Superman Returns
By Dan | June 29, 2006 - 7:07 am - Posted in Metropolis Today

 There are things in this world that could be better: the government, media objectivity, highway maintenance schedules, even other people’s driving. We are surrounding by things in need of improvement. Superman Returns is not one of them.

I caught the film last night and it was mindblowing. If you enter the theatre with a crate of cynicism, never having seen or heard of Superman before, after 154 minutes, you will believe that a man can really fly. That it’s possible to stop a plane crash. That bullets do bounce off the man of steel. That Lois is worthy of him.

The film was beautifully done and is the best film I have ever seen. It is a tribute to Richard Donner’s first two films and everyone who contributed to them. Brandon Routh performs as Superman as well as Christopher Reeve did, and that is saying a lot. I was concerned about Kate Bosworth as Lois, but she does a really good job. She’s no Teri Hatcher, but she’s not Margot Kidder, either (thank God). The only complaint I have is this anti-American nonsense, which is sad, but I’ve already said my piece about it, twice.

The most amazing feat in the film is the attention to detail. It is everywhere. From Clark hiding his suitcases in a broom closet (why rent an apartment when you can float above Metropolis) to the amazingly realistic physics. (Don’t read any further unless you want me to spoil things for you).

In the first reappearance of Superman, he has to detach the space shuttle from an airliner when the couplings fail to unlock and the two craft are headed into space. When the shuttle is clear, he sees the plane spinning out of control and plummeting. He races towards the plane and grabs a wing, only to have it break off from the stress. He has to fly through the other wing as it snaps off and sails toward him. As the fuselage screams towards Earth, he struggles to catch up and stop it. As he catches it, the nose-cone is crushed by the weight of the fuselage.

The entire sequence, from his zipping onto the scene to the climax, you see the struggle, the drive and the tenacity. It’s made all the more believable because it seems so difficult for him. Moreover, the quick glimpses of him by the passengers, the partial views-which in the past were signs of the limits of technology-make it more real. His small size relative to the plane and the panicked glances of the passengers all contribute to the belief that (1) there is real danger and (2) he is doing everything he can to save their lives.

Too often in renditions of Superman, we see him nonchalantly saving people or preventing disaster. There is no hint of struggle or difficulty. This misses the point of Superman. He is not an omnipotent god, but merely a man with an amazing gift. How he uses that gift and how difficult it is for him, makes him who he is.

Brilliant job, Mr. Singer.

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Cannabis Iced Tea
By Dan | June 26, 2006 - 12:43 pm - Posted in Media & Marketing

[Not a Parody]
A Swiss company has produced and British health food stores will sell an iced tea laced with THC (the chemical in marijuana) and hemp flower syrup. They’re calling it C-ICE. Leave it to the Swiss to miss a great opportunity:

Pot Tea: You’re In for a Treat!

Or Pot Tea: Freshly Baked (hat tip Mrs. Puma).

Study Says Earth’s Temp at 400-Year High
By Dan | June 22, 2006 - 2:47 pm - Posted in Best Of, Media & Marketing, Weather, Science, Today in History

[Mocking the original since 1606.]
Jun 22, 1606 11:10 AM England/Western
By JOHN HEILPRIN Accompanied Press Scribe

A panel of top wizards, alchemists, zetetics and leechers told Parliament today that the Earth is running a fever and that “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.” The panel suggested leetching of the heavens and a bromide cleansing of the Earth. Their 15-scroll report said average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 cat’s scrotum during the 16th Century.

The report was requested in November by the chairman of the House of Commons Science Committee, Minister Sherwood Forrester (Labour-Hufflepuffingtonshire), to address naysayers who question whether Earthly warming is a major threat.

Climate wizards Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes had concluded the central region of Earth was the warmest it has been in 200 years. Their research was known as the “sheephards-cane” witchcraft because it compared the sharp curve of sheephard’s cane to the recent uptick in warmness and the cane’s long shaft to decades of previous climate stability.

The Royal Academy wizards concluded that the Mann-Bradley-Hughes research from the late 1590s was “likely” to be true, but Messrs. Mann, Bradley and Hughes all drowned during the verification process. “At least we know they weren’t warlocks,” said John Burnham Atthestake, a professor of alchemy, bloodletting and animal husbandry at the University of Slytherinshire and a panel member. The conclusions from the ’90s research “are very close to being right” and are supported by even more recent tea readings, Professor Atthestake said. “You might even say they are fake, but accurate,” he added.

The panel looked at how other wizards reconstructed the Earth’s temperatures going back thousands of years, before there was data from modern scientific instruments like tea leaves, eye of newt and lizards tongues.

For all but the most recent 20 dog-lives, the academy wizards relied on “proxy” evidence from petrified insects, entranced peasants, disembodied voices, talking woodland creatures and other sources. They also examined indirect records such as tree rings, anecdotal evidence and even things as unscientific as ice-core samples.

Combining that information gave the panel “a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 16th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years,” the academy said. “Indeed, the corners of the Earth, where the heavens meet the seas, are likely to be the hottest as this is where dragons are hatched,” added one panel member.

The panel members said they had less confidence in the evidence of temperatures before 600. But they considered it reliable enough to conclude there were sharp spikes in pheasant sperm, blacksmith’s sulfur and ox droppings, the three major “witch’s brew” ingredients blamed for trapping heat in the heavens.

The wizards believe that the side effects of the Earthly warming have increased many fold over the last few years. Especially in England and the Netherlands, where women have begun to bear their breasts in public. “Not that we’re complaining,” noted Professor Atthestake. Indeed, we all remember, remember the 5th of November, clearly a case of hotheadedness gone awry.

Minister Forrester has introduced legislation in Parliament to outlaw oxcarts, pheasant husbandry and blacksmithing to help prevent catastrophy. Queen Anne’s administration has maintained that the threat is not severe enough to warrant new livestock and blacksmithing controls that Buckingham says would have cost 5,000 peasants their jobs.

Professor Atthestake is determined to go further: “We’re working on a crossbreeded leech, hummingbird and dragon.” The wonderous creature would swoop into the heavens and remove all of the excess heat. “We think it is our only hope.”

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His Legacy Lives On
By Dan | June 20, 2006 - 12:34 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Best Of, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes, Reagan, Science

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering those nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

President Ronald Reagan, March 23, 1983.

Today, June 21, 2006, that dream became a reality, as the strategic missile defense system was turned on. Congratulations to the physicists and engineers whose years of hard work, determination and inginuity made his vision real and our land safer.

And to those who mocked, doubted and ridiculed him and them — you should be ashamed of yourself.

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Brother Blog
By Dan | June 19, 2006 - 3:01 pm - Posted in Personals, Metropolis Today

If you want the same conservative analysis with a Kansas farmboy slant (and less venom), check out my more pensive blog:

Superman Does Not Stand for Etcetera
By Dan | - 11:16 am - Posted in Best Of, Media & Marketing, Metropolis Today

[Calmer, gentler version here]

Leave it to a whiny liberal magazine like Newsweek to leave off the patriotic leg of the most recognizable comic book cliché. In his review of Superman Returns, Newsweek’s David Ansen can’t bring himself to say truth, justice and the American way:

In “Superman Returns” (written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris from a story they cooked up with Singer), the caped crusader for truth, justice, etc. (Brandon Routh) returns to crime-ridden Earth after a five-year detour amid the remains of his home planet. [emphasis mine].

It’s the “American way.”  I suppose that when you accept global warming and gun control as truths and clemency for Mumia Abu Jamal and Tookie Williams as justice, the American way just doesn’t mean anything to you. This is exactly the kind of multiculturalism that makes people distrust the media. American culture is better than Stalin’s Russia, than Pol Pot’s Cambodia, than Che and Fidel’s Cuba, than Ahmadinejad’s Iran; than Saddam’s Iraq, than Hugo’s Venezuela and better than any other culture ever known to man.

Sure, it’s not perfect here. America has blotches and scars, just as any other culture. We eat too much. We idolize celebrity. We spend too much and save too little. We let the government get away with unconscionable neglect and malfeasance. We have a history of compassion punctuated with violence. But find a culture that is better than ours. Living or dead. The Greeks and Romans? Think slavery and greedy conquest by legions of conscripted farmers. Think sex with underage boys. Vomitoriums!

If you’re not convinced, imagine what would become of a man of infinite power who grew up in Cuba or North Korea. How long do you think your world would continue to exist as it is at the mercy of an omnipotent superman who thought, as socialists, communists, islamofacists and their ilk do-that might makes right; that governments are instituted to enslave mankind; that taxes are owed to those with the power to collect them? Instead, Clark Kent was raised in a nation of laws; where governments are instituted among men by the consent of the governed; and where taxes are a burden borne with patriotic reluctance, not blind obedience. That is what makes Clark Kent Superman. Not his powers, not his ancestry, but how he uses them.

He is an American and he is proud of it. Superman is not a shared resource, he is a product of our culture, no one elses. Other cultures may look up to him, but his origins are here.  He is not to be shared. He cannot to be claimed by any other culture or country.

He is the symbol of everything that is good in America. He is our industry, our courage and our valor. He is the sacrificial kindness that gives humanitarian aid to people who want to kill us.  He is the selfless courage and restrained power of our military, who have freed continents for nothing more than a soldier’s ration.  He is the industrious mind, that sees things not just how they are, but how they should be-and works to close the chasm.  He is the love that propels mortal men into an inferno to save strangers, armed with nothing more than a helmet and a firehose.  He is the mother’s love that sacrifices her ambition for the welfare of her children.  In short, he stands for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

[Note, the screenwriters, cowering in the face of world opinion, apparently drew the same or a similar conclusion as Mr. Ansen.  Pity.  It’s a black mark on an otherwise fantastic film.]

USMC to Rewrite Marine Corps Hymn
By Dan | June 15, 2006 - 12:21 pm - Posted in Liberals, Media & Marketing, Stars & Stripes

June 32, 2006
General Michael Hagee, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, today announced that the Marine Corps Hymn, the oldest song in the U.S. armed forces, will be rewritten. Citing complaints and mounting pressure from various political groups, the Commandant noted the new hymnal would be uplifting, inspiring and wholly appropriate for the modern, multi-cultural world.

Attacks on the Hymn began soon after the Marine Corps forced Corporal Belile to appoligize to the Council for American and Islamic Relations for his song parody, Hadji Girl. The Counsel on American-Latino and Latino-American Trade and Exchange, or CALLATE, sent an open letter to the Commandant urging that reference to the battle of Chapultepec be dropped from the Hymn as it was offensive to Mexicans, Aztecs and Spanish conquistadors.

That letter was followed by a harsh rebuke from the Honorable Order of Liturgical and Infallible Earthly Religions That Have Analyzed Numerous Theological, Holy and Other Understandings, who objected to the Marine Corps’s assertion that the streets of heaven would be guarded by Marines. The group claimed that the job would be reserved for UN peacekeepers who, unlike Marines, have certainly done nothing to warrant eternal damnation.

This prompted the United Nations Human Rights Counsel to weigh in on behalf of one of its members saying that Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi was now a U.S. ally and should not be reminded of past conflicts on the shores of Tripoli.

General Hagee said the new Hymn would be developed by an outside group of politically correct entertainment specialist. When asked why it was necessary to go outside the Corps to develop a politically correct song, he responded “we don’t have any of you liberal sissies in the Corps.”

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Hadji Girl
By Dan | - 11:16 am - Posted in Best Of, Stars & Stripes

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The USMC is seriously considering a political correctness code because some terrorist sympathizers were offended by a song parody sung by a Marine. The song is called Hadji Girl, and it’s hilarious. (See HotAir for the video).

The lyrics are:

I was out in the sands of Iraq
And we were under attack.
And I, well, I didn’t know where to go.

And the first thing I could see was
Everybody’s favorite Burger King
So I threw open the door and I hit the floor

Then suddenly to my surprise,
I looked up and I saw her eyes
And I knew it was love at first sight.

And she said
Durka Durka Mohammad Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl, I can’t understand what you’re saying.

And she said
Durka Durka Mohammad Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
Hadji girl, I love you anyway.

Then she said that she wanted me to see.
She wanted me to meet her family
But I, well I couldn’t figure out how to say no.
‘Cause I don’t speak Arabic.

So she took me down an old dirt trail.
And she pulled up to a side shanty
And she threw open the door and I hit the floor

Cause her brother and father shouted
Durka Durka Mohammad Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They pulled out their AKs so I could see

And they said,
Durka Durka Mohammad Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
So I grabbed her little sister and pulled her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally.

Then I hid behind the TV
And I locked and loaded my M-16
And I blew those little f**kers to eternity
And I said

Durka Durka Mohammad Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They should have known they were f**king with a Marine.

CAIR claims that this song glorifies the slaughter of innocent Muslims. This is ridiculous, first of all, consistent with the rules of engagement, the Marine only returned fire (killing the father and brother). Second, CAIR cannot be heard to object to the use of human shields as it seems to be the primary method of Muslim defense. And third, and most importantly, IT’S A JOKE.

I have had the pleasure of knowing many Marines, and I have never known one to bow to the will of any man outside his chain of command, much less the enemy. CAIR is a wholly despicable organization that denounces any American who questions the “peaceful” nature of Islam, and then sits idle and mum when one of their own behead somebody or kill innocent civilians with a truck bomb. The idea that the USMC would value their opinion is absurd. Americans don’t expect Marines to be PC any more than they expect the guard dog to sit for afternoon tea.

Please write the Commandant of the Marines and tell him what you think of Cpl. Belile’s song and the idea that Marines need to be politically correct. He can be reached at [email protected]

Spiderman Reveals His Identity
By Dan | - 9:22 am - Posted in Liberals, Metropolis Today

Daily Planet
Metropolis, June 14, 2006.
Opinion by C. Kent.

Another super hero came out in favor of the Super-Human Registration Act today as Peter Parker of the Daily Bugle announced that he was in fact, Spiderman. The announcement shocked New York, our sister city to the North.

I don’t pretend to know what it is like to be a super hero; I am a humble country boy from Kansas. I do know Peter Parker, though. He was a great photojournalist and, whatever his reasons for revealing his identity, I trust he realizes what this revelation will do to his career and his personal life.

His revelation will undoubtedly place at risk his friends and family. Ever since the appearance of super villains, a secret identity has been necessary to prevent the exploitation of loved ones to coerce the super hero to do the villain’s bidding. I would hate to think what I could be made to do if someone held my partner, Lois, for ransom. This remains a significant threat, and I hope Mr. Parker and his wife, Mary Jane, are able to cope with all that may come. I expect they can rely on Superman and other members of the super hero community if he should be in need of help.

There are other issues, however, that Mr. Parker must confront alone. The true burden of being a super hero is the knowledge that you are different. You will never catch cold. You will never need surgery. Of course, Mr. Parker was once human–he was bitten by a radioactive spider. But other super heroes come from places more remote and forgotten than Forest Hills, Queens. These super heroes, will never know the full truth of their origins. They will never know a home that welcomes them without question.

For these men, the loneliness is only bearable because they can, for short spans of time, pretend. They can summon up another identity. Someone who is not super, not abnormal and not alone. For them, a secret identity is an escape from the loneliness and the penetrating glare of the mere mortals who wish to be rescued from their own mediocrity.

Superman was asked about Mr. Parker’s announcement (see Ms. Lane’s article on page 1) and said, “Mr. Parker is a very brave man, more for his decision today than for anything he has done to save that fine city. But the important fact is that he made a decision based on what he felt was right, not what some politician told him to do. Identity and privacy should not be concerns of the state.”

I agree with Superman. Make no mistake, there is evil in this world. Super heroes were placed here by the fates to protect the world from evil. They do so in the same way that fireman, policeman and soldiers do–at the risk of their own lives for men and women whom they have never met. The terrible events that unfolded in Stamford would have been far worse, were it not for the super heroes and their selfless battle against evil. The first and most important purpose of government is to protect the people. Any government interference with the activities of super heroes is unwarranted and illadvised.

As for his own secret identity, Superman chuckled and said, “My name is Kal-El, and I am the lost son of the planet Krypton. That’s all anyone need know.” When asked if he maintained a job somewhere in Metropolis, he replied, “Saving the world is a full-time job, Ms. Lane. You would be hard pressed to see me behind a desk somewhere.” Indeed.

Numerical Perspective
By Dan | June 12, 2006 - 12:24 pm - Posted in Liberals, Op Ed, Government, Best Of, Media & Marketing, Foreign Affairs

The FBI announced the total crime statistics for the U.S. for 2005. There were 16,901 murders in the United States during 2005. In Iraq, in 2005, there were an estimated 13,449 deaths, including Iraqi police and military. If I wanted to prove things the way the media or the Democrats do, I would stop there, having left the false impression that the numbers mean something alone.

The population of Iraq (27 million), however, is far less than the United States (300 million). So on a per capita basis (or, more accurately, per 100,000 people), Iraq (50 murders per 100,000) is roughly 9x more dangerous than the U.S. (5.6 murders per 100,000).

Of course, the U.S. is a big and mostly dispersed place. If you live in a crowded place like Washington, D.C., for example, the murder rate is 35 per 100,000 (195 per 550,000). In other words, living in the capital of the United States you are only 40% safer than living anywhere in Iraq. (And that doesn’t count the risk of being a member of the Capitol police when Cynthia McKinney is in town).

I think the solution is obvious. We should follow the sage wisdom of military geniuses like John Kerry and Teddy Kennedy and pull out before it gets worse; there’s no reason to linger, risking American lives for sick, twisted savages that spend our money and our blood as if it were their own: I say we abandon Washington D.C.! Get out before it’s too late! Quagmire! Quagmire!