Showing posts from February, 2010

Founding Fathers and Religion

Fascination with the founders of our nation is a unique attribute of Americans. We not only study them, we seek their counsel and pillage their opinions for insight into modern problems, hoping to find shortcuts to solutions.

Gordon S. Wood, in his Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, explains it so:
-"The identities of the other nations, say, French or German, are lost in the mists of time and usually taken for granted...But Americans became a nation in 1776, and thus, in order to know how we are, we need to know who our founders are. The United States was founded on a set of beliefs and not, as were other nations, on a common ethnicity, language, or religion. Since we are not a nation in any traditional sense of the term, in order to establish our nationhood, we have to reaffirm and reinforce periodically the values of the men who declared independence from Great Britain and framed the Constitution."
The Founders were amazing thinkers who wrote s…

Movie Review: Born of Hope

Born of Hope is a fan film prequel to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it quickly transcends past amateur filmfare. After all, this movie cost as much as Clerks,The Blair Witch Project or El Mariachi. Writer/editor/director/etc. Kate Madison dumped her life savings into the film and managed to scrounge the remaining funds from donations.

The film takes place before the birth of Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortenson in the canonized trilogy) and during his young life. Instead of focusing on his youthful exploits, the film follows his parents, Arathorn and Gilraen, climaxing in a showdown with orcs.
Madison takes painstaking steps to tie this movie to Jackson's trilogy. The moods are similar. The script is consistent, and though the story is by-the-numbers, it's well-written. We are introduced to the movie with a title card that flickers into view and a detached voiceover explaining the history of Middle Earth, just as in the original films. The costumes ar…

What is Census Advertising Worth?

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) seems to share some of my views on misappropriation of government funds. They attack government officials for frivolous spending and improper distribution of tax money. I love the idea. I wholeheartedly endorse organizations that wish to limit government waste. I am all about efficiency.

CAGW, however, seems to have disregarded a fundamental attempt to identify the truth (i.e. they didn't do any research). The president of CAGW, Dan Williams, openly bashed the Census Bureau's Superbowl ad as a "colossal waste of money." The advertisement cost nearly $3 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the $133 million the Census Bureau plans to spend on advertising between now and May. In the same Fox News Article, Williams says, "That's a lot of money to spend on a glorified public service announcement. While they're counting people, we're going to be counting the dollars that they're spending." Furt…

The American Ego

Americans have a compulsive need to defend themselves in the eyes of the world. Now that the world is more globalized, most of realize the world hates us. Instead of taking it in stride, like the leaders we claim to be should, we throw fits. It's a bit embarrassing. An article from the UK Guardian shows the American Government pledged to donate more money to Haiti than any other government--$450 million. The amount will cost the American taxpayer about $2.50. That's fine. Canada, making the second highest pledge, said its government would donate $130 million, costing their taxpayer quite a bit more considering their population (man, woman and child) is about 33 million--approximately 1/9th the U.S. Population. We must keep in mind that other countries are also generous and consider population. While I'm happy the American Government hasn't become so jaded by every other country's opinion and ceased charitable donations altogether, we cannot lose sight of t…

Avatar to the Rescue! Maybe.

Some of you are aware that movie theaters lost much of their relevance when Big Screen met DVD. Moviegoers began to forgo opening weekends of blockbusters and opted to wait for DVD releases. Girlfriends had a tougher time convincing their boyfriends that romantic comedies were worth seeing on a fifty foot projection. Boys taking girls on dates no longer needed to pay forty dollars for a movie, candy, drinks and popcorn. If they watched a movie at home it would cost fifteen bucks, tops. Parents no longer wanted to quiet their crying kids without the ability to pause movies. Crusty old curmudgeons could watch movies at home without the nuisance of noisy whippersnappers and cell phones. None of us have to sit in a jam packed theater, wondering why, oh God why, was the only open seat next to the fat, sweaty dude who steals armrests.

I came around to team DVD a little later than some. I couldn't immediately take the plunge because I still remembered getting vertigo in the open…