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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Experimenting w/ Hitler

In Culture, Curious Notions, Humor, Political on December 27, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Q: Hitler – Ripe for comedy or still taboo?

Ripe?

Tripe!

  • Exhibit B: Cats that look like Hitler and a new exhibit in Germany.

A: What is the answer? Is there one? You tell me.

The holiday of The Me

In Culture, Curious Notions on December 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Christmas is a holiday for ourselves. We feel good about buying presents for others, just as receiving gifts makes us feel better about our own self-worth. It’s the rare holiday that is about making ourselves smile just as much as seeing others do the same. Call it capitalism, pragmatism, fun or human nature. Whatever you call it, I hope you enjoyed it.

Guest Column: From the non-Christian’s point of view

In Alaskana, Culture, Curious Notions, Guest Columns, The Cool on December 24, 2010 at 1:01 am

From the non-Christian’s point of view

By Elika Roohi

You know how there are those people at Christmas time that insist on saying “Happy Holidays,” and they make you put up unspecific decorations?  I am one of those people.

I’m not going to tear down the holly wreaths on campus, I’m not going to bemoan the fact that there are poinsettias everywhere, and I won’t complain when Christmas Carols are played nonstop.  In fact, I’m not even going to make a fuss.*

Even though we live in a country that is predominantly Christian, it’s exactly that: predominantly.  Which means that there are a whole lot of people around that are Hindu or Buddhist or Jewish or Zoroastrian or Baha’i or Muslim.  And those people don’t celebrate Christmas.**  A lot of those people don’t even celebrate a holiday in the month of December, so when you try to be politically correct and wish them a “happy holidays,” you’re still not getting it.

The thing is, before I got to college, it seemed like everyone was making a genuine effort to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.”  But then I showed up at UAF, and there are holly wreaths and poinsettias and Christmas trees all over the place.  I played in a concert this afternoon that had a completely Christmas carol repertoire; there wasn’t even a token Jewish tune.  Not to mention, I haven’t seen a single menorah on campus.

I’m a Baha’i.  I celebrate Naw-Ruz, which is in March.  And I don’t have a problem with Christmas in the least.  But I do have a problem with the fact that people seem to forget there are others out there that don’t celebrate Christmas.  We just had World Week at UAF.  Wasn’t that all about diversity?  Well, where is the diversity now?

———-

*I’m just going to write this blog post.  And okay, I might ask you to turn off the Christmas music.

**Except sometimes they do because of societal norms.

Going underground for your Christmas-themed flicks

In Cinema, Culture, Curious Notions on December 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Instead of the generic slew of Christmas-based films that are replayed every Yuletide, why not something a little less standard?

In place of such “classics” as The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Chevy Chases Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol (any of them), Love Actually and Home Alone 1 & 2 why not something more…creative?

Creative? Well, ask yourself: what is Christmas? Christmas is about accentuating the emotions we feel on a day-to-day basis. Any given day throughout the holiday season (from Thanksgiving through till New Years Day) will give one joy, stress, passion, apathy, good feelings and bad, to say nothing of love and hate.

Positive emotions are created: giving and receiving gifts, seeing friends and family, setting up and looking at holiday decorations. In addition, most individuals are entitled to numerous days off during this season. Surely a plus for anyone’s emotional well-being.

Negative emotions, too, run rampant: what sort of gift to buy? How much is it? Will it arrive on time? Will they like it? What happens if they don’t? Do I really want to see my family? What sort of stress will that cause? What will I have to talk about? What will they ask me? Sure I have time off, but by doing so I receive less in my paycheck? What will I do about a lack of money? Do I get a holiday job? Will that make me more tired and stressed? Indeed, it can seem as though the negatives of the season can far outweigh the positive.

So, to ignore the mainstream cinema one is often fed during December go with one of these films for a guaranteed good time.

  • Ladyhawke: Romantic. Man is a wolf by night, Woman is a hawk by day and never the two shall meet. Solid and fun acting with a happy, and romantic, ending.

 

  • Sunshine: Life-Affirming. A team of scientists must restart the sun in order to save the world from the slowly enveloping global winter. The film is set entirely in space and has a bittersweet, if visually stunning, ending.

 

  • Naked: Nihilistic. If you are in the mood for something more dark and angsty, go with Mike Leigh’s epic about a nihilist ruffian who cares only for himself. In the movie, nobody wins…except maybe the ruffian (played by David Thewlis).

 

  • The Cat Returns: Inspiring. An animated film from Studio Ghibli (think “Hayao Miyazaki) about living and being alive. In the end, everyone one learns something and lives happily ever after. How rare is that in a film nowadays?
  • Fanny and Alexander: Thoughtful. This film actually uses two different Christmases as cinematic bookends and is as close to “Christmas-themed” as you’ll see me get. This film, about an upper middle class Swedish family, was directed by the legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and is one of my most favorite films of all time.

If you have any recommendations (or concerns over my choices) feel free to post in the comments section below!

Urban exploration at UAF

In Culture, Curious Notions, The Cool, UAF, Urban Exploration on December 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I found a really interesting site about a month ago and wanted to share The Cool here on my blog.

UAF Steam Tunnels

It deals with urban exploration in and around the UAF campus. I would definitely love to get some updated pictures/info but sadly the site hasn’t been seriously updated in a while. There are photos, stories and even maps of the different tunnels that crisscross UAF!

Who’s a bohemian?

In Art, Culture, Curious Notions, Drink on December 4, 2010 at 3:00 am

I’ve been reading this book on the bohemian lifestyle called Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living: 1900-1939. It reminds me of a prose version of the Broadway play Rent in that it both inspires and pisses me off.

The book is 290 pages in length (not counting appendices and index) and while I am only 39 pages in to it, what I will say on “bohemia” and “la vie boheme” is this: it is romantic. It also demands a certain naivete. A form of naivete I find both adorable (inspiring) and irritating (it pisses me off).

Why?

Cover photograph from "Among the Bohemians" by Virginia Nicholson. Photo by Peregrine McClean.

Because who doesn’t want to live the bohemian lifestyle? It is, in many ways, the ultimate “progressive” ideal. Free love, intellectualism, creativity, art, adventure, pure philosophy, individualism (but also strongly based in community), new ideas, less materialism. As Craig Ferguson(yes, the talk show host) said in a recent Doctor Who-themed opener: “the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.”

While that phrase does resonate with me, the problem with any “progressive” idea is that it’s relative. It’s relative in that what is “progressive” to me, may be conservative to someone else. I have little doubt that my friend Charles (who posts on here from time to time) would agree. I’m sure he and I could be quite bohemian in discussing this topic, as well: jazz music on the iPod, red wine in glasses, stretched out on my living room rug or his old living room couch.

What is “progressive?” Can anyone answer me with their own opinion? I submit that to you, my readers…

Things Not to Say in Bed

In Culture, Humor on December 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

A few days ago, I posed a Facebook status that read: “Things Not to Say in Bed #1: ‘This…is my boomstick.'”

Over the course of the next day, several of my friends added their own quips to the list and this is the result.

The Lincoln Hotel in Butte, MT. This place has plenty of beds. Photo by Jeremia Schrock

Things Not to Say in Bed

  1. This is my boomstick.
  2. Are you in yet? (Greg)
  3. You don’t have anything do you? (Sam)
  4. Where is it? [From Duke Nukem] (Craig)
  5. I kick ass and use condoms and I’m all outta condoms. (Sam)
  6. Shake it, baby. (Craig)
  7. Head Shot! (James)
  8. You’re almost as good as my ex! (Gibb)
  9. You woke me up for that? (Heather)

Two posts were also made that I thought deserved special attention:

Laurel: “As a girl, I have to say that’s actually something TO say in bed. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a Cleansweep instead of a Firebolt.”
Brenna: “What if the girl is really into Army of Darkness?”

Oddly enough, only one woman joined in with an actual submission. The others were all guys. So, a question to everyone: What do you think that means?

Laurel: “As a girl, I have to say that’s actually something TO say in bed. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a Cleansweep instead of a Firebolt.”

Adventures in blogging: 27bslash6

In Blog Culture, Culture, Humor on December 2, 2010 at 1:36 am

Who: David Thorne is the seemingly annoyed Australian genius behind this website.

What: 27bslash6. It is most assuredly a site to be experienced rather then discussed, but what I will say is that it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever stumbled upon while on the web. When I say that I’m even thinking back to that whole Did you mean: french military defeats? meme from the middle 2000’s.

When: Thorne began his website in 2006 but gained a more global audience in 2008 after this article began to circulate.

Where: If you missed it the first time: 27bslash6. My all time favorite, however, has got to be either “I have read your website and it is obviously that your a foggot.” or Missing Missy.

Why: Because this is a fabulous humor site wherein your posterior will, most likely, be laughed off.

<a href="http://www.somecoolwebsite.com">this</a>

Adventures in blogging: Coilhouse

In Blog Culture, Culture on November 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I am loquacious. However, my tongue falls short in describing Coilhouse. As such, I can do so only by reinterpreting lines spoken in the film Kingdom of Heaven.

What is Coilhouse?
Nothing…and everything!

 

Who: Coilhouse was founded by Nadya Lev, Zoetica Ebb and Meredith Yayanos.

What: “COILHOUSE is a love letter to alternative culture, written in an era when alternative culture no longer exists. And because it no longer exists, we take from yesterday and tomorrow, from the mainstream and from the underground, to construct our own version. We cover art, fashion, technology, music and film to create an alternative culture that we would like to live in, as opposed to the one that’s being sold or handed down to us.” – From their Mission Statement.

When: October 2007.

Where: Coilhouse.

Why: Because you need a break from watching re-runs of The Daily Show and from scouring the Huffington Post‘s comment section. Yes, that is all well and good but sometimes you need something a little bit different. Which is to say: better.

Better? Yes. Here’s why: Go to their main page and scroll through their list of categories. What do you see?

If you’re going to be lazy about it I’ll give you my favorite five (which is an arbitrary number): Better than coffee, Crackpot visionary, Cthulhu, Grrrl and Testing your faith.

The number of topics they cover within those awesomely-worded categories are also impressive: documentaries on this death cult in Mexico, Islamic fashion, a food fight photo shoot (NSFW), William Shatner mouthing “KKaaahhn!” on an infinite loop and a list of the top ten most preternaturally beautiful men.

I’m not even chuckling wryly. You need to check the site out NOW.

Adventures in blogging: An introduction

In Blog Culture, Culture on November 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

A new web series

I’m starting a new series were I look at blogs and personal websites that I feel deserve to have a wider audience.

I will discuss them and rate them.

If you have a website or blog you would like me to review just send me an email or post in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

As such, this will be a series about people doing fascinating and noteworthy things on the web. As I said before, if you have a recommendation please send it my way!