by the private wealth of twentieth century industrial prosperity, Detroit was dubbed "the Paris of the Midwest." Today, however, articles are written about the city's death. Investor's Business Daily wrote last March ?Who, or What, Killed Detroit? Union Greed."

Two years ago, the Center for Automotive Research estimated that for every job created by a foreign transplant, 6.1 jobs were lost by the Big Three - many of them in Detroit. No city can take that much economic abuse.

Nor has the $77 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler - which enriched the UAW at the expense of bondholders and shareholders - helped. True enough, sales have bounced back some, but neither one is out of the woods.

Even as Detroit collapses, new UAW chief Bob King promises to "pound" the transplants into submission and force them to drink his union's poison, too.

And in November 2008, Patrick J. Buchanan had his own explanation for the Motor City's demise: "What killed Detroit was Washington, the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II​."

Obviously both authors are correct. An overburdening regulatory government and big-time labor unions were both responsible for the demise of Detroit's industrial base, and that of the nation. Indeed, they were co-conspirators, for without each other they could scarcely exist.

Remember this the next time you hear President Obama make a speech about how government "needs to create American jobs."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Kinda like Paris, but I don't think that's cheese I'm smelling...

If you have not seen's "Drew Carey saves Cleveland," do yourself a favor.

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2011 4:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If that's cheese you're smelling, perhaps it's government cheese.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 3, 2011 4:48 PM
But Sy thinks:

More RW whining

Posted by: Sy at March 1, 2013 2:03 PM

May 1, 2011

'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' - Only the Beginning

I enjoyed the very fair Pollywood review of 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' by two relatively pro-Rand film writers, Lionel Chetwynd and Roger Simon that JK linked for us. They had some very good points and I fully expect the producers to follow as much of their advice as possible in future efforts. This first production clearly had some handicaps that led to its shortcomings, many of which will not apply to the sequels, e.g. the looming expiration of contratual rights, inexperience of the independent production company, and perhaps most importantly... working with the most tedious and least compelling portion of the novel, i.e. the first third. As a first-time reader I wasn't hooked by the story until the tunnel scene, which won't transpire until Part 2.

If the Aglialoro-Kaslow Atlas Shrugged franchise produces better products with its promised sequels than was the original it will not be the first such situation in motion picture history. I'm thinking of the progression in production value, if not necessarily the story line, of the Australian 'Road Warrior' series. The film by that name was far more entertaining and compelling than the predecessor 'Mad Max.' And it's a well-known fact of life that improving on an existing product is a shorter bridge than must be crossed when blazing an original trail.

'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' also suffered from an almost maniacal focus on keeping a quick pace. This led to many stilted scenes where a bit more dialogue would have fleshed out the scene considerably. For example, the "old wounds" in the relationship between Francisco and Dagny are only hinted at in their solitary scene together alone. Rand wrote a richer storyline than was presented to viewers of this film and allowing it to "balloon" to a full two-hours wouldn't have hurt its flow one bit.

But I must disagree with Mr. Chetwynd over his characterization of Rand's novels as mere "ciphers" for her philosophy, having no "depth of character" and lacking the undescribed qualities that would have resulted from "a reflective, creative work." I did find the character portrayals in the film to be rather two-dimensional but I attribute this to the aforementioned limitations and not to the source material to which the producers "slavishly" adhered. I would have liked to see more of the warmth and vulnerability of the literary Dagny in the movie character - an extended scene with Francisco could have provided this. In contrast with Messrs. Chetwynd and Simon, Robert Tracinski observed:

But Ayn Rand started out her career--in the 1920s through the 1940s--as a Hollywood screenwriter, working for such legends as Cecil B. DeMille and Hal Wallis. She wrote her novels in a very cinematic style, with stark visuals, sharp exchanges of dialogue, and peaks of high drama. She gave a director everything he could ask for to keep the audience in their seats: visually beautiful settings from the skyline of New York City to the mountains of Colorado, large-scale action scenes set on railroad lines and in steel mills, big ideas expressed in sharp-witted exchanges of dialogue--and, of course, passionate love scenes with handsome leading men and beautiful leading ladies.

If you can't figure out how to make a good movie out of all of that, then brother, you don't know your own business.

I applaud the passion and dedication which drove Aglialoro, Kaslow, and the entire The Strike production company to complete this much anticipated movie that so many have tried and failed at previously. I am encouraged by their reaction to the predictable reception these Hollywood outsiders were given for their faithful adaptation of Rand's paramount though controversial work. I look forward to bigger and better products to follow, on both the big screen in Parts 2 and 3 and in special DVD releases such as director's cuts and a possible miniseries. These film adaptations can only add to the inspiration and defense of liberty offered by the most influential book ever written save the Bible.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2011

'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' news

Southern California reader(s) may want to take his lovely bride to meet Francisco d'Anconia this evening at 6:30.

This is one of several promotional events for the film that are advertised on Facebook.

They came to my attention as part of an email alert that the previously rumored John Aglioloro "strike" from Parts 2 and 3 is fiction.


Did the critics win? Will Atlas parts 2 & 3 get made? Will John Aglialoro go on strike?

In an interview this week with the LA Times, our hero, John Aglialoro was quoted as saying: "Critics, you won... I'm having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2."

John Aglialoro going on strike!?


Yesterday, the Hollywood reporter brought the story to a head citing John "I've got to give it to the critics. They won this battle, but they will not win the war. The message has been told in Part 1, and it will be told in Parts 2 and 3."

John Aglialoro will not be stopped. And... neither will the message.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2011

One more day...

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:19 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Doesn't seem to be a theater anywhere near me - mayhaps there's not enough receptive viewers in California? From the look of the theater listing, I'll be waiting for this to hit cable...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 14, 2011 3:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Torrance? Central LA?

Me and my kinfolk are going to the premier in BOULDER. (Yes, that Boulder.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2011 3:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Both are nearly an hour from me, and through downtown traffic. Yeah, I'm just whining. Eleven million people in the LA area who desperately need to see this, and it's showing on two gorram screens. You'd think a market this size...

Who am I kidding? We can't even hold onto an NFL franchise. I've got no reason to believe that this American Idol level, entertainment-addicted wasteland has the synaptic firepower to understand this movie. They're still waiting for Meet the Fockers VII.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 14, 2011 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:


One should count himself lucky it's on any LA screens. It's tantamount to Friedman's 'Free to Choose' airing in Moscow in the 1920's.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2011 11:36 PM

April 13, 2011

Two more days...

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2011

Quote of the Day

Take a hundred people off the street. Show them a kid's finger-painting next to a reproduction of, say, the Sistine Chapel or Bierstadt's "Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains." Ask them which one the toddler did. Five bucks says they'll get it right 100 times out of 100. Heck, even art majors could probably score a solid B-plus. -- A Barton Hinkle
Hinkle is less than impressed with a "vindication" of modern art that "study participants preferred the works by the famous artists 60 percent to 70 percent of the time" to works by toddlers, monkeys and elephants.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2011

Here Comes John Galt

To the big screen.

Here IT comes. The film version of my favorite novel, which we last discussed here and here, is in post production and should appear in theaters "No later than Tax Day, April 15."

Many of my trepidations about making this story into a movie have been salved by this interview with executive producer and financier (read: owner) of the film, John Aglialoro.

Ranked by Forbes Small Business as the 10th richest executive of any small publicly-traded company (revenues under $200 million) in 2007, Aglialoro is one of those rare corporate executives who fully "gets" the philosophical message in Atlas Shrugged.

So the storyline should be safe. The scope of this movie is Part I of the book, which readers can review key points from by reading those entitled entries in Three Sources' "Atlas Shrugged QOTD" archive.

And the casting appears excellent as well. In my mind's eye I can envision Ms. Schilling walking through an abandoned factory, or consoling her poor, misguided young sister-in-law. And the movie's Hank Reardon, played by Grant Bowler, seems a perfect fit. I can easily see him telling Tinky Holloway that his game is up.

But we'll have to wait for the second sequel for that scene. I've heard that the intentions for Parts II and III of the book are to be separate sequels, each following about a year after it's predecessor.

Judging by some of the scene photos the setting of the movie will be decidedly modern. Apparently it will be set in our time, not in that of the book's writing. This is as it should be. The uninitiated youth will be more captivated than with a more faithful portrayal of the book. And, more importantly, we are closer to the events of the story becoming reality today than at any time in history.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Fun. But how's he intend to make a film without the wisdom of Hollywood?

They should steal Glenn Reynolds's tagline: "It's Ayn Rand's world, we're just living in it."

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2011 4:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I expect that production values will be the last thing for which critics will pan this film.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2011 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I was being a liiiiiitle more sarcastic than that.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2011 6:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I read the sarcasm. But I took it as a "quantum comment." It can have multiple meanings at the same time. (Alas, in our era it has no literal meaning whatsoever until a judge says it does.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2011 8:21 PM

December 7, 2010

The Obama Buck

Some creative Englishpersons have suggested a fresh look for US currency, and it includes replacing the image on the one dollar bill of America's first president, stodgy old white guy George Washington, with America's hip and worldly celebrated "First African American President."


As for the "reason" to redesign America's money:

Fast Company's Suzanne LaBarre praised the Dowling Duncan design, writing, "The Obama bill anchors their sweeping concept for redesigning U.S. banknotes ... The impetus: The greenback has an image problem. It has come to represent everything that's wrong with the American economy, and worse, with its cartoonish graphics and vaguely sinister styling, it actually looks the part."

That's right. The image above certainly isn't "cartoonish" is it? The president's ears can't possibly be as big as those in this caricature.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:20 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Ummmmm, I don't want to end up as an example of right wing hate on Kos or anything, but isn't that usually for *ahem* dead presidents?

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2010 12:04 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The campaign theme look has a nice tie-in to buying votes with other people's money.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 12:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Holy hell. Money printed in that same shade that Crayola will soon be calling "Obama Campaign Blue"? They all but added the seal of the "Office of the President-Elect" to this. That hope-and-change graphic outline doesn't help, either.

BR, looks like you and I had the same destination on this one: permanent campaign mode. JG, take note: the dollar sign does not seem to appear anywhere on the new bills, nor the word "dollar"!

And the Bill of Rights appears on the ten-spot. This audience could run up a dozen comments just on that delicious bit of irony.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 7, 2010 1:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Just to add fuel to the fire: since Obama is our post-racial President ushering in a messianic period of ethnic harmony, can we expect that we will no longer refer to our currency as "bucks"? JG, you may have to edit the title of the post; many genteel Southerners will recognize the obvious reference...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 7, 2010 1:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Ohhh, KA, don't even go there...

Since the color would change, should be go from call them "green backs" to... nope, not goin' there, either...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 7, 2010 2:23 PM

April 12, 2010

Artist for Freedom

Art is great. Art is powerful. The ideas and emotions it can express in a single image are difficult to ignore. Unfortunately a majority of "artsy" types seem to be of the collectivist bent. Obama used art to perfection in his 2008 election campaign to propogate, as Jon Voight said, "the greatest lie." Since the election heard 'round the world I've been on the lookout for an artist on OUR side. Today, I found him: Bosch Fawstin - artist and author, creator of 'Pigman' the anti-Islamist super-hero and much, much more. For example: AMERICANS: GET UP & FIGHT

Here's another good one: "NOvember"

Bonus points for (at least) two Ayn Rand quotes on the main page.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2009


Forget about climate change. Forget about preventing a second term for Obama. The world is coming to an end the month after the election. "It could really happen." And that is a quote.

[What a waste of the category "art." I promise to do better in future.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Too bad the Mayans did not see the closer cataclysm of the Spanish. I'd have to call them 0 for 1 -- too harsh?

Yet I embrace the premise wholeheartedly -- no need for Cap'n Trade now...

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2009 3:23 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

The first trailer is quite a bit cooler I think. Granted, the destruction of the Vatican was pretty cool looking, but the original teaser still makes the movie look the best, methinks.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 3, 2009 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I take back my dismissive closing above. I'd give this movie a chance, though not at 10 bucks a head. (PPV maybe.) If one just disregards the Mayan prediction premise, which is so often where the great errors lie - in the premise, then it might be an entertaining film about disaster on a global scale. It is a recurring Heinlein theme after all.

I'll ignore the director's (Roland Emmerich) support of Hillary '08 and his efforts to "focus the public's attention on the issue of global warming" since 2004. He is dismissive of film critics which is all right by me.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2009 2:48 PM

April 23, 2007

Dancelicious 2

Here is more great dancing from SYTYCD, Season 2.

Allison Holker the Beautiful, Dance Goddess, did a beautiful solo to “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell and to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble.

I'd have to say I liked some other dancers and performances on the show, too. Benji Schwimmer and his cousin Heidi did a fantastic routine to "Black Mambo" (they have been dancing together since they were at least 5!!!); Travis Wall and Heidi did a paso doble to "Plaza of Execution;" and Benji and Travis did an entertaining hip-hip routine to "Gyrate." But Allison is still first and foremost in my book.

Posted by Cyrano at 9:33 PM

April 17, 2007


Season 3 of "So You Think You Can Dance" starts on Thursday, May 24th!!! It'll be on at 7 Central, with a one-hour audition show. There will be a two-hour audition show on Wednesday, May 30th. This show is amazing; "Dancing With the Stars" got nothing on SYTYCD, which has real dancers on it, not "stars" who are learning to dance. And the music is much better, too. SYTYCD has recordings of original artists, not a cheesy band which sounds like it has been in an elevator too long. On SYTYCD they dance jazz, broadway, contemporary, hip hop, ballroom, Latin, swing. Dancers are paired with dancers, instead of a pro paired with a beginner, as on "Dancing With the Stars."

My favorite in Season 2 was Allison Holker. She had everything: technique, feeling, expressiveness, athleticism. She was not voted to continue at one point -- which almost caused me to quit watching the show, in extreme anger at the stupidity of the Americans who voted. But Travis Wall was good, as was Benji Schwimmer (who won) I kept watching...

Allison was paired with Ivan in the first half of the show, after the top 20 was picked. (Thousands of dancers audition around the country in four or five cities; a hundred or so are sent to tryouts in CA for the Top 20. Then one dancer of the 20 is eliminated each week.)

Allison did a hip hop routine to "Sexy Love" with Ivan, a contemporary routine to "Why" (by Annie Lennox) with Ivan, a tango routine with Ivan, a broadway routine to "Bye Bye Blackbird" (by Liza Minnelli) with Ryan...and many more great dances.

The judges comment on her overall genius and perfection in the routine to "Why" and to "Blackbird." Damn I loved watching that girl dance...

Posted by Cyrano at 11:37 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Thanks, Cyrano. I have not seen the show but I enjoyed a couple of the clips. Mostly, I am happy that we finally have a post titled "Dancelicious."

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2007 10:39 AM
But Cyrano thinks:


No pob'm dawg...aneethin fo' mi peeps...gad 2 do it fo' ya...gad yu lykd it...tite..aneewayz...pees out...

Posted by: Cyrano at April 18, 2007 7:56 PM