Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

Ten years ago, I never would have written this post. But since then I've learned (and am still learning) to greatly appreciate art when I see it, and along with that comes the appreciation of artists.
Michael Jackson is arguably the best pop singer, the best dancer, and the best performer. Ever. You might argue, but it's like arguing that Michael Jordan wasn't the best basketball player ever. Sure, players might come along and outdo him and create more hype, but nobody will be better than him simply because he did it first and did it unlike any other. Jackson is the same.
For all his follies, he knew how to entertain. The chance of another like him is highly unlikely. Even though I don't love his music, I can appreciate the value it has. I actually was contemplating buying tickets to his comeback tour in the UK next year. Oh well.
One thing I notice: he's in complete control of EVERY aspect of his performances and he's Here's a video to remind you just how entertaining he could be (remember to hit the HQ button once it starts playing):

Also, a video that shows a glimpse of possible inspirations:

Haha! And Philippine inmates at Cebu rehearsing a tribute dance of thriller!


Wonderful Storm

My friend took this great pano of a full rainbow during the amazing storm we had tonight. Loved it.
Played racquetball for a few hours today, it's no fun to play in a construction zone, and especially not a good idea to try to cut your wrist off by keeping it in your safety lanyard while jumping down into the court and getting your racquet stuck on the way down.
Meals were free for me today...Abby made us amazing oatmeal cookies which served as breakfast, Lance informed me of the free food at work before I left campus at lunchtime, and Daddy took the entire fam out for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
Went to the Oquirrh Temple open house...I must say it is one stylish temple.
Had a soccer game get canceled due to the lightning that almost KILLED ALL OF US.
Decided to go to Vegas next weekend.
And last but not least, learned that you must stir Italian Cream Sodas for the full effect, even if the syrup at the bottom tastes heavenly.


Opening Up the Oscars

I just read today that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be expanding the Best Picture race. Instead of 5 nominations, there will be 10.
That was what I first thought, and I was almost as sad about this as I was about the death of Kodachrome earlier this week. (That almost brought me to tears, though...might warrant a future post.) However, now I'm just kinda torn. I don't know that I don't like it, but I don't know that I do. To me, it makes the Best Picture category much less prestigious, but at the same time it opens the nominations to foreign and independent films as well as documentaries (foreigns and docs are allowed now but never get the nominations because they have their own categories).
At worst, I think this is the way for the Academy to 1)appease the public by allowing popular films to be nominated (of course, without a chance of winning) and 2) increase ticket sales of nominated movies. At best, well, at best it could open the competition up (at prestige's stake).
Anyway, what do you all think?


Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Well, actually, this post is focusing on trains. Have I mentioned how super excited I was when the High Speed Rail plan was announced a few months back? Well, I am. This rail network is a national project that our population is yearning for.

I was thinking about this particularly this weekend while I was camping in the Uinta Mountains. We toured the Flaming Gorge Dam, and I couldn't help but wonder why there has been no national infrastructure, environmental, or, what I call, "USA" projects in the last three decades. Unless I'm mistaken, what have we done since going to the moon? What have we done since building a national freeway system? What have we done since the water conservation projects in the 60s and 70s? What have we done since the national park movement? *Where has the innovation gone?*
Those of you who have heard me rant, you know that America stands as a land of innovation in my mind. The power of innovation in this country is more powerful than the power of (so-called) freedom. Innovation brought about the concept of democracy--of freedom. And now where has it been? Private innovation has continued, sure, but what about public innovation?
But I digress.
This is a topic you'll read about often from me, but today it's more of an intro to a sadder topic.
In 1963, America learned a painful lesson when Pennsylvania Station, an architectural treasure that Senator Daniel Moynihan described as “the best thing in our city,” was torn down and replaced with a dreary complex that includes an office building and Madison Square Garden. The rail station, to this day the nation’s busiest, was moved underground into a claustrophobic warren of artificially lit passageways and bleak waiting rooms.

Check out these beautiful stations that were demolished and replaced with fugly projects. Good and short read.

Blogs and Stuffs

I found a new blog that I like. Rather, it's a political live journal, not updated frequently, but it's a nice liberal read every once in a while. It's left-leaning, I'll warn you now, but it offers some very interesting points.
Here's the link to pfarley's livejournal.
(He also has a link to the Bush Administration's scandals, in list form. Interesting read, for posterity's sake at least.

Alice in Wonderland: Burton Style

Perhaps as a great follow-up to the Beatles' post, I saw these production stills and thought they'd make a great post. Tim Burton has the most fantastic art team, and he himself is just an incredible visionary for fantasy productions. Plus, this is a great example of all the reasons I love Johnny Depp as an actor. Can't wait for the film to come out.
[via BoingBoing and ComingSoon.net]
[Update: here are the pics again, sorry for the downtime. As always, click for hi-res.]


The Beatles

The Beatles Rockband intro is the most delicious short on The Beatles' history. Ever. Check it out. And make sure to click the HQ button once it starts playing.



Sometimes, it's best not to plan. I've tried to convince people this for a while, and those who know me really hate me for it. But I can honestly say this trip wouldn't have been half the trip if we had planned it. Anyway, I don't want to spend too much time updating everyone, but we spen the last few days in a small German village known as Marsberg. Lovely, and very homely.
We're now in Köln (better known as Cologne...a small city you may have heard of before) and the day was fantastic.
Tomorrow we leave for Stuttgadt, then Saturday it's back to home...
The people are amazing, and I absolutely love it over here.

Here are the answers I promised in my comment:
-Nay, the ping pong table was found about a 10 minute walk away from the temple. However, as is evidenced at my house, a ping pong table isn't ENTIRELY necessary to play ping pong, Brad, so you could still get away with it...
-Yes, Teryn, I still do and will probably always remember the 8k meters we ran down(that is 8000 meters for those unfamiliar with the metric system)

Oh. So I guess there really weren't that many questions to answer. Oh well...