Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Scene from Stardust Memories

This is about as existential as it can get, the opening scene from Stardust Memories, woody allen's "autobiographical movie." Woody is always on the wrong train, the train with the maimed, injured, lost people, while the train with the beautiful people is leaving the station. Later, woody's train drops them off at a trash heap. I swear, I fell like I am on that train every day -

Monday, July 28, 2008

OSS 117 - Get ready for peace in the middle east!

This is a parody of the French films of the early 1960's that were the equivalent of James Bond movies, OSS 117 also known as Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath. The film satires the concept of empire, the cultural superiority of empire, the ignorance that empire brings, and the cluelessness of great western powers invading or repressing ancient civilizations which are viewed as "primitive." Ms. La Bath is completely clueless, sexist, condescending, violent and just dumb. But somehow he survives and wins in the end, through no effort on his part. He is vain as seen during the mambo dance scene. He also knows nothing about arab culture or Islam...Some of the scenes are parodies of how the earlier films were made, with staged scenes substituting for exterior shots with a movie projected on the rear screen - here he is offered a cigarette but he says, "I don't smoke but I am trying to start." which makes no sense...most people are trying to stop, but he is trying to start ("Idiot!" as the french would say). OSS 117 has flashback memories of his missing and presumed dead partner Jack, and the flashback is very homo erotic, both of them playing paddle ball on the beach and chasing each other and rolling in the surf - get it? He is violent, womanizer, trying to avoid his latent homosexuality - way too funny. I thought this was way too funny - I tried not to laught too loud because I wanted to hear the dialogue (even though I dont speak french) but there was this loud guy in the back who would laugh so loud is was deafening. A must see coming to an independent theater near you! DVD comes out Sept 30.

Pride of the South Clock!

You have to check out this clock! Its from Bradford Exchange - I must have bought something from them a long time ago, so I get stuff in the mail from them. It has Gen Lee on the top, a picture of Lee, Jackson, and JEB Stuart and I cant see the others. But what is really over the top, is that every hour the doors open up and a cannon comes out and fires the time: BOOM its one oclock BOOM BOOM its two oclock and so forth. Where would one put this clock? over a bar? I thought about buying it and sending it to someone as a joke, but its too expensive for a gag gift.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The MR2 Spyder

So Toyota brought back the third type of mid engine roadster and called it the MR2 Spyder to distinguish it from the previous models. Production stopped in 2005. My objective was to buy a MR2 as close to brand new condition as possible, and I found a 2003 with only 10,800 miles on it and it came with the optional 6 speed sequential manual transmission. The SMT makes the car drive differently - I prefer it to the 5 speed manual. When the transmission is in "S" you pull back gently to go up a gear, and push forward to downshift. If you can't remember what gear you are in there is a diagram on the tachometer that indicates the gear - the tach is center console, visible directly in front of steering wheel. It comes with 16 inch wheels on back, 15 inch on front. The vents in front of the rear wheels allows cool air into the engine compartment. The front hood contains the spare tire. The only luggage space is behind the seats, and it is called "storage compartments" not trunk. So I can only pack gym bags on a long trip. I think I will take out the spare tire and use the front for a small bag on long trips. It has 138 horsepower, but I plan to buy an aftermarket air filter and increase the HP to about 150. Driving it reminds me of the ME 163 rocket plane!
The SMT works with the shift stick or with paddles on the steering wheel. The MR2 far surpasses the Miata or just about any car in its class - the Porsche Boxster is the closest comparison. Now I need to find a garage for the winter - I won't allow snow to fall on my baby!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Check the translation before you post the sign!

This store owner wanted his sign posted in English, but the computer generated translation printed an error message, not the translation of the store sign. No one caught it? funny...

China's preparations - buildings for Olympic Games

Here is a slide show, shows the architecture of the Olympic Village. Amazing. I think the US has to consider what role it will have in a world that is dominated by the empire of China - we need to study England, how it released hold of its empire. I don't think we can compete with China, or perhaps need to compete with china.

Dinosaur on the loose at LA Museum Natural History

here is video of the coolest dino costume ever, at the LA Musuem of Natural History. I really want one of these - show up at my evening auditorium class and try to eat some unruly students!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elsa and Fred - movie from Argentina

This movie has received good reviews, about two eldery people who fall in love most improbably. I usually don't like movies about older people who are about to die....but this one eventually grew on me. Elsa is eldery, she makes up stories, lies, exaggerates, but is just the fiesty woman stoddgy old Fred needs. Before long Fred is becoming as adventuous as Elsa. A previous husband of Elsa's visits Fred, tells him, this woman is crazy, she makes things up, she will destroy you. Then Fred asks, is it true she looked like Anita Ekberg, from the movie La Dolce Vita when she was younger? (A claim you almost think is not true, given how old and overweight she now is). Then the ex husband stops, closes his eyes, thinks, and says, yes it is true, when she was young and you walked by, she shook your world. Then he says, I change my mind, don't lose her. Puzzled, Fred continues the relationship. Fred finds out Elsa has kidney disease, is dying. He doesn't tell her he knows. Her dream was always to wade in the fountain like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, the Fontana di Trevi, in Roma. He surprises her with tickets, they fly to Rome, they dress up, go out to the fountain. Wait, she says, there has to be a kitten, like in the movie. Fred bribes a conceirge for the use of a kitten. They get to the fountain late at night, Elsa says, I want to feed the kitten milk, like in the movie. Fred somehow finds a jar of milk. Then they recreate the scene from La Dolce vita. She calls out to him, "Marcello, Marcello!" Finally a police officer comes and asks them out. then the film ends - but on a light note. I really liked the whole La Dolce Vita scene - that is a classic scene. Here is a copy of Anita Ekberg for those who don't remember her.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dr. David Dixon - we said goodbye as best we could....

Dr. David Dixon was laid to rest today in the West Liberty Cemetary. Click here to learn more about his academic areas of interest in American history, and to see an earlier picture of him with his mullet (!) Funerals for me are absolutely terrifying, but I had to go to his service today because I love his friends, family and wife so much, and wanted to be with them on this terribly sad day. The service was wonderful, Dr. Claire Settlemire gave the eulogy, in addition to being an excellant scholar of historical antiquity, she is also an ordained methodist minister. Comes in handy to have a minister who is Professor Emeritus. Graveside was hard: the grief impossible to bear. To see the casket on top of the grave, to say goodbye and walk away. I tried to express myself to those closest to him. It was a beautiful location to spend eternity: on a hillside, with an beautiful panoramic view of the rolling hills and farms surrounding the cemetary, above a lone hawk did lazy circles enjoying the heat thermals on a hot pennsylvania afternoon. Fortunately, Rich and Amy Martin helped set up a reception and luncheon at the Old Stone House, a favorite location of David's, and everyone little by little starting to eat, drink, talk, and soon there were smiles and even laughter as we tried to separate ourselves from our grief, from an emotionally draining experience. Slippery Rock University will never be the same without David. I make friends poorly, I am not very social, but David was one of my first and best friends at SRU, and I will always miss him.

Iran missle lauch photoshop

so one of the missles didn't launch in Iran's missle tests last week so Iran releases a photo from photoshop doctoring the photo to make it look like all the missles fired at once. Here is the logical conclusion of the "more cowbell" approach to firing missles!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Girl Interrupted

What a movie! Some of my favorite female actors: Angelina Jolie, Wynona Rider, Brittany Murphy - amazing cast, great story line. I haven't read the book, but plan to buy it this weekend. it captured the 1960s-early 70's perfectly, with the strict role expectations, the intolerance of anyone who doesn't conform, the lack of communication between adults and teens - well I guess that crap is still going on, but the movie was great. Esp the part about the Brittany Murphy character, and her sick relationship with her SOB father - scary, but her acting was great. The film has a "happy" ending, in that Angelina and Wynona's characters survive and seem to have the skills to live happily. the story: Wynona's character exhibits some impulsive behavior, sexually impulsive, tries feeble attempt at OD, "diagnosed" as borderline and sent to psych hospital for young women, where she meets other emotionally disturbed girls, some very much so, others just unconformists who end up there because they need to learn how to conform. Good movie for women's group discussion.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mongol -The Movie !!!

I've got to see this film! Maybe saturday...Update: I saw it saturday night, but I arrived 30 min late - turns out, the east parkway had 3 lanes merging into 1 lane right at the sq hill exit, must be summer construction. anyway, the acting was amazing, the costumes incredible and the music also great. Everyone left at the end credits, but the treat at the end is the music: stay until the very end because the musical score is amazing. It was wide screen so the action scenes were absolutely great. My only disappointment was that the movie showed Khan's victory over other mongolian clans, that he united Mongolia. I was hoping to see his victories in the middle east, europa-asian empire, how he interacted politically with european races, how he united and extended a civilization over europe-asia. Especially his unification of Russia. Of course, his death and legacy were also not covered. Could there be a couple of sequels in the future? I mean, there were 3 godfather films, I think there should be 3 Mongol films. The theater was crowded, I arrived late, found a aisle seat, people around me were checking their email - !? - why to to a movie if you want to fool with email? Someone's cell phone went off....Really rude.

"Meduzot" or Jellyfish

Not a film for everyone, but I liked it because it was set in Israel, in Tel Aviv, great shots of the ocean, shore. "Batya" is a waitress at a wedding hall, but no wedding in the future for her. She finds a lost girl at the ocean beach, ends up having to take her home. Get it? She finds a lost girl - she finds her lost childhood. She looks at old super 8 movies, returns to her childhood, and I think re-examines her sexual orientation. "Joy" is a fillipino worker, takes care of an 80ish woman whose daughter is an actor. Grandma and daughter do not get along, there is something that prevents them from connecting, but grandma connects with Joy in a beautiful scene, embracing Joy, while the daughter looks on through a window, astonished, hurt at what she sees but can not accomplish. "Karen" is a new bride, who locks herself in the toilet accidentally, climbs over the stall, breaks her leg, cant have sex on the honeymoon, cant stand the hotel room they are in, suspects her husband of infidelity with a mysterious hotel guest. She starts to write a poem, but later the poem is finished by the mysterious guest, it is a suicide note. Get it? "Break a leg," no sex, trapped in this hotel, suicide - what is marriage? A trap? Suicide? I really liked the role of the lost girl - she was so cute, beautiful, and the symbol of the girl as the lost childhood, haunting. Perhaps this film would mean more emotionally to me if I was a woman. Great film - women's groups should view it and have a lot to discuss after.

free hugs....

Is this part of a world wide blog thing? Is this original or is it copied? Will this catch on?

Free Hug!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vince Shamwow!!!

"You know the Germans make good stuff...you following me camera guy?" Do I detect a slight Christopher Walken accent here? Wow-wa! Here is the original commercial...

Here is Vince doubled up with Bill O'Reilly, really funny...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

One More Time! Broken Trail and Open Range great movies

Great quote from Broken Trail and Open Range:

"We're all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth 'til death. We travel between the eternities."

Great quote from Open Range:

"Men are gonna get killed here today, Sue, and I'm gonna kill 'em."

"My friend and me got a hankerin' for Switzerland chocolate and a good smoke."

Whale watching at Mystic Aquarium

Here is Noah and Chika at the entrance to Mystic Seaport, watching the Beluga whales. I guess the only other whales in captivity are Killer whales, at places like SeaWorld. Back in 1983 Mystic Aquarium rescued five whales who beached themselves on the shore, they tried to push them back in the ocean but they kept beaching themselves. They took them to the aquarium to help them gain strength but they died. I realize that Mystic Aquarium has to do some revenue enhancing programs, but I really oppose taking dolphins and whales in captivity unless they are injured and need a protective environment. One of the sea lions they had was from west coast, kept getting too close to shore, was moved out to sea, but returned. For its own preservation the Aquarium obtained him.

Dolphins held as slaves die in Las Vegas

There are few animals that possess consciousness, that is, an awareness of their existence. A concept of self. Humans possess consciousness - for some reason, natural selection as favored humans with large frontal brains, the part of the brain that contains capacity for ideas, speech, and imitation and transmittal of ideas. The same is true for dolphins. Sigfried and Roy, the las vegas ambiguously gay duo who have the white tiger lounge act, have had a zoo of some kind for other animals, featuring dolphins. Here is the news story:
MGM Mirage officials are investigating the death of a dolphin at an aquatic habitat at The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip. Company spokesman Gordon Absher said Monday that animal care officials are trying to determine why the 11-year-old dolphin, named Sage, died Saturday morning. Absher says 13 dolphins have died at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat since the attraction opened with five dolphins in 1990.
Dolphins have consciousness, so they know when other dolphins die. They must have some awareness of their environment. Keeping dolphins for amusement, for profit, seems to me a kind of slavery. Mystic Seaport at least is a teaching/research center, and their revenue producing attractions help fund other more serious projects. But Sigfried and Roy are exploiting these conscious mammals - I consider it no difference from human slavery.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mystic Aquarium

Noah, Chika and I went to the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. Here is one of the Beluga whales swimming under water. I will have more videos posted on wednesday July 8th.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"I' ve got a feevar..and the feevar is morrr cow bell!!!"

Here is the original "more cowbell" skit. I don't know why this is so funny, but it is. Christopher Walken is a genius, he plays this so straight, even though some of the actors are cracking up. I have students coming up and asking me about the bumper sticker i have on my car, "More Cowbell, Less Bush." they then search the web for the skit, so here is the link. they agree its a classic skit. Is the cowbell skit that old? (Am I that old?)

Hairspray, the musical. I don't like musicals but this one was different: Nikki Blonsky made the difference. She became "Tracy" - from the moment she woke up till the end of the movie, she was graceful, funny, kind, cute and gave a great dance performance. Also in the film were Christopher Walken, who played a crazy father type (he was perfect), john travolta (Tracy's mother - how he could dance with the "weight" suit is amazing) and Amanda Bynes - lots of other great actors made small appearances. This was a fun movie, great performances - but Nikki Blonsky was most responsible for making this movie work. A must see!!!