Arimathea
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There is need in human life for levity. So, enjoy your time here in leisurely frivolity, where no Puritan can condem you.
Saturday, June 27, A.D. 2009
Russian Jumper

This is an old video, but I still find it entertaining. The boys are quite impressive, and the low budget creativity of the video adds to its value. You just have to get past the annoying European rap.

My brother Aaron and I have a personal appreciation for this video, having enjoyed our time in Russia’s urban jungles with abandoned ruins, concrete playgrounds, forsaken parks, and remarkable people.

If only they had made a video of the old women. The babushkas are tanks! Forget about the Russian winter; Napoleon and Hitler could not get past the Ekaterinas, Zlatas, and Raisas.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, June 27, Anno Domini 2009
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Friday, June 19, A.D. 2009
Up

Yesterday, I watched Pixar’s Up. Like everything that Pixar makes, Up is fantastic. I highly recommend that you see it.

The movie’s opening that establishes the background for the plot may be the most remarkable animated sequence ever made. It is simply beautiful—both technically and as a story. Indeed, the only complaint that I have about the movie is that the rest of the film cannot compete with the beginning.

I don’t know how Pixar attracted the people that it has, but they are an amazing bunch. I may often complain about our society’s mediocrity and decadence in other domains, but it is arguable that Pixar has made the last decade the golden age of animated film. I love Disney’s old classics, but they lack the delightful childlike playfulness combined with the depth and insight of films like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and, now, Up.

Spoiler Alert!

I expect that everyone will appreciate the powerful opening and the convincing and endearing relationship between the old man, Carl Fredricksen, and the boy, Russell. However, I must add that I found the death of the movie’s villain, Charles F. Muntz, rather insightful. Note that the “dogfighters” parachute to safety after their planes are destroyed, but Muntz falls to his death. Up suggests, correctly, that sometimes the enemy cannot peacefully coexist with you. Until Muntz was destroyed or reformed, the birds of Paradise Falls would not be safe. We would all like to see redemption, but sometimes, the bad guy has to die. And so he did. Kudos to Pixar for not having him carted off in a crazy wagon, pantsless and delirious, in the manner of most silly cartoons. No, the obsessive explorer who threw away his life on a quest to salvage his pride plunged to his death in his quest for the fantastic bird. “Kevin” and her brood would thereafter live safely in their unspoilt paradise.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, June 19, Anno Domini 2009
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Wednesday, June 17, A.D. 2009
Interesting News Items

Thanks to a link from Lady Ann, I discovered the smile inducing “Interesting News Items” today, a sort of Onionesque parodying of current events that refuses to treat the Left with soft gloves. Consider, for example, the recent “Jews Confirm Rev. Wright Being Kept from Obama,” “Armless Latina Judge Wiser than Sotomayor,” and “Cabinet Offers to Pay Back Taxes.” Not every post deals with politics or current affairs; I especially enjoyed “Home Depot Employee Fired for Answering Question,” having experienced such a work ethic at Home Depot countless times.

GALLUP, NM - A Home Depot worker was terminated today for directing a customer to the correct aisle. “I feel bad,” said manager Raul Fesca. “But Jerry knew the rules.” The worker, Jerry Sorber, said he was bored. “Whenever a customer approaches, I remember my training and either walk away, get on the phone, or laugh real loud with another worker. But today I wondered what would happen if I listened to someone. Guess I found out.” Fesca states that while customers are welcome, they can be a nuisance. “We can’t have people distracting our staff from restocking shelves and bonding with each other. It’s just not good business.”

Home Depot must be the employee feeder pool for K-Mart and Northwest Airlines.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, June 17, Anno Domini 2009
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Tuesday, June 16, A.D. 2009
Old People News

As a rejoinder to The Onion’s story about old folks’ unwanted forwarded e-mail, I offer the following video that Andrew sent me:

They could have done much more with the idea, but I did like the hydrogen peroxide segment.

Update: The video no longer works, but writer Kevin Maher features the series on his page.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, June 16, Anno Domini 2009
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Monday, June 15, A.D. 2009
The Perspicacious Onion

With comedy in general and with The Onion in particular, the astute perceptivity of human life is the wellspring of humor. The Onion’s articles are often funny because they are so observant and honest about the aburdity in our daily lives. The effect is sometimes light and sometimes cruel, but we laugh when the comedian surprises us with the familar in an unfamilar way.

You can find a good example of this talent in The Onion’s September 11, 2001 commemorative issue, especially “Not Knowing What Else to Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake.” It both presents American culture sympathetically and lovingly mocks it. The result is funny, touching, and insightful all at once, which is quite a difficult feat. I remember laughing and tearing up when I first read it back in October of that dreadful year.

Less impressive but still quite funny is the article about a college girl who inadvertently opens an e-mail message from her aunt, “E-Mail from Aunt Accidentally Opened.” If you receive an endless flow of forwarded messages from a friend or family member, you will appreciate this story. Delightful!

Posted by Joseph on Monday, June 15, Anno Domini 2009
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Wednesday, June 10, A.D. 2009
Missouri Family in Czech Store Advertisement

You may have already seen this story, but I found it rather funny. Evidently, a private family photograph from Danielle Smith of O’Fallon, Missouri made its way through the bizarre twists and turns of the internet all the way to store front posters in the Czech Republic. The Czechs are denying any wrongdoing, as we should expect of such folks! Smith found out about her unknown modeling adventure when one of her college friends happened to see Smith, her husband, and her children plastered on store windows in Prague. Mrs. Smith discusses the episode on her ExtraordinaryMommy blog. The story has since gone viral.

So, before you upload the next picture of yourself, stop and think what foreigners might do with it. I have heard that the Japanese have peculiar advertising tastes . . .

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, June 10, Anno Domini 2009
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