Category Archives: Popular Culture

Fox News In Israel

The guy who showed me how to use the television turned it to Fox News without my even asking. “It’s our favorite in Israel, they’re the only ones who report what is really happening. Well, until the past few days…”

Anyway, I’ve been seeing these little segments called “Fox News Extra,” with people like Patti-Ann Brown or Laura Ingall doing little interviews, and wondered if they were a new thing. Then I realized that I wasn’t seeing any commercials.

American Sniper

Kyle Smith liked it.

Its success will really piss off the Hollywood Left, after all their box-office bombs, after which they said Americans “just don’t like movies about the war.” No, they just don’t like anti-American movies.

Wearable Tech

Forget it, what people want is more battery life.

This obsession with “thin” phones makes me crazy. Have the gay men who run the fashion industry, but hate normal female bodies, taken over tech as well?

I just “upgraded” from my dying Droid Global 2, a phone whose batteries were easily changed, for a Droid 4, which has a better OS, and is 4G instead of 3G, and slightly thinner, but has a non-replaceable battery. I consider it a downgrade.

Two Tyrannies In One Day

The US caves:

Obama announced on Wednesday that Washington and the Castro regime would resume diplomatic relations after a 53-year estrangement. This platinum-medal prize for totalitarian legend Fidel Castro, 88, and his brother Raul, a sprightly man of 83, came at a cost to them of . . . nothing!

Normalization might have made sense in exchange for the Castros’ liberating all political prisoners from their dungeons. (In 2008, Obama promised that normal relations only would happen after the Castros’ political jails were emptied.) A strict timetable for free elections might have merited Obama’s move. So might have Cuba’s adoption of freedoms of movement, speech, press, property, and religion — for starters. The Castros still offer their people none of the above. Fidel and Raul get to eat their dictatorial cake and have it, too, with diplomatic-relations frosting on top. Free of charge.

Obama’s Christmas present to these aging autocracts lacks the geopolitical genius and strategic benefits of President Nixon’s February 1972 overture to China. Instead, it’s just one young strongman handing the ultimate bucket-list item to two ancient strongmen. The only strings attached to Obama’s gift are the ribbons around the wrapping paper.

America’s surrender to North Korea and its hackers is even more bothersome.

Not sure it’s more bothersome, but it is depressing.


stage left:

Raise your hand if you want to see Moses portrayed as an insurgent lunatic terrorist with a bad conscience, the pharaoh who sought the murder of all first-born Hebrew slaves as a nice and reasonable fellow, and God as a foul-tempered 11-year-old boy with an English accent.

All right, I see a few hands raised, though maybe they belong to people who are still demonstrating about Ferguson. So let me ask you this: How many of you want to see how Hollywood has taken the story of the Hebrew departure from ancient Egypt — by far the most dramatic tale in the world’s most enduring book — and turned it into a joyless, dull, turgid bore?

I don’t know when I’ve seen a movie as self-destructively misconceived as Exodus: Gods and Kings, the director Ridley Scott’s $200-million retelling of the Moses story that has as much chance of making $200 million at the American box office as Ted Cruz has of winning the District of Columbia in the November 2016 election.

No one has explained to me why it was necessary to redo The Ten Commandments. I guess maybe it brings it to a new audience, with better effects, but why so totally screw with the Biblical story line?

This doesn’t inspire confidence for Scott’s upcoming treatment of The Martian.

[Update a few minutes later]

Also, this:

The problem with genre deconstruction in a biblical film is that Blue State audiences won’t touch religious-oriented films with a barge pole, and Red State audiences know when they’re being gaslighted, and those who see the film during its opening weekend quickly tell their friends to avoid yet another boilerplate Hollywood attack on religion. While some initial leftwing critics screamed that Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ was arguably torture porn and/or anti-Semitic, Red State audiences quickly discovered through word of mouth that Mel was perhaps the last filmmaker in Hollywood who took the notion of God and Jesus seriously. (As Hans Fiene of the Federalist quipped last week, if Hollywood wants to get its biblical blockbuster groove back, just “Pretend Mel Gibson is Roman Polanski.”


[Update a while later]

It occurs to me that people opposed to this kind of thing don’t have to threaten to bomb theaters. It’s self detonating.

Jerry Pournelle

He apparently suffered a minor stroke. From his son, Alex:

Jerry had a small stroke. He is recovering well at a local hospital. Prognosis is good, though they’re running more tests and he’s expected to stay at least another day or two.

“He felt well enough to call Mom [Mrs. Pournelle] from the hospital.

“Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. More updates when we have them.

I saw him a few weeks ago, and he seemed to be doing as well as a man his age who has recovered from a brain tumor could be expected to. Best wishes for a rapid recovery.

Bush Versus Clinton

If that’s really the 2016 line up. I want them both to lose, badly. Get rid of this dynastical nonsense. It’s un-American. If some have a social need for royalty, let’s stick to Hollywood celebrities, not people who run the country. I agree with Glenn on this:

My concern is that the GOP’s donor class can only get interested in candidates that the GOP’s base finds unappealing, and vice versa.

It’s a big problem.


Just got back from a week in Missouri visiting family, and still haven’t seen the movie. But I see that (miracle of miracles) it’s still playing in IMAX at one theater in LA, just a few minutes away, so going to finally check it out at a matinee today.

[Monday update]

A lot to comment on, but many reviewers have already digested it pretty thoroughly. One comment I haven’t seen is the problem of the psychodynamics of such a long mission with several men and one woman (a problem shared by the original Planet of the Apes movie, though she died en route).


Seven reasons why I made a Thanksgiving resolution to leave it.”

Most of this crap doesn’t bother me, because I don’t really “use” Facebook much. My blog posts get auto-posted there, but I could count the number of times I’ve manually updated my timeline (if indeed I can recall them, which I can’t) on one hand. I guess that for many less tech literate, Facebook became a substitute for a blog, but I’ve never needed one. And I find Twitter much more useful as a link mine.


Peter Suderman reviews his review.

[Update a while later]

And here‘s John Nolte’s review.

[Sunday-morning update]

Five reasons why Interstellar is a conservative film.

I think that it helps to view it as allegorical, and not try to take the science too seriously.