Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Here is the list of all 231 movies we've seen as a group thus far:
Master and Commander
The Triplets of Belleville
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Touching the Void
The Barbarian Invasions
I’m Not Scared
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
The Manchurian Candidate
The Hunting of the President
Let’s Get Frank
Maria, Full of Grace
Coral Reef Adventure
Team America: World Police
I ♥ Huckabees
What the #$*! Do We Know?
The Motorcycle Diaries
A Very Long Engagement
Million Dollar Baby
In Good Company
Schultze Gets the Blues
The Upside of Anger
Bride and Prejudice
Up and Down
Born into Brothels
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room
Howl’s Moving Castle
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Ladies in Lavender
Hustle and Flow
Me and You and Everyone We Know
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
March of the Penguins
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
A History of Violence
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit
Good Night and Good Luck
Walk the Line
The Squid and the Whale
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
Why We Fight
V for Vendetta
C.S.A.: Confederate States of America
Thank You for Smoking
Friends with Money
Akeelah and the Bee
Aliens of the Deep
Over the Hedge
X-Men: The Last Stand
A Prairie Home Companion
An Inconvenient Truth
The Devil Wears Prada
A Scanner Darkly
The Great New Wonderful
Little Miss Sunshine
The Heart of the Game
The Science of Sleep
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
Catch a Fire
Children of Men
The Last King of Scotland
Music and Lyrics
The History Boys
Bridge to Terabithia
The Lives of Others
Days of Glory
Starter for 10
Away from Her
Paris Je T’aime
Shoot ‘Em Up
3:10 to Yuma
Death at a Funeral
In the Valley of Elah
Sea Monsters in 3D
The Nightmare before Christmas in 3D
Gone Baby Gone
Into the Wild
Lars and the Real Girl
No Country for Old Men
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
For the Bible Tells Me So
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Kite Runner
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Be Kind Rewind
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Horton Hears a Who
The Bank Job
The Band’s Visit
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Son of Rambow
Kung Fu Panda
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
The Dark Knight
Roman de Gare
Vicky, Christina, Barcelona
Man on Wire
Burn after Reading
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Tell No One
A Girl Cut in Two
Quantum of Solace
Rachel Getting Married
A Christmas Tale
*Manny Perry is the famous stunt man who appeared in an anti-piracy PSA five or so years ago. We named the club after him because that PSA played in front of nearly every movie we saw for months. If not for him, we likely would have named the club "Friends United through Cinema, Kind Of" or "F.U.C.K.O."
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Introducing my first nephew, Christopher Shane Caviness Jr., a.k.a. "C.J." He was born 8 lbs., 4 oz., and 21 inches long. He may be the biggest newborn I've ever seen. He was born a couple of weeks early, so he's in NICU until his lungs dry out and he can breathe 100 percent on his own. The doctor says it's perfectly normal and there is nothing to worry about, but if you're they praying kind, we'd certainly appreciate you remembering him.
But as far as I can tell, he's beautiful and perfect and I'm proud as can be to be his uncle.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Everyone deserves the same chance at permanence and happiness
By Keith Olbermann
updated 8:13 p.m. CT, Mon., Nov. 10, 2008
Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.
Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.
And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.
How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.
You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.
But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:
"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."
© 2008 msnbc.com
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
First of all, my apologies for the potty-mouth earlier. Words said in the heat of the moment after less than usual sleep. I still feel violated by our nation's anti-gay votes in this election, but I should have stopped short of degrading speech.
Still, there are encouraging signs on at least a couple of the front. Opponents of Prop 8 in California are taking a multi-faceted approach to stalling recognition the proposition's victory yesterday. First, they are not conceding defeat until every single vote is counted. As returns were reported, the proposition was winning by a slim 400,000 votes while there were still 3 to 4 MILLION absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. There is hope defeat may be snatched from the jaws of victory when the total vote is tallied.
Additionally, the ACLU and the plaintiffs in the original case that the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had an equal right to civil marriage have filed suit to block adoption of the measure, arguing that writing discrimination into the state's constitution does not make it constitutional. For example, as a nation, we could ratify an amendment to the Constitution that outlaws any religion founded in Missouri after 1800. And, whereas many good Christian folk would find any relgion founded in Missouri in the 19th Century objectionable to the practice of their own religion, and may even vote overwhelmingly to outlaw the practice of this religion, it would violate the Bill of Rights to our Constitution and certainly would not be ratified. Furthermore, this hoary mob could hold a referendum and vote to repeal the First Amendment that guarantees these 19th Century Missourians (and even themselves) the freedom to believe whatever they want and gather together peacefully to share in that belief. But it would also not be ratified. Because the principles behind it are ultimately enshrined in the very foundation of our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Our government is set up with a series of checks and balances on power in order to protect minorities against the tyrannical mob-rule of the majority.
Amendments to the Constitution, where they enumerate the rights of citizens, are not made to make something constitutional. Rather they are put in place guarantee each person's right to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness. Was slavery ever constitutional? Clearly, no. Yet it was written into our government's founding document as a "peculiar institution." In the course of time, and after a bitter struggle that nearly tore our nation apart, we finally recognized that one human being has no standing under any law to own another human being. Only Prohibition, codified in the 18th Amendment has ever sought to limit the rights of US Citizens, and it was repealed a mere 13 years after it was enacted. The Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be ratified, however, equality before the law, for all persons, is recognized as a foundation of constitutional theory. Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment would just explicitly state what is already understood to be the implicit intent of the document and its framers. In that regard, Prop 8 is undemocratic, popularly elected, though it may be, and may yet again be rightly rejected by the California Supreme Court, provoking cries of "judicial activism" from tyrants within the majority nationwide.
But even if Proposition 8 is allowed to stand, it is just one ballot initiative away from being repealled in the state of California. Eight years ago, over 60% of the California population opposed marriage rights for same sex couple. Today, it was a hard-fought battle to scrape together a bare majority. In another eight years, same-sex marriage rights will be supported by a majority of voters. In fact, all of the ballot initiatives nationwide found less support for curtailing the rights of gay and lesbian citizens than previous initiatives in elections past, even if they still garnered majority (or even super-majority) support. Time is on our side. Even if it takes a little while longer to get there.
Finally, yesterday was an emotional day for me. Even though I'm disappointed by the ballot initiatives that passed in California, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, seeing Barack Obama elected President of these United States is truly one of the greatest moments of my life. It is, simply, a turning point in history. One that had me literally weeping tears of joy at several moments over the last two days, particularly reading accounts of parents including their children in this teaching and transformative moment in our nation.
Hey Utah, how about I pour a bunch of money into your state to go on tv and say your families aren't real.
And Arkansas, really, all you are doing is depriving needy kids of good homes. Thankfully, I live in the ONE county that saw through the Act 1 bullshit and voted NO.
Florida and Arizona, this isn't over. Not by a long shot. Time is on our side and eventually discrimination will no longer be a part of our governing documents.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
From Gorilla vs. Bear comes the best news I've gotten in ages: Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit's collaborative effort "The Very Best" released its first mixtape via the internet today. The mix is a warm-up for a full-length album to be released early next year and is as fine an introduction as any band could assemble. Six of the mix's 15 tracks were leaked at various times earlier this year, but it's a credit to the group's talent that those six tracks are not the only good ones presented here. Further evidence is the knowledge of five additional tracks that were leaked earlier this year but not included on this mix that point to an outstanding debut album when that becomes public.
For those who are unfamiliar, Esau Mwamwaya is a native of the African nation Malawi. He emigrated to London in 1999 where he eventually opened up a second-hand thrift shop. On the same street as his shop is the studio of Etienne and Johan a/k/a "Radioclit." The purchase of a bicycle led to an invitation to a party at the studio which led to a most fuitful collaboration. Radioclit produce music that is a cross between electronic dance music, european hip-hop, and tribal/afro-beat pop. Mwamwaya sings in a number of different languages, but has a glorious voice made for pop music that makes the most foreign tongue sound sweet and familiar. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with, a true Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of multicultural pop.
Adding to the buzz is the willingness, even eagerness of various "It" bands to contribute to the project. "The Very Best" counts contributions by chart-toppers M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, and Santogold, plus The Ruby Suns, Architecture in Helsinki, and promises of more surprise guests on the full-length next year.
This mix is easily one of my favorite releases of the year and the upcoming full-length promises to be one of my favorites next year. Do yourself a favor: click on the link, download and enjoy!
Download "The Very Best" (125 MB ZIP File
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're a quintessential American story.
* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
* If you teach teach children about sexual predators, you are irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.
* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
OK, much clearer now.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Reported by Chris Ayres in The Times of London, June 14, 2008.
"Research says erect gay penises are bigger"
Reported by Hank Hyene in Salon, November 4, 1999.
Obviously, I should give some preference to the first article as it is indeed NEWS and not a nine-year-old finding linked as part of a LA Times round-up of the scientific aspects of homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality ("What does gay look like? Science keeps trying to figure that out", as reported by Regina Nuzzo, Special to the Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2008). Not to mention, bacteria that poop oil is some pretty damn good news. This is not, of course, to minimize the finding that gay men, on average, have bigger schlongs than straight men, as this is news that is obviously of great personal importance and relevance to me.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I'm back from vacation. The beach was beautiful. All of the family made a genuine attempt to get along. It's the most politics-free week I've ever had. I shudder to think what misconceptions my family may have about me now, however. I challenged no statement or comment put forth by anyone during the entire week. And I fear, in some cases, that silence might imply consent when the truth was I just didn't want to start an argument. More on that later...
Thursday, May 15, 2008
- I got to see Iron Man. Awesome summer-time comic book hero movie. And as pitch perfect Morton Downey Jr. is cast as billionaire, alcoholic, sexist, fascist Tony Stark, my favorite part is Gwyneth Paltrow. Sure, her character Pepper Pott’s constant pining for her boss is a little tired. But in the end, she saves his ass. Twice, technically. Plus, there’s loads of gadget geek stuff for me to, um, admire, and a great subplot/running joke involving S.H.I.E.L.D. that, in the (very, very) end makes me really anticipate (rather than merely expect) the eventual sequel (already booked into theaters for May 2008. Also, I’m not a man given to military fantasies. But I definitely could be if Terrence Howard continues to wear them.
- I got T Bone Burnett’s new cd, Tooth Of Crime, a project based up on Sam Shepard’s play of the same name, and made with his collaboration, as well as that of Burnett’s ex, Sam Phillips (with whom he duets on “Dope Island” and turns over vocals completely to on "Blind Man”, and the late Roy Orbison. It is a truly great record. Dark and mysterious, this record has allegedly been in gestation for roughly 20 years. And a few shades, especially Burnett’s speak/sing vocal delivery in the opening track, “Anything I Say Can And Will Be Used Against You,” is highly reminiscent of his mid 80’s output, especially The Talking Animals. But it’s suffused though the voodoo swamp twang Burnett deployed so effectively on his previous full-length, 2006’s The True False Identity, and coupled with the industrial ambience he’s been juxtaposing with musical anachronisms almost as long as this record has been in production. What is not an anachronism, however, is the cd’s devastating critique of the politicization of fear, the commercialization of religion, and those who use such tactics to amass power. Nowhere else is this seduction into slavery so artfully rendered as in “Kill Zone” where in Burnett sweetly croons in a sweeping Roy Orbison penned melody:
For I will steal your dreams while you are sleepingIt is chilling, seductive, and strangely entertaining without an ounce of pandering to its audience. Look for Tooth Of Crime to be on many year-end “Best-Record-You-Haven’t-Heard” lists.
and sell them for dust and cheap lust.
And I’ll slit your hope while you are weeping
and wipe the blade clean with morphine.
Be my queen.
- In a speech before the Knesset, the Israeli legislative body, W. compared Obama to a Nazi appeaser (as opposed to W.’s grandfather Prescott Bush who [a] was a Nazi sympathizer, [b] a Nazi war profiteer, and [c] even allegedly plotted to roust FDR in a coup) because Obama would prefer to talk all diplomatic like to nations with recognized governments with whom the US has adversarial relations (Iran, for instance) instead of, say, invading them for made-up reasons. Or it could have been W. was talking about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, two of W’s cabinet members who have, um, advocated the same thing as Obama.Now, US politicians have a long-standing tradition by which politics ends at the nation’s border. When the Republican President or the Democratic Speaker of The House goes overseas, they are just American. That means no petty sniping over differences about domestic policy or campaigning for or against any one candidate. Unite. Don’t divide. Well, W. pretty much pissed all over that tradition. Joe Biden rightly calls “Bullshit.”
Secondly, W. loses the argument by invocation of Godwin’s Law.
Thirdly, and why this adds to my good day (other than just giving me a reason to rail against W.), the bipartisan swell of support behind Obama (excepting for John McCain and Joe Lieberman who only support W. and each other) helps cement him as the Democratic nominee in the fall. And it brings into the discussion the clear contrast between Obama’s foreign policy and the W./McCain policy, not too mention the broad bipartisan support for for Obama’s foreign policy and the international embarrassment for W.’s.
- The California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the same standing before the law as opposite-sex couples. Gays and lesbians in the State of California are now entitled to the same rights and privileges and obligations of marriage as heterosexuals. I sometimes think that we obsess over marriage rights to our own peril. Not for the feared political backlash (the worst of which I think we suffered four years ago and have since rebounded from), but for the kids for whom identifying as gay or lesbian means getting kicked out of their home, or beat up (or shot) at school, or ostracized from their faith community, or a million other ways that these kids face discrimination each day. But in the long run, the former helps the latter.
Marriage and family is now something gay kids can realistically aspire to. That is an enormous cultural shift in less than a generation. Secondly, as marriage rights for gays and lesbians progress across the country, the panic will hopefully subside as more and more normal, happy gay neighbors reside next to families and parents realize that their gay children won’t necessarily grow up to be unhappy degenerates. My money and my work and my advocacy will be aimed more towards gay youth and the organizations that exist to support them (The Point Foundation, The True Colors Residence), but I’ll celebrate this victory and every one like it that helps to make a future for them.
Here’s to tomorrow!
P.S. #5 (Bonus!) My dear friend Adrian called me out and told me to come see a new band he'd found in Conway, Sleep Today. They were not bad, shoegazery pop. But the headlining band failed to show so 5/6 of Sleep Today took to the stage again as Ginsu Wives, a disco/punk hybrid of !!! and Scissor Sistors with a heaping helping of screamo and WTF? Very Enjoyable. I may have to find a way to spin them into my next mix cd.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
and this one:
Saturday Night Live essentially unendorsed (Sullivan says destroyed) Senator Clinton by acknowledging what she's doing to the Democrats' chances of winning the general election in the Fall:
If this is an accurate picture of the movement among actual superdelegates, it's not going to be a pretty convention, especially for the senator from New York.
P.S. Sorry Micah.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Although I've seen Over the Rhine something like 10 times since 1991, their concert at the Revolution Room was the first time they played in my own home town (walking distance from my home, no less). They drew a good crowd for a Monday night and for a relatively unfamiliar band. From what I could judge most of the audience was familiar with the band's records if not their live performances. Almost as many were brought by friends to get a proper indoctrination. In either case, they were timid listeners. Most chose to sit on the ground some distance from the stage and most of the standers stood off slightly to the side so as not to block the sitters' view. That made for some uncomforably empty real estate directly in front of the stage, though the audience's boisterous reaction to each song seemingly crossed the distance. There were also some hipster douchebags talking loudly in the back by the bar (to whom Karin issued the warning: "you talkers out there, be warned. Our listeners don't take kindly... and they carry knives").
The band had a great night. They were in friendly territory, but they had a lot of new faces and a lot to prove too. I hadn't seen them play since the Ohio Tour in '03 and had nearly forgotten how soulful, even sensual their music becomes live. The jazzy, playful nature of The Trumpet Child became slower and more sultry on stage and built a real connection with the audience. The evening also brought highlights from Over The Rhine's past records Drunkard's Prayer, Ohio, and Good Dog Bad Dog (but, sadly, nothing from Films For Radio).
The set list, for those still reading: