Monday, January 29, 2007

Not dead

Nor on hiatus. Just busy, and mildly glazed-over.

Viking Festival soon! I can actually drink this year! Yay!

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm not here to start no trouble...

It's kind of weird how innocent 80's culture seems sometimes. Can you imagine this being done today, without a trace of irony or deliberate camp?

But Go Bears! in any case.

**ADDED** I will not be denied! What are these "copywrights" of which you speak?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Save me...

Can 6 month-olds get all giggly when they're overtired? You know, when you're so sleepy you giggle like a drunken schoolgirl in Health class?

Or is it just me that does that?

I only ask because the baby, who suddenly hates sleep like it's gone out of style, is sitting on my lap giggling till her ears turn red at the video of Stephen Colbert on Bill O'Reiley.

Which is *not* that funny.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There are Klingons in the White House

Presented without comment.

Via skippy.

Best. Movie. Ever.

So last night I saw Children of Men. I couldn't recommend it more. It's sticking in my head so much that I basically can't sleep right now.

I honestly don't understand the complaints of sexism. Not once in the film is it mentioned that women are infertile but men still are. I think the closest is when Michael Caine's character is telling a joke while stoned and says, "Women are infertile," but he doesn't say "...and men still are." Seriously, I had my sexism detectors on full blast for the whole film, and there wasn't much beyond the usual background noise present in everything in our culture. Also, this movie portrays a distopian future, so it's not like it's romanticizing or glamorizing anything.

Two things about the movie especially struck me. First, when the pregnant woman says she felt like a freak being pregnant, I definitely identified with that. All of my friends are single, gay, or single and gay so did I feel like a freak while pregnant? You bet.

In fact, this movie along with I'd say, Rosemary's Baby, does a good job describing the total horror of pregnancy and childbirth. My experience with pregnancy and the medical establishment was that every new awful thing that happened to you was "totally normal," according to all doctors and caretakers. Bleeding and cramping early on? Normal. Constant, ever-present nausea? Totally normal. Joint pain so severe you can't even stand up and have to walk with a cane? Absolutely normal. Don't worry your pretty head about it and trust your doctor.

So when Rosemary's Baby came on cable one late night (insomnia...totally normal,) I found myself weeping in solidarity with poor little Mia Farrow in her Vidal Sassoon hairdo, whose entire community of friends, family, and doctors were telling here everything was normal when something was so obviously wrong.

Also when you're pregnant, everyone wants to pretty much control everything you do. People won't let you get up, get nosy about what you're eating, and want to touch and coo at you. When you've finally had the baby everyone wants to stare and touch and ask nosy questions. It can get downright unnerving, especially when your hormones are at their peak.

So when there's scene after scene of creepy distopian future-citizens cooing and pawing at poor pregnant Kee in Children of Men I could definitely sympathize. And everyone wants to decide her fate for her, even the good guy up to a point. Totally realistic.

The other thing that was really great about this movie were the action sequences. I had the ending spoiled for me and I was still on the edge of my seat, ripping my hair out with tension at times. Seriously, there's a scene towards the end where the two main characters get separated in the middle of a huge battle that's amazing. And I was too wrapped up in it to be paying close attention, but I'm pretty sure the entire scene was a single take. Very impressive.

Also, keep in mind that (besides the whole infertility thing) the universe described in this film is reality for many people living in the world today. Somewhere a pregnant woman is giving birth in a refugee camp, somewhere a midwife is being beaten, somewhere civilians are caught in crossfire. Somewhere a baby is being spirited off a battlefield. And some of these events are being underwritten by our very own government. Frankly, it smacks slightly of privilege to complain about a faint tone of sexism in the tagline of a poster (that the filmmakers probably had very little to do with) when the movie is making points like this.

(Of course it could smack of privilege for me to say this about a movie on a blog when people starving people could have been saved with the money spent on my computer or the film, but let's not get paralyzed with liberal guilt. And stop reading Peter Singer.)

Anyway, I've probably talked the movie up so much now that if people see it after reading this they'll be disappointed, but oh well. If you don't like it, as a cineaste and Movie Snob I do reserve the right to judge you.

Just kidding. Mostly.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm pretty sure this wasn't part of the dream...

How nice, for this to come out on Martin Luther King day.

Because nothing's better for racial stereotypes than a story about how, if a black man were to kill a white woman, this is how he would do it.


I don't know if this story makes me oddly sad or oddly proud.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - When it comes to squandering the earth's natural resources, residents of this desert land of chilled swimming pools, monster 4x4s and air-conditioned malls are on a par with even the ravenous consumption of Americans, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The average person in the Emirates puts more demand on the global ecosystem than any other, giving the country the world's largest per-capita "ecological footprint," WWF data shows. The United States runs second.
Yay! We're not the worst!

Well, sort of.
Due to the country's small size, carbon emissions and consumption in the Emirates are a tiny fraction of that of the United States, and Loh said most efforts to cut greenhouse gases need to concentrate on America and other large industrial countries.
Oh, well. He he. I guess we are technically the worst.

Then there's this. Can you imagine someone from the current administration 1) being this realistic or 2) saying something like this at all?
Even so, the Emirates government has been embarrassed by the WWF report, which it says is flawed. The federal environment agency is devising strategies to cut emissions, including a public campaign that may offer economic incentives to those who turn down their air conditioning, Saad al-Numairy, an adviser to agency, said Monday.

"We have an action plan," al-Numairy said. "But we are a multicultural country with 180 nationalities. It's not going to be easy."
Well, good for them. Can you even imagine the US government being "embarrassed" by a similar report?

Or, for that matter, being embarrassed at all? No, me neither.

6 months

6 months
Originally uploaded by plucky punk.
Yes, she will destroy you, when the revolution comes.

School starts again tomorrow, so I'm going to try and get a good chunk of posts off today before I don't have much time for anything but sleeping, maybe.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

And this is why war is always a bad idea...

...When you're thinking about "liberating" a populace.

Because shit like this is bound to happen, every time.
Four Marines have been charged in the deaths of 24 civilians, including women and children, that occurred immediately after a bombing in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, killed one Marine and injured two others. In addition, four officers who were not there during the killings but were accused of failures in investigating and reporting the deaths have been charged.

The killings have led to the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the
Iraq war.

After the taxi passengers were shot, the report found, the Marines raided nearby houses, firing indiscriminately, using both grenades and guns, in a bloody, door-to-door sweep, killing 14 unarmed inhabitants, in just 10 minutes.
Now personally I find it awesome that this was brought to trial (is it the same thing when the military does it?), but let's just go ahead and contrast the treatment these marines are receiving, who by the way, shot a three-year-old and a five-year-old to death, with the treatment of Jose Padilla, who we're not sure what he did really because he hasn't been charged with anything.
An American citizen, convicted of no crime, he has borne the brunt of an incarceration unlike any other in the history of this country. He has been, his lawyers allege, drugged with a "truth serum," which the attorneys charge is either PCP or LSD. He was, his lawyers further allege -- it should be noted that the government has declined to address any of these charges -- arbitrarily deprived of the few human comforts he was given, like a mattress, a pillow and a sheet. Often, he slept on a bare steel platform. He was denied any contact with any people other than his interrogators and, after almost two years of incarceration, his lawyers; to ensure that he would be at all times in total solitude, his cell was monitored electronically and the unit of 10 cells in which he was held was kept empty. His mirror, at one point the only furniture in his cell other than the steel platform and a toilet, was taken from him, again arbitrarily. He was, despite the request of a representative from the Red Cross, denied a clock or any other way to tell the time of day or keep track of the weeks, months and years that he was incarcerated in the Naval Brig.

His treatment was so unusual, and so psychologically damaging, that even Sandy Seymour, the senior corrections expert at the Brig, told Padilla's lawyer that he was concerned. Staff in the Brig asked superiors whether Padilla could be permitted to have meals with another detainee to alleviate some of the deleterious effects of solitary confinement. That request was denied.

Padilla is forever scarred, says a psychiatrist who has examined him. He is paranoid, worried that if he so much as discusses what he went through in the Brig, he will be sent back, worried that letters from his mother are faked, worried that his lawyers are government plants. He will not discuss what happened to him in the "recreation" cage where he was occasionally taken, saying only that he begged his guards not to put him there. When he is asked by his attorneys to discuss his case he begs them not to -- "please, please, please," he says, according to the affidavit of a psychiatrist who examined him on behalf of the defense. When he does allow himself to be questioned by his attorneys, according to an affidavit filed by one, "he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements, and contortions of his body. The contortions are particularly poignant, since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel."
Hmmm. I wonder which case will be resolved first.

Friday, January 05, 2007