Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Okay - all you Harry Potter fans...we're just hours away.
Well, you are. As for me - I haven't bought the books in hardback, so I'll either have to borrow from someone, or wait about a year...yeah, I think I'll be borrowing.
Frankly, I'm a little disappointed with Scholastic and Ms. Rowling for issuing the final book in the Harry Potter series the weekend before the BAR EXAM! Hello - a little consideration for us future barristers out here Ms. Rowling...how can we be expected to pass the Bar with you putting the book out right before?!?
I, for one, will be self-disciplined and not read Deathly Hallows until after the exam. How in the world I will keep from having the ending spoiled for me, I have no idea. But since I spend about 12 hours a day cooped up in a library now, I think I can manage.
Since the day is upon us, I want to link to (re-posted below) the blog entry I wrote after finishing the Half-Blood Prince - Harry Potter spoiler alert... (from 1-Dec-2005).
As I said at that time - I have not and do not read Harry Potter rumor/speculation/fan websites. I know that there is massive questions surrounding whether Harry makes it out of the series alive - and I have my opinion on that too (which has changed as I have re-read Half-Blood Prince in the past few days). But I'm still more interested (and was a year and a half ago) in the fate of another character.
As is mentioned - potential spoiler alert both for happenings in Half-Blood Prince (if there is anyone left who hasn't read that) and for speculations on the finale.
Happy reading to all of you who will start just after midnight tonight --- Don't Spoil It For Me!!!!
This week I finished reading the latest in the Harry Potter series of books - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
I was fortunate to be able to get this in over the Thanksgiving holiday - now that I'm in school I very rarely have much time for reading for pleasure. I borrowed Half-Blood Prince from a friend and was about 100 pages into it, a week or so ago, but I was totally lost. There were characters and story lines being referenced which I had absolutely no recognition of. So, then I decided that I needed to go back and read
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix again, because I literally did not remember a thing about that book. That is kind of a scary proposition - the fact that you have read a book before and could not remember a single event, character or plot twist only a year or two later. I console myself thinking about how the thousands of pages of legal cases I've read since then has simply pushed these stories from my mind...but I'm really just worried I'm getting old.
Well, if you've read Half-Blood Prince, you know there are some - shall we say - twists and turns, or surprises in store. Well, I want to talk about some of those surprises a little bit in this post...
So, WARNING - PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD.
If you have not read Half-Blood Prince, but intend on doing so, please stop reading this now - because I am going to write about somethings that happen that you will not want to know before you read. If you do not want to spoil the plot of Half-Blood Prince stop reading now.
Also, WARNING - FUTURE PLOT CONJECTURE AHEAD.
The purpose of this post is I have some ideas kicking around in my head about something that may happen in the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter books - and if I'm right, it may well not surprise you as much when you read that book. So, if you do not want to face the possibility of a surprise of Book 7 potentially being revealed here, stop reading now.
Okay, as I mentioned, after reading Half-Blood Prince, I got to thinking about the ending, and something came to me that might be an important part of the final book - and I want to record that here so that, in two years when the final book comes out, I can verify if I was correct or not. I do want to add here - I do not read Harry Potter websites - so if this is a very common theory of what is happening in the books, then I apologize for not citing those sources, but this comes simply from my thoughts about the books, not anything external I've read.
As you know if you have read Half-Blood Prince, Professor Dumbeldore (Hogwarts Headmaster, and mentor/protector of Harry Potter) dies toward the end of the book. That was a bit of a surprise - not completely, but to some extent. What was much more surprising to me was the source of his death - he was killed by the killing curse by none other than Hogwarts Professor Severus Snape. Snape is a former Death Eater, who had turned spy for the Order of the Pheonix (those whom fight the antagonist in the books - Lord Voldemort). But many in the Order - if not all other than Dumbledore - still did not trust Snape. They felt he was still too entwined in the Dark Arts, and was really still a follower of Voldemort. But Dumbledore steadfastly trusted Snape, and refused to listen to anyone's doubts of Snape's pure loyalty.
And yet it was Snape who administered the curse which killed Dumbledore.
What to make of this. Well, clearly, the idea from the book is that Harry and the other members of the Order were correct all along about Snape - that he was still evil, still following Voldemort, and that Dumbledore was wrong to trust him.
I do not think this is the case. I think Snape is still loyal to the Order, and that even now - having killed Dumbledore and on the run back to Voldemort - he will be acting as spy.
How can that be?
My conjecture is that Dumbledore had a reason to put his trust in Snape fully. What kind of a reason - an Unbreakable Vow. We learn in Half-Blood Prince about these Unbreakable Vows that bind the two oath takers together to the point that death will result if the Vow is broken. What if - and it is a big what if - Dumbledore had convinced Snape to take an Unbreakable Vow of loyalty to him, to the Order, and against Voldemort, but always as spy, never revealing his true loyalties - even if that meant he had to kill Dumbledore in front of other Death Eaters to remain with his access to Voldemort.
This is how I support such a conjecture:
1. Dumbledore never waivered in his support of Snape. In the books, has Dumbledore ever been proven wrong about such a massive point? No.
2. When Harry was chasing Snape and Malfoy from the Hogwarts grounds, Snape fought back only with defensive spells. If he was truly working for Voldemort, there is no reason not to kill Harry at that point - after all he had just killed Dumbledore.
3. My idea is that Dumbledore knew that in order to defeat Voldemort, Harry would need someone on the inside to do something, which will provide Harry the access to kill him. My gut feeling is that at this point, Dumbledore felt his life was less important than Snape's in defeating Voldemort - Snape has to be there in order to accomplish the Feat, the Something which will enable Harry to end the War. Harry doesn't know this. The Order doesn't know this. But Snape does, and he will accompolish the Feat just before he himself perishes - and is redeemed - in the final book.
Who knows. Maybe Snape is just evil. But I think that Dumbledore had a master plan, and he saw his sacrifice as simply a piece of that plan.
We shall see.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Having said that - this really is a funny spoof of the Sopranos finale. Good stuff...
Friday, July 13, 2007
David Beckham is a soccer player - maybe you've heard of him? Yes, I think it's fair to say that most people have at least heard of him and - even if not familar with his resume - know that he's a footballer.
Is Beckham in MLS going to work out? Who knows. The day this was announced last spring - and the money was disclosed - I was skeptical, but hopeful. There are so many shades of the NY Cosmos (of the long-defunct NASL) signing Pele in the 70s - big name, loads of money, big crowds, media attention - but an absolute wreck of a business plan and the league blew up just years later.
Beckham will be getting somewhere between $30 and $50 million over five years from the Galaxy and MLS - and somewhere around $200 million in profit-participation and additional endorsement deals. Spending that kind of money on soccer in America is a MASSIVE risk.
But you have to take big risks to reap big rewards.
Addidas and the Galaxy announced yesterday that they have already sold over 250,000 Beckham jerseys. They have increased season ticket sales by 4,000 plus. MLS got their first paying TV contracts. A five year, 8-figure new jersery sponsorship.
This just might work out. And not ONLY due to the dollar and cents...
"It's not a big brand thing," Beckham insists. "It's about me being the ambassador for MLS. If I can make people more aware and make kids realize that you can go into higher levels and make a great living from playing soccer, that's what I'm going over there to do."
Everything this guy is saying about the game, the game in America, and growing the sport is right. Does he really believe it? Is he really here for an early retirement - or acting - or his wife's career? That is the question. But, if he's genuine...wow...
This could pay off because he puts soccer and MLS in the minds and on the lips of millions of Americans who never would have before. More kids play, more fans watch, more folks buy jerseys, more investors want to buy teams... all of that takes time - but those are the lasting impacts that could make this deal pay off beyond the financial concerns. Pay off by truly making soccer a "major league" sport in America.
The key difference between Pele and Beckham is this - Pele was brought here to grow soccer on the sports map in America. But there was no foundation, no infrastructure, so fertile soil if you will, to grow the sport...and so the attempt did not sick, the seed didn't grow.
Beckham doesn't have to establish soccer in America. Soccer IS established now - we've got a strong league, with financially savvy owners, expansion, stadium construction, good players, a strong national team, etc., etc., etc. Now soccer in the US has a foundation, an infrastructure - fertile soil. So now, the hope is that Beckham will really be the seed that grows US soccer into a whole new realm of popularity, credibility, and significance.
I was very skeptical of this deal - but the leaders of MLS (managment and the investors) have been such solid cultivators of the league - I think this is a big risk that just might pay unimaginable rewards.
The Americanization of Beckham - Sports Illustrated (Grant Wahl)
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Hindu prayer in Senate disrupted
A Hindu clergyman made history Thursday by offering the Senate's morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors' gallery.
Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., gave the brief prayer that opens each day's Senate session. As he stood at the chamber's podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting "this is an abomination" and other complaints from the gallery.
Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an AP reporter, "we are Christians and patriots" before police handcuffed them and led them away.
For several days, the Mississippi-based American Family Association has urged its members to object to the prayer because Zed would be "seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god."
Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the protest "shows the intolerance of many religious right activists. They say they want more religion in the public square, but it's clear they mean only their religion."
I am a Christian who believes in the clear separation of church and state. One of the reasons is this right here. If I would choose not to have my child exposed to Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, or any other sorts of prayers in public school, or public events; why would I be so arrogant as to exect Hindus, Muslims, Jews, or anyone else to accept forced exposure to the prayers of my religion? The arrogance and hypocracy of screaming for public prayer, then screaming when it's not your prayer being offered.
A little more relationship with God, and a little less of using 'god' as an election tactic would serve right-wingers well.
President Bush on Thursday acknowledged publicly for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the name of a CIA operative...
"I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person," Bush said. "I've often thought about what would have happened if that person had come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? ..."
Now - this is a perfect example of a conservative "taking responsibility" for something: too little, far too late, and focus on the money rather than the truth...
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The first U.S. surgeon general appointed by President George W. Bush accused the administration on Tuesday of political interference and muzzling him on key issues like embryonic stem cell research.Systematic corruption. Nothing you wouldn't expect from this President.
"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.
"The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. ..."
Monday, July 02, 2007
Bush spares Libby from 2 1/2-year prison term
Not only did the President lie to the American people about firing anyone associated with the leaking of the name of a CIA agent, it appears to me that he has now made himself complicit in that crime, by commuting the prison sentence of the high-level White House official convicted as a part of those events, which were intended to strong-arm and discredit a vocal opponent of the Administration.
The behavior of this President is dispicable and will be a part of his legacy. This is a sad day in our nation's history, when a President wants again puts power and control above the good of our nation - probably more so than our nation has ever seen (yes, including Nixon and Watergate). When you add into Bush's tragic legacy the fact that his administration condoned and advocated torture, condoned and advocated the holding of prisoners without charges, and the fact that he is now asserting executive privilege in regard to White House involvement in the political firings of US Attorney's - this is the most corrupt Presidential Administration since Warren Harding - if it has not already eclipsed Harding's pervasive levels of corruption.
The disasterous entagling intervention, invasion, and occupation in Iraq is tragic. The utter lack of planning for the occupation, and no clue as to how to extract our military will be pointed to by future generations as a lesson in how not to use and abuse our military. The monied interests dictating legislation (energy policy, medicare drup policy, bankruptcy reform, etc.) to a compliant White House has surpassed all that our government has ever experienced. And corruption spread so wide, and so deep it simply DEFINES this President has his Administration.
This - all this mire and muck - will be the legacy of George W. Bush.