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Month: January 2004

Schilling himself

Curt Schilling, Internet-savvy Boston Red Sox pitcher, has taken to commenting on blogs. If you ask me, which nobody did, I’d say it’s important to take his actions in our little corner of the Internet as the actions of a man who’s experimenting. People express themselves on the Internet every day. First-time blog commenters make mistakes; everyone has to get used to the culture of a particular web board when they start reading it.

Curt’s gonna be the same way. I don’t particularly care if he’s a Major League Baseball player; I’m personally inclined to cut him the same slack I’d cut anyone new to the game. Which is to say not an infinite amount, but I gotta figure he won’t be perfect.

Tweaking around

I made a couple of changes to improve load times and rebuild times (thanks, Ginger, and man are you ever right). I’m no longer bothering with “Recent Entries” on the sidebar, cause like anyone ever used those. I also killed most of the sidebar on the category archive pages and replaced it all with a full list of entries in that category. And there’s no full category archive pages anymore, because that didn’t scale very well.

Now posting new entries takes a sane amount of time.

Godwin's law

The RNC wants MoveOn to apologize for letting an ad comparing Bush to Hitler slip into their contest.

Enh. I don’t particularly think MoveOn needs to apologize; they can if they want to, and people can form whatever opinion they care to form as a result of that decision. The only person who has the right to ask for an apology here is Bush. Last time I heard, he was a big boy, and surely doesn’t need us to act on his behalf. After all, cowboys do their own work.

I also don’t think that the RNC needs to do any kind of equal opportunity witchhunt. They can focus on liberals who compare conservatives to Hitler, and the DNC can focus on conservatives who compare liberals to Hitler. That’s fair enough.

However, the irony of this cartoon in conjunction with this op ed is pretty great.

Under the skin

“My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.”
“Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed!”
“Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?”

Whitey and Billy Bulger were, during the 70s and 80s, the flip side of the Massachusetts Kennedy mystique. The world knew the Kennedies; Boston knew the Bulgers, and recognized them — one politician, one gangster — as two of the most powerful men in the city.

In the early 1970s, Whitey Bulger suborned an FBI agent, John Connolly, and for the next twenty years he used the FBI to pressure his enemies and protect his friends. He was the most powerful organized crime figure in the city. During the same period, Billy Bulger was the most powerful man in the Massachusetts Senate. Governors came and went, but Bulger ran a political machine as tight as anything from Chicago.

“If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.”

If I was gonna run an Angel game, which I’m not, it would be set in Boston, in 1976. The Tall Ships would be passing through town. Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods would be literally up in arms over Judge W. Arthur Garrity’s busing decision. Aerosmith would be singing "Back In The Saddle Again".

And Whitey Bulger would just have discovered that there are demons walking the earth.

“I don’t feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies.”

Whitey, in our world, was a criminal and by all accounts not a very nice man. I wouldn’t change that, but even a hardened killer like Whitey might well object to demons infesting his city: infesting his treasured Boston. So I wouldn’t make him anything that he wasn’t. He’d still be a criminal, he’d still be a killer, and he’d still have John Connolly under his thumb.

But he would also have a hand-picked team of South Boston hard boys, specially tasked with hunting and killing demons and vampires and anything else that doesn’t belong in a good Catholic town like Boston. They’d have all the money he could funnel them; they’d have the FBI winking at them; they’d have the tools you only have when you’re working outside the law with impunity. They don’t get to call on extra gunmen, because they’re supposed to be the best of the best, and the kinds of people they need to be don’t ask for help just because a few demons punked them out. They’d be bad men, just like Whitey, and just like Whitey they’d be bad men fighting for a good cause. They, of course, are the PCs.

“I want someone good, I mean very good, to plant that gun. I don’t want my brother coming out of the bathroom with just his dick in his hands.”

Meanwhile, Billy’s covering for the PCs and their boss on the other side. He’s not running things quite yet, and his political strength only goes so far, but he’s got his uses. If an ancient Indian graveyard really needs to be redeveloped to deprive some demons of a breeding ground, he can make that happen. Billy thinks his brother is nuts but he’s not going to turn his back on family. The quid pro quo? Sometimes they have to do some political jobs, leaning on a Congressman, that sort of thing. Sometimes a job serves both masters.

It’s a hard life and a dangerous one, but you know — when you get right down to it, you’re killing Satan’s creatures. You can’t fight the government and nobody’s figured out how to shoot inflation in the nuts. There’re lines at the gas station a mile long, and you can’t do much about that either. Demons, though, can be killed.

Welcome to Boston. It’s a messed up shithole, but at least someone’s keeping it safe.

Monday Mashup #22: The Lost Boys

For our pleasantly palindromic mashup number 22, we’ll keep on plumbing the depths (or heights) of the 80s with The Lost Boys, the second best vampire movie of 1987. (The best one will no doubt turn up in this meme at a later date.)

The setup is nice and simple; a normal family moves someplace and finds an evil both ancient and tempting. There’s not a lot of vampiric angst, although there’s a smidgen of romantic angst, but really it’s an action flick with fangs. Trivia du jour: that railway trestle is something like six feet or so above the earth. Camera angles can work marvels.

On with the mashup.

Cons of pros

Al Giordano, who has been there and done that, explains how press protection works. This is a post that a lot of bloggers should read, because Giordano went through a libel lawsuit focusing on his online news site and won. He knows exactly what he’s talking about.

He’s also trying out an interesting experiment involving blogs and investigative journalism. I’ll be keeping an eye on it; he’s been publishing online for quite a while now, and is one of the more experienced people working on blog/journalism crossover.

Love, 2003

I’d been thinking it wasn’t a great year in film, but looking back on it I was dead wrong. It was, in fact, a superb year in film. The disappointments of the Matrix sequels and The Hulk (which I liked, but it should have been so much more) kind of cast a pall on the summer for me, I think. And I wanted Demonlover and Bubba Ho-Tep to be excellent, and neither of them really made me get up and dance. Metaphorically speaking.

So I started putting together my favorite movies of 2003 list. I wound up this kind of decent list, but I wasn’t all that excited about it, and then I went back to look at my reviews from the blog. That reminded me of what I said in February and what I said in August and I got a lot more cheerful.

This is the list of my ten favorite movies of 2003. I didn’t see every movie I wanted to see, so I can’t claim it’s the ten best movies of 2003. I’m also being a little liberal about foreign flicks; if it was made in 2002 but was released in the US in 2003, or if it hasn’t been released in the US yet but I saw it in 2003, I’ll count it as a 2003 movie. Foreign movies from 2001 and earlier don’t make the cut, though. (Apologies, thus, to Vidocq, Battle Royale and Audition.)

Enough preamble; on to the lists. It’s my personal favorite ten movies, plus other movies I thought were really worthwhile but not quite good enough to crack the top ten, plus some movies I wish I’d seen but missed.

Toad in the manger

A couple of weeks ago, the Sunday Mirror ran an article claiming that Bush and Blair were arguing. The Mirror is a tabloid and not exactly trustworthy; however, there were elements of the story which might prove true later on:

Presidential advisers in Washington wanted Mr Bush to be the sole leader to make a Christmas visit to troops in Baghdad and urged Downing Street to postpone any visit.

The US refused to co-operate on security arrangements for a Christmas visit by Mr Blair, who is going to spend the festive season with his family in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.

As it turns out, Blair just visited Iraq. Not, mind you, over Christmas, but very close — which fits the Mirror story, since Bush didn’t want him visiting over Christmas itself.