EDGARTOWN, Mass -- A senior White House official said on Wednesday that the United States would consider using American ground troops to assist Iraqis in rescuing Yazidi refugees if recommended by military advisers assessing the situation.

That is the opening paragraph of the top story on the New York Times' website right now. President Obama's recent authorization of air strikes in Iraq on rebel positions was greeted with a shrug, but it was also accompanied by a promise that there would be no return to ground combat. This makes sense. We've been bombing Iraq off and on for over twenty years. Outkast's B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad) was recorded one year before the 9/11 attacks. Four, FOUR!, consecutive U.S. presidents have ordered air strikes in Iraq. Three of those four have presided over ground actions. If it weren't for Afghanistan and a couple of other hotspots, bombing Iraq would be about all that's keeping the heavy munitions industry afloat. Bombing Iraq has become normal, just something we do.
Mysterious craters forming in northern Russia appear to be methane escaping from the permafrost. Plumes of methane are shooting up from the sea floor near Antarctica. California is suffering through a drought of unprecedented proportions in the recorded history of the area. This summer in New York City feels mild, but in fact, it's a normal summer, distorted in our memories by the blazing summer heat of the past five years. The media is peppered with map projections of what the world could look like with varying levels of sea rise. Drinking water in Toledo, Ohio was contaminated by toxins released from a gigantic algae bloom, which some have speculated is partly the result of global warming. The only good news about global warming is that I will be dead before humankind feels the worst of its effects.
Politics can wear a person down. The endless push and pull, the lack of continual progress, and the realization that most of our leaders are in it for themselves and their paymasters, is enough to make even the most impassioned observers develop hard hearts. I look at the state of Washington today, and I have a difficult time mustering either enthusiasm or outrage. Politics is what it is. We, the people, are the sucker at the poker table. But, unlike in real life, we cannot just get up and leave. We are trapped here.

What a putrid mess. The trailer for Pompeii, Paul W.S. Anderson's CGI shitfest from earlier this year, promised viewers an exploding mountain. It never promised to be a faithful retelling of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 that destroyed the city of the title. But that's all well and good. Paul W.S. Anderson does not do anything but spectacle. In the trailer, Vesuvius blows up and that's what I paid to see. What I didn't pay to see was a low-rent Titanic rip-off that made me wait 66 whole minutes for the good stuff. And that wait is a problem. Pompeii only runs about an hour and a half. That doesn't leave a lot of time for the disaster portion of this disaster movie.
I watched and reviewed Batman & Robin recently for Arnold Schwarzenegger month, and it was a bit of a revelation. I know why that film failed. It wasn't because there were nipples on the batsuit and every set piece looked like a costume ball. It wasn't even the puns or the shitty acting that was at fault. Nope, it was because director Joel Schumacher had a vision, but he only went partway towards seeing that vision fulfilled. After having watched that movie again, I can see that Schumacher was trying to recreate the aesthetic of the drag queen review for mass audiences. But mass audiences don't want to see that. And they really didn't want to see a half-assed version of it. Schumacher wasn't even the right guy to direct a film like that. If you're going to go gay, go all the way. In fact, gay is not enough. Gay is not deviant. I want deviant. I want to see a Batman movie made by the auteur of deviant lifestyles himself...John Waters.