Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Along Highway 1

Yesterday, along with a fellow photo enthusiast, I headed down the coast to Monterey County. Starting around sunrise just north of Big Sur and working our way up to Point Lobos, we found some of the classicly beautiful subjects that have inspired so many of my photographic heroes. The weather was a bit limiting and the light was elusive, but there were a few images worth sharing here. These were taken with the Canon s400 digital camera. Actual film is yet to be developed, and that will probably find it's way to in due course.

Update your links

Dear friend, and fellow blogger, George Wallace has adventurously moved his blog, A Fool in the Forest to typepad, so update those links.
The new URL is...

Best of luck in your new home, George.
Futurballa Sells Out

I know you all thought that happened a long time ago, but this time it's for real. Actually we are in the process of opening a store on offering some of our best work for sale. Early stages, but we'll keep you posted here at the blog. And don't worry, we are not selling out completely. Besides for the occasional notice here, you can continue to enjoy the same links, commentary, and often bad writing, that you've come to expect here at futurballa blog.

The direct link to the store is....

Monday, December 29, 2003

Monday Housecleaning

The ultra-observant among you (and I don't mean Hassids) will note that I've done a bit of house cleaning on the old blogrolls and added some Amazon recommendation links. I know postings been a bit sporadic over the holidays, so may I suggest you click some of the Sites to Visit.

A few notables...
For culture, may I suggest, God of the Machine, 2 Blowhards, and Terry Teachout and Our Girl in Chicago. AC Douglas also has a nice archived post that he is featuring today on the Harry Potter books. For politics Escahton, Josh Marshall and Calpundit. And for a bit of everything, my dear friend at Fool in the Forest.

Couple of upcoming events... Planning a photo excursion later this week to walk in the footsteps of Adams and Weston in Monterey County. Hopefully to produce some photoblogging and maybe a gallery. And MacWorld SF is coming up.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

What We're Watching

Movie watching is always a pleasant holiday activity and this year's holiday season is no exception. A few highlights from this years viewing, with comments...

Woody Allen's Anything Else: Not his funniest, but definitely his best written and most intelligent movie in years. Jason Biggs is a good Allen surrogate and Christina Ricci is extremely unlikeable as the girlfriend from hell, but she is definitely written that way, so kudos to Miss Ricci for daring to play her for all of her despicableness. Allen is excellent playing a scary version of himself. This is an interesting update on Manhattan, but with age appropriate romance. Not for everyone, but for fans of Allen's best work, worth viewing.

Robert Duval's Assassination Tango: A slow and methodical political thriller with dance. Go figure. But it works. Duval is just so good and so fun to watch.

Seabiscuit: Great performances by all 3 of the leads (Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and Toby Maguire) as well as a horse. Too many inspirational moments for my taste, but season appropriate and not boring.

Freaky Friday:Why remake this seventies teen movie, originally starring Babara Harris and Jodie Foster? I can't answer the why, but I can say that if you have to remake a silly little movie like this, by all means get Jamie Lee Curtis. She turns in a delightful performance and shows her comic chops. Aimed at tweens, but if you have one of those hanging around or plan on borrowing one for the evening, this is a lot better than sitting through most movies geared towards that audience.

Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion: The seminal POW escape movie. No Steve McQueen, but all of the elements are there, and Jean Gabin is wonderful. A movie that inspires and aspires. If you haven't seen it, rent it. The Criterion Collection transfer is perfect, as usual.


Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Season's Greetings

All of us here at Futurballa Blog and Futurballa Photography (and all of the little futurists) wish you one and all a very merry Christmas, a most happy Chanukah and the finest of New Years.


Here are a couple of leftovers from my Las Vegas trip photos. These didn't make it to, but I thought them worth sharing.

Zeus loses his head at Caesar's? Scene from Terminator 4?

Fake Eiffel Tower, but at least the sky is real.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Friday, December 19, 2003

Elsewhere and More

Gosh, it's hard to pick sides in this fight.

Via Josh Marshall, this online survey sponsored by Ralph Nader's exploratory committee. I doubt that his ego will allow him to listen to the voices of voters who actually want to defeat Bush, but it's worth a try.

Two fun posts from the 2 Blowhards. First, Michael needs Heinlein explained to him. He's only read Starship Troopersbecause he liked the movie, but found the book too earnest. I would suggest reading some of Heinlein's later works along with his straight forward SF, like Starship. Puppet Masters is great fun, Glory Road is a hoot, and Stranger in a Strange Land, while flawed and dated, is the book that got many of us hooked. Second is another Michael Blowhard posting on his favorite sexy movies (or at least fun sexy movies). I have seen most of these and will concur with the fun characterization. Would consider adding Henry and June, That Obscure Object of Desire, and Boogie Nights to name a few off the top of my head. Of course I may be missing the point, because at least a couple of my choices are just plain good movies that happen to have some eroticism.

Brian Mickelthwait is PhotoBlogging today. I particularly liked the first one with the warm light taken from under the railway bridge. We plan to do more of that sort of thing in this space soon. Stay tuned. Oh, and by the way, Brian, Photoshop is not a verb.

A humorous piece via Indigo Ocean on Weapons of Math Destruction. Probably familiar to many of you, but it was new to me.

Here is my vote for this weeks Showcase. Good luck to all.
Chris "Lefty" Brown's Corner: What's so funny about peace, love, and higher taxes

And finally, just wanted to note that with company shutdowns, PTO, and holidays, blogging may be a bit light the next couple of weeks, but the s400 should be arriving today, so photoblogging should pick up steam in the coming weeks.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a Fantastic New Years to all.


Thursday, December 18, 2003

Balla's Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash

Not much on my mind at the moment, so I thought a tribute to our namesake would suffice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Friend George, in complaining about jingles (here) getting stuck in one's head, has implanted the Armour Hotdogs jingle in mine. Make it stop. (He - put creatures in our bodies. To control our minds.")

Mssr. Fool writes,

"Hot dogs! Armour Hot Dogs!
What kind of kids eat Armour Hot Dogs?
Fat kids, skinny kids,
Kids who climb on rocks
Tough kids, sissy kids,
Even kids with chicken pox
Love hot dogs!
Armour Hot Dogs!
The Dogs Kids Love To Bite!

"What a parade of horribles: children with body image issues (the obese and the anorexic), children engaged in dangerous ascents of geological formations without appropriate state-sponsored supervision, children with aggressive tendencies or questions of gender identity, even children suffering from now-arcane and little seen diseases, all culminating in an outright endorsement of animal cruelty. Not to mention, of course, that the Center for Science in the Public Interest instructs us never to approach within a hectare of the product being sold. (Do you know how those things are made? Why, it's more frightening than the legislative process!)"

Well, vengeance is mine. Take this...


Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener
That is what I'd truly like to be
'cause if I were an Os-car Mayer Wiener
Every one would be in love with me.

Talk about a message to send your kids. If I was but a piece of meat, ground from many organs and other unspeakable animal parts , then my peers would admire and adore me.

Is that really what we want our kids to think?
Odds and Ends

We watched Sinbad - Legend of the Seven Seas last night, Dreamworks animated version of the Sinbad story (actually a story unrelated to any other Sinbad story I've ever read.) The animation was somewhat stiff and there seemed to be an uncomfortable juxtaposition between the CGI elements and the hand drawn characters. But what struck me as most odd, was the Helenization of the story. No mention of Baghdad, Arabia, Allah, but instead the story plays in Syracuse and characters come from Thrace and Greek Gods pull the mortals strings. Why Dreamworks didn't just animate Jason and the Argonauts, I don't know. If you want to see a good Sinbad movie, rent this one.

Nice piece on Slate on the subject, is their God the same as our God. Worth reading.

A fine review of Return of the King on Salon, get a daypass, you won't regret it. I'm going to a private showing on Saturday. This is a very excited blogger.

This is my new toy...

Canon s400.

I must admit to being a terrible bandwagon rider, but I couldn't let the challenge of coming up with a list of best cover versions pass me by. (Aaron) So here we go with my top 8...

1. The Residents - 96 Tears
2. Patti Smith - Gloria (not really a cover, but she slips in the G-L-O-R-I-A thing)
3. X - Soul Kitchen
4. John Cale - Heartbreak Hotel
5. Indigo Girls - Uncle John's Band
6. Devo - Satisfaction (you're right about this one, Aaron)
7. Pretenders - Stop Your Sobbing
8. Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Over at Slate, Tim Noah laments the need for an Office for Rhetorical Competence.

For you wine lovers among you (and you know who you are), Mike Steinberger, also at Slate, has a very entertaining piece on why haut cuisine and fine wine are heading for a divorce. Favorite quote, "What exactly do you pair with Adria's coconut ravioli in soy sauce or his Parmesan cheese ice cream sandwich? Hawaiian Punch and Yoo-hoo spring to mind. Haut Brion does not." Read the rest here.

Via Joe Conason, this NRO editorial from David Frum. You know I thought that he was on a mission from God, but I just wasn't sure. Thanks Dave for clearing that up. Guess Bush is the third Blues Brother.

Kevin Drum describes what happens when bloggers congregate. And we learn that Atrios is a pretty centrist guy. I think Kevin is fairly accurate in his assessment that most lefty bloggers are pretty centrist and most righties tend more libertarian than conservative.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Las Vegas at Night

No, it's not Hef's new TV special. It's a web gallery at my photography website, Futurballa.

Just go to and click the Las Vegas Nights link to view the latest gallery.

The subject is self explanatory.


Friday, December 12, 2003

Send Lawyers, Guns & Money

I swear that Joe Conason's Journal alone is worth the price of my subscription to Salon (says Rick of Futurballa Blog).

Joe has a tasty tidbit today on when the stars align and we see that the Bush team are not the grownups they once claimed to be. This particular graf jumped out at me.

"Bush added his own folksy touch to this fiasco while chatting to the press this afternoon, when he explained that the situation was 'very simple.' The 'friendly coalition folks' deserved the contracts, while the war's opponents in France, Germany, Russia and Canada do not. Asked about the policy's possible conflict with American treaty obligations under international law, he replied cutely but cluelessly: "'nternational law? I better call my lawyer ... I don't know what you're talking about, about international law. Better consult my lawyer.'"

Read the whole thing here. (Subscription or daypass required)
Showcase Votes

Here are my votes in the New Blog Showcase for this week. Two worthy choices. Best of luck.

Kick the Leftist: Big Corporate vs. 13 y/o girl

It's Craptastic!: What is the Point?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Shalom Springfield

Staying on a theme (see below), The Simpsons last Sunday featured Krusty's Bar Mitzvah. The high point was the entertainment. Unfortunately they only gave us the first stanza, maybe some poetic type (George?) could finish the rest of the lyrics. But I thought it worth transcribing, nonetheless.

Sideshow Mel:Now to get you in the Bar Mitzvah mood, put your hands together for The Beach Boys.... Experience

The Beach Boys Experience (sung to the tune of Kokomo)
Mezzuah, menorah,
Reading from the torah
Pastrami, knishes,
on two sets of dishes
A church with no steeple
For G-d's chosen people...
Read the Comments, Nu!

One of the pleasures of blogsurfing is when the comments overtake the posting. Aaron Haspel made a short posting linking Terry Teachout's piece on the "perils of the goyim among the Jews" (here). I had read Terry's piece (here) and enjoyed it.

But now the comments at God of the Machine have turned into a diatribe (actually a triatribe, if that were a word) between David Sucher, who objects to the use of the word goyim, with Aaron & AC Douglas who defend it (here).

As another Jew, I most certainly come down on the side of AC and Aaron. Goyim is a perfectly acceptable word. I know of no other Yiddish word for gentile. And while it is mildly condescending, it can be said affectionately. It merely connotes the long history of the Jews in which you had us (The Chosen) and them (The Goyim). The Germans refer to foreigners as auslanders, which literally translates as outlanders. The us and them mentality of the word auslander is no more offensive than goyim, but it is their language, just like Yiddish belongs to the Jews (as well as Ladino for the Sephardic amongst us, but I think Sephardics call them goyim as well).
*News Alert* Futurballa Makes No Endorsement

As most of you know, I'm a Democrat. While I try to keep the majority of this blog on subjects non-political, occasionally my views on our government, the Bush administration, and the upcoming presidential elections find their way onto these "pages".

I seriously have not made up my mind on who I may be supporting in the Presidential race. Politically, I think Kerry is actually the candidate that I'm best aligned with, but his campaign has not inspired me (or anyone else, for that matter). Clark has the national security and foreign relations creds that I think are going to inoculate him from a lot of Republican attacks, but I don't know enough about his views on domestic policy. I like the grassroots passion that Dean has inspired and think he is a lot more centrist than he is often painted.

It behooves all of us who have not made a choice yet to consider all factors in picking a candidate. Not just getting swept up in the excitement of the moment, but thinking A) who best reflects our views, and B) who has the best chance of defeating Bush. My preference, of course is that A and B align. I certainly don't endorse going with B in lieu of A. But there is nothing wrong with striking a balance between A and B.

As a public service, here is Joe Conason's column from WorkingForChange on Dr. Dean. I don't necessarily agree with everything he has to say, but think that he raises some points worth considering. At the end of the day, I may decide that Dean is the guy who best combines my A criteria with my B criteria, but I'm still reading thoughtful opinions such as this.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Deja Vu All Over Again

Visiting the 2 Blowhards this morning, I was struck by a weird sense of deja vu. Michael Blowhard's less than nostalgic waxings of how he was sent running into the night when his hopes of becoming a filmmaker crashed against the rocks of reality, struck me with the similarity of my own experience. Perhaps we should do a survey of culture bloggers. How many are simply wannabe artists, poets, filmmakers, actors, novelists, or playwrites, who lacked the ego, drive, insanity, and "rhinoceros skin" to pursue that career.

I admit, I lack most of the above. My years of trodding the boards in the Berkeley Theater Arts department in the mid '70s came to an end when I came to very similar realizations as Michael. And a few years in LA after college took care of completing the process of self discovery that taught me I was without some essential characteristics for making it in Hollywood.

This particular graf from Michael Blowhard's posting was particularity poignant in reflecting my own feelings and experience (except for the Mid-West thing), "Dreamy, polite, raised-in-the-middle-class, mid-American kid that I was, I got a look at this world and concluded, Hmmm, y'know, I don't think I'm temperamentally suited for this life. I'm barely able to yell and scream, or to take being yelled and screamed at, for instance -- and there's a lot of yelling and screaming in the moviebiz. Unrelenting tension makes me take to my bed. Power-games make me want to step aside and hand the reins to whoever happens to be standing there."

All of this is by way of Michael being prompted into a Proustian reverie by a viewing of the documentary Lost in La Mancha. The film about the filming of Terry Gilliam's ill fated Don Quixote movie. I agree with Michael that it is but a "good enough" documentary, but the subject is fascinating. Gilliam does seem to be one of the few nice guys to make it, but even he is capable of a tantrum when it suits his purposes.

Now if only Francis had included Hearts of Darkness on the Apocalypse Now Redux DVD.

Read the whole thing here.

[Update: George Wallace Comments]

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Fair and Balanced... Here's Al Franken

Al Franken sits down with the Star Tribune for a very entertaining interview.

[Link via Buzzflash]
This is not my Presentation Software

David Byrne, former Talking Heads frontman and all around artistic guy, is interviewed at Wired News today. The subject, his latest project, a new book and DVD set called Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, which makes use of Microsoft's ubiquitous presentation application, PowerPoint.

Wired describes his project, "His art presentations make babble of business-speak, and question whether the form of what we communicate can affect its truth: Rebellious flow charts stream backward, screens overflow with clip art gone wild, deliverables and leave-behinds assume surreal new roles, and renegade bullet points assault the viewer in a rapid-fire barrage."

When I first heard of this, I was almost disappointed that Byrne didn't use a better piece of software. Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash. I could think of a number of ways to create presentations that would result in a more polished and elegant experience. But when I read Byrne's comments, I realized that it was the ubiquitousness and simplicity of PowerPoint that fit what he was trying to accomplish. He says, "...because people make art out of all kinds of crappy things -- Lite Brites, or Pixelvision cameras. For every odd little tool, there's someone out there who's chosen that as a medium. And in spite of the limitations of a given technology, they turn it around so that each defect becomes a positive quality."

Answering the question of whether the availability of affordable image editing, presentation, and video software would democratize art, Byrne concludes, "It's true, but then again, it's not. Even before the advent of digital imaging, when large videotape cameras became small handhelds, the idea was that now everyone will become a filmmaker. And as technology progressed, this has become so easy that now you really can make a film on your laptop.

"New people do become creators; they jump in where they might not have before. Within the last few years, for instance, all of a sudden we have a glut of artists who do video installations -- perhaps too many. But some of this new work is really great; the simplicity and affordability makes it happen.

"I think this trend will continue. But just like the Internet itself, the fact that everybody now has access opens up this possibility for broader participation, but most of the time the potential isn't realized.

"Just because it's there doesn't mean people will use it."

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Have you read your Necronomicon today?

H.P. Lovecraft meets Jack Chick....

We will all be eaten!

[Link provided by George]
Look Forward in Ambivalence

Aaron Haspel moves away from literature and culture to ruminate on the future of technology. In his other life he is a software developer and has some interesting insights into the future of programming, development tools, and outsourcing. As someone in the same field, being involved in the development of consumer software, I share much of his concerns, and to a certain degree, his ambivalence.

He writes,"Hardware, by contrast, improves so rapidly that there's a law about it. It is a source of constant reproach to software, which has no laws, only rueful aphorisms: "Adding people to a late software project makes it later," "right, fast, cheap: choose two," and the like."

And, "Certainly if, as we baseball geeks say, past performance is the best indicator of future performance, I wouldn't hold my breath for orders-of-magnitude productivity improvements. On the other hand, bad as software is, enormous sums are poured into it, large segments of the economy depend on it, and the regulators do not even pretend to understand it. This all bodes well for 2020."

There are certainly arguments to be made for why the software industry is in its infancy, and development of new technologies will continue to stimulate new industries and revitalize existing ones. And at the same time, ourtsourcing to inexpensive job markets will require us in the industry to stay ahead of the curve. The excitement and fear that this can combine to create, is about as close to what I imagine sky diving to feel like as I ever plan to get.

Read the whole thing here.
Happy Birthday, Fool!

Go wish George, he of the Fool in the Forest, a happy birthday. We may differ on some issues, but on subjects cultural or the uses of the grape, he is unimpeachable.

Friday, December 05, 2003


Via Pen-Elayne, I discovered that Neil Gaimon has a blog (will, most certainly be added to the blogroll), and via Neil, part 2 of Arie Kaplan's article on Jews in Comics.

A thoughtful essay on discovering Film as Art, and the advent of Video and Cable as an introduction to the Classics by Terry Teachout today.

I grew up in major markets with lots of TV stations showing classics, a Father who loved old movies, and Art & Revival houses being a regular stop from high school on. Even though my journey to film as art might be a bit different than Terry, I agree completely with him, "the fact remains that most people see most movies at home, which is infinitely better than not seeing them at all."

And for better or worse, with DVD, Home Theater, HDTV and Widescreen TVs the home viewing experience will only become better and more pervasive.

Read the whole thing here.
Before Middle Earth...

Via the Blowhards, Polly Frost on Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. One of the best, if not most extreme, Zombie splatter flicks ever made. And it is actually very funny as well. Nice to see it getting some attention.

Read the whole thing here.
Fear and Loathing

Mickey Kaus often seems to me to be one small step from stepping over the edge into Christopher Hitchen's world, who along with Chris Matthews and Zell Miller, give the name Democrat new meaning. (And that new meaning is Republican). The Mickster can be a reflexive contrarian who would rather bash the Clintons and Dean, while he praises the Gropenfuhrer and the Boy King.

But today I have to give full points to Kaus, if only for literary references. In a piece on why Kerry should drop out of the race he offers this...

"But what can Kerry say that isn't even more humiliating than seeing it through? "I realize my wife Teresa needs me more than my country needs me"? That won't cut it. "I've decided to take time out to learn the Web so I can compete in future campaigns" and "I'm entering rehab at an undisclosed location to recover from my vicious Ibogaine habit. I make no excuses" are too trendy. ..."

For those of you who may not be fans of the Good Doctor, here (via Amazon's inside the book search) are the salient passages.

You can read Kaus' permalink free entry here.


[UPDATE:] Eric Alterman gives a more thoughtful and ulitmately useful appraisal of John Kerry. Here.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Showcase Votes

From The Truth Laid Bear's New Webblog Showcase:

In the realm of politics...

Bark Bark Woof Woof: More on Moore, Who Is No More
A piece that had me nodding in agreement.

And in the non-political (happily this week there were a couple to choose from)...

Blown Fuse: Bestiality is a no-no.
Just cuz I like animal stories.

Get your RSS here! has the quintessential article on RSS. What is it, where can I get it. Scott Rosenberg tells all. Click here.

Also at Salon, is Drudge a Dupe for the Dems?

The always informative and entertaining Dahlia Lithwick is on a bit of a roll at Slate, with this piece on a Wingnut's quest for Vince Foster crime scene photos and yesterday's informative article on the Locke v. Davey establishment clause case.

TPM has an interesting piece today on the stage managed Presidency.

The SF Chronicle reports on a group of scientists and Steinbeck scholars who will be retracing the steps of the author and his friend Doc Rickets from "The Log From the Sea of Cortez," from Monterey Bay to the Sea of Cortez. Where do I sign up.

That's Sir Mick to you! But Keith is not amused. Here.

And speaking of "Sirs". Sad to hear that David Hemmings has passed away. Blowup, remains a favorite.

The other Roger Ailes has some excerpts from Mel Gibson's version of the bible that they must have left out in my copy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Unhappy Families

Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina, "All happy families resemble one another while every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Which leads us to our quote of the day.

Tina Weymouth at the height of the (all too public) squabbles between her and David Byrne, speaking on Byrne's collaboration with Brian Eno...

"By the time Brian and David finished working together for three months, they were dressing like one another. I can see them when they're 80 years old and all alone. There'll be David Bowie, David Byrne and Brian Eno, and they'll just talk to each other."


This is all happily behind us and a new Talking Heads box set is coming out.

[Quotes via]
A Fine Friendship

How did an obscure philologist, and the scholarly author of a couple of slim books of verse go on to become the greatest story tellers of the twentieth century? The symbiosis between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein is described in detail in today's article. Tolkein brought Lewis back to his faith, which inspired him to produce his greatest works, and Lewis encouraged and prodded Tolkein to complete the Middle Earth saga. Without this relationship, neither Middle Earth nor Narnia might have ever come to be.

There influence upon each other continued beyond religion. Tolkein recalled of Lewis, "'The unpayable debt that I owe to [Lewis] was not 'influence' as it is ordinarily understood but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. Only from him did I ever get the idea that my 'stuff' could be more than a private hobby.' "

Tolkein's influence on Lewis did not end at encouraging his belief in Christianity, but as Steven Hart writes, "... the debt did not end there. Lewis quickly built a reputation as an explainer of Christianity, but he would hardly be remembered today if his fame rested solely on books like 'The Problem of Pain' (1940), with their bullying style and legalistic method of argument. The man who had returned to faith through myth and poetry seemed to think he could lawyer his readers through the gates of heaven. This point was not lost on Lewis' critics, particularly those within the faith. 'The problem of pain is bad enough,' one clergyman groused, 'without Mr. Lewis making it worse.' "

Their relationship had some ups and downs. In later years Tolkein criticized Lewis for mixing his mythology in the Chronicles of Narnia (Germanic Santa Claus rubs elbows with Greek deities), but when the Middle Earth trilogy was complete Lewis came to its defense. And there must have been some loving respect even when Tolkein was fashioning his tale, since as told in the Salon article, Lewis was the template for Treebeard. Haroom!

"Tolkien repaid the favor in 'The Lord of the Rings' by giving some of Lewis' mannerisms to Treebeard, the ligneous leader of the tree-like Ents -- chiefly his booming voice and constant throat-clearing. And it's not too far a stretch to find a faint dig at Lewis' nonstop literary productivity when Tolkien has Treebeard describe Entish as 'a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it unless it is worth taking a long time to say.' "

Hart concludes, "The long-overdue arrival of a proper film adaptation of 'The Lord of the Rings,' courtesy of Peter Jackson, gives this story a fitting coda. A film version of the first of the Narnia books, 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' will soon go into production in New Zealand. The enterprise was finally able to go forward because of the huge success of Jackson's "Lord of the Rings," and will use some of the same production and design people, including the Weta special-effects shop that helped bring Middle-earth to earth.

"The repercussions of that 1931 conversation along the River Cherwell are still being felt. Even now, it seems, Tolkien and Lewis are helping each other out."

Yes, a fitting ending to the saga. As they say, read the whole thing here. (Day Pass or Subscription required)

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Late to the Party

This is one of the reasons that I love DVD as a medium. I never watched West Wing before this last weekend. I knew that it was supposed to be quality drama, and that it had a great ensemble cast. But after years of Bochcoesque dramas, from Hill Street Blues to St. Elsewhere to LA Law to NYPD Blue to ER, I was so burnt out on yet another "must see" show that would obligate me to stay home or set the VCR every Wednesday come hell or high water. So I unconsciously boycotted West Wing.

After 3+ years of hearing how good it is, they have issued the first season on DVD. I thought to myself, what the heck, let's put it on the Netflix queue and give it a shot. Well thanks a lot, Warner Home Video, now I'm hooked!

This show is so intelligent and so funny and so engaging. Speaking for myself, it makes me nostalgic for the Clinton days when we had a smart, articulate president, surrounded by people with a passion for government. I know my conservative and libertarian friends will think that was exactly what was wrong with the Clinton years, but to those of us that think government can play a positive role in the lives of ordinary people, The West Wing is an idealized version of the way we would like to see the presidency. Oddly enough, my more conservative wife also fell in love with it. The humor and passion and intelligence of it also struck a cord with her.

So much for Wednesdays now. If you need me, you know where to find me, but don't call between 9 and 10.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Monday Morning Roundup

Hope everyone had a very pleasant and happy Thanksgiving. La Familia Futurballa most certainly did. this morning has a nice little roundup of the lower end of digital cameras that might make good stocking stuffers. Though my stocking rarely gets stuffed with $200 trinkets. is profiled at Salon. Worth reading (subscription or day pass required).

Triple your pleasure, triple your fun at Blogcritcs, with three postings on the Living Dead series. Here, here and here.