Friday, July 22, 2005

Well, if things go according to plan, Steanso should be rolling to Beaumont in a few hours in order to attend screenings of Superman and The Flash which my brother is somehow involved in (actually, my brother was initially supposed to introduce the Superman movie, but I think he weasled out of it somehow, so now he's just got us all going to Beaumont to watch movies with him that we all own on DVD. I'm not sure how that happened, but what the hell.)

Anyhoo, it's a chance to go to Houston and let Ma and Pa Steans cook for me while I float in their pool, so I'm jumping on it. Also, Cassidy loves riding shotgun for a good roadtrip.

Just had lunch with Kraber, D.K., KimBloom (which I for some reason enjoy pronouncing as one word), and Rosa. Apparently, in fact, no one was washed away by the hurricane at the criminal law seminar at the beach, and they all had some fun down there. Damnit.

Last night I went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. For about the third time in a row, the service was pretty darn crappy during our flick, with our orders being screwed up and our food and beverage bill being some fictional document with no grounding in reality. Like I said, this has happened before at that Alamo, and it's really frustrating and disappointing, because I love the Alamo Drafthouse on Anderson Lane at the Village, and it doesn't seem to suffer from the same sorts of problems and confusions which plague the South Lamar location. It's getting to the point where I would rather just go to a regular movie theater and buy a coke at the concession stand than try to deal with hashing out screwed up food orders while I'm trying to watch the movie that I came to see. But like I said, I love the Alamo in the Village, so I don't want to see the Alamo South go out of business- I just want to see them get their act together.
The movie itself was good. Johnny Depp did a good job of bringing out both the sense of wonder and the veiled sense of menace present in the Williy Wonka character (and the menace is necessary to the story in order to really fulfill its role as a cautionary tale for bratty children as Roald Dahl intended), and the psychedelic inventions, characters and scenery of the book play easily to Tim Burton's strengths as an architect of fantasy. I loved the original movie with Gene Wilder as well, and I'm not actually sure that this new version surpasses the old, but it's definitely a well-executed, fun movie that may well serve as the definitive movie version of this story for a new generation of viewers (which actually raises an interesting question about whether today's generation of kids will even be interested in seeing a movie about a magical, giant chocolate factory- our theater was full of a bunch of stoned, slacker 30-somethings reliving their childhood without any actual children anywhere to be seen, but then again, I saw the flick at 10:00 p.m. at night).

By the way, I guess my representatives didn't get my emails about the Patriot Act:
What was really disappointing about this vote is that even 43 Democrats voted to renew this piece of crap. I guess they feel like they need to pander to their constituents, and I guess that they feel that their constituents are afraid enough of terrorism to want to see this bill passed. Maybe they're right, but it sure would be nice to see some of our leaders actually lead for a change and make some meaningful changes that might give us greater security (say, by increasing searches of cargo at our nations ports or makijng some effort to stem the tide of illegal immigration) rather than just giving law enforcement greater opportunities to infringe upon our civil liberties. The truth of the matter, people, is that yeah, we'd theoretically all be a lot safer if the government knew every single little detail about what each and every one of us was doing each and every moment of the day, but at some point the cure becomes worse than the disease. Giving the government the power to peer into all of our lives in order to catch an infinitesimaly small number of people who might do us harm gives me the heebie jeebies. I don't trust politicians, and therefore I don't trust their agents- from the CIA and FBI all the way down to the local cops. Individually, they may be fine and upstanding people, but at the end of the day they are bound to follow orders handed down by higher powers- higher powers who increasingly seem less and less interested in serving the American people and more and more interested in pushing the particular agendas of their specialized groups of supporters (i.e., the extremely wealthy, the religious right, big business, etc.). Furthermore, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, sometimes cops and law enforcement agents are just plain wrong, and by the time their errors are realized, the subjects in their cross hairs frequently have had their personal lives exposed to public scrutiny, their careers ruined, and their reputations damaged, almost beyond repair.
OK, I'm done with my rant because I have a client coming in to see me, but please take the time out to go to this page:
On it, you can take action on certain political items, if you so choose, but more importantly, the web site can give you the names and email addresses of your legislators so you can just add them to your address book and drop them a short email to make your voice heard the next time some ridiculous crap like this Patriot Act renewal comes up. Even if you hate everything I'm saying, I still say you should give your legislators reason for pause before they just go in and vote the party line. Take a second to send an email and make sure your voice is heard.
There endeth the rant.

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