Top Ten Movies 
Since it seems everyone likes lists, I decided to list my ten favorite movies. Granted, in the past ten years I have seen fewer than ten in a theater and probably rented fewer than ten in the past ten years as well. We bought a DVD player in December and up until a few days ago, had yet to rent, borrow, or buy a movie to play in it. We know it works because we have an "I Spy" DVD game that we have played in it a few times. Over the weekend, someone gave us our first DVD as a gift so know we own one DVD for our player.

Nonetheless, I do like some movies and my aversion is because most of what Hollywood puts out is junk and recycled junk at that so I have given up on going to the movies. I have seen two movies in the theater (both were at drive-ins, every time one closes, a bit of Americana is lost) since 2000. My list is a snapshot of how good movies used to be. Anyway, here are my top ten, in no particular order:

10. Patton - What's amazing about this movie is that is was released at the peak of the anti-war movement during Vietnam and yet it still won big at the Oscars.

9. Platoon - Oliver Stone's magnum opus

8. Saving Private Ryan - Forget Jaws, E.T., or Schindler's List, this is Spielberg's masterpiece

7. Stalag 17 - great to watch around Xmas as this takes place during Xmas, 1944; complete with some BBC "play by play" of the Battle of the Bulge.

6. Apocalypse Now - creepy, funny, and powerful, my favorite Coppola film. Normally I am not a big fan of Robert Duvall but he's fantastic in this one;
"Charlie don't surf!"

5. Blazing Saddles - Absolutely hilarious, some great one liners - "scuse me while I whip this out" "the sheriff is near..."; great stuff

4. Airplane! - way too many funny things to comment on but I can watch this, uncut, anytime

3. Dr. Strangelove or How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb - Stanley Kubrick's other great film, Peter Sellers at his finest showing why he was one of the premier actors of the 20th century

2. The Empire Strikes Back - the best of the five I have seen

1. 12 Angry Men (1957) - if I were to pick my favorite movie ever, this one might be it; so well done with superb acting, no special effects, no glitz, nothing, just a plain room with a few minutes from inside the men's room. The viewer is forced to follow the actors' words and actions and the movie delivers; a true masterpiece.




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Been Busy 
I've been fairly busy the past three or so weeks which comes as no surprise to those of you who know why and, thus, I've really only had time to scan the news of late. There have been some big stories, too, like what happened at Virginia Tech, Congress waving the white flag, and Toyota beating GM in sales for the quarter. I really only have time to make a quick comment on Congress.

It appears that the Commander-in-Chief will veto Congress' bill. Wasting taxpayer time and money on such an issue is malfeasance at its worst. Telling the world that we can't take pain and suffering is a mistake, too. I want our troops to come home as much as anybody but leaving now is a mistake. Maybe it was a mistake to invade Iraq but we need to fix it if we broke it. Let's suck it up and fix what we broke. Rhetoric and symbolic gestures fix nothing. What ever happened to "my country, right or wrong?" When we are wrong on something, it used to be improper to broadcast it to the world but that's not so anymore.

I don't want to get too political but abandoning something just because 1) we don't like it and 2) it's difficult is indicative of a society that doesn't want to deal with things that require work and patience. As a people, we are becoming lazy and impatient and that indolence is now beginning to creep into Congress.

I'll close with two links from some letters from a corporal in Iraq:

[Link 1]

[Link 2]



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Nothing to See Here, Move Along 
"A veteran California senator has resigned as chair of a powerful military construction committee after reports that for years she abused her position to award her husband’s companies billions of dollars in government contracts."
[source]

Since a prominent senator is involved in such flagrant ethics violations and obvious war profiteering, I wanted to see what the bastions of today's media outlets had to say on the matter. So I did some searching.

"feinstein military husband" on CNN's search yields seven results, none relevant. The same query on nytimes.com (searching the last year) yields 10, none relevant. If I change the search to "Dianne Feinstein military" I get 18 from the NYT and "Sorry, we are unable to perform your search because we are experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later" on CNN.com; seriously, I did. So I tried CBSNews.com; "dianne feinstein military" yields nothing.

Well, I thought, maybe I am not using the correct terms. "feinstein committee" yields 22 results, none relevant, on the NYT, 10 on CBS, none relevant (but a few about Harriet Miers), and 174 on CNN. I narrowed the CNN search (it was working again) to "feinstein resigns committee" and got 24, none relevant.

Ok, so I just stuck to the basics. Just plain "Dianne Feinstein" into CBSNews yields 20, none relevant to the resignation and the same into CNN gives 351; by date, nothing through Feb. mentions the resignation. I typed "Dianne Feinstein" into the NYTimes search box and checked back 30 and 90 days. Surely, I would find something. I found nine results from the past 30 days and 28 from the past 90 and many of those 28 deal with the attorneys being fired so I know that the NYTimes is capable of covering current events; they just pick and chose which ones to cover.

Surely, her hometown newspaper is covering this story. A search on sfgate.com yields seven results from the past 30 days, nothing relevant.

Maybe the liberal bloggers who said we need ethical leadership in Congress are talking about it. "feinstein committee resigns" returns three non-relevant posts on Dailykos.com. At least Kos makes no bones about their agenda so I can't fault them.

As for the mainstream media, their duty is to inform. Liberal bias? Nah..., double standard? c'mon.... pushing an agenda? no way.... manufacturing Republican scandals with our track record of being balanced? nothing to see here, move along...



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YAWP 
"It's been so warm lately..."

Q: "So how warm has it been?"

A: "It's been so warm, that activists had to rename 'a national day of citizen action on global warming' to a 'climate change' rally." [Link]

It appears that they didn't have time to reprint the signs.

"Global warming rally cut short by cold weather"
[Link]

That's a great headline; someone send it to Jay Leno. That belongs there with "Nothing destroyed in fire, but damage near $100,000" or "City increasing speed limit to slow down drivers" or "High crime areas said to be safer."



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The Most Powerful Man in America 
I am just as sick of hearing about Don Imus as anyone else but I can't help thinking about it. I think what concerns me the most is that Al Sharpton has become the most powerful man in America. If Al doesn't like what you say, then you are finished and the dinosaur media is more than willing to give him as much time as he wants with the bullhorn on a soapbox.

Like others, I am beginning to wonder who's next. Liberals who want Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and the ultimate prize - Rush Limbaugh - smell blood. Imus was none of those three, even if you disagree with them, Imus did not have the talent nor did he have the ratings of those three. It's possible CBS Radio and MSNBC were looking for reasons to can Imus and he gave them their reason but I doubt it. Al said "jump" and CBS Radio and MSNBC quickly responded with "how high?"

Still, I think this sets a dangerous precedent. Allowing a nobody to dictate policy is very dangerous.

I do wonder who's next. We can live without Imus. But will it stop there? I foresee a trickle down effect to the average blogger. Some bozos want bloggers to register as lobbyists so the intent is already there to monitor and restrict bloggers. Yes, we can do without Imus but we cannot do without the average person being able to post his beliefs without fear of being regulated, registered, or replaced.

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One Day in 2021 
...my children will ask me: "Daddy, why didn't you do anything about global warming?" To which I'll reply: "I wanted to, but it was just too darn cold to do anything."

April 5: 42/32 (avg: 56/35)
April 6: 40/28
April 7: 41/24
April 8: 41/25
April 9: 46/23
April 10: 48/25
April 11: 54/24 (avg: 58/37)

Spring is a myth.

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Tidbits (Updated) 
Even though she is abroad and affirming the veracity of my letter to the editor, I'll give Speaker Pelosi credit for one thing: she is not bad-mouthing the US and blaming us for everything, unlike Al Gore does when he travels abroad.

The Phillies have started 0-2 and have blown leads late in both games. This is not a good way to start April but it's not unusual. The Phillies seem to forget that games played in April count. I hope they remember this when they are two games back to the Mets in late September.

Even though I have given up watching the cable new channels, I can still hear the panting the MSM is doing over the prediction of 17 named Atlantic storms this season. They are still bugged over last year's super-hyped predictions of destruction only to be let down by five named storms that didn't do any major damage.

Speaking of weather. Where I live, the average high/low for this time of year is 56/35. Here's the five-day forecast: 42/23, 43/21, 40/24, 44/26, and 49/29. If anyone reading this is getting some of that global warming action, blow some this way, please. Better yet, locally, all we need to do is get out and drive our cars more. That will warm things up in a hurry. I had to put the storm windows in today; something I usually do at the end of baseball season, not at the beginning.

I usually don't comment or link to others' letters to the editor, but this guy hit the nail right on the head. There ought to be a law against lazy and stupid people getting laws passed. I don't know which is worse, those who write and propose stupid laws or those who enact them.

Our Congressman has been flagged by the White House as "vulnerable to defeat" in the next election. ALL members of Congress should be "vulnerable to defeat" in every election. It's too bad people in West Virginia, Massachusetts, and PA's 12 Congressional district aren't progressive enough for change.

Adblock for Firefox is OK, but blocking advertising sites through a router is better and easier; that is if your router has that feature.




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Letter to the Editor 
Here's my letter to the editor that was published yesterday. The link is good for about two weeks.

Letter to the editor

Here's the cartoon.



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The First "Green" President 
...versus someone who is less "Green."

"Bush's House more Eco-Friendly Than Gore's" [Link]

USAToday article: [Link]

From Snopes: [Link]

Pictures of Gore's house: [Link]

Is Al Gore carbon neutral? [Link]

Since I don't watch any of the cable news channels anymore, I can only assume that CNN, MSNBC, CBS News have called Al Gore on this to have him explain his "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy.



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Circrook City 
Circuit City has announced the layoffs of 3,400 employees because they make too much. Why did they pay them the higher wages to begin with? This sounds like upper-level management malfeasance to me.

Hopefully the smarter and harder working employees who were not affected by this move will find new jobs soon. Hopefully dimwitted upper-level management will see sales and profits drop soon too.

I suppose this is not usual - firing higher paid employees - but the higher paid employees are usually the most experienced which, of course, doesn't mean they are the best workers, per se, but one probably finds that there are more good workers in that group than in the lower pay groups.

This looks like it may backfire on Circuit City. As a person who has worked in retail, I have no sympathy for boneheaded upper-level managers.

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Information Warfare 
I don't know that this is true or not but it's certainly believable.

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This





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JACK ARMY’s "A Day in the Life” of My FOB 


A chaptered story told on many blogs starts here and continues here:

Chapter Two: Business

After breakfast today, there were a few minor issues to be dealt with. First, a certain lieutenant needs to harassed. He feels sad and lonely if I fail to do that each day. I also remind him that he can't do anything right without an NCO looking over his shoulder. He catches a lot of shit from the other guys about being a West Point Grad, but he takes it well and he reflects that institution's high standards well. A good officer that just gets better each day.

Next piece of business is to discuss the comings and goings of guests at the FOB. I do this with the other sergeant first class on the team. Part of the discussion centers on who will be housed where. Right now we have two "VIP" housing units that house two people each. Other guests will sometimes stay with team members and then we have a bunker at the opposite end of the FOB where everyone else gets stuck.

Finally, the last issue this morning regards two NCO's: one who's returning from mid-tour leave and the other who replaced him while he was gone. The commander prefers that the replacement stay and that the sergeant returning from leave go back to his parent unit. So, we tried to work out who would be best to work that issue, on our end and the other unit's end. The other E-7 and I pawned it off on an officer. He likes doing that kind of stuff anyway.

So, the morning is well on it's way, things are running smooth in the TOC and elsewhere on the FOB. Usually, a good number of the guys on the FOB will play football for a couple of hours. And usually, I don't participate. I'm old, fat and worn out. I just don't enjoy the creaks and soreness I get after playing sports. I'll read a book, do a little more internet surfing, or find some project around the FOB to work on. Maybe, I'll treat myself to a nap. Nah, not today. A few days ago someone mentioned softball which reminded me of the three gloves and two softballs I brought. I tried to organize a game but couldn't get enough players interested. Plenty of guys interested in football, though. Oh well.


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