Pavilion Digest: March 2004

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Pavilion Digest: March 2004

Postby admin » Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:45 pm

The following posts contain Art Deco Dining Pavilion messages for the month of March 2004.

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Getting the Waste Products Oughtta Here

Postby robochrist » Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:45 pm

Name: Rob
Source: unca20040306.htm
Harlan: "Turtles do not unclench till the thunder rolls."

BEAUTIFUL! Utterly, unequivocally, judiciously, expediently, befittingly, and melllllll-IF-luously BEAUTIFUL!

Harlan (AND Rick) saved me the trouble of having to pounce on this clueless Butch Dosher Fred-type goon. (I dismissed his stupid ramblings completely until he groundlessly javelined Sagan)

It is sad - REALLY sad - that for every great, benevolent human being like Sagan there are two or three "Freds", this inbred Morlock-like subspecies roaming the earth in a useless existence...making such tasks as Carls to inform, enlighten, and inspire arduous as hell.

...then you wonder why they call me cynical.

Well...either well ultimately make it as a species because of rationality and spirit like Sagans or well go down because of too many dumb-shit Freds running the show. Its a drama that will have to play itself out.

P.A. Berman

Postby P.A. Berman » Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:00 am

Name: P.A. Berman
Source: unca20040306.htm
Cindy: You didn't need ME to tell you to be sweet; it comes naturally to you. Just be yourself and you'll be fine. Let us know if you are able to get Paris off the hook.

Scott Challman: Your depiction of test preparation and the derailment of meaningful teaching to up the scores is accurate in NY also. An unbelievable amount of pressure is on the teaching staff to raise scores. Kids learn to write very specific types of essays, whose larger value is questionable to me. Most teachers I know loathe these tests and vocally oppose them, with little effect. As always, these decisions come from far above us.

A major problem I've noticed is that minority students tend to underperform on these tests. Rather than realize that the tests might be racist, it's thrown back on the teachers to modify their teaching methods, offer free after school instruction, etc., to raise their scores. Makes everyone feel bad about themselves for a questionable goal.

DTS: As for zero tolerance, I think enforcement levels vary. The school where I work is not prison-like or fascistic. Most kids seem pretty happy; their major complaints are that they can't wear hats in school. Anyone can go to the restroom when he needs to, and very few security measures could be categorized as draconian. I wouldn't be so fast to paint the entire American public school system with the "Nazi" brush. I'm not saying your kids' school isn't bad, I'm just saying that zero tolerance is not the biggest problem facing my school.


Mark Orr


Postby Mark Orr » Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:01 am

Name: Mark Orr
Source: unca20040306.htm
How typical of the gummint. When a school clearly has problems, their response is, to paraphrase that great philosopher Gallagher, to take away more of what they already know those schools ain't got enough of. Another example of getting political mileage out of fixing the blame rather than fixing the problem.

The past several years I've picked up a little extra money working part-time for a company that grades those standardized tests. Although we never knew who the students were or where their schools were more specifically than in which state, it was obvious when the kids had truly been taught the subjects we were grading as part of their curriculum, and when the teacher was teaching to the test. Or hadn't even tried. In order to have a grasp of the material, some underlying concepts had to have been previously covered. If the concepts were evident in the essays, it appeared that those kids had been given a good foundation. Where the answers were obvious regurgitations of rote memorization of the answers, teaching to the test seemed to be a probability. Kind of hard to explain in the limited space here, but you get a feel for that sort of thing after a while.

What always frustrated me was to get a paper from an apparently bright student who wrestled with the question and came up with an ingenious answer that was, nonetheless, the wrong one, because he or she had no foundation to understand the question.

I'm not an educator, nor do I play one on TV, but as a contributor to an online magazine I used to edit once said, "Standardized tests will only make sense when we have standardized kids".

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Postby rich » Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:33 am

Name: rich
Source: unca20040306.htm
Am I the only motherfucker out here who thinks that they gave the Oscar for Best Song to the wrong folks? No disrespect to Annie Lennox, but TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE had the clear winner.

Oh, and Jack Black and Will Ferrell should be hosting next years Oscars telecast.

Jon A. Bell

Random Religious Thoughts

Postby Jon A. Bell » Mon Mar 01, 2004 7:51 am

Name: Jon A. Bell
Source: unca20040306.htm
A couple of odds 'n ends:

M: You said, "One wonders if Gibson, a born again Christian, may have allowed his judgment to be blurred by his beliefs, attempting to use the bully pulpit of mass culture to turn allegory into reality."

Um, I don't think so. Mel Gibson is an extremely staunch Catholic whose particular branch of Catholicism rejects the reforms of Vatican II. It may be considered "fundamentalist" or "extremist," but not "born-again," which is the province of Protestants (of which Southern Baptists are the largest part in the U.S.) Catholics aren't "born again," and Protestants regard the conspicuous display of a cross WITH Jesus on it as something dark, creepy and vaguely idolatrous. (A cross by itself is simply seen as a symbol.)

How do I know all this? Because I was born and raised in Southern Missouri (what I call "the buckle on the Bible Belt,"), and I dutifully trudged off to church on Sundays with my parents (devout Christians but not extreme fundamentalists; for example, Pentacostals -- called "holy rollers" -- were looked upon as somewhat scary by most Baptists. Which is another aside: people can be extremely "religious" in that community, but if you have an overwhelming "spiritual" experience, and actually fall down in ecstatic transcendent awe, it's regarded at best as a loss of decorum; at worst, as frighteningly close to something resembling possession.) Anyway, I had doubts about my faith ever since I was a little kid -- there were too many contradictions and just-plain "hey, this makes no sense to me!" kind of moments, to me. So, I just had to learn how to keep my mouth shut, and, when listening to a sermon, go off for inner journeys thinking about comics, SF books, the Enterprise, the Seaview, the Batmobile, special effects -- basically, stuff that was more interesting to me. Finally, when I was 18 (1979), I simply told my parents that I wasn't going to attend church any more, and after a brief period of harassment, they accepted it and left me alone. From there, I went through periods of militant atheism until arriving at my current low level of vaguely pagan/Buddhist, non-specific spirituality -- with "faith" as a concept itself no longer tied in to odious conventional religions, and belief in the transcendent -- even if it's simply a part of myself (the unconscious mind) -- as a sometimes-useful focusing/coping tool.

Anyway, jump forward to this past Saturday morning: my wife Joan and I were driving through Sedona after a snowstorm, just to see the red rocks sprinkled in white, and I decided to detour to show my wife the newly-completed (and architecturally interesting) Jewish synagogue off the main highway. (My wife is Jewish, non-practicing, but respectful of her heritage.) She'd seen the back of the temple, but the "front" of it actually faces away from the road, towards the mountains. So, we get out, walk around it, walk up to the front door, and were pulled in by a charming bearded man (a Jewish cowboy, if you can imagine such a thing; he was wearing a bolo tie and had a yarmulke on under his cowboy hat!) nicknamed "Grandpa," who, politely but firmly, suggested that we attend the brief service they were about to have (the Jewish community in Sedona is pretty small.)

So, we attended the service -- the first time my wife had been to temple in probably 30 years -- and I, a corn-fed Midwestern boy from Missouri, former Southern Baptist, wore a kippa for the first time, which amused my wife no end (I wasn't quite sure of the etiquette, but I did it out of respect.) As Joan put it, the sight of this would've made her mom kvell, and my mom plotz.

Why did we do it? Well, as Harlan is fond of saying, because it seemed like a good idea at the time (or at least, a not-objectionable, interesting idea.) If you consider all your life experiences as anthropological examinations of the human condition, then the oddest, most non-traditional activities to which you're ordinarily accustomed become tolerable, enlightening or even fun.

As for me, I still have no great love for the 3 desert monotheistic religions, but I do have to say: if I'm going to get dragged into any kind of religious ceremony, I'd rather attend a Jewish function (especially a Jewish wedding, which is short, fun, and filled with life) than most others, which strike me as dour and cheerless affairs.

Not a lot of insight here, but I thought I'd share.

-- Jon

P.S. I have no interest in seeing "Passion of the Christ" -- but I'm dying to see "Spider-Man 2!" :-)

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Postby David Loftus » Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:26 am

Name: David Loftus
Source: unca20040306.htm
Wow, I came in here expecting to see a lot more buzz about last night's Academy Awards. Maybe you're all tired. And this is not to say I watched it either (I was rereading _The Tin Woodman of Oz_, still by far one of my favorites for its odd combination of grown-up pathos and even slight creepiness), but I noticed the color photo of Tim Robbins hefting his statuette on the cover of this morning's NYT.

I'm glad he won it. A role like his in "Mystic River" is a lot harder to bring off than many of the more flashy parts that people often win for. And I hope his win does not carry the slightest political whiff of Hollywood thumbing its nose at Bush and Middle America for their discomfort with Robbins offscreen -- much as I know politics is impossible to divorce from the Hollywood award process.

The Portland Int'l Film Festival is over. Along with films I mentioned in the past week, I caught "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself," a Danish-made product in English, set in Glasgow (same guy who did the delightful "Italian for Beginners" a couple years back) -- very fine, thoughtful and amusing movie, set for limited general release in late March, I think. Thumbs up on that one. "Ford Transit" is a Palestinian quasi-documentary about a guy who drives a taxi in the Jerusalem area; fairly undramatic slice-of-life stuff that's worthwhile if you're not looking for a lot of drama or insight. Finally, I saw "Stalingrad," a solid German documentary (obviously a three-part TV miniseries) that uses a lot of excellent archival footage as well as testimony of survivors to tell a riveting, brutal war story.

Jon Bell:

Considering the astounding ignorance of so many people about their own religions, never mind everyone else's, just noting that Gibson is not a born-again qualifies as a stunning insight!

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Postby Eric Martin » Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:01 am

Name: Eric Martin
Source: unca20040306.htm
David, I watched the Oscars, an annual tradition...made jalapeno poppers and swedish meatballs.

I thought the fashions were a little less-stellar this year, and what's with these fat knots on all the guys' ties? Peter Jackson couldn't even be bothered to get his neck-button fastened; come on dude, it's the Oscars. No-one will think less of your cred if you get fitted properly. Brosnan was about the only well-tailored man there, along with Sean Penn.

Charlize Theron had some kind of skin paint applied which looked awful. Nicole Kidman has serious eating issues. I thought Naomi Watts, Sofia Coppolla, and the woman who played Electra all looked lovely. Susan Sarandon still gets my heart singing. The best dress may have been Angelina Jolie's--yowsa.

The stage patter was the usual hit-or-miss. Crystal's intro went on too long this time...too much singing. Jim Carrey is obviously starting to lose it. The pace was good, and I liked the way they did the songs in bunches. Odd to start the death clips with a tribute to Gregory Peck, as if his death was the hardest to bear, or the most important.

Nice tribute to Blake Edwards, a director easily written-off as too light. Too many awards for Lord of the Rings--did Howard Shore really need to win again for essentially the same score? Other films could have used the little boost that even a technical Oscar will provide.

Bill Murray needs to learn a little humility--his hang-dog expression after losing was a little icky. Crystal's making light of it just worsened matters. I liked all the nominees on the stage at the end--nice touch.

Beforehand, on the red carpet, Joan Rivers was far superior to the terrible ABC interviewers, who seemed to go out of their way to make tasteless jokes and act like fawning groupies. And do any of the Hobbits ever date? Geez, it's one of the biggest nights of your life, can't you find someone to share it with? Or are they all gay? I'm personally getting tired of attendees showing up with their Mom, their kid, or as a third wheel to another couple.

Those are scattershot impressions; anyone else?

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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:14 am

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20040306.htm
I think Chris Hitchens has the best review of the Mel Gibson film so far.

Warning, he calls it 'fascist'.

Lots of critics just hate this movie.


I saw Army Of Darkness, and I hafta say, the scene where the little Bruce Campbells' attack the big Bruce is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Side splitting.


The Oscar's became the walk of boredom. Snooze.

Well, at least that nasty Hobbit said goodbye for good.

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Here's a different take...

Postby Duane » Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:33 am

Name: Duane
Source: unca20040306.htm
I have not seen the movie yet, so I don't feel qualified to comment on it. However, here's a review from a renowned SF author (Orson Scott Card) who also happens to share my faith. I won't see it simply because he recommends it; I haven't even decided if I'm going to see it at all. But I believe that his review, and the points he raises about the story and its spiritual aspects, are well worth considering.

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Postby Mark Walsh » Mon Mar 01, 2004 10:56 am

Name: Mark Walsh
Source: unca20040306.htm

Billy Crystal should be put out to pasture; tired jokes, lame mugging for camera time, trite comebacks. As Keith Richards once said about George Michael, "Shave and go home." Well, I have no problem with Crystal's personal grooming, but he should go home. I second Jack Black as next year's host.

Can someone explain Ben Stiller to me? I just don't get him.

Happy that Robbins, Penn and Jackson et al won. Very glad that Eastwood did not. I admire much about _Mystic River_, but it was not the Herculean effort that Jackson gave us.

After they retire Billy Crystal, they should bestow the same honors on the ubiquitous Mr. Sting.

Rich I'm with you - the song from the _Triplets of Belleville_ should have won.

Loved Blake Edwards' wheelchair entrance and have always loved his brand of slapstick.

Eric: how can you tell the difference between Murray's hangdog expression and his other facial expressions?

And finally I am sick, sick, SICK of even the slightest hint of politics during acceptance speeches, left or right. Basta!

John Bell: Great post, man. One of the best I've read here in a while (With the exception of Harlan's, of course). Substitute Roman Catholic for Southern Baptist and you've nearly described my spiritual trajectory.

Frank: Hitchens wrote brilliantly on the latest offering from the Marquis de Gibson, but check out Denby's review if you haven't; it's pretty insightful. Also, take a look at James Caroll's essay on the Common Dreams website, a reprint of his Boston Globe op-ed piece. All three expose Gibson for the masochist he is.

Mark W.

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Postby Deb* » Mon Mar 01, 2004 11:21 am

Name: Deb*
Source: unca20040306.htm
Rick: Oh poor Homer! I hope all goes well with his operation. I have loved seeing his picture here. He looks like a giant version of my dogs ( pugs ). They are all in the same family believe it or not. Mine are Mini mastiffs! Does Homer have hip dysplasia? How old is he? In any case, I'll be thinking about you both.

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Postby Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2004 11:48 am

Name: Lil' Washu
Source: unca20040306.htm
Well,as expected, ROTK sweeped the Academy off it's feet. I wasn't able to catch the broadcast, but frankly after last year's little fiasco (these jerks had the AUDACITY to boo Michael Moore off-stage? What were they expecting the minute he got up in there in the first place?), I wouldn't have had the stomach or the will to tune in anyway. And why the heck wasn't ROTK given at least a little more competition? Even letting THE HULK get nominated in Visual Effects category would have been some welcome variety to the proceedings.


I'm afraid I don't 'get' Ben Stiller either. There's something intangible, something smarmy about his brand of humour that repels me like sour milk. Some of the best comedians make the effort they put into their work invisible to the naked eye. With Stiller, it's as if he's repeatedly smashing his face against the camera just to squeeze a single smirk from the audience. His forced theatrics remind me of a TINY TOON ADVENTURES cartoon, with all of it's obnoxious mugging and wannabe wiseassery intact.


"...the scene where the little Bruce Campbells' attack the big Bruce is the funniest thing I have ever seen."

No kidding. Why can't Tom Cruise ever be assaulted by midget versions of himself?

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down...


Postby Dorie » Mon Mar 01, 2004 12:08 pm

Name: Dorie
Source: unca20040306.htm
Well I didn't watch the Oscars, but I have to agree with Mark and Li'l Washu: I don't care for Billy Crystal OR Ben Stiller. Though I think I'd apply "smarmy" to Billy first of all. I'm not sure why Stiller is always cast in comedic roles, he looks like the sociopaths whose pictures adorn the post office walls. Something about those eyes, he looks as if he's listening to The Voices In His Head. Maybe he'd be better as a mad slasher type.

Chris L

Postby Chris L » Mon Mar 01, 2004 12:38 pm

Name: Chris L
Source: unca20040306.htm
There are many great mysteries in the world but none greater to me than the fact that people cannot see how unbearably awful and infuriating and irritating and witless Will Ferrell is. This man should be liquidated and sold for parts just to prevent him from ever appearing in front of a camera again. WHat the hell is wrong with everyone???? Can't you see??????

OK, that's out of the way.

Mark said he was sick of politics at the Oscars - well, they sure as hell took care of that this year, didn't they? Yeesh, what a nauseating suck-up this year's Oscars was. "We're all good, decent, middle-of-the-road Americans. See, we all brought mom with us. And we even have Michael Moore getting stomped by an elephant just to apologize for letting him dare speak his mind last year!"

I'm sick of politics NOT being at the Oscars. The implication being that film and politics have no business mixing. What a depressing notion. Of course, film should be concerned with politics and filmmakers likewise.

Not that I expected otherwise but what a shame that Keisha Castle-Hughes didn't win. Maybe if she puts on 50 points and ages 60 years and gets a sex change operation for her next role, the voters will ooh and ah and give it to her.

Penn was good but Murray was brilliant and it was a crime to see him robbed. If there's one rule at the Oscars, the loudest, most over-the-top performance is going to win almost every time. Scenery-chewing gets the vote almost every time.

LOTR was great and deserving for most awards but the score stinks. Sorry to say it. It's unimaginative, bombastic and utterly boring. So were most of the other scores nominated - are they even different scores anymore? The Hans Zimmer/Howard Shore/James Hoerner school of "We really like John Williams" scoring all blends together for me. FInding Nemo was the only _original_ score out of the group.

And of course Triplets should have won for best song but that wasn't gonna happen. I love Annie Lennox but that song is a relatively weak effort for her.

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