Million Dollar Baby

Orson Scott Card says it better than I can, but . . . [*1]
I succumbed to the hype (and Snookums’ birthday wishes) and went to see Million Dollar Baby. Ugh. One star out of five. There are some amusing moments, but not nearly enough of them. Overall, I came away from the movie feeling unclean. OK, here’s the deal. I go to movies to be entertained. I do not enjoy spending two hours watching suffering, a taste of success, and then have everything come crashing down. That’s what this movie is, however. Million Dollar Baby is also glacially slow at most points, to the extent that you’re sitting there wondering what Clint is trying to do in a particular scene, rather than being fully engaged in the movie.

And, the ending. Oh, the ending. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading here.

Spoiler warning.

Last chance.

OK, here’s the “surprise” ending. The boxer girl Maggie has finally reached the World Championship match. The current World Champion is the queen of dirty boxers. After the bell rings for round #2, Maggie turns and goes to her corner, is sucker punched by the champ, falls into the upturned stool, and breaks her neck, leaving her a quadraplegic. OK, I’m still with the movie at this point. I’m asking myself, how is Clint going to make this good? Well, the short answer is, Clint doesn’t. After forty-five excruciating minutes (but not for the reason Clint wanted, they were just s l o w), Clint decides to send Maggie to the great beyond. Takes off her breathing tube, then squirts her with a syringe full of adrenaline. Then Clint just vanishes. Goes away. That’s it. End of movie. Roll the credits. Collect the awards. Feh.

I’m not that worked up about the whole euthanasia thing, really. It’s just that this movie is so slow and ham-handed in how it approaches the final coup de injection that all emotional punch is lost well before the final moment. Sorry, critics, this is just bad movie-making. Bad. Bad, do you hear? BAD!

Hunter S. Thompson Shoots Himself

Hunter S. Thompson fatally shoots himself [*1]
“For the whole point on this picaresque is that the American-style rogue-hero must not merely tease or insult the Silent Majority, but abuse it, outrage it, twist it, hurt it, smash it,” he once wrote.

I’ll admit, I’m not a big HST fan. But, he was an icon of antiauthority and the founder of “gonzo journalism” which subsequently metastatized into Dan Rather, Steve Irwin (the “Crocodile Hunter”) and reality TV. His passing, by self-inflicted gunshot wound, was probably predictable.

Welcome Home

De Smet keeps busy preparing for return. [*1]
DE SMET – There’s a sense of relief and excitement these days among the 1,100 residents of De Smet. The relief comes in knowing that members of the 153rd Engineer Battalion are in Kuwait, a much safer place than they spent previous months while serving their nation in Iraq.

Welcome home, we’re proud of you. The Anheuser/Busch Super Bowl ad was for you.

Morning Whip, 2/24/05

Our good friends at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (sarcasm intended) have apparently realized that salt is bad.[*1]

Ladies and gentlemen, the cowbell[*2] . The cowbell[*3] .

You all probably knew this already, but Google Maps [*4] is quite cool.

Spyware removal links, courtesy NetworkWorldFusion’s Compendium blog:

Remote BHO exploit scanner[*5] .

Dave Piscitello [*6] apparently dislikes spyware as much or more than I do.

And, one of the motherships of the anti-spyware movement:[*7] .