March 24, 2006

Personal Day Friday

Since I had planned over a month in advance to go see Los Amigos Invisibles in New York City last night, and knowing I'd be getting in quite late at night (actually, quite early in the morning), I took a personal day today. How clairvoyant, too -- I get a call around 8:30am from my daughter's school ... she has a bad stomach ache (there's been a virus going around) so now it's indeed fortuitous that I'm home with her.

The Amigos show at SOBs was fantastic, as I expected. My buddy Javier and I encountered hardly any traffic on the voyage to Manhattan, but as soon as we got through the Holland Tunnel it was mayhem. Luckily, SOBs is only a mere three blocks from the Tunnel, and amazingly, we found a parking meter spot less than a block from the venue! After a very good meal at the "Español Café," Javi and I hit the show. Even though the band didn't come on until after 9pm, guitarist (and songwriter) José Luís Pardo (aka "Cheo") spins his own dance mixes right up until the band takes the stage. Since our arrival at SOBs was pretty early, I got a chance to rap with José, as well as José Rafael Torres, aka "Catire," the bass player (above, left). Catire was a great guy -- after our conversation was interrupted by a couple of sound-men, he came back to Javi and I to continue the discussion! Most cool. I asked him if the Amigos will be playing often in the northeast corridor this year, to which he replied "most likely," but many dates aren't confirmed yet. He asked me how I became such an Amigos fan, and he got a kick out of my story! ("Thanks to recently installed digital cable, I now had MTV en Español -- and this intro'd me to Los Amigos. I caught the video 'Sexy' and I was immediately hooked.")

The trip home was easy and uneventful. Absolutely no traffic, even through the Holland Tunnel (unlike the last time we saw the Amigos at SOBs -- an hour and a half traffic delay due to construction!). The show, of course, was stupendous. Javi and I had a couple pictures taken with one of the "Chivas Girls" (Chivas Regal sponsored the Amigos concert last evening). If I find out if/where these pics get posted, I'll be sure to link to 'em. ("Chivas Girls" = YOWSAH!)


In the world today, how 'bout this comparison by Reuters (via LGF): Afghan convert controversy mirrors cartoons row. (Emphasis mine.)

The strong Western response to a threatened death sentence for an Afghan convert to Christianity looks something like a mirror image of the Muslim reaction to the Prophet Mohammad caricatures printed in the European press.

There have been no riots or sackings of Afghan embassies, unlike the violence that marked the uproar in Muslim countries after the Danish cartoons were published, but the shock and mutual incomprehension expressed in both cases are similar.

The difference lies in the issues at stake. In the cartoons row, Muslims stressed the sanctity of Mohammad, whom they say nobody — even non-Muslims — can criticize. The subtext was resentment against perceived Western prejudice against Islam.

Now, Western governments and societies are speaking out for religious freedom and against the death penalty. The fact many Western troops now help defend the Afghan government against al Qaeda and Taliban remnants heightened the outrage in the West.

Let's see if I can follow this: It's a "mirror" image of what happened during the Mohammed cartoon controversy, but there's been no violence whatsoever (thus far) and the moral comparison is that of a political cartoon vs. a death sentence for a religious conversion.

That sure sounds like one smudged mirror.


There's a couple more interesting reviews of "V for Vendetta" out there. Armavirumque's is here, and Peter Suderman's at National Review is here. Suderman says

It would be one thing if the [movie's screenwriters] Wachowskis had constructed their narrative in a way that allowed organic integration of these issues. Instead, they seem to have poorly retrofitted Moore's original story, ripping out sizable chunks of his plot to make room for their pretentious gabbing. Particularly noticeable are the changes made to Chancellor Sutler. In the movie, he's a fire-breathing Hitler caricature, the sort of Saturday-morning cartoon villain you expect to see shaking his fist and yelling, "I'll get you next time..." Moore's graphic novel made him an honest believer in the necessity of fascist rule to preserve his beloved country — a far more compelling, complex enemy. Changes like this abound, and they are telling: V for Vendetta may be the first movie to come off more one-dimensional and cartoonish than a comic book.

Armavirumque's Stefan Beck notes

Now we can add to that V for Vendetta, which transforms Blair's Britain or W's America into, as Rolling Stone put it, "a police state ruled by . . . a fear-mongering, gay-bashing, Islam-hating dictator who strips citizens of their civil rights and religious freedoms." Why look to a hypothetical Britain, when present-day Iran has all that and more?


"It's Only Science Fiction For So Long" Dept.: "Star Trek" Tricorder invented by NASA.

Scientists working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have designed a gadget that could prove invaluable during NASA's next planned mission to Mars, in 2009. The laser-powered device -- which is about the size of a cellphone -- can identify almost any known substance. (Link.)

It's a shame DeForest Kelley, "Bones" McCoy from the original "Trek" series, has passed away. Because when nothing alive is found on the Red Planet they could've used his voice to exclaim "It's dead, Jim."

Speaking of "Star Trek," if you haven't caught this very cool show on the History Channel (or elsewhere) yet, do so ASAP: "How William Shatner Changed the World." The premise isn't quite serious, and Shatner knows this -- which makes this "documentary" quite funny, and, thus, delightfully watchable.

Posted by Hube at March 24, 2006 10:51 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Have you seen the agenda for our next PD day? I'm feeling (cough, cough) a little (achoo) sick. I don't (cough) think I'm (achoo) going to make it there (cough).

Tricorders already?! I'm impressed.

Posted by: Bronwen at March 25, 2006 09:45 AM

William Shatner's become quite enjoyable since he stopped taking himself so seriously.

Posted by: Paul Smith at March 25, 2006 05:51 PM

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