Monday, February 28, 2011

is the circle jerk our media future?

It's got to be better than this.

Tell me it's better than this.

Confirm for me that Arianna Huffington really is nothing more than a name-dropping star-fucking money-hungry wannabe who may have succeeded at accomplishing her short term goals.

Here's from her lede on the Huffington Post today.

Arianna Huffington: Bill Maher Saves the Oscars... At Least for Me

For my money, this year's Academy Awards telecast was the funniest in ages. No, not because of the show itself -- Anne Hathaway and James Franco's "young and hip" shtick wore thin pretty quickly -- but because I watched the show sitting next to Bill Maher at the Vanity Fair dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Bill kept up a running commentary that put the on-screen patter to shame. At one point we realized that we were both tweeting and retweeting what each of us was saying to the other. "This is excruciating for me, I can only imagine what it's like for you," I leaned over and said to him after a particularly lame joke. He then tweeted what I'd said... which I then retweeted. I'm not yet sure if this mode of communication is a good thing or a bad thing -- I'm just reporting.

I'm just reporting, she says. This is journalism? This is the future of news? This is going to save us, to propel us forward in the digital universe. Overhead conversations between people at a table.

Tell me we can do better than the well-coifed and over-sexed version of Beavis and ButtHead laughing at each other's jokes.

Confirm that there is real stuff out there on the web, and not just the content created by traditional media doing the hard work in dangerous places where journalists get hurt just plying their craft.

Let me know that quality still matters, that there's a difference between opinion and news, hearsay and insight.

Make us think, help us learn, allow us to be informed, and educate us with wit and charm. Don't just repeat regurgitation. Sloppy seconds have no place in news.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

best film review I have read, ever

A.O. Scott with the New York Times is one of those serious film critics. He looks the part, plays it well, and converses on film and media at a very high level.

Imagine my surprise to see the verve and energy in his review of the current Nicolas Cage car and girl epic, 'Drive Angry.'

Like many regular moviegoers, I have been berated by repeated showings of the trailer for this release. But even the amped up 2 minute trailer didn't do it for me, and I wasn't planning on catching this one.

But Scott's review is inspiring, and I suspect I'll make the time to check out the 3D version. After all, as he notes in his second sentence, and his closing paragraph, how often do you get this combination on screen.

Here's the review. See if it's not impressive.

On a Mission, but Not From God
Published: February 25, 2011

There are those who insist that no great work of cinematic art will ever be presented in 3-D. The most persuasive among them — Roger Ebert, for example — offer learned arguments grounded in science and aesthetics. None of that really has anything to do with “Drive Angry,” which at least in its 3-D version makes a loud, incoherent but oddly compelling case for the enhancing effects of stereoscopic projection on certain treasured objects of the cinematic gaze, like classic Detroit muscle cars, women’s breasts and Nicolas Cage.

Last things first. Mr. Cage’s acting style — if that is still the right term — seems these days to require not an extra dimension, but rather an entire parallel universe. In this movie, he plays a grandfather from hell (I mean that literally, though to say more might count as a spoiler) with lank blond hair, a haunted demeanor and the poetical name of John Milton, a sop to the English literature grad students who are sure to flock to this movie.

The details of his character are both preposterous and beside the point, as “Drive Angry,” directed by Patrick Lussier (“My Bloody Valentine 3D,” “Dracula 2000”), from a script he wrote with Todd Farmer, lets Mr. Cage continue his exploration of the mysteries of the universe. His companion is Amber Heard, playing a hard-luck waitress who can both throw and take a mean punch and whose very short denim shorts compete for attention with the 1969 Dodge Charger she drives.

You can guess how she drives it, though there is plenty of anger to go around, and a lot of action, some of it pretty inspired. And also a gooey heap of plot, which is revealed efficiently and without too much concern for plausibility of any kind. Milton is on a mission to rescue a baby from a Satanic cult led by a neorockabilly messiah (Billy Burke) with long fingernails and what may be a prosthetic soul patch. Giving chase is a dapper fellow who identifies himself as “the Accountant” (William Fichtner) and who is invulnerable to everything except the magical antique gun that Milton keeps with his gear.

Apart from some half-cartoonish digital effects and the whole 3-D thing, “Drive Angry” could almost be mistaken for a raunchy, cheesy exploitation programmer of the same vintage as some of its cars. Or rather, a whole retrospective of disreputable ’70s B pictures, what with the cars, the supernatural mumbo-jumbo, the churning, anonymous heavy-metal guitars of Michael Wandmacher’s score and the nudity.

All of these elements combine in one extraordinary sequence, during which Milton manages to gun down about a dozen Lucifer-loving, farm-implement-wielding thugs, while smoking a cigar and taking slugs from a bottle of whiskey. And, through the whole bloody barrage, having sex. “That never happened to me before,” his partner says later, recalling the episode more graphically and succinctly than I can here. “Has it ever happened to you?”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I suspect the RNC will find a way to link this to Michelle Obama

Unlikely story of the day:

From Memphis WMC-TV Action News 5: "A pizza delivery driver was called a hero Monday after she likely saved an elderly woman's life. ... [M]ost neighbors knew little about Memphis resident Jean Wilson, except that she's eaten pizza daily for the past three years. 'We make her pizza every day before she even calls, because we know she's going to call,' delivery driver Susan Guy said. Guy often delivers Wilson's regular order, one large pepperoni pizza, but recently workers at her restaurant noticed an unusual break in the pattern. ... Guy insisted to her boss that she be allowed to check on Wilson. ... Guy drove to Wilson's house and knocked on her door, but no one answered. Then, she banged on Wilson's windows, but there was still no response. ... Guy quickly called 911. When police arrived, they broke down the door to Wilson's home, and found her lying on a floor inside. They soon learned that Wilson had fallen on Saturday, and couldn't get over to a telephone to call for help. Investigators said it's possible that her pizza-only diet may have saved her life.... Wilson was in non-critical condition at St. Francis Hospital."

A pepperoni pizza daily for three years! Were the EMS folks able to carry this person into the hospital, or did they just roll her in.

With three years of pepperoni pizza, they could have just slid her in to the ER.

Wonder what this woman would eat as comfort food, if pizza is at the top of the nutritional pyramid.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

four square

I have to admit I find the whole 'document your presence' movement that comes with technology to be a bit amusing.

At the same time, if I utilized foursquare, or a similar app, and cared to share where I was there, it would be pretty interesting.

But since it's not, I'll stop, and return to research and planning for a trip to the spaces first documented by Lewis & Clark oh so many years ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Not so fun fact of the day.

North Dakotans just celebrated the 75th anniversary of the coldest day ever on record.

On February 15, 1936, Parshall recorded a temperature of -60F. A storm blew in from the north that Valentine's Day, setting records over a three day stretch that week.

June is reportedly a warm month in the state. Hoping so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

hunting and fishing

According to the primary tourism page for North Dakota, these two are primary things to do for people either living in or visiting the state.

That poses a bit of a dilemma for those among us who don't take much to these kind of outdoor activities.

Still, there's plenty of time for research and planning in advance of what will likely be a interesting, if not wholly unique experience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

you betcha

What is there to say about North Dakota?

Today, well, it's probably all just frozen tundra and hissing farm animals.

But tomorrow, and in the days and weeks to come, there will be plenty.

And there's a good reason for the focus. A damn good reason. But that will come in time, and with your patience, and indulgence, it will inform, and entertain, and amuse. And it will hopefully tweak.

So for now, sit back, grab a DVD version of Fargo, and enjoy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a difference a week makes

Last week at this time, I was freezing off assorted parts and pieces in the great white north, stewing over mistreatment by a less than stellar gate crew working at Reagan National Airport for Frontier Airlines.

This week, no travel, lots of family time while watching sporting events, both real, and over the teevee thingy we've got in the living room.

And it appears there is a world beyond this screen and keypad, and that some people actually read this stuff.

A very well networked Frontier staffer came across last week's diatribe, took the initiative to not only follow up, but offered to provide assistance, and if words will be matched by deeds, will provide closure for what a situation that should never have happened in the first place.

The lesson here is that social media can not only update us with information on long lost buds from high school, or provide endless hours of wasted time for those with time to waste. It can remedy.

So an early, and hopefully not premature, shout out to Marco Toscano, the senior manager for social media, for not only jumping in to this fray, but for confirming the words that I blogged, and letting me know that Frontier will be working to make this all good, as they say.

Be sure that I will follow up on this.

Until next time.