Al Gore is not boring, but his movie kind of is.

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Martin, one of the nerdy kids, spends his last ten bucks on a talking Al Gore doll. “You are hearing me talk,” says the doll. It cracks me up every time. Plus, it’s a fairly accurate assessment of the production version of Al Gore. Stiff, not that interesting, but honest, very very honest.

Last night I attended a screening of Al Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It’s a film version of Al Gore’s slide show on global warming. His science is undeniably thorough and accurate. His passion about the issue is palpable, even on screen. This man has done his homework, exhaustively, and when the movie is over you have no doubt that his case is clear and that action is essential.

But I fell asleep in the middle anyway.

Granted, I am still in the throes of jetlag and staying up past nine at night presents some serious challenges, but I was still more than a little bored. There’s some good stuff in there, but a lot of it feels like sitting through a Power Point presentation at a meeting you don’t really want to be at. The interspersed footage about Al Gore’s personal life is supposed to illustrate how he came to be so passionate about the issue of global warming, but it struck me as somewhere between maudlin and a little bit vain. And also, beside the point.

All this is too bad, because you know what? Al Gore quite a good speaker and he is not boring at all.

I got a call at the last minute instructing me to rush to downtown Seattle where I’d get to see the movie and hear some local politicians speak briefly about the issues. Ron Sims and Greg Nickels – introduced by KC Golden from Climate Solutions – were there and talked about the work they were doing in King County and Seattle to reduce the region’s contributions to global warming. Then after the movie… surprise! Christine Gregoire and the man himself, Al Gore.

There are a few amusing bits in the movie. Mr. Gore introduces himself and says, “I used to be the next president of the United States.” Ouch. There’s another funny little thing with a scissor lift. It’s cute but also kind of controlled. But in person, unscripted, Mr. Gore is entertaining and funny and on fire about the issues. His voice gets louder and his hands wave around and he is inspiring. Here are just a few (probably inaccurate and not as good to read as they are to hear) quotes.

“We borrow money from China to buy oil from a region that is so unstable that we end up sending troops there every few years… this is NOT sustainable! “

“There seems to be some kind of puritanical underpinnings to the movement that wants to make us feel BAD about buying STUFF. I LIKE going to Costco. I am not going to stop going to Costco. “

“One day, we will be able to go places without taking 3000 pounds of metal with us every time. When we look back on this time, we’ll say, wow, that was weird.”

I was hopped up, and sitting on the edge of my seat while I watched the VP take questions and pace back and forth. He’s got good stuff to say and it’s interesting to hear him say it. Pity there wasn’t more of that Al Gore in the movie.

There’s a lot of hype out there about how you need to see this movie. I’m not totally convinced that you do. After all, here you are, reading me, so I suspect you’re already part of the choir. The real reason you need to see this movie might have more to do more with marketing than your need to be converted to the faithful. If you pack the house on opening weekend, the movie will get some decent press and then, maybe folks who actually do need to see the movie will get themselves to the megaplex.

That said, if you decide to go because you feel like you just don’t know enough about global warming, prepare with a good strong blast of caffeine. The other thing you can do, which may be the more compelling story in the long run, is to sign up to be a presenter of the Al Gore show. After seeing the movie and then hearing the man live, I think it’s better to go the live route. If you are the sort who could be a passionate voice for the crisis of global warming, you may be able to effect more change than a documentary about a politician giving a slide show.

Randomize Your Life

Just like my thoughts…

when adopting a cat and taking it home, it could be scared and have a tendency to crap all over you and your car. if that does happen the best thing to do is roll down the windows and throw out all the clothes you were wearing that had crap on them. but make sure you get your wallet out of them BEFORE tossing them out the window.

Man, The Cheesecake factory is my new favorite food joint.

My reading list is made by Jon Stewart. I started reading every book I saw on The Daily Show in January… that happened to be a lot and I’ve only managed to get through a weeks worth of book recommendations. So far the best one is also the most eye opening. “No Place to Hide” by Robert O’Harrow, Jr. is a chilling look at how the very low regulated gathering of information by private companies is now being merged with biometrics and purchased by our government.
Costa Vida is a sub-par burrito joint. It’s just my opinion.
Oklahoma and Utah have pretty much the same alcohol laws… but Utah is worse because you have to by a membership at a bar if you want to drink.

5 things that make my head explode: conservative politics, pop music, fox reality shows, the awesomeness of shaun white, the delay again of Windows Vista
Coolest thing I saw this week: a bar sign near the LSU campus advertising a new drink… “Ridick’s Tears” (courtesy of r.randall fransen photography)

Katrina Blog Goes Up a Notch

I’m pleased to be able to report that Grace’s Katrina Direct Relief Blog has been sponsored by TypePad! They’ve picked up the tab for a year of blogging! The blog effort takes requests from a handful of contacts in the hurricane ravaged delta and posts them where you, blog reader, can find them.

The response has been overwhelming. Volunteers have shipped truckloads of goods down south where they’re going directly to those in need. We’ve been providing connections between the people on the ground who know what’s needed where and, well, anyone with an internet connection. I’ve been helping out as Site Janitor and Posting Backup. It’s not much, but hey, it’s something.

Global defrost

The UK Independent has this cheerful story:

A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.

The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a “tipping point” beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.

Read the whole thing if you can.

Become a Fund Raiser

So as I mentioned before, I’m playing at Bumbershoot. I wanted to find out if our group had to go through any great fiery hoops to become an “approved” Red Cross fundraiser. Turns out it’s REALLY easy. Contact the Seattle Red Cross and they’ll send you the paperwork. Essentially, it gives you a legitimate contract so you can carry around a bucket or water bottle or whatever and gather funds for the Red Cross. You can donate directly, but if you’ve got the opportunity to shake others down for a little spare change, this is a good way to do so.

If the Red Cross isn’t the disaster relief agency of your choice, I’m sure you can find similar support from the folks you’d like to raise funds for.