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Michael E. Sullivan

Sep. 1st, 2009

10:08 pm - Watching the Movies

My wife and I have taken to watching movies on Netflix streaming, since we are now fully conditioned into the instant gratification society. 24 hours is simply too long to wait to watch what we want to watch. We don't have an actual tv anymore, so watching shows or movies this way has taken its place.

One downside of taking our viewing primarily from instant streaming downloads is that only so many movies are available, and many of the movies that we wanted to watch but missed in the theatres have yet to show up. Yet, oh so many horrible flicks are there for the watching.

Tonight, with some trepidation, my wife, with my assent, chose a relatively unknown movie starring George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis with director Robert Rodriguez. The critical reviews shown were relentlessly negative, something about Rodriguez and Tarantino reinforcing each others' worst tendencies, blah blah blah. We looked at the Chingon website (Rodriguez is a member and we are fans) and noticed that while he claims some directing credits for award winning movies in his bio, this particular joint somehow avoided mention.

Now we're intrigued. It will probably be a train wreck, but we have to know. Just how bad is this 1996 feature _From Dusk to Dawn_? The beauty of netflix streaming video is that we can shut it off at a moment's notice and feel no guilt or pay no consequences beyond the time already lost.

Well by god, we got through the whole thing and it was a hoot. I have to say this is among the goriest, campiest, most ridiculous movies I have ever seen. And yet, there is enough style, and enough good acting to keep it tantalizingly close to an actually good action movie for much of the running time. I do not understand why this is not a well known camp classic. Why have I never heard any stupid nerdy guys wax rhapsodic about this movie a la Jack Black re: _Evil Dead 2_ in _High Fidelity_? Or the jackass in my community theatre in the early 90s who wouldn't stop quoting _Reservoir Dogs_.

If you can stand completely disgusting, over the top violent, camp central -- if a movie need make absolutely no concession to aid your suspension of disbelief, and you have any love for the luminaries named in its making, I believe that you must see this movie.

Everyone else should avoid it. Trust me.

Nov. 4th, 2008

11:47 pm - What's that sound?

At 11:00 this evening, as the polls closed on the west coast and calling the election for Barack Obama became reasonable, Digby posted the full text of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech.

As a woman of my acquaintance noted tonight: when President-elect Barack Obama was born, his parents couldn't ride a bus together in much of our country. Or use the same water fountain.

The more I watch this election, and study the politics of the last 100+ years, the more I realize that we are still seeing echoes of the civil war. It's 145 years since Lincoln cashed the first of many checks we wrote when we penned those high-minded words that have been a beacon to our country and to the world for over two centuries. And each time those checks were cashed, there's been a backlash. Nearly 100 years of Jim Crow, and ending that delivered the south to the opposition party for the last 44 years.

Obama saw it from the beginning. That's why he opened his campaign at the state house in Illinois, and closed it in Manassass, VA.

But so much has changed in my short lifetime. When I was one month old, Martin was killed. And now, in my 40th year, one month past my 10th wedding anniversary, a black man is the president-elect of the United States.

I'm not as happy as I hoped I would be. For all the dog-whistling and race-baiting and the outrageous accusations of racism against the Obama campaign for merely pointing out what anybody who lived through the civil rights movement recognized as hat tips to segregationists, the party that made itself a haven for racists in 1964 and still hasn't utterly repudiated them, deserved a far bigger thrashing than 150EV and 48% of the popular vote.

For all the reasons outlined in Andrew Sullivan's endorsement, the rethuglicans deserved not just to be on the wrong end of a landslide, but to be completely excised from the mainstream of American politics until they can reshape themselves enough to start taking cues from Lincoln and Eisenhower instead of John Birch and Joe McCarthy.

I have a little bit of hope for my own state, where the staunchly republican 4th district finally ousted the fake moderate Chris Shays, completely sweeping the GOP out of national offices in New England. If you wanted to have the vote of open minded independents and Republicans deserving of the name, you should have stood up to your party when it counted, Chris: when they voted on shredding the constitution and the principles our nation was founded on.

But it's hard to be churlish looking at this picture.

It ain't over by a long stretch, but something's happening here.

Sep. 26th, 2008

10:36 pm - Barack Obama, WTF?

Did you really just stand up there and say you give Senator McCain credit on the torture issue?

What you should have said is that he doesn't deserve ANY credit for his previous puffery and posturing on the torture issue because when the rubber met the road and it came down to whether he would support or oppose a bill on whether we, as a country would throw our proud traditions out the window and act like a rogue state by torturing people in the name of safety, he voted for it. Voted *for* guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib, and suspension of habeus corpus, and warrantless wiretapping, and torture.

Never voted against torture, only for it. Whatever speechifying he did is pretty fucking pointless.

And you just gave him credit for the meaningless speechifying without even bothering to mention his actual votes to desecrate everything we're supposed to stand for.

I know you have to deal with the racist bullshit framework which says if you treat McCain like he's treating you (always condescending, always sneering and disrespectful, always repeating that you don't understand) you will come off as the angry black man out to tek awr wimmins and steel awr moneez, but goddamn you just don't have to give it all up like that. The least you could do is stop giving the man credit he doesn't deserve.


kmd is right. Obama is so soaked in the culture of teaching and collegiality and humility and encouragement that he doesn't know how to win a debate. He doesn't seem to understand who he's dealing with. McCain is not his friend. He's willing to say anything, even outright lies, to get elected and impugn Obama's character. But Obama is acting like he's on the same team.

EDIT: late night postage leaves unclosed markups: fixed

Sep. 11th, 2007

01:13 pm - How to Lie with Statistics, the Iraq war version

Darrell Huff would be so proud, general.

General Petraus's anticipated force drawdown timetable a la PowerPoint via Matt Yglesias.

Beautiful descending graphic with a bunch of "?" marks where estimated dates belong.

Ah, I love the smell of propaganda in the morning.

Apr. 4th, 2007

11:06 am - Ok. Now I feel old.

So this morning, I'm trolling my usual spate of blogs and run across this entry at Unfogged about BigLaw working conditions.

Ben wolfson writes:From the post, I found this amusing: Neither Kanter (a 2L) nor Segall (a 3L) have yet committed to a big firm. "Have yet" because, you know, it's inevitable.

Now, I, of course, found this instantly amusing for very different reasons, thinking to myself that it's inevitable those folks will end up working for SpamHaus. 149 comments on this entry, and *ONE* other guy notes the similarity of names to the first spammers.


On an upbeat note, I felt a slight tinge of joy on reading in that wikipedia link that Martha Siegel is dead.

Is that wrong?


Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Mar. 7th, 2007

02:12 pm - The Ugly Anglocentrism of Wikipedia.

After reading mayaknife's post about Conservapedia, I was extremely amused when today I followed this link to wikipedia about the Corn Laws in which I read the following wonderful paragraph:

Note that in proper English, the term "corn" means "grain" (the kernel), and implies the primary grain crop of a country, which in England was wheat, whereas maize is the predominant North American meaning of "corn".

Nice. I think the conservapedia folks must have small dicks or something. I just laugh when UKers put on these airs. This is how they deal with the end of the great empire. It's certainly a better approach than killing lots of brown people.


Nov. 6th, 2006

10:07 pm - Tomorrow's Elections

So I've been reading too many political blogs lately. It's making me sad, and angry.

I've also developed a real desire to see the Republicans get their head handed to them tomorrow.

These people have predicted a gain of 30-36 seats for the Democrats in the house and 4-7 in the senate.

But I hate innumeracy in reporting almost as much as I hate the Republicans. If I take their estimates of the various races at face value, the numbers just don't add up.Collapse )

To my mind, a neck and neck race is about as likely as the Dem sweep that Rothenberg and electoral-vote.com are predicting, with the real expectation being that the Dems get about 10 more seats than they need to win the house.

Tradesports pretty much agrees with me, maybe even being slightly more pessimistic. The current betting market places an expectation on a GOP house at around 18%. Dem pickups over 24.5 is selling at just under 50 (the scale is 0 to 100), so the TS market is betting on around 23-24 pickups, which looks a lot more reasonable than a projection of 36.

What I'm saying here is that we shouldn't let the spin get the better of us when the Dems fail to win 30+ seats. If they get 24, that doesn't mean that the vote was hacked, nor that Republicans made huge last minute gains, it just means that the expected result as of today is what happened tomorrow. The predictions of 36 seats won are at the outside optimistic edge of possibility. I'm not sure why these guys are predicting this way, or what the point is of doing so, but I'll be shocked if it goes down the way they say.

As long as they get at least 15, I'll be a little happier about our political situation than I've been for sometime.

For reference, a similar analysis on the leanings of Senate races, says that the GOP will probably keep the senate by 1 or 2 seats. 4 seats changing hands is the expected result, and 7 is pretty unlikely.

UPDATE: I fixed a couple of broken links. And as I checked the rest, it looks like the line has moved a couple % toward the Dems at tradesports this morning. Woohoo.

Nov. 3rd, 2006

03:52 pm - Free and Fair elections?

alienne posted this as a comment in a thread of ozarque's. Some of my flist already reads ozarque, but I'm nonetheless going to do my part to get this tidbit distributed as widely as possible. Especially to anyone who votes in Ohio [ahem].


If you see ANYTHING that looks like an irregularity -- step away from the polling place to the legal distance (generally something like 30 yards, but you can look this up), call this number, tell them clearly which polling place you're at and what's going on, and let them know that you need someone there RIGHT NOW. They'll have lawyers *driving around* waiting for this kind of call.

Also, if you're in a place where this is legal (again, look this up), and you have any issues with machine voting, and you have a cellphone with camera, DOCUMENT the problem you're having -- with video if possible, but still shots if not. DO CHECK, however, if this is legal in your state/county/district. It's not everywhere. (I might urge you to do it ANYWAY, being as there's lots of ways to get this footage seen anonymously -- but my sometimes-saner-than-i friend Brad points out that breaking election law to document the breaking of election law is like screwing for virginity.)

This has been a PSA. *grin*

Current Mood: angryangry

Jul. 9th, 2006

11:15 pm - World's Strongest Cat Competition

via debbiethedogged, I see this interesting little video.

Do you think that Japanese people sit around watching snippets from Jackass or South Park on youtube laughing their butts off then shaking their heads and saying "What the hell is wrong with Americans?"