Old B Movie Trailers + Fresh Expert Commentary =

Trailers From Hell!

This is a fun little concept in which modern movie directors and writers (Joe Dante, John Landis, Mick Garris, et. al.) comment on the original trailers for some classic cheesy old horror movies.

 I loved these schlocky movies when I was a kid so it’s no surpise I’m thinking this is pretty cool. Have a look:

"The Greatest Story Never Told"

The Dow broke 14k for the first time in history today.

Larry Kudlow at NRO Online has some thoughts. A snippet:

What we are witnessing here, in virtually every corner of the globe, is the success and the spread of unbridled free market capitalism. It is a dynamic worldwide march toward lower tax rates, deregulation, and, as market strategist Don Luskin put it on last night’s show, the “interconnectedness” of global economies through free trade, the free flow of capital, and the robust free exchange of information.

Despite the persistent doom and gloom refrain from various sourpuss prognosticators, it remains the greatest story never told.

And it’s not over yet.

Post-Post-Christian Europe?

I believe it was C.S. Lewis who first declared Europe, “post-Christian.” For the last 40 years, it has indeed been the most spiritually dark place on earth. But lately there are signs that is changing, just as there are some small but encouraging indications that parts of Europe are realizing the slow cultural suicide they’ve been committing through liberal immigration policies and the world’s lowest birthrates.

Today I came across this in the Wall Street Journal online (subscription possibly required). The headline read:

In Europe, God Is (Not) Dead

Christian groups are growing, faith is more public.
Is supply-side economics the explanation?

 The article by Andrew Higgins points to numerous indicators that secularism’s icy hold on the hearts of Europe’s millions may be weaker than assumed. Here’s a key paragraph:

After decades of secularization, religion in Europe has slowed its slide toward what had seemed inevitable oblivion. There are even nascent signs of a modest comeback. Most church pews are still empty. But belief in heaven, hell and concepts such as the soul has risen in parts of Europe, especially among the young, according to surveys. Religion, once a dead issue, now figures prominently in public discourse.

Along these same lines, the Weekly Standard online featured this article several months ago about the resurgance of Christianity in the Netherlands.

Bin Laden is Dead

A full 24 hours after the “new” Osama Bin Laden tape was convincingly proven to have been shot in October of 2001, Drudge’s main headline is still shouting: “Bin Laden Appears in New al-Qaida Video”.  

On the case are the guys over at Hot Air. Scroll down on this post to see a comparison of screen grabs from the new video and one that is more than 5-and-a-half years old. I’m telling you, if OBL could be propped up in front a camera, given a shot of adrenaline, and gotten to say five date-fixing words that show he’s still alive, they would do it, but they can’t.

Because he’s dead.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the release of this video isn’t being used a a signal. Michelle Malkin has the overview.

On Tom Watson as the Sun Sets

Dean Barnett over at Hugh Hewitt’s blog posted a fine tribute to golf great Tom Watson today in light of Watson’s back-nine collapse at the Senior U.S. Open last weekend. 

Barnett clearly loves the greatness of the game and the game’s greats. A snippet:

If this turns out to be Watson’s final moment in the competitive limelight, it will provide an end to his career worthy of the finest fiction. Like most golf fans, I was rooting for Tom Watson on Sunday. But there was something heroic about the way he stoically bore the crumbling of his game and the dream of one last championship. During those torturous last eight holes, he never complained, never whined, never showed any temper or even disappointment. Afterwards, he characteristically offered no excuses, and instead acknowledged the sometimes brutal and unforgiving accountability that characterizes golf.

Read the whole thing: “The Fall of the Legend

Why I'm "David," and Not "Andy"

 Ahhh, some light on an old, personal mystery—thanks to a clue from James Lileks.

 My full name is David Andrew Holland. My parents meant for me to go by the name “Andy.”  In fact, I did until right before I started first grade when I was five. To this day, many of my aunts, uncles and cousins refer to me as Andy—or the compromise hybrid, “David Andy.”

Why did I suddenly go from being Andy to David? That’s always been a bit of a mystery but I learned some things today that I had been wondering about for almost 40 years.

My mother has always insisted that it was I who, at the age of five, unilaterally and without discussion decided that I would henceforth be known as David. I have no recollection of that. But what I do have is a memory of is being teased about my name by some other kids. In fact, I have a clear recollection of a song being sung about my name (what the Old Testament would call a “taunt song”).

Andy Pandy, Jack-a-Dandy! Andy Pandy, Jack-a-Dandy!

My theory has always been that I had been so traumatized by the Andy Pandy taunt-song that when we moved to another town the summer before my first grade year, I made the switch so as to not carry such an easily-mocked name into a strange new school.

If that was indeed my strategy, it worked! Because from then on, if my name ever triggered a bout of singing by another kid it was invariably, “Davey, Davey Crockett. King of the wild frontier!” And what six-year-old boy minds being proclaimed King of the Wild Frontier? I sure didn’t.

But I’ve always wondered about that memory of the words, “Andy Pandy, Jack-a-Dandy.” My assumption was that they were just nonsense words flowing from the twisted imagination of a verbal bully. . . 

. . .until this morning when I opened up James’ Lilek’s “Bleat” as is my custom.

About halfway down, he included a scan of a Johnny Cash 45 record cover that had been his dad’s. He also showed a scan of the reverse side where James had scrawled his name as a little kid, and where his father had printed the words, “Andy Pandy feet.”

James puzzled over the words “Andy Pandy feet” and speculated that maybe it had something to do with a character named Andy Panda. But I knew better. There it was! The name that I had just assumed was a bratty kids made-up rhyme.

That sent me off to Google where I quickly got thousands of hits on the name “Andy Pandy”—who, as it turns out was a character in a British children’s television program on the BBC. It debuted in 1950 but hit its peak of popularity in the late 50s and early 60s (I was born in 1959). There was even a wikipedia entry!

But that wasn’t all.

About halfway down on the first page of google hit links, I saw it. There was the phrase, “Andy Pandy, Jack-a-Dandy in this link. And this one. And this definition of “jack-a-dandy”:

Jack·-a-dan·dy
n.  A little dandy; a little, foppish, impertinent fellow.

Well, that may be striking a little close to home. And based on this series of books, Andy is either a girl, or a very effeminate little boy that plays with dolls:

andypandyannual_1960.jpg

Nevertheless, what a wonderful thing is this Internet of ours. Today, by chance, the heavy fog around some old memories was cleared. And the reasons behind a five-year-old’s identity change came into sharper focus.

By the way, I was named “Andrew” because that was my maternal grandfather’s name (Andrew Jackson). And back in 1959, my mom thought D. Andrew Holland was a fitting name for a future United States Senator and, this being America, well, you just never know.

Why the Success of Boeing’s New Jet Is a Metaphor for European Wrongheadedness

The first complete 787 Dreamliner hasn’t even rolled off the Boeing assembly line yet, and it has already become the most successful launch of a new aircraft in the history of aviation. According to this new Wall Street Journal article, Boeing has already accumulated 677 orders for the jet from 47 customers. And new orders are coming in almost daily.

The 787 was a HUGE “all-in” bet for Boeing in it’s competition with Europe’s heavily-subsidized Airbus for the world’s airliner business.

Several years ago, the two companies adopted two very different product strategies. In an era of rising fuel costs AND increasing long-haul travel, Airbus decided to build BIG. Their proposed answer for airlines wanting to increase efficiency was to build an aircraft that could carry a crazy number of people.

Thus, the Airbus A-380 was born a flying, triple-decker Titanic of a plane that can carry up to 800 people. 

Runways at major airports all over the world are currently being lengthened in order to accommodate this beast. (Are you willing to climb on an airplane that’s carrying 800 other souls? I’ll pass.

Boeing took a different approach. It proposed to meet the airlines’ growing demand for efficiency by designing a jet that was lighter, more fuel efficient and more comfortable than any that had come before.

For several years now, industry analysts have been wondering which approach would find favor with the airline buyers. Well the jury is in. Boeing’s bet has paid off in a huge way. They literally can’t make them fast enough. Meanwhile, poor Airbus, massively unionized, regulated and drowning in complex agreements negotiated among the EU’s various member nations, just learned that, as the WSJ put it:

“. . . engineering teams in France and Germany had used different software to design the plane’s wiring, resulting in serious manufacturing errors.

Oopsies!

A Pattern Emerges 

When I read today’s news about Boeing’s triumph, I was immediately reminded of a story I read several years ago about the different approaches the U.S. and Europe had taken back in the 1970s to combat the air pollution caused by automobiles.

The U.S. approach was to mandate catalytic converters in all new cars and begin to switch the nation over to the unleaded gasolines which the converters required. The Europeans had a better idea.

The problem, in their view, was all the people owning and driving cars when they could just as easily take a government-owned bus or train. So the governments of Europe began intentionally driving up the costs of owning and driving a personal vehicle in a big way. Heavy taxes and fees were added to every layer of of the system. Some of those tax revenues were used to increase the mass transit capabilities in the major cities and the network of train service in each country.

(This European approach, by the way, is consistently held up by “progressives” in this country as the model for how we ought to be doing it.)

Of course, one of the bedrock laws of economics is that if you want less of something, tax it. Thus, in terms of reducing the number of cars being purchased and driven, Europe’s plan worked. It crippled its own auto industry, threw millions out of work, and forced average working people to the buses and trains leaving the highways and autobahns to the elites.

But which of the two approaches actually cleaned up the air? Care to take guess?

By 1995, the air quality in U.S. cities was uniformly better than that in European cities of comparable size. The U.S. approach yielded such strikingly better results, that European nations have since begun to follow the U.S. approach without abandoning their punative taxes, of course. (Another reminder: there’s no such thing as a temporary tax.)

That brings us back to Boeing vs. Airbus. Apparently the European liberals have so much marxist/socialist DNA in their genetic material, they simply can’t help but think like centralizers and collectivists when approaching any problem.

No wonder they named their company Airbus.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do. . .

. . .when you’re a pastor.

Scott Hodge is a friend from back in the day who pastors a great church in the Chicago area called The Orchard Community.

Scott is also a prolific and innovative blogger who currently is posting some thoughts about why pastors tend to get so wounded when church members choose to leave. As I can attest, they often take it as a personal rejection or even a betrayal, when often God is simply redeploying some of his human assets.

 Check out Scott’s blog and, if you live near Aurora, Illinois, check out The Orchard Community if you’re looking for a fresh, missional and non-religious fellowship with a wonderful pastor.

It's Live Earth Global Concert Day. . .

live-earth.jpg

…and Mark Steyn is concerned that his grandchildren will never get to see some of the unnatural wonders our generation has come to take for granted. For example:

I worry that my grandchildren will never know the thrill of being hectored by Bono and Bob Geldof, and that many already rare species will simply vanish from the earth – Seventies supergroups who’ve not yet had a long-awaited charity-gala reunion, hot young acts who haven’t had the chance to cover “Imagine” with the lights down and everybody in the stadium holding disposable lighters. . .

Read the whole thing here. Do it for the children.

Hitchens vs. God

Christopher Hitchens’ book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, has been sitting on the upper rungs of the bestseller lists for weeks now. I’ve read it. And I have some thoughts about it. When I get a little spare time I plan to post my observations about it here.

In the meantime, the latest issue of The Claremont Review of Books featured a fairly devastating review by Ross Douthout, editor of the The Atlantic magazine:

Check it out if you’re so inclined.