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Chip, Chip, Chipping Away

July 8, 2005 at 12:39am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Free speech takes another beating. I really want to say “There’s no way this will be upheld on appeal.” Unfortunately, reality forces me to say something more along the lines of “There’s a chance this will be overturned on appeal.”

Morgan Spurlock Watch

July 7, 2005 at 12:14am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I dislike Morgan Spurlock for pretty much the same reason I dislike Michael Moore: he intentionally misleads and lies to the public while passing himself as an impartial documentarian. Fortunately, Radley Balko is willing to pick apart his claims.

LJS Bias

July 7, 2005 at 12:04am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The ol’ Lincoln Journal Star is always good for a laugh, and today’s edition is no exception. Don Walton—a man who is to journalism what hot dogs are to fine cuisine—wrote a simple article about a local man who discovered postcards from William Jennings Bryan sitting in an antique shop. The man bought the postcards for $1.00 apiece.

Sounds like a pretty harmless story, right? Well it would have been, save for these few paragraphs stuffed needlessly into the article:

Even today, Larrick’s eyes light up as he recalls the moment of discovery.

“I was emotionally distraught at the time,” Larrick said, agonizing over the Bush administration’s steady march to war in Iraq.

“Out of the blue,” he said, “here were these cards from Bryan” mailed to Lincoln a century ago in the midst of a journey seeking peace around the globe.

Larrick was the Green Party’s congressional nominee in the 1st District last November.

Through all the debates about health care, farm policy and Social Security reform, he made the case for peace and argued passionately against the war.

Talk about a non sequitur! I can actually hear the woeful background music as Larrick weeps about how he was “emotionally distraught.” And that last paragraph, where the hell did it come from? Who cares about Larrick’s opinions about the war in the middle of an article about a few postcards?

Neither the LJS nor Don Walton will ever be taken seriously if they continue to publish this crap (and on the front page!).

Two Years Ago

July 5, 2005 at 7:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

On this date two years ago The Missus and I were married in a small ceremony at a beautiful pond-side outdoor setting. At times it hardly even seems that a year has passed, much less two. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?

War of the Worlds

July 2, 2005 at 11:43pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

On Thursday I saw War of the Worlds. It has received pretty good reviews, including four stars from the Lincoln Journal Star’s L. Kent Wolgamott. On average, the critics seem to be giving WotW a B to B+.

I have to give it a C+ or B-. It’s a good movie and it was certainly worth the 6 bucks I paid to get in, but in the end my first reaction was: Eh. In part that’s because the film ends fairly abruptly and not very convincingly. [Implied spoiler!] The ending is about as convincing as if Apollo Creed had had a heart attack to end the fight at the end of Rocky.[/end spoiler]

Most of the film’s biggest problems are pretty small. But that’s what makes them so annoying; they would have been very easy to fix. In a post-9/11 world, why in the heck would everybody in Tom Cruise’s neighborhood run toward obvious danger? Why would a bunch of people run up a very steep hill to watch the goings-on on the other side when they know that doing so will substantially increase the likelihood that harm will come to them? Why does the aliens’ “fertilization” process require so many steps and inefficiencies? I could go on, but I’d need too many spoiler warnings.

One thing I loved about the movie was Spielberg’s minimal guilt of CGI abuse. Too many directors these days think that every effect has to be computer generated. Spielberg did a good job of using CGI only where necessary, and then to good effect.

The story itself is very good, and it has been updated to modern times very effectively. Folks will try to read various political messages into the movie, but it’s not a very explicit political film in and of itself. The biggest weakness in the story, in my opinion, is the par

t involving Tom Cruise’s son. The character isn’t terrible (although his zeal is unnecessarily exaggerated), but as the movie progresses that story line becomes less satisfying. You’ll probably figure out what I mean after you’ve seen the movie.

In short, WotW is worth a visit to your local cinema. It may even deserve a place in your DVD collection. But I have to disagree with Mr. Wolgamott—it’s no four star film. There are far too many fixable flaws to deserve that rating.

You Say July 4th, I Say Independence Day

July 2, 2005 at 1:13am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

It’s pet peeve time, ladies and gents. I’m not really sure when I developed this quirk, but for at least a couple years now it has bugged me when Independence Day is referred to by its cruder and less descriptive name, The Fourth. I realize that Independence Day falls on the 4th of July each year, and that there is a worldwide precedent for referring to the holiday celebrating certain events by the date on which they happened (e.g. Cinco de Mayo). But I prefer Independence Day.

I prefer it for the same reason I prefer Christmas over “The Holidays.” When you refuse to call a holiday by its real name, you help that holiday to lose some of its oomph. When was the last time you saw baby Jesus—the Christ in Christmas—used as a marketing gimic to sell Barbies? You haven’t see it, of course. Instead, you see Santa and snowmen and all that. And what words does Toys R Us use in its advertising? Happy Holidays. Never Merry Christmas. Parents would feel too damn guilty about exploiting their Savior’s birthday if they had to see Christ (the word or the image) while fulfilling their childrens’ materialistic demands.

The same can be said for Independence Day. It’s easier to wake up on the morning of July 4 and scream “Let’s blow some shit up!” when you treat the holiday as The Fourth of July rather than Independence Day. What do Black Cats and sparklers and roman candles have to do with Independence Day? Not a thing. But they define The Fourth of July. Having managed fireworks tents for three years I can say with some authority that nobody (+/- 1%) who buys more than $10.00 of fireworks has any intention to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. Independence is one of the last things on their mind while they ignite their Chinese-made fireworks.

Independence Day should be about evaluating our country’s progress (or lack thereof) toward

the goal of bringing freedom to the world and about our application of it (or not) here at home. That’s not to say that fireworks and family and grilling burgers can’t also be a part of it. Fireworks are a great way for us to give ourselves a pat on the back and say “USA, you rock!” It may not always be true, but hey, a once-per-year gloat-fest is good for a country’s collective identity. And family? Every holiday should be celebrated with family.

I’m not really sure what my point is. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m tired and hungry. You didn’t really expect anything profound out of me, did you? I suppose the one thing I want you to get out of this is simply an appreciation for Independence Day over the generic Fourth of July. Think about why you use the term you use, and decide for yourself if it’s appropriate. For me, The Fourth just doesn’t work. If you use The Fourth, that’s fine. But don’t just use it because some marketing agent told you to.

What Do My DVDs Say About Me?

July 2, 2005 at 1:07am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The other night The Missus and I purchased some new DVDs. Well, they aren’t actually “new,” but they are new to us. We hardly ever buy new DVDs.

Anyway, the three we choose say a lot about us, I think. Judge for yourself:

The Incredibles
Team America: World Police

OK all you budding Freudian psychoanalysts, examine away!

A Heap O’ Trouble

July 1, 2005 at 3:23pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Julian Sanchez examines Raich and Kelo in light of the sorites paradox. It’s definitely worth a read.

The Reality of Kelo

July 1, 2005 at 3:13pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Radley Balko lists some of the many eminent domain abuses waiting to happen in light of the Kelo decision.

I’m Rich! II

July 1, 2005 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Well heck, I really am rich. Yesterday I received a Wilderness Ridge newsletter in the mail. Did I get a (massive) raise and nobody told me? If so, it hasn’t shown up yet in any of my bank accounts.

Libertarians Say: Pull Out

July 1, 2005 at 12:12am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Our troops have completed their missions: the liberation of Iraq, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and the provision of security for the January 30, 2005, elections. American military personnel should be commended for accomplishing these difficult tasks and performing them in a courageous and selfless manner. We cannot continue to keep our servicemen and women committed to an open-ended, violent conflict in Iraq. By removing our troops in an orderly and systematic fashion over the course of one year, we will withdraw our troops on our terms while retaining the honor and respect that they deserve. By creating a direct aid program for Iraq, we give them the necessary funds to become an advanced, industrialized, democratic nation. By giving the Iraqi government full control over the disbursement of aid funds, we respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and foster the development of good diplomatic
relations. Our exit strategy will help to end the senseless loss of American and Iraqi lives. It will ensure that Iraq is rebuilt in an efficient and expedient manner, at the lowest possible cost to the American taxpayers.

Above all else, the intent of this proposed strategy is to remove our troops from harm’s way and, in the near future, return them to their families — who have been supportive through these trying times. Our hope is that the great loss of life seen by both American and Iraqi families will give the Bush administration pause to consider and deploy this strategy for eventual peace.

Read the whole thing.

Whether you agree with the plan or not, it is nice to see the LP take a stand on something other than pot use.

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