Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn

Summer is over.

My arugula and basil went to seed.


My big sunflowers died, like friendships that didn't work out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bottom Line On The Polanski Bust

Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant, issued in 1978 when Polanski fled the country after being convicted of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski is 76. He survived the Krakow ghetto, his parents died at Auschwitz, his wife and unborn child were brutally murdered by Charles Manson's "family." He's one of the world's most talented and successful makers of film, and he was entering Switzerland to be honored at the Zurich film festival when he was busted. He and his victim -- she's 45-years-old now and has joined Polanski's petition to overturn his conviction -- reached a settlement years ago.

In the Seventies, some people thought Polanski was being persecuted. Others, including The Smoking Gun, have been crying for the brilliant director's that little pervert's blood for years.

I think the latest Polanski flap is a lot of fun.

The fact that Polanski could walk around France safely for 30 years, then be busted by Switzerland the minute he stepped into the country to get a highly publicized award -- although he owns a home there -- tells us a lot about those two countries. Say what you want to about the French, France has always been a place to go and thumb your nose at the U.S. if you want to.

Apparently, the Swiss have an extradition agreement with the U.S. and the French don't. Who knew that about the Swiss? It looks like Polanski didn't.

And then, there's the conspiracy angle. Was Polanski set up by the Zurich Film Festival and the Swiss Police? Or was this Polanski's sensational way of turning himself in? We'll probably know by the end of the week. The U.S. is under pressure to move on this one.

Update: France and Poland urged Switzerland to free Polansky on bail and pressed U.S. officials all the way up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the case. The Swiss said there was a chance Polanski could be released on bail if he promised not to flee the country.

Update 2: Polanski has decided to fight. His lawyer says the U.S. extradition request is illegal. I figure he has about as much chance as those tax evaders who thought the Swiss wouldn't turn their bank records over to the U.S.

Update 3: Polanski's lawyers say the U.S. never tried to catch Polanski before. The L.A. prosecuters say they did, including one time they thought he was headed for Thailand.

Update 4: The French are outraged. "There's an America we love and an America that scares us," French Culture Minister FrÉdÉric Mitterrand said, "and it's that latter America that has just shown us its face." Mitterrand said he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy (shown below with President Obama and an unidentified girl) hoped for a "rapid resolution to the situation which would allow Roman Polanski to rejoin his family as quickly as possible."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are Frogs Reptiles?


Fanged frogs? Looks like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. 18 new reptiles v. only 2 new mammals? One of the mammals is a bat, though. Can always use more bats.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gigantes




Couple of months ago, I tossed some sunflower seeds into the corner of my front yard. I had no idea how big these Mexican sunflowers could get or how hard it would be to get rid of them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Foot Fault

The U.S. Open and professional tennis disappeared up its fundamental orifice this weekend, when the insanity of letting a petty bureaucrat make a decision that could cost her a million dollars drove Serena Williams over the brink.

Professional tennis players play for prizes and advertising money that, on a per player basis, makes the stakes they play for as high as or higher than any other sport. Hundreds of millions of people all over the world watch them play.

There is no appeal, no reprieve, no instant replay that, reviewed by a competent official, can overturn the call of a foot fault by a mediocre judge. Nothing can reverse a lame call that mistakes a heel in the air above a line for a toe on the line. Nothing can undo the cry: Foot Fault! once it's been blurted out.

I wish I could shove this ball down your throat! Serena shouted. I wish she could shove it up professional tennis' ass.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rubbish!

I have a thought about Joe Wilson calling Obama a liar on national television. When it happened, I laughingly told Suzanne: The British don't even call the Prime Minister a liar during Q and A.

However, reading a Gail Collins op ed this morning, I was reminded the British do hurl insults back and forth, and I suddenly remembered Tony Blair delivering an answer about the Iraq invasion while someone on the back bench repeatedly shouted: Rubbish! I was rolling on the floor laughing.

In plain American, that would be "Bullshit!"

I can't help thinking the State Of The Union might be advanced if the opposition were allowed an occasional "Bullshit!" when the President addresses Congress.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Knights Of Science

If this is propaganda, it's well done.

Authorities in Pakistan's Swat Valley have resumed vaccinating children for polio, a practice the Taliban had banned as un-Islamic before they were beaten back by an army offensive.

I have to admit there's part of me could back a modern crusade to spread science and medicine around the world, even at the point of a gun. Complex issue.