The Universe and Me

Friday, April 06, 2012

I love Paris in the springtime

One of the best movies I've seen this year is last year's Oscar winner for best original screenplay: Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Tremendous cinematography created an ambiance that transports you there where you enjoy a tight, flawless script. Whether you want to suspend disbelief and think Gil/Owen Wilson truly time-traveled back to the 1920s or whether it was poetic license of the viewer gaining insight into his developing creativity, doesn't matter. The result was superbly lovely. And now one of my favorite Allen movies of all time. Since he's filmed around 41 movies, that speaks volumes.

The cast portrayed their characters so deftly that it seemed like being able to meet these great writers and artists from 90 years ago. Being a literature fan, I loved seeing Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Stein brought to life. Coincidentally, two days after watching this movie, a Jeopardy question/answer concerned a composer who lived in Paris in the 1920s. I'm shouting at the television "Porter! Porter!" but none of the contestants knew it. They should have watched the movie. Also coincidentally, it seems from my memory that in his later years, Dali was friends with Mia Farrow. Cue: it's a small world.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Better off dead if you haven't yet died

A couple months ago, we watched Michael Moore's documentary "Capitalism: a Love Story." Agree or disagree with Moore, and there are plenty of people who do both (personally I like to do both at the same time), he always makes some jaw-dropping points. The previous post about FDR stuck in my mind. Another "what in the name of sanity?" moment was about how employers are taking out life insurance on their employees. If your company does so, you are worth far more to them dead than alive. Think about the implications. And then check Dead Peasants to find out how much your workplace may value you.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

On January 11, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a State of the Union address and proposed a Second Bill of Rights. This included:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

FDR did not live to implement these ideas. If anyone wants to pick this up and run with it, the entire nation would benefit from a touchdown.