Saturday, May 15, 2004

Chungking Express

I finally saw Wong Kar Wai's 1994 masterpiece "Chungking Express" today. The movie's Chinese name actually means Chungking (the city) Forest. I don't know why it was translated into Chungking Exress, other than the fact that most of the story takes place at a restaurant.

Anyways, I loved the movie. It really reminded me of "Amelie" because it has a weird, disjointed plot and seems to be set in a fantasy land inhabited only by quirky people. All the main characters are suffering from love starvation, which causes some of them to talk to inanimate objects like soap and towels. One of the characters actually talks to his huge stuffed animal, which made me miss Pooh Bear.

The plot is really simple: two guys both get dumped by their girlfriends. One is desperate to find any girl to replace his ex while the other still can't get over his. The movie showcases perfectly how love can drive people crazy: After finding out his ex is breaking up with him for good, guy #1 tries to reconnect with several old acquintances, including someone who he hasn't seen since 4th grade. Then there is the girl whose obsession with the object of her desire borders on psychotic, to the extent that she would break into his apartment and redecorate everything. On the other hand, I found something to like about every character, however abnormal or obsessive their behavior may be.

There were times during the movie that I got really confused because one of the narrators speaks Mandarin while his character speaks Cantonese. Since I can understand Mandarin but not Cantonese, I had trouble switching between listening to Mandarin and reading the English subtitles. A funny thing about the movie is its use of "Dreams" by The Cranberries, except sang in Cantonese!

Rent this movie on DVD. It's awesome.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


From Slate:

"The question I am most frequently asked about Bushisms is, 'Do you really think the president of the United States is dumb?'

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is yes and no..."


Letter to Eric Alterman

Name: David Scott
Hometown: Westfield, MA
I know this is probably a horrible and perhaps nearly incomprehensible thing to say, but I am happy that these prison murders, rapes and abuses have finally been shown to the American people, and make no mistake, given a choice this administration would never have allowed the country to see these terrible things.

As a disabled Vietnam veteran and as someone whose existence has been defined by war, there are things happening in Iraq that have a very sick and familiar feel, only this is a much more secret war. In Vietnam it was all there on the T.V. every night, the carnage and senseless killing that is a part of every war. In this war it is all a secret, as if there really were no killings no grotesquely wounded as if the 700 or so dead or the thousands wounded were just numbers with no names attached no real lives to account for and it is unpatriot and nearly criminal to merely mention those that have fallen.

It is we, the wretched refuse, the poor people, and it has always been the poor who fight wars, who are ultimately made more poor, more disenchanted once they return home to V.A. hospitals with the worst health care system in the country and veterans benefits that require nothing less than shameless begging.

It is always us against them. The rich ,the privileged, that have never been in a war, have never been wounded or had friends die who have never seen rows and rows of blasted bone and mutilated flesh in veterans hospitals, those like Bush or Cheney who posture and blather about things like patriotism and sacrifice, have no concept of the ugliness, the stupidity or the real shock and awe of suddenly being hit and down and the bleeding out into the ground of a foreign country far away. It is always us, it is never them.

And it only comes to you later by painful degrees if you have survived with the rest of the wretched wounded in a slow sickening epiphany, that this is no John Wayne movie or Iwo Jima battle but a senseless murdering for reasons that are more and more unclear.

To all those who make these decisions about war, who seem suddenly appalled like our President and the rest of the rich who run this country, or the outraged officers who always serve in the rear, to all those faux warrior architects, or political pundits who have no idea what it is like to be thousands of miles away with a rifle in a foreign country where the enemy does not wear uniforms and there are no real fronts. Where life is cheap and always at risk, these pictures, these rapes, these tortures, these murders are what happen in such places. And they happen in every war. It is the ugly nature of the thing that I thought we had learned 30 years ago.

David Scott USMC RET

Monday, May 10, 2004

I See Scary People!

There is this old lady living on my floor who must be in her late 80's. She often walks gingerly and quietly down the hallway. Although her body is straight as an arrow while she's walking, her neck is bent to such an extent that her head is almost parallel go the ground. When viewed from the back, she makes me think of the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow.

Anyways, I once opened the door and suddenly saw her standing outside, which so startled me I almost screamed. Actually, she was walking past the door, but because she was walking so slowly, it seemed like she was just standing out there ready to scare the shit out of me. Yesterday, after I came back from the supermarket, I stood in front of my door rummaging through my pockets for the key. I blurted out "Oh fuck!" when I thought I had locked myself out. Right at that moment, I saw her walking towards me from the end of the hallway. Luckily, I was able to find my key in time and stepped into the apartment quickly. I don't know if she had heard me, but I was too embarassed to look in her direction.

A conversation

Phil (on the phone): I just saw the hottest girl ever!! She's like the hottest person I've seen in 10 years!! Damn! It's a crime to be that hot!!

Me (laughing): Haha, really?

Phil: Yeah, oh shit! ahhhhh! Oh oh oh oh, shit shit! Ou ou ouch!

Me: What happened?

Phil: I just spilled some hot soup on myself. Let me call you back later.

Me: Oh, I thought you were getting too excited.