Wednesday, December 08, 2004

isn't this just wishful thinking?

the list of this year's most trustworthy professions has come out with nurses and grade school teachers leading the way. in fact, all the top professions are ones that people must truly depend on. does it really mater if your car salesman lies about the rust proofing? or course not. but you want to believe the nurse that it'll go away in two days.

you can make a whole book out of that?

the book Grand Canyon: A Different View. has been getting a lot press lately. this is due to it being sold at the grand canyon. what is wrong with that? it is a creationist look at how the grand canyon was formed. they say it was noah's flood. no, really, that is how they explain it. well, wouldn't you know that those liberal science bastards would get all huffy about it. when will they just give into conjecture and follow the one true god?

ok, enough sarcasm. at texas tech about 4 years ago i attended a lecture featuring a leading creationist. his goal was to validate that life could only have come about by way of god, and that the earth was about 5000 years old. i was a 20 year old history major, and i saw how faulty the science was. our science professors were not kind, ripping gaping hole in all his points, from cells aligning in particular formations inn nature, to his "hyper-canyon building." the most glaring weakness of his position was the fact that at many points he had to go back to it being god's will. this is the problem with putting a creationist book in a national park. if little timmy picks that book out because of the pretty pictures, he might start getting a really warped view of the way science works. and yet, we haven't removed the book yet.

is this what we want america to be?

charles goes to the movies

right off the bat: i went to both national treasure (reluctantly and closer and will relive the experience here. if i happen to give away plot elements or other such spoilers, i apologize in advance. to get them out of the way, the review grade will precede the needlessly inane story of my night.

national treasure: B-
closer: A

for those of you not in the know about the geography and movie locations of the delightful metropolis that is el paso, texas, here is a quick overview:

el paso is at the western tip of texas, right where the rio grande really starts to snake north. the city has morphed into a sort of backward lowercase y with the southern border the rio grande and the whole in the middle the franklin mountains. I-10 runs the length of the city, connecting all areas much like an artery. from tip to tip el paso is approximately 40 miles wide, with another 15 or so lengthwise. i live on the far east side of town, 5 minutes from the biggest theatre that side of dallas. as of late critically acclaimed movies have failed to open at said theatre. on such movie is the excellent closer. to my surprise, however, the movie was opening in el paso. on the westside. i guess my theatre needed to keep alexander on 3 screens. so i trekked to the west, much like earlier americans looking for a new life. 40 miles later i arrived 20 minutes late for closer. that type of thing happens when traffic literally stops to see a traffic accident on the other side of the freeway. well, i was not about to walk in late to a movie i drove an hour to get to, so i bought a ticket to the best-movie-starting-in-less-than-five-minutes-that-will-be-over-by-the-time-the-movie-i-want-to-see-opens. in this case that was national treasure.
this is not a good movie. its views of history, science, cartography, personal interaction, washington d.c. and also eastern us geography, comedic timing, polar exploration, light, and physics are all depressing and ill-informed. that said, it was fun. not good writing, excellent character fun, but more pretty pictures when i turn my brain off fun. a side story: the opening of the movie is a cold opening of the protagonist as a child. he is looking through the attack for something. the problem? this part looks nothing like the rest of the movie and is edited in a way that makes it seem as if it might be a trailer. so about half the crowd talked through the whole thing, with the other half telling them to shut up. that is not a good sign. but beggars and choosers.
on to the reason for my trek, closer. i made the 10:25 with a half hour to spare. i found myself a great seat and watched the increasingly boring slideshow they put on before the movie starts. with about 10 minutes to the film, about 10 college-aged, frat-looking guys pile in. the same thing occurs with 5 minutes to go. i am now totally surrounded by couples (good), film buffs (like me, so good), and frat guys under the impression they will get to see natalie portman naked (bad). if you don't want to hear about the movie, you may want to stop now. well, the movie is about four sad people that care more about their own happiness than anything else. they invest their happiness in others and are disappointed. it was extremely sad, but in a very moving way. about two-thirds of the audience got that. i'll let you guess what third didn't. they other third watched the movie with a frightening detatchment that reminds me most of ebert's review of i spit on your grave. they cheered each awful thing the characters did to each other, getting especially excited by an act of violence. they even cheered at points. when the scene that could have shown portman naked did not, they booed. at the end most of the audience was left a bit numb by the experience, while a third went out happy, and no doubt looking for a traffic accident to gawk at.

Monday, December 06, 2004

happy holiday bowl

tech catches a pissed off cal team. this could get ugly. i hope the O shows up. my pick: (and remember my extreme bias) tech 42-38.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

crowd support redefined

in a bad way. i had the pleasure of watching my texas tech red raiders demolish the utep miners in el paso saturday night. while the win filled me with pride, that was nothing compared to the pride i felt being a good fan. an explanation: if you go to a tech sporting event in lubbock, get ready to stand. you will only be sitting during timeouts and halftime. we love our raiders and show it to the bitter end. if you were to look at the crowd at the end of a game you'd be hard pressed to tell the outcome based on bodies: we won't leave if we are getting killed by kansas (again, and again, and again).

on saturday i stood at the beginning of the game, as did the rest of the crowd. after utep scored first, the crowd went nuts. i thought it might be a long night of hearing it from miner-faithful. then tech scored. everyone sat down and pretty much shut up. even the student section. after a half dominated by tech they took a 12 point lead into the locker room. well, the miners come roaring out of the gate and cut it to 3 points without tech scoring. the place is ridiculously loud and i wonder if this is going to get away from the raiders. well, after one tech basket everyone again sits down and stops cheering. tech jumps out by twenty and cruises in for a 15 point win.

if this is the support the miners always get, then i'm surprised they ever win any games at all. is it too much to ask that fans support their team no matter the score? in el paso i suppose it is.

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