Thursday, January 31, 2008

What We Say Goes by Noam Chomsky

What We Say Goes presents Chomsky's latest thoughts and concerns about Iran, the unreported backdrop to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the growing power of the populist left in Latin America.

As with many of Chomsky's recent publications, the overarching themes are unchanged and remain focused on state power, propaganda, and social change.

What We Say Goes was culled from a series of Chomsky interviews with David Barsamian.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Autism Video

Since our daughter's birth, my wife and I have learned that with parenting comes great responsibility. Naturally, we want to nurture our daughter in every way we can and keep her safe and happy. Unfortunately, at times there seems to be so much to ward against.

One of the most devastating and rapidly growing conditions afflicting children today is autism. Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old.

We came across this video about one little girl with autism and her parent's fight to raise awareness for better insurance funding for autism treatment, and felt compelled to link to it. Additionally, the band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks each time the video is viewed.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

A Dirty Job is a quirky novel about a meek but ultimately endearing "Beta Male" who becomes a reluctant agent of Death after his wife dies in childbirth.

This was my first introduction to Christopher Moore, and the book was a relaxing read, easy to consume and digest but probably lacking in nourishment. Still, not every novel has to be nutritious and make you contemplate being and time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Holiday Movie Roundup

Caring for a baby doesn't allow much time to see movies, but I saw a few over the holidays. The titles are listed in the order in which I saw the films.

Dan in Real Life was the first (and, to date, only) movie my wife and I saw in a movie theater since the birth of our daughter. Because the novelty of an evening out away from the baby loomed so large, it's difficult for me to assess if the movie was really any good or not. I can say I enjoyed Steve Carell's performance and the easy digestion of the movie. I was also happy to see Juliette Binoche again, and may finally forgive her (and all involved) for The English Patient.

Bukowski: Born Into This is a documentary about Charles Bukowski, a troubled but gifted Beat poet and novelist who, since his death in 1994, has become increasingly popular and interesting to modern readers.

I had heard of and read some Bukowski prior to seeing the film, but I was mostly ignorant about the author's life and work. The documentary included lots of footage and interviews that helped give me a sense of the open wounds and impulses that drove Bukowski's art. Fascinating, but not for the faint of heart.

Sicko is Michael Moore at his best, at last reducing his confrontational journalism and just telling true stories about sick people locked out of the American health care system. That Sicko demonstrates that the American health care system is broken is no great feat -- everyone in this country knows that and we'll no doubt hear all about it from every political nominee vying for the presidency this year. But what really stood out for me was how the film called into question the dissolution of benevolence, compassion, and charity in American society.