Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm reading various pieces (example here) about Colin Farrell having a mullet hairdo in Michael Mann's Miami Vice. I give credit to AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire for at least leaving the question open for debate: "The most striking style statement is Farrell's hair: You'll sit there mentally debating, is that a mullet or not?" It's funny—I found myself doing exactly that at various times during the first part of the movie. Lemire doesn't answer the question, but I will.

It's not a mullet, it only looks like one. A mullet, as most everyone knows, is a haircut that's short on the top and long in the back. Colin Farrel's hair in Miami Vice is long in the back and...long on top. Possibly with extensions adding to the length. But it stays straight and controlled on top, and gets curly and wider in the back, so that's where the confusion comes in.

Does the question merit that much attention? Probably not. But there you go.

As always, I couldn't help admiring Michael Mann's skills as a filmmaker. Like Collateral, he's made a movie that has more style than substance (Heat and The Insider had both in equal measures), but Miami Vice tops Collateral on style, even if it's the other way around, slightly, on story. Miami Vice sets a sustained, coherent tone, and it's clearly not meant to matter whether or not we are always cognizant of the who what and why of everything that is going down.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When I was younger, I had a great get rich scheme. I suddenly realized that almost nobody in the country would miss a penny, or mind giving one up. So why, I figured, couldn't everyone just send me a single penny?

The only hitch was getting every person in America to send me one. But I still think it's a good idea, or at least an intriguing one. Please send one to the following address...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Good Samaritan goes to jail.

It is now against the law to feed the homeless in Las Vegas city parks. I wonder if this will lead to civil disobedience with anyone.

Monday, July 17, 2006

No more.

"Citizens of Israel, there are moments in the life of a nation, when it is compelled to look directly into the face of reality and say: no more. And I say to everyone: no more. Israel will not be held hostage—not by terror gangs or by a terrorist authority or by any sovereign state."
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Thursday, July 13, 2006

If I could have been a fly on the wall...

Speculation may be useless. Unless it takes the form of a speculative prediction that will eventually be proven one way or the other, it normally goes no farther than a guess.

Still, I've been compelled to imagine what seems to have taken place in Israel after the election of Hamas to govern Palestine. Here's what strongly seems like it may have been said by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert after the Palestinian election, and I'd love to know if I'm even close:

"Gentlemen, Hamas has just been elected as the legitimate governing body over Palestine. They are a terrorist organization, and as such we cannot recognize their legitimacy as a political entity. So here's what we're going to do. We are going to state as much to the world, that we do not recognize the Hamas government. For now, that's all we're going to do. But we will watch. And if Hamas so much as launches one rocket, if they harm or kill even one of our people, we will bring war against them."

The reason I'm tempted to imagine this is when I stop to consider that the current, escalating crisis in Gaza that's currently leading world news came about because one Israeli soldier was kidnapped. When a single, somewhat scrawny looking Jewish soldier was kidnapped, Israel's immediate reaction was to roll tanks into the Gaza strip. But I noticed that they also arrested and detained Hamas cabinet members, which is a highly unusual tactic of war.

I'm torn in my opinion on this conflict. President Clinton has called for the world to recognize Hamas so that we can try diplomacy and try to negotiate. I can see the rationale behind that plea. I only have to look at Ireland, with decades of cyclical violence and no side achieving any lasting results. But on the other hand, I acknowledge that the Islamic extremist attitude is one that makes it hard to draw parallels. I strongly believe that appeasement in this case will probably only embolden the extremist approach to world politics. It demonstrates that going on the offensive will be met with a retreat and a surrendering of current just policies, to try to escape harm. In schoolyard language, it is the bully empowered by the cowardice of his selected victims. It's not protecting the few in hopes that one can save the many.

The case could be legitimately made that fighting terrorists only produces more terrorists. But aside from striving to one day win the war of the mind and reform that mentality—a valuable but uncertain strategy—what's the alternative? To that question, I'm almost afraid to speculate.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pagan Bias.

For me, the larger issue with media bias is not that the news is relayed to us by journalists with predominantly Democratic rather than Republican perspectives, but that journalists are predominantly secular rather than Christian.

Imagine that a murder takes place, and only one person saw the crime, and that person has to tell the rest of the world what happened. Would you want that person to be someone who would typically side more with the criminal?

That's a simplistic and exaggerated analogy of the mainstream media (MSM). But while there's some range of opinion, the MSM is overwhelmingly secular. And of course, there are issues in news journalism (like medical ethics or social justice) that have a direct connection to a person's worldview. So, we know that there's this vital war going on that doesn't involve just humans, and that there are forces at work that many don't believe exist, or if they do, are mostly irrelevant in the everyday context of life. That raises the question in my mind of whether we always get the whole story, or the right story. And if so, do we typically get the story behind the story?

It's just another reminder that we need to be very discerning, and we need the ability to read between the lines, and perceive the unseen.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Christians are hedgehogs.

I once heard a friend talk about an essay on hedgehogs and foxes, which he said explained how hedgehogs are people who approach research with depth, and foxes are those who are more after breadth. He attributed the essay to Aristotle, I think.

Well, not exactly. My friend's mention of this had long intrigued me, and I finally tracked it down. The original source of the two animals is a line from a poem by the Greek poet Archilochus, and Isaiah Berlin wrote a book about the line (excerpt here). While no one knows for sure the meaning of the line, Berlin posits that Archilochus was likely referring to how one views truth — whether truth can be organized in a single, uniform way, or whether it is a scattered, collection of mostly unrelated things.

Of course, for Christians, we would have to be put down as unapologetic hedgehogs, who see God as the ultimate source of truth. And thus Christians see the related nature of all truth. I’m repeatedly struck by how one idea ties into another; how one thing brings back to mind other things in a long, unbroken chain.

I need to read this book.

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