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Twice a year the sun aligns directly with Manhattan’s east and west streets in a phenomenon known to those who live in the Big Apple as Manhattanhenge. Tonight happens to be one of those nights and gosh isn’t the weather just perfect.
One idea is to head as far east you can on any street with a clear view of the sun setting – 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets are among the best viewing spots. Another idea is to just get outside around 8 pm or so as sunset is at 8:19 pm tonight. If you miss it, it will happen again on July 12th.
Sunset is in less than 5 hours – sorry for the short notice – but I’ve been meaning to post about this for the past 5 years and I’m glad I finally got around to it, even if its last minute.


Terrorist Chic

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For the past few months I have seen a very noticeable up-tick in the amount of Arab keffiyehs being worn, especially the white and black style worn by so many Palestinians. While there are tons of Europeans walking the streets of NYC these days due to the weak dollar (and Europeans tend to support the Palestinian cause much more than Americans), that doesn’t totally explain the phenomenon.
It turns out that one of “the” fashion looks this season is to wear a scarf around your neck in a fashion that will make you look to many people either like a Palestinian, a Terrorist, or potentially both. Rachel Ray wore one of these scarves in a Dunkin Donuts ad and now there are lots people who now think that both Rachel Ray and Dunkin Donuts support terrorists.

I know one could consider “Don’t Mess with the Zohan” the first “Terrorist comedy” but does this scarf / keffiyeh look make terrorism “the new black” of the fashion world? And if so, more importantly, why is this cool?
UPDATED ON 5/29: DD has pulled the ad and Amahl Bishara, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Chicago who specializes in media matters relating to the Middle East, said “complaints about the scarf’s use in the ad demonstrate misunderstandings of Arab culture and the multiple meanings that symbols can take on depending on someone’s perspective” and “to reduce their meaning to support for terrorism has a tacit racist tone to it.”
As “Avenue Q” sang, everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes. Did I just prove that point? I’m not so sure. I feel pretty strongly that at least in the West, for whatever reason, if you see a keffiyeh, you think of not so good things…
Via Jessie


Sacrilege in Middle Earth

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Even though Sir Ian is reprising his role as Gandalf, as I have previously noted, I’m still very worried about how “The Hobbit” will be adapted for the silver screen. Case in point: New Line cinemas issued the following statement regarding the not one but two “Hobbit” movies:

…the first film will be an adaptation of The Hobbit and the second will be an original story focusing on the 60 years between the book and the beginning of the Rings trilogy.

Yes, you read that correctly intrepid reader. While I usually never curse on this site, trying to keep the discourse to a higher level, seriously, what the fucking fuck?! An original Hobbit story written by some Hollywood hack? Sacrilege! This whole hob-debacle keeps getting worse.
Via Jessie


Breakfast Twinkie

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At first I thought this product might be a joke but alas Bagel-fuls, frozen bagels which come stuffed with Philadelphia cream cheese, are real. Hostess must be pretty pissed off at Kraft right now for stealing the Twinkie idea and turning it on its head: it went from being a dessert item (last meal of the day) to a breakfast item (first meal of the day). This gives the New Testament idea of “The last shall be first” brand new meaning.
I for one will never be caught eating one of these food-like (its not food) products, that is unless the apocalypse or something similar has happened.


Snake vs. Gator – Who Wins?

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The answer is “alligator” but only because the python which ate it exploded which enabled the gator to get vengeance from beyond the grave: truly a no-joke ass kicking maneuver.
The quote I love is from Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida wildlife professor, who said, “Clearly, if they can kill an alligator they can kill other species.” I avoid swamps (other than the Meadowlands of course for Jets games) for this very reason.
Via Neu



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Hello Kitty is currently engaged on official state business for not one but two Asian nations. The jobs however are drastically different depending on which country you happen to be in.
Either Hello Kitty is acting as your tourism ambassador or it is acting as a way of punishing wayward police officers.
I know people love this cute round-faced cat but come on! For those keeping score at home, this post is the second time I have posted about HC. The first time was back in October of last year.


The Fleet Triumphant

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One of the most remarkable events in World Sports happened one week ago tomorrow: Ebbsfleet United FC, the footie team of which I am an owner, beat Torquay United 1-0 in the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium.
This is the first time the ‘Fleet has won the FA Trophy, or has been in the semis or the finals for that matter. The fact that former Torquay striker Chris McPhee was the one who netted the goal makes it even sweeter. The official estimate is that some 25,000 of the 40,186 fans inside Wembley Stadium – the Trophy Final’s second biggest gate ever – were “of the red persuasion” (as the ‘Fleet’s site puts it). I wish I was there, even though those in red on “Star Trek” at least often do not make it home…the victory parade looks like it was a smashing good time.


Battle at Kruger!

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When I see the word “Kruger” at first I think of Mr. Kruger who was one of George’s bosses on “Seinfeld.” You know, he’s the guy who gave away George’s prefereed “T-Bone” nickname and instead dubbed him “Koko the Monkey.” This instance of Kruger however stands for Kruger National Park in South Africa, a park where David Budzinski happened to be on a safari and where he caught on film a water buffalo calf / group of lions / two crocodiles / water buffalo herd battle royale the likes of which I, and many others, have never seen.

I first learned of this YouTube phenomenon in the NYT of all places – I know, right? Go figure. So far, the clip has racked up over 30 million page views. It has its own web site now and Nat Geo has filmed an entire special about it due to how a herd returns en masse to try and save a little calf’s life.
It’s a pretty intense 8 min – I actually found myself gasping at the video at the exact same time as when those who were there in person gasped – pretty wild (no pun intended) stuff indeed.
At the end of the video you hear someone say “You could sell that video!” and as the Times reports Budzinski tried but National Geographic and Animal Planet were not interested. It was only after the battle became one of the most popular videos in YouTube’s history did the buyers come calling. This Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time, it will devote an hour to a documentary deconstructing the drama. Pretty neat stuff. It just goes to show that the media walls keep falling.


Too Many Summer Movies 2008

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Unless I start to see a lot of double features, I am (possibily – hopefully) going to spend a couple hundred dollars this summer at the box office because there are a lot of flicks on my list. Here is a list of all of the movies that I want to see – listed in order of release date – the strike through indicates for one(s) I’ve seen:
Iron Man, Redbelt, Son of Rambow, Refusenik, Speed Racer, Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Sex and the City, Dreams with Sharp Teeth, Mongol, The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, The Love Guru, Wanted, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, The Dark Knight, Pineapple Express, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2
Yup, that is 19 films and those are just the ones of which I’m aware. This does not include the unknown indie flicks that will eventually receive tons of media love so that number should only climb. We’ll see how many I knock off though as my free time will soon be limited. The next on the list is the latest Mamet movie titled “Redbelt.” I cannot wait to see what he’s done with the sports genre. Should be pretty sweet.
5/24 UPDATE: Harold and Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay was not on my list only because it was released on 4/22 and technically not a summer movie. That being said, I feel like it should have been on the list and therefore I’ve added it. It was not nearly as good as the first one but it still had its moments, like when tons of bottomless females sauntered about for a good minute or so. Yummy.
Iron Man totally rocked – as an Iron Man comic affectionado, I have to say that I was quite pleased. I still have not seen Redbelt (it is not playing in any theatres in my area) but I did see IJ4 tonight: it was pulpy and if you know me, you’ll want to know that yes, I did wear my Indiana Jones hat.
8/22 UPDATE: Indiana Jones 4 was ridiculous. If you need any proof, just search for the term “nuked the fridge” and see how many results you get. This terms use in our lexicon can directly be attributed to a scene in the movie. ‘Nuff said. To see the offending clip check out YouTube before it gets pulled.
“The Dark Knight” was simply breathtaking. Nolan nailed it again. This time, the movie was so good, it was the first super hero movie to transcend the super hero genre. To me, it was an amazing story that happened to have a super hero in it. The story was the focus, the heroes were mere characters. Unbelievable. Ledger’s Joker was other worldly. He truly embodied chaos, like Javier Bardam’s character in No Country For Old Men. He was just not of this earth – a tour de force performance which sadly will never have a sequel.
11/1 UPDATE: Redbelt was a typical Mamet movie – some awesome dialogue, some stilted dialogue (think 1950’s teleplays where you think to yourself “do people really talk like that?”) and a spin or two in the plot with an ending that you probably did not guess. Overall, it was quality and I’m glad I saw it. It wasn’t one of his best but still, a Mamet movie is like pizza or sex to me. Even if its bad, its good and this one was okay in my opinion so if bad is good, okay is very good I guess…