Memorial Day thoughts

So, yesterday was the first time that I didn't go to work on Memorial Day in a long long time, if ever.  In fact, I wasn't allowed to go to work (well, not go and get paid for it).  While I appreciate the taking of a day to honor those who have served our country and paid with their lives, I'm not entirely comfortable with how the "day off" has turned into a day of beer and grilling and baseball, much as I like those things.

This NYT article echoes this sentiment and provides a bit of history of the holiday, for those interested.

Having not served in the Armed Forces, I feel like I need to be careful, but my personal feeling about Memorial Day is that I'm not comfortable just not showing up for work, hosting a party, getting misty-eyed during the national anthem shown on TV before the game, but that's about it.  We as a nation do a shitty enough job taking care of those veterans who make it back with a heartbeat - I think those that don't deserve a bit more remembrance, y'know?  On the East Coast I would always try to make it down to DC to visit the Vietnam Wall for Remembrance/Memorial Day; somehow that seems more appropriate.

That said, were I to number among the fallen, I would want my kids, wife, family and friends to have the day off and have a good time, maybe place some flowers on my grave while on their way to take in a minor league baseball game.  Hmm, that sounded a bit morbid, but I think the sentiment is clear.


Harrison Ford hates commies

... and apparently they hate him back: members of Russia's communist party are calling for a boycott of the Crystal Skull.  The quote is funny: the movie "aims to undermine communist ideology and distort history."

If anybody thinks that this movie will be taken at all literally, well, good on them.  We went to see it over the weekend, and K summed it up well: "I don't think that was worth $9.50, but I would have wanted to see it eventually, and if you're going to see it you might as well see it on the big screen."

First, the good: it's entertaining, it has the standard Indy elements, including the requisite bad guy being dissolved/eaten/goo-ified/etc, and has a decent chase scene.  More subtly, Harrison Ford's age is appropriate, and they did a good job not hiding that fact and instead making it work with the story.

That said, sometimes it seemed like Ford did his own stunts, and the film was discouragingly linear.  Maybe I was hoping for too much? dunno.

Finally, back to the Russian communist boycott (wow, I feel like I'm back in the '80s), it occurs to me that really filmmakers have very limited options.  The only acceptable baddies are white; you have to be <strong> really</strong> careful if you're going to use middle-eastern bad guys, I don't think you could use Japanese bad guys unless it's a period piece, and similarly Chinese bad guys are off limits unless the movie is set in 19th-century Hong Kong or something.  So, you're left with cultures, not races, as historical baddies: Nazi Germans (but still white) and Communist Russians (still white).  And I guess even then you're going to piss people off.


8 Drugs to avoid

This is grabbed directly from the June issue of Men's Health, but I thought it was worth posting: a list of eight medications that doctors said they themselves wouldn't take.  Not cheerful, but just in case...

  • Adavair - use only if your other asthma meds are REALLY not working,
  • Avandia - maybe helps diabetes, but doubles the risk of heart failure.
  • Celebrex- still available even though Bextra and Vioxx have been pulled for gastro issues, liver damage, and heart damage.
  • Ketek -  super-antibiotic with liver and heart-rhythm problems.
  • Prilosec & Nexium - suspected link with cardiac issues, elevated bone loss rate.
  • Visene Original - "it gets the red out by shrinking the blood vesses" - can perpetuate the problem.
  • Pseuodephedrine - raises blood pressure and heart rate,  can worsen symptoms of benign prostate disease and glaucoma.

from the blogosphere

Or the Word "Dyke" Ever Again
Teacher: So, for the final sentence we should get some sort of metaphor for tax cuts helping the US recession.
Student #1: Hmm... Hey, you know like, the commercial where they put gum in the hole in the dam to stop the leak?.
Student #2: Or the finger!
Teacher: Oh, you mean in the dyke!
Student #1: Yeah, so... Tax cuts would be the finger in the hole of America's dyke?
Teacher: Maybe we shouldn't use a metaphor.

English Essentials Class
Waimea, Hawaii

Overheard by: boehmface
via Overheard Everywhere, May 25, 2008