Rhetorical Ju Jitsu

Interesting use of Anti-Immigration Rhetoric at a "Tea Party" to show the weakness of xenophobic invective.


15 Movies

15 Movies
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it.

Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what movies my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the note - upper right hand side.)

In no particular order:

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
2. The Visitor
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
4. Dead Poets Society
5. Talladega Nights
6. Star Wars
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
8. The Matrix
9. The Princess Bride
10. Wit
11. Empire of the Sun
12. The Abyss
13. The Fisher King
14. Brazil
15. The Sound of Music


The Scales Fall from our Eyes

Distinguished Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested for shouldering his way into his own home and then being mad when the police treated him like a criminal.

Jimi Izrael has a fantastic editorial on how race still trumps class in America. Go read it here and then come back. Go ahead, take a look.

What makes me so sad isn't Izrael's particular lament (although it does make me sad, grand racial disparities never surprised me after I turned about 5 on the Navajo/Hopi joint reservation). Instead, the fact that this man is not even recognized by his own neighbors and his public police force. This man is a mainstay in the field of English studies (I used his scholarship to buttress my case for a particular interpretation of Pilate in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon--an interpretation that ultimately got me undergraduate honors in English); moreover, this man is a tremendously influential public intellectual figure. Heck, he's even a giant at Harvard. Still, he is just another threat (a.k.a. black) in his hometown. When the officers responded to the call (as well they should have), they should have had some idea of who this pillar of the community is. Perhaps they did--which would make this even worse--but even if they did not, they SHOULD have recognized him. As a kid who grew up on a dusty Reservation over 2,500 miles away I eventually grew to recognize him just by paying attention to the culture.

Officers who are responding to calls should know that people who spent a lifetime building up a place in community don't enjoy being treated like thieves in their own home. Yes, it stings when you get called on your own ignorance of context. Sure, the police shouldn't have to memorize every individual in town, but if you can't recognize a townie/gownie who has been called one the top-25 most influential people in America, then you probably should expect a little tumult. Call him a jerk when you get back to your car, but leave the cuffs in their holder and save our country the embarrassment.


42 down, 8 to go.

Here's what you do:

Copy my note. Click on “notes” under tabs on your profile page. Select "write a new note" in the top right corner. Paste the copy in the body of the note. Delete my Xs and add your own. Once you've saved, don't forget to tag friends (including me) if you want to.

Just for fun, put an 0 beside the states where you have lived.

Airports don't count!

Alabama -
Alaska -
Arizona - 0
Arkansas - X
California -0
Colorado - X
Connecticut - X
Delaware -
Florida - X
Georgia - X
Hawaii -
Idaho -
Illinois - X
Indiana - X
Iowa - X
Kansas - X
Kentucky - X
Louisiana - X
Maine -
Maryland - X
Massachusetts - X
Michigan - X
Minnesota - X
Mississippi -
Missouri - X
Montana -
Nebraska - X
Nevada - X
New Hampshire - X
New Jersey - X
New Mexico - O
New York - X
North Carolina - X
North Dakota - O
Ohio - 0
Oklahoma - X
Oregon - X
Pennsylvania - 0
Rhode Island - X
South Carolina - X
South Dakota - X
Tennessee - X
Texas - X
Utah - X
Vermont -
Virginia - X
West Virginia - X
Wisconsin - X
Wyoming - X
Washington - X
Washington, DC - X


BSG Finale Scorecard

If you haven't seen it (and want to), STOP.

If you have (or don't care), proceed.

The good:

1. The character vignettes from Caprica. I think that we see that characters are sometimes more complicated than expected (Baltar) and sometimes exactly who we think they are (Lee).
2. Kara Thrace's end. When she basically evaporated (and nobody really protested or acted surprised), I think the "what is she" question became essentially moot. Exposition about her character became impossible (although I think it might be best explained through "Deus Ex Singularity." Like the pigeon in Lee Adama's character vignette (see #1 good), Kara was never going to be caught--merely helped out the door using the "drunken broom of morality."
3. The hell breaking loose on the Cylon colony--the happy exchange was a bit to pat. Glad to see a bit of darkness creeping in.
4. Sam Anders character really became a joy to behold in these last few episodes. What was basically a throwaway character became much, much deeper as he lost his humanity. This, coupled with the fact that his decline helped him re-connect with Kara Thrace not only derailed the inevitable USD between Starbuck and Apollo, it also opened up a whole range of personality facets in other characters (Doc Coddle, Tory, etc.)
5. Love, love, love the attention to the Dylan song as coordinates to Earth. As a former musician, this just plugs into my sappy dream of music as universal language (I have a similar love of math).
6. Really enjoyed how they revisited the Opera house scene with the same choreography and recast the characters based on what the audience has subsequently learned.
7. Glad Helo lived and got redemption. If any character deserved a chance at redemption, it was him.

The Bad

1. The flash foward to last week--hamfisted warnings about robots have already saturated the show. Please do NOT cheapen it with Battlestar Galactica 1980 callbacks. Nobody needs our crappy robots or break dancing to "spice up" what is already a Masala-like mixture.
2. The almost-positive ending. I was actually hoping that the show might end up in a dark, dark, pitchdark place. Of course, it's easy to say that with the happy ending, but I hoped that this might be the show to end as a cautionary tale.
3. CG Galactica getting a "broken back." It was embarrassingly bad imagery seeing the Galactica doing "the wave" after the final jump. The battle scenes were just awesome, but this just about undid those.

The Ambiguous

1. The explanation of a living Earth that we already saw nuked. I really think that they might have easily explained this by jumping through a singularity (and going back in time); however, because the rest of the fleet seems to not have done this, I can only shrug my shoulders at its irrelevance. I like the fact that they are trashing their technology, and even like the implication of the eternal return; however, the improbability of finding ANOTHER Earth with humans could have been handled a bit more smoothly.
2. President Rosalin's death. I like the fact that she had a realistically long and drawn-out demise (much like my father's was). I also like her long and steady heroism, even when she was being less than heroic in intent (ditto). I also love the way that Adama only got to have that hilltop view with her after her death. Seems fitting that a workaholic would only get the ghost of a retirement. Still, I can't help but feel that she was already dead.
3. Cavil killing himself. I like the Hitler-bunker moment in theory, but I still think that this was a bit of an expediency moment. Seems like his cowardice would likely only be overcome after a bit more of an ego melt. Kind of weak, I thought.


Goodnight Eclipse

It looks like they have turned out the lights at Eclipse. The sputtering economy dealt a death blow to a company that should have been crushed by a failed engine. It was nice knowing you.


Where were you when...

Describe where you were and what you were doing when the following world-changing events happened.

1.) Challenger space shuttle exploded (1986): I was at Apollo High School. My friend Ben Danielson asked me if it was a joke (I assured him it was). We then went to science class (Mrs. Blankenship?) where they turned on the television to show us the explosion.

2.) Berlin Wall falls down (1989): Did this fall down at one particular time? I remember the discussion surrounding it, and the images of some of the first pieces coming down. Still, I remember the images of the wall coming down in Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now" video more than the actual events.

3.) Oklahoma City federal building bombing (1995): This is pretty darn fuzzy as well. I don't think that Americans killing Americans is very traumatizing. We're pretty jingoistic and conceited, so failure or defeat by foreign powers seems to bruise our psyche pretty easily..

4.) OJ Verdict: I was in the graduate union at Penn State. People were a little shocked, but it was mostly *meh*.

5.) Princess Diana dies (1997): I was house sitting for a couple in Albuquerque. I was "breaking up" (getting dumped, really), by a long term girlfriend (she had a chance to live in Rome--who could blame her? Hell, I would have broken up with me for that chance). It was pretty darn traumatizing all around.
6.) Columbine massacre (1999): Don't really remember. I get more worked up when I hear about massive auto or plane fatalities. This is likely because I have no children. Virginia Tech horrified me MUCH more because I assume that High School is traumatizing (with the required attendance, the bullying, etc.) and that college is pretty darn ideal (it was for me). These incidents bring me back to earth, but don't really arrest me the way that other social traumas do.

7.) JFK Jr. Plane crash (1999): No idea. It was very saddening to me, though.

8.) Bush/Gore crazy election (2000): In Albuquerque finishing grad school

9.) September 11, (2001): Driving around Albuquerque. Driving into Sandia Labs, I thought it was maybe a small plane (denial). When I couldn't get cnn.com, I knew something was terribly wrong. I hit my head against a bookshelf when it started to dawn upon me. I had a dentist appointment that morning. When I left the base, there was a line a mile long to get on base (they were sealing it off. I got the worst cleaning ever, as the dental technicians were watching the television. On the way home, I heard Tom Brokaw saying "Oh my God!" when the first tower collapsed. After that, I called my partner and told her "everything has changed.'

10.) Space ship Columbia disintegrates (2003): This was at the tail end of when I owned a television. I turned on the t.v. because I was bored. My partner and I cried when we found out. It still gets to me.

11.) Hurricane Katrina hits (2005): I was in Ohio. Because the horror built up, I mostly remember the headlines more than the place I was (hope that makes you a little bit happy, newspaper folks).