Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh, for Pete's sake...

This is what I'm hearing from the Republicans, just after the failed bailout vote in the House:

"Well, we were going to vote for the bailout. But then Speaker Pelosi made a partisan speech, so we voted against it."

Number one, how is that not partisan? And, number two, if they felt like a bailout or something was necessary, are they really ready to imperil the whole US economy because they didn't like a speech?

How stupid is that?

Oh, and just for good measure, one of them (sorry, can't remember who said it), blamed the upcoming Jewish holidays for "rushing" the vote.

And the third thing, the Republicans keep saying that they want this thing to be "truly bipartisan", but then someone (again, I wasn't taking names, just watching MSNBC coverage) said that they didn't vote for the bailout because they hadn't been able to push the provisions "far enough to the right".

Bloody fucking idiots. No matter if you're for or against the bailout, that's what the Republicans are acting like.

I've got to go back to work now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've been reading...

Just finished reading Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause, by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel. Incredible book. Oh, it has the gossip that you would expect in a book like that, but it also has some fresh and interesting insights into the making of the film and the personalities that made it possible in the first place.

It sets the film in its time, but also looks at how it has come down through the years, continuing to speak to generation after generation of kids and adults.

I didn’t see Rebel until I was well into my 20s. I’d avoided it purposely, fairly sure that it couldn’t ever live up to its hype. But then it came on a local television station one night, and there was nothing else to do, so I watched it. Actually, I had it on in the kitchen while I was baking something, convinced that I wouldn’t actually watch the thing but just glance in on it every once in awhile. Good thing there was a timer on the oven, or I would have very likely let whatever it was I was baking burn.

I was mesmerized by the film. It was really that good. James Dean really was that good. It was impossible, but there it was.

Of course, there was the extra added attraction of the role played by the Griffith Park Observatory, a place where I had grown up and have always adored. I hadn’t realized it was in the movie, just as I had had no clue when I was a kid going there on Sunday afternoons that something so amazing had gone on there. I had been up those steps. I had leaned right there. I had stopped to get a glimpse of the planetarium controls, just as Jim Stark, James Dean’s character did in the film.

But, even absent that echo of my own childhood, I would have loved the movie.

Yeah, it is very ‘50s, and awfully cheesy in places. But for all that, it is perhaps the most authentic piece of film making I’ve ever seen, am ever likely to see. It soars. It aches.

Maybe it speaks to me because I was the outsider as a teenager. Not in the same way as Jim Stark or Judy or Plato, but an outsider all the same.

So, when I found this book in the library, I had to check it out and read it. It doesn’t sugarcoat any of the people involved in the production, but it makes it clear that while most of them had the usual foibles and faults inherent in those who practice a self-absorbed art like film making, those same characteristics helped make the movie what it is.

My recommendation? If you have ever seen Rebel Without a Cause and loved it, this book is probably your cup of tea.

If you haven’t ever seen the film? What are you waiting for? Get thee to a DVD rental or sales outlet, or to your local library to borrow a copy and watch it. It’s one of the greats.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick and Pigs, Part 2...

Yeah. I can’t let it alone. Wish I could, but I. Just. Can’t.

Not after seeing clips of Senator McCain and Governor Palin both using the same phrase they are tearing Senator Obama a new one for using.

I don’t like hypocrites. And that is what the McCain campaign is made up of, apparently, in light of the fact that McCain has used the same phrase at least once in specific reference to some of Senator Clinton’s initiatives. So, arguably, McCain could be accused at least as directly of sexism as Obama can for his comments.

If, that is, what was said was sexist, which it clearly wasn’t.

And even if it were, I think we all need to calm down and back away from the political correctness.

PC isn’t good for anyone. It makes well-meaning people paranoid to say anything that might possibly be misinterpreted, which is most things depending on the situation, and it doesn’t stop the people who say really malign things from saying them. Personally, I’d prefer that people who are prone to saying unpleasant things to just feel free to say them. Then I can know who I want to avoid keeping company with more easily.

The right wing of the Republican party condemns political correctness as so much censorship, but when someone who disagrees with them, say the Democratic ticket in the upcoming election, the right-wingers use political correctness as a club to beat the Democrats about the head and shoulders.

Like the McCain campaign is doing to Obama today.

And that, my friends, is rank hypocrisy.

Issues, people. There are issues in the campaign.

It would be nice if someone would talk about those rather than acting like a bunch of sixth graders calling each other names.

Now we know why...

Yeah. Now we know why John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Every time someone criticizes anything she says, or says anything that can be remotely interpreted as a criticism of her, the Republicans can jump up and down and yell, "Sexism!"

The latest is how Obama characterized some of the McCain proposals as "putting lipstick on a pig", and the Republicans are trying to turn that into "Obama called Palin a pig."

Jeez. Are you falling for that? Because I'm not.

Well, Mr. McCain, you need to put that sexism card away, along with the POW card. They are both old and tired. But, I suppose you are afraid that you'll lose on the issues and have to cobble up some kind of controversy in order to try to gain the sympathy vote.

I've got to go back to work now, but I had to get this said.

I think I need to quit watching the news; it gets me too riled up.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Good Will? I think not...

At the risk of sounding strident for three posts in a row, I’ve got to ask this question:

When did Goodwill become Bad Will?

With my mother now living in a board and care home and using a wheelchair provided by her insurance, there was no reason for me to keep the transfer chair (a wheelchair, but with all small wheels) that she used when out shopping or visiting before she broke her hip recently. Instead of just trashing it, as it is in fine shape, I wanted to donate it so someone else could benefit from its use.

The first organization I thought of to donate the chair to was Goodwill Industries.

So I went down to one of the local Goodwill stores and inquired about donating the chair.

A male employee snapped at me: “We’re closed for the day.” Which was kind of strange, since people were still shopping in the store and the doors were still unlocked. And then he added, “And anyway, we don’t accept medical equipment.” As he said “medical equipment”…he fairly spit out the words…he wrinkled his nose as if he had smelled something bad. As if the chair must be contaminated or something.

Fine. I managed not to rip the guy a new one and just said that I would donate the chair to someone who would appreciate it, in that case.

The chair has since been donated to Amvets.

But it is an interesting thing. I looked up the websites of both the national organization of Goodwill Industries and the organization in the region in which I live. The national site does not say anything about what is or is not accepted, as far as I could find. And the local organization’s website has a list titled: “Due to environmental regulations and/or safety concerns, we are NOT ABLE TO ACCEPT the following items [capitalization theirs]:”, followed by a list of items that will not be taken by the organization. The closest to wheelchairs any of the ten or twelve categories of items on the list comes is this: “Food, beverages, medicine or vitamins”. No mention of medical equipment in general, and no mention of wheelchairs or transfer chairs specifically.

So, the guy was not only rude. He was wrong. Not a way to build good will, is it?

I don’t think I will be donating anything to Goodwill Industries anytime soon.