October 31, 2004

Scare Tactics

      By now you've probably become privy to the term scare tactics. Most likely from democrats who accuse republicans of scaring people into voting for them. For instance talking about a terrorist threat or that the republicans are trying to scare minorities into not voting or whatever. Well, I'd like to address this issue, and maybe turn the tables a little.
      First off, regarding the two examples I cited above, the terrorist threat is not a tactic, it's a reality. If you don't think so, then you were either not yet born on Sept. 11, 2001, or you slept through it. It was a terrorist attack on our country. Not the first one either; it was just the big one that finally got our (well, some of us) attention. It baffles me when someone tells me there is no terrorist threat, when we have been atacked again and again and again over the last 30 years. It is the most ludicrous statement one can make these days. Whether or not it is the U.S.'s fault is another issue. The point is, terrorism is real, not a scare tactic.
      Regarding the second example I gave above about suppressing the minority vote. There are so many rumors and accusations going around, that I honestly don't know what to make of it all. I do know that the Republicans called my girlfriend (a minority), and reminded her to go vote on Nov. 2nd. They DID NOT say go vote for Bush. They just told her to vote. They then asked if she knew where her local polling place was, and if she had any questions on the process. How is this scaring minorities? I don't know what's going on in Florida, I don't live there. I just know that around here, voting is easy. I've never seen suppression or intimidation, and everywhere I look I am encouraged to vote.
      Now for the meat of this article: scare tactics by the Kerry campaign are just as rampant. If you don't believe me, let's go over a few examples.
(1) The Draft. Liberals continually try to scare voters into thinking that Bush has this secret plan to bring back the draft. Absolutely false. The truth is, the reinstatment of the draft has been proposed in both congress, and the senate. The bill, proposed by democrats (Charles Rangel of New York, and Ernest Hollings of South Carolina) was defeated 402-2 and died there. In fact, Rangel actually voted against this bill after he helped draw it up. It is obvious to this narrator, that the bill was proposed merely to stir up voters and have them believe the Bush administration is considering a return of the draft. By the way, a president cannot initiate a draft without passing a vote of congress. Bush understands that a good army is an all volunteer army. He has stated time and time again: "there will be no draft!" As has the secretary of defense, and various other leaders within the armed forces. And as we all know, Bush stands behind, and does what he says...yes, even if it is wrong. To be fair, Kerry also opposes the draft bill, but that does not stop him and his supporters of accusing Bush of supporting it.
      And while we're on the subject of the draft, let's look at who implemented the last few drafts this country has had. I researched the topic, and found that other than Lincoln, it has been all democrats who have implemented the draft. Nixon (a republican) finally put an end to the draft, only to have selective service registration started again by Jimmy Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. That selective service registration is still in effect today, and young men are required to register for selective service when they come of age. I am in no way trying to accuse or criticize any president for his decision, I am only stating the facts regarding selective service of the military. To find out more I direct you to the Selective Service System website.
(2) Stem-cell research. John Edwards recently was quoted as saying, "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." Essentially accusing the Bush administration for Reeve's death and lack of medical progress. This is also in fact incorrect. The President has in fact devoted millions of dollars in federal funds to existing embryonic stem-cell research, of which there are thousands already available. THERE IS NO CURRENT BAN ON STEM CELL RESEARCH! I challenge anyone to show me a law that states otherwise. Bush does however oppose creating new embryos, but there are plenty right now to "go around" for private research.
      Currently, because abortion is a social and ethical issue, there is no federal funding for that practice. Likewise, there is no federal funding (except that already authorized by President Bush) for further embryos to be harvested for stem-cell research, because it is a social and ethical issue. However, private funding and spending is happening all the time in the fight for knowledge. Secondly, as near as I can understand, adult stem-cells show just as, if not more, promise in helping to cure medical problems through stem-cells. Besides all of these facts, although science in this area is progressing, it is progressing slowly, and for Kerry/Edwards to say Reeve and others like him will walk if they are in the White House is absolute rubbish, and in my opinion disgraceful to use Reeve's death to mislead the public for political gain. Which brings me to my next liberal scare tactic...
(3) Legalization of rape. Because this is a delicate issue, I don't want to state my position on abortion or be misunderstood. I only want to speak the truth. Rock the vote, MTV (owned by Viacom which owns CBS and Dan Rather) and other liberal go-getters have stated that not voting, is a not a vote for change, and therefore a vote for the legalization of rape. I can only assume that when Cameron Diaz and others say something like this, they are speaking of Bush's bill for the ban on late-term abortions. Let's get one thing straight. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life is of no consequence. If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant, she currently has the option of aborting that baby (see Roe vs. Wade decision) right away. Bush has not proposed any law prohibiting this. Waiting until the last three months of pregnancy however, when the fetus now has eyes, a heart, a brain, internal organs, can hear, has fingerprints, basically a small person (that can live outside the womb in almost all cases) is irresponsible. Removing the living baby through the birth canal completely except for the head, then ramming a "scissors" into its brain IS NOT HUMANE. You could make the argument that if the mother's health or life is in danger, this must be done. Most doctors would argue back, that if a mother's health is at stake, the baby can be born via a cesarian section procedure, and the baby has a very good chance of living within three months of due date. Whether you are pro-life or support a woman's right to choose, abortion can be performed much earlier in the pregnancy; and to say that because Bush is against partial birth abortion, he supports rape, is again, a lie, a scare tactic, and not to mention absolutly ridiculous and foolish. It should insult your intelligence when something like that is said by anybody. And I'm surprised Oprah would allow something that stupid to be said on her show.
(4) The Patriot Act. "The Patriot Act is scary, and it takes away tremendous amounts of your privacy." A statemnet I've heard from a lot of people. Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I know all the ins and outs of The Patriot Act. Its about a million pages long, and I won't pretend to know everything. But in a nutshell, this is what the Patriot Act does...

The Patriot Act in a nutshell.

John Kerry wants to undo a lot of what was voted for almost unanimously in the senate (which would include Senators Kerry and Edwards), and overwhelmingly in the house.

The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that they can better “connect the dots.”
As Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) said about the Patriot Act, “we simply cannot prevail in the battle against terrorism if the right hand of our government has no idea what the left hand is doing.” (Press release, 10/26/01)

      I don't find the Patriot Act scary, and I have not personally known anyone who has lost any freedoms directly because of The Patriot Act. I think it is part of the very necessary changes to the intelligence community that both political parties have been complaining about. I do know, that because of this legislation, we have captured many of those with ties to terror, and have subverted possible catastrophic action, such as the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge, that we would probably otherwise would not have been able to do.

(5) Social Security Cuts. If you vote for Bush, seniors will take a 50% cut in their SS checks. Well guess what? They said this in 2000, and seniors are still getting their checks, and they will continue to get their checks....at least for the next four years they will.

(6) Personal attacks. I grow more and more resolute in my vote decision everyday. Because of a recent "discussion," I am even stronger in my convictions. I was ridiculed, called an "idiot," a "retard," and that "I don't know the issues." These words were said to me by friends; and I am none of these things. I didn't even start a political conversation. I simply mentioned that I liked the new remodeling job at the local basketball arena (at the time, it was widely known that a political rally had taken place there that day, so it became clear I had attended). From there it became a political discussion which soon turned into a verbal attack job against me. At one point, I literally had 3 people inches from my face all shouting at once. That is not an exaggeration. This happened. I realize that this is the "heated" season, and that times are emotional, and probably most importantly, there was alcohol involved. Of course these people are still my friends and always will be, but it shows me something about the mind of a liberal.
     I have never ridiculed or called someone stupid for their decsion on who to vote for. In fact, just the opposite. I try to get people just to get out and vote regardless of their political stance. But if you're a liberal, it's personal, and these attacking remarks happen all the time. Cars being trashed with Bush stickers, lawn signs being stolen, wrecked or defaced with Nazi overtones, vandalism of homes whose owners are republican (I want to make it VERY CLEAR that this last sentence of course IS NOT an accusation of, or reflect the actions of anyone I know - my friends are passionate about their political beliefs, not thugs & monsters). Of course these things happen to Kerry supporters as well, but not on the same scale, and there is plenty of evidence to back that up, including a chat I personally had with a local police officer.
      To sum it all up, these are the real scare tactics. You can read moveon.org all day and learn about the "lies" of the Bush administration, or you can look at the facts, do some independent research, read about the decisions, votes, and records of both candidates and make an educated decision on who to vote for. The records of both Senator Kerry and President Bush are available on "real" non-partisan web-sites, and at the local library for all to see. The real truth about the candidates is not found in the media or in political ads, or even in the debates. It is found in their record. After looking at a candidates record, one can make a truly educated vote for either candidate on November 2nd. I am not disputing the fact that Bush probably does utilize fear in his campaign, but no more than Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards do, and at least Bush's remarks are based on facts and real events, whereas Scary Kerry's remarks are untrue statements that should truly frighten you this Halloween season....BOO!

Related Links:
The entire
Patriot Act
Partial birth abortion
diagrams - **maybe a little disturbing to some**
More on
Stem-cell research
Recent local article on campaign

October 29, 2004

The History of Iraq

      Here are a couple of really fascinating articles describing the history of Iraq. It really showcases the cultural history and contributions Iraq has given to the world.
      The first article describes ancient Iraq up to about the late 70's. It describes how this area was the setting for great stories like Sinbad, and Aladdin. This area was also the birthplace of such great inventions as the wheel and plow, among others. It also includes Saddam Hussein's birth and how he came to be in power.
      The second article discusses the more recent history of Iraq starting with the presidency of Jimmy Carter; with in depth analysis of the Iran-Iraq conflict, international sanctions, and the Kuwaiti war.
     I like these articles because not only are they interesting, but they also appear to have been written before the current invasion began, and are devoid of a little "softening." They show Saddam for the man that he is, not the sweet non-terrorist that some want us to believe. But, it also shows how the U.S. and other imperialistic governments have really helped to create Saddam, and made Iraq what it became. Check these out, they will definitely be worth the time spent reading. It changed my mind about a few ideals I had. Fascinating.

Crescent of Crisis, part 1: A History of Iraq
In earlier epochs, the territory now called Iraq was the center of the greatest powers of the day. At other times it was conquered by Alexander the Great, ravaged by the Mongols and dominated by empires based in Persia, Turkey and Britain.

Crescent of Crisis, part 2: 24 Years of Saddam
Since Saddam Hussein gained power 24 years ago, there have been only three years when Iraq was neither at war nor under crippling international sanctions. The United States, currently Saddam's greatest enemy, was his silent partner during most of the first half of his rule.

- both articles written by Eric Black, Star Tribune columnist

October 28, 2004


     You will no longer see Rolling Stone magazine resting calmly on my coffee table again. Not that you likely saw it a first time, but from now on, it will not be in my home for you to see, should you ever decide to drop by. I am tired of the pages and pages of political editorials. Once in a while is fine, but it's week after week after week. Maybe it has always been this way, and I've just never noticed, or maybe it is because we are in the midst of the most heated and important Presidential campaign in our lifetime. Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter to me. I've been bothered by it lately, and when my current subscription runs out, I will not be renewing.
     I want to read about Ashley Simpson or Elvis Costello. I don't want to read 8 pages on how great it will be if John Kerry is elected president. I don't need to hear about the shocking unveiling of truths within "Fahrenheit 9/11." Not to mention a major hit-piece on my boy, Bill O'Reilly. Check it out...5 of the last 8 covers on Rolling Stone have pictured:

John Kerry (a scary close-up)
The Rock for Change squadron
A Doonesbury cartoon of American troops bleeding and dying in Iraq
(2) of Michael Moore's fat ass
Jon Stewart
+ Howard Dean on the May issue

It's not just the covers either. The second cover story on the other 3 issues without a political image:
"Bush Must Go"
"The Secret Files of Abu Ghraib" &
"The Baghdad Follies"

     Are we seeing a pattern here? Now, do I respect SOME of these people and imagery? Yes. Is politics an important issue? Of course. Is it Rolling Stone's responsibility to tell me about it? Sure, if that's what they want to do with their "music/entertainment" periodical. But do I have to pay for and read it? No I do not.

     This is certainly Rolling Stone's right, and some would argue responsibility, to "get the word out," but it is not just college kids and democrats reading their magazine. Here are the results of a recent poll conducted by Rolling Stone itself, on its readers, which is in the Nov. 11th issue.
FYI: 75% of respondants are 39 years of age or lower. Here are examples of just 3 of the questions. To see complete list of questions and results go here.

Question A
"How would you rate President Bush's job performance?"
Excellent: 5.2%
Good: 12.8%
Fair: 20.5%
Poor: 61.5&

Question B
"If the election were held today, who would you vote for?"
Bush: 17.7%
Kerry: 74.0%
Other: 2.9%
Undecided: 4.0%
Not voting: 1.5%

Question C (edited here for space)
"Will you definitely vote that way, or might you change your mind?"
Definitely voting for candidate: 82.7%

Probably voting for candidate: 7.6%
Could change mind: 6.5%
Not sure: 3.2%

     So, we know that RS readers are Kerry backers. Fine; so are the readers of New York Times' Magazine. But what else do these numbers tell us? Well, they tell us that RS consistently, week by week, alienates at least 16% of their readers. How do I get this number? It is 90.3% of the 17.7% of readers who say they will probably or definitly be voting for Bush. Now, how many people is 16% of readers? According to one website, RS has 11.7 million subscribers. Not including how many millions of news stand buyers there are. So, at the very least, RS alienates at least 1.85 million of its readers! 1.85 million readers translates in to a boatload of $$ for the company. And I'm not giving any more money to them.

     Now, I admit that I maybe wouldn't feel as strongly about this issue if it were stories backing Bush, or the war. I can admit that; but I guess my point is this: I have read and enjoyed this magazine for stories of interest and entertainment. I have relied on their top-notch reviews of music shows, albums, and artists' stories for years. But over the past year, I've grown weary of having to thumb through pages and pages AND PAGES of liberal propaganda to get to the small number of music review pages.

     The most recent issue of Rolling Stone had 120 pages. Here comes the breakdown.*
63 pages were ads
19 pages of liberal political commentary
15 pages of "other" entertainment news stories
14 pages of music stories, reviews etc...
4 pages of movies
6 pages in the "other" category (table of contents, letters to the editor, etc...)

     The ad number is huge, but I don't care about that; all magazines have too many ads. However, many of these ads were for Fahrenheit 9/11, The Daily Show, Clinton's book, etc. The real number shocker here is that only 18 pages were regarding music and movies (which is what I thought Rolling Stone was all about), compared to 19 pages of liberal political propaganda.

     I wanna finish up here and go to bed, but let me finish with this. Rolling Stone magazine is liberal political literature. THIS IS FINE. I want my critics to realize, that I don't care if they do this. I'm not screaming liberal bnias in the media or anything. I'm just publicly stating that I don't like it, and I won't continue to put my money into liberal propaganda. I also feel bad about it, because I respect their ideas, stories, interviews and reviews of music...all 14 out of 120 pages of it.

     One letter to the editor of Rolling Stone I wanted to copy for all to see:
"I am Counting Crows' bass player. I believethat you're cheating your readers by offering a one-sided argument regarding the upcoming election. George W. Bush is one of the greatest presidents in our country's history. After 9/11, he knew that America had to show the world that nobody should have tolerance for fanatacism and evil. You should present the facts with balance."
-Matt Malley, Sherman Oaks, CA

Is he really who he says he is? Maybe not, and I don't necessarily agree with all he wrote, but I do agree with this media outlet only offering one side of the story.

*I realized that my numbers don't ad up to 120, but I didn't feel like going through the whole mag again, but I did re-check the music/movie pages, and the political commentary pages, and those numbers are right.

Related Links:
Rolling Stone home page
The complete Rolling Stone November covers

October 27, 2004

"I Heart Huckabees"

     Not really sure about this one, so this will be a short review. I think I really need to see this one a second time to give it an honest review. There was definitely some top-notch acting; especially by Jason Schwartzman and Mark Wahlberg. Seeing this one on my day off on a Monday morning was maybe a bad decision. A little bit deeper thinking than I had originally thought it would be. A guy played by Jason Schwartzman hires two existential detectives to follow him around and try and help him make sense of his shambled life. Silliness ensues and convolution abounds. The overall style of the film is comic yet sad; deep yet childish; simple yet complicated, and in a word: weird.
     I can't recommend this film to a broad audience. I think a select few will really enjoy this film and maybe consider one of the best of the year. Others will miss the point and go home scratching their heads. I walked away with a sense of well-being throughout, and got some laughs, and some introspective on myself and the world, but I would not give it a thumbs up. I will see it again soon, and concoct a new analysis. But if you're in it just for the tremendous acting, you'll love it. The full cast can be viewed here.

Related Links:

Official Page
View the trailer

Rotten Tomatoes review of the film.
Roeper & Ebert's take on I Heart Huckabees

Celebrity Campaigning

     I'd like to extend a big thank you to Bill O'Reilly for giving some poll results that show many people are persuaded to vote for a specific candidate, after hearing a celebrity campaigning for the competing candidate. In one example, the poll showed that Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," actually persuaded 26% of respondants to vote for Bush, while only persuading 6% to vote against Bush. It also worked the other way in favor of Kerry in regards to Charlton Heston. There were other examples in the poll as well.
     I have taken much flak by some, for stating why my vote will go the way it will, partly because of stupid celebrity endorsements that insult my intelligence. I'm glad to see many others feel the same way I do. I do not want to associate with any political party or TV show that tells me that a vote for X, is a vote for the legalization of rape (an actual statement made by a very prominent Hollywood celebrity on a VERY highly watched television program).
     When I get a hold of the polling results regarding this issue, I will post them here, and we can see just how many people think like me (scary).

Highly Explosive!

     Had to give this one a quick go around. I just saw the Kerry ad accusing the Bush administration of negligence regarding the missing weapons cache in Iraq. Although I do think it is an important issue, I thought I might add my viewpoint for all (1) of you to see.

1) 380 tons of explosives? According to John Kerry and Juan Williams of NPR and many others, this is a huge amount that could be used for "blowing up airplanes," detonating nuclear devices," and other "terorist activities." Wait a minute; I thought Saddam Hussein was "not a threat," and had no ties to terrorism. Iraq was a peaceful country where kids flew kites and people sat down every morning for a cappuccino before going off to their fantastic jobs according to Michael Moore. Yet there are 380 tons of missing explosives that are used for detonating nuclear devices? Not to mention, the coalition has captured or destoryed 100's of thousands of tons of explosives and weapons since the invasion began. hmmm.

2) The explosives were already gone before the U.S.A. even got there! The IAEA tagged the location sometime in March of 2003, and when the liberators (us) got there in May of '03, they were already gone! How is that Bush's fault!? There may be facts yet to come, until then.... Maybe we should have gone to war sooner to make sure we retained these weapons of....well, destruction.

3) It is very interesting that the NEW YORK TIMES broke this story 7 days before the election, and 60 Minutes, a highly reliable news organization, (remember the Dan Rather lying) has plans to air this huge story on (this) the Sunday before election day. Not to mention, Kerry's TV ad came out this morning, mere hours after the story broke. Wow. That was quick!

Conspiracy: noun
An agreement to perform together a wrongful, or subversive act; joining or acting together, as if by sinister design

October 26, 2004

Vacation Brochure

note: My first blog with swearing in it. An historic moment!

     Enjoy a lovely stay in Sudan! Women raped daily! Bring the kids! Overweight? Sudan's dry arid climate is just the place for no food to grow, hence you'll lose those pesky extra 100 pounds in just days. Stay in our posh make-shift huts of string and torn grain sacks. Looking for some adventure? You'll have all the fun you can handle running through the forests and desert plains while being chased by the evil Janjaweed. Equipped with only your wits, you'll have to escape these government hired mercenaries who are armed with knives, whips, and fully-automatic 40mm guns mounted to pick-up trucks! Just for fun, we'll make sure you have to run with your 3 year old daughter in your arms because she is unable to walk due to typhoid and pneumonia!
     The best part of all this excitement is, you never have to worry about it ever stopping! The United Nations won't do anything to save you, so you'll be on your own. You'd think maybe The President of the United States could do something to end your lovely vacation, but nobody will listen. Members of the U.N. are too busy being paid by the Sudanese government in oil bonds to give a rat's ass! They will vote time and time again over a period of months to do nothing. Kofi Anan has too many other important things to do; like smoke fat cigars and make sure arabs are spared the humiliation of having to honor Saddam's oil vouchers to the French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese. If it looks like the killing is getting "out of hand," the U.N. has decided to get together and discuss the "possibility" of placing sanctions on the Sudan government.
     So, instead of heading to Disney World this winter, why not lose those post election blues by bringing the whole family down to sunny Sudan. Tired of worrying about which rich guy to place in the most powerful position in the world? Or which fast food restaurant to stuff your face with again tonight? Did the damn kids use all $50 of gas in the Escalade again? Or worse, did the dog shit on the rug once more? Well, good news! You can bring Rover along too, and watch as the arab-muslim faction slices his tail off just to watch him bleed to death next all of the other livestock in the burning crop fields that would've otherwise fed you and your family for a month. You never know when, but rest assured, one night while you sleep soundly in the dirt and rocks of your hut with a fabulous view of the night sky, the terrorists WILL invade your camp with guns blazing to torture and kill as many men and boys as possible before raping and killing all the women and girls.
     Whether man or woman, adult or child, all can enjoy the excitement of being penetrated in some form or another while the corpse of closest family members lie within feet of your violation. Oh yeah, and if you're lucky enough to be pregnant at the time, they may let you go with nothing but a slice of the tendons behind your knee so that you know you belong to them. All of this and much much more await you in beautiful Darfur, Sudan! And you thought you wouldn't have any fun this winter...shame on you!

Author's note:
This is not an attempt to make light of a horrible situation. It is just my way of trying to write sarcastically about a situation that really PISSES ME OFF! What the hell is happening in this world when genocide is happening right under our proverbial noses, and nothing is being done about it!? I knew this was happening, but I didn't realize to what extent...until today. Where is the media on this? I've heard it mentioned lightly a few times, but this should be almost as big of an issue as the Iraq war. I haven't heard anything about it in any of the debates or in the campaigning. I want to know what will be done about this NOW! We can't not do anything! We are Team America: World Police for God's sake!
Let me end with the words of Howard Dean, "AAAAAaaaargh!"

October 24, 2004

Shot in the Foot

      Vikings win again. Although today not by unbelievable starts from Culpepper and Moss. Today Tennessee beat themselves. With 3 interceptions by Volek, and a ton of penalty yards, the Titans shot themselves in the proverbial foot on their way to 20-3 loss at The Metrodome. This ensures that the Minnesota Vikings stay on top of the leader board in the NFC North. It's looking good folks...it's looking good.
      When asked about the Vikings in the play-offs, my magic 8-ball reports "all signs point to yes." I have learned from past experience (about 24 years) however, to keep my enthusiasm to a minimum, as the Vikings are sure to disappoint again this year and send us into the off-season sans a Super Bowl berth. But, I try to remain cautiously optimistic. Until next week, we can celebrate a 4th consecutive victory, and so far, still on top in the division. Happiness now ensues....

Related links:

Game Stats
Vikings Home
Division Standings
Further Commentary
Moss injures himself further

October 23, 2004

God, I'm a Loser

     There are so many games coming out this November that look fantastic, I scarcely know where to start. There are simply not enough hours in the week (or dollars in the account) to play all these games. For me personally, I can't recall anytime in the past where more great games have been released in the same month. It truly is ridiculous. I don't know what to do. I was so excited for Halo 2 to come out, but now I don't know how much Halo I will be playing with all of these other great choices being released as well. All of the following games are being released in November (or within a week or 2 of November). Most of them are sequels, but unlike Hollywood, sequels in video gamedom are usually better than their predecessor. Here's the run-down in no particular order:

Halo 2 (Xbox) - The most anticipated game of the year. Now with on-line multi-player. A must have.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2) - The biggest video game franchise of all time releases their newest, biggest, and most complex edition yet. Tons of side games, open-ended story line, control other thugs, enter buildings, and on and on and on and on and on.... If you've never played a GTA game, you have not lived a truly happy life.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (NGC) - The sequel to arguably Nintendo Game Cube's best game. Stays very true to the original metroid we all new and loved on the original NES, but 1000X better.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2) - One of the biggests surprises to me was how much I loved the previous Ratchet & Clank game. Probably not in my top 10 of all time, but definitely in my top 20, and also in my top 5 of last years games. This new title was recently achived a rating of 10 (and given honor of Game of the Month) by Game Informer (which is almost never accomplished). The last installment was truly flawless, and supposedly the new one has been tweaked even more. I can't wait.

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (Xbox, PS2, GC) - I'm just throwing this one out there cuz I guess it is supposed to be kind of a throwback to the original Goldeneye, which in my opinion, is the top 1st person shooter of all time.

Myst IV: Revelation (PC) - More of the same, which is not a bad thing. Either you like Myst or you don't. I love it, and will have hours of fun solving this latest installment.

Gran Turismo 4 (PS2) - Have you seen the screen shots for this game? Holy crap does it look real! Although I'm kind of over these realistic car racing games, I will for sure be renting this one just for the graphics. It's insane!

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords (Xbox, PC) - Um...duh, its Star Wars. The previous game was the best RPG I've ever played, and the story actually enthralled me, and threw me for a loop at the end (Sixth Sense-style). Apparently this game will not disappoint in any feature of the previous game.

Viewtiful Joe 2 (NGC) - Never got around to playing the first one, although I did look at it in the store. I thought it looked original and fun. Every review of this game was positive, and everyone who played it, loved it. A throw-back to 2D side-scrollers (ala Super Mario Brothers) but with a 3D twist to it. I will rent it one day to see what the fuss is about.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Xbox, PS2, NBC, PC) - Again, never played the original, but it got amazing reviews. It'll be a while til I get around to this one.

The Sims 2 (PC) - Yeah I know this one already came out, but I don't own it...yet. Now that I have a computer strong enough to power it, I will pick this up eventually. I'll wait for it to get a little cheaper before I let it exponentially devour hours from my free-time.

also this November: Metal of Honor & Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Maybe I'll actually be able to talk to you in 2006 when I'm finished with all of these. Later!

Related links:
Game Informer Magazine online
IGN.com - great reviews great reviews great reviews
Game Stop - buy your games here...or not.

October 20, 2004

Tiger Woods 2005

     Oh yeah. It's that time of year again. The trees change color, NBA season is upon us, major league baseball is winding down, and the annual release of "EA Sports' Tiger Woods" video game hits shelves. I picked up my copy last week (Xbox version, but available on all platforms), and let me tell you, it is easily the best TW game so far.
     The game face creator let's you create players that look almost exactly like anyone you want. You can spend hours just creating your charcter's looks....seriously, hours! Although I didn't count 'em, there's like 20 licensed courses plus a couple fantasy courses. Here's some other info bits I came up with, but to get the real scoop go to the official site. I highly recommend this game to everyone who likes gaming. It's easy to learn, but difficult to master, and there is SO MUCH TO DO! Just last night I unlocked Justin Timberlake and kicked his a**!

- Buy hundreds of each type of apparel items (shirts pants, shorts, hats, shoes, socks, etc..)
- Purchase equipment from drivers to putters to balls to type of grip - plus more!
- Customize your players reactions, swing style, and celebrations, and tantraums
- Buy and create your very own courses and personalize each hole in a variety of ways; from color (including purple and pink and blue and lots more) to fairway width, green length, bunker depth, undulation, sky color, etc. etc. ETC!!!
- Challenge many real pro-golfers and some new fictional ones
- Sign endorsements to make more money for using or wearing their equipment
- Multi-player battle golf, skill zone, scenario editor, or just a fun afternoon at Pebble Beach
- Keeps track of everything for you...birdies, eagles, money....about 50 other stats too (crazy!).
- Real time calendar of events to participate in and win special unlockables
- Unlock legends like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, The "Shark," and many more!
- Oh yeah...and on-line play...
- Use the new Tiger vision: you can only use this 3 times per round. You can see exactly where to putt the ball to guarantee it goes in the hole the first time (this feature can be toggled off).
- Probably a lot more I'm not thinking of, but again, check out theofficial web site....or better yet, just go and buy the game now!!

October 18, 2004

So Much Blog, So Little Time

     Lots has happened since last we spoke, so I'll just cram a bunch of tid bits into one post.

     I saw "Team America: World Police" this past weekend. It was great. If you're in the silly mood, and feel like possibly being offended, check this one out. The entire cast is made up solely of marionettes, including their clearly visible strings. Watching these puppets attempt to destroy each other with various weapons and even martial arts is a sight to behold. Not to mention the gratuitous sex scene. Fantastic! Which reminds me, this movie is NOT FOR KIDS! It is rated R. Lots of swearing. Politically, it attacks both sides of the war issue. Team America "cowboys" around the world destroying everything (including half of Egypt, and most of Paris) in its path, in the name of hunting down terrorists. Meanwhile, the ultra-liberals, members of the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.) like Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Matt Damon, and many others are doing their best to stop Team America while unwittingly helping Kim Jong-Ill's master plan to annihilate the world. It was so refreshing to see Janeane Garofalo get her "head" blown off, or Michael Moore blown into a million pieces. Remember, these were puppets, although they added some very cheap looking gore. I highly recommend this film. It's something new with the cheap puppets, more to shock you, and all the better to make you laugh my dear.

related link:
Imdb site
Official site

What else?

     Oh yeah...The 3rd debate happened. Hooray. It was a draw. More of the same. Both candidates stated their position....again. Both told some untruths and both had...moments. Enough said.

     Which reminds me, based not necessarily on the debates, I have made my decision on who to vote for...but I'm not tellin! I'll give you a hint though: it's not Nader. As long as YOU vote on Nov 2nd...that's all I care about.

     Um, the Twins lost to the damn Yankees, but Mauer and Santana will be back next year, and we'll show them who's boss! But hey, look at the bright side, for those of you who got World Series ticks, you'll get your grand back now.

     By the way, I heard a rumor on how the new season tickets will be sold. You can now buy packs of 40 vouchers that you can use at any time and as many as you want at one time. In other words, you could buy the vouchers (which come in multiples of 40 only) then go with 39 of your friends on day 1, or you could go by yourself to any 40 games of your choosing, or you could give them away as presents or whatever. Sounds cool to me. Prices depend on which section you buy your vouchers for. Also, my sister tells me that the family section will be moving further towards right field next year. Good.

Alright. Lastly,

     My hero may have stumbled. Allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced by a former employee of Fox News. Bill may (and probably will) beat her down, but he's going to take a hit in the ratings I think. The woman claims to have tapes, but until I hear them, I'm sticking behind my guy. The fact that she asked for $60 million in hush money shows her integrity, and possibly her sincerity, or honesty. The problem is, even if half the allegations are true (which DO NOT include anything physical), Bill just wrote a book for kids, which discusses morals regarding choices in life - drugs, parents, school, politics and yes, sex. He often lectures guests and others on morals and traditional standards, and I hope Bill is not the hypocrite that the allegations suggest. I'm not sure that I discredit the woman completely, so I hope O'Reilly has got some good lawyers. Like I said, I'm sticking by him, but it's not looking good right now, and I have removed his likeness from my desktop wallpaper at work...**sniffle**
Say it ain't so Bill!!

related links:
Bill O'Reilly officail site
Recent article regarding case.
Complete 22 page suit filed by Andrea Mackris

     In brighter news...The VIKINGS are kicking ass! Daunte is on pace to destroy the record for most TDs in a season, he just became the first QB to have 5 or more TDs in 3 consecutive game, along with setting at least 4 other club records. He's been the NFC offensive player of the week 4 times this year! He is absolutely rocking! As long as Moss can keep making those catches (he's got a pulled hammy, but he'll be back soon I'm certain), I'll lose my bet, and the Vikings will actually go far in the play-offs. I hope I lose! GO VIKES!!

later y'all!

coming soon...

reviews for:
some new music for the soul

plus movie reviews of:
"I Heart Huckabees"
"The Grudge"...great website!! Check this out!

October 06, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

     First off, who the hell is Kubel? Where was Lew Ford? Last time I checked, he was one of our best hitters, but apparently Gardy did not feel we needed him against the tough Yankess. Maybe he has some kind of nagging injury I'm not aware of, but I don't think so.
Headline: Gardenhire Loses Game 2 for The Twins Wednesday Night. He left Joe Nathan in for one too many innings (the second longest stint in his career); and though it was plainly obvious to us at home that Nathan was tired and had had enough, Gardy left him in there anyway.
     After Torii Hunter graces us with a home run to put The Twins up on The Yankees by one in the 11th inning, we watched as Joe Nathan walked the first batter, then walked another batter on four pitches. Take him out? No, not Gardy. Give him another chance. What happens? BOOM! Ground rule double to bring in the tying run. Okay, now we'll take him out after loading the bases. Too late. Matsui hits a sharp single, and the game is over. I am mad as hell at Gardenhire, and he should take the brunt of the blame for losing this one. Now we have to win the next two at the Dome, or be forced to win a decisive game 5 back in NY should we split at home. I am pissed, and Gardy may have lost the season for The Twins!

Enough said, I am going to bed.

check out:

Bat Girl's take on the situation.
Minnesota Twinshome page for more recap and stats.

A New Hope

     Sanatana seals the deal! Twins shut out the Yankees, and Santana might've just clinched the coveted Cy Young award for himself. He and Nathan also show why they are the best ticket on the 2004 presidential ballot.
    Next game is tonight at 6 on ESPN..be sure to watch and root hard!!
     Jacque Jones suffered a loss with the death of his father over the weekend, then puts one out of the park last night to put the Twins on top 1-o. Hunter with a fabulous throw home to get an impressive out. All we need now is two more to send the damn Yankees packing for the season. Let's do this!!! Tickets still available for Friday night's sweep at the Dome Sweet Dome!!!

Debate Wars: Episode II

     Although most commentary I saw immediately following the debate seemed to favor a draw; bloggers and "journalists" put their own spin on things and favored the candidate that they probably already support. I am one of those spinners. I spin, but not because I really favor one candidate over the other, but because I want to see who does better, then base my decision on who to vote for partly on these debates. Kerry won round one by a huge margin, but this time around, I have to admit that I saw a very slight margin of victory for Vice President Cheney. Here is why.
     Both candidates dodged their share of questions. When asked about job loss and job creation, and how poorly this administrtation has done to protect jobs, Cheney went off on a two minute tangent on education and the no child left behind bill. Edwards called him on it, and we still didn't get an answer. Next Edwards was asked how he and Kerry planned to get France and Germany on board to help fight the wrong war at the wrong place in the wrong time, and become part of the coalition of the coerced and bribed, when both countries have been very adament that they will not support our troops in Iraq regardless of who is elected president. Edwards responded with 2 minutes of job creation bashing and poor funding of education rhetoric.
     This is the debate I wanted to see last Thursday between Bush and Kerry. Although Edwards was strong and energetic and made several great points, it was mostly more of the same that we already heard from Senator Kerry last week. Meanwhile, Cheney let loose with the ammunition that Bush left stockpiled for him from last week. Instead of stuttering and stammering like Bush, Cheney defended the Iraq war, right or wrong, with real evidence and facts (not "hard work"). Second, he nailed the truth about the Israeli-Palestine situation saying the reason there are less suicide bombers is partly because Saddam Hussein isn't around to fund them and their families the $25,000 anymore. And third, he drove home the Kerry/Edwards strange (to say the least) voting record. Cheney mention that as Vice-President, part of his responsibilities of the last 3 and a half years is to be the presiding head of the senate, and to oversee voting and discussions and what not, and the first time he "met [Senator Edwards] was tonight on this stage." BAM! That's the kind of thing I was looking for from Bush. True or not, it was good debating
     These two guys took the gloves off for an hour and a half, and let the punches fly, and when the smoke cleared, Edwards (in my opinion) had a few more cuts on his face than Cheney.
     An important issue to me is this "coalition" debate, and I will discuss it further in an upcoming post, but for now, I'll sign off with this:


Related Links:
Debate transcripts

October 05, 2004

"Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow"

     A throw-back to the old B sci-fi thrillers of the 40's and 50's such as "Invaders from Mars," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and "War of the Worlds;" with a bit of Buck Rogers sprinkled on top.
     Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow starts off with a lot of cheesy sound and visual effects capturing the feel of the afore mentioned other films, but slowly becomes more realistic and high tech as the film progresses. It also starts out very much film noir, ala Bogart films such as "The Maltese Falcon" and the like. But the films slowly accelerates, with more "up-to-date," and flashier effects and intense action.
     Taking place sometime after World War II, the world is under siege by an unknown threat of strange, seemingly impervious flying machines of different sorts. The government calls upon Sky Captain (Jude Law) to find out where these machines are coming from, and stop them if he can. Tagging along for the ride is Polly Perkins (Gwynneth Paltrow), a reporter dying to get the whole story in the paper. They are led on an adventure around the world fighting machines in his trusty war plane (enhanced with a few special gadgets ala James Bond). Of course along the way, they bicker incessantly and inevitably get themselves into more trouble with their constant banter.
     I'm not really going to recommend this film to anyone. It is rated PG, and is OK for the kids, but they don't really get the style and genre of old 40's films, nor do they care. I understand what the director was trying to do, but I thought that it detracted from the overall fun of the film, and kids will think some of the old-school effects are "lame." I did have some fun with the gadgets and fighting sequences, but the whole thing was very cliche of a number of films from Batman to The Mummy, and I was glad when it ended.

     End note: Besides the old school film theme, there were several homages to George Lucas as well. Not everyone would pick up on them, but being a die hard fan of the Star Wars series, they stood out to me like a sore thumb. There were several examples. Here are just a couple: "you are clear to land on platform 327;" or 1138 printed clear as day on an important ofice door.

     One last thing: if you like video games, check out "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge." It's a fun game, and is very much in the spirit of Sky Captain's airplane sequences; with the same types of planes, zeppelins, and environments

Related Links:
View the trailer here
Sky Captain official site
Sky Captain on IMDB
2 different takes on Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow from Ebert & Roeper - I agree much more with Roeper

October 01, 2004

A New Top 25

     Here is a new movie list for y'all. This time, it is my TOP 25 MOVIE CHARACTERS of all time. Once again, these are not necessarily the best, they are my personal favorites. I haven't seen a lot of pre 1975 movies, so give me a break on that. Plus, it was VERY hard to narrow this list down to only 25. I had to weed out great characters such as Dr. Evil, Frank Drebin, and Jack Torrence just to name only a few. One last thing, I did not include characters that were actual people; like Hunter S. Thompson, Ghandi, Doc Holliday or Andy Kauffman and the like. This is my list, let me know what you think...click on the comment link at the bottom of the post to leave your ideas. Here it is:

25) The Old Man (A Christmas Story)
24) Ricky Slade (Made)
23) Penny Lane (Almost Famous)
22) Raymond Babbit (Rain Man)
21) Bill Lumberg (Office Space)
20) Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee (Crocodile Dundee)
19) Chet Donnelly (Weird Science)
18) Man with no name (man with no name trilogy - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)
17) Dr. Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs)
16) Bernie Lomax (Weekend at Bernie's)
15) Inspector Cluseau (Pink Panther series)
14) Joker (Batman)
13) Jack Butler (Mr. Mom)
12) Otto (A Fish Called Wanda)
11) Han & Chewie (Star Wars Trilogy) - Sorry, come as a package to fit them both on the list
10) Lloyd Christmas (Dumb & Dumber)
9) Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)
8) Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
7) Jerry Lundegaard (Fargo)
6) Edward Rooney (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
5) The Dude aka Jeffrey Lebowski (The Big Lebowski)
4) Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)
3) Darth Vader (Star Wars Trilogy)
2) Clark W. Griswold (National Lampoon's Vacation series)

and number one is...can you guess? Da da da daaa da da da.

1) Henry "Indiana" Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

honorable mention: Antonio 'Tony' Montana (Scarface) -- Richard B. Riddick (Pitch Black) -- Walter Sobchak, Napolean Dynamite, E.T., Al Czervik (Caddyshack) -- Rocky, Vincent Vega, Roger Rabb....I could go on and on, but what would be the point?