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December 09, 2007

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Hi Hilzoy. Good to have you back. This place missed you and I missed you too.

--->insert "Holy Grail" ref here<---

I’m glad you’re not dead hilzoy. I respect your opinions and used to share most of them. Thank you for the open thread. I’d like to use it to talk about greed.

Rudy Giuliani commercial: ‘I’m tough on ‘Islamic Terrorism’. Playing on my TV.

Giuliani will not sell his interest in Giuliani Partners, or release his Client list, which he acknowledges includes the Qatar government, and intends to keep cashing Giuliani Partners checks as our President.

Worse than fraud. Who are the ‘associates’ you are not willing to reveal Rudy? More foreign governments? $11 million for ten months of periodic speeches. $1.2 million for four tough years in the White House.

Enjoy that wampum. We’re watching.

Heh, I was just about to e-mail publius asking if anything was up, but then decided to check just how long it was since you posted, hilzoy. I'm glad it was just life. Life has a way of taking up one's time. I look forward to your future posts.

Other than that it's the time of one's life when one's political interest takes over the brain. I mean... Obama vs. Hillary with Edwards on the edge looking in... that's some proper political theater, right there. And the Republicans... what the hell is going in there? Anybody who claims to be able to predict what happens is an idiot as far as I'm concerned, even if they hit on the right future nominee.

Woo! Hilzoy, you're back!

So, for Christmas: traditional dark fruitcake or untraditional chocolate and cranberry cake?

I'm Not Dead

Good! Thinking about it, you are the nicest, most eloquent, level-headed and fair protagonist in the blogosphere as I know it. And you can be quite funny too.

No worries, this is not a marriage proposal.

Glad to have you back.

Good good, she's back! I am in need of some mental stimulation, and nobody on the net can do that better than Hilzoy

i shall take this opportunity to curse Nintendo for failing to even come close to meeting the demand for their Wii consoles. terrible things shall befall them, forevermore!

they can lift this curse by placing a suitable number of consoles at the Best Buy at Cary Crossroads tomorrow at 12:15pm.

best post title ever

I was starting to get slightly worried Hilzoy, so I'm glad things are fine

[email protected]: we have the Wii but lack a second remote, so I feel your frustration. But you can spend your free time in a very usefull manner by feeding your mind and somebody else's body...

No worries, this is not a marriage proposal.

Why not? Doesn't she need to make quota?

But seriously, nice to see it was just life, in the usual fashion....

so, now that we know that the Dem leadership is hip-deep in the torture system. i guess this proves my theory that reason the Dem leadership never really fights against any of Bush's immoral practices is because they approve of those practices.

another great day for America

Hi Hilzoy, glad you're still among the blogging.

Apropos the open thread: come take a look at my new page design, I'm pretty proud of it. (And there are even occasional bits of interesting content -- but it's mainly the new appearance of my blog that I'd like to know people's reactions to.)

I was growing impatient. Wore a spot through the carpet from my incessant foot tapping.

cleek: Throw the bums out still holds, though. We just have to broaden the scope.

John Cole says it better.

ta-da!

In case anybody missed it: herewith one of the most astonishingly lame and self-serving Op-Eds ever seen (IMO), even in the New York Times.

And this disingenuous and misleading cliche-fest supposedly came from the pen of our Director of National Intelligence? Now I know this country's in trouble!

Oh, and hilzoy: I also am quite glad you're not dead. Just thought you'd like to know.

I, too, am quite glad to hear you're not dead.

My brother was telling me what his favorite Christmas movie was, and I would be interested to see if anyone else has the same choice, if anyone feels like mentioning it, this being an open thread and all.
My own choice would have to be A Christmas Story.

No worries, this is not a marriage proposal.

Why not? Doesn't she need to make quota?

Not a problem.

I think people may be lacking a bit of imagination in not considering the possible upsides if Hilzoy were, dead, however.

For instance, she might have been turned into one of the undead, while we weren't looking, and thus preservering her wit, intelligence, and thoughtfulness for hundreds of years to come, if not without a need for a spot of blood now and again.

Or perhaps her body might have been given up as her intellect was uploaded into an alien super-consciousness, destined to live forever, or maybe she might have suddenly evolved into a higher consciousness of pure energy.

There really are a variety of conceivable upsides, and as a blog that was created to discuss many sides of an issue, we really shouldn't be knee-jerk about this whole "dead" thing, people.

Although I already told Hilzoy yesterday that I was very glad to get her e-mail, and hear it wasn't anything worse keeping her away.

For the open thread, let me make the unsurprising statement that Season 4 of The Wire is as excellent as the earlier seasons, and everyone should see all of them.

Also, it would be nice if they would ever release Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica on DVD.

Favorite Christmas movie

I guess it would probably be Bad Santa, that's the only Christmas movie that pops to mind that I really enjoyed. Favorite Christmas story is definitely The Fir Tree by Tove Jansson.

Also, it would be nice if they would ever release Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica on DVD.

on this, we agree.

For instance, she might have been turned into one of the undead, while we weren't looking, and thus preservering her wit, intelligence, and thoughtfulness for hundreds of years to come, if not without a need for a spot of blood now and again.

To sustain her immortal existence, I for one would be willing to take a place on the hemodonatory rota.

Good to have you back, Hilzoy, and I don't think you owe anybody an apology for getting busy. Your explanations of why you didn't blog this past couple of weeks neatly match my own reasons for not blogging at all.

Also, it would be nice if they would ever release Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica on DVD.

Oh my god, for serious.

You and I are so much alike, Hilzoy. I'm not dead, either. I'll bet we're both sick of grey, gloomy weather, too. At any rate, even a sporadic commenter (but regular reader) like myself has a degree of concern for your well-being (beyond that which I have for some random person's, of course). Glad you're not dead.

Christmas movies: Yes, "A Christmas Story" and the animated Chuck Jones "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." When I'm feeling sappy "It's a Wonderful Life," which is really a bit edgier than (I assume) it usually gets credit for.

Hilzoy, there are only a few voices like yours to be found anywhere. You have a nearly unique ability to cut to the ethical heart of an issue.

Personally, I think it's an xx kind of thing.

I, too, have been concerned that some ill befell you, or that you had decided enough was enough (think billmon) and had hung up your keyboard. The occurrence of either event would leave much to be desired.

So I am glad you have been merely busy (as if life is something to be "merely" borne) and that I can continue to look forward to reading your thoughts on things.

Jake

Christmas movie: Christmas Vacation

Wanna know how utterly sappy a big ball of mush I am inside my prickly exterior? Ready to sneer? Love, Actually.

My brother was telling me what his favorite Christmas movie was, and I would be interested to see if anyone else has the same choice

My favorite movie that I perversely associate with Christmas, even though Christmas is only a sort of peripheral part of it, is "Fanny and Alexander". My wife finds the association, er, puzzling.

My favorite specifically Christmas movie is a DVD we have of the TV broadcast of "Amahl and the Night Visitors". I think it's the 1978 version, with Teresa Stratas. Melchior's aria kills me, what can I say.

I don't usually think of "Love, Actually" as a Christmas movie, but of course it is. It's a favorite of my wife and I, one of the few movies we actually own. We've had entire conversations nicked from "Love, Actually" dialog.

If you can't be sappy at the holidays, when can you be?

Thanks -

p.s. -- welcome back, hilzoy. We miss you when you go away.

Thanks -

Christmas movie: Christmas Vacation

I second that - the rapidly deflating turkey scene alone is worth the price of admission. And anything in color taking place in New York just for the unbeatable atmosphere and visuals: unfortunately I can only come up with Home Alone 2 at the moment but I'm sure I've seen others.

I just remembered a recent complaint on another thread about the improper use of the word "myself." I'm truly sorry for my latest misuse of said word in my last comment. I don't want to be a fingernail on anyone's chalkboard of life.

If you can't be sappy at the holidays, when can you be?

I teared up when the Phillies clinched the NL East this past season. My wife wasn't too happy about it, since I displayed only a general sort of cheeriness at our third child's birth just a couple of weeks earlier.

I only bring this up because I'm a generally unsappy kind of guy, so it's a very meager sort of sappiness that makes me enjoy "It's a Wonderful Life." In fact, I think I may simply like the film for its darker and more supernatural aspects, sort of like the old black-and-white version of "A Christmas Carol" that I don't think anyone has mentioned. That's a good one, too.


"My favorite movie that I perversely associate with Christmas, even though Christmas is only a sort of peripheral part of it, is 'Fanny and Alexander'. My wife finds the association, er, puzzling."

The Christmas/War On Christmas Season is now very long, and so is Fanny and Alexander! (Which I've yet to see; I've really only seen a smattering of Bergman.)

"I don't usually think of 'Love, Actually' as a Christmas movie, but of course it is."

Yeah, it's not in the public consciousness as such, but, then, it was more or less a critical and commercial failure, I'm afraid.

But I really am a sucker for it (another, which I can't really claim as a Christmas/holiday film in any way, although it's certainly about family, and dysfunctional families, so at least there's overlap in the genres, is The Royal Tennenbaums; I'm also a big fan of Wes Anderson, who is also someone people tend to either love or hate, with a lot of votes for precious and twee), and I figured I'd note one of my favorites which is less obvious, but really truly is also very much a Christmas film, replete with carols, Christmas pageants, presents, decorations, cheer, woe, drinking, trees, and a kitchen sink of relationships.

Meanwhile, I really should pick up a dreidel again sometime or other. I'm thinking it's more of a problem to come up with a Hanukkah movie of any kind, let alone a good one. I blame anti-semitism.

(Of course, it's actually one of the more minor Jewish holidays, simply over-promoted in America out of Christmas-envy, mostly via guilt from parents.)

A Jewish college roommate of mine told me about his and his little brother's looking out the window for Santa Claus going to all the other kids' houses at Christmas. I can see how that might arouse guilt in a parent. If I were Jewish, I'd make sure my kids ruined the Santa thing for the "Christian" kids. Anti-semetic backlash be damned!

Glad you’re back hilzoy!

Movie: Scrooged.

Carol Kane had me laughing so hard I was gasping for breath and couldn’t see through the tears. She stole the show and there were a lot of big names in that movie.

I'm thinking it's more of a problem to come up with a Hanukkah movie of any kind, let alone a good one. I blame anti-semitism.

Me too. Why else was the title of Home for Purim changed?

Hmmm, actually the reference to A Christmas Carol makes me want to change my own pick to Blackadder's Christmas Carol, although I suppose that would come under the "TV hour-long special" category for the picky among us.

Since a number were kind enough to respond and this isn't a real experiment, I'll tell you that my brother's favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard.

I'll be with the in-laws.... *any* movie will do ;)

"If I were Jewish, I'd make sure my kids ruined the Santa thing for the 'Christian' kids."

It's only a music video, but there's always this. (Much better quality on the DVD of Jesus Is Magic.)

"Since a number were kind enough to respond and this isn't a real experiment, I'll tell you that my brother's favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard."

All the Die Hard pictures are Christmas pictures! As well as heartwarming in their use of traditional American movie explosions!

(The latest one arrives from Netflix tomorrow, actually.)

First Imus returns. Then Hilzoy.

Maybe there is a God!!

First Imus returns. Then Hilzoy.

Maybe there is a God!!

Posted by: jdog | December 10, 2007 at 05:48 PM

Or at least, a Santa Claus!!!

"First Imus returns. Then Hilzoy."

There are two names that go together like Mutt and Jeff, Burns and Allen, Bill and Hillary.

No, wait, I meant like Izzy and Chin Ho, or Elenion Ancalima and Qo'noS, Liddy Dole and Dennis Kucinich. Not so much.

Nah, there ain't no sanity-clause.

We missed you, but it's OK. publius has been getting us through. He's already "quit" blogging a few times in the past, but he keeps coming back -- it's clear that the Internet has him totally whipped. But anyway, at least you know there'll always be someone to keep the fires burnin'.

On that note -- publius, can you write us something about the disparities in the electoral college? I need some more wonkishness for this cold weather.

If Die Hard isn't my favorite Christmas movie, it's in the top five. So is Gremlins.

A couple of years ago my wife and I took our annual It's A Wonderful Life-watching tradition to a new level by spending Xmas Eve watching it on the big screen at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD. And yes, as mentioned above, the movie is seriously edgy -- I don't know how anyone has ever thought otherwise! Before wishing he was never born, Jimmy Stewart blows up at his kids and nearly wishes they were never born! ("Why do we need all these kids, anyway?") He then leaves his house and runs to a bar to drown his sorrows, tries to pray to God, and is rewarded with a right cross from a guy whose wife he insulted on the phone earlier. And that's just five minutes worth of movie!

Scrooged and Gremlins, both very good choices (Die Hard as well). I may have to pop the Gremlins DVD in this Christmas.

in "the player" that is.

"And yes, as mentioned above, the movie is seriously edgy -- I don't know how anyone has ever thought otherwise!"

Seriously, I think it's most likely because the film was rerun on so many channels for so many years, back before cable, during the Seventies, and then onwards, that a lot of people's knowledge of it consisted largely of having seen only bits and pieces, whether through channel-surfing, or from the eventual pop culture highlights version, rather than having actually sat through the film and really watched it.

It's easy to miss the suicidal despair backbone that way.

"in 'the player' that is."

I'd figured you were going for microwave fun, so thanks for clarifying.

Ah, but are you Rappaport?

Cleek: check out craigslist. That's where I found a (slightly used) Wii for my son.

Oh, and Xmas movies? It's a Wonderful Life, hands down. Next time you watch it, check out the resemblance between Lionel Barrymore's character and a certain vice president.

"Cleek: check out craigslist. That's where I found a (slightly used) Wii for my son."

That'd be a better story if you had found your son there.

hairshirthedontist:

"A Jewish college roommate of mine told me about his and his little brother's looking out the window at Santa ...."

When I was seven, one of my Jewish playmates and his older brother popped over to my yard. They had been someplace the day before, and they told me they had gone to Temple for a party and the brother had received gifts, money, and ......I could hardly believe my ears ....cake!

I thought to myself that my hour in Sunday school at the Protestant Church never yielded such wonders, so what gives and how do I get in on this?

It wasn't until years later that I realized the brother had his barmitzvah and that my parents' religion just didn't measure up to the worldly perks of other faiths.

My favorite scene in _It's A Wonderful Life_ is when Jimmy Stewart, Ward Bond (Burt the cop) and Ernie the cab driver are shooting the breeze on a streetcorner during the middle of the day and their conversation is interrupted mid-sentence when Violet Bick (the pert, sassy Gloria Graham) sashays by with a fairly severe hip displacement and twirling her parasol.

Their three sets of eyes follow her progress across the street (an old guy nearly gets run over mid-street against the light when he spots Violet from the, uh, rear). When she's out of sight, the three sheepishly avoid each other's eyes for a moment, at which point Burt the cop pushes his cop hat back on his head, gives out a bit of a sigh and tells the other two he thinks maybe he'll head home for lunch to see what the wife is up to.

I never "got" that remark when I was a kid, and like the experience of my friend's bartizvah, it was years later that I figured out there was more fun going on right in the middle of the day than my parents had let on.

That'd be a better story if you had found your son there.

And better still if I'd just bought myself a Wii and decided to adopt a child so I'd have someone to play it with.

I thought to myself that my hour in Sunday school at the Protestant Church never yielded such wonders, so what gives and how do I get in on this?

Brother, do I hear that.

Confirmation vs bar mizvah:

For confirmation you have to go to sunday school for like a year. You memorize some stuff, kiss an old man's ring, eat a rice cracker and drink a thimbleful of watered down port, and you get a bible.

For bar mitzvah you have to read from the Torah in Hebrew, and then make some intelligent comments about what you've read. BUT: then you get a big freaking party with all your friends, you get money and presents, and girls want to kiss you. That's the way I heard it, anyway.

I won't even go into the culinary differences, other than to note that I've never, ever, ever seen a jello mold with marshmallows, grapes, and shredded carrots in temple.

Thanks -

"And better still if I'd just bought myself a Wii and decided to adopt a child so I'd have someone to play it with."

Yeah, after I posted, I realized the better phrasing was "that would be a better story if you had found a slightly used son for your Wii," but since we can't revise comments....

"BUT: then you get a big freaking party with all your friends, you get money and presents, and girls want to kiss you."

In the tradition I grew up in, you get a big stiff party where you have to dress up in a tie, and endure endless grown-ups pinching your cheeks, smelling funny, and talking about how they knew you when you were an infant.

Then you have to dance with some elderly aunts, do the hokey-pokey and the hora, listen to your uncles tell awful jokes, and pretend to find all of this fun.

I never heard any rumors of the kissing girls part.

And for presents, 20 pens isn't as exciting as rumor makes it out to be.

I perhaps am a touch selective, and I'm certainly not trying to generalize to any of the dozens, if not hundreds, of different bar mitzphah traditions, and my parents were wishy-washy Reform, not Conservative or Orthodox, which is fairly different, and so on, but I really don't recall it as "fun."

The huge Good Part for me was that it meant that I'd reached the point at which my my parents and I had agreed that I no longer had to go to weekly Hebrew school any more. I'm afraid I never ever had the faintest religious belief whatever, not from my youngest age, so I found the whole thing pretty tedious, although I appreciated some of it more when I was older, just like they claimed I would.

Since everyone's already mentioned my fave Christmas movies, I'll go in a slightly different direction: The Most Horrible XMas Ever. Featuring the greatest Christmas song ever, too.

favorite Xmas movie: The Ref. Dennis Leary + Kevin Spacey + Judy Davis = awesome.

Nightmare Before Christmas

I attended a friend's bar mitzphah while living in Phoenix during jr high. It was held in a resort set into the side of one of the many small mountains that litter Phoenix. There was a live band, lots of food, we (the many 13-year-old, school-friend boys in attendance) drank virgin Bloody Marys and chased each other up and down the many stair cases and long corridors throughout the resort (The Pointe at Squaw Peak, if I remember correctly), mostly outdoors during the best weather Phoenix has to offer. It was a total blast on par with the best, most fun wedding receptions I've been to. The adults got drunk and we all got to stay up late.

Movie: Open Water (2003)

Because there's nothing like watching two people floating around mid-ocean, surrounded by sharks, eventually dying, to make you feel that spending Christmas Day with your whole family isn't that bad.

What, being nibbled to distraction by your extended family and in laws (not mine) is better than being eaten in gulps?

Gremlins!

A belated welcome back, Hil. Sincerely delighted that you're not dead.

Since this is an open thread...

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jn-hZq9tP7kjMe8YmykU7ovv39NQD8TG495G0>Terry Pratchett announces he has early onset AD.

"Terry Pratchett announces he has early onset AD."

Oh, f---.

Terry and I are acquaintaces. We've met, and chatted on a number of occasions, both in person and online. We have many mutual friends. (Terry was once a young fan growing up in sf fandom, too; he also used to hang out at rec.arts.sf.fandom, as well, where people wouldn't worship him.)

What horrible news.

Gary: There's a Pratchett lovefest going on @ Alas, a blog.

(OSC haterade binge, too--in case anyone needs to vent.)

Thanks immensely for the pointers, Mattt. I'm missing paying attention to a lot of stuff at the moment.

I'll check the Alas post momentarily, but I had to see what Scott had gotten himself into now, first.

Having seen, I'm unsurprised. What can I say, but that some of us have known each other for decades, and many of us can be congratulated on our consistency.

And the sf field has always been filled with an abundance of, ah, imaginatively different political views, just as diverse as are the many views in the field on everything else.

Politically forceful extremes in science fiction go back to the 1939 Expulsion Act at the first World Science Fiction Convention, in Queens, NYC, where the Futurians, specically Don Wollheim, Fred Pohl, John Michel, Robert W. Lowndes, Cyril Kornbluth, and Jack Gillespie, were ejected from the convention, essentially because they were more or less Communists or fellow travellers, allegedly or truthfully, and also as much for feuding with the chairman, Sam Moskowitz, as part of a longstanding feud in NYC science fiction fandom at that point, with SaM running the Queens Science Fiction League chapter, a leftover from the Gernsback era of the SF League, which also bequeathed the LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society).

In the Vietnam era, sf writers of opposing views took out ads in Analog, and elsewhere, variously opposing and supporting the Vietnam War.

Unsurprisingly, writers are mouthy, even on unrelated fields.

And also unsurprising, the sf/fantasy field attracts people from the open-minded to the downright lunatic, and everything in between. Lots of smarts, lots of open minds, and occasionally too many holes in the head.

And Scott Card, to be specific, is an excellent writer who has a long history as a small-minded bigot. Wouldn't want to neglect calling him out, although the thing is, I have no skin in the game any more.

And not that I'm saying people should quit publishing fiction writers for bigoted opinions semi-outside their fiction. Boy, that's a can of worms, though.

I'd not actually looked at the LASFS site in years, so it took me a bit to read this but having now done so, I can say that it's reasonably accurate, other than exaggerating Forry Ackerman's influence over the club by a good ten to fifteen years, which is a reasonably large distortion. But other than than, it seems quite right.

"When the parent Science Fiction League began to fall apart in the late 1930s, Forry aided the club in staying alive by declaring its independence on March 27, 1940 as the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. Forry remained active in the club for the next two decades."

Technically correct, Forry's major activity actually ceased around 1949, as I recall.

Not that anyone around here likely cares. It's just that I'm one of the few people in a position to know, and Forry Ackerman happens to be one of the biggest exaggerators who I'm aware of who has existed in my life and cultural neighborhod.

"These people should spend their days in shame and penance for the consequences of what they advocated, none of which they themselves have felt."

Jimminy, which people, Ara?

Specify, people!

Naming names makes the difference between an investigation and indictment, and an incoherency, after all.

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