You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Friday, July 30, 2004

FIRST TOM CLANCY GHOST-WRITES GENERAL ANTHONY ZINNI'S BOOK SLAMMING BUSH... and now this. It's enough to put the US Republican Party off the name "Jack Ryan" for another generation.

Mr Ryan just withdrew as Republican Senate candidate for Illinois (against a Democrat opponent, Barack Obama, who's now the Tiger Woods of US politics, [*] notwithstanding that his name is easily mixed up not only with you-know-who but also with Amiri Baraka, the looney left State Poet of New Jersey). Mr Ryan crashed and burned after a scandal that erupted when a newspaper demanded and got access to sealed court records of his divorce from his ex-wife -- Jeri Ryan née Zimmerman, perhaps better known to our average reader as the actrice who played "Seven of Nine" in Star Trek: Voyager. In her divorce papers, Ms Zimmerman accused her ex-husband of pressuring her to boldly go where she had not gone before, and of believing (incorrectly, it turns out) that her resistance would prove futile. However, neither side wanted these he-said, she-said allegations made public, for obvious reasons (they have a young son). The divorce court agreed, but a later judge sided with the newspaper's claim that the public interest in knowing the moral fibre of one's future Senator outweighed the right to privacy.

Herewith the state of the right to privacy under US law: it guarantees your right to run an abortion clinic on main street, and to demand that Right to Lifers not show photographs of aborted foetuses anywhere nearby. But it does not mean that you and your ex-spouse can agree, by mutual consent, to keep your marital dirty laundry (so to speak) un-aired in public.

[*] Correction: Obama is not the Tiger Woods of US politics.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

How could you sink so low, Michael? A stunt that is beneath even John Pilger! Ripping off another artiste's work - and an Aussie to boot! Why do you hate us?
Moore took Aussie clips for hit filmJuly 27, 2004
AUSTRALIAN artist and filmmaker George Gittoes has objected to American Michael Moore's use of some of his work a controversial movie.Mr Gittoes said today Mr Moore had incorporated about 17 selections from his own documentary film Soundtrack to War into Fahrenheit 9/11.
They depicted American soldiers and their music in Iraq.

"Michael got access to my stuff and assumed that I would be happy for it to be in 9/11. I would actually have been quite happy for it not to be in 9/11."

"Mine's a better film. My film's balanced. I don't think there's a lot of balance in 9/11."

"When I finally discussed it face to face with Michael, I realised that no-one wants to be a spoiler. He's an artist and that's how he makes his work.
"He doesn't go out to Iraq like I do and dodge bullets. He makes it from mainly archival footage and the stuff that other people shoot."



Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith - It occurred to me that Sith is an anagram of a far more sinister word - and would aptly desribe George's two most recent films to date. Let's hope the third stands on its own merits rather than, like an errant President, those of its parents.  Not much effort to have fun with the advertised T-Shirt either

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I have taken to numbering these posts as I wade through "Stupid White Men". Ultimately I may put them all together.

Two thoughts which have occurred to me:
1. Michael Moore has a blind faith in the American system, in which "every child could become President" etc. If this isn't the ruling classes distributing pulp ideologies to the masses, I don't know what is. To be the President of the USA you need to be at least a) rich and b) influential. Not many Americans fulfil these criteria, so Moore and the rest of his Yank think tank are dreaming.
2. He loves Orwell so much, he should add some new entries to the Newspeak lexicon: RepubliBAD, and DemoGOOD. He had similar blind, nieve optimism inthe Democrats as a poltical movement. Maybe not in specific personalities and practices, but as an ideology, it is very "Moore-ish".

Also, just found out recently on the ABC that Mrs Teresa "Heinz" Kerry is worth at least $US500 million, and that the potential First Gentleman and Mrs President have a house worth $10 million (see

How can Moore legimately look his audience in the eye about big business connections, wealth, conflicts of interst, fingers in pies etc when BOTH sides of US politics are in it up to their necks?

Puts a new spin on Samual Johnson's immortal words. Try: "I am willing to love all mankind - except an American politician"

For more seppo insults, try here (although there are way too many pop-ups for my liking!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I am currently reading"Stupid White Men"by Michael Moore, at the same time as "Jihad" by Tom Carew and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by JK Rowling.

Don't be surprised if I wind up thinking some reactionary ex-British SAS leftie who studies magic in secret is on a one-man mission to broker a revolution between the world of the ordinary and the extrordinary.

Back to Moore - I have read his intro, his new intro and Chapter one, and what strikes me is ho whe really feels he is not only onto something big that the rest of us are too lame to switch on to, but also how he is up against it the "liitle big man", if I may. He really considers himself a prophet.

If anywhere near what he claims to be true is actually so, then why hasn't anything be done about it? Does anyone take this guy seriously or is he just a ranting, raving loonie? No surprises that the US gvernment is captive to corporate interests, but is George Bush Jr really a puppet president? Someone please give me the facts (and not the Micahel Moore facts, either).

I saw bowling for Columbine, which was interesting if not disjointed and incoherent (more like a pastiche of smaller pieces quickly nailed together without a strong unifying theme) and I'm keen to see that Fahrenheit movie (although I have heard it is quite "out there").

Why is Michael Moore such a phenomena? Does he represent an idea whose time has come, but with far too much smug self-righteousness and fact bending to be taken seriously? If so, he is allowing hubris to squander an opportunity most of us never see.


Laugh? Did I ever! Funny? You bet!

Compy 386!!

MORE ON RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS OF FICTIONAL CHARACTERS... No obviously Jewish characters in The Lord of the Rings, as far as I can tell, but otherwise they cover a wide theological spectrum:

ARAGORN is Plymouth Brethren, because he tells the Hobbits “My friends, you kneel to no-one”.

BOROMIR is Roman Catholic, because, when others are wary of the dangers of all creatures being in submission under the One who wears the Ring, he insists "It is a gift!"

DENETHOR is Pentecostal, because he pours oil upon Faramir and waits to catch the fire.

FRODO is Amish, because (a) he walks everywhere and (b) despite being begged, he adamantly refuses to give Bilbo a ring.

GALADRIEL is a megachurch Christian singer, because she says "All shall love me and despair".

GANDALF is Seventh-Day Adventist, because he talks about dragons and the end of the world. Or else's he's a Hyper-Calvinist, because he says "Many who live deserve death, and many who die deserve life".

GOLLUM is a High Church Anglican or an Old Catholic, because (a) he deeply desires to wear a gold ring, and (b) he refers to himself as "we" and "us" even though he has no followers.

MERRY is Baptist, because he says “I don’t think I’ll smoke ever again”.

PIPPIN is a Californian New Ager, because he exclaims in dreamy wonderment "The Eagles! The Eagles are here!"

SAMWISE is Hindu, because he addresses Frodo as “Mr Frodo”.

SARUMAN is an Episcopalian bishop, because he says "The world is changing".

TREEBEARD AND THE ENTS are Eastern Orthodox, because they deliberate for a very long time before reaching agreement that Hobbits are not Orcs.

UGLUK is Lutheran, because he says "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"

ADDENDUM: And of course KING THÉODEN is a Puritan, because in the middle of a life-or-death battle he still wants his supporters to "Reform the line!"

To those who submitted variations on the suggestion that ÉOWYN would be a clergyman of [insert name of] denomination because she says "I am no man"... Charity, please, people. Charity.

Monday, July 26, 2004


Has anyone actually seen the start up of the Olympic flame? Is this pagan idolatry or what? Check out the piccies here. By the way, some of those vestal "virgins" are looking pretty old, if you know what I mean.

Old chick

And what about that Olympic Oath? What's all that stuff there about the "glory of sport"? Please, aren't we over than humanistic-we-are the-champions guff yet? Hasn't a century full of wars taught us anything?

And the torch relay? If not invented then certainly perfected by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics, no less. Jeese Owens, eat your heart out.

The results are in. "Latest Poll" has gone on for abut 3 months now!

What college fraternity were those crazy Iraqi pranksters trying to gain admission to when they were caught on camera?

Phi Beta Qua'eda  27%
Semper Fi 9%
Taliban Sorority Sisters 18%
The Skulls 9%
Leo's Legends, UQ  27%
The Inklings 0%
Animal House 9%

Readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions about the validity of this poll.

I was musing the other day (as one does) on the names of the Space Shuttles  and realised that there is a hidden alphabetical sequence to their names! Conside the following;

A = Atlantis
B = ???
C = Challenger, Columbia
D = Discovery
E = Endeavour, Enterprise (Originally designated "Constitution")

and on the Space Shuttle Word Search (!) I found a "Pathfinder" (actually only a mock-up of the real thing). Obvious name really when you think about it.

But what about the others? Why the obsession with "C" names (Challenger, Columbia, Constitution)? Why don't any Space Shuttles begin with the letter B?

Time to start a campaign. Name the new space shuttle or orbiting vehicle or whatever is coming out next, and have it start with the letter "B".

My nomination: Space Shuttle Bush.


UPDATE: The Russian Space Shuttle was apparently named "Buran" which means "Snowstorm". Mystery Solved.

AT LAST, WE WILL REVEAL OURSELVES... Don't click on this link unless you want to know the title (and, I'd guess, the plot) of the third (that is, the sixth) Star Wars film, due out next May. Here was me betting Lucas would pick either The Fellowship of the Jedi, or Always Two Towers, There Are -- No More, No Less [as I noted to Chris in the Comments below, no epic movie trilogy is complete these days without knights, princesses, Dark Lords, a Part Three with "Return of the..." in the title, and a Scandinavian actor reciting the line "Vot doz zhor HEART tell you?"], but it sounds as if George III refused to take the bait. ("Emulate Peter Jackson? In our moment of triumph? I think you underestimate their long-term marketing shelf life! Twenty-seven  years have I movie tie-in action figures and toy swords to youngsters been marketing, hmmm, yes!...").

At least, this time the title should remain stable between announcement and release -- not least because Wrath of the Sith would be too much of a tongue-twister for anyone who's not an English, Greek or Spanish speaker.

Hat tip for that scoop to The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles, via James Lileks (again! Is there any field of pop culture that man's not across?).

Which reminds me... If there are any German-speakers out there who've seen Sternkrieg: Der Galaktischereich Gegenangriffieret (etc) in Deutsche, I have two long-pondered queries: (1) Do they render Yoda's speech in English word-order to make it sound strange to German ears? (2) They don't translate "Stormtroopers" as Sturmabeilitung, do they?

Monday, July 05, 2004

WELL, SHE DID ABIDE BY THE ONE-CHILD POLICY... James White's weblog has a link to an astonishing news report about how "pro-choice" Catholics in Latin America are praying to Mary (as in, Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ), to intercede for them (with which deity, being left unspecified) to make legal abortion available throughout Latin America.