Charlie Victor Romeo (2013)

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Sep 202016

In some ways it’s the quintessential “hard-to-watch” film.  The learning-curve is steep, but short…

This is the movie version of a broadway play (if that’s even the right fucking word), and in this case, “movie version” means they filmed it close-up with a few cameras.  It’s kinda hard to pigeonhole this thing, which is ironic given its brutal simplicity.

It’s the dramatization of the final minutes of a handful of aviation accidents and incidents (which is FAA speak for events in which people were and were not killed or injured, respectively).  It’s rigorously-based on Cockpit Voice Recordings (hence the title), and while a few college experiences left me with an abiding disdain for “theater people”, the verisimilitude of this is such that the troupe has been given kudos by Air Force generals and their performances have been taped by the Pentagon for training purposes.  Some scenes are disconcertingly short: one lasting only long enough for the pilots to take-off and register multiple bird-strikes moments before the mercifully antiseptic fade-to-black and the text-card reporting all crew and passengers lost.

This HuffPo article describes the production as being fairly non-renumerative for the theatre: “Nobody gets paid much, and everyone hangs on to day jobs. Daniels works construction, Berger is in robotics. ”  It characterizes the actors as being drawn to the production “not because they’re into the theater necessarily, but because they’re into the gear,” and says that the show’s “forensic accuracy” is counterbalanced by an “inescapable moral responsibility”, cautiously likening it to a memorial of sorts.

As I said, I have a special aversion to theater-folk, and was prepared to hate this from the get-go based on the Netflix reviews (the worse of which liken it to a “bad SNL skit”), as well as my admittedly-limited knowledge of aviation based on military history, “The Right Stuff”, and the autobiographical works of Chuck Yeager and Chuck Horner.  After 5 minutes I was ready to give it up, and after 10 minutes I was really ready, but around the 15-minute mark I started to appreciate what the Pentagon saw in it.  It’s damn good stuff.  Though, as others have noted before me, if you’re in any way afraid of air-travel, you should for-sure steer the hell clear.

“Rick and Morty” does “The State of Georgia v. Denver Fenton Allen”

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Jul 272016

This is pretty great.  This video from Comic-Con is Justin Roiland from Adult Swim series “Rick and Morty” reading an insane courtroom transcript from a June 2016 Georgia murder trial, word-for-word, in the voices of characters Rick and Morty (with minimal animation added).  For more info see these posts from College Humor and  If you’re not familiar with the show, scroll-down and check out the opening scene from episode 1 first.

Red House Painters: A Retrospective

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Jan 302016

Beds, Rollercoasters, Bridges and Beaches: A Red House Painters Retrospective (By Martin Aston)


Medicine Bottle is one of those songs you can just put on repeat for a few hours.   “[A] lengthy epic that felt like time has been suspended, ‘Medicine Bottle’ very slowly dissected a failed relationship.” Medicine Bottle – lyrics (

President Obama interviews The Wire Creator David Simon [12:17]

 Journalism, The Widening Gyre, Video  Comments Off on President Obama interviews The Wire Creator David Simon [12:17]
Mar 262015

This conversation’s a little stilted, but it makes a great case for decreasing incarceration of non-violent criminals.  America has the highest percentage of its population in jail of any country in the world, and ex-convicts are basically unemployable and often revert to crime to make a living.


 Journalism, The Widening Gyre  Comments Off on Collapse
Jun 172010
Michael Ruppert lights a cigarette

Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.

Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of “peak oil,” the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. – Link

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: A Worst Case Scenario

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Jun 152010
oil gushes out of damaged wellhead on the floor of the gulf

The Deepwater Horizon’s damaged wellhead may be on the verge of a catastrophic failure, according to an editorial that’s lately been making the rounds on the internet. On June 13, a forum post by “dougr” painted a bleak picture of the situation on “The Oil Well,” a site frequented by many professionals in the oil industry.
BP, with the help of the US government, has kept a tight lid on information regarding the catastrophe, even going so far as to restrict access to journalists and keep unauthorized aircraft away from the area. However, based on BP’s actions to control the spill, dougr believes the situation may be far worse than has been publically disclosed, and presents an ominous possibility: the pipes beneath the sea floor are broken and leaking.
If this is true, the wellhead cannot be plugged or capped from the top, and the only possible solution is clogging the well bore from the bottom via a relief well that is months away from completion. Worse still, as the oil pushes up around the damaged casing, its incredible pressure could cause massive erosion around the casing. If this surrounding layer of cement and rock is sufficiently compromised, the entire well could collapse, leaving simply a “big hole” in the sea floor through; the ensuing geyser of crude oil would dwarf the current flow from the broken wellhead.

Scary stuff. But for now it’s merely speculation. Until we learn more, all we can do is watch and wait.

Picture source: CNN