Monday, June 27, 2011

Woody Allen's Next Academy Award Upcoming & Why Media Blackout at Calhoun & Who Survives End of Civilization?

Yes. I just saw Midnight in Paris and Woody has done it again (with Sidney Bechet providing a brilliant beginning to the first scene). Critics say that it's his love letter to Paris and I have to add that if you're not already in love with Paris and would move there in a heartbeat if you could, prepare to change your mind. (I thought throughout of the line from Letters to Juliet where the protagonist's editor says "Buy stock in Alitalia." Buy stock in Air France!) I've been a fan since his early films. The memories of the out-of-the-ballpark comedy of Take the Money and Run, Bananas and Sleeper immediately flood the synapses (in some kind of order, I'm not sure which is first). I even liked the artistic pieces that his looking-for-the-funny fans detested like Interiors, which I thought showed him to be a man of varied interests and deep insight (and that was a good thing in a great artist from whom you wanted to see much more). My favorites were the more New Yorky ones liked Zelig and Broadway Danny Rose as well as Manhattan (all-time favorite) and, of course, Annie Hall. And lots of others actually as I could go into an exposition of his crime dramas like Small-Time Crooks, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Scoop, Matchpoint and Crimes and Misdemeanors, which I also enjoyed quite a bit even though they didn't fit the genre perfectly. (Whoops! Forgot Hannah and Her Sisters and Everyone Says I Love You.) (And, of course, how could I forget Bullets Over Broadway - you know how much I adore John Cusack?) Based on all I've seen before, though, and the competition out there from other American writer/directors, I believe he deserves the Academy Awards again (for both writing and directing) (and maybe a special one for coaching Owen Wilson). This movie seems to me uniquely almost totally unself-consciously delicious (from a man who has only seemed to make pretty self-conscious (but also delectable) movies heretofore). I was particularly taken with Wilson's (er, Gil's, er, Woody's) grasp of the appeal of a fabulously beautiful place in which to write that also was inhabited by all those who also understood and were captivated by its charms. But I could be wrong as I have not seen all 40-some movies he has made. (Heck, being stuck in the South for the last decade I didn't even know that a lot of them were made (that even a glance at a filmography provides).) In Paris at Midnight, Woody has taken Owen Wilson's laidback almost lackadaisical persona and used it in such a way as to make a very complicated yet seemingly simple character (Gil) totally unbelievable until the end of the movie where he gives his opinion about everything that has happened so laconically and yet so fluidly and full of erudition (and believably although it's pure Allen speaking) that you leave the movie thinking not only does Allen deserve the awards again but so does Wilson. And the verbiage about how nobody is pleased to live in the present when they are aware of the "golden past" is too dear for words in today's waking up from a non-golden dream of the past that passed itself off as reality for 30 years. The only element in the film that I thought initially ran untrue (in my own critic's worldview) was the Hemingway character who seemed portrayed as too gruff and outspoken for the well-educated individual that I had come to know through the biographies and diaries. By the end of this character's film moment though, I had been thoroughly charmed by Woody's use of his (Hemingway's) reputation to achieve some great comedic interplay with the other characters. I also initially found fault with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's characterizations as being too broad-brush and not subtle enough to portray his sensitivity to social scenes and her great talent which was expressed by Gil as being "all over the place." They seemed to be mainly utilized as a mechanism to visit different parties where he met other people. However, I really liked all the minor characters, especially Rachel McAdams' character's father and Kathy Bates as an incredibly straight talking Gertrude Stein - yes, I"m sure she was but it's still a shock after reading her books which were much more obtuse. The scenes with Dalí (Adrien Brody who screams out who he is over and over) and Gauguin and Degas (who don't) are priceless set pieces within. And don't get me started on the passing conversation between Gil and Buñuel as Gil gives that major film presence some direction. (I've seen that movie and Allen surpasses himself in this totally unnecessary(!) scene.) I see among the online reviews that one person has said Allen's "mise-en-Seine" is his masterpiece or something close to that. Wish I had said it. Damn! (I did recognize the Sidney Bechet piece at the movie's opening though - so that's something. I loved it in The Russia House too!) I am just a fool for the clarinet - and jazz. My last comment is "Rhinoceros!" (You'll have to see the movie to figure it out.) Go See It (movie fans)! _ _ _ _ _ _ _ When people say the earth can't survive if we continue on this path of carbon destruction, they aren't thinking of the fact that the earth will survive. Bet on it. At least for another couple of million years or so. The form and the people (if any) continuing the civilization, however, are the real mystery. Some examples of whom they might be still exist today:

Sunday, 26 June, 2011


Anjio, Head tribesman
Beyond the last ragged edges of civilization are the people that time has forgotten, living reminders of a vanished age, survivors of a world that has virtually disappeared.
This following series of videos is truly amazing. These people living as they did in the stone age, meet something they never believed existed ~ a white man. The whole episode is beautiful and a delight to watch as they see miracles for the first time. IE matches. Or light brown hair and white skin. .
Far from being a stupid primitive people, as can be seen in the eyes of Anjio above, the Toulambi are quick, clever, insightful, and very gentle. I like to think that, if the world fails as we continue hurtling to whatever apocalyptic future we create for ourselves, such people as these Toulambi, with their survival skills, would be hope for the human race to carry on ... they certainly have human traits long lost by the "civilization" process.
Toulambi Hammer
For centuries the hill tribes of the Owen Ranmge in Papua, New Guinea have lived in isolation to avoid war. In a landscape of dense tropical rainforests each tribe stays within a well established territory. This explains why some of them have survived into the new millennium without any contact with the outside world.
Others previously known have left their villages to move deeper in the forest to escape conflicts or the religious zeal of evangelical preachers only to be rediscovered and labeled as lost tribes. European explorers first encountered the Toulambi in 1993.
Toulambi Hammer
They were almost entirely decimated by malaria. Modern medicine helped to stop the ravages of the disease. They didn't believe white men existed but if they did, they must be the 'living dead.'
Taking a lot of care with their appearance, the Toulambi men wear a bone from the Cassowary bird through the nose, large necklaces of river shells and bird of paradise feathers in their hair. They must look their best to attract a mate and reproduce. They are hunters and gatherers.
The entire tribe moves in uncanny silence for fear of alerting the game. They know the migration trails of animals and the best time of year to find fish, the growing cycles of the palms, bamboo, wild fruits and the roots they rely on. Always on the move. The rhythm of their lives is that of the jungle. It gives them no time to create complex art, to develop science or conceive profound metaphysical philosophies.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Then there's the question of our own time which may define the above.
Why Is There a Media Blackout on Nuclear Incident at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska? By Patrick Henningsen Global Research June 23, 2011 21st Century Wire Since flooding began on June 6th, there has been a disturbingly low level of media attention given to the crisis at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Facility near Omaha, Nebraska. But evidence strongly suggests that something very serious has in fact happened there. On June 7th, there was a fire reported at Fort Calhoun. The official story is that the fire was in an electrical switchgear room at the plant. The apparently facility lost power to a pump that cools the spent fuel rod pool, allegedly for a duration of approximately 90 minutes.

FORT CALHOUN NUKE SITE: does it pose a public risk?

The following sequence of events is documented on the Omaha Public Power District’s own website, stating among other things, that here was no such imminent danger with the Fort Calhoun Station spent-fuel pool, and that due to a fire in an electrical switchgear room at FCS on the morning of June 7, the plant temporarily lost power to a pump that cools the spent-fuel pool.

In addition to the flooding that has occurred on the banks of the Missouri River at Fort Calhoun, the Cooper Nuclear Facility in Brownville, Nebraska may also be threatened by the rising flood waters.

As was declared at Fort Calhoun on June 7th, another “Notification of Unusual Event” was declared at Cooper Nuclear Station on June 20th. This notification was issued because the Missouri River’s water level reached an alarming 42.5 feet. Apparently, Cooper Station is advising that it is unable to discharge sludge into the Missouri River due to flooding, and therefore “overtopped” its sludge pond.

Not surprisingly, and completely ignored by the Mainstream Media, these two nuclear power facilities in Nebraska were designated temporary restricted NO FLY ZONES by the FAA in early June. The FAA restrictions were reportedly down to “hazards” and were ‘effectively immediately’, and ‘until further notice’. Yet, according to the NRC, there’s no cause for the public to panic.

FORT CALHOUN: Under water now. Is it potentially the next Fukushima? A news report from local NBC 6 on the Ft. Calhoun Power Plant and large areas of farm land flooded by the Missouri River, interviews a local farmer worried about the levees, “We need the Corps-Army Corps of Engineers–to do more. The Corps needs to tell us what to do and where to go. This is not mother nature, this is man-made.” Nearby town Council Bluffs has already implemented its own three-tier warning system should residents be prepared to leave the area quickly. On June 6, 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration put into effect ‘temporary flying restrictions’–until further notice–over the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Blaine, Nebraska. To date, no one can confirm whether or not the Ft Calhoun Nuclear incident is at a Level 4 emergency on a US regulatory scale. A Level 4 emergency would constitute an “actual or imminent substantial core damage or melting of reactor fuel with the potential for loss of containment integrity.” According to the seven-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, a Level 4 incident requires at least one death, which has not occurred according to available reports. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen explains how cooling pumps must operate continuously, even years after a plant is shut down. According a recent report on the People’sVoice website, The Ft. Calhoun plant — which stores its fuel rods at ground level according to Tom Burnett – is now partly submerged and Missouri River levels are expected to rise further before the summer if finished, local reports in and around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suggest that the waters are expected to rise at least 5 more feet. Burnett states, “Ft. Calhoun is the designated spent fuel storage facility for the entire state of Nebraska…and maybe for more than one state. Calhoun stores its spent fuel in ground-level pools which are underwater anyway – but they are open at the top. When the Missouri river pours in there, it’s going to make Fukushima look like an X-Ray.” The People’s Voice’s report explains how Ft Calhoun and Fukushima share some of the very same high-risk factors: “In 2010, Nebraska stored 840 metric tons of the highly radioactive spent fuel rods, reports the Nuclear Energy Institute. That’s one-tenth of what Illinois stores (8,440 MT), and less than Louisiana (1,210) and Minnesota (1,160). But it’s more than other flood-threatened states like Missouri (650) and Iowa (420).” Conventional wisdom about what makes for a safe location regarding nuclear power facilities was turned on its head this year following Japan’s Fukushima disaster following the earthquake and tsunami which ravaged the region and triggered one of the planets worst-ever nuclear meltdowns. As was the critical event in Fukushima, in Ft Calhoun circulatin­g water is required at all times to keep the new fuel and more importantl­y the spent radioactive material cool. The Nebraska facility houses around 600,000 – 800,000 pounds of spent fuel that must be constantly cooled to prevent it from starting to boil, so the reported 90 minute gap in service should raise alarm bells. TV and radio journalist Tom Hartmann explores some of these arguments here:

Nebraska’s nuclear plant’s similarities to Japan’s Fukushima, both were store houses for years of spent nuclear fuel rods. In addition to all this, there are eyewitness reports of odd military movements, including unmarked vehicles and soldiers. Should a radiation accident occur, most certainly extreme public controls would be enacted by the military, not least because this region contains some of the country’s key environmental, transportation and military assets. Here is a video regarding the flooding experienced along the Missouri River in Nebraska: RISK: Levees in and around Omaha were not designed for 3 months of water. Angela Tague at Business Gather reports also that the recent Midwest floods may seriously impact food and gas prices. Lost farmland may be behind the price spike to $7.55 a bushel for corn, already twice last year’s price. Tague notes also:
“Corn is a key ingredient in ethanol gasoline, feeds America’s livestock and is found in many food products including soft drinks and cereal. Prices will undoubtedly increase steadily at the grocery store, gas pump and butcher shop throughout the summer as Midwest flooding continues along the Missouri River basin. Not only are farmers losing their homes, land and fields — ultimately their bank accounts will also suffer this season.”
One of the lessons we can learn for Japan’s tragic Fukushima disaster is that the government’s choice to impose a media blackout on information around the disaster may have already cost thousands of lives. Only time will tell the scope the disaster and how many victims it will claim. More importantly, though, is that public officials might do well to reconsider the “safe” and “green” credentials of nuclear power- arguably one of the dirtiest industries going today. Especially up for inspection are those of 40 year old facilities like Ft Calhoun in the US, strangely being re-licensed for operation past 2030. Many of these facilities serve little on the electrical production front, and are more or less “bomb factories” that produce material for nuclear weapons and depleted uranium munitions. Perhaps ‘Fukushima’ could become an annual event for the nuclear industry.
Perhaps? This is my Father's (who adored good jazz) birthday. Thus, I dedicate this piece to his memory. To you, Dad, the best! ______________________

No comments: