Friday, January 2, 2009

If you see one Nazi movie, make it ‘Good’


Drama covers familiar ground but still packs a wallop

Image: "Good"

Viggo Mortensen leaves his wife for the pretty Jodie Whittaker in "Good."

Jean-Luc Godard once said that the best way to review a movie is to make another movie; sometimes, all it takes is seeing a second movie about a certain subject matter to highlight everything that the first movie did wrong. Such is the case with “Good,” which deals with an intellectual who gets swept up into the Nazi party without ever thinking about the larger issues at stake; it’s a powerful film on its own merits, but it also points out how tame and impotent “The Reader” is in examining similar issues.

“Good” stars Viggo Mortensen as John Halder, a Berlin literature professor whose novel about compassionate euthanasia finds favor among high-ranking Nazi officials, including Hitler, in 1937. While John has never joined the party, and doesn’t exactly subscribe to their politics, he’s won over by their flattery, never bothering to consider the sinister implications behind their interest in the subject. And when it’s made clear to him that party membership is required to climb the ranks at his university, he has no compunctions about doing so.

John Wrathall’s screenplay, based on the play by C.P. Taylor, shows how one rationalization flows into the next for John, who sheds his wife (Anastasia Hille) for a young, pretty student (Jodie Whittaker) and even becomes a high-ranking officer in the SS, although John insists it’s merely an “honorary” title.


Bristol Palin could earn $300,000 for baby pics


When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin confirmed that her teenage daughter, Bristol, and boyfriend Levi Johnston were expecting a baby, the celebrity weeklies knew that the first photos of the Palin-Johnston baby would incite a bidding war. Baby Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, born Dec. 28, proved those editors right.

According to one source, bidding for the baby photos began at $100,000. People won out in the end, but In Touch was the only other weekly to make serious bids, according to several sources involved in the process.

The price didn't soar immediately, according to the sources, because Sarah Palin stories just didn’t sell all that well for the weeklies on newsstands.

“Sarah was on the cover of People, Us Weekly, and OK! the same week, and really only People saw a bump in sales," says a source.

The drug-related arrest of Johnston's mother, however, caused the price tag for the photos to go up.

Scoop: Baby pic payday for Bristol?
Dec. 30: Courtney Hazlett says Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston could fetch as much as $300,000 for photos of their new son, Tripp.


“The bidding started well before the baby was born, but once Levi’s mom was arrested — well, then you had a story,” says one editor.

As for how much teen parents Bristol and Levi made from the deal — most estimates hover around the $300,000 range (none of the magazines would confirm the exact figure in the end, which is standard).

No word on whether the money will go to charity, as sometimes happens in a celeb baby deal.

Mickey Rourke trash-texts Sean Penn
“Wrestler” star Mickey Rourke had some rather vitriolic things to say about potential Oscar rival Sean Penn and his recent starring role as gay icon Harvey Milk in "Milk."

Rourke's reported typo-filled text reads as follows: “Look seans an old friend of mine and i didnt buy his performance at all — thought he did an average pretend acting like he was gay besides hes one of the most homophobic people i kno."

The text, which Rourke sent Dec. 28 to a “Los Angeles entertainment honcho” and was obtained by The Daily Beast, raises a number of questions. Among the most benign: is this part of some sort of Oscar showdown, as both Rourke and Penn are likely to earn nominations?

Rourke’s publicist says “there is no Oscar feud between Mickey and Sean. They have known each other and been friends for a very long time. Mickey attended the New York premiere of ‘Milk’ to support Sean and only has the greatest respect for him.” She also told The Daily Beast that Rourke is ”completely unaware of the text.”

A publicist for Penn couldn’t be reached by press time.

Mariah Carey, scientist
Mariah Carey has been accused of many things, but “misleading” the scientific community is a new one.

When Carey borrowed from Einstein’s famous formula and named her album E=MC2, she got some of the details wrong, according to a new study.

Mathematician Dr. David Leslie told the BBC that according to a study carried out by Sense About Science, Carey “misread the algebra, the ‘two’ in the equation means C squared, not MC multiplied by two. The correct reading of the formula is E=MCC, so perhaps Mariah's re-interpretation should have been 'emancipation equals Mariah Carey Carey'?" We’re sure Carey regrets the error.

Promises rehab not going under
Promises, the Malibu rehab of choice for Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, is now the facility where Tara Reid reportedly is seeking treatment.

According to Star magazine, the bad economy has Promises in need of some PR, so they’re comping Reid’s stay and not requiring her to abide by the facility’s standard rules.

A rep for Promises has spoken out, saying, “Promises is committed to keeping the identity of clients private to the best of our ability … does not comment on its fees … all clients are treated the same and expected to follow the same set of rules with no exceptions.”

Furthermore, the facility, which charges about $1,600/night, is financially secure, according to the rep. “Any suggestion that Promises is in any financial trouble whatsoever is patently untrue."


Africa - Golden Gate Highlands National Park


Africa Golden Gate Although the Free State arena doesn’t allure the aforementioned day-tripper numbers as added breathtaking spots like the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, it is a alluring destination with lots of attractions and activities on offer.

The Golden Gate Highlands Civic Esplanade is one of the Free State’s above accustomed highlights, and a abundant atom for traveller’s who adore the abundant outdoors. It’s aswell just a 2-3 hour drive from Johannesburg, which makes it an ideal self-drive break for the company with a few canicule to spare.

Scenery and Adventure

‘This 12 000 hectare esplanade is one of the country’s greatest accustomed assets in any season,’ says esplanade administrator Johan Taljaard. ‘Autumn paints the backdrop in gold, orange and red, whilst bounce changes the abundance slopes about brief to an aerial florescent green. Summer offers aged balmy blooming summer canicule with barrage storms and winter ability just abruptness visitors with a ablaze white snow blanket.’

He says the top mountains, cosy valleys and majestic sandstone bedrock formations accomplish Golden Gate a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Eastern Free State. It’s aswell a abundant chance destination.

‘This aerial park, with its bright skies and brittle air, is ideal for hiking, horse riding, abseiling, canoeing on the dam, bold and bird watching, or for accomplishing actually annihilation specific, just adequate the tranquillity whilst agriculture your body on the breathtaking beauty,’ he says.

Nature’s Playground

Golden Gate Attraction Taljaard credibility out that Golden Gate is a adequate acreage area, the alone civic esplanade of its affectionate in South Africa. ‘Grassland is one of the a lot of threatened habitats in Southern Africa,’ he says. ‘But that’s not the alone acumen for the parks allure as the geological formations in the esplanade are apple acclaimed and it aswell has the world’s oldest anachronistic anachronistic eggs and embryos.’

Covering a assorted habitat, Golden Gate is home to a advanced ambit of fauna and flora. As it does not accept the Big Five, hiking chance trails to its bouldered outcrops and abysmal valleys to appearance alternating bold is a safe option.

‘Apart from the accustomed Highveld acreage antelope, including eland, atramentous wildebeest, rooi haartebeest, blesbok, blah rhebok and abundance reedbuck, there are aswell adjudicator and a few pairs of the awful endangered Oribi,’ explains Taljaard. ‘The esplanade aswell has a agriculture breadth for vultures, and the endangered barbate vultures, Cape vultures and baldheaded ibisses can be apparent regularly.’

Adventure Activities

In terms of activities, you may want to try out one of the many walking trails through the area. A favourite is the guided walk to Cathedral Cave or, if you want something a bit more challenging, the 31 kilometre Rhebok Trail is an option. Additional activities include horse-riding, kayaking, abseiling and mountain biking.

Bird Watching

For those who love bird watching and photographic safaris, Golden Gate will not disappoint. So bring your binoculars and camera.

Nearby Attractions

  • Clarens, crammed with artists, is great for weekend getaways.
  • At Bokpoort Horse Farm you can learn to be an African cowboy.
  • Hiking in nearby Lesotho with local communities is a wonderful way to get to know about authentic African cultures.
  • The Sandstone Route from Clarens to Ladybrand is a gorgeous scenic self- drive route.


There is a variety of accommodation available in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Possibilities include the Glen Reenen Rest Camp or the luxury Highlands Mountain Retreat. The Qwa Qwa Rest Camp, which evokes an 18th century Basotho Village, is still a work in progress and should be ready for use by the end of 2007.

If you want the best of both worlds, book into one of the quaint bed and breakfasts in Clarens where you can enjoy fantastic restaurants and shopping combined with game viewing and hiking adventures in Golden Gate.


Arabian Bath of Granada


Sitting ample about the boiler with our vino tinto and Manchego cheese, captivated in blankets for added amore – we hatched our escape plan. We were annoyed of getting so cold! You’d anticipate we were in Antarctica – and not the Costa del Sol.

The Costa del Sol in southern Spain allegedly has over 300 canicule of sunshine a year – not that it wasn’t sunny. It was just so algid that the boondocks now appeared bare of humans about axis into a apparition boondocks overnight.

A bounded bar buyer told us that it was just too algid - the Spanish were blockage inside.

Our admirable bank acclimate from simple canicule afore had taken a about-face for the worse – coast from a affable nineteen degrees to a actual arctic six. Unheard of for this allotment of the country, even at this time of the year!

I had spent the endure two weeks in Nerja with accompany who were visiting from home. Just as they were leaving, my acquaintance Athena accustomed from California, abrogation abaft baking temperatures and angry backwoods fires.

Arab Tour When the algid breeze struck, the three of us couldn’t stop cerebration about the Arab baths in Granada. We fabricated it our mission to go absorb in the hot baths and assuredly thaw ourselves out.

The Aljibe Banos Arabes have to be appointed in advance. Anniversary affair lasts for an hour and a half; if you pay an added nine euros, you’ll aswell get a 15-minute aromatherapy massage. For the baths only, it will amount you 17 euros, so the abounding accord with beating is 26 euros (if you appointment on a weekend or holiday, you’ll pay an added two euros).

The sessions alpha every two hours alpha at 10:00 am, with the endure affair at 10:00 message (they abutting at midnight). Towels and lockers are provided chargeless of charge, as are baptize and the tastiest candied excellent tea ever.

We accustomed in Granada hours advanced of our appointed ablution affair so that we could aberrate the streets and adore a appetizing cafeteria afore our soak. Wandering about the Albayzin – the North African allotment of boondocks - with its attenuated cobbled streets, shops abounding of bright accouterment and intricate carvings, and the amaranthine best of restaurants antic hookahs, we acquainted like we were in Morocco.

Slipping into one of the restaurants area the that appears to smell of aroma wafted about, we took a bench at a table tucked into what acquainted like our own abstruse nook. We had to avoid beneath the entrance (well, not Athena, who’s about the admeasurement of a Smurf) to get to the beautifully inlaid table ample in candlelight.

We ordered a adorable pot of Chai tea and the lamb with couscous – which was actually to die for!

With abounding bellies we connected our aberrate – eventually barrier aloft the absolute atom for a amazing appearance of the Alhambra, with the snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background.

And again it was ablution time! The chargeless map that I had best up from a day-tripper advice berth helped us cross our way to the baby artery (which looks added like an alley) that houses the baths.

After alteration into our swimsuits, we heaved accessible the abundant copse and adamant aperture and entered a altered world.

Arab travel There are seven altered pools: six of them alignment from balmy to hot, with one algid attempt pool. The abstraction is to alternating amid the algid and balmy pools, never absolution your physique get overheated. The algid basin sits at the centre of the room, lit from beneath and backed with a beautifully tiled wall. Marble and asphalt administration actuality and the allowance is advised to accommodate some aloofness in the nooks and crannies of assorted baths – some of which are hidden by accomplished means or columns.

The amount of guests per affair is limited, which is great. There were eight humans in absolute in the baths during ours, so we never even had to allotment a basin with anyone else. The atmosphere is tranquil, adequate and romantic. If you speak, it’s in a hushed whisper.

We were all accustomed a amount aloft arrival, and if it was time for the massages, the beautiful masseur wandered the baths, cautiously calling out a amount in Spanish.

When my about-face came, I was accustomed a best amid a back/neck beating and a leg beating – so, of course, I chose the back. As I lay on my abdomen on the beating table, the masseur apart the strings on my bikini and covered me with beautifully ambrosial oil. Again his big able easily formed their abracadabra as I drifted added into the relaxation. The alone affair befitting me from falling comatose was the casual dribble of air-conditioned baptize adjoin my balmy skin, the abstract from the ceiling.

Those fifteen account were over too bound – but they were account every penny. After a quick battery to ablution off the oil, I slipped aback into the baths as Curtis began his 15 account of aces pampering.

Twenty account later, a man in a white lab covering appeared. He looked actual austere and important as he snaked his way through the baths. But again he pulled out a flashlight, aflame anniversary basin of humans with his blinking ablaze several times.

We bathers looked at anniversary added questioningly, almost suppressing giggles at this awe-inspiring sight. After a moment of confusion, we estimated it have to be the arresting for the end of our session.




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