Friday, December 19, 2008

Great List of Best Documentaries

I just realized that I'm not a fan of  the "must see before you die" gambit as a method of nudging people towards a valuable experience, because....well, how else are you going to experience anything? Presumably you will be alive while watching or doing anything on a "bucket" list.  I'd prefer to use the words: "see while you are alive", if anything. However,  with that bow to my peeve regarding the author's phraseology out of the way,  I'll simply say: Take a look at this excellent list of documentary films. (The list's author includes pictures and an illuminating recap of each film.) See a bunch of these films! After reading it today, many titles will be going on my 

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ear Worms - The Theme from the Odd Couple: Get Out of my Brain!

Ear Worms: those songs that infect your brain and play over and over and over and over again in your head and you just want them to stop. Sometimes it's a song you hear on the elevator or the mall that gets lodged in there. A song comes on the radio. Or someone talks about a song they hate, and they hum a few bars, and then it gets instantly fixed in your brain cells, the ones that have full orchestras and bands.

I have a few that come upon me sometimes without notice. They usually arrive during a stressful day, when I'm performing some task that doesn't take a huge amount of brainpower. Usually some other problem is preying on me at the time, but I'm not consciously thinking of it. But that bloody song is there, in the forefront of my awareness.

My own private Ear Worms are completely nonsensical. There is no reason on earth that the soundtrack in my brain should so effortlessly default to these annoying and randomly selected tunes, but there you go. I'll be carrying myself about my day when suddenly I have the awareness that the Theme to The Odd Couple has been playing on a loop in my brain for the past 3 hours. Somehow the awareness that it is happening drives it even deeper into my brain. That's the insidious and evil nature of EarWorms.

The Odd Couple Theme is one of my very worst ones. Not that it's such a terrible tune. In fact, I liked the TV Show, and the opening of the show where the tune played was friendly and fun and made for a happy anticipation of 22 minutes of fairly benign entertainment. I can't blame Tony Randall for any of this or whoever composed the thing in good faith. It's simply that the difference between hearing it once in its proper place and hearing the cartoon-y Ear Worm version of it in your brain repeated 732, 576, 000 times in succession is quite vast.

Even just writing this post I am tempting fate. I'm listening out for tell tale notes now: that cheerful plinking intro, that — no I can't even describe it, it's too dangerous. Click on link at your peril.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I Supported the Bridge to Nowhere and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Yes, I, Sarah Palin, did support the bridge to Nowhere, (Ketchikan, zipcode: 99901) during my 2006 campaign for governor....All I got was this lousy t-shirt I had printed up for my campaign, and the millions of federal dollars of "bridge money" that I in fact kept to spend on other things in Alaska. So, yes, I was for the bridge before I was against it, meaning that once everyone in the US starting saying how stupid and wasteful it was, and with the accompanying heaps of scorn thrown at our state, I decided that the t-shirt would be much cuter on me. Don't tell anybody though!

Read more about Sarah Palin's lyin' ways here: Sarah Palin Exposed

Saturday, September 06, 2008

This makes feel better about being the laziest woman in the world

After a particularly lazy, work-free, and daydreamy summer where I've been fighting off pangs of guilt for being so lazy and unproductive, I was quite happy today to read this interview in Defamer with filmmaker, and now opera impresario, David Cronenberg.

DEFAMER: I've heard you say that you are lazy, but you seem like such an obsessive guy. How is that possible?

CRONENBERG: I get other people to do work for me and then I take credit for it. I say it jokingly, but it's true. I have a desire to be creative, but that's not the same as obsession. I'm happy reading a book or riding my bike through the hills. I get up late, I stay up late. I'm not very well organized unless I'm plugged into a structure like the opera or a movie. When I'm doing that, I have to be organized. But left to my own devices, I like to laze around. I think that's a huge part of creativity. You have to let your mind relax and then another part of your brain suddenly connects with the solution you're trying to find. I nap all the time when I make movies. Often I give my cameraman a very difficult lighting set up so I can get a longer nap.

David Cronenberg is currently launching an opera based on his 1987 cult classic, The Fly.

Anyway, his comments about the importance of fallow time for creative people rang true to me, because I was just having this conversation with my sister about this the other day. Good to see this idea reinforced by super-famous, successful movie director.

Bring on the naps.

Read the David Cronenberg interview here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Could political pundits please cool it with the sports metaphors?

It's getting to be a somewhat annoying routine. I'm reading some political talking head essay or blog, or watching someone on TV talking about the latest outrage or gambit by a politician and all of a sudden, even though I am fluent, actually quite fluent in English, I suddenly have NO idea what someone's sentence just meant. The other speaker runs with it and continues the conversation, obviously in the loop but I am baffled. The insidious sports metaphor has struck again.

How did this happen? And how have they suddenly become so ubiquitous that anyone who doesn't follow sports and the accompanying jargon can be so often mystified by a fellow English speaker's flow of conversation or train of thought in an essay.

I'm happy to look up a word in the dictionary if I'm reading a book or an essay and I'm just not sure of the meaning. But nowadays there are so many of these jargony phrases- and they are usually phrases- tossed around that of course everybody must know the meanings of - well, it's becoming annoying. I have zero interest in sports, don't watch it, don't care, don't know the teams, don't want to know. The world of sports is, I gather, frigging full of these colourful, mystifying terms.
Today's term is "work the refs". I was just about to look it up by going to google and hoping to find a definition, but I got so annoyed about having to go to the trouble of doing all that I thought, no. Before I look up the meaning of "work the refs", I'm going to post a blog about it, and therefore lessen my pique. In a moment, I'll deliver myself on Wikipedia and, with hope, discover just what Barack Obama was on about. But for now, I'm simply begging them to stop, so I won't have to keep doing this. But I know they won't. It's hopeless.
This blog entry was simply my Hail Mary pass.

The Jaw Droppeth: The smiling vitriol of Sarah Palin

After watching the Republican convention last night, (with the helpful antidote of livebloggers who saved my brain from exploding out of my head at the lies and vitriol that just got piled on thicker and thicker from Huckabee, to Guiliani and finally to Miss Alaska, Sarah Palin herself) and then this morning watching the media congratulating her "grand slam" and her "charisma" and her down-home, real life folksiness, I was desperate to find someone from the reality-based community to counter this insane juggernaut. One of the best, sanity-restoring responses comes from Gloria Steinem.

She writes eloquently on Sarah Palin today in the LA Times:
Some highlights:

This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues

Read the article here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

For the record: Hilary Clinton didn't cry. She had a slight catch in her voice.

There's a difference. There were no sobs, no liquids emanated from her eyes. She was hit with a well of emotion, while answering a fairly personal question, which was, "How do you do it?" and the emotion in her answer came out in her voice: a slight catch. NOT crying. There is a difference.
The media is going on and on about "Hilary's crying". They are asking: is it a female thing. Did it help her, did it hurt her? Even, amazingly, did she FAKE it? Give me a break. It was obviously a slightly emotional moment for her. She is obviously human. She's not out of control, sobbing, breaking down.