Remembering the Newtown Kids on Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, I stumbled over a lovely essay by one of the Newtown Mothers…and it made me want to remember each of the kids. I would be especially angry if I were a Newtown mother, on Mother’s Day. These kids should all still be with their parents and their schools. So, I tweeted about each of the kids on Mother’s Day. Here’s what I said:

  • Remembering Emilie Parker who would’ve been 7 on 5/12, wanted to be Hermionie Granger for her birthday. #newtown
  • Remembering Charlotte Bacon, in whose memory a Kindness Award was started. #newtown
  • Remembering Jesse Lewis who wrote “Nurturing Healing Love” on a chalkboard at home before he was murdered. #newtown
  • Remembering the rambunctious Noah Pozner whose twin sister was in another class. #newtown
  • The 1st Mother’s Day after #newtown – we should remember the kids who were murdered that day, as a callous government doesn’t care – WE DO!
  • Remembering red-headed Daniel Barden whose dad taught him Jingle Bells on the piano on his last morning. #newtown
  • Remembering Olivia Engel, who was a Daisy Girl Scout. #newtown
  • Remembering Josephine Gay, who loved the water and whose parents set up a fund for autistic children. #newtown
  • Remembering Dylan Hockley whose parents included a reading of Goodnight Moon at his memorial service. #newtown
  • Remembering Madeleine Hsu who loved dogs and wearing pink. #newtown
  • Remembering Catherine Hubbard who loved animals. Her parents asked for donations to an animal center. #newtown
  • Remembering Chase Kowalski who loved sports & played baseball. #newtown
  • Remembering Ana Marquez-Greene, who sang via video during her funeral. #newtown
  • Remembering James Mattioli who always loved to sing. #newtown
  • Remembering Grace McDonnell who loved the beach. #newtown
  • Remembering Jack Pinto who was buried in a NY Giants jersey. #newtown
  • Remembering Caroline Previdi whose favorite charity was The Toy Chest at her church. #newtown
  • Remembering Jessica Rekos who wanted cowboy boots for Christmas. #newtown
  • Remembering Avielle Richman whose Dad had been blogging about her adventures in 2012. #newtown
  • Remembering Jonathan Wheeler who wanted to be a paleontologist. #newtown
  • Remembering Allison Wyatt, an artistic girl who shared with strangers. #newtown
  • We should never forget the children of #newtown, particularly on Mother’s Day. Write your representative – better gun laws save lives.
  • It took 9 months to create my child & a few secs for a tormented individual to destroy her with a gun. #newtown Mom

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Weighty Matters

I sometimes make surprisingly long posts in other people’s blogs. I responded to a posting and some comments in the blog The Skeptical Scalpel: “Institute of Medicine: Obesity is not caused by lack of willpower” and thought I’d reprint them here. The quote that set me off was not made by the blogger, but was made by one of the commenters.

[[Fall 2012]]

“We are way too accepting of the obese. We should be sure to mock and scorn the obese more often. We should make fun of those who don’t exercise or who frequent McDonald’s. ”

Harassment is never helpful (unless you’re pulling a “Modest Proposal” here and I’m missing it).

I’ve been thin, fat, obese, morbidly obese, obese and now am merely fat. I’ve lost 65 pounds over the last 16 years, and have about 45 more pounds to go to be roughly average. I was harassed constantly about my weight in school, and, trust me, it did not help make me a thin person. It made me really pissed off. On the other hand, it did train me that most people’s opinions do not matter. [[small clarification – I wrote most of this in the fall of 2012. I regained the 20 pounds after writing this.]]

I have a mixed viewpoint on the issue of obesity and health.

Genetics do matter, but they are not necessarily destiny. I come from a long line of fat people. Carbs and proteins taste great to me. While I’ve learned to eat some vegetables and fruits, I never, ever crave them, as much as I should. I’m still learning.

No matter what your weight is, you have to accept yourself, be reasonably active, and eat sensibly. There are a lot of self-hating thin and fat people out there.

Gym classes in school need to be dramatically rethought. When I was in school in the ’60s and ’70s, they focused on sports. Some of us were and have always been wretched at sports. They ought to be focused more on activities and health. They should expose kids to sports, but if the kids happier walking the track than trying to hit a baseball, that should be considered an acceptable gym activity.

The interaction of obesity and the medical community is, frankly, awkward. During the 90s, I remember being shocked by being asked “do you mind if we weigh you?” While people need to be respected by clinicians no matter what their weight, information like their weight, height, cholesterol, blood sugar (and so on) need to be recorded. Fat people should not be harassed, but they do need to be reminded about good eating habits and activity no matter what their weight is.

I think the thing that made me finally start to lose weight was the introduction of gastric bypass. While I eat less than I used to and do exercise more, I love a good meal. I still find eating very pleasurable, despite its potential dangers. I was at the point where gastric bypass was an option, and I knew I didn’t want to have eating be that unpleasant.

I opted to start walking. I just did little things at first, like parking across a parking lot from my work or a store. Right now, I’m unemployed and am walking 3-4 miles a day.

I think one of the other big problems with attitudes towards obesity and dieting is this idea that loosing weight can be easy and fast. It isn’t. Relearning how to eat is hard. But, the more we can non-medicalize loosing weight (focusing on diet and exercise rather than drugs and surgery), but better we all be in the long run.

I don’t think there is “a” solution. Obesity/anorexia are tricky conditions and relate to upbringing, education, community planning, marketing…there are many unrelated pieces to a person’s size. Medical personnel need to be respectful (and generally are), but need to have good information about nutrition available. And I understand nutrition isn’t generally taught in med school.


[[Spring 2013]]

I don’t really agree with the anonymous poster who said “it has to do with hunger.” It has to do with our REACTIONS to hunger.

At some times of the day (morning), if I’m hungry I’ll have a glass of water and feel fine with it. At other times of the day (afternoon), I need something to eat. It used to be junk food…and sometimes, it still is. But, generally, my afternoon snack is hummus and crackers or some peanuts.

Last year, I lost 20 pounds, but most of that was due to illness. However, in the fall, I went off of one medication, and noticed I was really craving carbs badly, which meant I was again eating more carbs. Also, it seemed like I was gaining weight no matter what I did (I walked 90 miles one month last fall and still gained 5 pounds that month). So I gained back the 20 pounds in 5 months.

I realized the obvious thing (beyond I was eating more than I should) – I’m now through menopause, so of course I’m going to gain weight a little more easily. I am being more careful again, am not craving carbs quite so much, and am back to really slow weight loss.

For many people, maintaining an average weight is easy. You’re VERY lucky. For many of us, it’s hard. To blame JUST the individual or JUST the environment is wrong-headed – weight is a very awkward combination of personal and societal.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Petition to Oppose Politics in National Science Foundation (NSF) Funding and a Letter to the White House Petition Site

On April 29, I was disgusted (though not surprised) to read that a Republican Congressional Representative wanted to do away with using peer-review to determine National Science Foundation funding of projects. So, I started a White House petition and asked people to sign it.

Even though I publicized it as I had an earlier petition, I got almost no response. So, I wrote to the petition site.

To: White House Petition Site:

I’m sad that this petition site seems to be going the way of many other Obama policies – it’s a good idea, it’s talked about and then it’s ignored.

Several of us started petitions about the Westboro Baptist Church last year. Mine was the request to investigate its tax exempt status. I got the then-required 25,000 signatures in a couple of days. The petition is still up and has over 96,000 signatures.

No response from the administration.

With the later increase to 100,000 signatures, people clearly see that starting a petition here is a waste of time. I started a petition about the fact that a Republican Congressional representative is trying to do away with peer-review for NSF grants. I have many friends into science, and publicized this petition the same way I had the Westboro Baptist Church petition.

I’ve gotten almost no response. After 2 days, I’m up to 29 signatures.

This is sad, but, clearly, people don’t want to waste their time with petitions that the administration will then completely ignore.

It’s true we got very used to being lied to during the Bush administration. It’s sad the Obama administration seems to be going in the same direction. If you have to lie about the little things (and, I know, the petition site is a “little thing”), how can we trust you about the big things?

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Who Voted to Kill Gun Background Checks in the Senate?

After months of arguing, and a rare bipartisan proposal between conservative Democrat Joe Manchin (WV) and conservative Republican Pat Toomey (PA), a minority of Senators got together to filibuster a bill to have background checks on gun purchases. Here’s a list, in a ready-to-use Twitter format (thanks to Huffington Post for providing the list of Senators and their Twitter handles), so you can tweet about these people who believe criminals and insane people should always be able to buy any guns they want:

@SenAlexander @KellyAyotte @SenJohnBarrasso @MaxBaucus @SenatorBegich

@RoyBlunt @JohnBoozeman @SenatorBurr @SaxbyChambliss @SenDanCoates

@TomCoburn @JeffFlake @SenThadCochran @SenBobCorker @JohnCornyn

@MikeCrapo @SenTedCruz @SenatorEnzi @SenMikeLee @SenatorFischer

@GrahamBlog @ChuckGrassley @SenOrrinHatch @jiminhofe

@SenatorHeitkamp @SenDeanHeller @SenJohnHoeven @SenatorIsakson

@Mike_Johanns @SenRonJohnson @McConnellPress @JerryMoran

@lisamurkowski @SenRandPaul @robportman @SenMarkPryor @SenatorRisch

@SenPatRoberts @marcorubio @SenatorTimScott @SenatorSessions

@SenShelbyPress @SenJohnThune @DavidVitter @SenatorWicker

Also, the folks at DemandAPlan have a form where you can write a letter to express your unhappiness with the Senate’s lack of action on gun control and the letter will go to all of the Senators on this list.

And, to no one’s surprise, half of these “leaders” also voted against the Violence Against Women Act, but, luckily, enough rational politicians voted for it, so VAWA is again the law of the land.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Who Voted Against the Violence Against Women Act, 2013

We must always remember who voted against this bill – especially during the 2014 election. I know my representative, Tim Murphy voted against it, which means I am very glad I never have voted for him and never will. Both senators, Bob Casey, and, to my shock, the usually super-far right Pat Toomey, voted for it.

MotherJones has an excellent analysis of the VAWA votes, including some interesting (but depressing) maps.

Here are the senators (all Republicans) who voted against VAWA:

  • John Barrasso (Wyo.)
  • Roy Blunt (Mo.)
  • John Boozman (Ark.)
  • Tom Coburn (Okla.)
  • John Cornyn (Texas)
  • Ted Cruz (Texas)
  • Mike Enzi (Wyo.)
  • Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
  • Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
  • Orrin Hatch (Utah)
  • James Inhofe (Okla.)
  • Mike Johanns (Neb.)
  • Ron Johnson (Wisc.)
  • Mike Lee (Utah)
  • Mitch McConnell (Ky.)
  • Rand Paul (Ky.)
  • Jim Risch (Idaho)
  • Pat Roberts (Kansas)
  • Marco Rubio (Fla.)
  • Jeff Sessions (Ala.)
  • John Thune (S.D.)
  • Tim Scott (S.C.)

(from HuffingtonPost)

And here are their Twitter handles, to remind them that you remember how they voted against VAWA:

@SenJohnBarrasso @RoyBlunt @JohnBoozeman @TomCoburn @JohnCornyn

@SenTedCruz @SenatorEnzi @GrahamBlog @ChuckGrassley @SenOrrinHatch

@jiminhofe @Mike_Johanns @SenRonJohnson @McConnellPress

@SenRandPaul @SenatorRisch @SenPatRoberts @marcorubio

@SenatorTimScott @SenatorSessions @SenJohnThune

Here are the representatives (all Republicans) who voted against VAWA:

  • Aderholt
  • Amash
  • Bachmann
  • Barton
  • Bentivolio
  • Bilirakis
  • Bishop (UT)
  • Black
  • Blackburn
  • Bonner
  • Brady (TX)
  • Bridenstine
  • Brooks (AL)
  • Broun (GA)
  • Burgess
  • Campbell
  • Cantor
  • Carter
  • Cassidy
  • Chabot
  • Chaffetz
  • Collins (GA)
  • Conaway
  • Cotton
  • Crawford
  • Culberson
  • DeSantis
  • DesJarlais
  • Duncan (SC)
  • Duncan (TN)
  • Ellmers
  • Fincher
  • Fleischmann
  • Fleming
  • Flores
  • Forbes
  • Fortenberry
  • Foxx
  • Franks (AZ)
  • Garrett
  • Gingrey (GA)
  • Gohmert
  • Goodlatte
  • Gosar
  • Gowdy
  • Graves (GA)
  • Graves (MO)
  • Griffin (AR)
  • Griffith (VA)
  • Guthrie
  • Hall
  • Harris
  • Hartzler
  • Hastings (WA)
  • Hensarling
  • Holding
  • Hudson
  • Huelskamp
  • Huizenga (MI)
  • Hultgren
  • Hurt
  • Johnson (OH)
  • Jones
  • Jordan
  • Kelly
  • King (IA)
  • Kingston
  • Labrador
  • LaMalfa
  • Lamborn
  • Lankford
  • Latta
  • Long
  • Lucas
  • Luetkemeyer
  • Lummis
  • Marchant
  • Marino
  • Massie
  • McCaul
  • McClintock
  • Meadows
  • Mica
  • Miller (FL)
  • Mullin
  • Mulvaney
  • Murphy (PA)
  • Neugebauer
  • Noem
  • Nunnelee
  • Olson
  • Palazzo
  • Perry
  • Petri
  • Pittenger
  • Pitts
  • Pompeo
  • Posey
  • Price (GA)
  • Radel
  • Ribble
  • Rice (SC)
  • Roby
  • Roe (TN)
  • Rogers (AL)
  • Rogers (KY)
  • Rohrabacher
  • Rooney
  • Roskam
  • Ross
  • Rothfus
  • Salmon
  • Scalise
  • Schweikert
  • Scott, Austin
  • Sensenbrenner
  • Sessions
  • Smith (NE)
  • Smith (NJ)
  • Smith (TX)
  • Southerland
  • Stewart
  • Stockman
  • Stutzman
  • Thornberry
  • Wagner
  • Walberg
  • Weber (TX)
  • Wenstrup
  • Westmoreland
  • Whitfield
  • Williams
  • Wilson (SC)
  • Wittman
  • Wolf
  • Womack
  • Woodall
  • Yoho

Not voting

  • Coble
  • Granger
  • Hinojosa
  • Johnson, Sam
  • Miller, Gary
  • Reed

(from clerk.house.gov)

Many of these same people failed to vote for Sandy relief and failed to vote on raising debt ceilings (as they traditionally did for Republican presidents) or jobs for years.

In a rational society, sexual assault should never be condoned. As usual, the Republicans who represent us, are badly out of touch with Americans who support VAWA.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Annual Look at the Oscars 2013

For the last 44 years or so, I’ve made predictions about Oscar winners. 2012 was a good year for movies, but there are very few “Oscar locks” this year, which may make the show a little more interesting I saw most of the Best Picture nominees, and liked most of them (haven’t seen Amour (and would really like to) or Life of Pi (and have very mixed feelings about that, much as I love most Ang Lee movies or Zero Dark Thirty or Django Unchained (again, mixed feelings on those two))

I noted several hopeful trends in my last year’s Oscar notes, including several movies with large, strong casts of actresses. Sadly, I can’t say I noticed that trend this year. There was some interesting, ambitious SF – Hunger Games, Looper and Cloud Atlas. Sometimes, Hollywood remembers it takes a little more than strong production values or a superhero to make a science fiction movie. Sadly, Cloud Atlas tanked at the box office. I think it’s the sort of movie people will look back at and appreciate as it’s a fascinating movie.

I’m going to an Oscar party again this year, and expect to be there for all of it as I’m going to the Hollywood Theater Oscar Party in Dormont.

[[Comments made after the show.]]

Best Picture

  • Amour
  • Argo WON (will win)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln (should win)
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

This is a tough category but for weird reasons. I really loved Lincoln. I’m a huge history buff and love it when a movie gets so much of it so right. Some of the complaints about Lincoln are on the strange side – it shouldn’t win because of Spielberg – it shouldn’t win because 20th Century Fox (AKA Rupert Murdock) was involved. I liked Argo very much, and Ben Affleck really captured the chaos around the Iran hostage crisis very well. However, upon a second viewing, its flaws really bothered me (lack of distinctive characterizations outside of the Hollywood guys, severe Hollywoodization of the last half hour of the movie). Beasts is simultaneously the most naturalistic and the most fantastic movie of the lot. I loved Q. Wallis’ fierce performance (and, I’m sorry, you can’t call it anything but that). Silver Linings Playbook had a very smart script and terrific performances all the way around, but is a little light for a Best Picture Oscar. This might be the year of the surprise winner, so maybe something like Django Unchained or Silver Linings Playbook could win. However, I think Argo will win, mostly as an apology to Ben Affleck who didn’t get nominated for Best Director, but I think Lincoln deserves to win.

[[By the end of the show, it looked like Life of Pi could have pulled a massive upset.]]

Best Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis WON – Lincoln (should win, will win)
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
  • Denzel Washington – Flight

There are two Oscar locks, and this is one of them. Daniel Day-Lewis will be the second person to win three Best Acting Oscars (after Katharine Hepburn (4) (Meryl Streep has only won 2 + 1 for supporting). His performance as Lincoln was spot-on and very moving. And, remember, DDL is only 55 so he could be winning them for decades to come. Both Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman gave strong performances in their respective movies.

[[After a rocky night of humor onstage, Daniel Day-Lewis, who’s often kind of shy in public, told a great joke when he said that he was supposed to have played Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep had given him his Oscar) and Streep was due to play Lincoln. He knew who he was talking to. Seth McFarlane struggled with this all evening.]]

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Alan Arkin – Argo
  • Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook (should win, will win)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz WON- Django Unchained

I’m really not sure how Oscar voters are going to go on this one. I’ve heard a lot about De Niro possibly getting an Oscar for this as he’s only won 1 for support and 1 for leading. That’s possible; also, this is one of his comic roles, and he’s become a brilliant comic actor over the years. If Django Unchained or The Master don’t get other awards, perhaps Waltz or Hoffman will win here. I liked Tommy Lee Jones, but I found his performance much weaker the second time I saw Lincoln.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence WON – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva – Amour (will win)
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible (should win)

Naomi Watts gave one of the best performances ever in the little-seen The Impossible. It’s about the most harrowing performances since Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice (though for slightly different reasons). I liked Jennifer Lawrence very much in Silver Linings Playbook, but I think I liked her performance ever more in Hunger Games. Quvenzhané Wallis was perfect in Beasts. Jessica Chastain (based on the many ads I’ve seen for Zero Dark Thirty) gives a solid performance.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams – The Master
  • Sally Field – Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway WON – Les Misérables (should win, will win)
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

OK, this is the other lock. Anne Hathaway gave a short but amazing performance in Les Mis. I thought Sally Field also gave a very strong performance – I half wish this category could see a tie.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Brave WON – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
  • Frankenweenie – Tim Burton (should win, will win)
  • Paranorman – Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Peter Lord
  • Wreck-it Ralph – Rich Moore

This is a surprisingly tough category. I loved the design and voice casting of Brave, and the script was a little stronger than a typical kid’s feature. Frankenweenie is marvelously weird. While I didn’t see Wreck-it Ralph, it’s very clever.

Best Cinemetography

  • Anna Karenina – Seamus McGarvey
  • Django Unchained – Robert Richardson
  • Life of Pi WON – Claudio Miranda
  • Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski
  • Skyfall – Roger Deakins (should win, will win)

Moderately tough category.

Best Costume Design

  • Anna Karenina WON – Jacqueline Durran (will win)
  • Les Misérables – Paco Delgado
  • Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
  • Mirror Mirror – Eiko Ishioka (should win)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood

This category has the most bizarre nominees. The costumes in Les Mis and Snow White were so-so. I liked the costumes in Mirror Mirror since everything in that movie was meant to be over-the-top and on the cartoony side, and the nominee died before the movie even opened.

Best Directing

  • Amour – Michael Haneke
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin
  • Life of Pi WON – Ang Lee
  • Lincoln – Steven Spielberg (should win, will win)
  • Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell

Despite the anti-Lincoln backlash, I think Spielberg deserves the Oscar.

[[This was the biggest surprise of the night. I generally like Ang Lee movies very much, but didn’t like the sound of Life of Pi]]

Best Documentary Feature

  • 5 Broken Cameras – Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
  • The Gatekeepers – Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon
  • How to Survive A Plague – David France and Howard Gertler (should win, will win)
  • The Invisible War – Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
  • Searching for Sugar Man WON – Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

I haven’t seen any of these documentaries this year, but the two movies I’ve heard the most about are How to Survive a Plague (about AIDS) and Searching for Sugar Man (about an obscure American singer/songwriter whose works were huge in South Africa). One of these two is the most likely to win, and I think it’s more likely to be How to Survive a Plague.

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • “Inocente” WON – Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • “Kings Point” – Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
  • “Mondays at Racine” – Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • “Open Heart” – Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • “Redemption” – Jon Alpert and Matthew o’Neill

I think I’ll ever skip guessing on this one as I have no idea.

Best Film Editing

  • Argo WON – William Goldenberg (should win, will win)
  • life of Pi – Tim Squyres
  • Lincoln – Michael Kahn
  • Silver Linings Playbook – Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

I thought the editing for Argo was especially good.

Best Foreign Langauge Film

  • Amour WON – Austria (should win, will win)
  • Kon-Tiki – Norway
  • No – Chile
  • A Royal Affair – Denmark
  • War Witch – Canada

Hope to see Amour.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Hitchcock – Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane (should win, will win)
  • Les Misérables WON – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

This has the single worst nominee – Les Mis. Sorry, the make-up was good here and there, but mostly way, way overdone. But The Hobbit has a similar problem – some of the make-up is good, and others of it is overly cartoony.

Best Music (Original Score)

  • Anna Karenina – Dario Marianelli
  • Argo – Alexandre Desplat
  • Life of Pi WON – Mychael Danna
  • Lincoln – John Williams (should win, will win)
  • Skyfall – Thomas Newman

My favorite score was ignored – Cloud Atlas was the best from last year.

[[The little snippets they played from Life of Pi sounded very nice.]]

Best Music (Original Song)

  • “Before my Time” Chasing Ice – Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” Ted – Music by Walter Murphy Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” Life of Pi – Music by Mychael Danna Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” Skyfall WON – Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (should win, will win)
  • “Suddenly” Les Misérables – Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Best Production Design

  • Anna Karenina – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood Set Decoration: Katie Spencer (should win, will win)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Production Design: Dan Hennah Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • Les Misérables – Production Design: Eve Stewart Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • Life of Pi – Production Design: David Gropman Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • Lincoln WON – Production Design: Rick Carter Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Lincoln had detailed, accurate production design, and I wouldn’t object at all if it won. But Anna Karenina was fresh and inventive and I love its playing around with stagecraft.

Best Short Film (Animated)

  • “Adam and Dog” – Minkyu Lee
  • “Fresh Guacamole” – PES (should win, will win)
  • “Head Over Heels” – Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin o’Reilly
  • “Maggie Simpson” in “The Longest Daycare” – David Silverman
  • “Paperman” WON – John Kahrs

I hadn’t seen any of these, but Sunday Morning played “Fresh Guacamole” this morning and it was very inventive

Best Short Film (Live Action)

  • “Asad” – Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • “Buzkashi Boys” – Sam French and Ariel Nasr (should win, will win)
  • “Curfew” WON – Shawn Christensen
  • “Death of a Shadow” (“Dood van een SchaduW”) – Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • “Henry” – Yan England

“Buzkashi Boys,” about boys in Afghanistan, has had incredible buzz.

Best Sound Editing

  • Argo – Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
  • Django Unchained – Wylie Stateman
  • Life of Pi – Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
  • Skyfall WON – Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers (should win, will win)
  • Zero Dark Thirty WON – Paul N.J. Ottosson

Haven’t seen most of these so I’ll guess Skyfall.

[[A very rare tie]]

Best Sound Mixing

  • Argo – John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • Les Misérables WON – Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
  • Life of Pi – Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin (should win, will win)
  • Lincoln – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • Skyfall – Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

[[Now, that’s a Les Mis win I really can’t complain about, particularly given that the songs were sung live during the filming and the music sounded great.]]

Best Visual Effects

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
  • Life of Pi WON – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
  • Marvel’s the Avengers – Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick (will win)
  • Prometheus – Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill (should win)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman – Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

I’m torn on this category. It was a year when the most visually interesting movie (Cloud Atlas) was completely shut out. Movies like Prometheus and Snow White weren’t very good movies, though the effects in Prometheus were really great. The Hobbit has strong effects…but, sometimes, they, like its make-up, were very cartoony and out of place.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Argo WON – Screenplay by Chris Terrio
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Screenplay by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
  • Life of Pi – Screenplay by David Magee
  • Lincoln – Screenplay by Tony Kushner (should win, will win)
  • Silver Linings Playbook – Screenplay by David O. Russell

A very tough category with four very strong options (haven’t seen Life of Pi). I think ultimately it goes back to Lincoln, but if the Oscars turn out to be an Argo or Silver Lingings Playbook sweep, this award will go to one of them.

[[Much of the script for Argo is pretty good…but…*sigh*]]

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Amour – Written by Michael Haneke
  • Django Unchained WON – Written by Quentin Tarantino (will win)
  • Flight – Written by John Gatins
  • Moonrise Kingdom – Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (should win)
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Written by Mark Boal

Moonrise Kingdom was one of my favorite films of last year. I’m still surprised it wasn’t nominated for its unique production design. I would love to see this win, but I expect this is the award Tarantino will get.


2/25/13

The show was kind of a mixed bag. The focus was on movie music and it went very well – Shirley Bassey, Jennifer Hudson and Adele really rocked the hall. Seth McFarlane is a decent singer and song and dance man, but…”I Saw Her Boobs” went on for too long. His opening joke about “Making Tommy Lee Jones laugh” was great, but it went down hill from there. It was a very glittery night, both set design and gown wise.

I had a very good time at the Hollywood Theater Oscar party. I won a mini Oscar statuette for answering some movie trivia questions correctly. Comfy seats, snacks and watching the Oscar show on a large screen.

I had one of my worse years of making Oscar predictions ever – I probably only guessed about 20% right. Mostly, it was from my failure to appreciate Life of Pi, which I haven’t seen yet. [[[And, when I finally saw it, I really didn’t like it that much, though it looks great.]]]

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

A Woman’s Right for All Health Care

It’s that simple – an important part of woman’s health care is access to pre-natal care, fertility treatments, birth control and abortion. Access to health care, and what types of health care she wants to use, is up to her.

I’m part of the 70% – I believe Roe vs. Wade should not be overturned and that abortion should stay a woman’s choice.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Sleep Schedule for an Insomniac

This is a little extreme even for me, but here’s what happened last night:

  • 10:45: Get into bed, turn on House Hunters
  • 10:50: Fall asleep (I was tired, but not that tired)
  • 10:59: Wake up, watch the news
  • 11:15: Fall asleep
  • 11:34: Wake up, feel wide awake, consider watching Jimmy Kimmel
  • 11:36: Fall asleep
  • 11:55: Wake up, turn off the TV
    Toss and turn for at least 20 minutes (yes, I know they tell you not to have a TV in your bedroom, but TV sometimes helps me sleep)
    Jim gets into bed sometime after this, but he doesn’t wake me up.
  • 1:00: Wake up
  • 1:10: Fell back to sleep
  • 2:20: Wake up. I might have fallen back to sleep quickly except Jim has a cold and he was breathing very noisly. Tried various sleep positions, counting things, any other quiet trick I could think of. Nada. Wide awake.
  • 3:20: Got out of bed, went to the guest room, started reading The Signal and the Noise (great first chapter, too much baseball in the second but I know Nate Silver loves baseball)
  • 4:30: Decided I was tired enough to go to sleep, so I put the book down and turned off the light
  • 4:50ish: Fell asleep
  • 6ish: Wake up after having an odd dream that I now can’t remember
  • 6:10ish: Fell back to sleep
  • 7:04: Wake up, went downstairs

So, I was in bed for a little over 8 hours, and I slept about 5 hours of that. Usually, I’m in bed for under 6 hours. Have had 3 nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep, but this was the most disrupted sleep night I’ve had in a couple of weeks.

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog

Deer Attack

We have some very nice bushes near our door, as a photo from last spring indicates.


Or I should say “had,” because this is what they look like now:


Upon closer inspection, we saw the deer prints. I guess they took the reindeer sign literally.

   

No Longer the World’s Slowest Blog is a periodic blog with comments on a variety of topics. http://www.dpsinfo.com/blog