Saturday, June 26, 2010
When I looked outside the other day, I saw that we'll have quite a miracle of life going on over the next few months. (Click the pic to enlarge). I try not to look out the window too much as I do not want to spook the mother bird, but I can't wait to hear the sound of little chicks squeaking!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Well, the picture here is what happened after we left the house. We got poured on, with gritty water flipping up our backs and down our asses, took shelter in an underpass for twenty minutes, learned that where we had been not ten minutes before was being pelted with hail, and then got to look like major dorks riding home in the rain along a busy road.
And only 8 miles to show for it. Jim will not live this down for a long time (and we're getting the deep dish pizza I like tonight!). But I guess it's really nothing to cry about. After all, it's just water. And it'll make a great story!
"Once the Gulf spill is under control, please use this disaster as a means to drive stronger efforts needed to move this country in the proper direction on energy. Americans need to understand we cannot consume oil and also protect our environment. This isn't the first oil spill disaster and - if we continue relying on oil - it won't be the last. The only way to prevent this from ever happening again is to move away from oil.
"This requires more than energy policy. It extends to incentives in city planning and construction that makes part of highway and roadway projects the expansion of other means of transportation, such as trains and even bicycles. It also means improving access to these modes of transportation. For example, expanded train service is great, but if there are two year waiting lists for the parking at the train stations then people can't use it. This doesn't have to happen overnight (and it can't), but we aren't doing enough to take even the small steps that will lead to better energy policy in the future.
"Another needed approach is to punish those who actively avoid intelligent fuel decisions (e.g., SUV owners). Let's push for a tax on these vehicles (like the 'sin tax' on cigarettes and alcohol) that will ensure there are funds for the future clean-ups that will be needed. Perhaps an SUV tax added to their car payments, or a surcharge added to their insurance, or a higher toll for SUVs on the highways that means they have to go in the manual lanes? Whatever the case, people who flagrantly waste oil should be required to bear extra burdens versus those of us who make more intelligent transportation choices."
Here's the link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The good: there were several really awe-inspiring shots of wildlife. One shot had a diver swimming near a whale and I really got a feel for the scale of the animal, which is not often the case in whale footage. Another shot had a diver swimming alongside a great white shark. Again, I got a feel for the sheer size of the animal. I also liked the scenes of jellyfish herds. Very beautiful.
I use the word 'shot' in describing the movie because, unlike much better treatments of nature, such as Blue Planet or Planet Earth, this movie felt like a lot of 'shots' strung together. There were no 'sequences'. And this was really the main problem with Oceans, it was utterly directionless. The narrator said something about the first horseshoe crabs rising out of the water, and I thought: "Okay they're going to make some point about the history of the sea or something." Nope. They switched to a completely unrelated topic within three seconds when the next shot came up. While the really good documentaries I mentioned above transition between a lot of different topics in a fairly loose manner, there is a sense of organization and flow. The narrator sticks with one idea for a bit, makes a point, and then guides you to the next idea.
Oceans felt like a jumble of undersea footage stitched together without rhyme or reason. Pierce Brosnan's pompously voiced narration created a lecture hall dreariness, underlined by the grandly worded but often meaningless text he was saddled with. 20 minutes into Oceans I was flat-out bored. When I heard the narration start up with the 'man hurting the environment' line, I realized we must be coming to the end and literally felt relief. Though the satellite images of pollutants flowing into the oceans were quite compelling, I was too close to napping to really care.
Some might point out that Oceans is primarily aimed at kids, and that this would be the reason I found it dull. However, the amount of fidgeting from the dozen or so kids around Jim and I suggested to me they were as bored as us. Perhaps the scattered approach was an attempt to keep the kiddies engaged by always having something new flashing across the screen? If so, it didn't work. It came off as dumbed-down, not kid-friendly. At the half-way point, I heard one child loudly ask his father in an utterly bored tone: "Can we go home?" So much for instilling the wonder of nature in the next generation.
I'm glad Disney made this effort, and I hope they continue doing flicks like this. But maybe they ought to try a little harder next time.