So I was a little dismayed to find this story about cargo cults on the Smithsonian Magazine’s website. I think it is a little depressing in the 21st century for a major magazine devoted to science, education and the arts to fall back on the hoary chestnuts of simple, backward islanders waiting for the Americans to return in makeshift uniforms. The tone of the article is shockingly paternalistic, and though it does get better in the final third of the story, it still tosses out plenty of nuggets that were stale on Gilligan’s Island forty years ago.
On a brighter note, I revisited the excellent Pacific Worlds website on Monday, looking for some information on Inarajan and Talofofo Falls. It’s a wonderful site, check it out.
Oh yeah, the radio thing went off without a hitch. Josie’s got the whole thing covered over at Latitude 13. Thanks Dave, Javon and Josie; I enjoyed it last night.
Kenny Luna, an eighth grade teacher on Long Island, has come up with a very bright idea. He wants to get compact fluorescent light bulbs into the hands of every child in America to help reduce energy consumption. According to his predictions if all 50 million kids across the country install their light bulbs over $2.3 billion could be saved in energy costs. He’s trying to get Oprah to popularize his idea, and he wants everybody to help.
I switched pretty much all my light bulbs over to compact fluorescents several years ago and I’ve had no problems with them. Not a single bulb has burned out in five years, though one did break spectacularly in a drunken brawl a few years ago. But its replacement is still going strong. As the last few incandescent bulbs burn out I will replace them with more fluorescents. Sure they cost a little more than regular bulbs, but they never seem to wear out. And Kenny Luna figures each compact fluorescent bulb saves $46 in energy costs over a regular incandescent. Seems like a bright idea to me too.
Monday evening I went into town and caught Terrence Malick’s latest movie, The New World. My anticipation level was high, I’ve been waiting for this film for several months now, and I doubted it would ever make it to our little corner of the planet. But it arrived last Friday, and I duly marched off to the theater on Monday’s holiday for a viewing.
So how did I like it? Well, it’s all Malick; long shots, voice overs, little plot. Don’t go expecting action or much dialogue. The New World is a tone poem on America’s past, a moment lost in time, a moment when the future hung in the balance for good or ill. There is a sense of wonder in the English settlers, a sense of being set loose upon an Eden. And yet they promptly set about recreating their Old World in the new one. In a word; the film is elegiac.
This movie is a visual experience, and it’s best to just let the images wash over you. I’ll probably go watch it a second time later this week, mainly because I was so darn cold in the theater I was actually shivering. I’ll be sure to wear a sweater and long pants next time so I won’t have to escape outside to warm myself.