Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Worst President Ever

"In this job you've got a lot on your plate on a regular basis; you don't have much time to sit around and wander, lonely, in the Oval Office, kind of asking different portraits, 'How do you think my standing will be?'"--George W. Bush, March 2005

No, George--we never mistook you for someone with an ounce of introspection. Or in seeing the big picture or taking the long view, or any of those critical faculties that develop wisdom and are characteristic of good leadership. Don't you Worry--that's OUR job.

But, Rolling Stone has a wonderful article written by a historian that takes a look at just what this guy's standing might be, further on down the line. It has effectively raised my hope meter. Maybe we will come out of this wreckage of an administration with someone who is as inspiring and unifying as this guy is, well, just the opposite.

Having waved away the lessons of history in the making of his decisions, the present-minded Bush doesn't seem to be concerned about his place in history. "History. We won't know," he told the journalist Bob Woodward in 2003. "We'll all be dead."

Truly a visionary.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cypress Props

Hermione wins 2nd place and $500 bucks in the online journalism contest judged by Dan Rather and Ann Curry! Proud, proud me. Thank you to those who helped to get her into the final round. One of the requirements of winning is she must get her essay 'officially' published. This is just one more great way to earn college $$ for when she goes off to Hogwarts (aka Bryn Mawr) in the fall. We are going to try to publish in Grist magazine, if anyone has any other publication ideas, they are most welcome.


We saw V for Vendetta finally. V for v-ery compelling. I loved how they used the symbol of the mask against itself. Without giving away much if you haven't seen it, replicas of V's mask are distributed all over the city for the general public who are against the powers-that-be to wear as a show of unity. In the act of wearing them, the people are also showing their individuality or at least their subversiveness against the imposed system. Which is ironic, because masks are normally symbolic of conformity and accepted public persona. To wear a mask usually means to not show your true self. But what makes the imagery and use of the mask the most beautiful is the fact that 'these' people are living under totalitarian conditions, which can only exist under strict and unquestioning conformity to what they are told to believe, do, be. By wearing that mask of subversion they are expressing under no uncertain terms that they are all the same only in that they all totally oppose the system. Elegant, that.

Other than that, I will say my spiritual self has serious problems with the whole notion of vendetta, which is so entrenched in our political system on all levels. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" and all that. Isn't that mindset really the root cause of so many problems on the world stage? There is only one real spiritual moment in the film, which is unfortunate, as the Matrix (also by the Wachowskis) was really full of them. But these are darker days, aren't they? Still, they could of, say, changed V to Y and Evey to X and X and Y could have come together and solved all of the world's problems.

Viva Idealism!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

For the Love of Film

In my pursuit of researching the off-beat name of a british comedy that I saw last year, I learned something new today. Foreign comedies take their humor seriously--even the film TITLES are funny. Here's a short list of actual foreign films you would think belonged in the Mystery Science Theater Library, but are really very highly rated movies:

  • My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
  • Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl
  • Songs From the Second Floor
  • Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
  • Attack the Gas Station!
  • God is Brazilian
  • Kung Fu Mahjong
  • Running on Karma
  • Driving Miss Wealthy
  • The Day of The Wacko

That last one is Polish, and according to english-speaking netflix subscribers, the DVD says it has english subtitles on the DVD and in the menu, but they don't work!

How very Polish of them.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Reality TV

First of all, thanks to the Bulldog for the inspiration.

Chevy Co is holding a contest. Make a commercial to sell the SUV they can't seem to--the Tahoe.
Some people are getting very creative. But not the way Chevy might like.
Go here to see some brillant and hilarious entries.

And then, you can make your own. I just couldn't resist.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Good Luck Hermione

Recently, I put a button on the sidebar that links to a contest inspired by the movie Good Night and Good Luck. The contest is for high school students to enter journalistic essays that inform and enlighten about some current issue relevant to the student's community. Well, my daughter has entered, and the voting ended today. She just has to make it into the top ten and her entries will be read and judged by Dan Rather and Ann Curry--it looks like she will. No matter what happens, she submitted 2 great pieces that she had already written this year for her school paper. One is on the use of cypress trees to make mulch, which is the equivalent of using old growth forest to make toliet paper and the other is on integration in the schools and how she found out (us living in the south) that the county that we live in is still under a desegregation order because it hasn't YET met the requirements. Read them here. Or use the button on the sidebar to get to the site.

I've been spending a lot of time over there reading everyone's entries, and there's some good writing there. It's from a very worthwhile site called Participate Now--an activism site that takes up causes inspired by recently released movies. I have been a member for a while, and they always have something interesting happening and don't harass your inbox with numerous emails.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I absolutley love this ad for my automobile. My Prius Love knows no bounds--we have even recently named ours, which we never do. Usually, we'll name a friend's car, not our own. But from now on the Holy Prius shall be called--the Green Bean. Green because it actually is in color and for its environmental reasons and bean in honor of a friend of mine who has said it looks like a jellybean. Which is true. The aerodynamic design does give it an eggy shape.

Oh, and did I mention even the Amish drive it?

Here's a view from the inside.

It starts up like a computer--with the push of a button. The blue screen gives me a constant monitoring on my MPGs. It has totally changed the way I drive. I see people rushing to red lights without the slightest clue how much gas they would save if they just started slowing down as they approach a red light. Just that one act alone is muy buena on the mileage.

The most fun is taking it to a non-Toyota mechanic and having to show them how to operate the car--it really screws with the so-called ignorant woman/expert mechanic dynamic.

And I just so love that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mantra Rays

Did my exercise on the beach this afternoon, and finished up with a meditation by-the-sea. Just as I'm coming out of it, I open my eyes, and right in front of me in the water, a manta ray flies up over the surface of the ocean. H-U-G-E and so alien-looking, like something out of Men In Black.

In awe, I soak in the auspicious visitation. For me at least, they will always be called mantra rays now.

Sugar Power

We've been on an Improvisational Smoothie Spree in the kitchen lately--I buy ingredients that sound like they would be good in smoothie form, and whoever wants one gets creative with whatever sounds good to them. The introduction of frozen fruit has gone over big--making more of a sorbet concoction. I personally discovered that using green tea with a splash of orange juice makes for a very tasty liquid base.

The blender has taken up a permanent position on the counter top--so why was I surprised when I came home the other day, and Maia was making cookies while simultaneouly working on a map of Australia in salt dough and the blender is whirring away?

I ask her what she's got in there and she tells me--loudly--over the sound of clashing metal,

"It's sugar. We ran out of the powdered."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In Just That Kind of a Mood

Hallmark's Rejected Greeting Cards

1. Front: I heard you have gone deaf. Inside: I'll bet you didn't.

2. Front: I'm sorry to hear you have gone blind. Inside: See you later, you fucking bastard!

3. Front: I'm sorry to hear you are brain dead. Inside: It's really not that bad when you think about it.

4. Front: My sympathies on the last of your father's teeth falling out. Inside: Well, dadgummit!

5. Front: My condolences on the loss of your arms. Inside: Write back soon!

6. Front: I'm sorry to hear you have contracted Alzheimer's disease. Inside: I'm sorry to hear you have contracted Alzheimer's disease.

7. Front: I heard that you were very sick. Inside: I hope that you die painlessly.

8. Front: I heard you were dead. Inside: I hope it was painless.

9. Front: I heard your whole family got shot. Inside: So I turned up the volume on the stereo.

10. Front: Congratulations on your first period! Inside: Let's go out and paint the town red!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Wild Wild Life

Back from the springs too soon. These last 3 we visited are numbers 5 , 6 and 7 in our series, and three of the best so far. There are over 600 natural springs in Florida--more than anywhere else in the world. Needless to say, this will be a family tradition for quite some time.

The whole aquifer system is very amazing, both from a scientific and natural world perspective. These trips get me into a very Native American state of mind. I find myself looking forward to when this crazy, selfish western civilization collapses on itself. Sleeping under the stars has that effect on me. That, and standing under 160 foot Cypress Trees, going on the best canoe trail that could ever even be possible, walking on an old Timucuan tribe trail that was like walking in a rainforest, and snorkeling over the caverns of a magnitude 1 springhead with the most otherworldly purity in blue.