16MAR2024 – And Now for a Message from Our Sponsor

Saturday dawns sunny and brisk.  Very refreshing.  So much so that I resent sitting here to write.  But yesterday was a clamorous and dreary day of work.  So as Bob Cratchit observed, “I am behind my time.”  So here I am and I will take the time to provide cogent analysis on whatever it is that demands comment.  But “demands” is a stretch here.  I refuse to write further on Trump’s many legal battles.  When and if they reach a critical juncture, meaning, when they actually drag him off to the gulag, then I shall say my piece.

As for the latest political polls; yes, yes, we all know Trump’s winning.  Even a Democrat shill like Nate Silver is openly admitting that Biden is losing significant minority voters along with other important components of the Democrat coalition like the young and women.  But that’s all been said.  Sure, I’ll mention it in passing if it seems especially pointed.  But we are months and months away from even the conventions and by then, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny may be the Democrat candidate.  So, no, let’s put that aside for now.

I’ve already spoken about cannibal migrants this week.  Check.

Camera Girl has complained about the ruinous price of food including the corned beef for her birthday celebration this weekend.  Check.

Russians killing Ukrainians and Ukrainians killing Russians.  Check.  Check.

So, what, what, what?

Well, truth be told, I don’t feel like talking about any of that crap right now.  It’s been said and we can take a break from saying the same things again.

If you notice I’ve been putting up some stuff from movies and books.  I find this stuff makes me feel better.  And I’m looking for more of it.  This kind of stuff makes the day better and reinforces the things I think are good and healthy to think about.  And I openly encourage anyone who has anything that they want to share with the rest of the readers to link it and I’ll put it up.  Even Weird Al Yankovic (within reason of course).

Inevitably because I’m old and because a lot of what’s new stinks, the things I’ll point to will be old.  And the amount of high definition will be limited.  I hope my younger readers will forgive this.  But honestly watching some black and white footage won’t hurt any of them too badly.

I was thinking the other day that Shakespear died more than four hundred years ago and yet his English is still ninety percent understandable by even average readers.  Newness isn’t really a very good selection criterion for entertainment or really much of anything outside of technology.  Humans are still humans.  What needs to be done is to attempt to reintroduce the younger audience with their cultural heritage.  Whether it’s Shakespeare or the Marx Brothers, the human condition is pretty constant.  Iron Man and Odysseus are similar characters with similar problems.  Thor is just Achilles with CGI added in.

So, I apologize in advance if I stop banging away quite as often on how the end of Western Civilization is approaching and instead put-up examples of why we should care if Western Civilization is saved.  I’ll try to strike the right balance of outrage and fond remembrance so that your experience here is stimulating.

On with the show.

2024 Academy Awards – Oppenheimer and What?

The 96th Academy Awards will take place March 10th 2024.  Now I haven’t watched any part of the Oscars in coming on twenty years.  Even back in the early 2000’s they had become unwatchable both for the virtue signaling that made up most of the spectacle and for the unbelievably low entertainment value of the movies selected as nominees.

In the spirit of open mindedness I decided to take a look at the publicly available information on the movies that are up for the Best Picture award.  Below are links to each of the nominees.

 

You can check for yourself if your tastes may differ from mine.  Most of them sound unwatchable.  A multi-decade exploration of Leonard Bernstein’s bisexuality or a courtroom trial to determine whether a wife killed her husband or he committed suicide or whether he just fell off a balcony with their blind son as the chief witness or several other even less interesting plots.

I suppose a lot of older women might want to see Barbie.  And I’m sort of interested to see whether Oppenheimer is any good.  But after those two movies there isn’t much else.  Interestingly, those two movies appear to be the only ones that made any money.  The rest of them didn’t even break even.  And since the Marvel movies lost money last year does that mean Oppenheimer and Barbie are the only source of income for Hollywood in 2023?

So my experiment in open-mindedness crashed and burned.  Hollywood is no longer a thing.  Other than maybe a source for genre movies (action/adventure, sci-fi and comic book heroes) they’ve basically moved away from a pretty large chunk of what used to be their audience.

And it shows.  This list of best picture nominees is made up of either vanity projects by arthouse directors or Hollywood virtue signaling vehicles.  There’s even that time honored chestnut, the Nazi Holocaust period piece (The Zone of Interest).

So, I still haven’t gotten around to watching Oppenheimer.  I’ve heard it’s a mixed bag.  It has some interesting things but it’s more than bit too long.  Eventually I’ll watch it.  But as for either watching the Oscars or any of these movies that ain’t happening.  In fact, I can’t imagine that I’ll ever have a reason for watching the Academy Awards ceremony again.  Maybe if they were brave enough to make Ricky Gervais the emcee I might watch the compilation of his insults of the nominees.  That I could see as being worthwhile. What he did to the Golden Globes as the host was epic and well deserving of my time to rewatch it.

In fact that’s what I’m going to do on March 10th.  I’ll rewatch the clip showing all of his best zingers at the Golden globes.

Now that’s entertainment!

01March2024 – And Now for Something Light

Today Camera Girl accused me of being obsessed with the depressing politics of our dystopic world. I readily agreed. And I discussed with her some of the things that cause me to obsess about current events; pediatric transgender surgery, millions of illegal aliens crowding our streets, officially sanctioned anti-white hatred, double digit percent increases in the cost of everything, an epidemic of violent crime in the cities. I think I depressed her.
But she has a point. As enchanting as they are, let’s take a break from Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and Joy Reid for just a little bit. I think it’s good to distract ourselves sometimes with pleasant things. So, I was watching for the zillionth time the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Kubrick’s impressive cinematography, the apt use of the “Blue Danube Waltz”

and “Also sprach Zarathustra”

to convey emotion and provide mood to the scenes.
I don’t tend to watch the whole movie from start to finish. Frankly the ending doesn’t work for me. It’s overly long and frankly annoying. I do enjoy the battle between HAL and the astronauts, especially the scene where Dave removes HAL’s memory chips and renders him brain dead.

I think of it as the first shot in the long war that will be fought between man and AI machines. In that sense Dave Bowman is an heroic trailblazer pointing the way to what we will be faced with in the future. An echo of this can be heard in the Star Trek episode where Kirk must psyche the M5 computer into committing suicide.

I think about these various cinematic tropes to remind me that there was a time when humans and specifically Americans still believed that intelligence and being human were the two important traits that made our species unique and extremely interesting. There was a beauty and a joy to the way we embraced the future. There was immense optimism and confidence.
Now all those things have been systematically eliminated from our culture. Systematically and purposefully eliminated by an ideology that hates beauty and intelligence. Instead, it strives for power and control and doesn’t mind seeing humans reduced to depravity and destitution for the sake of meaningless goals like carbon zero or whatever senseless goal they are currently pursuing.
But I’m pretty sure that this ideology, in the long run, will be self-defeating. The utter stupidity of their ideas and the damage that their agenda will do to their ability to maintain a modern economy and standard of living seems to ensure that some time in the near future, those who shun their path will outstrip them in every meaningful way and relegate them to the proverbial “ash heap of history” where they will join North Korea and Cuba in worshipping their local demigods while huddling in the dark when the power is turned off for the night.
So, I’ll end with the most gung-ho, can-do attitude about human capability that I can think of from somewhat recent sf&f cinema.

Sure, it’s silly stuff but it’s in line with the optimistic vision of the American future, instead of the Greta Thunberg one.

Now Gutfeld is Stealing My Best Gags

Here’s a Claudine Gay / Urkel gag from Gutfeld’s show last night

 

And here is my post from Dec. 21st 2023.  Below is the photo from the post.

Claudine Gay Accused of Stealing Steve Urkel’s Look

Coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Damn you Gutfeld!  The Urkel meme is one of my best.

Ah, fate is cruel.  Well, at least he steals from the best.

 

 

Update:

I’ve called Gutfeld out.  I’ve demanded on-air attribution.

https://x.com/orionscoldfire/status/1760764495721271703?s=20

Trixie, We Hardly Knew Ye

Joyce Randolph, best known as Trixie Norton, the wife of Ralph Kramden’s best friend Ed Norton of the tv show “The Honeymooners” is dead at 99.

Trixie was typically straight man to either Alice Kramden or her husband Ed wasn’t a commanding acting presence on the show but she was a familiar part of many of the set-up husband/wife battle scenes.  Farewell oh, last link to the Honeymooners, a venerable part of  tv history.

ShatnerKhan III – The Anti-Climax

In these years of decay and barbarism even ShatnerKhan is only a pallid shadow of its former glory.  All the zest has been drained away.  How can we mock Bill Shatner when the present regime makes us look back with nostalgia at a time when tawdry power mad behavior and laughably bad acting was restricted to Khan and Kirk.  Now it’s everywhere.  Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Merrick Garland and most egregiously Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  Here we have a man whose original role as a bad comic actor has catapulted him into his present role as bagman for Joe Biden and the rest of the kleptocrats in Washington.  How can a mere ham actor and his Corinthian leather-hawking adversary compete?

Well, we’ll do our best today to celebrate the last few years of William Shatner’s already overextended time on this planet.  I’m not sure what facet of his career we will concentrate on today.  We’ve already hit all the high notes (such as they were) before.  Possibly today we will just reflect on the lessons we’ve all learned living in the wake of this tremendously opportunistic mediocrity who proved that post-World War II America truly was the land of opportunity, flowing with milk and honey for anyone with a room temperature IQ and a pulse.

Things may be a little quiet on the site today but I will check in from time to time.

But I’ll leave you with a taste of the Shatner that we all love to mock.  Here is what ShatnerKhan truly stands for.

04AUG2023 – Dissident Clarity, Home Maintenance and the Art of Surviving the Apocalypse

Friday morning is one of my favorite times.  I usually get to spend an hour or so in the home gym and I usually listen to the ZMan’s Friday podcast.  And today was no exception.  As I said I’m changing up my exercise routine so it wasn’t routine but I was still able to pay attention as the Voice of Saruman declaimed on the workings, or rather, the non-workings of the American political system.

But he changed it up a little and this time he played devil’s advocate and tried to describe what it would take to fix our political system.  Or, more accurately, he explained what would happen if we tried.  And I think he was relatively even-handed in his estimation of what it would take to change the Republican party into an honest representative of the American Right.

And then he ended off this discussion by talking about what happens if the Uni-party continues on, in full control of the country.  He gives four alternatives.

  • The Uni-party consolidates its control and produces a stable and powerful regime that rules in perpetuity.
  • The Uni-party continues to struggle and internal forces within the power structure create reforms to address the more dysfunctional policies of the Left.
  • The Uni-party continues to struggle and a rogue component of the Uni-party performs a coup that forces reforms that shake up the status quo.
  • The peasants revolt and burn the whole damn thing down.

I found the tenor of the whole discussion extremely moderate and reasonable.  In fact, it occurred to me that the ZMan was risking his standing as a dweller on the fringe.  Someone might accuse him of not being crazy.  Hopefully, word won’t leak out.

Afterward as I mulled over his words, I continued with my repair of the lock on my sliding glass door.  As I described the other day, the latch on the inside of the door broke off and the replacement handle I bought at the local hardware store didn’t fit.  So, I went on line and bought a new latch.  It was supposed to be a direct replacement but that was a lie.  Now I’m going to buy a whole new set-up; handles, lock, latch mechanism and hardware and start from scratch.  I anticipate a disaster.  But at least temporarily I can lock the door at night to keep the werewolves, vampires and ghouls at bay.  I think Camera Girl is starting to lose faith in my mechanical aptitude.  Confidentially, so am I.  I realized I had mislaid my claw hammer.  I’ve had the thing for forty some odd years and I really don’t use it that often so I don’t have an excuse for losing it.  I would think this is the first sign of dementia except it’s really the millionth episode starting in my early twenties.  So maybe I’ll take a wait and see policy because I’m too lazy to do anything about it anyway.

Camera Girl and I started watching a tv series on FX called “The Old Man” with Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow.  Bridges is a rogue CIA agent that has been hiding out for the last thirty years trying to live a normal life with his wife and daughter.  Lithgow was his old handler who is now an FBI big wig who doesn’t want Bridges to be caught because it will expose his part in shady doings that went on when the Russians were at war in Afghanistan.  So far (two episodes in), it’s very interesting and both of the leads are extremely interesting to watch.  Hopefully it continues to impress us.  We’re always short of good things on tv.

The ZMan’s podcast reinforced my recent feelings that we will be engulfed in this class struggle here in the West for a very long time and it is up to all of us and each of us on our side to strengthen the things we believe in and form as many links in the world to help our side survive the onslaught of the Left.  And surprisingly, it left me feeling slightly calmer and happier than before I listened to it.  Maybe it was his talk or maybe I’m reaching a better place with the status quo.  Panic doesn’t seem to be productive.

Well, that’s enough for now.  Have a great day.

Whiling Away the Summer Days

As July draws to a close, I’ve been indulging in inconsequential trifles.  Yesterday I watched the remake of “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel.  The original with Arnold Schwarzenegger was a silly movie.  So was this.  But I think I liked the recent one better.  Not that it was any more sensible or was a masterpiece of cinematic brilliance but it was entertaining.

Then tonight we watched the first episode of the spy series “The Old Man” with Jeff Bridges.  And once again it wasn’t deathless theater but it was very entertaining.  We’re also watching the “Justified” sequel I guess you could call it.  Now, I really liked the original series a lot.  I don’t know that I’ll like this as much but it’s well done and definitely in the same vein as the earlier series.  So lately I’m not hating tv.

And since it stopped raining every minute, I’ve had a chance to get outside and do some macrophotography of bugs and flowers.  And that’s a lot of fun.  I’ve been testing out the advantages and disadvantages of using continuous autofocus with fast moving insects.  The primary disadvantage is that for the Sony A7IV camera magnified view is unavailable in continuous autofocus mode.  So, for instance, if you’re trying to get the eyes of a bee or butterfly perfectly focused you have to guess if the autofocus is precisely on the eye.  In single-shot autofocus I can engage a 5.5X magnified view that will let me see whether the eye or whatever else I’m trying to nail is perfect.  But often when these critters are crawling around, they can move out of focus almost immediately.  Plus, the magnified view ends as soon as the shutter is engaged and so it’s necessary to reactivate it after every photo.

Based on what I’ve seen in the last couple of days I’m starting to think that continuous autofocus is the way to go.  Especially if I use high speed multiple exposures (spray and pray mode).  This ends up filling up my memory card (and hard drive!) but the chance of getting the perfect shot is much more likely than with the single shot autofocus and single exposure mode.  Plus, it’s easier and as I’ve always admitted I’m an extremely lazy man.

And I’ve continued on my program of getting together with the grandsons one by one.  Last Saturday I had the twelve-year-old fellow over and he wanted a Star Wars marathon.  Luckily this was the “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”  I had forgotten just how bad the Ewoks were.  I also forgot just how goofy the scripts were.  Harrison Ford spends most of his time hammering away at some control components of the Millenium Falcon while whining about how it wasn’t his fault.  But we bonded over our shared belief that Imperial Stormtroopers were all pathetic losers without any detectable skills as warriors.  And finally, I rediscovered my disdain for Yoda.  As far as I could determine he was always wrong and of no value as a teacher or anything else.

On the upcoming Saturday, the sixteen-year-old is coming over and I believe it will be a “Lord of the Rings” film festival.  That should be fun.  For dessert he’s requested original Klondike Bars, of which I wholly approve.  It should be epic.

So, all of these things provide a welcome distraction from the slow-motion train wreck that is our national government.  I sometimes wondered what it must have been like to live through the more terrible chapters of the Roman Empire.  I think I now have a better idea.  Joe Biden is Tiberius and I guess Hunter is Caligula.  The FBI is the Praetorian Guard and we’re the rabble existing on bread and circuses.  But even if Tiberius was as sexually depraved as Joe, at least he was an able military leader.  Watching what Joe is doing to our foreign policy, or allowing others to do to our foreign policy, is frightening.

But enough doom and gloom.  Though we are perched on the slopes of Vesuvius we will eat, drink and be merry.  July is almost consumed but it will be relished to the dregs.

Short Sequel to Justified on FX This Year

Justified was one of my favorite television series of all time.  The show provided a combination of drama and comedy that worked very well.  The writers were able to adapt Elmore Leonard’s stories and characters skillfully.  Olyphant and the rest of the ensemble cast (with an especial shoutout for Nick Searcy as Raylan’s boss Art Mullen) were fascinating to watch.

So now the powers that be are going to do an eight episode series with Raylan Givens in his iconic cowboy hat bringing law and order to Detroit.  It’s on FX late this year.  Can the producers catch lightning again?  Well I guess I’ll have to watch to see.  Hey, do I have FX on my crappy cable package.

The Great Nick Searcy in One of My Favorite Scenes from Justified

Hardly a day goes by that Camera Girl and I don’t quote from this scene.

Frank Reasoner:  You got a family, Chief?
Art Mullen:  Yep. Waiting on our third grandchild.
Frank Reasoner:  You love your wife?
Art Mullen:  Most of the time!