May 31st, 2010

New Tilley Hat

Listening to Al Jazeera

Ate at the Somali restaurant across the street. As always, they had Al Jazeera on... two sets with two different channels. I was closer to one than the other, though at some point someone turned down the closer one so I heard a bit of the other.

As you might imagine, both channels were only covering one story, Israel flotilla action sparks diplomatic furor. Not at all objectively. They just allowed various people their soapboxes.

While I strongly suspect that the whole story is not quite as stark as the Arab screeds make out, there's no question this is a big incident and it looks like Israel screwed up.

Interestingly, as I sat there eating lunch, I found that I didn't mind listening to Al Jazeera. I've heard them before, usually at Somali restaurants, and their reporting is generally good to very good, and covers events that don't seem to make it into the US media.

On the other hand, I can't stand listening to Fox or CNN. Fox is the worst, of course, but CNN isn't much better.

The partisans on Al Jazeera are largely uninterrupted and don't get very tough questions, but their positions are understandable, if one-sided, and their passion comes through.

Meanwhile the hyper-partisans on the American news media just lie. If the speaker is from the right, chances are good that the truth is the exact opposite of what they're saying. Speakers on the left do much better, but they often have to provide a stark contrast to the lies gushing from the other side and so come off poorly themselves. There are very few, if any, people from the middle. Reasonable people saying reasonable things don't get ratings.

Various places I've worked had Fox on all the time. It was disgusting. Now, I mainly see them through The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. CNN is my default news channel, in case something really is a breaking story, but I can rarely watch for more than a few minutes before some right-winger comes on to bear false witness.

The state of American news media is so sad, so far to the right, and not very good at what they do. This is why ratings are down: If you only preach to the choir, people who want actual news will go elsewhere. Such as comedy shows or Al Jazeera.
New Tilley Hat

Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After is the fourth (and possibly final) entry in the series. I thought it was great. The acting is terrific: Not just the voices, but the animated characters. The jokes are funny... and come at you rapid fire. The cinematography is excellent: Lots of moving camera and there are laughs just from reveals and angles. The musical cues are spot on. Sure, it takes more than a little suspension of disbelief, but if you're coming back after three Shrek's then you'll do fine. The first movie was great, and all of them have improved in some respect. Here, they got everything right.

It's both a family movie, and a dark movie; funny and touching at the same time.
A not terribly spoilerish plot summary under the cutCollapse )
I saw it at Southdale in "An IMAX 3D Experience". Neither Carole (who also loved the movie) nor I thought the IMAX part was worth the extra price, thought the large screen was nice, and the 3D was used effectively but not required for enjoyment.

You don't have to stay; there is nothing after the credits.

Highly recommended if you liked the other three. Possibly the best of the bunch.