Now This Log

Archives: December 2001

Friday, 14 December 2001

Like epic poetry, old folk songs
Gargantuan themes, impossibly long
War and peace and right and wrong
Gargantuan themes, impossibly long
-- "Tolstoi", Bob Hillman, Welcome to My Century

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Thursday, 13 December 2001

The Conservative Take on John Walker by Richard Cohen [Washington Post]
Amazingly, this young man John Walker, of whom we know so little -- a brief interview with the parents, the remarks of some neighbors, the observation of a mullah -- is on his way to becoming a generational or ideological poster boy.

"I think Walker came out of a self-hating stream of American life," [Hoover Institution scholar Shelby] Steele says. After all ... "cultural liberalism serves up American self-hate to the young as idealism."

But wait. There were 3.629 million births the year John Walker was born and he is the only one, so far as we know, who wound up joining the Taliban. There could be others, I grant you, maybe even two or three, but I am willing to wager that most of the kids born in 1981 (or any year, for that matter) are still in America. In fact, there may be more of them with the U.S. armed forces than with the Taliban. I am way out on a limb on that one, I know.

The political right needs its bogeyman, and even a manufactured one will do. Never mind that his antecedents, such figures as Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally and Ezra Pound, all took the enemy side in World War II without benefit of birth in Marin County or, for that matter, membership in a generation that could be called "Me." Pound, whose treason was beyond doubt, was an Idaho native, born in 1885. He was a great poet, a rotten human being and not -- here I go again, out on another limb -- typical of Idaho.
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Wednesday, 12 December 2001

So for some reason (probably a sports event of some sort), The Education of Max Bickford was delayed by about 8 minutes Sunday night. We only TiVoed (sp?) the hour that it was supposed to be on, though, so there were only 52 minutes of story.

I'm generally fine with that state of affairs; I'll watch whatever's available even if I can't see the very end. My wife is adamantly the opposite; if the end isn't there, she won't watch any of it.

This time, I'm in grudging agreement with her strategy...I'm quite bugged that the ending was cut off and I couldn't see how it all wrapped up, and I probably would have been happier not seeing any of the episode.

And of course, ...Bickford is not one of the shows that gets the mightybigtv treatment; guess there's not enough of a following. In my opinion it's been a better show than The West Wing this season (no, really), so I'm surprised no one's summarizing it somewhere.

(Aside/example: I still enjoy the reviews/summaries/post-mortems of NYPD Blue written by Amanda Wilson at Alan Sepinwall's site. Fans of Blue should check it out...)

So, all this is to say, did anyone see the end of Max Bickford, and can you tell me via e-mail or the comments section what the heck happened to the disturbed girl and whether or not Nell did run across some sort of proof of Max's affair? permanent link

Frank Rich, on target and worth reading all of:

Confessions of a Traitor [NY Times]
...on Monday, ... Tom Ridge issued the administration's third urgent announcement to date of a heightened terror alert. Why even bother? His vague doomsday warning didn't lead every newscast and didn't rouse the public or even law enforcement. On ABC, John Miller reported that the three F.B.I. field offices he canvassed had neither been advised of the threat nor "told to batten down the hatches any more than they were." What's that about? Under Mr. Ashcroft's dictum, asking such follow-up questions is aiding and abetting the enemy. In any event, no one did.

Mr. Ashcroft said that he wouldn't release the names of the hundreds of people he's detained since Sept. 11 because the law forbade it, even though, as his own deputy later pointed out, the detainees have the right to publicize their names on their own through their family or counsel. His other excuse for keeping the names secret was to prevent Al Qaeda from learning if any of its operatives might be locked up, as if our enemy were not cunning enough to figure out on its own which members he might have apprehended (if any). Then, when he couldn't take the heat, he released some of the names anyway. Mr. Ashcroft doesn't even have the courage of his own wrong convictions.

If questioning our leaders' competence at a time of war is treason, take me to the nearest military tribunal. But the one thing we learned on that Tuesday morning, I had thought, is that it's better to raise these questions today than the morning after.
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New, freely downloadable Moxy Früvous songs!

...including a cute winter tune "Huge on the Luge" and some songs written about fans, of which "Zard Snodgrass" [a.k.a. "Zard's Brought the Whiskey"] and "Krista Ortgiesen" ["Now and Then, Ortgiesen"] are particularly good.

Try them! permanent link

Tuesday, 11 December 2001

I hadn't heard anything about this before today, but maybe I'm just out of the loop: a new B5 movie is premiering January 19, 2002:

Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers [] an all-new two-hour telefilm from the original creative team... The movie tells the story of the legendary Ranger fleet as it attempts to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War.
The only returning character seems to be Citizen G'Kar; everyone else is new.

Interview with Andreas Katsulas, Part 1 | Part 2
Personally, I think if it had been the old cast reassembled, we would have been 90 percent partying and just enjoying the fact that we were together, and about 10 percent working. Whereas this was a new cast that still had to prove themselves and find their characters, and really work hard on this to make it work. So I really appreciated that I was coming into an atmosphere of a work in progress, and had to join them in all seriousness in the Rangers' world, and not just sort of party with Jerry Doyle and Peter Jurasik. Not that I wouldn't have been equally happy to see the old buddies and see it all start up again that way. But this was more of a work situation, and a very good one.
They also have Christopher Franke back doing the music, and the effects look somewhat improved. Should be fun. permanent link

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