(500) Days of Summer

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

So this was the movie everyone was talking about earlier this year. Well worth it.

I managed to catch it at the $3 theater. Yeah, the print quality has gone down a bit, but it makes me feel nostalgic for twenty years ago or so when people would go see a movie they liked ten or more times instead of just waiting for it to be released on dvd.

This has to be one of the more sane romantic comedies in recent memory. No one doing weird shit with vibrating underwear. Or super-ridiculous. Just the ups and downs of falling in and out of love with someone.

Narrator: This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he'd never truly be happy until the day he met the one. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie 'The Graduate'. The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent's marriage she'd only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing. Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she is who he has been searching for. This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.
No, it's a love story. A very witty one though.
Author's Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Especially you Jenny Beckman.

Bitch.
Who can't relate to this sentiment? I mean, your brain can totally understand that there are other fish in the sea, but that doesn't mean your heart can.

When I saw Minka Kelly's name in the opening credits, I kept looking for her to appear. And then she didn't. And then I figured where she was going to appear after Summer & Tom's last park bench conversation. Wasn't counting on that name though.

Watching the end credits, I was surprised to see Patrick Swayze's name listed as writing and performing so many of the songs in the film. More than what was listed in the soundtrack listing on imdb.

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Iranians are more sophisticated than Americans

Not really surprising though.

Daily Show Goes to Iran from sahar sarshar on Vimeo.

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What?!?! You mean it's different when "we" do it?

>> Thursday, October 22, 2009

The United States was born of our ancestors’ nationalistic resentment of a foreign power whose troops we saw as occupiers, not protectors. The British never fathomed our basic grievance — this was our land, not theirs! — so the more they cracked down, the more they empowered the American insurgency.

Given that history, you’d think we might be more sensitive to nationalism abroad. Yet the most systematic foreign-policy mistake we Americans have made in the post-World War II period has been to underestimate its potency, from Vietnam to Latin America.
—Nicholas Kristof, "More Troops Are a Bad Bet," The New York Times

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On Journalism Trends

Time: If you had a single piece of advice to offer young journalists, what would it be?

Malcolm Gladwell: The issue is not writing. It's what you write about. One of my favorite columnists is Jonathan Weil, who writes for Bloomberg. He broke the Enron story, and he broke it because he's one of the very few mainstream journalists in America who really knows how to read a balance sheet. That means Jonathan Weil will always have a job, and will always be read, and will always have something interesting to say. He's unique. Most accountants don't write articles, and most journalists don't know anything about accounting. Aspiring journalists should stop going to journalism programs and go to some other kind of grad school. If I was studying today, I would go get a master's in statistics, and maybe do a bunch of accounting courses and then write from that perspective. I think that's the way to survive. The role of the generalist is diminishing. Journalism has to get smarter.
This is so true. Glenn Greenwald is another example of this. He's a former constitutional and civil rights litigator. He owns his "beat" so to speak. I don't know of anyone that I read online who is as thorough as he is. (Marcy Wheeler, aka emptywheel, comes close on some occasions though.)

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Always read the comments

Wired.com recently published this article: Exclusive: U.S. Spies Buy Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs, Tweets.

Amongst the comments was this gem:

Posted by: keir | 10/19/09 | 8:36 pm

I noticed ages ago, if I say ‘bomb’ a few times on my blog the TSA shows up in my stats.
I'm now tempted to post the word "bomb" either at the bottom or within my posts to see if this is true.

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Those Economists...

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, "Let's smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Let's build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Assume a can-opener..."
From an editor's note on a Barnes & Noble review

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The man who lived up to his [sur]name

>> Sunday, October 18, 2009

I had never heard of him until yesterday.

William Wayne Justice, a federal district judge who ruled on ground-breaking class-action suits that compelled Texas to integrate schools, reform prisons, educate illegal immigrants and revamp many other policies, died Tuesday in Austin.He was 89.
There's a reason why Texas is "Texas." A good example of why:
In a 1998 column in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Molly Ivins made what she called the “painfully obvious point” that Judge Justice had lived up to his name, saying he “brought the United States Constitution to Texas.”
Even the crazies didn't get to him:
After threats arising from the epic school desegregation battle at the beginning of his career, Judge Justice did not ask for armed guards. Instead, he took up taekwondo, the Korean martial art that resembles karate.

“It was a great way to take out my frustrations,” he told The Times. “You build up a lot of hostilities sitting on the bench all day.”
What a cool guy.

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Where the Wild Things Are

I don't remember the book, even though I read it as a kid. I do remember the artwork though, particularly since I have a card set with Sendak's images on them.

Delightful film. Sublime even. I'm really hoping at this point that it will make it into the 10 films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I just like the thought of that list of 10 films being as diverse as possible, not just stacked with period pieces and message films.

I'm glad that they didn't make everything overly cutesy, it just smacks of fakery. I was actually worried that Judith was going to eat him at one point. She was such a bitch! But, you know, it means that the monsters were real, 'cause no kid would dream up monsters that would try and eat them or be mean to them. Just sayin'...

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