Thursday, July 24, 2008

FYI, I post my off-the-cuff stuff -- including my thoughts on some of the stuff I'm watching -- on another blog now. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Jamie's School Dinners: This was the dinner ladies training camp episode; not sure where it fits in the series, as this was my first look at the show.

What an eye-opener! If this is the state of British school cafeterias, I weep for the students on this side of the pond. That pediatricians see many kids who are so backed up that they're vomiting half-formed feces is just beyond belief. Apparently, that's what a diet of "fizzy" drinks, chips (i.e., fries) and chicken fingers will do to your body; the saturated fat builds up around the colon to the point where nothing can pass. Can you believe that?

Overall, though, it was an inspiring show: that Oliver persevered despite the many obstacles is a level of public service that you don't often see or hear about these days. And that his cause is so important - in my opinion, and, clearly, his, anyway - is all the better. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hockey Night in Canada: the Edmonton Oilers at the Carolina Hurricanes - Game 1: It was all about the goalies: Ward stood on his head, making those two fantastic glove saves amongst others, and Roloson's out for the series. I just knew the game was over when Conklin had to come out with five minutes left in the third, and him with no playoff experience.

So, who do the Oilers go with now? Conklin or Markkanen? Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cirque du Soleil's Quidam: Extraordinary! While I'd seen many aspects of the show as part of La Nouba, this was still a treat: first, we were so close to the stage! And the beautiful costumes... At one point, this cowled figure slowly arced across the dome of the tent with what must've been a 20-foot cloak hanging down below him or her; it was so eerie and ethereal.

And then there was the couple in that balancing act: so graceful, and such impossible poses. I don't know that I've ever seen a better example of how beautiful the human body is.

I've seen four of these shows now, and each one has been worth every penny (and they've all cost lots of pennies). What surprised me was how well a show can travel: the other three shows I saw were permanent, on stages built specifically for them. All this one had was a metal frame that arced across the tent, and yet, they were able to do such amazing things.

Now, if only I could get my new diabolo working... Those girls made it look so easy. ;-) Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces: A very interesting show: based on an expedition conducted last summer to the wreck of the Titanic, it documented the discovery of two consecutive pieces of the ship's double hull some distance from the main site.

I especially enjoyed the revised "breakup" theory that incorporated these relatively undamaged pieces with the shredded steel in the upper portions of the ship around the break. Basically, the story told by all that steel isn't consistent with the - albeit, dramatic - raising of the stern 30 degrees in the air prior to the break. The revised theory - and, of course, it's just a theory at this point - tells of a much swifter sinking, once the upper decks started to split.

Fascinating, and freshly horrifying. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Protocols of Zion (2005): So many absolutes; so much hatred. I've commented on how I feel about simple explanations once today; that's enough.

I had read something a few years ago about the employees of an Israeli instant messaging company with an office in the World Trade Center being warned not to go to work on September 11, 2001 - and was immediately skeptical, of course - but I had no idea how pervasive and emphatic this belief in Jewish involvement in the tragedy was.

The director, Marc Levin, did an admirable job of walking the line on this delicate subject, especially considering how reluctant whole communities of people are to talk about Israel and America. I'm reading The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy right now, and, even at this early stage, it's clear that there's more to the relationship between the two countries than is openly discussed.

Levin, however, doesn't try to cast any particular light on this, or on Israel's relationship with the rest of the Middle East. He simply takes the pulse of a wide range of Americans - pointing out some obvious exaggerations along the way - and should be commended for that achievement.

Some might take exception to that statement, and I guess the personal experiences of Levin and his father could be taken as a "See, we aren't the bad guys" line; but, for me, that's an important point: we need to bring the nature of humanity to this discussion, with all of its competing ambitions and unique motivations. Otherwise, the absurdity of these Zionist conspiracies can't be fully appreciated. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!
Too Hot Not To Handle: This HBO documentary was a bit sensational, but enjoyable nonetheless. See, even though I didn't agree with all that was presented, or how it was presented, I loved all the recommendations that came out of it: buying locally grown food, building more renewable-resource-based sources of power (e.g., wind, solar), hybrid vehicles, etc. The more people that latch on to those good ideas - for whatever reason - the happier I am. :-)

I guess the biggest problem I had with the show was the leap it made from "greenhouse" gases to global warming, using the ambiguous term 'contributing'. I would've liked them to spend more time explaining this contribution, and the extent of it. After all, these gases probably aren't the only factor contributing to global warming, and if they're in the middle of a pack of, say, five or six factors - I'm pulling these numbers out of my a** to prove a point - then leaving people with the impression that cutting back on the burning of fossil fuels by 80% will solve this problem is being disingenuous: tackling other factors might be more productive, or, and I think this is more likely, acknowledging that at least some of these factors are out of our control, and will obviously dampen any measures we implement.

Anyway, as I said, good recommendations, even if the presentation was dumbed down. I know I have lots more research to do on this subject - Michael Crichton has done a lot of work on the subject, I understand - and any show that tries to convince me otherwise with its nice, neat package just bugs me. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Sting (1973): No sense bein' a grifter if it's just like bein' a citizen. So many great quotes in this one. If the story was a little tired - and it wasn't as tired in its day, if at all, I'd wager - the superb cast, dialogue and presentation more than made up for it. Everything, right down to the cut-scenes, score and sets - who had the wonderful idea for a carousel, I wonder - was just perfect. One of those pleasures to watch that's gettin' rarer and rarer, unfortunately. Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!