June 27, 2004


We went and saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" yesterday afternoon. The theater was sold out, and in front for a while was a group of elderly women (they had a name like The Rapping Grannies, or something like that) singing songs to thank the theater for showing it (at first we thought it was an anti-F911 protest, as unlikely as that would be in Mountain View.) While I didn't agree with everything Michael Moore had to say or how he said it, it was an interesting film that I recommend.

I'd like to own it on DVD, although I'm not sure I could sit through an entire showing again. Just as the media and government puts a spin on stories, Moore does the same thing, and he's pretty good at it. There was at least one section that I would want to re-watch just to figure out the phrases he used. As I remember it, Moore apparently interchanged the phrases "the Saudis" with "the Saudi royal family" and "the Saudi government" which makes for some confusing statements. For example, he said "the Saudis" own 7% of the United States (my words, I don't remember the exact percentage, or precisely what it is they own here.) But did he mean the government, the royal family, or "the Saudis" (which I take to mean people from Saudi Arabia in general, businessmen and government alike)? Is it all that uncommon for foreigners to own bits of another country? How much of the rest of the world do "the Americans" own? Now, I could be remembering this completely wrong (that's why I want it on video), but it seemed like he played with words to make us think something other than what is reality.

The movie provoked a lot of discussion, on everything from if it was right of President Bush to be sitting in a classroom while planes were crashing into buildings to whether the movie should have been rated PG13 or R. To paraphrase what someone in our crowd said, it doesn't matter what side you're on, you're going to be mad when you leave the theater. Go see it.

Posted by Jen at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Freedom Veggies

I read about this today, although the news is pretty old: The USDA now classifies french fries as fresh vegetables! Here's a summary of the story.

This means when I drive down to the local hamburger joint and get a side of fries I'll probably be getting my recommended daily allowance of fresh vegetables. Onion rings probably fall under the new regulation, too.

I looked on the USDA's website for the change, but all I found was a press release. The text of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) hasn't been changed on the website, either because it's not yet official or because the site isn't current.

I can see that battering and frying vegetables doesn't fundamentally change them, which is the argument for the change. But, this looks like the perfect setup for letting kids eat French fries for lunch under the guise of a healthy, well-balanced meal. While the USDA is not saying that French fries are healthy, calling them a fresh vegetable sort of implies that they are healthy, at least to the general public.

Posted by Jen at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2004

more random proverbs

I added over 60 new proverbs to my random proverb generator this morning. There are over 300 in the list now (that's a lot of combinations!) The new proverbs all came from this site which I had not seen when I first started working on the generator.

I have found a small weirdness in the text file; any phrase that contains commas now has quotes around it. This must be an Excel thing (to differentiate comma delimited files) so I'll work around it.

Some of my favorites today:

Misfortunes never come to those who wait
A healthy man gives good advice
Love stinks after three days
A drunk person is blind

Posted by Jen at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

The Shins

Gary and I went to The Shins concert at the Warfield this Tuesday. It was very good but very loud. And very late, too. They had 2 opening bands, which we had not expected, so they didn't get on stage until after 10. Next time we'll bring ear plugs.

The band is pretty good, but primarily because they have an awesome singer and songwriter, James Mercer. Gary's favorite song is one of their slow ones, "New Slang." I think I like "So Says I" best (it's very energetic, great for running), but I like most of their songs.

Posted by Jen at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)