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Two questions have haunted David Fincher’s much-anticipated American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: will it be worth the wait? and is there really a reason to make it in the first place? Well, now that it is here, it’s safe to say that the answer to the first is that it most definitely was worth the wait: it is a relentlessly dark movie about relentlessly dark people with mysterious and dark histories. And it is brilliant. As to the second question, which begs the notion of whether Fincher could add anything new to the visualization that the 2009 Swedish version did not (other than a far greater budget), I was willing to bet that America’s greatest stylist could manage to make it his own in some sort of way. And I think I’d win that bet also.

Follow me past the Koslicue for a comparison of both films.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 03:45 PM PDT

It's time to name the squiggle

by sunspark says

To a lot of us, with minds locked firmly in the past, it's still "the fold" or "the jump," though there is nothing about it that looks folded and any sort of jump is only in our imaginations. To many others of us, it simply does not exist: we ignore it completely, choosing to compose our entire diaries above it (as I am doing here) or to allow it to buffer the space after our intros without mentioning its existence.

From diaries published just since 8:00 this morning, I gleaned these nicknames:

angry marmot labeled it a "squiggley-thingama-doodad."

According to RoseWeaver, it's the "DKos Squigglie."

Just One More Dad sees it as "the curlything."

To resistancelives, it is "the orange squiggle."

Kossack jnhobbs sees in it an "orange danish."

It's just a basic  "squiggle" to Clytemnestra.

We may have a lot of things on our minds, people, but I think we need to climb on the soapbox and make our voices known. DK4 is nine months old and we have all been looking at this thing all of this time, but we still do not know what to call it. I think that the indication is obvious:

It's time to name the squiggle!

(Your suggestions are of course welcome.)



Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 04:49 PM PDT

Thoughts in the Wake

by sunspark says

In Norway, a bomber and gunman blows up a government building and then travels to a youth camp and systematically executes dozens of teenagers, apparently because they were youth activists in a political party he did not agree with.

In England, a talented, internationally famous but long-troubled 27-year-old singer is found dead in her home for reasons not immediately clear.

Good morning, world. Welcome to Saturday.

As I sifted through the news reports from Oslo last night, I first felt something akin to deja vu--this seemed familiar, as if I had been transported back to 1995 and the city were Oklahoma City and not Oslo at all--but when the youth camp reports started coming in...first seven deaths confirmed, then ten, then perhaps 17, then "as many as 30," then, suddenly and horrifically, 80 or more... How does one react to that kind of concentrated carnage, that kind of evil from the mind of a single man?

I have been in touch with a blogger from Norway who tells me that this man is a part of an extreme right wing movement in her country that distrusts the government, that believes it is involved in a great conspiracy with Muslims. And again my spidey sense tingles: where ave I heard that before? What will it take before the people of the world, including the people of the US, wake up to the fact that, despite all the Bin Ladens anywhere, their biggest enemies most often lie within their borders? The radical extremists with agendas who cannot be reasoned with who hate their governments passionately and without attention to reality: these are the people to fear.

And 80 kids lie dead on an island in the most peaceful country in the world, kids who were trying in their own ways to make a difference. The singer, her life also ended far too early, is a sad morality tale of a life that could have been so much more. But on this day that tale will have to wait for its telling. Those kids on that island are telling a tale far more demanding and far more critical. And if we don't listen, I'm afraid it will be a tale we will hear again and again.


Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 06:17 PM PDT

Hate Crime Horror

by sunspark says

I have been sitting here angry and shaking--I don't know for how long.  There are tears in my eyes and they are sliding down one of my cheeks.  I'm not reaching up to brush them away.  I'm not sure I want to.  There are times when I just want to feel the salt afterburn, the dry heat on my skin that the tears leave behind; this may be one of those times.  I want to scream.  I want to hit something.  I want to climb into my bed, bury my head under a pillow, and never again emerge.  

I don't do these things.  I sit and shake and cry.  And I stare at the story on my computer screen.  A friend sent it, a gay man who once was a student of mine, and he sent it apologizing:

Not trying to disturb anyone by sharing this. However, I thought it was worth sharing, given the seriousness of the report.

He is right.  It is worth sharing.  It worth raging about.  And that is why I am sharing it also with you.  But don't read on unless you are ready for real pain.  There is no way to avoid it here.
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Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 06:17 AM PDT

truths twisted about teaching

by sunspark says

I worry about the future of education in this country.  

Day after day I read news reports about state governments passing laws against teachers' unions and about the desperate need to reform our schools and get rid of the deadbeat teachers who are apparently the root cause of all of the problems of our society.  I read stories about the unbelievably lavish salaries and pensions that these public servants take for themselves from the public trough while fighting against legal changes that would make it easier to get rid of even the weakest among them.  I read about their selfish desire to protect their jobs instead of focus on our children.  And I read how our children continue to fall behind China, India, Japan, South Korea and other countries in test scores, all because teachers' unions have made education such a cushy little gig with lifetime job security, incredible salaries, and so many other perks that teachers just don't seem to have motivation to do a great job teaching anymore.

I read these things and I wonder (as a teacher who knows the truth) just how many of our best and brightest minds, seeing all of this, could possibly desire to enter this profession in the 21st Century?  Where will our next generation of great teachers come from?  It's been difficult enough to recruit teachers with the (negative) salary disparity that (actually) exists between this and any other profession, but add on the societal blame game that the GOP is fomenting and I am not sure that I would have entered the profession despite my strong calling to it.

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So Sarah Palin wants to take her Uninvited Presidential Campaign bus tour (uninvited) to Rolling Thunder.  Others have chronicled the chutzpah of the woman and the unmitigated self-aggrandizement necessary to insert herself and her political ambitions into someone else's event.

But just in case anyone has forgotten, I want to remind everyone associated with Rolling Thunder what has happened in the past to those whom Ms. Palin has used as window dressing for her photo ops.

Just sayin'.


Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 09:35 PM PST

how to fix the oscars

by sunspark says

Nobody asked me, but...

As I was watching the Academy Awards ceremony, a predictably dull affair despite the best efforts of brilliant actors but amateur hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway, I couldn't help wondering what--for the umpteenth time--was going wrong.  It's not as if something going wrong was such a shock; something is always going wrong with the Oscars broadcast.  Sometimes it is far worse than others.  (Witness the David Letterman or Chris Rock fiascos.)  This time...well, it was an ill-conceived experiment gamely played out by a couple of strong performers despite a complete lack of quality material handed to them by the writers.

Follow me across the orange swirly thingie and I'll talk about why.

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Tue Mar 01, 2011 at 09:51 AM PST

too big to boycott?

by sunspark says

I received the following message from my union rep this morning:

Wondering what you can do to support our union brethern in Wisconsin?  Simple.  Boycott the products of the Koch brothers' companies, including Georgia-Pacific brands like Vanity Fair (not the magazine, I assume), Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, Brawny, Sparkle, Mardi Gras, and Dixie.  Pass the word!

Sounds good, right?  Boycott the bastards!  Do something that will kick them where it hurts.  And where it hurts to people like that is in the pocketbook.


I'm not so sure that it's a realistic idea.

I know everyone is calling for it, and I know it satisfies a visceral urge to do something in response to what they are doing to us, but when I think about who they are, I'm just not convinced that this action will accomplish anything other than potentially to jeopardize the jobs of thousands of workers in the plants that manufacture these products.  

The Koch Brothers are billionaires.  They simply do not care.  They have shown as much by their actions and by their donations.  The causes that they support are uniformly right wing, uniformly antithetical to our causes.  They want nothing more than to destroy the left, and they really do not care how they accomplish that aim.  They have more than enough money to ride out any boycotts.  Even if we could succeed in shutting down every one of their businesses completely, which we never could nor would we actually want to, they'd live happy, wealthy lives until they die and leave their billions to their next of kin.

They are untouchable.  

When I said this, my union rep responded:

The past has shown that these types of people do not think like this.  Money is not the issue more than prestige and leaving behind a bedrock/icon .  I can find little evidence in the scenario playing out like this.  I would argue they will protect their legacy.  I am not sure we have enough people that would make a significant difference, but perhaps it is worth a try.

I agree.  Money is not the issue, and that is my point.  They do not care about money.  They care about crushing us like the insignificant bugs they see us as.  It is that legacy, not the far less consequential legacy of paper products magnates, that these powerful Wall Street vermin desire.  And they are on their way toward achieving it.

Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 02:29 PM PST

the longest month

by sunspark says

Are really only a bit more than halfway through February?  Really?  


For the shortest month on the calendar, this little bit of a placeholder between the frigid deep winter of January and the oncoming spring of March sure does take its sweet time passing.  Maybe a few thoughts are in order about this endless, snowbound beast of a month...


How do you say it?

38%5 votes
38%5 votes
23%3 votes

| 13 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:51 PM PST

more about love

by sunspark says

Valentine's Day has come and gone once again. I wrote a diary yesterday about my childhood experiences with it, but no one even saw the darned thing. Sad. (Here is the link to it in case you are at all curious.)


I realized that I had a few leftover thoughts about the notion of love, so I thought I'd throw another diary out into the void for nobody to read:

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

With the exception of comments to my students, I don’t think that I have written the phrase “Happy Valentine’s Day” in anything resembling a letter since I was about seven years old. I’ve sent cards, of course, to friends, to my spouse (and to my mother, for Valentine’s Day is her birthday), but not a letter. It is one of those elements of life that is probably interesting to some strange person somewhere, but certainly not to me. I’m not going to give the matter a second thought.

Well, maybe a second thought. :-)

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My husband is a dedicated Wisconsonian who hails from Baraboo and still makes his living there despite the fact that we reside near Chicago. He cannot shed his Dairy State roots and he does not desire to. Unlike the stereotypical man from the Land of Cheese, though, he is not into football at all. What fascinates Dirk about his home state are the myriad small towns and the stories that they contain.

For a couple of years now he has been suggesting that I watch this movie called "Wisconsin Death Trip" with him. I thought it was a joke--just a made up title or some ridiculous take off on "Death Race 2000" or some other inane film of that genre. But this weekend he actually brought it home from what we loving call "The Boo," so I found myself watching what had to be one of the most unusual 75 minutes of filmmaking I have ever seen.

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