Sunday, August 13, 2006

Movies I've Watched

This is a post for a movie I watched that didn't quite measure up to a recommendation, but still merited a mention. It was Slaughterhouse Five. An adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Slaughterhouse Five."

Much as I'd like to be able to recommend the movie, It's not good enough. But the book is more than good enough. One of Kurt Vonnegut's top five, without a doubt. And that is to say one of the top five books of the Twentieth Century. But not quite as good as Mother Night (the film version of which I recommended on a previous post).

It's one of those books that made me think enough to think differently about "my country" and the world and how things work.

As everyone knows, Kurt Vonnegut witnessed the bombing of Dresden, Germany at the close of World War II. And, as everyone ought to know, Dresden was a target with no military value, and more people were killed there than in Nagasaki or Hiroshima, and possibly in Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined. But what Dresden and Nagasaki and Hiroshima all had in common is that hundreds of thousands of civilians died, and that there was not even an arguable military necessity in killing all those people. In both cases, the war was over except for the fat lady singing, and the bombings were clearly meant more to send a message to our Russian allies than to our defeated enemies.

[I have since learned that the figure Vonnegut uses in the book--130,000 killed, if I recall correctly--is likely a gross exaggeration influenced by Nazi propaganda. The true figure was probably "only" around 30,000. I guess that the danger inherent in taking an eyewitness at his word. Not that that changes anything other than the size of the slaughter relative to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. And although some may claim that Dresden's rail yards were a legitimate military target, they were not targeted during the bombing that ignited the firestorm. They were saved for a daylight precision bombing raid.]

But that's neither her nor there. The movie was okay at best. The book ought to be required reading for every high school student in this country.

Did I mention that I'm not a fan of war?

As far as I can tell. it's going on two hundred years since the United States of America was in a was that could be justified as truly defensive. As I see it, one tip off that a war is something other than in the interest of national defense is that it's fought predominantly on someone else's territory.

On the other hand, after 9/11, I can't really argue with going to Afghanistan as long as they were harboring Al Qaeda. Too bad they seem to be finding refuge with our Pakistani allies these days.

But what the hell. A bunch of Saudi friends hijacked some American airplanes and did very bad things with them, so let's invade Iraq and turn it over to our good friends in Iran. That sure makes sense to me.

I mean, damn. We're kickin' ass all over the place. But are we kickin' the right ass?

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wang Chi's, Nastier than ever.

Wang Chi's, in pornspeak.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Everyone else is talking about it, so I might as well toss in my two cents' worth.

A Gibson should be made with Gin and a splash of Vermouth, shaken over ice, strained, and garnished with a cocktail onion.

They should be enjoyed in moderation, except on those occasions when excess seems more appropriate. In no event should they be used as an excuse for abusive behavior.

Something just don't smell right about that Gibson thing. And by "that Gibson thing," I mean Mel's recent unpleasantness. He's supposed to have been battling alcoholism all his adult life. And he gets pulled over with a 0.12 BAC. That's something like one lousey six pack. Someone with as much practice being drunk as he claims to have should barely be feeling it. Sorry, but I just don't buy it. Either they fudged on the BAC in the police report, or alcohol is only a tiny part of Mel's problem.

HAMLET: Ay, sir, what of him?
GUILDENSTERN: Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
HAMLET: With drink, sir?
GUILDENSTERN: No, my lord, rather with choler.

I've been doing a little experiment this evening. If those charts are accurate, I'm well over 0.12 by now. This ain't nothin'. If I wanted to, I could drive right now without attracting any unwanted attention. It might not be legal, but I wouldn't be giving anyone a reason to pull me over. There's no way in hell I'd be going 87 in a 45 zone. (I'm at home, so I won't be testing that theory.) And Mel's had at least 7 more years practice than I have.

So far, I see three possibilities:

1. Someone fudged the BAC on the police report to make Mel seem less naughty than he really was.
2. Mel is an asshole. Figures he can buy and sell any one of those damned cops, and he can damn well do whatever he pleases, and if they stand in his way, he'll squash them like the bugs they are.
3. Mel has serious emotional problems. Something in his life is so screwed up that. at least for a time, he didn't give a rat's ass about anything.

I'm thinking number 3. The whole package of behavior seems too intentionally self-destructive for it to be anything else.

I feel your pain, Mel.