December 20, 2004

House of Flying Daggers

Got to see a movie yesterday--a rare occasion, given that the last movie I saw was "Day after Tomorrow" six months ago.

Some thoughts on "House of Flying Daggers":

1. Incredible scenery. All during the movie, I kept thinking, "That doesn't look like China..." During my big month-long tour of China back in '82 I saw a lot of pretty places (West Lake, Suchow, etc) but nothing like the meadows and forests depicted in the movie. Then I noticed that it was actually the Ukraine. Fantastic! At least they didn't totally ape the Lord of the Rings stuff and film down in New Zealand.

2. Lord of the Rings stuff: Ok, they did copy (er, were inspired) by the LOTR trilogy. Some of the horseriding shots were reminiscent of the other movie. But I think mostly it was the casting of Kaneshiro (the Japanese Orlando Bloom?), complete with long ponytail and supernatural archery skills.

But I left the theater wanting to train, as always when watching a good m-a flick. Time to dust off those old throwing knives!

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December 09, 2004

Outrage as famous NY hawk evicted

Outrage as famous NY hawk evicted

photo of Pale Male's nest in NYC

So this red-tailed hawk that lives on the same building Mary Tyler Moore lives in had its nest whacked the other day. Guess he should've paid his rent on time. And as a former movie star (aren't they all on the Upper East Side?), he should've been good for the money, right?

But really, I think this sucks. Not like the hawk was pecking noses off babies or anything. Maybe too many snooty folks got bird poop on their expensive furs.

BBC quoted the building's lawyer: "Aaron Shmulewitz, also said Pale Male and his family had brought 'torn and bleeding animal carcasses' to the building's roof and pavement below." So what? Like these people have never eaten meat before? Never ordered steak tartare? I bet they don't even go hunting.

Of course, if this was just some ordinary bird, and not an "upper-caste" raptor, no one would care. What, there's a pigeon on my building? Hand me my air rifle, please... Woo hoo! Squab for dinner!

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December 03, 2004

Dueling with Sword and Pistol

Just finished Paul Kirchner's latest book on the Code Duelo: Dueling with Sword and Pistol. Like his previous book on historical warriors, The Deadliest Men, this book is meticulously researched and makes history fascinating.

Dueling with Sword and Pistol

This is the kind of stuff I wish we got to read in high school history classes. Kirchner talks about all sorts of notables from US history: representatives to Congress, state politicians and the like, who duked it out to settle their differences. And of course, Kirchner covers Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr, which is a totally interesting story. Can you imagine a grudge match between a modern era SecTreas and US Senator? "...Glocks at 20 paces. Behind the Washington Monument at high noon. Be there, muthaf-cker!"

But nooooo, high school history class was incredibly boring. All I remember of sophomore year world history was the teacher's recollection of being made to swallow a goldfish during his frat hazing.

Now I'm not advocating that our elected officials return to dueling to settle differences--although wouldn't that be more civilized than telling someone to 'f-ck yourself', Mr. Cheney?.

Good thing the Russians are our pals now. Putin, with his sambo/judo black belts and KGB secret-killer moves, would kick our president's ass. But watch out, President Schwartzenegger will change that balance of power right quick.

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