Sunday, January 30, 2005

Now that They've Voted...

Now that the Iraqi people have spoken loudly, and in the face of very real physical danger, where willl the American left move the goal posts? Is the new point of utter failure the Iraqi Constitution or some other arbitrary milemarker?

Democracy, it appears, is a hit in Iraq. If only Iraqi democracy where a hit with ALL Americans.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tuning Into Cable News

For the first time in a long while, at least since the November elections, I tuned into the primetime cable news shows. I was greeted by the oh-so important issue of Oscar nominations. Of course, the “snubbing” of The Passion of The Christ and Fahrenheit 9/11 just cries out for the justice of major media coverage. After all, there aren’t more important things to talk about.

These films certainly did very well from a financial angle (Passion and 9/11). They were both controversial and each drew incredible attention for varied reasons. No doubt they will both be remembered for many years to come. However, these hardly seem as if they are the real reasons for this “snubbing.”

Fahrenheit 9/11 is easy to exclude, as it is an easily lampooned piece of propaganda posing as a documentary. Lauding this film even with nominations glorifies something the many believe played too large a role in the recently concluded elections. As one talking head stated tonight, “Michael Moore got too big for his britches.’ One need not look beyond this explanation to see why Moore is left out in the cold.

For The Passion of The Christ I suspect that things go much deeper than what the talking heads hit on as they opined on this. The prevailing TV theory I heard tonight are that The Passion lost out on religious grounds, from the right-wing attachment to the film to the charges of anti-Semitism. While religion provides a convenient excuse and is tough to argue against two reasons look more important. First, the entire movie is in Aramaic. The nomination of such a movie is most fitting in some sort of foreign language category. Of course, having been funded and made by American companies this would be a bit odd, to say the east.

The second reason, I think, gets more to the point of why the 3rd highest grossing film of the year was passed over. By nomination, and potentially awarding, The Passion of The Christ for awards like Best Picture the Hollywood establishment is elevating Mel Gibson to an ever more powerful position. Hollywood, like any other capitalist subset, is insular at its upper echelon. Those with the power in Hollywood, naturally, are reluctant to share it. With an Oscar nomination for Best Actor or Best Picture, Gibson can set himself apart, in the most legitimate way, from other independent filmmakers. Gibson has become an incredibly appealing option for those wishing to make movies that other Hollywood studios will not make.

On many levels, The Passion may be a great film. Certainly, its financial success speaks volumes for it. Not even the most ardently left wing advocate can argue that a worldwide gross of over $600 million is indicative of a bad movie. Personally, I haven’t yet seen the film and cannot speak to whether I think it is good or bad, but it is undeniable that there is something considerably more compelling about the film than anything Michael Moore has ever envisioned.

With The Passion of The Christ, Mel Gibson may be a victim of his own success. The more great films he makes, the harder he will be to snub as a powerful Hollywood producer. Alternatively, Moore may have created the ultimate excuse for snubbing him for some time.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Forbes of Happiness

Forbes is running a series of 12 stories entitled “The Where of Happiness.” Not an overly surprising list of places.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thoughts on the San Francisco Collision

There are a number of ways you can look at this NY Times story about the underwater collision of the US submarine San Francisco. The first and most easily accessible way into the story is the sheer empathy one has for the family of the seaman killed in the accident. While this is certainly a story of tremendous personal tragedy, it is also quite impressively not a story about national tragedy.

The messages said the submarine's hull was severely damaged after the head-on crash into what Navy officials believe was an undersea mountain that was not on the navigation charts. One message said the submarine, the San Francisco, was traveling at high speed, and the impact practically stopped it in its tracks and caused flooding in parts of the bow.

later in the article

Navy officials said the San Francisco was traveling at 30 knots when it careened off some part of the undersea mountain range. In one of the e-mail messages, Admiral Sullivan wrote that on impact, the vessel made a "nearly instantaneous deacceleration" to about 4 knots.

It goes without saying that you have to build any vessel that travels on water very well, and certainly submarines to an even higher standard. I do not know for sure, but I suspect that designing a structure that withstands a 30 knot crash with a mountain and one capable of withstanding the tremendous pressures of depth are not mutually exclusive. However, I don’t suspect there is anything even close to an airbag inside of a nuclear submarine (though I suspect some personnel may have had access to a seatbelt). With the help of a wonderful program, I know that 30 knots is equal to 34.5 miles per hour (34.52338mph if we wanted to get really precise). A head-on collision by a submarine traveling at nearly 35mph with “an undersea mountain” results in a submarine that can still float and the loss of only one life. I can only tip my hat to the incredible men and women who design and build submarines. You do amazing work.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Fill A Plane

Click Here, just do it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2005 Pediction

I have only one prediction for 2005. A new use for camera phones is going to emerge; solving petty crimes. That’s right. As more and more migrate to these devices people are going to discover that they can snap a picture of someone doing something malicious.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Schumaker Shells Out Some Major Cash

I’m sure there is a way somehow that this can be spun as bad, but all I can say is, WOW!

For those who do not know, Michael Schumacher is the 2nd highest earning athlete on the planet, trailing Tiger Woods by just a whisker at about $80 million per year.