Robin Wright Penn

     I was a little intrigued at last year’s Oscars when Sean Penn thanked the world for his gratuitous statuette- that is, everyone  except for his wife, Robin Wright Penn.  I remember thinking “Wow, what a cock,” and admiring her grace as she sat there with all eyes upon her, waiting for him to acknowledge the mother of his two kids. Now it appears I am the only person on earth not to notice that they had marital difficulties and it was all over even then.

     What reminded of that this week are the upcoming Oscars and a movie I saw tonight, Pippa LeeIt is a delicate vehicle for Keannu Reeves and Robin Wright Penn, and enjoyable. But what struck me most about the film was once again the absolute poise of RWP. 

     If you don’t remember, as a young woman she starred as Princess Buttercup in the The Princess BrideThis is one of the all time great movies. When it came out, I was a young marine at Guantanamo in the late eighties. No prison camp then, just a cold war outpost for about three hundred or so jarheads and plenty of sailors. I still recall guys in my platoon, far from home and lonely,  unsure of their place in the world, absolutely enthralled by the film. And by Ms. Wright’s Buttercup. The perfect idealized woman, beautiful and faithful to her man even when he was off to sea and presumed lost years before. We crowded around a t.v. in the open squad bay and memorized every line.

     Now, years after mothering her children, years after several notable roles and living with Sean Penn, There she is on the screen in this tidy little film. Forty three years old. Once again, you can’t help but see the talent and beauty. Out-shining woman twenty years younger…and still to many of us, the perfect princess.

“The Hurt Locker”- Oscar worthy?

Ok I’ve seen “The Hurt Locker” twice, in theaters and at home.  The buzz surrounding it from Hollywood itself is how authentic it is and how James Cameron’s ex-wife is in serious competition to upstage his own, more expensive epic dealing with the same topic:  imperialism. (Avatar).

I enjoyed the flick, but this is no “Generation Kill,” which truly reminded me of marines in the field. Spot on. Truthfully, The Hurt Locker” is this year’s “Top Gun.” Fun when it played, but ultimately hokey and serving not as a mirror to reflect on the coalition war in Iraq, but rather acting as a fluff piece to present a budding star (Jeremy Renner).  Like Top Gun, “The Hurt Locker” easily acts as a recruiting tool. I doubt the U.S. Army had a lot of volunteers to disarm IED’s;  presenting this dangerous act as sexy, wild, and rock and roll no doubt increased the intake.

That those in the industry are fooled into thinking it is “intelligent” only shows how ironic it is that a Hollywood decidedly not pro-war now might award its highest honor to a film practically dedicated to the proposition that war is necessary to fulfill the soul.

two nice european wines

     A few weeks ago I tried and enjoyed la Vielle Ferme 2008, a Cote du Ventoux red; found it at  Just Grapes downtown Chicago for a reasonable $11.99. Yesterday, well yesterday I was in the Wine Discount Center on Elston and found the same vintage for $6.99! This is my find of the year, two months in. You will not find a better quality wine anywhere in the U.S. for that price. If you are in the area, stop buying that crap Barefoot stuff, spend a dollar more, and buy it by the case, what a great daily house wine. Another good deal there is the Olivares Altos de la Hoya 2008.  apparently it recieved a 91 rating by International Wine Cellar, and at $8.99 a bottle, also unbeatable- except by maybe the aforementioned French red. Finally, a bit of serendipity- the guy helping me decide (Rob) turns out to be a DLI alum, from 1970- a Chinese linguist who also worked for NSA!

This is why we need to change ALL the rules

     Alaskan politicians are so outraged that they have to report lobbyist-bought meals costing more than fifteen ($15) dollars that they are floating the thought of not reporting any meals by lobbyists. Or better yet, raising the ceiling on the dollar amount, so that these bribes disappear. Some of the gems straight from their mouths include Eagle River Republican Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom’s comment: “I mean, sometimes you can’t get an appetizer for $50. 

     Really? Think she is the only one out of touch? Try this bit of sophistry:  “Is a meal unethical? No. Should it be reported? Well, maybe. If you spend $100 bucks on a meal, I think people have a right to know. But if you’re just sitting down to a meal with somebody, what’s the big deal? It’s nothing unethical,” said North Pole Republican Sen. John Coghill.

     Nothing unethical? So when Exxon sits you down and buys you a plate of crab legs and a bottle of wine, its all good?  Thank God we can take Jack’s word on that.  These politicians have a bigger sense of entitlement than Tiger Woods! They make Marie Antoinette sound like a close cousin.

     The only one to be commended is Mike Doogan, a true voice in the wilderness.

      The people of Alaska have one of the highest rates of education per capita in the United States. It would be wonderful if we used those smarts to send these royal fools (of whichever party) packing.

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