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The Dark Knight

I'll be watching it soon on an IMAX screen.

I waited this long so as to avoid large crowds in the theater. I got to the place 50 minutes before the start. There was already a huge lineup of folks waiting! On a Thursday afternoon! 14 days after the release!

Still, I got a good seat.

The experience was stunning. The screenplay, the direction by Christopher Nolan and the acting -- especially by Heath Ledger -- was sublime. The power of The Dark Knight lies in its brutal unpredictability.

In the previous movie, Batman was presented situations where the choice was between something right and something easy. Here, he's given bad and worse options. The prequel was relatively slow-paced and it set up the characters in a timely and proper manner. Here, we jump right in and the movie gallops throughout. It's, without a doubt, the most ambitious and epic comics-based sequel of all time. It packs a lot for 2 hours and 25 minutes.

The most riveting scenes have the Joker in the frame. There's a classic scene where Batman is merely asking a major thug about the whereabouts of the Joker. The manner and the content of the reply leaves Batman stunned and speechless.

James Berardinelli:

Often in superhero movies, there's a sense that, no matter what challenges the protagonist must face, all will be right in the end. That certainty is missing here, and its absence may represent Nolan's most impressive accomplishment.

This is the major reason for the unpredictable nature of the film. Batman is human; he has no superpowers. Nolan puts him in situations that can truly exist in the modern world. Batman can only use his mortal, human resources to fight back. Thus, one can be completely ignorant about comics and still enjoy the movie as is.

About the Joker: what a psychotic, forceful, evil villain. He is a man with no rules in a world with rules. He understands the thin, fragile nature of civilization and plans to shatter it. To do so, he must bring Batman to his knees -- and he almost does. I can't think of any other superhero movie where the main character suffers so much physical and emotional pain and yet survives.

In the end, we fully comprehend the tragic nature of the title.

One more thing: Hollywood ought to make more movies like this. It isn't marketed as such but The Dark Knight is a great counterpoint to all the America Is Ultimately Evil garbage that Hollywood produces and loses money on.


My favorite, spoiler-free!, review.
Praise to the max:

Evaluated just as a superhero movie, it surpasses all its contemporaries —simply put, it very well might be the best movie of its genre.


Comedy Gold

For those who know who Kal-El is, this will be a blast:

"On his new planet, Kal-Al's Earth physiology will react to the radiation of a differently colored sun, causing him to develop abilities far beyond those of mortal men," political analyst Sig Schuster said. "He will be faster than a speeding Prius, stronger than the existing Superfund program, and able to leap mountains of red tape in a single bound. These superpowers will sustain him in his never-ending battle against conservatives, wealthy industrialists, and other environmental supervillains."

The very last line is a killer.

Oppressed by Lipstick

The Apostate:

lipstick makes a huge difference to a monochromatic color scheme like mine - I'm brown (skin) and black (hair and eyes), pretty much. No blues and pinks and yellows, as in white women's faces and hair. A bit of lipstick and good hair goes a long way for me.

So, choice = be ignored and undervalued or be admired and adored? Some choice.

Of course. Every person gets judged on their attire and makeup.

The Apostate has a simple choice: use makeup or not. She has to weigh the consequences: save time and money by not applying makeup but get less attention from the public. She, being weak, likes the approval, so she chooses the makeup.

From this simple situation, she gets a penetrating insight:

I'm not chastising myself for the fun of it, but because it occurred to me - quite recently, as I have begun to notice more and more my transformation from a serious nerdy person to a "girly girl" - that essentially, there really isn't a difference between what the Muslim chicks do to fit in and what I do to fit in. This is an important insight. To get approval, Muslim women are asked to be submissive and show it in symbols, such as the headscarf. Western women are asked to be decorative. Or risk being made irrelevant.

If a woman doesn't wear an abaya in the Magic Kingdom, then she is harassed, beaten and likely arrested by the Religious Policemen and later released to her disgraced master guardian.

In America, when a woman doesn't wear makeup, people ignore her.

The similarity between Saudi Arabia and the US is stunning.

Every society has a code of conduct, parameters and restrictions that apply to both sexes. Take two men: one wears casual clothes, the other a suit. Who will get more attention, approval or respect?

And it isn't because The Matriarchy is keeping the casual guy down.

The Invisible Pupil


One girl in my new group of students wears the niqaab. Unfortunately she continues to wear it in my class. She wore it on the first day and I asked her after class to remove it because it didn’t make any sense for her to wear it in my presence.

It doesn't make much sense to wear it. Period.

I have realised that the past week I didn’t pay attention to her. Slowly I began to ignore her existence. It was not because I hold any grudges; that is not the case. But I became lazy. She requires a little more effort from me. I need to listen more carefully. I need to notice more carefully whether she is following me. I have to get closer to her when she is involved in group work. So I asked a few male colleagues if  my experience was different from theirs and almost all of them said that they unconsciously begin to ignore students who veil themselves. Perhaps that is the purpose of niqaab; to become invisible?

It's tough to ignore a person; much easier with a garbage bag.

Read the rest as photography gets into the mix.

A Fool's Hope

An Obama quote:

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

He doesn't say it outright but he implies that the US government ought to give some form of payment to Native and African Americans.

The problem: The perpetrators and the victims of the old injustices are dead. How does that culpability and victimhood transfer over, through multiple decades, to the present generation?

Something Worth Losing


Mass numbers of descendents of Muslims, converts, and spiritual seekers are forsaking the American Islamic community and many of these will inevitably abandon the religion. The confrontation is of course not military but rather is occurring on the intellectual plane. On one front our religion is being both subtly and overtly demeaned by the media. On another, anti-Islam websites are assaulting the faith with mostly discarded but now resurrected antiquated orientalist criticisms.


Instead of seeing a path to spiritual growth, enlightenment and fulfillment many of these disengaged Muslims start to see a stagnant, retrogressive, patriarchal remnant of a lagging culture, mired in meaningless controversies and hollow, lifeless formalism.

Yeah, luckily for some the synapses finally click.

Link via Tariq Nelson who provides a classic line:

We need an Islam of love, compassion, giving, sharing and caring.

Dang! I'll settle for an Islam of leave-others-alone.

Big Paper Paid Them Off


Los Angeles shoppers soon won't hear the question, "Paper or plastic?" at the checkout line.

The City Council voted last week to ban plastic shopping bags from stores beginning July 1, 2010.

In Los Angeles on July 2, 2010, outside a grocery store at night, a stranger approaches a customer and speaks with a hush, "Psst, yo man. Want some plastic?"


I made brochures for a class during high school. I used Microsoft Publisher and numerous fonts and styles. Later, I would use many varieties for "burning" onto DVDs. So, I'm quite familiar with the font universe.

If you know your fonts, then you'll enjoy this video linked at Little Green Footballs.

The laugh out loud line: "You're insane! Nobody uses Microsoft Works."

I liked Century Gothic the most.

The Might of America

Robert Samuelson via Greg Mankiw:

The paradoxical thing about today's economy is its strength. No kidding. Consider all the hand grenades lobbed at it. Higher oil prices. The housing implosion. Large layoffs in affected industries: autos, airlines, construction, mortgage banking. The "credit squeeze" triggered by losses on "subprime" mortgages. Despite all that, the economy hasn't collapsed. It's merely weakened. Output in the first quarter of 2008 was actually 2.5 percent higher than a year earlier.

Neocons are to blame.

The Force of Obama


If Obama proves that he can curl 10 reps with each arm using 70-pound dumbbells after doing a set of 30 with 35-pounders, I will publicly endorse him in a WND column because there clearly isn't anything that the man cannot do.

In the comments section there, nick digger (7/27/08 7:42 PM) left this gem:

He breathes deeply in and out and takes a sip of water from his 0,5 litre Evian bottle. He glances at the bicycle again. She is glistening from his audacious show of force; she cannot but submit to his iron will. Prostrate, she lies, inviting.

He struts over to her, flexing his pectorals, alternately, then in unison. Slowly but firmly he strokes her saddle with his middle finger in a circular motion - twice clockwise, thrice counter-clockwise. She quivers before him. If she only had vocal cords, "TAKE ME!! RAVISH ME, YOU SOMEWHAT NEGROISH STUD!!!", she'd cry. But that cruel bitch Fate has made her a bicycle, and granted her no vocal cords.

All she can do is passively hope, with every ounce of steel and aluminium, every washer and grommet of her being. "Mnnnn!" He places his left foot on her. "Could it --- ? Ahhh." She lists portward as he places his full weight on her left pedal, then over her, he swings his right leg, landing on her right pedal, as she sways back to right herself. "Oh, please!!!..."

He playfully freewheels. "Should I start with my right or left?" "Right", he opts. He presses downward, then stops halfway. "No, left." He backs up 180 degrees, standing off her saddle, then THRUSTS his left foot into her. "Unggh!" He pauses briefly, then Right. "Oooohh!" Left. "Gasp!" Right. He lowers himself into her saddle, grinding his sweaty, muscular buttocks into her, and gradually quickens his rhythm. (He gets that from his father's side.)

I'm still laughing.

Uncle Tom Neocons

David Bernstein:

One interesting aspect of all this is that the standard left-wing "Uncle Tom" attack on black conservatives accuses them of being insufficiently supportive of "their people," while the emerging attack on Jewish conservatives accuses them of being too supportive of "their people" and thus having dual loyalties. Hmm.

One can't win a rigged game.

Poor, Oppressed, Victimized Muslims

Times Online via LFG!!:

ALMOST a third of British Muslim students believe killing in the name of Islam can be justified, according to a poll.

The study also found that two in five Muslims at university support the incorporation of Islamic sharia codes into British law.

The YouGov poll for the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) will raise concerns about the extent of campus radicalism. “Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values,” said Han-nah Stuart, one of the report’s authors. “These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities.”


In the report, 40% of Muslim students said it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely. Homophobia was rife, with 25% saying they had little or no respect for gays.

This number surprised me:

The research found that a third of Muslim students supported the creation of a world-wide caliphate or Islamic state.

I think it's too low.

Too Curious

Achelois: “Where are you from?” Again

I often get asked that question in an innocent manner here in Canada. After they're satisfied with the answer, the usual follow up is, "Are you a Muslim?"


They're perplexed. "Hmm. Christian?"




Total confusion. Then, I kid you not, "What are you!?"

With a devilish smile, "I'm nothing."

Afghanistan Heats Up, Again

Times Online:

Afghanistan is replacing Iraq as the destination of choice for international jihadists, Western intelligence agencies claim. Analysts have monitored a surge in online recruitment of “lions of Islam” to join the war in Afghanistan through jihadist websites, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chechnya and Turkey, in the past year.


“Iraq is seen as a defeat. The image of Afghanistan is seen as a more pristine jihad.”

The Times has learnt from several insurgency sources that Abu Yusuf Saleh al-Yemeni, an emissary for al-Qaeda, met the leadership of Hizb-e-Islami, the Afghan insurgent group, in Nuristan province on the eastern border in autumn 2007. The two sides agreed to work together. Al-Yemeni now leads a band of al-Qaeda fighters alongside Hizb-e-Islami fighters, as well as Taleban and Pakistani militants from bases in Nuristan.

This is good news since there is more support for Allied troops in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Therefore, there's more at stake for nations other than the US. This Afghan strategy will, in due time, backfire for the Jihadists. When Iraq is fully on her feet, where will the restless -- and experienced! -- Americans go?

To where the Jihadist scum is collecting itself.

Link via Armies of Liberation.

An Intolerant Muslim!

The Calgary Sun:

Attacking a Jewish girl and the friends who came to her rescue has landed a Muslim man a one-year jail sentence.

Why did he attack the Jewish girl?

Taj approached the group around 10:45 p.m. and asked "who's Jewish." Nichola Cordato, then 16, stated "me" and Taj grabbed her and said, "I'm Muslim and hate Jews."

Bonus points for honesty.

Before sentencing, McCaffrey called evidence of a similar assault a year earlier in which Taj approached a black male at an LRT station and assaulted him.

Keak Khor said Taj swore at him for being Sudanese and African before he and another man attacked him.

One of these days Taj will get all that hate returned with interest.

Link via Jihad Watch.

Peace in Action

Mahmood Elahi via Dhimmi Watch:

Why is there no outrage against the Taliban and al-Qaeda killing Muslims? They do it in the name of Islam. As Prof. Hoodbhoy points out: "The militants are using America as a smokescreen for their real agenda. These fanatics dream of transforming the country into a religious state where they will be the law. They stone women to death, cut off limbs, threaten beard-shaving barbers with death, blow up girls schools at a current rate of two per week, forbid music, punish musicians, destroy 2,000-year-old statues. ... Pakistanis tolerate these narrow-minded, unforgiving men because they claim to fight for Islam."

Most do. Some are simply scared. The real question is: why don't many Muslims who live in the West criticize these demons?

Possible answer: Because that is the true nature of their religion.

President of Europe

Hot Air via Daimnation:

If they think a massive campaign rally in Berlin will convince anyone but the most ardent Leftists in America to vote for Obama, they really need a shake-up in their campaign staff.

I agree. The Europe trip will backfire for Obama. The slobbering European crowds won't help him in the US. He ought to be appealing directly to American voters.

Nehalem Coming Sooner

DigiTimes via Hardocp:

Originally scheduled to launch in November or December this year, Intel's Nehalem-based Bloomfield processors will now launch in September along with X58 chipsets, sources at motherboard makers have revealed.

Intel should have released it in July to fully capture the back-to-school sales bump. Pity. Anyway, what will it be called?

Hopefully not Core 3 Duo.

Apostate Replies II

Read this post for background info.

I've always found it fascinating how certain people interact with the rest. Recently, at work, a fellow acted kindly towards me for the first time. I quickly realized the reason: he wanted something from me. Before then, his behavior was sometimes indifferent and often contemptuous.

Indifference I understand. It's the effort that some put into being rude that I do not get. This applies to the online world as well.

For example, last year, the Apostate sent me an email. An excerpt:

Hey, Isaac:

I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for linking to me. I got the most hits I've ever gotten and made it into the fastest growing blogs of wordpress.

I don't know how many of the visitors you sent my way will return, but it was good to know that something I wrote was actually being read by someone. I don't care too deeply about traffic, but it's nice to have an audience when one has something to say.

I enjoy your blog and am in awe of your story.

[Emphasis mine.]

That was a sweet message. However, recently, we disagreed on the reasons for the gender imbalance in the academic fields of the US. A portion of her reply consisted of using the word "Paki" and this paragraph:

Hey, Isaac? Feel free to stop reading this “train wreck” at any point. I won’t miss you. After all, I never read your blog, because I find your wingnutty views ridiculously silly.

[Emphasis mine.]

Did she just pull a Kerry? She enjoyed reading my blog before she never read it! Note that I've been blogging since 2004. The "wingnutty" quotient of my views has been fairly consistent since then.

So, what exactly changed?

This recent post sheds some light. Life deals us with enough misery as it is. Why someone would want to create more is beyond me.

Halaal Fashion

Gateway Pundit: Iran Holds Regime Approved Islamic Fashion Show.

Black is in again this year...

When was it out?

This dress could be called the flying squirrel...

One could call it the Batman or the Batgirl but that would be imitating a kafir superhero which would likely lead to death via stoning.

So the flying squirrel it is.

On Racial Quotas


Last month, while stressing that the current "targets" should continue until at least 2010, the South African board recommended that the ultimate responsibility for selecting the national XI should lie with the coach and convenor of selectors, that the selectors should be solely responsible for squad selections, and that the board president should no longer be empowered to wield a veto. Many interpreted this as confirmation that the end of quotas was nigh. However misplaced, the applause was global, the mourning inaudible.


There were Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini and Ashwell Prince clopping down those ancient pavilion steps, wearing those dark green, defiantly unbaggy caps, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Afrikaaners, 153 Tests between them already, 345 wickets, 17 five-fors, 4598 runs and 11 centuries safely deposited in their joint account. For a few moments, as this realisation dawned, the lump in my throat had all the makings of a second Gibraltar.

All of which posed a question to those who had long protested against the justice and worth of quotas: without them, would one of the most successful fast bowlers of all time have ever scaled such heights, paving the way for a Cape Coloured and a grandson of Indians to follow? To me there can only be one answer, and it does not contain the letters y, e or s.

I find this logic silly. Whites were discriminated against so that a few non-whites could be brought into the South African cricket team. How is that in any way moral? Just because non-whites were kept out of the team years ago, the opposite racism today somehow becomes just?

So what if these non-whites went on to perform for the team. Is the author arguing that the whites who were kept out wouldn't have brought glory to the South African team?

Does the name Kevin Pietersen ring a bell? Without the racial quota system, would one of the most talented (but white!) batsmen on Earth have left South Africa for England? To me there can only be one answer, and it does not contain the letters y, e or s.

The End is Not Nigh

Daily Tech via Small Dead Animals:

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.


Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming.   "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth."

I still blame the SUVs.

Alex writes in the comments:

The APS did NOT change their stance, they simply published two articles which represent two opposing viewpoints on the issue. Or, in even fewer words "Asher lied".


Read the Fine Print

Gus Van Horn:

In an article he wrote for Independence Day, Robert X. Cringely points out that technology is only as good as the people using it and indirectly reminded me of a couple of other related points.

After noting that newspaper ads account for a small and shrinking portion of real estate sales, Cringely looks at how the Internet has revolutionized house hunting.

The second excerpt that follows there is quite scary.

Tied Up in Female Virginity

Muslim Matters: Sex & the Ummah: As A Virgin.

the entire concept of proof of virginity is alien to the Deen and completely absent in the Shari’ah. It is commanded of both Muslim men and women to abstain from pre-marital relations. Since, the only Islamically acceptable way of knowing whether someone has broken this rule is by confession, or having been caught fornicating by the required four witnesses, the whole idea of physiological “proof” is redundant.

I wonder if ever in history the "four witness rule" was applied. Often a mere rumor is enough proof for the paranoid.

Double standards are another sign of culture being placed over religion. Many families are willing to turn a blind eye to their sons “playing the field”, but become borderline psychotic if their daughters are caught doing so.

Indeed. One finds many male Muslim "plowers" who'd beat or murder their sisters if they ever tried to emulate their brothers.

It must be clearly understood that the Shari’ah does not differentiate between male and female when it comes to gender relations and sexual conduct.

What!? How many Muslim men have to wear a burka whenever they go outside in the scorching Middle East heat? The idea that sharia is gender neutral is ludicrous. The logical corollary that Islamic hellholes like Saudi Arabia and Iran are misinterpreting sharia is even more farcical.

Profound Sadness


Two years ago I met a beautiful Algerian woman whom I befriended quite easily. She is very sweet and friendly and since opposites attract it wasn’t difficult for a loner like me to find a friend in her.

When we met she told me that when she moved to this country to work she received a lot of proposals from local men wanting to marry her but she refused them because she “didn’t want to be someone’s second or third wife!” She laughed heartily when she told me this scrunching her nose and eyes. But finally she met a local man with whom she fell in love. They married about a year ago and my friend is now pregnant.

The heartlessness that follows has no fix.

The Odd Meaning of "No Compulsion"

Asia News via Dhimmi Watch:

Kidnapped by three Muslims, and forced to convert to Islam: this is what happened to two underage sisters in the district of Muzaffargarh, in the province of Punjab, last June 26. The charge is made to AsiaNews by a relative of the victims, providing further details about the affair involving, against their will, 13-year-old Saba Younas and her 10-year-old sister Anila.

What is the police doing?

According to a statement released by the justice and peace commission of the Pakistani Church (NCJP), "the parents and Christian community of the place have been knocking on all the doors", but no one seems willing to help them. In particular, "the police, who have done nothing to restore them to their parents", are making themselves accomplices of the kidnappers. The commission also denounces the climate of intimidation that has been created around the family, which "has received serious threats from the kidnappers".

No Hope

Pejman Yousefzadeh:

Obama has actually done nothing to alleviate the concerns of centrist and center-right voters, while at the same time appearing to go out of his way to stick a thumb in the eye of his liberal base.

Obama is similar to Bill Clinton. He's driven by raw ambition. He'll adopt and discard "principles" (among other things) as long as the effort leads to the White House. I doubt the majority of the American voters will cast the ballot for such a phoney during a world war.