Bläeckfisk is the Swedish translation for the word octopus. I am not Swedish, but I do own a lot of furniture from Sweden and I like octopuses while admiring their multi-tasking ability. I would like to travel to Sweden at some point, plus I think it is a pretty cool looking word. Anyhow, speaking of words, I guess you could say that is why we are here. Words are the foundation for way we try to wrap our thoughts around everything in the galaxy. The tendrils that lead to emotions and curiosity. I am not here to solve the mysteries of the universe, just to discuss words in general. Specifically words written by other people and have been printed off and slapped between two slices of thin card stock. Many of these sandwiches go on to bigger and better things, some bigger and better than others. So, I guess we will be talking about those as well. If you share an interest in words or enjoi seeing what they can look like in action....välkommen! (Swedish for welcome.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

B20: Occupy Nation by Todd Gitlin (320 pages)

"I was unprepared for their sheer sprawl and inventiveness. In rapid order or disorder,they produced a social phenomenon that did not feel like a fad, because a fad is a single style and Occupy was all kinds of movements at once, some more visible and some less."

Need an interestingly eloquent non fiction book that reeks of rebellion? Snatch up Occupy Nation by famed Sociology professor of Columbia University, Todd Gitlin. He tackles to chore of dispelling myths and misconceptions regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement. I really became obsessed with this protest after a heated discussion in one of my classes revolving around the Freedom of Speech. After a viewing a short informational video, link below, we dove into this protest, dissecting the parts that drove this ultimate demonstration of dissatisfaction. While its engine was flawed in many ways, the story of how it came together and what it hoping to achieve is definitely worth learning about. 

In the late summer of 2011, anti-consumerist and pro environment magazine Adbusters ran a graphic initiating the call for a protest against the greed of Wall Street and economic inequality that seeps from the veins of America. "What is our one demand?" it beckoned. Occupy Wall Street it stated. Bring tent. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how a revolution is born. First amendment exercisers unite! What followed was a spectacular year in which media and social media were set ablaze with images and misgivings tied to this movement. Gitlin is very informative in his writing and charmingly pens an insightful account of what this explosive movement was all about. He sheds light on the fibers that held the movement together and more importantly how the OWS movement compares with other equally ebullient gatherings of people who are a little more than pissed off with their government. While the success of OWS is still being debated over, there is no debate on whether this book is worth your time. It is. After all, we are the 99%. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

F30: Lone Survivor-Directed by Peter Berg

"I've been around the world twice and talked to everyone once."

Whole-lee sh#&. This movie was incredible. It may not quite be movie of the year, but Peter Berg should win director of the year hands down. The former director of Friday Night Lights, despite his talent, sometimes has a suspect picker when it comes to screen plays (Hancock/Battleship). Not so with his latest release centered around true events of a clandestine mission in Afghanistan that went sideways. From the title we go into this movie knowing the ending, but what is unexpected is how craftfully this story is told. This film is beautifully vicious and savagely touching on many levels. It is filmed through a truly artistic prism and is a must see. I am very fond of the band Explosions In the Sky and Berg again taps them to haunt the score of his scenes. The cinematography is refulgent, the acting superb and the sequence where the troops spill down the side of a shale cliff is staggering to say the least. Anyone can make a simplistic military movie that blows everything up and leaves everybody wounded, but Lone Survivor will leave you thinking about war on a much deeper level.

The core of this story is the relationship of the team assembled to take out a top Taliban leader. These men have a passion for living and dying for each other and all parts are played incredibly. Leading the charge is Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) flanked by his right hand man Marcus (Mark Wahlberg). The team is stranded mountainside and faces a quandary when their position is stumbled upon by seemingly innocent goat herders. Taking the moral approach, the team cuts loose the herders and aborts the compromised mission. However, a quick extraction quickly dissipates when all communications are lost due to rugged Afghany terrain. Sure enough, the Taliban learns of their presence and all hell breaks loose. Literally. The quiet, serene mountainside transforms into a battlefield as a flood of enemy fire engulfs our heroes. 

Say what you want about war time situations, but I my opinion this movie is a reminder that the men and women fighting abroad are human beings and have a remarkably unbreakable bond between them. I am not going turn this entry into a soapbox for my own feelings toward war, but when watching this film, it just struck a cord with how deep these relationships run. Much like the classics Band of Brothers and All Quiet on The Western Front, this movie with be talked about and remembered for a very long time. Berg ends things in a touching way that humanizes the violence committed and pays an emotionally tribute to the lives lost during the mission. See this, stat.