Wednesday, February 08, 2006


More images from TAM4. This is me, Hal Bidlack, and his son Chris. I think Hal gave the best, most moving speech of the conference. I hear that James Randi is doing better and I am glad about that.

I saw “Good Night and Good Luck” last night. I think it should win best picture at the Academy Awards. I don’t know if it is the best picture of the year, I think my personal favorite is “Munich,” but I think there’s too much controversy about “Munich” for it to win. Probably just being nominated is as winny as “Munich” is going to get. “Crash” absolutely cannot win or I’m not going to watch the Academy Awards ever again. That movie SUCKS. As my friend Jim Emerson said, the person who wrote it lived in the hills. Meaning that it’s a Hollywood Hills person looking down on Los Angeles imagining what he thinks life is really like out there on the streets. I was openly laughing at Crash with derision by the time it was half way through.

I did not do well on my personal writing yesterday. I kept going on the internet to look up places in Ireland. I am going to this International Atheist Convention in Iceland at the end of June. Richard Dawkins is going to be there, Margaret Downey, and I’m not sure who else, but I am so psyched to see Iceland. I think we will stay about a week there.

So, then, I figured, that if I’m in Iceland I would take Mulan to Ireland. There was a period of five years before I adopted Mulan when I went to Ireland every single year. I have friends in Clifden, in Connemara, on the West Coast. I actually have about sixty or so cousins in and around Dublin, but I don’t really know them. My great grandfather was a taster at the Jameson Whiskey factory just outside Dublin. Honestly that is a job and my great grandfather had it. In any case, if I could swing it, which I’m not sure I can, I would take Mulan to Ireland and she could take horseback riding lessons in Connemara – at this little stable where I took some rides from several years ago. Then maybe we could head over to Inishbofin, this lovely little island off the coast of West Ireland for a little while. Oh what am I thinking? I would have to get so much done in order to do this! I would have to have the book done, the screenplay done, and the TV pilot sold to someone. But all these fantasies kept me from writing most of the day. Even though, completion of the writing is what would allow me to fulfill these fantasies.

Turns out it’s not so easy to go from Iceland to Ireland. You’d think they’d have three flights a day from Reykjavik to Shannon or Dublin. But NO. You have to fly to London, and if we go to London, then we should probably see London and that adds a few days, a few very, very expensive days. And if we go to London, should we then, not fly in and out of London? And I could use my miles for the flights? But then it means back tracking three hours to Iceland. And now you see how a whole day gets lost in the planning and fantasy.

Even though “Good Night, and Good Luck” could have easily sent me spiraling downwards, like after I saw “Why We Fight” did, it didn’t. As my mother would say, I felt “uplifted.” It’s so hopeful, that film. It’s so filled with camaraderie and fighting the good fight and basically winning. I hope it gets best picture, I really do. Ohmygod, George Clooney is a genius. What a filmmaker! I remember when I was in the hospital over ten years ago now -- after my surgery -- when I had cancer -- and Quentin had George Clooney call me at the hospital and say, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” This, of course, was when he was on ER. Then he told me that I’d get better, etc. So, y’know, I feel I am a close personal friend of George Clooney because of this conversation.

All right, back to the grindstone.

21 comments:

bookboy said...

Could not agree more with you about "Good Night,Good Luck", gave me goose bumps at times. Funny how as time changes, how much it stays the same. I know this one will never be big, but I sure did enjoyed it. Was called Dear Frankie

pkd14u said...

Oh good lawdy! I've been to Clifden and Inishbofin!!! You've brought back such memories for me!

You know, if you can't take Mulan there this year go another year. Make it part of your life plan to take her there. Just make it happen. Or...you could send her to Aquinas College here in MI and she could go with the Ireland program. That's how I got there for FOUR months and wouldn't have had it any other way! We stayed in Tully Cross. Have you been there? I think it's 13km north of Clifden.'

Hmm. I'm one to talk. I need to make it my life plan to get my kids to Ireland!

So, do you read to comments to your blog? LOL

Hey! Here's another idea. Bring Mulan here when you come to speak to the Freethought Association of West Michigan (wink, wink) and she can ride my horse, Dylan! Next best thing and all that...

pkd14u

zigory said...

I have long been a fan of the brilliant James Randi, one of the great forces for reason and telling the truth, for decades. I hope he lives many more years and never stops speaking up. I first saw him as a boy, when he performed magic tricks at a theater near my home in New Jersey, but later followed his campaign for reason and truth against mysticism.

I haven't seen "Good Night" but I suspect that it doesn't address the fact that probably 99% of the accused actually were members of the Communist Party, sending money to the murderous Soviets. (Proven by documents released after the Iron Curtain fell). That doesn't mean it can't be a good movie on its own terms, as "JFK" was fascinating even though not accurate. (Incidentally, I think I went to NYU with one of George Clooney's producers, a very nice woman named Jennifer Fox).

Anonymous said...

I live in Los Angeles... Not up in the hills.

I found Crash to be fairly accurate. (dramatic, for the sake of drama, of course) but I didn't hear or seemuch in that movie that I haven't actually seen in LA.

But that's just me, living at the bottom of the hill.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia, I finally looked up your website which I wrote down months ago after an NPR interview or monologue. You made an impression on me because I don't know many atheists, and one that I do know says it doesn't bother him that other people are fundamental Christians or Republicans. I'm afraid I am bothered by people who can not see the contradictions of Christian (or whatever religion) beliefs which say we will go to heaven with the streets of gold and be reunited with our loved ones. Does this make a man or woman who has been married 2 or 3 times a polygamist? I am mostly joking here. A greater problem that bothers me is big business and overpopulation (ecouraged by a President who wants to ban birth control, day after pills and abortion) which is destroying our planet.
I enjoyed reading several days of your blogs. Thanks for the movie tips. I will sign up later to get an identity. Pat from San Antonio, TX

Sheldon said...

I'm so glad to learn that I wasn't the only person who thought "Crash" was a piece of crap! One of my students said I should watch it after I lectured on the evolution of prejudice. I just couldn't face her after that; she loved it so much, and I only had bad things to say about it the next week. It hit all the major talking points about racial prejudice...as they're taught in gradeschools, anyway. But they were so over the top and stereotypical themselves that I just kept having to pause and breathe some fresh air for a few minutes before I could carry on! I felt like Elaine (from Seinfeld) during "The English Patient."

Justin Kreutzmann said...

so tell us how you really feel about 'Crash?'...heh heh.

Orcas Guy said...

Upon returning from Afghanistan in the late 70's (pre-Russian invasion)my dear friend Jim had a great line about the fundamentalists (Taliban). Jim said that there was one clear fact--"Fundamentalists are 99% mental and 1% fun". It rings true today about most 'fundamental' 'folks'...the frightening thing is that now they are not just a scattered group of cranks. They helped elect our president. Does "piffle" fit here" I am not sure.
One final note-- if you are moving out of LA to return to Spokane, I would like to suggest that you consider Orcas Island, WA. It is a wonderful place to raise your daughter with enough quircky residents to keep life interesting. Let me know if you want a tour sometime.

orcas@rockisland.com

shannon said...

I'm thinking about sending Julia's LGoG cd to my fundie sister in Houston but she probably won't check it out... Then I started thinking about what a guy said in our atheist group - that he doesn't really care to know people who are not smart enough to become atheists on their own.

Maybe it is important to NOT proselytize. I used to want to get out and changes and minds. I guess one should be careful of how to do that.

Lynne said...

I wanted to thank bookboy because I'd been trying to think of Dear Frankie ever since I saw the trailer, but forgot the name.
Thanks.
And it's Charles Darwin's birthday. Celebrate evolution, or at least the fact that it is still taught in schools!

glittergirl said...

just wanted to say i respect you "coming out" as an atheist. i myself decided i am "ignostic" recently!

"Ignosticism is the view that the question of whether or not deities exist is inherently meaningless. It is a popular view among many logical positivists such as Rudolph Carnap and A. J. Ayer, who hold that talk of gods is literally nonsense. According to ignostics, "Does a god exist?" has the same logical status as "What color is Saturday?"; they are both nonsensical, and thus have no meaningful answers."

now read my blog famous pretty lady!

Tired of Idiots said...

It's always so refreshing to read both intelligent blogs and meaningful comments. I had to cancel attendance to TAM4 at the last minute, and so sorely regret that I had to do so. It sounds like everything I could have asked for and more!

Now, maybe I can work a trip to Iceland...

John said...

Julia, thanks for your Angeleno prespective on "Crash." I also thought it was a silly pile of contrivance... but that's the view from here in Michigan. Obviously the writer of the film had never been to Detroit, or they wouldn't have come to the conclusion that LA is the "racist" center of the country. And I just loved the dialogue... people in the "Crash" universe apparently live in a similar dimension as those people who inhabit Neil Simon comedies.

I also liked "Good Night..." but would give the Oscar to Brokeback Mountain.

John Hedtke said...

I almost moved to Ireland about 8 years ago based solely on how beautiful it is there... well, actually, I like the closeness to Europe, too. :) Sadly, non-fiction authors don't get the tax breaks that fiction authors and other literati do (alas!) so it would've been prohibitively expensive for me to live there. But oh, my! it's gorgeous. There are places in Ireland I think of that choke me up just from the memory of seeing them for a few minutes; to people who lived there and soaked in the splendor all their lives, the pain of separation would be almost unbearable.

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