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December 31, 2004
Well, it's that time of the year again: Time for the first-annual 5 List, the best and worst movies of 2004.
5 Best Movies
5 Worst Movies
A journalist for the Orange County Register tried out the DVD rental services from Netflix, Blockbuster, and Wal-Mart for four months and deemed Netflix the best, but only by a hair. (via Netflixfan; registration might be required.)December 30, 2004
Here at the office, yesterday, today, and tomorrow were deemed "Denim Days" by HR, allowing employees to wear jeans to work for three days in a row. While I appreciate the idea of the boss-man giving back to his hard-working staff by allowing end-of-the-year denim, it's really a net negative. Sure, I like the comfort of a relaxed fit ringspun bootcut as much as the next guy, but as I walk the halls, get coffee, and attend meetings, I've got to look at some people who should never, ever wear jeans. Not to work, not to the ballgame on Saturday, not to SuperAmerica for a gallon of milk, not around the house ... not even in the privacy of a changing room at Marshall Field's. Not ever.
You know who you are.December 28, 2004
Attention all Gen Y hipsters: Garden State is now available on video.
December 27, 2004
The kind of email we get quite often at this really kick-ass movie site called cin-o-matic. Maybe you've heard of it?
Hi, The site is really cool. No kiddin. From the customization, to the averaging, to the sorting, it's pure genius and a lot of "why hasn't anyone done this before?" Thanks. Keep up the good work! --Anson J.
First person description of the tsunami:
Within minutes, the beach and the area behind it had become an inland sea that rushed over the road and poured into the flimsy houses on the other side. The speed with which it all happened seemed like a scene from the Bible, a natural phenomenon unlike anything I had experienced. As the waters rose at an incredible rate, I half expected to catch sight of Noah's Ark.
With a recent poll showing slippage in Americans' support for the war in Iraq, the effort got a real shot in the arm over the weekend with an Army Times poll that shows fully 60% of active-duty military say the war is worth fighting.
Jiminy Christmas! Great sale at Nordstrom. In the Bag:
It's 5 degrees today in Minneapolis, with a wind chill of -18. Normally those kind of temps will make your balls shrink up like croutons, but not with a pair of these:
Flannel-lined chinos. J.Crew. On clearance! $39.99.
All hail the fall clearance sales!
U.S. Gulag Watch: We're now wrapping prisoners in Israeli flags? And mock executing an Iraqi teen in front of the boy's father and brother? What the fuck is wrong with us?!
I thought Meet the Parents totally sucked, so I won't be seeing the sequel over the holidays, or ever, and you won't either if you put any stock in The Onion AV Club's reviews. Ouch!
In whipping up this mess, director Jay Roach has borrowed the strategy of his Austin Powers sequels: shamelessly recycle everything people remember from the first film, crank up the gross-out factor and smug self-satisfaction, and hope all the mercenary whoring doesn't turn potential viewers off so much that they refuse to shell out their hard-earned money.
Man, Tony Blair sounds really clueless when he says "We are not a nation of quitters" while ensconced in Baghdad's Green Zone. Nevermind the fall of the British empire, or Britain quitting Iraq once before in 1932.
Noted ruefully today by the Post's Tom Ricks in his good analysis of the Mosul bombing:
In April 2003, as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was ending, the Pentagon projected in a formal planning effort that the U.S. military occupation of the country would end this month.December 21, 2004
I guess there are a few more bad apples. We're up to a full bushel now.
New F.B.I. Files Describe Abuse of Iraq Inmates
Come to think of it, Saddam used to cut off prisoners' ears, we only stick lit cigarettes in their ears, so it's a definite upgrade for the Iraqis.December 20, 2004
Doo doo doo doodoo doo doo.
I thought this was an early April Fool's headline, or maybe an unsuspecting sap was cribbing from The Onion, but, sadly, no:
Indiana Jones leads Hollywood version of battle for Falluja
No word yet on whether Hollywood plans to show any real carnage.
Heaps and heaps of wisdom from Fox Sports' Jimmy Johnson:
The Packers are still so shaky on defense. How can you count on a team like Green Bay? To me it isn't even a shock that they are losing or playing so poorly in Lambeau Field. When you are a bad defensive team, it doesn't matter whether you are at home, playing in bad weather, playing in a dome, playing home or on the road. If you're a bad defensive team, you are simply bad.December 15, 2004
Look everybody! Jerry Bremer gets a medal for being a total fuckup! I mean, what else can you say about this picture? Jerry Bremer was a completely incompetent viceroy, who ran an utterly failed administration, whose decisions directly led to the current quagmire in Iraq, and he gets a goddamn medal? Who gets a medal next?! George Tenet?!
I still like G. Beato's idea of erecting a statue of George Bush in the heart of Baghdad:
Early reviews are in, and the critics are falling all over themselves with praise for Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. A.O. Scott calls it "the best movie released by a major Hollywood studio this year."
December 13, 2004
Cin-O-Matic is proud to announce a kick-ass mobile version to go along with the regular web site. All your favorites are there, like your video watch list, your "in theaters" watch list, and movies playing at your favorite theater. It's been in beta for about six months, and I've found it very handy whenever I'm at the video store, or out on the town.It's here: http://mobile.cin-o-matic.com
Just a great segment on last week's Inside the NFL was Bob Costas interviewing Barry Sanders and Jim Brown about their careers, why they retired, and touchdown celebrations. Brown's thoughts on celebrating after a TD perked my ears up:
... some of it is cute, and some of it is buffoonery, and some of it is the stereotypical things that we tried so long as African Americans to get rid of. Walt Disney used to do it with his crows and his dialect and the dancin' and all the boo-boo wop-wop. And I just hate to see it now because it means that these young men sometimes don't understand that they're imitating history, and that history was a negative thing.December 8, 2004
It's great to see T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom hitting #2 on the must-read list for US forces in Iraq. But this is a book best read before you get into a mideast quaqmire, not during it.
Jesus' Bar Tips includes recipes for Jesus-related drinks, such as my personal favorite: the Rusty Nail. Cheers!
Sacrilegious Christmas cards, via Urban Outfitters. $14.
Speaking of religion, thank God for the monks who began brewing Affligem Ale sometime in 1074. This stuff doesn't just taste great, at 7% alc./vol., it eases the pain fast.
Speaking of getting drunk on Belgian whites, the New York Times offers some new options for the dreaded hangover. In a disturbing bit of news, Dr. Linda C. Degutis, an associate professor of emergency medicine and public health at Yale, said hangovers were "incredibly understudied." Get to work slacker doctors, and figure this shit out!December 7, 2004
It's no wonder why Target is eating Wal-Mart's lunch, when they market Isaac Mizrahi halter wraps like this. I can't decide what's best; the jawbone, the collarbone, or the two surgically enhanced bazambas...
Loving the reader reviews for this item, too. If you're a woman, or a guy looking for a gift for your wife/girlfriend/mistress, please order this item now!
VERY Small. I Ordered a size Medium and half of my breast was exposed!!and
This is an adorable halter top. However, if your breasts are larger than a B cup, you will find there is not enough fabric up top to cover your breasts.
December 6, 2004
Save Me Jebus!
The Christmas Miracle
Lots more totally whacked out poll results inside, like this: "In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate."December 2, 2004
In the Bag:
2000 Volvo S70, via ebay. $10,300.
If anyone out there is readerland is looking for a deal on a black 1993 Volvo 850 GLT, please send me an email. 139K miles. Almost everything works.December 1, 2004
On the left: Ben (aka Pride). 3 yrs.
Baby, it's gettin' cold outside. And snowy too. In the Bag:
Sorel Caribou in black, via zappos.com. $100. Free shipping through Friday.
You know, I really want to like the Canadians. After all, I'm spending $100 on a pair of their goddamned boots, but they are so misguided in their criticism of corporate America, like this protest yesterday in Kingston, Ontario (wherever the hell that is):
These large corporations provide literally millions of Americans jobs where they can "hide out" from any real work or responsibility, and not do much of anything besides send and receive email, IM their buddies, attend pointless meetings, read weblogs, buy stuff online, and take long lunches where, hopefully, they consume one or more alcoholic beverages. I'd think the Canadians would be down with that program.November 29, 2004
The British just get it.
Last night I was poking around the World Wide Web looking for golf gear and ran across a Brit golf mag called GolfPunk. And instead of another tip from David Leadbetter on how to use the sun to get your body behind the ball in your backswing, they have tips worth a damn: women called Bunker Babes who demonstrate the rules of golf. Lacey's sporting a quite nice Cobra visor:
On second thought, maybe the British don't get it:
Britain calls time on binge drinking
Puma shot put shoes, via Puma. For shot putting. $100.
In the Bag:
Block Headwear Stewart hat (charcoal), via Mark Shale. $32.November 24, 2004
Here's a quick Thanksgiving movie guide, courtesy of the best damn movie site on the whole WWW. First, a few of the more mainstream flicks worth seeing (at least according to the critics):
And now for some turkeys. Get it?
Another great electorate analysis from the LA Times' Ron Brownstein, about how Bush kicked ass in the fast-growing "exurbs," while Kerry did better in the inner-tier suburbs. I witnessed this first-hand here in Minnesota, where the inner-tier 'burb Edina (where I live) voted for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since FDR, while the hinterlands, such as Savage, Chanhassen, and Plymouth -- places where Applebee's is a good place to eat -- all went big-time for Bush.
Something else Brownstein gets at (but not nearly to my satisfaction) is how it's actually cool to be a Republican in these exurban communities. I'd go one step further and argue that, at least among my peer group, which are mainly yuppies but include a few exurbanites, it's not only cool to be GOP, it's a social and cultural requirement. Sure, most of them reject GOP policy on things like abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage, and some even see the value of tax revenue for things like education. But any self-respecting go-getting, up-and-coming striver with a new Audi in the driveway or a new house with a 2-car garage and a great room needs be a Republican simply as part of his brand.
I've waited over a year for them to come in, but Coolestshop has finally landed the Adidas "Europa TT" track jacket in black. (Also in chocolate, which was tempting.)
Adidas "Europa TT" track jacket, via Coolestshop. $80.November 19, 2004
You just cannot make this shit up. Every last shred of dignity, if there was any left, gone.
David Rees, over at My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, has it exactly right:November 17, 2004
A couple of good bits from the November GQ:
And from The GQ Cultural Literacy Test, question #17, War Criminal Word Find:
Cheers to GQ for including Rummy, but jeers to GQ for excluding Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, and Wolfowitz. Maybe there wasn't space for a bigger puzzle....November 15, 2004
The tattoo on the back of former Army sergeant Matt LaBranche says, "I've come to bring you hell." Indeed, it sounds as though this fella should be in Ward 54 at Walter Reed, with the other poor souls completely fucked up by the perpetual war crime that's happening in Iraq. Read this article.
Speaking of war crimes ... is it OK for an occupying army to shoot families in the fucking water as they try to flee from an indiscrimiate bombing of their city? Just wondering.November 12, 2004
On Tuesday Shrub and the Mrs. visited the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. On Wednesday, award-winning UPI reporter Mark Benjamin, the reporter most closely following the underreported casualties story, appeared on Democracy Now:
AMY GOODMAN (show host): Mark Benjamin, as when you see once again, President Bush going to Walter Reed Hospital, your final thoughts?November 11, 2004
Hey, it looks like this site and The Onion are on the same page with the Blue State Sodomy thing. It's funny because it's true:
Liberals Return to Sodomy, Welfare Fraud
Almost In The Bag:
Lebowski tee. Donnie, Walter, The Dude. Ebay. ~$20.November 10, 2004
London's Daily Telegraph is reporting, in the wake of the election last week, thousands of Americans are considering leaving the country and heading to ... New Zealand.
After getting a BA at Wisconsin, I kinda dropped out of society for a while, walked the earth, and ended up living in New Zealand for six months. I took only $2000 and had cash left over when I left. Buying a car was the biggest expense ($500), but the rest was ridiculously cheap. I joined a kick-ass golf club for $60. Rent was $25/month. Lift tickets were $10. The beach was free.
So, if you're looking into New Zealand, it's got the dack.com seal of approval. Just make sure you end up on the east side of the Southern Alps. The weather on the west side makes Seattle look like Palm Springs.
Department of Corrections: I have it on very good authority from a reader that the Camper Stuart, mentioned yesterday, blows. They're "uncomfortable as hell," and "awful," and will be discontinued after this season. Dack.com regrets the error.November 9, 2004
Well, now that the election and election analysis is over, we can get back to the business of conspicuous clothing and footwear consumption, seeing movies, and ogling Babes of Middle East Media.
For years I've been a big wearer of Camper's Pelotas #16235 (aka "the bowling shoes"), and now they've added a sweet new, slightly dressed-up line called the Stuart. Here's the #17326. Many other Stuart models available for viewing at www.camper.es (Flash), along with some other freakishly cool shoes for both sexes. I've found the best way to get Camper, if you live in flyover land, is to call the NYC store @ 212-358-1841. Talk to Edward.
Saw Sideways last night, and didn't like it nearly as much as the critics. (It's the second highest-rated cin-o-matic movie of all, right behind Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.)
It's essentially Swingers for the early 40-something set, but not nearly as much fun. The protag, Miles, (Paul Giamatti) is such a tool there is no way in hell he would score with a babe like Virginia Madsen; not even in the movies. He does, however, get in a nice rip on Merlot.
One of our favorites here at dack.com, this newsreader from Jordan TV in Amman, Jordan can make news of the death of 100 civilians in Fallujah seem like it's only 50, or even 40. Definitely a Babe of Middle East Media.
November 8, 2004
Trenchant pre hoc election analysis from Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 2, Episode 16, replayed over the weekend:
I mean, 600,000 people. 600,000 people died in the Civil War. And for what? To save the Union? Why? Why do we want to save the Union? Who cares? What is so important about saving the Union? Do you need the South?
White Supremacists or Evangelical Christians? Or Both?
WaPo caption: Evangelical Christians, such as these activists, were often urged by churches to vote their convictions.
Read the article: Evangelicals Led GOP EffortsNovember 4, 2004
Some final thoughts about the election, why it was so easy calling it for Bush, and a modest proposal for a way forward.
Consider these facts:
That John Kerry -- an effete, egghead, Socialist Frenchman from Taxachusetts -- was only 130,000 votes short of becoming the next president is nothing short of remarkable.
Over the past 24 hours there has been a lot of discussion and hand-wringing among Democrats about whether they need to move to the left or to the right to be competitive in the next presidential race. Well, fuck the next election. The only way to avoid a full-on culture war (which will inevitably lead to a bloody bullet war), and to avoid further drubbing at the hands of the Christian Right, is for the blue states to peacefully secede from the Union.
We shall call this new state West Western Europe.
Now, WWE's obvious problem is the lack of contiguousity between its midwest and its west-coast regions, but there's a simple solution: purchase from Canada a 1223 X 1 mile land bridge for an autobahn and bullet train, to connect Minnesota with Washington. Canadians will surely sell us this parcel for no more than a dozen jugs of firewater, a handfull of beads, and various trinkets.
Key cultural elements of West Western Europe:
The remaining "red" states shall become the new country of Dipshitistan.
Key cultural elements of Dipshitistan:
Sounds good, no?November 2, 2004
The main reason I'm picking Bush today is because millions and millions and millions of his supporters are praying for Kerry to lose. It just seems like a really hard thing to overcome, you know, when He gets involved.
Likely the best election night coverage will be found on Comedy Central's Daily Show, starting at 9 Central.October 31, 2004
Gawd. Tim Russert's little penis gets super hard every time he brings up the unlikely event of a 269-269 tie. It's embarassing for him.October 29, 2004
In a deliciously juicy irony, the embed video that has confirmed the existence of the al Qaqaa explosives after the fall of Hussein was shot by a local ABC affiliate owned by Stanley Hubbard, a well-known GOP activist.
Hey, it looks like the Washington Post is writing essentially what I wrote yesterday about al Qaqaa: Munitions Issue Dwarfs the Big PictureOctober 28, 2004
Seymour Hersh rocks. Asked why Sen. John Kerry isn't easily leading the presidential race... when the war in Iraq is going so badly, he said, "I think one thing you have to face up to is the fact there are roughly 70 million people in America who do not believe in evolution -- and those are Bush supporters."
In related news, Wal-Mart is the nation's largest retailer.
Why is the story of the looted explosives at al Qaqaa is even a story? What's new here? The U.S. military and the Bush administration have a long history of incompetence in protecting things that blow up.
** The U.S. didn't bother to guard Tuwaitha, Iraq's main nuclear facility. (This is kind of odd considering we were about to be engulfed in an Iraqi mushroom cloud.) CNN reported on May 8, 2003 that residents were emptying drums of yellowcake on the ground and using them to hold water. The IAEA said the looted material could be used by terrorists to create a "dirty bomb."
** More than a year ago, on October 14, 2003, the New York Times reported, "The two most recent suicide bombings here and virtually every other attack on American soldiers and Iraqis were carried out with explosives and materiel taken from Saddam Hussein's former weapons dumps, which are much larger than previously estimated and remain, for the most part, unguarded by American troops..."
** As recently as two weeks ago, a CNN headline read "Nuclear materials 'vanish' in Iraq", and inside says, "Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq, the chief of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog agency has warned."
So what's the big deal about an extra 380 tons of explosives that blow up our troops?October 27, 2004
I wanted to write about Ron Brownstein's superb analysis of the electorate a couple of nights ago, but had too many beers and passed out on the couch. At least I think that's what happened. Anyhow, The Votemaster over at electoral-vote.com sums the piece up better than I ever would've:
In short, far more than in previous years, economic policy is taking a back seat to cultural issues. The real divide seems to be between deeply religious lower income, lower education, voters living in small towns and rural areas who have conservative values on abortion and gay marriage versus higher income, higher education, secular, urban voters who have progressive views on cultural issues.October 26, 2004
It's bad enough Shrub's Inane Iraq Misadventure killed a lot of people and is a foreign policy disaster, but the amount of cash we're paying to make this mess is nutty. Bush is now asking for $70 fucking billion more. Some perspective:
Yale University economist William D. Nordhaus estimated that in inflation-adjusted terms, World War I cost just under $200 billion for the United States. The Vietnam War cost roughly $500 billion from 1964 to 1972, Nordhaus said. The cost of the Iraq war could reach nearly half that number by next fall, 2 1/2 years after it began.October 25, 2004
I'm a big fan of Ciomi McCabe's Block Headwear, and after some prodding from this really annoying guy from Minneapolis, she's finally put her latest lines on her web site. Cool stuff. If you don't look ridiculous in hats. Which you might.
Obviously feeling the pressure from lower-cost competitors Blockbuster and Wal-Mart, Netflix has lowered the monthly fee from $21.99 to $17.99.
And by the way, Cin-O-Matic has the most kick-ass Netflix integration imaginable. A single click adds any movie to your Netflix queue.October 22, 2004
Most Bush Supporters Are Raging Ignoramuses
That may as well be the headline for the new study from the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).
For Christ's sake:
72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%).
75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found.
Can someone please explain how a sentient human being, even one whose only news source is Fox, still think Iraq had WMD?! That's nearly half of Bush supporters.
And here's one last gem highlighting how completely clueless these people are:
57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush's reelection.
Puh-leeeeeze. In the unlikely event of a Bush loss on November 2, there is going to be a gigantic fucking world party.October 21, 2004
Praise The Lord!
According to Rev. Pat Robertson, the Lord told him the war on Iraq "was going to be A, a disaster and, B, messy."October 15, 2004
Fire the fat guy in the mariachi shirt.
I've been calling for Mike Sherman's head ever since he called an idiotic onside kick against the Bears on October 1st, 2000, down by only 3 at the 2:00 warning and with all 3 timeouts*, but now it really is time for him to go.
(* One of Dack's Golden Rules of NFL Coaching: If, at the 2:00 warning, down by < 9, with < 60 points on the scoreboard, with all 3 timeouts, you always kick it deep.)
Last night on a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chat with Bob McGinn, the best goddamn football writer on the planet, he strongly hinted that this might be Sherman's last year as part of the Packers organization.
Q: Brian of Brown Deer - How connected is Harlan to whats going on with the team? I have a feeling Green Bay might have to go through several sub-par (5-7 win seasons) before Harlan would ever consider making a change at coach or gm.
And that clearly means firing the fat guy in the mariachi shirt.October 12, 2004
I'd really like to participate in the boycott of Sinclair Broadcasting's advertisers, but it's damn hard. Applebees? Chili's? Dodge? JC Penny? Kraft Foods? Papa John's? Subway? Wal Mart? Fucking Wal Mart?!?! I've been boycotting Sinclair Broadcasting's advertisers for years, apparently.October 11, 2004
In The Bag:
Lace-up Waxwear duck boots by J. Crew. $148.October 8, 2004
Wow. I knew the debt was bad, but I didn't know it was this bad.
The government has to borrow an average of more than $1.1 billion a day to pay its bills, and it spends more on interest payments on the federal debt each year -- about $159 billion -- than it does on education, homeland security, justice and law enforcement, veterans, international aid, and space exploration combined.
Combined?!? Next person you hear say "deficits don't matter," please kick them squarely in the balls.October 5, 2004
Over at Cin-O-Matic we're proud to announce a deal with the Christian Science Monitor to add their in-house critic -- David Sterritt -- to our critic list. He's a solid critic who covers most of the small releases and independent films. And he's stingy, which we really like.
If you're not already a regular user of Cin-O-Matic, what the hell is your problem?
I love Paul Smith. But for the love of Pete, what is he thinking with these cheeseball Zodiac tees?!
Zodiac tees, by Paul Smith, via Neiman Marcus. $110.
Another little lie in the big lie that was the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection, up in smoke, thanks to Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay and John Walcott.
A new CIA assessment undercuts the White House's claim that Saddam Hussein maintained ties to al-Qaida, saying there's no conclusive evidence that the regime harbored Osama bin Laden associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
And much more inside. What's a good over/under on the number of days before Dick Cheney repeats the lie? .5?
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