intertribal: (peace)
la colonia

  • Chantecaille Kalimantan fragrance is inspired by the intoxicating and lush forests of Borneo, available on the market from September 2010. Intense, sexy and exotic, it features the notes of labdanum, incense and patchouli, merged with benzoin, vanilla and cedar, to illustrate the fragrant wild flora of the island of Borneo.

  • Patchouly Indonesiano is a deep, dark and exotic fragrance. Its entire composition consists of Indonesian patchouli (in the top notes, the heart and the perfume base).

  • Rituel de Java by Cinq Mondes is a Woody Spicy fragrance for men. Rituel de Java was launched in 2008. Top note is eucalyptus; middle notes are cinnamon and woodsy notes; base notes are patchouli and virginia cedar.

  • Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens is a Oriental Woody fragrance for women and men. Borneo 1834 was launched in 2005. The fragrance features patchouli, white flowers, cardamom, galbanum, french labdanum and cacao.

  • Colonial Club by Jeanne Arthes is a Woody Floral Musk fragrance for men. Top notes are mint and lemon; middle notes are jasmine and fruity notes; base notes are patchouli, musk and cedar.

  • Poivre Colonial is a new fragrance from the Eaux de Toilette collection from Phaedon. The scent has been described as both "prickly and smooth” woody – spicy one. It opens with an explosion of grapefruit, nutmeg and pepper. The heart includes cedar and vetiver, mixed with warm cacao bean. The base is dominated by notes of oak moss and patchouli with blonde woods.

  • The Italian brand of I Coloniali presents their collection Seductive Elixir of 8 fragrant waters in 2012. The collection is inspired by distant countries and offers intense, long-lasting fragrances with various fragrant compositions.

  • Acqua di Genova, Colonia Classica by Acqua di Genova is a Citrus Aromatic fragrance for women and men. Acqua di Genova, Colonia Classica was launched in 1853. Top notes are bergamot, amalfi lemon, orange, rosemary, neroli and lavender; middle notes are jasmine, rose and orange blossom; base notes are patchouli, sandalwood, amber and musk.

  • Agua de Colonia Concentrada Barberia by Alvarez Gomez is a Citrus Aromatic fragrance for women and men. This is a new fragrance. Top notes are lemon, bitter orange, bergamot and ginger; middle notes are rhubarb, labdanum and coriander; base notes are cedar, sandalwood and white musk.

  • Colonia del Sacramento fragrance by Fueguia 1833 belongs to the Destinos collection. “A mix of European detachment with River Plate indolence, this blend combines a restless fragrance of bergamot, orange blossom and lemon.”

intertribal: (Default)
I feel like I haven't been to LJ in a while, but that isn't really true.

Dude I'm dating came back from Morocco recently - said there were some nice scenes of police beating protesters because they didn't have the proper permit to protest, of course.  Also, there's a large, beautiful mosque in Casablanca that is built on artificial land on top of the Atlantic - it's architect didn't take into account that the Atlantic will someday come back and bite that artificial land in the butt, eventually sinking the mosque.  It also cost the country a lot of money and displaced a bunch of poor people without compensation.  He also tried to climb this mountain, but failed.

Saw X-Men, don't have anything to say about it beyond what I told [ profile] cafenowhere (Leland Palmer as Dean Rusk?).  Yesterday I watched an interesting little extremely low-budget horror movie on Netflix called The Ceremony (don't ask me what's up with that cover), about a guy graduating college who finds that his roommate has left behind an odd little book surrounded by a ring of burning candles.  Being concerned about fire safety, the main character blows the candles out, and being a curious student, starts reading the book, which turns out to be a history of a ritual used to summon Satan, here "the man in the white suit."  Of course he reads some unfortunate parts aloud and things start happening around the house, culminating in a phone conversation where he tells a friend, "The furniture, it came alive.  It had to be contained."  It takes its cues from Paranormal Activity and had some interesting touches, particularly when the main character learns to his horror that he can understand as well as speak the language being spoken by the presence in his house.  It's creepy, it has a cast of essentially one person, and it's well-made on a shoestring budget.  Good job, director James Palmer.  Horror fans, check check it.

I've been putting all my writing efforts into the novel, which is now at 77,000 words.  Unfortunately, it's nowhere near finished, so looks like I'll be overshooting that 100,000 word goal.  This is how it's getting done: I made an extremely detailed outline of 10,000 words, and I'm writing it scene by scene, often out of order.  I do foresee problems with flow and continuity and a believable evolution of characters, doing it this way, but at least it's getting done this way, right?  I'm going to quit my job in July to devote the rest of the summer to writing this thing before I move to D.C. to start graduate school. 

Had a David Lynch moment today while driving to work.  We've had construction in the left lane of this one big swerving road for a month now, so all the regular commuters automatically drive in the right lane even before we're told to merge right.  But today there was a new big flashing construction sign telling cars that the right lane would be closed up ahead, so go into the left lane.  Everybody's like, wow, maybe they finished the left lane and are starting work on the right lane?  And after about a mile of driving in the left lane, with no sign of construction on the right, the old familiar big flashing sign pops up telling cars that the left lane was closed, so we all scoot back over to where we started.  Calisthenics for cars, I guess.  Speaking of David Lynch, I'm trying to convert my mom to Twin Peaks.  It's going... interestingly.  One of my tactics is comparing it to our favorite shared show, the British cozy-mystery series Midsomer Murders.  They both feature a gamut of weird people in seemingly-innocuous, scenic small towns, grisly murders, and supernatural undertones.  If you're unfamiliar with MM, I've always thought it was what Hot Fuzz was tipping its hat to.  MM is also one of the few TV shows to ever make me cry (in the episode "Green Man," which is very environmentalist).  Someday I'll do an ode to my favorite MM episodes, cuz it's a wonderful show.

I'm almost done with Alan Heathcock's Volt (one more story to read).  Also almost done with Godforsaken Lord of the Rings (two more chapters).  

Here's an acoustic version of Korn's "Freak on a Leash," with Evanescence's Amy Lee.  Shut up, I don't shop at Hot Topic!  Also, Evanescence did a cover of "Thoughtless" that I like, but a lot of Korn fans are all "what the fuck this song has to be full of AGGRESSION and RAGE D:<" and I'm like, whatever.  

intertribal: (black wave/bad vibration)
Dog Day Afternoon, another great '70s crime movie that I had never seen before.  And by another, I mean in addition to Taxi Driver - my repertoire is pretty slight in this area, unfortunately.  The IMDb tagline is "A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus," which I guess is accurate, but makes the movie sound more farcical than it is.  It kind of makes me sad, how commonly-referenced and parodied this scene is, because when he starts saying "put 'em down!" I actually got a little weepy.

By the way, this is what "Attica!" is a reference to.  I highly suggest you click the link, if you don't already know.  And I wouldn't say that Dog Day Afternoon is even unfair to cops - Detective Moretti, the first hostage negotiator, is actually a sympathetic character who tries to stop the moronic cops who assume an asthmatic black hostage being released is actually one of the bank robbers and immediately start treating him as such.  And both Sonny and Travis Bickle, the criminal heroes of Dog Day Afternoon and Taxi Driver, are veterans of Vietnam.  

Yeah, I know I still haven't talked about Taxi Driver.  I guess what I can say is that this type of movie - the atmosphere, the narrative style, the "message," etc. - is not at all what I write, and something I can't spend a lot of time with before I become claustrophobic and panicky, but is something I really, genuinely admire.  The Attica scene would never happen today, and we're worse off for it.  We're so inundated with cop-centric crime narratives (even the grittier stuff you see on cable channels, it's pretty much all "woe the fractured lives of cops," so I guess hooray for Sons of Anarchy?  But even that is about alternative methods of "law enforcement," not being anti-establishment, so...), so conditioned to look at crime as a single, selfish act of law-breaking, and very quick to excuse police and military brutality as somehow "deserved," no matter what.  You see this on 24 and Law & Order: SVU.  I suppose we made the bed we'll die in. 

We'd much prefer to read stories about "police vigilantes" acting outside the law in fulfillment with some kind of higher calling of justice, destroying evil-doers - a short story in Alan Heathcock's collection Volt, "Peacekeeper," is exactly this sort of story.  There's Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral and it's this big cosmic struggle played out usually on the dead or missing body of a young woman.  Those are popular stories.  But that isn't really the story of police work in the U.S., just like it isn't the story of the U.S. military abroad.  The real story is a hell of a lot more banal than that. 
intertribal: (black tambourine)
Okay, laughing a bit at all the people vigorously claiming that AMC's The Killing isn't a Twin Peaks rip-off.  Granted, it's a remake of a Danish show that I haven't seen, so either the Danish show is ripping off Twin Peaks and the American show is ripping off a rip off, or the American show is ripping off Twin Peaks all by itself.  Yes, there's the ridiculously ripped-off tagline, but the point of no return for me was the scene where the dead girl's father finds out that his daughter is dead while he's on the phone with his wife, who's at home in the kitchen.  It is sad and dramatic (the dad does the whole Mystic River thing, the mother is screaming at home).  But it felt so very "done before" to me because, look:

That scene (with Grace Zabriskie as the mother) was sort of the defining moment in Twin Peaks' pilot, and I could not believe that The Killing did something so similar.

So when I read reviews like "What really stands out for me, in this age of cookie-cutter procedurals, is how The Killing dramatizes the devastation a violent death has on a family, a community, on the people involved in the investigation" and "not as much about a young girl's murder as it is a psychological study of what happens afterward, how a tight-knit community tries to recover and how a dead child's mother, father and siblings learn to deal with their pain in their own private ways" my reaction is, have you seen Twin Peaks?  I get that two shows can be aiming to do something similar but not only is the approach the same, it's practically the same dead water-logged high school girl, secret life and flings with the town's most powerful grown men and BFF and inconstant boyfriend and all.  But no demon.  Which is a shame.

Cuz it's the tone of The Killing that really sets it apart from Twin Peaks.  It's basically Twin Peaks minus the humor and minus the supernatural.  It's all grim, all the time, with no moments of insanity or absurdity.  I do like the lead actress and the subversive undercover cop (the closest thing this show has to a break from the mundane, grim norm), and it's certainly not bad in any technical way, but it's nothing special.  Twin Peaks is special, and it's actually its particular supernatural trappings that make it so.  Randomly inserting people that happen to be vampires and werewolves clearly does nothing for a show; what I mean by supernatural trappings is Twin Peaks' embrace of the truly not-natural and not-normal and not-scientifically-objective, the "half light" in between spaces and times and states of consciousness/rationality, if you will.  And that stuff is not uniformly anything.  It's definitely not uniformly gloomy.  Like the dreams and the death omens and love and unusual ways of grieving and people who talk to inanimate objects and fish-coffee and secret government projects and inhabiting spirits all that "other" crap that's a part of human experience and human understanding.  Watching Twin Peaks was like finding a kindred spirit, for me.

On the other hand, I was watching Luther the other day - a BBC show with only six episodes in its first season - and while it doesn't have the same sort of prestige touch as The Killing and has been received poorly by the British press, it's the more interesting crime show IMO.  For one, it has Idris Elba as the lead (and yes, this is the main reason I started watching).  For two, it has a serial killer named Alice Morgan who's the self-described matter-destroying black hole to Elba's bright sun.  She kills her parents in the first episode but because there's no proof she's free to go, and she's like this recurring narcissistic ghoul that sort of tries to help Idris Elba's character resolve his personal problems but goes about everything very badly - Alice is great.  My favorite episode was the fourth, and actually it wasn't either of them that made that episode - it was Nicola Walker, who played the wife of a man she thinks is a recovering small-time crook but is actually a serial killer.  The scene where she finds out what her husband's done in a police investigation room is great in a way that Grace Zabriskie's Twin Peaks scene is great, though of course with very different emotions on display.  And Nicola Walker's ending... well, you can see what she does in this fanvid, although it doesn't do her justice.  She was a great emotional pivot.
intertribal: (baby got a nobel prize)
What I immediately thought of after I heard The Big News (I was watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, which did not cut away to any breaking news report, so I heard it from fengi on LJ first) was "what now."  Is the war on terror over?  I think your answer to that depends on what you think "causes" terrorism, or why you think terrorism exists.  By this measure I figure that moderates are most likely to think the war on terror is over.  A crime/offense took place (9/11), we had to go after the person responsible (Bin Laden), and now that person is dead - the end.  Justice is served, the slate has been washed clean, now we can start over with "peaceful dialog" (this was a comment on the NYT... made me laugh, I had to say, the idea that enemy death -> peaceful dialog.  Trying to imagine Bin Laden saying that after 9/11, you know, like, "well, now that the towers have fallen, I hope we can have a peaceful dialog with you guys."  What an empty gesture). 

But the right isn't going to think the war on terror is over - after all, Islamofascism still exists, and that causes terrorism, and until the entire religion is wiped out, terrorists will still exist, and we will still be at risk.  And the left isn't going to think the war on terror is over - because military, political, and economic policies that encourage terrorism either directly (funding terrorists) or indirectly (blowback) will continue, so terrorism will continue.  From a long-term view, it's hard to believe "terrorism" will ever be vanquished.  Guerrilla warfare will never be vanquished either.  It's a strategy of waging asymmetric warfare, not a cult.  But I guess the moderates will have a field year speculating about what this means for Obama's re-election and we'll be throwing around words like "murderous militant" and "enemy of democracy" (this was from one of Nebraska's representatives, Lee Terry.  I really doubt Lee Terry has a firm understanding of what democracy actually is, based on this statement), etc.  The domestic political scientists and politicians and pundits will be going nuts pretending they have any clue what goes on internationally in their efforts to forecast What This Means For America, and this isn't a conversation I'm really interested in.

So this is pretty much Anti-Climax of the century, for me.  Hadn't we all moved past this, in our justification of Iraq and Afghanistan?  Hadn't we all adopted new excuses: liberating women, liberating civilians from dictators, spreading democracy, making the world safe - and then, fixing what we broke?  I thought that good old revenge was already off the table.  But now we're back to Square 1, apparently, and in U.S. history books of the future the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a few long paragraphs, no more than a textbook page, under the title Response to 9/11.  Then maybe whatever happens next - wherever we go next, in our war on terror - will be under the next entry, another few paragraphs.  Hundreds of thousands of people killed: the "response." 

Also, I've read some comments that the U.S. turned itself into a monster in order to respond to 9/11, but I don't know about that.  I think it's a nice fantasy, that America was some kind of stoic Lady Liberty prior to 9/11 and then was transformed into Hel the Hag by a massive act of violence, good girl gone bad.  But it's hard to say that after reading a book like Overthrow or Shock Doctrine.  Foreigners have been waking up to find themselves in secret torture cells with a CIA agent for decades.  Let's not forget that, even though it would be easier to.  It is frightening, really frightening, to look at the news in the context of the history of U.S. foreign policy.  Maybe that's why a lot of political scientists don't like to do it.

So, anyway: some historic-centric links.

Juan Cole: I was also dismayed by the propagandistic way the White House promoted its war on and then occupation of Iraq. They only had two speeds, progress and slow progress. A big bombing that killed hundreds was "slow progress."... I think if Bush had gone after Bin Laden as single-mindedly as Obama has, he would have gotten him, and could have rolled up al-Qaeda in 2002 or 2003. Instead, Bush’s occupation of a major Arab Muslim country kept a hornet’s nest buzzing against the US, Britain and other allies.

Chris Hedges (that paragraph about the empathy the US received after 9/11 is incredibly true, and incredibly sad, in retrospect): 
The flip side of nationalism is always racism, it’s about self-exaltation and the denigration of the other.

I was in the Middle East in the days after 9/11. And we had garnered the empathy of not only most of the world, but the Muslim world who were appalled at what had been done in the name of their religion. And we had major religious figures like Sheikh Tantawy, the head of al-Azhar – who died recently – who after the attacks of 9/11 not only denounced them as a crime against humanity, which they were, but denounced Osama bin Laden as a fraud … someone who had no right to issue fatwas or religious edicts, no religious legitimacy, no religious training. And the tragedy was that if we had the courage to be vulnerable, if we had built on that empathy, we would be far safer and more secure today than we are.

We responded exactly as these terrorist organizations wanted us to respond. They wanted us to speak the language of violence. What were the explosions that hit the World Trade Center, huge explosions and death above a city skyline? It was straight out of Hollywood. When Robert McNamara in 1965 began the massive bombing campaign of North Vietnam, he did it because he said he wanted to “send a message” to the North Vietnamese—a message that left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead.  These groups learned to speak the language we taught them. And our response was to speak in kind. The language of violence, the language of occupation—the occupation of the Middle East, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—has been the best recruiting tool al-Qaida has been handed.
intertribal: (this chica right here gotta eat baby)
This post began with a slightly meandering article by Roxane Gay at The Rumpus about the words we use to write about rape.  While I think she needs to interrogate herself as a writer a bit more - "I write about sexual violence a great deal in my fiction. The why of this writerly obsession doesn’t matter," she says, but yeah-huh, it does matter - but the beginning is a fine criticism of a New York Times article about a gang rape in Cleveland, Texas (bold mine).
The Times article was entitled, “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town,” as if the victim in question was the town itself. James McKinley Jr., the article’s author, focused on how the men’s lives would be changed forever, how the town was being ripped apart, how those poor boys might never be able to return to school. There was discussion of how the eleven-year-old girl, the child, dressed like a twenty-year-old, implying that there is a realm of possibility where a woman can “ask for it” and that it’s somehow understandable that eighteen men would rape a child. There were even questions about the whereabouts of the mother, given, as we all know, that a mother must be with her child at all times or whatever ill may befall the child is clearly the mother’s fault. Strangely, there were no questions about the whereabouts of the father while this rape was taking place.

The overall tone of the article was what a shame it all was, how so many lives were affected by this one terrible event. Little addressed the girl, the child. It was an eleven-year-old girl whose body was ripped apart, not a town. It was an eleven-year-old girl whose life was ripped apart, not the lives of the men who raped her.
You do notice this a lot in news articles about rape, especially in small towns or suburban communities, and especially - maybe exclusively - when the suspects are teenaged boys.  It's as if the boys are as much a victim as the girl.  I think it can be worth investigating how a town reacts to a gang rape (Glen Ridge, NJ, for example), but sometimes I wonder: how many times do we need to hear the same opinions from these seemingly identical, wagon-circling communities?  The article claimed to be probing "how could their young men have been drawn into the act," whatever that means, but that's not actually where they went with the article.  Because then the article would actually talk about, you know, motive to rape, tendencies toward violence, domestic violence in the town, etc.  Instead the article probed "how could their young men have fucked this little girl?" (oh, she looked older than she was - got it - that means they're not pedophiles, so that's good). 

I get that the Times was soliciting neighbors' opinions and these were the neighbors' opinions, but why is this actually worth a story?  No duh, the neighbors blamed the girl and pitied the boys and bemoaned the state (reputation?) of their town.  I could have figured that in my sleep.  Why is this worth repeating and promoting in the form of an article that does not offer any analysis of their opinion?  Do they deserve some kind of public outlet because they bred a bunch of predators?  Because that might have been an interesting line of inquiry: so how and why did you instill these values in your young men, Cleveland, TX?  Otherwise, I don't care about their ruined community.  Their ruined community is not a human interest story.  Just like I do not care about how The Ryan White Story offended the residents of Kokomo, Indiana.  Sometimes towns deserve to be pilloried.  Sorry, but there it is.  I mean, this NYT article actually says:
“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”
Classic.  Pathetic.  These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives?  What about the girl they raped?  Is it because the boys seem like a greater loss to the town, I wonder - the loss of these promising young men to the justice system, when good men are hard to find (whereas an 11-year-old girl that they all but say dressed like a whore, well, who cares, they're a dime a dozen)?  Is it overwhelming sympathy and empathy for the families of the suspects, even though as one commenter at the Rumpus suggests, they apparently raised rapists (whereas this girl's mother, well, she's the one that let this happen)?  Is it the instinct that seems to pop up whenever something bad happens in one's community, to generalize it until it's so broad that you too can claim to be personally affected and devastated, because goddamn if you're going to let this selfish child hog all the attention?  Or is it just easier to write articles about reactionary people being reactionary, predictable people being predictable?  Maybe it's just an example of communal value, and communal priorities (as Hot Fuzz says, the greater good!), overriding individual value.

In any case, Roxane Gay is one of many people to have complained about this article, and the NYTimes has issued two responses.  There are some very biting comments replying to the second response, and it's worth reading.  My favorite:
“She’s 11 years old. It shouldn’t have happened. That’s a child. Somebody should have said, ‘What we are doing is wrong.’” Implying what, it would have been fine if she was an adult? How reassuring that there's a "voice of reason" in the community.
Yes, such are the questions that we should be asking indeed.  But coverage of rape always sounds the same.
intertribal: (Default)
Called Winter's Bone.  Here's the trailer, and yes, it's as good as the trailer advertises.

Yes, I realize I'm way late on this one (it was a Sundance winner, came out in June), but that's how it rolls in Nebraska.  The trailer pretty much tells you what it's about - Ree, a seventeen-year-old girl in the Missouri Ozarks, is the de facto caretaker of her younger brother and sister (who are the de facto caretakers of a zoo of dogs and cats), because her mother is non-responsive/drugged up/a non-entity and her father is a missing meth chef.  Her father put the house and the family's woods up for bond, and if he doesn't show up for his court date, the government takes the property.  So Ree has to go find him - either find him and drag him to court, or (more likely) find proof of death.  Obviously she has next to nothing going for her: she has no car, no money, and no one will tell her anything.  But Ree is tough - not foolhardy, just aware of how severe the stakes are.

This movie could have easily slid into a sort of, "oh my God look at how terrible poverty is" or "oh my God look at how cruel these people are" exploitation flick.  It doesn't.  People live by a particular clannish code, and that code necessitates that things be taken care of in a certain way, but people are neither evil nor helpless, and they bend the code when they both can and want to.  Family was neither here nor there, I felt - it was more a question of will.  It turns out that Ree does have allies - her young best friend, already married to an asshole and mother of a baby, and her creepy but ultimately caring drug addict uncle Teardrop.  There's also a shady sheriff, passive aggressive neighbors who may or may not be child molesters (if you've read the Laura Ingalls book The First Four Years, they're like a more extreme version of the Boast couple), cattle auctions, musical family reunions, a sisterhood of enforcers, and an interesting question of whether Ree should sell the hundred-year-old woods on the property (she has a dream/vision of the woods being cut down, and squirrels running from the wreckage, like she and her siblings being chased from society).  There's also brief glimpses of the life Ree could have led had she been born into a better situation - the kids with more "normal" lives at the high school she's dropped out of, the junior ROTC, the Army (she wants to join because the poster advertises $40,000). 

I was terrified for Ree, but the ending was actually less bleak than I expected it to be (which was appreciated, in this case - and no, no rich grandpa drops out of the sky and adopts them all into his mansion - things are still bleak, just not as bleak).  I strongly recommend those of you who are into Southern gothic type stuff see this (the writer of the book this was adapted from, Daniel Woodrell, apparently calls his stuff "country noir"). 
intertribal: (scully; the x-files)
I was watching the Law & Order series finale.  It was a pretty intense episode, about a blog that posts threats of shooting up a school.  I thought the twist was pretty neat-o for Law & Order, and I was certainly tense at the end.  The NYTimes has a good write-up of it, and I agree that the Department of Ed. and teachers' unions probably won't be pleased by how they were presented - on the other hand, I also thought the episode was a little too soft on teachers as the totally innocent victims of crazy, lying, psychopathic teenagers.  I mean, in the context of things like this.  I know some children can be cruel, but...

Jesus Christ, all I talk about is educational administration.  I'm sorry.

Anyway, I thought the NYTimes dude had some good points to make about L&O: The Original Series:
The acting on “Law & Order” in recent seasons has been at a level far above that on “Lost” and “24,” shows often singled out for their performances. More mystifying — or galling — has been reading the weepy comments about how much the complex characters of “Lost” will be missed. Elaborate back stories don’t make characters any less two-dimensional. The police and prosecutors of “Law & Order” may have spent most of their time in dingy offices and had no personal lives to speak of, but we’ll likely miss them more in the long run than the hothouse heroes of those other shows. That’s what happens when you focus on the writing and the acting for, say, 20 years.
That's of course subject to taste.  I also liked this commentator ACW's comment:
What made L&O work was that for the most part it was NOT about the characters. With the notable exception of Lenny Briscoe, with his past drinking problem and his bitter and eventually doomed daughter, L&O episodes mostly kept out of the personal lives of the characters and concentrated on the cases and the issues they raised.

This is as it should be; when you are at work, do you spend all your time, as it often seems in other shows, swapping witty banter and/or intimate bodily fluids with your co-workers? (That is, between fist-fights and shoot-outs.)...  Which is not to say the characters were stick figures. The actors fleshed out the characters by inhabiting them, and their performances told us more, subtly, about the characters than any expository dialogue could - which made them real, and which also explored the issues by portraying plausible reactions by intelligent people.
Best scene of the episode though was definitely Jack McCoy putting the beatdown on the teachers' union rep.  Not because it was the teachers' union rep so much as because Jack ends up screaming in righteous rage, and Jack has always been my favorite character.  Totally not ashamed to say that Jack/Sam Waterston's politics MAY have played a role in influencing mine, at least in high school.  The courtroom scenes that stick with me the most are from "Gunshow" and "Vaya Con Dios," neither of which appear on the internet.  But have this one:

It's like a combined Fuck Yeah! and Fuck You! moment.  Anyway, Jack is awesome
intertribal: (i'm a hustler baby)
The Harvard Hoaxer case is a pretty amazing incident, really.  He's my age, guys!  Well, graduated high school the same year, anyway.  The "powerpoint" version:
  • When Mr. Wheeler, now 23, applied as a transfer student in 2007, for example, he sent along fabricated transcripts from Phillips Andover Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In fact, he had graduated from a public high school in Delaware and had attended Bowdoin College, in Maine.
  • One tipoff could have been that M.I.T. does not give letter grades in the fall semester of freshman year, like the straight A’s that appeared on the grade report that Mr. Wheeler submitted. And the names of the four M.I.T. professors who wrote his glowing recommendations? The letters were fakes. And while the professors were real, each teaches at Bowdoin.
  • (As Harvard would later learn, he had been suspended from Bowdoin for “academic dishonesty,” according to the indictment.)
  • In September, when Mr. Wheeler began his senior year at Harvard, an English professor read his Rhodes scholarship submission and saw similarities between it and the work of a colleague. When confronted by Harvard faculty members, Mr. Wheeler remarked, “I must have made a mistake, I didn’t really plagiarize it,” according to Mr. Verner.
  • Mr. Wheeler left Harvard, rather than face an academic hearing. He then applied as a transfer student yet again, this time to Yale and Brown.
  • In February, Mr. Wheeler applied for an internship at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in which he “provided fraudulent information regarding his credentials and student status at Harvard,” the hospital said in a statement.  In applying to Yale and Brown, though, he not only suggested he was a McLean employee, but also submitted a false letter of recommendation from the McLean official who had refused to hire him.
  • Officials at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del., from which Mr. Wheeler graduated in 2005, said they were contacted in April by Yale admissions officials. Yale wanted to confirm that he was the class valedictorian (he was not, though he was in the top 10 percent of the class) and that his SAT scores were perfect (they were several hundred points lower.)
  • “It seemed out of character that the young man we knew would would try to pull off this type of hoax,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, the district superintendent, who was principal of Caesar Rodney when Mr. Wheeler attended.
His redacted resume, posted by The New Republic when he applied for an internship there.  It is quite nuts.  But in all honesty, how dumb is Harvard?  They apparently did not check to see that they gave two "prestigious writing prizes" and thousands of dollars of prize money to plagiarized submissions.  Come on!

These are the books he's the sole author of:
  • Mappings, Unmappings, and Remappings (In Progress): Critical work that has attempted to explain the experience of geographical and textual space in modern writing has focused predominantly on the map as an analytical tool of orientation that makes formal writing structures legible. My dissertation, however, articulates a positive and generative potential in the experience of getting lost. Disorientation, then, allows us to come to terms with the difficulty of modernist literature from the ground level—to view these works not as an abstraction seen from the “God’s eye” perspective that is implicit in most maps, nor a teleological outcome of the Enlightenment seen from retrospect. By restoring the experience of disorientation, I argue that getting lost becomes a radical discourse that reflects back to us how we orient ourselves—what we pay attention to as we move through physical space and how we construe meaning as we move through a text from page to page.
  • The Mapping of an Ideological Demesne (Under Review at Harvard UP): The massive proliferation, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, of technologies for measuring, projecting, and organizing geographical and social space produced in the European cultural imaginary an intense and widespread interest in visualizing this world and alternative worlds. As the new century and the Stuart era developed, poets and dramatists mediated this transformation in the form of spatial tropes and models of the nation. I examine the geographical tropes by which Tudor and Stuart writers created poetic landscapes as a mode of engagement with the structures of power, kingship, property, and the market. Accordingly, each of the texts that I examine betrays an awareness of writing as a spatial activity and space as a scripted category. The critical topographies that these writers created are maps of ideology, figural territories within which social conflict and political antagonism are put into play.
Dude likes maps.
intertribal: (pleased to meet you)
1.  Tatjana Soli [The Millions]: Legacy of a Photo.  AP headquarters at first rejected the photo for the indecency of frontal nudity, rather than focusing on the bigger indecency of children being burned alive. Ut and head of the department, Horst Fass, argued that napalm had burned off her clothes and refused to crop the photo. Finally an exception was made because of the news value of the story... Although the Chicago Tribune ran Stephanie Sinclair’s photo of the dead Iraqi girl, some worried that it was too graphic, and a compromise was reached to include a story on the legacy of cluster bombs with it. According to an interview with Sinclair on “I found that the Iraqi civilian story was really hard to get published in U.S. publications. And I worked for many. I don’t know why. I think they’re looking at their readership and they think their readers want to know about American troops, since they can relate to them more. They think that’s what the audience wants.”  [Bonus: Uplifting closing paragraphs!]

2.  Bruce Falconer [The American Scholar]: The Torture ColonyDeep in the Andean foothills of Chile’s central valley lives a group of German expatriates, the members of a utopian experiment called Colonia Dignidad. They have resided there for decades, separate from the community around them, but widely known and admired, and respected for their cleanliness, their wealth, and their work ethic... The days were productive. Schaefer exhorted his colonos to righteous sacrifice, frequently reciting the words “Arbeit ist Gottesdienst” (“Work is divine service”). Large signs attached to garden trellises and decorative iron latticework inside the Colonia reinforced the message with pious declarations like “Supreme Judge, We Await Thee” and “We Withstand the Pain for the Sake of Dignity.”... Schaefer, through an informal alliance with the Pinochet regime, allowed Colonia Dignidad to serve as a torture and execution center for the disposal of enemies of the state.

3.  Loren Coleman [Twilight Language]: 3 Days, 3 Attacks.  I have pointed out that in China (and Japan), due to their strict firearms laws, such countries tend to manifest their "copycat school violence" in terms of "stabbing" series.  Five incidents in a little over a month and three attacks in three days have left at least 9 children dead in China, all by knife-wielding older males... A mentally ill teacher on sick leave for the past four years broke into a school and wounded 18 students and a teacher in southern China’s Leizhou city in Guangdong province on April 28... The attack on March 23, 2010 shocked China because eight children died and the assailant had no known history of mental illness. At his trial, Zheng Minsheng, 42, said he killed because he had been upset after being jilted by a woman and treated badly by her wealthy family. He was executed by firing squad on Wednesday, April 28, just a little over a month after his crime.
intertribal: (meat cleaver)
Scarface and Capturing the Friedmans have more in common than you might think.  Besides both being incredibly awesome watches, that is - five out of five stars to both.  Yes, I had not seen Scarface until a couple weeks ago. 

They both revolve around "reviled villains" who have been black-marked by the society they live in - 1980s Miami, 1980s upstate New York.  After brief experiences living "the good life," something has slipped, some care has not been taken, and Tony Montana and Arthur Friedman find themselves in jail, with both their social standing and family life in ruins.  Seemingly overnight, they have become hazards to society.  Communal napalm.  And they are treated appropriately.  Their friends and neighbors have either abandoned them or left death threats through the telephone.  They've become scapegoats for a complicated illness that the whole community feels, but can't pinpoint - because nobody's going to point at themselves.  Except, of course, Tony Montana and Arthur Friedman.  True pillars of the community that they are, they will gamely carry on the mantle of their social role to their deaths.  Guilty plea, blame it on me.


Notice, however - neither Tony Montana nor Arnold Friedman are saints.  They are far from it, in fact.  CtF concludes - based off Friedman's own letters - that Friedman was a pedophile and he had acted on it (but he was probably innocent in the incredibly lurid case he was prosecuted for).  Montana smuggles cocaine and kills anyone who gets in his way, and on the side he kills anyone who gets involved with his younger sister.  This isn't Salem, Mass.  It's also not Forks, Wash., with all its "what if I'm the bad guy?" bullshit.  No, these are the Bad Guys, in-the-deed-the-glory, right down to their Inevitable Downfall. 

I wish I could find Tony Montana's speech on  YouTube, but it's all shit quality.  But here's the gist - and this takes place at a very ritzy restaurant filled with rich white people, after having chased off his wife with the admonition that she's a junkie who can't have kids - "You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers and say 'that's the bad guy.'  So, what does that make you?  Good?  You're not good.  You just know how to hide, how to lie.  Me, I don't have that problem.  Me, I always tell the truth even when I lie.  So say goodnight to the bad guy.  Go on.  Last time you're gonna see a bad guy like this again.  Go on.  Make way for the bad guy, there's a bad guy comin' through!" 

Victimized communities is from Debbie Nathan, an investigative journalist who first suspects all the parents are participating in mass hysteria.  Not even going to try to find that clip.  Here's the policeman's quote that sets it up: "Sometimes there'd be some idle conversation about you know, another boy was sodomized five times, but my son was sodomized six times.  As if that meant something in the overall scheme of things."  And here's Nathan: "There's a whole community atmosphere that gets created in a mass abuse case like this.  There is definitely an element when a community defines itself as a victimized community, that - if you're not victimized, you don't fit into that community."

Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste
intertribal: (Default)
Long ass story about how I got to this site (and it does not involve my own feelings toward America), but I thought the different laws states have for flag abuse were kind of neat-o.  I can only conclude there are no Bloods in Oklahoma or South Dakota.

The State of Colorado makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor for anyone to burn, cut or tear any U.S. flag in public with the intent to cast contempt or ridicule upon the flag, to outrage the sensibilities of a person likely to observe the incident or to cause a breach of the peace. [Colo. Rev. Stat. Sec. 18-11-204]

The State of Georgia prohibits anyone from mutilating, defacing, defiling, or abusing contemptuously the U.S. flag, the Georgia state flag or the flag of the Confederate States of America. The law also forbids the use of such flags for advertising or publicity purposes. [Ga. Code Ann. Sec. 50-3-8 and 50-3-9]

The State of Kentucky makes it a Class A misdemeanor for anyone to desecrate the U.S. flag, the Kentucky state flag or any other patriotic or religious symbol. [Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. Sec. 525.110]

The State of Montana imposes a fine of up to $50,000 and a jail term up to 10 years on anyone convicted of mutilating, defiling or showing contempt for the U.S. flag or the Montana state flag. The law also forbids the use of such flags for advertising or publicity purposes. [Mont. Code Ann. Sec. 45-8-215]

New Jersey
The State of New Jersey prohibits anyone from desecrating any public monument or symbol, including the U.S. or any state flag. [ N.J. Stat. Ann. Sec. 2C:33-9]

New York
The State of New York makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to use the U.S. flag for advertising or publicity purposes. [N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law Sec. 136]

The State of Oklahoma imposes a fine up to $3,000 and a jail term up to three years for anyone who contemptuously or maliciously burns, mutilates, defaces or tramples upon the U.S. flag. The law forbids the public display of any red flag or other banner indicating disloyalty to the U.S. Government or promoting a belief in anarchy or the destruction of organized government. The law also forbids the use of the U.S. flag for advertising or publicity purposes. [Okla. Stat. tit. 9, Sec. 21-371 through 21-375]

South Dakota
The State of South Dakota makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone to knowingly mutilate, deface, burn or trample upon the U.S. flag or the South Dakota state flag. The law also forbids the use of such flags for advertising or publicity purposes. The law also bans the display of red, black or any other flags antagonistic to existing government. [S.D. Codified Laws Sec. 22-9-1 through 22-9-13]

West Virginia
The State of West Virginia imposes a fine of between $5 and $100 and a jail term up to 30 days on anyone convicted of publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling or trampling upon the U.S. flag or the West Virginia state flag. The law also forbids the use of such flags for advertising or publicity purposes. [W. Va. Code Sec. 61-1-8]

The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s flag-desecration law in 1998 as unconstitutionally overbroad. The case was Wisconsin v. Jansen, 580 N.W.2d 260, 219 Wis.2d 362 (Wis. 1998). Subsequent attempts by the state Legislature to redraft the statute have not succeeded.

Wyoming and Alaska are the only remaining states without a law against desecrating the American flag. Wyoming does have a clause in its state flag code that declares “all penalties provided by the laws of this state for the misuse of the national flag are applicable to the state flag,” but no such penalties seem to exist.
intertribal: (don't you want to bang bang bang bang)
Really, though, it seems to come with surprising ease - when, of course, you can convince the Indonesian police that counter-terrorism is their top priority, seeing as how they have a lot of other security problems to deal with.  This happened in 2005 too.  Given that the Marriott was bombed again in July (after four years without a strike, and this one only killing 7), the police went back to work on the main terrorism guy and...

Noordin Mohammad Top, an aspiring regional commander for al-Qaida who evaded capture for years until he was reportedly shot dead in a raid Saturday, has been linked to a series of bombings in Indonesia that killed 250 people. 

Noordin's time on the run seems to have ended in an hours-long shootout at a remote village in central Java where he had been holed up.  Police have not confirmed that his body was recovered from the scene, where a siege culminated in a burst of gunfire and explosions and police flashed each other a thumbs up. 

With more that 17,000 islands and a population of 235 million, Indonesia is a relatively easy place for a fugitive to go underground, and terror experts said he has had the help of a substantial support network and several wives.

Maybe the U.S. should ask for some tips.  Really though.  I don't understand it myself.  Did years of brutal authoritarian training camps make counter-terrorism a breeze? 

ETA:  So maybe it's not Noordin, but apparently they did foil an assassination attempt on President Yudhoyono.  Yudhoyono's all, "I extend my highest gratitude and respect to the police for their brilliant achievement in this operation."   Ha ha ha.

intertribal: (sympathy for the poltergeist)
I remember hearing good things about this and seeing it once in a video store, so I finally decided to watch it on Netflix's instant viewing thingy.  It's disappearing from the instant queue on July 1, so I was like, better watch it tonight.

Memories of Murder (South Korea, 2003) is a very well-done movie (and if I was being precious I'd be so good as to call it a "film").  Simply, it's about a rural police force trying to catch a serial rapist/murderer with a very creepy M.O. which I won't spoil.  Apparently it's based on South Korea's first known serial murders, which took place between 1986 and 1991.  So it's a crime movie in the sense that you follow a string of suspects and watch the cops fuck up interrogations and struggle to find evidence and witnesses, but it transcends the average crime movie too - while never turning its back on the genre.  It's still a crime movie - but it feels like a very real, very human, and very well-rounded walk through a little village's encounter with its first real menace in forever.  Parts of it are quite funny - like when the second crime scene's pristine footprints are run over by a tractor, and gawking villagers keep sliding down the mud slopes toward the corpse.  I'm used to the high-powered Law & Order-style police procedural, so it was unusual for me to watch the cops hide from the suspect when he unexpectedly comes trotting along, for the radio station to dismiss the police's phone call as a prank call, and for the police to just walk into people's houses and start looking around.  They also hang people upside down in their cellar.  So in some ways the first half, especially, is a tragicomedy about provincial law enforcement, sort of like Midsummer Murders but without manners.  Or just Midsummer Murders in the third world.

But the second half becomes much sadder and more serious as the police get increasingly frustrated and frayed around the edges.  The specter of police brutality and other questionable tactics weighs heavy on this movie, tempered by the gruesomeness of the deaths.  You start to really appreciate the cinematography too - the vast open landscape, the contrast of the rice paddies against the lone factory and its bizarre nighttime dig site, the school that holds war drills and practices carrying the wounded back and forth, the village's imposed "blackout" meant to protect women that just ends up making sure there's no one around to help victims.  It all becomes very striking as the sad score builds and all the innocent hijinks and sloppy police work of the first half start taking their toll on the cops and the villagers. 

So overall, very nice little thriller.  It's the kind of movie I think you would be hard-pressed to dislike.  It's sort of got enough of everything, and enough overall quality, to please most everyone.
intertribal: (Default)
The CETACEAN COMMUNITY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
George W. BUSH, President of the United States of America; Donald H. Rumsfeld,
United States of America Secretary of Defense, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 03-15866.
Argued and Submitted Feb. 12, 2004.
Filed Oct. 20, 2004.

Background: Suit was brought against government in name of cetacean community of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, alleging that proposed deployment by Navy of low frequency active sonar (LFAS) in time of heightened threat violated various environmental statutes. Government moved to dismiss. The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, David A. Ezra, Chief District Judge, 249 F.Supp.2d 1206, granted government's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appealed.

Holdings: The Court of Appeals, Fletcher, Circuit Judge, held that:
(1) animals lacked standing to sue under Endangered Species Act (ESA), and
(2) animals lacked standing to sue under Administrative Procedure Act (APA), for alleged violations of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
intertribal: (monster man)
Blagojevich in Tentative Deal to Appear on NBC Reality Show.

“Based on the hit U.K. reality show, ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ is a groundbreaking live series event premiering June 1 and stripped over four weeks in June. Ten celebrities of various backgrounds will be dropped into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle to face challenges designed to test their skills in adapting to the wilderness and to raise money for their favorite charities. Rod Blagojevich will be a participant on the show pending the court’s approval.”


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