30 August, 2006

Save the "Street"

I know most people probably read my writings here and think to themselves, "My gosh, where did this kid get the abilities to write and maintain such a kick ass blog?!" Well, I'm going to come clean and tell you right now. It's because I grew up watching great childrens programming like "Sesame Street" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on public television. I'm sure many of you watched them in your early years and would hate to see future generations not afforded the opportunity to watch this programming. Congress has recently decided to cut spending for public broadcasting, starting with shows like "Sesame Street." Here's your chance to have your voice heard in support of public television and radio. Below is a generic letter you receive after signing a petition in support of these programs at moveon.org (despite what you may think of that site as a whole, it's hard to object to this cause) that will allow you easily to say what you want to say:

Hi,

Everyone expected House Republicans to give up efforts to kill NPR and PBS after a massive public outcry stopped them last year. But they've just voted to eliminate funding for NPR and PBS—unbelievably, starting with programs like "Sesame Street."

Public broadcasting would lose nearly a quarter of its federal funding this year. Even worse, all funding would be eliminated in two years--threatening one of the last remaining sources of watchdog journalism.

Sign the petition telling Congress to save NPR and PBS again this year:

http://civic.moveon.org/publicbroadcasting/

Last year, millions of us took action to save NPR and PBS, and Congress listened. We can do it again if enough of us sign the petition in time.

This would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting. The Boston Globe reports the cuts "could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs." NPR's president expects rural public radio stations may be forced to shut down.

The House and Senate are deciding if public broadcasting will survive, and they need to hear from viewers like you. Sign the petition at:

http://civic.moveon.org/publicbroadcasting/

Thanks!

P.S. Read the Boston Globe story on the threat to NPR and PBS at:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1864

25 August, 2006

College Dos/Don'ts for Myself and Others

These are a few quick rules I plan to follow once I get up to school next week. I invite you to check them out and provide any you believe I'm forgetting in the comments section.

  • Don't use the extra space that your corner double provides you for holding out of control bashes, but do use the extra space in other people's corner doubles for this purpose.
  • Keep your books close, but your booze closer.
  • Stock up on as much of everything while your parents are still there moving you in because once they're gone, so is their money.
  • While door is open, avoid playing music that will establish you as the laughing stock of the floor (or worst case: the building or campus). You're own discretion will have to be used, but I'm looking to avoid anything and all things boy band, Britney Spears and her imitators, Vanilla Ice and the heir to his crappy white boy rap music throne, K-Fed.
  • Avoid placing any item that has touched the bathroom floor higher than your ankles or anticipate serious viral and bacterial infection, and even by this rule you should be ready to battle off foot fungi.
  • If you are going to go off campus to eat, be sure that the portion you will be served is the same one the military forces of medium-sized third world countries tend to have, to ensure you have leftovers for yourself for the next week or so.
  • Trouble making friends? Tell people you like any of the following, Panic! @ the Disco, Jack Johnson, The Fray, John Mayer, Ben Folds, or The Postal Service because everyone else likes them too where your going.
That's all I can muster up for now, but feel free to add as they come to you.

24 August, 2006

I was a Target at Target

My favorite kind of college shopping is buying the nonesentials, which I suppose makes sense, but isn't good. For example, today I went to Target to see if I could pick up some reasonably priced DVDs to keep myself procrastinating right through college. Target has good prices on CDs and DVDs and I feel no ethical dilemna in going there because they are by no means Wal-Mart (don't know what I'm talking about? Check out this one).

So I went either looking for a reasonably priced "The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Season Two," being very happy with the nostalgia and joy brought on by the Season One set or The Dark Crystal on DVD. They didn't have either, so my mission failed, although I got to save the money I would have spent otherwise. But while I was shopping, something else was going on too.

As I got out of my car in the parking lot, I cross one the lanes running through the lot. A car is steadily approacing a nearby intersection of the lot, but isn't anywhere near me...yet. So as I go to cross, the car gets closer to the stop sign at that intersection and I cross because the driver isn't even close to the intersection yet. Once I'm halfway across the lane, the guy decides it would now be an opportune time to peel out and get the hell out of there. Problem though, I'm in the way. I've been eyeing this car and see this man flying at me and do a Secret Service style leap and run out of the way. The guy breaks once I've flown out of the way onto the curb, and doesn't even give me a look or an apology. He pulls away, I'm disgusted, but I notice that his license plate reads "A55KLWN." Coincidence? I think not.

At this point I manage to safely get into the store. I begin my browsing, my general perusing, and all of the sudden, out of no where, a strange middle aged man is lingering uncomfortably close behind me. Is this really neccesary? Call me Fox Moulder, but I believe this man was another pawn in the attempt on me at Target. First the car, then this guy, both of which fell apart too soon thanks to cunning abilities and wit. Seeing as my personal space was being violated in addition to whatever malevolent plot this man was about to drop on me, I made my way to the other side of the aisle I was looking in.

I'm checking out the new releases at this point, some pretty good buys, but I had given up hope on finding the ones I was looking for at this point. I see that Match Point is selling for 14.99 and that some Hugh Grant movie is the--OH MY GOD! A blood curdling scream tears through the serenity that had been the Target store. I look to my left and a woman who had been crouching looking at greeting cards gets wailed by a lunatic driving a full cart. Surely, I was the target of that, but the errant cart missed me. Enough is enough, I've had it with these motherfu***** attempts on my life at my local motherfu***** Target. I bolt and make my way swiftly, albeit cautiously, to my vehicle.

I throw it in to reverse and notice a creepy woman sitting in her car all by herself in an empty section of the parking lot eyeing me down. It was like she was a starving wolf and I was warm fleshy raw meat. I bolted, no DVDs in hand, but still holding on to my life. I hope I can't post this account of my day's events before I'm apprehended by them....just kidding, I'm sure everything will be fine...unless Peter Pizzo happens to make his way into work tonight and I have to deal with that too...Peter Pizzo may be one of them in fact. I think it's safe to declare: THE END?

23 August, 2006

Forthcoming Flicks/VOTE

Well, inspired by my recent purchase of Outkast's double album "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," this post is going to have two different agendas loosely connected by a conjoined title ("what the hell is he talking about?" is right) But seriously, I haven't written anything in a while and I'd really like to procrastinate anything productive concerning college packing so...here I am. Check out part 1 concerning "Forthcoming Flicks" and stick around for "VOTE" below that.

The fall is quickly approaching and that means its time for some seriously kick-ass movies to come out. I've seen my fair share this summer, here's a quick run down of least favorite to favorite (although I haven't not at least mildly enjoyed any yet) this summer: The Da Vinci Code, X-Men: The Last Stand, World Trade Center, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Snakes on a Plane, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Clerks II, Superman Returns. I haven't really made an attempt to look for what was coming this fall in terms of what looks Oscar-worthy. Instead, I've just been anticipating the movies that I really think I'll enjoy, which seems both much less strenuous and pompous to me. So here are the one's I'm still looking forward to before the end of this year:
  • The Fountain-This much delayed science fiction/fantasy epic is one of the most visually stunning things I have seen in quite a while. The trailer looks weird, the premise is weird (three parallel plot lines hundreds and hundreds of years apart with the same actors, or something along those lines), but the cast and crew are promising, to say the least. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz star in three roles each in the film and director Darren Aronofsky (husband of the female lead) has had great critical success with his two features thus far, Pi and Requiem for a Dream. This one looks like a masterpiece in the making and is probably my most anticipated film for this year.
  • The Prestige-The second film this year involving Victorian-era English magicians (The Illusionist being the other) is the newest film from one of my new favorite directors, Christopher Nolan, of Memento and Batman Begins fame. I'm currently about halfway through the book that this film is based on, although judging from the trailer, the film seems to change quite a bit from the plot of the book. This one has an impressive ensemble cast with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman (he sure is making his rounds this fall) in the starring roles and Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie, as a fictionalized Nikola Tesla, among the supporting players. As I finish this book, which has successfully managed to keep me turning the pages, I think my anticipation for this one will only grow larger.
  • Idlewild-I've been looking forward to this one for a few months now, and picked up it's companion album yesterday. Idlewild comes out this friday and is a period musical starring both members of Outkast, and looks like it could be really fun. I've enjoyed what I've heard of the album, which shares the Idlewild title, and a rap musical starring these two and a very solid supporting cast could be very good. This one may have to wait for DVD though, as initial reviews are a little underwhelming, and I'd love some more time to get to know the music in this film.
  • Flags of our Fathers-This film and its companion film, Red Sun, Black Sand mark director Clint Eastwood's first works since the success of Million Dollar Baby. Unlike Baby, Eastwood is not in either of these films. These two films together depict the events of the Battle of Iwo Jima, one from the American perspective, the other from the Japanese. I only mention Flags of our Fathers at the top, because it seems unlikely that Red Sun, Black Sand will be out this year, although the films are meant to be related. The first of the films, Flags, will no doubt be released this year and is based on a best selling book of the same name.
  • Apocalypto-Friend of the Jews, Mel Gibson directs his first film since a little one called Passion of the Christ came out two years or so ago. I don't really know much about this one, but it's got an intimidating title, a cool trailer and stars a cast of completely untrained (I believe) native Latin Americans. The film concerns one of the ancient civilizations down that way, the Mayas, or the Incas or the Aztecs and looks like it could be a great epic for our age. Well my incredibly vague description and lack of knowledge of this one should sell it to anyone reading.
  • Hollywoodland-This fictionalized account of the events leading up to and following the death of George Reeves, television's Superman on the 1950s "The Adventures of Superman" seems like it may be cashing in a little bit on the release of Superman Returns earlier this year, but it looks very good in its own right. Adrien Brody stars as a fictional detective investigating the death of Reeves in 1950s Hollywood. The film has a great supporting cast, including Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins and Diane Lane and looks like it could be very good.
  • The Black Dahlia-This film reminds me of the previous one, in that it involves a real life (although fictionalized) murder in Hollywood some decades ago. The trailers for this one look gritty, unrelenting and down right awesome. Josh Hartnett stars in this noir-looking feature from master director Brian de Palma, who has not seen much success in recent years, however the early word on this one is that he is back to top form and that this film will not let viewers down.
  • The Departed-The master, Martin Scorsese, is back this year with a remake of the Hong Kong crime masterpiece, Infernal Affairs. I've talked a lot about casts in the above films but this cast is by far my favorite of the year. Among the stars for this one are Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and Martin Sheen. Remakes can, and often do, crap out, but Scorsese has had success with the remake before, in 1991's Cape Fear, which garnered more Academy Award nods than the original. The trailer for this one looks pretty good, with the exception of the crappy song that plays in the background.
And now moving on to a more pressing matter...the 2006 Elections are quickly approaching. Don't fall asleep on me quite yet! Being at least 18, as my peers mostly are, entitles us to vote, and don't take this one for granted, get registered now. There is some waiting or processing period that must pass between the time one fills out the paperwork and when one can actually vote. This year, November 7 is Election Day. A lot of you may be at college on this date, so find out how to cast an absentee ballot. For NJ residents, the website is here: Absentee ballot application. Once registered, you can file the above application (if you are a NJ resident) and have an absentee ballot mailed to you wherever you may be (college mailbox for example).

Our country is moving closer and closer to falling into shambles. Unless you had a lobotomy around the time of 2002, you should be well aware of how unsuccessful our country has been doing in all aspects. We have two wars overseas, only one of which is arguably making positive progress (that would be the Afghanistan campaign). Temperatures are rising and we're running out of fuel in this world. I don't want to go on and on, but these things are not good and must be fixed. I don't want to place the blame on one group or anything but since at least 2002, the Republicans have controlled the White House, the courts and both houses of Congress. Connect that statement to the previous ones and I'll allow you to come to any conclusions you would like. Now that you've hopefully made the right conclusions, I'd just like to say that I am not a die hard Democrat, but I feel like we should at least give them a chance to get into control, because the worst that can possibly happen is that they continue to run our country like the GOP has, but I'd like to think that things can only get better with change.

So the easiest thing to do for those of you who are 18 or soon will be 18 and are residents of NJ, is to click here (Adobe Acrobat required) to get registered. That form needs to be printed, filled out and mailed to your county's Commisioners of Registration which can be found here. Once you get notification that that is done, if applicable, download the application for an absentee ballot here (Adobe Acrobat required). Print that, fill it out and send it to your respective County Clerk, which can be found here. You will then receive your absentee ballot at least within 40 days before the election. Make your choices on your ballot and mail it back to your County Clerk. If you have yet to register at all, the registration, obtaining an absentee ballot and filing the absentee ballot will take about a month and half considering snail mail speeds and the time needed to process. For anyone out of NJ, just google "(your state) voter registration" and "(your state) absentee ballot" and you should find it no problem. There's my public service for today...encouraging the youth of today to make a difference and make choices that will affect their future and everyone's future.

P.S. If you need a little help in deciding who to vote for in this upcoming election, you may want to check out Neil Young's Living with War album. But that's just one man's subjective opinion.