Saturday, March 13, 2010

Of Course We Remember You!

There are a lot of places I could start this week.  The pending (maybe?  finally?) health insurance reform legislation.  The new state standards for Social Studies in Texas (oh, don't worry, we are SO going there.)  The near-elimination of Big Brother's Jordan and Jeff on The Amazing Race (this woman can't tell time, figure out which direction a subway is going, or eat sauerkraut - yet she still got the best looking boyfriend on reality TV.)

But we must begin with this week's premiere of Remember Me, the new Robert Pattinson film produced by...wait for it...

Cousin Trevor.

You should remember Cousin Trevor from January's Bar Mitzvah post, where he exhibited a tremendous capacity for offending people up close.  This week, Cousin Trevor, who brought the world such important contributions to film as All About Steve (the film that Sandra Bullock did NOT win an Oscar for) and License to Wed (boasting the only known on-screen appearance of Robin Williams and Mandy Moore) continues showcasing a talent for large-scale offense.

The offensive product is Remember Me, a tearjerker for teens that, according to Rotten Tomatoes, has received 79% poor reviews.  The reviews range from calling it "ambitious but overwrought" to a "poorly conceived melodrama."  My favorites, however, come from Rolling Stone's Peter Travers - who's often cited as giving good reviews to anything on a screen - who called it "weepy drool until the twist ending which turns it shockingly offensive," and The Boston Globe, which dubbed it "Some Kind of Terrible."

So, it's pretty much Schaedenfreude Saturday around here.

Next on my list to share with you is the state social studies standards in Texas, which has been revised by a 10-5 party line vote of the Texas Board of Education to put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, while voting down proposed revisions regarding the role of Latinos or the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom.

Neil, who is a product of Texas public education, remarked on a trip to Rome that he never learned anything about the Roman Empire because he never had to take any world history.  However, he clearly recalls the 12 years of Texas history he was forced to endure. (Seriously, I know it's a big state that flew under the flags of six nations - but twelve years of Texas history?  How many times can you study Sam Houston, the Alamo and the state fair?  This is a state whose contribution to America includes failed insurgencies (the Confederacy, the Alamo), George Bush (not the good one, the crappy one) and fried Oreos.)

Shall we take a look at some of the new standards?  (Additions in bold.)

Middle School Economics

The student understands the origin and development of the free enterprise system in the United States.  The student is expected to:
(A) explain why a free enterprise system of economics developed in the new nation, including minimal government intrusion and taxation, and property rights.

This is for 7th graders?  Seriously?  Who wrote these standards, Grover Norquist?

I wish I were a seventh grade social studies teacher.  Here would be my final exam:

"Given the strong historical importance of minimal government intrusion, please explain why there is no justification for denying same-sex couples the right to marry."

Something tells me I wouldn't last long in an Amarillo Junior High School.

My favorite new standard, however, is this one:

High School History. (Unit covers 1970s-1990)

...(E) describe the causes, key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

While I'm tickled to offer an essay that highlights the penchant for members of the Moral Majority to demagogue against homosexuality right up until they get caught sleeping with teenage boys, I'm not touching the NRA.  Dude, they've got guns.

And speaking of tickled...

Can we please talk about the post-resignation meltdown of New York Congressman Eric Massa?  Do we really live in a time where a former member of the House can go on television and actually try to defend charges by saying he was simply having "Tickle Parties?"  "Tickle Parties???"  Did this phrase just enter our national lexicon, introduced by a Congressman who should be disgraced and, instead, is indignant?

Are you kidding me?

How is it that Eliot Spitzer all of a sudden doesn't look like the nadir of American politics?

And Nancy Pelosi better start cracking the whip and opening up some ethics investigations.  The Democrats won back Congress on charges of Republican corruption (Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Mark Foley) only to foist upon us Charlie Rangel, Eric Massa and that Jefferson person who had $100,000 in bribes in his freezer.  (That's some cold hard cash!  I've been looking for an opening for that joke for months.)

Other than that - there's not much to tell you. I can't tell you about my dinner in Vegas, cause I've been sworn to secrecy, but I've got photos in case I need to save my job someday.  The rest of the trip was uneventful - other than a trip to the best airport candy store ever (Concourse D, The Candy Shoppe) - and a flight home during which the pilot requested medical assistance for a passenger.

Seriously, this is the second time in less than a month that this has happened.  Who the hell is getting on airplanes these days? There's something disconcerting about a flight attendant carrying an oxygen tank to mid-cabin less than an hour into a four and half hour flight.

But I'm home - at long last at home.  A rainy Saturday - perfect for Atchafalaya Roast Chicken.  Neil is making it tonight for our friend Robert's birthday.  It's a Paul Prudhomme recipe, and it's the best chicken ever!

Oh - one last thing - can we please start proofreading the texts and emails sent from mobile devices?  Half the emails I get these days look like they're written in Polish.  Oh...and putting "Please excuse typos" (or, even worse, Plwasr excude tyoos) does not make it better.

No comments:

Post a Comment