The Dog's Tits
Live Whacking Archive
Caused by two things:
The problem turned out to be the dreaded nv4_disp.dll 'infinite loop' problem, related to my nvidia graphics card.
Big deal I thought at first. The web had a million solutions on offer. The problem is, not one of them worked: reinstalling nvidia drivers, installing older versions of the drivers, opening up the case and making sure everything was dust-free and everything connected/seated properly, downloaded an "infinite loop fix", etc. etc.
Nothing bloody worked.
A friend of mine told me that I was essentially buggered and would need to get a new card. I had to agree, and ordered myself a brand new nVidia Sparkle 8600GTS off an excellent Ebay seller. Also got a new PSU to go with it, considering how power-hungry the card is.
The moral of this story kiddies is this: if you have an nVidia card on your machine, and you get a BSOD that mentions "nv4_disp.dll" and "infinite loop", don't waste your time trying to fix it, just get a new bloody card.
BTW, as for the card itself, it offers great performance, especially compared with my previous GeForce6600. It does have one weird nVidia bug though: in Call of Duty 2, the game will not work if you turn on anti-aliasing. Still, everything else is brilliant, so I'm happy.
This is the 4th time in 2 years I've experienced the joys of this condition. Here's how it works.
I assure you, this is as fun as it sounds.
There's a website called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth.
How seriously should you take this list of geniuses?
Last year, the Valentino Rossi groupies threw a gigantic hissy fit when their "greatest rider of all time" lost his MotoGP title to American Nicky Hayden.
Good old Vale was somehow the "real" world champ because of <insert comical list of excuses here>.
Amusingly, this year is turning out even worse for them. Rossi is, quite simply, getting his arse kicked by young Aussie Casey Stoner. In both wet & dry conditions, on both fast tracks and twisty ones, Rossi has had his arse handed to him on a plate. His aura of invincibility has simply been shattered forever.
It hasn't just been the results either. Rossi has been displaying a little more mental fragility than his worshippers feel comfortable with. When Rossi cracked under pressure and crashed at Valencia last year, it was passed off as some kind of aberration. But we've seen it this year as well: his crybaby whining about Tony Elias' aggressive pass on him in Turkey. A pass which looked pretty much the same as Rossi's move on Gibernau at Catalunya in 2005. Back then of course, Rossi and his army of dills thought it was perfectly fair and taunted Gibernau for complaining about it. Then he threw it in the gravel at the recent Sachsenring round.
Then God Boy started bleating about the new tyre regulations, which he originally supported, and was deservedly smacked down for it in public by Stoner.
Naturally, the world-wide-web of Rossi-philes are raging against all this grotesque injustice. The primary target of their anger are the tyre regulations. It's just all so unfair. Now, hilariously, they are demanding a control tyre, because Rossi uses the Michelin brand (which has won every premier class title for the last 15+ years) which is now clearly inferior to the Bridgestones which Stoner uses. How do we know the Michelins are inferior? Because Rossi isn't winning of course.....
Next year, the "46" groupies will probably be demanding a points-penalty system for anyone whose name isn't Valentino.
This Google search appeared in my referral log yesterday.
Here's the money quote:
Because pricks like you will put us in jail, you retarded, dirty, lying, hypocritical, nanny-statist motherfucking cunt-faced miserable thieving HomoKojak in-bred arsehole.
I'm gonna be fucking sick.
21 July 2007
Terje Petersen, commenting on Kevin Rudd's cretinous plan to "investigate" grocery prices:
A pity some people never learn. On usenet last week, some idiot actually said that Woolworths should be "investigated" for "anti-competitive behaviour" because Woollies "doesn't compete with itself". I am not making this up.
I took BMW's f800s out for a test-ride last weekend.
The demo bike I rode was equipped with a BMW top box, heated grips, on-board computer, and ABS. It had only 110kms on the clock, so it really was brand spanking new. The demo bike was for sale at around $19,200 ride-away. The non-abs version (with no add-ons) is $16,290.
That's a lot of money for a mere 800cc parallel twin. The astounding part is that it's probably worth it.
There are bikes, even a lot of good ones, which are a mere collection of separate components. Then there are bikes where you get the sense that every single component was designed with the other components in mind: a bike which feels integrated.
The BMW f800s is one of these bikes.
The bike oozes class. The quality of finish is beautiful, as is the single-sided swingarm. Even the seat looks good. The f800s has a finger-twist knob for instant preload adjustment, doing away with the need for a bloody hammer n' screwdriver job on the rear shock.
The ride quality was eye-opening. Despite the fairly soft non-adjustable forks, the bike handled as if it was on rails. Not a single instance of bar-twitch or any feeling that I might lose the front. It's a super-stable package that inspires confidence. The brakes are brilliant. I didn't dare test the anti-lock system, but for regular use they have tons of stopping power with a quality level of feedback at the lever.
As for the powerplant, a modest 85hp parallel twin may not look much on the spec sheet, but its a beautiful thing on the move. There is instant drive on offer thanks to the linear torque curve and excellent belt-drive system. There's isn't the nasty jerky throttle response you get with the big sports twins.
Unlike the Buell XB9R and Ducati Monster 1000, there isn't a sudden drop-off in acceleration once you hit 5000 revs. There's usable drive almost up to the redline. In fact, the engine puts the Buell and Ducati to shame, especially when you consider it's 85cc smaller than the Buell and 200cc smaller than the Duke!
Having said that, this bike isn't going to win a drag race against a Hayabusa. Acceleration is crisp and smooth, but you won't get the neck-snapping burst of speed present on more serious sports tackle. But that's not what this bike is about. It's a perfect engine for gliding through a series of curves, rolling on and off the throttle.
As for other areas of the bike, it's a mixed bag. The grips have little cushioning and will make your hands numb after a while. This can be easily fixed by some cheap tennis-racquet grip-tape from a sports store, but it's a pity BMW couldn't have provided something as simple as decent grips.
As far as the heating of the grips goes: yowza. You could cook eggs on these bloody things. I had to turn them on to the 'low' setting, as even through my winter gloves they were uncomfortably hot. It wasn't a particularly cold day however, so they'd be bloody brilliant on bitter winter mornings.
Now for a negative: the switchgear is simply idiotic. Rather than the simple one-button system used by other manufacturers, BMW, for reasons known only to themselves, use three fucking buttons: one on each side, plus a third button on the right to deactivate. It's bloody stupid, pointless, uncomfortable and distracting.
The 'on-board computer' is excellent, with tripmeter, temp, fuel guage and a 'distance till empty' indicator. Unfortunately, you have to pay extra to get this 'computer'. How ridiculous. No wonder people make the joke of BMW standing for "bring more wallet".
The speedo and tacho are the old analogue style, though the numbers on the speedo are too small.
The seat seems comfy, though it'd take a good day-ride to properly determine comfort levels.
Being a Beemer, there are a ton of (expensive) factory accessories: the heated grips, top box and ABS system as mentioned above, plus hard panniers, rear seat cowl, higher screen, alarm system, 12v socket, tank bag, GPS, centrestand and seat bag. Surprisingly, there's no factory race pipe, though there's plenty of third-party exhausts out there, which would make the twin sound truly wicked.
The f800s is a class act. Great looking, beautifully built, with a quick-steering and stable chassis mated with that superb engine.
This is a great bike, and might bring BMW a bunch of customers who have never been interested in the German marque.
One day, I'm going to buy myself a trike, for two-up touring and really long day-rides (like my twice-yearly trek to Phillip Island).
I've previously mentioned the Spyder and T-Rex, with two wheels front, one rear. But the trikes I'm talking about are a different type: specially designed rear-engined vehicles with two wheels at the back, one in front. Like this one:
- standard engines are VW air-cooled units, ranging from 1600-1900cc (some new, some 2nd-hand), except Scorpion trikes which uses 2nd-hand Suzuki Swift engines. All of these are quite low on horsepower, so top speeds for the standard engines peak between 130-160kph depending on engine, but there's enough torque for passenger and a teardrop camper.
- motorcycle hand-throttle, but foot actuated clutch and brake pedals. Gearshift levers are usually on the left-hand side below the seat. The scorpion trike has a large "suicide" lever next to the fuel tank
- generally 3-4 speed gearbox, plus reverse.
- custom-built to order, so you can get gruntier engines (used Subaru engines are popular, as are S&S and Harley engines), different colours, topboxes, bigger fuel tanks, windscreens, chrome gear, crashbars....the list is long.
The thing to remember is that these things are comfy cruisers: the wind-in-your face feeling of a motorbike, but with the safety of total stability, and the ability to take a huge amount of luggage and/or a trailer. These aren't supposed to be sportsbikes with an extra wheel, or sports cars with one missing. A passenger is much more comfortable than on a bike, thanks to a "proper" seat, and a fantastic high-up viewing position.
That said however, even the lower-power trikes are very fast around corners, thanks to their light weight (around 450kgs) and super-traction.
They're pretty pricey, starting around the $30k level with no options. Still, considering the fun factor and the feeling of having your own custom, hand-built vehicle, it's good value IMHO.
Further to my previous post:
Woops. What a shame Joe Vialls isn't alive to experience this....
...and while I'm bashng Euro-supremacy, it seems the European GPS system which was supposed to render the American system obsolete is having a little difficulty of its own:
(Thanks to reader David for the link, and Scott Wickstein for the Airbus link.)
Unintentional comedy of the day
King Web Kook Joe Vialls, in Feb 2005, laughing at the imminent demise of Boeing in the face of European genius:
Yeah baby, Boeing were doomed all right. European genius crushes the fading technology from the Jewnited States of America. Joe's Airbus jollies were shared by millions of retards web-wide.
Sadly, it seems reality has struck again...
Meanwhile, over at EU-BoeingCrusher Inc.:
Oops. It seems the imminent collapse of the Zion-American empire gets delayed again. I'm shocked I tell you.
I've never had much interest in BMW's two-wheelers, but this one has caught my interest:
BMW f800s (798cc parallel twin)
Everything I read about this bike suggests its a small German VTR1000. A real riders bike, where a modest-but-gutsy power output and a composed chassis make a wonderful weekend mount.
It's a pricey bike for its class ($14.5k + orc), and has the usual idiotic German 'features' (you have to buy the expensive "on board computer" just to get a tripmeter!), but it sounds right up my alley as far as an enjoyable bike goes. I'll write a review as soon as I find one to ride.
Oh my god....
For comedy's sake, I hope this is genuine.
For the sake of the future of the human race, I hope to christ it isn't. Especially the German kid right near the end.
(yes I know the subtitles aren't genuine, I'm talking about the behaviour)
Motorcycles that is.
In a rare opportunity, I got to test four European nakedbikes today, three Italian, one Austrian. Here's what I thought of them, in the order in which I rode them.
Price: $21k on-road
The Austrian-made KTM Superduke is the King Dick in the sports-naked category. Combine an ultra-stiff yet stable chassis with an absolute bloody brute of an engine, and you're left with a machine that could eat most fully-faired sportsbikes for lunch.
I was surprised by how stiff the suspenders were. I felt almost no sag when I sat on it. I'm heavier than a lot of riders, so I'm not sure how someone with a slight build would find it, but for me it was perfect. It seems to glide through corners and despite the stiffness, didn't seem very harsh over bumpy tarmac. KTM really did their homework with the compression and rebound damping.
The ergonomics are near-perfect. The seat is supportive, the placement of the bars and switchgear is spot-on, as is the height of the footpegs. It feels like you're almost sitting on top of the front wheel, and with the wide bars, this gives a terrific feeling of control and confidence.
It's the engine that really steals the show: it's simply stunning. Massive waves of power and torque almost anywhere in the rev range, giving some awesome, cheek-sucking acceleration. It's a stunningly smooth engine for a big-bore v-twin as well, though as with all such engines, it can provide a jerky ride around town as the engine responds instantly to even the smallest movement of the wrist.
This may actually be the quickest-accelerating bike I've ridden. I've no actual data on that, but the seats-of-the-pants feel certainly gave that impression.
One thing is for sure, the Superduke would leave my beloved z1000 in the dust in a drag race. The top-end power might not be much different, but the difference in torque is huge. My ohlins-shod bike still out-handles the superduke though, and it's easier to ride, but when it comes to sheer, exhilarating performance, the Superduke is absolutely without peer in the nakedbike class.
Negatives? I've heard the handling goes to pieces once the tyres get worn (though how this is different from other bikes I'm not exactly sure), the spans of the clutch and brake levers are far too big, and adjusting them seemed to make little difference. It is kinda tiring to ride, and it drinks fuel like a Monaro, so it probably isn't a great tourer. Your passenger won't be too impressed with the accommodations either.
But the superduke wasn't built for any of that. It's a supermoto bike on steroids, and in that regard, it succeeds beautifully.
Here's a Japanese video about the bike with some good visuals.
Price: $22k on-road
I test-rode the previous model back in 2004. It's a very different looking beast now, and the latest version left me with a very different impression.
Ridden on its own, I probably would have had a similar opinion to when I rode it back in '04. But riding it 10 minutes after the Superduke, it suffered badly in comparison.
The ergonomics seem a little off. Handlebar position is OK but the pegs are stupidly high, and the seat felt strange. You just don't feel a part of the bike like you do with the KTM.
The engine has plenty of stomp, but seems rough compared to the KTM, and the bloody shift-light keeps coming on at 5000 revs. Handling seems ok, and the brakes are good, but I just didn't feel confident on it. It's like they stopped development of the bike when the last 10% still needed refinement.
There were some small things which pissed me off. The goddamned switchgear is still horrible: the positions of the horn and indicator switches are reversed from their usual configuration, so you end up blowing the horn when you want to indicate. There's no reason for this arrangement other than being a typical example of pointless bloody mindedness from Italian designers.
Having said that, some of the other folks who tested it loved it. It's still got a stonking engine, and I love the new styling (it looks much better in the flesh). Having said that, I got off the KTM wanting more time on it. With the Tuono, it was a case of "see you around".
Price: $18k on-road
This was the pleasant surprise of the day. I wasn't expecting much from this outdated quasi-sports bike with its soggy suspension and wheezy two-valve engine, but I had a blast on it.
A couple of years ago I reviewed the Buell XB9R, and came to the unusual conclusion that while in many ways it was a dreadfully designed motorbike, it still ended up being a whole lotta fun.
That's exactly the way I feel about this Ducati.
The first thing you notice about the Monster is the odd ride position. It's a nakedbike, so you expect to be sitting upright, but in fact you're in an odd semi-crouch. You sink into the soft seat, and the pegs are mounted quite high, and you have to stretch a bit to grab the bars. Sort of a "half-sports" riding position. It isn't uncomfortable... quite the opposite in fact. Combined with the comfy seat and the effective headlight fairing, it makes for a great, (if somewhat strange) ride position.
The engine is a very different beast from the two bikes mentioned above. The two-valve air-cooled v-twin feels nice at the throttle, but completely runs out of steam just over 5000rpm. Short-shifting is the order of the day here. A horsepower monster this bike isn't. What is does have, is nice, useable torque at low RPM, which unlike the KTM and the Tuono, doesn't act like a light switch at the smallest movement of the throttle.
It's a very forgiving bike. The slushy suspension and east throttle make it the easiest bike of this bunch to ride, and it's by far the most comfortable bike for both around-town duties. Horsepower talk is relative anyway: it might be left behind my the KTM and the like, but it's still more than quick enough to have some real fun with.
...and here comes one of the best features of the bike: it sounds beautiful. Even thought the Monster, like all these bikes, was equipped with those horrible EU-regulated stock exhaust, you could still hear the gorgeous, deep boom from the v-twin powerplant. Put a pair of aftermarket pipes on this bike, and the noise will be pure music.
Some aftermarket suspension work would be welcome too, and the handling really does go to jelly in fast, bumpy corners. Nothing too scary, just plenty of cues from the bike to slow the hell down or buy yourself an Ohlins shock.
Still, this bike was a hoot, and I'd gladly take one with me for a ride around the NSW coast. It's overpriced, outpaced and wouldn't be comfortable for a passenger.... but it's still a bloody nice bike.
Price: $19k on-road
For the life of me, I cannot imagine there would be a single person on the planet who would want to pay so much money for this stupendously boring, half-baked motorcycle.
One of the three Ducati "classic" (retro) models, the GT1000 fails on every front. Take all the good points away from the S2R (which shares the same engine), keep all the bad ones, and you've got yourself the GT.
...and it's so bloody bland to look at. I'm not talking ugly, just completely forgettable. It's like a GS500 with a Ducati sticker. As a matter of fact, that's this bike in a nutshell: an uncomfortable GS500. Except the GS500 will cost you half as much.
Love the Ducati blurb:
*snort*.....Surrrrre. That explains the non-adjustable suspension, the plank of a seat, the crap tyres and a wheezy engine.
If the S2R showed its limits on bumpy tarmac, the GT is simply horrendous: an unbelievably harsh, tooth-rattling ride and a dangerous amount of handlebar movement. Maybe Ducati decided to leave suspension duties to the rider's body instead of using actual springs and forks.
Good points? Err....um..... the mirrors work well, and the throttle is light. And I was able to get off it after 15 minutes.
Bikes like this are why I always laugh at idiots who blither about "Italian passion" in regards to motorbikes. The GT1000 has all the "passion" of boiled cabbage. And they're charging nearly twenty grand for this motorised turd.
Government: the bloodsucking monster that never stops
Excellent piece by Alex Robson on our endlessly-expanding monstrosity of a government.
Can someone remind me why we have compulsory voting?
Man in the US gets assaulted and tasered by the cops for riding a bicycle.
Fucking little puffed-up uniformed assholes.
Just check out the scores of disgusting morons in the comments section, who are perfectly happy with someone being assaulted by the police for "being a smart-ass".
The Communist party of Australia asks one of those really tricky questions:
A Navy wanting actual ships? Yeah, that's perplexing all right.
That's some t-shirt, isn't it?
These savages really can't help themselves, can they?
Frankly, I couldn't be happier with what's going on in "Palestine" right now. Two groups of homicidal islamists trying to wipe each other out. I hope they're both successful.
Also, could there be anything more beautifully fitting than Yasser Arafat's Nobel Prize being stolen by Hamas?
Yeah, we need to give these people a state. It will be all peace, love and chocolates from then on.
11 June 2007
Al Walid Khalid from Saudi Arabia sends me an e-mail:
You can guess the rest. Good old Khalid is so wracked wth guilt he's giving away huge sums of money to charitable institutions, and he needs my help to do it. I'll get a commission of course, once I help him with a few initial 'set up expenses'.
This sounded wonderful to me, so I sent him the following response:
I wonder if he'll respond?
Another aus.motorcycles clown, who identifies himself as a pacifist, screaming about environmental doom:
Nice level-headed chap. He's got some lovely ideas to fix these 'problems':
A sticker seen this morning on the back of an automobile:
Said automobile was one of these:
Yup. Nothing says 'Gaia' quite like a 3000 kilogram, 4.6 litre V8 Toyota Landcruiser.
I told you I'd be back.....
Guess where I'm going in September?
Yup, it's taken four-and-a-half years, but Texy-boy is coming back to America. This time around, it'll just be the Big Apple which is graced by my presence, so no visiting my good friends in Cali. Anyone wanting to meet, feed, entertain or intoxicate me and my gal, email tex<at>whackingday<dotty>com.
When I become dictator, nobody will ever hear about these talentless skank-whores again.
All together now: bllleeeuuurrrrrccchhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thinking makes his lips move
Paranoid dink "Knobdoodle" at aus.motorcycles howls about Australia's terrorism laws being "misused" against Australian citizens, and as proof, cites a case where the laws weren't used:
I see on tonight's news that police were considering charging those dickhead
When the obvious problem of his chosen example was pointed out to him, he got a little cranky:
Are you naturally stupid or just trying to be particularly obtuse Tex?
So, not using terrorism laws against people not guilty of terrorism is "misuse", but a proper use of them would be to charge people who should not be charged.
It takes a certain level of inbreeding to reach this level of idiocy.
I love looking at photos of Pripyat, the town neighbouring the Chernobyl nuclear plant. A spooky monument to the horrors of communism.
I've pretty much decided my next bike will be the Suzuki TL1000R:
They stopped making these five years ago. It's a crude pig of a bike with one of the most wonderfully brutal engines ever made. Outdated? Hell yes, but few bikes on the road have the sheer presence of this thing.
Where's my "Jiang Zemin Sucks Cock" t-shirt?
These guys are westerners living in China.....and they hate it.
I mean really, really hate it.
These blogs are post after post of non-PC, utterly merciless and bloody hilarious savagings of the Chinese and their apparently horrible country.
If you have the slightest interest in visiting China, chances are you won't after reading these blogs. But by God, they are entertaining.
In a rain-drenched French MotoGP race, Aussie Chris Vermeulen wins his first GP, and gives Suzuki its first win in six years. An amazing result to an amazing race.
It gets better: Casey Stoner finished third, extending his lead in the championship over Valentino Rossi, who finished sixth.
Best of all: Rossi's idiot web-groupies are flailing about trying to find some reasons as to why their "greatest rider of all time" got his arse kicked again. They can't blame the bike: it gave Colin Edwards a pole position. They can't blame the tyres: he wasn't the first Michelin finisher. They can't blame other riders: Rossi fell behind of his own accord. They can't blame the rain: everyone rode in it, and Pedrosa - regarded as a bad wet rider - finished in front of him.
Here's my guesses for some excuses that will soon be found:
- Yamaha want him to lose because they're Japanese and those guys have "slanty eyes".
It's a beautiful thing to watch :)
Totalitarian academic Tim Anderson reckons Cuba is a paradise of equality and freedom:
"Cuba is a police state”: this is a blunt assertion, no evidence. Do you mean that they torture and kill their citizens? You don't explain. Unlike the US, Cuba does not torture, send out death squads and engage in assassinations. Unlike Australia, they do not invade other countries and detain people without charge or trial. Unlike Colombia, journalists are not murdered.
Tim probably believes North Korea is a democratic republic with abundant fruit. I'm so glad my tax dollars are being spent funding this commie shitbag's academic career.
His University of Sydney web page lists his current research interest as "the relationship between human rights and structural adjustment". Yeah, Timmy's real keen on "human rights", so long as they don't apply to brown people.
My Aussie readers are aware of what a bunch of high-taxing nanny-state bastards our current government is, but trust me, you probably don't know the half of it.
Here's a statistic that is simply mind-boggling: The Howard government costs 57% more than the Keating government.
Not quite a MENSA candidate
I'd kill my siblings to get my hands on one of these, but we're not likely to see the Spyder in these parts until 3-4 years from now. Bloody American bastards can buy one in a few months for $14k USD. An impressive price for a niche vehicle. It's no horsepower monster, with 106 hp from a Rotax v-twin engine, but that's still enough to have some real fun with.
God damn this thing would be fun around corners. Maybe even as good as the T-Rex, which costs twice as much and has twice the horsepower)
Worth a beer or two
Next year, I'm going to cycle from Canberra to Adelaide. Just because. It's about 1200kms.
Hopefully, I'll be riding one of these, a Street Machine GTe:
(This is the bike ridden by Rob Thompson, on his epic journey from Korea to England)
I'd better start saving pennies. Those things are expensive. Configured the way I want they're around $5-6k. But dang, a fully-suspended bike as comfortable as a couch, maybe fitted with some nice fat-but-fast Schwalbe Big Apple tyres. Sounds perfect to me. As you can tell from the picture, these things can carry a lot of luggage without the need for a heavy trailer. Lotsa luggage is not great when climbing hills, but a lot of the stuff I carry has more bulk than weight.
A (much) cheaper option would be the soon-to-be-released Bacchetta Bellandare:
No suspension, but almost as comfy and more stable, if not as nimble. An LWB (long wheel base) bike is a lot more difficult to transport. The level of componentry is generally lower. Still, kitted out the way I want, I'd still probably get change from three grand. I'd rather tour on the GTe though.
A few weeks back I had the use of a Honda VT750 cruiser for the day.
As regular readers would know, I hate cruisers. Underpowered, overweight, ugly heaps of overpriced shit which can't do something as simple as go around corners.
Still, if cruisers are your thing and you don't have heaps of money, the Honda is worth looking at. The engine has more than enough stomp, it has super-smooth throttle response, the gearbox is crisp, the build quality is high and it's comfy. Will sound wicked with some aftermarket pipes. It's a classy product which does everything a cruiser is supposed to do, and does it well.
So yeah, it's a bloody good cruiser.
But it's still a cruiser.
Biopics are a tricky thing which can trip up even the best of directors (just look at Michael Mann's hagiographic and incoherent Ali). What timeline do you focus on? What part of the subject's life? How much time do you spend on other characters? What is your source for information on the subject and how reliable is it? How do you avoid making a puff-piece or putting too many warts in a warts-n-all?
Things get even trickier when your movie concentrates on a man like Johnny Cash, whose personal life and career would be suited to an epic 24-part series on HBO. Yet director James Mangold chooses wisely when it comes to selecting the portion of Johnny Cash's life for the movie. Walk the Line is a terrific film.
You gotta admire Joaquin Phoenix's cojones at taking on the impossible role of Johnny Cash. He doesn't look or sound like him, but gets close enough to make it work. It's a beautiful performance, particularly when he captures Cash's on-stage mannerisms.
Good as Phoenix is, he's almost upstaged by Reese Witherspoon in the role of her career. If Witherspoon's acting career ever stalls, she's got a second life as a country-n-western singer ready to go. She's simply astonishing in the role of the talented young country singer who stole Johnny Cash's heart. It's his pursuit of her companionship that is the focus of the movie: a seemingly unattainable goal for a guy falling apart from the demons of booze and drugs while living an unhappy marriage to his first wife, and perpetually haunted by the memory of his dead brother and baleful presence of his ever-disapproving father.
Much has been written about the music in the film, and the talk is true: its brilliantly performed and shot, and there's lots of it. As a person who has hated country & western music all his life, I was humming a lot of these tunes long after the credits rolled.
Great as the music in the film is, it's the other parts that really impressed me. I like the way Cash's first wife Vivian was treated sympathetically, as a woman who just wanted a normal home and a normal family and instead saw her husband wrecked on booze and drugs while lusting after the woman he was touring the country with. I loved the performances of the supporting cast, particularly Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley and Ginnifer Goodwin as the aforementioned Vivian Cash. I liked the way heartfelt emotion in the film never descended into sappiness.
This film is a gem. Not a bloated, self-important exercise in hero worship, but a concise and honest look at a fascinating man and the love of his life. Do yourself a favour a watch it, even if you don't have any Cash albums in your music collection.
It's a hell of an achievement to revive a dead artistic franchise, yet the team behind Casino Royale has pulled it off. Who would have bet on that? Not me, that's for sure.
Sure, I'd heard all the studio publicity wank about 'back-to-basics' and a 'James Bond for the 21st century', but how likely was it that they'd make something decent out of a character that hasn't been interesting since before I was born?
The Bond movies have been an increasingly smelly series of boring cartoons for over thirty years now, yet here's a movie which manages to be top-shelf escapist entertainment while actually retaining some wit and gravitas.
It helps that Daniel Craig is the best ever Bond by a considerable margin (he can act, which is a change), and that the script is sharp and funny. The storyline is actually interesting for once, and gets away from the moronic global-supervillain nonsense and predictable-to-the-second plot development. For once, a Bond movie has got the tone exactly right: just "real world" enough to grab your interest, but with the movie-magic punch of action, drama and humour to make it true entertainment.
Here's a shock: the supporting characters - both friendly and villain - are actually interesting. The standouts are a brilliantly slimy Mads Mikkelsen as the creepy yet not omnipotent Le Chiffre, and Eva Green as the first non-bimbo Bond girl. But the whole supporting cast are both effective and memorable, and that's a beautiful thing.
Gone are the cringeworthy cornball dialogue, the crap actors, the tedious cartoonish action-n-gadgets sequences, the omnipotent billionaire supervillians and pretty much the whole tedious ordeal that this drag-ass franchise has become over the years.
This is still Bond we're talking about, so the action sequences aren't "realistic", but they're grounded and gritty enough to keep you on the edge of your seat for the most part.
What really impressed me though was the fact that the best showpiece of the movie was not any of the action sequences, but the brilliantly-staged high-stakes poker game. It goes on for quite some time, but is beautifully done and quite enthralling.
The movie does get a little muddled in the third act, but even then remains leagues ahead of anything else in the franchise.
Kudos to all involved. Considering what they were up against, Casino Royale is a triumph, and by far the best Bond movie.
James Bond is dead. Long live James Bond.
The latest gems from the never-satisfied nanny-state bastards:
The toleration and promotion of poker machines in Steve Bracks' Victoria is a contingent evil so ghastly that it becomes, in practice, an absolute one. It should be eradicated.
Read that again and gasp at the vapid, hysterical lunacy of it.
THE Australian Medical Association wants next month's Anthony Mundine world title fight called off because his opponent is so obviously outclassed.
Apparently the Hippocratic Oath had a small-print clause which mandates a healthy dose of totalitarian control issues.
Can't these clowns actually demand something sensible, like banning Mundine's horrifying outfits?
US censors will now consider giving movies that glamorise smoking a higher rating.
Well thank goodness for that. I'm real sorry these idiots won't be in office at the end of the year, aren't you?
Unhinged 'futurist' Richard Neville gives us another long, unintelligible panic-squeal about the earth melting and the Americans killing us with remote-controlled insects.
Don't bother trying to read it. What's mention-worthy is the fact this darling of the Fairfax press and the ABC includes the following among his list of reliable information resources:
Prison Planet: The King Kong of wackjob conspiracy sites. Every conspiracy theory is believed, even the ones which contradict the other ones: WTC destroyed by explosives, Pentagon hit by a missile, remote-controlled Boeings, CIA-Mossad conspiracies, etc.
Good sources you've got there Dick. You must be so proud.
My Libertarian chum & Economics lecturer Alex Robson has written three excellent pieces for the papers recently:
I especially recommend the last one.
1 May 2007
"A happy place with abundant fruit"
I'm really, really, really busy with some work stuff. I should be back in a few days with my thoughts on a Honda cruiser, Walk the Line, Casino Royale and the cricket world cup.
In the meantime, please watch this thrilling video from the North Korean government.
Have you ever wondered what happens when you put a cow into a meat shredder?
Not safe for work..... or vegetarians.
I hope those three guys sue and drive that idiotic prosecutor and that fucking whore into financial ruin.
The increasingly miserable Mr. Mustard doesn't like American Idol. Quite understandable. Though he must have been up to his eyebrows in pharmaceuticals when he wrote this:
The whole concept is centered around a diva-esque style of performance, a distinctly feminine mode, and one alien to normal masculinity. I can't imagine anyone with a voice and personality like Frank Sinatra or Gene Kelly, for instance, getting very far in that environment, despite being talented singers and consummate showmen.
Sinatra a "talented singer" and "consumate showman"? The guy was a tuneless zombie. The talentless Idol mannequins could fart more interesting stuff than the Ol' Blue-Eyed dink ever came up with.
Seven million dollars to create a blog.
This is what a media empire run by Margot Kingston would look like.
From reader Greg, who lives in China:
5,000 years of Superior Chinese 'Culture'? There's more culture in a pot of yoghurt. Or in a super-strain of the clap.
12 April 2007
9 April 2007
Local 9/11 freaks unite
Sydney conspirazoids are launching the Australian wing of the 9/11 "truth" movement...
We Are Calling For Heroes Willing to Stand up against Big Brother!
Oh, how I'd love to be there.....
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