Sunday, January 20, 2008

Enterprise (Square) is dead

Recently, I was updating the List of Stuff I Want to Do with My Life, an idea I stole from John Goddard. As my updates center around showing my 3 boys things around the country, I went searching for Enterprise Square, a museum befitting one of the most conservative states in the nation. To my dismay, the Oklahoma Ciy museum shut its doors in 2002, probably more due to mismanagement than to the 2001 economic downturn.

And what a shame. I visited the museum only once, but anything that starts off with a hall of dead animatronic presidents sticks in your head. There were a number of video games centered around traditional kid entrepreneurship - how much money to charge for mowing lawns or a cup of lemonade, given the costs. Alas, the experience exposed my lack of business saavy that firmly tethered me to a career of working for the Man.

The pinnacle of my failure at free enterprise was the final challenge - as CEO of a car company in postwar America. Not realizing that my expenses had to be divvied up across several areas of the business, I sunk my entire budget into advertising. I didn't have a product to sell, but my company sure made some entertaining commercials. We held on until 1948.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

President Clinton says he personally saw voter intimidation in Las Vegas

Unfortunately, a credible witness could not be found.I'm torn on who not to believe. Unions and non-secret ballots are a bad mix - yet, every time you see Slick Willy pointing his finger, he's usually got on the triangulation grease. He needs to holster that thing or else it's going to go off.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Obammassiah & Iraq

Don't get me wrong, I'm legally obligated to point out that I think the man is likable & has some dignity about him, but I think he's infinitely and dangerously naive. In the debate last night when he asserted that the Democrat victory in 2006 is what sparked the Sunni tribes in Anbar to turn against the terrorists, it reminded me (well, 'remind' is not an accurate word since I'd never forgotten) what worries me so much about the Democrats....virtually all of them. In contrast, I found this analysis of the war, which is the best macro take I've seen in a long long time. It elaborates on the flypaper theory and describes the box al Qaeda and its affiliates found themselves in concerning Iraq. It defies the "conventional wisdom" the MSM and the Left have been defining for the past several years, but then again, so does reason. Defending and praising Rumsfeld these days is a bit tough, even to conservatives - that's how successful the scat flinging and accusations have been in tarnishing him - but the above piece does so admirably.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What on earth did I think about Charlie Wilson's War?

beyond that it was worth waging?....Go to the House Next Door to find out.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Upon watching 141 Ronin

A Japanese tradition for New Year's Day (not sure how far it dates back or exactly how extensive it is) is to watch one of the many versions of the famous Japanese story of the Loyal 47 (aka The 47 Ronin....aka Chushingura). There are countless versions of the story on film and the stage. The picture above depicts a kabuki performance, but if puppet plays are your thing, then there's a 1748 banraku version to satisfy you as well. In Japan, there are numerous made-for-TV versions, which seem to come out every couple of years, often featuring the hottest stars of the day (I believe the last one I heard about starred a SMAP member or two). You'd be hard pressed to find a prominent Japanese actor who hasn't been in one of these film or tv versions. If you are interested in giving the story a whirl, you can read a brief summary here or a summary of the puppet play here. There are several film versions available on DVD in the U.S.: Kenji Mizoguchi's version from 1941 is long, but if you don't mind deliberately paced tracking shots and long shots of loyal samurai at the end of their emotional tether, it will be worth your time. The wartime bushido subtext adds a layer of historical interest to the story. It was originally released in two parts in consequitive years ('41 and '42), notably before the war turned sour for the Imperial forces. Hiroshi Inagaki's version from 1962 is also long (any version of the story will be) but moves a bit faster and is more exciting. To date, though, I haven't come across a good print of it. Another one to consider is Kon Ichikawa's 1994 version which is slower than the Inagaki version, but has some pleasant visuals.