Saturday: watched “Letters from Iwo Jima.” What a movie – Clint Eastwood’s quite a director. The movie, if nothing else, does quite well in showing how War Is Bad – and how one’s culture affects how one conducts a war. Actor Ken Watanabe – he is the man – as he plays a general caught in circumstances you’d wish he wasn’t in, as a character who had enjoyed his time in America and learning from American counterparts – but sadly fighting against them and misses his family. Tsuyoshi Ihara is a cutie – but more importantly strongly played Baron Nishi, a guy who also enjoyed his visit in the States as an Olympic athlete but also facing reality. The other soldiers prove to be quite human, ranging from the baker who just wants to go home and the young man who thought he had it in him to police others on their patriotism. Even the glimpses of the Americans at Iwo Jima were fascinating – this was no pretty battle for anyone. Check out the NY Times’ review by A.O. Scott – expansive view of it.

Speaking of how War Is Bad – the comic strip “Funky Winkerbean” kind of irritates me – a recent storyline took the comic strip back to Iraq, to follow up on Funky’s cousin, Wally (on his second tour in Iraq). Then, it looked like Wally was blown up by an IED and you’re left thinking: damn – you just knew something bad was going to happen, since Funky’s best friend’s wife survived breast cancer so someone else was going to have the bad luck. But, the next day, it turns out that Wally didn’t die/get injured – he was just playing a role-playing video game, and he “blew” up. Lousy – just lead on your readers why don’t you?!

Watching the Oscars as I write this – curiously interesting funny bits so far – but they’re dragging it out again – can’t you let the winners say a few words by cutting back on the skits? Hmm…

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