Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ke$ha's "Timber" is Terrible

I just watched this twice. What a hot mess. This music video has, at my best count, 359 cuts in 214 seconds of content, averaging 0.6 seconds (about 18 frames) per shot. There is almost no way I could understand what this video is attempting to communicate to me.

The sad thing is, this video has many notable elements - accomplished production design, lush locations, effective choreography, evocative lighting effects, exotic animals... yet the editor seems intent at ensuring we don't get to really see, nor comprehend, any of it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

High Cost of a U.S. Engineering Degree

The demand for STEM graduates is high around the globe, but the United States has placed a disproportionate cost of that education directly onto the students. What will this mean for the global competitiveness of the US in 10 years time?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Terry Bressi is a personal hero

I have been watching his Checkpoint USA YouTube channel for years and his work is a very important act of citizen journalism.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Danny's Availability

After taking a moment to study the chart created by When2meet, it appears that my schedule closely resembles Super Mario Brothers.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

At the Bottom of Everything

by Danny Ledonne

I fell harder and faster and deeper and heavier until I was buried in the dirty layers of my defeated ambition. It was very dark, very quiet and very empty down there. In the vaguest terms I could look up to see a crack of light. That is where I fell from. I remember what it was like up there in the sunshine of my best-laid plans.

Sunk down and sighed. This could be the bottom of everything, yet I expected nonetheless to fall further still. But with outstretched hands I felt bumps on the ground and curiosity on the brain. I picked up those bumps and these spirits.

And then I realized: there are seeds at the bottom of everything! Yes that is the only place to find them. I placed a handful in my pocket and began that climb back to the surface of my life. It would be an arduous effort to resurface but I had to plant the seeds I found at the bottom of everything. That was the only way to know what I could grow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Love American Food!

Taiwanese animation group Next Media Animation (aka NMAtv) has promptly responded to Alison Gold's "Chinese Food" music video that debuted last week. This version is undeniably great satire of American culture and features the Internet sensation "Pedobear."

And the original "I Love Chinese Food" music video from Patric Wilson, the creator of Rebecca Black's 2011 train wreck "Friday."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Illuminate the Valley

Learn more about the incredible mural on wall of the San Luis Valley Museum, created by Ian Wilkinson with funding secured through ASU Community Partnerships:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Borderless Volleyball

Remember: borders are just arbitrary lines drawn by politicians on pieces of paper.

Americans and Mexicans playing volleyball over the contentious US/Mexico border

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Washington Monument Syndrome

"Washington Monument Syndrome" is a political tactic used in the United States by government agencies when faced with budget cuts or a government shutdown. The tactic entails cutting the most visible or appreciated service provided by the government, from popular services such as national parks and libraries to valued public employees such as teachers and firefighters. This is done to gain support for tax increases that the public would otherwise be against. The name derives from the National Park Service's alleged habit of saying that any cuts would lead to an immediate closure of the wildly popular Washington Monument. (source)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keep Polston Public Fundraiser

I just completed a short film for promoting "Keep Polston Public" and the online fundraising campaign to preserve public land and promote local government accountability.  Learn more here:

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Welcome Debate?

In light of recent events such as the trial of Bradley Manning and revelations about the PRISM and XKEYSCORE programs, an inescapable problem exists with federal government officials who claim they "welcome a debate" about the role of NSA surveillance.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

U.S. government will keep spying on you, thanks.

Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) proposed an amendment to prevent the NSA from collecting phone and data records on Americans without first being subject to a court-authorized investigation. It was narrowly defeated (205 - 217), thanks largely to other Republicans who pretend to oppose "big government."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Oliver Stone on NSA Spying

"The question is not 'do you have something to hide?' The question is whether we control government or the government controls us." - Oliver Stone

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Force Feeding - a Form of Torture?

Mos Def underwent the same "standard operating procedure" to which 44 Guantanamo Bay detainees are currently subjected.  If you find this video difficult to watch, why would you support your government doing this every day as a matter of policy?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where in the World is Edward Snowden?

Well, he sneaks around the world from Hawaii to Hong Kong
He's a whistle-blower from the USA to Russia
He'll hang with WikiLeaks from Quito to Havana
Tell me where in the world is Edward Snowden?

George Orwell's 110th birthday

Today is George Orwell's 110th birthday.  His seminal publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four (in 1949), provided words of caution against a central government with broad surveillance and oversight into the lives, language, and thoughts of their citizens.  As the Hunt for Edward Snowden continues around the world amidst revelations of the NSA PRISM Surveillance Program, Americans and all citizens should reflect upon the warnings of the British author in his dystopian novel.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

NSA monitors cellphones free of charge!

"The US National Security Agency, during the Barack Obama administration has pursued wide-scale monitoring of the telephone records of millions of Americans, the Guardian reported online." (source)

"While the harvesting and surveillance of your domestic phone calls were not a part of your original Verizon service contract, the National Security Agency is providing this service entirely free of charge." (source)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keep Polston Public

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, or just think that a private RV resort is not the best replacement for a public school property and community garden, check out:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

300 Muppet Babies (trailer)

"Muppets, prepare for glory!"  Filmmaker and professor Danny Ledonne demonstrates to his students the simple efficacy of media juxtaposition - even among the most unlikely sources.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Danny Ledonne still eats illegal chocolate!

Rebel with a Kinder.

There are a host of things that even frequent travelers may be surprised to learn are prohibited. One such item is the popular European milk chocolate treat Kinder Eggs.  During fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says it seized more than 60,000 Kinder Eggs because the small plastic toy inside the chocolate shell could pose a choking hazard for young children. (source)

More Houses? No. More factories.

What is this obsession with housing prices? Why is it good that the housing market is going up? Do we have a crisis of not enough homes? Should the emphasis be on building more houses?

No. The American economy has too many houses and those houses are too overpriced. The American economy should be creating more factories and manufacturing more products. People aren't having trouble finding a place to live, they are having trouble finding a place to work.

The reason this issue retains so much attention, even from the Obama Administration, is largely because many (voting) Americans bought a house during the housing bubble (created in part by government malinvestment). Since the bubble burst in 2007, their mortgages are "under water" because they were led by predatory lenders and irresponsible lending standards into bad bets.

Yet when asked another way, most Americans are not interested in higher housing prices to accompany their already high gas prices, medical bills, tuition costs, grocery bills, and other daily expenses that are the telltale signs of inflation (source).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Rapper Lil Jon and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio collaborate on this refreshing ad for Poland Spring bottled water:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty - Best Torture Film since Hostel

"Zero Dark Thirty" is the best torture movie since "Hostel!"  But "Zero Dark Thirty" is patently pro-torture as writer Mark Boal argues this in the LA Times yesterday (source) whereas "Hostel" is clearly anti-torture - something that antagonists do and the hero must escape and eventually seek revenge. So while "Hostel" is a fictional 2005 horror film with cultural echoes to the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, "Zero Dark Thirty" is a docu-drama featuring torture paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

L to R: A fictional film with torture paid by Hollywood and an actual incident with torture paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Worse, "Zero Dark Thirty" goes as far as to argue that the public outcry over Abu Ghraib impeded the operation to raid the Bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, casting the American public as an unseen obstacle.  Torture is justifiable means, the film implicitly argues, and results in the killing of an unarmed Bin Laden whose own capture and interrogation was not a priority whatsoever.  It's hard to imagine critics of U.S. foreign policy viewing the film as anything other than fawning military propaganda - which prompted Naomi Wolfe to call ZDT director Kathryn Bigelow "a Leni Riefenstahl-like propagandist of torture" (source).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Obama: Living in the Past?

President Obama seems to have an interesting relationship with history - as in when it is politically convenient to invoke it and when it is politically uncomfortable to address it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yee to Gamers: "Quiet Down!"

This week, game-hatin' politician Leeland Yee sayeth:  "Gamers have got to just quiet down... Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest." (source)

The bad news for people like Yee who don't understand, play, or relate to modern interactive media is that they are getting older, fewer, and farther between.  But these same Luddites of contemporary culture are old enough to remember when rock and roll, comic books, or pinball machines were blamed for the same set of social ills.  So really, they should know better - and if they demonstrate otherwise, they have no credibility in this argument.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First they came for the videogames...

"Obama also aimed to thaw what the White House called a "freeze" in scientific research of gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control. And he urged Congress to bankroll the CDC to do research into possible linkages between violent video games and other media images and real-life violence, to the tune of $10 million." (source)

Maybe you don't like guns (2nd Amendment).  And maybe you don't like videogames (1st Amendment).  But what will happen when the government wants to regulate something you do care about?  Who will speak up for you?