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Everything posted by bmcgreggor

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

    This is an excellent point. The word humility, much like the word liberal (and possibly even the word selfish - despite our best efforts), has been confiscated and perverted past the point of no return. You really can't say "that what I mean by humility is the ancient Greek concept of moderate temperament" in today's context. And when you see humility being glorified in movies, it is the Christian humility, not any Greek version. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, IMO, was essentially a film praising regular old, garden variety Christian humility. Given that, it follows that the family values touch was added. It was a very cliched way to stress Charlie's lack of ambition and thus his humility. Further, I think the film was making a point by linking ambition or intelligence with arrogance. The mere fact that those two traits were displayed in the character of two unbearable brats with the further contrast with Charlie's virtuous humility make it, to me, a slap in the face to ambition and intelligence as well as pride. As for the execution of the film, JMR raised some valid points. I'll have to wait till it comes out on video to judge the CGI and other special effects as I don't plan on seeing this movie again at the theatre. And I definitely second the comments made about the Umpa Lumpa songs. They were terrible and inaudible. The sound editor should give back his paycheck. I couldn't understand half of the words to the songs, and I saw it in a dolby fitted theatre. I also hated how they made the songs a spoof of various popular music types; ie rap, rock, etc. It seemed so second handed to me. The original songs were brilliant. The melody was addicting and it was tailored to each child.
  2. An Introduction to Progressive Exercise

    Here is a link. Its written by Bryan Haycock himself. His book is upcoming. This would be a starting point. The HST forums would be the next step. There are extremely knowledgable people on that board. I have read many "Iron Game" boards but only Lyle McDonald's forum and the Avant Lab's forum come close. The posters to pay attention to are "vicious", "blade", Bryan Haycock, "dkm1987", and "old and grey". In reading through the forums you will learn a ton of information. It may turn you towards HST and it may not. But you will have vastly more knowledge either way. And I hope you read through the "Why did I grow through HIT" thread. It will give you an idea why HIT works when it works; because it unkowingly incorporates the principles of muscle growth. The principles which Haycock built HST on.
  3. An Introduction to Progressive Exercise

    For some reason the links above don't work. These should:;hl=mentzer
  4. An Introduction to Progressive Exercise

    All I can say is that if you go to the HST website or Lyle McDonald's Website or any of the science based websites that the above mentioned sites link to and *you* read the voluminous information there, you will see that the overwhelming bulk of studies on exercise physiology support the *principles* underlying HST and its methodology. I have been in this kind of debate before and IMO some Objectivists cling to HIT protocols despite the lack of evidence in their favor. Just because Mentzer frequently quoted Ayn Rand does not mean that he offered support for his training regimen. "Once a week" training protocols are *not* the most effective training styles for *most* people precisely beacause volume and frequency *do* matter. Intensity is not the crucial determinative factor for hypertrophy. In response to RayK who says that he doesn't want to do the research all over again because he's "been through it all before"; I used to say the same thing as a long time devotee of HIT in general and Mentzer's HD in particular (as well as other intensity systems such as DogCrap and Max-OT). But after three years of intensive reading and research on the subject it is *my* opinion that HIT is flawed. Here is a link to an excellent thread as to why HIT can work for *some* people. It puts Mentzer into proper perspective.;hl=mentzer Specifically read all the posts by "vicious". His knowledge about biology and weight training is formidable. I've studied the subject and made my decision. Each person will have to do the same. Also, I'd like to link to another thread. When you read this discussion and see it pan out, focus your attention on the arguments offered by "ex_bannana_eater" and on those offered by "black sabbath". I believe ex_bannana_eater makes the case for HST and its principles quite persuasively and answers all intensity based objections.
  5. An Introduction to Progressive Exercise

    I don't want to sound disrespectful to RayK as he has put allot of effort into his work and his intention here is to help people improve themselves and become healthy. However, I wish to state that in my opinion the intensity based system of training that he is advocating is highly flawed. Bryan Haycock's HST has been reccommended and I second that. H.I.T style training was based in large part around the work of Hans Selye who studied, among other things, the effects of various stresses to the body. But as great as Selye's work is, its application to strength training only paints half of the picture; and this is where H.I.T. and other intensity training systems fail. They focus largely on the central nervous system (CNS) and how long it takes to recover. But they don't focus on the actual biology of the muscle cell themselves. Bryan Haycock (and others like him such as Lyle Mcdonald) do. If you only investigate HIT you will be doing yourself a major injustice and you will be making gaining muscle both harder and more more painful than it should be. Training to failure constantly is a highly stressful and grueling activity; and completely unneccessary. The stress to the joints when the weights get heavy and the chronic fatigue are completely unwarranted. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in rational, intelligent hypertrophic oriented (as opposed to strength oriented - and there is a big difference) training go to the HST site linked to above and read everything there is to read. I would even recommend reading the forums extensively for a period of a few months to understand what a scientifically sound approach to weight training looks like. I'll also add here that there is a philosophic point to this. In my opinion, HIT (especially as it was advanced by Mentzer) approaches strength training rationalistically. It starts with broad principles, like Selye's adaptive principle, and builds a system around them without checking them against biological reality. But Haycock exhibits the far better epistemology. He studied the physiology of muscle cells, i.e. what can be demonstrably proven in a lab, and then checked that information with other biologically known facts and arrived at a set of *principless* for effective hypertrophic training (and not just a list of rules to be blindly followed which is a strong tendency for intensity based systems). He first studied man, then identified the facts and principle underlying man's muscles, and finally developed a training system which addresses those facts and principles. His approach was objective as oppose to rationalistic. Another benefit to HST is that Haycock understands the realities of training in a gym as well as the psychology of those who lift weights. He knows that constantly training to failure not only takes a physical toll but a mental one. His approach thus takes well grounded scientifically established principles of biology and builds a training approach around those principles which is easy to execute in a gym! In my opinion, his work is astounding and provides major values to all who seek health and fitness. He deserves tremendous praise. His work and thinking is far superior to Mentzer's, Darden's or Hutchin's. I can't recommend HST enough.
  6. Why Is Oil So Expensive?

    Why is oil almost 60$ a barrel? Is it because of the chaos of the Middle East? Or because of Environmentalist restrictions on just about everything realted to the energy industry? Or both? It keeps going up. I know that supply and demand determine the price but political factors determine supply and demand. So I am looking for an explantation as to why it has skyrocketed over the last couple of years and if there is any chance of a reversal.
  7. Stealth (2005)

    I thought the same thing when I saw the preview. Its yet another anti-technology movie that, of course, is made with state of the art technology. ...Sigh... Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood...
  8. Clash of cultures

    Dismuke: I agree with everything you wrote. That was one of the best and most comprehensive discussions I have ever read on this subject. It should serve as a model answer for all those questioning the morality of the settling of America.
  9. Spybot

    I second that. Opera is the best browser I know of. IMO, better even then Firefox.
  10. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

    I really like this show, yet every review I read of it refers to it as "naturalistic". In fact, it is being heralded as the turning point of Sci-Fi away from the "unrealistic" heroism of the past and towards a "new paradigm" for the future in "the post 9/11 world". The Left is really embracing this show. Even the writers have said that they deliberately avoided a "star-blazing male" as that has been "done before". Also, it seems that critics are interpreting the series as one which "is not afraid to critisize our own culture". As I said, I really enjoy many aspects of the show but its a shame that its being applauded for all the reasons that I would condemn it for.
  11. Clash of cultures

    I find it amazing that anyone could side with the Indians or express sympathy for them. The settlers of the 18th and 19th centuries went on to build a country out of the wilderness. They deserve our gratitude. I'm not going to lose any sleep over Wounded Knee or the Trail Of Tears.
  12. Justice Scalia, and Originalism

    The implication of your well reasoned post is that at some point a new Constitution will have to be written that is far more explicit in its definition of rights and the governnment's role in protecting those rights. Our Constitution represents a great achievement by men that lived over two hundred years ago. They did the best they could with the philosophy they had. But, as we know, the philosophy they had was very flawed. Over time those flaws have spread like the proverbial cracks in the pavement where now they threaten to undermine the whole judicial system. At his Morality of War speech, Yaron Brook in the Q&A said that as great as the Founding Fathers were, ultimately they failed. Their philosophic flaws would eventually destroy all the good they created. That is unless the philosophical antidote could be spread in time. At the time I thought it was too negative, but I'm beginning to agree with it. I think the Constitution we were bequeathed has too many holes to be remedied. There is too much room for interpretation with the wording. Posts like this one make me feel that it can't be saved.
  13. Justice Scalia, and Originalism

    I see different viewpoints expressed by Free Capitalist and The Gerneral. I am not a legal scholar but from what I've read, I agree with The General's arguments. Why should a Constitutional amendment be neccessary for abortion when there is the 9th Amendment? If Free Capitalist and Scalia are right, then a new amendment would be needed for everything the Framers didn't specifically mention. But they told us that this was not the case by including the 9th. I think that even though the Constitution has a few flaws and could be more tightly written, if the philosophic climate of the nation was one in which reason and rights were embraced, interpreting the Constitution would not be the major issue it is today.
  14. Opinions of TIA

    I have been a subscriber of The Intellectual Activist for years and I am growing disatisfied with it. First, the monthly addition is over 7 months behind which I find inexcusable. Second, Tracinski is far too pro-Bush in his analysis. I see a marked distinction between him and Yaron Brook and John Lewis. I feel that Tracinski has accepted some neo-con premises in his thinking. For example he thinks that Bush's "Forward Strategy Of Freedom" is basically a correct strategy but that Bush is just not strong enough in its implementation. The lates issue of TIA monthly analyzes three important world elections including America's. Tracinski feels that Bush was given a mandate to continue with his plans for implanting representative government in Iraq. I would interpret it as a mandate (if you could call it that when the election was so hotly contested) to fight the war on terrorism, not to spread "democacy." So I am wondering if any other TIA readers are experiencing disatisfaction with the quality of TIA. I feel it was better managed under Bob Stubblefield.
  15. Opinions of TIA

    Yaron Brook considers the "forward strategy of freedom" to be a self-sacrificial foreign policy. He showed in his talks "The Morality of War" that Bush's approach to the war is based on "Just War" Theory which is thoroughly altruistic. When I asked Brook during the Q&A what he thought of Tracinski's defense of Bush's strategy as basically sound but "a watered down version of a Colonial Solution", he answered that he thought it was wrong and that he felt that some altuistic premises of the neo-cons has slipped into Tracinski's thinking. He also said that it was not possible to spread Western Civilization into the Middle East via occupation and nation building. Similar sentiments have been expressed by Peikoff and by John Lewis. As I indicated in a post above, on HBL professor Lewis openly disagreed with Tracinski's TIA article the "Three Elections". In my opinion, Tracinski and Wakeland are far too pro-Bush and pro-Conservative in their commentary. This doesn't mean that they don't have many good insights to offer and that there is no value to their publications. But I am distrustful of the conclusions they reach especially with anything relating to the war.
  16. Why Is Oil So Expensive?

    Good questions. Post them in the appropriate thread in the Richard Salsman section of this forum.
  17. Why Is Oil So Expensive?

    Actually, according to Richard Salsman, we are all wrong:
  18. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

    1. Since when is buying the equivalent of a lottery ticket considered "ambition". Compare what Charlie did with what Mike Teavee did. Mike broke the code of the whole industrial distribution plan and confidently stated that he only had "to buy one bar" (as opposed to the English girl's dad who bought tens of thousands). And notice also how Charlie benefits from luck. This was another annoying cliche. Having big dreams does not make one ambitious. 2. Charlie's replica chocolate factory showed that he was just a regular kid. Again Mike and Veruca are portrayed as driven and brilliant. Charlie is playing with the equivalent of legos. He is ordinary compared to his competitors and yet the film associates him with virtue. An accident? I think not. 3. Shining shoes is honest work. And Charlie was an honest, decent, hard working kid. I'm not denying that. But he was an ordinary honest, decent kid. He did not symbolize ambition, intelligence or pride. He stood for humility and decency which in the proper contexts are good things to be sure. But they are not exceptional. If you were Willy Wonka, who would you have hired out of the five? I would have hired Mike Teavee in a second. He may have annoyed the hell out of me but he was brilliant. Comparatively Charlie had little to offer. I see that there are a few people in this thread that have embraced this movie and made it very near and dear to their soul. So be it. Relish it as much as you wish. But understand that many others do not see the great life affirming values that you have projected into this movie. As has become apparent, many see the film as ordinary at best. And that's my last bit of commentary on Charlie and his Chocolate factory.
  19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

    JRoberts: Humility, philosophically, is the opposite of pride. Reread Galt's speech to see what Ayn Rand says about humility. As for "excess". I take it then that according to your interpretation, this story is a modern testament to the Ancient Greek virtue of "everything in moderation" with the vices being portrated as gluttony (excess love of food), greed (excess love of material possessions), and arrogance (excess or outragous arrogance). That's interesting. I'll have to think on it more. But often times I feel that when judging a modern artwork, especially a movie, what they exclude is just as important as what they put in. I know some will disagree with that. But the fact that Charlie was understated while the intelligent and ambitious kids were depicted as unbearable brats spoke volumes (to me anyway). It was the caricature of a caricature. And an old tired one at that. For me, this greatly diminished the value of the movie. As I said, I would have rather seen a movie where "excess" intelligence or ambition were portrayed as heroic and not been offered yet another meek, understated examplar of virtue.
  20. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

    I saw this film recently and I enjoyed it. I thought the directing was amazing and Depp's performance was excellent as well. I also liked that morality played a large role in the theme. However, not to belittle the film, but a negative did stand out. First of all, I couldn't help but feel that the major theme of the movie was "and the meek shall inherit the earth". Charlie is a good kid, and he does show loyalty to his values (namely his family). But in comparison to the other kids which are shown being ambitious and *bad*, I take it that Charlie's greatest virtue was his humility. I would have liked it much better if Mike or Veruca had been the heroes; ie if ambition and intelligence were the defining characteristic for the heroic child. But, alas, that would be asking too much. Perhaps if they remake the movie in a hundred years or so....
  21. Opinions of TIA

    I didn't mean that Kerry contested the election results. I meant that the polls revealed that the American citizenry was pretty evenly divided on who to vote for. So, in that context, the notion of a "mandate" seems far-fetched. I also understood that Tracinski considered "democracy" to be an anti-concept. I thought that was one of the better points of the essay. I just have questions about whether representative government can be installed in a culture as hostile to reason and individual rights as is the current middle east. I'm glad to hear that you wrote Dr. Lewis concerning this. I will be interested to read his response if he posts it on this forum. I don't know if you subscribe to HBL but not four days ago Dr. Lewis posted a comment on Tracinski's article (Three Elections). In the article, Tracinski cites Dr. Lewis regarding Greek democracy. Dr. Lewis responded: "It [the TIA article] cites a piece of mine with respect to ancient Greek democracy. The citation is accurate, but I strongly disagree with the article." He then went on to state that Bush's strategy was flawed because it was sacrificial and that he considered Bush more dangerous than Kerry because Bush is considered a symbol of a strong, self interested self-defense when in reality he is not. And if you remember, Dr. Lewis wrote an excellent article on the philosophic foundations of the neo-conservatives. It dealt with Leo Strauss. So I definitely see a tension between him and both Tracinski and Wakeland.
  22. Opinions of TIA

    I definitely agree.
  23. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

    Free Capitalist: As I said, your analysis is always a pleasure to read. And I agree with it. I wanted to give Adama the benefit of the doubt because I felt that the whole scenerio that the fleet finds itself in is one huge emergency situation. In their context, a bad decision can mean the end of humanity. In *that* context (which is probably unrealistic from a fully reality oriented perspective), I would risk a benevolent dictator who could keep me alive over a duly elected representative of the people who was making decisions based on revelatory visions (and here, I hope the show does not descend into mysticism). Once humanity had freed itself from the Cylon threat and established a fully human (as opposed to a terror-struck and panic-ridden) civilization on either Kobol or elsewhere, the threat of extinction would cease and republican government would resume. I was having this discussion w/ a friend (also an Objectivist) and it was interesting b/c he argued as you did and I respect that line of reasoning. But I was stressing the fact of their imminent extinction which put this "on a lifeboat" in my thinking. I actually said that the whole fleet could legitimately be placed under a permanent Marshal Law until such time as a normal human existence was possible. Until then, it might be better to have the entire fleet under military control. We debated and we came to the conclusion that it really depends on how you want to view the show. Is is to be taken literally or metaphorically. If the latter, I completely agree with your analysis as I think it accurately describes the traditions of republican government that we inherited from our Greco/Roman ancestors. But IMO if the show is to be taken at face value, I don't think that in *that situation* you could afford the 'politiking' inherent in what seems to be a somewhat flawed republic. (If it was an Objectivist governent that might be a different story, but then again an Objectivist government would never have let the Cylons put them in that situation.) So I actually feel a little torn on what to think. I really liked Adama for most of the first 13 episodes; and I loved the way Almos played him. At times, given what they were facing, I found myself frustrated with the time I fealt they were wasting on the politics of the 12 Colonies. And yet, I realize that from a philosophical and historical perspective, the themes that were raised were of crucial importance to our own world. Anyway, its a tribute to the show that it is so compelling on so many levels. Its has the potential to be the best sci-fi show ever. And on top of it all, I think Grace Park is really hot! Oh and one final thing. I don't think that Adama is dead. Almos is signed on for the second season. He said in an interview that he loves the show but if they get corny he wont want to do it. I believe his quote was that the first three eyed alien they meet, he's gone!
  24. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

    *** Spoilerish Discussion *** Free Capitalist: You know, I have been thinking about whether I liked Adama's decision to arrest the President and take controll of the fleet. I too at first thought he had secumed to power lust. But I am not sure if that is accurate. At the least, I think it is debatable if he has fallen like Ceaser. He has repeatedly stressed that there needs to be a seperation of civilian and military control. And, from his perspective, the president made a decision to interfere with military authority by recruiting Starbuck to go to Caprica to get the arrow of Apollo; and to make that decision based on religious inspired visions! So I think he had a legitimate reason to take control. Also, you could view this as one big emergency scenerio which required temporary control and leadership by the military. This is a time of war after all and humanity is facing extinction. Also, I know that as a specialist in Roman history you are aware of the the way the "dicatator" was used during the Roman Republic. Adama could be viewed here as a Cincinnatus or a Quintus Fabius Maximus. So I am going to cut Adama some slack. Geez, the man has two nine millimeter slugs in him as we speak! I look forward to your response b/c as I have read all your historical and film commentaries and they are brilliant to say the least. You always find a way of extracting a theme that I may have missed.
  25. Into the West (2005)

    You make it sound interesting and worthwile if considered in the right context. I may give it a shot.