December 25, 2010 - December 18, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
first Christmas. We thought we'd educate him.
. He's ten months old today, old enough to start taking
interest in the Yuletide season. He loved all the gift wrapping, the
scent of candies and foods, and twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.
But there's so much more to appreciate than the commercial and purely
festive parts of this annual celebration.
So we played the music for him. Unfortunately, all the other exciting
activities had put him to sleep. Could anything awaken him to the real
meaning of Christmas?
The full catalogue of what we tried actually adds up to a marvelous,
global Youtube Christmas concert that even human beings might find
affecting: Celtic (***)
, Russian (***)
, Italian-American (***)
and Celtic (****)
Nothing. He remained exactly as you see him above. Then we tried this (*)
lo and behold, up he
he was momentarily awake and alert.
I guess he's still too young to understand the true ecumenical spirit
But after our musical tour of Christendom, we
kind of settled on this
Merry Christmas. God bless us, every one.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Mrs. CP's early
Christmas present was Netflix streaming movies on the TV. She
said it would give me more stuff to write about and share. Who knew?
WHEN THE SMART ONES PANDER, THE PROLES CAN LEARN
. Wow. Wow
. WOW. Even the
lefty reviewers were embarrassed by this one and attempted to bury it
without addressing its real mission. This negative review at Rotten
More interested in bloodshed than
giggles, “Operation: Endgame” aims to be a nasty little riff on
paranoia, contrasting W-era government buffoonery with Obama’s “hope”
shell game (thus creating the potential for The Factory’s
obsolescence), creating [the] backdrop of ceaseless surveillance and
government futility th[at] best support[s] a low-fi actioner. Perhaps
the film’s ambition read better than it plays, with only a hazy outline
of purpose remaining in the movie. The rest of the feature is devoted
to dreadful improv contests (Corddry has a limited imagination for
insults) and bland fisticuffs, with the spies forced to beat the
stuffing out of one another to escape the impending detonation. Shot
around what seems like a law office, the ensemble certainly looks
content trying on a rare amount of stunt work, but it all becomes
meaningless noise, with Mikati staging the same scenes over and over
again, with only gore punchlines creating identity. [Positive review here.]
A dismissal that leaves out everything important. This movie was never
intended to be about giggles. It was intended as a mordantly wicked
satire of the evils an incoming Obama administration would magically
undo. All the action occurs on the day of the One's inauguration, which
is not a backdrop or a plot device but the subtle-as-a-hammer
obviously, strikingly, and laughably motivating force behind the whole
picture. We're supposed to read all the hyper-violence of the action as
a revelation of the poisoned soul of the Bush administration and its
conservative minions, with direct reference (I'm guessing supposedly
subliminal) to the White House Plumbers of the Nixon administration,
including a pair of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum security staff
stand-ins for Haldemann and Ehrichmann, who are summarily gunned down
in the last reel. We're given repeated glimpses of and plot linkages to
Dick Cheney, including the fact that the Milady
villainness of the piece -- Ellen Barkin -- once (ugh, ew, spew) slept
with him, and every quarter hour or so we're returned to the Inaugural
Speech of the Messiah promising a New Day while the Old Day is
self-destructing in the hellish depths of a CIA black-ops bunker
located hundreds of feet below the Empire State Building.
The cast alone reveals that this is not simply a failed action movie:
Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Jeffrey Tambor (Garry Shandling's second
banana on the Larry Sanders Show
the Rob Corddrey guy from the Daily
, and Zach Gallianakis. Yeah, maybe they all need work, but
you get the sense -- as you sometimes do with actors -- that they're
being enthusiastic above their pay scales, as if they think they're
doing something important
Ellen Barkin, who allows herself to be called both "post-menopausal"
and "a cunt" (by another woman, no less) in this movie is still a
formidable talent and beauty. Why would she participate? Because let's
be clear. This is a splatter flick. It also features some of the most
constantly obscene language you will hear outside of a porn website (or
an HBO TV series), and there's a cringe-inducing moment when a
character tells Barkin he expects her to welcome a new hire "inside your
vaginal walls." And Barkin doesn't turn a hair. Her reply is a
matter-of-fact F-Bomb. You know. She's playing a Republican. Who once
spread her legs for Cheney.
The plot? Ten Little Indians
and all the Indians are secret assassins whose activities have to be
wiped from the record as the Bush administration is leaving office. The
symbolism is self-consciously indicative and, like all bad satire, so
intrusive as to be the only mechanism of suspense: Are they going to
tell us what all the naming schemes mean? You see, the evil unit buried
below the Empire State Building consists of 22 psychopaths whose code
names are the Tarot Arcana. Our putative hero is The Fool. We meet
other agents in succession, each of them a perversion or opposite of
the Tarot's archetypes. Temperance is a whore, reputed to have had anal
sex with Putin -- and everyone else.. The Chariot is a drunk who swills
from a flask shaped like a .45 semi-automatic. The Empress (Barkin) is
an insane, cold-blooded, castrating bitch. The Tower is a cartoon black
Republican who works at his desk waving tiny American flags and is
described as "probably still a virgin." The Devil, who nominally runs
the whole unit, is Jeffrey Tambor, a doughy, impotent bureaucrat
conducting a phone sex affair with a mysterious woman of slovakian
But here's where the 'satirical genius' enters the script. These Tarot
personae are divided into two units, the Alpha Team and the Omega Team,
each of whose mission it is to oppose the other in the performance of
Black Ops. Uh, something about the utter futility of any kind of
intelligence function in the U.S. government? Ya think? Of course,
Christ is the real
Omega, and he's being sworn into office while these nutcases are tasked
with killing each other, thus clearing the decks for the "Change We
Have Been Waiting for" or some such nonsense.
If the Obama administration hadn't begun self-destructing the moment it
took office, I'm thinking this movie would have received kindlier
reviews. It's clear that filming began after the coronation of the
One, which meant that by the time of its release the Messiah thing had
become something of an embarrassment. To understand this movie, we have
to return to the lefty mindset at the time of his arrival in the Oval
Office. He was going to set everything right, which meant establishing
a radical break with everything that had gone before. That's
the allegorical setting of Operation: Endgame
The agents who ruthlessly murder one another in this movie are supposed
to be us
, those who supported
the jingoism of Bush and Cheney and opposed the liberal "Can't we all
get along?" approach to foreign affairs. (The hero is, also presumably
subtly, a Brit whose accent only surfaces in the final scene. Long live world government.) So the
real value of this absurd manifestation of lefty prejudice is the view
it gives us of how they see us. What do you suppose that is?
We talk patriotism and Christian values, but we actually live in the
gutter. We think about sex, sex, and sex in our frozen hearts, but in
reality we're either hypocritical whores or repressed sexual predators.
We don't care about anything you'd call principle, we lie continuously
to ourselves and each other, and when push comes to shove, we'd kill
our best so-called friends at the drop of a hat. The worst of us are
the evangelical Christians. The creepiest scene (I exaggerate; there
are many, many creepy scenes) is the murder of Judgment (Ving Rhames)
by The Hierophant (sometimes termed The Pope in Tarot-speak), who calls
her dying victim to Jesus as he tries to pry the bolts of a table leg
out of his temple after she put it there. And, of course, her final solicitation to the Lord includes the word "fucking." You see, we're the foul-mouthed ones, even though they're the ones who wrote this foul, sadistic, and unbelievably blood-drenched script.
There is nothing in this movie -- no scene, no dialogue exchange, no
act of sex or violence -- that isn't meant to be pure political
I'm not telling you to watch it. Scratch that. I am
telling you to watch it. It doesn't matter that it failed at the box office and that few will see it. It's good information nonetheless. This
movie shows us who they
really are and who they think we
are. It's a political SM masturbation fantasy, incredibly violent,
dark, and monolithic. As the Haldemann and Ehrichmann stand-ins watch
the murders of Alpha and Omega agents on their computer monitors,
tonelessly, one at a time, the one asks the other, "Are you feeling at
all aroused by this?" His repressed counterpart answers, "No." Which
draws the response, "Me neither." We're supposed to know that
they both have raging hard-ons watching women kill other women.
There's a happy ending, of course. Temperance and The Fool find the
escape route before the complex detonates its pre-programmed napalm
bombs (Jeez. Who still remembers napalm? Talk about revealing
archaisms...) But then the hero -- er, The Fool (a.k.a. the Zero
emerges from the elevator, stepping over the dead body of the
'Temperance' he bloodily slaughtered on the way up and catches a cab,
secure in his possession of a CD documenting all the dirty work done by
the evil Bush administration. Which is when the nasty old diried-up
Pelosi-esque phone sex babe puts a bullet in the heads of Haldemann and
Ehrichmann. 'The World' is now free to experience the healing balm of
the New Messiah. Who has the hard-on now?
Available this week on Netflix. Don't miss it.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
A Report On
The Lame Duck Congress
I think this
covers everything, but I'll talk some anyway.
THE BATTLE HAS YET TO BE JOINED
. I know some of you think we've
been neglecting our duties. Congress has been running wild in its final
session while this site has been yammering mindlessly about movies,
dogs, and sports. Sorry. Hence the video documentary above, on which we
have worked tirelessly for days
Okay. It may be more allegorical than documentary in tone, but the
actions of this last congressional outing have also been more symbolic
than serious. When the next congress takes office the pursestring power
of the House and all its occult procedures for poisoning bills the
items of its own political agenda will rapidly undo most of the real
damage. You'll see. Why we've been so apparently careless. This month
we've had the Democrat tantrum. Next month we'll start the Republican
war. Thus, our video report has it about right.
It begins with an overview of the various tools and perquisites
congressional porkers can bring to bear against their lame duck status.
They still have all the big guns in the form of rules and voting
firepower, and damn the long-term electoral consequences. It's more
than enough to scare a Portuguese waterdog (or whatever that pooch is),
but far from enough to change the inevitable outcome of the campaign.
They sally out onto the floor and attempt an explosion of defiant
spending that somehow misses the mark. In spite, they retaliate by
managing to do what they've always been best at -- damaging the
military. But the
military will survive
, as it always does. There's a lot of
self-conscious pantomiming about earmuffs
but when the pork barrels seem torpedoed, they're merely sinking from sight and spilling their booty under the surface.
What look like lame ducks are actually just drunk ducks, intoxicated by
their incipient careers as lobbyists, ready to sing in unison with the capitalist
corporate government collaborators they pretend to
have opposed and drubbed during their terms in office.
Nancy Pelosi, the lame duck Speaker of the House, possessed by what she
regards as a new electricity of passionate resistance, whereas the rest
of us see her as pregnant with shocking defeats to come. Afterwards,
the chaotic endgame, lots of rhetorical firing off about all kinds of
nonsense, and maybe some casualties on both sides, but none of it is fatal.
When the archaic cartoon part is over, the contemporary reality show
can begin. If START passes, its specific implementation provisions have
to be funded with the approval of congressional oversight committees.
If Net Neutrality is to be an effective enforcement mechanism, same
thing. If the government is to be taken over by unelected bureaucratic
agencies, they must somehow escape relentless congressional
investigations into the legality, expense, and economic impacts of
their overreach. Make no mistake. Porkers will still be porkers and
congressional birdbrains will still quack in vast formations around the
Capitol, but elections do have consequences, and the gridlock that can
halt runaway federal expansionism is just around the corner of the New
Year. Despite the paranoid sententiousness of the pundits, who all have
deadlines to meet and ratings or circulation figures to pump, December
2010 is farce. Enjoy the video.
The only thing it's missing is any comment on Krauthammer's weird
theorem that failing to raise taxes in a stagnant economy equals a
trillion dollar stimulus expenditure
We love Krauthammer, and so there are times when it's kinder to look
away. Maybe he always gets this irrationally depressed during the
holiday season. Maybe he's celebrating the conservative equivalent of
Mardi Gras, in which what are (tantamount to religious) orthodoxies for
most of the year are deliberately turned on their heads and mocked
in a madcap week or so, simply to relieve the strain. Who knows? Regardless,
we're certain he'll be back to normal come January.
As may the rest of us, including Instapunk.com.