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Posts Tagged ‘Armageddon’

Ethanol or Ethan Hawke? A possibly sustainable alternative fuel or a faded star with a history of sexual infidelity?

 So in order to debate the issue, we need to know a little bit about them. The type of ethanol that is the current media darling is Corn-Based Ethanol. When I first heard about this I was like, what? Seriously, the government is taking an alternative and renwable fuel source seriously? Awesome! But eeh, these guys are usually on the wrong side of things, what’s the catch? I hope there isn’t one…….

Hmm. Oh wait. Of course there’s a catch. The catch is corn. Corn is something you should know about, and be thinking about, regardless of whether or not you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which you might want to consider, as it is fun to read and pretty interesting).

One basic thing to know is that corn is in everything we eat. It is there to hang out and add calories. Now, I know as soon as you mention ‘calories’ you sound like a one-apple-a-day-eating-livejournaling freak (perhaps like Ethan Hawkes’ ex? interesting….) but it’s important. Adding corn syrup is food manufacturers’ way of bulking up a product, making it look and taste more like food, without actually adding any nutritional value. It’s like the Rosie O’Donnell of food (not that The View was so nutritious to begin with).

Check the back of your bread package. Chances are, unless you buy organic or some other kind of ‘specialty’ bread, corn syrup is the second ingredient. Hmmm, right. You don’t need me to tell you, that doesn’t belong.  You don’t need me to tell you, it will make you fatter and take away delicious calories you could use elsewhere, like, for this. Mmmm.

So anyway, the point is that corn makes its way into everything, corn farmers get huge subsidies from the government for growing things that make us fatter and more diabetic, and oh right, it’s also totally genetically modified and freaky (like Gattaca maybe? interesting….).

When I said “corn farmers” up there, it’s important to note that I don’t mean happy jolly feel-good farmers, I mean huge huge HUGE businesses like Archer-Daniels Midland and Monsanto. They get the vast majority of the millions of dollars the government spends on farm subsidies, and they use much of it to produce corn, much of which is for corn syrup and animal feed (cows and salmon and other such animals are trained to eat corn-based feed instead of their natural foods and it makes them fatter and, right, us who eat them fatter).

So who stands to gain from a push for corn-based ethanol? Those guys.  Those already super rich and just gonna get richer guys.

Alternative fuels are a totally good idea, much like a movie version of Fast Food Nation. However, it’s not such a good movie to watch, and corn-based ethanols are already driving up the price of food around the world. People in Mexico have been protesting in huge numbers the 60% (!!) increase in the price of corn tortillas that has already happened, and some economists are estimating rises in the US as high as 14% for milk and 21% for a dozen eggs.

“The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world’s 2 billion poorest people.”

Yikes.

So, what’s the answer? Another term you might have heard is cellulosic ethanol – it just means stuff made from plants. Any plants. Different plants take different amounts of pollution to make into fuel, and different plants’ fuels result in different amounts of pollution. Corn is not the best. Different plants do different things to the soil – some are better for it and some are worse. Corn is worse.

Just a few things to think about as we move into our debate: Ethanol vs. Ethan Hawke. Hmmm. 

The truth (duh) is that Dead Poets Society (oh god my heart!) will win out over any fuel, ever, be it cellulosic ethanol or trillium or coal.

I encourage you to continue the debate with your friends and onlookers.

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“Lohan told Newsday that while he was in prison, he went to Bible college and became a minister with the Assemblies of God Ministry. ‘I want to help people,’ he said. ‘I don’t want them to fall into the same traps I did.'”

Michael Lohan is no longer just Lindsay’s father, he’s any number of Christians’ Father. I imagine under his guidance and tutelage, his parishioners will not only avoid “traps,” they’ll emerge from church as bouncy, red-headed, incredibly hot, coke-addicted party whores. OMG. Long Island RULES.

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Last night I had a dream – a flash of unconscious thought really. I was walking on a dark street and became aware that there was someone walking behind me. It was a tall, thin man, wearing a trench coat and clutching a shot gun. It was then that all my fear melted away.

I was safe in the sights of this psychopath, because he was Omar Little, Baltimore’s drug-laden Robin Hood on The Wire.*

Having dreamed about Omar, I thought it might be time to make my feelings about him known in the public sphere – or the “blogosphere” if you want me to vomit on myself.

First of all, Omar is a total badass and is admirable and exemplary in that way. Proof of bad-assedness: gigantic scar across face (which, admittedly, is the actor’s and not technically Omar’s), trench coat/shot gun combo, and the courtroom smack-down in Season Two.

Secondly, Omar is more than a character. He is a statement about agency. In the world of The Wire, there are two strong bureaucratic institutions that control the power – the Police and the Drug Trade. In both institutions, you see a very specific ranking system which at the low end features Hoppers and beat cops and goes all the way to the top, to Avon and the Mayor. The ranks are solidly established, although there is possibility of (limited) vertical mobility. Essentially, once you are in the system, your entire purpose is to perpetuate the institution and the circumstances which allow the institution to exist.

Omar is remarkable because he is not part of either institution, but is able to move freely between them, exploiting the institutions and the circumstances that they create. While others go on as cogs in either the law enforcement or drug machines, Omar is a vigilante, a free agent, going around and fucking things up. He can be compared to another floater, Bubbles, who putters about in both scenes, but is not part of either and wholly reliant on both.

Thirdly, Omar remains a pillar of moral fortitude – albeit the fucked up, killing-is-okay moral order of Baltimore. He is the most consistent character despite the fact that he is not compelled by any outside forces to act in a specific way. While the other characters – both the drug dealers and the cops – constantly stab each other in the back or undermine each other to get a sliver of the power available within their respective institutions, Omar adheres to a strict behavioral guideline from which he never wavers. It is something special to run around as both the most feared man around and the most morally righteous (which is why his face-off with BrotherMouzone is interesting – but a story for another time).

Finally, Omar is a poor, gay, black man and I’m going to go ahead and say it – members of this group do not traditionally hold a lot of power in society. This just makes it all the better that he is the toughest, most righteous, most powerful person on The Wire.

So, in conclusion I can say with little hesitation that if Omar were walking behind me with a loaded shotgun on a deserted street, I wouldn’t be scared. I would just wonder how I ended up in a TV show.

 

*Just to address one concern – yes, I often dream about The Wire, and no, I don’t think I need to get out more.

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In a surprising turn of events, American Idol has stopped sucking. Did you watch? You should have. It was a good one. I’m not ashamed to admit that a few of the contestants gave me the chills. One in particular. If you watched, you know who I’m referring to. ;] That wink’s for all my fellow A.I. viewers…we’re a tight knit gang. Anyway, I’m not going to go through the female contestants as I did with the males, because talking/blogging about people who are actually talented is boring. So I will discuss with you just one of the gals. The worst gal. She sang “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” and I was embarrassed for her. Not just because of her song choice, but because she had to continue on till the end of the song even though, I’m sure, she was aware of how badly she was doing after that first off-pitched note escaped from her mouth. I can relate to her though. I think we all can. You know when you’re, say, interviewing for a job, and half way through answering a question you realize you’re talking about something totally off topic. But you’re already committed to the thought, so you have to follow through with it. All the while you’re scanning your brain for a link to a more suitable answer, only, you can no longer remember what the posed question even was, so you pray the interviewer recognizes that your tangential answer is in some way or another appropriate to the question asked. Then finally, you abruptly end with, “And, yeah.” Filling the subsequent awkward silence with a closed mouth smile, and if you’re lucky, a pair of glasses that are slowly, but surely, fogging up. Well, it’s too bad this girl couldn’t have just cut her performance with an, “And, yeah.” I bet it would have been easier than finishing her horrific rendition of an Armageddon song. If you ask me, American Idol should just go the Apollo root and “boo” contestants off the stage. At least it’s honest.

…..And, yeah.

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