Pops' Bucket
Monday, June 04, 2007
This Is Not A Drill
I've read in comments elsewhere the opinion of some readers that they find it a bit too precious or pretentious of bloggers, when the reach the end of their run, to indulge in long-winded soul-searching farewell missives entirely for the benefit of themselves rather than simply one day disappearing from the face of the blog-earth.

I find that position to be interesting.



Thursday, May 31, 2007
The Dreaded Placeholder
While I realize I owe you all a great deal after yesterday's post, familial obligations require me to punk out for today and possibly tomorrow. For now, I'm going to have to leave you in the comforting, Oriental, redeeming hands of Chinese Jesus.




Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Memorial Bucket Cheap Picture Blogging

[NOTE: I realize it's Wednesday and Memorial Day is now a memory fading with along with the symptoms of your sun-and-dehydration-aided alcohol poisoning, but it turns out that I totally missed a regular annual Bucket feature. That will now be rectified. If there's anything I'm known for, it's beating a premise to death in the name of space-filling. You are welcome.]

...if'n I stare at it long enough, I know I can move it with my mind. I seen it on that Star Wars special on Spike TV the other day. Real Obi-Wan Kenobi shit. Kenobi... is that a Jew name? It sounds like a Jew name. Plus just moving stuff with your mind seems kind of gay. Eye laser-beams would be way cooler. Like General Zod. But without the nancy-boy accent. Zod... that's a regular Christian name, I think. I can make eye-lasers. Just gotta concentrate. Think eye-laser thoughts. I'm the president, I can do anything I want. Eye-lasers... eye-lasers... almost... almost...

Speech time! Aw, hell. Sorry folks, I was busy... reflecting on the specialness that is Veteran's Day or whatever. Is it Memorial Day? I get them confused, but can you blame me? It's basically the same thing. You all get together here in Arlington and make me run through the exact same program twice a year with the flags and the wreath and the people crying and the old people in the funny McDonald's crew-member hats with all the writing and hardware on them. What are them called again? Where's Scotty? Hey Scotty, what are the old people in the hats called again? Oh yeah, "veterans". Creep me out, man.

Well, veterans, here we are at Arlington National Cemetary again. Just think, when you die, probably very soon, you could have a place here too. But if you want my advice, you'd better get on that dying train lickety-split because space is running low. Now this hallowed ground receives a new generation of heroes, men and women who gave their lives in places such as Kabul and Kandahar, Baghdad and Ramadi. That's right: my war dead. People can talk about "legacy" and whatever, but you just can't argue with raw numbers. When all is said and done, I plan on having put more people in this place than typhoid fever. Nobody forgets typhoid fever.

The danger is that the terrorists will try to distort the numbers after I'm done presidenting. I know as much as anyone that numbers can be made to say whatever you want them to say. Look at my polls. Sure, they seem like they say less than 30% of Americans approve of the job I'm doing and that nearly 60% want immediate or short-term plans for withdrawl from Iraq. The good news for me is that I'm the president. That's why I'm announcing now that I have signed this morning Executive Order #13435 whereby from herewith on out, All Poll Numbers Shall Be Deemed to Say the Oppsite of What They Seem.

Fight it if you want to people, but I'm already out there making it happen. It's the Executive Branch. You bring it to us, and we execute it.

Oh yeah, and I'm real sad about the sacrifices and the veterans and blah blah blah. Scotty, fire up the tape from last Veteran's Day. Y'all know I was going to give the same speech anyhow. I got some tech nerd over the White House to put it on DVD. It's got a real cool menu screen with my giant face and a fighter plane and a dragon. Totally bitchin'.

And last thing, I want you to know that I'm thinking about the lives of soldiers beyond just my term. Can't have Hillary or Barko Bama whatever guy passing up my Arlington numbers. Be aware that just before my remarks here, I was working on a new weapon that could give us immediate and total battlefield superiority and a significant deterrent factor that will assure our continued dominance as the world's only superpower. I can't say what it is as it's totally classified, but before I go, I will give you a hint: eye-lasers.

That's all I can say. God bless America!


Monday, May 28, 2007
There seems to have been some consensus in the comments at the end of last week that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was destined to underperform financially when compared to its predecessors and up against its immediate non-Disney-ride-themed competition.

Granted this is using a very small sample size, but I can say with complete scientific certainty that this will not be the case. Based on my experience of having BOTH showings of said movie completely SOLD OUT in the very small window of babysitting kid-freedom Mrs. Pops and I were awarded, underperformance will not be a problem.

We're talking about a 100% sales rate of seats in the early-mid afternoon showings at the Regal Riverside Plaza Stadium 16 this past Sunday. If we extrapolate that out based on the latest sample-modeling techniques, we can postulate a 100% rate of sale at all theaters worldwide.

This means all box office records of all time will be crushed in very short order. I predict good things.

I haven't bothered to look at the actual box office results from the long weekend as I assume it will include theoretical numbers expressed in orders of magnitude that are not only beyond my comprehension, but may cause me immediate mental and emotional harm in trying to understand them.

Bravo, Disney. And critics, never underestimate the drawing power of Johnny Depp, even with the gnarly dreads and that horrible accent. Plus: Chow Yun Fat! How could it miss?

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3



Friday, May 25, 2007
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #46


starring Ashley Judd, Some Guy, Harry Connick, Jr.

directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection... need I go on? Oh yeah, and Jade too... I guess I did)

I would almost feel like I'm piling on if I said anything to denigrate this film. The good people who made and distribute the film already have let us know that they also hate it. I know it seems almost counter-intuitive to say so, seeing as they are giving it a Memorial Day release, one of the few prestige Release Dates for films in the United States.

But this is not just any Memorial Day. Already we have had the biggest opening weekend for any film in history (Spider Man 3) and a direct rival to that prize just last week in Shrek the Third followed by what is arguably the most anticipated (financially anyway, not so much if you're like me and you can't stomach people with tooth-jewelry) release of the year in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

So versus the already-built audiences for Spidey and Shrek and directly in the way of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom's perty mouth and Kiera Knightley's visible vertebrae, the people at Lions Gate have thrown us Bug. It's like that scene in Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo hides from the Imperials in the Milennium Falcon by floating away disguised in a trash-dump.

Am I a dork for making the reference? Sure. But you totally followed it, so live with that, Fonzie.

It's as though they spent the time and money on filming, editing, advertising and then said to each other "You know what? This feels like a 4th-place film at best. When is the best time to release a film that has no shot to rise above #4 at the box office during the entire course of its run?"

That answer? Clearly Memorial Day. If you release a 4th-place film in February, it only makes $6 million. The fourth-place film this weekend will proabably be closer to $20-30 million. These are not stupid people.

Plus it's hard for me to be negative as I am a huge Ashley Judd fan. Let me be a little more specific: I am a big fan of the hotness of Ashley Judd. It's clear that, even though not twins, there was some kind of gene-hogging going on to her benefit and against her sister Wynnona, not unlike the premise of the Schwarzenegger/Devito dynamic in the film Twins.

Sadly, however, the genetic windfall that is Ashley's has not been translatable to career judgment. Her string of barely-disguised Lifetime Original Movies about chicks being chased by Big Scary Men has been well documented. The promise of Heat and Kiss the Girls has been, by now, well and fully squandered, I think.

The only really good news about that is when the career starts to flag a bit, many hot actresses are willing to slum it in lesser material that includes extremes of violence and (oh yes!) nudity.

And this Bug? Rated R for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug use. Sold!

Althogh I should point out that in this film as well, she is being chased by a Big Scary Man. Only in this instance, the obligatory abusive ex-husband is played by... Harry Connick, Jr.? Frankly they might as well have handed the role to a labrador puppy in a wicker basket full of soft fuzzy blankets. And still, more scary than Harry Connick, Jr.

Seriously, what's the Harry Connick threat? Past the very real possibility of be-boppin' or scattin' someone into submission or possibly drawling them into a state of hazy Southern comfort, I don't really see how you maintain realistic dramatic tension there. I'm only willing to suspend so much disbelief.

Despite the Connick factor, the reviews I've read say this is a highly competent, well acted, very effective thriller about a paranoid vet (played by Some Guy) who convinces Ashley Judd that scary government and/or alien sponsored bugs are in his body or after him or... something. Here's all you really need to know: two hours of people talking about bugs under their skin. Still in? Me neither.

Still, I wasn't kidding about the Judd thing. It's mostly people I don't know in a genre I hate, but come on. Nudity!

Two (out of three) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

One for each Judd boobie.

Come get me, feminists! We can work out our differences in my home mud-wrasslin' pit.



Thursday, May 24, 2007
Somehow I Know David Crosby Is Involved
I generally try to stay off of the politically-themed posts two days in a row as contemplation of this stuff tends to tweak my gimpy bowel something fierce.

But there's a question now that's really bothering me and I just can't figure out what the answer is.

What do you think is more embarrassing to President Bush:

A) The birth of a healthy baby boy to Vice President Dick Cheney's TOTALLY LESBIAN unwed daughter and her TOTALLY LESBIAN unwed life-partner woman or

B) The announcement of a 10-foot-high statue of Bill Clinton to be placed in Kosovo, where he is celebrated as a liberator of the people for engaging in the limited, short, well-focused yet still controversial war he committed American troops to during his presidency.

Before you decide, keep in mind that with regard to A, that girl has be devotee of Sappho since Day 1 of the administration, so it's not like this is all a surprise AND just having her do this baby thing gives the Cheneys another opportunity to be dicks to Wolf Blitzer when he asks about it on CNN.

And with regard to B, remember that although a statue is going up, this is only in addition to the street that is named after Clinton and the giant 12-foot-high mural of him that also already exists. So again, no real surprises.

But still, both bits of news within a day of each other... that's gotta smart. It's driving me crazy not knowing the answer.

I guess I'll have to wait and see what he says in the impromptu, totally non-scripted news conference he has called today, presumably to answer this question directly for me.

And for that I thank him. Talk about a responsive government. I can't wait for the fresh, fresh bit of truth.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1



Wednesday, May 23, 2007
You May Want To Sit Down
What exactly is the purpose of military intelligence?

I'm confused because I used to think that its primary function was to be collected, deciphered, collated and directed to the necessary decision-making people and/or departments that would then parse it, analyze it, make reasonable conclusions about what it said and then use those conclusions to justify bombing the shit out of other countries until they forcibly agree to become free democracies like us.

That's kind of what the Bush administration has used military intelligence for, but really kind of not. They seem to be under the impression that military intelligence has the war-justifying and democracy-making qualities described above, but that it can be approached in a more selective, less collective way. I get the projected time-saving benefits of pre-deciding what you're going to accept from the collected data and what you're going to reject. Generally, I applaud anyone in government who is able to streamline overwrought processes in the interest of time, manpower and budget savings.

I don't know that military intelligence is necessarily where you want to start cutting corners, however. Sure, it may seem like you're cutting way back on billable hours by issuing directives to only consider incoming information that supports, say at total random, the invasion of Iraq and its connection to al Qaeda and/or WMD. But cruise missiles are really expensive. Sure, you can cut some more corners by withholding body armor and Humvee outfitting and maybe at the back end by curbing the quality of post-war recovery health care and health care facilities for the soldiers returning, but all in all, in a strict cost/benefit analysis, I'd say you're better served putting the time and money into the initial intelligence analysis to the tune of several hundred billion dollars and one midterm election.

It's not like the Bush people don't know how to keep secrets or what the importance of secret information is. We still don't know what Dick Cheney said to those energy people* way back in the early days of the administration, which shows strength and foresight and an unshakable commitment to principle. Bullshit principle, but once you commit, you commit.

The problem isn't the keeping of the secrets. What troubles me is the way in which these secrets are let go. Probably the less said about the Valerie Plame thing the better, but it is a case in point.

Now in preparation for a major policy speech and PR push ahead of the Democratic Congress' Summer Shenanigans Tour, our irascible, benighted leadership has decided to publicly declassify a bunch of stuff about Iraq and al-Qaeda.

If you're like me, you're thinking: "$15 monthly or $150 for lifetime membership? I'll take the latter! Thank you, asstomouth.com!"

More specifically related to this, you're probably thinking as I did: "Finally! Something to illuminate the real rationale for this drain on our resources, our manpower, our families and our 24-cable-news time we could be devoting to nonstop Paris Hilton Prison Watch!"

The thing that bothers me isn't that the president seems to be OK with the declassification of information solely for the purpose of punching up some paragraphs in some political speech he's giving. Frankly at this point, I'd be more alarmed if he weren't doing something like that. What bothers me is the total lameness of the declassified intelligence.

Here's what we now know, based on the information the government until two days ago was protecting us from:

1) Al Qaeda has been operating in Iraq (or at least trying to) since after the invasion. So very nearly helpful to the administration. Except for the italicized word above.

2) Osama bin Laden has given people in his organization orders to attack places outside of Iraq, including RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA!

Wow. Turns out this bin Laden guy? No likey us. Wants to kill us and everything.

You know, for people who take every opportunity to remind us of 9/11, they sure don't seem to have gotten the general point of that event. I would write them a memo, but somehow I suspect I wouldn't get the proper reaction to that either.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.3


* = I can understand their reticence. I suspect it has something to do with not being able to find a good text form to describe a nine-man reach-around.



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