Friday, December 30, 2005


What do you think?

Life has been reduced to a spectacle; all relationships are transactional in capitalist society. Capitalism has created "pseudo-needs" to continually ensure increased consumption. The experience of living has been switched from the point of production to the point of consumption, making modern capitalism a consumer society. The individual, or worker, is no longer recognized as a producer, but courted as a consumer. We don't experience life; we observe it through films, television and other media.

Monday, December 26, 2005

King Kong

I've been so busy with the holidays and with working my retail job pre-holiday that I did not post anything about seeing King Kong, which I did on Dec. 16. It is unbelievable -- a great movie. Yes, I can quibble about this and that, but its a really good movie. Naomi Watts is great and Kong is a better actor than half of Hollywood. Jack Black is also very good. You will believe Kong is real. It is long -- be prepared (Entertainment Weekly listed good points at which to take a bathroom break -- for me, its the insect scene because I just can't stand slug-like bugs). Some stuff is over the top, but like I said, overall its great and the things that are wrong with it don't take away from the overall experience. It is a great movie and definately needs to be seen on the big screen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Old and Medical Care

So I read an interesting story yesterday about a woman who was found alive in the rubble of her home in Pakistan two months after the earthquake. After the local villagers found her, she was so unresponsive that they figured she'd die soon anyway, and left her for dead in a tent. Two days later, when an outside medical team arrived, the villagers told them about the woman and the medical team took charge of her. It is possible with a lot of medical care that this woman may return to a normal life.

What struck me about this was the practicality of the villagers. This woman was nearly dead anyway, so they moved on to spending their time and resources on those who could most -- and importantly, for longer term -- benefit.

It made me think of how impractical our medical care system is in America where heavy emphasis is put on keeping old people alive. The entire system is geared toward crisis anyway, rather than toward preventive care. (I have never had a doctor send me a reminder that I was due for an annual physical -- never.) This may be in large part because of how health insurance works in this country -- I'm not sure.

But I've always found it strange that doctors will spend tons of time and resources (tests, etc) on old people but only in a crisis do the same for middle age people. Now, the middle aged person with some minor health issues is going to benefit a lot more, as is that person's family and indeed society as a whole (keeping a worker healthy, etc) from better medical care. But the bulk of aggressive medical care goes to old people. I don't get it.

I'm 51, so its not like I'm some 20-something complaining about old farts. I have just never understood why our medical system is geared in this way. Its non-sensical. For example, why do we give flu shots to the elderly when its a proven fact that giving them to children is a much better way of cutting down on the spread of flu?

Part of it is the bizarre American inability to accept death as a natural part of life. You know, no matter how much you love your parents, when they get into their 80s, they're doing to die soon. You have to accept that. And spending tens of thousands of dollars on medical care at the end of their lives makes no sense. None at all. Not to even mention how it drives up the cost of health insurance. Bizarre.

Feeding the Base

I told a co-worker (3 more days -- I need a job!) earlier that the Iranian president saying all that silly stuff about the Holocaust being a myth was very much like the nutcase right's BS about the "war on Christmas." Its just BS designed to feed the base, to keep the base riled up about meaningless crap that no action can ever be taken on. I have to say, though, I've been enjoying Keith Olbermann's nightly take-down of O'Reilly for all the shit he's just making up as he goes along in his rants about the "war on Christmas." Hilarious!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Richard Pryor

I've always been a huge fan of Richard Pryor. His appearance on Lily Tomlin's short-lived TV show is seared into my memory. One of my favorite movies is "Blazing Saddles" which he co-wrote. One of my favorite movie lines is his from "Silver Streak" when Gene Wilder is in blackface: "I just hope we don't run into any Muslims." A great, groundbreaking entertainer. He will be missed.

Tookie Williams, Facism, etc

I'm completely shocked at two posts I just read (Atrios and Kevin Drum) saying "I oppose the death penalty, but if anyone deserved it, it's Tookie Williams." I have exactly the opposite take. I, too, oppose the death penalty for lots of reasons. But if anyone has demonstrated that he regretted his previous thug life and was trying to make amends, it was Tookie Williams. Yeah, he's a gangsta and did some horrible things. But his later life was one of trying to keep others from making the mistakes he did. Is that not worth some forgiveness?

The most repulsive thing to me is how Christians can be for the death penalty. What I don't get about a lot of Christians is that they don't seem to understand that the whole point of Jesus was that he came to change the old ways. Now I'm not Christian, never have been, but it seems to me that Jesus was saying "hey, you know the ways of those old Jews? Fuggedaboutit. Here's the new way." And the new way was love, compassion, forgiveness, etc.

Anyway, the whole Tookie Williams thing, coming after my own state executed the 1,000 person since the death penalty was reinstated, has just added to my state of upset at the madness engulfing this nation. I have some European friends who lived here briefly but fled with some very bad feelings about the US. And its very, very difficult to make a case for our country right now.

Recently, I came across this Sinclair Lewis statement: "When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." So, so true -- and I wonder if its happening now.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Incompetent Losers

I thought this was interesting -- portraying the Republicans as losers who can't and won't:

President Loser: Let us count the things that were lost on Bush's watch, then let us hang them around his neck, like big French medals. He immediately lost the budget surplus. Then he lost the World Trade Center. Damn near lost the Pentagon too. Then he lost America's moral standing in the world. He lost an entire American city---New Orleans. Nobody's ever lost a whole American city before. Then, he lost the War in Iraq.

Loot and Pollute defines all their policies. Loot Iraq, and leave a disaster behind. Loot the treasury and leave deficits behind. Pollute the air, pollute the water, just so that this month's Enron can get their loot.

The National Incompetence Party. They can't run a war. They can't run an economy. They can't reinforce the levees when the hurricanes are coming. They can't reconstruct an American city. They can't reconstruct a foreign country they bombed to bits. They can't negotiate an international coalition. They can't create jobs. They can't balance a budget. They can't even avoid being indicted.

Here's the whole thing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Much Fun

I had a hard time tearing myself way from playing this over and over and over...

Franken's Truth

Just finished Al Franken's latest book and its another good one. Highly recommended for all progressives.

Good Laugh

I love this website and today's entry is particularly good.

Support the Arts

I've been helping my artist friend promote her participation in a local art tour and will be at her house tomorrow to continue helping out. Here's her website.