Thursday, April 30, 2009

100 Days

As if two wars and a depression-like economic crisis isn't enough to deal with, President Obama (..."President Obama" -- I still love hearing that), now gets to deal with a possible pandemic. What's next? Locusts? Space aliens? Robots from the future? All in a day's work, I guess.

I was going to weigh in on Obama's first 100 days, but then urbanmenno said pretty much what I was going to, but funnier:

I’d like to talk to you about your son’s progress, America.

There's been some good and some bad, mostly good, but it's too early to tell. All I know is that someone with good judgment and good values is in charge right now, and that's reassuring. That will be especially important when the zombies show up. People are notoriously irrational about zombies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ebertfest 11

It's that time of year again. Like Christmas, except better. I abandon my family and friends and spend five days at the lovely Virginia Theater with 1,000 film nerds like me to watch great movies.

Usually, I cover Ebertfest by writing blog entries at The Unofficial Ebertfest Blog with P. Gregory Springer. This year, PG and I are going legit, by covering it for Smile Politely. I'll be writing a few of the daily wrapups, plus splogging throughout, and also doing some movie reviews. I even have a press pass. I knew this Smile Politely thing would be useful someday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Daily Show on the Torture Memo

The Daily Show on the torture memo stuff:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
We Don't Torture
Daily Show
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I also like Dan Froomkin's response to Cheney claiming we are more safe when we torture people: Call his bluff.

However, in the end, it doesn't matter whether we are more safe, or feel more safe, when we torture people. It's wrong. If we want to be a country with any moral authority, we need to stop doing it. It's nice to have a president that fundamentally understands this.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lazy Friday Video: Guitars, Guitars, Guitars

This kid is amazing:

I love how his head shakes as he gets into it:

This is fun too:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's Up With the Tea Parties?

I'm trying to understand these conservative tea parties being promoted by Fox News.

As I understand it, conservatives are mad that the government is trying to stimulate the economy, and showing their outrage by sending teabags to Congress, because teabags, of course, symbolize taxation without representation, and also Obama is a socialist because he is raising taxes 3% on those in the top 5% of the tax bracket. Or something like that. Help me out here, Bob.

While I applaud people's interest in civic engagement, I wish they'd do something constructive. Like protest the lack of government oversight and collective greed that led to this mess. Instead, it seems they are protesting in favor of greed. I guess being pro-war, pro-torture, anti-science, and anti-civil-liberties got old.

My favorite part of this is how much Fox News is outright promoting these parties, showing once again the double standard in news expectations. Can you imagine the conservative outrage had CNN outright promoted war protests? Sean Hannity's head would have exploded. Which is saying something, given the size of his head.

Tim pointed out Krugman's take on it here, which is always right on the money. I liked Rachel Maddow's segment on teabagging too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Bush That Lived

This is the bush that lives at the end of my driveway. It's the one that blocks my neighbor's view when he pulls out of his driveway, and I agreed to cut down, being the good neighbor that I am.

Three times I have hacked this bush down to its stumpy core.

I have twice poured root killer on its roots, after slicing them open.

I once even poured a toxic mixture of paint thinner and deck stain on it, which is probably illegal to do. A prime example of how frustration breeds criminality.

But it's spring again and the evil bush is back.

Actually, although you can't see it so well from this angle, a lot of it has died. Just not all of it. It is the Voldemort of bushes. I believe it has split its soul into seven pieces, even though I've killed it nine times.

So, good readers, how do you kill the final piece of a soulless, undead bush?

Just don't recommend setting fire to it. That pole sitting next to it supports all the electricity going to my neighborhood. I'm sure they would find me if I burned it down. Plus, I'm not even convinced that would kill the bush. I need an elderwand or basilisk fang or something.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Copyrights and Art

This week's Smile Politely piece is another Nina Paley interview. Actually, it's the same Nina Paley interview, but this is the second part of it:

Copyrighting away culture: An interview with Nina Paley

I wonder if artists should even be able to sell copyrights on their art. It makes total sense that artists who create something should benefit from their sale. But it doesn't make sense to me that corporations can buy those rights and hold them forever, preventing other people from using the art, or incorporating it into new art (I'm talking about copyable art here, not paintings and such).

At some point, especially after an artist has died, art should belong to the culture, to humanity, to everyone, and not to entities whose only interest is financial.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Are you a Richard Jenkins fan?

I saw The Visitor a few weeks ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Richard Jenkins got an Oscar nomination for the lead role, and I knew I had seen him before in lots of movies, but couldn't quite place which ones. He's one of those perennial bit-part actors who shows up a lot here and there.

So, of course, I IMDBed him. Turns out I'd seen him only a week or so earlier when I watched Burn After Reading. Also, I guess I am a huge Richard Jenkins fan, since I've seen 25 movies he's been in. And, I've never even watched Six Feet Under, which he is apparently most famous for. If you've watched any smattering of movies over the last 30 years, you are probably a fan too. See here for all the movies you've seen him in.

Here's my list:

Burn After Reading
The Visitor
The Kingdom
Rumor Has It...
Fun with Dick and Jane
I Heart Huckabees
Cheaper by the Dozen
Intolerable Cruelty
Changing Lanes
The Man Who Wasn't There
One Night at McCool's
Say It Isn't So
Snow Falling on Cedars
Outside Providence
There's Something About Mary
Absolute Power
Flirting with Disaster
The Indian in the Cupboard
It Could Happen to You
Stealing Home
Little Nikita
The Witches of Eastwick
Hannah and Her Sisters

As I look over this list, I notice that he has been in a lot of crappy movies. Unfortunately, that also means I've seen a lot of crappy movies.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lazy Friday Video: The CrockoEagle

QualComm is surprisingly funny in their April Fool's Day commercial:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

IllumiNating Vacation

Tonya asked whether I had fun at Epcot. My answer is embedded within this week's Smile Politely column: Spring Break Confessions.