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Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian maestro new word whose films of modern alienation captured aspects of human consciousness previously unexplored by cinema, died at his home Monday in Rome. The director of such classics as "L'Avventura" and "Blow Up" was 94.
His death, coming a day after the death of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, served to remind film lovers of the richness and invention of European cinema in the 1960s and '70s and how very little that has followed can match that era, both for its sheer ambition and for its faith in the possibilities of film.
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It’s almost too depressing to mention again, but let’s recap the Pat Tillman revelations from Army medical examiners and internal Pentagon reports released last week and find out what happens when famous football stars turned Army Heroes become anti-war critics:
- He was shot three times in the forehead at close range with an American M-16.
- This was after he was shot in the chest, legs and hand.
- And this was after he screamed to the “friendlies” that he was Pat Tillman and please stop shooting him.
- But they didn’t; they executed him.
- They were Americans.
- There wasn’t even an “enemy” around; not only was nobody shot by “enemy fire,” no equipment was shot by “enemy fire.”
- “Members of Tillman’s unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire.”
- Army medical examiners tried to get a criminal investigation opened, but they were shut down.
- The Army brass who conspired to shut down any criminal investigation into the U.S. assassination of Pat Tillman sent “congratulatory e-mails” to each other after shutting down the snoops.
- The Pentagon heavily promoted Tillman’s enlistment and service as both a recruitment tool and a domestic propaganda tool.
- The Pentagon maintained for long after his murder that Tillman died in combat, finally admitting to his family that “friendly fire” killed him — which wasn’t exactly true, either.
- Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich, who commanded Tillman’s base in Afghanistan at the time of his assassination, dismissed Tillman’s family’s attempts to find out what happened. Why? Because Pat Tillman was an atheist, like his family, so they were having “a hard time letting it go.”
- In his writings — Tillman wrote constantly in letters and diaries and e-mails — the NFL star who became an Army Ranger after 9/11 had concluded the Afghanistan War was fake and the Iraq War was a criminal setup.
- The Pentagon still has his diary that he kept with him in Afghanistan, where he was killed, and they won’t release it to his family.
- Tillman had even arranged a meeting with anti-war icon Noam Chomsky about how to go public with a veterans-against-the-war movement.
- Such a movement would’ve had an interesting effect on the Iraq Occupation and the then-upcoming 2004 election; Tillman had already been encouraging his fellow soldiers to vote against Bush.
- Just today, Donald Rumsfeld refused to testify on the subject of Tillman’s assassination before Congress on Wednesday.
- White House Counsel Fred Fielding has, of course, already “refused to issue certain documents to the committee because of executive privilege.”
- What is the White House doing with “certain documents” about Pat Tillman’s murder?
- Says Pat Tillman Sr.: “The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons. This cover-up started within minutes of Pat’s death, and it started at high levels. This is not something that people in the field do.”
Shielded by bodyguards and away from the sight of curious beachgoers, Woody Allen started shooting his new film in Barcelona on Monday.
Allen shot some scenes at a restaurant in a fishermen's neighborhood in Barcelona with actress Scarlett Johansson, who plays a tourist in the film.
The American film director and actor said last week at a news conference in Barcelona he hoped to create a portrait of the northeastern Spanish city on par with his 1979 masterpiece "Manhattan."
The veteran director said he aimed to picture Barcelona "the same way I presented Manhattan to the world through my eyes."
Barcelona would be the second European city to feature in a full-length Allen movie.
The film, yet to be named, is due to headline Johansson, Allen's latest muse and star of his recent London-based films "Scoop" and "Matchpoint," and Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
Ingmar Bergman in a 1981 photo. Bergman died on Monday at the age of 89, local news agency TT reported, citing his daughter Eva Bergman. (REUTERS/Jacob Forsell/File)
When the news broke that Ingmar Bergman had died on the lonely and windswept island of Faro, off the coast of Sweden, it seemed like an appropriately tragic spot. Bergman spent a lifetime creating lonely and windswept movies: a cinema of inner life in which man was tormented by his relationship with women and with God.
He was sort of a poet of anguish (his first screenplay, written in 1944, was called Torment), whose best-known movies were existential meditations on the meaning of life. The most famous scene in a Bergman film was in the 1957 religious allegory The Seventh Seal in which Max von Sydow — part of a Bergman repertory company, along with Liv Ullman, with whom he had a daughter — portrays a knight who plays chess with Death. It’s a scene that sums up the tragic symbolism of Bergman’s oeuvre, and it defined his public image for many years: in one of a number of parodies, the heroes of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey play Twister with Death.
Bergman himself may have enjoyed the satire. Despite the austerity of his movies, he had a puckish side. When a Swedish film magazine published an "anti-Bergman" issue, Bergman himself contributed a critical piece, under a pseudonym. Near the end of his career, he acknowledged that he was depressed by his own movies and couldn’t watch them any more.
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Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you'd like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we'll help you get started. Right after a little nap.
Previously on P&F:
Link to YouTube
From thedudeiseverywhere.com, you might be a dude if:
- You wear your dressing gown to the supermarket.
- You have begun writing cheques for less than £1 (or $1).
- You are partial to Thai Stick and a good ‘caucasian’.
- You have a habit of using the royal ‘we’, you know, the editorial…
- Your car has developed some rust ‘colouration’.
- You enjoy the occasional acid flashback.
- You have been known to occupy various administrative buildings.
- You hate the Eagles, no, you really hate the f-ing Eagles.
- You have no idea what day this is.
- You are unemployed.
Images found here
A mysterious blonde paid a visit to a petrol station shop in the small eastern German town of Doemitz on Sunday — wearing nothing but a pair of golden stilettos and a thin gold bracelet.
The tall, slender woman strolled into the shop in the town of Doemitz on the warm afternoon and bought cigarettes, petrol station employee Ines Swoboda told Reuters on Monday.
"I wasn't surprised because she's come in naked before — she's a very nice woman," Swoboda said, adding none of the other customers was bothered. The woman could have faced charges of creating a public disturbance if anyone had complained.
A quick-witted customer did, however, snap pictures of the woman believed to be about 30 years old as she walked back to a waiting Ferrari and climbed into the passenger seat. Several of those photos appeared in the German media on Monday.
Wonder if she knows this woman
Link to Reuters
"My Pet Fish" Soap looks like the bag that you carry home from the pet store, but don’t be fooled…these plastic fish are not swimming in water, they are embedded in clear, vegetable based glycerin soap shaped like "water in a bag". A great party favor. Fun for kids from 1 to 100. Comes in assorted colors; let us choose the color. Soap has no scent; measures about 3 1/2"H x 3" at widest; 5 1/2" from top to bottom of bag.
The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.
Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.
Link to BBC's Radio 4
The mail-order minister of a Hollywood church that burns marijuana during services and allegedly sells it to members says that's protected under federal law because the drug is a religious sacrament.
But Judge Mary Strobel has ruled that the Reverend Craig X. Rubin can't use federal law as a defense because he faces only state charges.
Rubin, who's representing himself at his drug trial, says members of his Temple 420 believe that marijuana is the tree of life mentioned in the Bible.
Though ordained in 1990 by the Universal Life Church, police and prosecutors describe Rubin as a drug dealer. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of possessing marijuana for sale.
The 41-year-old Rubin has no legal experience, and says he spent last weekend praying and smoking marijuana with Indians in a sweat lodge at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
The San Francisco Taxi Commission is set to decide this evening whether one of the city's cabs is "associated with evil and Satan.''
A few years ago, Thigpen said, the cab held by medallion holder 666 "burned to a crisp on Good Friday … and the only thing remaining after the fire were the numbers 666, visible in the rubble.''
Byrne, a 30-year veteran driver, was assigned No. 666 only last August, Thigpen said, after another applicant refused to accept the number. Since then, sources said, Byrne has been involved in at least one accident — even after taking the precaution of having the cab blessed at Mission Dolores.
A commission clerk, who asked not to be identified, said Byrne "had many deaths around him and his family'' and that getting rid of the cursed number "is an idea that speaks for itself.''
The devil gets to keep riding around in a San Francisco cab, the San Francisco taxi commission decreed on Tuesday.
After nearly half an hour of discussion and debate, the commission brought the weight of government to the question of whether to grant a request by a San Francisco cab driver seeking to retire Medallion No. 666 because of the number's association with Satan.
The debate was the best show to play City Hall in some time. It featured commissioners bickering good-naturedly with one another, the head of the cab drivers union arguing before the board with red horns on his head and several other cabbies pleading for common sense, a quality not always found in the stone building at Civic Center.
At issue was the request of veteran driver Michael Byrne, who said he has had bad luck and misfortune since being assigned the supposedly cursed number last year.
Commission President Paul Gillespie said he favored granting the request, "and hopefully we can do this quickly so we never have to deal with this again.''
But with the underworld, the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast at stake, quickness was not to be. Six cabbies had something to say during public comment.
"How dare you take Lucifer's number away,'' said Thomas George-Williams, president of the cab drivers union, who was sporting the red horns. "This is a serious issue.''
A cabbie named Tom warned the commission that it was "opening a can of worms" and would soon be deluged with requests to retire other numbers. A cabbie named Barry pointed out that 666 was the address of SS Peter and Paul's Church on Filbert Street, an outfit not thought to be in Satan's pocket. A cabbie named Grasshopper said it was a "bad idea to get into mysticism and voodoo.''
Road Work Rage Closes Calif. Highway
WRIGHTWOOD, Calif. – California highways have been shut down by wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes and police chases. Add one more hazard to the list: road rage.
Drivers inconvenienced by a road-widening project subjected construction workers to so much abuse , including death threats, BB gun shootings, even a flying burrito , that the state revoked a rush-hour window and shut down the highway altogether.
Now drivers who relied on California Highway 138 are being forced to take a detour that costs them at least a half-hour a day and businesses along the road are suffering.
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The House on Wednesday evening overwhelmingly rejected President Bush's plan to eliminate the $420 million federal subsidy for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The 357-72 vote demonstrated the enduring political strength of public broadcasting. The outcome was never in doubt, unlike a fight two years ago when Republicans tried but failed to slash public broadcasting subsidies.
The move to kill subsidies for the CPB, which make up about 15 percent of its budget, was launched by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado.
"Taxpayers are being asked to pay more in taxes because Congress is not willing to make hard choices and balance our spending with our income," Lamborn said.
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James R Ford is a multi-media artist currently based in London, England. For this project, initiated in 2003, he aims to transform a second-hand Ford Capri into the General Lee, from Dukes of Hazzard, by covering it in little toy cars in the appropriate colours (mainly red and orange). Ford is going to need around three to four thousand and so, in addition to searching out and purchasing appropriate toy cars himself, an appeal has been started for people all over the world to send him their disused toy cars. The donator can leave a little message in the toy car, or mark it in some way, so they actually become part of the art whilst contributing to the sculpture and thus creating a global art collaboration.
Link to artists website
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