Saturday, April 21, 2007

5 Truly Absurd Movies (but in a good way)

Okay...I know I've not written for a few days. I've been busy. But, here we are, with another entry in another //engtech contest!

This list inspired by a post by azahar, that got me thinking about movies in translation, which got me searching IMDB...which lead me to:

The First
Os Canibais (1988) Ah! This Portuguese film is, as one IMDB reviewer puts it so succinctly, one of the best unseen films around. I saw it alone, at the Vancouver Film Festival, and spent an hour on the phone outside the theatre afterwards, talking to friends to bring me back down to earth. A sinister, romantic Gothic tale of love and cannibalism, all sung in aria.

The Second
Tapeheads (1988) Hmm. What is it about 1988? This John Cusack & Tim Robbins piece is a movie I can watch again and again. It's silly. Over-the-top. Hysterical. Watch for the magically-appearing beers and the ex-Monkee-son-of-Liquid-Paper producer showing up for a cameo. Plus, don't forget to catch them in the movie High Fidelity, which is, in some ways, a reprise of their working-together wackiness.

The Third
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) Why don't I own this film? I blogged about the star, Bruce Campbell in my 5th blog entry, oh-so-long ago. Premise? An aging Elvis in an old-folks' home, which is haunted by a mummy. Go and rent this one today!

The Fourth
Harold & Kuma Go to White Castle (2004) Sitting here now, I don't really remember much about this movie, but I do remember laughing a hell of a lot. Maybe it was the premise? Maybe the actors? I should watch it again. I mean, how can you go wrong with a quest film?

The Fifth
The Fifth Element (1997) I'm cheating here a bit, putting one of my favourite movies here, not reaching for something more esoteric. (But then, I know my faithful readers will understand...) It's just such a lovely, absurd mess of a SF film. It's got everything...a delightfully dirty but groovy vision of the future, an epic storyline, wonderful comedic moments, a lot of actors you want to watch (Okay, I admit, I'm a fan of Bruce Willis comedies. Like Hudson Hawk. Don't worry, I'm in a support group.), and a fabulous score. You can tell that Luc Besson wrote this film when he was a kid...

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Coincidence? I Think Not...

This started as a comment to be posted in the running discussion under my earlier post Question of the Day. We've got a pretty heated comment thread happening, so go read that, and come back here to discuss! :-)

So, to go back to our previously scheduled programming, here's what I was writing in my comment before I realized I wanted this story to be more prominent:

First of all, I am not saying that ethical behaviour is a knee-jerk instinctive reaction. Should have left an example.

[pause, to think of, find an example]

Here's one: the CFO of Menu Foods sold his stocks before the story of tainted dog food broke. (Coincidence? Ha.) Let's take this at face value -- he knew what was coming, he sold his stocks. In his mind then, the first item on his list of values, when push comes to shove (not necessarily what he would have said if asked to list his values), is to look after No. 1, Himself.

But he calls it a horrible coincidence, and says:
"I hold myself to the highest ethical and moral standards possible. I wouldn't do anything to imperil the high governance standards that I demand of myself or anybody in the company."
Okay. How many CFOs, CEOs, what-have-you, wake up one day and say, "Today, I'm going to sell 42% of my stock in the company, just for laughs." It's completely unwise from a business perspective, isn't it? It would put the stock exchange on alert, panic investors...

In my opinion, here's a guy who if you asked him, would say he was moral/ethical, but when push came to shove, he did the 'wrong' thing, and now he's compounding it, by lying (assuming he didn't sell his stocks on a whim in a "horrible coincidence").

Okay, now Azahar asked an interesting question in the discussion at the other post:
So by definition, if we act outside of what is considered correct, are we being unethical if we are still adhering to our own personal ethical code?
Maybe, this guy is being completely honest with himself, and his set of core values. Perhaps the first item in his personal ethical code is: "Any behavour is okay as long as I'm looking out for Number One."



Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another Quiz...

Ripped off from Raincoaster:

Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Cruel Intentions

"I'm the only girl you can't have, and it kills you."

Oh. My.

And you?


Monday, April 09, 2007

Question of the Day

Jason, over at one of the blogs I read, Black Belt Productivity, has revived his personal blog just recently...and in one post, he asks a very important question:
Can you train someone to be ethical?

Well? Can you?

Medical schools sure try. And I've heard of business schools trying. Do they succeed?

Call me cynical, but my knee-jerk reaction is a resounding "NO!"


Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Blog is the Wrong Colour

Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.

You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.

You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

Ah, well. I don't really like purple enough.

And I love that it tells me that I am likely to "write" my "own meme or survey." Uh, you can write a survey, but you can't purposefully go out and write a meme. Memes happen, if a thought is expressed, or something is created that is passed around and around.

Silly rabbit. Memes are for keeps.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

What's next for absurd memes?

In case you haven't been around in the last few years, and perhaps missed it. A meme
refers to a "unit of cultural information" which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information)
And on the Internet, this rather serious, intellectual definition from a social theory has come to mean something absurd that we blog about, or play around with.

Online memes arise from mistakes. Creative cuteness. Or just a desire to know more about oneself. If you travel in the right circles, everything seems to be part of a meme now -- obviously lists are, but also squid.

My question is, what's next? Where do you think the next absurdity is going to come from?


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Today in No Shit Sherlock News...

Has the BBC staff been replaced by Yahoo news writers?

Under the headline: Fairy Fool Sparks Huge Response is this bit of heavy reporting:

Photographs of a mummified fairy supposedly found in Derbyshire have been revealed as an April Fool's prank.
Uh. Yeah, right. I was completely...amused when I saw the story on Raincoaster this morning.

This is not news.


Gmail goes lo-tech!

I've blogged before about the trend of going lo-tech: here and here.

Now, Gmail is tapping into that newest craze of all, in our high tech world -- they're moving email back to paper. Now, you can get them to print all your emails in bulk, and they'll send them to you.

Gmail Paper is made out of 96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum, and thus, actually helps the environment. For every Gmail Paper we produce, the environment gets incrementally healthier.
The cost of postage is offset with the help of relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints in red, bold, 36 pt Helvetica.

And will help clarify so much for the Internet neophyte:

"Now that I have Gmail Paper, I understand the difference between labels and folders. I had one message with two labels, but when I tried to stick the paper version into two filing cabinets at the same time, it just wouldn’t go."

Mayumi M., Associate

Go and check it out. Personally, I don't see myself using it in the near future.