“Worry? Jesus, I almost went crazy down there in the bar. They’ll never let us back in that place — not after your scene at the press table.”
“You bastard,” he said. “I left you alone for three minutes! You scared the shit out of those people! Waving that goddamn marlin spike around and yelling about reptiles. You’re lucky I came back in time. They were ready to call the cops. I said you were only drunk and that I was taking you up to your room from a cold shower. Hell, the only reason they gave us the press pass was to get you out of there.”
– Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
If I say the phrase “War on Science”, what do you think of? Well, if you’re an American, you probably think about the Right’s “War on Evolution”. And yes, that’s a real thing: a minority of right-wingers don’t believe in Evolution, and have been trying to get “Creationism” or “Creation Science” placed into curricula in schools across the country. I’m not a fan of the practice. I mean, if you want to teach about Creationism in a philosophy class, that’s fine by me. But the inherent correctness of Evolution as a theory should be so obvious to everyone that it, and only it, should be taught in science classrooms.
But it’s not like the Right is the only side waging war on science. Yes, our favorite nutcases on the Left have their own little wars. While the Right’s war is mainly against Evolution, the Left has all kinds of issues with different aspects of science. And while the Right is at least straight-up in their opposition to Evolution, the Left likes to hide behind junk science and emotion to cover up their war.
Take the Left’s war on the internal combustion engine, for example. Yes, we all agree that fossil fuels are dirty and in (somewhat) limited supply. In a perfect world, we would indeed find some better alternative to gasoline engines. But the time, money and effort used by the Left in promoting electric vehicles is just silly. A Chevy Volt uses a 435 lb. electric battery to travel 35 whole miles. Chevy’s Cruze, on the other hand, gets 42 miles on a single gallon of gasoline. And the Cruze is probably (I’m no expert) friendlier to the environment overall than the Volt is. After all, in most parts of the country, the electricity used to charge the Volt probably came from a coal power plant, and the construction of all those batteries uses tons of energy. The nickel used to make the batteries comes from Canada, probably from an area in Ontario called the Superstack. The nickel is shipped to Europe to be refined, then sent to China to be made in to “nickel foam”, then to Japan for assembly, then to the United States for sale. As this article at Wired says, each Prius requires 1,000 gallons of fuel just to assemble the parts. In fact, the Prius requires far more energy to construct than a Hummer, although the Prius will eventually even it out (the Prius gets around 45 mpg while the Hummer gets 16 mpg on the highway). Of course, the Left’s inability to understand the limitations of current technology isn’t exactly a “War on Science”. Perhaps that’s just really wishful thinking. Or maybe they’re just bad at math (it would take nine years of $5/gallon gas for a Chevy Volt to be more cost-effective than the Cruze, due to the fact that the Cruze costs half of what the Volt does).
Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American actress who, in April 1956, married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, to become Princess consort of Monaco, styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, and commonly referred to as Princess Grace.
In case you missed it, back in January I posted this update about Mad Men where I mentioned that “personal issues” in my life might keep me from posting my famous Mad Men recaps in a timely fashion.
I just wanted to let you know that yes, I have been very busy with “personal issues” in the past couple of weeks, and will continue to be busy for the next couple of weeks. Please don’t expect the recap for the first episode until the week of April 9th at the earliest. I will try like hell to catch up from there.
By the way, the “personal issues” are nothing bad… on the contrary, I expect to have a lot of fun in the next couple of weeks. I’ll explain it all later, OK? 🙂
Patricia Rooney Mara (born April 17, 1985) is an American film and television actress. Mara made her acting debut in 2005 and has gone on to star in films including A Nightmare on Elm Street, the remake of the 1984 horror film, and The Social Network. Mara portrayed Lisbeth Salander, the title character in the 2011 version of the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first of three Sony Pictures films based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium book series. She received critical acclaim and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
More importantly, for football fans:
Her paternal grandfather, Wellington Mara, the long-time co-owner of the [New York] Giants, was succeeded in that position by her uncle, John Mara. Her maternal grandfather, Timothy James “Tim” Rooney, has run Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York since 1972. Mara is the great-granddaughter of both New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr. Her great-uncle, Dan Rooney, is chairman of the Steelers, the United States Ambassador to Ireland, and the co-founder of The Ireland Funds charitable organization.
Up until a few weeks ago, if you’d asked me what the “best worst movie” ever made was, I’d say, without hesitation, Road House. And why not? Patrick Swayze, at the zenith of his popularity, stars as James Dalton, a philosophy major turned cooler (super-bouncer) who shows up at the Double Deuce, a bar in Jasper, Missouri. The Double Deuce is the kind of place where the janitors are just as likely to find eyeballs on the floor as spare change and lost sets of keys. Ben Gazzara stars as Brad Wesley, the town’s resident Evil Rich White Guy™… whose relatives and associates work at the Double Deuce and are fired by Dalton. Wesley also owns the liquor distributorship, so he has the Double Deuce (and Dalton) in a bind. Kelly Lynch stars as Elizabeth Clay, the too-pretty-to-be-real doctor who sews up Dalton’s cuts and falls in love with him, and Jeff Healey and his band appear as the house band in the film.
It’s all great cheesy fun. And every time Road House shows up on TV I have to stop and watch it. Seriously: if I was having a three-way with Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson and somehow found out that Road House was on TNT… sorry ladies: I want to be nice, but now it’s time to not be nice.
But all that changed a few weeks ago. I was hanging out at Snug Harbor here in Charlotte, ostensibly to see a popular local band. But my friend William and I were mesmerized by a movie they were showing on the TVs there. I went home and did some googling and found out that it’s a 1967 Japanese film called Kingu Kongu no Gyakush?, or King Kong Escapes in the English-speaking world.
As I say, it’s Japanese. It’s from the late 1960s. It has campy goodness written all over it. It’s obvious that the film had a tiny budget, and not only are the special effects laughable to modern eyes, the scale of them is all wrong (sometimes Kong appears to be 50 feet tall; other times he’s not much bigger than a modern linebacker). And there’s one scene where the camera pans across some military equipment (Jeeps and such) and it’s painfully obvious that they’re the same Revell models I put together as a kid, with some of those fake trees used on model railroads. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s a Japanese film with white people in it, too!
The plot is simple: an evil genius named Dr. Hu (get it? Dr Who?) has created a robotic King Kong which he wants to use to mine “Element X”, a highly radioactive substance which Hu can use to… make weapons? Blackmail or extort governments for huge sums of money? Hell, I forget. But while this is going on, a delegation from the UN is in a submarine doing peaceful research when engine trouble forces them to stop at the mythical Mondo Island, home of the real King Kong. When they go to investigate Kong’s existence, Lt. Susan Watson (Linda Miller, voice provided by Akiko Santou) is attacked by Gorosaurus, a Godzilla-like creature. Kong kills Gorosaurus, allowing his new love to escape, but not before Kong battles a sea serpent that’s attacking the submarine. Hu ends up kidnapping both Kong and the submarine, and he hypnotizes Kong into digging for Element X. But Kong snaps out of it and escapes, swimming off to Tokyo. Hu tracks them down, and Mechani-Kong (yep, that’s his name) picks up Watson and carries her to the top of the Tokyo Tower. And then the real Kong takes care of business by saving Watson, killing Mechani-Kong, killing Hu, and then swimming for home. The end!
What I love most about this movie is the shotgun approach the makers took with the film. It’s as if they held a focus group of 8 year-old boys that went something like this:
Focus Group Leader: “So… what would you like to see in a new King Kong film?”
Kid 1: “Submarines!”
Kid 2: “Godzilla!”
Kid 3: “Pretty blonde American women!”
Kid 1: “Helicopters!”
Kid 4: “Sea Serpents!”
Kid 5: “A James Bond style mega-villain… only Japanese and with a bad haircut!”
Kid 1: “More helicopters!”
Kid 6: “OMG! A ROBOT King Kong!”
Focus Group Leader: “So… uh… what if we used all those things in the same movie?”
It’s a really horrible film. I mean, seriously. It’s bad. I don’t know how it will hold up over repeat viewings (something tells me that Road House will win out in the long run). But still… this is one awesome bad movie! Walk – don’t run – to add it to your Netflix queue… NOW! You won’t regret it.