February 23, 2009 - February 16, 2009
How many of you are going to watch the Super Bowl this
weekend even though the prospect of seeing the Patriots cap a
season-long blowout makes you sick to your stomach? All of you?
Come on. Let me remind you there's a whole world full of things to do, and even on Super Bowl Sunday, most of them are still available.
Take, oh, me, for example. I'm headed to the Baghdad Theater (named back when the city had the exotic allure of, say, Timbuktu) for a weekend of Supertrash. If your sad life landed you someplace other than Portland, and you'd like a taste of the fun I'm going to have (of course you would; I'm younger, sexier, and happier), do your best to understand this article. It's written for kids my age, who don't have to interrupt for clarification of every word. If that's not you, you're welcome to eavesdrop. I guess.
All these flicks made this list because they're unavailable on DVD, so downloading them for free is fair game. Therefore, not every movie I wanted made the cut. Notably, I wanted to put the USA Network classic Gymkata on here, but wouldn't you know it, someone had the vision to re-release it. Don't crash Amazon logging on to buy it all at the same time, everybody.
My stiff, half-dead predecessor moved his dried hand, w/ crooked pointer finger stuck extended, and waved his arm around the keyboard enough to post the trailer, which has the basic gist: In the far-flung dystopian future of 2008, global warming means there's a foot of water everywhere, and there's a renegade maverick cop who plays by his own rules but gets results. Rutger Hauer has to defend London OF THE FUTURE against a Predator-like beast that "has the DNA of all his victims". Also, Rutger wants revenge against the creature. It sounds generically bad, but it's exquisitely bad. The DVD is long out of print.
It's the Big Trouble in Little China of the 90s. Two brothers, one white, one Mexican, compete in karate tournaments in dystopian New Angeles-- L.A. after the big quake. Since it's 2007, Madonna is married to Tom Arnold, the L.A. river is flammable, and street gangs RULE THE NIGHT. It's got Robert Patrick, who by all rights shouldn't have worked after this. Mortal Kombat is still the Citizen Kane of video game movies.
Yeah, the Schwarzenegger flick from the 80s. This one's Donnie Brasco meets Commando, with Arnold in the Johnny
Depp role. For some reason it's out of print, so go nuts.
Two men. One has no arms, the other withered legs. They learn kung-fu. They get the bad guys. The filmmakers used real cripples, a la Tod Browning. So old and foreign, it's gotta be in the public domain.
I wanted to put Three the Hard Way here, but
it's not even available to download. If you ever come across it, snatch
it up immediately. In the meantime, the aggressively awesome Black Samurai, and the more-highly
regarded Black Belt Jones,
both starring the black guy from Enter
the Dragon, will have to do.
Grizzly Adams in a Santa suit vs. Nazi midgets. If that isn't incentive enough, you're probably hopeless.
If all the above is Greek to you... well, I'm not going to take the time to lead you out of the darkness of technological illiteracy. I will, however, give you some hints in the form of the half-finished guide below. I have faith you can figure out how to work the Magic Typing TV if you give it the slow, deliberate thought it needs. Just don't forget you're learning, you know?
For the Uncle Zoni Awful and Awesome Movie Party Pack, you'll need:
- a home computer (try this on your work computer at your own risk).
- ÔŅĹTorrent, which is for downloading files called torrents.
- a DVD burner. If you don't have one and don't want to buy one, follow these instructions to hook up your computer to your TV (you'll still need to buy some equipment, but it'll be a lot less expensive). Again, if you're thinking about panicking, don't. Just follow the guide. If you get hung up on a word or term, Google it and look for definitions.
- DVD conversion software, like the bundle offered by VSO.
So now there's no need to feel trapped in the great overblown pageant that's going to put half the country to sleep on Sunday. That's what I'm here for. Public Service.
If the big picture polls are right, the Democrats are right on
the issues, which means that a majority of you really are in favor of
what Hillary Obama is calling "Universal Health Care." Apparently, you
adore declarations like this one:
Never mind that eastern Europe's 72 year experiment with central
government control of everything proved that the only thing such
governments excel at is building a huge and powerful military. Which,
if you thought about it, is the one truly massive societal function
that specifically regards the human components of the system as
The whole notion of universal health care is, in fact, one of the better ways of seeing the danger inherent in government that claims to care about everyone. Because caring about everyone is not synonymous with caring about you in particular. That's the paradox of the Nanny State. Very large bureaucracies are intrinsically incapable of the simple human function of emotion. In systemic terms, caring has to be defined mechanically, as "budgeting," "processing," "managing," and "controlling." Caring can make it into the private sector, because where there's more than one provider, quality of service is a competitive factor. But the glorious term "universal" means "one." It means there is really only one provider, the government which decides everything for everyone. There is no alternative source which competes for market share by finding a better way. And that means we all become units to be processed, managed and controlled. If there's nobody left to care about you in particular, that's tough.
These aren't bland and hazy assertions. Most of the rich, liberal democracies in the world have committed themselves to a version of the "universal health care" you seem to want. The United Kingdom -- which recently boasted that it now possesses a higher standard of living than the United States [HA!] -- has had its National Health Service for a generation. Here's the latest news from them.
Sounds kind of military, doesn't it? Like battlefield triage. What
governments are good at. When we tell them to care for everyone, we
become conscripts. They get to tell us how to put the least strain on
the system. We grant them the right to lay down the law about what we
can eat, smoke, drink, breathe, drive, and even how we can fornicate.
(No condom, no care for STDs?) Will there still be separation of church
and state when health has become the secular religion?
Is there any theoretical limit when that occurs? If your right to life depends on avoiding behaviors deemed bad by the state, what will you do when the beneficent health czars decide not to treat the very people whose behaviors are most likely to result in specific care needs? People who listen to loud music aren't entitled to hearing aids. People with more than "n" speeding tickets aren't entitled to emergency care after an automobile accident. People who read too much or spend too many hours at their computers aren't entitled to ophthalmic services. People with too many prescription medications in their health care histories aren't entitled to expensive diagnostic services when their bodies finally crash. People who get cancer aren't entitled to treatment because holistic studies show either that your genetics or your "negative" lifestyle choices make you undeserving.
And worse than that. Say, you really do conform all your behaviors to the risk-averse mandates of your universal health care system. You survive all the waiting lists in the rationing system that replaced the bad old days, and you reach the ripe old age of 80, which is the Parcheesi-style "home" all the nagging is driving us toward. But the actuarial tables still say there's only a very limited lifespan left to you. You no longer qualify for medical treatment because the cost-benefit equation just doesn't add up.
There's the Nanny Paradox writ large. You're not supposed to live daringly, sensually, adventurously, or unusually in the first place. And even if you obey all the rules against living, when you become prosaically and mundanely old, you're so unexceptional that your life can simply be thrown away to comply with some federal budget cap.
Who will look stupid then? The people who lived like sheep so they could be slaughtered like sheep? Or the vile and venal rebels who drank, smoked, speeded, screwed, and ate their way to an early and far more dignified grave?
The only thing universal about universal health care is tyranny. Just try to wrap your head around what the government means when it says, "Everyone."
Got it? No, I suppose you don't. Because how on earth could they ever
fail to care about you?
UPDATE. My favorite Paulista informs me that the great winnowing has already begun. Take a look at this.
. The damage control is underway. Glenn Reynolds is already
publicizing the term "McCain Derangement
Syndrome." Okay. Apparently
we're not allowed to criticize the Democrat who's going to win the
Is it derangement to say I don't like him? My own dad is dead, but I know what he'd have said because he was a lot like McCain, only his straight talk was straighter, which is why I liked him more. I can tell you he would never have trusted McCain. Why? Because my dad would have summed up McCain's whole heroic military career in two words: "He talked."
McCain is a liberal. So is Romney. They've got each other dead to rights on this. Who's the loser? Us.
And, no, I'm not buying Peggy Noonan's choice to blame it on George W. Bush. Unlike his father, George W. never lied to us. He never pretended that he wasn't at heart a Texan who was willing to give his State of the Union speech in two languages. We elected him. If the Republican Party has lost its soul, it's because there aren't enough Republicans left to find, support, nominate, and elect another Ronald Reagan.
Here's what I suspect. The archetypal American today is a single mother. Not too bright. Not moral at all, because women rarely are. They finally have their candidate. "Look what I found in the pantry. Everything. Get in line. Everyone's going to get her share. And if you're really really good, my husband will fuck you in the mud room. Later."
What does "later" mean? It means after he's done fucking Peggy Noonan. She's been waiting for quite a while.
Afterwards, she'll be all breathless and happy. We won't. That's the difference.
The sophisticated hypercomputer M.A.L.K.I.N. 4700 (affectionately
nicknamed "Michelle" by the brilliant team of men and women who built
her), searching the entire internet every 3/1000ths of a second, has
collated an exhaustive
report on "inevitable" GOP nominee John McCain's
thorough, if not complete, ideological bankruptcy.† This is not a
shotgun blast of slander from cranky, unreasonable
right"er"-wingers.† If you think older ideas of government were
better, if not perfect, at preserving freedom than what we have to put
up with now, you owe it to your ideals to educate yourself about
November's likely "conservative"
But, like Ron Paul's platform, this is academic.† This Presidential election is, again, an exercise in damage control.† Since there's no candidate to get enthusiastic about, or to even want in the White House at all, it's time to start doing some Radon Math.† Since we're doomed to some amount of poisonous gas, which choice will pump the least into our basement?† Not only that, but how much of said gas can we dissipate by opening windows and doors and fanning?† What respirator masks are available that filter Radon, and what's the limit of said filtration?† Is it safe for kids and adults to make brief trips into the basement, and how brief need those trips be?
Whoever takes the oath next January is going to be toxic to whatever life of your own you might be aiming to cultivate.† The question for every voter is, who is the more manageable disaster (and who is going to foster a political climate more amenable to whatever freedoms you're going to work up the nerve to try to get back).† Dust off those Y2K plans and use them to metaphy how you're going to live your life come 2K9.
The 2KNanny approacheth. Be you ready? Bettabee, baby.