Monday Meme 7/31

But first, this article from Greg Haymes, who, as Sergeant Blotto, helped inaugurate the first episode of MTV with its “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” video. I seem to recall that at least parts of the Capital District was NOT getting their MTV in the beginning because it was too scandalous, but I can’t find a reference to it. Can anyone from around Albany remember if MTV was being broadcast from the start? Is it true that original VJ Martha Quinn was born in Albany? And is there a correlation between Blotto’s appearance and Quinn? As the saying goes, this inquiring mind wants to know. But isn’t it ironic that the rebroadcast of those “rowdy” MTV videos tomorrow will not be on MTV but on VH-1 Classics?
Stolen, as is usually the case, from Lefty

Well, I AM brilliant. (I jest! I jest!) But I do relate to the conflicted nature, as described. And since I was at the page:

Oh, my. I saw this movie. Once. Once was enough. I think I talked about it afterwards with the two people I saw it with for longer than the movie ran, and it’s not a short film. I suppose there is a little of the rescuer in me.
Lefty takes the advice of his musical gurus, including me.

Movies I have not seen

Tom the Dog has a post called Movies Everybody’s Seen But Me. He, and his many fans, listed their various picks. But I’m a librarian. I need a SYSTEM. So I went to the Wikipedia and found the list of highest-grossing films, unadjusted for inflation.
1 Titanic
2 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
$1,118,888,979 NO. Never read the book, either.
3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US)
$976,475,550 YES, with my niece, even though I’ve never read any of the books.
4 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
$926,287,400 NO
5 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
$924,317,558 YES, unfortunately.
6 Shrek 2
$920,665,658 YES
7 Jurassic Park
$914,691,118 YES
8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
$892,213,036 NO
9 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
$876,688,482 NO
10 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
$871,368,364 YES
11 Finding Nemo
$864,625,978 YES
12 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
$849,997,605 NO
13 Spider-Man
$821,708,551 YES
14 Independence Day
$816,969,268 NO, and I’m pretty sure it was intentional at the time.
15 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
$792,910,554 YES
16 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
$789,804,554 NO
17 The Lion King
$783,841,776 YES
18 Spider-Man 2
$783,766,341 NO, but I really want to.
19 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
$775,398,007 YES
20 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
$744,106,957 NO, but my wife did.
21 The Da Vinci Code
$740,961,259 NO
22 The Matrix Reloaded
$738,599,701 NO
23 Forrest Gump
$677,386,686 YES
24 The Sixth Sense
$672,806,292 YES
25 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
$653,913,918 YES
26 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
$649,398,328 NO
27 Ice Age: The Meltdown
$644,028,218 NO
28 The Incredibles
$631,436,092 YES
29 The Lost World: Jurassic Park
$618,638,999 NO
30 The Passion of the Christ
$611,899,420 NO, intentionally so.
31 War of the Worlds
$591,416,316 NO
32 Men in Black
$589,390,539 YES
33 Armageddon
$553,709,788 NO
34 King Kong
$549,216,896 NO
35 Mission: Impossible II
$545,902,562 NO
36 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
37 The Day After Tomorrow
$542,771,772 YES
38 Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
$538,375,067 YES
39 Madagascar
$528,367,986 NO
40 Monsters, Inc.
$525,366,597 NO
41 Terminator 2: Judgment Day
$519,843,345 I don’t remember. I saw SOME T movie.
42 Meet the Fockers
$516,533,043 NO
43 Ghost
$505,702,588 YES
44 Aladdin
$504,050,219 YES
45 Troy
$497,409,852 NO
46 Twister
$494,471,524 YES
47 Toy Story 2
$485,015,179 YES
48 Bruce Almighty
$484,572,835 YES
49 Shrek
$484,409,218 YES
50 Saving Private Ryan
$481,840,909 NO

And then, since thsat list tended to skew towards the newer films with higher ticket prices, I also picked the list of highest-grossing films, adjusted for inflation, with the caveat: “Inevitably, a single inflation-adjustment cannot account for global inflationary fluctuations, and it also favors re-released films. Further, it treats all receipts as if they were earned in the initial year of release, which is clearly incorrect.
However, it does provide a more accurate (if estimated) long-term picture of financial success as it ignores current inflationary trends. Every decade since the 1930s is represented, with the exception of the 1950s.”
(If I described the films in the first list, I won’t in the second.)
1 Gone With the Wind (1939)
$2,699,710,936 NO. Keep thinking I ought to.
2 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
$2,425,862,786 YES
3 Titanic (1997)
4 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
5 Jurassic Park (1993)
6 Bambi (1942)
$1,191,311,757 YES
7 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
8 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in US) (2001)
9 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
10 The Lion King (1994)
11 Independence Day (1996)
12 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
13 The Sound of Music (1965)
$978,767,575 Not all the way through, NO.
14 Planet of the Apes (1968)
$977,132,692 YES. In fact, I saw all FIVE Apes films. On the same day. Don’t try that at home.
15 One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
$966,612,040 YES, and the lead guy in the film is named Roger.
16 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
17 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
18 Jaws (1975)
$912,899,628 NO. Initially, it was fear. Now, it’s just inertia.
19 Finding Nemo (2003)
20 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
21 Spider-Man (2002)
22 The Exorcist (1973)
$870,322,714 YES
23 Forrest Gump (1994)
24 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
25 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
26 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
27 Spider-Man 2 (2004)
28 The Jungle Book (1967)
$802,223,303 NO
29 The Sixth Sense (1999)
30 The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
31 Ghost (1990)
32 The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
33 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
34 Men In Black (1997)
35 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
36 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
37 The Sting (1973)
$679,018,919 YES
38 Doctor Zhivago (1965)
$669,977,327 YES
39 The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
40 The Incredibles (2004)

Other movies mentioned in Tom’s column:
Buffy the Vampiire Slayer-NO
Poseidon Adventure-YES, but not the recent remake
Clerks-NO, but I will, I will
It’s a Wonderful Life-YES, but not until I met my wife
Goodfellas-NO, not all the way through.
Citizen Kane-Rented it, fell asleep. NO. I’ll try again.
The Wizard of Oz-YES, many times.
Godfather-Yes, but not 2 or 3
Million Dollar Baby-NO, but it’s high on my list.
Apocalypse Now-NO, not all the way through, though I must have seen at least 2/3 of it.
The Conversation-currently on my DVR, recorded from TCM, as are Raging Bull and Nashville because I never saw any of them, but I will this summer.
Pretty in Pink-NO.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind-YES, both versions.
Monty Python movies- only Life of Brian, and whatever was after that.
Woody Allen movies -MANY of them
Rocky- Yes, also 2 and 4.
Adam Sandler movies- just the good one.
Oh, that’s enough of this.

THREE (plus) QUESTIONS: Heat Wave

As I’ve mentioned, I saw An Inconvenient Truth recently. I was already convinced about global warming.

1) Do you think there is global warming, and if so, is it reversable? What will it take? I think it’ll take political and personal will that I don’t see forthcoming. I’m particularly interested in Chris Black’s opinion.

2) What was the worst weather you’ve had this summer? For us, it’s been the near-constant rain.

3) Do you think Al Gore is running for President? (I don’t think so.) And why does he look so strange on the cover of last week’s Entertainment Weekly?
Several people have told me about the alleged dis of JEOPARDY! by one Ken Jennings in his July 19 blog post. I didn’t think it was a dis, I thought he was trying to be funny. He didn’t always succeed – faux cannibalism as humor? – but he tried.
In fact, the self-described iconoclast, who earned about 145 times what I earned on JEOPARDY!, had a rather revealing post in which he declares:

1970’s Sunflower is a better Beach Boys’ album than Pet Sounds. (Well, no, it isn’t, but it’s better than it was given credit for at the time.)
Celia Weston’s Jolene was a better Alice waitress than Polly Holliday’s Flo. (Flo WAS a bit over the top.)
I Vitelloni is a better Fellini movie than 8 1/2 or La Dolce Vita. (Never saw I Vitelloni.)
Oh Mercy is a better Dylan comeback than Time Out of Mind. (Maybe.)
John Stanley’s Little Lulu is a better run of classic kids’ comics than Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge. (I’ll have to ask Mr. Hembeck about this.)
Smashing Pumpkins’ cover of “Landslide” is better than the Fleetwood Mac original. (I’ve only heard the SP version a couple times.)
Marnie is a better late Hitchcock movie than Psycho. (Never saw Marnie.)
Timothy Dalton was a better Bond than anybody else since Connery. (Never saw Dalton as Bond.)
Felicity’s hair was better short. (Nah.)
You folks have any opinion on these?

"That Capitalist Rag"

At work, I scan the Wall Street Journal every day: the front page, and the second and fourth sections, Marketplace and Personal Journal (or some such – it changes during the week). But I’m usually reluctant when I go to the op-ed pages, where I, more often than not, find some apologist for the current administration. My co-worker and friend Mike, who semi-retired in the past month or so, would pass the paper along to me, with some cutting comment, such as “Here’s that crypto-fascist rag!” Occasionally, though, I find something actually useful. Here’s an example of each.

In Monday’s edition, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, announced that Muthannā is the “first province to assume complete responsibility for its law enforcement and security, independent of multinational forces.” That’s great. Really, it is, although it had been under the authority of non-U.S. troops. But look at the map of Iraq. As the Wikipedia says, “Iraq is divided into 18 governorates or provinces (muhafazah)”, which are:
Baghdād (بغداد)
Salāh ad-Dīn (صلاح الدين)
Diyālā (ديالى)
Wāsit (واسط)
Maysān (ميسان)
Al-Basrah (البصرة)
Dhī Qār (ذي قار)
Al-Muthannā (المثنى)
Al-Qādisiyyah (القادسية)
Bābil (بابل)
Al-Karbalā’ (كربلاء)
An-Najaf (النجف)
Al-Anbar (الأنبار)
Nīnawā (نينوى)
Dahūk (دهوك)
Arbīl (أربيل)
Kirkuk (التاميم)
As-Sulaymāniyyah (السليمانية)
All during the war, I’ve been reading about how X, (X being something positive) has happened in 8 or 12 or 14 of 18 provinces. Almost invariably, however, those 4 “other” provinces include Anbar, that large western province (#13), where the U.S. is moving troops from, it was announced this week, and Baghdād (#1), which has over 1/5 of the country’s population, and where additional U.S. forces are moving to. I’m afraid I’m not convinced that success in one relatively stable southern province will mean peace is just around the corner. Of course, this guy would likely disagree; naturally, I read about him in the WSJ this week.

The other piece was by Suze Orman in last weekend’s edition, about identity theft. There is pending legislation called the Financial Data Protection Act of 2006, H.R.3997. I’m always impressed how Congress comes up with such comforting names of legislation – USA PATIOT Act, anyone? Her point is about Section 6 of the bill:
(a) Preemption of State Information Security Laws- This Act supersedes any provision of a statute, regulation, or rule of a State or political subdivision of a State, with respect to those entities covered by the regulations issued pursuant to this Act, that expressly–
(1) requires information security practices and treatment of data in electronic form containing personal information similar to any of those required under section 2; and
(2) requires notification to individuals of a breach of security resulting in unauthorized acquisition of data in electronic form containing personal information.

Orman, talking about this preemption, notes that there are already strong laws in CA, FL, IL, NJ, NY, and UT, which means 130 million out of 300 million Americans. State reforms enable you to to activate a credit freeze, but this is a hassle to the business community. As for the federal law: “Only victims who produce a police report after their personal information is stolen would be able to put a credit freeze on their accounts. This approach is the equivalent of only selling locks to people who have already been burglarized.” This sounds “bug my Congressman”-worthy.
My friend Sarah e-mailed this piece about stolen elections. Generally, I’m not thrilled with unsigned pieces, but I trust her, and what it says is consistent with I’ve read before.

FILM OBSERVATION: An Inconvenient Truth

Our date on Sunday was to see “the Al Gore film”. Yet, I was surprised how truly personal the story was.

You can read reviews in lots of places. Here are my reactions:

1) I left the theater angry, not about global warming – I was already ticked about that – but how I wished that Al Gore were more personable six years ago, rather than sounding like a policy wonk, talking about the Social Security “lockbox”. Maybe he would have won Tennessee, his home state, and what happened in Florida would have been irrelevant.

2) The film merely confirmed what I had been thinking for years: that the government’s low standards on highway mileage, which included setting standards then letting Detroit postpone them as “too expensive”, is why Ford and GM are in such trouble today.

3) I wish I could better explain to someone why the excessive rain in the Northeast earlier this month, and 118 in Phoenix earlier this week are caused by the same phenomenon.

4) Someone hissed when W briefly appeared on the screen. It wasn’t by me, but it could have been.

5) Carol and I had already agreed that we need better insulation for our house.

6) Mass transit is a solution, but how do we do that amidst urban sprawl? The issue of that aspect of development, not touched on in the film if I recall correctly, is a huge problem.

7) I feel sorry for Jimmy Carter, and for Al Gore too. When Carter was President, declared a Moral Equivalent of War (MEOW) on the energy crisis, and wore a sweater in the White House, it just wasn’t the message people wanted to hear at that point. Gore has had this same message for three decades before just recently started getting any real traction.

8) Not directly from the film: I had long thought that it would take $3/gallon gasoline before consumption in the U.S. would really change, I mean lower usage for a sustained period. What IS the price point, $4/gallon?

9) Go to the website here.

10) Go see the film. Tell other people to go see the film.

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