Revenge of the Slovenian
The Spurs have been rolling along impressively. Other than losses to Houston and Dallas, the team has marched through its schedule. And then a few days back they came across Sacramento. Artest was back on the team yet he wasn't the reason for the Kings victory. Left for dead point guard Beno Udrih was picked up off waivers after the Spurs traded him to Minnesota who as quickly as possible cut him from the team.
With his career in jeopardy, Beno was picked up by Sacramento, a team in desperate need for a point guard due to Mike Bibby's injury absence. The Spurs really had no reason to play particularly hard because Beno was now their opponent, yet the team played extremely flat. Was Eva upset with Tony? Is that why he was outplayed by Beno? It seems that can't be the explanation.
Somehow the whole team came out flat. It was very odd. It reminded me of a game in last years playoffs versus Phoenix. I'm thinking of the game following the Robert Horry elbow to Steve Nash.
In the game after this took place, the Spurs came out in the first half similarly flat. It was as if their conscious made them feel guilty for how the events transpired. Not that they did anything wrong, but it seemed as if they were afraid to exert their dominance. In the second half they turned things around, which after a few games here and there resulted in this...
...which had shades and similarities, oddly, to this clip from an infamous 80s documentary...
Flash forward back to Sacramento a few days ago, for this...
Had Beno ever played that well before? Was it a fluke? It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes for him. If only he could have played that well for San Antonio. His time here was clearly a point of controversy for the fans. At what point was Beno to blame. At what point was Pop to blame. Given how many opportunities Beno was given it would be a stretch to consider him another "one that got away."
And since I'm on a roll consider this following high light reel. Whereas the them has been players that leave the team, it's odd to see footage of a player before they arrived in San Antonio. Consider this out of nowhere profile of Brent Barry...
What happened to that guy? This all gets back to the Spurs "system". Given the difficulty many players have in adjusting to playing here, one would wonder how the team is as succesful as it is. It must be a zen thing, something about denying one's individuality for the greater good of the team.
No Country For Old Men, Again?
Somehow on the way to see the new Sidney Lumet film, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, I found myself seeing the Coen Brothers movie again. The Lumet film had received ridiculous praise from a friend saying, 'it's the best film I've in the last 2 years." Then again, a different friend claimed that No Country For Old Men was the best film in the last 10 years! And yet the lone commenter last week to OTS thought it was a letdown. I suppose this is how the Oscar season works - over the top praise balanced out by under the top critique. And now I've alienated my one reader. Not true.
Homeostatsis seems to be at work but that doesn't do justice to the film. Having seen it again, I was amused at how I didn't fully catch that the film is supposed to be a period piece set in 1980. I still think it could have been contemporary, and in another sense, should have been contemporary. The period piece aspect undercuts the notion that this film is less caricaturized. True, it isn't near as heavy as the hillbilly movie, but the framework for the Coen style is present. I realize the novel was set in 1980, but well...
Perhaps they had a change of heart once they began direction? I still think it will win at least a few awards here and there.
Next week, hopefully, there will be time for something new.
And for no reason at all, let's leave with this, a clip from Neil Diamond Parking Lot...
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
In this increasingly less unipolar world, the final days of our Information
Revolution near with an urgency our forebears could never
have predicted. The pending synchronicity of information is not to be
feared. It is destiny. Like American oil struck beneath Saudi Arabian
sands. Or slave labor wrapped in Colombian banana leaves. Or space
— our final military frontier.
And so the Titans line up. General Electric powers the media blender; Disney disinters the stained mints of pop oblivion, and Liberty Media rises to challenge the un-American skeptics. In a blizzard of confetti and television static (there will, of course, be the shortest of viewing interruptions as uncooperative station managers are rounded up), we can march into the imperative über-merger, quickly followed by appointment of a Media Czar.
Anyone familiar with the antics of Al Jazeera knows it must happen — and quickly. Images of dead children and mourning mothers do not win American wars. And the news value of airing interviews of Osama before the CIA has cleared the footage? Outrageous.
There are still subversives among us. Specifically, websites like Reclaimthemedia.org and Common Cause are agitating to resist the wave of ownership consolidation that our faithful agent Kevin Martin, chair of the Federal Communications Commission, hopes to bring about at a closed-door vote on December 18. We know these traitors must be dispatched for the good of the Homeland.
Also out to spoil our message of domination from reaching the loyalist public are those cursed digital billboard opponents, those who complain that rotating slogans like "Dirty, Sexy, Money" somehow injure their sanity. Of course, TxDOT has set their meeting for the morning. We give ungrateful Americans exactly 16 hours notice. Nine in the morning, it will be done.
In Austin, it starts; You have been warned.
[READ: A great party. A good time.]
View the coming billboard bacchanal here and here and then write Scenic Texas and tell'em to butt out.
And just soes you know what to look for (and warn your children, parents, classmates, etc.) memorize the soothing sound of TxDOT's offering…
The proposal by the Texas Department of Transportation would not allow moving images on billboards or flashing lights. The signs would display a static, electronic message.
"We think it is responsible public policy to facilitate public discussion and consideration of new technology that impacts an industry we regulate," said John Campbell, TxDOT right of way director. "We want to hear from the public on this issue."
To reduce distractions to motorists, several restrictions are proposed, including:
* Each sign must only be visible from only one direction of travel.
* Each message must be displayed for at least eight seconds.
* Changing of messages must be accomplished within two seconds and simultaneously on the entire sign face.
* Intensity of the display must be automatically adjustable to prevent glare and distraction.
This week was relegated dedicated to grinding through schoolwork watching films. It was a lost weekend, but not that sort. I was intrigued by this email that I received days ago...
..."Dr. Stringer will present an annotated history of video activism, tactical media and citizen journalism. The evening will include clips from Soviet film trains, Cuban newsreels, the US-based Newsreel group ACT UP, indymedia and others."
I headed over to the downtown UTSA campus for a 7pm screening. Though Professor Raymond's screenings are mainly attended by students, these periodic events are open to the public. With a new handlebar I raced down Broadway, but no sight of the mysterious backwards riding, beer drinking cyclist. A right turn on Travis took me west towards Santa Rosa hospital. A miscalculation brought me past El Mercado which meant a two block stretch on the I-10 access road, but it all worked out.
I arrived perfectly on time. Dr. Stringer began with a segment from a Chris Marker documentary The Last Bolshevik about the Soviet filmmaker Medvedkin who was the force behind the Soviet train films, a project in the 1920s where they would travel across Russia, going from town to town, village to village documenting the life of the worker. The train served as a rolling studio, with film processing and full editing capabilities. The turnaround time was quite fast, with film often being screened the next day, if not that night.
Medvedkin discussing the old days while standing next to the train.
I can't remember what's up with these guys. I want to say this was the film crew.
Next, in the march through time were the films of Santiago Alvarez. Alvarez made films for Castro in Cuba with no money and no time. In his first 40 years he didn't make a single film. In his last 40 years he made over 600. It's difficult to imagine a more prolific career. Sure, King Vidor (formerly from San Antonio) made films longer than perhaps anyone in Hollywood but its a different sort of comparison. I suppose I just wanted to mention King Vidor for some reason...
Alvarez made the most with the least. At times his style was frenetic, which is even more difficult to grasp when one considers the labor required to cut film by hand. Current digital non-linear editing systems makes rapid fire editing much more accessible, and the access to this technology very much is a major effect on the current style. So for Alvarez to pull this off under tight time and money constraints is fascinating.
A comparison to Stan Brakhage, holed up in a cabin outside Denver, editing his own rapid fire montages would be interesting but probably also not relevant. I suppose I just wanted to mention Stan Brakhage for some reason...
Next, we watched segments of a documentary about the "Battle in Seattle", the WTO protest of 1999. In this image, a delegate of the WTO discusses how they are blockaded inside their convention center.
In this image, protestors revel outside on the streets of Seattle. An interesting discussion began after this film. The fetishization of protest footage from these events seems to dominate both the mainstream media and independent guerilla video. The huge difference is in the perspective.
After the screening I biked over to Liberty Bar to meet people from the screening and continue the discussion. We headed east on Market and then took a left on Navarro. A right turn on St. Mary's took us past the Current office, which from there was only a short distance away from Liberty Bar. There was an opinion that the Liberty Bar's days are numbered at its current location because of a lease issue. I can't imagine any other business being successful there, much less getting a permit. I know the engineers have given the building a clean bill of health, but I feel like the place will somehow crumble if Liberty Bar leaves.
The Best Film of the Year?
No Country For Old Men, the new film by the Coen brothers. Its hard to imagine them returning to legitimate filmmaking after The Lady Killers (a flat out remake of a Ealing Studio comedy, but with the lame formula that Steve Martin seems to have embraced by pairing himself with rappers to increase the market audience and create dumb humor from 4th grade racial dynamics.) The George Clooney lawyer slapstick movie (I can't or don't want to remember the name) wasn't a great step for the Coens either. I'd even go so far as to say that their hillbilly movie was the first step downwards.
Anyway, No Country For Old Men, for the first 2/3 is pure tense action. There aren't special effects but a creepy cat and mouse game ensues that is probably the best filmmaking they've done yet. The last portion of the film seems like an add on, even though its where the films thesis is developed. When I hear a long speech I can never pay attention because it feels like a long speech and draws attention to itself. The film ends this way. I don't think it weakened the film but it took it a different direction. Tommy Lee Jones becomes the voice of the film, even if he isn't the heart of it.
I can easily see 5 to 6 Oscar nominations for this film, and I think they will win Best Picture. Javier Bardem will win Best Supporting Actor. Roger Deakins might win Best Cinematography.
One reason for the film's success might be that the Coens have returned to their roots. This film is much more like Blood Simple than anything else they've done recently. In some ways this is Fargo with desert instead of snow, but the caricatures are mainly gone, however that might be because West Texas ranchers don't really express much so the caricature is in its absence.
Next week I hope to see the new Sidney Lumet film. This too is being hailed as a return to form for an old master, even if Ethan Hawke is in it.
From the Taco Front
For the last two weeks I've had my normal Saturday lunch at Garcia's at 842 Fredericksburg road. Though I thought their brisket taco was the best taco in town, I think they've outdone themselves with another item not on their menu - the pork loin taco. I'd never had one before but, well...it's too much to describe. For something less than $3, I can't imagine anything tasting better. This truly is mastery at work.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Today is Universal Children's Day. Who knew?
I'm guessing not the unknown number of innocents locked up across the country by Homeland Security as undocumented immigrants. We didn't have time to crank out an expose since the event only came into the inbox a few hours ago.
However, reliable sources have it that "more than 120 U.S.-based non-governmental organizations and advocates working to protect children issued a Call to Action to the U.S. and the international community to end the practice of detaining migrant children and ensure that these children receive the necessary care and services."
"Many of these children are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian," said Richard Parkins, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries and Chair of Refugee Council USA, in the release.
"They may have fled to escape persecution, trafficking, gang violence or family abuse, and they need urgent protection.
The Call to Action is a plea to Bush and the U.S. Congress to protect migrant children. And then some.
Alternatives to detention programs should be fully funded so that the detention of migrant children and families with children is a measure of last resort and only for the most exceptional circumstances.
The Department of Homeland Security should immediately transfer unaccompanied migrant children to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and children in immigration detention or custody should receive legal services as well as education, medical and mental health care.
The statement also calls on the United States to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child — an important human rights treaty that has been signed by every country BUT THE U.S. AND SOMALIA. [Emphasis: mine; Outrage: ours?]
"The U.S. should be a model for the international community on the protection of migrant children", said Andrea Black, Executive Director of Detention Watch Network.
"We urge our government to act now to fully protect these most vulnerable children."
Sounds reasonable enough. But this U.S.-Somali thing... Makes you imagine all sorts of stuff. I mean are their child fighters really covert CIA operatives training to tackle Iran or Osama. And would that, you know, make it okay?
I mean, as Wolf Blitzer went to great pains to grill our Demotic candidates in Vegas: It's Human Rights or Security, right? Healthy children or our War on Terror.
Tell the truth now. If 50 Somali child "warriors" could take out Osama, wouldn't you give the innocents over to intensive military training, likely torture and death? What about 500? 1,000?
If you're not offended by this course of questioning, I suggest you turn in your citizenship papers now. Hand them over to some morally superior, though unrecognized, immigrant.
Preferably a child.
Picking Up the Pace
Last Thursday Artpace unveiled new works from its 3 artists in residence - Chris Evans, Matthew Buckingham, and Alex Rubio.
Evans was the international artist coming from England/Germany; Buckingham was the U.S. artist from New York City, and Rubio was the Texas artist, though in his particular case he was already here.
From L to R: Matthew Drutt (Executive Director), Chris Evans, Alex Rubio, Matthew Buckingham, and Alex Farquharson (Curator)
The discussion with the artists was quite good I thought. Though at times I feel like work should not need to be explained to be appreciated, in this case, hearing the backstory on how each artist came to find their inspiration was informative, humorous, lively, and engaging. Moments like this, in my opinion, stand out from the routine of shuffling through local art galleries.
Farquharson spoke well. At one point someone behind me questioned him on a comment he made in how he couldn't compare Rubio's work to the other two artists. The question created a small quiet moment and seemed to take Farquharson off guard, but he responded that he couldn't compare any of the three artists. The question suggested bad intent but I didn't sense that to be actually true. If anything Farquharson seemed to have much respect for all the artists. Unlike discussions like this in the past, everyone got to speak and express their viewpoints.
Though I got there early enough to get a good seat, I didn't predict the camera crew would be setting up right in front of me.
At a lull in the action I noticed this on the wall. There was a lot of dirigible themed art on the walls but I was focusing on the new work and didn't get the full skinny. But was this one of the dirigibles?
After the discussion the crowd went various directions: to each of the three artists work, and also the free booze. On the way downstairs I noticed a bunch of bikes parked against this wall. Though fairly inconspicuous, the presence of the bikes expanded the dynamic slightly.
(Speaking of bikes, when riding downtown on Friday night I came across the most amazing cyclist I've seen yet in San Antonio. Some guy was riding by sitting on his handlebars while facing the other way. While drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. In other words, he was riding forward but facing the wrong way. I'm not sure how he knew how to navigate. Add this to the fact that he was holding a beer and smoking a cigarette while sitting on the handlebars. The moment was surreal. I asked a few other cyclists about this guy and they had seen him as well. Evidently watching him ride through the drive through at Jack n the Box is just as entertaining. More on him later, if possible...)
Buckingham's work might have been the most enigmatic and intellectual, I think. Though I was only in the room for about 5 minutes, the video projection seemed to contain itself to this action of writing. Other works included metal encased time capsules set to be open in the distant future, as in 1000 years from now. The dates for the opening indirectly hint at the objects contained inside the capsule but I had no legitimate guesses. No mention was made of what is actually inside.
Evans' show was based around his video project entitled The Fantasist. Though he went in to great detail describing its futuristic science fiction elements, all I can remember is the joy he had in describing it. The facts of the story now allude me. Had I grabbed a copy of his treatment perhaps I would remembered. I had thought that these copies were for display but several people in the crowd grabbed a copy for themselves.
Here, the video for The Fantasist is about to begin...
This photo from Evans' show accompanies a letter written to the CEO of a local drug company. Based on my 'expert' knowledge of San Antonio, I'm going to guess that the building in the background is the AT&T building behind him to the West. The letter was humorous and recalled other notorious epistles.
Evans mentioned in the discussion his anxiety in trying to find a way to draw inspiration from San Antonio for his work. With many of the ideas and places having already been 'taken' by past residents, the challenge seemed greater. And this raised an interesting point. Though international residents might seem to be the most established and successful of the three residents, in fact they are the most out of their element, and as Evans confessed, the process of finding a connection with the city to inspire their work can feel daunting.
Contrast this with Rubio's work. Being at home he was able to pull from his own base of support and create a show that was immense in its magnitude and stunning in its visualization.
The room was covered with moments such as this. The overall lighting was kept dark with pockets of neon. Overall, it felt something like a Tim Burton dream set in its fantastical elements but completely San Antonio in its inspiration and focus.
This gargantuan shopping cart was the centerpiece of the room.
The last local artist I recall being a resident was Katie Pell, and she too "filled the room." Perhaps there's something to this...
Those thoughts and others followed me to the roof terrace where discussions ranged from what was opening for the Second Saturday to stuff...
On Sunday I found time for another matinee. American Gangster is the film with Denzel Washington about an African American from Harlem who took on the Italian mafia and created his own heroin empire by working directly with his own "Vietnam Connection" for getting the drugs into the states.
The film was directed by Ridley Scott. After the embarrassing Oscar for his Gladiator its difficult to see one of his films as one of "his films." Now, it seems like just another film. Of course he's still much better than his clownish brother Tony Scott who uses cinematic style as a crutch to hide his obvious lack of storytelling skills. At first he just made popular Tom Cruise vehicles wherein Tom's characters were always brazenly fighting to get out of the shadow of their more successful and stern fathers (Top Gun, Days of Thunder...though Tom continued this trend with films without Tony...Cocktail, A Few Good Men, Magnolia?!)
American Gangster was good because of its performances by Russel Crowe, Denzel, and countless goombahs. Of course it was a classic case of schizophrenic Hollywood moralizing where Denzel is introduced as someone who sets people on fire (first shot in the film) to someone who got a bad break from the real bad guys - bad cops!
I don't know, I suppose I prefer my anti-villains to not have to actually be heroes in the end. The film is long at over 2.5 hours. But overall no regrets in seeing it.
Ginobili has been the true star of the team so far. Though some have argued that he's been overlooked on his own team, some have called for him to be front runner for both 6th Man and MVP. Me, I'm still intrigued by Argentinians love for long, gladiator-esque hair. Maybe its a soccer thing.
Tonight and Friday will be interesting games as they play both Dallas and Houston. I briefly saw Houston lose to the Lakers last night. Games like this tear at one's internal compass. Somehow both teams should lose, yet I found myself hoping the Lakers would win. Seeing Derek Fisher brings back this awful moment which erased a possible incredible moment...
I suppose its my grand attraction to tragedy that would make me relive that moment. Those thoughts and others to follow next week...
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
contributor and esteemed pop-music critic Serene Dominic (author of the
definitive look at Burt Bacharach's song catalog) recently profiled SA
trio Girl in a Coma for Phoenix
and subsequently communed with the band for a podcast interview when
they made a tour stop in the Valley of the Sun.
Throwing out the musician-interview playbook, Dominic instead allowed the girls to choose between three types of prepared questions: Job interview, James Lipton, and Barbara Walters. Bassist Jenn Alva took the job-interview questions, adroitly deflecting an inquiry about her greatest weakness. Singer Nina Diaz fielded the Lipton questions and volunteered her favorite curse word (three guesses) and her least-favorite sound. Drummer Phanie Diaz gamely handled the inevitable "What kind of tree would you like to be?" with an inclusive response guaranteed to satisfy lovers of pines and redwoods alike. Best of all, Dominic pinned her down on the great existential choices of our day: Ashlee Simpson or O.J. Simpson?; O.J. Simpson or Ashford & Simpson?
For their efforts, Girl in a Coma walked away with a prized picture of Dominic's parents making out, and the satisfaction of knowing they're appearing on the first episode of his pop-culture podcast.
To check out the podcast, go to the following link: http://www.killingtimeproductions.com/content/serene/
Clubbers in San Anto want to recycle City-owned CPS's energy
policy and turn it into something that will last. Of course, first they
have to get the clunker to the curb. That will take some doing.
At a press conference this morning, members distributed reports from the steps of City Hall. The pages said a lot about saving energy and generating the same from sources like wind, solar, and biomass. But nowhere do they say what CPS should do about its recent commitment of $206 million to continue a partnership with NRG for two new nuclear plants in Matagorda County. Then there was a small matter of another $10 million to explore an ill-defined "other nuclear options."
I would suggest that the city's first course of corrective action is to stop payment on that check.
Only then can we can get about the business of turning our coal- and nuke-heavy energy policy into something that ushers in the Kingdom of cleanliness and good neighborliness, etc., ad infinitum. No mistake about it, the Sierra Club is right to bring options to the table, options that don't rain fire unto our children's and children's children's cow-licked little heads. Just that we're gonna need that $216 million to clean up after the two plants we have now.
It's going to take a lot more than that — $300 million — just to dispose of the trash from our two existing nuke plants at the South Texas Project, according to CPS's most recent fiscal report. That's if we can find a place to dump it.
Already the cost of ultimate disposal of radioactive waste (which just about the entire plants will qualify for) has risen. In 1998, it was expected to cost $311 million. 2004's figure was $397.4.
While the Dems are stumbling over themselves on Yucca Mountain (that little place we've spent billions trying to turn into a national high-level radioactive waste dump) the site's future is still in limbo.
With Yucca's failing you can bet we would see even more billions needed for decommissioning costs of STP1&2, as rising construction costs tied to a weak dollar and rising crude prices guarantee.
It's a perfect time for CPS board members and city leaders to read and reread the Club's concluding paragraphs, which do offer this gem on nuke power:
Un-Ironic Sports Analysis
That could possibly be one of the highlights they play when Manu is inducted into the basketball hall of fame. Given his macabre consistent highlevel of success, how could he not be? But that is a tangent for another time. The Spurs steamrolled through their first three below average opponents and won fairly easily, even when they were goofing off at stretches. Except Manu who has stormed out of the gate and is playing at a very high level. Supposedly he took the whole Summer off. If so it shows because he seems to have turned back the clock to his 2005 level of dominance. Hopefully people will no longer look at his 2005 playoffs as an abberation.
(And speaking of Summers off, I've heard rumors that Dirk Nowitzki, the MVP/whipping boy of the Dallas Mavericks took the whole Summer off as well. I've heard reports that he was in the Australian desert the whole time, perhaps "walking the Earth?" I haven't seen much written about this but there is something mythical and unusual about a millionaire walking the Earth to find himself after a humiliating defeat. Perhaps this will be his George Foreman rumble in the jungle moment as he comes back a new person. I haven't seen any Mavericks games yet (why would I really?) so my hopeful analysis is probably just that.)
The Spurs lost to the Rockets, though Manu's dunk will probably be all that is remembered from that game in the long term. The Rockets played at a playoff level. For us, Manu played at a playoff level. The rest of the team didn't take it to the same level and that's probably the simplest way to describe why we lost. Tim is easing into the season as he often does, which is probably wise. Tony has been playing well and his shot looks better than ever. I'm intrigued to see some of the new guys play but our backup point guard isn't getting consistent minutes so perhaps some expectation is not being met. Our other new player Ime didn't play much versus the Rockets, but hopefully he will as he learns the "system."
In going to First Friday it seems I've settled into a consistent pattern of approaching. Some might call this a "rut". I enjoy approaching Southtown by bike and flying past the "Weekend"-esque line of cars jammed together on S. Alamo.
But in doing so I'm probably missing some of the more interesting elements as they hover in the outer orbit. Nonetheless, here is some evidence of what I saw, and most of it is at Bluestar, which might be part of my issue.
I went first to Cactus Bra where Leslie Raymond of Potter Belmar had an installation with a title that I believe was called "The Garden".
My friend had to go get a drink but I hung back for a few minutes and absorbed myself in the radiant energy.
Minutes later (10?, 20?) I found myself at the UTSA Sattelite space. Perhaps what stuck with me most was this poster, right next to the bathroom. I appreciate iconic propaganda. From what I remember these two pieces related to the Basques.
The ETA doesn't seem to be our friend, if we believe the poster. ZP is our friend? I know nothing. I want to know more.
Here, inside the UTSA space were fotos by an assortment of artists. Though the presentation occasionally was a bit rickety, the photos were solid. I understand there is an ongoing conversation in the photographic world about the documentation of despair. As writers are driven to whiskey, it seems documentary photographers are drawn to dilapidation.
An unusal real estate listing.
From another angle.
Overhearing their conversation, it seemed this gentleman was one of the artists.
This inscription perhaps was even better than the foto.
I went back outside and saw a gathering down the dark alley.
Here, artwork didn't need galleries. Open, as in open air.
Laser light shows supposedly began in San Antonio. Something about Pink Floyd and a bag of dirt weed. Rumors...who knows how they really started. Seen here is a local rapper getting after it. A continually evolving crowd came over to check out the spectacle.
After the back alley moments, we went up some stairs to a loft space that might have been called The Loft. The nautical painting might have been the most interesting thing there.
Or was it this green Vietnamese walking pig? The green color was somewhat a result of the flourescent light being at 4100 degrees Kelvin, corresponding to the color green as we know it, or something like that...
And as most often, the night ended at Beethoven's. There were no majestic speeches by Churchill (which happened months previously), but this gentleman lorded over the bar charmingly, giving commentary on the Spurs game which played on a screen to camera right. The Spurs won that game easily.
Outside a reggae band kept things mellow.
On Sunday I saw the Clooney film Michael Clayton. I wanted to see to Darjeeling Limited but the preciousness of Wes Anderson seemed too much to bear. I just had a bad feelinga about it. Michael Clayton lived up to the positive reviews. Many reviews however were that it was too slow, which only reinforced the dubiousness of pace. Though the action wasn't quick the actual pace of the story events was brisk. Of course this is in contrast to many films with no story to tell but are presented in rapid fire order to create the sensation of motion.
The lost idealist lawyer story is often gold. The ghost of "The Verdict" hangs over the film and if pressed could be part of this equation, Michael Clayton = Verdict meets Erin Brockovich (sic).
Sunday matinees are usually good times. I'm not sure what I'll see next.
And so goes another week on the streets of San Antonio. As always, to be continued...
Five years ago, Congress had a fit of conscience regarding nuclear
power. The power plants, each with the potential to spew deadly
radioactivity into air and water, were a potential problem to more than
the four-and-a-half million people living within 10 miles of the 110
plants operating in the United States. They were a threat to almost 22
million people living within 20 miles of the plants.
That was the new economic reckoning in 2002, anyway.
So they decided that a program that distributes anti-radiation potassium iodide pills to those 4.5 million folks should be expanded.
Now, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission isn't fond of the idea according to a recent USA Today article.
It makes the over-extended and leaky plants seem, somehow, dangerous when the government is in the business of doling out pills to protect people from thyroid cancer. Huh. Don't say?
So they are leaning on the White House to use a loophole in the original bill to kill the measure and instead consider alternatives to the pills, including providing uncontaminated food and relying on evacuations to protect a public at risk of exposure.
That Massachusetts Dem Ed Markey told the paper that potassium iodide "is a simple, cheap, proven drug that can save countless lives, especially children, in the event of a nuclear release."
Sure there's that. But what about the reputation of nuclear power. I mean, they've got issues. Considering the recent cooling tower collapse at Vermont Yankee, every little bit helps.
Maybe it'd be worth hashing it out at:
Now here's a fun game I like to call Nuke Beach...First, open up this map of Matagorda County, home to South Texas Project, where our two existing nuke plants are hard at work. You'll see STP there just northwest of Matagorda when you zoom in.
Into the Wild
This Sean Penn movie is very much a surprise. The last film I remember him directing might have been one of the worst directing efforts I can remember. Something about Jack Nicholson getting weepy and the police force. I had almost driven it out of my mind out of respect for Penn because I think he's actually kind of cool. Yeah, he attaches himself too often to films packed with Meisner crying moments. Yet, in his "private" life he's always in the news going to some disaster area because he can and generally seems interested in helping people. That he is perceived as a fool in the right wing media for being an out of touch idealist is a crucial point to remember...
Making a film is often a therapeutic act, which is paradoxical because the process of making a film is typically dysfunctional. (I suppose the therapy is for previous events and this is what makes it addictive.) For Penn to choose this story to tell can't be an accident. The similarities between Penn and the lead real life character in Into the Wild are too close. Both are free spirits who jump right into the middle of crazy experiences and as mentioned, their actions have prompted a great deal of divisive debate. Penn's true inspiration for making the film will probably remain a mystery, perhaps even to him. But in watching the film the closeness to the main character is deep and atypical. Put another way, this isn't a Stanley Kubrick film by any stretch.
The acting in Into the Wild is real without having the sort of deep actorly moments that Penn seems drawn to as an actor. The cinematography is epic. The editing channels a long sprawling story into as focused a narrative as could be hoped for. The music by Eddy Vedder is loose and downplayed, and adds surpising depth. After leaving the theater, its hard to imagine the film without Vedder's songs. And I didn't even think I like Vedder, which makes it all the more surprising.
I can't imagine this film doing well at all at the box office, and the soundtrack for sale at Starbucks will probably make more money. Still, this has to be considered one of the better movies of the year so far. It doesn't scream Oscar bait like many films that will begin to debut as we get closer to the new year. But who knows, perhaps it will get an award or two. If so, it would add some random integrity to the Academy. I'm not sure if it would see it again, but I would listen to the soundtrack.
I thought I was done with the movie but then I saw this interview with Charlie Rose...