Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sharia in SLC

Thanks to LGF for pointing this out. It seems some Taxi drivers have had enough Sharia at the SLC airport to last a life time:

Shuttle driver Jeff Brueningsen took photos inside the building he and other drivers share at the airport. "It was definitely an Islamic center." He said it didn't feel right, so he filed a complaint with the FAA against the airport.

"In proper, polite company you never bring up politics or religion. And they introduced both instantly into what's supposed to be a professional, secular transportation-aviation facility," Brueningsen said.

In the complaint he details claims that he was harassed by a group of Muslim drivers who he says have threatened to kill him. It came to a head earlier this month when Brueningsen says Mohammed Alahmed and other drivers attacked him.

"They were going like this, using their fingers, saying, ‘You F-ing Jew, you don't want us to pray here,'" Brueningsen says.

Alahmed says it was the other way around, that Brueningsen tried to stop him from praying.

"He say the F word against me, and I didn't do anything. And he grabbed me from my shirt and hit me with his hand," Alahmed said.

Airport police investigated and charged only Brueningsen with assault. Shortly after, the airport closed the building, and Muslim drivers began praying outside. No one was happy.

You don't say. Here's part of what I posted in the LGF comments:

In the 90's, Salt Lake became a haven for many refugees because of the cheap cost of living and surplus of jobs. As a commercial Real Estate Broker I can tell you, there re quite a few wealthy upstanding Muslim citizens in town. The Islamic society of Salt Lake is generally a very patriotic and law-abiding entity on the scene. The West Valley Mosque is one of the largest in the West. That being said, I can tell you exactly where these aggressive cab drivers are from: Somalia. Not Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Iran, Somalia. The Somalis are some of the most pious and traditional Muslims I've ever dealt with. I once had a Somali tenant that I was forced to drop because he made a request something along the lines of:

"We need the landlord to install a separate window to the butcher room for women to stand in line separate form the men."

Assimilation is the main problem here. A simple refusal to integrate into the community. Perhaps it has something to do with being "new" or recent immigrants, I don't know, but I felt like I was standing in Mogadishu for a few minutes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Review - There Will Be Blood - Now With More Shiny Spoiler

I still feel sort of icky. This flick hit me like that slasher/sex-with-fat-chick-nightmare one has after a night cuddling a bottle of cheap Sherry after snorting an Ambien. Never mind. At once horrifying and calming, I can say with assurance that I've never had an experience like this at the multiplex. Much has been said of PT Anderson's quest to demonise capitalism and religion with this movie, but those elements didn't compute for me. Instead, on purpose or not, he ends up creating an engrossing mood so powerful that the mood overshadows the plot, sometimes to it's detriment. More often than not, what I felt I was watching was an experiment to see how alternately uncomfortable and comfortable he could make the experience for the viewer, but with such thematic and visual flair that one easily forgets the "rules", whatever they are, of movie making.

The landscapes and set pieces are gorgeous. In one scene, some of the most innovative work I've ever seen involves simple silhouettes as we see the oil derrick ablaze with the alien outlines of oil workers set against massive flames. Soon, we're on the bucolic central California coast, swimming under golden hills. Then a brutal act of violence. Scene after scene, Andersen sets out to disturb the viewer, with the help of RadioHead guitarist Johnny Greenwood's at times ultra-dissonant score. I was happy to pick out moving passages from Estonian composer Arvo Part and some Brahms as well. I must say that much of the score seems heavily derivative of Hungarian composer Gyogi Ligetis' work with quartets. Massive passages seem like they owe themselves to Ligeti's 3rd Quartet in particular. I don't know if it was part homage to the man or not, but I couldn't help but notice the raw similarity. The score mostly succeeds, and does so very well. I liked that against the more jarring passages, we also have some nice theme work to provide respite. It follows the film with incredible accuracy, many times becoming a charachter in the scenes alongside the absolutely bat shit, insanely incredible performance by Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview. No wonder he so rarely makes a film. It looks exhausting. Completely restrained one moment and a torrent of rage the next, his will be a performance that's studied by movieheads (like me) and actors for decades to come.

Paul Dano has been hailed in his portrayal of Eli and Paul Sunday in the film. Me, ehh, not so much. While Dano does an admirable job and plays the part within his abilities, he fails to convince in the more flamboyant scenes. It's in these moments that we are supposed to take Sunday on as the films' counterweight, but Dano fails to convince. His visage is all prairie-Bakersfield, but his delivery is anything but evangelical. In fairness, there are very few souls who could counterweight Day Lewis in this meaty opportunity.

As a person familiar with Central Valley/NW Mojave oil and mining history, it was disappointing to see the plot-tool treatment of the religious congregations. The pious, rather than playing an essential role in the development of the region, are like the "unknown" Smurfs that littered the background behind Papa, Smurfette and co., just so much blue in the background. Reduced to stiff mannequins shouting hallelujah, we get nothing from their presence other than people for Daniel Plainview to hate and Eli Sunday to con. On to the last movement, we see Daniel Plainview as a wretched-old-rich-man cliche ending with the cherry on top, when PT Anderson exorcises his personal hangups with religion as Plainview simply bludgeons them to death with a bowling pin in a fit of rage that had many audience members laughing out loud.

Despite its shortcomings, what unfolds is an absolutely singular movie experience that sticks to your ribs for a long while, on par with Aguire the Wrath of God and Badlands, neither of which were perfect either. I highly recommend this movie. I know it's a cliche, but it is a masterpiece. As I left the theater, I half expected to see caked-up oil gook under my fingernails and I still, three days later, feel a little dirty.

Uno Mas, Por Favor

This made my day. If proven true, I'll live longer than Moses.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Somebody call the goal post moving crew

When Iraq started getting ghoulish in about mid 2005, the left was quick to point out that what we where witnessing was a Civil War. By doing so they denied the truth, which was often observed by us gleeful civilian slaughterers like myself who supported the invasion, that what we where watching was anything but. Observations that the bulk of the suicide bombings and head choppings where being carried out by foreigners pointed to more of a war-by-proxy for the various asshole Islamofascist entities in the region. The reaction of the peace-mongers to this truth tended to discount or minimize the presence of foreign elements in order to fit the narrative chosen by, well, whoever the hell makes those decisions for the lefties. Somebody makes those calls, right? They all think the exact same things at all times.

This article paints a new portrait of the insurgency. New to whom? The Washington Post of course. In the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, U.S. forces found the records of 606 foreign Jihadis who entered Iraq to get a little piece of the action. It turns out that Al Qaeda in Iraq keeps records like any beaurocracy. This cache of records has inspired U.S. authorities to tick up the estimate from 75% to 90% of all suicide attackers are foriegners. Expect the media/leftist narrative to shift from "There are no foreigners fighting in Iraq, and Al Qaeda in Iraq has no connection to Al Qaeda proper" to something like "Well, they weren't there until we invaded." Whether they were or not makes little difference to me. They are there now and we are Barbequeing them at a rate and with such succulent juicyness that Micheal Moore should drool at the very mention of Foreign Jihadi.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coal Corruption

Mr. Reynolds has an IBD editorial linked that has some really bad implications for Billary. If true, this could be the end (how many times will THAT be said about those damned Hill-Billies?). Speaking of Hill-Billies, close your eyes if you don't want to be disturbed (don't know who to credit with this nightmare):

Back in the pack

Just got my current business project online and can now do some posting. It's been a real bugger to get going and took up most of my time for the last three months (other than basic bodily functions). Thanks to all two of you who read this space for your patience.