Turn the Machine Back On!

(You hopefully read that in Mortimer Duke’s voice.) Just popping in here at the old lab to say a very happy new year to one and all. No matter what horrors are visited upon us by 2019, at least we have the House back.

Late 2019 will also mark the 20th anniversary of old GitM, tho’ obviously the site’s mostly been defunct for much of the ought-teens. Never say never, of course, but at least for now it will probably stay that way. Even in the height of the blogging era, when I posted here constantly, this remained a niche, low-traffic corner of the web. It’s hard to imagine it would ever be anything more at this late date, and that I would find the time and energy again to invest so much purpose in maintaining this website given the limited readership returns. Still, I may write up my best films of 2017/18 at some point — if I ever feel like I saw enough of them.

In any event, I hope all is well with you and yours, inasmuch as possible in the Trump era. And if you miss the rambling around here, I’m still at it over on Twitter these days more often than not. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

And Softly Whispered Someday Soon…

Hey y’all. Just to make it official, GitM’s obviously been on extended hiatus for much of its sixteenth year. Life is busy and there’s no immediate plans for that to change…just yet. But hopefully sometime before the year runs down or 2016 starts in earnest, more frequent — dare I say regular? — updates will return around here.

(TL;DR: Return I will, to old Brazil…eventually.)

Until then, there’s 15 years of archives and hundreds of movie reviews and a big ole 1200-page dissertation over here, so hopefully something already in and around the site will be of interest.

Stay safe y’all, and until next time.

P.S: Text-less Brazil poster via here. Lots of other cool ones too!

At Fifteen, A Re-Shuffle.

Yes, very quiet around here as of late, but for once I have very good reasons. Before I get into those, let’s get the anniversary out of the way. As of this past weekend, Ghost in the Machine is now 15 years old. [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 11, 12, 13, 14.]

I’ll forego the usual retrospective about the date, partly because that’s already been done a few times (say, at the ten-year mark), and partly because one should probably post more than once every 2-3 weeks, as I’ve been doing the past few months, to qualify for that sort of navel-gazing. In any event, my focus at the moment is on the future. To wit, if you haven’t seen it via other social media, some big life changes of late:

As of three weeks ago, and after five+ years in the House — specifically with Rep. Rosa DeLauro — I’ve transferred over from Rayburn to the Watergate and am now speechwriting for the National Trust For Historic Preservation. In fact, I just spent last week down in beautiful Savannah, Georgia for PastForward 2014 (their/our annual conference).

It’s been a hitting-the-ground-running affair ’round these parts, but so far, so great. It’s been refreshing to get involved with an organization that is history-, present-, and future-minded, and to get some respite from the often-Sisyphean environment of the House.

And as of two weeks ago — tho’ there are boxes everywhere and much work to be done — I left my 1BR bungalow of five-plus years in Dupont and moved to a snazzy deluxe 2-BR apartment in the sky on Capitol Hill, along with my girlfriend Amy and her 6-year-old bichon, Murf. (Berk and he overlapped for a little over a year — They went from some minor tensions between them to, before the old man’s passing, a cultivated and studious disinterest.)

So lots of change, all of it for the better, but, yes, the Ghost has suffered even more than usual. Still, while there’s always a lot of work these days, I think I’ve now made it through the major gauntlet, and GitM should be able to get a little more attention in the year ahead.

Either way, if you’ve been stopping by since 1999 or here for the first time, thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Tagged and Archived.

Yes, it’s been quiet around here again, but for once, I actually haven’t been neglecting GitM during the downtime. Instead, I’ve been plugging away in my off-hours on the archive project I started 16 months ago, fixing the categories that broke while fleeing Movable Type and adding descriptive tags to all of the old posts (or at least those going back to 2002 — the hand-coded/Geocities era remains untouched.)

In any event, after a long slog, that project is finally finished. From PhDont to Hippie-Punching, whether you’re looking for Colin Firth, Colin Farrell or Colin Powell; Bill Simmons or J.K. Simmons, the Gitmo Gulag, Zombies, Other Worlds, Corporate Welfare, RepubliDems, or The New Deal, the first fifteen years of posts are much easier to sort through now. Now, I can focus on the next fifteen.

Also, while I didn’t post any more retrospectives after 2004, I was generally glad to discover that 99.44% of the old posts were less embarrassing than I feared/remembered.

Tell It to the Kitty.

Aaaaaand there went another three weeks. If anyone’s still coming by (and thanks for that), you can just fill in the usual excuses here: All work and general malaise (about blogging into the void and the abysmal state of politics, that is — life is grand otherwise, lack of Berk notwithstanding) makes GitM somethin’ somethin’. But hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things around here soon. Apologies for the sporadic updating.

Everyday I’m Hustlin’ (and Doublin’.)

Happy Easter. Quiet here at the Ghost, I know. Chalk up 65% of it to an extremely busy month of work — one of the busiest I can remember — 25% to the usual existential malaise that accompanies blogging these days, and 10% to the sheer addictiveness of 2048. In any event, the schedule is clearing some now, so I expect the posts will pick up around here in short order.

Fourteen (Years of) Points.

It’s November 15th again, meaning that, as of today, Ghost in the Machine is now 14 years old. [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 11, 12, 13.]

Obviously, the blog’s been progressing in fits and starts this year, and the readership has definitely suffered as a result – This is more of a Google-trap than a blog on most days. (I’d also like to have finished the time-consuming re-archiving project by now, but I’m only 2/3rds done – 2006-2009 still need going over. But, hey, at least Uphill All the Way is now up all the way.)

In any case, hopefully a ghost of the old Ghost is still glimmering, and you never know what magic this bucket still has left in it — There may be life in the ole blog yet.

Either way, if you’ve been coming by for well over a decade now or just fallen down a Google hole today, thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Things I’ve Learned from the Archives, 2003-04

Hello all. Even though the Ghost has been silent over the past fortnight, I’ve been continuing to bang around on the insides over that time. As I said back in early March, I’ve been working on repairing and improving the post-Geocities archives around here — although, since it’s taken me all of two months to re-categorize and tag the 2004 posts, I kinda wish I hadn’t started this little project.

But, oh well. It’ll be grand once it’s all completed. And to be fair, I’ve also fixed the less post-intensive 2010-2013 period since the last update, so perhaps the next few sections will go faster. (Only five more years to go…) In any case, things I’ve recently (re-)learned:

  • Howard Dean is a total lockity-lock for the 2004 Democratic nomination.

  • Ok, never mind that. But with five months before Election Day, John Kerry is up by 11 over Dubya. Hey, he’s totally going to win this thing. Hope is on the way! It’ll be a landslide, a new progressive era. (That is, unless the swift boat on the horizon and the terror terror terror somehow flip the scriptD’oh.)

  • Election 2004 post-mortem: “[O]ur standard-bearers now appear to be Hillary Clinton (about whom the country has already made up its mind), John Edwards (whom I still admire, but he couldn’t carry his home state), and Barack Obama (who’s probably too inexperienced to make much headway in 2008.)”

  • Now it’s all said and done, this post was rightFrodo was likely getting a PhD.

  • Darren Aronofsky is making Batman: Year One or Lone Wolf and Cub. Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are making a horror movie. Shekhar Kapur is directing Arthur C. Clarke’s Foundation. Stephen Soderbergh is making The Fantastic Four. Michael Mann is making a film about the Battle of Britain. Bryan Singer is re-making Logan’s Run. Chris Columbus is making Namor. Quentin Tarantino is making a low-budget Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan. Joe Carnahan is making Mission: Impossible 3 with Kenneth Branagh, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Scarlett Johansson. John Woo is making Metroid and/or He-Man. Michael Bay is making Superman.

  • The debt ceiling hijinx, the Budget Control Act, the sequesters — It has all been proceeding to plan.

  • Jean Claude Van Damme will be playing Steve McQueen in a remake of The Great Escape. Matt Damon will be playing the Sub-Mariner. John Cusack will be playing Nite-Owl in Watchmen.

  • Maciej Lampe is the future of the New York Knickerbockers. And there was a time when Isiah Thomas’s tenure as GM seemed bright.

  • Chuck Hagel and Lindsey Graham saw the GOP’s current predicament coming a long time ago.

  • Star Wars Episode III will be subtitled “The Creeping Fear”.

  • The cast for Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins will apparently include Viggo Mortensen (as either Ras al Ghul or Rachel’s dad), Chris Cooper (as Commissioner Gordon), and Cillian Murphy…as Harvey Dent.

  • This site not only used to have more readers. It even used to get hate mail.

  • Things I’ve Learned from the Archives, 2002-03.

    So, after more hours than I’d like to admit, I’ve made it through the first Movable Type year (2002-2003) of recategorizing and retagging the GitM archives. Among the things I’ve learned so far:

  • Paul Rudd will be playing Batman or Superman, against Christian Bale, in Wolfgang Petersen’s World’s Finest. Unless it’s Jude Law.

  • “Blue laser DVDs” are expected in the market by 2005…all models will be retro-compatible with red-laser DVD’s.

  • I had forgotten how this “pick-a-card” website could read my mind and had to figure it out all over again.

  • Lifetime’s Cinema Sequence is still quite a fun web game.

  • Over the past decade, GitM has gone from being worth nothing to $43,000 on the now-defunct Blogshares. Woot.

  • The Washington Post and Boston Globe have changed their link structures, so many old posts referencing their content are now dead ends.

  • I used to care more about deficits than I do now. (And, conversely, Republicans used to care much less.) In the parlance of the Beltway, “my views have evolved” on this subject.

    Part of the reason for the shift is the good versus bad spending dichotomy I talked about in 2010. But, more to the point, I’ve since read up on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). (See also: Warren Mosler’s Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy.)

    Basically, I was parroting the conventional wisdom on “fiscal responsibility” back then, and didn’t know what I was talking about.