Oh the Irony

Got this from a friend via email (H/T to Kurt):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7370903.stm

Tibetan protest flags made in China.  Oh the irony of it!  And the factory manager and workers had “no idea.”  LOL.  They thought they were just “colorful flags?”  I guess the education system in China is lacking after all. 

Well, in part the education system.  The main part is the tight censorship maintained over the news and other media outlets by the Beijing regime.  Which makes this even funnier, in that the internal policing apparatus missed a big one here.  Or maybe it’s just that the capitalist drive over came the totalitarian nature of the communist regime.

Advertisements

History on Cinemax

No, they aren’t doing something new and ground breaking.  Instead, they’re showing a film, a documentary, on a historical event.  I usually skip over the “Reel Life” section on Cinemax on Demand, or HBO’s documentary series.  They tend to be agenda driven pieces, bordering on over simplistic propaganda.  But this entry caught my eye as I cruised for something to watch.

The title alone caught my attention, Nanking.  Just that one word, the name of a city in China.  For those that don’t know (and shame on you if you don’t), Nanking was the capital of Nationalist china before 1938.  It was a cosmopolitain city of several hundred thousand people, located south west of the great port city of Shanghai.  In 1937, under a staged incident, Japan declared war on China.  following up on their land attacks from Manchuria, the Japanese invaded and took Shanghai, then pushed on to Nanking.

In just over three weeks, the Japanese forces pushed from Shanghai to Nanking, routing the Chinese forces before them.  In that time, the Japanese launched some 600+ air raids on Nanking.  Then hit the city with heavy artillery to break through the ancient walls that guarded the city.  What followed after the Japanese occupation was a war crime, a series of attrocities that is now better known as the Rape of Nanking.

In that time, and intrepid, and varied group of Westerners living in Nanking did all they could to save as much of the civilian population as they could.  They ranged from American missionaries to a German manager for Siemens (and Nazi party member).  Thrust into a situation of such insanity and barbarism, they held on tenaciously, each effort at the potential cost of their own lives.

I won’t go into any of the details here.  The film does it so much better. 

The film itself has several aspects.  First is the use of “name” actors to do stage readings of diary entries, letters, and memos from the actual participants.  People such as Jurgen Prochnow, Woody Harrelson, and Muriel Hemmingway lend their talents to the film.  Second is the use of interviews with survivors, and some Japanese participants.  These are truly powerful accounts, and you will find yourself breaking down with the survivors as they tell their stories.  Third is the use of archival footage.  Some comes from news reels, some from Japanese Kwangtung Army documents, some taken by the participants (which were smuggled out at great risk). 

More details can be found here:

http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/nanking/index.html

http://www.nankingthefilm.com/

 

This is a film very much worth watching.  It is not an easy one to watch, as there are several instances of gruesome acts.  However, for those who wish to understand history, and what can still be called living history, this is worth watching.  Anyone of high school age or older, and especially anyone who wants to know more about WW2 should watch this.

 It’s set to debut on Cinemax Tuesday April 29 at 7PM Eastern and Pacific.  It is also currently available On Demand on Cinemax On Demand.

Ain’t this grand?

Ah, “civilized political discourse.”

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04232008/news/regionalnews/police__bush_basher_smashes_disabled_tee_107782.htm

As if all the corruption issues with the City Council’s “slush fund” wasn’t enough.

Beating up on a diabled girl, just beacuse she happens to like Laura Bush, and for her work with literacy, is just so mature.  I just bet there are at least several “big name” liberal bloggers who are now luading this individual.  Bah.  Hope he gets 3 years at Rikers.

Arrghh!! He did it!

No, I’m not talking politics here.  I’m talking about the NFL.  Specifically the Dallas Cowboys and the “deal in principle” with the Tennesee Titans for Pac-Man Jones.

Previously, when rumors of this first surfaced, I was dead set against it.  I thought it was a bad deal then.  No, a terrible deal.  Now with the announcement of a theoretical deal, where the ‘Boys send a 4th round pick to the Titans for Pac-Man, I think it’s still a terrible deal.  There is just so much that will go badly with this deal. 

First off, Pac-Man is still under NFL suspension.  He can’t play.  He can’t even sign the theoretical 4 year contract offer.  He’s banned from the league.  He’s supposed to apply for reinstatement this summer, but that is far from an assured thing.  I highly doubt that Roger Goodell (NFL commissioner), will find enough evidence that Pac-Man has been “keeping his nose clean” as much as had been promised.  Even with Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones, who wields a good deal of influence, on his side, my guess is that Pac-Man will not be reinstated for the start of the 2008-09 season.

Second, this guy is pure trouble.  Yes, he has lots of talent.  Yes, he can be a shut down corner.  But, he can’t be that if he’s in jail, or answering another warrant.  Then there are the people he associates with outside of football.  These are the same people who have consistently gotten him into trouble at night clubs, or other acrivities.  He has not repudiated them, nor significantly disassociated himself from them.  As such, if he comes to Big D, he’ll bring those same people to the team, if only indiectly.

No, Pac-man Jones is a dangerous gamble.  The potential upsides (shut down corner, stronger pass defense, easier load for the line backers), are out weighed by all the potential down sides (off field antics, legal woes, associating with violent offenders, bad team mate).  This is a bad gamble by Jerry and company.  I really hope this thing gets scuttled by the League in some fashion, be by not reinstating Pac-Man, or voiding the deal entirely as Pac-Man is still under suspension.  If not, this will prove to be more of a distraction, one that will hurt the teams chances of reaching, let alone winning the Super Bowl.

Oh those Pennsylvania Follies

Well.  What’s left to be said about the Democratic Primary?  Not much.  It’s been done to death.

As has been oft repeated, and I will do so again here, the big winner from the PA primary was John McCain.  Not since the 1980 battles between Carter, Edward Kennedy, and Jesse Jackson has there been so much blue on blue “friendly fire” incidents.  I just can’t help but laugh at all those former Clintonistas who jumped over to Obama that now deride Hillary for her “dirty tricks” and how she “plays fast and loose with facts.”  A mere 18 months ago, those same people would be lambasting anyone who said such things.

Vindication can come in many forms.  This is the “right wing conspiracy’s” vindication for all those things that have been said about the Clintons over the years.  Just don’t expect anyone to actualy admit they were wrong back then.  It’s beyond them to admit they were duped, that they made a mistake.  Nope, not going to happen. 

So Hillary got the win, and the winning margin she needed, barely.  Personally, I’m looking forward to whatever back room deal happens at the convention.  No matter what it is, people will feel cheated and excluded, and rightfuly so.  The whole Democratic nomination process has become a joke, above and beyond the usual snarkyness.  Between the Florida and Michigan fiascos (yeah, lets exclude two big states, then expect them to crawl back to us), Obama’s associates (from Ayers to Wright et al), Hillary’s “poor me” crying fits, and whatever spews forth from Howard Dean’s mouth, how can anyone take any of the Democratic candidates seriously?  The last serious candidate was Bill Richardson, and even he got dragged through the mud by his former Clintonista pals (James Carville). 

So what’s the end result from PA?  Well, Indiana suddenly becomes important.  The nastiness of the Democratic campaign will only continue to get more bitter, and more divisive.  And John McCain will only continue to look better and better.  Thank you Pennsylvania, and thank you Democrats!  We wouldn’t be able to do what we do with out you!

Access Hollywood trumps the MSM

Last night I was forced to have Access Hollywood on the TV while at work.  Mainly because it was on, and it was on the only station that the ancient TV set was able to pick up in the building.  This is not the sort of show I tend to watch, or even enjoy watching.  But a story on it caught my attention.

Mainly, it was Cindy McCain, wife of John McCain, being interviewed.  What really caught my attention though, was the almost complete lack of politics involved in the story and interview.  Instead they talked about her recovery from a stroke, and her addiction to pain killers following back surgery.

It what was a genuinely informative, and enlightening story, not just about Cindy, but a human interest story, Access Hollywood got it right for once.  No salacious scandal mongering, no over-hyped celebrity breakdowns, just a story about a woman, and her trials and tribulations while being the wife of a US Senator, and Presidential nominee.

You can find part 1 here:

http://www.accesshollywood.com/article/9079/access-exclusive-cindy-mccain-on-the-record/

And links to the rest are there as well. 

It’s amaing that Access Hollywood of all shows, is the one who gets Cindy McCain in an exclusive, and asks pertinent questions, and offers her the chance to respond with out any creative editing.  This would be unlike say, The NY Times, or Washington Post, both of whom have printed, front page, poorly sourced hatchet jobs on John McCain, using creative editing on responses and other quotes to shade the story to their political agendas.

How sad is it when a fluff show like Access Hollywood is able to do better, more professional jouranlism than the mainstays and icons of the traditional news world?

The Nintendo Wii

Well, the wife finally got her wish on Monday when UPS finally delivered her Nintendo Wii.  It was supposed to have been delivered on Friday, but the packages never made it on the truck.  She had been looking at getting one for a while now, more since some of her employees have been raving about it for months on end, and constantly saying how much fun it is.

So it arrived Monday.  Got it set up, and running in less than a half hour.  Man is this thing small.  I think the 5.25″ Floppy Drive I had for my old C-64 was larger than this console unit. The package deal my wife got came with the unit, and six games, the biggest name being Super Smash Brothers Brawl.  Total was around $500 from Toys-R-Us. 

As we had the weekend to get additional bits for the Wii, we went around and picked up a 4 controller charging station, two extra controllers and “nunchuks” (The unit only comes with 1, and there are 3 of us), as well as “jackets” for the controllers.  I highly reccomend getting the rubber/rubberized jackets for the controllers, just so you get a better grip on them while playing, thus saving you from potential damage to your TV, wall, other family members.

I have yet to play an actual game on the Wii.  So far, I’ve just been puttering around with the Wii Sports, which comes with the basic unit.  Despite the very basic nature of the Wii Sports, and the limitations on it, this is still a lot of fun.  Plus, just like the ads say, you will get a work out with this.

The unique feature (and selling point) of the Wii is its controller.  When playing Wii sports, you will use the wireless controller much like the real sporting equipment.   Playing baseball?  You’ll need to swing the controller like a bat.  Golf?  Grab it and swing like Tiger Woods.  Bowling?  Just imagine the controller is the ball and bowl like you would at the lanes.  Tennis?  It’s a racket, so swing it like you would on the court.  The real work out comes when you play the boxing game. 

Boxing on the Wii Sports is a cardio work out.  You have to not only punch with both hands (the remote in one hand, the nunchuk in the other), but bob and weave to avoid getting hit.  The sensor system of the Wii can not only gauge where you’re hitting, but how hard based on your punches with the controller,  This system also works with the other games, like baseball and golf, where your swing can have different strength levels and effects.

So far, only my daughter has played a “real” game on the Wii, Zack and Wiki.  It’s a platformer puzzle game, obviuosly targeted for a young audience (not the adult or late teen crowd), but is as interactive, both mentally and physically as the Wii Sports.  The game rewards you based on how “smartly” you solve the puzzles (there are often more than one way to do so), and how quickly.  In the meantime, you end up using the controller to saw through things, rings a bell, or hammer away on something.  It can be tiring just watching her play.

This is not a console for everyone IMO, no matter what Nintendo says.  Though the release of the “Wii Fit” may change that somewhat.  This console is geared towards the younger set (8-13), but has some great potential for the older crowd as well (35+).  Those in the 14-34 range will be better served with either a PS3 or X-Box360.  Despite the timeing, the Wii is not a “next gen” console like the PS3 and X-Box360.  But it is a vast improvement upon the Nintendo Game Cube.  I’ll have more once I get around to actually playing a game or two on this.