She Deserve a Google Doodle

Audrey Hepburn Google Doodle from May 4, 2014

Audrey Hepburn Google Doodle from May 4, 2014

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Audrey Hepburn, a worthy choice to be sure.  She was one of the most respective actresses of her time, ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema, she is one of the few people to have won an Grammy, Tony, Emmy, Oscar, BAFTA, and numerous other accolades for her work as an actress.

She was also a fashion icon, but she may be most worthy of honor for her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.  She first did work for UNICEF in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1988 that she began work in an official capacity.  She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, only a year before she died of cancer at the age of only 45.

She’s a worthy subject of honor, to be sure, but I’m curious what criteria Google chooses.  Around this time two years ago the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace launched an effort to ask Google to dedicate a Doodle to Pearl S. Buck.
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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review-April 7-13, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available at here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Jadavpur University professor arrested over anti-Mamata cartoons
The Times of India, 4/13

Finally on solid ground (in Norwegian – Google translation)
Aksel Kjaer Vidnes, Forskerforum, 4/13

Colombia all ears after students vote with their feet
Graham Jarvis, Times Higher Education, 4/12

Tenuous Tenure
Kaustuv Basu, Inside Higher Ed, 4/12

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The Bodyguard, Netflix, and Your Right to Access Promised Content

UPDATE:  Check with TechDirt for a significant correction on this story. Apparently this video was removed from the streaming catalog before Whitney Houston’s death.  While that does mean Warner Brothers did not behave as cynically as I believed, the fact that that there was confusion about the date really rather supports my point.  If you expect a video to be in the catalog, you expect it to find it.  

If you were planning to watch The Bodyguard on Netflix, you’re out of luck. According to this post on TechDirt, it’s been pulled. Unless you’re a huge Whitney Houston fan, you probably won’t notice. It’s not a good movie and you probably weren’t planning to watch it. It’s got some great music, but the soundtrack is available separately. If you were planning to watch it, you are probably really annoyed and need to make other plans. I feel your pain, because I’ve been there. It happens far too often, digitally distributed media has a tendency to just disappear, usually due to rights issues.

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Making Bad Movies Fun

The Razzies are annual awards saluting the worst Hollywood has to offer.

I saw a really bad movie on Friday. Never mind which. One of the things I enjoy about writing this blog is that I get to be a critic without being critical, so I generally only write about works of art that I’d like to endorse. My mom would be proud that I am following her injunction to refrain from saying anything at all if you can’t say anything nice. So never mind the title. The point is that for two hours I was in a theater watching a movie that, had I know better, I would not have watched, let alone paid $12 for!!

The way I see it, when you are in that situation, your options are limited. You’ve paid a significant amount of money for a ticket. Which is more of a waste: losing the time you will spend watching a movie you aren’t enjoying, or losing the money you spent on the ticket? Theaters do not refund the ticket price because you didn’t like to movie. Moreover, its not always a straight-forward choice. For example, maybe you are at the theater with friends who want to stay.

Well, there is a third option.
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The Weary Kind

Ok, so maybe I’m just a little bit obsessed with this guy’s music, but I’ve got to share this video with you. This is “The Weary Kind“, written by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, and performed by the latter. Ryan Bingham is just amazing, but I’ve said that in this blog before. This song is one of his best. It’s haunting in itself, but I can’t imagine many people with a voice better able to convey to lyrics and sentiment in them than Bingham. But I don’t have to describe it, do I? Give it listen. Then rush on over to this page in Amazon.com where you can hear more samples and buy the music too. I suspect you will want to.

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Three Interesting Links from Morocco

This post is simply to pass on a few links, all relating to Morocco.

The first is to the site for the Maroc Blog Awards. The title is slightly misleading because you don’t just vote on blogs. There is an award for the photo, Facebook group, and Twitterer of the year, among others. Morocco and Moroccans don’t have a huge online presence. It’s a small country. But they took to the internet relatively early in the global scheme of things. I attended a conference about the internet in Morocco in the mid 1990s and it was packed. It is also a pretty well wired country and lots of Moroccans who are active in online media outside of Morocco still prominently identify their online selves as Moroccan, so there is some good stuff for voters to choose from. It will be interesting to see, however, if any of the recently arrested bloggers. The latest was on December 8.

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“The Boy from Lebanon” or “The Killer Kid”?

A good percentage of the entries I write for this blog end up being here totally by accident, and that is the case with this one. I watched a film last night called The Boy from Lebanon. It’s a pretty powerful and intense film, though problematic. One way that it is so is that it is presented as a true story, but doesn’t appear to be so. So I went online to check that out. While doing so I found comments on YouTube preview clips that I wanted to respond to, so I went back after finishing my quick research and wrote them up. I did so, finished what I had to say, clicked on enter and wanted to go on. But by then my entry was too long and it wasn’t accepted.


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Mozart of the Pickpockets on YouTube

It is a wonderful development that you can now see so many award winning short films online. I am a full fledged cinophile and I do believe something is lost when a film that was shot for the big screen is watched on the small screen, let alone the event smaller screen of YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion or other sites. But other the other hand, every year I pay attention to the Oscars, the Golden Globes, Cannes, Venice, and all the other film festivals. The short films always sound wonderful, but until recently it was unlikely I’d see more of most of them than the clips they show in the telecast. Continue reading

Justin Timberlake to Play Social Networking Entrepeneur

There have been a lot of reports about a new movie about the beginning of Facebook, most of which have focused on the film’s star. I’m more intrigued by the writer. Sports Night, The West Wing, even the ill-fated Studio 60, Sorkin has given us a lot of good entertainment.

BBC News reports:

Film trade paper Variety said the singer would play Sean Parker, who became Facebook’s founding president.

David Fincher is directing The Social Network, which was scripted by The West Wing‘s Aaron Sorkin.

Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield have also been lined up to star in the project, which starts filming next month in Boston.

The movie will focus on the overnight success of Facebook, which was created in 2004 on the campus of Harvard University.

Sean Parker

Sean Parker

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake



Opening sequence from the first episode of the first season of Studio 60 Live from the Sunset Strip. Small wonder the show didn’t last on network tv.