BEARDS

November 1, 2011

There is a tradition that is celebrated by men everywhere (?) and especially APU this time of year. It is a time in which men put down the razor in an act of defiance and let their facial hair grow. No Shave November is an APU classic, though I’ve seen it observed outside of our alma mater.

I’ve been a beard-wearer for the better part of 5 years. I have grown to hate the look of my face without a beard. The beard is a very important part of who I am. It has seen a few slight variations throughout it’s tenure on my face. I used to let it grow and only trim it every few weeks. I used to never trim the edges.  Then I grew it out. Now I mostly keep it at one length, trimming it every few days, and shaving around the edges to keep it clean. I have grown somewhat of an attachment to my beard. While I love my beard, I still find this incredibly fascinating, tragic, and ABSOLUTELY FREAKING HILARIOUS.

I first read about this story in Newsweek, then on the front page of CNN.com. There is speculation of a secretive amish cult that has broken off from an amish community in Ohio. This cult has been terrorizing the men of the amish community by breaking into their homes, pinning them down, and cutting off their beards. I understand that the beard is a strong symbol in the amish world and that losing it would be a tragedy. The only comparison I can think of is a woman losing her long hair, a symbol of womanhood. However, I still think “Amish Beard-Cutting Attacks Uncover Suspected Cult” is one of the funniest headlines I’ve read in a long time.

Even though I’ve had a beard for quite some time and am very proud of it, I don’t think I’ll ever come close to something as wonderful as this.

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Five Honorable Movie Remakes

September 10, 2009

It seems we have moved into and era of film making that is highly practiced on remakes, recreations, sequels, and prequels.  For most of these, I am filled with frustration and disappointment at the second tries and uncreative recreations of older more original works, but I must also give credit for those who have successfully reinterpreted and refashioned classic works into something new, something great and something their own.   The remake of a previously great plot, idea or film can be a risky venture for filmmakers and I want to discuss a few successful and respectable triumphs in such ventures.

 The first is the reason for my writing this article at this particular time.  I recently saw Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which is a loose recreation of The Dirty Dozen, and loved it.   Rather than being a complete remake it’s a fresh and uniquely beautiful blend of classic influences, and with this film Tarantino practices a new style of war film.

The first scene of the second chapter (early in the film) is a clear callout to the original Dirty Dozen while Tarantino’s love for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns (especially The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) also clearly has its influence.   The spaghetti western influence was most prominent in the peculiar use of the score and the introduction of the characters.

 inglourios basterds

Another recent and successful remake is 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of the famous western of the same name starring Glenn Ford.  The reasons I feel this is a successful remake are quite different from those of Inglourious Basterds. 

What impressed me most on this remake is the  successful capture of the classic western feel achieved by the remake.  Its creators decided to remain true to the classic genre and stayed honest.  Watching the new film felt very much like watching a good old western.  This strict return to the classic themes and genre stands quite unique among other modern films and is refreshing to young and modern audiences.

 310 Yuma

Possibly one of the greatest remakes ever achieved is You’ve Got Mail, the 1998 remake of Jimmy Stewart’s 1940 The Shop Around the Corner.   The transition from a letter writing to an Internet and e-mail writing culture provided the perfect chance to retell an old story in a completely new light and setting.  The finished product is a charming and witty tale filled with literary reminders of simpler times.  Plus, it’s Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

 shoparndcorner-9849

I must also mention the new Gone in Sixty Seconds.  This is a great action flick in a time of too few good car movies.  It also helps that it is the remake of a film originally made entirely by stunt drivers.  The original is fun thrill ride for car guys but offers little else for the general audience, as half the film is 45 minutes of some of the greatest driving and chase put on film (and that’s just one of the car chases).  The remake offers most of that driving excitement with the addition of a plot and some acting.  (Although, the new one may have the better car the original has the better car chase.)

 gonein60d

Also, as an honorable mention, I should mention Ocean’s Eleven.  Consider it mentioned.


Hatfield Buick part of Redlands culture

June 11, 2009

When I first heard of the economic troubles some of the major American automotive companies were having my first fear was the possibility of an America without those companies and their cars, each so vital to the American culture.  Now, following the filing of bankruptcy of GM those fears are being realized. 

Newspapers report GM is soon to be government owned, and will be reduced to just four companies (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC).  Also, dealerships all across the nation will not have their franchise agreements renewed for the next year affecting towns all across the U.S. 

Again one of my first fears concerning GM’s troubles has been realized. The Hatfield Buick dealership of my hometown Redlands, CA will not have its agreement renewed after 100 years of selling cars. It joined Buick in 1913 after Hatfield had been selling cars since 1909.  It’s the oldest Buick dealer in the U.S., probably the world.

1913 Buick

1913 Buick

Currently owned by the original Hatfield’s grandson, the dealership is trying to petition to GM for the renewal of the contract and the continued life of an important center to the city’s heritage and culture. If this fight is lost it will not only mean the loss of a place to buy a car and the cars themselves, but the city of Redlands (with its people) will lose a piece of itself.

1913 Buick

 For more information visit these links and savehatfieldbuick.com (to show your support).

ABC7 News

Redlands Daily Facts


Extraordinary feats shuts up the smack

August 11, 2008

Did you miss what happened with the 4×100 Men’s Swimming Relay last night? Miss what happened with the American team? Miss the hype surrounding the opposing French team?

I don’t have words. Watch it.


HOLY MOLYmpics…

August 9, 2008

Politics aside, 08-08-08 was quite a remarkable night. About the population in China, I just have to say: they are a determined people. It’s mentioned that the Games bring people together, aside from the obvious reality of it, it really does. Just thinking about the fact that the largest number of attending heads of state convened under one room. In China. The initial number I heard on NBC, something like 48? No. Over 100. In China. No consider that fact only thirty years ago.

Can you remember thinking through the opening ceremony, “Oh, sweet hydraulic system.” Because that’s probably when they all popped up from the tops and waved at you right? I’ll assume you understood that if you watched it.

One part did bring a tear to my eye. The 56 children representing their specific ethnic subgroups of China carrying in their national flag. boy, they are adorable before age 10.

Then there was the Tai Chi section they exhibited within the opening ceremony. They’re good. They are good. It’s great to see a nation and a people yearning to become more hopeful than has been seen in the last century. To see an exhibition of artful, spectacular display of pride in the human potential.

Oh, and here’s to seeing another ridiculous commercial involving a stampede of sumos conglomerating into a fleshy flight vessel or dragon-breath-induced-heated-water-pipes-for-your-outdoor-hot-tub-in-China.


Exxon – Making a Ridiculous Amount of Money

July 31, 2008

In these hard economic times, I often find myself pained at the thought of my expenses.  Gas prices have risen to an all-time high, global warming has me running the A/C more, and guacamole went up 20 cents at Chipotle. I frequently ask myself, “How can I make a ridiculous amount of money, in not much time at all?” Well friends, after much searching, I have found the solution:  BE EXXON MOBIL.

Exxon Mobil just reported their profits today, and once again, have set an all-time record for the largest quartely profit in US history.  Exxon Mobil made $11.68 billion in the second quarter.  That is a lot of money. That works out to be $1,485.55 every second.

Am I the only one that thinks it’s a bit strange that while I’m shelling out 75 bucks for a tank of gas, Exxon Mobil is setting records for most quarterly profit in US history?



The Green Scare

July 30, 2008

From 1917 to 1920 and then again from the late 1940s to the late 1950s there was a period of panic across the nation.  In the second period, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the United States Government took swift action in weeding Communists out across the nation.  This witch hunt led to many people being falsely imprisoned because they had “Communist sympathies”.  This embarrassingly flawed idea came to be known as “McCarthyism”, named after it’s primary supporter.  Many people were put on trial, jailed, or lost their jobs simply because there was a hint of suspicion of Communist support. The Red Scare was not the proudest time in our nation.

Today,  California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will sue to block a proposed water-bottling operation in Northern California unless its effects on global warming are evaluated.  I am all for the environment.  In fact, I get text messages from an environmentalist friend of mine giving me the “Green Tip of the Day”.  I  think that it is very important to take care of our planet. And  I don’t support companies who dump toxic sludge in major rivers just to make a group of 5 teens mad, summoning one man to stop them.

“It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States,” Brown said in a statement. “Nestle will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles.”  Some say that Brown is going overboard.  I say he’s not going far enough!  If he wants to stop Nestle from shipping out bottles of water in trucks, why not stop all trucks across the United States?  This would cut down on our environmental impact greatly!  And not only that, but the unemployed truckers would finally be able to spend time with their dear families!

Brown argues that the oil used to produce the bottles is far too much.  I have a simple solution.  I say we switch to paper cups all across the nation.  Or, better yet, you know that origami cup you can make out of a piece of paper?  The government should issue one sheet of paper to each American for their lifetime “Eco-cup©”.  But wait, this means over 300 million pieces of paper for the whole Nation!  The environment can’t possibly afford that!  I say we double up.  Every person born in America is already given a piece of paper by the United States Government.  From now on, I propose that we use our birth certificates as origami cups.  This way, not only do you always have your environmentally friendly Eco-cup© on you at all times, you also have important information on who you are.  Imagine how that might come in handy applying for a loan, or getting a new apartment!  Look no further than Eco-Cup©!

And what of the precious spring water?  To drink it would be absurd!  Big Brother Environment would be furious!  Besides, Gatorade is much better for you.  It’s got electrolytes!  We need to rethink how we use our resources.  And by that I mean stop using them.  I propose that we no longer have any interaction with animals.  These precious beasts were fine before we humans decided to eat them!  From now on, everyone will become vegetarian. After all, that’s the American choice!  You’d come around eventually. I’m just making the decision for you, saving time and precious resources.  In addition to this, we convert everything to digital.  Now there doesn’t have to be money, energy and resources wasted on CDs, books and DVDs or other such malarkey.

Furthermore, I propose that we elect Attorney General Jerry Brown as Secretary of the Planet.  No one cares more for our precious planet than this man.  Giving him this respected title will tell this to the world.  But when he walks into a room, he demands respect.  How do we make his respected position visually clear?  We make him a one of a kind suit, made of course of bio-degradable, eco-friendly, low-carbon emission, “green” material.  Imagine, going to meetings and embarrassing others because they are not dressed nearly as nice as you!  There’s no better way to get your way then by embarrassing the opposition!

50 years after the McCarthy Red Scare, a new panic has arrived.  But this time, it’s Green!