2010 TV

>> Friday, December 31, 2010


2010 Books


      2010 Movies


                  Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia

                  >> Tuesday, December 7, 2010

                  After reading a biography by a journalist, I am now utterly convinced the Andrew Morton writes like an 8th grader. I suppose I could write that sentence after every book I read. It's like saying Morton's prose is a step above Stephenie Meyer's except I have no plans whatsoever of reading her endless blatherings regarding the sparkly clan in order to prove it.

                  But there is a celebrity connection between Morton's recent book and this one: Angelina Jolie. And after reading Morton's biography of Jolie, I can't help but think that Gia Carangi had a much worse mother. Jolie's mother seemingly gave her daughter a headcase about her father in the classic vein of getting back at ex-husbands via children. Carangi's mother is...I don't know, a basket case?

                  Really, I just appreciate my non-psycho parents that much more after reading this.


                  Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography

                  >> Monday, September 13, 2010

                  Originally, I had no interest in reading this. I suffered through Morton's version of Tom Cruise's life, which was meanderingly uneventful, particularly when you consider how frakked up that man is. I mean, really, why bother? I've read enough about the Jolie even when she put forth lightweight interviews that weren't even worth the paper or cover they were printed on. (I'm talking to you August 2010 issue of Vanity Fair!)

                  So why did I?

                  Well...last week when I was strolling through the book section of Target to see if they had Generation Kill, I saw it sitting there on the bookshelf with a 30% off sticker. I started thinking that, hm, using the remaining portion of a gift card I'd be paying well under the cover price for it. Yeah, whatever rationale would cushion the indignity to my brain.

                  But I didn't buy it then because I really, really, really, really wanted to read Generation Kill after having watched the miniseries over and over. So I drove all the way across town to the only large bookstore in the area and got the only copy out on the shelf. I read it every chance I could get and finished it within a few days. Surprisingly not at all bored when reading it even though I knew what happened. That is the power of excellent writing.

                  Which cannot be said for Andrew Morton.

                  I went back to Target, got the book and started reading. And I cannot believe I made it alive through the first few chapters because it was SO boring. Did you know how Jolie's parents met? Lived? Divorced? Feuded? No? Well, you're going to know now because it's the first three or four chapters. Chapters that felt so long they could have been renamed "War & Peace: Chapters 1, 2 & 3."

                  That's what so annoying about reading an Andrew Morton book. The prose is like that of 8th grade book report trying to be cool and edgy.
                  Angie's drug use, eating disorder, and cutting were clearly symptoms, a way of dulling or avoiding her emotional pain. In the presenting narrative of her life, she had been abandoned by her father, and sustained by her mother, who had given up her career to raise her. Black and white, dark and light, devil and angel. (p. 80)
                  Fucking and cheesy. Going from Generation Kill to this felt like going from reading Shakespeare to Stephenie Meyer. It is that bad. An editor who wasn't so interested in keeping the page count above 300 could easily slice 50 to 75 pages from this. A third is sheer padding of "blah, blah, blah and she was quoted saying this." Throw in some random child psychologist giving a general statement about some disorder and insecurity and there you have it, with the last 50 to 75 pages regarding Brangelina solely composed of a wordy timeline courtesy of the tabs.

                  Since Morton's main two named sources for the book are friends of Jolie's late mother, the most revealing things in the book aren't about Jolie but her mother. It really should be retitled: Marcheline Bertrand: How Some of My Worst Personality Traits Really Fucked Up My Daughter, Through No Fault of My Own Of Course.

                  What am I going to do with this book now? Pawn it off on my sister?

                  Here's hopin'...

                  *fingers crossed*


                  Does this look like spring to you?

                  >> Tuesday, April 6, 2010

                  This is today, April 6, 2010.

                  This is January 29, 2010, clearly, a drastic change from the picture above.

                  And they say we're supposed to get some more snow tonight? Jeepers, I'm glad the high temperature is above freezing because half of what we received last night has melted away. Seven inches of snow fell last night. Seven inches! In April!

                  I measured it this morning, so that ain't a mistake. Seven inches. I had to bust out the snow blower because I had to be somewhere this morning. I much prefer to use a shovel and listen to my ipod. The snow plows didn't make it to my neighborhood until 9:30 am.

                  Seven inches. And then it snowed a little more this afternoon.

                  And why couldn't this snow have fallen in January when we had crappy air due to inversion? Oh, yeah, that's right, I didn't have anywhere to be at the time. So, now, of course, it's going to snow when I have somewhere to be in the morning. Figures.


                  Aw Yeah!

                  >> Wednesday, March 17, 2010

                  Battlestar Galactica gets the "Sabotage" treatment after Star Wars.

                  And the shot-by-shot comparison to the original Beastie Boys "Sabotage" video.


                  Mad Men: Season 1

                  >> Monday, March 15, 2010

                  I've watched two episodes of Mad Men before this: the last two of season 3. Well, even knowing where they end up at the end of season 3 didn't ruin watching the first season.

                  Damn. The state of relations between the sexes. I've heard of instances like the ones portrayed in the series from former coworkers such as being called "sweetheart" and getting chased by married men. Although, I do appreciated seeing how some of the men readily accept Peggy moving out of the secretarial pool and into copy writing. Except Pete. He's such a dick. He doesn't even seem to appreciate his wife, who adores him for I don't know what reason.

                  Joan is my favorite character at this point. Peggy seemed like such a basket case in the latter half of the season even though I can appreciate the strides she makes in her career. Sterling always has the best wisecracks. I actually like Don, to my surprise, but every time I see him stepping out on Betty, I think, "Really? Is going home to Betty that bad?" Not from what I can tell. Betty is clearly about to go off her rocker, I assume, at some point just due to watching her whip out that gun to start shooting at her neighbor's pigeons. Jeez, I'm actually feeling motivated to whip out my copy of The Feminine Mystique and start reading it. I actually read a quarter of it ten plus years ago. Never finished.


                  Saudi Arabia: A Country in Motion

                  >> Thursday, March 11, 2010

                  Just so you know!

                  Country In Motion from Federico Costa on Vimeo.


                  "Google is evil!" or "Is Google evil?"

                  >> Wednesday, March 10, 2010

                  I suppose it's the context that really matters, but I came across two mentions of Google in the world recently.

                  The first was this video produced by ABC (Australia).

                  When it comes to privacy and the mentions of medical records and genetics, well, that's going a little too far for me.

                  The second was a blog post on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish from last Friday entitled, "Google Is Making Me Stupid." Chris Bodenner reiterates points made by Nick Carr's Atlantic cover story, "Is Google Making Us Stupid," and survey results from the recent Pew study on the internet, The Future of the Internet IV. Obviously the study isn't solely about Google, but this statement did remind me of Google's privacy issues:

                  Anonymous online activity will be challenged, though a modest majority still think it will possible in 2020: There [is] more of a split verdict among the expert respondents about the fate on online anonymity. Some 55% agreed that Internet users will still be able to communicate anonymously, while 41% agreed that by 2020 “anonymous online activity is sharply curtailed."

                  Ironically, political dissidents in countries such as China and Iran are recommended to use Gmail due to its security. Go figure.

                  Back to the "evil" question regarding Google, I saw these two quotes in the Pew survey specifically regarding Google:
                  “Google will make us stupid and intelligent at the same time. In the future, we will live in a transparent 3D mobile media cloud that surrounds us everywhere. In this cloud, we will use intelligent machines, to whom we delegate both simple and complex tasks. Therefore, we will loose the skills we needed in the old days (e.g., reading paper maps while driving a car). But we will gain the skill to make better choices (e.g., knowing to choose the mortgage that is best for you instead of best for the bank). All in all, I think the gains outweigh the losses.” -- Marcel Bullinga, Dutch Futurist at futurecheck.com
                  “I think that certain tasks will be “offloaded” to Google or other Internet services rather than performed in the mind, especially remembering minor details. But really, that a role that paper has taken over many centuries: did Gutenberg make us stupid? On the other hand, the Internet is likely to be front-and-centre in any developments related to improvements in neuroscience and human cognition research.” – Dean Bubley, wireless industry consultant
                  Perhaps I watch too much sci-fi television, but I just read quotes that could easily be heard on Caprica, the new prequel series to Battlestar Galactica that documents the creation and rise of the Cylons. And, no, I'm not kidding on that one. All that online information constituting and creating online identities, "offloading" certain tasks to a computer, it's all right there in a tv series most people aren't watching.

                  Perhaps it's not the best clip to demonstrate the similarity, but it was the best one available.

                  The Google Monster...
                  (“Google Monster" by Asaf Hanuka)


                  Lost: Baywatch

                  Fitting since Sawyer has his shirt off almost every other episode.


                  Sherlock Holmes

                  >> Tuesday, March 9, 2010

                  My mother decided she wanted to see this last Friday. I was pretty shocked. I told her it was more action-y than other Sherlock Holmes films. That didn't dissuade her. We saw it on a Saturday matinee, no way were we going to see it at 4:30 on Sunday during the Oscar red carpet.

                  I've finally seen a Guy Ritchie film. I'm not quite sure what the fuss was all about; although, I did enjoy Sherlock except for the first half hour where I thought my ears were going to get blown out. Mon Dieu! I thought I was at a rock concert without the ear plugs. I'm not talking about sound design, the volume really was up too high. They must have turned it down at one point. I'm not sure when, but it made watching the first part way too difficult because it was just down right uncomfortable.

                  I really liked RDJ as Sherlock. The only other Sherlock Holmes film I've seen was Young Sherlock Holmes, which always freaked me out as a kid. The two Sherlock films I've seen both have story lines or investigations into the occult/paranormal. But back to RDJ, I seriously can't see anyone else in the role at this point. He talks so fast so naturally that it seems to follow that his mind would click at a light-quick pace.

                  Above all, I really like the score. I've had that banjo and piano in my head in one way or another for a couple days now.

                  Shame it lost the Art Direction Oscar to Avatar. I would have liked to see Sherlock win something. At least there will be a sequel.


                  Just making it worse

                  When you invite the media to observe and report on the strife within your congregation.

                  Last Monday, March 1st, an article was published in the local paper about an ELCA congregation considering changing its affiliation from ELCA to LCMC. Let's be clear about this: they already had a vote in January and it failed. Yet many just can't move on. So they had a public forum last Thursday where non-members were allowed to attend and discuss moving from the ELCA to LCMC.

                  On Thursday, while watching the news during dinner, one of the local stations aired a short segment on the congregation. (Yes, KSL is owned by the Mormon church and that anchor doesn't know how to pronounce 'ordained.')

                  Video Courtesy of KSL.com

                  I can't imagine that it makes the situation better when the whole state gets to find out what is vexing your congregation, particularly in the state with a Mormon majority.

                  Naturally, the local paper did a follow-up article after the Thursday meeting. I'm left with the notion that since this is now in the public realm, we're going to get more articles in the months ahead about this. That church's current newsletter (pdf) is already documenting the problems within.

                  On page 2:
                  It saddens me to see this family torn apart by recent events in the ELCA. I hope that a happy medium can be reached before my family is torn apart even more. I love this church and every person who is part of this very special family.
                  On page 9:
                  Comment box questions were discussed as to why we would continue to research other churches when the congregational vote was otherwise.
                  I don't know who decided to invite the media into all of this, but, at this point, I suspect the pastor. He didn't seem to have any problem talking on camera in the sanctuary about these problems. He also hasn't been at that congregation for very long from what I've heard, which is less than five years.


                  They left out the best

                  When Entertainment Weekly decided to name the 20 best Oscar dresses of the last 20 years, then Marion Cotillard's white revelation should have been in the top 10.

                  It is definitely better than Jennifer Lopez's lime-green sari from 2003. Seriously, why is that dress even included?

                  Same with Claire Danes's blue skirt and sweater combo. I don't even remember that sartorial choice existing. I do, however, remember Catherine Zeta-Jones appearing in a stunning red dress either that year or about the same time. That dress was worthy of a mention considering it helped to establish her as a star.

                  Marion's white dress is still far superior to Angelina Jolie's white dress from 2004. Without the Jolie in that white halter with a shitload of jewels, there's nothing memorable about it.

                  Who does the fashion section of EW? Seriously, every time I review their best dressed after a huge gala I cringe because they pick the most boring dresses. (And I don't even consider myself to be much of a fashionista.)


                  I like this cover

                  It's a few weeks old I know. Generally, I like what they've been doing in this season of Lost. It's taken a little getting used to, but they've been tying up some questions with answers, similar to what Battlestar Galactica did in its final season. I don't know if they'll be able to wrap everything up like BSG did or not. I remain hopeful.

                  However, I don't like that Sayid is now a sucker. Dude, has he never heard the saying, "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is." I don't think his deal with the Locke-ness Monster is going to end well. Damn, I hate to see a good character go bad. He always struggled with the badness within. Last week, he decided to stop. I don't know if I can like him anymore. Perhaps the ghost of Shannon will appear and smack some sense into him. Here's hoping.



                  I put the question to William Gumede, a third-generation ANC activist who, as a leader of the student movement during the transition, was on the streets in those tumultuous years. "Everyone was watching the political negotiations," he recalled, referring to the de Klerk-Mandela summits. "And if people felt it wasn't going well there would be mass protests. But when the economic negotiators would report back, people thought it was technical; no one was interested." This perception, he said, was encouraged by [Thabo] Mbeki, who portrayed the talks as "administrative" and of no popular concern (much like the Chileans with their "technified democracy"). As a result he told me, with great exasperation, "We missed it! We missed the real story." --Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, p. 258
                  Before transferring power, the Nationalist Party wants to emasculate it. It is trying to negotiate a kind of swap where it will give up the right to run the country its way in exchange for the right to stop blacks from running it their own way. --Allister Sparks, South African journalist
                  Reconciliation means that those who have been on the underside of history must see that there is a qualitative difference between repression and freedom. And for them, freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having electricity on tap; being able to live in a decent home and have a good job; to be able to send your children to school and to have accessible health car. I mean, what's the point of having made this transition if the quality of life of these people is not enhanced and improved? If not, the vote is useless. --Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, November 2001
                  These are the things that were going through my head when Invictus was initially released last year. I was reading The Shock Doctrine, a book I still have yet to finish, and its chapter on South Africa. That chapter is about how South Africa was screwed by the transfer of powers because the economic policies left in place crippled the country. Specifically, goals outlined in the Freedom Charter were/have never been accomplished. I noticed a reference in the film to South Africa's financing situation when Mandela was in South Korea for an investment meeting, and it's mentioned a few times the how the unemployment rate is impacting the country.

                  Then I watched District 9 and listened to Neil Blomkamp's commentary. I learned even more about South Africa from a South African. I thought his comments that things already happening in South Africa such as overpopulation, income disparity, inadequate resources, and increases in refugees were quite prescient. District 9 isn't really about apartheid, but how South Africans view refugees in the mix of overpopulation and lack of resources. Yet apartheid and Mandela are the only things most Americans seem to know about the country.

                  So when it came to watching Invictus a few weeks ago, I was skeptical about watching it. And I still am about the film. It had some interesting points such as the integration of the presidential bodyguards. But it fails because it tries to be two things at once: a film about Mandela and a sports flick. The parts about Mandela work because he's what most people know about South Africa, and when it gets down to it, they should have just made a film about him. The rugby parts? Well, I learned more about rugby than I had the few times I've watched it on tv, but the final World Cup match scenes were so montage-like that I couldn't appreciate it as a game. I was somewhat bored by the time it got to the end. That plane stunt they put in the film in the final match was a cheap shot and didn't even happen in real life.

                  I'm glad this didn't get nominated for Best Picture. I don't think it deserved it. I don't really like The Blind Side in retrospect, but it is an excellent sports film. I will give it credit for that. I would have much rather seen a movie that was purely about Mandela rather than a film that tries to take the South African Rugby World Cup win and spin it like the country moved on, as if there were no more problems stemming from the apartheid legacy. So not true.

                  Did Morgan Freeman deserve his Oscar nomination? Hm, I waver on that. I remember a few instances where the accent he was using was missing, yet he does hold the film together. But hell to the no, Matt Damon did not deserve his. He was nominated for playing rugby, doing a South African accent, and star power. I would have much rather seen Anthony Mackie nominated for The Hurt Locker. That was a performance that clearly took a lot more than just working out and learning to play rugby.


                  Branding the Olympics

                  >> Tuesday, March 2, 2010

                  I couldn't disagree more on his comments regarding the Lillehammer. I find those designs to be similar to Athens in 2004. Which is when Athens designs were highlighted at the end, they don't look so revolutionary to me given their similarity to Lillehammer's ten years prior.


                  Well, aren't they just assholes

                  There's no other way to say it:

                  Catholic Charities President and CEO Edward Orzechowski sent a memo out to employees yesterday informing them that spouses’ who have already been enrolled in the health plan would continue to receive care under a grandfather clause, but that new employees or newly married employees would no longer be eligible to obtain coverage for their spouses through Catholic Charities.

                  The change goes into effect today. The District of Columbia will begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning on March 4.
                  And they're doing it at time when health care premiums are beginning to sky rocket. What was that video I saw a couple weeks ago? Oh yeah, the Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world. Sums it up for me.


                  The Daily Dumbass: "tired of the whites getting shafted"

                  Dude, sometimes what some people write really amazes me. Like this chick who freaked out over little Shiloh Jolie-Pitt having short hair. From LaineyGossip.com:

                  Obviously you can’t see what’s going on because you are too busy worshiping Brangelina but they are abusing the white child in favor of the adopted ones, classic neglect. Angelina hates Shiloh and she feels guilty that she gave birth when she could have bought more of the multi race ones. She is doing this on purpose to make the African American one feel better about herself. But Lainey what is the cost? Shiloh has no identity now. Her parents won’t allow her to have one because they are forcing her to be a lesbian to represent the minority groups. It’s important that she has a voice. There are a lot of people in the US who are tired of the whites getting shafted. Oh and save your breath if you call me a racist. I’m just calling it like it is. I respect different cultures so why can’t they respect us?
                  Gee, I know a pair of twins that weren't allowed to have long hair (such as longer than shoulder-length hair) until they were in fifth grade because their mother said it was "easy" and, well, their mom is a short-hair person. They're white. Their mother is white. I don't think they were "abused" or "neglected" as this dumbass's statements seem to infer because they had short hair.

                  But this is the statement that really gets me:
                  There are a lot of people in the US who are tired of the whites getting shafted. Oh and save your breath if you call me a racist. I’m just calling it like it is. I respect different cultures so why can’t they respect us?
                  Right...there's no racism in her email. *eyeroll* She's not a racist, just a white supremacist. Notice the difference? (Yes, that is sarcasm.) What she wrote reminded me of a blog post I read last summer during the big health care dust-up of August '09.

                  Summed up in a nutshell in this tweet:
                  @DavidOAtkins DuBois had it figured out 75 years ago: Poor/middle class whites draw a psychic wage from being white.
                  But here's the more complete version:
                  The "psychic wage" of being white stipulates that because they are white, they are superior in station and there is no moral problem with them receiving services--a paradox brilliantly explored by my brother shortly after election day. (Incidentally, this same concept of the "psychic wage" is a large factor in why bigots claim that same-sex marriage will destroy straight marriage: it's all about the psychic wage of being superior because one's heterosexuality.)

                  One of the key pillars of the so-called psychic wage has been, simply put, that the highest office-holders in the land were white, and nobody but whites stood a shot in hell at winning it--especially when it came to the highest office in the land, the Presidency of the United States.

                  And now that the Presidency is not an exclusive club for those of purely European heritage, the key pillar of the racial psychic wage has crumbled to dust.

                  So I want you to imagine a scenario. Imagine you've gone through your entire life believing you're superior. You're better than everyone else. You belong to an exclusive club. It's the root of your self-identity--and despite whatever is going on around you, you know that whatever else happens, you're still a member of the club that gives you a status higher than anyone else but your fellow members. And then one day, that club is gone. Imagine the angst. The fear. The passion and energy. You'll do whatever it takes to try to reconstitute that club--no matter how crazy it is to any outsider, and you'll oppose the people who took your membership away, no matter what it is that they're doing, just because of what they did to you.

                  That's what this is about.
                  Indeed. That's what this chick means when she says "why can't they respect us?" Really, how are "whites getting shafted" or not being "respect[ed]" because the child of a celebrity has a pixie hair cut? How fucking insecure do you have to be? Last I recall, if you have respect for yourself, then you'll be able to show respect for other people. If she actually "respect[ed] different cultures," then none of the above would be a problem.  "Julie," the chick who wrote this email doesn't live in a world where "whites" are suffering from a lack of respect, as far as I can tell. She lives in a world where status is no longer determined by skin color.

                  Boo fucking hoo.


                  Pug Head Tilt

                  >> Saturday, February 27, 2010

                  So cute!

                  The way they're constantly tilting their heads makes it appear that he's holding something off-camera, but I think the pugs just do that when someone's talking.


                  If only most of the winners realized this

                  >> Thursday, February 25, 2010

                  Using the Oscar platform to thank your Mom and your influences is like sending out the entire U.S. Military Force to issue a parking ticket.
                  --Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove, on Oscar speeches



                  >> Wednesday, February 17, 2010

                  "Cultural overhead" is the term anthropologists use. It's a fancy way of defining how many nonproductive people there are in a society. for every priest, king, prince, warrior, middle manager, or CEO--non of whom directly produces food or shelter--the average person must work that much harder to provide food and shelter for all. In some of our "developed" cultures, as little as 2 to 5 percent of us provide all the food for everybody. And the farmers among us work damn hard and use enormous numbers of calories (mostly from oil: tractors, fertilizer, transport) to do so.
                  --Thom Hartmann, Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, p. 9


                  Good News & Bad News

                  >> Tuesday, February 16, 2010

                  (Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy) was my boss. He knows all about peak oil, but he can't talk about it. If the government announced that peak oil was threatening our economy, Wall Street would crash. He just can't say anything about it.
                  --David Fridley, scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, quoted in an article by Lionel Badal (Peak Oil News, 10/28, item #23: "Have we reached Peak Oil?" [pdf])


                  Utah's education problem

                  It's just beginning to make the news now, but this idea popped up last December before Christmas.

                  That's the front page of the Standard-Examiner on Dec 18, 2009, courtesy of a friend. Basically kids would either not be able to make it to school or just won't have school.
                  Two state legislators painted a dire financial outlook for school funding at a recent meeting of the Morgan School Board.

                  "It is a bleak, bleak picture," said Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden.

                  "We have the perfect storm, financially."

                  Although he refused to name his source, Christensen warned board members that the governor's upcoming budget proposal may call for an elimination of all busing for Wasatch Front high schools and even the elimination of 12th grade from schools statewide.

                  "The argument is, the year is wasted anyway," said Christensen, who said he heard eliminating high schoolers' senior year could save the state $250 million....

                  But the Utah State Office of Education has heard some rumblings.

                  "We've heard they're going to propose some busing changes," said Carol Lear, director of law and legislation with the USOE.

                  "We will have a lot of concerns about it.

                  "They will have to define Wasatch Front. It doesn't sound equitable."

                  For example, Lear said, St. George includes many students in urban areas.

                  "It's equally as expendable (in St. George) as it is in Salt Lake," said Lear, who had not heard about proposals to eliminate 12th grade.

                  Eliminating high school busing could take away valuable incentives for students to attend school, she said. Also, many schools lack adequate parking for their student body.

                  But Lear said the issue could extend well past such immediate concerns.

                  "It becomes a rich/poor issue," she said.

                  If school bus transportation is denied students who also do not have access to cars, more students may find it necessary to walk or bike to school on busy roads. That could have unintended outcomes.

                  "Statistics provided by the Transportation Research Board indicate that teens driving themselves to school and children riding with a teenage driver are 44 times more likely to be fatally injured than if they were on a school bus," said Murrell J. Martin, a pupil transportation specialist with the Utah State Office of Education.

                  "We are working with every school district in Utah to assist them in their efforts to run their school bus transportation services as efficiently as possible. School districts in Utah transport their students to and from school at an average of $200 less per student than the national average cost per student," Martin said.

                  "Each district has been asked to continue to look at every possible way to increase efficiency while still providing the great safety they have in the past."

                  Eliminating the 12th grade is a move that could overload the state's colleges, Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, told the Morgan School Board.

                  "People can't find jobs, so they go to college," Brown said. "There's 26,000 new college students this year alone because of the economy. What would we really gain by it?"

                  Brown said that public and higher education combined represents more than 70 percent of the state's entire budget.
                  When things like this happen, I have to wonder what legislators have against raising taxes on the rich, you know, the people who could afford to do with less.

                  Here's Utah state Sen. Chris Buttars explaining why kids some kids don't need 12th grade.

                  Yes, it's THAT Chris Buttars.


                  It's recognized everywhere

                  Meanwhile, a steady stream of nominees had their pictures taken with the five big Oscar statues onstage, and another statue that stood at the centerpiece of the “class photo.” “Everybody is doing the picture thing,” laughed “Up” composer Michael Giacchino – who then admitted that yes, he’d done it too.

                  As the event wound down, a figure in orange robes made his way through the thinning crowd, heading for the stage.

                  It was one of the monks depicted in the documentary “Burma VJ,” which details how that country’s monks led an heroic stand against their country’s military repression.

                  When the got to the foot of the stage, the monk reached into his robes, pulled out a small camera, and began taking photos of Oscar.
                  -- Steve Pond, on the annual Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon.


                  Excellent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" cartoons

                  >> Monday, February 15, 2010

                  Artist: Matt Bors


                  George W. Bush believes in the Shock Doctrine

                  >> Sunday, February 14, 2010

                  Later in the day I opted for Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border,” rather than Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe,” and I couldn’t have been happier about that. The film is a superb look at the heads of state throughout the South American nations, those deemed dictators and enemies because they don’t consider the financial interests of the U.S. a priority. It’s a great piece concerning, among other things, the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the culture of ignorance in this country that has allowed the public perception of leaders like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, NĂ©stor Kirchner (formerly presiding over Peru) and the Castro brothers.

                  There’s an incredible moment when Kirchner relates a conversation he had with President George W. Bush during which the then Commander-in-Chief stated, rather bluntly, that the best way to economic stability for the Peruvian government was war.
                  --Kristopher Tapley, writing on the Santa Barbara Film Festival for InContention.com


                  2010 Oscar nominations

                  I was curious to see the video this year with the ten Best Picture nominees. I wondered how they were going to do the screen thing where they listed all ten since last time I watched it many years ago, before YouTube existed, they just used five television sets.

                  I suppose it's not much of a problem now with such large, high definition screens. But I forget about all that sometimes.

                  I generally like the ten selected as Best Picture nominees. I think it's a decent crop. I would have preferred The Cove to be in there over The Blind Side, but I don't think it's such a terrible selection as one of ten. (In retrospect, after seeing The Blind Side, I don't like the dumbing down of Michael Oher in the film. I wouldn't call that move racist, but I think it reeks of the lowest common denominator. The guy had played football before he met the Tuohys, and the depiction of him in the film learning football with Leann's kindergarten-like explanations make him seem extraordinarily deficient. I realize the screenwriter or director may have just wanted to explain football moves in a simple way to the audience, but they should have found a better way to do it.) If it had been one of five, then I know I and a whole lot of other people would have lost their shit. At this point, I've seen all but three of the Best Picture nominees. I still have yet to see An Education, Precious, and Inglorious Basterds. Basterds I'll be able to watch on dvd. Precious and An Education I might be able to catch if they hit the discount theater before Oscar night.

                  I certainly am not looking forward to seeing Precious given what I've heard regarding its subject matter, which is that it is a tough, tough film to watch yet (allegedly) rewarding once you make it to the end. As for An Education, I'm not sure I understand what the appeal of that movie is. I saw the trailer, and I was not intrigued. Young girl gets it on with an older man and has to decide between higher education and a life as a kept woman. That's how I see it anyway. There better be something really phenomenal in that movie. Because if I ever see it, I can't imagine how great it is to watch yet another girl wrestle with a May-December romance in a coming of age story. The trailer just evoked a giant yawn from me.

                  I really like The Secret of Kells sneaking in the Best Animated Feature category. (Dude, it's an Irish film!) I had no idea that film existed until it was nominated. It definitely speaks well of the animators branch that they were able to think outside the box and choose a film that most people have not seen. It just played for one week in Los Angeles to qualify and will be released in March. Just looking at the artwork in the trailer intrigues me. I'll probably just catch it on dvd, like Coraline.

                  I've been able to catch all five Animated Shorts online, even Wallace & Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death thanks to someone who uploaded it onto MySpace. The design of Logorama is witty, I love the AOL logo "people" walking around, but I'm not sure what to think of its story. Yes, Ronald McDonald as a Joker-like criminal is a great gag, but I saw that movie last year when I watched The Dark Knight.

                  I think The Lady and the Reaper will probably win. It has design, story and a character that many older Academy members can relate to, particularly when you realize that the older members have the time to attend the special screenings for the shorts and documentaries.

                  I thought most of tech categories had decent nominations. I particularly liked that Harry Potter squeaked in a cinematography nomination. Currently, I'm hoping that it'll win the category. I don't think Avatar deserves to win. A few weeks after seeing it, the only thing I think is truly remarkable about it is the visual effects. I would pick The Hurt Locker, but then I also haven't seen Inglorious Basterds. The Harry Potter films have maintained such a high level of quality that I think they deserve a little something before the final two films are released.

                  The one area I am truly disappointed in is the Best Supporting Actor category. Anthony Mackie from The Hurt Locker should be in there. I would take Matt Damon out of this category in a heartbeat. As far as I can tell, he just got nominated on sheer star power. I would even put in Alfred Molina in there from An Education, even though I haven't seen the film, just because he's such a great actor and the few critics I trust to read thought he was a good choice. It just seems that the nominations in this category made it a cakewalk to the podium for Christoph Waltz. Not that it's a bad thing, just makes for a boring ceremony. Woody Harrelson has the clearly best chance to upset, but I doubt it's going to happen.

                  Now, who the media is saying will win Best Actress is the one thing that currently vexes me. Sandra Bullock, Best Actress? For The Blind Side? Oh, hell no. Generally, I like Sandy. As a person, I like her far more than Julia Roberts. But even Julia Roberts has mixed up her film career with a wider variety of roles far more than Bullock ever has. Some people tout that it's "her year" when it comes to Bullock, like it was for Witherspoon, Kidman and Winslet.

                  I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying it. Reese Witherspoon had demonstrated a more varied acting range by the time she was nominated for Walk the Line. Yeah, it wasn't the greatest role, but her biggest competition was a tv actress playing a transsexual in a film that I don't know how many in the Academy saw. And in the hierarchy of Hollywood where being known in film trumps being known in tv, Felicity Huffman never stood a chance. Nicole Kidman had been nominated previously for Moulin Rouge before she won for The Hours. On top of that, she demonstrated a wide range as an actress and considerable respect before she botoxed the shit out of her face. And Winslet? Do we really have to go there? We're talking about one of the greatest film actors of her generation. The chick who will eventually fill Meryl Streep's shoes and possibly garner more nominations than her thirty years from now.

                  And those folks, such as Kristopher Tapley, who are bemoaning people picking on Sandra Bullock for being declared the front-runner and likely winner, well boo fucking hoo. If you can't stand the uproar when she hasn't won, then what do you think it will be like if she wins? Golf claps? For what other reason did Bullock have People magazine release an article stating that she's "so not winning an Oscar!" That's not just a campaign tactic. It's damage control.
                  ...Bullock—who, for the first time, tops Streep in a head-to-head contest. Who’da Thunk It?!, as an Oscar narrative, appears to be working out well for her. But, this time, she isn’t quite as beguilingly shocked. And a few days later, when The Blind Side scores an unexpected (to put it kindly) Best Picture nomination, the first stirrings of the enough-already backlash are felt. Her road to the Oscars now becomes trickier, since holding onto your status as an appealing underdog is hard once you actually start to win.
                  I expect Meryl to win. She is the easy alternative to Bullock. Mirren just won recently. Sidibe and Mulligan are new. Bullock doesn't scream deserving regardless of her star power. People like to say, "But, oh, she's so charming and hard-working and nice." Yeah, and so was Cary Grant. What kind of Oscar did he get? The honorary kind. The fact that the knives have come out for Bullock when the media declared her to be the winner should tell you everything. She's not going to win.

                  And I doubt Avatar will win Best Picture. There's the thing where people believe what Cameron accomplished was such a directorial achievement. But look at it this way: Cameron winning a second Best Director Award in the past twenty years would put him in league with Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. Those two directors each have directed multiple films in the past twelve years. Cameron? He's only put out Avatar since Titanic. The man isn't exactly viewed as Stanley Kubrick. And his achievement has more to do with accomplishments made by special effects houses than anything else. The actors' branch, which is the largest branch, is likely to view Avatar with a bit of disdain. Yes, there are Cameron's own words that come back to bite his ass. But I believe the actors are more likely to disdain Avatar because they don't want it to be their future. Why would they want to encourage things they dislike?


                  District 9

                  >> Saturday, February 13, 2010

                  When I popped in the dvd, I made the mistake of choosing the alien graphic over the human. I initially figured it wouldn't matter. It was just an either or option to get to the main dvd menu. Wrong. Because if you watch the movie after selecting the "alien" option, the alien subtitles don't appear during the movie. I realized this about half an hour into it, but by then I was just watching it with full subtitles. In a way, it made it easier to watch because every now and then an Afrikaans word would pop up in the subtitles. That way, I knew it was not an English word, so it wasn't like I misheard something.

                  Am I allowed to say that Wikus (Sharlto Copley) is an extremely unlikeable character? At the beginning, he's such an ass. He's a total dork too. I had no idea that the main character was going to be someone so non-heroic. Most big-budget movies would have someone who would always make the "right" choices so that the audience would always admire them. I listened to the dvd commentary by Neil Blomkamp. He stated that Wikus is a passive xenophobe. True. He's a bureaucrat who gets chosen for a top-line mission and then has his life thrown out of whack.

                  I really like how they did the aliens in the movie. They're extremely ugly, yet you can still see all sorts of emotions through their eyes. I felt so sorry for the main alien, "Chris Johnson," as he got kicked around by the MNU mercenaries. I even found the alien kid to be cute. (A cute insect!)

                  As Blomkamp stated on the commentary, this is a mix of the mundane and the fantastic. Sci-fi thrown into a South African metaphor and satire with some high-tech action. There's the xenophobic culture plus modern mercenaries and a cut-throat corporation. I initially assumed that the xenophobia was a metaphor for the apartheid era. Blomkamp stated that it, the xenophobic metaphor, was actually about Zimbabwean refugees who lived in slums near Johannesburg. That was had prompted/inspired his short film, Alive in Joburg, back in 2005, which formed the basis of District 9.

                  The corporation and mercenary subtext is an element that I don't think has been explored enough in current cinema. Blomkamp stated that modern mercenaries originated in South Africa. The South African apartheid regime had so many special forces groups operating within the military that when the new government disbanded them, many chose to become guns for hire. Thus, the current age of mercenaries began about 20 years ago and has now spread to the U.S. and other places infecting Iraq and Afghanistan with these problems. Guns for hire who aren't necessarily bound by law when they do their jobs unlike regular military.

                  As a sci-fi film, I find it far more interesting than Avatar. I didn't like Wikus for a lot of the movie, but he's a character who is in the process of losing his life, which includes a loving wife. A far cry from Avatar's Jake Sully who has nothing to lose in the film but everything to gain from becoming Na'vi. It's so easy for the audience to want him to become Na'vi that at the end you have to wonder why everyone else doesn't want to do it. Not for Wikus. He looses status, his wife, his friends and respect by unwillingly transforming into an alien. He ultimately redeems himself by helping the alien and his son escape.

                  Major props to Sharlto Copley for creating one of the most interesting characters I've seen in a long time. He deserves a lot of credit as an actor since he improvised much of Wikus's dialog. I know there are several critics who felt he deserved an Oscar nomination. I totally agree, but I'm not sure who out of that field I would kick out. Freeman? I suppose that's my first thought; although, I haven't seen Invictus yet. On the other hand, I'm also of the opinion that an Oscar nomination at this point in his acting career would just be overwhelming. The guy just finished filming the second movie of his career, The A-Team. I'm sure he just enjoys dealing with Hollywood in the least amount necessary. To get an Oscar nomination this early would just put an expectation on his shoulders and a temporary fame spotlight that he might not enjoy.

                  Totally deserving of its four Oscar noms. Shame it'll probably get shut out of everything in the end. I much prefer its subtle visual effects over Avatar's look-at-me-look-at-me show.


                  The U.K.'s "Robin Hood Tax"

                  We need one of those in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. should re-implement the STET tax. (Britain already has one of those.)

                  In the United Kingdom, for example, whenever you buy or sell a share of stock (or a credit swap or a derivative, or any other activity of that sort) you pay a small tax on the transaction. We did the same thing here in the US from 1914 to 1966 (and, before that, we did it to finance the Spanish American War and the Civil War).

                  For us, this Securities Turnover Excise Tax (STET) was a revenue source. For example, if we were to instate a .25 percent STET (tax) on every stock, swap, derivitive, or other trade today, it would produce - in its first year - around $150 billion in revenue. Wall Street would be generating the money to fund its own bailout. (For comparison, as best I can determine, the UK's STET is .25 percent, and Taiwan just dropped theirs from .60 to .30 percent.)

                  But there are other benefits.

                  As John Maynard Keynes pointed out in his seminal economics tome, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money in 1936, such a securities transaction tax would have the effect of "mitigating the predominance of speculation over enterprise."

                  In other words, it would tamp down toxic speculation, while encouraging healthy investment. The reason is pretty straightforward: When there's no cost to trading, there's no cost to gambling. The current system is like going to a casino where the house never takes anything; a gambler's paradise. Without costs to the transaction, people of large means are encourage to speculate - to, for example, buy a million shares of a particular stock over a day or two purely with the goal of driving up the stock's price (because everybody else sees all the buying activity and thinks they should jump onto the bandwagon) so three days down the road they can sell all their stock at a profit and get out before it collapses as the result of their sale. (We ironically call the outcome of this "market volatility.")
                  Such a common-sense move. It's no wonder the U.S. will never implement it. $150 BILLION in revenue. Per year. Just think what could be paid off or offset with that every year.


                  Now everyone gets to see it

                  Great news this week:
                  A film distribution company has bought the rights to a documentary about the Mormon church's role in a California ballot initiative to ban gay marriage.

                  Filmmaker Reed Cowan says "8: The Mormon Proposition" will hit theaters this spring and a DVD will follow. Cowan says he sold the film's North American distribution rights to Red Flag Releasing.
                  All right! I made the right decision not to plunk down $15 to see this during Sundance. I'll probably be able to see it for less than half of that when it plays in Salt Lake upon release. Or Netflix it.
                  Church officials have denounced the film as inaccurate and biased. But at the time of the Jan. 24 premiere, they said they hadn't seen the movie.

                  Today, church spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment on the film's distribution deal.

                  Cowan said he'd like to know which parts of the film are wrong. He also wants an opportunity to interview church officials and add their comments to the movie. Church officials declined requests for interviews during the making of the film.

                  "I would hold a screening at church headquarters for them," Cowan said in telephone interview from his home in the Miami-area. "I would love to know line by line what's inaccurate."

                  In 2008, church leaders urged Mormons to give their time and money to support Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote. Church members were among the campaign's most vigorous volunteers and by some estimates contributed tens of millions to the effort.
                  I'd like to know what is allegedly "wrong" too. Actually, I know those statements are just public relations bluster. They don't have a good excuse for what they did in California, but they'd like to maintain their not-for-profit tax status just the same.

                  I always thought this quote from the current Prop 8 trial in California demonstrated the LDS church's level of involvement in this political activity:
                  "He has also been hired by the coalition to do polling work for Prop 8. The main California grass roots leaders are in the process of being called as, quote, area directors, end quote, with the responsibility for areas that generally correspond to each of the 17 LDS coordinating councils for the LDS mission boundaries. Thereafter, priesthood leaders will call local prop coordinators over each stake and leaders by zip code within each ward - potentially working not only with LDS, but also LDS volunteers."
                  Non-partisan my ass.

                  The film's official website is here.


                  The 2010 Winter Olympics

                  It must be a law that Olympic mascots MUST be super cute. Not just cute, but super cute.

                  After the tragedy of the Georgian luge slider's death and the technical glitch when lighting the Olympic flame last night, I'm almost convinced that these games are cursed. Perhaps the Chinese New Year tomorrow (Year of the Tiger) will wash all that bad mojo away.

                  I really did like the polar bear though.
                  And I admire the attempts to be more environmentally friendly.
                  When Olympic champions are crowned at this year's winter games in Vancouver, these elite athletes will be taking home more than just gold, silver or bronze medals—they will be playing a role in Canada's efforts to reduce electronic waste. That's because each medal was made with a tiny bit of the more than 140,000 tons of e-waste that otherwise would have been sent to Canadian landfills.

                  The more than 1,000 medals to be awarded at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which kick off today, amount to 2.05 kilograms of gold, 1,950 kilograms of silver (Olympic gold medals are about 92.5 per cent silver, plated with six grams of gold) and 903 kilograms of copper. A little more than 1.5 percent of each gold medal was made with metals harvested from cathode ray tube glass, computer parts, circuit boards and other trashed tech. Each copper medal contains just over one percent e-waste, while the silver medals contain only small traces of recycled electronics.

                  This is the first time that recycled materials have been added to Olympic medals, which historically have been made from mined mineral deposits refined for commercial use. Each Olympic medal is 100 millimeters in diameter, about six millimeters thick and weighs between 500 and 576 grams, depending upon the medal.
                  And the medals look kind of...bent?
                  I did notice the First Nation artwork on them. I like that part of the design. It is one of my favorite styles of art. A more thorough explanation:
                  -- The medals of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games are circular in shape and based on a large master artwork of an orca whale by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian designer/artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Each of the medals has a unique hand-cropped section of the abstract art, making every medal one-of-a-kind.

                  -- They are among the heaviest medals in Olympic, weighing between 500 grams to 576 g depending on the medal.

                  -- Each feature a different crop of larger contemporary Aboriginal artworks and are undulating rather than flat — both firsts in Games history. The dramatic form of the Vancouver 2010 medals is inspired by the ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found in the Games region and throughout Canada.
                  Much better than the Torino doughnuts.


                  Crazy Heart

                  >> Friday, February 12, 2010

                  It’s one of the year’s best, most deeply felt films.
                  -- Kyle Smith, New York Post
                  If ever a movie demonstrated how country music emerges from private sorrows, this is it. But something can always be done to make a movie better.
                  -- David Denby, The New Yorker
                  I second the "deeply felt" and "country music" statements. This is a movie so subtle that I couldn't think of anything to say about it, so I started looking at its review page on Rotten Tomatoes. I saw this on Sunday, before the Super Bowl. It is now Friday. It has no obvious climax, unlike, say, Avatar.

                  What it does have is complete immersion into Bad Blake's life as a "washed-up music legend." Traveling from small joint to small joint just to break even, he even stops at a pay phone to make a phone call. Yes, a pay phone! It stuck out at me because this is a movie with cell phones and Maggie Gyllenhaal's character's iMac. When I saw the old, rectangle, pay phone box, my first thought was, "Really? Do those still exist out in the middle of nowhere or was it just a prop?" (The middle of nowhere would be either in Arizona or New Mexico. I'm not sure which of those two states the scene was filmed in.)
                  Crazy Heart gets to you like a good country song -- not because it tells you something new, but because it tells it well. It's the singer, not the song.
                  -- David Ansen, Newsweek
                  I can't say that it "got" to me. I certainly felt bad for Bad Blake, at times, but on the other hand, I had to admire his attempts to do the right thing in the end. This does have a fantastic cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell. Yup, Colin Farrell pops up as a country music star. What most amazes me is that I totally believed it. He speaks with an American accent and just fits right in. I didn't realize Duvall was in it until I saw it. I knew Farrell was cast, but Duvall just seemed to pop out of nowhere.

                  So Maggie Gyllenhaal received an Oscar nomination for this. I can live with that because I know she's a good actress. But she seemed to have an off-and-on relationship with her character's Oklahoma accent. It was so there when she first meets Bad Blake. Then at other times, it doesn't seem to be there at all. Perhaps I quibble about nothing.

                  I think we all know that Jeff Bridges will finally win an Oscar for this. It's a subtle, subtle performance. No scenery-chewing exists in this performance, unlike Daniel Day Lewis's performance in There Will Be Blood. I think he definitely deserves it, not just for his career but for this performance. Subtle performances tend to get overlooked because they don't jump out at you. If I knew nothing about Jeff Bridges prior to this, I would think that he is exactly like Bad Blake. It's such a naturalistic performance. Except that I have seen Bridges in other films and know he can pull off corporate assholes like he did in Iron Man.

                  I just hope he gives a good speech since his winning won't be a surprise.


                  Stephen Fry v. the Catholic Church

                  >> Thursday, February 11, 2010

                  Stephen Fry concedes that his opposition to the motion is a deeply personal and emotional one. He criticises the Catholic Church not only for the horrors it has perpetrated in the past, but also for its ideology, and for its sinister temerity to preach that there is no salvation outside of the Church. With two words he refutes Anne Widdecombe’s suggestion that the Catholic Church does not have the powers of a nation state: “The Vatican”. As a homosexual, Fry reflects how bizarre it is to be accused of being “immoral” and “a pervert” by an institution that has persistently hushed up the rape and abuse of children under its care, and whose leading members, abstentious nuns and priests, all share an attitude towards sex that is utterly unnatural and dysfunctional. He concludes by questioning whether Jesus, as a humble Jewish carpenter, would have approved of all the pomp and excess of the Catholic Church, and whether he would even have been accepted by such an arrogant organisation.
                  Stephen Fry, isn't he a comedian? He seems more like a philosophy professor in this video. Golly, after watching this, it makes me wish the presidential debates were structured in 20 minute segments.

                  Some of Fry's comments remind me of things a Catholic priest I know said. That the hierarchy--and those aiming to get into the hierarchy--are sycophants, that the hierarchy gets worked up about little things but pays no attention to big things like child abuse/rape, and that marriage annulments are ridiculous.

                  (video is about 20 minutes long.)

                  The Intelligence² Debate - Stephen Fry (Unedited)
                  Uploaded by Xrunner17. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.

                  The full debate can be seen here on the Intelligence² website.


                  Why Avatar won't win Best Picture

                  >> Wednesday, February 10, 2010

                  Two words: James Cameron

                  The following is what happened during Avatar's peak during awards season at the Golden Globes.

                  “I would ask you not to be humble,” the first questioner begins. No problem. Cameron quickly advances what amounts to a three-pronged case for why Avatar should win the Oscar. Ebulliently, he muses that the film’s technological leaps could “give permission to other filmmakers” to take 3-D out of the ghettos of “high-end animation and lowbrow live-action”; he points out that the movie, which he envisioned as a “shameless engine of commerce,” is only the second sci-fi film to take this prize; and he notes that it’s “very interesting that a major Hollywood commercial film is in some way controversial, whether it’s the environmental theme or some of the political themes.” It’s an aggressive sell: Tonight, he wants all of the Oscar narratives—The Chance to Make History, The Popular Favorite, The Movie That Speaks to This Moment.

                  And then, he goes too far. He keeps talking. And he does the one thing that no winner should ever do in a roomful of journalists: He disses Meryl Streep.

                  A reporter asks him why Avatar’s motion-capture performances haven’t gotten more respect from actors. “I’m going to give you an example,” Cameron says, clearly recalling the encounter I witnessed with the actress after the Critics’ Choice Awards. “I had always wanted to meet her—and I was talking about the performance-capture stuff and I was mentioning how all the actors love doing it. And she said, ‘Oh, yes, I know. I had such a great time doing Fantastic Mr. Fox.’ I thought ‘Oh, my God, this is a perfect example of what’s wrong!’ She didn’t perform the character physically over a period of months. She did a voice performance maybe for a day, maybe for two days, on a lectern!” From far away, I can feel Fox executives emitting psychic beams: “Stop talking now.”

                  “It’s almost like Asperger’s with him,” a producer tells me later. “How many years has it taken him to live down ‘I’m the King of the World!’? When he shifts into that mode of talking about how great his movies are and how other people just don’t get it, he is literally incapable of understanding how he sounds. And I say that as a fan! He makes it incredibly hard to vote for him.”
                  And this is how easy it is to mock Cameron, via New York Magazine:

                  He had his moment 12 years ago with Titanic.


                  Montage: the films of the 2000s

                  (via Bennett Media)

                  the films of the 2000s from Paul Proulx on Vimeo.

                  I know you can't fit a clip of every movie into a montage, but I noticed not a single Harry Potter clip in the montage. With six movies released in the decade, it seems a glaring omission.


                  Looks like a great way to get an education

                  >> Tuesday, February 9, 2010

                  Sign at a Rick Perry and Sarah Palin rally in Cypress, Texas, on Sunday, February 7, 2010

                  (via Houston Press)


                  The Media and Apple

                  A comedy critique of how the media can't ask questions on the obvious.


                  What happened to her face?

                  >> Saturday, February 6, 2010

                  And it looks like she's wearing a wig. I watched the first five minutes of her speech for the sheer novelty. That hair did not move.

                  In honor of Palin's speech to the "Tea Party Nation," let's revisit these gem-laden paragraphs by Matt Taibbi from last November.
                  Palin never had anything like that kind of attitude toward the press, although in fairness the bullets were flying at her from the moment she entered the campaign. It doesn’t matter; the point is that she’s getting it from all angles now and that wouldn’t be happening if she still had any friends in high places.

                  The press corps that is bashing her skull in right now is the same one that hyped that WMD horseshit for like four solid years and pom-pommed America to war with Iraq over the screeching objections of the entire planet. It’s the same press corps that rolled out the red carpet for someone very nearly as abjectly stupid as Sarah Palin to win not one but two terms in the White House. If there was any kind of consensus support for Palin inside the beltway, the criticism of her, bet on it, would be almost totally confined to chortling east coast smartasses like me and Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan.

                  What the people who are flipping out about the treatment of Palin should be asking themselves is what it means when it’s not just jerks like us but everybody piling on against Palin. For those of you who can’t connect the dots, I’ll tell you what it means. It means she’s been cut loose. It means that all five of the families have given the okay to this hit job, including even the mainstream Republican leaders. You teabaggers are in the process of being marginalized by your own ostensible party leaders in exactly the same way the anti-war crowd was abandoned by the Democratic party elders in the earlier part of this decade. Like the antiwar left, you have been deemed a threat to your own party’s “winnability.”

                  And do you know what that means? That means that just as the antiwar crowd spent years being painted by the national press as weepy, unpatriotic pussies whose enthusiastic support is toxic to any serious presidential aspirant, so too will all of you afternoon-radio ignoramuses who seem bent on spending the next three years kicking and screaming your way up the eternal asshole of white resentment now find yourself and your political champions painted as knee-jerk loonies whose rabid irrationality is undeserving of the political center. And yes, that’s me saying that, but I’ve always been saying that, not just about Palin but about George Bush and all your other moron-heroes.

                  What’s different now is who else is saying it. You had these people eating out of the palms of your hands (remember what it was like in the Dixie Chicks days?). Now they’re all drawing horns and Groucho mustaches on your heroes, and rapidly transitioning you from your previous political kingmaking role in the real world to a new role as a giant captive entertainment demographic that exists solely to be manipulated for ratings and ad revenue. What you should be asking yourself is why this is happening to you. Even I don’t know the answer to that question, but honestly, I don’t really care. All I know is that I find it extremely funny.


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