Thursday, October 30, 2003

The international anti-war Left is peculiarly silent regarding the upcoming announcement that France will target their arsenal of nuclear weapons at rogue states.

So if France doesn't agree with Bush's Axis of Evil rhetoric, why then is it hedging?

Monday, October 27, 2003

(Vanishing) Jewels of the Nile
In September, a widespread panic raged in Sudan over a fear that handshakes with foreigners would cause men's penises to shrivel up and disappear. Apparently, a few said they experienced this horror and the rumor then was quickly spread through extensive text messaging.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Signature. Handshake. Dinner. Strip Joint
I'm humored when clients I work with want to formalize working relationships by arranging a face to face meeting. It happens rarely, and when it does I tend to hint and suggest that such a meeting is not necessary. The deals tend to be of small significance and I really can't justify the expense of airfare, hotel, and meals for the purpose of closing such accounts. Perhaps it's the "Gen-X" in me, but I'm really not interested in participating in the old-fashioned kabuki dance of wearing the golf shirt, going out for dinner and drinks, telling off-color jokes, belly-laughing, atta-boying, and the like just to secure the deal. To me it seems like a pointless waste of my personal time.

Oddly, the majority of clients who want to formalize relationships in this manner are Indians. My hunch is now that they are significant players in the business world, they want to enjoy some of the perceived trappings of said world. It also brings to mind an interesting anecdote. One summer weekend during college, I was down in Andover, MA visiting a girlfriend. I happened to call home and my dad asked me to do a favor for him. He wanted me to go down to Logan airport and pick up a client of his that was flying in from China. My instructions were to pick up the client, and bring him back to the town where my parents lived and get him checked in at the hotel. My dad figured rather than drive two hours to Logan himself, he'd get me to drive the 30 mins and save him the hassle. So yeah, I went down to Logan and picked this guy up. I even made one of those signs that chauffeurs hold up with names printed on them. On the drive back home we talked about life here and life in China and the conversation was very interesting. However, after a bit he became interested in talking about American women. We pulled in to a highway rest stop (so he could smoke a cigarette) and he had a remark for every woman that walked by. Anyway, we get to the hotel and I helped him with his luggage and went to get him checked into the hotel. It turns out that the person behind the desk was a girl from my high school class. We made small talk and the usual and got this guy checked in and stuff. At this point I consider my mission to be over and I'm ready to head home and call up my friends and see what they are doing. However, this businessman requests that I stay and have dinner with him and that I also introduce him to this girl that I knew from high school. Personally, I am in no mood to do either and I thank him but tell him dinner is impossible. This guy wanted to go drinking and womanizing as such but there were several impossibilities to this as 1) I was perhaps 19 or 20 at the time so no way into the bars, and 2) there was no way I was going to invite this important client of my father's to come hang out with a bunch of drunken college students out in some sandpit, burning wooden pallets while throwing back the 30 pack of Natural Light. It just was not going to happen. So I bid goodbye and got out of there quick. It made me think though, this guy has a wife and kids at home and yet out on business its an excuse to go nuts and forget about them. Odd. I wonder how The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit translates into Mandarin?

I just think it interesting the perpetuation of some behaviors within the world of business. The boys at Enron sure knew how to party. For me, I just want the whole enterprise distilled to its most crucial, salient points. You want product we have? Okay, here is the price. Good? Great, How do you want to buy? Not good? Okay, lets negotiate. Sure this sound like clerking out at Wal-Mart, but the beauty of it is little time is wasted, jargon is discarded, extraneous business formality, puffery, and fluff is jettisoned, and money is made tidily, efficiently, and with less hassle. I've got other shit to do. Next!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I don't know what motivates some nuts. This story of the guy going over the Niagara Falls without any survival aids just blows my mind. It looks like it was his mission to just jump in and go over the edge and see what would happen. It brings to mind Steven Trotter and his stunts. His 1985 plunge over the falls took place in a barrel wrapped in truck tire inner tubes. Trotter did it again in 1995 accompanied by his girlfriend, Lori Martin. I think that reprise of the stunt is more noteworthy because he convinced someone else to join him in his stupidity. But not to be outdone by that, Trotter convinced 4 friends to join him in a group pendulum bungee jump off the Sunshine Skyway Bridge located in Tampa Bay. The 200' drop went awry and the plungers suffered broken bones when their bungee cable broke. The story goes that Trotter convinced friends at his local bar to join him in his daredevil escapades and they agreed (probably after many beers).

It just makes me wonder what Kreblog will suggest to all during a future Beer Night...

Crushing of Dissent
Superb video from filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney reveals the strident intolerance of the Left for views that differ from theirs. Maloney visited Rutgers University to film a rally held by supporters of the Palestinian Intifada. Immediately he was confronted by the protesters who sought to censor him and prevent him from filming. And these people complain about John Ashcroft???? Their hypocrisy is astounding. This video speaks for itself.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Kill Thrill
Call me the turd in the punchbowl, but I'm not much of a fan of Quentin Tarantino. I won't be making plans to see Kill Bill in the theatre and will be mildly interested to view this film when it becomes available on DVD. While I won't deny that he is a talented filmmaker, I will deny that he makes talented films. People are amazed at his use of dialogue, but what they fail to notice is that it's less of a compliment to him and more of an indictment against the majority of popular movies and how far down the quality of dialogue writing has sunk. Tarantino uses words in the way Britney Spears uses her navel. Both are in your face and stylishly framed but offer little in the way of substance.

That's my problem with Tarantino. The obsessive elevation of style in his movies using elements mostly borrowed. What do I mean by that? For starters, the Tarantino template revolves around a basic list of ingredients: normally unlikable characters who he makes likable through the use of banal, everyday, culturally referential and identifiable dialogue; straightforward crime setups derailed in some manner; non-linear storytelling; hip musical soundtrack; and intense scenes of shocking violence made to be laughed at. Tarantino takes this template and then tints it for each individual movie by applying a gloss of the 70's he wishes to pay homage to. Pulp Fiction & Reservoir Dogs call to mind the 70s cop picture motif (Dirty Harry, Mean Streets, Serpico) with elements of urban decay, disco lighting, and images of cars w/ vinyl bench seats and stylishly dressed villains in retro clothes and hairstyles. Jackie Brown riffs on the funk and blaxploitation aesthetic of the 70's while Tarantino's Kill Bill borrows heavily from Bruce Lee and 70's Kung-fu. Clearly Tarantino is obsessed with the 70's in the way that Oliver Stone is obsessed with the 60's. Both are also similar in the way they sledgehammer you with style.

Keg parties at UNH were incomplete without the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. The popularity of Tarantino as director is due in large part to his skill as DJ. Tarantino's Pulp Fiction soundtrack scored big because it arrived at precisely the moment during the early 90's that a retro-70's fad was taking place. Pimp wear was fashionable at parties, bell bottoms were back, Parliament-Funkadelic samples were remixed into gansta rap anthems. No wonder Pulp Fiction was as popular as it was - it was giftwrapped for the moment. Conversely, this explains why Jackie Brown was less popular and why Tarantino has taken such a long time in between that and Kill Bill. He can't let go of the 70's, but we can. From the time of Pulp Fiction's release to now, we have seen the retro 70's thing; a retro 30's swing/zoot-suit with touches of 50's Rat Pack martini thrown in; hidden appreciation for the 80's; and a continuing onslaught of the latest nu-metal, teen, and techno offerings of the prevailing trend machine. The challenge of Tarantino is to identify what elements of the 70's will resonate with audiences today. His Pulp Fiction hit paydirt with the timing, the funk element of Jackie Brown was perhaps a year or so too late. With Kill Bill, Tarantino may have successfully timed his kung-fu homage with our current Matrix-induced fascination with scenes of operatic, highly choreographed swordplay and acrobatics. Lost in all of this however is the question whether Tarantino is offering us anything new and original. It seems to me his great talent resides in his ability to repackage elements that originate from others; whether he's riffing off of blaxploitation movies, the operatic and stylish violence of Sam Peckinpah and John Woo, or now the Brothers Wychowski and their Matrix offerings. Ultimately, this is why I am not greatly interested in Tarantino. He offers nothing original.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Iraq Toy Drive Update
Here's a story about Chief Wiggles and the success of the toy drive he has organized to provide for Iraqi children. Information and links are contained within on how to get involved as well.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Stanley Cup of Christ
Teams that win the Stanley Cup often allow each player on the team time to spend with the cup trophy. Some players show it off in their hometown. Some use it as a chip bowl. Some sleep with it in their bed. Now, since the Freemasons are reputed to have the Holy Grail in their possession, do you think they pass it around to each of their members, so that they may hang out with it for a bit, like hockey players do with the Stanley Cup?

Somewhere, right now, an elderly Shriner is relaxing in a barcalounger, eating beer nuts from the Cup of Christ.....

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

GOP-T Cruiser
It's interesting how you never see bumper stickers on Volvos that indicate the owner/driver as a right-winger. Typically, what's displayed is in the "Split Wood Not Atoms" sentiment or other leftie platitudes. You never see an NRA Member sticker on a Volvo. Why is that?

Is there a car that can be instantly recognized as the choice for right-wingers? Is there a car that instantly screams Republican? I suppose the inclination here is to say that SUVs are the right-wingers automobile of choice what with all the gas-guzzling and polluting. But then what to make of the "Pathfinder Hippy" phenomena? This seems to muddy the waters a bit as to whether one look at a guy getting into an SUV instantly suggests he's Republican. It is sort of ironic that left-wingers, who normally might voice displeasure with mass consumerism, are identified by their particular choice of mass consumerism - in this case by driving Volvos en masse.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Sox Win! Sox Win!
Thank you Derek Lowe.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Politically Correct Terrorists
Militant animal rights activists have been setting off bombs at businesses they target as abusers of animal rights. They plan to continue their violence and destruction.

Why has the major media been silent about this when in the past they have been all over the burning of black churches and the bombing of abortion clinics?