Antipundit Rides Forth
Tuesday, March 11, 2003:
Torture isn't exactly a very reliable means of obtaining information and is its' use is likely to create a legacy of moral outrage and bitterness out of proportion to its' utility.
And as Israel, France and Argentina have found out in their conflicts, if official policy allows it for certain "important" cases, it quickly becomes apparent that most investigators will proclaim that their cases are vital to the security of the state and will demand permission to use it.
What's going to prevent more 9/11's is having effective intelligence operations and quickly crushing terrorist networks as they're revealed not dilly-dallying like before.
If there is a ticking bomb somewhere and a terrorist is likely to know its' location, by all means go ahead and work him over with a cheese grater and pliers providinfg that political authority has been obtained. Other than that its' use should be strictly off-limits.
Finally don't underestimate the importance of having the moral high ground. Torturing prisoners is not going to help with that.
Ali Choudhury // 12:38 PM
On US relations with the world
Trade between Europe and America is far greater than trade between trading between any two other entities so for that reason alone there won't be a serious breakdown in relations between the two or even with France and Germany, the number three and number one economies in Europe.
American trade with China has risen quite a lot from virtually nothing in the early eighties but American companies could simply relocate labour-intensive activities to countries like India or Eastern Europe and the rest of South-East Asia who aren't going to hesitate to steal business from China and will probably laugh off any attempt at organising an embargo.
And given how China needs to keep growing in order to provide jobs for their huge numbers of unemployed workers as well as to stave off the collapse of their tottering financial system, they aren't going to be looking for a trade embargo either.
Ali Choudhury // 12:32 PM
On Samurai Jack
I don't get much time at all to watch TV nowadays, but I always make time for this.
Definitely the best animated series produced so far this decade and a nice blend of of influences like Ronin, Seven Samurai, Bladerunner and various sc-fi/fantasy elements.
What I really like about it is how much of the show is dedicated to action each episode, but the writers always think up new, imaginative "spots" so you never feel you're just watching the same action sequences again and again.
Also while you get lots of action, there's quite a lot of room for character development, humour and drama.
I was wondering who did the very impressive voice of the villain Aku, when I remembered it was the guy who does the narration for Conan the Barbarian.
Jack himself is a great hero, although you'd think they'd make him look a lot more Japanese.
So far the best episode I've seen is The Mountain where Jack climbs up a huge cliff, fighting enemies all the way and nearly giving up in the end.
Ali Choudhury // 12:30 PM
RajahWWF Top 100 Movies Of All Time
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Monty Python and the Search For the Holy Grail
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Raiders of The Lost Ark
2001: A Space Odyssey
American History X
Good Will Hunting
Goodbye Charlie Bright
New York Ripper
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Star Wars Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Dancer in the Dark
For A Few Dollars More
From Dusk ‘til Dawn
Full Metal Jacket
Grosse Point Blank
The House On Haunted Hill
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Josie & The Pussycats
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Last House on the Left
Life is Beautiful
Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
Night of the Living Dead
Some Like It Hot
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Saving Private Ryan
Evil Dead 2
Natural Born Killers
Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope
A Clockwork Orange
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Star Wars Episode 6: Return Of The Jedi
Back To The Future 2
Back To The Future
The Fight Club
Godfather Part 2, The
Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
The Usual Suspects
Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
The Shawshank Redemption
Ali Choudhury // 12:28 PM
Top 5 Animated Series
2. The Simpsons
3. Batman: The Animated Series
4. Samurai Jack
5. The Real Ghostbusters
Ali Choudhury // 12:26 PM
Monday, March 10, 2003:
No Way Out 2003 review
Overall it was watchable but I'd have been pissed if I'd had to pay for it.
Most enjoyable match was probably Y2J/Hardy. Nice face pops for the Canadian hero. He really ought to wear his hair loose just to piss off HHH.
RVD tag match was OK but the botched spot looked like Regal's fault since he didn't position his head upwards for the slam. Storm and RVD looked great together.
Undertaker's match was typically awful with the only surprise being the leg-drop spot. Got to wonder exactly how useless Big Show is if he gets gassed by punching and stomping. Well at least the match meant 2 people had a miserable contest instead of 4. Frankly Hogan's been entertaining me a lot more than Taker has.
Team Angle /Lesnar & Benoit was fast-paced and technically excellent albeit a bit short. They really should have brought Rhyno in to pop the fans. Benoit looked very impressive and I wonder what's next for him. Lesnar needs to stop doing that monkey dance of his. He's got all the skills but is a fundamentally uninteresting character and that's going to limit him. Most champs even the poor ones like Diesel had something special about them.
Hardy/Kidman wasn't very interesting. Little crowd heat.
Steiner/HHH. Dayum, the Game still has by far the best entrance in the business. Even I felt like cheering. The wrestling was garbage but hearing Steiner get booed and Hunter cheered just made it so satisfying.
Stone Cold vs Bischoff. Very satisfying. Hope some of those punches were as stiff as they looked.
Hogan/Rock. Match was garbage and why is Vince obsessed with Montreal screwjobs? Enough already! Rocky's heel character is amazing although he looks like an Indian geek now.
Ali Choudhury // 11:49 AM
Top 10 WWE matches of all time
I'll have to say this is in no way a definitive list since I've missed a lot of wrestling over the years (haven't seen Royal Rumble 2000 or No Way Out 2001 for example) and haven't seen some matches like Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith since they first aired.
1) Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels - Badd Blood '97 One of the worst beatings ever handed out in a WWFE match.
2) Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels - WM X Genre-defining.
3) Royal Rumble 1992 Flair's finest hour.
4) Bret Hart vs Owen Hart - Summerslam 1994 Greatest ever cage match.
5) Triple H vs The Rock - Judgement Day 2000 Match which got me back into wrestling. Best Iron Man match I've seen.
6) Hardys vs Dudleys vs E & C - TLC 1 Summerslam 2000 Surprised these haven't got more of a mention.
7) Bret Hart vs The Undertaker - One Night Only 1997 Best pure wrestling match Undertaker's ever been involved in.
8) Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant - WM III Fantastic atmosphere even if the work was crap.
9) Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior - WM VI I never get tired of watching this. Arguably one of the best face vs face matches ever.
10) Chris Jericho vs The Rock - No Mercy 2001 I just liked this match a lot. Pity Jericho's been de-pushed since then.
Ali Choudhury // 11:47 AM
On Bret Hart vs Jobber to the stars
Bret Hart put on classics in all types of matches against all types of opponents.
From brawls against big men like Razor Ramon (Royal Rumble '93), Diesel (Survivor Series '95), Undertaker (One Night Only 1997) to more technically gifted opponents like Chris Benoit and Curt Henning as well as excellent matches against high-flyers like Hakushi and X-Pac/1-2-3 Kid on Raw.
And these were all mostly wrestling matches not gimmicked spot-fests.
He could make nothing matches like those against Isaac Yankem and Pierre Le (I've forgotten his name but the character was a one-eyed pirate ) into decent exhibitions and his feuds against Lawler, HBK and Austin were the most heated in the WWF's history.
Owen was a great wrestler but his best matches were generally against guys who were either his size (HBK, 1-2-3 Kid) or people who knew him inside-out like Bret and the Bulldog. I can't recall a classic match he had against big lugs like Diesel (although the one against Vader in One Night Only was pretty decent) or even being able to put on a better match than Bret (except maybe X-Pac) against a particular opponent. And his feuds were nowhere near intense as Bret's.
I think my opinion's borne out by the recent thread on the Top 10 WWE Matches Of All Time where aside from the matches against Bret, Owen barely gets a look-in.
I wouldn't characterise Bret as the best since that belongs to Flair. But he's most definitely up there given his ability to drag decent performances out of most everybody whatever you think he lacked in versatility. Owen is some way behind. Granted Bret wasn't a high-flyer but to say he could only wrestle in one style and was an A student in one subject is ridiculous.
Ali Choudhury // 11:44 AM
On the causes of Mid-East terrorism
And as someone who knows a bit about the politics of the region I'd say there are a number of factors driving terrorism. One is the lack of democracy which basically means dissenters basically become outlaws and thus only outlaws become opposed to the status quo. Another is the West-hating philosophy of Saudi Wahhabism which has been exported to the four corners of the Islamic world thanks to Arab petro-revenues. This has been augmented by more modern works by the likes of al-Quttub who visited the US in the 50's and regarded it as the den of moral dgeneration. Third is the lack of economic opportunity in the area for a very large and very young population who are having to reap the consequences of jack-assed Arab socialism promoted by the likes of Nasser and his successors like Hosni Mubarak. Palestine is a major factor sure, but the others are far more critical.
Ali Choudhury // 11:37 AM
MyTop 10 games of all time
1. Streetfighter 2 Turbo (SNES)
2. Final Fantasy 7 (PSX)
3. Shenmue 2 (Dreamcast)
4. Metal Gear Solid (PSX)
5. Championship Manager 97/98 (PC)
6. StarFox/Wing (SNES)
7. Skies Of Arcadia (Dreamcast)
8. Quake 2 (PC)
9. Chrono Trigger (SNES)
10. Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver (PSX)
Ali Choudhury // 11:32 AM
On Spawn the HBO Animated Series
The animated series was allright (they only show the first series here though), great voice acting.
Not one of my favourites though since it tried too hard being "mature" in a rather gauche way. Having lots of scenes in shadow, over-the-top violence, NSA conspiracies up-the-wazoo and frequent profanity ain't the way to do it. Pretty inferior to Batman:TAS or the anime it was trying to imitate in terms of plotting, characters or ideas.
Spawn was too much of an asshole to root for anyway.
I'm guessing Angela was replaced by Jade due to legal problems with Gaiman.
Ali Choudhury // 11:30 AM
In response to the question whether the British monarchy should be abolished and replaced with a Glorious Republick
I'm not in favour of monarchy in general since I don't see why I should genuflect to someone who was lucky enough to be born in the right family.
And I turn the telly off whenever there's any news about the royals since the fawning over them is stomach-turning at times especially seeing Prince William's horse-like face on the front pages whenever editors are stuck for a story idea.
However I'm in favour of keeping the royal family because they are part of the fabric of the country and unless there's an excellent reason to turf them out they may as well stay put.
Besides that the public does feel a need for a certain amount of pomp, tradition and ceremony in public figures and having a king or queen allows that. This also means the country's relationship with the Prime Minister is a lot more down-to-earth than say America where the President at times is treated like quasi-royalty.
Other than that there's the question of what a president would actually do in a republic in constitutional terms. Would he be a political figure like Chirac in France (which would lead to a lot of political wrangling since here we elect a prime minister as dictator for five years for each new parliament) or a mere figure-head like the queen right now?
Besides can you imagine the mediocrities who would present themselves for election? Gits and publicity hounds like Tony Banks, Richard Branson, Jeffrey Archer or some Page Three tart like Jordan. Would any of them be willing to undergo the gruelling routine of charitiable work, state visits and civic occasions the royal family currently udergoes? Give me QE2 any day.
As for the argument that the Royal Family costs money which could go on the NHS, well that's BS. Spending on welfare and public services dwarfs that spent on the royals and they probably make that up by attracting tourists anyway.
That's not to say there aren't flaws. The Civil List should be drastically pruned and those freeloaders like Prince Michael of Kent should be turfed off immediately. And someone ought to tell that twat Prince Philip to keep his mouth shut already.
But putting that aside, the people feel a bond to the royal family beyond anything they'd feel for a president and judging from the public reaction to the jubilee and the Queen Mother's death I doubt any replacement would be at all popular.
Ali Choudhury // 11:28 AM