Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.
Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Remember the Ludlow Massacre!Note.
I originally wrote this piece on 19 November 2011.
I am publishing now in memory of the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre.
In my youth I learned that when my older brother was behaving like an obnoxious twat and I confronted him on it, he would become an even more obnoxious twat. The alternative was to ignore him. He would, of course, ramp up his obnoxiousness to try to get a rise out of me. But if I continued to ignore him he would eventually abandon the theatrics and give up; resulting in peace and quiet.
Over the years I have seen people try to draw attention to themselves and their cause in one form or another. Boycott Procter and Gamble! Boycott Disney! Boycott that group that did the bad thing and has poor social policies! The reason that I am not even bothering to Google these news events from the past and provide links is because the protesters were being twats. Easy to ignore and the results of their actions were non events. It takes a real 'super twat' to endure the ignoring, continue to ramp up the obnoxiousness, and continue to try drawing attention. (I am looking at you Fred Phelps.)
So now we have Occupy Wall Street. (OWS). And of course like so many protesting and loud mouthed twats that have come before, all the powers that be had to do was ignore them and it would have gone away. I believe it was not successfully ignored because: A) the powers that be are stupid. Or B) the protests and complaints have merit.
I am pretty confident that supposition A is mostly false. But in either case, can you think of a single reason why the powers that be should remain in power? (My definition of “powers that be” includes, but is not limited to, the executive, congressional, judiciary, the wealthy, and the media.)
History has lessons here. For starters I would like to draw attention to the Ludlow Massacre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_massacre
One significant difference between 1914 and 2011 is that so far in 2011 not one single protester has been killed. This actually speaks very well for our current in power crop of idiots. Not killing people is huge. For comparison sake take a look at some other protests going on in 2011, right now as I am writing this:
I really cannot express enough how big a deal it is that not one single police officer, soldier, or instrument of those in power, has killed an OWS protester. This speaks very highly of our democracy, our government, the protection of our rights and our freedoms, and the way things are done in a civilized society.
History has lessons here. I would like to draw attention to the Kent State Massacre:
Instead of being 97 years ago, this was only 41 years ago. Living memory for many of us. One significant difference between 1970 and 2011 is that so far in 2011 not one single protester has been killed. It appears that if you have a grievance against those in power your odds of survival are better the older your democratic state is. Between 1914 and 1970, the number of protesters murdered has been reduced by 84%
It is not my intention to belittle the experiences of the U.C. Davis protesters that spent hours vomiting up pepper spray. But the fact that those protesters are not dead is a good thing. And this is a result of our democracy growing smarter and more mature. Our culture changing its values. This is the evolution of civilization happening before our eyes.
I also need to point out that this is still not noble behavior. I am not trying to say that the cops are being good guys because they did not murder anyone. That they have replaced murder with torture is not exactly laudable. And the debate about torture (cough, water boarding) is not over yet. But it is undeniable that from a human rights standpoint moving from murder to torture is progress. While this progress may be good, we are still a long way from a comfortable destination.
And this progress does not absolve our current government from the need to continue improving our civil rights record. Listening to republican candidates expound on the virtues of water boarding (cough, torture) sickens me. It reminds me far too much of civil war era politicians expounding the economic virtues of slavery. Which is not too distant an analogy from the message of the occupy protesters. The 99% and wage slaves trying to find a way out from the shackles of the wealthy.
It is our leadership that brought on this economic crisis, it is our government that bailed out the banks with no repercussions for their economic injury to our nation. The fact that no protesters have been killed does not give anyone a good behavior pass. The current in power crop of idiots are the ones that screwed things up, and they have got to go. We now need leaders that will continue the work of improving our society, listen more and act on the will of the people, and denounce torture rather than resting on the laurels of non murder.
Now the OWS protesters have an iconic image of themselves being sprayed like weeds before the pesticide of authority. Inhuman, deplorable, irrefutable, and disgusting. Yes, heads should roll over this incident. (I am looking at you Linda Katehi.) The day that a servant of the public turns a weapon on the public is a traumatic day for our democracy, our nation, and our ideals. Too much of this behavior is the sort of stuff that incites revolution and topples governments.
If our nation can withstand it, this pesticide is also fertilizer. We now stand at a place where torture has replaced murder. We grew to this place out of a 224 year old constitution. A set of ideals that said for the first time in human history that people and citizens are important. That our own happiness is important. That individual life matters. That the governed ought to have a say in government.
In the greater scope of human history this is a really amazing point of view. That we, the proletariat, the governed, the people, have been able to get the powers that be to change from murder to torture is impressive. I can only imagine what the standards of civilized behavior will be like in another 100 years, or even another generation. Perhaps torture will be replaced by shame. Loosing a debate may become a social evil. I have no doubt that the debate will be rigged and the audience will be subjected to all the power of social conditioning and psychological warfare available. But I smile a joyous smile as I imagine a day when our grandchildren look upon the world and notice that shame is better than torture which is better than murder.
The bottom line is that in spite of all the problems facing modern democratic societies. Problems with taxation. Problems with unemployment. Problems with health care. Problems with copyright law. Problems with austerity. Problems from economic meltdowns. Problems with socialism. Problems with capitalism. Problems with people just plain being mean to other people as a path to riches. I would rather live in the United States of America in the early 21st century than at any other time in known history. (Although I am certain that we could improve upon our current in power batch of idiots.) My odds for happiness, and not being murdered, are just plain better right now than they have ever been before in all of human history. I would like the next generation, and the one after that, to be able to say the same.
The OWS protests (and the police officers watching them, (and the powers that be controlling them)) are a benchmark. The pepper sprayed U.C. Davis students, and Kent State before them, and Ludlow before that, are symbolic. And they are all part of the social mechanism that is making the world a better place. Milestones on the path to a better world. I salute you, mourn you, observe you, applaud you, and upload in your honor.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Best photos of 2009
In 2009 I acquired a new camera, I hacked an old camera so that it will take infrared photos, and I took approximately 1,300 pictures. Not a bad year for photography.
I could not pick out my best photo of the year, but I was able to narrow the field down to my three favorites. Here they are:
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup
Start with a big soup pot.
1/4 cup butter.
1/4 cup flour.
A little bit of diced onion.
Melt the butter, stir in the onion, mix in the flour.
Add 1 can of beer.
Add a bunch of chicken stock. 3 cups oughtta do it.
A good dose of white pepper and black pepper and a little bit of cayenne pepper. A dash of garlic powder and a smidgen of celery seed.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.
A dozen or so slices of American cheese. (Next time I am going for a pound and a half of the sharp cheddar.)
Slowly stir the cheese into the concoction until melted.
3 head of broccoli - chopped into bite sized florets.
2 white potatoes - diced into bite sized pieces.
Steam these before hand. (I hope you read ahead instead of following along.)
Stir 'em in.
Simmer for a few minutes until everything is good and hot.
Next time I am going to add some bacon bits.
Labels: Beer, broccoli, cheese, cooking, potato, soup, yummy
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- Would you like me to mail a copy of my social security card?
- No thanks, just list the number. You are really paranoid about this paperwork.
- Well you mentioned big fines.
- I didn't intend to make it sound that serious. It works like this; we have to keep this I-9 paperwork on file for all employees in case some big government person asks for it. If, in the rare one in a bazillion chance that a government fool were to come snooping, we would have to prove that all our employees are eligible to work in the U.S. I have never heard of anyone ever being asked for this paper, but employers are threatened with fines and such to keep us in line. There would only be trouble if we were hiring illegal aliens. Personally, I am pretty confident that you are eligible to work in the United States.
- Only for about 40 years.
- Right. So if the government hassles me about providing a job to a law abiding white American woman with a valid social security number, I will be sure to get in touch and get a copy of that document right away.
Labels: conversation, employees, Employment, fines, government, hireing, I-9, job, paperwork, work
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"The problem with people that think they know it all is they really annoy to those of us who do."
Labels: eavesdrop, know it all, overheard
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Sometimes your state government does something right. This post is a kudo to those that helped pass House Bill 531.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer Tuesday signed into a law a bill that bans the use of red-light cameras in Montana
Labels: bill, good, government, governor, House Bill 531, law, politics
Monday, April 27, 2009
What is up with the call for wilderness these days?
Business People Call for More Wilderness in Northwest Montana
I am having a lot of trouble with what Wilderness entails. I understand that a wilderness designation places special rules on what can and can't be done in a piece of land. But what exactly? And I am at least a little suspicious of the business people in the above article. Could they really be trying to preserve their McMansions by having the government lock down "their backyard"?
I have read the wilderness act itself, and find little guidance there about how wilderness has been practically managed. Here is my summary of the restrictions listed therein.
Except for measures necessary to meet minimum requirements for administration of the area, including emergencies, health and safety.
- No commercial enterprise
- No permanent road
- No temporary road
- No motor vehicles
- No motorized equipment
- No motorboats
- No landing of aircraft
- No mechanical transport
- No structure or installation
There are some exceptions listed in the act pertaining to aircraft and motorboat use established prior to 1964. There is also a big section pertaining to mining and mineral rights in effect up through 1983.
Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of the wild outdoors. I know that places like the Bob Marshal Wilderness have benefited from the wilderness designation. I know that our state has benefited from the wilderness areas we enjoy. But as a visitor to wild areas I also know a little human intervention solves problems.
- Establishing campsites and trails outside of wildlife migration routes reduces human/animal conflict.
- Maintaining trails with modern chainsaws and equipment is less expensive and results in better-maintained and safer trails.
- Shelter cabins can save lives.
- Signs, trail markers and cairns aid in navigation and help localize and reduce human impact.
In other words, Wilderness areas and wilderness recreation do not mix very well. Perhaps they were not meant to. I think it is important that tracts of land are preserved from recreational interests as well as from commercial interests; a wilderness designation does that. But we should be careful about which pieces of land get padlocked up from all human interactions. Preserving wild lands for recreation and human use is also important. I think case by case evaluations would be a better choice than a blanket "Wilderness Good" proclamation.
And what about Glacier National Park?
The park Superintendent wants Glacier to be a wilderness area. I am suspicious of this too. Park management is already required to manage areas eligible for wilderness status as though it is wilderness. The superintendent says that the wilderness designation will just make these management policies permanent.
But casting wilderness into law will also overlay another set of potentially conflicting laws and rules on the existing management. What happens when the Park Service Organic Act conflicts with the requirements of a wilderness area? What happens when the rules for preserving historic structures conflict with the rules for managing wilderness areas?
The Wilderness Act is also hostile to wilderness recreation, as we have seen above. The National Park Service mission includes both preservation and providing for enjoyment. Making a National Park a wilderness does a service to one part of that mission, but a disservice to the other.
The National Park Service Wilderness Management Policies do call for assessments and studies before the change can be made. Unfortunately, the same policies make no mention of public comment or input.
The policies also call for public education programs and states:
Education is among the most effective tools for dealing with wilderness use and management problems and should generally be applied before more restrictive management tools.
I think the best thing that can happen right now is education, debate and discussion. There are far too many questions unanswered at this time for me to think that slapping "wilderness" all over the map is a good idea. So for any of you congress people or lawmakers out there, please keep right on doing what you have been doing. Nothing! Make no votes for new wilderness until the debate has reached the public and we better understand what we are doing to the future of our lands.
Labels: bureaucracy, education, Glacier National Park, law, National Park Service, news, opinion, preservation, recreation, wilderness, Wilderness Act
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I have a horrible urge to go to a local tea party with a giant banner that reads:
"But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
Someone stop me before I go get my ass kicked.
Labels: humor, Monty Python, politics, taxes, tea party, video, youtube
Monday, April 06, 2009
It is my pleasure to report that I have completed a great quest. I have watched every single movie that has won the Oscar for Best Picture. Well, that is not quite 100% true. I have not been able to locate the first winner, Wings (1927-1928); and Cavalcade (1932-1933) is mysteriously absent from Netflix. So except for those two films, I have seen every Best Picture from The Broadway Melody in 1929 to Slumdog Millionaire the winning film from 2008. Good enough, the quest is over.
I have been on this quest for about 15 years. It was around 1993 or so that a girlfriend of the time passed the meme on to me. The girlfriend turned out to be a flake, but the idea of watching all these movies has stuck with me. Before the internet it was slow going, I went through a bunch of video store memberships scouring out the old movies sections and wondering where in the hell was I going to find all of these films. The age of Netflix has made this particular quest much easier, and I would have completed it sooner if it were not also a cornucopia of time-consuming entertainment.
I have learned quite a bit about movies, American history, and perhaps even myself in the process. The biggest and greatest thing I have learned is:
The Academy Sucks
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started the awards to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry. I'm sure that there was a little self-promotional interest in creating the awards as well. Awards are voted on by Academy members, mostly film professionals, with actors currently the largest voting bloc. And frankly, their taste in movies sucks.
I can't really speak to some of the older awards, because I have never seen the other nominees. But of contemporary films, especially those released in my lifetime, I have a broader selection to compare with and I would not have chosen most of the winners.
For example, in 1979 Kramer vs. Kramer beat Apocalypse Now. Raiders of the Lost Ark lost to Chariots of Fire in 1981. And from 1983, which film would you have given the award to, The Big Chill, The Right Stuff, or Terms of Endearment? Other big losers include The Shawshank Redemption, Goodfellas, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Star Wars.
To be fair, some of the losers that are highly regarded had some pretty tough competition. The beautiful Doctor Zhivago lost to The Sound of Music in 1965. That one could have gone either way and I would have been pleased with the choice. In 2003 the films nominated for best picture included Seabiscuit, Mystic River, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Lost in Translation. You can pretty much throw a dart while blindfolded and hit a winner on that list. It was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King that took the prize that year. And if you are interested in a year with some serious competition, look back to 1939. The nominees that year included The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Of Mice and Men, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. The winner that year was Gone with the Wind. What a great year to be a connoisseur of cinema.
A few years with a tough decision to make does not let the Academy off the hook though. In 1941 both Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon were nominated and lost the award to How Green Was My Valley. In 1946, It's a Wonderful Life lost to The Best Years of Our Lives. Dr. Strangelove lost to My Fair Lady in 1964. The Academy has picked wrong far too many times for me to trust their judgement.
The worst of the best
Don't let that "Best Picture" title fool you, many of the award winners downright sucked. Here are some titles notable for being the worst of the Best Picture list.
Hamlet (1948). Great source material does not always make a great movie. This film was a stinker. Every last line, even the funny bits, were delivered as slowly and dramatically as possible. Imagine, if you will, having William Shatner performing each part with the greatest dramatic intensity he can muster. "Rozencrantz! And! Guildenstern! Are! Dead!"
Tom Jones (1963). A completely empty headed tribute to misogyny. A good for nothing philandering bum of a hero can do no wrong, while the many women he philanders with can do no right. This film is the poster child for how to hate the hero.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989). So the good natured black chauffeur has lots in common with the stick up her ass Jewish white lady he drives around. You don't need to sit through the entire boring film to get this point. This film has no high points, interesting visuals, memorable scenes, or even much to think about.
And my absolute least favorite, worst of the best, most gawdawfull Best Picture ever: Around the World in 80 Days (1956). This film was nothing but a huge circle jerk of ego stroking for the hollywood hipsters of the day. Let us forgive all the racist moments in the film and all the blatant ethnic stereotyping. It was the 50's; they didn't know any better. This film was awful because it was boring as all fuck. This film was awful because the characters were cliché driven and had no actual development to them. This film was awful because it started with some wonderful source material and was re-written to be clever; and by clever I mean bad. And there was a reason that this awful film won. Apparently everybody who was anybody in Hollywood that year had a little cameo role in it. I recognized Frank Sinatra as the piano player in the San Francisco saloon, but that was about it for my recognizing the parade of who's who. A modern audience can certainly tell that lots of important people make an appearance in the movie, constantly throughout the entire film the camera will linger a little too long on some person in the background or someone with a bit part in the scene. That I can name only one of those people a half century later indicates to me that they were merly self-important. The films nominated that year included The Ten Commandments, The King and I, and Giant. This stupid movie won because half the Academy appeared in it.
The Best of the Best
The Best Picture list certainly had some pleasant surprises in it for me. I have to give high marks to some very old movies. All Quiet on the Western Front, the third film to win the award back in 1929-1930, was quite good. As was Mutiny on the Bounty from 1935. Humphry Bogart proves himself to be a stellar actor in Casablanca, 1943. And I will hold On The Waterfront from 1954 up against any modern film for its high quality and excellent storytelling.
The Best Picture quest has given me an appreciation for musicals that I was not expecting. Don't overlook Gigi(1958) for its entertainment value. It's hard not to like The Sound of Music(1965); and I am now a big fan of West Side Story(1961). Even My Fair Lady(1964) had me singing along. For fun flashbacks to how your grandparents (or great grandparents) liked to be entertained, look to The Great Ziegfeld(1936). The Broadway Melody(1928-1929) can also bring a smile, but back then they apparently thought it was okay to have only one song for an entire musical.
High quality war movies appear throughout the best picture list. Platoon(1986), The Deer Hunter(1978), Patton(1970), Lawrence of Arabia(1962), The Bridge on the River Kwai(1957), All Quiet on the Western Front(1929-1930). All good stuff.
Comedy is a little lacking. You Can't Take It With You(1938) is better when performed on stage. There was Annie Hall(1977), but you have to appreciate Woody Allen to enjoy it and not everyone appreciates Woody Allen. Shakespeare in Love(1998) counts as a romantic comedy, but I think It Happened One Night(1934) is the better romantic comedy. The Apartment(1960) is my favorite comedy, but its serious side weighs down the laughs it starts with and makes it hard to identify as comedy.
The political films from the list impressed me. The Life of Emile Zola(1937), All the Kings Men(1949), A Man for All Seasons(1966). If you don't like the way things are going, politically speaking, immerse yourself in these films for a different point of view.
There are only three westerns on the list. Unforgiven(1992) is quite possibly the best western genre film of all time. No Country for Old Men(2007) just barely qualifies as western. Cimarron(1930-1931) is only interesting for the historical perspective.
Other films worth going out of your way for: Grand Hotel(1931-1932), All About Eve(1950), Midnight Cowboy(1969), The Godfather(1972), and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest(1975).
Cinema and history
Browsing through 80 years worth of films gives an enlightening view of history. The evolution of the cinematic art form is fascinating and the changing culture we live in is illustrated better than any anthropologist could hope for.
Films of the 30's and 40's relied quite heavily on dialog and conversation to move the plot forward. Alfred Hitchcock's only best picture winner, Rebecca (1940) is a perfect example. The plot has all the twists and mind games one would expect from a Hitchcock film, but they are almost entirely presented through dialog. As a modern filmgoer who is used to a more visual story telling style, I found it somewhere between a challenge to follow and a bore.
As for the film making arts, following the chronology of films through the decades is like watching a flower bloom. Each new generation of filmakers can be seen borrowing heavily from their predecessors' best moments and adding their own new ideas. Sets and locations grow more complex and far flung. Soundscapes grow richer. Camera angles and motions become more interesting. Editing and pacing become more exciting. Gone With the Wind from 1939 was an epic film, the first all color film to win Best Picture. With spectacular images, huge cast, and a sweeping story line it set a high standard for what an epic film ought to be. Compare that to a modern epic like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King from 2003 and the old epic feels pale and slow.
Film arts are not the only historical insight the Best Picture list offers. I found myself reveling in the peek at past cultures. There was an obvious emphasis on family life in early films. Cimmarron(1930-1931), You Can't Take it With You(1938), How Green Was My Valley(1941), Mrs. Miniver(1942), The Best Years of our Lives(1946), and Gentleman's Agreement(1947) all featured entire families as the protagonist. In the modern era families have not been important since Terms of Endearment in 1983. The best a modern film can offer are the faux families in Million Dollar Baby(2004) or Driving Miss Daisy(1989); or the broken and struggling families from American Beauty(1999) and Slumdog Millionaire(2008). The individual has grown to be more important than the family over the past century.
The taboos of culture could play a part in that shift. The Best Years of our Lives(1946) told the tale of three servicemen returning home from World War II. One serviceman finds his wife having an affair with another man. The film tap dances carefully around the adultery like it is reluctant to admit what is going on, even though it is an important point in the plot. The couple is always referred to as having "an unhappy marriage." Even in the scene where the cuckolded husband comes home to find wife and lover together in his apartment, there is not a hint of sex anywhere in the dialog or in the visuals. Everyone is fully dressed and no one will directly speak about what is obviously going on. Compare and contrast this with the adultery and blatant sexual content in American Beauty(1999). I am disappointed in the older film for its inability to be up front and forthcoming, but comparing it to the newer film suggests that our culture may have lost something important when we shed our taboos.
The rituals of romance have also evolved over the years. In Marty(1955) Ernest Borgnine goes from dedicated bachelor living with mom to marriage ready husband material over the course of one date. This film emphasizes how very important it is to be coupled up with someone and that there is something not quite right about single men. Less than ten years later we have Tom Jones(1963) gallivanting around England and sleeping with anything that has two legs and a vagina. This film celebrates how truly awesome it is to be an upperclassman amongst poor wenches and a single guy in a world where women are the lesser citizens. And the consequences of all this philandering? None that I could see.
And how about those romantic kids in Titanic(1997)? The classic story of love spanning the gap between cultures and classes. Heartwarming isn't it? For another take on the rich girl, common guy theme, look back to It Happened One Night(1934). Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert do a much better job than their contemporary counterparts in teaching each other, and the audience, about the finer points of their respective backgrounds.
The best picture list clearly defines World War II as the greatest source of cultural change our society has seen during the history of cinema. There are eight Best Pictures that take place in and around the events of WWII. From Mrs. Miniver(1942) with its prophetic optimism about the uncertain outcome of an ongoing war. Up to Schindler's List(1993) revisiting the human crises. The war gave filmmakers a huge stable of stories to tell with fascinating and heroic characters and exotic and worldly backdrops. Patton(1970) and The Bridge on the River Kwai(1957) showed us the best and worse of our military leaders. Casablanca(1943) and The Best Years of our Lives(1946) show us the struggles of ordinary people swept up by world events and coping with the aftermath.
Prior to the war, films that emphasized entertainment and leisure such as The Great Ziegfeld(1936) or You Can't Take it With You(1938) outnumbered films with a social message such as All Quiet on the Western Front(1929-1930) or The Life of Emile Zola(1937). After the war it is as though filmmakers found a new voice to speak with. It is as though frivolous entertainment was suddenly unimportant. Movies like The Lost Weekend(1945) and Gentleman's Agreement(1947) began pointing a spotlight on uncomfortable social truths. Even films about entertainment such as All About Eve(1950) and The Greatest Show on Earth(1952) featured characters with greater depth and more complex challenges than the big screen had seen before.
The growth of a filmgoer
A lot can happen to a person in 15 years. Since I made the goal of watching all these films I have lived at six different addresses, held four different jobs and gained over 30 pounds. It is hard to point to a list of 80 movies and say it changed my life. Even so, I think these movies have affected who I am. Without this quest I would never have bothered to see most of the movies older than I am. That would have left me horribly deprived of musicals. Singing and dancing spectacles are in fact great fun.
But it goes deeper than that. I am more open minded about my entertainment in general. In forcing myself to watch some films that I would have otherwise passed over I can recognize the merits of having an open mind and trying new things. I have been able to internalize the philosophy of "don't knock it until you have tried it." From clothing styles to racquetball, the best picture list has helped me encounter the new.
I would also like to claim a better critical eye. With a wide swath of movies to compare and contrast with it is now possible for me to better recognize quality as opposed to shiny gimmicks. The movies have helped me recognize this in other mediums as well.
The list has given me an illustrated guide to the history of my culture from the past 80 years. Filmmakers have accidentally captured dozens of topics from education to fashion to personal relationships when they thought they were filming something else. Watching phenomena like racism go from blatant to scorned. Watching technology like telephones change our society; from the businessmen in Grand Hotel(1931-1932) using them sparsely, to the gangsters of The Departed(2006) making them a part of their personalities. Life styles, cities and ideas have all risen and fallen on the big screen. This map of the past creates a fabulous glimpse into the possibilities of the future and reminds us that in all things, change is the only constant.
And so it is with me. For having perused the past, I am more ready for the future. For having studied the best I can now recognize the worst. Because films are ultimately about people they give us insight into how people act at their best and their worst and even at how it feels to cross the thin line between the two. The best picture quest has left me wiser and more mature for having completed it. I can only hope my next great quest, whatever that may be, will have such a profound impact on me.
Labels: awards, best, best of, Best Picture, cinema, culture, essay, favorite, films, history, movies, opinion, quest, self improvement, sucks, worst
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
1 Noun: The layer of body fat that accumulates in the winter months. Syn: winter padding.
"My pants and my winter don't get along."
"I didn't winter too bad this year."
"Falling didn't hurt, I landed on my winter."
2 Verb: To pass through or live through winter. To keep or manage during winter.
"Hey Pete, how did you winter?"
"My mortgage wintered better than I did."
Labels: Montana Vocabulary, vocabulary, winter
There is more Jones in the archives: February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 December 2009 January 2010 May 2014