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Archive for May, 2008

I just got back from watching Nanette Burstein’s American Teen advertised as a documentary version of The Breakfast Club. The film follows four teens during their last year of high school in Warsaw, Indiana.

It’s amazing how formulaic high school is. Warsaw High was the same as my high school only with different players and I could readily tell you what the names of the characters would be if this was my high school.

There was the spoiled popular rich girl who selfishly can only think of herself. This movie rang so true that even the most popular girl at school isn’t really that pretty. Why is that? Next was Hannah, the attractive and quirky alternative girl. Similar to Juno, Hannah gains the attraction of a jock– who unfortunate for him can’t come to terms with the fact he fancies a girl that’s different. Finally the nerd, Jake, whose social skills mask an otherwise sensitive guy, and then there’s Colin the nice basketball player.

This film gives you a nice trip into the past as you remember your own youth. The emotion in these kids is so on the surface. They have no idea how easy they are to read.

I never liked high school and I couldn’t wait to get away. Thankfully I didn’t have it that bad, I just knew that I didn’t fit. I knew that there was more to life than being popular for dubious reasons. Where are they now? Jennifer? Stephanie? David? Michael? Where did they all go and what happened to them?

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It seems that Starbucks in suing the Rat City Roller Girls because their logo looks too much like Starbucks’. Well I love the Rat City Roller Girls’ logo and here are some of my other favorite Seattle logos.

1. Essential Baking Company

2. Pagliacci Pizza

3. The Seattle Storm

4. Caffe Ladro

5. Uptown Espresso

Update:

6. Fuel Coffee

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Remember 4 years ago when all the networks played over and over the video of Howard Dean after the Iowa caucus. His wheeee replayed hundreds of times over several days probably had a lot to do with his poor showings in the primaries.

Yet John McCain acts like a crazy man and no one is replaying it over and over. Look at the 2:10 mark of this video. The way he shakes and quivers while say he will never surrender in Iraq. Anyone watching this can see he is deluded and mentally ill at least so far as Iraq is concerned. So why aren’t the networks playing this clip over and over?

Compare:

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Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is perhaps Thailand’s most internationally known director. His last film Last Life in the Universe was an indie hit here in America. What strikes me most about this director is what a great visual story teller he is. His characters have sparse dialog. The audience is mesmerized by the pace, photography, music and mood that is created. It’s extremely subtle and very watchable.

In Ploy, we see a couple in love and then perhaps not in love at all. You never really know what is real and what isn’t, what is a character’s fantasy and what really occurred. Even at the end, I wasn’t exactly sure what had happened. Midway through the film, you get a completely out of place Thai pop song performed by a character in the film who turns to the camera and in doing so breaks the fourth wall of theater. It’s a great film if an odd one.

I’m not sure I liked it as much as Last Life in the Universe, but I definitely preferred it to 69. You can watch and listen to music videos and learn more about the film here.

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Here’s a clip from Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Last Life in the Universe. Tonight I’ll be watching Ratanaruang’s latest film Ploy.

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So the mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, wants people to stop buying bottled water.

“Americans used 60 billion pint bottles of water last year,” said Nickels. “That required 1 million tons of plastic and generated 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases.”

“What flows from our taps is some of the finest-tasting, purest-source water in the world,” he said. “That’s why it makes little sense for Seattleites to waste their money on bottled water.”

I completely agree. I love Seattle tap water and I have lived places where I didn’t like the tap water.

But if Nickels wants to encourage people to drink tap water then he should ensure that people have an alternative source. The only reason why I ever buy bottled water is if I am outside of the house and I’m thirsty. Anecdotally, I can say that the number of working drinking fountains in the city has been reduced.

Take for instance this photo from the new Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park. There used to be a water fountain here for users of Myrtle Edwards park, but it was removed when the Sculpture Park moved in. Why it was removed, I can’t say. But it looks like there is a water source in the vicinity.

So my question is why are public drinking fountains disappearing and what can we do about it?

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Quite frankly, I don’t think that the people who say they think Obama is a Muslim really think that. I believe it’s code for we don’t feel comfortable electing a black man as president but we can’t think of a good reason. If they do, then I have to wonder how gullible are they in other matters.

So here are some comparable falsehoods.

  1. O.J. is innocent.
  2. The Apollo moon landings were staged.
  3. Dick Cheney is responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
  4. There were WMDs in Iraq when we invaded.
  5. Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
  6. There are really nice men in Nigeria who need you to cash a check for them and who will pay you handsomely for the service.
  7. The AIDS virus was created deliberately to infect African Americans.
  8. Elvis is alive.

I bring up these ridiculous falsehoods to show what category you are putting yourself into if you believe that man would go to a Christian church for twenty years of his life pretending to be a Christian when he was in fact a Muslim with the stray possibility that maybe, just maybe he would run for President of the United States some day.

Please feel free to add more urban myths to the list. And if you still think Barack Obama is a Muslim, may I suggest you visit this site.

Update:

Via Politico:

Jonathan Martin and I wrote last week about the deep, viral spread of a variety of myths about Obama’s beliefs and his behavior.

And indeed, according to Pew (.pdf), about 10 percent of Americans believe Obama’s a Muslim; other surveys have found higher numbers.

One relevant piece of context: Large minorities of Americans consistently say they hold wildly out-of-the-mainstream views, often specifically discredited beliefs. In some cases, those views should make them pretty profoundly alienated from one party or the other.

For instance:

22 percent believe President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.
30 percent believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
23 percent believe they’ve been in the presence of a ghost.
18 percent believe the sun revolves around the Earth.

What this means: Obama may well be elected president with a substantial minority of the citizens despising him and convinced that his beliefs are irreconciliably foreign to theirs. Which, after all, is the current state of affairs. It’s only that the people who believe those things about Bush and the people who believe those things about Obama live in different parts of the country.

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