Sunday, March 20, 2005

Hitler's burial

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
I just saw the movie Der Untergang (the downfall) about Hitler's last days in the bunker, as told by his 24 yr old secretary. Bruno Ganz plays Hitler, and in preparing for the role he listened to a recording made of Hitler in normal conversation, to capture his vocal characteristics. Absolutely incredible film: the guy who played Joseph Goebbels was really frightening, but his wife Magda was even more scarey. It was a hard film to watch - they are under seige throughout the film, explosions constantly going off. The absurdity of living in a bunker comes through: the cigarette breaks outside, Eva Braun's party (she dances on a table), the intrigue among his generals, Hitler's psychotic behavior, the many dinners (Hitler dines on cheese ravioli and compliments the chef, just before shooting himself), the poisoning of the Goebbels children - but my favorite scene was when Hilter and Eva were carried out to be burned in a ditch - the generals were outside, with Goebbels, and they lit 200 gallons of fuel (you can imagine the explosion) and as their bodies burn they all give the nazi salute - flames illuminating the faces of these fanatics. It's 2 1/2 hours of emotional stress, but worth it. By far this years best foreign film.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Saturn's EV1 Electric Car

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Try to follow this: General Motor's EV1 electric car was introduced in California. I believe the most recent model was a 1999. The car was marketed as a 3 year lease only, with roadside assistance. There were recharging locations across California and Arizona. GM didn't make a profit on the cars, so once the leases were up, they took back the cars. Since there aren't enough spare parts (that's what GM says) and since they are afraid of liability suits, GM decides to have all the EV1's destroyed in Mesa, Arizona (known for being an airplane graveyard). Protestors blocked the latest shipment of cars to Mesa. Some were arrested. One lease holder actually held a funeral for his car before he returned it to GM. One environmental group offered $1.9 million for 70 EV1's (that's about $27,000 per car) and GM refused. Get this: the cars are smashed and junked in Arizona! Does this make sense to anyone?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Les Choristes

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
What a beautiful movie! After WWII, a teacher comes to a residential school for troubled, abandoned boys. Conditions are harsh, the other teachers angry and suspicious, the Director is brutal. Yet, the newly arrived teacher is uncorrupted. Is he too weak for this position? Does he have the strength to change the atmosphere of the school? Or is he naive, and weak? He begins choir, and teaches the boys to sing. It is a beautiful metaphor for love, hope and faith. In French with subtitles (my favorite movies are always in french with subtitles - I wish I was fluent in French). Lots of old french cars in the film, cafe scenes, "love and squalor" (that's a reference to a JD Salinger short story "For Esme with Love and Squalor") A must see! It is showing now at the Squirrel Hill theater, one of my favorite theaters (they always have good movies there - foreign films esp)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Our very own Saddam: Rep. Tom DeLay

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Well, here's the latest on the most corrupt man in American politics (and that list includes Dick Cheney, George W. and many others): House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (from Texas, where else?) An Indian tribe and a gambling services company made donations to a Washington public policy group that covered most of the cost of a $70,000 trip to Britain by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), his wife, two aides and two lobbyists in mid-2000, two months before DeLay helped kill legislation opposed by the tribe and the company. Along with his other fund raising problems, hopefully this will further add to deLay's re-election problems. He only was re-elected by less than 5% margin in 2004 - his challenger is gearing up for a rematch in 2006. Old Tom is the guy who is behind the legislation that exempts Saipan from minimum wage or occupational health and safety regulations (Saipan is a US territory - garment manufacuturers can put the "made in the USA" label on clothes made there). Saipan is home to garment manufacturers who employ mostly young asian women who live in "dormitories" and are not allowed to leave the premises (this is often called slavery). Young asian women are often kept in slave like conditions in the middle east (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are known for this) so like our Arab allies the USA also dabbles in involuntary servitude, compliments of DeLay. This guy also has a horrible family life: he is a former alcoholic who has conquered his problem (he only drinks beer and wine now). His brother is in jail, he isn't on speaking terms with some of his extended family. Tom is your average, typical dysfunctional corrupt politician. I hope somehow he is replaced, but the Republicans would just come up with someone just as bad i guess.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

My new best friend, Tyler

fctyler (11)
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
I'm showing Fight Club in postmodern political film later this semester. I downloaded the script - wow! lots of great lines. I'd have to say this competes with Big Lebowski, only not as funny. Having a friend like Tyler would really come in handy, especially considering some of the a-holes I have had to deal with in academia.


“A generation of men raised by women: I’m wondering if another woman is the answer we really need.” Jack.

“Marla doesn’t need a lover, she needs a case worker.” Jack.

"I haven't been fucked like that since grade school." Marla

“I reject the basic assumptions of civilization, including material possessions.” Tyler.

“Fuck damnation. Fuck redemption. We are God’s unwanted children, with no special place and no special attention, and so be it.” Tyler.

“We are the middle children of history, with no purpose or place. We have no great war, or great depression. The great war is a spiritual war. The great depression is our lives…and we’re very, very, pissed off.”

“You are not your job. Your are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the shoes you wear. You are not the contents of your wallet.” Tyler.

“Why are you going with this, IKEA boy?”

Friday, March 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Something tells me that this soldier will be ok once he returns home. Despite what he has seen and experienced, he still has compassion. He'll be ok.