Saturday, January 24, 2009


1. Somehow, use of a random quote from Larry King as a title became my trademark for another Random Thoughts post. This isn't up there with "Morgan Fairchild is a special, special lady," but honestly, what could be?

2. I'm still not fully onboard the Obama bandwagon or anything (for one thing, he signed off on the continued use of remote-controlled aircraft bombing the hell out of Pakistan, allegedly targeting terrorists but routinely killing civilians), but holy crap: the quick move to close Gitmo, and explicitly banning torture and removing Bush's ban of federal funds to groups that provide abortion and striking Bush's revisions of the Freedom of Information Act--this guy hasn't even been president for a week, and already he's made this country into something somewhat resembling the America I used to know.

3. Understatement of the week, courtesy of The New York Times: "The economic record of President George W. Bush was largely a disappointing one."

4. Ex-Hitler Youth member Pope Benedict has welcomed back into the fold (or "rehabilitated" in Vatican-speak) a rogue bishop who had previously rejected efforts to modernize the Catholic Church. Though Richard Williamson is on record as saying, "I believe the historical evidence is hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolph Hitler," Our Boy Benedict is A-OK with him now, since he's agreed to hew to whatever the Vatican says. And if he makes a few more anti-Semitic statements, eh, what are you gonna do?

5. Movie producer Charles H. Schneer has died at the age of 88. He learned at the hand of B-movie expert Sam Katzman, and his films were always produced on tight, tight budgets. Though he did other things (Ronald Reagan's Hellcats Of The Navy, for one), Schneer will always be beloved by millions as the guy who partnered with stop motion animation god Ray Harryhausen for a string of matinee classics, from 1955's It Came from Bemeath The Sea to the 1981 semi-classic Clash Of The Titans. Sure, some of the movies they made together are incredibly dull or silly whenever there are no monsters on screen, but without Schneer's involvement, Harryhausen likely would never have gotten the chance to strut his formidable stuff for so many years. And along the way, the Harryhausen/Schneer team produced the 1958 epic The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, which is simply a milestone in the annals of fantasy filmmaking and the movie that gave the biggest imaginable mindfuck to several generations of ten-year-old boys. That's a legacy worth celebrating.

6. Whenever I crank out one of these Random Thoughts things, I usually wind up mentioning the cats. But--ssshhh. They're sound asleep, and if we're very quiet, maybe they'll stay that way.