Friday, April 15, 2011

SFSU students and opinions on mass transit

(The following is a repost from a class blog.)

Gas prices are near all-time highs, parking near campus has been horrible for decades, and bridge tolls have risen for those who must cross the bay.

All negatives for those who want to drive to San Francisco State.

More than 1.1 million trips are taken on BART or Muni each weekday, according to the Federal Transit Database. Advocates say it’s better for the environment and you don’t have to worry about parking.

Still there are SF State students who prefer the freedom of driving, as well as many who think parking at SFSU isn't worth the hassle. This audio "man on the street" story talks to both sides: Direct Link: Transit Man on the Street by John Baker

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'You're terrible, Muriel'

I watched "Muriel's Wedding" earlier this morning for the umpteenth time (but for the first time all the way through since my visit to Australia) and just noticed some peculiar anachronisms.

(Spoiler space for a 17-year-old film:)

The most glaring anachronism is at the beginning of the film, when Muriel receives a blank check (or cheque, since we're talking about Australia) from her mom with a date in January 1994. When she pays back her father, however, near the end, the cheque (below) is dated from November 1992!

The second "when the heck did this happen?" moment involves a key plot point -- when Muriel marries a South African swimmer who can't compete for his home country because of international sanctions. The swimmer needs to marry an Australian so he can gain citizenship and can compete internationally. Yet Apartheid was effectively over, however, when the film was released (in September 1994). In fact, South Africa had already had free and fair elections, resulting in Nelson Mandela's presidency. To top it off, the movie mentions a South African "civil war" that never happened.

Fact of the matter, South Africa had already been reinstated in international sporting, as seen in "Invictus," and had competed at the 1992 Olympics. You might say that "maybe the film is supposed to be set earlier," with the cheque dates as inconsequential, but the movie does mention the 1992 Olympic gold medal won by Aussie Kieren Perkins.

Despite its time-travel foibles, I still enjoy Muriel's Wedding It's a fun, musical and ultimately uplifting flick -- albeit one apparently set in a parallel universe.

"Goodbye Porpoise Spit!"