The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Pleasant day

Ahhh (Sigh of contentment)! A very pleasant and productive day. Took a few pounds of pork ribs to an IMR (We're the group that's neither greybeards, nor are we young'uns) get-together with fellow congregants from my church, FUMCOG. Had a few pounds left over, so I bought a pack of chicken and a big steak and went to the Nockamixon State Park to grill it all. After I got it all grilled and packed away into meal-size portions, I had one of the ribs plus a few side dishes I had packed, then went over to the pool about a half-hour before they closed and swam around for a bit. I figure my freezer now has enough barbecued meats to last for about two dozen meals.


Green Lantern

Saw Green Lantern. Decent stuff. I liked how people who aren't familiar with Lantern's “civilian” identity (Hal Jordan, played by Ryan Reynolds), didn't have any idea who that masked man was, but people who knew him well recognized him without much trouble. I looked back through my own collection and of course have reprints of the famous Denny O'Neil (Writer) and Neal Adams (Artist) issues where he and Green Arrow tackled relevant social issues in the early 1970s. The only other issues I have are some from 1992 where his lover in the film (Carol Ferris, played by Blake Lively) battles him in her acquired identity as Star Sapphire. Ferris goes by the code word “Sapphire” in the film, so we're sure to see that in the future GL movie(s).
One very technical complaint I have is that one of the alien Green Lanterns (Our Green Lantern is the Lantern only of this sector of space, so Jordan is the Earth GL) takes credit for “training” EGL. Uh, no. I went to Navy Boot Camp and that takes six weeks. All that does is that it conditions you so that you can accept real training afterwords. Basically, it just teaches one not to make stupid errors and to accept the culture of the armed services. The alien GL spent just a few short minutes with our EGL, so “training” is, uh, just a bit of an exaggeration.

Zielinski - a film

Was John Zielinski crazy? (Link to picture of Zielinski) That was the thought that occurred to Chase Thompson and Ryan Walker when Zielinski showed up at their public access studio in Columbia, Missouri. Zielinski showed up with a VHS camera and after telling them his tape was stuck inside, asked if they could help and then told that the tape would bring down the American government.
As Thompson and Walker work in public access TV, they listen to a number of cranks, politely, and then do what they can for those persons. So they sat down and listened to this latest one. But this “crank” was different and in the film “Zielinski,” we hear that the documentary “Conspiracy of Silence” was produced, but that Zielinski was pressured not to release it. Zielinski had produced a total of 25 books and was a world-class photographer (Zielinski himself gives us a detailed run-down on his career here), so it was far from clear that the fellow had a screw loose.
In its review, Variety sniffs that “Production values are terrible.” Walker agreed, but pointed out that Zielinski lives in a $100 trailer (Picture of Zielinski today) and while Walker and Thompson did what they could with Zielinski's materials, they didn't have much of a budget to work with.
While the filmmakers still feel that many of Zielinski's assertions are pretty wild and “out there,” one of his major assertions was one that he started making 25 years ago, that children are being kidnapped and sold into slaves. Unfortunately, authorities have come around to the view that Zielinski's charges are accurate and after about 20 years of people keeping their distance from Zielinski (“Stay away from the crazy man!”), his assertions on that score were vindicated.
The film “Zielinski” will show at Saturday, June 25 @ 7:15 pm at the Media Bureau at 725 North 4th St. Philadelphia, PA 19123



Just finished watching a 1970 Japanese cartoon version of Cleopatra (Lots of bare breasts and some fuzzy, soft-focus love-making scenes. You can download the no-cost Torrent file from here). They cover Cleopatra's affairs with three Romans. Julius Caesar is portrayed as a rough, tough, very muscular he-man. In manliness, Marc Antony is portrayed as being no competition whatsoever for Richard Burton in the 1963 version of Cleopatra. Elizabeth Taylor was attractive in that film, but she was no match for Claudette Colbert in the 1934 version. Octavius gets a very small role, with a rather shockingly backwards and un-PC scene near the end. Cleopatra in this film reminded me of Vietnamese women of the that time period who were torn between their American lovers and patriotism towards their native land. This Cleopatra makes a lot of cold calculations, but comes across as fundamentally pretty feminine and sentimental. The overarching theme of "Invader, leave our land!" is expressed rather forcefully.


Ann Coulter, at it again

Seems Ann Coulter is at it again. She's again taken up a case and again the traditional media is covering just her  side of the story and completely ignoring the side of the less-connected people who are on the opposite side of the issue. This time, Coulter isn't talking about the 9-11 Widows, but about Kent State 41 years ago. In the first case, she claimed that the 9-11 Widows were attention-seekers who were pleased at having their husbands die during the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Now, she's claiming that the students at Kent State were a "mob." I reviewed the Kent State case in detail as a college student back during the early 1980s and no, the students were simply not organized enough to have constituted any sort of threat to the soldiers who opened fire on them. They were not a mob in any recognizable sense as they simply weren't focused enough to fit the description that Coulter gave of them.
Why would Coulter be putting out such outrageous accusations? More importantly, why now? A YouTube video by the sister of one of the Kent State students who died in 1970 tells us that new evidence has been uncovered. A student recorded the whole incident from a window ledge as it happened and it took until very recently for forensic experts to be able to play the tape and analyze it for clues as to what actually happened on that day. The video is well worth watching. And again, I don't for one moment believe that Coulter is acting on her own initiative. I don't think she's being forced to say outrageous, incendiary things against her will. I believe she enjoys that part. But I don't thinkit was her idea to say them.


Classic apples & oranges comparison

*Sigh!* Sarah Palin gets fourth grade American history really, REALLY wrong! ThinkProgress has the detailed corrections.

I ran across these two comments in the MMFA piece:

You liberals are so pathetic, always trying to make a big deal out of a minor slip up. Obama said there are 53 states, does this make you question education under Obama? 

To which another commenter responded:

Screwing up the history of Paul Revere (it was lanterns, not bells and he wasn't warning the British...hence the whole reason behind his secret ride and why they used lanterns and not they wouldn't alert the British) then lying about it is not a mole hill.

Here's the difference: Obama made a mistake when he said 57 states. He admitted it, explained how it happened and moved on.

Palin makes a mistake about a fundamental aspect of American history, refuses to admit she made a mistake, accuses those who points out that it was a mistake of "attacking" her and her moronic fans try to edit Paul Revere's Wikipedia page to try to get it to fit her version of what happened.

Oh yes, right-wingers tried to edit the Paul Revere page in Wikipedia to make it consistent with Palin's hilariously inept re-writing of Revere's famous ride.


If Democrats don't take advantage of THIS...

Emptywheel points out that whatever Obama's plans are, they ain't workin'

Any Rand hated Christianity (Jesus was weak and soft).
Rep. Paul Ryan loves Ayn Rand's philosophy.

Yup, you guessed it! Ryan went to a meeting of religious right-wingers, was offered a free Bible by a Republican youngster AND REFUSED IT!!!!!

It's going too far for Democrats to say that Republicans represent the Anti-Christ, but with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor demanding that the people of Joplin, Missouri can't get disaster relief unless those expenditures are offset by cutting government expenditures elsewhere

Democrats should, at the very least, be charging that Republicans are the Anti-Jesus Party.

X-Men: First Class

Just watched X-Men: First Class. Not bad, not bad at all. It's a prequel, it begins when Professor X and Magneto and Mystique are all kids and the main action takes place in the early 1960s. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started the X-Men comic in 1963, Roy Thomas and Neal Adams wrote and drew them for a very well-known set of stories in 1969, right before the series went on an extended hiatus of reprints. Chris Claremont took over as the writer after a revamped team was introduced in 1975. I followed the series closely during the three years from 1978 to 1980 (Here's the link to a collected book of the first ten issues of that run). That was a definite high point for the series, when John Byrne was the artist. Paul Smith followed soon after. He was also an excellent artist on the series. I pretty much stopped reading X-Men by 1990, but I've been checking in on them and following the series and checking out stories from time to time ever since.


I write letters

In response to the piece in FDL that showed that a Democrat is getting upset about the US having to leave Iraq by the end of this year, I wrote the following paper letter to him:

Representative Gary Ackerman
Ranking Member - House Foreign Affairs Middle East and South Asia subcommittee
218-14 Northern Boulevard
Bayside, NY 11361

Subj: Agreement to withdraw from Iraq – Please do not break agreement

Distinguished Representative Ackerman,

It's come to my attention that with the Iraqi refusal to request that American troops remain in their country past the agreed-upon deadline of the end of this year, that you have disagreements with the statement “Most Americans believe we’re done in Iraq.”

In late 2008, the US and Iraq agreed that the US would leave a country that American occupation has left in vastly worse shape than it was in when the US invaded it nearly a decade ago. There is no mission, as far as I'm able to determine, that remains to be accomplished.

I don't believe Republican propaganda on the issue of the budget and the deficit either, but they're screaming and hollering about the deficit and our President apparently takes their dire warning quite seriously. How can the Democratic Party take Republican talking points on the deficit seriously AND advocate that the US remain in Iraq for longer than we agreed upon staying?

Personally, I think the President should tell our troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan to stand down and not conduct any operations until the debt limit is raised. That would place our operations there in the proper perspective. Republicans want to get all panicked about Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban gaining ground, good! Let 'em get panicked! That would create some useful pressure to be responsible about the debt limit.

There's absolutely no reason to break our 2008 agreement with Iraq to leave their country. Please keep to the agreed-upon schedule for withdrawal.