Friday, March 31, 2006

On Blogging: My 100th Post

January 17th, 2006 I began blogging with this post about my purpose. And since then I haven't stopped blogging because I love it, and I've enjoyed beginning to learn how to have what I consider a top notch blog.

I've learned that many visitors come to my sight when I comment on theirs...who knows how many blog comments I've written since I've begun exploring the world of blogs...but I do know I've had 978 profile views since I've started (and I've got a boring profile).

I love statcounter and check it all day long to see who's visiting my blog. (Thank you Jana & Bennett for recommending this tool). Statcounter says I've had 3,970 page loads so far since I loaded the code in January.

Statcounter has shown me also that people also visit my blog through search engines (blogsearch.google.com, google.com, and yahoo.com mostly). And what do they search...

By far the two most popular searches...

(1) Monica Pang leading them to Will Miss America Be My Friend? or Monica Pang (Miss Georgia) is my friend!
(2) Bubble Soderberg leading them to Soderberg's Stirring Up Some "Bubble" Trouble

Part of the reason Bubble Soderberg is so successful is that I accidently mispelled Steven Soderbergh's name, leaving off the "h" at the end. This is not the only time spelling errors have attracted visitors.

I accidently mispell Arctic Monkey's once and instead call them the Actic Monkeys which has surprisingly returned a number of hits to The Arctic Monkeys...I'm Totally Serious.

Other searches: danny ocean style, hammerzone paypal, apocolpto, foreshadowing in a million little pieces, news media review of jack johnson cookie jar, andrea berloff husband, monica pang facebook, be my friend song 8th and ocean, jack johnson and cookie jar lyrics analysis, similarities and differences between bride and predjudice and pride and predjudice, chewing gum eases tension, panama strange, strange african drinking cultures, truth in memoirs, articles about pimps in toledo in march 2006, strange culture world, ethos water, ususual and strange culture, did dan brown plagerize, beyonce nobles pictures, clarity media group bill mcgowan, peeps, soderberg bubble 1.6 million, peeps, red sun black sand, flags of our fathers eastwood, rc showdown, good shephard eric roth, wierd facts da vinci, peeps pencil gift set, jack johnson wierd facts, 79th academy awards, the afters beautiful love chart, store concept.

Obviously you can imagine some of these searches combined posts and people did not get to the sight that they wanted...curious what these searches did turn up from my sight? Type them into google.

Two of my favorite posts on my sight have been when I have experienced blog world conflict in these two situations:
(1) Conflicting Opinions in the Church Sign World
(2) Enough Room for Two RC's? You Vote!

I loved the second situation because I ended up getting my most comments ever yet from a single post...fourteen!

And I love comments, because they give me a clue as to who is reading my blog and what they enjoy and think. Please comment on my blog, I love it! I appreciate Sheri and Kimberly Ann because she comments more than anyone else on my blog.

After the high postings for Enough Room for Two RC's? Your Vote! there is a tie for the post with the second most comments (each with 7): The Arctic Monkeys...I'm Totally Serious & Yikes, The T-WORD! (aka terrorism). But I feel like there will more popular post than these in the days ahead.

I recently began using technorati tags which I have been quickly able to make with ultraseeker's technorati tag builder tool I discovered in a post on the blog caustic conversation. It has certainly increased my traffic.

I like going to technorati as well to see who's linked to my blog (I discovered technorati thanks the Jonathan). According to technorati I have 22 links from 19 sites. I hope and look forward to being linked more.

I hope you enjoyed this blog so far and I am always open to suggestions and comments. Perhaps there's a post that's a favorite of yours, or maybe you found this site because you accidently mispelled a word while searching blogs and I hope your stay has been meaningful. Feel free to provide feedback I always love it!

Hope you enjoy this blog in the many days ahead.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

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The New Working Generation: Not just Jacques Chirac's Problem

MSNBC reports today that Jacques Chirac, France's President, will sign the highly protestes labor law that allows for French companies to fire employees under the age of 26 within the first two years of their employment with out being required to give an explination.

For the world new uninclined, this has led to huge protests that were far greater in scope than those in the United States over immigration issues.

The reason for this law (as I understand it) is that there is a French ideal that once you have a job you are a secured employee of the company. But this has led to a lower quality of employee who does not participate at their active best (and obviously so as there would seem to be less incentive). So hence the law.

Talking with some friends over a week ago I mentioned this situation to them as they were talking about problems they see in the young American work force...it is as though we expect things to be just handed over to us. Jonathan Sampson did a video you can watch on his site. The video was done a TCU(Texas Christian University) about these students perceptions of money...I think you'd be very surprised to see how ungrounded in reality some of their ideas are. People expect that money would be handed over to them on a plater...but not so.

Or I remember hearing a story on NPR story on All Things Considered about how blogs in China are very popular, especially among the "Me Generation" of single Chinese people who grew up as only children and are very self absorbed. (You can listen to that story here).

And you've got to wonder...what is this generation becoming but people who want as much as possible, but instead of working hard for it, they demand it. And if that is what this new young generation is thinking how can it be corrected and changed?

Picture from BBC News.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Update: J-Lo, Co-pilot Jesus, Speilberg, and Gum

Update: Tortialla Chip Jesus (It Still Could Be Yours)
Well it can't be yours anymore...the auction ended and it sold for $27.66 with 28 bids...demerging (of demerging.com where I originally heard of this chip never bid above $13.07) and so I ask...if you won this tortilla chip please oh please inform us here of your intentions. We desperatly want to know.

Also...the auctioneer of such fine products is now selling his broken 1985 audi with standing water, no seats and broken steering. See his ebay auction here to see how he is using Jesus as his son's momentarily-absent co-pilot to market the vehicle.

Update: Unlucky 13: Danny Ocean Style
Seen a few post including this one at The Movie Blog that suggest that Ellen Barkin isn't flying solo as the only female talent, but Jennifer Lopez might also be in the film...nothing official, just blogosphere rumor as far as I can tell.

Update: Non-Protesters Arrest in the midst of Fort Worth Student Prostests
The arrested student was released after a little over 3 hours with her resisting arrest charge. Fortunatly she is only 16 so this will not go on her permanent record.

Update: Mel Gibson and the Passion Crowd
Mel Gibson's next project after Apocalypto looks like it will go sci-fi and I imagine will most likely be in English. It's a film called Push you can read about it here in this Variety article.

Update: Geriatric Indiana Jones
It seems like Indian Jones 4 is still a go, the question is just when. An article on Spielberg Films (a fan site) draw attention to the confussion in conflicting reports as Steven Spielberg appears to be taking the year of 2006 off from filming, but also there is information out there about Indian Jones 4 coming out in 2007? Hum...stay posted.

Update: Meet Ben Bernanke
Bernanke on Thursday with his first meeting with the Fed raised the interest rate .25% to 4.75%. This interest rate increase (the 15th in a row) will likely be followed by more interest increases.

Update: chewing gum is healthy?
Brian Gorman of the montley fool wrote a great article for msnbc today (view here). The article talks about how Wrigley has established the Wrigley Science institute. There purpose? To see chewing gum can help in weight management, stress releif, and boosting concentration.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What's Love Got To Do With It?


Heard about HBO's new series Big Love (I discovered it here) and couldn't believe the idea of HBO making a television series based upon the concept of polygomy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not surprised...with the sucess of Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City why not try to reinvent the superban middle-aged sex comedy series. In the show Bill Paxton plays a man who has 3 wives and 7 children in Salt Lake City.

But you've got to wonder who's going to get into a show like this? If this becomes successful it will either because (a) the writings amazing...or (b) we are that deeply drawn to unhealthy views of sex and love.

I've got to say, I do hope this series is unsuccesful, but of course they probably won't replace it within anything better. But I think you can expect the Mormon community to be very displeaced with this show...in fact...here's an editorial peace from the Salt Lake Tribune with an e-mail they are encouraged to send around and send into HBO about their discontent.

Big Love actually has some pretty strong talent...Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn (I know her best from "Waterworld")Chloƫ Sevigny (you've seen her in a movie before I almost promise...but she also got an Oscan nomination for "Boys Don't Cry"), Ginnifer Goodwin (she's Jaoquin Pheonix's 1st wife in "Walk the Line"). You might be able to recognize them in the pictures of the various families posted in this article.

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Tom Hanks Would You Make me a Cinnamon Latte?


Love it or hate it...Starbucks is taking over the world.

Everyone loves to use every media avenue they can to bust into our daily consciousness, and if product placement wasn't enough...welcome the new movie: "How Starbucks Saved My Life."

And Tom Hanks is slated to star in the film!! (At first I thought maybe this film would be a little less controversial than the Da Vinci Code, and then I realized perhaps it could be equally controversial...because EVERYONE seems to have a Starbucks opinion).

The movie is based on a fiction book proposal by Michael Gates Gill (no idea who he is) and is at this point said to be directed by Gus Van Sant (Elephant, Finding Forrester, Good Will Hunting, Even Cow Girls Get the Blues, My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy).

If I were casting director I see if Jennifer Aniston could be in this film and act as a Starbuck's barista...for some reason I can picture that?

In the film Tom Hanks would play a guy who's laid off work at his real job and ends up getting hired at Starbucks when nothing else will work out. He works there supporting his family.

Please Place Your Starbucks order with Tom Hanks in the Comment Section Below.

Note: I love the post here at Heckler Spray about the new movie, also I first heard about it from this Looking Closer post. The picture above is from this site that has pictures of a 2003 Christmas parade in Milwaukee that featured this scary and ominous Starbucks float.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Non-Protesters Arrest in the midst of Fort Worth Student Prostests

While on their way to rush Fort Worth City Hall, protesting students from area highschools marched past the small school where I teach. The protesting students came in two clusters; the first smaller than the second, both waiving homemade signs saying "Viva Mexico" and a few waiving small Mexican flags. Some protesters were smiling and laughing while others where shouting.

Some students from my small high school had seen the protesters up the street and my students quickly made their own sign that read something to the effect of: "We're Proud to Be American." And so as the small cluster of Hispanic (and a few white) protesting students walked in front of my school with their police escort, some of my students who spent their lunch break outside the school began yelling at the protesters who were yelling and honking as they walked and drove down the street in front of our school.

One student from my high school was acting like a goof, rolling around in a wheelchair that had been donated for a prom fundraiser and the police escort was distracted away from the prottesting seen and failed to see one of the student protesters throw a full Ozarka water bottle at my shouting and mocking students.

The police office turned his attention back on the protesting scene just as one of my bystander high school students threw the water bottle back into the group of protesting students. As I understand it, the police became enraged and came into the small crowd of my students and aggressively grabbed a girl from the crowd whom was presumed to have thrown the bottle back and who was shouting at the protesters.

This girl was then arrested and taken to juvenile hall...according to her parents they were charging her with resisting arrest.

Other students at the highschool became enraged and a teacher had come to calm the situation and to talk to the police to figure out pertinent details. Many students became enraged, especially as they were directed into the building early from their lunch break. Two students threw punches into the wall breaking the drywall and cutting themselves.

As students piled in from the protesting scene outside, my director tried to calm them, explain the situation (which none of them understood at all) and tell them about how their reaction was poor. Most of our students were enraged with the police and protesters and then with the staff of our school for not standing up to the police. Obscenities were flying and the tension level was very high...so much so that I eventually locked the front door and was monitoring it so that no student could get out (especially since the police had warned that a 2nd group of protesters would probably we walking down our street soon).

Eventually the energy level cooled down and parents picked up the angriest of students and the proper phone calls were made. The 2nd group of protesters did come and it was a much bigger group than the 1st and so we were thankful our students were inside and that once again we were able to lock the doors.

If nothing else I think this is a good opportunity to create dialogue and understanding about political movements and the democratic process. These same students will have something to picture when they hear about civil rights issues of the 60's and now they've been brushed up current events, and our students now know about the rights of protesters and their lack of rights as persons that disagree with the protesters.

The one thought that I am left with after the 2nd day of student walk outs in the area (yesterday in Dallas and today in Dallas and Fort Worth) is to what degree of knowledge do the protesting students have of the event that are standing up for?

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Clooney, Soderbergh & The Good German


There's lot of George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh love on this blog today (see Unlucky 13: Danny Ocean Style)

But I wanted to share my 1st thoughts on the film The Good German (note: not The Good Shepherd or A Good Story, both coming out this year).

I found this picture of Clooney from the movie from the moviereporter, and believe me there's not a lot of pictures out there...in fact, there's not a lot of anything out there at this point and this film is supposed to come out in September.

The film is based on a book (with the same title) by Joseph Kanon. And I think if this movie wasn't based on a book Steven Soderbergh would be keeping the story under wrap, because I just don't think he's into marketing in traditional ways (a la his film "Bubble").

According to josephkanon.com, The Good German is a love story & murder mystery all in one where CBS correspondant Jake Geismar (to be played by Clooney) is covering the Potsdam Confrence in post-WWII Berlin. But while in Berlin he has a personal incentive to find his German mistress he left behind when WWII started (played by Cate Blanchett).

Beside Clooney and Blanchett, the movie also has Beau Bridges and Tobey Maguire in the cast.

Academy Award nominated screenwriter Paul Attanasio is either hit-or-miss if you ask me with great credits (Donnie Brasco & Quiz Show) and some less prestigious adaptations (Sphere, Disclosure, The Sum of All Fears). He is also the Executive Producer of the Television show House, M.D.

According to imdb.com's listing the film is in black & white (not unlike Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck).

I think it's easy to see how this film could easily be posed to be one of the big movies of 2006's award season. Who knows, this could be Cate Blanchett's 3rd nomination (maybe supporting), Clooney's 4th, Steven Soderberg's 4th, Paul Attanasio's 3rd, through in at least one technical nomination (Art Direction), and Best Picture nod and I'll predict today March 27th that The Good German will get at least 6 academy award nominations. Only time will tell.

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Unlucky 13: Danny Ocean Style

Ocean's 11 Leading Lady: Julia Roberts
Ocean's 12 Leading Lady: Catherine Zeta-Jones
But the quality is sliding fast (as did the entertainment value of the 2nd sequel)

According to the variety article Darren Keeny posted. Ellen Barkin will play the lead lady in Ocean's 13.

I said to myself: I know the name, but who in the world is she...I know her best from Drop Dead Gorgeous, in fact that's the only thing I think I've seen Barkin in (but you can look at Ellen Barkin's imdb.com page to refresh your own memory and see if you know her from anything else).

Ellen Barkin's character is supposed to be involved with Matt Damon's character in the movie. Maybe Carl Reiner will get to have a girl in Ocean's 18 with one of the Golden Girls? I hope Matt Damon gets a nomination for the Good Shepherd in 2006 before this comes out in 2007.

Also Steven Soderbergh is still supposed to direct the returning stars (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould).

If you clicked on the imdb link for Ellen above you probably though: "Yikes what a horrible picture." So I found a better one for you...this picture is off Jewoftheday.com. Ellen Barkin was selected as #118 for an Entertainment Tuesday selection over a year ago.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Yellow Starburst Giraffe

This is my homemade yellow starburst giraffe that I made with only my hands and one yellow starburst...call it my own artful self-expression. During this phase of the photo shoot "giraffy" as he likes to call himself was standing on his left legs, although he can stand up straight if he wanted to.

Maybe I should sell my giraffe on ebay like the Jesus tortilla chip?

Giraffy is currently is in the freezer of my place of employment. Save the giraffe before the next freezer clean out and paypal me thousands of dollars. This is a one of a kind piece of art.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Two of the 1st 9/11 Films Ever

It's inevitable...films about recent history always surface...sometimes that history is front and center, other times it's just part of the backdrop. And this year we will start to see the first films where the events of September 11th take center stage.

United 93 (formerly Flight 93):
One Tagline: "September 11, 2001. Four planes were hijaked. Three of them reached their target. This is the story of the forth."
Director & Screenwriter: Paul Greengrass (director of the Bourne Supremecy, writer and director of Bloody Sunday...he's known for having a documentary style...he's also slated to direct the third Jason Bourne film, the Bourne Ultimatum)
Major Acting Talent: No ones name I recognize.
Release Date: April 28, 2006
Thoughts: Hum, can't say I'm rushing to see this one. I thank this story is probably a neat one to tell, but to be honest it's April 28th release date is very interesting to me because it's just not a prime movie time. Also, I like that this story is being written and directed by someone from the UK. Because of the real-time approach to the story it seems less likely to be filled with political commentary.

World Trade Center
One Tagline: A True Story of Courage and Survival
Director: Oliver Stone (his last project Alexander was pretty bad, but he's done some very recognized Americana movies: JFK, Nixon, Born on the Forth of July, Platoon...plus you know Stone could secure the money and crew to do the film right)
Screenwriter: Andrea Berloff (don't know anything about her except that she/he's written a screenplay called Harry & Caresse which Lasse Hallstrom is directing, so she/he must be doing something right)
Major Acting Talent: Those billed in the film credits are Nicholas Cage as lead, and then Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Stephen Dorff, Jay Hernandez, and Michael Shannon (can't say that I'm too excited to see Cage be in the lead...at least it's not Colin Ferrell)
Release Date: August 11, 2006
Thoughts: Released in time for a final summer push, one month before the five year anniversary of the event. I just can't help but wonder if it's too early for us to be "entertained" by an event most everyone can remember seeing?


Thank you to the hammerzone for 1st alerting me to both of these films.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Tortialla Chip Jesus (It Still Could Be Yours)

I love ebay where would this world be today with out it? Certainly with out this miraculous tortilla chip.

Found this very unique ebay item today on demerging.com.

There are many really funny things about this ebay posting beyond the fact that someone is trying to sell this tortilla chip is that the person who posted it has an incredible sense of humor.

Allow me to share humorous excerpts from the very long ebay posting:

After reading the entire “Left Behind” series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins, and watching the 700 Club regularly, I can tell you that I’ve learned more about theology than anyone needs to know. Those guys are blessed with brilliant minds, aren’t they!

My eyes have been opened to the Truth. Ancient prophecies are being fulfilled every day. Choices are made…the stage is set...The Rapture is Coming. Even Oprah and Britney Spears know what I’m talking about.

As you can see from the photo, this is a perfectly-formed, round tortilla chip with a clear and distinct drawing of Jesus on it. It is so clear and distinct; it looks EXACTLY as if someone drew this picture on the chip with a Sharpie marker.

When the bidding reaches $5,000.00, I’ll include FREE shipping AND the Tortilla Chip Bag that once held the Holy Chip, AND a custom-made reliquary, with real gold-leaf trim, in which you can display the Holy Chip under glass for all to enjoy, AND I’ll send you a jar of pickles.

I’m not interested in your religious hatred, so don’t try to send me any supercilious email. Send your whining to Falwell and Robertson and Dobson instead, OK?

again, to see it for yourself the ebay listing can be found here.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mel Gibson and the Passion Crowd


I've thought about blogging about the movie Apocalypto ever since I heard about it earlier in the year...

So when I read the Time article today I had to share some thoughts on this movie by Mel Gibson spoken completly in the Mayan languange of Yucatan, (with novice hispanic actors), tells the story of...well...you go to the films website and watch the preview or read the really dumb plot description of the movie and you tell me.

The Mel Gibson angle of this film is very interesting to me largely because this is Mel's follow up to The Passion of Jesus Christ. When Gregory Ellwood did his 2006 preview earlier this year on MSN he says: Disney is hoping a good percentage of the "Passion" audience comes out and catches Gibson's latest endeavor. Without any obvious religious tie-in, will enough of them bite for anyone to make their money back?

And at that point I thought...I don't think this movie will attract Mel Gibson's Passion audience as much as it would attract his Braveheart audience. Sure both The Passion of Jesus Christ and Apocalpto occur in past times in foreign places and in foriegn languages but how many conservative Christian families packed up to the theaters with the friends, families and bible study groups to watch the rated-R movie, Passion.

Where as these same families, friends and Bible studies probably will not venture out to see a very violent movie about Mayan civilization with a whole bunch of almost naked people running around.

The Time article by Tim Padgett says: After all, devout Christians willing to sit through Latin and Aramaic dialogue to see Christ crucified vastly outnumber Maya scholars. Gibson seems certain that the film's "kinetic energy" will make Maya language and culture "cool" enough to attract a crowd.

Now I'm not saying this film won't do well...verdict is still out there. But churches of the world, please don't promote this movie and encourage us to support Mel Gibson.

I read an interesting post on Looking Closer Journal (Jeffrey Overstreet) that talked about conservative Christians were beginning to distance themselves from Mel as he makes comments that are not in favor with right-wing conservative politics and non-supporting of president George W. Bush.

And I can only imagine that some Christians would not believe it when they read the Time Article and see that Gibson is quoted saying: "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying f___ about much of what those critics think."

Those couldn't be words out of good ol' Christian Mel could they...not the same movie who made that beautiful film about Jesus' final hours. But this apparently isn't rare for chain spoking Mel who the article compares to a Quintin Terintino character.

All this to say, I'll be very interested to see how Apocolypto does and to what degree the Christian community comments and interacts with this film. I knew the time would come when Mel Gibson's reputation would be up at stake in the Christian community, and for awhile I had heard rumors of him doing a movie about the Hasmonean Revolt from the 1 Macabees in the Apocrypha...this also would have isolated his protestant fans...oh the challenges of being a Celebrity embraced by Christians for a season.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Cost of Chopsticks

With China's new luxury tax (including golf balls, shampoo, large engine vehicles & chopsticks, etc.) beginnning April 1st it's hard to wonder what type of adjustments people will make (my guess is very little).

But if the Chinese respond to these luxury taxes this will be the new face of China:


"Look at me, no chopsticks"


(Hopefully this isn't the future for things in the USA, otherwise bad news for the Walmart shoppers in Plano, TX)

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World Water Day Contest :-)

A week ago I saw information at Starbucks above their Ethos water saying that today March 22nd was World Water Day.

What in the world? I thought and so I went to the website last week and found that I could plan my own Water Day event...so I filled out the form and low and behold, today on world water day my event is posted!!

To find this you go to www.worldwaterday.org and click on events (left hand bar), and under Global/Internet events you find a link that says "Water Drinking Contest." Brought exclusively from Strange Culture.

Here's the information from the site:

Water Drinking Contest
Strangeculture@gmail.com
Anywhere, World, Global/Internet, 22 Mar 06

Everyone plan on drinking the biggest glass of water at 12:07pm.
Coordinate with friends to see who can drink the most water at
12:07.


Contact: R C strangeculture@gmail.com


I really didn't think it'd get posted, but there it is!

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's Hard Out There for A South African Thug

My wife and I saw the Academy Award winning foreign film Tsotsi (from South Africa) at the theater the other night.

The movie is really good. Some of the reasons I enjoyed this Oscar winning foreign film:


  • It wasn't trite
  • I knew that the things I wanted to happen were were not realistic and the movie didn't give into those desires
  • The story has a number of moments that communicate strongly with out any exchange of words at all
  • It was filmed beautifully
  • It spoke on so many important themes including the power of love and family over evil, as well as redemption.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

"You had me at, Neo"

In a recent post about V for Vendetta I mentioned how Natalie Portman is very well spoken unlike Keanu Reeves and Renee Zellweger. In fact Keanu and Renee and probably the two actors I enjoy making fun of the most, mostly because I've never heard anyone in the public-eye speak so unintelligently consistently.

(I think the 1st time I realized how poor Renee was at non-verbal communication was when she was with Jim Carrey on the red carpet when he was nominated for Man on The Moon).

Anyways, I mentioned to some friends on Sunday about how scary it would be if Keanu and Reene had a child...I mean, we are talking low-IQ for sure. And, well with Renee's squinty smile eyes and Keanu's stoically-duh face...there child might not even look that cute...

so with the power of photoshop I've put together a simple example:


so with that in mind, remember the planet is already over populated...make war, not babies.

Keanu Reeve's redemption: The role of Neo in the Matrix was made for him...no one else could have played that part. Also I think as a painted-film character in A Scanner Darkly coming soon he might have more facial expressions.

Renee Zellweger's redemption: I think what makes her a good actress is she has no personality of her own so she can follow directions by directors and memorize lines really well. She was awesome in Cold Mountain and deserved to win the Oscar, no doubt.

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Church Sign #15


Oo, oo mom can we go?

Gotta love those signs that give you a WARNING as to what the church sermon's going to be about.

If you have your own sign you'd like to see posted as part of the church sign collection snap it with your digital camera and e-mail it me at strangeculture@gmail.com

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yikes, The T-WORD! (aka terrorism)


I have yet to see V for Vendetta , and to be honest, it's not my type of movie...but I am interested in the issues that this film brings up. As I understand it, the hero-terrorist is seeking justice but using violent methods to achieve the objectives.

Harvard graduate Natalie Portman, a very well-spoken actress (not Keanue Reeves or Renee Zellwegger), has a good interview in Robert Siegel's review on NPR. And she talks about the positive nature of bringing out discussion about these issues of whether violence is an appropritate means to bring about what one views as a positive change.

It made me think of the three activist (Ryan Lewis, 22, Eva Holland, 26, and Lili Holland, 21) who were sentenced to 6 yrs. of jail for the arson they did with the Earth Liberation Front . They were sentenced this past week.Jeremiah Colcleasure, 24, will be sentenced May 19 (More here).

Or it made me think of the documentary The Weather Underground (2002) which deals with the activist faction Weather Underground of the 1960s & 1970s who used violence to fight social causes as a result of feeling that non-violent efforts were ineffective.

After watching The Weather Underground I had the sense that even though these people were criminals, at times, they were also effective. And yet, is that right? If you say yes then you get into horrible ball parks of moral relativism, obviously offensive to the conservative-right...but at the same time the liberal-left would say that this is the same philosophy that right-wingers are using in some of their policies in Iraq.

And then it reminds me of all the similar arguments and offenses felt by people with the documentary Paradise Now . (post here)

Hum? The Wachowski brothers brought us the Matrix, certaily know how to get people talking.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

O, Wallace, Where Art Thou?

Where are Wallace and Gromit when you need them?

The story of multiplying rabbits and there harm to local vegetation is a current problem for Seattle Parks (especially near Woodland Park Zoo). The animals are digging horrible tunnels all around the park killing and damaging trees and local vegetation.

But its a strange nature vs. nature sort of situation...which are more important? Oxygen & Shade Providing Trees or Furry Fuzzy Rabbits.

Well some seem to think you can have your cake and eat it to...so the effort...to capture, seperate by gender and steralize the rabbits...the cost of the this effort for 200-300 rabbits? Well the cities set aside $20,000 and private contributions have come in at about $8,000.

(How much do you think Wallace and Gromit were charging to monitor and use the vacomatic at Lady Tottington's house in "Curse of the Were-Rabbit").

Check out this article for the details.
And if you want to read a short article on why the project has been delayed until fall you can read that here.

Gotta love those Easter bunnies!

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On That Day - You Gotta Get It

Friday was the night of Amy Nobles big-ol' St. Patty's Day CD release party.

Amy brought along a band, a gospel choir and a whole lot of energy as she sang many songs from her new release "On That Day."

The highlights

(1) The long awaited CD has arrived
(2) Four Star Coffee Bar was a packed house
(3) The Sound was awesome
(4) The rain didn't keep people away
(5) The Gospel choir arrived just in time to sing "Lord I praise you" right.

Brief note on "Lord I Praise You": This song is the most amazing song that was written by Amy Nobles and Carrie MacDonald. Carrie, a missionary, was inspired in a hospital recovering from being shot 20 times and the death of her husband David & yet this song is the most encouraging and energized song I've ever heard. (The complete story can be seen in this post on Not Just Bennett)

I encourage you to:
(a) Check out Amy's myspace account and listen to some clips.
(b) Check out Amy's website and order a copy of the CD. I know you want to.





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Friday, March 17, 2006

Jack Johnson - Media Sage Vol. 3 (Good People)

This is the last post of the series of Media Sage post for now (at least until I hear or find another song of Jack's that fits the bill.)

On his album "Inbetween Dreams" he has a really good song on it, one of my favorites called Good People. Which if you look at the lyrics is written in the beginning as if it's fight over which channel to watch on television.

Cause people
Will tune in
How many train wrecks do we need to see?
Before we lose touch of
We thought this was low
It's bad gettin worse so
Whered all the good people go
Ive been changin channels
I dont see them on the tv shows
Whered all the good people go
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow


There's a few other little media comments in the song but this is the bulkies and fullest section, you can check out the full lyrics to Good People here.

Hope you enjoyed these post, perhpas you can think of other Jack Johnson songs that speak of culture, or perhaps other artists who have also written songs of this nature.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Jack Johnson - Media Sage Vol. 2 (Cookie Jar)

"On and On" was my 1st Jack CD purchase ...but the CD is lost (did you borrow my CD and not give it back??? If you did I want it back.)

I love the song, Cookie Jar...in fact it's probably my favorite Jack song, which is probably wierd to Jack Johnson fans, because it's certainly far from one of his most popular, but it was this song that convinced me I needed to buy the On & On CD.

You can check out all the great lyrics here which have a lot to with the blame game that can occur with youth violence specificly. (This song is not about Chocolate Chip Cookie loving...if you blog searched Chocolate Chip cookies and found this, I'm sorry).

Here's the media lines from the song Cookie Jar:

You cant blame me sure the killer was my son
But I didn't teach him to pull the trigger of the gun
It's the killer on this TV screen
You can't blame me its those images he sees
Well you can't blame me says the media man
Well I wasn't the one who came up with the plan
I just filled my camera with what the people want to see
Man it's a two way mirror and you cant blame me
You cant blame me says the singer of the song
Or the maker of the movie which he based his life on
It's only entertainment and as anyone can see
The smoke machines and makeup
Hey you cant fool me

And I would turn on the TV
But its so embarrasing

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Jack Johnson - Media Sage Vol. 1 (The News)

Jack Johnson makes some of the best comments about Media and culture of any musician or public figure I know...and he does it in a very poetic way. In the first post of a series "Jack Johnson - Media Sage."

Here's quotes from the song The News by Jack Johnson off the album Brushfire Fairytales.

A billion people died on the news tonight
But not so many cried at the terrible sight
Well mama said
It's just make believe
You can't believe everything you see


Who's the one to decide that it would be alright
To put the music behind the news tonight


The diagetic world is so unclear
So baby close your ears
On the news tonight


Why don't the newscasters cry when they read about people who
die?

At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their
eyes



You can check out the complete lyrics here.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Untitled, 1990 by Adam Fuss

See this image on the side...it's the likeness of 5 photographs that I saw at the Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth, TX.

Currently the Modern has a mini display of Adam Fuss' photography, which is very unique. By far the most interesting thing to me was 5 photographs of children (Untitled, 1990) in which Fuss used geletin silver prints to capture childrens pictures in such a way that you can hardly tell there's a picture there at all.

I stood infront of these five black "pictures" saying "What in the world is that?" and then came to realize that they very faintly you could find pictures of children in each of the black photographs, and it wasn't as much about angles or standing a certain distance away, but about looking long enough that a really dark black differentiated itself from a semi-dark black.

In the brochure we received describing the work Fuss said, "...the human body grows through nutrition and the internal body grows through attention."

I thought this was an interesting concept, and in order to see the children at all in these pictures you had to pay a lot of attention.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Another by Roth: The Good Shepherd

Eric Roth...a relatively unknown guy to mainstream America. He's a writer and you've probably seen at least one of the movies he's written the screenplay for...

Forrest Gumps probably his most famous...he also written and adapted the Postman, the Insider, the Horse Whisper, Ali & Munich. And so when Eric Roth writes something, I pay attention. His screenplays are often complicated but usually intriguing and attract some critical attention.

I mentioned a few things last week about Dreamgirls coming out in December...and coming out the same day as Dreamgirls is Eric Roth's most recent script to come to screen called The Good Shepherd which is to be released wide on December 22nd (for prime awards buzz no doubt).

The Good Shepherd is directed by Robert De Niro and stars Matt Damon predominatly (how bizarre to be in Good Will Hunting & The Good Shepherd, hum?). The plot sounds crazy and complicated with Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie & Joe Pesci all tangled in some unique shinnanigans. The discription at Yahoo Movies is confusing in itself...basicly as I read it...during WWII, Matt Damon goes to Yale and is accepted into a secret society (Skull and Bones). He finds himself working behind the scenes of military intellegence and in a world of moral, ethical and personal conflict.

All I got to say is Eric Roth...you never seem to run out of complicated stories (of which the Insider is a personal favorite).

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Update: Dan Brown, Red Sun, Prince Caspian & Survivor

Here are some updates (largely based on questions or comments I have received):

Da Vinci Code Delay? Fact or Fiction?
A couple updates here. So it's true Random House is suing Random House over whether Dan Brown didn't plagerize but stole Thoughts from the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. I call publicity stunt. (Random House holds the writes to each of these books).

Also, Catholic bishops have launched an attack over the false theology of The Da Vinci Code with the website jesusdecoded.com which has a very professional design and a fair deal of information. (More info here).

Also...Dan Brown took the stand in London yesterday, here's a quote from a forbes article:

"I cannot possibly tell you the precise date I learned that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute," The Associated Press quoted the thriller scribe as saying. At another point, Brown protested, "It's as if you've asked me to go back five years or ten years and asked me not only what I got for Christmas, but what order I opened the presents."

Will all this craziness tie up the Tom Hanks film? No verdict yet.

Flags of Our Fathers
It's all sounding like award pedigree to me. According to this article on comingsoon.net the film production of Red Sun, Black Sand is beginning this week in LA. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) is set to star. Also don't forget, this and Flags of Our Fathers & Red Sun, Black Sand is being directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Steven Speilberg, and Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) is writing the script. It all sounds like a pile of awards and accolades...and probably some good entertainment!

Survivor 12- Panama - Exile Island Prediction
I predicted a final four of Bruce, Aras, Bobby, and Sally. Well, bobby is gone but half way through three still remain. Ultimatly, I just don't think Bruce can win...and I said at the start I didn't think I'd like Shane, Terry, or Cirie...well I was right and wrong. Can't stand Shane, I think Terry is cooler every episode, and I think different things about Cirie every episode...she's pretty funny.

Prince Caspian Seems to Be Confirmed as a Narnia Go
According to Boxofficemojo's release schedule, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is set to be released December 14, 2007 (a week after New Line Cinema's film His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass)

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Academy Award Nominee Beyonce?

In conjunction with my out of control Academy Award obsession I have begun wondering who will be the hot names of 2006 to get nominated for the 79th Academy Award show in 2007?

Is it possible that one of those hot names could be Beyonce Knowles? Beyonce will be staring in the film Dreamgirls based on a broadway musical and adapted and directed by some guy named Bill Condon. (Bill Condon won an Oscar in 1999 for his adaptation of Gods and Monsters and a nomination 2003 for adapting some stage musical called Chicago...hum? maybe this guy has a golden touch? Note: Rob Marshall directed Chicago, while Condon got accolades for the screenplay...Condon followed up Chicago with his direction of the film Kinsey.)

Dreamgirls stars Knowles playing Deena girls (pictured center above...I tell you the truth!). Who else is in that picture?? On Beyonce's left in Anika Noni Rose (a stage actress who won the Tony Award in 2004 for Caroline, or Change). But more buzz worthy on the pop culture scale is on Beyonce's right is Jennifer Hudson who was a contestant on American Idol. To continue to combination of Critical and Pop Stardome, Jamie Foxx will also be in this film. (If Walk the Line was the white-version of Ray, this is the female trio version of Ray, starring the "Ray, I gotta woman guy"). Note: Danny Glover and Eddie Murphy get top billing on this as well.

This seems to be a little more than The Fighting Temptations (also with Beyonce, but that time with Cuba Gooding, Jr.). In fact Dreamworks has scheduled this movie to released December 22, 2006. Prime award season.

Does the academy love Beyonce? Will they love this picture? They've shown themselves to adore actors playing musicians the past couple years...but what about musicians playing musicians? For those who recall in 2005 Beyonce was at the academy awards as she sang all the nominated songs.

The official website is for the film is www.dreamgirls.dreamworks.com

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Friday, March 10, 2006

The Carnal & The Divine

Last night I got the chance to watch the Academy Award documentary Twist of Faith (2004) . This is an important but very sad documentary that tells the story of a man in Toledo, Ohio who begins stirring up troubles in the Catholic church as he becomes open and vocal about his past abuse by a priest as a 14-year old boy in Catholic school.

Watching this movie, it made me think more and more about how prominent and important this issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic church is. Just yesterday the AP story broke about 102 priest in Dublin, Ireland being suspected of sexually abusing more than 350 children.

This is a sad and important issue. Why in the world does this happen?

There are three reasons that I see as largly creating such a widespread problem...

(1) Lack of accountablity in the Catholic churches for priest
(2) A huge effort is often made to cover up what others see being done. (That is certainly seen in this movie)
(3) The required celibacy of priest. (not discussed in the documentary)

This ideas are supported to me in another dramatic film, the highly acclaimed, highly political academy-nominated film El Crimen del Padre Amaro. (Read the plot summary here) . In this movie there is much issue made over the lies that occur in the catholic church, especially as the young priest Father Amaro (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) finds him being allured into a relationship with a 16-year old girl. As he tries to handle his own carnal desires and speaks with the aging Father Benito about his struggles, he realizes Benito has a long standing relationship with the 16-year old girl's mother among other irreverant things.

This film, based on a story from the 1800s delves into the three causes I placed above as well.

It is very sad that so many are hurt by this dysfunction in the Catholic church...I am saddened that more effort is spent fighting lawsuits than trying to figure out why this happens and how to reach out to those who have been hurt by these horrible crimes.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is It Hard Out There For A Pimp?


I don't know why but for some reason of all the Academy Awards that went out the one it seems most people (Bill O'Reilly, The Blogosphere and Your Mom) can't stop talking about is the Three 6 Mafia's Oscar win for the song "It's Hard Out There For A Pimp" (from Hustle & Flow).

In one of my post...A guy posted a link to his friend's blog with a great post. Kelly's post on this site really analysis the song lyrics and comments made by Jon Stewart and the true facts about Pimps and Prostitutes. It is very interesting blogging & thoughts that give a perspective to think about.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Least Funny Joke of Today Comes from Alabama

"...joke that got out of hand." --Matthew Cloyd, 19, in response to the
burning of 9 Baptist Churches in Rural Alabama.



This story in the New York Times tells about Benjamin N. Moseley, 19 Russell L. DeBusk Jr. 19 and Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20 Alabama students charged with the burning of Baptist churches in Alabama...

From reading the articles it does not seem race related as some of the churches had predominatly white congregations. Yet there is also a concept in some of the stories that some of the churches were burnt at random to help keep them from getting caught.

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Even Pope Benedict XVI has One...do you?

"Computer Technology is the Future" --Pope Benedict XVI upon receiving his 2GB
White IPod Nano on March 3, 2006


You know what I think the pope may be on to something...he's so smart.

For more information see the story in the Catholic News.

I wonder if upon hearing about the Academy Award winning song "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" (By the Three Six Mafia from the film Hustle & Flow) he immediatly downloaded it...or perhaps he'd enjoy the Afters or the Arctic Monkeys?

Also, as a side note, Vatican Radio (the gifters of the iPod), were very smart to give him a white iPod, as I'm sure that would be Pope Benedict XVI's choice.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Church Sign #14: Kinda Morbid


I don't really like the image on this cross...the blood drop coming off the church is kind of a little bit morbid. Maybe that's just me.

Do you have a church sign you'd like to see posted here? E-mail it to me at strangeculture@gmail.com

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LABELS (A Store Concept)

I was talking to some highschool students today about how fun it would be to set up a store called Labels that was made for people who were wanna-bes/posers and people who didn't know how to find close that matched their "genre of style."

The owners of the stores would buy clothes from other stores, mark them up, say 10% and sell them broken down into sections so that you could buy clothes that matched your style. The catch is that these style would be labeled, so if you don't know what was and was not Emo, you wouldn't need help because it would already be classified by genre.

Here's a list of the sections we figured you could easily market:

Gothic
Punk Rock
Emo
Hardcore
Preppy
Designer
Skater
Redneck
Metal Head
Gangster Thugs

Monday, March 06, 2006

How the 5 Academy Award Fun-nesses Turned Out

I've gotta admit...the song "It's Hard out their for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow is stuck in my head today.

In response to my 5 Things That would Make the Academy Awards Fun...

1. Ryan Phillipe accepts Reese Witherspoons award because he can't help but celebrate on stage with her

Hey...she at least thanked him...isn't there some controversy over her not thanking him somewhere else or something??

2. Jon Stewart wears an invisible cloak and sees if he can withstand a gun shot

Jon Stewart is a 30 minute TV guy...the Oscars is just not his thing...at least he was relatively clean and not Whoopi-esque. For some who asked...this is a refrence to Best Picture winner Crash.

3. Eminem gives out the award for best original song "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" and Russle Crowe accepts the award because no one else is near bye and no one takes credit for the Pimp song

37 Mafia does win...and they accept in a very enthused acceptance. Jon Stewart was pretty funny when he said: "For those of you keeping score: Martin Scorcese 0 Oscars, 3 7 Mafia 1 Oscar."

4. John Williams breaks his hip accepting the award for best orignal score for Memoirs of a Geisha

Okay...so John Williams didn't win...maybe next year when he'll surely be nominated again.

5. Brokeback Mountain doesn't win everything it's nominated for

It didn't...it picked up 3 awards by my count, just like Memoirs of a Geisha and Crash. Kind of a diverse selection for a mediocre year.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Bono Creates Dispeace With Gift Acceptance


Bono of U2 created conflict between Chile and Bolivia after performing a concert in Chile. According an article at The Age Bono accepted a Charango, a five stringed guitar from Ricardo Lagos the president of Chile.

Yet Bolivians claim that the Charango is an instrument that is uniquely Bolivian.

For those of you interested in buying a wrist band in support of Charango Understanding, I'm sure one will be available in the next week.

5 Things that Would Make the Oscars Fun

Here's 5 things that if they happened could make the Academy Awards fun & memorable this year.

1. Ryan Phillipe accepts Reese Withersppons award because he can't help but celebrate on stage with her

2. Jon Stewart wears an invisible cloak and sees if he can withstand a gun shot

3. Eminem gives out the award for best original song "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" and Russle Crowe accepts the award because no one else is near bye and no one takes credit for the Pimp song

4. John Williams breaks his hip accepting the award for best orignal score for Memoirs of a Geisha

5. Brokeback Mountain doesn't win everything it's nominated for

The Conclusion of the RC Showdown

So, the votes are in...and I have recently heard some gumbling about wanting to know about the other RC's e-mail to me I mentioned earlier.

The votes were practicly unanimous in favor of me keeping the name RC. Some people suggested possibly using a moniker like Strange RC,StrangeRC, Mr. Peakaboo, Stranger C, & Bizarro RC. (Jonathan mentioned that he liked Shane, but I don't think he was recommending a name, but responding to a comment left by Shane). Many people also encouraged and liked the usuage of the closing "RC of strangeculture."

So, it would seem official that my handle for this site would remain the same, but one last thing that gives me peace in this decision is an e-mail I got from the other RC.

I don't really think of it as something to vote about, though it's a funny
idea.

But you're probably right: so far we haven't overlapped too much.

If I post any comments at any of your usual haunts, just let me know
andI'll defer to your precedence there.

Ciao--
--RC

Hum? He will defer to my precedence, that sounds like power...I think that would also imply that he doesn't want me to visit or comment on this blog since this is where he saw my names and I think he is referring to the fact that he precedence there? hum? can't really see it happening.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

5 things I liked about Murderball

Murderball is an academy award nominated documentary about the sport Murderball, particularly the American team as they head off to play Quad Rugby in Greece.

1. Even though the characters were handicape the film did not over sentimentalize their accidents/brushes with death.

2. The film was partially built up around the paralympic games in Athens, Greece but the climax was not whether or not they or Canada would win. (There's certainly been a lot of contest documentaries, read my post here).

3. I learned about the paralympic games. They are a whole lot more serious then I ever would have imagined.

4. I've never really thought before about how many quadriplegic people would probably be adventerous people inclined to participate in highly competitive and dangerous activities, even after there accidents.

5. I thought that the quick paced MTV-influenced editing helped tell the story well because it set the perfect tone for the youthful and adventerous story.
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