An American Rhapsody, the autobiographical coming-of-age movie from writer/director Éva Gárdos, begins in 1950's Hungary as Communist oppression forces a pair of aristocratic parents (Nastassja Kinski and Tony Goldwyn) to flee for America. But when they sneak across the border to freedom, circumstances prevent them from taking Zsuzsi, their infant daughter.
Zsuzsi (played by Kelly Endrész-Bánlaki as a child and by Scarlett Johansson as a teenager) spends her formative years in the care of loving Hungarian peasants. When Zsuzsi's real parents finally obtain a visa for her, the six-year-old girl is abruptly removed from her idyllic rural life, placed on an airplane and shipped off to the land of Elvis and Coke, a reality that seems artificial and grotesque by comparison.
As Zsuzsi grows into her teen years, she learns the language and culture, but never really becomes assimilated. She develops a deep resentment about having been ripped from her Hungarian paradise, so she insists on making a return trip to Budapest, to visit the couple who cared for her as a child. Only then can she reconcile her two worlds.
Filmmaker Gárdos, in paying tribute to two sets of parents, comes very close to being daughter of the century.
If you liked the 1980 Olympic hockey team and the 2004 (and 2007?) Red Sox... you're gonna love Freedom's Fury, a powerful feature documentary about the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the infamous "Blood in the Water" game at that year's Melbourne Olympics. After Hungary exploded in a people-power revolt during the fall of 1956, the Soviet Union crushed the short-lived uprising. But one month later, the Hungarian water polo team was destined to meet the Soviets in the ultimate grudge match. The film contains interviews with all the surviving Hungarian players as well as some Soviet players, and they relate their experiences before, during and after the match. Produced by Andrew G. Vajna (Terminator 3), Lucy Liu (Charlie's Angels) and Quentin Tarantino, and narrated by world-famous Olympian Mark Spitz, this film chronicles a fateful, bittersweet moment in history.
[Freedom's Fury has not yet been released in this country, but it became the #1 movie in Hungary last fall, during the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. It was released on DVD as "a Szabadság Vihara," and my thoughtful stepdaughter just mailed a copy to us from Budapest. Even though this PAL-encoded disc is not compatible with our NTSC-based DVD player, it *does* play on our computer. Anikó and I feel very privileged to have seen it. The experience was harrowing, riveting and ultimately, uplifting.]
FYI: the real driving force behind this project was the brother-and-sister writing/directing/producing team of Colin Keith Gray and Megan Raney Aarons, also known as The Sibs.
Kiteboy and the looney bin.
Ben Franklin said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results."
This blog is worth bupkes. We took the test:
But if we plug in:
, instead of:
, it's worth $1,129.08.
What a difference a subdomain makes.
Wolf in sheep's clothing.
Something doesn't fit, in the skies near 425 South Power Road, Mesa Arizona:
I-19, Tucson-Nogales: MPH+km. After we saw this strange situation, I had to look in Wikipedia to find out why:
Interstate 19 is unique amongst US Interstates, because signed distances are given in meters (hundreds or thousands as distance-to-exit indications) or kilometers (as distance-to-destination indications), and not miles. Speed limit signs give speeds in miles-per-hour, however. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), metric signage was originally placed because of the "metric system push" in the United States at the time of the original construction of the highway [1970s].
Recently, the Arizona Department of Transportation announced that they would convert metric signs back to United States customary units in stages, replacing signs in specific areas of the freeway during construction projects in those areas. This is due to the high cost of replacing all the metric signs at once. New signs were put into place between Exit 99 (Ajo Way) and Exit 101 (Interstate 10) in 2004 after the completion of the new Interstate 10-Interstate 19 interchange.
Britney and the Judgie-Poo. Yesterday's custody hearing was conducted behind closed doors, but the Snoozeletter has obtained an unofficial transcript of this portion of the proceedings, when the judge launched into an informal review of Britney Spears' life and career:
JUDGE: In 1992, at age 11, you were chosen as a regular on "The All New Mickey Mouse Club" television show.
BRITNEY (singing): Emm eye see... See you real soon! (pause) Kay ee why... Why? Because we like you! (pause) Emm oh you ess eeeeee!
JUDGE: In 1994, the show was canceled.
BRITNEY: I guess they didn't like me all that much.
JUDGE: In 1999, your debut album and single hit number one, and at age 17 you appeared on Rolling Stone's cover in a bra and hot pants.
BRITNEY: They like me a lot more when I dress like that.
JUDGE: The next year, you released your second album and performed at the MTV Video Music Awards, stripping down to a nude-colored bikini top and matching pants.
BRITNEY: Oops! I did it again.
JUDGE: In 2003, you shared an open-mouth kiss with Madonna while performing at the MTV Awards.
BRITNEY: Now wait just a goshdarn minute! That was a very private and personal moment.
JUDGE: The next year, you got married, and then obtained an annulment three days later.
BRITNEY: Being ditzy is my prerogative.
JUDGE: Later that year, you married Kevin Federline, who already had one child--and a second on the way--with another woman.
BRITNEY: I felt it was important to hook up with a proven stud.
JUDGE: In 2005, you made your home videos into a UPN reality show and gave birth to your first son.
BRITNEY: The public's appetite for the Britney brand is overwhelming. I can barely keep up with the demand.
JUDGE: In 2006, you endangered your infant son by driving a car with him in your lap.
BRITNEY: He's Mommy's Little Co-Pilot. Isn't that cute?
JUDGE: Later that year, you appeared nude on the cover of Harper's Bazaar.
BRITNEY: Another very private and personal moment. I have no idea how that magazine photographer snuck into that professionally-lit studio, switched on that hair-enhancing fan, and snapped that heavily-airbrushed photo.
JUDGE: Also in 2006, you gave birth to your second son and later filed for divorce, after dumping Federline via text message.
BRITNEY: Life really zooms by, out here in the fast lane.
JUDGE: Early this year, you shaved your head.
BRITNEY: I enjoy feeling the wind on my scalp, while my life does all that zooming.
JUDGE: Your shaved hair was listed for sale on eBay.
BRITNEY: It was a tough sell. We were up against Hayden Panettiere's virginity.
JUDGE: You checked in and out of rehab several times.
BRITNEY: What's that saying? "One drink... er, DAY, at a time."
JUDGE: You were charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run, and driving without a valid license.
BRITNEY: Aw, Mister Judgie-Poo, you know those laws don't apply to celebrities!
JUDGE: You recently lost custoday of your kids to Federline and were ordered to attend weekly meetings with a "parenting coach."
BRITNEY (pouting): That's only because K-Fed's lawyer is better than mine.
JUDGE: And now you're filing papers to have overnight visits with your children?
BRITNEY: I heard that Michael Jackson filed for permission to have sleepovers with my kids, so I have to keep up with him. Don't I?
Leave Britney Alone!
Tuzigoot. Our recent holiday, in URLs... we visited these places with the kids:
I especially enjoyed the oxymoronic website...
Sinking the iPod.
My stepson (Jenc) gave me an iPod nano. It's a f*cking great gift.
But there's one tiny glitch, courtesy of Apple:
I just downloaded the latest version of iTunes (184.108.40.206). It sorts Pink Floyd's "The Great Gig In The Sky" under "G," while the matching system in my iPod sorts the same song under "T."
I really don't care which way they sort, but it cracks me up that a giant multinational computer corporation can't sync these two little pieces of software.
Vertical wind tunnel tips.
As you walk into the wind tunnel viewing room, you may feel like you're entering an execution chamber. 8-foot-tall plexiglass panes provide nearly-unobstructed views all around the tunnel's 44-foot circumference, with the exception of an airlock on one side and a console-operator booth on the other. When you press your nose against the plexiglass and look up into the tunnel cylinder, you'll notice several massive outflow vents, with spinning blades, approximately 40 feet above. The lower part of this tunnel, near the bottom of the plexiglass, is where you will soon provide 2 minutes of 3-D-pinball-bouncing-car-crash-rubbernecking entertainment for the spectator/witnesses, seated on rows of bleachers outside the plexiglass.
In short, your first impression might be unnerving... and you have not yet donned the kneepads, elbow pads, jumpsuit and crash helmet.
Your instructor-supervised time will be spent mostly down near the chamber's chicken-wire floor, where he can easily steer the newbies. If you really want to fly, grab a lot of air (it's like doing a pushup with your arms fully extended straight over your head) and circle above the instructor for awhile. It will surprise the sh*t out of him, but your arms will soon get very tired.
So if you feel like you're getting the hang of it after your first minute, ask 'em to crank up the airspeed. It's a little more dangerous (things happen faster - good things AND bad things), but it's a lot easier to fly.
Later: still image from our DVD.
Related: Vertical wind tunnel and The Thirty-One Dollar Man and Brown-Air Express.
Giant Red Nipple, redux.
My nipple obsession continues... the outline of our local landmark, Red Mountain:
(click photo above for wallpaper image) is being featured in more and more logos, like this tastefully-subtle church sign:
, or this prosaic ad for condos:
, or this nouveau-primitive preschool banner:
, but after seeing the version below, all I could think was: "Kids, don't do drugs."
Anikó spotted these latest four signs: "Look, there's another nipple!" Followed by wild giggling. I suspect this phenomenon is somehow funnier in Hungarian, but my only hint is the Magyar word for nipple - mellbimbo.