The code word is “Bahamas”

So, it looks like Bush is going finagle the current situation with Iraq into a full-scale war. Gephardt has already formed a presidential exploratory committee to try for a presidential bid– do you think Bush will be able to time the war just in time for his reelection campaign? His father may have gotten us through the Persian Gulf War, but it wasn’t enough to get him reelected for a second term. Is GW trying to succeed where his father failed?

Whatever his plans, they say bad things come in threes and I don’t know what the third thing will be, but the second is definitely the escalating situation in North Korea (we can’t call it a “crisis”– Powell said so). Somewhere in the haze of Christmas turkey with kimchee and New Year’s wine, North Korea decided to give the proverbial finger to the UN and reopen their nuclear facilities. “Energy” they say is the reason for doing it–the US apparently didn’t follow through on a promise of energy resources–but last time I checked, I don’t think you need to develop bomb-grade plutonium just so your lights stay on. Even China and Russia aren’t doing much to help the situation. They’re like, “Oh, damn, yeah, those North Koreans are a little crazy. I mean, we’re Communists, but they’re Communists.” Not everyone realizes that North Korea doesn’t subscribe to the happy go lucky, free market economy version of Maoist Communism China does. They take it back old skool–Stalin would have been proud.

Who knows what will happen in North Korea? Powell refuses to call it a crisis and the newly elected South Korean president seems to realize that his country is on the top of the North Koreans’ list of “Things to Blow Up” and is trying to come to a diplomatic compromise. And this isn’t World War II and the North Koreans are not nearly as organized as the Germans or the Japanese, but if we end up going to war with North Korea, I’m sure there will be some type of yellow peril hysteria. Yes, it may not be like the 1940’s with the Japanese, but especially after 9/11, we all know Americans aren’t afraid of a little racial profiling. And they’re going to have to come up with a new name because we already know what “internment camp” means. Between you and me, if I call you suddenly and say “I’m going to the Bahamas,” you know something’s up.

Those crazy Republicans

Ah, the Republicans have done it again. It’s so sad, but Trent Lott’s throwaway comment during his speech at Strom Thurman’s birthday celebration may just get him ousted from not only his seat as Senate Majority Leader, but his seat in the Senate in general.

Here’s the main problem: they televised this crap. If the old white guys running the Senate were going to get together and reminisce about those good ol’ segregationist days, they really should have done it behind closed doors. I’m sure much worse things are said everyday behind the closed doors of exclusive country clubs and high powered corporations, but not on national cable television for chrissake. What are these guys, amateurs?

And the hole is only getting deeper. Lott is desperately apologizing, going on BET and telling everyone how hey, he’s not racist since he has African American people and other minorities on his staff. Whoah, Trent, let me sign you up for the NAACP Image Award. News flash: if you’re trying to prove that you’re not a racist, don’t start enumerating how many minorities you know, or employ or whatever. If you keep track of shit like that, then you racist, playa.

It’s kind of strange to think that all this is going on over some comments at a birthday party. Of course, we also impeached a president over a stained dress (who keeps that kind of stuff?) and some nasty episodes with a cigar.

Should Lott lose his seat as Senate Majority Leader? Probably, if he lacks the sensitivity and clarity to see how his comments could be construed as offensive and racist. Doesn’t somebody read his freakin’ speeches before he gives them? Plus, he’s just making the GOP look bad (or worse than usual) and if they want to do some damage control, there needs to be some real consequence to his actions.

Should he lose his seat at Senator of Mississippi? That’s for the people of Mississippi to decide. Of course, as Lott said himself, his state voted for Thurmond in 1948 and they’re proud of it.

Those nefarious North Koreans

I have to admit: Bond movies are not my favorite movies of all time. Yes, they certainly have their appeal and no knowledge of pop culture is complete without them, but they can get kind of cheesy and formulaic. But, the newest Bond flick, Die Another Day, departs from that formula– a least a little. There’s no “Bond moment” where the villain explains his whole evil plan to Bond and compadres before his destined-to-fail attempt to off them. There’s no evil foreign temptress. And yes, the women in this flick are more than just notches for 007’s not-so-top secret bedpost.

And, damn, Pierce Brosnan is one good-looking mofo.

The big to-do about this Bond movie was that Oscar Award-winning Halle Berry was the new Bond girl. She’s looking good and is entertaining in the movie, but to be honest, I went to see it when I realized Rick Yune was in it. I gots to go support my people, you know? (For those of you who don’t know, Yune is one of the few highly visible Korean-American actors out there, starring in movies like Snow Falling on Cedars and The Fast and the Furious. He was also the first Asian American to land a national fashion campaign, being featured in ads for Versace and Polo. And he’s one damn good-looking man.)

Who knew that the latest Bond flick’s plotline featured some nefarious North Koreans out to conquer the world? I’m sure this is doing wonders for getting North Korea off of that “Axis of Evil” and for not inciting fear and hatred towards North Koreans and the like (and by “the like,” I mean anybody that resembles a North Korean– *ahem*, yellow peril anyone?).

But all in all, it was a good movie, full of great Bond action and tomfoolery. And not to mention the tasty Aston Martin Vanquish. Vroom.

“Rent” really lights my candle

I just saw a commercial for Rent, the Broadway musical– the tour cast has come to San Francisco! For anyone who hasn’t seen it and has the chance, go see it! Even if you aren’t into musicals. I must admit, despite growing up near enough to NYC to see a Broadway musical every now and again and even being in a high school musical production or two, I’m usually not that into musicals. Often, when I’m watching a musical, I’m going along with the story, learning about the characters, but then when everybody starts singing suddenly, I say, “What the hell? Why is everyone singing?” And then I remember: oh yeah, it’s a musical.

But I have no snarky comments for Rent. Written by Jonathan Larson, it’s a remake of La Boheme, but in true twentieth century, rock opera style. The story focuses on a group of young people living in the Lower East Side of New York City and fighting to keep the industrial loft space they live in. It’s a celebration of the Bohemian lifestyle they all pursue, but the story also focuses on three main relationships– gay, straight and lesbian. It touches on HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, sexuality, and more. It’s got a little something for everyone! I cry like a little girl every time I see it.

And don’t forget– the original Broadway cast included Taye Diggs as Benny and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins. And yes, it’s them singing on the original Broadway cast recording!

It’s a heart-wrenching tale and it’s full of pop culture references from the nineties. Unfortunately, Larson passed away from an aortic aneurysm the night before the show’s Broadway debut, but Rent has gone on to be one of the most successful shows on Broadway and people keep coming back for more.

Harry Potter is scary

So, I went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night. Even before the movie started, the night was eventful– the line to enter the theatre was wrapped around the outside and into the parking lot. So, there’s over a hundred people standing in line outside waiting to get in and some people from the show that just ended go to leave. Cars are parked all along the side of the road that leads into the parking lot and they decide to pull out of the parallel parked spot and try to back up all the way out of the lot. Unfortunately, the driver swings too far as she starts to back up and ends up hitting the minivan parked in front of her. She only knocks the side of the car, but ends up having the bumber to her little Civic just ripped off completely. It was so very sad and everyone in line saw it. There was a collective “Oh, damn!” when it happened. There was no damage to the other parked car, but damn, they don’t make Civics like they used to. Of course, they never made Civics like they used to.

Another pre-movie adventure: we tried to use the bathroom before the movie started, but the usher at the front said that they were going open the doors in like 2 minutes. But we really had to go! The guy almost gave in, but then the San Jose police officer sitting in the lobby jumped in and put the smack down on our little bathroom trip. Unbelievable! Two minutes my ass. We didn’t go in until at least 15-20 minutes later and then when we got into the theater, the po-po was watching over us as we all took our seats. Like the San Jose police doesn’t have anything better to do than make sure kids don’t sneak into Harry Potter? It’s Harry Potter for chrissake, not 8 mile. Which was a great movie, btw, and I don’t recall there being any problems with that movie. Bunch of minorities get together to watch a movie and people get all bent out of shape.

In any case, so the movie was a little on the long side (personally, I think they should have made it into a mini-series), but the book does cover an entire year at school. And they stuck pretty close to the book, which I always appreciate (especially after the way they fucked up Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned). I think it was better done than the first– they are finally getting the hang of it when trying to recreate this wizard world.

But, I must say that it was kind of dark at times. I mean, at the end of the day, the Harry Potter series is about a little boy who survived the brutal murder of his parents by an evil wizard and the evil wizard’s quest to finish the job. I love the books– they’re magical!– and I think that the topics they touch on are important ones that mirror issues in our real world and the books are a great way to teach kids about those issues. The whole Muggle-born versus pureblood issue. Ron’s issues with being poor. The house elves’ slavery. But the imagery you come up with in your head as you read the books and the visuals plastered on a huge movie screen are two different things and I could easily see how some of the scenes in the movie would be scary. I mean, come on, Tom Riddle? He’s creepy.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie and can’t wait to see the next one. Although, I’d much rather finally get to read the next book in the series. Come on, JK Rowling, get on that!

Not everyone sees the beauty of the blog

So, my blog fascination has been going on for a while– especially since I have been reading this one. It’s by someone I knew in college and I find him totally entertaining! His longer rants are even more entertaining. My blog fascination only grew when I researched blog software and was very enamored by Movable Type.

I only finally sacked up and started my own blog though when I was talking about it with my boss and he suggested we use a blog to track how students use wireless in the dorms that are participating in our new wireless project. So, we installed Movable Type on our server and tried it out. Very cool piece of free software that is pretty easy to setup and configure.

So, since we were at it, we decided it would be a cool service to offer to our student employees for their dorm Web sites and personal sites as well. Blogs have been a pretty popular thing on the Web for a while and thought it would be a cool service to offer to our students. They wouldn’t have to worry about setting up the Perl app themselves– they could just take advantage of the work we did! Sure, there are sites on the Web that also offer blog services, like Blogger, but from my experience, they don’t always work the way you want them to and it’s nice to have software running on your own server. We even one-upped the larger IT organization by setting it up and offering it to our students first.

Of course, when I presented it at one of the student meetings, most of them did even know what a blog was! And when I explained what it was and how people use it on their personal Web sites and how it could possibly be used in a dorm setting, they were not impressed. They just said, “But why would somebody want to do that?”

Of course, why would somebody want to watch a bunch of people they don’t know doing nothing through a Web cam? Who knows, but it happens. A lot.

So, not everyone sees the beauty of the blog, but hey, I find it entertaining. And if you’re reading this, so must you. At least a little bit.