Everybody seems to have something to say about Sunday's final Sopranos episode, and a lot of it has me pretty pissed off. Last night i decided to faggeddaboutit, but as the whining and kvetching continues on Tuesday, i have to say-
SHUT UP, BITCHES!
Did you even watch the previous 85 episodes? Is there any possibility that an unambiguous 'closure' (i thought i hated that expression, but had no idea how much until yesterday morning) could have satisfied one person, not to mention everyone?
If you had been paying attention, how could you expect that David Chase was going to hand you Tony whacked/Tony indicted/Tony victorious/Tony loses children/Tony goes into witness protection and becomes Kevin Finnerty/yaddayaddayadda, all wrapped up in a tidy package? Has he EVER tidied up the loose ends before?
If you have enjoyed the show over the years, why was that exactly? Because i always thought the show was special in the way it challenges you - entertains, sure, but makes you work for it, and never lets the characters or the viewers off the hook. Since the overriding theme is that everyone is more or less guilty, and that change is hard won to the point of being practically nonexistent, why is a final event necessary? But, if you insist, for your pleasure, Chase has provided you with a choose-your-own-Sopranos-ending finale. This is, in fact, more than i expected, and while today it might please me to think Tony got whacked along with the viewers, tomorrow i might think he'll sidestep a hit man and prison time, only to have his depression mount as his family continues to disappoint... see? The pleasure is the speculation, not the resolution.
And do not whimper about being mind fucked... what, you hated Fight Club? Don't like surprises or dashed expectations? But you love The Sopranos.... riiiight. What does Livia say - "It's all a big nothing!". The "big nothing" is the theme of the show. Nobody and nothing changes. There have been fabulous and not-so-great episodes, but every episode had been consistent with the premise of the show. After eight years the final show was faithful to that idea, and The Sopranos never jumped the shark. The worst crime was after years of spectacular music, making a Journey song stick in my head. And even that was true to the needs of the show.
Okay, i got that off my chest. In the past week i've looked at hundreds of blog posts about the show, and many 'best' lists. Sean Collins' list is the hands-down winner.
130 Things I Loved About The Sopranos
Generally, i tend to agree with Robert Anton Wilson that optimism is the best outlook, in terms of human survival strategy. Last year at this time Jim and i fervently hoped, and i pretty much assumed, that 2006 just had to be better than 2004 or 05. Of course, from a personal standpoint last year Jim's life ended, and the worst year of my life commenced. But with a much wider perspective, things on this planet also seem to be rapidly falling apart, and it's so difficult to even plan for the future.
If you need what my father calls a cheer-up, or just share an anxious, down feeling today, i urge you to check out The World Question Center 2007. The Edge Foundation annually asks experts in various science and humanities disciplines for their reasons for optimism. There are dozens, and they make totally compelling and inspiring reading. Some of them are obvious, or even idiotic, but there are thought provoking, even mind blowing perspectives and predictions.
Thanks to Boing Boing for the day- making link!
Today, October 3, is the International Day Against DRM (Digital Restrictions Management; that stuff that's crippling the legal CDs, DVDs and download you purchase). If you're unsure why DRM is a problem (or sure it isn't), take a look around DRM.info for a simple introduction, or The Electronic Frontier Foundation for the grand tour. For the lighter side, or to spread the word painlessly, find some videos here.
i recently read Chris Anderson's The Long Tail but almost missed the Boing Boing post about this very funny satirical movie trailer. As pointed out in one of the creators' blogs, the parody isn't precisely about 'the long tail', but of you've read the book or are a copyfight or open source advocate, you will laugh.
i'm posting the full text of this post from Poppy Z. Brite's blog with her encouragement, because some of you don't get clicky with it, and this update for those of us outside the area should be read.
If the information in this post surprises or interests you, check out her blog for the Carlos Mencia controversy which prompted the list. i swear, this country is getting so jacked up i hardly recognize it any more.
Occasionally I'm asked by friends Not From Here, "New Orleans is better now, right? You had Mardi Gras!" or "Are you doing OK?" or some variation. Sometimes, particularly if they're contemplating a visit, I even try to reassure them: it's very possible to have a good, safe time here; the French Quarter is fine; lots of restaurants and bars are open. In truth, though, New Orleans and most of its inhabitants are very much Not OK. I present to you a baker's dozen facts about life in the city seven months after the storm. Some are large, some small. I think many of them will surprise you.
1. Most of the city is still officially uninhabitable. We and most other current New Orleanians live in what is sometimes known as The Sliver By The River, a section between the Mississippi River and St. Charles Avenue that didn't flood, as well as in the French Quarter and part of the Faubourg Marigny. In the "uninhabitable sections," there are hundreds of people living clandestinely in their homes with no lights, power, or (in many cases) drinkable water. They cannot afford generators or the gasoline it takes to run them, or if they have generators, they can only run them for part of the day. They cook on camp stoves and light their homes with candles or oil lamps at night.
2. There is a minimal police presence, and most of it is concentrated in the Sliver. Homes in other parts of the city are still being looted, vandalized, and burned.
3. Many parts of the city have had no trash pickup -- either FEMA or municipal -- for weeks. Things improved for a while, but now there are nearly as many piles of debris and stinking garbage as there were right after the storm.
4. There are no street lights in many of the "uninhabited" sections, which makes for very dark nights for their residents.
5. Many of the stoplights, including some at large, busy intersections, still don't work. They have become four-way stops (with small, hard-to-see stop signs propped up near the ground) and there are countless wrecks.
6. There is hardly any medical care in the city. As far as I know, only two hospitals and an emergency facility in the convention center are currently operating. Emergency room patients, even those having serious symptoms like chest pains, routinely wait eight hours or more to be seen by a doctor. We have, I believe, 600 hospital beds in a city whose population is approaching (and may have surpassed) 250,000.
7. Most grocery stores, many drugstores, and countless other important retail establishments are only open until 5, 6, or at best 8:00 PM because of the lack of staffing. This is only an inconvenience for me, but it's crippling for people who work "normal" hours.
8. The city's recycling program has been suspended indefinitely. We talk about restoring the wetlands that could buffer us from another storm surge, but every day we throw away tons of recyclables that will end up in the landfills that help poison our wetlands.
9. Cadaver dogs and youth volunteers gutting houses are still finding bodies in the Lower Ninth Ward. Of course these corpses are just skeletons by now -- the other day they found a six-year-old girl with an older person, possibly a grandmother, located near her -- and they may never be identified. The bodies are hidden under debris piles and collapsed houses. This is in the same section of town that some of the politicians are aching to bulldoze.
10. Thousands of people who lived in public housing were forcibly removed from their homes. It is now being suggested by much of the current power structure, including our very liberal Councilman at Large Oliver Thomas, that they not be allowed back into these homes unless they can prove they had jobs before the storm or are willing to sign up for job training. (Many of you may agree with this, and I did too, sort of, until I really thought about it. Hadn't they already qualified for the housing? What about the ones who had jobs that don't exist anymore? How can they find jobs in New Orleans if they don't live here?)
11. There are still flooded, wrecked, and abandoned cars all over the streets, parked in the neutral grounds, and in many cases partly submerged in the canals out East. Now that it's campaign time, Mayor Nagin is trying to come up with a solution for this, but he thinks maybe we should wait for FEMA to do it (!!!!!) and he claims the best removal offer he's gotten so far was "written on the back of a napkin."
12. Many of the FEMA trailers -- you know, the ones costing taxpayers $70,000 each -- have been delivered to homeless New Orleanians but cannot be lived in because the city doesn't have enough people to come out and do electrical inspections, and the trailers need a separate hookup instead of being hooked into the house's power supply, and a dozen other damn fool things. While these trailers sit empty, there is an easily constructed, far more attractive structure called a "Katrina cottage" that could easily be built all over south Louisiana. It costs about $25,000 less than the flimsy, uncomfortable trailers. FEMA refuses to use it because they're not allowed to provide permanent housing.
13. A large percentage -- I've heard figures ranging from 60 to 75% -- of current New Orleanians are on some form of antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug. The lines at the pharmacy windows have become a running joke. When a visiting "expert" gave a Power Point presentation on post-traumatic stress disorder recently, the entire audience dissolved into hysterical laughter.
This is very good news for Basques, and human rights activists worldwide. Even better news if the Spanish and French governments begin dealing justly with the Basque people.
Good overviews of the Basque conflict, and what the cease fire might mean, at the Christian Science Monitor, and Bloomberg.com.
Text of the Communique of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna to the Basque Citizens
Rachel Bevilacqua's Blog reports that the Judge in her custody case has granted a two hour supervised visit with her son, with more visits to be arranged if he sees the visit has no ill effects on the child. Perhaps with sustained attention from the internet and continued donations to her legal fund, there will be a mutually satisfactory future for both biological parents.
i'm going to try to keep this light, but, really, it isn't. Rev. Mary Magdalen, conspiracy name Rachel Bevilacqua, has been engaged in a nine year custody fiasco with her son's father, culminating in this incredibly unfair turn of events. Some readers of this blog may be unfamiliar with The Church of the SubGenius, if, for example you don't pay much attention to banners and blogrolls. If you're not a SubGenius, perhaps the concept of X-Day might be hard to grasp, and you might not comprehend why, 1.) attendance at X-Day might shock a Roman Catholic judge, and 2.) why Rachel and her husband's membership in the Church and its participation in its events is in no way a sign of unfit parenting. But, lets be clear, this judge's custody decisions are based solely on Rachel and Steve's high profiles in the Church. As Rev. Stang points out, if we can't get this judgement overturned, any woman who has ever been to X-Day could lose custody of her children.
Over the past several years i've seen and spoken with Rev. Magdalen at X-Days and Devivals, and wasn't even aware she had a child, which speaks to the fact that her son Kohl has been kept well apart from the more adult aspects of SubGenius life. She is a person of uncommon sweetness, charm and self possession, which is shown by the amount of strength it takes to keep your convictions while living through a parent's worst nightmare. Rev. Ivan Stang has a blog entry on just how much SubGenii owe to Magdalen and Jesus here, and the official Church account of the case and legal donation site has detailed information on why money is desperately needed to see justice is served.
Praise "Bob", we're seeing some tax refunds this year, and i'm grateful to help a little, when so often lately we have to sit idle due to lack of funds. i'm urging you to go to the links, read, and donate (scroll down). Then, take a look at Jesus' General's take on the subject.
Thanks to Rev. Michael and modemac at the High Weirdness Project for mucho info.
Let's not let the pinks win this round!