September 24th, 2003

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Presidential Poll

I keep seeing all these presidential candidacy / popularity type ratings lately and it made me think bout ranking PAST presidents. Only not rating, just doing thumbs up / thumbs down. Like... which ones do you judge suck?

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One track mind

My poll is going well. Vote today and then tonight, I will reveal the answer to the "Who does Dad complain about most?" quiz.

In other news, I've concluded that writing a novel really must be one of the most time- and soul-consuming things there is, because since finishing up two weeks ago, I've been doing all manner of things I have not done for AGES. I'm buying groceries, cooking, doing the dishes (before, I would do the dishwasher once a week... and let it SIT the whole time!), picking up my clothes, brushing my teeth, shopping for essential, keeping up with my email, paying attention to personal hygiene... Damn, I hadn't even realized what all I was doing with being so obsessed. I would basically do the bare minimum of stuff, taking care of the most important emails, client tasks, cleaning once a week, grocery shopping for a week and then eating out for two weeks after that, etc. All I wanted to do was work on that book. Even when I managed to do other stuff, like Outworlders or seeing Caleb or biking or doing things for clients, I'd always be thinking: "Book. Must do book. Must edit. Must re-read." Now that this is done, it's like I have this wide vista of OTHER STUFF I can do.

Please remind me of this when I start on the next book and once again lose my sanity.
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Hail Mary!

I've been meaning to post this for a while... Bookmarked it anyway. I think this illustrates the clash of reason and science pretty well!

Believe It, or Not (carried by CNN.com)
By Nicholas D. Kristof
Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times

Two highlights:

Today marks the Roman Catholics' Feast of the Assumption, honoring the moment that they believe God brought the Virgin Mary into Heaven. So here's a fact appropriate for the day: Americans are three times as likely to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent) as in evolution (28 percent).

...

Americans believe, 58 percent to 40 percent, that it is necessary to believe in God to be moral. In contrast, other developed countries overwhelmingly believe that it is not necessary. In France, only 13 percent agree with the U.S. view. (For details on the polls cited in this column, go to www.nytimes.com/kristofresponds.)

Huh!
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Bad Movies

catscradle just did a clever post about 10 movies she'd have to account for before God for seeing. Well, even though I've seen a lot of bad movies, I haven't had to watch many all the way through because it was on TV and at some point the person watching left and I switched over to something else. Still, here are four movies that really rubbed me the wrong way. I may add six more if I can think of them (I know they will) but for now, these are one that were bad -- but not "in a good way."

Mary Poppins
I knooooooooooooooow I'm supposed to love this movie, it's Disney, it's got Julie Andrews, it's got singing and dancing and Dick van Dyke. Well, even as a kid I disliked this movie. I like the rooftop dancing and the "Love to Laugh" scene, but I could not STAND that nanny! Oh, she was just such a jerk, I hated, hated, hated her! Maybe it's that I always picked up the same vibe from her that I got from all the teachers who manipulated/punished me in school. I hated how she was so perky and "allowed" the children these fun experiences but at the same time was very controlling and always wanted to things just exactly her way. Ughhhh!

Boom in the Moon
I am pretty positive nobody reading this could possibly have seen this, as it was a really, really bad B movie made in Mexico in about 1942. The star of it is (very, very sadly!) Buster Keaton. This was a movie I rented in middle school during the heighbt of my Keatonmania and I was soooooooooooo unhappy with it I wanted to melt it down. This was a videotape where they had put all this bullshit on the outside making it sound like "a classic" when it fact, if it were made of paper, it could be toilet paper. Wretched special effects, bad slapstick humor, bad sets. And not in a "good" way, only a "waste of celluloid" way.

Anyway, the good thing I'll say about this is that I actually wrote a letter to Leonard Maltin about this movie, telling him he needed to put it in his big movie guide book with a BOMB rating. (I also went on about how much I loved Keaton as well as Maltin's book on silent comedians.) A few weeks letter I got a personal letter back from Maltin telling me he's included the movie in the guide (it's still listed there, with BOMB next to it), then telling me where and I how I might get some Keaton videos. I ended up contacting the only company that had the videos and they send me tapes for free ('cause aren't 13-year-old film buffs cute?)

Dancer in the Dark
I don't think it's only because I love Bjork (and didn't like seeing her executed) that I HAAAAAAAAAAATED this film. My friend Kristina and I saw this in a theater together and we both physically sick for 2 or 3 days, filled with just ANGER and DISGUST over this. This movie felt like an attack -- I felt like I had been manipulated and abused and chewed up and tossed aside. That was the main thing I didn't like, but then, the fact that the whole plot seems lifted out a stupid 1930s teajerker... How and why did he even do that? The hand-held cameras in this movie also made me pretty nautious. The only good thing about the movie was Bjork (thought she did a good job) and bizarro musical scenes. Everything else was just puke-and-anger-inspiring. IMHO anyway.

Gangs of New York
Yeah yeah, got all those nominations and/or wins for Oscar, but I really thought there was something just essentially emtpy and "off" about this movie. It had great sets, costumes and acting, I don't deny that, but the overall mood, theme and point was off enough it really bothered me. What I mean is, I could accept the violence as a real thing, but after a certain point, that's all there was to it. And it wasn't like only one side was violent, it was both sides. So you don't get good guys / bad guys and you don't feel you want the "hero" (DiCaprio) to win, you feel like if he wins, nothing is really that much better. In the end, I felt like the whole thing was just a big excuse for a lot of shocking violence, a.k.a. dressed up RoboCop. I'm not saying there was no depth, but I felt it went way to far in one direction and kind of came out one-noted.

That's only four movies, but I'll think of more. Probably good I'm stopping anyway, as my descriptions are kind of running on!
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Prez Poll Results, plus Dad's Rant

Well, now I guess I get to be a pundit and portificate results of the poll I set up yesterday on presidents.

It would definitely seem that the name BUSH has serious negative associations. Tying for most "Thumbs Down" votes (6 each) were George Bush and yes, his son, George Bush. Jeez, given the "poll sample," who would have THUNK it?! Runner up, with 5, was Ronald Reagan. Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon got some tarnishing too. And walking away (um, figutively) with the only, I guess "Thumbs Up" result was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Of course, you know who would be really mad about the FDR thing? You guessed it, dear old Dad, who growing up I used to hear rant about that man on a regular basis. Now, I was born in 1974, so you can imagine, it was a bit surreal to have your dad going on about FDR. It's true that in many, many ways I did grow up in a very 1930s Depression-tinged environment (example: Dad made up stop using home's electric and switched us to COAL) but... come on, FDR was OVER!

Dad used to talk about how FDR was an "phony aristrocrat communist" who started the ball rolling on all that was wrong with America today. I watched an episode of "All in the Family" once where Archie gave exactly the same speech. He and my dad were/are pretty much on the same page, only my dad has a Master's degree from NYU ;)
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