Chief McCain/Palin strategist, Steve Schmidt, speaks to Anderson Cooper about the woman who could have been the Vice President of the world’s only Superpower. I’m looking forward to Game Change. I should read the book first.
Archive for February, 2012
Midnight In Paris was one of my favourite films of 2011 and I was happy that Woody Allen won the Oscar for best original screenplay last night. To celebrate, I have posted a clip from the opening scene of Manhattan, one of my all time favourite Woody Allen movies. I have always wanted to film something similar, only with Toronto as the central theme.
In Manhattan there are many iconic moments in cinematic history, none quite as magical as the Queensborough Bridge scene with Diane Keaton. Superb.
If you get a chance this week grab a copy and keep an eye open for three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep’s supporting turn as Allen’s lesbian ex-wife.
I promise, this is the last post for today!
Those who know me well know that I am a die-hard Meryl Streep fan. I own all her movies on DVD. My Meryl love affair began when I was a young boy watching Kramer vs. Kramer in the living room of my parents’ house. I didn’t understand why everyone thought that her character Joanna, was such a terrible person. To me it was obvious that she needed to leave her son to be a better mother. But such is life, we judge women more harshly than we do men, I knew that even at 6-years-old.
I was thrilled, right down to my toes (reference to a Meryl speech, which one?) when she won her third Oscar last night, two for lead actress and one for supporting. She is a marvel, and her talent comes only once in a lifetime.
Here are my top ten Meryl movies, that you have to see:
1) Sophie’s Choice
2) A Cry in the Dark
3) Out of Africa (also read the book, phenomenal!)
4) One True Thing
6) The Hours
7) Silkwood (The term, “The Silkwood Shower” was coined from this movie)
8) Julie & Julia
10) The Iron Lady (A lackluster film, but a tremendous performance)
Long live Ms. Streep!
One of my major problems with the television show LOST, and almost all movies, is that the female characters were created to serve the story arcs of the male characters, and could not exist independently from them. What can you expect from male writers? What’s disturbing though is how few chances women have in movies and television to create influential stories for themselves, and how female writers fall victim to the demands of their male colleagues, who have less than flattering views of women. Women exist only to benefit the lives of men, and usually this revolves around sex.
Well, here is the Bechdel Test, sent to me by Lisa, that rates the 2011 Best Picture nominees’ representation of women in film. You’ll be surprised with the results. Or maybe not.
The plan was to spend the entire weekend in Iguazu but yesterday I awoke with an odd stomach flu and couldn’t make my flight. I arranged with LAN airlines, and with some assistance from Keith back home (damn you Skype!), to have my fight changed, and so I departed at 8:05 this morning. Let me preface with a confession: I am not a good flyer. I am deathly afraid of getting on a plane and have been known to panic at the mere thought of flying. My entire demeanour alters before departure date and I end up calling the airline and changing my flight in a desperate attempt to avoid the inevitable: My death.
Anyway with that bit of knowledge, the plane took off on schedule and I was literally on the lower trail by 10:30 a.m. The falls were just as beautiful as everyone has described. Unfortunately it wasn’t the clearest day and it did rain. The other crummy part was that my camera died just as I had made it to the Devils Throat. For some reason (supposedly my own stupidity) my camera doesn’t save my preferred settings when I turn it off. This means that I have to reset everything when I switch the damn thing back on, so to avoid this banality I just keep my camera on, but after four hours, I didn’t realize how deadly that bit of cracked wisdom was until it was too late. Anyway, the positive to all this was that I sat and I stared at the marvel before me, sans camera. It was refreshing to be without a bit of technology, and to share a moment with nature, and 5,000 other people.
I completed the entire tour in under five hours, got a taxi back to the airport, and hopped on the last plane back to Buenos Aires. It’s for the best really, otherwise I would have lost sleep thinking about the impending doom awaiting me the next day, and by that I mean my horrific fiery death 37,000 feet in the air.
Thankfully I’m in one piece. The good news is that I get to watch the Oscars with my American friend Kevin. He’s bringing beer, sweet nurturing beer!
Here are some pictures from my day.
I took over 100 photos and they will be up on my flickr page soon. Go there if you want to see more.
A beautiful song to inspire you through the day.
Unfortunately the sun was setting by the time I arrived at Luján Basilica this evening. The photos I was able to capture are less crisp than I would have liked but I was in a hurry trying to beat Buenos Aires traffic. The basilica was erected in honour of Our Lady of Luján who is a celebrated 16th Century icon of the Virgin Mary. I don’t exactly know what that means, and I was raised Catholic. I have completed four of the seven sacraments, which means you should fear me. Kidding!
Okay apparently I can’t upload anymore photos! WordPress won’t let me! Bastards. Check back later if you care.
For an animal lover it can be discomforting to see one in duress. While visiting San Rafael, Mendoza I was shocked to find so many homeless dogs wandering the streets and parks in pursuit of food. Many of them had broken legs, and no one cared.
I truly believe (maybe it’s more hope) that if we are judged at the end of our lives it will be for our treatment of animals, those among us who are the most innocent and defenseless.
The apathy towards the suffering of animals is criminal. I can’t understand it, let alone tolerate it. I’ve been a vegetarian for seven years, and living in Argentina has tested my resolve, but I have never wavered. Nor will I. The cuisine of a specific country isn’t a good enough reason for me to start eating meat.
I’ve noticed that women, more than men, draw comfort from food, and enjoy writing about their culinary experiences. Maybe it’s similar to the relationship that men have with beer. What I do know is that I have a different relationship with food; it’s merely for sustenance. Well that’s not true. I have a sweet tooth.
I’ve had to defend being a vegetarian for years. Most people attempt to question how devout I am, or label me as a hypocrite when I reveal to them that I eat eggs occasionally. My response is always the same: I’m doing my part, what are you doing? I buy vegan shoes, and if it once had a face, I don’t eat it.
Through the years I have met many people who profess to have practiced vegetarianism, but gave it up for various reasons, maybe a job, or a boyfriend, or because they claim that vegetarianism caused a vitamin deficiency.
Becoming a vegetarian means that you have to educate yourself about food and one of the most popular misconceptions is that a vegetarian diet lacks sufficient protein. That is a complete fallacy. North Americans already consume too much protein as is, most of it derived by eating too much meat. Plentiful amounts of protein can be found in beans, tofu, green vegetables, and many other healthier options.
Cancer rates have been linked to eating too much red meat, while vegetarian diets have been proven to decrease the risk of certain cancers. Simply put, being a vegetarian is good for animals, including the most self-entitled of the lot: Humans.
I have a yearly physical and Dr. Laura orders a series of blood tests, one of which measures vitamin and mineral deficiencies. In seven years not once have I had a problem, in fact Dr. Laura assures me: “You’re in textbook good health.”
I stopped eating meat because I informed myself about where my meat was coming from. Being a thoughtful person I lost sleep thinking about how animals are raised for the sole purpose of ending up on our dinner plates. Most of them live in abhorrent and inhumane conditions that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. How could I continue eating meat when I knew what I did about where it came from?
My philosophy is that all animals are as valuable as human beings. I don’t know where we ever got the idea that we were somehow more deserved of life than any other species but it sounds like a justification to continue eating meat, guilt free.
Animal right’s groups like PETA give a voice to the voiceless, without them there would be further atrocities committed against animals globally. Think about what that would mean for our planet and our ethics.
I have had more arguments on the subject of vegetarianism than I care to discuss. The topic drives most meat eaters to foam at the mouth, and I don’t know why. I am not insinuating that they become vegetarians overnight, but I am advocating that they inform themselves. Don’t put a piece of meat into your mouth until you’re willing to visit a slaughterhouse and watch that animal be murdered in cold blood, without remorse, or compassion.
Learn how chickens, cows and pigs are killed just so you can have a satisfying dining experience, and don’t forget to post the picture on facebook! If you can’t commit to becoming a full-time vegetarian then try making small changes. For instance, try eating meat only twice a week as opposed to five, and slowly incorporate more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Or if that’s too much of a commitment, try to purchase organic meat. At least this way you’re secure in the knowledge that the animal, when alive, didn’t suffer.
When I look at a picture of my lovely soon-to-be three-year-old English Bulldog Maude, I couldn’t imagine forcing her into a life of servitude only to be killed violently for my own hedonistic pleasure. Perhaps I look at animals as something to love, not to eat. To think about how many unfinished meat is thrown into the garbage at the end of the night (clearly because it wasn’t marinated to ones satisfaction), I am compelled to speak up.
This is not to say that I am ignorant of the plight of children, quite the opposite. When I was in Tanzania two years ago I visited an AIDS orphanage and witnessed the treatment of the disabled.
While my peers were busy playing with the babies and toddlers I wandered the hallways and found a young boy with Cerebral Palsy strapped to a chair, alone, and based on his hygiene, forgotten. I worked with a teenager with Cerebral Palsy for a year when I lived in England and although each individual is unique, no child deserves to be abandoned because they require special needs. Not by their family, and certainly not by society.
What I am saying is that if we can’t care for the innocent and disenfranchised, what hope does the future of our civilization have when we’re more concerned about hooking up at clubs and bars, owning cars and iPods, obsessing about our appearance and updating our facebook statuses?
Walking through the streets of San Rafael witnessing so many unwanted injured dogs begging for comfort and love, I struggled to understand how people could callously ignore their plight. We have this notion that it is always someone else’s problem, but that’s such a cop-out.
I was sitting at a café enjoying a coffee and croissant when a black dog came up beside me, clearly nursing a broken leg. We made eye contact and he sprawled out near my feet where he fell asleep almost instantly. My heart sank. What was I to do? Unlike in Canada there are no animal welfare protection agencies in Argentina.
I am ashamed to tell you that I did what every other person in San Rafael does daily: After the bill was settled, I walked away. His image is now permanently ingrained in my memory, and I will never forget him.
In the end when we choose to eat meat that’s what we’re all doing: We are walking away from our responsibility to make the world a safe and loving place for everyone, including animals.
South Americans do not believe in spaying and neutering their pets, resulting in an overpopulation of unwanted dogs. On my trip back to Buenos Aires I passed seven dead dogs on the side of the road, presumably each were hit by a vehicle. I also passed several trucks crammed with cows. I made eye contact with one unlucky cow pinned to the wall of the truck and we stared at each other for a long time. I wanted to save him so badly I started to cry. I felt as helpless as he did.
Lately I’ve been flirting with the idea of becoming a vegan and have drawn inspiration from health activist and author Kathy Freston. She has great tips and recipes that anyone can employ. Check her out.