Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hobbit, Battle of Five Armies

So I went to see it at the Jax Jr in Littleton  last night.  Pretty full house seeing as the movie has been playing for four nights already.  Lotta kids, lotta highschoolers with dates.  It was in 3D, which I find somewhat annoying.  Although they have improved the 3D process, the screen is sharper and in better focus this time.
   As a Tolkien fan since forever I had to see this one, even though the critics have panned it.  Actually the critics are onto something.  The movies has a lotta fighting, lotta marching armies, Smaug the dragon incinerating Esgaroth-upon-the-Long-Lake, Bard the bowman shooting down the dragon on the wing.  Vast armies of Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs, marking in step, pikes out.  Sword fights on crumbling stone bridges. 
  Movie is weak on names.  It opens with a glamorous red haired elven princess falling in love with a Dwarf.  She survives the whole movie but I never did catch her name.  Dwarf name I did catch, sorta, it was either Fili or Kili.  The hairstylists went a little overboard on long and shaggy hair and beards for all the guys and Dwarves. The Orcs bring a lot of trolls to the battle, 12 foot tall, beer bellies like a filing cabinet, blue skin, capable of head butting their way thru stone walls.  The ordinary sized characters like Thorin seem to be able to cut them down with just swords, no big problem. 
   We won't comment upon how well the movie follows the book.  You have to enjoy the flick on its own terms. 
  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sony Folds

In response to some emailed threats of violence, Sony withdrew it's new comedy film, which skewered North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un.
   This prompted Newt Gingrich to decry the action as losing the first cyberwar battle.   I suppose. On the other hand I always thought Sony was a Japanese company.  I guess Newt has an inclusive vision of who constitutes "us".  Certainly the Japanese have been loyal and useful American allies and trade partners for 70 years  so maybe they are "us".
   Pulling the film means Sony gives up box office revenues, still the most important  revenue source for movies.  They have some $40 million sunk into production costs which Sony is kissing good bye.  Of course these are the same Sony executives who were dumb enough commit their snark to email.  Everyone (except Sony execs)  knows email is so insecure that any thing put in email might as well be posted on the local bulletin board.  You don't bad mouth customers or acting talent you might need to do business with, in public.  Email is public.  Ollie North showed us this back during the Iran Contra affair in the 1980's.  Sony execs are slow learners.  Dead slow.
   You also have to wonder about terrorist/hacker good faith.  Sony pulls the flick, but will the terrorist/hackers refrain  from publishing more embarrassing emails?  Or call off their theater shooters? Who knows?
    Uncle Sam is making noises like the Sony hack was done by the North Koreans.  It will be interesting to see what evidence they can produce.  Surely the hackers went thru one of the various anonymizer sites to cover their tracks. 
    Another question.  How do you go about retaliating?  Do the Norks even have computers for us to hack back at?  Surely they don't have on line banking or stock trading for us to mess up.  Are we willing to call a hack attack an act of war and take some kind of real military action against the Norks?  I don't think so.  They don't have any international trade to speak of.  They don't care about world opinion. 
   
  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cannon Mountain Ski Weather

We got maybe two inches of fresh snow last night.  Temperature this morning is just below freezing. 

So what do we get for recognizing Communist Cuba?

Nothing.  Obama, now he gets into the history books.  The lefties, who write the history books, run the schools, and control the MSM, love the idea.  They will give it a good press, possible for the next fifty years.  So Obama did it for him, not for the country.
   Diplomatic recognition is desperately important to the Castro regime.  It means the Americans will give up attempts at regime change, something that we have tried in the past.  Rumor has it the CIA tried to kill Fidel with a poison laden cigar back in the day.  Now, with embassies established in Havana and Washington,  all the Cuban have to fear is nasty diplomatic notes, rather than a second Bay of Pigs. 
   Charles Krauthammer groused that Obama gave the Castros diplomatic recognition with out demanding any concessions from the Cubans in return.  He has a point.  On the other hand, what concessions, short of shutting down the communist police state, do the Cubans have to make?  They are broke, their people barely have enough to eat, they lack natural resources, they have nothing worthwhile to export save cigars.
   So Obama, grabbing for his place in the history books, hands the Castros a fantastic bennie. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What is the business model of radio stations??

I mean like what do they do to make money?  We got stations up here that never run ads.  Never do news or weather, never even do a station break.  Never play new music.  They play a reasonable mix of older pop music, some of it a half century old. 
   How do they make enough money to pay the rent and the electric bill? 
   Could it be that Clearchannel bought them up and has plans for the future, but for right now they just keep them on the air to avoid loosing the license?

Strange, I never heard of any of 'em before today

TV news is full of the Allan Gross story.  The Cubans released Gross from a Cuban jail and allowed him to return to the US.  As part of the deal, we released three Cuban spies held in US jails.  I'm happy for Gross, and his wife, and the rest of his family. 
  Funny thing, I never heard of Gross before this.  Lame stream media at work again.  Nor had I heard of the spy cases that got us three Cuban spies.  More good lame stream media work.  Keeping the public informed.  All the news that fits, we print. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ruble falls. About time too.

The Russian ruble is down to 80 rubles to the dollar today.  It was at 64 when the markets opened in the morning.  Lots of financial talk about why.
  I'll tell you why.  The Russians have nothing to sell to anyone except crude oil.  The only reason to have rubles is to buy stuff from the Russians.  Nobody else will accept rubles, 'cause there is nothing you can do with them.  I'm surprised it took the banks this long to wise up.  Now that the Americans have vastly increased their oil production, everyone would rather do business with the Americans, who are reasonable honest, and aren't threatening to invade their customers.
   For that matter, I don't understand why any bank would loan the Russians money.  They don't have the income to pay off a loan, they defaulted on their loans only  a few years ago, and Russian courts won't support foreigners who sue Russians to get  their money back.  Loaning to the Russians is worse than playing the derivative market.  At least US courts will enforce derivative contracts, which is more than Russian courts will do.