Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Darker Comedy

Portlandia, the TV series / comedy about Portland, might miss the mark a tad in that Portland's humor is somewhat darker / edgier than the tone of that show. 

That's OK.  No one said a TV sitcom has to be as demented as the reality it purports to portray.







Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Geeks' Geek

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Memo to Quakers



Here's is something I posted just today to an EcoMind Group, like a reading circle, at the Friends meeting I attend (typos fixed, more hyperlinks added).

I'm summarizing the ISEPP lecture last night as a part of it.  Great talk, great Heathman dinner afterwards.

Then I stayed up until 2 AM watching movies (Mr. Death again).  I'm a bit of a glutton for media, aren't I?  I've lost quite a bit of weight though, despite the gluttony.

=====

Re:

I was glad to see methane getting more focus in this reading, not just CO2.

I recently viewed the funny-edgy documentary 'Got the Facts on Milk?' and somehow it spoke to my condition such that I haven't needed to chug down a huge glass of milk at a sitting for many weeks now.  I don't even have it in my refrigerator, had to borrow some from the neighbors when Friends Ek and Scholl came by to help with the tree planting

Lowering our methane footprint ties into Lappe's writings in that if we so-called "rich people" can wean ourselves from our big steak big milk fast food lifestyle, we'll:

(a) enjoy greater health and longevity
(b) return more land to cultivation for people, not their proxy livestock and
(c) help cut back on a greenhouse gas that, pound for pound, is far more damaging than CO2.

Milk is not helping with keeping calcium in the bones.  It leeches the stuff away and osteoporosis is higher in milk-drinking cultures.  It's basically liquid meat with growth factors (what milk is primarily for:  to boost growth in babies).  Our beliefs about milk are manufactured on Madison Avenue by "mad men" (the same ones who told us cigarettes were good for us).

This idea that the more economically privileged will naturally want to give in to uncontrollable meat addiction with big meat every night is highly questionable I think.  Such slaves to meat are not "privileged" that much is clear.  Economics textbooks all purvey this myth, that the better off you are the more you indulge in your meat habit.  I find that assumption to be questionable.

"Affluenza" (Galbraith) should be included in the DSM is what I think, as an obviously debilitating mental disorder -- at least I can add it to my spellchecker dictionary.  Quakerism's simplicity testimony is about countering pathological over-consumption, endemic in this culture.

The ISEPP lecture last night, by science fiction novelist, futurist and computer scientist, Ramez Naam, was a lot about global warming. 

Check out these graphs:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirbyurner/14140165804/ (exploding CO2)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirbyurner/14136596051/ (ratcheting up the temp)

I liked the line:  "Republicans in Alaska believe in global warming, as the permafrost is melting right beneath their feet."

Naam was not coming off as super pessimistic.  He's a big believer in the power of innovation, our one unlimited resource (that's the title of his new book):
(The Infinite Resource:  The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet)

He's open to a kind of open source not-for-profit genetic engineering aimed at helping decrease dependence on expensive fertilizers and pesticides, and like Stewart Brand, he still thinks there's hope for these smallish nuke plants that you bury in their own sealed containers and never move.  Storage battery technology figures big on his radar.

He pointed out that sperm whales made a come back when people discovered kerosene burned as well in their lamps.  A species on the brink of extinction may be saved by a simple substitution sometimes. Population is no longer exploding as it once was.  As infant mortality drops and women have more choices, 2.1 kids on average is becoming the norm, and is the replacement rate. 

The ozone hole appears to be healing thanks to banning CFCs, despite dire warnings from industry about how that ban might hurt them.  Corporations can be such cowardly wimps sometimes.  They may be "human" under [white man] law, but that doesn't mean we need to look up to them as role models.  Many of them are "ethical cripples" meaning they don't get enough moral fiber with their breakfast cereal.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Wanderers 2014.5.6

We were a small group at the Linus Pauling House this evening. 

I was all gaga for Big History, having just rented the three DVD set at Movie Madness.  I'm only through the first four episodes, in the order of salt, horses, gold, cold, I think in that order, as guiding principles of human history. 

Very phase rule, very Euler in showing those topological networks in its cutaways about "connecting the dots". 

All rather breathless and swoopy, just right for a jaded audience used to fast cuts. 

Good use of repetition, not wasting good shots by showing them just once.  Repeating in different patterns.  I appreciate the technique.  Yay History Channel.

But of course the conversation roamed through a lot more than just that.  In Open Forum, we meander like crazy.

Glenn has had his eye on that building at the base of Hawthorne, next to the School of Rock.  He thought the story in the Business insert in the Portland Tribune, the issue with the full page goat on the cover page, about NewsBeat breaking into the news biz, was resonant with his plans for studios and editing rooms.  I mentioned the same building to AFSC as one of my hats as an Area Committee member is to scout out possible locations, if only to inspire our imaginations to higher heights.

More soon.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Dick (movie review)


I confess this one cracked me up a lot.  I was LOL-ing about in my living room, appreciating this 1999 take on the Watergate scandal.

Two teenage girls stumble into getting to walk Checkers, the president's dog, but are also witnessing G. Gordon Liddy sneaking around.

Woodword () and Bernstein () learn of their "secret youth adviser" information once the one girl's crush on Tricky "not a crook" Dick is replaced with loathing when he turns out to be a potty mouth (mirroring a demographic's reaction).

They meet in an underground parking lot.

The girls have just learned the title of a porno film their brother gets busted for watching, by the angry nuclear family dad, so tell the journalists they're "Deep Throat".  And thereby hangs a tale.

Oh, and lets not forget the Hello Dollies, cookies unintentially spiked with the brother's stash, that get served around the White House, prompting peace talks with Breshniev to go unexpectedly well.

If you lived through the original events, as I did, as not much older than a teen myself, all this may seem especially hilarious, did to me.  Kissinger, Haldeman, Dean (no Ellsberg yet)... they're all there, chewed up and spit out by the zeitgeist, enshrined in our memories as clowns.