Monthly Archives: April 2006

United 93

History happens to ordinary people.

Leaders and other supposed great men and women make their grand pronouncements and pose for the cameras, but ordinary people feel the effects of history when it crashes down on them – or when they knock down the first domino.

United 93 is an enourmously affecting and effective piece. I was very skeptical going in and was pleased to hear of the director’s previous movies addressing terrorism and violence with depth and detail and United 93 is no different.

The confusion, the panic, the constantly evolving situation and the entrenched bureaucracy that stifled response are all on display with huge attention to detail and nuance. The director fills in many gaps in the narrative record with common sense bridges of logic, instead of dramatic leaps of faith. There’s no glitz and glamour and the filming style is more documentary than anything else. The actors have wrinkles and as Ron noted, ‘They still have those ugly leather seats in first class.’

When the movie reaches the inevitable the theatre is struck silent and I hear sobs all around me. I’ve been weeping on and off ever since they the passengers start to leave voicemails to their loved ones. For some reason, the woman saying, ‘I just love you more than anything in the world,’ moves me deeply (I think because it sounds like something mom or dad would say). Ron hasn’t stirred in his seat in the past hour and I don’t think I’ve breathed since the opening credits rolled.

When CeCe Lyles shows on the credits, things grow more intense. Ron had worked with CeCe before she transferred out of Chicago. Seeing an avatar of someone you know portray their last surviving hours is devastating and the closing credits roll like a memoriam.

History happens and Kiefer Sutherland doesn’t save the day and you don’t get stranded on an island with Matthew Fox. History is decentralized among hundreds, if not thousands, of individual lives.

I wonder about the world before 9-11. So much died on that day. So much fear was sown as leaders turned to fear to move nations, instead of hope.

Nobel, Laureate Physicists Urge Bush Against Nuking Iran

Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”

Remember Sy Hersh’s New Yorker articles?

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

In Vietnam we’d say that you had to destroy the village in order to save it.

Now we can say we had to destroy the country in order to save it.

And keep in mind the more we destroy – the more we have to rebuild – or rather, pay Haliburton, KBR, Blackwater, et al. to build.

I’m so glad I created that ‘(Possible) War in Iran’ category so long ago. I haven’t gotten to use the ‘(Possible) War in Korea’ one in quite a while.

Reading List 4-20-06

Reading List 4-20-06

Exception to the Rulers CD set
Crashing the Gate
Amercan Theocracy (just finished!)
I Will Beat Witness
Friendly Fascism
No Place to Hide
How I Made 100 Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime
Failed States
Exception to the Rulers book
Hegemony or Survival
The Attractor Factor
Feet to the Fire
The Masks of King Lear
Multiple Streams of Coaching Income
Book Yourself Solid (advanced copy)
The Portable Coach
The Artist’s Way
High Intensity Training

My current reading list! Let’s see: left-wing politics mixed with militarist-imperial history mixed with small business mixed with self-help and personal coach mixed with weight-training and muscle gain.

Conserve Maybe?

Talked with Karen this morning which managed to include the malaprop ‘self-defecating’ and the plural of the word ‘scotum’ (which would be ‘scrota’). She said she’s feeling the gas prices and trying to car pool in to work in San Diego. She noticed the same thing I am.


Nobody in Congress is stating the obvious. There’s a reason why no other country has SUVs – they all adopted higher fuel efficiency years ago.

‘More more more!’ and ‘War war war!’ are the pillar, parallels and perils of our modern times.

I’ve got a TON more to say on this after reading American Theocracy so I’ll save it for that.

Oh and:

ConocoPhillips said Wednesday profit rose 13 percent as stronger exploration and production results yielded the best first-quarter earnings since Phillips Petroleum and Conoco combined in 2002.

ExxonMobil? The Texas behemoth reported a profit of $8.4 billion, on the heels of record earnings of $10.7 billion in the previous quarter.

And how much were those subsidies in the energy bill? Oh, that’s right: $84 billion.

I’m gonna type that again: Eighty-four billion dollars in corporate welfare from you, the friendly American taxpayer.

In the Senate: The final vote was 85 to 12, with 49 Republicans, 35 Democrats and one independent voting in support of the measure. Thanks guys!

Woman Spanked at Work Sues for 1.2 Million

Lawyers for a woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers as part of what her employer said was a camaraderie-building exercise asked a jury Wednesday for at least $1.2 million for the humiliation she claimed to have suffered.

Wow. This sounds so Catholic:

Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.

HOWTO: Host an Orgy

I always remember Annie Sprinkle’s advice: ‘First, invite over a bunch of friends that you’ve always wanted to have sex with.’ Here’s a guide.

Hosting an orgy is like hosting any party, except with ample fresh towels, lubricants, and nowadays bowls of condoms every six square feet.

Chernobyl, 20 Years Later

I always remember the grainy video images of Chernobly and the feeling that finally the evil Soviet Union had screwed up and that they were letting their own people die and keeping the world unaware while they tried to contain the situation. I vaguely recall American scientists going over and ‘saving the day.’

The 1,000 ton reactor lid was blown off the core, the nuclear fuel rods melted, and more than 100 times the radiation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined was released into the atmosphere over the 10 days that the fire burned.

Chernobyl was much more in my mind than the 3 Mile Island incident. I was 11 when Chernobyl happened. We watched the Today show every morning with Bryant Gumbel (‘humble gumbel’ as dad calls him, though I never really knew what that meant unless he just liked see us light up at the rhyme), fellow Hoosier Jane Pauley (when she still had the hair long) and I think Brokaw on with the ‘real news’. This was before the ‘I’m on TV! Look at me!’ madness that morning television has become (which I think was cued from MTV’s TRL, right?).