Monthly Archives: February 2010

Huck Finn great all over again

If you can’t remember what you ate yesterday, let alone the plot details of your high school English assignments, reread Huckleberry Finn. It doesn’t take long, and it’s such a great story — and even more fun when it’s not assigned for class. I was laughing out loud, but it’s also so moving and touching. I don’t really need to say anything else about it but that it’s great.

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I can read, too

I’m trying to read books this year, too. Since I spend most of my reading time on newspapers, the Economist, Mother Jones and Atlantic Monthly, I need some fluff every now and then. Carl Hiaasen is pretty much the only fiction writer I read. I thought I would branch out into Elmore Leonard, who writes equally silly mysteries, but seems a little more respected. It didn’t do it for me. I’m coming back, Carl.

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Pop culture catchup

I saw “Paper Heart” and “We Are Marshall” this weekend — and heard the first new New Pornographers song today.

“Paper Heart” is really creatively written and executed. I was smiling the whole time (except the part where, oh, nevermind). It’s that movie where Michael Cera falls in love with a girl who is making a documentary about how she will never fall in love, except that his part is scripted … or is it? I like the interviews with random people, but I really like all the conversations with her friends and fellow comedians. They’re so honest and dorky and sweet — like my friends, except none of my friends are famous comedians.

I’m linking to this especially cheesy “Video Trubute” (?) to “We Are Marshall” to point out that the movie could have been far cheesier than it actually was. Not that it didn’t have its healthy layer of cream cheese frosting, but it could have gone overboard — and played terrible Celtic Woman music throughout the entire movie. I also just couldn’t get past Matthew Fox’s role. He’ll never be anyone but Jack Shephard to me. I kept thinking “He can’t coach the team. he has to get back to the island.”

“Your Hands (Together)” by the New Pornographers

And that’s a track from the New Pornographers album. You can download it here and read lots of comments about it, including “NP takes bright, flashy colors and turns them into music.” That says it all.

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Doritos and Bud must cost too much

I think there has been either a Doritos ad or a Bud Light ad during every Superbowl ad break.

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Food Inc.

We watched “Food, Inc.” last night. I didn’t learn much after reading “Fast Food Nation” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” The movie reminded me how much I appreciate the local farmers at my farmers’ market. It also reinforced some of my liberal views on issues that are peripheral to food and made me think of some issues I have recently discussed with conservative friends.

Unions: It’s easy to attack unions. As a newspaper reporter, I certainly did my share of complaining about teachers’ unions while watching them make decisions and take positions that are bad for kids and waste taxpayer money. “Food, Inc.” is a good reminder there are valuable unions that are worth defending and fighting for. We need unions to fight for better working conditions in slaughterhouses.

Illegal immigrants: Speaking of those workers, a lot of them are illegal immigrants. As the movie says (and as the stories out of the Greeley slaughterhouse just south of me prove), the feds are always going after the workers rather than the companies that hire them and ignore their legal status. Most conservatives who rant about the supposed illegal immigration crisis don’t acknowledge the responsibility of American businesses in encouraging illegal immigration. NAFTA and food subsidies don’t help either. They put farmers out of work in Mexico, pushing them north to farm jobs in the U.S.

Public sector experience: One of the random attacks on Obama is the idea that he doesn’t have enough cabinet officials with private sector experience. First off, it’s a lie. Obama has as many folks with private sector experience as previous presidents — and just as many folks coming out of the industries they are trying to regulate. Look, the evil reverse-racist socialist dictator just isn’t that different from his predecessors.

But I guess I’m getting way off track. Rent “Food Inc.” and buy real food. Read some Michael Pollan if you don’t know what I mean.

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