Thursday, March 25, 2010

Is this what our Socialist nation has come to?

I'm not too big on politics, but I am pretty big on irony. I wonder if all politicians just play on people's naivety, but you do have to laugh at how the "Democrats" handed it to the "Republicans". First the "Democrats" realized that they would never get their healthcare plan passed so what did they do, steal John McCain's "Republican" plan, giving tax breaks to people who purchase healthcare insurance. The "Democrats" took his healthcare plan added some stuff to it and called it their own so it passes. It's a huge "Democratic" moral victory and a huge win for Obama. Now the "Republicans" are running around like rabid rabbits trying to rebel against the passage of the "Republican" Presidential nominee's Healthcare bill. Doesn't anyone get the feeling that everyone is being played by our political system, the "Democrats" and the "Republicans", and isn't it hard to tell which is which? Take Arlen Specter for example, is he a "Democrat" or a "Republican"?

Oh Lord redux

Why it is so hard to believe that people care about those other than themselves. If you want statistics:

75% of those serving in Vietnam were volunteers, only 25% were draftees. In WWII 67% were draftees.
76% were from lower middle/working class backgrounds (No myth, I said nothing about blacks.)
This next one is a bit bogus because it is a survey, but
91% say they were glad to have served (They weren't protesting.)

Even during the height of the war, most people were for it, even young people. They were volunteering and going to war. Again, mainly the protesters wanted the killing to stop. The draft was a concern, but it was fairly easy to get out it. The easiest way was to file for conscientious objector status. How easy that was depended on your draft board. But there were many other ways.

The protests ended with the war because the U.S. stopped killing people. That is what precipitated and fueled the whole thing.

There were many protests about the War in Iraq, both Bush's wars. I participated in many of them both here and in Washington, DC. where hundreds of thousands gathered a number of times.

Here are some baffling statistics (which is why I had to make a new post)
Why would the subversive left Peace Corps volunteers drop out in record numbers ONLY during the time of the draft and war?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Icon

When I was growing up there were 3 popular 'movements' that were incomparable to any others...and as far as I can tell...incomparable to anything since. They were Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Davy Crockett.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ladies Only and Rube Goldberg

Ladies Only
A favorite topic for "In Progress" are posts showing how females are better looking, smarter, more complicated, and better equipped for handling the world since. . .say, 1,000,000 B.C. Here is an article explaining how the male is simply obsolete. See Why Ladies-Only Species Don't Need Men

Rube Goldberg
Those who have lived in Chicago will recognize some of the schools and I love the idea of this competition. I wonder, however, if it is more imaginative thinking than hard science, mathematics and engineering. Of course there is nothing better than an imaginative engineer. See Rube Goldberg competition gets teens excited about STEM.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Screenings - Flame and Citron

Writer: Lars Andersen, Ole Christian Madsen
Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Genre: Drama Thriller (2008)

The real name is Flammen & Citronen, a Danish film about resistance fighters during WWII. The critics liked it but not as much as I did. Perhaps it was too well done for the critics. It could be called the "Fog of War" if that name hadn't already been taken. It just keeps unraveling. Again, it is supposed to be based on real life, which, as I have said before, makes me cringe a bit. As Vonnegut says, "God never wrote a good play in his life." But if this happened the way it is told, then even God makes mistakes. There is everything here from non stop action to more layers than the best of Mary's date bars.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Christopher Hitchens

If you could spend an hour with anyone dead or alive who would it be? My brother got the chance a week ago and he taped it...

Christopher Hitchens Interview from Anonymous on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on J. D. Salinger

Because we can't put links in the comments: Here's Hendrik Hertzberg's own story about The Catcher in the Rye. Did we miss something?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Krugman Blues

Jim the elder hates him, but here's Loudon Wainwright III, courtesy of The New Yorker, singing "The Krugman Blues."

We Are the World Language

As the virtual world shrinks, language becomes a greater barrier to communication. Google has done some amazing things in language translation. It seems to me that there is only a small step from this to instant ear piece translation a la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek or Dr. Who.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beyond the Still

Canon launched a campaign called "Beyond the Still" to advertise their new photograph cameras which features the ability to record HD video. As part of their campaign, Canon approached a LA filmmaker with a photograph and told him to shoot a video with their camera under three conditions.

One, to start the short film with their still. Two, to end the video with another still. Three, to judge a contest with the public continuing with the director's last still. The contest lasts for seven chapters with the top five videos for each chapter winning various canon gear. The 2nd chapter winner following the director's still was just announced, the winner's final frame (the still) starts the next chapter. What I find most interesting about the contest, other than recreating the game of storytelling by multiple storytellers through film, is that technology is no longer the limiting factor for professional look. Creativity is now the most important thing.

I watched the first video, the winner, and a few of the admissions (115 in total) (muppet one kinda funny, definitely a different take in the direction of the story) and now it is no longer the quality of equipment but the storytelling (most films under a few hundred bucks) (though directors still have to deal with acting talent and props). It is amazing that Canon sells an $800 camera that a month ago was $1650, that 3 years ago was $10,000.

This video is the director's film interpretation of Canon's still, a teddy bear on a sidewalk. Check out the contest site and the 115 other videos.

Chapter 1: The Cabbie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.