Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scary hairdos in the Reichstag on Election Day

Our political ally and cultural partner, the Federal Republic of Germany, is holding elections today for President.
BTW: the new president is Christian Wulff. Merkel looks relieved.

In order to promote and facilitate marital harmony, I recommend Mr.Gopher not read this if he's already in a bad mood. I would write this about anyone, not just Germans.
In fact, you probably shouldn't read this at all.

Really, sweetie, I'm sure you'll be offended on general principles.

Has someone told this poor woman that blue eye shadow went out in 1963? Unless you're Dolly Parton.

If Ms. Luc Joachimsen assumed office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, it would be sociologically notable that a woman held office as the official mascot of the BRD. yup, Mr Gopher, that's fairly derogatory of the office. If we had one, I'd make fun of ours, too. In fact, if we have one and I haven't noticed because I'm American, please let me know so that I can do so. However, I don't particularly care if yet another 60-year old white man holds office, either. Now, tell me you elected a Turk of any age or sex, and I'll seriously think Germany has changed its social opinions.

Sure, but can you really see that hairdo standing next to Chancellor Merkel's?

I realize you can't control what your physical features look like ... but seriously, your hair-do is the singular aspect of your appearance over which you have almost total control.

Please note I didn't use Ms. Merkel's photo from Wikipedia or any other relatively 'official' source, just to be fair. These were taken on the same day in the same location, probably by the same person, credits weren't given. I also didn't use the scariest one of Ms. Joachimsen. I assume someone showing up for such a major event in the Reichstag** would be an more representative image, rather than air-brushed political propaganda. I still assume that one would make a point - on an election day?! - of looking one's best.

Despite the dearth of public restrooms in Germany, I'm sure the Reichstag has one. And a mirror.

In a short search, I looked for the least appealing hair-do photo I could of the current Chancellor:
wow - maybe its a wig. It never changes. I found some pretty unflattering pictures of her, but not her hair. Now, I think I'd have a pretty dazed look if Putin was talking to me. I'd be wondering where they planted the bugs in my hotel room. Or when he was going to change his middle name to Josef.

Admittedly, I was surprised to find a Merkel Barbie:
"The flattering interpretation of the 54-year-old German leader..." flattering? What person in their right mind would even think this is Ms. Merkel?

I noticed that the majority of the political cartoon-caricatures of Chancellor Angela Merkel look like Secretary Hilary Clinton. Maybe they share a hair dresser?
The website actually has a clown-caricature of Clinton, too. And Cheney. etc.

If you had asked me who this was ... my first guess would have been Clinton.

**There's a really cool picture of the interior of the Reichstag taken today. I've only seen the interior from the glass cupola on top.

which is a distinct improvement of 1934:


10 worst worth a giggle

The godforsaken vuvuzelas! Make them stop! One of the charms of soccer is the singing that fans do. There is always loads of singing and chanting because every game is 1-nil, so there's plenty of time for singing and chanting. Soccer fans sing and chant inane hilarious things like, "We are from Norway! We came on a plane! And we are very drunk!" But we don't get to hear the singing and the chanting because of the horrible, hideous, heinous vuvuzelas! My god, they should take them into the mountainous caves region of Pakistan and play them until Osama bin Laden comes running out, screaming, "OK, OK! I give!"

ok, so I wish I wrote this, rather than Rick Reilly.

The list is worth reading, though.
As is the post on an industrial hygiene blog about the noise exposure due to vuvuzelas, since Mr. Reilly devotes #1, 4, and 10 to the instrument thing.

Don't tell me it's discrimination to want them to stop. Don't tell me it's an essential part of South African culture. If it is, it's an annoying part of their culture. Yes, I know that centuries ago, the vuvuzelas were made from animal horns to call the village elders in for a meeting. And I'll bet you five wildebeests that when the elders finally got to the meeting they said, "Would you STOP already with the blowing? You're making me crazy!" I've been to Africa four times. They do some of the most beautiful singing you can imagine. At the World Cup, I'm hearing no singing. I'm hearing no chanting. I'm hearing 80,000 kazoos on steroids.

But it still sounds better than Ace Young.

Monday, June 28, 2010

@ Capacity part 2

Germany 4 : 1 England.

In the continuing saga of "boy, did you get fucked by FIFA's refs" comes the English soccer team. Who were totally robbed of a 2nd point. Totally. That was even more gross a failure than the off-sides disqualifications on us.

How gross a failure of referring was it? The crowd at the Glockenspiel looked at each other in confusion and said curiously "wasn't that a goal...??" and then a pair of the more rabid German fans looked at each other and said "but that was a goal, that was clearly a goal!"

Jr.Gopher#2 actually made it through 30 minutes of the game before he & I headed to the back of the restaurant. Which, conveniently, was still within sight - distantly - of the TV and yet much quieter. We read some German stories & looked at a picture book where we practiced on his German vocabulary. He then walked back up to our table and snuggled up with Mr.Gopher & Jr.#1 for the last third of the game. Admittedly, he was totally entertained by a mechanical dancing groundhog. video to come soon, as soon as I replace the batteries in the camera.

Now, how big is soccer in the rest of the world?
The G-20 summit was interrupted by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister David Cameron taking a breathers to watch the game Sunday. Following the 'we were robbed' event, Chancellor Merkel is quoted:
But a major diplomatic spat appears to have been averted this time round. Merkel apologized for the phantom goal, telling Cameron she was "sorry about that," his aides said.

Reuters-Canada reported:
"There is an idea we might try and watch it together. I will try not to wrestle her to the ground during penalties, but we will have to see," Cameron told reporters.
A German flag was pinned to the UK room in the G20 media center. On it was scrawled: "See you on Sunday" alongside a smiley face.

up next: Saturday, at the Glockenspiel in StPl, 9 a.m. Germany - Argentina
Jr.Gopher#1 has started keeping track of the scores from the games.

Mr.Gopher is actually considering going over to see the Netherlands--Brazil game. If so, I'm going with him. It ought to be a good game - finally both of them are up against a rock-solid team.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's going on, now that we're out ...?

Really cute - doesn't explain offsides, though.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

hallucinations? ... no...

Here it is, what I was previously bitching/whining about:

And, admittedly, once you get to the still shot where it is abundantly clear there was a gross foul ... ummm... the other major holding foul was by uhhh... the US. Still totally horrid referring.

@ Capacity

Riverview Theater: 700 people

US Men's Soccer Team: 1 goal

Ghana Men's Soccer Team: 2 goals


At least I still own a German flag.
Glockenspiel, St. Paul, 9:00 a.m. CDT
Mr.Gopher has the kids today; I promised to watch Jr.Gopher #2 once his attention capacity is reached tomorrow morning.

@ Capacity:
Attention Span of Jr.Gopher #2 ... probably 10 minutes. We'll see...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grammar Gopher

Please guess about whom the word 'its' refers to:

It's more than just a game as Have You Heard from Johannesburg? chronicles the history of the global anti-apartheid movement that took on South Africa's apartheid regime and its international supporters.

does the author mean Apartheid's supporters? or the anti-apartheid movement?
In this particular context, it could really be either one:

the protesters' actions against Apartheid and the international businesses which were supporting it economically
- or -
the actions of the protesters' and their international supporters

This is why people need to learn how to write more effectively. Of course, I can't watch it anyway, since I don't have cable TV.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Am I imaging it? I was too busy on Friday getting read for a camping trip with the German school to post anything. I went over to the Riverview to see the USA:Slovenia game rather than pack in a more orderly manner (which would likely have involved packing our camera and a couple of books for the boys).

We were totally robbed. The rest of the fans at the Riverview equally seemed to think so. There were two calls:
1st - which made all the papers - was the disqualification of a goal that ought to have been our 3rd.
This is the 'controversy' I can find in the news
2nd - was in the 89th (?) minute, and ought to have been a call. Where's the outrage on this? Hell, where's the video footage of it? Holding another man like that would get them lynched in parts of the Deep South. I can't even find it on youtube (actually there's very little -read nothing- on youtube at all, and I can't even find it on any other sports website). Please let me know where it is, if you can?

As far as I can tell, I'm the only one in the universe who saw it.

Given our level of play, getting a 3rd goal would not, in fact, have guaranteed a win. Gross, unbelievably excessive interference, however, should have resulted in a red card, and a free shot, which would have likely yielded a valid goal and a win. I would post a link to the video, but apparently it only happened in my imagination.

follow up to last post >>>

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the novel which follows the same girl with a dragon tattoo. I enjoyed the first book much more. Sweden's film industry is apparently on a roll, since they're releasing the movie version of the 2nd book. With the same two lead actors (good, I thought they were good). I doubt I'll get Mr.Gopher to go, unless his desire to listen to Swedish overcomes his lukewarm response to the first movie.
I guess I'll write a book review after seeing the movie to be able to compare the two.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

[review] The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

This is the film version of Stieg Larsson's book, Män som hatar kvinnor [men who hate women] is less direct, but more appealing is the English title for the movie & book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Taken in that order:

Movie has a pared-down version of the plot, excellently chosen to maintain a seamless story line without the parallel line. Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist, is convicted of libel and en route to jail for a few months when approached to investigate a 40-year old murder. Eventually persuaded, he heads off to rural Sweden. Concurrently Lisbet Salander, a bizarre younger woman is having horrific issues with a guardian, no explaination is provided as to why she has one. Eventually the two work together on the mystery of a missing young woman who has been murdered. Salander, a computer whiz, and Blomkvist, the star investigator, apply their respective talents. The clan's patriarch just wants to know who killed his beloved niece before he dies, even if no other justice can be served. Eventually we realize that the mystery must be closer to home than anticipated as someone starts trying to run Blomkvist/Salander out of town and off the story.

I've never been to Sweden and don't speak Swedish - this limits my opinion of the set design/location choices/script. If Minnesota was attractive to Swedish immigrants, I can see why. Mr.Gopher is the person to ask about these aspects.

The script - in the sense of the translated language and the given plot - were good, coherent and internally consistent. The character development starts in the middle of a story in several senses: Blomkvist is convicted, but we don't know the actual reason; Salander has a guardian, but we don't know why. We just pick up in the middle of their respective stories before they merge.

I'm surprise this got an R - rather than NC-17 rating - for "disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity and language" - basically sex & violence. Our limits for sexual explicitness are down right Victorian compared to Europe & we're a nation with an appalling appetite for violent movies, but usually not the two together. The sexual violence in one scene actually shocked me; the sex/nudity certainly didn't.

A good movie, and mostly enjoyable. A good story with an ending I didn't expect.

Gopher Rating:
3 - definitely see it on video

The source material book has, in addition to the movie plot, a concurrent, parallel story line. In this, Blomkvist's libel conviction plays a much larger role, as this legal problem haunts him personally and professionally. The man requesting the murder investigation entices him by offering information to disprove the libel claim and thereby restore his journalistic reputation. Salander's strange behavior is presented gradually in historic contexts, making her more sympathetic. The sex and violence make more sense within the deeper story here. Lifting the legal undercurrent wholesale from the story makes the characters thinner than Larsson's depth gives. But in a movie one doesn't expect the same depth.

There are one or two instances of utterly bizarre words where I think the translator picked the wrong word from a dictionary for an 1) old-fashioned term and 2) colloquial English. Larsson's writing style is extremely detailed. Where possible, he fleshes out the physical scenes with specifics. E.g., He doesn't simply mention someone's having breakfast, he provides the list of food. E.g. Not only does someone furnish her flat from IKEA, he specifies which furniture lines. A set designer's work is limited trying to figure out how the author imagined it.

The Author gave this (and 3 other books) as a graduation present. It is often intriguing what people think you'll like. What they think your literary tastes are. In this case, perhaps more so than usual, since a writer is the gift-giver. This falls into the category "I'm glad I got this" type of present.

Gopher Rating
2.5 - somewhere between 'definitely read this' and 'you'll probably read it more than once'.
This rating is more on the fence than usual. I know I'll read it again; if you like mystery stories you probably will as well.

I just requested the 3r novel from Larsson; within 1 hour I became #1449 of 1451 with 153 books available. 29 weeks before I would get it, assuming everyone keeps it for the full 3 weeks.
By the time I get the copy, it will probably be out in paperback.
Oh, my ... I can request the large print version and be #264 of 264 with 25 copies available and ... and.. 32 weeks before I could get it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

[review] Atlas Shrugged

The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to be set in her feminist philosophy. What is a woman's relationship with the world or herself as a woman? Does she care? The older she gets, the more settled she is in her own self-conception. Therefore she has more time to opine on Woman's Condition, since she isn't spending any time worrying about her own. The older I get, the more surprised I am at women's relationship to the world. In many ways, I don't think it's changed in the past 50 years.

Dagny Taggart, the central character with the moral [in Rand's point of view] force and business skill, is a woman yet she is also painted as not-feminine. That's fine and probably even panders to 1950s perceptions of women in executive positions. A real woman, after all, would be feminine and at home with her husband. But Taggart's ultimate choice of a relationship partner is [in my point of view] stupid and panders to the 1950s view of women being dependent upon a man's opinions. She only becomes truly fulfilled when she sees the light of economic reality given to her by a man.

Why choose fellow railroad magnate Hank Rearden, who obviously loves her, when she can choose some mythical, iconic man who doesn't love her?

Dagny Taggart & John Galt are no different than Cinderella and Prince Charming. Prince Charming saw Cinderella's physical beauty & didn't particularly care about anything other than her shoe size. Galt sees Dagny's economic power and doesn't particularly care about anything else. In fact, I don't recall if there's any mention of their relationship beyond Messiah & Apostle. I don't see why it makes any difference to the story that Dagny is a woman. This ought to be idealistic for rabid feminists - the central character is a woman who isn't a woman.

I am a rabid opponent of the idea of love at first sight. I like romance. Romance isn't love. Love can only be based upon knowledge. My cousin told his college drinking buddies at a bar one night, "see that beautiful woman over there? I'm going to marry her." That would be my divorced-dad cousin. The men crossing Dagny's life path are interesting, and at least one becomes her lover; but she breaks off the relationship when she realizes he loves her. How familiar does this sound? Then she meets some man spouting lovely things (okay, so they're lovely socioeconomic things, but still ...) and what does she do? Falls for an icon rather than a man who loves her. I think I roomed with this one in college.

Atlas Shrugged yields the quintessential self-perception of American Capitalism. This is, of course, not how we practice that economic theory, as AIG can vouch. But it is how Americans idealize it. The Marlboro Man of Business - this is why Republicans idealize capitalism with utterly no governmental regulation. They likely think they're Hank Rearden, while in reality they actually are Jimmy Taggart.

I read this while in high school & enjoyed it without realizing it was an economic philosophy treatise. Even at 15 I realized the personal relationship choices of the heroine really left something to be desired. At 44, I have lived long enough to have seen the myriad ways that people myopically view Love. And their equally unhealthy relationships with It. I'm also old enough to have seen the myriad ways that people myopically view Economic Reality; and their extremely unhealthy relationship with that, too.

Love of money and power are the central points, not love of a person. You can just skip the chapter entitled John Galt Speaks. The rest of the book is a pleasant story. The chapter entitled John Galt Speaks is the economic meat of the treatise, putting the whole story into the perspective of Objectivism. (... the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest, that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez faire capitalism, ...)

Gohper rating:
I still think it's a nice novel, and can be read to partially understand the American
Conservative party conception of reality. The economic depression behind the story should be familiar; as should the deterioration of American industry into pathetic impotence.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pirates don't change diapers

Pirates don't change diapers: found on a child's daily vocabulary workbook. On a page with no other word or writing.

JrGopher#1: (summarized for clarity) I want to be in the high school upstairs because they have chocolate milk for lunch & we only have 2% and skim.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

[review] The Secrets In Their Eyes

El Secreto De Sus Ojos, The Secrets In Their Eyes, Argentina, 2009 Best Foreign Film Oscar

A murder mystery that isn't all a mystery.
Starts with an horrific murder/rape in the 1970s being recalled by a retired detective with a judge whom we suspect is more than just a colleague in his eyes. He reveals his intention of writing a book about this infamous case. We expect the murder to be a mystery with the culprit revealed in the last minutes. Nope. We find him about 2/3 through the movie. After this, I was left wondering where the plot was going; the murderer is let out of prison by corrupt government officials, and then disappears.

The story flips back and forth between the never-clearly-defined Today and the 1970s (Isabel Peron's appearance & vague comments indicate the 1976 military coup's immediacy). Yet unlike other movies' attempts at concurrent then/now plots, this succeeds in keeping the whole story flowing. The 1970 elements aren't undermined by information from the 2000 elements, leaving us anticipating each new scene. The relationships between the detective/judge, detective/widower, widower/murderer all have roles in the story, although it isn't always immediately clear how/if they all fit together.

The make-up crew did an excellent job making the central pair perfectly believable in both younger & older incarnations of their characters. I checked how old the actors are, out of curiosity. Darin was 51 & Villamil 39 for filming. Somewhere in the script the detective (Darin) mentions how old he is, making him much older than the 1976 story, while Villamil is much younger than her character for the 2000-ish part.

The story revolves around the detectives' efforts to find the murderer, the widower's efforts to reconcile himself with the loss of his wife and the inability of Argentine justice to offer the death penalty. He discards this notion of retribution, suggesting that if he were locked up and raped in prison for the rest of his life, that would be a greater retribution, making the murderer experience what he did to the wife.

Argentinian criminal justice not being organized as it is here, the judges and detectives work more closely than we as Americans expect. There is a chronic struggle for the detective with his feelings for the judge.

I had never seen either actor before. Ricardo Darin was in an American film, The Stranger; Soledad Villamil was no English-language credits. Juan Jose Campanella has directed quite a few American TV shows, but only two English-language movies, incl. Love Walked In.

All in all, each of the elements of movie making were extremely well done. I can very much see how it would win an Oscar. I will likely see it again.

Gopher Rating:
2 - Go see it on the big screen, at matinee prices.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Congressional Intrigue, 19th Cent. Style

Have we sent persons here to intrigue with members ...?

No, sir, we have had no one here.

Have we stirred up the people into town meetings to aid us by memorials?

No such thing, sir.

Have we called meetings and induced honest mechanics to come here to influence Congress by idle fears, impressed upon them by those who are interested, to tell a tale that shall answer our purposes?

No, sir, we have pursued no such course.

Respectable merchants, I observe, form a part of the bank deputies--for what?

To represent the late fall of the price of flour as a consequence of the danger of the bank charter not being renewed, and thereby to alarm the minds of members.

I am sorry that men of such respectable character did permit themselves to come here on such an errand.

February 11, 1811
Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856
Benton, Thomas Hart
arguing about eliminating the U.S. Bank

Of course, the next week's letter from Pres. Monroe explaining why the United States was justified in the use of military force to occupy the territory of a foreign power in order to protect our "interests" provoked a sense of de ja vu. The land in question is currently the State of Florida.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Stupidest Thing I've Heard This Year - really

In the U.S. today, more kids under 12 play soccer than baseball, basketball, and football combined.

What happens when your team totally sucks in the European leagues?
You get relegated until you get your shit together & can compete with the Big Dogs again.

What happens when your team totally sucks in the U.S. leagues?
The rich successful teams have their profits taken and given to the poor teams.

Apparently wealth re-distribution is okay in their sports, just not in their national tax structure.

"My suspicion is that the so-called 'beautiful game' is not so beautiful to American sports, that means excellence should prevail. Of course, the fact that is often not the case when it comes to soccer may be precisely the reason the sport is so popular in the countries of Latin America and Europe."
Ummm, Mr. Schmitt...? That would be" Latin America, Europe, and South America, and Africa, and Asia, and Oceana, and probably Antarctica when the temperature is above -20F.

Ignorance is clearly demonstrated by "... the U.S. was hammered by Italy and Brazil (in the '09 Confed Cup) and only got into the semifinal match by beating Egypt and the fluke of a very arcane scoring system that soccer uses to break ties among teams." Arcane?
I suppose the rule is strange to Americans - unless someone looks at how baseball is played. How can you be behind by a half game? Arcane means 'requiring secret knowledge or impossible to understand'. Look at the rules for playing baseball & compare the volume to that of soccer. I suppose conservative conspiracy theorists are so obsessed with the arcane that they don't believe transparency when they see it. These disappointed nationalists can't accept that America can lose to some 3rd World marginal economic sink hole like Brazil.

In the end, these rabid nativists would be perfectly happy to claim soccer is Our Sport if we were consistently winning the World Cup, rather than never having won since 1930, and only once making it as far as the semifinals (in 1930). That, of course, is the men's team. After all, the women have only had their own World Cup since 1999. Though, our women have won (twice) or placed 3rd in all 5 of the Cups.

What I want to review

John Carter of Mars
Yeah, sure ... so I'm a woman? I'm almost automatically a minority with respect to old-fashioned SciFi. Dig the cover of the first volume of the Mars stories, Princess of Mars. The cast for the movie is pretty impressive, too. You are surprised that I like this? I'm not.

Try those power-pusher women who guiltily read bodice rippers with throbbing members seeking her moist femininity with ... but I digress. Those are truly misogynistic, in a way that old male-driven SciFi can never hope to achieve. ... ... Old white guys in the '30s writing about women being subservient to men? So what's news? Middle-aged white women in the 21st Century demanding million dollar contracts for stories about young white women being frustrated in their social inequalities while putting out for some hunk they don't really want to like? Who's undermining socio-eco-political equality more? Some dead dude or a NY Times best seller author? (e.g. #4,8,9,16 on the mass market paperback list, 2/25/10.)

Hypocracy? No. Sure, I read them once in a while. But I don't read anything with guilt.

SciFi, possibly even more so in its own golden age in the 1930s, provides more fodder for the imagination. Those 'bodice rippers' truly pale in comparison to Pulp Science Fiction as a genre.

Quite often you at least need to use your imagination to see the world in a way beyond 'ordinary' fiction. Well, afterall, there was no Wikipedia in 1930 (unless it was the one entitled "Encyclopedia Britannica") ... yet there are plenty of photographs of just about anywhere in the UK or the Wild West the most popular locations for bodice rippers recently. John Carter of Mars starts off in the American Civil War. We even have photographs of that. But Mars? You need imagination, even with the author's words, to really enter into the story. Ray guns, interstellar travel, green skinned aliens ... Star Trek was not, by 80 years, unique.

I suppose Boris Valejo might be an okay artist, but boy, does he paint to his audience, which would be any white Euro-American male who discovered SciFi around the age of 12 and who likes big tits. I can only hope that - unlike Lord of the Rings - the director doesn't use the most popular art style of the source material as the basis for the art direction of the film.

What do I want to see on the big screen? John Carter of Mars? Or The Elusive Bride (#8, above)? Mars, hands-down. If there's a great-looking leading man in the "romance" story, his primary function is still going to be "good looking man"; at least in John Carter of Mars he gets to be "good looking man who can kick ass" and will still likely have sex in the movie, with fewer violins & no soft-focus.

Within recent literary consumption here in GopherLand was
David Weber, Shadow of Saganami (modern techno-heroine sci-fi)
Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane (gothic/demon fantasy & yes, the author of Conan the Barbarian)
Cormac McCarthy, The Road (I can go finish the book now, film review coming eventually) &
Henning Mankell, Die Hunde von Riga got set aside when Mr.Gopher practically ripped it out of my hands and sucked it down whole ... I think instead of buying him books in English, I might want to switch languages - doubly so since we own a copy in German, but the original is Swedish which he no doubt would also enjoy)
Stieg Larsson, another Swedish offering, The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, a follow-up story to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. The latter of which is a cliff-hanger & I'm going to have to wait in line at the library for a copy.

Robert Howard's Solomon Kane is also on the slate for release as a movie soon eventually. With James Purfoy as Kane (a.k.a. Marc Antony in Rome, and some Martian in John Carter, too). I've never read Conan the Barbarian, or the Conan books; I have, however, read Howard's Bran Mak Morn, something I found while perusing old Irish sagas. 'Solomon Kane' was written in the grand style of the heroic-fantasy. My Irish forefathers 300 years ago would have recognized the general heroic epic aspect of it; my dad/mom might recognize the dime store pulp fiction magazine serialization of the epic style; me? I just enjoyed it.

Had I been a 10 year old boy when I read either Solomon Kane or John Carter of Mars, I would likely have been found the next morning playing sword & pistol kill-the-demons in the back yard. I am a 44 year old woman, and I would still rather read them than the mysogenistic lame-o excuses for un-erotic literature currently marketed as "romance". (a completely different rant)

Who would I rather close my eyes and imagine being? A beautiful never-over-25 woman who is oppressed and dismissed by society but can't manage to either keep her legs together or pull her head out of her ass and become her own woman .... ... or the sword-wielding powerful hero(ine) destroying evil and receiving adulation from all?

Seriously ... Cerebus the Aardvark: yes; Arwen the Elf, no.

So, it is with no guilty pleasure that I look forward to both Solomon Kane and John Carter of Mars on the silver screen. Or if someone manages to make anything from E. E. Smith (e.g., Galactic Patrol), or (almost) anything else from Boroughs. but lord, lord, lord, not another dorky Tarzan!. Afterall, I really liked The Mummy, too.


Monday, June 14, 2010


JrGopher#2 loves to dance. The other night both of the boys were shakin' their booties. We were looking at clips of Fantasia 2000 on YouTube.

We ran across a rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight: I started my hand moving in rhythm to the music - as one of the animated characters was. Jr.#2 promptly started doing the same thing. Not just mindlessly copying, like babys, but an enthusiastic joy. Jr.Gopher#1 was having much more fun mimicking the dog at about 0:24 min. Both boys were singing along as well.

Alas, our camera is broken.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Next Year

Tune in next year for the Women's World Cup.

does it matter?

On a radio discussion, someone mentioned that the World Cup in South Africa was really not that important compared to the end of Apartheid. Absolutely.

They then argued that not much really has changed, or perhaps that the racial discrimination wasn't going away fast enough. Based upon our experiences here, it won't go away any time soon. Of course, we don't have a truth and reconciliation commission and are generally trying to pretend that everything is all better. If you doubt that anything has changed enough, look at the photo of the South African national team this year. Compare to 1962, when they were banned from playing. A greater indicator is to look at the stadium seating this morning for the South Africa fans. A veritable sea of yellow shirts. Is there a separate section for whites? No. Do you seriously think it even vaguely feasible to have seen this in 1960? 1980? 1990?

It's not as though racism disappears with the election of a black president - no more than it has here. I'm not delusional about the misery of poverty and racial discrimination (in which ever direction you want). Poverty is drawn on highly racial lines - as it is here. But it is unjust to say nothing much has changed.

Although, you can also find whites complaining about the loss of power & getting the dirty end of the stick themselves.

Does it matter who's in charge? No. Because you'll never make everyone happy. This is why we have an oligarchical political system here. No one wants to lose the power and money that they have - one of those facts which transcends race or nationality.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Your NPR Name

Your NPR Name: Two Words To A More Interesting You

Monday, June 7, 2010

what not to watch

I'm stuck: too many movies, not enough time? No - more like not enough time and still not enough movies. No, unlike STFU&GBTW I do not need to keep up to date with the newest Hollywood CGI banquet. Minimal time w/ Mr.Gopher & what to see? Well, it's not our different tastes limiting my options. It's June. Summer movie season is supposed to be here. Even if I look at the AMC options (and not our theater, as the Riverview does 2nd runs), I'm still stuck.

Robin Hood: These look like the worst critiques of Crowe's work I've seen in a long time. At least in this version, Richard is dead. Although for once I really wish the Robin Hood character was "fighting" against Richard, the king who decimated the royal treasury by futile crusades, rather than John, who at least gave us the Magna Carta.

Prince of Persia
: you must be kidding. Who in the hell thought Gyllenhaal would be a good choice as a Persian? Okay, he's a serious improvement over Brad Pitt in Troy (another surely-you-jest casting epic), in that at least he's not blonde. Isn't there any A-list actor who could look like he's from the Middle East, rather than Wales? Like, say, Alfred Molina? At least they didn't cast Russel Crowe. And, while we're at it ... why give it a sub-title, unless they're planning to make more than one? Why not just call it Sands of Time OR just prince of Persia?

Date Night: Romantic Comedy is generally portrayed as "The Man Will Attend To Placate His Woman, Not Because He Likes It". I suspect that if we went, I'd like it and Mr.Gopher would suffer through 90 min, eliminating it from post-movie dinner discussion. We would be forced to discuss ... hmmm.....

Iron Man 2: well, it probably isn't bad. But, if I only have one movie to pick, this isn't going to be it. And, of course, there's the "Mr.Gopher doesn't do superheroes" factor.

What else is playing in town ...

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: we did see. It was good; I'll try to put a review together. Mr.Gopher managed to watch the whole thing ignoring the subtitles.

The Secret in Their Eyes: hmmmm.... this looks interesting.

Metropolis. Definitely worthwhile; haven't seen it; and, afterall, it's in German.

ah, well ... perhaps I should go back to my thesis.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Commencement @ Rodent U.

Pictures from Minnesota & graduation weekend. Yes, I attended Commencement. No, I'm not "really" done. I'll bet that quite a few students aren't either. As long as you'll be done before December - you're really sure you'll be really done - you can go through the motions now. Or wait. Why wait? I was the only current industrial hygiene student.

My brother Sean & his son Ciaran attended, as did Grandma & Grandpa. So, starting with the most important:

Pete my research adviser & me.

I simply couldn't imagine him spiffed up in the academic regalia; normally he dresses like me. Unfortunately the other two IH profs weren't there. I was/am curious what they would have worn.

Mortar boards are sooooo dorky. The "hoods" are pretty, though hood is no doubt some archaic term that no longer reflects the design of the item, which does not and cannot go over one's head. The front/over color reflects the person's degree.
Blue = not smart enough to stop (Ph.D., regardless of field of study)
Pink = public health (either MPH or Dr.PH).

The faculty was pretty colorful taken en mass, due to the vast array of fields of study & granting universities. Unfortunately, the only picture I have is much too underexposed.

The part of the hood hanging in the back is lined with colors of the school granting the degree. If for some reason I ever need to wear this sort of get up again, I'll need to find another pink/gold-maroon one; they are rented, like a tux. I think it was a $100-ish fee for losing it. Don't lie to me - it's pink. You can call it 'salmon' if it makes you feel more elegant. Public Health is a recently recognized profession. Let's face it, we got hind teat after medicine, law, or theology.

Now ... when I actually finish writing my thesis sounds so impressive, as if I've actually started and have my oral exams sounds so dental ... now then there will be serious celebratory events at the Gopher household, albeit with just the 4 of us.

Greg, one of the first people I met at Rodent U., and one of the few of us in EnHS who did the mental-health 3-year tour of duty to the MPH.

The procession went from Coffmann Union over Washington Ave. to Northrup Auditorium. Picture is from over Washington Ave. The quadrangle here is the original campus. They all date to 1911-1914. It's a beautiful area. Northrup is behind the trees.

Jr.Gohper#2 getting into practice.

The boys' younger cousin came out for graduation weekend. They got a long fantastically.

Couldn't have the family visit without stopping at May Day Cafe, my favorite hangout.


I'll let you know how much I get for selling my hair.

Boys & their toys

Hey, Mom, will this apple juice make Apfelschorle?