Posts Tagged ‘40’s’

William O. Douglas – enigma?

Mon ,26/11/2018

So just finished my second Justice Douglas biography, Independent Journey by James F. Simon (1980), published not too long after Douglas’ passing in 1975. I had read Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas by Bruce Allen Murphy (2003) immediately prior.

I had heard about the later book originally via a New Republic article some years ago, a book review by Judge Richard Posner. But after having read it, and the second book having mentioned the earlier bio in the end credits, I really felt I needed to read the earlier book. You see, while certainly Murphy’s book is an amazing example of dedicated scholarship – it largely focuses on Douglas’ personal shortcomings – and while there are many, many such egregious examples of them, Simon’s earlier book provides a much better balance of the actual SUPREME COURT activity Douglas engaged in and in some cases, led. Murphy spends so much time uncovering all the personal flaws, problems and misdeeds of Douglas that he largely blows off most of the Court stuff (why he wrote the book, hello?). Unlike Simon’s book, which tells a lot of detail behind two huge cases for example (Brown v. Board of Education in the 50’s and Roe v. Wade just before the end of Douglas’ career) – Murphy doesn’t really deal much with either one, if at all.

Ultimately, The Nation sums it up best for me in talking about both books and then about Douglas the man. Because so many of the *results* Douglas wanted to see (or helped bring about as part of the Warren Court or earlier as Chairman of the SEC) – are still RIGHT. So as bad a human being as he was in many, many circumstances, The Nation still makes the best final statement of him to me: “If more present-day Justices and judges embraced William O. Douglas’s ideals, constitutional liberties would be far safer than they are.” (and throw in environmental protection too, because while not part of his jurisprudence, he was d*** right on that one and way ahead of his time.


Sneaker Wars?!

Sat ,02/12/2017

Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas & Puma & the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sports

This is quite frankly, one of the craziest (nonfiction) books I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Adi Dassler and his rival, Rudi – as they created and fought for business over the decades since just before WWII with Adidas and Puma, respectively.

But arguably the most crazy (and interesting) part of the story is Adi’s son Horst, who literally built the Adidas brand and worldwide presence we know today, through athlete product endorsements, additional clothing lines and relentless promotion across nearly every sport imaginable. From the way the book portrays him, he’s all but a head of state in many ways, especially given the relationships he creates and cultivates until he passes away at a fairly young age in his early 50s.

Puma is kind of an also-ran in the later years as depicted in this book (Rudi also had a rival son to Horst, but seems to continually come up short on nearly all fronts, save for a few cases) – but it’s also interesting to see along the way how Phil Knight learned the lessons of Horst well and built his own, even bigger shoe and clothing empire starting with one Michael Jordan….the research that went into this book is top-notch and obviously took years to accumulate and review, especially given these are private companies, not governments or public entities.

defnitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.


Museum of Flight, part deux….

Sat ,01/04/2017

So following on from the previous post regarding touring the Shuttle Trainer at Boeing’s Museum of Flight, here’s the rest of all the ‘plane nerd’ photos from most of the rest of the museum – enjoy!

I have to say, despite no flash, that ridiculous new phone of mine actually takes decent pics… on one from the gallery, then click it again to get the high-res version….


Bulli Bulli!

Tue ,01/07/2014

Love it!


Love it!

Wed ,09/04/2014

I’m sure Ayn R. is burning down there right about now – or sneaking around like Uncle Screwtape, talking s*** into people’s ears… 🙂



Note to self….

Mon ,17/02/2014

NEVER time travel! 🙂


The strongest argument for carpooling is…..!

Wed ,13/11/2013


More war propaganda posters can be seen here. Some are quite ridiculous and have not dated well, including at least one very racist one targeting the Japanese.

Seattle PI war posters


The Iron Sky.

Sat ,01/09/2012

Went to see Iron Sky at SIFF Uptown last Sunday. This is an interesting movie, for several reasons:

1) It was apparently paid for in part by crowdsourcing – and given the diverse production credits (made by Finns, add’l product Down Under and Germany) that seems about right;

2) It kind of plays as a ‘Steampunk sci-fi epic meets Weekly World News fantasy with the ulltimate villains (Nazis, who else?) thrown in”

3) This may be the only way a certain self-important right-wing freak ever gets her claws on the White House (well, indirectly) – and that’s a good thing!

So in a nutshell, apparently a bunch of Nazis got to the moon and built a base prior to losing WWII, and are ‘discovered’ again by a new (meaning modern, not Apollo era) moon landing. There is a lot of attention paid to little details (actual vintage Beetles hauling them around the huge moonbase, over-fascination with huge ‘revenge weapons’, etc.) and the special effects – done in Lightwave (hooray!) are very good, IMHO. With this discovery, Ze Space Nazi’s now think their cover is blown and that Earth plans an invasion, so naturally it’s so ON, people! Battle(s) ensue and I wasn’t prepared for the ending, either – well done!

The actors are good, even though dialog-wise they are pretty flat and played for satire, not seriousness. Astute viewers will note the Bruno Ganz tribute just into the second act of the film (I won’t spoil it for you but pretty funny), how appropo. And the Spaze Nazi invasion force has to be seen to be believed.

So in summary, if you are looking for a ‘serious’ sci-fi epic – e.g. Prometheus (which was a sizable let-down in the end, see review) – this isn’t it. But it IS very entertaining, well made and worth a relaxing evening if you can catch it while still in art-theaters or later on DVD. Ja voll!

other reviews:
The Guardian (UK)
The Hollywood Reporter
Rotten Tomatoes