What the Hell is Going On?

Xerox follows Enron and Worldcom.

The wildfire of accounting controversies engulfing Enron Corp. and tech-sector companies such as WorldCom Inc. is scorching another company. According to a report Friday in the Wall Street Journal, Xerox Corp. could have to restate its 1997 to 2001 earnings to the tune of more than US$6 billion.

Is this going to take us into another great depression? Will the American public be able to look past the dishonesty of the (hopefully) few?

Arafat Must Go

I hate to say it, but I agree with Jeff Jacoby.

As a prerequisite to peace, Palestinian culture must be drastically reformed. The venom of the Arafat era must be drained. Persons implicated in terrorism must be punished and ostracized; democratic norms must be instilled; the virtue of tolerance must be learned. There is only one way to effect such wholesale changes: The Palestinian Authority has to be dealt a devastating military defeat, one that will crush Arafat and his junta and shatter forever the Palestinian fantasy of *liberating* Israel and driving the Jews into the sea.

Then the Palestinian territories must be reoccupied, the terror chieftains executed, and the putrescence of Arafat and Hamas flushed away. That will make it possible to rebuild the structures of civil society – the legislature, the courts, the police, the media, and, above all, the schools – from the ground up. The Palestinian polity can become a true liberal democracy, one committed to pluralism, civil rights, competitive elections, and the marketplace of ideas. When that happens, peace with Israel will be a given, and no one will fear a Palestinian state.

A pipe dream? Not at all. There is a model for just this sort of transformation: the US occupation of Japan.

The whole problem with the Middle East peace process is that there’s no desire for peace from the Palestinians. I hate the idea of war and violence, but some times reasonable people have no other way to deal with unreasonable people. Maybe someday we’ll be able to give peace a chance, but not until **everyone** decides that it’s better than the alternative.

Please Don’t Raise the Tolls!

We all know that toll roads are the worst possible way to raise money. So why are the pols so intent on it?

It’s just so brutally unfair. Why do the working people of MetroWest and Worcester County have to take a $10-a-week paycut to buy a brand-new road for all the BMW-driving millionaires from Cohasset and Deluxebury?

Eventually, it’s supposed to cost $13 to drive from Framingham to Logan. The money will be used to buy a new road for South Shore swells, who will pay the goose-egg, the doughnut, zero, nada, zed.

You got that right Howie! I don’t even pay the tolls, nor will I use the Big Dig (i.e. The Money Pit) very often. But every once in a while, I have to pick someone up at Logan, or fly out from there myself, and I end up getting screwed the whole way.

A Day on the Set!

Hutt River Girl Strikes GOLD!

**Hutt River Girl** wrote in a report last night (June 25) about Viggo Mortensen and Peter Jackson filming in her area. She went back to the outskirts of the set to have another gander again, and you’ll never guess WHAT happened next!

What an experience! You have to read this to believe it. God I wish I could have been in her shoes!

Dave Haxton Likes his New Mac

A programmer with 25 years experience has some thoughts on switching to a Mac.

We spent two hours in the store playing with the new iMac and, as a programmer with 25 years in the business, I can tell you this is not a toy. With the open-source, UNIX-based core, and a fast, intuitive GUI on top, it’s possibly the best operating system I’ve ever seen. The greatest thing since they put corn in a can. (I’m from the Midwest. I can say that).

It’s Brazil vs. Germany

Brazil beats Turkey 1:0 in the semi-final round.

Four-times champions Brazil worked their way past Turkey thanks to Ronaldo’s lone second half goal to set up a dream final with three-times champions Germany. The two giants of world football have never met in a FIFA World Cup™ match.

I know I’ll be watching. The only problem now is who to root for?

Germany Advances to Finals

Germany scored in the 74th minute to break the deadlock.

Korea’s dreams are left in the dust.

Midfield hero Michael Ballack’s goal led Germany to their fifth final in the last eight tournaments, ending the dream of the Korean nation in the process.

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

Better than the first, but is still in a galaxy far, far away from the original trilogy.


Overall, I enjoyed [[Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones]] quite a bit. It was definitely better than [[Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace]], but still left me with a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps I got spoiled by [[The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring]], but I expected a whole lot more than what I got.

##What’s up?

It’s really hard for me to put my finger on why the second episode doesn’t feel quite right. Part of it has to do with the script, part with the direction, and part with the special effects.

Let’s start with the last thing first.

##Special Effects Not So Special

Is it just me, or does everything in the new (old?) Star Wars universe have a distinctly computer generated feel to it? I know all about how they’ve been produced almost entirely in a computer and that nearly all the effects are done that way, but it shouldn’t feel like that. There used to be a certain physicality to the way a Star Wars movie felt. For instance, there’s a definite **presence** to the Millenium Falcon on the screen. You feel as if you could walk up and touch it. But with these new movies and the new generation of special effects, the sense of physical presence is gone.

Also, everything seems just a bit too clean. One of the lasting impressions from “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” was the grime that was ever present on the screen. It helped to make the world(s) that the story took place in have a sense of reality that was almost always missing from Science Fiction before then.

##A Typical Man

I think that George is just afraid to ask for help with directions, or more specifically, to ask for some help with *his* direction. According to the [[IMDB]], “George Lucas” didn’t direct anything between the first Star Wars movie and [[Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace]]. That’s right, he didn’t direct either “Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back” or “Star Wars Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi”. And if we’re honest with ourselves, the original Star Wars is the weakest of the original trilogy in terms of directions (with **Empire** the clear winner). And before that, there’s only “American Graffiti” and “THX-1138”, neither of which are examples of directing genius.


Some of the dialogue in *Attack of the Clones* is so bad it made me cringe.

##The Power of Myth

George’s gift is in story telling. He is at his best when he’s worrying about the big picture, not the small details. Consider this: he was the story consultant on all the Indiana Jones movies,and Episodes 5 and 6 of Star Wars, but did not write the script and did not direct.

What’s this say? He’s a man of vision.
##Final Thoughts

The biggest problems with both [[Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace]] and [[Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones]] are the screen play and direction, not the story.