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Saturday, April 30, 2011

April showers

From Syracuse.com:

April 2011 became Syracuse's wettest April ever this morning.  The old mark, 8.12 inches set in April 1976, fell around 2 a.m. as a wave of rain splashed over Syracuse Hancock International Airport, National Weather Service figures show. The new record is 8.53 inches. 

Almost 2 inches of rain fell on Tuesday April 26.

And here's the assessment of the consequences, from ynn.com:

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- A heavy rain storm and backed up sewers and the City of Syracuse faces a mini-disaster. Street flooding. But the same heavy rains that led to that problem are contributing to another, much larger one. The water is rising on lakes, rivers and streams across the region.

Onondaga Lake is at flood stage. Officials there postponing plans to start the boating season this weekend.  We can't allow boats to come in here. You can't even see where the break wall is, so it's a dangerous situation to have boats come in and out," said Onondaga County Parks Commissioner William Lansley.

But the problem is everywhere. They can't install docks on Oneida Lake because the hinges the docks attach to are underwater.

Some houses along the lake shore are watching lake water rise, while they're also seeing water levels creeping up in areas behind their homes, along inland streams.

"We're looking at the normal progression of water. So it's everything coming together to the one way street that takes it to the outlet," said Onondaga County Emergency Management Director Peter Alberti.

Everywhere the water is moving fast and running high and unlike the street flooding earlier this week, these high waters are not going away.

The experts say it would take about a week for all of this flood water to recede and for things to get back to normal. But that's a week without rain. And no one's expecting that anytime soon. And dealing with continuing floods and the damage they're causing will cost local governments plenty of money.

"Each of the jurisdictions, towns and villages, the cities, the county, school districts, are doing assessments of how much damage occurred. What do we have to fix? " Alberti said.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal wedding

I haven't been following too closely, but I did set my alarm a bit early so I could catch the ceremony.  And I'm glad I did.  I thought it was lovely and I even got a bit choked up when they said their vows. (And I must admit that I was thinking of the very funny mangled vows that Rowan Atkinson says as the vicar in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, e.g. "the father, the son and the holy spigot" . . . though the priest said "the father, the son and the holy ghost" this morning.)

Here's some random thoughts about their wedding and relationship ~

Her dress was not quite what I expected, which I heard several commentators saying also.  But of course she looked perfectly beautiful.

I was struck by how they never touched during the ceremony, it was kind of sad - surely she would have liked to hold his hand or his arm during this crazy, difficult moment.  But their kiss on the balcony was so sweet.  She has such a pretty smile.

Ever since the interview after their engagement, when William talked about giving Kate his mother's ring, so that his mother could be a part of it, I have felt rather sad, knowing that his mother was not there to share this very important moment in his life.  (I'm getting a little choked up while I'm writing this!)

I read a profile of Kate in Newsweek a couple weeks ago.  One thing that struck me was their attempts to live as normal a life as possible together, for as long as possible.  They currently live in a rather remote cottage, with no servants.  It's kind of sweet.  The article also said that William really likes Kate's warm and close family, which has to be quite a breath of fresh air after his stilted and formalized upbringing.

Often I wonder if William is special enough to make this all worthwhile - people think that Kate is the lucky one, but I wonder why she would want to deal with all this.

Good example - a couple days ago, on NPR no less, they were discussing the wedding, and someone asked what the couple will do afterward.  The journalist answered that William will continue to work for the Royal Navy and Kate's job is to "breed" and have lots of babies.  Ick.  What a terrible word to use.  What a terrible expectation to have on you.  And I'm sure they want to start a family, but who needs people discussing you that way!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado formation

I was wondering why the US is having such violent storms lately and found this great explanation for the WaPo blog:

Thanks to the 139 tornadoes reported (this number will change as the National Weather Service conducts their damage assessments), April 2011 has now almost certainly seen more tornadoes than any other April on record since 1954 when an estimated 407 tornadoes descended from the heavens.
Yesterday, the South, Southeast and mid-Alantic had the necessary ingredients for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but in varying degrees.  In the South and Southeast, all the ingredients came together to create a once-in-a-generation outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes. Unstable air had been in place for several days (leading to tornado outbreaks in TX, AR, MS, and LA in days prior), and an approaching cold front. Normally, this type of set up would create severe weather, but not to this effect. This time, a strong jet stream drove deep into the southeastern states with westerly winds of over 100 mph. At the same time, a deepening surface low created low-level winds from the south/southeast, creating a severe turning of the winds with height or wind shear. With this extreme wind shear and instability, storms had little trouble starting to rotate and producing tornadoes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Is this movie a parody or not?"

This article from Cracked.com is really funny and clever. This excerpt from early in the article, states his basic premise ~

I can no longer tell if movies are being serious. I used to be able to watch trailers and say, "This is clearly a parody" or "This is just a bad movie." But, these days . . . some filmmakers are embracing this idea of movies being designed to be consumed ironically, while other filmmakers are just making shitty movies. And the frustrating thing is that there is no observable difference between the two. Once upon a time, I could finish watching a trailer and my only thought would either be "That was good" or "That was bad." Now, I watch most trailers and I just scratch my head, thinking, "Hey, filmmakers: Did you really mean that? . . . Is any of this a joke?"

This paragraph, from the middle, made me think about what I said about Vampires Suck - that it's hard to parody something that's already pretty campy ~

Those guys who do the [Genre] Movies don't exactly understand what parody is, so sometimes they'll just recreate a scene from an iconic comedy and just replace the original jokes with jokes of their own that, generally, are worse. That's not a parody; that's just redoing an already funny thing and changing the wording of the jokes. That's what this trailer felt like to me, and when your legitimate Hangover 2 trailer could pass for the trailer for Friedberg and Seltzer's Hangover Movie, you're in big trouble.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kiki Kannibal and growing up female in America

Two things happened this week - I read this article in Rolling Stone magazine, and I heard Peggy Orenstein talk as part of her book tour for Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

Kiki Kannibal is the nom de internet of Kristen Ostrenga, who started out as just another dissaffected young teen, but then discovered MySpace and, later, Stickam.com, where she created this sex kitten, "Lolita-ish" persona that lead her and her family down the road to ruination. 

At 17, Kiki has 27,000 Twitter followers, but absolutely no real friends. "How do you connect with people?" she asks in the article (without any irony of course).

Her parents think her hyper-sexy live feeds and videos, posted since she was 13 years old, are "adorable" and all part of healthy creativity and self expression.  Apparently her dad snapped some of the photos: 

Both Kiki and her parents seem quite shocked that her online persona attracted the attention of a certain kind of man (pedophiles, lots of them) and a really aggressive backlash of hostility (too bad she can't monetize the word "slut"). Parents tend to be pretty naive about the internet, though these folks seem even more clueless than average - once your daughter is being stalked and your house is being vandalized, maybe you rethink the way your teen is using the internet.

Probably the most discouraging thing about the story, besides how her parents didn't see the danger, is that Kiki, as she was creating this image of herself, had no idea how she was affecting her audience.  She's internalized this requirement to be hot and sexy, but she's young and has no context for it, and so she presents it without the slightest understanding of the consequences. And this scenario is just rampart in the U.S.  Maybe just as sad it that, even now, when the downside has been so clearly demonstrated, she just can't stop - she's completely addicted to the "validation" that her fans and followers provide.

After reading this article and having it bounce around in my head for several days, I went to hear Peggy Orenstein, who is basically backing up just a few years, and examining how the Kikis of this world are created.

She said it starts with the princess craze at age 3 and very quickly morphs into Bratz and other images of "hotness" that get crammed down even very young girls' throats (pun intended).  She talks about "girlz" culture and how "sassy" and similar adjectives are just "sexy" with training wheels.  She talks about the way toys have changed, even perenial favorites like Strawberry Shortcake and My Litte Pony.  (To be fair, toy companies produce what sells - there's clearly demand for these sexualized products.)  She talks about how celebrity role models (often backed by Disney) like Miley Cyrus, morph rather abruptly from hyper-innocent into hyper-sexy.

She said a bunch of great stuff, much of it covered in her NY Times magazine article from 2007, which I read about a year ago and just loved (wherein she talks about the marketing of princess culture and the crazy values this is communicating to our daughters).  One of the most memorable was her lament about having to say "no" to her daughter all the time, and how she doesn't want this life, that seems like one endless "teaching moment."  I can relate!

I am very, very grateful that Alana is obsessed with animals, and never really had a princess phase, and has shown no interest in Hannah Montana or other shows/personalities that are marketed so heavily to her age cohort.  (To my delight, she's completely internalized my prohibition on Bratz dolls.) I have no delusion that we will escape completely unscathed, but at least the last few years has not been an ongoing battle for her soul.


Monday, April 25, 2011

"Bottled Night"


That's the name of the new fragrance from Hugo Boss - Ryan Reynolds is representing it.  I saw this first in the Pittsburgh airport.  Holy crap!  I always thought he was good looking, but this photo really brings out his, er, assets.  Love the fragrance name too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Latest movies

Saw several entertaining movies over the past week ~

Hanna - definitely had inflated expectations, so I was almost guaranteed to be disappointed - the trailers were so cool and the cast was so stellar; the movie was interesting and visually arresting, and I'm glad that I saw it, but there wasn't as much "there" there as I had hoped; pretty gruesome too - for example, a man is hung upside down and killed with arrows, and a dog is beaten to death (off screen, but you know what happened)

Killers - the opposite of Hanna - my expectations were so low, I ended up being happily surprised; entertaining and fun,  and the leads, Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, had terrific chemistry; not going to win any Oscars, but an enjoyable 115 minutes.

The Secret of the Kells - Oscar-nominated animated feature based on a real Irish book; kind of weird (the kids got bored and wandered off to play computer games), but it was interesting and very beautiful

It's Kind of a Funny Story - maybe the best movie I saw this year so far; really entertaining and interesting, genuinely funny and heart warming (I loved the very end); too bad this movie wasn't promoted more and seen more widely


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homeward bound

Kitty wants to come home with us!! (This is how we got Sweet Pea!)

Caleb reading and Alana playing with toys on the plane from Pittsburgh

Alana posing on the tram from the Newark airport to the parking lot

Delicious lunch at Smashburger in Florham Park on the way back to NY
(Cal and I loved the Smashfries, seasoned with garlic and rosemary)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 7

One more breakfast by the pool, and time to head to the airport. Here are a few miscellaneous photos:

            Butterfly garden outside Ritz spa

           Hanging with Joanne and Dawn at the Dirty Parrot after hour bar

 Final gift, left in our room Wednesday night (the "sand" is brown sugar!)

Finalist photos displayed in lobby - Larry is second from right

Texas Roadhouse sand sculpture in lobby

Lunch by the pool, wearing my Tiffany's sunglasses

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 6

Another general session in the morning. Larry sat on a panel presentation (he was great!)

Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure was surprisingly uninspiring, but Candy Coburn had the audience tapping the toes when she sang her breast cancer anthem, "Pink Warrior":

After the session, we had some lunch, and Larry went back to the room to nap while I sat by the pool (everyone has their own way to relax before the big night!) I had my hair and makeup done at the salon, and then rushed to the finalists cocktail party. (This is not at all what I had in mind, but she did a beautiful job, creating a cascade of curls out of very little to work with!)

Then we took the stretch limo bus to the Philharmonic for the awards.  Here are all the finalists, on stage:

After the ceremony, we went back on the regular bus, for dinner at the Ritz. Then a few drinks at the Dirty Parrot with the NY Market, and then back to the room to pack up for early morning limo back to the airport.

       (Dreadful, unflattering photo - I look like a young Barbra Bush!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 5

General session in the morning.  Larry addressed the audience during Kent's presentation.

I just loved Chef Jeff's inspirational story (I read his book, Cooked, on the plane ride home - we got a free copy, autographed!)

After the session, we had a brief rehearsal for Wednesday night, and then headed to the beach for the volleyball tournament (no, I didn't play!)

For dinner, we went to the Ritz Golf Resort, 2 miles away, for an outdoor dinner and country music concert. Along with delicious picnic food, like bar b qued chicken and potato salad, they also had carnival booths set up, with lemonade, cotton candy, nachos, and so on. Really yummy and fun.  The sky was rather threatening, and right after we got there, we saw a beautiful rainbow in the distance:

I snuck out early and went to the (very upscale) mall, the Mercado, (halfway between the 2 resorts) to see a movie (Hanna, which was somewhat disappointing).  I spent about as much on 2 cab rides as I would have paid a sitter at home!

Monday, April 18, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 4

Humanitarian Day!  Very excited to help the Immokalee Foundation.

[Weird side note - got a GF muffin in my breakfast box - it was good, but I threw it up when we got to the community center.  Really odd and surprising.]

Larry and the NY team painted some rooms while I tidied the Sunday school room.  When the painting was done and we had time left, me and a few others tidied the Sunday school supply closet (in truly disastrous condition - we were told they had been dumping stuff in there for 15 years).  Others planted bushes and put in a volleyball court and picnic shelter.  It was a great day (though we seem to have absolutely no photos!)

Dinner with the NY team at Truluck's restaurant in Naples. (Larry's entree, sea bass, was a lot more interesting than my mahi mahi.)  Before we left, the ladies posed for a photo.

 In the Ritz lobby, before we got on the trolley for downtown Naples.

I love this photo - me (in the background) talking with my hands.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 3

Free time in the morning, so I had a (very pricey) spa treatment called Green Your Body - a sugar scrub and seaweed wrap.  Fun!  And I felt very "silky smooth" afterwards!

Then Larry and I lunched by the pool. I had the crab-citrus salad with lavendar vinegarette, which turned out to be my absolute favorite dish that I had the whole time I was there. Scrumtious!

Every time we ate outside, birds came and helped themselves from the bread basket.

Then Larry went to watch the meat cutters (his friend Arturo won!) and I hit the beach again (Joanne came down with me, but didn't stay long). The cabana boy made me pay for an umbrella , even though I used one that was already set up - such is life at a resort.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 2

The day started with "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and a $1000 gift card to spend! Larry got a ring from their Atlas collection and I got some signature sunglasses.  And Larry won the door prize - a bracelet with their new Hearts design.

Then we had a very light brunch at the gorgeous Naples home of Heather and GJ Hart.  Then a bit of free time - I hit the beach again!

Dinner at Ngala private animal reserve.  I got to pet a camel and a giraffe, and I saw a rhino, alligator and Florida panther (mountain lion)!  And the food was surprisingly delicious.  This is the mini cheesecake we had for dessert.

 Wonderful African musician playing during dinner

All dressed up in our jungle-themed finery

Friday, April 15, 2011

TRH Conference - Day 1

Peaceful little garden outside Ft Meyers airport

Riding in style to resort from airport

Chocolate restaurant - gift in room when we arrived 

Entrance to beach - I went down to swim almost as soon as we arrived (which was wonderful, but I managed to lose my prescription sunglasses in the water - within hours of getting to Florida!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More on the budget

I love this post, popping up on FB today:

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alice Hoffman at the Gifford series

I had been looking forward to this ever since I heard she was going to be included in the series, about this time last year.  I got my ticket a couple months ago, and was so excited for the actual event. 

Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind, because it was a strangely unsatisfying experience.

For one thing, the local paper had an interview with her in their Sunday issue, and she included several of the comments from that interview in her presentation.  I supppose they were points she wanted to make, but for $31 plus $6 parking, I really wanted some new material.

Even more odd was how chaotic the Q & A was - she couldn't see the audience and there were no mics or helpers, so people got frustrated and started just standing up and shouting out (I did!), but it created more frustration, you could tell.  You'd think after 7 years or whatever, the series organizers would have figured out how to manage the process.

She dodged my question completely, which of course was sort of frustrating.  Since she's written several novels for young readers, and in her interview in the paper, as well as her prepared remarks, she says that the most important reading you do in your life is when you're young, I asked who she would recommend for young readers.  She said, "ask your librarian." Ouch.  Maybe she just couldn't think of anyone, or maybe she just thought it was a stupid question. 

Finally, it ended in this really odd and abrupt way - the MC came out on stage and Alice just left, no closing remarks or anything.

And one more thing - I had hoped that I could get her autograph, so I brought my copy of The Ice Queen, my favorite book of hers.  Though I suppose with over 1500 people in the audience, they can't expect the author to sign books after the lecture - she'd be there all night.

Oh yeah, one more thing - the person sitting behind me had really bad breath, it was downright distracting.

Overall, it just didn't feel like a $40 experience.  And the timing sucked - I missed the Board of Trustee meeting AND we're leaving on vacation on Thursday, so I'm completely swamped with stuff to do and don't really have time for this.  Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been so stressed and hadn't counted on it being transporting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

France burqa ban goes into effect

I found myself thinking quite a bit about this story, after I heard it on NPR.  Their rationale is that the burqa oppresses women by definition and creates separation between cultures.  My first thought was that this could never happen in America - we just don't tolerate the government telling people how to express their religious beliefs (as it should be).  But I also thought that it's fair for them to say, "this isn't 'France'" - to say, in essence, if you want to live this way, you have to do it somewhere else.  Among the argument against the ban is that it violates the rights of Muslim women, stigmatizes Muslims and is a thinly veiled attack on Muslims (pun intended).  Ironically, I think lots of Americans would like it very much if we could have this law in America (at least regarding burqas) - even though we don't want the government to impose rules on us, we seem to desire the government to impose rules on people we're not comfortable with.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Man sells Obama letter

I heard this story on NPR - it's one of those esoteric bits that they throw in at the end of segments. 

A guy in Florida wrote an angry letter to Obama about the bailout and was totally shocked when he got a handwritten letter in response.  He so valued this correspondence that he promptly turned around and sold it at an auction

For some reason, this bugged the crap out of me, and I thought about it for days afterward and repeated the story to several people.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Weekend movies

Watched several worthwhile videos this weekend ~

Swedish Auto - I watched this largely because of the main stars, January Jones (best known for Mad Men) and Lukas Haas (best known for his childhood role in Witness).  I adore LH (he reminds me very much of my youngest brother; he was sensational in Leap of Faith and Brick).  Here he is very much wide-eyed and introverted, a shy mechanic who develops a relationship with a troubled waitress at a nearby diner.  The movie is a bit grittier than I expected, but also sweet in an off-beat way.
Let Me In - I was interested to see this remake of the Swedish film, Let The Right One In (based on a novel), which I had liked very much.  The idea of using the vampire genre to examine bullying was so interesting, and certainly relevant to America.  I don't think the remake is as affecting as the original, though they are very similar.  That may partly be due to me knowing how the story ends this time, and not knowing while watching the original.  Also, I think the fact that Eli turns out to be a boy in the original movie is quite significant and makes the story more poignant.  I understand why they left that part out of the American version, but I think it takes away from the movie.  Still very good and worth watching.

The Joneses - I'll watch David Duchovny in anything, and he's compelling as always in this interesting, though somewhat uneven, satire about consumerism.  The film could have been more biting than it was, but it still makes it's point very clearly, and is entertaining to boot.  The movie ends as I want it to, but the viewer can't help wondering how these two people can possibly build a life together.  Glad I watched - great cast and quite thought-provoking.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Defunding Planned Parenthood

Diane Rehm had a show on the Planned Parenthood defunding, with Majorie Dannenfelser representing the defunding side (in a group curiously called The Susan B Anthony List), and Sarah Brown representing the pro-PP side.  It was kind of an annoying conversation, full of half-truths and statistics put to questionable use, but I enjoyed the posts on Diane's FB page, which were mostly pro-PP and many were very smart and to the point.  Here's the comment I posted:

America *is* broke, but we didn't get this way by funding health service organizations. If we completely eliminated the funding for PP and NPR it would not make even a tiny dent in our deficit. BILLIONS to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for almost a decade for very questionable benefit is a much bigger factor. We need to focus our budget discussion on items that will actually impact our deficit.

I realize "policy riders" are a legitimate element of this process, but it's such a major over-reach, to target this one organization's funding just because they annoy the crap out of you (PP manages to have its cake and eat it too - provide abortions and maintain a reputation as a quality healthcare provider, no wonder the Repugs see red.)

+ + + +
One of the most outrageous  things I heard during this period was what Jon Kyl (R, AZ) said on the floor of the Senate - that abortions are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

Of course that's ridiculous - the real figure is about 5%, which Kyl no doubt knows - they flat out lie when spin or slogans aren't working. But the fun part is that the story took on a life of it's own ~

After the gaffe, Kyl’s office backpedaled, telling CNN that “his remark was not intended to be a factual statement.”

Stephen Colbert created a hashtag “#NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement” and his 2 million Twitter followers are tweeting silly “facts” about the senator with the hashtag attached:

Jon Kyl has the world’s most extensive catalogue of snuff films. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

Jon Kyl actually prefers Hydrox to Oreos. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Oregon legislature Rick Roll

Another quirky story I heard on NPR.  Jefferson Smith (D) dreamed this up - with lots of help, he distributed the lines of the song and everyone agreed to work their line into an actual speech.  Then it was edited together (no taxpayer funds were used, he hastened to say).  They had a good time and it was actually a bipartisan effort!  The video was broadcast on April Fool's Day and went promptly viral.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

America is not "classless"

Scorching commentary by TruthDig's Robert Scheer, sent to me by my friend Janet.  Here's some highlights:

The Peasants Need Pitchforks
by Robert Scheer

A "working class hero," John Lennon told us in his song of that title, "is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you're so clever and classless and free/ But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations:

. . . That is the harsh reality obscured by the media's focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side. The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty -- which smartphone to purchase -- for real power over the decisions that affect our lives. Even though most Americans accept that the political game is rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond to our wisdom and will. But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.

. . . The veterans of the Clinton years, so prominent in the Obama administration, still deny their role in the disaster of the last 25 years. Yet the sad tale of income inequality that Stiglitz laments is as much a result of their policies as those of their Republican rivals. In one of the best studies of this growing gap in income, economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that during Clinton's tenure in the White House the income of the top 1 percent increased by 10.1 percent per year, while that of the other 99 percent of Americans increased by only 2.4 percent a year. Thanks to President Clinton's deregulation and the save-the-rich policies of George W. Bush, the situation deteriorated further from 2002 to 2006, a period in which the top 1 percent increased its income 11 percent annually while the rest of Americans had a truly paltry gain of 1 percent per year.

. . . ."The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles," Stiglitz concludes, "but there is one thing that money doesn't seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late."


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

"Why do we let them dress like that?"

I heard the "beauty shop" group discussing this Wall Street Journal essay on Tell Me More today.  In the article, she starts off talking about the "way girls dress" even very young girls, but goes on to assert her theory about mothers of her generation regretting their own sexual shenanigans in college.  I didn't get that second part out of the NPR discussion, because they focused more on the lack of parents setting limits.  I buy that argument a lot more than the original author's - she says that all her peers express regret over their sexual past,s but I don't find that in my own peer group at all.  Of course, my friends tend to have kids cloer to my kids' ages - that is, preteen, and we're probably a bit younger than the author.  But I still think that the issue is more a result of permissiveness in general than it does ambivelence about Baby Boomers' youthful sexual behavior.

Aside - I posted this aricle on FB and got more responses than I've ever gotten (at least in the top 3).

Monday, April 04, 2011

Hunger Games casting

Jennifer Lawrence was cast a couple of weeks ago, amid much internet grumbling about her having the wrong "look" (and being too old, at 20).  In the book, Katniss is described as small and dark, sort of mediterrean-looking I guess, and of course thin from malnutrition.  I can see why people would complain, but the ones who have clearly didn't see her in Winter's Bone, where she is a lot rougher looking and acting than on, say, the red carpet at the Oscar ceremony (in her stunning red dress). 

Today the male leads were announced.  Josh Hutcherson (18) as Peeta, which I think is perfect - he has that sweetness, but also underlying strength, showed off well in The Kids Are All Right.  He's been around for over 10 years, and is a veteran of many movies, including Zathura, Journey to the Center of the Eath, and Bridge to Terabithia (which he almost carries single-handedly).  The internet grumbling mostly concerned his hair, which in the book is described as wavy and blonde.  Hopefully he'll get a better quality wig than poor Kristen Stewart was saddled with in Eclipse.  I think the fans will be quite happy with him.

Gale will be played by Liam Hensworth (21), who I'm not familiar with (he was in Knowing with Nic Cage, but I don't remember him in that).  He's certainly handsome, and in photos has the right Gale-ish qualities.  Most recently, he was in The Last Song with Miley Cyrus, and apparently is best known as her "on-again-off-again" boyfriend (we won't hold his poor romantic taste against him).  Bonus - he's Austrialian, which we all know are the hands-down best macho actors of all time.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Snazzy haircut

This is what it was supposed to look like the last time!  And this is the first time I ever got it colored professionally.  I like it, but the streaks are a bit too obvious - I thought it was going to be a bit more subtle.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Latest movies

Saw a bunch of movies over the last week:

The Lincoln Lawyer - Larry and I watched this in the theater; it was very good, especially the first half - great cast, interesting story.  It got a little bogged down toward the end - too cliche and contrived.  But still an enjoyable movie experience.

RED (2010) - Cal and I watched this on video; it was pretty good; like The LL, it relies too much on cliches, but it was elevated by terrific performances (guilty secret: I love Bruce Willis).  Karl Uban (who played "Bones" in the Star Trek reboot) is definitely someone to watch - he held his own with a powerhouse cast (his line, "Fuck you, Cynthia" was my favorite in the movie, based obviously on delivery as opposed to the sheer brilliance of the words).  **Spoiler Alert** I have to mention that it was a huge error to kill off Morgan Freeman so early in the movie, his (admittedly stock) character was missed in the second half, and the movie was worse for his absence.

Dragon Hunters (2008) - something we watched on Netflix Instant Play and what a treat!  Gorgeous animation (especially in early scenes), and a weird and charming story, full of offbeat characters and odd plot twists (it's French, though dubbed into English).  Might even be good enough to recommend to my adult friends!

Just Wright (2010) - I enjoyed this rom-com, which pairs the decidedly un-rom com presence of Queen Latifah with the breathtaking beauty of Common.  The movie is very predictable, of course, and not really fresh, other than the premise and some fun scenes of basketball.  As usual, the first half was stronger than the second half, and it's biggest crime is the way it wastes some terrific secondary characters, especially Phylicia Rashad as the mom, who appears in a measly 3 or 4 scenes.  But overall, not a waste of time. 

Our Family Wedding (2010) - another offbeat rom-com, revolving around the bi-racial marriage of America Ferrera (looking really gorgeous) and  Lance Gross (also delicious), but this is more about the uncompromising fathers, played by Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker.  The movie has some great moments, and overall, it's quite good.  Their error was in shoe-horning some silly comedy moments into the film, especially a food fight at the cake tasting and a randy goat at the reception - those, and a couple other scenes, should have ended up on the cutting room floor!


Friday, April 01, 2011

Smart phones

Larry was enthusing about some new game he got for his phone, and I told him, yet again, I don't play games on my phone.  He said, "sometimes you just need to do something fun!"  But my response is: then I'll read the NY Times.  I'm not being a snob at all - I just don't find those games entertaining or relaxing.  If I had time to kill, that's just not how I would fill it.  And I have to admit, the games seem so silly.  He was obsessed for several days with a game that entailed throwing a virtual piece of crumpled paper into a virtual waste basket.  This latest game involves jumped a small avatar up a series of  floating platforms.  These are just not interesting to me.  What Thomas Friedman or Christopher Dickey or Paul Krugman or Nick Kristof is saying today is super interesting to me.