A View of the C

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November 30, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Did you know?, Funny | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

10 Things You Might Not Know About Michelle Obama

michelle-obama1Michelle Obama seems to be an amazing woman, very engaging and very very smart. I look forward to getting to know her more. In the meantime, here are 10 facts about her that you might not have known.

1. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born Jan. 17, 1964, to Fraser and Marian Robinson. The family lived on the South Side of Chicago, and Fraser worked for the Chicago water department. Michelle attended the Whitney M. Young Magnet School.

3. Michelle then attended Harvard Law School, earning her degree in 1988. After law school, she went to work at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin.

4. At the law firm, she met Barack Obama. He was a summer associate; she was his adviser. While Michelle wasn’t initially interested in a romance, she soon changed her mind. On their first date, Michelle and Barack saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

5. In the early 1990s, following the death of both her father and a close friend from college, Michelle reassessed her life. Rethinking her career path, she decided to leave the corporate law world to work in public service. She took a job in the mayor’s office and then in the city’s office of planning and development. In 1993, Michelle became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago, an AmeriCorps national service program that provided training to young adults pursuing careers in the public sector. Continue reading

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Commentary, Did you know?, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie Magic Ignores The History Books

We go to the movies for entertainment, not a history lesson; we all accept that movies stretch the truth in the interest of building drama. The following ten flicks, however, treat the truth like it was Silly Putty — pulling and twisting it until it’s unrecognizable.

  1. 10,000 B.C.
    Director Roland Emmerich is usually a stickler for realism (see: sending a computer virus via Macintosh to aliens in Independence Day). So we hate to inform him that woolly mammoths were not, in fact, used to build pyramids. Heck, woolly mammoths weren’t even found in the desert. They wouldn’t need to be woolly if that were the case. And there weren’t any pyramids in Egypt until 2,500 B.C or so.
  2. Gladiator
    Emperor Commodus was not the sniveling sister-obsessed creep portrayed in the movie. A violent alcoholic, sure, but not so whiny. He ruled ably for over a decade rather than ineptly for a couple months. He also didn’t kill his father, Marcus Aurelius, who actually died of chickenpox. And instead of being killed in the gladatorial arena, he was murdered in his bathtub.
  3. 300
    Though this paean to ancient moral codes and modern physical training is based on the real Battle of Thermopylae, the film takes many stylistic liberties. The most obvious one being Persian king Xerxes was not an 8-foot-tall Cirque du Soleil reject. The Spartan council was made up of men over the age of 60, with no one as young as Theron (played by 37-year-old Dominic West). And the warriors of Sparta went into battle wearing bronze armor, not just leather Speedos.
  4. The Last Samurai
    The Japanese in the late 19th century did hire foreign advisers to modernize their army, but they were mostly French, not American. Ken Watanabe’s character was based on the real Saigo Takamori who committed ritual suicide, or “seppuku,” in defeat rather than in a volley of Gatling gun fire. Also, it’s doubtful that a 40-something alcoholic Civil War vet, even one with great hair, would master the chopsticks much less the samurai sword.
  5. Apocalypto
    This one movie has given entire Anthropology departments migranes. Sure the Maya did have the odd human sacrifice but not to Kulkulkan, the Sun God, and only high-ranking captives taken in battle were killed. The conquistadors arriving at the end of the film made for unlikely saviors: an estimated 90% of indigenous American population was killed by smallpox from the infected Spanish pigs. Continue reading

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Did you know?, Movies | , , , , , | 1 Comment