We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers Martin Luther King

Tides Of Change by Panic Wolf
Click images for desktop size: “Tides of Change” by Panic Wolf
I can’t imagine I’m not the only person who’s aggravated by George Bush going on about what a great party time he’s had as president. He sounds like an unrepentant frat rat, which I guess he is and just never out grew.French Dr No
To celebrate the first black president Bush plans to retire to a restricted community. I didn’t think such things still existed. I was wrong. Hatred and intolerance will always find a nasty way to fight on.
I’m also irked that he claims to have saved us from any future terrorist attacks. No freedom. A Stalinist regime and the price he The Three Stooges
Click image: “The Three Stooges”
claims is that we’ve had no more terrorist attacks. Its not worth it. I lost a friend in the Pentagon crash so I don’t think lightly of the hatred that generated that but since there were only two foreign attacks in out history both at the World Trade Center I don’t think the suffering Bush inflicts on us as his legacy probably prevented much of anything.
When you don’t recant the lies you’ve been caught out in I find it impossible to accept many other claims.

Didn’t do much yesterday. Got some things accomplished but never enough.
Tranquil Surface
Click images for desktop size: “Tranquil Surface” by Unknown
I fell asleep with the giant dog, watching “Law and Order”. He woke me shortly after when Jack McCoy came on. He can’t control his excitement on seeing or hearing Jack McCoy . . . When I woke up it felt like my mouth was filled with dry blood. This is a new one. I went to brush my teeth and, sure enough, my mouth was filled with blood. I have no idea what caused this. No side effects but how strange.
The internet went out for about 2 hours. Its most worrisome when you only have a VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone. Still, this is the longest its ever gone down in the 7 months since we’ve had the cheap alternative ISP (internet service provider). I remember it going down far March Of Comics 7 more often when we had the full over priced dsl service. So no real complaints.
I did feel oddly isolated and slightly anxious not being able to get email.
Took the dogs for a walk. It was worse outside then I expected. A nice cold sunny day but the rain and slush had frozen everything into a nice icy sheet. I fell 3 times. The last one sort of dazed me but no serious damage. And no dogs dragging me down the street by their leashes.
I was looking at some old reports. I think I’m shrinking. Before Thanksgiving I was 6 feet tall and 192. On Tuesday I was just under 6 foot and 188 pounds! I like the movie “The Incredible Shrinking Man” so I think this is cool. You can shrink with no pain and get to fight spiders with a pin for a sword so I’m sort of looking forward to shrinking. I figure if I’m smaller we cannot only have so many more adventures but it will hurt a lot less when I fall on the ice.
Two small pieces of good news. All the schools and hospitals use a couple of different services to black list web sites. Partially to protect the kids and partly to keep the staff from skeeving off. They automatically block all bogs, sex, porn and any mention of weapons. I’m always happy when they tell me they’ve approved my puppy’s site so that the kids can see.
Yesterday I got two such messages. One from the Mayo Clinic and another from the State of Indiana Board of Education. Its the first time I’ve heard from a state. Usually its a county, or a district Violet Christmas Night
Click images for desktop size: “Violet Christmas Night” by Unknown
and most often individual schools. I put on another movie. The giant dog was excited. He thought we were going to watch his new hero “White Dog” again. He was disappointed when the movie was the Mainland China film, “The Underdog Knight”.
I guess when we owe them 3 or 4 years of our Gross National Product its no longer cool to call Mainland China, Red China.
China seems to have decided on two different strategies for their entertainment. There are the big Hong Kong movies that they successfully promote internationally and then there are the films that are intended for just China. Some of those just in China only movies are pretty fantastic. “Assembly” was a devastating war movie, even if it was from the side of the People’s Liberation Army.
“The Underdog Knight” is pretty stunning. A much smaller film much more Chinese than I could Santa Claus Conquers the Martians completely grasp. A lot of history that its just assumed that we’re familiar with. Its embarrassing that I have no idea who the great Chinese heroes are.
The movie is about Loa Sin. His entire life has been devoted to joining the Chinese Navy, the tough guy equivalent of our Marines. In the Navy he excels. He worships his commander who respects Loa Sin.
Then Loa Sin has to pay the price of heroism. A fellow recruit falls into the icy water and seems doomed. Loa Sin dives in after him and rescues him, The guy he saves is fine but Loa Sin has suffered brain damage from the oxygen deprivation. The brain damage has had a grave effect on his intelligence. He’s functioning at about a 9 year olds level.
Its something of an indictment of the system that the kid is given a medal and then sent home with no pension or plan for his care and future.
Loa Sin lives with his mother and trains maniacally. He doesn’t practice kung fu but the vicious street fighting techniques used by the Navy. He has a solid grasp of reality but channels through a consistent lifetime of experience and a nine year old grasp of the emotions.
He continues to act as if he is in the Navy. He looks in the mirror and speaks to himself as if he were his commanding officer.
His CO left the Navy and tried to stop a mugging. The CO succeeded but was seriously injured. Loa Sin interprets this as a command. “The word is to destroy evil. I am the word.”
Loa Sin attacks purse snatchers, mugger and con men all of which are far too prevalent in modern Fashion Sex Politics and Music 4
Click images for desktop size: “Fashion Sex Politics and Music” by S4W
Bejing. The cops would like to stop him, they call him “Kick and Run”.
His mother wants him to stop fighting. His girlfriend, who seems to have stayed in love and loyal to him through his accident, wants him to stop fighting. Loa Sin can’t stop. It is his reason for life, to stop the evil, the liars and the cheaters.
He fights and it is brutal. And yet the fight scenes are tinged with this moving desperation. Loa Sin not only needs to fight his battles but we need him to keep fighting for us.
There’s a plot. Anthony Wong, the noted Hong Kong actor, plays a fabulous villain. Wong is not evil. He is proud of being a criminal. He has his own rigid code of ethics that are lofty and can only be considered ideals.
The sub plots involve his relationship with the beautiful girl who claims to be loyal to him and clearly loves him and cares about him. There’s also his best friend a nine year old deaf kid. Their A Lady Without A Passport friendship is very well portrayed. The deaf kid is probably smarter than Loa Sin and is truly his friend and ally.
Finally there is the Police Lieutenant who is all shot and beaten up. He lost his partner to some of the criminals that Lao Sin beats up everyday. He empathizes with Lao Sin, even admires him. He and Wong are the only characters in the film who feel heartbreak when confronted with Loa Sin’s reality.
The plot develops in a most satisfying and exciting way but the movie isn’t about police tactics and fighting. Like all the best films its about the characters, unique people who are forged by the world they must live in.
For me its another of the best films of 2008.

Todays Christmas music is a gentler mixed bag.
Untitled by VM
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by VM
I’ve always been fond of those odd little stings that bands used to put out to celebrate the Season. Things like Dennis Wilson’s “Christmas Message” used to play in between the songs on the radio and gave us the impression that we were closer to the pop stars we loved then we actually were.
They’ve tried to regenerate this tiny Christmas custom with stuff like Jackie Chan’s “Christmas Message” . These things have a certain charm for me anyway and when you throw it on the tape of CD they break up the songs nicely and seem to take you to someplace different in Christmas land.
In terms of foreign land Christmases. Here’s two. The first is crazy cool weird. A Swedish band calls themselves the Fab Four. They released two albums of Christmas music. The take is that they do the tracks in the style of the Beatles . . . yeah. Its weird. Like this crazy take on “Hark! The Hearld Angels Sing”, Aliens 2which is sort of like to the tune of the Beatles, “Help!”
The there’s that most foreign land in America, HAWAII. One of the coolest records I used to own was the 45 of Alfred Apaca doing “Mele Kalihimala”. It had a picture sleeve with Apaca standing in front of a trimmed out palm tree. I lost the single years ago but remember it fondly. This is a new version, The Blue Hawaiians doing “Mele Kalihimala”. Its no way as cool as Apaca’s but it’s cool in its own right. “Mele Kalihimala is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day.” Cool stuff.
Finally you always need songs that aren’t about Christmas per se but still fit the mood. Normally I’m not much into piano music. Too many arguments with keyboardists . . . but this is a song I’d like to learn piano to play. Its another slowed down take on a Buddy Holly number done by another guitarist, Albert Lee singing Buddy Holly’s “Learning The Game”. Its as beautiful as you can stand it and perfect for tree trimming with that certain special one.

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