Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Morning Odds & Sods

A collection of unrelated items, connected only by my inability to meaningfully expand upon them:

  • Speaking of "Odds & Sods", which of course is the title of a Who album, is Ken Russell's "Tommy" not the most dated movie, pretty much ever? I saw part of it on TCM this week. I felt so old I immediately went to the AARP site to check on group benefits;
  • And on the subject of film entertainment, I saw two good documentaries this week. I made a rare venture out to the Guild Theatre and saw "Czech Dream", the documentary about two film students who (with a massive amount of professional help) create a fictitious "hypermart", then convince thousands of consumers to walk through a large, open field to enter the fake store at its fake "grand opening". Reality TV has helped to destroy much of the appeal of the dig cam documentary, but the final scenes of "Czech Dream" are compelling and thought-provoking. An even better film, in my view, is "I Like Killing Flies", a look at the famous/infamous Kenny Shopsin and his restaurant/general store "Shopsin's" in NYC. Kenny Shopsin is likable, unlikable, funny, embarrassing and pretty much could have a 24/7 camera on him and stay interesting. The film is more than Mr. Shopsin (gentrification, food, family dynamics, pathos), but Kenny is the star of the piece in a way beyond any Scarlett Johannson or Tom Hanks vehicle;
  • Us folks down here in the South Valley are talking about secession/incorporation again. Evidently, we're gonna spend $45,000 on a study to see if it makes sense. I hope the study takes into account the costs an incorporated South Valley would have in providing kingly robes, crown, scepter and castle for our "mayor". A South Valley "city" could get real medieval, real quick.
  • And speaking of medievalist thinking, Feudal Prince Marty Chavez had a throwaway quote in a little Journal story a few days back, namely: "When 98th Street is completed out to Rio Bravo it will act as a loop system between I-25 and I-40." As a resident living close to Rio Bravo, I wonder if Chavez et. al. are considering the bump in Rio Bravo traffic such a "loop system" would have. As traffic on this road is already becoming swamped during rush hours, it could only get worse with such a plan. And, being the South Valley and all, I'm sure little or no thought/planning will go into improvements to Rio Bravo to handle such an increase.
If only the SV were its own city, with its own King/Queen. that's what I call a lose/lose situation: fatalistic powerlessness or old-school feudal monarchic autocracy. Oh well, have the best weekend possible, folks.

P.S.: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the NASA drunk astronaut, sabotaged computer story. It's stories like this that make waking up in the morning worth it, doncha think? It's also hard to decide what's funnier/more pathetic: is it the drunk astronauts? the sabotaged computer going into space? What about this (from the NYT "Lede" bloggish thing):

At least NASA knew where that computer was: a Congressional report this week said that the some $94 million worth of the agency’s computers, office equipment and supplies had been lost over the last decade because of sloppy administration — and that when NASA was made aware of the problem five years ago, they loosened their rules instead of tightening them.

(Weirdly, the report cites one case of an employee who accounted for a missing laptop computer assigned to him by claiming that it had actually been sent up on the shuttle, broken down and been ejected to burn up in the atmosphere — and his bosses apparently bought the story.)

For added fun, take any of these NASA stories and change NASA to your favorite poorly-run bureaucracy. APS, for instance. It's just as funny, and funny because it's true in a manner of speaking.

P.P.S.: In the great stolen line department, I saw this on Wonkette yesterday....

"Makes Elton John's Rocket man so prophetic.

"Zero. Hour. Nine. A. M."
"And I'm. Gonna-be-high. As. A. Kite. By. Then."

The government that generates the most laughs governs best. United States, 2007 edition, is darn tough to beat.

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