The trouble with Oscar

James Bates: Behind the Screen

All you need to know about how hard it will be to get people to watch the Oscars is that a nominated documentary about penguins has been watched by more moviegoers than any of the five best picture contenders.

March of the Penguins was great. The only one of the Best Picture nominees I’ve seen is Crash, which I thought was engrossing, but perhaps not Best Picture quality.

Or that four out of five people — and sometimes fewer — tuning into the broadcast will not have seen any of those movies in a theater.

I don’t plan on watching the Oscars either.

Math Fun at the Washington Post

A graphic at the Washington Post show the amount of money spent on “pork-barrel” projects over the past 10 years. The graphic is captioned as:

The amount of money spent on pork barrel projects — special state or local projects tacked onto federal legislation — has almost tripled (emphasis mine) […]

Except, the numbers in the figure show an increase from $29.1 billion to $52.7 billion. That’s not even double, much nearly triple! It’s only 81%! Of course, it’s probable that the caption writer intended to describe the lower part of the graph which shows the number of projects, rather than the total amount. In that case, the value has increased from 4,155 to 14,211 in 10 years, which is 242%.

So the WaPo is either guilty of mathematical illiteracy or or just plain botched the caption. You decide…

Being out of the country

It’s rather odd to be out of the country when something major is happening in your home state. I was in Europe for two weeks and just got back this weekend. Hearing about Katrina through European media was much different than getting home and actually understanding how devastating it really was. Europe is more focused on apartment fires in Paris, EU-China textile trade wars, German elections, and avian flu, which put Katrina as page 5 news.

Most of my family is scattered around the South, and they’re all alright. I had some cousins who did lose their homes in southern Mississippi, but they were able to evacuate safely.

I seem to have a knack for missing major events, though. I was in Strasbourg and Prague during the 2000 presidential election fiasco, and in Toulouse during the Oklahoma City bombing. I was also in Strasbourg during the 2000 Olympics, which means I got to enjoy them through non-American television!

Bethany Joy Lenz knows a thing or three

My brother sent me a link to an answer by Bethany Joy Lenz to a question about a girl’s shyness. Her answer is very refreshing:

So, the guy you like is just sitting around waiting for YOU to make the first move? Well, chances are that if he’s not willing to take the first risk and ask YOU out, he’s not going to be willing to take risks to defend and protect you during your relationship. And that will NOT be fun. You’ll end up feeling let down, and he’ll end up feeling like a coward. And you are too precious for that! You deserve to be pursued (contrary to everything you may read or hear about the “modern woman”).

Preach it, sister! That whole paragraph needs to be drilled into the head of any guy who thinks he’ll ever be asking any lady out. Making a conscious decision to “pursue” is a gift that every guy should make to any lady he plans to ask out.

On the other side, any lady who is being “pursued” in a dating sense should not construe that as “pursuit” with heavy expectations of matrimonial ends. Two separate issues, very important not to confuse them.

Ryan Seacrest is outta luck

According to the Washington Post: Hold the quiche: Manly men are back

A full 61 percent of women surveyed said they would rather see a man’s hands rough and working hard than well-manicured, a slap in the face to the extreme-makeover, suave-guy crowd.

David Wygant is a relationship consultant quoted in the article, as saying “Women are looking for confident men, not manly men.” Somehow, I’d believe his statement more if he were female. And I hypothesize that confidence is a mark of a manly man.

To be sure, I doubt the same level holds true for the Los Angeles area. Even though

75 percent of women said their ideal man buys his grooming products at a grocery store or drugstore, not a salon.

there are probably more hair salons for men out here, per capita, than anywhere in the world.

No surprise, this is California after all

Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.

Among the materials she has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s journal, John Adams’ diary, Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists” and William Penn’s “The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania.”