Monday, March 27, 2006

Russell Street

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Russell Street bombing in Melbourne, Australia. The bombing - directed at the Police Headquarter of the State of Victoria - killed one policewoman and caused massive damage. A man called Craig Minogue was convicted for the bombing that was motivated by intense hatred for authority. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Minogue later set fire to the Jika Jika maximum security prison in which he was detained. He was the sole survivor of that fire. He later received a second murder conviction in the beating death of a fellow prison inmate that he said was an act of self defense. Last year Minogue was accepted as a PhD student at La Trobe University and he is currently the only incarcerated PhD student in Australia.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Last post for the week, I swear.

I have to share the hilariousness that is "Snakes On A Plane."
Go to the link above and see the photoshopped
potential posters for this, and Samuel L.'s new greatest tag-line ever:

"I want these motherf***ing snakes off the motherf***ing plane!"

(asterisks added, expletive deleted)

It's like terrorism, but with snakes.
It's like Lord of the Rings, but with snakes.
It's like Pulp Fiction, but without John Travolta, and with snakes instead.

I am SO giggling at work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Excessively Wordy Discourse on Network TV

So I noticed today that the beloved "Love Monkey" bus-advertisement of death had been replaced with one for "The New Adventures of Old Christine." I read somewhere that Love Monkey got cancelled after, like, three episodes. A show that was advertised, and launched for at least a month, was cancelled so quickly, it was like a mercy excecution. Where art thou, Brandon Walsh?

I watched that show once, Love Monkey, on a Monday night, when I was lying in bed looking at the TV. It was okay. I mean, how high can my standards be on a Monday night when I am lying in bed, looking at the TV? I don't have a palm pilot or anything, and I must have been doing something else the next week it was on...I forgot to watch, and then before I knew it, it was gone. I never got to say good-bye.

So much money spent buying stars and writers and directors for this grand new TV show that didn't even get a chance to gain any viewers. How can a network know, after three episodes, how much people are going to like a show? I can barely tell the difference between these shows, let alone form emotional attachments. Is there anyone left in this world that still reads TV Guide, and marks the special "stories" they are going to watch all week?

I think CBS is lucky to get the viewers they have. I mean, I also watch "Two And A Half Men." Every week. Why? Certainly not because I enjoy Charlie Sheen. Or Jon Cryer. I watch it because there's nothing else on, and I'm too cheap for HBO. And I'm embarrassingly easy to entertain. And I probably would have watched Love Monkey too, had it been granted respite from Les Moonves' cleaver of judgement. I mean, it's Monday Night! Who expects anything good from life on Monday Night?

I don't understand how Hollywood makes any money. It would be like if I saved up a whole bunch of money and bought a Mall, and then only 30 people came, so I just demolished the whole thing. It's just so backwards.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

True story

When I was 17 I got on a train to travel around with two of my friends for four weeks. Somewhere in France we were sitting in a train, hungover, high, tired. It rained. My friend had an aisle seat and was drinking orange juice from a carton. A black French dude in some traditional African outfit walked up to him and asked something in French that my friend didn't understand. The guy asked again, slower, very patiently. My friend still didn't understand so the black guy slowly reached out for the orange juice carton, took it away from him and carefully spilled a little of it on the floor. He then handed it back to my friend, smiling and nodding and walked away.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Terror

I won't see V for Vendetta, because it looks dumb, but it does illustrate a funny aspect of Hollywood moviemaking, and by extension, popular culture: we Americans LOVE terrorists. Only, however, when they're tarted up with shiny special effects and patent leather in a dystopian landscape of the future, and only only when the enemies they fight are completely and inherently E-V-I-L, and possibly robots or, better yet, computer-generated holograms. I know, cinematic displacement and all, but it seems silly that we're unable to contemplate the most pressing issue of our day without layers and layers of Manichean garbage and CGI. The Matrix and Star Wars are the biggest offenders in this category, and it looks like Natalie "Sinead O'Connor" Portman's newest vehicle will be no different. In any case, none of these newer films have done anything with futuristic dystopia that Brazil hasn't already done, and waaaaaay better.

I'd really like to see a film that engages with terrorism in an honest, realistic and human way. Why does everything have to be in the future, with sleek, post-industrial design?

But for now.... I named a couple movies above. How many more Hollywood blockbusters can you think of that are essentially terrorist-as-hero morality tales?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Glory of the Interweb

Go here. Laugh (pay particular attention to the music). Then make sure to avoid all Evil holidays and think twice about flashing the peace sign. It's great that there's websites that can educate us about these things.

Warhol was Close

Someday everyone will be really famous to only about fifteen people.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

George Orwell

I highly recommend reading Down & Out in Paris and London and Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, especially if you've only read his two big novels. I dare say his non-fiction is much much better. The former book deals with his days of poverty and squalor as a twenty-something drifter in the title cities, while the latter is a first-hand account of his time in the International Brigade during the Spanis Civil War, and makes an excellent companion to Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Also of note is the essay "Politics and the English Language," which analyzes how the syntax of abstraction and detachment serves the interests of power and pbscures the truth of historical events. The sad thing is that the perversion of language that he describes has now all but permeated modern discourse, where the New York Times can, with a straight face and in the interest of "news," claim to be reporting on the President's speech and actions while merely parroting back his own words.

In any case, you can find any of the above works completely free online at this site. At least the Internet is good for something.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

blond, furry lobster discovered

French, American, and Polynesian researchers discovered a lobster that is furry (and blond). They named it after the goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology and made up a new family for it because it's so different from all the other lobsters.

In a somewhat unrelated observation CNN called the "war on terror" for the first time "the so called war on terror" only to change it after less than an hour and, as far as I can tell, also remove it from their archive. Funny stuff.