A Move to Amend

A glaring mark on democracy?
A shining example of checks and balances?
A shot of heroin into corporate America?
A constitutional diminishing of man and his freedom?

Whatever you thought about this past week's Supreme Court decision, you should at least read and consider signing this petition--aimed to:
  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate "preemption" actions by global, national, and state governments.


Propaganda, Reason, Passion, Obama

I've been enjoying some great posts on BoingBoing from ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive, watching all sorts of great archived animation, from Mighty Mouse to incredibly obscure and unknown animations. I've really enjoyed the last two posts, and I figured I'd link to them here:
The concept of propaganda is widely misunderstood. Many people automatically assume that it's a negative thing. But propaganda is just a tool that can be used for either good or bad. Propaganda involves bypassing the intellect and appealing directly to emotion to motivate a group of people to action.

While there are many people appealing purely to our emotions nowadays, I don't have to stop and think long to think of the main transgressors. It's my desire that reason not be put in the back seat like it has in so many discussions I've been involved with lately. They both have a spot, but give reason the controls, people, please.
[WWI and WWII Propaganda Posters]
[In Praise of Passion]

Also interesting, Tom Junod's piece in Esquire about the type of leader Barack Obama is. Basically, and the article is great, it talks about how Obama is a true father figure. I hate just to use long excerpts--you should read it yourself--but there's a few poignant points I want to include.
Your example is your authority. Positive discipline does not mean no discipline; it means that discipline is a matter of teaching mutual respect, rather than making your child suffer. "Children do better when they feel better, not worse," is what it says on my kitchen cabinet, and so when faced with intransigence, parents have to respond by stating their expectations, repeating the rules, and then giving their children the love and support they need to follow them. Always try to include, rather than isolate; avoid labels; don't negotiate, but don't escalate, either. If your children are not doing well, either take them out of the situation or remove yourself. You — and they — can always try again.
It is a philosophy that could have been minted by Cass Sunstein, the White House advisor who is developing ways to "nudge" citizens to make the right choices without them being aware of the manipulation. It could serve as a précis for how Obama has dealt with Joe Wilson, not to mention Skip Gates and Sergeant Jim Crowley, not to mention Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was never threatened but rather told to "think carefully" while answering the protests of the Iranian presidential election with the truncheon and the gallows. One could almost hear Obama saying, "Use your words, Mahmoud. Use your words."
Barack Obama, then, is not the agent of change; he's the fulfillment of a change that is already occurring culture-wide, in every place but politics. That's why the Republicans fear him so much; why, while waiting for him to fail, they just come off as the political party for people who want to hit their kids.
Take a look here.


Chinese Censorship

Censoring "Mein Kampf" AND lds.org???!!! C'mon China! (Oh, and a personal favorite? It censors en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tiananmen_square_protests_of_1989, once again continuously denying history as we know it...)


Albuquerque and Londyn

I had a great chance to go down to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Albuquerque this past week. They just welcomed a baby girl into their home, and, well, she's a pretty good looking baby (not all babies are this good looking, you see.)
Thought I'd post some pics. Some might be repetitive...I forgot I had my camera until my last day there!

Just a note: the reason they're kinda grainy is because Picasa doesn't have great RAW support. I'll clean them up and re-upload them soon.

Orson Welles on Privacy (55 Years Ago)

An excellent and prescient view of privacy by the man, Orson Welles. Whole transcript here. If you have heard Welles speak, try to read it with his voice in mind...it's great.
Think of all of those forms we have to fill out, for example, you know what I mean, by police forms, we get them in hotels, on frontiers, in every country all over the world we’re asked, state your sex, male or female, for example. Well obviously, I’m a male, I’m a man, why should I have to answer that? State your race and religion in block letters; well, now why should I have to confide my religion to the police? Frankly, I don’t think anybody’s race is anybody’s business. I’m willing to admit that the policeman has a difficult job, a very hard job, but it’s the essence of our society that the policeman’s job should be hard. He’s there to protect, protect the free citizen, not to chase criminals, that’s an incidental part of his job. The free citizen is always more of a nuisance to the policeman that the criminal. He knows what to do about the criminal...
Especially timely with all the TSA talk going around. Basically, I would have to agree with Welles here. Government should protect the free citizen, not chase the offenders of that freedom. Government knows how to punish the criminal, but it still does not know what to do with the free man.

The Third & The Seventh

If you haven't seen Avatar, you still might be convinced that CG hasn't crossed the Uncanny Valley quite yet, you should do two things. First, go watch Avatar (IMAX 3D will do), and second, watch this CG animated surrealist film about architecture. It's long, so if you don't have time, skip towards the middle. It's all CG.


2009 Lists

Here are my lists of 2009. Best of's are in no particular order...that's just not the way I work.
My Year in Cities (2009)
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
New York, NY*
Salt Lake City, UT*
Moralillos, Peru
Cuzco, Peru
Frankfurt, Germany
Marsberg, Germany
Albershausen, Germany
Albuquerque, NM
Green River, WY
Des Moines, IA
Chicago, IL
(At least one night was spent in each place. A (*) denotes multiple visits.)

Most Anticipated Movies of 2010
Alice in Wonderland
Toy Story 3
Shutter Island
The Lovely Bones
Prince of Persia
Iron Man 2
Robin Hood
Green Zone
The Materese Circle
Bonus: The Tree of Life

Best Mainstream 2009 Flicks
Up In The Air
A Serious Man
Inglourious Basterds
Sin Nombre (mainstream? maybe not)
The Hangover
Star Trek
(500) Days of Summer
(and a shout out to Public Enemies and The Informant!)

Up and Coming Actors to Watch in 2010 (mostly turned into a keep-an-eye-on list)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Been around for a while, but he's finally making a stand as a GREAT entertainer...just follow that link!)
Zooey Deschanel
Ellen Page (I suppose her Academy nomination should also preclude her from this list)
Sam Worthington
Zoe Saldana
Saoirse Ronan
James McAvoy
Sharlto Copley

Alright, well, I had a few more lists, but I'm already 5 days late with this as written, so we'll just leave it here. Let me know if you agree or disagree!


All You Need Is Love

Doesn't matter that Starbucks commissioned this--it's great anyhow. A while back, I posted the Stand By Me video. Yeah, you know the one. The one recorded in many many places with a so-called "virtual" studio. That was awesome.
This is no-less awesome. 156 countries (including Albania, in true over the TOP fashion [me ben shume qejfi, if you get that pun]) singing The Beatles' All You Need Is Love. At the same time. Starting at 1:30pm GMT on December 7, all the musicians started to sing at the same tempo. What results is a fantastic show of musicianship and showmanship--not to mention some awesome culture thrown in the mix.
Hoping to raise awareness of AIDS in Africa for the (RED) foundation, I think Starbucks did a noble job.
[Starbucks Love Project]