Weekend Update: Hobbits, Russians, and Obama
It’s the weekend which means I’m allowed to go a little off topic on events which I find a bit interesting:
Gerard Depardieu becomes Russian
Everyone’s favorite Frenchman isn’t French anymore! Yes, this week Gerard Depardieu landed in Russia to a media furor as he became a citizen of his new adopted country. I must admit when I saw the giant Gaul embrace Vladimir Putin I did a double take. I couldn’t understand why the iconic Frenchman would give up his citizenship for a Russian passport but then I read on that Depardieu was protesting the French Social Democrats tax change that would have put the actor in a 75% tax bracket. (In Russia he will pay 13%) Reasonable people can differ on what high income earners should be paying in tax but 75%????
That’s basically working until September each year before earning for yourself…that can’t be right in any country.
Finally saw The Hobbit and …well…I gave it a “B”. Understand this is from someone who went to see The Fellowship of the Ring NINE times at the cinema when it first came out.
The Good: Seeing all the old characters again was wonderful…like a reunion and Jackson was quite creative in working characters who were not in the actual story (book) of The Hobbit into the movie. And Rivendell…how I missed thee. Seeing the Elven city all alive and buzzing was enchanting as opposed to 60 years later in The Lord of the Rings when most of the elves had already gone “into the West” and it had seemed deserted.
The rest? Acting was good, story was good…everything solid!
The Bad: The Hobbit is a CGI fest gone wild. In the last 10 years since LotR it seems like Peter Jackson picked up the George Lucas film making mantra; You can never have to many computer generated effects. And that is where the film failed to be “great” for me. In LotR the characters may have done extraordinary feats, but you still felt they were operating within the laws of physics and gravity. That made the battles epic. In The Hobbit I felt I was watching a cartoon. The only thing missing from the final battle with the goblins was our heroes pulling out a pack of ACME dynamite as the Road Runner zoomed by.
Republicans, Democrats, and The American Budget
The U.S. Congress recently polled as having a favorability rating of 9%. To give that some perspective, that’s roughly the same favorability percentage that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has in the U.S. and the same percentage of Americans that would welcome a Communist government in the United States.
I don’t think the recent budget battle over the “fiscal cliff” will improve that favorability percentage at all. Add that to a president who has no interest in cutting any entitlement spending whatsoever and you can see why America’s road to fiscal sustainability hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet. A friend of mine in politics posted this on Facebook to help put the budget issue into a form we can all understand:
* U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
* Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
* New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
* National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
* Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000
Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
* Annual family income: $21,700
* Money the family spent: $38,200
* New debt on the credit card: $16,500
* Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
* Total budget cuts so far: $38.50
Ok, that was my diversion 🙂 … some news I found interesting! See you back here with my next post on “Salvation”.
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