Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The lengths some people will go to for our entertainment

I've begun watching Planet Earth, the BBC nature series. It's awesome, by the way, so if you're into nature shows (and, really, who isn't) I recommend putting it on your movie queue. I've only gotten through the first disc so far, but I've started to notice a trend of craziness among the filmmakers.

The way each hour long episode is broken up is that there is 45 minutes of regular episode, and then 15 minutes of "Planet Earth Diaries", where they tell you a story about some aspect of filming that particular episode. The three episodes on disc one were "from pole to pole" (the introduction), "mountains", and "fresh water". The diary for "pole to pole" was about the camera they used that was originally developed as a spy camera, so they can film from really high up so they don't disturb the animals, which is kind of cool. For "mountains" they were talking about how while they were trying to film snow leopards in the Himalayas, they had to wait for the okay from the coalition forces before they continued up the Pakistan-Afghan border, because the army couldn't have them treking across terrain where they were looking for al Qaeda cells. And in "fresh water" the divers were getting a little disspirited in their quest to swim with/film Amazonian pirhanas in a feeding frenzy, but their morale was boosted when on one dive, a local gator started inspecting around the diver/cameraman's head. See, these were safe gators to be diving with because they are a species that only gets up to 2.5 meters long, and you don't need to start worrying about the gators until they get to be 3 meters long. I enjoy nature programs, but I don't need the film crews to be killed by terrorists or eaten alive by aligators just for my viewing pleasure. That being said, though, crazy people who are willing to do things like that get really good footage.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vatican Air

The Vatican has started a new charter service to take Catholic pilgrims to various shrines. I'm sure they have a very thorough screening process to ensure that the people getting on the flights are actually Catholic and are intending to go on an actual pilgrimage, not just a cheap flight for their vacation. And it seems like the stewardesses chould be nuns, which is quite the image. Here's the follow up article with more about it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

traffic calming devices

There was a sign for "traffic calming devices" at an intersection that I pass all the time. They will be installed on or about May 8, 2006, which means it's been there for about a year and a half, and I had never seen it before. But anyway, what is a traffic calming device? Does that mean speed hump (the ones that are wider than regular speed bumps and aren't painted yellow)? Or is it something else? At any rate, it's a funny term.

The Magic Flute

We went to see the Magic Flute yesterday. It was lovely. The singing was good (even the kids who weren't quite together were at least cute), the costumes were a nice nod to period costumes, and the sets were appropriately background-y. In all, it was a nice evening out. Besides, who doesn't love some good glockenspiel music?

Monday, August 13, 2007

The international language of. . . baseball?

America has a goodwill ambassador of baseball. It's Cal Ripken. I guess it's like being a UN goodwill ambassador, except instead of promoting the end of world hunger, or whatever it is that Angelina Jolie does, he's promoting baseball. Almost the same thing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A for effort

I made bread. My attempts at bread making tend to be a bit hit or miss. I don't what it is about bread, but I just can't make a consistent product. Oh well. Anyway, this particular loaf didn't quite want to rise properly. I don't know why. It's certainly warm and humid enough. So the finished product was a little dense (and a bit on the dry side, but it did include corn meal, so that makes most things dry), but not terrible. And it does go well with butter and jam, so it'll get eaten. And there's always next time to do better.