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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

UN Official Backs Down: Rich Nations Not 'Stingy'
I feel so much better. There's nothing more important to me than how some UN weenie regards America. Of course, the weenie said he had been "misinterpreted." The article says the US gives 0.13 percent of its GDP for development aid - whatever that means. It's probably too much. My guess is that most of it lines the pockets of corrupt government officials (of the countries receiving aid). The Hudson Institute has a nice summation of the generosity of Americans. Suffice it to say, we give a lot more to private organizations delivering aid than we do through the government. We're not only generous, we're smart.


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Naughty Kids
This is kind of a strange story. Nick, it happened in your old stomping grounds. A Pasadena, Texas, father sold his 3 kids' Christmas gifts on eBay because they were not behaving well. The 3 Nintendo DS game systems were auctioned for a total of $5,300 to an online gambling casino. The proceeds from the sale "will pay for a new heater at Trinity Baptist Church, where the family worships in Pasadena." Also, the 3 Nintendo game systems will be "donated to needy children selected by the Pasadena parents and the church."

I have a few questions. What did the kids do to lose their gifts? What was the value of the 3 Nintendo thingies? How/why did the bidding get so high? (I'm guessing the value of the games was not that great.) Does the online casino really expect to get $5,300 of increased revenue just from the publicity surrounding this story? Weird.

UPDATE: Apparently the kids were "fighting with each other and using bad language."

UPDATE: "The casino has paid about $108,000 for eBay oddities in just more than a month."

UPDATE: Well, this article answers a lot of questions. The value of the auctioned gifts was about $700. The bids were only up to $255 at the time it was written. The family had "family meetings" to discuss the declining behavior of the boys. The threat was made (to sell the toys) and the oldest son challenged mom & dad to do it. Good for them for following through. But, it seems to me there's more work to be done. For one thing, quit spoiling the boys. There was a "second tier" of gifts - a bike, fish tank, and karaoke machine. Good grief. That's a lot of money when you total it all up.


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Monday, December 27, 2004

Yuschenko Wins In Ukraine
It appears opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko has won the run-off election for President of Ukraine.
With 99.76 percent of polling precincts reporting, Yushchenko led Yanukovich by some 2.3 million votes, grabbing 52.07 percent of ballots cast compared with 44.13 percent received by his rival.
The other Viktor - pro-Russia rival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich - has charged that there were "irregularities" and will appeal.

The Yushchenko victory is a great result to a fascinating story. The public demonstrations led to the first run-off being thrown out. The pro-freedom candidate defeated the old guard, pro-Moscow candidate. Yushchenko's wife, the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, grew up in Chicago and worked in the US State & Treasury Departments (see John Fund's OpinionJournal article). But to me the most amazing part of this drama is the attempted murder by poisoning that has left, for the moment, Yushchenko's face disfigured. I can't decide which is more incredible, that he was poisoned or that he survived! It's all like a best selling novel.


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Top 100 Quotes (30-60)
Okay, our quotefest is getting off to a bit of a slow start (I attribute that to the busyness of Christmastime) but I have great confidence in the talented lineup we've assembled. Let's move on to the next set of quotes - but feel free to continue to comment on any movies or quotes already covered. Quotes 30-60 are from movies that start with the letter "B". Our panel of experts will consider the rank of quotes like,
FARMER HOGGETT: That'll do, pig. That'll do. (Babe)

MATTY WALKER: You aren't too bright. I like that in a man. (Body Heat)

AARON ALTMAN: I'll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time. (Broadcast News)
Or are there any missing? Banter now ...


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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

More Quotes From The Greatest Movie About The 8th Dimension Ever Made
Before we move on down the list of quotes, I wanted to relate for your enjoyment a few more gems from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension. Enjoy!:

Buckaroo Banzai (while operating): You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same. No, no, no, don't tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to.

John Bigboote: Damn John Whorfin and the horse he rode in on.

Buckaroo Banzai: I've been ionized, but I'm okay now.

Doctor Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin: Shut up, Big-booty, you coward. You are the weakest individual I ever know.

Penny Priddy: You're like Jerry Lewis, you give me hope to carry on, then you leave me in the lurch while you strap on your six-guns...

Lord John Whorfin: Home... home is where you wear your hat... I feel so breakup, I wanna go home.

John Bigboote: We've had our chance! Your Overthruster's for s**t! We're lost!
Lord John Whorfin: One more word out of you, Bigbooty...
John Bigboote: [screaming] BIG-BOO-TAY! TAY! TAY!


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Public School
As Nick always says, my kid will never go to public school.


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Monday, December 20, 2004

Groucho
Gary, I know what you mean about Bogart. I think you can say the same about Groucho Marx. Gotta love this one from Animal Crackers:
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know.
HAH! Stop it!


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Bogey
Any quote delivered by Humphrey Bogart instantly deserves consideration for a top 100 quote. I don't know how you throw out a Bogey quote. This one with Katherine Hepburn is no exception. I can just see those two on the boat in the river, looking all grimy and spent, and she's trying to reform him, and he's falling for her ...
CHARLIE ALLNUT: A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it's only human nature.
ROSE SAYER: "Nature," Mr. Allnut, is what we are put into this world to rise above.
That's good stuff, I'm keeping it.


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Friday, December 17, 2004

The Amazing Race
Our family loves The Amazing Race on CBS. We usually tape it and watch it later, giving my wife and me a chance to preview it before letting the kids watch it. They won't be watching this week's episode. Viking Pundit has a review of what happened and it wasn't pretty.


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NOT Top 100 Quotes
I'm feeling rather lonely out here but I know my homies got my back and they'll be contributing soon to the movie quote discussion...

Drop this one from the list: (from An Affair To Remember)
Oh, it was nobody's fault but my own. I was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven. You were there.
Give me a break. Never heard this line before, never heard anyone use it or refer to it - it's gone.

Also, any quote from Annie Hall gets chucked. I've never understood Woodie Allen mania, then add Diane Keaton to the mix and you get a movie only a New Yorker could like.


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Back To The USSR
Dick Morris says Russian president Putin is trying to reconstitute the old Soviet Union by rigging elections in countries like Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania. Morris was on Laura Ingraham's show this morning and talked about his work in these countries helping the reform party candidate. Just last Sunday in Romania, the Liberal-Democrat candidate, Traian Basescu, won a run-off election over the Social Democrat (former Communist) Adrian Nastase.
Traian Basescu, who is the mayor of Bucharest, promised Monday to fight widespread graft, restore freedom of the press and prepare Romania to enter the European Union by 2007.
Freedom is on the march in eastern Europe. Ukraine is next.


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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Top 100 Quote to be added
From The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Across the 8th Dimension:
Hey, hey, hey. Don't be mean. We don't have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.


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Chicago Man Evicted
This guy had a nice little setup on the underside of a drawbridge over the Chicago River, and the city just couldn't let him be. There's no justice.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Arthur Lydiard
(Please forgive the registration requirements for the NY Times and LA Times).
From The New Zealand Herald Monday,
Master athletics coach Arthur Lydiard, who produced two Olympic champions and inspired generations of New Zealanders to run, has died aged 87.

Lydiard died of a suspected heart attack today in a Texas hotel while on a lecture tour of the United States.
Lydiard was the creator of the "LSD" (long slow distance) philosophy of training and influenced millions of runners, professional and amateur, throughout the world.

Lydiard was a rugby player and distance runner as a young man in New Zealand. "After World War II, when he dropped rugby, he started jogging to stay in shape. He eventually trained 100 miles a week and won several New Zealand marathon championships, largely, he said, because no one else trained hard enough. His fastest marathon was 2 hours 39 minutes 5 seconds." (New York Times) He made his mark as one of the premier running coaches ever, though his methods were not at first appreciated. In 1960, two of his athletes, Peter Snell and Murray Halberg, won gold medals at the Rome Olympics (the 800 and 5,000) - Lydiard had to pay to see it happen. "he was given no credentials, not even a free ticket. His athletes had to leave the Olympic Village to talk to him." (NYT)
In 1964 [Tokyo], when seven of New Zealand's nine Olympic runners were his students, he finally received a Games credential. After those Olympics, he essentially stopped coaching individuals and started coaching coaches.
Runner's world magazine, "Peter Snell and Sir Murray Halberg are his best-known proteges, but Lydiard also inspired a generation of top New Zealand runners through the late-1960s and 1970s, including Dick Tayler, Rod Dixon, Dick Quax and John Walker." He also influenced the great coaches of our era, (LA Times) "One of his converts was Bill Bowerman, track coach at the University of Oregon and a founder of Nike. Bowerman, who had been a believer in interval training, went to New Zealand in the early 1960s to study Lydiard's methods. He returned to Oregon as a convert, and helped spread Lydiard's jogging [running!!] philosophy in the United States."


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Monday, December 13, 2004

Top Movie Quotes
Let's get started! We've invited a few special guests to join us in an ongoing discussion and critique of the American Film Institute's latest list - the top 100 movie quotes of all time. AFI has come up with 400 potential listees. That list was sent to their panel of "experts" to come up with the top 100, based on their criteria, to be presented in June 2005. Well, we're not going to leave it up to experts - we have a few thoughts (a few) and opinions (many) and we intend to voice them.

From now till Christmas let's take a look at the first 29 quotes on the list - all from films beginning with the letter A. For instance,
  • "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue." Airplane!
  • "Follow the money." All The President's Men
  • "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Apocalypse Now
And since we're all movie buffs, we may discover some excellent quotes are missing from the list. I've already noted the absence of any quotes from from another "A" movie, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Across the 8th Dimension. Why are these memorable lines not on the list?
"Where are we going?" "Planet 10!" "When?" "Real soon!"

"Hey man, nice jacket. What's in the big pink box?"

"Why is there a watermelon there?"
So let's hear it guys. It's time to banter.


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Friday, December 10, 2004

Buckley Word of the Day
Today's word comes not from Miles Gone By, which I'm reading, but from a piece about Barry Goldwater on NRO today. Here's the quote:
If abortion is a "right," then perhaps the people who exercise that right are no more contumacious than people who write articles and take political positions.
contumacious: Obstinately disobedient or rebellious; insubordinate.


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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Re: Cheesy Movie Lines
IMHO, there's a tie for cheesiest line:
  • Notting Hill: Julia Roberts' "I'm just a girl . . . standing in front of a boy . . . asking him to love her."
  • Jerry Maguire: Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: "You had me at hello."
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral: Andie McDowell's "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed,"
Interestingly enough, all three late in the movie, climactic moments where the line fails to match the situation. They're all roll-your-eyes and groan bad.


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Kofi Annan and Norm
Just called our Senator Norm Coleman and told him I fully supported him kicking Kofi around like a used green bean can. I encourage you all to do the same.


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Movie Lines
Before we get started on best movie lines of all time, how about a quick look at the "cheesiest" ones?


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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Buckley Word of the Day
Today's installment (I'm giving you a few sentences to enjoy):
(p.142, chapter, Sailing)

After six days on board a sailing boat, he said, perceptions change radically. You come to do routinely those things you had to force yourself to do when first you came on board, wrenched from a life different in so many rhythms. After that novitiate, he said, the hours fly by. The watches, once interminable, diminish in length; anxiety ebbs; on reaching your bunk you are instantly asleep; on being roused, you are instantly and eagerly awake.
novitiate: 1.The period of being a novice. 2.A place where novices live.


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Monday, December 06, 2004

Buckley Word of the Day
Currently on my nightstand is William F. Buckley's latest book, Miles Gone By. I don't think I've ever read someone with a greater command of the English language. Obviously, writing is not my strong suit so I stand (or sit) in awe of the way he creates a sentence or paragraph. WFB has a gift. He also has a huge vocabulary! Which brings me to a new feature - the Buckley Word of the Day. While reading Miles Gone By, I will periodically post a word that, well, I have no bleeping idea what it means! Here's the first (with some context):
(p. 139, chapter: Sailing.)

This is something called The Rule. It is as romantic an adventure in Procrusteanism as has ever been engaged in by otherwise serious men. It is designed to make all vessels that compete in an ocean race theoretically equal in speed by imposing graduated handicaps. These are calculated by such compounded anfractuosities that nowadays only a half-dozen men even affect to understand The Rule...
anfractuosity: 1. The condition or quality of having many twists and turns. 2. A winding channel, passage, or crevice. 3. A complicated or involved process.


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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Tried to Claim Sirius
Hugh Hewitt has started a blogsphere star registry, and I asked Mr. Hewitt for Sirius, since we can't be serious, since Sirius is a star in the sky.


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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Free At Last!
The Cuban geniuses who rigged a 1950's Chevy truck to sail to America have finally reached freedom in Costa Rica. Hallelujah! After their second attempt, the US Coast Guard delivered them to Guantanamo rather than repatriating them. Yesterday they were among a group of 20 at Gitmo to be flown to Costa Rica. They hope one day to come to America. I hope they do too, they would be most welcome.


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Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan gives an interesting portrayal of the soon-to-be-departed (from the anchor desk) Dan Rather today in OpinionJournal. She used to work for Rather and has a unique perspective on Gunga Dan.


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