Friday, September 29, 2006

What the Bleep?!

It only took me two years to view the mind-bending film What the Bleep Do We Know? which combines the laws quantum physics with spirituality. Watching it last night was very timely - just the day before I had a conversation with young Winchester filmmaker Kevin Matheson about how his thoughtful film about his addictive brother may have brought about a long term change in his brother's behavior.

What the Bleep? explains that electrons can behave either as particles or as waves - and it depends on whether they are being observed or not. The Bleep filmmakers contend that being that we are made up of electrons, our mere observation in our life, and the way we observe it can change our reality - much like those crazy electrons. Whoa. I love it. Especially being a filmmaker who observes for a living. And I think so many other people love it because it feels inherently true.

The film gets a bit kum bah ya at the end - a little too much triumph of the human spirit for my snarky liking, but overall, it is great brain yoga.

It's part documentary/part drama with Marley Matlin as a cranky photographer having an existential experience.

Critics hate the film BTW. Which has made it a marketing phenomenon. Quantum Physicist Mr. Porteno is suspicious but not completely damning.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Inanimate Hostility

This from my friend Dr. Deborah Lee - finally! A scientific explanation for why your computer crashes and all of your memory disappears from your hard drives only when you are careening toward deadline with no room for error.

Resistentialism (ri-zis-TEN-shul-iz-um) noun The theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior against us.[Coined by humorist Paul Jennings as a blend of the Latin res (thing)+ French resister (to resist) + existentialism (a kind of philosophy).]If you ever get a feeling that the photocopy machine can sense when you'retense, short of time, need a document copied before an important meeting,and right then it decides to take a break, you're not alone. Now you know the word for it.

Here's a report of scientific experiments confirming the validity of this theory:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What a Woman!

We lost a truly grand person this week with the death of 73-year-old saucy/smart former Texas governor Ann Richards. As a young reporter, I watched her, awestruck, from the floor of the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta as she delivered a rousing speech with a few of her famous salvos, one for pappy George Bush:

"Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth!"

And in keeping with her dedication to push for the rights of all minorities - this good perspective on the talents of women:

"Ginger Rogers did the same thing that Fred Astaire did... she just did it backwards and in high heels!"

Here is the NYTimes obit:

And more hilarious quotes from the guv:

(On ineffective government programs) "You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.''

"A woman's place is in the dome."

"I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you."

Asked once what she might have done differently had she known she was going to be a one-term governor, Richards grinned. "Oh, I would probably have raised more hell."

"Let me tell you that I am the only child of a very rough-talking father. So don't be embarrassed about your language. I've either heard it or I can top it."

"I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don't have any."


This best-selling book was a little ADD for me to connect all the dots drawn by authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner - but their curious and chaotic take on the world is exactly what makes their blog so much fun... engaging bits about everything everyday.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Radical Redfin

It's about time! Who knew talk of real estate could be interesting and even radical? A new real estate service called Redfin buys and sells homes online and has a really entertaining blog.

The NYTimes had a great article on the group last week.

Excellent that Redfin is doing away with the 6 percent fee that goes to real estate agents who basically offer the service of multiple listing and are doing that with attitude and optimism. Too bad they are only in CA and Washington State right now. Really though, what took so long?!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

EnterTech... unfortunate name for an interesting film program at Arizona State University. Their film school is just a year old, but the principals are listening to the universe and trying in the rapidly changing environment to figure out how to prepare the futures of the film industry to be fluent in the language of technology AND content. Impressive that an advisory board of two dozen film veterans - mainly producers, lawyers and studio executives - has signed on to help shape the curriculum and speak to students about the challengs facing the entertainment industry.

"We know that the dominance of 35-millemeter film is over," says Peter Lehman, the director of film and media studies program. "We are in a period of massive change and uncertainty. We need a new kind of person in this industry."

The Magic Millenium

Celebrating Chicago this week - here in the windy city on family biz and had not seen the marvelous Millenium Park opened in 2004. It gives me great hope that a city has focused so grandly and eloquently on its public spaces. The serpentine walkway from the shores of Lake Michigan to the mind-boggling Frank Gehry bandshell is the entree to acres of sparkling experience - the Crown Fountain, the Cloud Gate, the Lurie Gardens, The Art Institute and beyond.

Where I feel New York remains stunned and San Francisco a bit torn between its bohemian and dot-com histories - Chicago feels fresh and free, an American city that knows what it has, and knows how to use it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Secrets and Lives

I am fascinated with a project out of Germantown, MD. where people write their deepest secrets on postcards and send them anonymously to artist Frank Warren.

It started out as Warren's temporary community art project. Now it's where thousands go to post their secrets, and where millions go to read them. Secret-tellers send their secrets to his home here in suburban Washington, D.C., on postcards they decorate themselves. Warren reads every one and picks 10 to 20 to post on his blog every Sunday.

They are mini-works of art. Some are heartbreaking, some are hilarious, some are touching or thought-provoking or shocking or silly or repulsive.

Among the most shocking posts was one featured in the Washington Post last year - the secret that the confessor's family thought he/she was dead after 9-11.

Coming up in October, a presentation by Frank Warren, Thursday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m., at George Mason's Fall for the Book Festival at the campus' Concert Hall, Center for the Arts.