Filtering by Category: 2007

A New Year

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Hi everybody. This will be my last post for the year 2007. Starting tomorrow morning Bunny and I will be taking a walk. We'll walk and talk for a few days and hopefully we'll come up with some ideas for how to solve some of the problems facing our project. All signs point to 2008 not being a very quiet or peaceful year, but we're going to try our best to at least have it start it out that way.

The four of us - Kim, Mimi, Bunny, and myself - we'd like to wish all of you, our dear animal friends, much peace and beauty for this coming year. I love you.

~ pinky

Costco Chicken

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Gosh I'm tired. After watching that movie the other night (Idiocracy - see yesterday's diary entry), Kim & Mimi said they wanted to visit a Costco in real life (you'd think it was Disneyland or something). Problem is the nearest Costco around here is in Victorville, almost a hundred miles away. We got there by riding on a vegetable truck. Getting back was a nightmare, I don't think you need to know that story.

Well, Costco in real life is not nearly as exciting as it appeared in the movie. No shuttles, no brothels, no amusement parks. But I was impressed with how much STUFF they had. I mean, rows and rows of STUFF piled up all the way to the sky, and people were loading up their large-size shopping carts like there's a hurricane headed this way (there isn't, right?). One thing I thought was pretty weird was what kind of items Costco places next to the check-out lines, for 'impulse purchases'. While in supermarkets you might see small things like chewing gum or gossipy magazines, at Costco they had lots of whole roasted chickens lined up waiting for people to 'grab and go'.

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I felt sad looking at all those chickens sitting in their chicken-sized plastic coffins. I mean, 1 chicken to eat = 1 (formerly) alive chicken and it's hard to believe that the life of 1 chicken is only 'worth' $4.99. "Good deal" I'm sure most people will say. Bunny and Kim were looking at the chickens for a long time, I'm sure they wanted one.

Poor shrimp. The life of 1 shrimp must be worth even less.

~ pinky

A Short Walk; Project Twenty1 Film Festival

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Announcement 1: Pinky and I are just about ready to jump into 'writing phase' for our next few episodes, plus the new year is right around the corner. So we thought it'd be nice to start the new year by going for a walk. Just for a few days. Walking is good, it'll give us a chance to organize our thoughts. We're not bringing any books, just a notepad and a pen. And food and water.

We'll start walking on Dec 31 (new year's eve morning) and walk around here in the desert until maybe Jan 5th or so. It's not so hot right now (about 50°F during the day, 35-ish° F at night) so it should be nice. "Mini-vacation."

We won't be doing any e-mail during this time.

Announcement 2: On January 5th one of our episodes (Thomas Edison Hates Cats) is going to be screened at the Project Twenty1 film festival in Philadelphia. Our very first film festival! We really wanted to attend but it's way too far to walk and we couldn't afford the air fare and stuff. But we were very flattered to be invited and even more surprised when our video was actually selected. This is a 'new' film festival but I think it will be successful because the organizers have lots of energy and are very nice people. But yeah, that's another reason why we're going for a walk. It'd be depressing to be just sitting here at home while our video is being screened at a film festival and we're missing all the parties and stuff.

Okay, see you in about a week.

Bunny

Movie: Idiocracy

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Lately it seems like whenever we decide to unwind and watch a video, we've been gravitating towards comedies. "Temporary escapism", I'm sure.

Last night we watched a movie called Idiocracy. I'd never heard of it but I like Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live) so I wanted to watch it. In the movie Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph get frozen in an Army experiment and wake up 500 years later. When they wake up they discover that everyone in the world has become much, much stupider. So stupid, in fact, that they are now the smartest people on Earth. Society is in a huge mess (even bigger mess than now) and among other things, Costcos have 'evolved' into the size of cities. For example:


I really liked this scene - "Welcome to Costco, I love you. Welcome to Costco, I love you..." - I thought it was almost... deep. The extent to which words and ritual - even beautiful or intimate ones - can be emptied of meaning and exploited for economic gain is something that I think we can all relate to. Equally funny/sad was a scene in which Luke Wilson tries to convince a group of U.S. government officials that in order to cure the nationwide drought, they need to stop watering crops with Gatorade. He doesn't have much success (they are idiots). During that scene Bunny looked at me and said "That's not the future; that's how people discuss things over at YouTube right now!" I can't really argue with that.

~ pinky

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[ Bunny note: I like Maya Rudolph too but just to be clear, the movie sucked. ]

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[ Kim: I thought it was funny. ]

Bunny MailBag: an e-mail from Matthew Bird

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Bunny here. I haven't been doing Bunny Mailbag recently because we've been very busy w/ research, writing, and editing. We have some big deadlines coming up in March so we are trying not to get distracted with anything, even fun stuff like e-mail. But sometimes we receive an e-mail that for whatever reason really annoys me, and then I can't not respond. Today's e-mail was sent to us by some bird named Matthew.

"I am inquiring about your educational backgrounds. You have an intelligently crafted project underway, but you are very one-sided with your content. I wonder, have you read broadly the topics you discuss? All the readings I have done show that many of your concepts about Globalization and economics are plain wrong. Also, logically, your arguments are lacking sorely in some spots. Do you find it responsible to influence people with your simple-minded jargon? I wonder, have you researched beyond the high-school level about global economics or political science or even history? I am not attempting to be completely inflammatory, although it may sound that way. I have gone through dramatic intellectual epiphanies, I wonder if you are open to the same phenomena. - Matthew Bird"

All I can say is "typical bird e-mail". Crows and parrots exempted of course. Anyway, my response:

Hello Matthew. My responses to you are interspersed among your questions/comments below.

> message: I am inquiring about your educational backgrounds.
If I told you we held several advanced degrees here, would it make you feel better? Or worse?

> You have an intelligently crafted project underway, but you are very one-sided with your content.
Do you not understand how hegemony works?

> I wonder, have you read broadly the topics you discuss?
Yes.

> All the readings I have done show that many of your concepts about Globalization and economics are plain wrong.
Have you considered the possibility that you might be reading material written from a different perspective?

> Also, logically, your arguments are lacking sorely in some spots.
Noted. I'll try to glean some pointers re: rhetorical and argumentative clarity by carefully studying your e-mail.

> Do you find it responsible to influence people with your simple-minded jargon?
Please be clear: Do you have a problem with our style of presentation or the content/perspective of our episodes? Or do you simply prefer that we speak exclusively in a highly academic language that most people would have difficulty understanding?

> I wonder, have you researched beyond the high-school level about global economics or political science or even history?
What? What is this thing you call... "history"???

> I am not attempting to be completely inflammatory, although it may sound that way.
I'm free to interpret your e-mail on my own terms, thank you.

> I have gone through dramatic intellectual epiphanies, I wonder if you are open to the same phenomena.
It's pretty common for intellectually self-centered people such as yourself to wonder if others are open to (or even capable of) 'real' knowledge. Perhaps what you really mean is that you will only feel satisfied when others believe in the same things you believe in. In other words, please be careful (as you're potentially dangerous).

Good-bye,
Bunny

New Homepage Picture

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The cross-stitch Pinky I made last year is now featured on our homepage. I also made it into a t-shirt design. Not that anybody is going to want it - everybody loves TV and nobody cares about cross-stitching - but that's okay.

Over the past few weeks Pinky and I have been spending most of our time doing research for our next series of episodes. It's about settler colonialism. Pinky's been studying this stuff for a few years but it's different when you have to get everything together for an episode (or episodes). It's going to be really hard to explain this stuff. Actually the problem isn't so much that the material is too complicated; I think it'll be hard to explain this stuff to people because it's the kind of ideas that nobody wants to understand.

Bunny

Winter Hump Day

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The precise moment of the 2007 winter solstice will be late tonight, at 10:08 p.m. (California Desert time). If you live in Hawaii it'll be at 8:08 p.m. And if you're on the East Coast (U.S.) it'll be 1:08 a.m. tomorrow morning (Saturday, December 22). From then on we'll be zooming towards Spring! Till then, keep warm! ~ pinky

Lakota Sioux Secede from the U.S.

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Wow. Here is the story as it was forwarded to us by our friend (thanks Bok-dong!):

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

Washington (AFP) — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free — provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said. "This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said."

It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.

The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence — an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.

Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples — despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws."

We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.

Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies — less than 44 years — in the world.Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website."

Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young."

We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.

We'll definitely be watching this closely! Take care, pinky

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[ Bunny note: The website is at http://www.lakotafreedom.com/ Be sure to read the Declaration of Continuing Independence while you're there. ]

Pinky: 2007 Cat of the Year

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We received an e-mail today saying that Pinky has been named the '2007 Cat of the Year' by the Western Association of Deserts. I have no idea what kind of organization this is. I Googled it but found nothing. But anyway, congratulations to Pinky - I'm guessing there are lots of cats in deserts so it's probably pretty hard to win something like this.

~ Bunny