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"If Lucy Fell" -- HANS!

If Lucy Fell (1996) would be a mostly forgettable movie, except for the way some of the performances are plainly early versions of characters the actors would take up later. Lucy Ackerman, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is the template from which her portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City was drawn. Bwick Elias, flower-child idiot artist, is the ur-goon of every idiot Ben Stiller has played thereafter (notably Zoolander).

But there's also this great scene, at 0:56. Lucy and Bwick are on a date, at Bwick's apartment:


{Bwick joins Lucy on a couch, facing a painting we've seen him working on previously.}

BWICK: It's symbolic. {He gestures at the painting, which stays unseen.} Life equals love which actually equals death. Life equals death.

{We cut to see the painting}

LUCY: It's symbolic?

BWICK: Yeah.

LUCY: Symbolic death?

BWICK: Symbols of life, and death, and love. Life equals death which is in the middle. The sub-set is love. Which is really what the symbol is. Love. Life equals love equals death. It's symbolic.

LUCY: Wait. {She gets up off the couch, and walks over to the painting} You have a woman with "LIFE" painted on her, uh... area, and she's stabbing to death a man with a knife that says "LOVE" on it. And then in big, bold letters it says, "LIFE=LOVE=DEATH."
I don't know that it's very symbolic, Bwick. It's kind of spelled out.

BWICK: So... It sucks. HANS!

LUCY: No. It doesn't suck. It's just that it's not really... You know, it's... It's a literal painting.

{As she says this, an assistant who looks like Fabio -- long blonde hair, overalls, no shirt -- splashes some sort of fluid onto the painting.}

LUCY: It's not symbolic. Which is... Fine.

BWICK: Hm-hm.

LUCY: It's literal.

BWICK: Right. It just... Literally sucks.

{We see that Hans is patiently standing next to the painting, now with a blowtorch in his hand.}


BWICK: No, you're right. You're right. It just symbolically sucks. HANS!

{Hans turns on the blowtorch, and sets the painting ablaze.}

BWICK: It certainly isn't very literal any more, is it?

{Lucy turns to the painting, as it continues to burn.}

LUCY: No, it's... It's symbolic.


An "a-ha!" moment

jaylake points to a piece by Sy Hersh in The New Yorker about the various plots and counter-plots in the Bush Administration about Iran. But while interesting, there's a definite "kremlinological" moment that goes by in passing.

“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency." {emphasis added}



"The most important..." you say?


Because the head of the Iraqi Operations Group was once described as, "a desk jockey." In fact, while the head of Iraqi Operations Group was a covert officer, then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan suggested that their identity wasn't a secret at all.

Who was the head of Iraqi Operations Group?

Valerie Plame.

"In 1997 (Plame) returned to CIA headquarters and joined the Counterproliferation Division. (About this time, she moved in with Joseph Wilson; they later married.) She was eventually given a choice: North Korea or Iraq. She selected the latter. Come the spring of 2001, she was in the CPD's modest Iraq branch. But that summer--before 9/11--word came down from the brass: We're ramping up on Iraq. Her unit was expanded and renamed the Joint Task Force on Iraq. Within months of 9/11, the JTFI grew to fifty or so employees. Valerie Wilson was placed in charge of its operations group."

So, let's not mince words with what Karl Rove did, when he burned the identity of Valerie Plame in a fit of pique (or at the orders of Cheney, depending on how grim you want it): Not only was she a covert operative. Not only was she working in Counterproliferation. Not only, out of the spectrum of CPD's work, was she in charge of operations for the Joint Task Force on Iraq, the single most sensitive country being monitored by CIA at the time.

She was in charge of CIA's "most important (group) in the agency"!

That was the level of damage Karl Rove did.

This administration keeps insisting we're in a fully legal "war."

If so, the evidence continues to build that Karl Rove violated Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, and if convicted, should be locked up as the treasonous bastard he is.


Today I was walking to the kitchen at work for a soda, and heard a familiar line on the TV (tuned to MSNBC) as I went by.

I've told the story of this before, but only knew it vaguely. Now I can give an exact transcript. Wikipedia has an article describing the setup:

"United Airlines flight 232, aka "UA232" (United 232 Heavy), was a scheduled flight operated by United Airlines. On July 19, 1989, its Douglas DC-10-10 (Registration N1819U) suffered an uncontained failure of its number 2 engine in the tail, which destroyed all three of the aircraft's hydraulic systems. With no controls working except the throttles for the two remaining engines, it crashlanded on the runway at Sioux City, Iowa killing 110 of its 285 passengers and one of the 11 crew members."

OK. So, serious stuff. That didn't mean the pilot, Captain Alfred C. Haynes, lost his humor, though. Here's the exchange between Haynes and the tower I've only been quasi-quoting for years:

Sioux City Approach: United Two Thirty-Two Heavy, the wind's currently three six zero at one one; three sixty at eleven. You're cleared to land on any runway.

Captain: [laughter] Roger. [laughter] You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?

(full transcript here, in Acrobat format)


Interesting tidbit gleaned from the Wikipedia article:

"The flight crew discovered that the only way to control the plane was by adjusting the thrust on the two remaining wing-mounted engines. Dennis E. Fitch, a DC-10 instructor who was deadheading as a passenger on the plane and was not part of the flight crew, offered his assistance. The task of flying the plane (using the throttles) was assigned to him... In subsequent reconstructions of the circumstances of the accident in flight simulators, no pilot, regardless of seniority, has succeeded in reproducing Fitch's achievement of maneuvering the aircraft as far as the runway. Generally, others lose control while the aircraft is still in mid air."