Sunday, April 20, 2014

Greatest Religious Movie of all Time

I saw a list of 'em on the Web the other day.  Naturally, at the top was Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments.  It came out in the 50's.  It's still going strong, they ran it on Channel 9 (WMUR) just last night.  Then there was Ben Hur, Samson and Delilah, the Robe, and the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
   Oh really?  I know everyone talks about what a cool Christian C.S. Lewis was, but I never thought of the Narnia stories as particularly religious.  They were kid's books, and as kid's books used to do, they advocated good and disparaged evil.  But evil in Narnia was vanquished by force of arms, and the Lion takes on the the Witch directly in the last chapter.  I'm not sure if this is quite in accordance with Christian doctrine. 

Easter Skiing

It's Easter, it's warm and sunny. Cannon is open for skiing.  Parking lot is full, chairlifts and tramway are running.  New England skiing is best in March they used to say.  It's April in case you hadn't noticed.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Amunoosuc Valley Railway Assn does the Spring Show

So we engaged the Haverill Middle School gym.  We invited 30 vendors, sold them tables.  Trailered the club modular layout up and unloaded it.  We gotta recruit some younger members for this club.  We had a good turnout for setup, but the bulk of the membership is getting too old and infirm to jackass the heavy modules out of the trailer and set them up.  Let alone grovel around on the floor adjusting leveling jacks and hooking up electrical connections.  In fact the entire model railroading hobby is suffering from a lack of new blood.  When the doors opened on Saturday, the bulk of the attendees were elderly.  A few grandchildren who loved every minute of the show.  Very few young guys (or girls).
   So I  checked out the vendors and bought the makings of three new fun projects.  I found a heavy freight steamer to pull my freight trains, a baggage car for my baggage and mail train, and a tank care for my tank train.  For not much meney, I have the makings of hours of pleasant shop time. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Looking for a Republican Presidential Candidate for 16

Unless we want four more years of Hillary, the Republicans need to win the presidency in two years.  To get the country moving again, the economy growing again, people back to work again, we need to pass some legislation that Democrat presidents would never sign.  We need to repeal most, perhaps all of Obamacare.  We need to build the Keystone XL pipeline.  We need to explore for oil and gas offshore and on federal land.  We need to curb the EPA.  We need to stop wasting money on pork and crony capitalism, the Highway bills, the farm bills, the green energy boondoggles.  We need to start rolling back endless job killing regulations.  We need to fire the endless federal SWAT teams. 
   To do any of this Republicans need to win the presidency.  Hillary would veto ever one of this projects.  To win, Republicans need a candidate.  So far, the guys who make the evening news don't look very electable.
   Start with Rand Paul.  Nice guy, would enjoy having him over for drinks.  But, he is an isolationist.  Believes that American should withdraw to the continental US,  and  incur no expense, bear no burdens, and let the rest of the world take care of itself.  Nice ideas, but the last time isolationism gave us WWII.  If the US had joined the League of Nations, and exerted itself, Hitler could have been stopped, anytime up to 1938.  We could have laid down the law to the Germans, even removed Hitler from office.  The French and the British would have backed us up.  But we didn't, and Hitler went on to set the entire world on fire.  Look what Putin is doing to Ukraine right today.  We ought to stop him.  Rand Paul won't.
   And, Rand Paul probably shares his father's fetish for a gold standard currency.  I heard the elder Paul, ight up here in the Littleton Opera House, explaining how he would go back to a gold back currency.  And throw the economy into a worse tailspin than it is now.  To be fair, I haven't heard the younger Paul making goldbug talk, but I haven't heard him reject it either. 
   Chris Christy took a solid hit over the George Washington bridge lane closings.  Too bad, but that's American politics, a blood sport.  He's gotta do a whole bunch of recovery to be in the running.
   Ted Cruz might be a possibility.  He has a pretty good record.  But I don't know enough about him and I suspect a lot of people outside of Texas feel the same way.  He has two years to make himself better known.
   Condi Rice anyone?  I like her, but I suspect she will not run.
   Jeb Bush?  Nice guy, good family, but his father and his brother have held the presidency and giving it to a third member of the same family seems awfully like a hereditary monarchy. 
   We need someone....


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Federal HIghway Trust Fund going dry

This comes from Neil Cavuto on Fox.  He had a couple of guests, one who called to close it down for good and one who called for pumping it up with more of my tax money. 
   Me, I think we ought to shut it down, cancel the federal gasoline tax that goes into the fund, and let the states take care of roads and bridges.  The states do most of this already.  The Federal Highway Trust Fund was started up under the Eisenhower administration.  It earmarked all the federal gasoline tax money to building the interstate highway system.  Well, the interstates are all built, have been for 30 years.  So Congress critters dole out trust fund money to their districts whether it's needed or not.  Congress critters love that part. And, surprise, the districts always find a way to spend it, all of it.  When good old Tip O'Neill retired, his numerous friends in Congress decided do something nice for good old Tip.  They funded the Big Dig in Boston, a $14 billion dollar tunnel under the center of town.  The Big Dig was still being dug years after good old Tip died.  It didn't do much to improve Boston traffic, but it did open up a lot of prime real estate in the center of town.  Contractors all over Massachusetts loved the Big Dig. 
   The states have the resources to keep the country's roads and bridges in repair.  Thrifty New Hampshire, with out either a state income tax or a state sales tax, keeps it's roads in better shape  than bigger richer New York does.  And, when the state government has to raise the money for road work, it tends to stick to necessary work and skip the frills.  You can save a lot of money that way.  And, state funded projects don't have to pay the inflated Davis-Bacon wage rates that federal projects do. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Old Winter Driving Trick

Broom the snow off your car in the morning.  Shining on bare car metal and glass, the sun will make the whole car warm to the touch, even when it's below freezing.  The warmth will melt all the frost off the windows, make the car interior warm and cozy, and make the motor warm and happy to start.  Much easier than chipping ice off the wind shield.  If your battery is getting old and weak or your motor needs new plugs, the extra warm might just be the difference between getting started, and calling for a jump start.

Captain America, Winter Soldier

So I saw it at the Jax last night.  It's a Marvel comic book movie.  If you liked your Marvel comic books you will like this one.  There are a few plot holes, but not too bad.  It's right in tune with the times.  Everything, Shield, the World Security Council, the DC cops, you name it, is secretly infiltrated by bad guys, (Hydra?) and turns on Nick Fury  and Steve Rogers.  Shades of NSA, CIA, and BLM.
   Technically superb.  Lighting and color first rate.  No under lit dark interior shots. Non of that irritating fade-to-black-and-white post processing.  Good camera work, they use tripods, they skip the "shake-the-camera" shots.  Decent sound man, I could hear and understand all the dialogue.  Special effects utterly convincing.  Even Shield's vast flying aircraft carriers look real.  The textures of the huge machines is right, like painted metal, flat paint, no gloss, a touch of weathering.    The carrier's huge lift engines really look powerful enough to boost the massive thing into the air. 
   Incredible amount of hand to hand fighting.  Gymnastics, back flips, leaps up and over things.  Any of these fights would have taken gold at Olympic gymnastic competition.  Capt America's shield gets a fine workout.  Mixed martial arts, or is that mixed movie martial?  It goes fast and furious right up to the last reel.  The girl friend, Natasha, is as fast and deadly a fighter as Capt America.  Car chases and car crashes better than I have seen before.  The scene where the DC cops, driving Ford  Crown Vic's, try to take Nick Fury, driving a black Chevy Suburban, in DC traffic, is good, lotta seriously bent Fords. Every car chase involves fender-to-fender contact, and visibly mangled body and fender work.  And lots of bullet holes. If this is CGI work, it's very well done.
  A few goofs.  Nick Fury, reminiscing about his childhood, mentions his old man's "22 Magnum".  Not cool.  Back then, .22 anything was a kid's gun.  Everyone carried at least a .32.  Cops and serious guys carried .38 Special or .45. 
    Actors were run of the mill, except for Robert Redford, who played a treacherous senior bureaucrat.  Chris Evans and Scarlett Johanssen are competent leads playing comic book hero and heroine parts.  They both have the looks and the figures the parts call for.  Scarlett flaunted real cool shoulder length red hair, I still wonder if it was her own, or a wig.  Although they are together for most of the scenes, they don't real seem to be girlfriend and boyfriend. Scarlett (Natasha) gives off some vibs that she likes Steve Rogers, Steve doesn't seem all that interested.
   Anyhow, a fun flick, worth the price of admission.  Fine for older (say age six and up) children.  No bad language, no nudity, lots of slam bang violence, little to no blood, the good guys win in the end.