This is Zach's personal blog. If you're looking for his movies, please click here. Otherwise, have fun!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I'll mention that to Pepco.

An excellent essay by Godfrey in the comments of his blog:
I'm fascinated by the shift in the meaning of "conservatism" since [Sen. Barry] Goldwater's time.

Today, Goldwater (whose nickname was "Mr. Conservative") would be seen as too liberal to run for President as a GOP candidate, because he was a staunch supporter of abortion, civil rights, and gay rights � but in his day, the Republican party ("the party of Lincoln") was a stronger supporter of civil rights than the Democrats. (This changed when the GOP altered its character in order to convert the solidly Democratic South; in politics, principles always seem to take a back seat to the ambition for power.)

Ironically, the direction the government has taken during the present administration � larger government, increased spending (indeed, the conversion of the country's largest budget surplus into its largest deficit), reduction of privacy, increased government scrutiny of its own citizens, legislative dismantling of the three-branch system of checks and balances, banning scientific research into certain areas, attacks on civil and gay rights � once upon a time, these were things Conservatives railed against Liberals for doing.

So it's just interesting to me that Goldwater was liberal by today's standards, and the Republican party is liberal by the standards of just a few decades ago.

It's also a little ironic that some of the things he warned about in his acceptance speech, which he claimed could be prevented by a Republican President and a Republican Congress, are coming to pass at the hands of the Republicans.

You could probably power Washington by wrapping his body in copper wire and putting magnets around his grave.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I cried.

This article in the Washington Post Magazine, a rare serious turn from one of D.C.'s best humorists, is a must-read. Don't ask me why, just read it.

Our VCR only tapes in black and white.

Tomorrow morning the political blogosphere will be all atwitter about John Kerry's appearance on The Daily Show; and for the first time ever, I can Join In The Twitter, because I have cable! I finally feel like one of the cool kids!

Of course, I still can't stay up past 10:00 these days, so I'll be videotaping it. But it's the principle of the thing.

Monday, August 23, 2004


My email address has changed. If you know me personally and didn't get my recent adress-change note, leave a message in the comments and I'll send it to you.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Kicking and screaming.

I'm finally getting dragged into the 21st century... and all at once, no less.

First of all, we have cable TV now, which I suppose is more 20th century than 21st, but we only got it so we could get cable-based Internet, which is definitely 21st century. Since getting it (about a week ago), we have watched exactly zero non-network channels. We're not much of a TV family. I expect that will change during the Evildoers Republican National Convention, when I'll discover the wonders of C-SPAN.

Second of all, we're killing our traditional phone service in favor of a voice-over-IP scheme from Vonage. Getting cable and Vonage turned out to be considerably cheaper than DSL and local/long distance on a land line. By the way, if anyone wants to switch to Vonage, let me know, because I'll be happy to refer you so both you and I will get a free month of service.

(The unfortunate part of all this is that our cable Internet isn't working yet; there's some kind of fault at the cable box that serves our townhome. Comcast is working on it, and I hope they solve it soon, because we're due to lose our traditional phone service in 20 days--and since that means no DSL as well, that means no IP-phone, no email, no contact with the outside world at all, in fact, short of snail-mail.)

Third of all, I'm blogging from my dining-room table. Yes, I finally succumbed and bought a wireless router (Mike, WiFi evangelist extraordinaire, is no doubt chanting "One of us... one of us..."), which I suppose isn't that big a deal among the technically elite, but considering that it was the wife who was demanding it (and who unlike me doesn't have a waptop*), it's significant, if only for its utter frivolity. As I alluded above, I live in a townhouse. According to my computer, my unit is now within three hotspots--all of them password-protected. Ah well...

So there it is, my Week o' Technology. Yet, I still don't own a cell phone...

*waptop: This was a typo, but it occurs to me it's a pretty good neologism for "Wi-Fi laptop," don'tcha think?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I didn't go to Portland, but I did participate in my first-ever Fark photoshop.

Original here; my contribution here.

Friday, August 13, 2004

A poll.

So: should I go to Portland, to celebrate my first-ever acceptance to a film festival? Bearing in mind that I'm on the East Coast.

(It wasn't just me who was accepted, of course, but my whole team; but I'll leave it up to them to get their own tickets.)

Comments are welcome, in comments.

[Edit: if for some reason the link above itsn't showing in your browser, copy and paste this:

Safari isn't showing the link, and I can't figure out why.]

Monday, August 09, 2004

Film critic.

Looks like Laura saw the same movie I did:
What The Heck. The new Manchurian Candidate is to the original Manchurian Candidate what the Manfred Mann "Quinn the Eskimo" is to Bob's original "Quinn the Eskimo." Bad, bad, bad. Ending "new twist" was stupid and didn't make sense. Nothing made sense. Not to mention that saying a guy's full name (?!) is about seventy-thousand times less cool than suggesting he pass the time by playing a little solitaire.
I, too, was most seriously displeased, to quote Lady Catherine de Burgh. I thought Liev Schrieber was quite good, and Meryl Streep and Denzel put in their usual solid performances. But they tried to hard to Update the story that they fouled it up beyond belief.

I'm a huge fan of the original film, and read the book for the first time about a week ago (floored me! They don't write political thrillers like that anymore). I knew the new one wouldn't be as good; I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was, though.

And, my goodness! Ray.

I don't know if it was that Ray Charles died so recently, or that my father loved Georgia on my Mind, or that I can't help but dance when I hear What'd I Say or Hit the Road, Jack. But as soon as I realized I was watching a trailer for a Ray Charles biopic, I started crying. Bawling. Tears of joy, of course, but it was embarrassing. That single trailer was worth more than ten Manchurian Candidates. That movie's gonna make Jamie Foxx a star.

Targeting teens.

This may be the best public service announcement I've ever seen. It ran as a preview in Florida movie theaters, so some of you may have seen it, but I hadn't. Take a look.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Mr. Bush, tear down this wall!

I am sick and tired of living in (well, OK, near) a walled-in, medieval city. There has to be a way to protect people's safety without destroying D.C.'s vitality and liberty, without (as Tom Toles puts it today) making a Jersey barrier into the Terrorism Monument.

Of course, I haven't seen the evidence with my own eyes; I've only read about it in the Post. So this afternoon, I'm taking the law into my own hands. That is to say, I'm taking the camera to D.C., and documenting the state of affairs around buildings which, after all, I own, as an American citizen. I hope I get arrested, being the dangerous father-of-two that I am (D and E will be in tow; I have no choice).

Frankly, I think Al Qaeda is too smart. If they find their primary target is too well guarded, then they'll move to their secondary target. The only way to truly be safe is to garrison the entire city, and I fear that's the direction in which we're headed.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Sponge Bob Cometh.

After nine years of resistance, our household is finally getting basic cable. For so long, we were able to laugh at the people who couldn't live without their CNN or Sci-Fi Channel or ESPN2. For so long, we were able to say "we get TV for free, the way it oughtta be!" But now... we are just another affluent American family, and I fully expect that soon enough we'll get a second car, probably a Hummer with a DVD player installed.

Oh, well; at least I'll be able to watch the Republican convention coverage gavel-to-gavel. Maybe if I'm lucky, there'll be another Pat-Buchanan-in-1992 moment, which will inspire me to throw a boot into the TV set again. (I will never forget screaming You fucking bigot! at the screen that summer when he made a homophobic comment. Though there isn't as much Kulturkampf this year, maybe I'll get lucky.)

We made the switch (to cable) purely for the Internet. If we kill the DSL and get voice-over-IP from Vonage, we save a hella lot of money. And if Comcast's numbers are accurate, our upload speed will double and our download speed will more than triple.

It's nice to confuse people though: "We're getting cable so our phone bills will go down." Try it at home!


Courtesy Campaign Desk:
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
-- President George W. Bush.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The women in my life.

Two years ago, in a blaze of pain which accompanied a not-quite-strong-enough epidural, my daughter was born. Happy birthday, E, and congratulations to K, the amazing woman who carried her. I promise you'll never have to go through that pain again.