Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
It doesn't come out until November 3, but it has already received mainstream media coverage thanks to Kazakhstan's legal threats against Sacha Baron Cohen, the comic and star of the movie. They say it portrays Kazakhstan in a bad light, etc. To combat the negative attention they mistakenly thought the movie would bring their country (as opposed to what, no attention? Had you ever even heard of Kazakhstan before this?) the Kazakh government launched an enormous PR campaign in the US. And because that wasn't quite enough, the Kazakh president himself scheduled a diplomatic visit to the US to meet with Bush.
So to fight the bad attention they think a movie will bring them, they take out ads in the NYT to say "No, look, we're really a great country!" All they're doing is free advertisement for the movie itself, and doing it more effectively than a movie studio could have done.
There's a screening for the movie coming up and the Kazakh president is visiting the White House today. Coincidentally, Borat himself showed up at the White House today to personally invite "Premier George Walter Bush" to the screening. Also invited, he told secret service agents, are O.J. Simpson, "Mel Gibsons and other American dignitaries." Not surprisingly, he was denied entrance.
Watch the trailer.
Jon Stewart interviewed Pervez Musharraf and gave him a twinkie. "Now, where is Osama bin Laden?"
The fact that Comedy Central can land an interview with the president of Pakistan is proof that the network plays a solid role in American politics. Young people who don't recognize the names of network anchors watch The Daily Show, and it's a primary source of political knowledge for a lot of them. If only Jon Stewart could get them to vote.
Stewart-Colbert '08, anyone? At least it would get my generation involved.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
(Sidenote: I don't like how the word "random" has become a catch-all word to describe things that aren't really random. Since that was the word that came to mind when I was writing the title of this post, I looked it up in a thesaurus and saw something amusing. Listed as a synonym for random: promiscuous. If random means choosing or proceeding without exercising reason or preference, does promiscuous mean sleeping with people without reason or preference? Like picking people out of the phone book? Ew. Now try to get that out of your head the next time you hear the Nelly Furtado song.)
The other night my roommate Nicki and I were watching TV, and she got a text message. Looking at it with a confused expression, she said "I don't recognize the number." Then she fell off the couch laughing. I grabbed her phone and read the message, which was from an Atlanta number that wasn't in her phone. It said "Everybody get naked!!!!!!"
She still doesn't know who sent it.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
When online socializing led to getting in touch with people I went to elementary school with, several of them asked "What college is CofC?" Legitimate question, I suppose. We don't have a football team, and if you're not from South Carolina you might not know who we are. Maybe that's slowly changing.
The new George Street Observer has a small piece on the SAT scores and grade point averages of freshmen admitted this year. The average SAT score was 1220, and GPA was 3.81. The honors college averages were 1340 and 4.34.
The honors college numbers make me wonder about the high school classes that allowed the students to have obscene GPAs like 4.34. I thought that was barely possible. How can it be the average?
I was accepted in the honors program, but the 8 required credits of history and post-calculus 2 that was required scared me away from it. By the time I arrived here, I was done with high achievement. I wanted to go to a party school; to roll off the beach and into class with sand still on my feet. It looks like people seeking that type of atmosphere are increasingly better students.
Either way, if I had applied this year straight after high school, I might not have been accepted. It looks like I was just in time.
"If my religion were based on the teachings of Donald Trump, I would try to make a lot of money and keep it all. And I’d feel good about it because I was being true to my beliefs. I’d hate to go through life feeling like a hypocrite."
Sometimes I read things and wish I had thought of it first. This made me giggle and wish I had thought of it first.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Six Flags Great America is offering a pass that would let you jump to the front of the line for any ride in the park. How do you get it?
Eat a LIVE Madagascar hissing cockroach. Live. Whole.
You have to sign a waiver to do it. I wonder about this kind of thing, like contestants do on Fear Factor. How do they know it's safe? Did someone try it out first? And who would do that?
People have died this week from eating spinach, and now Six Flags is asking you to eat a live cockroach. I'll pass, thanks.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I have a cold but I went to my 8:00 class this morning anyway. In my next class we were supposed to have a quiz, but I got there and was told by another student that it had been moved to next week. As I was standing up to leave, the professor walked in. He caught me!
My heart dropped; I would have to stay a whole hour and fifteen minutes and be that annoying person sniffing and coughing every twenty seconds.
He asked where I was going, and I said "Nowhere. I have a cold and was going to leave when I found out the quiz was moved, but I guess I'll stay."
"What? I'd rather have you leave than infect the whole class! Go home and sleep. I'll see you Tuesday."
And now I'm off to curl up under the covers.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I work at a law firm that shares space with an organization called the NEFA foundation. It stands for "Nine-Eleven: Finding Answers." They fund counterterrorism, or something along those lines. Whenever people get arrested on planes, or there's a military coup in another country, or a world leader calls Bush a name, they get mad and the office gets busy. I just overheard them talking about this in hushed, intense voices, so I went to CNN.com to see what the big deal was.
Hugo Chavez told Bush he smelled bad. Hahaha, so playground insults carry over into adulthood in Venezuela? To be fair, this is the actual quote (via CNN):
"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body Tuesday from the same lectern. "And it smells of sulfur still today."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I posted the other day about the Facebook group I created, and only 41 people had joined. Are you ready for this?
We're up to 520 members. Keep spreadin' the gospel!
UPDATE #2: 682 members. I'm in love.
My favorite posts from the group:
"People who suck at English aren't real people." - Michael Howell
"I love it when people tell me 'your retarded.'" - Mark Gardner
A pastor from Texas predicted this to be the fate of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson because they use sex to promote their albums and movies. "Their breasts will sag and their faces will wither and they will be left with nothing but a hollow shell." Ouch.
I bet Jessica Simpson is tired of people talking about her breasts in public. Ashlee, not so much, but Jessica's breasts have been the focus of entirely too much publicity. Aren't there other subjects worth speaking publically about, especially for a pastor? You know, like war or murder or poverty...Pat Robertson or killer spinach? In my humble opinion, these are far more significant threats to the souls of Americans than Jessica Simpson's breasts.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Above is a picture of an Al Qaeda linked group burning a figure of the pope in a demonstration in Basra. And what, exactly, are they protesting? Being called violent.
So the pope quotes a centuries-dead emperor saying that Muslims spread religion using violence. The pope then clarifies his statement by saying that this is not his opinion, he is only quoting someone else. In response to being called violent, the group releases a statement that says, in part, "We will break up the cross...the only thing acceptable is a conversion [to Islam] or the sword." And figuring that words weren't enough to show exactly how non-violent they really are, they burn an effigy of the pope.
Nice comeback guys.
That's like Bill Clinton saying "I am not unfaithful! Stop saying that, or...or I'll sleep with your wife too!"
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The other day I created a group on Facebook called "I judge you when you use poor grammar." Forty-one members so far! It's funny to me how Facebook has served as an outlet for stating irrational annoyances. The most gratifying part is seeing other people agree. Did I mention that 41 people agree with me?
This pet peeve isn't totally irrational though. I see companies sometimes that print flyers, posters, etc. with grammar and spelling errors (and misused words), and it makes me think how I'd never want to work for them. If there are grammar mistakes in materials that they post in public, how conscientious are they about other things? I don't have much confidence that they do quality work when I see sentences like "We'd love to have you're business."
The latest one I spotted was a sign on a certain King Street business stating:
"Now excepting applications."
It makes me want to carry around a red pen and mark things up, or maybe stab the offenders in the face with it. But that would be taking things a little too far.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
3:30 PM Friday (voicemail):
"ANSWER YOUR PHONE! I have a joke: What did the blind and deaf kid get for Christmas?"
"Leukemia. I love you call me back."
4:30 AM Saturday (voicemail):
"ANSWER YOUR PHONE! I just watched a kid jump out of a second story window. I mean he had a rope and everything, but whoa."
10:03 AM Sunday (in a text message):
"I woke up on a bench."
Some background in case you don't know Jay: He's a sophomore at University of Alabama, in a fraternity, and an aspiring alcoholic. He's also my hero.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
It’s raining, Nicki and I are attempting to study, and I’m taking a break. I’m playing Ari Hest doing Hallelujah because it fits with the night. The rain and quiet demand it.
I listened to it today walking and was reminded of his command of his voice, of pitch, dynamics, the emotion reflected in the breaks. He knows the direction and arc of the song, and he pushes two climaxes out of it. Yes, like sex. “Remember when I moved in you, and the holy dove was moving too, and every breath we drew was Hallelujah.”
Probably because of the roughness of his voice in other songs, I’m always surprised by how he hits in the very center of pitches in this one. A bulls eye. That’s rarer than it should be in pop music. His falsetto is also startling; his range is higher than I’m comfortable with as a girl, and below it he’s a strong baritone.
Maybe there’s a God above
And all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It’s not a cry that you hear at night
Not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah
After this verse his voice breaks and it sounds like he’s faltering, like he’s about to cry. If it’s an act, then I’m fooled. And smitten.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Five years ago today I was a junior in high school. The loudspeaker called us into the auditorium, and Geoff said that planes crashed into some buildings in New York, and I didn't believe him. No way, we were just in trouble again. Trash in the hallways, gossip, bad sportsmanship at a soccer game (things that were offenses at Annapolis Area Christian School).
I remember feeling disbelief even when it was official, announced by our principal. We were sent back to our classes, and someone found a radio. I was in Mrs. Brown's English class. It seemed like we were in a war decades ago, huddled around the radio for news. The people talking on the radio were hesitant. They didn't want to sound hysterical, so they announced information in uncertain terms: "As far as we know..." "I'm being told now that..." "It seems to be...". Responsible journalism.
I called my mom on my cell and it took a few tries to go through, but I got her. She taught at the middle school. When she announced it to her class of 7th graders, a little girl raised her hand: "My dad works at the Pentagon." How do you respond to that?
My dad didn't work at the Pentagon, but he was flying that day. From Birmingham to Baltimore, and I couldn't reach him. I knew he was okay but I wanted to hear him.
I got Jay, a freshman, and picked up Grace from the middle school and went home, driving carefully. The radio wasn't playing any music.
I remember going to Wednesday night dinner at church and feeling outraged. Normal life was still happening. We were gathering, talking, eating, laughing. The next night a few friends got together at Robbie's. We watched the President speak and I was comforted by the Bible verses and his strong words. It is so different now.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Because I'm not. Not yet, anyway.
It hasn't been long enough to make a quality, artful portrayal of September 11th. Saving Private Ryan and other war/conflict movies are so heart wrenching because they show weakness in the heroes: a soldier crying for his mother on the beach at Normandy. We're too close to the event to show any weakness in the heroes for 9/11. It would be crass, disrespectful. The miniseries might make you cry, but that's because it's evoking the feelings you had during the actual event. It's not a testament to the effectiveness of the series that we're crying.
I might watch it later, when it comes out on DVD perhaps. Just not yet.