Enjoy these prewebsite articles, movie reviews, and art!
Originally published on October 30, 2015
Originally published on October 23, 2015
Originally published on October 22, 2015
Originally published on October 21, 2015 (edited)
So, Joe Biden is officially not getting in his party’s primary for the Presidency. Fitting that his party is the party of abortion, because Hillary just plan-B’ed his campaign. Oh well, it would of been fun to have a public airing of Obama/Clinton animosity. Anyway, with the announcement that Biden is not going to be running on the Democrat side, there’s a lot of speculation as to whether or not the Democratic primary is over. Well, it may have been a foregone conclusion that Hillary was going to be their nominee, whether it was decreed by Clinton Machinery (six debates, really?), or by her gender, or her sense of entitlement, or just because she is the only one with name recognition (accomplishments aren’t even a passenger on this train). Even her only serious contender seems more concerned with moving the party to the left, than becoming President.
So, it’ll be Hillary verses [Republican]. And allow me to let you in on a little secret, it really doesn’t matter who fills that other slot, for this is true: if you think government should have more power over our lives, to whatever end you have in mind such as a poor man who wants a rich man’s stuff or a rich man who wants government to help his business and hurt his competitors, you’ll vote Democrat; if you think government should have less power over your life, no matter which one of these slightly varying candidates wins, then you’ll vote Republican. You may have in the mix a few third party puritans on both sides who, if they do anything at all, will succeed in making the party they agree with most lose, but the choice is essentially a binary one.
In the 1990’s, the largest most successful socialist country collapsed under the weight of their own debt, and they were a super power. The same will happen in the USA if a Republican is not elected or is elected and fails to act decisively to change our country’s course from our future debt oblivion, so we may only have just this one chance before it all goes down, if history is any example. However, we will have no chance if Hillary, with all of her corruption an ideology, gets in.
My hope is that Americans will recognize this common fate, lay their other concerns aside for a time, and deal with this existential threat. So Libertarians to conservative Democrats, time to suck it up, be realistic about the problems we face, and vote for the GOP, if only this one time.
Salem’s Lot (1979) Movie Review
Originally published on October 15, 2015 (edited)
When starting this blog, part of the content that I wanted to provide was my thoughts on cultural topics, and not just my political take on things. Specifically, I wanted to do book and movie reviews, and considering that my tastes lean more towards media with a bit of age to it, “oldies, but goodies,” I thought I’d mostly concentrate on films and books that might just be overlooked gems from a bygone era, as opposed to keeping up with everybody and their grandma as they give their takes on Mad Max Fury Road or the latest pop novel.
For some time now, I’ve entertained getting a copy of the made-for-TV-movie Salem’s Lot. Not to be confused with the Rob Lowe miniseries of the same name, what I mean is the 1979 version starring David Soul (Starsky and Hutch), James Mason (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard), and directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre). I’ve deliberated over ordering it on Amazon.com or ebay, but had never pulled the trigger on it. However, on a whim, I went to the DVD/CD exchange in San Antonio (excellent store) and found what might have been the last new copy of Salem’s Lot on DVD in town; I quickly snagged it up for myself. For good measure, I also was able to find the Blu-ray release of the classic Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens but that’s a review for another time. Now, armed with a high-quality DVD copy of a true classic from the late 1970’s, I chose Salem’s Lot for my first, and appropriately October-timed, film review.
For fans of the Stephen King novel that Salem’s Lot is based on, the 1979 version might be a bit of a let-down because of the differences that seemingly must come when adapting a novel to screen, such as the almost elimination of Father Callahan who features more prominently in King’s book. Not being overly impressed with the book, I believe the movie deserves a judgement based on its own merits, but I’ll note that the book’s plot and structure are essentially retained.
The tiny Eastern American hamlet of Salem’s Lot finds itself one day with rise in its population by a factor of three. Ben Mears (David Soul), former resident and current novelist (like so many of King’s stories center on) has returned to Salem’s lot with a kernel of an idea to write a ghost story based on his own childhood supernatural encounter in the locally-famed and erstwhile abandoned Marsten house. Mears tries to arrange to live in the Marsten house for literary inspiration only to find out that the town’s other two newest denizens have already purchased the home along with property downtown to serve as an antique shop. The two elderly gentlemen, who say they are in Salem’s Lot to begin their retirement after being art/antique dealers in Europe for decades, are initially represented by Richard Straker, played by the incomparable James Mason. His partner, Kurt Barlow, is said to arrive very soon, but in the meantime, the populace of the town have only the presence of Straker on which to draw their conclusions about the two business associates, and while polite, Straker seems odd and effete. Deprived of his choice of residence, Mears checks into a local boarding house with a view of the Marsten home, then he reintroduces himself to his former childhood haunt, visiting familiar sites, an old friend, and a new love interest (Bonnie Bedelia), but it’s not long before the village is the site of many strange happenings: movers deliver a large crate to the Marsten house that has an unnatural cold and you’d swear you saw it move on its own, a graveyard is desecrated by the slaying of a local’s dog, and a neighborhood boy goes missing while shortly thereafter his brother is hospitalized. Quickly following that, people start getting sick with so-called pernicious anemia, and Salem’s Lot’s population starts on a dramatic decline as evil forces manifest themselves more openly. It is left to Mears, who seems to be one of the few who can connect the disparate and grisly facts, to convince what few allies he can find that evil in the form of a vampire must be confronted head on or else the town itself may be destroyed.
Salem’s Lot does a good job of creating a realistic atmosphere of a small town upon which the story tellers unleash their horrors. While many of the characters are merely functionary to advancing the plot, some have interesting histories with their own fair share of closeted skeletons. Geoffrey Lewis is particularly good as Mike Ryerson, a local grave digger and odd-jobs guy who later becomes an early convert of the vampire. The film is expertly directed by Tobe Hooper, the director of the amazing Poltergeist, who in spite of directing a TV Movie, seems to pull off a very cinematic-feeling opus. The movie flows with appropriate tempo and skilled cutting. The film also employs liberal use of fog machines and reversed film that effectively add to the eerie and unnatural feel of the story. The music is very good and sets the mood quite well. The sound effects are chilling, some of the best I’ve heard in a horror movie. However, of all the admirable film qualities, what Salem’s Lot has in spades, and that most movies that tackle the horror genre don’t quite nail, is that it is very, very, scary!
In another departure from the novel, Salem’s Lot takes the antagonist, the vampire Kurt Barlow, and makes him a non-speaking role. While one can see intelligent qualities in the character, the overall effect is to bring out his bestial and savage quality, making the character feel more like a force of nature or all-pervasive presence that occasionally manifests rather than an actual character. Additionally, the decision to make the monster a mute defaults the lion’s share of the dialogue to his human helper, Strayker. This could have easily been disastrous, but the Paul Monash screenplay is so well written, and the portrayal of Straker in such expert hands as those of James Mason, who delivers his lines with fiendish relish, that the film is all the more effective for it. Adding to the horror is the excellent Jack Young make-up design. While all of his Salem’s Lot vampire make-ups are very effective, portraying a sort of dirty, vicious look for the un-dead that is not in the least bit elegant or clichéd, the Barlow design is classic, making the antagonist look very much like Count Orlock’s older and chemically dependent sibling, and is a far more unsettling design than if they went with a more human looking vampire. The result is all the more enhanced through the director’s employment of a technique, used with great self-possession in movies like Jaws, that of not completely revealing the monster all at once, but spacing it out in progressing snippets, preserving the mystery and leaving room for the viewers imagination to help the movie transcend what it is possible on celluloid.
In conclusion, I can’t recommend Salem’s Lot enough. It is a great and fitting homage to Dracula and horror of the past, done with prodigious thought and competence that is not overly nostalgic, nor featuring an excess of the ontological and theological hand wringing that seems to be a staple of the genre’s modern kin. Salem’s Lot merely lets you enjoy the vampire in the best of its tradition and all that makes it an effective and potent villain. Although this title can be a little hard to get a hold of, it is well worth the extra couple of bucks spent on it, for in a world where the legacy of horror is held by the purveyors of teen vampires and torture cinema, Salem’s Lot is that rarest of cinematic commodities: a quality horror movie that is truly and enduringly scary. After all these years and seeing this movie many times, it still gets to me. Turn down lights, where applicable.
“Hillary’s First Big Night,” or “How the Dem Nomination was Surrendered”
Originally published on October 14, 2015 (edited)
Being a working man, I didn’t see the Dem Debate in its entirety, but based on the highlights, I think I have answers to my questions, which were, “Are the non-Clinton candidates prepared to attack Hillary on either corruption or lack of accountability as a possible president, and will Hillary prefer to be viewed as incompetent (ie: it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t know) as a defense to being viewed as corrupt?” For the later question, admitting to being incompetent or corrupt are, I’m sure, both anathema to Hillary. She would rather prefer to say that she did what she did because she’s Hillary (channeling her best Nicholson character from “A Few Good Men), and she’d do it again, but as unlikable and entitled as she already is viewed as, that’s hardly a sure path to the White House. It is too bad that she lacks her husband’s skill set to fake empathy, and instead is the fingernail on the chalk board candidate, and her party’s likely baggage encumbered nominee.
Well, in due course, I received an answer to the first question, and that is no; the other candidates will not attack Hillary where she is vulnerable. Whether this is motivated out of fear of Clinton machine reprisals in the wake of her feloniousness’ seeming inevitable nomination victory, a hope that the Clintons will endorse them should they somehow win, or just a perception that the Dem rank and file doesn’t care about Hillary’s abuses of power and therefore very little is to be gained in an assault on the queen, I couldn’t say for certain. However, they seemed determined not to criticize her majesty in any meaningful way. Consequently, no non-Hillary candidate helped themselves last night. Oh, well.
Concerning the question of whether Clinton wants to be thought of as corrupt or incompetent regarding why she broke the laws regarding her removal of classified info outside secured facilities (felony), or her then attempt to destroy such info (double felony), or anything else, she merely side-stepped the specter of both characterizations by simply not answering the questions. AC did ask a few questions in this direction (bully for him), but was unwilling or unable to get a clear response.
However, just as the other candidates likely pondered this same issue, I also am not entirely sure that the Dem faithful really cares if Hillary broke the law or not; it seems a non-issue to them. Besides, the Dem base has more important things to consider, such as NOT addressing the national existential crisis of our debt and what adding another $20 trillion to our existing $20 trillion in debt and $120 trillion in unfunded mandates might do to our economy, while ADDRESSING the fake existential crisis of climate change, on which this debate revealed all new doomsday prophesies. I don’t know about you, but I love when the left predicts the end of the world, setting dates, only to see those dates go by and need resetting. With environmental prophets of doom like these, they could give John Hagee a run for his dispensational money!
And, holy cow! Bernie Sanders honeymooned in the USSR?! Man, I know he calls himself a socialist, but he may have just gone full Trotsky… and you never go full Trotsky!
Milo and the Cannibal Feminists
Originally published on September 22, 2015 (edited)
Lately, I’ve been watching journalist and Breitbart opinion writer Milo Yiannoupolis, and he had a very good point. In the following, I’ll sum up his points and expand upon it with my own thoughts, mostly because I’m far to lazy to find the quote.
Anyway, the left, feminists in particular, holds that gender is basically an artificial cultural construct that is enforced by patriarchal gender norms. The left regards these roles as illusory, and that the brains of males and females are identical, in spite of the gender. This is the source of their condemnation of a sexist society that either discourages or blocks women from seeking/gaining certain employment, etc. However, they simultaneously believe that, such as in the case of Bruce Jenner, that a person can be born with brain differently gendered than that of their body. Therefore they support gender reassignment, considering the brain the more important designator of gender than genitals or genetics or anything.
As these beliefs are mutually exclusive, you’d think that eventually the left would have to make a choice: either gender roles are arbitrary or there is such a thing as a male or female brain, with whatever implications that it brings. If the former is true, then they can keep decades worth of social saber rattling and amusing epitaphs about males. However, if the latter is true, and there are very real and different biological things at work in males and females, than they would have to admit they’ve been wrong about a great deal of their beliefs and prescribed public policy.
There is, however, a way for progressives to avoid such an epiphany, and it’s a road much traveled by the left. When considering their ways, one must always take into consideration that leftism is far more emotionally driven than cerebral and has infinite capacity to not correlate the contents of its own beliefs. What the left does instead is to compartmentalize (keeping ideas in separate mental boxes), fishing them out when necessary, but certainly not allowing the individual beliefs to interact. This is how they figuratively have their cake and eat it too.
Consider, for instance, the left’s championing of Islam. On the surface, Islam seems to be the embodiment of everything they hate: women are subservient, gays deserve the death penalty, and even the fact that they have any kind of a deity at all might be deemed problematic to many progressives. With all this, you’d expect them to oppose Muslims with at least as much fervor as they do American Christians, but they don’t. The reasons for this are likely routed in their obligatory belief that only Western cultures are uniquely evil (a congenital doctrine inherited from Frankfort school dogma that also gives a pass to non-western cultures), and also their belief that they alone are the guardians of all protected minorities (and Islam in the US is a minority). However, if you ask your average leftist about this, they likely never considered that these beliefs might be in conflict. Before long discomfort from not being able to explain something with talking points would set in, causing them to retreat to the comfort of calling you a racist/sexist/something-ist. In fact, you’re more likely to see them promote, pretend about, and accommodate Islam, then merely tolerate it.
While it is fun to watch feminists and other leftists eat each other, I don’t think we’re quite to the point of progressive cannibal holocaust. Even if they did realize the disharmony inherit in the feminism vs. transgender debate, it is unlikely they would do anything different. This because transgender-ism, like Islam, is seen as an opportunity for them to expand the politically lucrative victim-class, and that is way too valuable to give up for anything as small as logic and consistency.