Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Oh, nothing much...

64, the Great Fire of Rome began

1290, King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities

1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England

1870, the First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility

1914, the U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time

1925, Adolf Hitler, ym"sh, publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf

1939, after a sneak preview of "The Wizard of Oz," producers debated about removing one of the songs because it seemed to slow things down. They finally decided to leave it in. The song: "Over the Rainbow"

1942, during World War II: the Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me-262 using only its jet engines for the first time

1955, Disneyland theme park, in Anaheim, California, officially opens to the public

1969, after a party on Chappaquiddick Island, a drunk Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a bridge and leaves his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to die. He escapes prosecution and survives with career intact

1976, Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at that year's Summer Olympics

1977, Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations

2002, accused 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui tried to plead guilty to charges that could have brought the death penalty, but a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., insisted he take time to think about it

2008, Israeli authorities confirmed they had arrested six people in an alleged al-Qaida plot to kill U.S. President George W. Bush during a visit to Israel

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT....admission is free now?


According to Box Office Mojo, Marvel's The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, cost $220 million to make, and has so far grossed $1.5 billion -- that's BILLION -- worldwide.  But for some reason, Whedon doesn't consider himself to be a man involved in the workings of "big bid'ness".  He recently went on an extended rant against capitalism -- you know, that economic process by which you invest $220 million and make back $1.5 billion and distribute the earnings, in varying proportions, to those who contributed to the enterprise.

Finding out what the director earned isn't an easy Google, but let's figure he had a percentage deal not entirely unlike that of star Robert Downey Jr., whose paycheck is estimated at $50 million or more for the picture.  No details on whether Scarlett Johanssen had a similar arrangement, but if she signs on for Avengers 2 the buzz is that she'll get at least $20 million.  [No sex discrimination there, Hollywood!]

Over at the always enlightening Breitbart (pbuh) site, John Nolte wonders aloud what kind of compensation the other contributors got -- and one must wonder indeed whether even Robert or Scarlett would have been worth their paychecks (or even their paycheques, Canada) without the good offices of costume, make-up, and digital effects specialists -- think any of them earned eight figures for their efforts?

But the more important question is, will Mr. Whedon be offering free admission to his next film for all members of the so-called 99%? 

Or would he perhaps even refund the admission already paid by my son and his wife, who dutifully shelled out their hard-earned bucks to see the first damn movie -- bucks hard-earned by being a serving member of the United States military and a serving member of the grit-and-guts home front, living on a salary you'd have multiply exponentially just to bounce them anywhere near the famous 1% -- that anonymous group of vilified capitalist pigs whom you can join if you earn more than (wait for it)... $250,000 per annum.  [That represents a significant crash since Mr. Obama took office, btw:  in 2007 you had to earn at least $425K to get into that top 1% bracket.]

Wonder how many zeroes there are after the decimal point to measure the percentage wealth bracket in which we'd find Mr. Whedon and his stable of stars?  And will they work for nothing next time in order to, as Mr. Obama once said to a certain midwestern plumber, "spread the wealth around"?  These and other questions will most certainly go unanswered.

Appropos of absolutely nothing:

Scarlett Johanssen is one of the most beautiful women in the Hollywood sphere, by the way, mostly because she has a face that doesn't look like everybody else's, but also because the lady has some curves on her -- actual flesh with actual smooth contours. One is reminded of that standard of beauty when one lays eyes (far too often, in my view) on the likes of Keira Knightley, whom I saw the other night in Atonement.  Both the film and the actress were far too light-weight for their own good.

Knightley is a bag of bones who (in this film) struts around striking poses reminiscent of Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn in high gear, without achieving anything like their weight as an actress, and nor the old-style glamour she is trying to evoke.  There is no glamour in emaciation, and the shimmering green backless evening gown hangs on her like wet seaweed.  It's downright icky.  Top that with her gaunt and conventional pretty face, and she is losing the magnetism race to the heftier Johanssen by miles.

I've never thought Knightley was much of an actress, and I've heard others say the same of Johanssen, but I can't be objective in the latter case.  She was the luminous, perfect Girl with a Pearl Earring (okay, so maybe she'd had her lips fluffed) -- and I was smitten with the painting long before the movie came out, so it's a done deal.

Unexpected bonus:  I've had the vid of Atonement for more than a year and just got around to watching it.  Cast listed on the cover did not include Candlewick Bumbershoot, who suddenly entered in a highly symbolic yellow jacket (couldn't keep his stinger in), telegraphing his role as a perfectly diz-ghusting rapist and pivotal-to-the-plot (such as it was) sleezebag.

James McAvoy, however, was just precious.  Isn't he always?
[Read the link -- he kind of sounds like a decent guy too, not that it's any of our business.  Or even bid'ness.]

Right now my bid'ness is to go out and photograph more of glorious Newfoundland [UNBELIEVABLE good weather these days].  And then to go buy some flowers to enhance the chances of our burg winning another "Tidy Towns" award.  Life is good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



Thursday, July 05, 2012


freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others

Under our roof, first we celebrate 'Judicial Independence Day' (June 12) marking the promulgation of one small article ["quamdiu se bene gesserint"] within the otherwise execrable, anti-Catholic Act of Settlement of 1701;

Then on July 1st we celebrate Canada (formerly 'Dominion') Day, commemorating the establishment of the Dominion of Canada under the British North America Act of the British Parliament in 1867.

And then, wheresoe'er we may be, we remember the 4th of July, American Independence Day, this year the 236th anniversary of the founding of the Great Experiment which is the United States of America -- the place that, for all its faults and streaks of crassness, is still the first and last and best bastion of real freedom for the mind and the ambition and the wandering feet of its citizens.

Apparently it can look like this in New York City:

'Round here in Newfoundland, it looked like this.  The locals don't mind -- they're friendlier than most Canadians toward the country many of them would have preferred to join in 1949.  Nice to have friends.

Let freedom ring.