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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Goodbye Chuck

The curtain has come down on another great film icon. Charlton Heston has shuffled off this mortal plane yesterday. I will always remeber Chuck Heston as Taylor from the "The Planet of Apes" movies. That's where I first saw him as kid, when WABC Channel 7 would run all the "Apes" movies during "Planet of the Apes" week on the 4:30 Movie that ran from Monday through Friday. Planet of the Apea was so epic it had to run in two parts. People who grew up in tristate area in the 1970's know what I'm talking about. Apes Week was huge event. There was no cable or VCRs at the time you have to remember. The 4:30 Movie was usually pretty boring featuring Gidget movies or other stuff no self-respecting 8-year-old would watch. But every once in awhile, it would be Vicent Price Week (his Edgar Allen Poe movies) or Monster Week (all Godzilla al the time), but the best by far was "Apes Week." What 8-year-old can resist a movie with talking apes with machine guns I ask? "Planet of the Apes" even has Heston's best movie quote ever: "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!" Classic. "Soylent Green is people!" is close second. Chuck Heston was the man, he was the Omega Man (recently remade as the not nearly as fun "I am Legend" with the not nearly as cool Will Smith stepping into Heston's role).

Mr. Surly doesn't just appreciate Chuck Heston for his fun science fiction pictures though. He's made so many good movies like El Cid and Touch of Evil. Kid Various and I a few years ago had great time watching Touch of Evil unspool at a revival house in New York City. Greatest opening tracking shot ever.

Heston was an amazing 84 years old, had a great career, and by all accounts a great life. My only regret for him is that he didn't get to beat Michael Moore repeatly about the head for badgering him like a lunatic in "Bowling for Columbine" about his his support of gun rights and leadership of the National Rifle Association. Heston once said anti-gun nuts like Moore could take his gun from him just as soon as they pry it gun from his cold, dead hands. Chuck kept his word. I hope he has a gun buried with him just to spite Moore.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Few More Questions for Obama

When the press started to ask some tough questions of Barack Obama at press conference a few weeks ago, he walked off and famously whined "I answered, like, eight questions." Peter Wehner at the National Review Online has come up with 22 questions journalists should ask Barack Obama. They're pretty good questions. I doubt Obama wil like them much either. Here's a sample:
In early March you said your church was not “particularly controversial.” Later in the month, after video clips of Jeremiah Wright had been repeatedly played on television, you admitted that you had heard Wright make statements in church that qualified him as a “fierce critic” of U.S. domestic and foreign policy and that “could be considered controversial.” You also said you “strongly disagree[d]” with some of Wright’s political views. Can you tell us what you specifically heard Wright say that you considered fiercely critical of U.S. policy, controversial, and with which you strongly disagreed?
With which elements, if any, of black liberation theology — as represented by Reverend Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ — do you strongly disagree? Do you think any of the core tenets of black liberation theology are racist? Are they consistent with, or fundamentally at odds with, your expressed desire to end racial divisions in this country?
When you/those on your campaign cancelled Reverend Wright’s delivery of the invocation when you formally announced your run for the presidency in February 2007, what were the grounds for the cancellation? What did you know about Wright then that moved you to cancel his appearance?
If the GOP candidate for president had a close, intimate relationship of almost two decades with a pastor whose church provided shelter to homeless people, provided day care and marriage counseling but who was himself a white supremacist, asked God to damn rather than bless America, said that the United States got what was coming to it on 9/11, advocated conspiracy theories about genocidal policies being promoted by the American government, said that Israel is a “dirty word,” believed it was a terrorist state and promoted the views of Hamas leaders, would that trouble you? And would you accept the word of the GOP candidate if he insisted that he was not sitting in the pews when those things were said and therefore claimed he ought not be tarnished by the association?
Read'em all here.


As a public service to all our readers and in defense of free speech, here is Fitna, Geert Wilders' film which starkly shows how Islam and violence are linked.

Confirming the point of the film, the original Internet distributor of the film, LiveLeak was forced to pull the film after receiving death threats:
Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers. This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else.
The right to speak freely only has meaning if that right encompasses the right to say things that are unpopular -- even to Muslims. Those who urge that speech should be curtailed so as not to inflame Muslims and to show tolerance toward Islam are nothing more than surrender monkeys. "Better watch what you say, you know those crazy Muslims!" How spineless and condescending. Our most basic freedoms cannot and should not be limited because a particular group may be offended and respond with violence. I encourage everyone to watch the whole film though it contains some disturbing images. Frankly, I believe we should have a channel dedicated to showing nothing but images of the the World Trade Center, the beheading of Nick Berg, etc. to remind us why we must be resolve to combat those who seek to drag us back to the dark ages.