Quantum of Solace — my review

Posted in James Bond, Movies with tags , , , , on 23 November 2008 by Doc Tourneau


Even though I give it an overall grade of B-, I still find some significant problems that makes this a somewhat disappointing follow-up to Casino Royale. For full enlightenment, read the whole thing RIGHT HERE.


Set the controls for the heart of the Sun

Posted in Cool video, Science, Space with tags , , , , , on 23 November 2008 by Doc Tourneau

Absolutely spectacular time-lapse footage of the surface of the sun, assembled by those geniuses at Semiconductor. Switch your Sense of Wonder to “ON”.

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Her Majesty’s Secret Servant

Posted in James Bond, Movies with tags , , , , , , on 29 September 2008 by Doc Tourneau

Being the hard-core James Bond fan that I am, I would be remiss not to point out the new issue of Her Majesty’s Secret Servant. It’s a particularly fine James Bond website/e-zine, and this is a particularly fine issue, with a particularly fine special feature covering the James Bond Film villains of fame and fable.

I don’t know that it needs to be made explicit, but this superlative enterprise, this venerable organ now in its 11th year, is published by the most excellent Mr. Tom Zielinski, and my own humble self. Our staff of senior editors and contributing writers are Bond fans of the highest caliber and greatest perscapacity, and are all good people to boot. The graphics, design, and layout are all done by (cough, cough)… moi.

You are cordially invited to take a look.

The bloodthirsty Sarah Palin — it’s your choice, America

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 11 September 2008 by Doc Tourneau

I have no use for any kind words — or even moderate words — for this whacked-out religious freak, this blood-stupid monster, this truly warped political mutant. Please, oh please, oh please, America… don’t let this filthy, evil bitch anywhere near the White House!


More details on this sickening story over at The Huffington Post, and at Slate.com .

While the cretins who do this sort of thing get their rocks off, and their enablers caper, by proxy, with savage glee, pause for a moment to ask God (the real God, not whatever dark, shambling deity Palin worships,) to bestow what blessings and protection He will:

PRAYER FOR ANIMALS (attributed to Albert Schweitzer)

Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals,
especially for animals who are suffering;
for animals that are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated;
for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars;
for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put death.
We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals,
and so to share the blessings of the merciful.

The rest is up to us voters.

Korean Air TV commercial — stupidest in history?

Posted in TV with tags , , , , on 7 September 2008 by Doc Tourneau

This TV commercial, for Korean Air, has been driving me bugnuts ever since I first noticed it, maybe a year ago. It’s got my vote for the Stupidest Commercial in TV History Award, or somesuch. (If there isn’t such an honorific, we just might have to create one, to find a home for this thing.)

Filmed in a cool teal-and-gray color scheme, and accompanied by some nicely-chilled Downtempo music, we get a succession of images of goofily well-dressed nouveau riche hepcats in various languid poses — vainly fighting, I guess, the ol’ ennui.

Various adjectives float about the screen in a non-sequitur accompaniment: Exquisite; Visionary; Breathtaking; Graceful; Pledging (WTF is “pledging”??); Understanding; etc. The “Understanding” badge is also the oddest — some guy holding a champagne bottle at crotch level, popping the cork with one hand, while an expensively-shod pair of women’s feet dominate the forescreen. Weird, I tell you! See for yourself:

If it was the responsible advertising agency’s intent to get me to be aware of their client’s product, then they’ve succeeded. If it was their intent to get me to want to use their client’s product, then, uh… not so much. EPIC FAIL, dudes.

McCain offering Palin the vice presidency — secret video!

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , on 3 September 2008 by Doc Tourneau

The Republican candidate for the presidency, Sen. John McCain, is shown here offering Gov. Sarah Palin the VP slot in his campaign.  The noted trophy husband’s gifts in dealing with women are clearly on display here — see how he offers himself up as her bitch.

Funny, funny stuff!

Clint Eastwood — great film director

Posted in Movies with tags on 23 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

My respect for — hell, my adoration of — Mr. Clint Eastwood knows no bounds. As a kid, I liked The Man with No Name; as a teenager, I dug Dirty Harry. They were badasses, and they were so. very. cool. As an adult, I’m consistently amazed and delighted with the depths of his artistic integrity, his vision, his imagination, and his sheer technical skill as a filmmaker. A lot of his movies will still be being viewed a hundred years from now. Clint Eastwood is a national treasure.

But you knew that.

Anyway, he’s joining the ranks of other Great Film Directors in my Flickr set of that name. I like the way he looks now; like a combination of wind and sun and sand have blasted away all unnecessary skin, fat, and connective tissue — leaving just the burning brilliance of his core essence. Here he is, in all his scowly glory:

I’m not ranking these guys, but he’s up there with Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, James Whale, Stanley Kubrick, François Truffaut, and Billy Wilder. Next up, I think, is Michael Curtiz. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of films by Alan Smithee…

Volcanic eruption and lightning storm extravaganza!

Posted in Natural wonders with tags , , , , , , , on 21 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

I received this message and attached pictures through a forwarded e-mail message. I don’t know what the provenance of these pictures is; I don’t know who took them, or when; but I do know they’re pretty goddam spectacular. Behold:

Two of nature’s most spectacular forces produced an incredible brew in the skies of Chile as a volcanic eruption met a lightning storm. Tons of and ash from the eruption of the Chaitén volcano poured into the night sky just as an electric storm passed overhead. The resulting collision created a spectacular sight as lightning flickered around the dust cloud amid the orange glow of the volcano. The eruption was all the more spectacular because the Chaitén volcano, 800 miles (1,290km) south of Santiago, has been dormant for hundreds – if not thousands of years. The Patagonian volcano began erupting on Friday and the 12-mile-high plume has left vast tracts of land coated with a layer of ash.

Andrew J. Bacevich on the limits of American power

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

The August 15 edition of PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal featured the most startlingly clear-eyed assessment of the current state of our nation that I’ve ever heard.

Andrew J. Bacevich teaches international relations and history at Boston University, is a graduate of West Point, and a retired Army colonel. He’s no lefty, preaching to the Moyers choir. Neither, it would appear, has he any use for Bushie neocons. Instead, he’s an astute observer of the political scene, with a deep knowledge of history, and a keen insight into the nature of the American character.

Professor Bacevich understands that a good-sized piece of our foreign policy problems are a result of our dogged determination to maintain a highly consumerist “American way of life.” If it’s our God-given right to unending supplies of cheap energy, cheap consumer goods, and unlimited credit, then our political leaders have no other real function other than to project military force, in a Sisyphean effort to protect the incoming supply lines for all the goodies we demand.

Which, of course, leads to a sort of permanent militarization of the country, especially when we can’t get our way, or when somebody gives us a black eye. In the preface to his new book The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Bacevich writes:

… for the United States after 9/11, war became a seemingly permanent condition. President George W. Bush and members of his administration outlined a campaign against terror that they suggested might last decades, if not longer. On the national political scene, few questioned that prospect. In the Pentagon, senior military officers spoke in terms of “generational war,” lasting up to a century. Just two weeks after 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was already instructing Americans to “forget about ‘exit strategies’; we’re looking at a sustained engagement that carries no deadlines.”

And here we are.

Bill Moyers and Andrew J. Bacevich -- August 15, 2008

Bill Moyers and Andrew J. Bacevich - Aug. 15, 2008

There are ways out of this mess, but setting things to right will require a massive realignment of the way we think of ourselves. It’s time to start acting like grown-ups.

Catch the whole thing in video, audio, or transcript starting HERE , and be sure to read excerpts from Bacevich’s book, the site’s blog comments, slideshows, and other features. This is important stuff.

“Quantum of Solace” theme song?

Posted in Cool video, James Bond, Movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 9 August 2008 by Doc Tourneau

As a confirmed, lifelong, hard-core James Bond fan, I am, of course, eagerly anticipating this fall’s new 007 movie QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

One of the rituals in counting down to the release of a new Bond film is anticipating the new theme song. The BBC 6’s Adam and Joe have proposed their own tune, with an accompanying video. It’s one of the funniest Bond spoofs I’ve seen in years. Feast your eyes (and ears) on:

The real, actual, QOS title track is entitled “Another Way to Die,” and will be performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Let’s hope it’s as inspired as this!