The Ranting Wren The Wren Forum Banner
The Glorious Wren The Movie Wren The Photo Wren Old Man Wren

Exit ArchiveArchive for the "For Discussion" Category

Over at Joblo.com, one of its bloggers is actually — wait for it — defending Mr. Lucas. In part:

And the absolute, biggest gripe I have with people about this is when they blame George Lucas for “butchering my childhood”. No! Georgie-boy didn’t butcher, ruin, alter, change, destroy, etc., your childhood because he changed a few movies 20 years later. If all it takes to ruin your childhood is for some old guy you’ve never met to alter a freakin’ movie, then you must have had one f’d up childhood. Your dad on his death bed telling you “I never loved you” would be something that could ruin your childhood. Your mom telling you she was actually a KGB double agent could ruin your childhood. A director changing his own movie has absolutely no effect on one’s childhood.

Quite an interesting fan perspective on Star Wars.

I know that Steve has implied that the blogger over at Epcot Central has essentially the same arguments — namely, making creative changes that irrevocably changed an experience; tinkering with something good only to find it has been lessened.  And while I would never want to imply that Steve’s implications are implicitly wrong, I will say this: In sum, the substantive changes to the Star Wars movies total about, oh, five to seven minutes out of about 380 minutes of movie.  That’s about 1.8 percent of the movies that have changed.

Now, if only 1.8 percent of Epcot had changed substantially over the years, not only would it be hoplessly mired in early 1980s technology and information, but that would mean that about one-third of just one attraction had been significantly altered (if I’m doing my math right).  I think that the Epcot guy could probably live with that.  Too bad so many Star Wars fans continue to get up in arms over the fact that 98.2 percent of their movies have remained exactly the same (except, of course, for the 100 percent that was restored and remastered a couple of years back).

Ooh, I just love playing devil’s advocate.  :-)

I find this hard to believe myself, to be honest.

Inspired by the interesting blog called Re-imagineering, I have started my own blog.

I’ve no idea whether I will keep it up, but it has been interesting, especially since I created it about such a specific topic.  But it’s one about which I’ve been passionate since I was a kid, one that inspired me to seek a career at Disney in the first place (and we all know where that got me!), and maybe one you’ll find interesting.  If not, keep your comments to yourself.  I already know I’m a dork.

There is a very good read over at Ars Technica. Take a peek. The author goes by the nickname “Hannibal,” and though I imagine this is more a reference to a certain general from Carthage, I can not help but think of fava beans and a nice Chianti FFFT FFFFT FFFFT FFFFFT! Regardless, Hannibal’s article is excellent, and I advise that you read it.

The article is partly a summary of a panel discussion at the University of Chicago called “Defending Democracy: Balancing the Fight for Civil Liberties with the Fight Against Terrorism” and partly a reaction to the panel. While I am still loath to support the adoption of harsher means of hunting and destroying terrorists, I know this is only because I fear the permanent consequences for the rest of us non-terrorists. But Hannibal has a more level-headed view, and is able to admit the need for change in how America finds and eliminates threats of terrorism. Take this great observation of his:

The sense that our polity, at whatever level we experience it—the “United States,” “Louisiana,” “Lake Charles”—is our responsibility, that it doesn’t go if we don’t make it go, is the signal quality that separates us as a free, self-governing society from anarchy at one extreme and authoritarianism at the other. The moment that we lose that sense of ownership by abdicating our responsibility for making the whole thing work to some group of specialists who offer to take care of it for us is the moment that we lose our ability to put the pieces back together again in the event that those specialist caretakers go away. And they always do go away eventually, for one reason or another.

Really, we need to change, but we have to be careful about what changes we allow. What think you? Do read it and comment back, if you have any time left.

This gives new definition to the term “jaw-dropping.”  I defy anyone to read this and not be astounded.

Here is one of the most surprising, fascinating reviews of Brokeback Mountain I have yet seen:

http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/2645

Decentfilms.com says it is “a site of film appreciation, information, and criticism informed by Christian faith.” You’d think the movie would bash Brokeback Mountain. And, indeed, at first glance the reviewer gives the movie an “F” for “overall recommendability.”

Yet …

Read the review.

Go ahead. Read it now. Seriously. Then come back to this.

I mean it:

http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/2645

OK.

Now that you’re back, is it not possible that this shows, in some ways, that at least some conservatives might be coming around to the idea that love is good, even if you don’t understand it? Keep in mind, most of his objections revolve not around the idea of a gay romance, but of marital infidelity.

In some ways, this review has left me reeling.


Oops. The photo didn’t get attached for some reason.

Natch.

I’ve been on something of a cemetery kick lately, don’t ask why. There’s no explanation.

The statue is right in front of this at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Keep guessing. Hint: It’s in Glendale, Calif.


A game! A game!

A nice big prize to the first person who can explain the significance of this statue — especially to Steve. (And, yes, Steve can play the game, because he might not actually realize that this statue has significance for him.)


Discuss.

Tonight, I was out at The Abbey (which you must know I find tedious) to hopefully meet up with a funny, interesting guy I met online. Of course, he never showed up—at least while I was there. We probably just missed each other, and the meeting, in all fairness, was only tentatively planned.

Just as I was bagging, I ran into Drew, a guy who I started dating a little while ago after we’d met first at a birthday party, then after he asked for me to be invited to a Friday night hang-out in West Hollywood so he could really meet me.

I ended up hanging out with Drew tonight, but our chumming proved what I’d figured out a couple weeks ago: after two early dates with decent sex, it’s obvious now he’s not interested in me physically at all. Which is fine, but I wish he’d just say so.

At one point, we’d moved next door to Here (really, the name of that bar is constantly introducing road blocks to comprehensible language). While watching the moving throngs of people and pondering why I was somewhat disappointed that, with a record two possibilities in one night, I was not going to be getting any nookie of any kind, I asked Drew something. That question I now ask of anyone reading this. Yes, consider this the first Wren Forum Officially-Sanctioned Discussion Topic.

QUESTION: Would all this [hand sweeping over the scene at the bar] still happen if there were no sex?

My first answer would be, “No.” Certainly not this kind of mayhem. Drew also thought the answer was, in general, no.

In all honesty—and it’s pretty amazing that I’m able to get over my mental taboos and admit this here, in public—I would not have been there this evening if there were no possibility of having sex, either tonight or planting a seed for some in the future. No sex, I would not have even agreed to meet internet guy at The Abbey, opting instead to wait for a sane location where we could meet and see if things clicked in a non-sexual companionship kinda way. No sex, and I would not have gone with Drew to Here in hopes that he’d want to spend the night with me this time. No sex, I would have been in bed many hours ago!

Of course, socialization is a factor, but if you just wanted to hang with friends and get drunk with no possibility of getting laid, would bars be as popular and as important? I know since I don’t drink, my answer is skewed a certain way, but Drew drinks regularly, and he gave the same answer.

So what are all your thoughts? It’s fun to consider, and there are certainly no wrong answers.

Ready? DISCUSS!


Now here’s a fun trivia question from my calendar. Anyone know the answer? Is it being too smug to admit, though no one cares, that I got the answer right?

I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

I just read a magazine article at lunch (it’s online here). I had to rush back to the office to record my anger.

The authors have an enthusiastic outlook for the power of nuclear energy to fix all of our pollution and global-warming issues. Yet they conveniently ignore several points in favor of what I consider to be a quick fix for the problem of energy’s future.

Nuclear energy is clean compared to fossil fuels, says the article. We can no longer allow the bad, bad coal and gas and oil industries to pollute our planet. The dangers of nuclear energy are less dangerous to the earth than us continuing on our current road.

While I’m sure this argument is currently true, considering quantities of scale, it lacks foresight. I imagine people back during the rise of fossil fuels never thought that we’d be using enough carbon-emitting energy sources to change the planet’s climate. So who now is paying attention to what will happen when we shift to using mostly nuclear power? Our options for storing the waste will dwindle, even considering waste recycling. (Recycling the waste merely prolongs the inevitable necessity of its disposal.) The bright, gleaming new nuclear plants will eventually begin to fail when they get old and governments or greedy corporations cease to provide enough capital for their upkeep. And the article’s authors don’t seem to see that, while coal mining will eventually go away when we switch to nuclear energy, uranium mining will pick up substantially.

I have so much more to say about this, but I have no time! As I was reading, I was countering every point, shaking my head while eating my lunch. Why anyone would think it’s okay to proliferate a highly radioactive energy source across the globe is beyond me. Only under the very best of circumstances would nothing go wrong with these plants, or with the shipping of the fuel, or of the handling of the waste.

The article states that it’d be best to implement a vast network of nuclear plants to supplant coal plants, all as an effort to clean up the pollution and eventually get to another zero-emission solution. (Though, really the authors never say that nuclear has pretty frightful emissions of its own.) But who are we kidding here? Once the network is in place, I think we’d get stuck just like we are now. We’ll get used to nuclear, get used to it being fairly cheap, very convenient, and only in the future as we start getting poisoned with radiation instead of CO2 will we scramble yet again to find a new energy source.

Didn’t I say I had no time to say any more? Well, I’m cutting myself off. Read the article if you’d like. I’d love to hear comments. From all 2 of you.

My pal Bruce Kluger, who used to write for US Magazine, sends me this excellent piece on kids and the gay debate that he wrote for USA TODAY. Definitely worth a read.

We had a friend of Jeff’s over for dinner tonight, a guy in his late 40s who incited some fascinating and inconclusive conversation. So, I pose to you, the readers of the illustrious and world-renowned Wren Forum, the same questions we pondered while dining on ham, sweet potatoes and homemade (yes, homemade — in this home by these hands) apple pie.

We started by talking about Disney, not surprisingly, and Jim (Jeff’s friend) asked what I thought about the state of the company. (As an aside, it’s amazing to me that for a company that is doing well financially, even people who don’t follow it closely sense there’s something still wrong there.) I said that I thought the company had lost its way and that when Walt Disney died, it was on the brink of becoming, in many ways, the first “new-technology” company. Disney invested all of the profits from movies, TV shows and theme parks into things like the PeopleMover and the Monorail and Imagineering, and was always looking for third-party companies whose technology showed promise for the future. He was fascinated by “the future.”

That got us talking about how in the 1950s, ’60s and even through the ’70s and ’80s, Americans still had a sense of awe and excitement. Whether it was the Iran hostages or the wonders of space flight or the Challenger’s accident or “Who Shot J.R.?” or the mysteries of the “atomic age,” we had a “collective conscious” that doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

We seem to have lost the ability to be fascinated by things, to be excited about the future, to celebrate ourselves (think of the 1984 Olympics). Maybe, we said, that is a positive sign — it means we’re not engaging in “group think” and that we are individuals who just happen to be together rather than a collective society that just happens to be made up of individuals. After all, the argument went, there was perhaps too much homogeneity when everyone watched the same TV shows, bought the same cars and relied on the same companies.

On the other hand … there’s something lost when our society no longer has a collective goal — whether it’s getting man on the moon or freeing the Iranian hostages or getting ourselves out of an energy crisis or all going to Disneyland. For all we talk about movies being “blockbusters,” for instance, “Titanic” proved that a $600 million gross is only the low end of what could be possible if a film seized the popular consciousness.

We began wondering if our society is better or worse off for not having the ability to be awed by concepts. Remember World’s Fairs, for instance? They were held to showcase all of the marvelous things and people that we had yet to discover and explore. (The 1970s concept of EPCOT Center was, you’ll recall, a “permanent world’s fair” — and perhaps the reason Epcot today suffers as a theme park is that we’re not able to get the masses properly excited about our place in the world and the prospects of the future.)

I began wondering if the election was a sign of exactly this problem (if it actually is a problem) — we’re so fractionalized, so marginalized, so divided, that there is no commonality anymore. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is something we weren’t able to conclude …

OK, new subject:

Liza Minnelli: Evil spawn of Satan or overweight demon?

Discuss.

The Village may not only be the worst movie of the year, it may be one of the worst of the past decade.

Discuss.

Name the movie:

“Hang on lady — we’re going for a ride!”

Speaking of Bewitched…who was your favorite Darrin – the wonderful Dick York or the annoying Dick Sargent? Can you tell which I like…