Monday, July 25, 2005

All hail Lance; glad it's over

All hail Lance Armstrong who can ride a specialized bicycle through France better than anyone in the summertime. At least for the last seven years.
I do not discount his courage for fighting and apparently beating cancer. I do not discount his athletic achievement in the face of all those who tried repeatedly to knock him down (figuratively and literally). I do not discount his sport, although it is one of those niche things you either like or dislike.
But, frankly, I'm glad it's over. I'm glad I won't have to hear how many minutes and seconds Lance leads by and pretend that I care. It's not a sport I give a hoot about and judging by any other three weeks period of the year, neither do most Americans. Bicycle riding is an activity to them, not a cutthroat sport.
Next year, no one in the U.S. will give a hoot about thde Tour de France because for the very reason they paid attetnion for the last six years - Lance Armstrong. He won't be there and no American will care if some Euro is battling for the yellow jersey. By the way, did you know they give away all sorts of colored jerseys at the end ... for this and that like Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Batting Champ. Why yellow, often a sign of cowardice, is considered supreme is beyond me.
Now Lance can be what I want to be - young, rich, a man of leisure, retired and banging a rock star goddess, even if she is 10 years older than he. God what a life!!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Change of heart about Islam

After seeing today's story from London, and actually doing a little quiet contemplation on the entire affair, I have changed my mind and offer a different reason for all this crap in the world involving "extreme" Muslim jihadists.
I am now convinced that death and terror are NOT the real aim behind these attacks many others. The extremist leaders WANT to create an atmosphere of persecution around the globe. They want Islam to be the religion that people love to hate - because an increasing number of believers are so willing to kill people to advance their "cause." By striking at the heart of the Western/Chrisitan world, the aim could be to have those people strike back, causing an even larger rift between the two cultures. In many ways, that is how the U.S./British involvement in Iraq is viewed - not as liberation (the fundamentalists don't want to be liberated; they want subjugation) but as occupancy - Muslims living under the Judeo-Chrisitan thumb ... as it has been often throughout history in their eyes.
The more anger built up in the U.S. and Britain, the easier it is to create the role of oppressed people and makes it easier to recruit young people, stupidly willing to sacrifice their lives and others for a cause they know little about. It just sounds exciting and, besides, isn't 18 old enough to die?
Notice the elders NEVER do the sacrificing (not unlike other armies from other civilizations). Older Muslims in the West, who have grown accustomed to the face of prosperity, don't like upsetting the apple cart. But if THEY begin to think of themsevles as part of an oppressed religion, they will become more sympathetic to the bombers' cause. They won't actively join, but they won't help stop it.
Americans assume that only stupid people would do these things. No, gullible youth blow themselves up for men that are quite clever and intelligent in their planning, execution, intent, recruitment and drive. Our real question is how can we prevent this when flashing our "shining light of democracy" has proven to be totally worthless.
I'm still not sure that "Kill 'em all and let Allah sort them out" is a viable alternative. But whatever has taken place up til now, including Iraq, ain't working.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ten Simple Rules About Going to the Movies

Gosh, I love going to the movies. I studied the history and art of cinema in college. I read everything about the careers of James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. I learned about Orson Welles’ camera techniques during “Citizen Kane” and how revolutionary they were.
I can tell you about how despicable and brilliant John Wayne’s performance was in John Ford’s “The Searchers.” I can almost recite every line of George Lucas’ “American Graffiti.” And I can debate, for hours, the best, worst and most underrated movies of the past century.
But the best part is going to see them in their natural habitat – with a large screen and superior sound system. I am not one who prefers to see them in letterbox form off some DVD while sitting in my easy chair. A movie experience was meant to be seen in a continuous motion; not with a pause button so Grandpa can go get salami on rye sandwich in mid-sentence.
Hence, I have formulated these 10 simple rules (to borrow someone else’s concept, sorry) about how to act inside a movie theater.
10) Know WHAT you are going to see. Don’t window shop; there are other people in line, you know …. waiting for you to make up your mind.
9) Arrive before the movie starts. You can read viewing times in the newspaper, online or get them by phone. So you have no excuse to be late and no right to complain (often far too loudly) when all the best seats are already taken. That’s YOUR fault for showing up late.
8) If you’ve already seen the movie, keep all the pertinent script surprises to yourself; unless it’s historical. While waiting for “Titanic” tickets, I remarked to a friend, “I wonder how they’ll handle the sinking of the ship.” Two girls in front of me then started screaming that I had ruined the whole movie for them. AT that moment, I wondered aloud about how much history was being taught in our schools. I decided the answer was “very little.”
7) Go to the bathroom before the feature begins. No one likes the down-the-aisle-in-the-dark interruption once the lights go down.
6) Tell theater management (and do it often) that you want to see fewer commercials … as in none … and more previews. If commercials must be shown, ask for one not already flooding the television every other minute.
5) Try eating a little more quietly. The rustling of papers and cellophane wrappers in other people’s ears is annoying. And stop buying those smelly sour dill pickles. They’re gross and there is no way to consume them without looking obscene. If you won’t buy them, they will disappear.
4) Do not bring toddlers or very young children to R-rated, violent films. To me, that’s a form of child abuse. They get exposed to the wrong images because Mom and Dad are too lazy to find someone to watch over the child for two hours. Sorry, it’s the price of parenthood.
I was at the local Dollar Theater recently, seeing a critically-acclaimed but very R-rated movie and had to endure a 2-year-old, not only a few seats away, but allowed to run free among the patrons by his “I-couldn’t-care-less” brain-dead mother. It was all I could do to resist slapping the shit out of her, or at least chew her up one side and down the other. And it happens more often than people realize.
3) Do not bring ANY infants to the theater! They cry in the dark and they scream at sudden noises. So why subject everyone to your laziness because you won’t obtain a babysitter? Again, it’s NOT a day care center (which might be a major attendance enticement if offered by the theater).
2) Turn off your cell phone! The screen alone is like a car dealer’s searchlight and is very distracting to everyone around you. No message is THAT important and if it is, what are you doing at a movie anyway? And for God sake’s, don’t hold a conversation inside the theater. That’s as rude as it gets, asshole!
1) Shut the fuck up! It’s a movie theater, not your living room. Show some common courtesy and keep quiet once the movie begins!
Finally, if Hollywood would like to know how to increase its revenue, do the simple thing – lower ticket prices. So-called “bargain” matinee prices are what used to pass for prime time charges just a year or two ago.
And if anyone doubts the positive affect such a move would have, just ask General Motors how its incentive plan worked to sell thousands of additional units.
Then follow these rules and everyone, including me, will enjoy themselves much more.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Where was our wrath of God?

It has become more apparent to me that this country blew its true chance to put a lid on the kind of global terrorism that happens across the world - in places like Madrid, Bali, London, etc. The enemy is no longer deathly afraid of us because we have done nothing to produce that kind of paralyzing fear in anyone.
After Sept. 11, we got mad. And we swore to get even. So we took off and directed our wrath against the location (Afghanistan) when Al-Qiada was headquartered. By ALL admissions and intelligence, we had the head of the serpent (Osama Bin-Laden) trapped like a rat.
Suddenly, instead of finishing the job, we turned our military and monetary attention to the neighbor, Iraq, to appease some OTHER political agenda (regime change that was NOT successful in 1991 at the end of Desert Storm). We took our considerable boot off the terrorists' neck and looked away.
As a result, we have become bogged down in a dirty, desert war that we are NOT winning by the kind of verdict required for our extrication, we have created a site for new terrorist recruits to practice their "art" and the enemy has been given new life (as witnessed in London). Bin Laden is not captured, the serpent lives and possible thrives by gaining new converts and no one is safer (just because there have been no further attacks, it does not equate to safety).I am convinced that all the jihadists understand is blunt force trauma. Bringing the wrath of our God and their Allah on their heads and homes. Hell, if they were hiding in the mountains, we should have shown them how we destroy the mountains. They needed to see the blood in our eyes UP CLOSE and PERSONAL so the message would have been understood. Mess with us and THIS is what happens! We are slow to anger but you do NOT want to get us riled!
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was correct in his Friday column that said this was an Islamic problems to purge these people from their ranks. But we could help the case by providing the example of the wrath that COULD take place.
The analogy to what has been happening is this: If surgeons are operating on a patient for brain cancer and have almost gotten the tumor cleanly, why suddenly would they begin blood letting around the leg; which was not the life threatening problem? Now the leg is a BIG problem and the cancer hasn't been removed.
The United States could have put its foot on the throat and squashed some of these roaches for good, but decided to operate elsewhere at a time when the second arena of action was not a threat to the nation.
And now, the operation will take so much longer than it should have.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London terrorist bombing

In light of the bombing attacks in London this morning, I refer all blog readers to the BBC-produced film, “Dirty War.” It has been shown often on HBO and other cable channels.
The story deals, in docudrama fashion, with the instances that lead to an explosion of a dirty bomb in central London, the British response to the incident and the police attempts to stop it from happening. And yes, the villains are Islamic jihadists - no sugar-coating about responsibility.
I have always hoped, as a human being, as an American and as a member of the Jewish faith, that these perpetrators were SO far out of the mainstream as to be dismissed. But the more life moves forward, the more it happens. Too many people are joining their side and think salvation is achieved through self-destruction with hundreds of explosives wrapped around their waists (or wastes as is the case).
Their ranks are growing and we, in the non-Islamic nations of the world, don’t know why. Even a cancer has a medical reason for spreading. This nation, and others such as Great Britain, has few clues as to why SO many people are gravitating toward such an anti-human way of thinking.
Here is our dilemma as I see it - meeting force with force builds more resentment among those willing to die for their beliefs. Yet permanent extraction (call it what you will) will be the only way to begin to rid the earth of such low-life animals.
The current question is how is this goal best achieved? Many of us think getting bogged down in Iraq is not the answer because the goal of the terrorists was to create the bog. We have no choice but to remain, hence diverting our resources and focus that should be directed to go after the active terrorists.
Here is one thing that few Americans have YET to grasp. People of Arabic/Islamic descent in the Middle East possess incredible patience. We think that means a few weeks; to them, it means several hundred years! They will tell you the desert changes little over such a length of time. They can wait; we normally won’t. When we leave, then conflicts that have existed for centuries will be played out.
This is all part of it, sad to say. We react in flashpoints like the actual bomb explosions. Fundamentalists (on any side) wait for the next time ... and the next time ... and the next time.