Friday, December 29, 2006

... CLIMATE CHANGE IN WASHINGTON... Bush Takes Late-Year Dip with Polar Bears

December 29, 2006, Washington, DC -- In another 360-degree about-face, the Bush Administration ("What do you mean we denied 'global warming'? We were always against it, and still are.") indirectly acknowledged the natural disaster it has spent 6 crucial years vigorously abetting when the Interior Department proposed Wednesday to designate polar bears as a threatened species, saying that the accelerating loss of the Arctic ice that is the bears’ hunting platform has led biologists to believe that bear populations will decline, perhaps sharply, in the coming decades.
staying at the paris hilton
"It was either swim with the polar bears, or my 'legacy' was going to be ‘swimming with the fishes’, heh-heh," the poll-plummeting Chief Executive explained today with his characteristic, inappropriate-nervous villain’s chuckle. "Karl said my reputation was about to be absolutely shredded. Like those itty-bitty pieces of fish they throw in the ocean to catch bigger ones with, you know, whadaya call it?"

"Chum!" one reporter shouted brightly.

"Hey!" the President snarled, "Just cause I'm chatting with you folks is no excuse to get over-familiar. In any case, this move is completely in keeping with my administration’s long-standing approach to disasters, both natural and man-made, and that is to first miss the boat, then sink it and then to pretend we were always on-board. Now if you've got any more questions, ask Tony. He's the High Commissioner of Snow around here."

In a conference call with reporters, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne went on to say that although the decision to seek protection for polar bears acknowledged the melting ice, his department was not taking a position on why the ice was melting or what to do about it.

"Some folks have said when you've got melting ice make gin-and-tonics!" Kempthorne elaborated. "No one in this administration, of course. Or any longer in this administration."

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Since my Iraq Study Group broke up I’ve been sort of at loose ends. It started as a book group that met twice a month to share pics of our grandkids and discuss our readings. In fact, we’d only just finished Marly & Me before taking up Iraq. But this time afterwards everybody agreed the group needed a break. So I asked my friend Bob what he’d be doing during our hiatus and he said he might be tied up for awhile, but did I realize how many "good" movies there were to see?

I was insulted at first, I was hoping he’d take the hint and find me work. But he told me, relax, I was probably better off not getting the DoD on my resume just now, and had I seen "The Good Shepherd"? Well, I thought that was odd, even though he used to head the CIA. But when he asked if I’d report back on "The Good German" and I said, sure, of course, he could count on me, he looked around and, seeing no one watching, slipped me an envelope. He wanted me to look into some suspicious activity. Hollywood, they were at it again. We all know the media can’t be trusted to point out the "good" we’re doing in the world. So what was going on? Bob asked me to get to the bottom of it and make my findings public.

I don’t have to tell you, he had given me quite a list. This year alone had produced four notable ‘good’ films. Along with The Good Sheperd and The Good German, there had been A Good Year with Russell Crowe and a British PBS deal called A Good Murder; and that didn’t take into account The Good Life, a movie with Bill Paxton and Harry Dean Stanton and Zooey Deschanel that’s due out next year. Not to mention last year’s Good Night & Good Luck. My first thought was George ‘Do-Gooder’ Clooney was behind this, since he was a common thread, so I called him. Right off, he admitted it. He was only interested in making ‘good’ movies. But I said, "George, this looks media-wide to me."

"I don’t control the media," he opined. ("Opining" is a favorite smart alec Liberal way of replying according to Bill O’Reilly.) It was a denial which, you’ll agree, coming from the "Sexiest Man Alive," is as good as him tacitly saying he does control the media.

But what was the idea, was this a whitewash? Was Hollywood trying to wrap itself up in ‘goodness’ to get America to believe it was not a tool of the insurgents, or terrorists, or communists, or whomever it was who’d gotten us into so much trouble around the world lately? "I really couldn’t say," Mr. Clooney lied, and then said he had more urgent business to attend to, world hunger or some genocide to help stop. As Don Rumsfeld would say, "My goodness!"

Finally, I went to see these films, The Good Shepherd and The Good German, or The Good German Shepherd as some wags have put it. I was surprised, it was like watching movies from the good old days, when America was the bastion of all that was right and good. Both films harked back to WWII, the last really ‘good’ war, where ‘good’ and ‘evil’ were clear as night and day. (By the way, another film simply titled "Good" is due in 2008 with Viggo Mortensen. Again, about the rise of National Socialism).

Then it hit me. It was a classic case of misdirection. The abundance of ‘good’ movies all concealed the same thing – the absence of ‘great’ movies, the movies Hollywood was no longer making! Sure, The Good German was ‘good’, but it was no Casablanca, or The Third Man. And neither was The Good Shepherd.

Where had all the great movies gone, movies like The Great Escape or The Great McGinty, The Great Santini or The Great White Hope? Or even the not-so-great great movies like The Great Impostor or The Great Bikini Off-Road Adventure?

So America, this Holiday Season when you’re deciding which movies to take the family to see, take your time. Like the extended shopping in this era of ‘gift cards’, it pays to wait. And be patient with our president, who’s also weighing all his extremely limited alternatives. Maybe revisit a great old movie, like It’s A Wonderful Life, or White Christmas (with that great song, "I’m Dreaming Of A Way Forward"). And relax. Things will (eventually) get better. For example, they already have a great movie coming out in 2007, The Great Buck Howard with John Malkovich.

Peace & Happy New Year.

Yours Truly,

Big Jim "I Wished I’d Never Gotten Involved In That Recount" Baker

Monday, December 25, 2006



Try the above for an array of links to global film and tv festivals.

The site -- Eco/Enviro/Green -- is a rich resource of Film & TV contacts for Television - Festivals - Peer to Peer Organizations - Catalogs & Distributors - Hollywood Environmental Focus Groups - Environmental Fimmaking Tips

Santa Monica's own Laemmle 4-Plex Theater, at 1332 2nd street, played host to the 2nd Annual INSPIRATION FILM FESTIVAL last April. Dates for this year, 2007, are listed as April 27th -29th. But I would check. Particularly pending an announcement early January when submissions of films will again be accepted. In 2006 they offerred a $15,000 GAIA Feature Film award and two $5,000 GAIA Awards for Short and Documentary.

See Inspiration Film Fest

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


From the Man who gave us the term “wardrobe malfunction” comes news of the latest in eco-fashion. According to People magazine, Justin Timberlake has taken to covering his nether extremities in soy fiber undershorts. Soybean protein fiber is being marketed as a "vegetable cashmere," a new eco-friendly luxury textile. Those who've tried it vouch for soy's soft feel, luster, washability and durability.

A Short History Of Soyled Shorts

Soy in clothing isn't new. Henry Ford first preached for the bean back in the 1940s and was photographed wearing the first known soy suit and tie (above, amid the haycocks). Soy fibers had largely disappeared though, until recent developments in China. They've created a new fiber made from the leftover dregs of soybean oil and tofu production. With the advantage of being a renewable resource and a by-product of food manufacturing, soy textiles have organic certification, but cost 30% more than organic cotton and hemp due to accessibility issues and material costs today. This means the new soy clothing is being marketed as a higher end fabric, with the hope its unique texture and patina will support the price-point.

Where can you get soy clothing? Right now only the leading eco-clothing stores carry it: Under the Canopy and Of The Earth. But others are getting involved. Mikka-clothing, a Danish-Chinese company, has set up shop in China. Soy, watch out!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Refinery Fire

The Refinery Fire

The patrolman piled high cans of petroleum
siphoned from earth’s ancient mausoleum
on the oil company office's linoleum,

then lit a thin line of vasoline
that ignited the gasoline…

This, his refinery fire, an inferno felt in every
fiber of his being, in all its red, fiery finery
- all inessential elements eliminated -
refined his ire to very fine tire lines,
tiny, defined wiry treds to find,
that found, led to, first, a fine.
Then to being fired, tried,
freed, and, when retried,
nearly fried. Finally
free, he retired,
tired & died.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hey, Los Angeles Auto Show!

In the midst of the attention being lavished on the Los Angeles Auto Show and the big automakers becoming newly attentive to fuel concerns, the City of Santa Monica is sponsoring what is billed as the largest and most technologically advanced Alternative Car and Transportation Expo this coming weekend at Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport.

Admission is free to ALTCAR EXPO. An electrifying car rally and opening ceremony—including a parade of all participating alternative vehicles—takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 8. The event will begin at the Santa Monica Pier and end at Barker Hanger and will include actors James Brolin, Alexandra Paul and Ed Begley Jr., as well as a few surprises.

More than 100 alternative fuel vehicles will be showcased at the expo, including hybrid, electric, hydrogen, compressed natural gas, plug-in hybrid, high MPG gasoline, ethanol and biodiesel. Other eco-friendly vehicles—such as Segways, electric skateboards, bicycles, mopeds and two- and three-wheeled scooters—will also be on display. You can find more info at
A wide-ranging selection of environmental, health and alternative fuel seminars will be held throughout the two-day event and will include Assemblymember Fran Pavley, National Center for Smart Growth Professor Reid Ewing and World Council for Renewable Energy Chairperson Angelina Galiteva. Keynote addresses will be provided by former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, author Edwin Black and former head of the California EPA Terry Tamminen.
Blonde on Blonde
blood on the tracks
E! Entertainment Television joins with EMA (the Environmental Media Association who still haven’t caught up with T. Lief’s blog) and 9900 Wilshire to throw this year’s first annual "Green" Golden Globes party -- a Hollywood first. They say they’ll be throwing the best and most eco-friendly post-Golden Globes party in town.

We’ll be the judge of that.
Gwyneth Spanish Clooney's pig
Hollywood's elite will party into the evening in an environmentally responsible way, while E! viewers will get "behind the velvet rope" access to the party. Participating celebrities are thought to include: Ed Begley Jr., Kristin Davis, Daryl Hannah, Anthony Kiedis, Wendie Malick, Nicole Richie, Jeffrey Tambor, Wilmer Valderrama, Constance Zimmer, and many others.