Sunday, November 05, 2006

Back!

I switched to the Blogger Beta thing, and instantly forgot how to log on. Turns out that I needed to be putting in my whole email address.

Prepare for reviews of:

"The Aristocrats" - Overrated
"Nickled and Dimed" - Overrated
"Finding Nemo" - Albert Brooks is funny as a fish, but Ellen DeGeneres steals the show, also as a fish.

Well, what the heck:

The Aristocrats- Funny, but the profanity becomes tedious. And without the profanity-as-funny, it's got nothing. Funniest joke in the whole thing was when Michael McKeon was talking about the joke, and said "It's a joke that makes it's own gravy." Penn Jillette is a brilliant and funny guy, but he also reminds me of that kid in grade school who does things for attention, and then turns on the people who give him the attention. One of those "life surfer" types who are 4000% percent into whatever (usually unpopular) whim they are currently engaging in, only to drop it when other people like it. Don't get me wrong- the world needs people like that. But they can get annoying.

Nickel and Dimed- She's a fine writer for the most part (no need for the shit descriptions or the use of "abortion" as adjective), but her journalism and conclusions are on the thin side. While reading the book, more than once I heard Shatner's "Common People" going through my mind. Or the ever common stereotype of the perpetual student finally getting a job and realizing that real work is hard. This book cannot be taken as anything more than a few stories about a few people who work low paying jobs, and a final essay from an author (who apparently has a $20,000 mortgage interest deduction- she tells us) who got on Lexis-Nexis to find articles from the New York Times that support her thin conclusions. Because to attempt to take the book any more seriously than that requires the reader to look critically at some of her decisions and conclusions.

For example, she bemoans the "reality" that poor people must live in week to week or month to month hotels, or crash on a friend's couch for lack of better options. But then she says that there actually are plenty of yearly leases available, but she couldn't take them because of the constraints of her experiment. Which were to spend a month in each environment, working a low-paying job and paying rent and buying food. So it is possible, in fact, to do better than she experiences.

Similarly, she takes the lesser-paying of two jobs offered (and complains about it later as if she had no choice) because of some perceived slight from a coworker at the higher paying job, and because she felt friendly with one of the people at the lower paying place. She seems to prove the oft-heard opinion that some people remain poor because of bad decision making.

Everybody hates a tourist, and I don't like this book. Being poor sucks. How about coming up with a solution?

Finding Nemo- The graphics are beautiful, the story is your standard Disney dreck, and the acting is very good. Ellen DeGeneres plays a blue fish that has no short term memory, and is sort of ditzy anyway. There's a scene where her character is talking in her sleep, and I must admit that I laughed out loud.

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