|GopherLink! Mario finally rescues the Princess and this is the thanks he gets? By the creator of Family Guy.|
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I do, however, recommend dead dog movies to people who undergo breakups. You can't feel any lower than after a bad breakup. While you're down there, it just makes good sense to watch some dead dog movies.
Now I've realized the best mix for me are melancholy ballads and country songs. Johnny Cash, John Denver--it works well for me.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
-The Justice Roberts, Obama Oath of Office mishap? Read Volokh.
-On the key song referenced in the benediction by Doug LeBlanc
-Rod Dreher on the presidential speech
(26) When Mimi and I were dating, we would always try to celebrate our "month" anniversaries to celebrate when we started dating. So every 20th of a month we would try to go out and do something special, and if we were separated, we'd at least wish each other "Happy Anniversary" over the phone.
We got married two years to the day we met and we still celebrate every 20th. And that's today. And I still love her as much as when we first met.
(to readers: sorry for the sappy tone of devotion. I will try to keep the saccharine to a minimum in this blog...)
I ended up saying I liked Smashing Pumpkins. It was a lie.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
For many years, I have tried to cover up for them when they jump on top of each other and pet each other's faces. I have many lines of reasoning ("oh, that petting thing? They're just helping each other shed their skin," "oh yeah they just like to horse around like that," "of course that's their tail" *sweat, sweat*). But I have to come to terms with it. They do seem happy...
(21) As a kid, I was a HUGE Sonic the Hedgehog fan. I'm not just talking about the SEGA video games, although I did play through all of them and figured out how to get the emeralds to become Super Sonic in each. I also watched the television show during the brief stretch of time that it was on for Saturday morning cartoons (I actually had to wake up at 6 a.m. to see that one...) and built a huge collection of the comic books.
Looking back, I think I psychologically identified with a non-threatening character who was everything personality-wise that I was not: confident, smooth, beloved, etc. I also just thought the story was cool, especially the EndGame series.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I never had Dr. Daniel Goodman as a professor. But since he passed away yesterday at the tender age of 40, he's been on my mind a lot. He left my second semester at my undergraduate school. But I had friends who took his classes and professors who'd worked with him. At my school he was considered a bit controversial, but what set him apart was that as a professor, he demanded greatness and received it as a result. In the process, he remained a good man.
Friends who got "A"s in all their classes would sweat their way through a Goodman class and if they got a "B," they praised the heavens. But his true value wasn't just as an educator. He is the only professor to have received the professor of the year award twice and eventually had the award named for him.
Things with my school didn't work out (which was very likely, to the detriment of my school), and he spent the last several years working at Gardner-Webb University. He leaves behind not just a family, but a legacy of what a good professor can inspire from his students.
My prayers go out to his family. Thank you Dr. Goodman, for what you meant to my school.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
(3) It's Kate and Leo...again- guys, remember how you got to hear girls swoon for months after Titanic about how hot Leo was? Girls, remember swooning for months after Titanic. It's that without the Titanic or the swooning. In a word, boring.
(2) When did the suburbs become so awful? Basic theme of the movie: suburbs=bad, city=good. The suburbs make too easy of a target. Let's see they played up the "isolation" theme, the "pretending perfection" theme, the "infidelity" theme (we did get some intensely R-rated sex scenes in the process). Sorry ladies and gentlemen, the problems the couple had in the suburbs would probably have still been there in the city.
(1) It's Mad Men without any of the things that make it good- we get to see the dark side of the 1950s/1960s, but without any of the characterization to make it interesting. The way they do characterization in this movie is by have people get upset and hit walls. Folks behind this movie should watch Jon Hamm's portrayal of Don Draper for an episode and see what characterization looks like.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most tragic example in modern history of the folly of trying to base political arrangements on the myths in ancient books."Unfortunately, what could have been a profound sentence turned possible insight to injury with the phrase "myths in ancient books." Don't think we should politically live to the word of the Bible? That's why we have seperation of church and state. If all adulterers were stoned, we'd need to kill about a quarter of Americans. But the phrase Susan Jacoby uses to describe the Holy Books -- the Torah, Bible and Koran -- is simply incendiary. To actually convince someone to come to your opinion, showing them respect is a good start. The phrase she uses only translates a lack of respect.
Unfortunately, at a time when we need a good news source more than ever, this becomes just more evidence that the Washington Post is out of touch with many Americans.
Friday, January 9, 2009
This is perhaps just a part of my general confusion about air fresheners. I don't have any problem with them. I have a Ferbrezze in my house. But does it really stop the smell? No, it overpowers it with a MORE powerful smell. In my case, I just end up smelling the stinky with thick chemical flowery scent.
ps. It doesn't fool anyone when you use it. When I go in the bathroom and smell the Ferbreeze, I never say to myself, "What a wonderful smell? Mimi have you been arranging flowers in here?"
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Real question: when will churches be asking for the same thing? They're definitely feeling the crunch.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
TIME Magazine recently noted something similar in their article:
"Oscar nominations and old-fashioned word of mouth--earned robust box-office results: Little Miss Sunshine, No Country for Old Men and, most remarkably, Juno, the teen-pregnancy comedy that, on a $7.5 million budget, outgrossed such pricey, massively promoted (and popular) superproductions as Prince Caspian and The Incredible Hulk."
But, the article notes, this year those tiny, niche movies that make ten times what they cost were non-existent. Not a surprise though:
-If you've got limited funds and have a choice between seeing a niche movie or a blockbuster, which will you go see? Box offices say it was the blockbuster at least this year.
-And let's be serious: when has there, in recent history been a year of Blockbusters like this one: A new Indiana Jones, a new Bond movie, a new Batman movie, Iron Man, Hancock--that's quite a few and that's just the top four. There were fine showings by Momma Mia! and Sex and the City as well.
Only exception to the bad showing by niche movies: Fireproof. It was made for half a million and grossed $33 million.
By prediction? This was an off-year. You'll see alot more Fireproofs...
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
In a recent article in the Atlantic, P.J. O'Rourke discusses the difficulty Disney's had in renovating the House of the Future attraction in Tomorrowland. The problem is of course that when it came out, folks apparently were willing to accept that the 1950s was the golden age of Americana (an ideology most recently and perhaps effectively argued against in AMC's "Mad Men.")
His thesis is that Disney can't imagine what the House of the Future would look like because our culture is unimaginative. But here's an excerpt from the crux of his article, which is worth quoting at length:
Well, given the future envisioned in Disney’s House of the Future, who can blame us for looking the other way?Disney’s Tomorrowland is deeply, thoroughly, almost furiously unimaginative. This isn’t the fault of the “Disney culture”; it is the fault of our culture. We seem to have entered a deeply unimaginative era.
Let us not confuse imagination with innovation or even with progress. Man’s descent from the trees and adoption of the brilliant mechanics of bipedalism were innovation and progress of the first order. But what did we do with this progress for our first million years as humans? As best we can tell, we hung around the Olduvai Gorge and beat some rocks together to make “chopping tools.”
On the other hand, the Italian Renaissance was so imaginative that during its three centuries, practically everything worth imagining was imagined. And yet not much was actually invented in Florence, Pisa, or Rome.
Global imagination, like global climate, seems to have cycles—natural, man-made, or whatever. Sometimes what people imagine for the future is bogged down in the literal—call it “blogged” for short. The last thousand years of the Roman Empire, for example, were no great shakes. The Romans had all the engineering necessary to start an industrial revolution. But they preferred to have toga parties and let slaves do all the work.
The Chinese had gunpowder but failed to arm their troops with guns. They possessed the compass but didn’t go much of anywhere. They invented paper, printing, and a written form of their language, but hardly anyone in China was taught to read.
And here we are in 2008. Name an avant-garde painter. Nope, dead. Nope, dead. Yep, Julian Schnabel is what I came up with too. But it’s been a quarter of a century since he was pasting busted plates on canvas. He’s making movies now. And movies are famously not any good anymore. Name a great living composer. Say “Andrew Lloyd Webber” and I’ll force you to sit through Cats and Starlight Express back-to-back. Theater is revivals and revivals of revivals and stuff like musicals made out of old Kellogg’s Rice Krispies commercials, with Nathan Lane as “Snap.” More modern poetry is written than read. Modern architecture leaks and the builders left their plumb bobs at home. The most prominent contemporary art form is one that is completely unimaginative (or is supposed to be): the memoir.
To top it all off, we have just experienced perhaps the greatest technological advance in the history of humans. And what are we using the Internet for? To sell one another 8-track tapes on eBay and tell complete strangers on Facebook the location of all our tattoos. And, apparently, to tell ourselves what to do with the groceries we just bought.
Ouch. I contend that under the way O'Rourke seems to define "imagination," he might have a point. But His definition of "imagination" seems to focus solely on artistic works.
I offer three explanations as to why our generation is not as "imaginative" as others:
(1) Our imagination IS our innovation. But that "innovation" and "progress" he writes off so quickly in the
third paragraph, is an imagination of it's own. Why is imagining a
world where people can make calls, watch movies, listen to music and
write memos in a box that fits into the palm of ones hand artistically
inferior to imagining the world in dots (pointillism)?
(2) Our tools are new. No other generation has had so much innovation. Convergence Culture isn't a thing of the future. It's here. When I turn on my Sony Playstation 3, I can download episodes of Gossip Girl, I can download music, I can download games, I play games on Blue-Ray (as well as audio CDs, DVDs, and Playstation 1 and 2 formats--not to brag). When I turn on my iPod classic, I can also download episodes of Gossip Girl, I can download music (bigger selection), I can download games (a smaller selection). I can do all of these same things on my Mac. It's no longer a matter of whether there's a place where you can get media convergence it's about who profits from it. Are you going to get your convergent media through Sony? How about Apple? Microsoft? Fries with that?
When I was born, not only did these companies not exist, the technology didn't exist. Painting tools existed a long time before the Mona Lisa. The Printing Press existed for 400 years before we received "Les Miserables" and "Tale of Two Cities." You have to learn how to use a paint brush before you make a masterpiece.
(3) Why can't we imagine what the House of the Future looks like? With all the tools and access to built up imagination of the ages, it's hard to agree on what the future looks like. On a cultural standpoint: does the House of the Future have a husband-wife-kids nuclear family? Some would like to envision a future that does. Statistically, it doesn't look likely. Could the House of the Future have same-sex parents? Can that be done while respecting previous stages of the House of the Future? From a technological standpoint: does it look like this:
Inside it will feature hardware, software and touch-screen systems that could simplify everyday living.
Lights and thermostats will automatically adjust when people walk into a room. Closets will help pick out the right dress for a party. Counter tops will be able to identify groceries set on them and make menu suggestions.
Communications standpoint: are the kids text-messaging each other from across the room? My students do. Or have they found some new way to communicate (Telepathy sounds neat but would be lame, since you couldn't hear it in the attraction).
It's to easy to label our generation as unimaginative. Every generation has it's strengths and weaknesses. I'm sure when the "Greatest Generation" was born, the grandparents were muttering "so unimaginative..."
Here's a video my wife and I made after a recent trip home to DC that had to go through Chicago which got rerouted to Louisville, Kentucky. My wife gave a gate agent a heart attack (literally. No I'm not joking, they had to call an ambulance. Not completely her fault--he should have taken his insulin) but we eventually got home.
The way it works is I write down everyone I know who has a family. Then I go sell them knives and get them to give me more people to sell knives to. I was awful.
On my first sales job, I went to the home of some long time friends. To demonstrate how sharp the butchers knife was, I was supposed to slice through a cucumber. Well I sliced it and cut off the top of my thumb as well. After a frantic search for band-aids (they didn't have any) and gauze (that either), we wrapped my thumb in paper towels and masking tape. On the bright side, I did convince them they were sharp knives. And they bought some even if it was just out of pity.
(13) I once worked a summer selling womens shoes at Dillards. I was the guy forced to creep up on the ladies trying on shoes and forced to ask "can I help you with something?"--a subtle reminder that "hey I work on commission and you're not getting out of here with those Nine West until you let me fetch a couple pairs of shoes for you."
I had some serious adventures while I was there. There was the guy who figured out how to put on a woman's shoe at just the right angle so he could see up her dress. He'd come to the back and bark "thong" occasionally. There was also the former stripper I worked with who was very successful at selling shoes to men for their wives (although I'm convinced that not all the wives were excited to receive six-inch heels).
Somehow I mostly ended up with the old ladies. There was one woman who asked for an open-toe shoe who had toes crossed over each other and look so mangled that they may as well have been through a lawnmower. On that occasion, I remember I actually asked, "Ma'am are you SURE you want an open-toe shoe?" Another time I was putting a shoe on for a woman and while I was putting it on she asked, "Could you rub my bunion while you're down there?" I said no.
Occasionally, I would get to work with a young person though. One time an attractive young lady came in (yes there was flirting) looking for shoes. We looked at a bunch of shoes she wanted to see, but she was becoming frustrated and said, "I really looking for something sexy."
So I asked the question, "So is this for a girl's night out, a party--"
"Church," she said. I tried not show my surprise, but she continued naturally, "I'm in the choir and I have to wear a choir robe."
"So people aren't going to be listening to your voice, they'll be looking at your shoes?"
The upside of my time at Dillards is that I can start stories by saying "While I was working at Dillards selling Womens shoes..."