Sunday, February 29, 2004

Total Prediction Summary

  1. Best Picture = Lord of the Rings, Return of the King
  2. Best Director = Peter Jackson
  3. Best Actor = Bill Murray
  4. Best Actress = Charlize Theron
  5. Best S. Actor = Tim Robbins
  6. Best S. Actress = Renee Zellwegger
  7. Best Original = Lost in Translation
  8. Best Adapted = American Splendor
  9. Best Cinematography = Cold Mountain
  10. Best Editing = Lord of the Rings, Return of the King

Best Adapted Screenplay Analysis

Boy, am I tired. This will be easier next year, because now I know what to look at.

In any case, the nominees for Adapted are:
  • American Splendor - Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
  • City of God - Braulio Mantovani
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King -Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
  • Mystic River - Brian Helgeland
  • Seabiscuit - Gary Ross
Splendor has won:
  • Boston Society of Film Critics
  • Cannes Film Festival (special award)
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Best Screenplay
  • National Society of Film Critics Awards, Best Screenplay
  • Seattle Film Critics Awards, Best Screenplay, Adapted
  • Writers Guild of America, Best Screenplay, Adapted
City of God hasn't won anything for writing.

Lord of the Rings has won BAFTA and the Online Film Critics (whoopee!)

Mystic River has won the Golden Satellite

Seabiscuit has won the USC Scripter Award (huh?)

I do believe it's Splendor.

Best Original Screenplay Analysis

Boy, am I tired. This will be easier next year, because now I know what to look at.

In any case, the nominees for Original are:
  • Invasions barbares, Les - Denys Arcand
  • Dirty Pretty Things - Steve Knight
  • Finding Nemo - Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds
  • In America - Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan
  • Lost in Translation - Sofia Coppola
The most significant indicator should be the guild (Writers Guild Award). Who has been on the ball for the most part.

This is pretty straightforward, though. Coppola, the very young director, in her second film, writes and directs a best nominee. She has also been nominated and/or won most of the major awards this year for the film.

Coppola.

Best Editing Analysis

Not an easy survey; most awards don't talk about editing either.

This year's nominees are:
  • Cidade de Deus - Daniel Rezende
  • Cold Mountain - Walter Murch
  • Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The - Jamie Selkirk
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World - Lee Smith
  • Seabiscuit - William Goldenberg
The most significant indicator should be the guild (American Cinema Editors Award, the "Eddie") and they seem to have a pretty good track record.

The Eddie this year went to Lord of the Rings.

Rezende has only worked on 4 films; he won the British Oscar (BAFTA) this year.

Murch is an old pro. Nominated 8 times (3 for sound) and won three.
  • 1974 - SOUND -- The Conversation
  • 1977 - FILM EDITING -- Julia
  • 1979 - FILM EDITING -- Apocalypse Now
  • 1979 - * SOUND -- Apocalypse Now (won)
  • 1990 - FILM EDITING -- Ghost
  • 1990 - FILM EDITING -- The Godfather, Part III
  • 1996 - * FILM EDITING -- The English Patient (won)
  • 1996 - * SOUND -- The English Patient (won)
Selkirk is Lord of the Rings. Smith hasn't had a great record and Goldenberg was nominated (lost) for "The Insider."

I say, Lord of the Rings.

Best Cinematography Analysis

Not an easy survey; most awards don't talk about cinematography.

The most significant indicator should be the guild (American Cinematographers Award) but they've been wrong 11 out of 20 years. When they are wrong, it's often because they are trumped by the Best Picture. This year, however, the Best Picture hopeful wasn't even nominated for Cinematography!

The "online Motion Picture Association" has been pretty accurate in the past few years, but this year they (like many others) went for "Return of the King"

This year's statistics are:
  • City of God - Cesar Charlone (First nomination)
  • Cold Mountain - John Seale (nominated 4 times, won for English Patient)
  • LAF = Girl with a Pearl Earring - Eduardo Serra
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World - Russell Boyd (First nomination)
  • ACA = Seabiscuit - John Schwartzman (first nomination)
Awards given for non-Oscar nominees
  • DFW, FFC, LVFC, OFC, OMPA = The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • NYF = Harris Savides - Elephant / Gerry
Oy, this is very hard. Master and Commander" is tempting because of the very difficult job of cinematography on an action movie, but I have a feeling that "Cold Mountain" - because the guy is a veteran of many top movies, he has many friends who will vote for him. Cold Mountain.

Summary for the Top 6 Categories

  1. Best Picture = Lord of the Rings, Return of the King
  2. Best Director = Peter Jackson
  3. Best Actor = Bill Murray
  4. Best Actress = Charlize Theron
  5. Best S. Actor = Tim Robbins
  6. Best S. Actress = Renee Zellwegger
The remaining four (Best Screenplays, Cinemetography, Editing) to come.

Best Director Analysis

In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 0/2
  • BSFC - Boston Film Critics; = 3/1
  • DGA - Directors Guild o'America = 16/7
  • GG - Golden Globe Awards; = 12/6
  • KCFC - Kansas City Film Critics; = 9/5
  • LAF - Los Angeles Film Critics; = 5/3
  • NBR - National Board of Review; = 4/1
  • NYF - New York Film Critics; = 2/1
Notes:

GG missed in 1985, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 (missed the past 3 years)

DGA missed in: 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991, 2000, 2002 (missed twice in past 3 years).

And, in 2000, SAG & GG agreed, incorrectly, for Ang Lee over Soderburgh (which I predicted). Both got it wrong in 2002, a bad predicted year.

This year's statistics are:
  • NBR - Edward Zwick - The Last Samurai
  • BSFC, IND, NYF, NYOC, SEA - Sophia Coppola - Lost in Translation
  • BFC, CFC, CO, DFW, DGA, FFC, GG, IWA, KCFC, LAF, LVFC, OFC,
  • PFC, PP, SanF, SDFC, SFC, TFC, VFC, WDC - Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • NSFC - Clint Eastwood - Mystic River
  • BFA - Peter Weir - Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The overwhelming numbers are for Jackson, and since he is also slated to get the Best Picture, and since its rare to split the two (in happened, in recent days, in 1989, 1998, 2000, and 2002), I will go with Jackson on this.

Best Supporting Actress Analysis

In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 5/4
  • BSFC - Boston Film Critics; = 4/0
  • GG - Golden Globe Awards; = 9/5
  • KCFC - Kansas City Film Critics; = 8/3
  • LAF - Los Angeles Film Critics; = 7/2
  • NBR - National Board of Review; = 4/0
  • NSFC - National Society of Film Critics; = 4/2
  • NYF - New York Film Critics; = 6/3
  • SAG - Screen Actors Guild Awards; = 4*

Notes: Double yeuuuch.

GG missed in 1983, 85, 86, 88, 89, 92, 93, 96, 98, 2000, 2002
SAG (since 1994) missed in: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001.
And, in 1996, SAG & GG agreed, incorrectly, for Lauren Bacall over Juliette Binoche.

I'm going to go again with the idea that whenever GG & SAG agree, that will mean a lot, even with the difficult categories of the supporting awards.

Now, the nominees are:
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo for House of Sand and Fog
  • Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April
  • Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River
  • Holly Hunter for Thirteen
  • RenĂ©e Zellweger for Cold Mountain
This year's statistics are:
  • BSFC, CFC, FFC, GS, NBR, NSFC, PFC, SanF, VFC - Patricia Clarkson - Pieces of April
  • BSFC, FFC, KCFC, NBR, NSFC - Patricia Clarkson - The Station Agent
  • NYOC - Scarlett Johanson - Lost in Translation
  • IND, LAF, NYF, OFC - Shohreh Aghdashloo - House of Sand and Fog
  • BFA, BFC, DFW, GG, SAG, SDFC, SFC - Renee Zellweger - Cold Mountain
Note, that for two nominees (Harden & Hunter) no-one else has given them anything. Note, also, that Clarkson has been given awards by agencies recognizing that she has done very good work in two films this year. You may remember her from such films as the Green Mile (the warden's wife) and the Untouchables (Ness' wife; notice a theme here).

Clarkson has done very good work in the past few years; that means a lot to the academy; and has never been nominated before.

Hunter has also done extraordinary work; has been nominated three times (twice in the same year) and has won once:
  • 1987 BEST ACTRESS - Broadcast News
  • 1993 BEST ACTRESS - The Piano (won)
  • 1993 SUPPORTING ACTRESS - The Firm
But considering that Renee has been nominated for the past few years:
  • 2001 BEST ACTRESS - Bridget Jones's Diary
  • 2002 BEST ACTRESS - Chicago
And was shut out from last year's big "Chicago" win, AND she has both SAG and GG behind her, it will go to her.

Best Supporting Actor Analysis

In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 1/1
  • BSFC - Boston Film Critics; = 4/2
  • GG - Golden Globe Awards; = 11/5
  • KCFC - Kansas City Film Critics; = 8/4
  • LAF - Los Angeles Film Critics; = 6/4
  • NBR - National Board of Review; = 6/3
  • NSFC - National Society of Film Critics; = 3/2
  • NYF - New York Film Critics; = 4/3
  • SAG - Screen Actors Guild Awards; = 4*
Notes: Yeuuuch.

GG missed in 1985, 86, 88, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99
SAG (since 1994) missed in: 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 (i.e. the last 3 years).

I'm going to go again with the idea that whenever GG & SAG agree, that will mean a lot, even with the difficult categories of the supporting awards.

This year's statistics are:
  • BSFC, KCFC, NSFC, OFC, SanF, TFC - Peter Sarsgaard - Shattered Glass
  • DFW, NBR, NYOC, PFC - Alec Baldwin - The Cooler
  • GS, NYF - Eugene Levy - A Mighty Wind
  • GS, IND, PP, SDFC - Djimon Hounsou - In America
  • IWA, WDC - Benicio Del Toro - 21 Grams
  • LVFC, SEA - Sean Astin - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • BFC, CFC, CO, FFC, GG, SAG, SFC, VFC - Tim Robbins - Mystic River
Tim Robbins. No question.

Best Actress Analysis

In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 5/3
  • BSFC - Boston Film Critics; = 3/2
  • CFC - Chicago Film Critics; = 5/3
  • GG - Golden Globe Awards; = 16/7
  • KCFC - Kansas City Film Critics; = 7/3
  • LAF - Los Angeles Film Critics; = 6/4
  • LVFC - Las Vegas Film Critics; = 2/2
  • NBR - National Board of Review; = 7/4
  • NSFC - National Society of Film Critics; = 2/1
  • NYF - New York Film Critics; = 5/2
  • SAG - Screen Actors Guild Awards; = 6*
  • SanF - San Francisco Film Critics Awards; = 3/2
  • SDFC - San Diego Film Critics; = 2/2
Notes: The GG's are more helpful for Best Actress than actor. Still, they missed in 1985, 1995, 1996, and 2001.

The Screen Actors Guild is still strong but they missed in 1994, 1999, and 2002.

This year the statistics are:
  • BFA, BSFC - Scarlett Johansson - Lost in Translation
  • GG, GS, IWA, NBR - Diane Keaton - Something's Gotta Give
  • BFC, CFC, CO, DFW, GG, GS, IND, LVFC, NSFC, NYOC, SAG, SanF, VFC - Charlize Theron - Monster
  • NYF, SEA - Hope Davis - American Splendor
  • NYF - Hope Davis - The Secret Lives of Dentists
  • FFC, LAF, OFC, PFC, SDFC, SFC, WDC - Naomi Watts - 21 Grams
  • TFC - Samantha Morton - Morvern Callar
  • KCFC - Jennifer Connelly - House of Sand and Fog
Whenever SAG and GG agree (on Actress), they are also correct for the Academy. This goes to Theron.

Best Actor Analysis

In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 6/3
  • BFC - Broadcast Film Critics; = 3/3
  • BSFC - Boston Film Critics; = 5/4
  • CFC - Chicago Film Critics; = 5/3
  • GG - Golden Globe Awards; = 11/5
  • KCFC - Kansas City Film Critics; = 8/2
  • LAF - Los Angeles Film Critics; = 8/3
  • LVFC - Las Vegas Film Critics; = 2/2
  • NBR - National Board of Review; = 6/3
  • NSFC - National Society of Film Critics; = 4/2
  • NYF - New York Film Critics; = 5/2
  • SAG - Screen Actors Guild Awards; = 6*
  • SanF - San Francisco Film Critics Awards; = 2
  • SDFC - San Diego Film Critics; = 3
Notes: Here the GG's advantage (2 choices) still didn't help it. Even with double the chances, they missed in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002.

The Screen Actors Guild looked very strong (it started giving best actor awards only since 1994) but they have missed in the past 3 years (2000, 2001, 2002)!
  • In 2000, BFC & SDFC were correct.
  • In 2001, BSFC, KCFC, LAF were correct.
  • In 2002, BSFC, NSFC were correct.
The Boston Film Critics (BSFC) were on the money in the past two years. Which, alas, seems completely arbitrary.

This year the statistics are:
  • BFC, CO, DFW, FFC, GG, GS, KCFC, LVFC, NBR, VFC - Sean Penn - Mystic River
  • FFC, GS, LVFC, NBR - Sean Penn - 21 Grams
  • BFA, BSFC, CFC, GG, GS, IND, IWA, LAF, NYF, NSFC, NYOC, OFC, SanF, SEA, SFC, TFC, WDC - Bill Murray - Lost in Translation
  • SDFC - Chiewetel Ejiofor - Dirty Pretty Things
  • PFC, PP - Ben Kingsley - House of Sand and Fog
  • SAG - Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
GG & SAG are unreliable and split. The BSFC, for whatever reason, has had a good run, and by coinciding with the GG, they give weight to Bill Murray.

Acting awards are generally given for a number of years of good work. According to the Academy Award database, Sean's stats are 3 nominations, no wins:
  • 1995 - BEST ACTOR - Dead Man Walking
  • 1999 - BEST ACTOR - Sweet and Lowdown
  • 2001 - BEST ACTOR - I Am Sam
He also took a vocal political stance before the Iraq War and that could factor in the voting.

Bill, a.k.a. "My Man Bill," has never been nominated for a role despite years of extraordinary work; recently his work in "Rushmore" (1998) and "The Royal Tennenbaums" received acclaim; he was robbed for his role in "Tootsie" and it's the 20th Anniversary of "Ghostbusters" for gosh's sakes!

Given the balance, I will go with Bill.

Best Picture Analysis


In a 20 year survey (2002-1983), and 10 year survey (2002-1993) the following statistics emerge (how often the award was the same as the Academy, 20/10):
  • British Film Awards (BFA) = 5/5
  • Golden Globes (GG) = 17/9
  • Los Angeles Film Critics (LAF) = 3/1
  • National Board of Review (NBR) = 6/3
  • National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) = 2/1
  • New York Film Critics (NYF) = 3/1
  • Producers Guild of America = 10/7
Notes:
The Film Critics are nearly useless (BFA, LAF, NBR, NSFC, NYF).

The Golden Globes, an overwhelming predictor, needs to be balanced by the fact that 2 pictures are given "bests" (drama and comedy), doubling the chances. But it can't be ignored.

The Producer's Guild, who share many of the same voters of the Oscars, is a good weight, but not as good as GG.

To really analyze, we need to see the years that the picks were wrong.

The Golden Globes were wrong in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995.
  • 1991 = GG chose "Bugsy," PGA was correct in choosing "Silence of the Lambs."
  • 1992 = GG chose "Scent of a Woman," PGA = "Crying Game" and the Oscar went to "Unforgiven" (which was ignored by all the other majors)
  • 1995 = GG chose "Sense and Sensibility" and PGA "Apollo 13." In fact, *no* other agency picked the Oscar; it went to "Braveheart" (a.k.a. The Passion of Scotland's Christ).
In the past 10 years, PGA was wrong in 1995, 1998, 2001.
  • 1998 = they chose "Private Ryan" over "Shakespeare"
  • 2001 = they chose "Moulin Rouge" over "A Beautiful Mind"
Totals:
This year, the tally is (from the Golderby site):
  • BSFC, NBR - Mystic River
  • CO, GG, GS, IND, IWA, NYOC, SanF, TFC, VFC - Lost in Translation
  • AAFC, BFA, BFC, CFC, DFW, FFC, GG, KCFC, LVFC, NYF, OFC, PFC, PGA, PP, SAG, SFC, WDC - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • SDFC - Dirty Pretty Things
  • LAF, NSFC, SEA - American Splendor
  • GS - In America
Now, I coulda sworn that the Academy would've chosen "Mystic River," but I'm not thinking this year, I'm using numbers. So, the Lord will be King (or the King, Lord; or the Ring King, whatever).

Oscar Predictions Update

Yes, yes, I am still doing the Oscar prediction thing even after last year's utterly embarrassing total. After years of experimentation, I am engaging in a more scientific process. The Academy Awards are voted on by members who among the electorate of other awards given earlier. The key is to find which awards are indicative of the core electorate and weight those awards accordingly.

While I was doing the legwork of accumulating data, I came across this dude's site which saved me loads of time.

Further updates to come today.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Just in Time for Terumah

Bais Hamikdash and Keilim

Bush's Job Rating

Check here periodically for the current polls about Bush's Job performance.

My brief analysis of the current data is that the "don't knows" are very low (compared to the initial part of his presidency).

Also of interest, the polls show that if the election were held now, Bush could be beaten by both Kerrey and Edwards. Go John! (Whomever!)

Wieseltier on the Passion

Leon Wieseltier: "MEL GIBSON'S LETHAL WEAPON: The Worship of Blood" in the New Republic.

The key line:
"In its representation of its Jewish characters, The Passion of the Christ is without any doubt an anti-Semitic movie, and anybody who says otherwise knows nothing, or chooses to know nothing, about the visual history of anti-Semitism, in art and in film."
Listen to this dude; he knows these things.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

One of my favorite Purim Torah articles

Teenage Pregnancies on Rise in the Frum Community

Purim and Passion

Eliezer Segal, a brilliant scholar from Canada, has many timely and well-researched articles on the Jewish holidays and modern issues. Considering that I am overdoing the Passion Response, here is an article about The Purim-Shpiel and the Passion Play.

A Funny Error Page

404 page not found

YU Purim Torah, Archived

Yeshiva University Observant (from 2002)

Commentator, 2000

Commentator, 1999

Commentator, 1998

Onion piece to lighten the mood

At least *my* religion has a sense of humor (Mistranslated Myths Of Nomadic Desert Shepherd Tribe Taken At Face Value)

Do Not Give Him Money

Do not pay money to see The Passion - don't fuel his egoistic blood libel. If you must see it, download.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Cardinal Lustiger

There’s a chance that I will meet Cardinal Lustiger and 12 Fresh bishops tomorrow. Naturally, the one thing on every Jew’s mind when faced with high-ranking Church officials is about the movie the Passion. But, when I reflected as to what the interaction will be like tomorrow – and I ask that question – I recognized that I don’t think the movie’s target is the Jews. Oh, sure, if a few Jews get killed it’ll be just gravy, but the real target is the current Catholic leadership.

Ya see, Gibson’s a wacko. He’s part of a fringe group of reactionary Catholics who think that the current Church are a bunch of “bloody Protestants” (to quote an Opus Dei cleric who insulted my roommate in college). As such, Gibson (and his loony-tune father) want to force the Catholic Hierarchy to make a choice: either accept the movie as faithful and thus anger the rest of the world and upset years of amity; or to deny the film and anger the Catholic base who naturally think that the movie is accurate, albeit over-the-top.

I compare it to Kach (Meir Kahane’s group) who bawl out how the Talmud and tradition has nasty things to say about non-Jews. Either I can accept what they say and ruin my rapprochement with the Secular world or I can deny what they say and show myself to be a religious hypocrite.

The Catholics can try to maneuver out of it in the way I would maneuver, but that’s immaterial. Kach and Gibson engage in fractious thuggery and the civilized majority often find themselves at their mercy.

There must be more

TVland, a required location for any Gen-Xer wannabe, has the lyrics to instrumental theme songs (e.g. Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, etc.). And Tenacious D has found the lyrics for "Land of the Lost." It is truly a wondrous age we live in.

P.S. By the way, I find "I Dream of Jeannie" one of the most disturbing shows on television. Lord! Is this what they got away with back in the early 60s?!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Primaries 2004

Naturally, I am following the Primaries with an avid eye. Now that my favorite candidate has dropped out (Lieberman) and the fantasy-candidate fizzled out (Clark) and the Scary Wacko Dude has left (Dean) we are left with two viable candidates, Kerrey and Edwards.

Note, I am not considering Sharpton and Kucinich. Kucinich is in this to make his voice heard while Sharpton is trying to recast himself as a respectable power-broker. Sharpton is a long-term danger; Kucinich is a statistical inevitability.

Anyhoo, Kerrey and Edwards. According to the current political analysts, primaries have a fascinating echo effect. A candidate is given high numbers in the polls based largely on the quality of "electability." This is especially so in this current election where the Democrats are so angry at the Bush regime that all they want is to replace him. As such, the voters are trying to gauge not how they feel about the candidate but how they perceive *everyone else* feels about the candidates.

Therefore, if a candidate does well in an earlier primary, then he'll seem electable and be given higher numbers in the next primary, and so on. Dean was considered the front-runner before the primaries because he was popular. But, his popularity was only in young long-haired freaky-people and wild-eyed yelpers. Kerrey was able to establish his credentials, by his age and (overwhelmingly so) on his war record.

Given all this analysis, it would seem that any presidential candidate needs to put all of their resources in Iowa. Clark and Lieberman forwent (forgoed?) Iowa and they were quickly eliminated.

Because Wisconsin showed that Edwards has legs, he will actually do a lot better in subsequent primaries. Which is good. Kerrey will be eaten alive by Bush & Rove. His wishy-washy, pandering, sleepy Northern liberalism (even the most moderate of Democrats becomes a Liberal in Massachusetts) will be unelectable in November.

Edwards, who is young, Southern and hired straight from central casting will, I believe, be a better candidate. His main downsides are his age and his former profession.

Let's see how this goes.

Good online encyclopedia

Abridged 1911 Britannica Encyclopedia

Thursday, February 12, 2004

One Reason Down

As you know, I have still not heard a satisfactory reason why the Eastern Seaboard was laid to waste by the Blackout of Aught-Three. One suggestion now is a software glitch.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Friday, February 06, 2004

Ahooga! Ahooga! The SOY Seforim Sale

Clear the aisles, I'm a-comin'! (SOY Seforim Sale - Online Catalog)

Gephardt Throws His Support to Kerry

Woop-de-doo.

Death Penalty

The case of Carlie Brucia, whose kidnapping was caught on security camera, and whose body has just been found (Body of Missing 11-Year-Old Florida Girl Is Found), is a good one to discuss for the pros and cons of the death penalty.

It's hard to dismiss the video evidence (as well as the other clues that will doubtless show up; the alleged killer doesn't sound like a genius, as the whole camera thing shows). It's one of the nastier crimes in our civilized imagination.

Kill or not kill?

That's It, Mashiach is a'Comin'

Google in Yiddish

(How else will the Mashiach use the web?)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Cuban Refugees Drive to Florida

Belive me, and Steve Harvey, we have proof positive that Cuba sucks: Cubans converting a Chevy into a boat and driving to Florida.

I ask again; do we, Modern Orthodox Jews, who have pride in our knowledge of history, and who do not shy away from confronting the surrounding culture - do we actively support the Cuban refugee plight? Aren't these Cubans just 'refusniks?'

True, they only want political freedom/asylum while the Jews of the Soviet Union wanted religious freedom as well, but freedom - like infinity - may not be cumulative.

Are we afraid to fight the Cuban government because there are Jews still living there and we want to protect them? Or do we say that the tyranny of Cuba is the political equivalent of terrorism and we can't let them dictate our rules. The Jews in Cuba have it bad - because of the evil overlords - our fighting for the freedom of all Cubans is a moral fight that can't be compromised by muddled maneuverings (i.e. that our silence will make it better for the Cuban Jews; I have a feeling that by putting the pressure on Cuba, we will actually make it better for all the people because the Cuban tyrants will then be fighting against our strength instead of our capitulation).

Another reason to repudiate the idea that being quiet will help the Cubans is that moral wrongs never succeed in creating moral rights.

Of course - given the recent "news" that the Bushistas invented all the "evidence" about WMDs in Iraq - if the only reason we went into Iraq was to depose a dictator, then why don't we invoke the Monroe Doctrine and kick Castro out once and for all?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

John Edwards

I'm now taking a closer look at John Edwards. He's someone to watch. I'd vote for a yellow-dog rather than see Bush and his gang of thugs in the White House; maybe Edwards can do it.

Joe Drops Out

My man Joe dropped out of the Democratic primaries. Good. I say good because (a) he is the politician I most admire, a hero whom I can honestly say is a role-model for Americans, Jews, the world; (b) he would get his pasty white rump whipped into applesauce by Herr Bush; (c) running a losing race takes time and money away from what he does best - the hero stuff.

Let's hope the Democrats choose wisely.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Movie Blurb

Saw League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The (2003). Not bad. Cheezy ending. The director managed to convey the feel of a different era - a hard thing to do for most directors (cf. "The Planet of the Apes" remake; if Burton can't do it, we know it's hard).

My man Sean was true to form. 4 out of 5 units of merit.

Gotta Love This Guy

Paul Krugman rules.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Your friendly neighborhood sociopath

Princetonians, far and near, read the Times account of the very first sociopath that I've ever met. Journalists, lazy as they are, didn't investigate further into Dan's past. As far as I know, he is the nephew of Robert Rubin and he did buy the thesis. Journalists are lazy, welcome to America.

[2008 postscript; he is not the nephew of Rubin, but who actually is the bigger crook?]