The Wrestler Has a Thrift-Shop Scene

February 2, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Posted in Pop culture | Leave a comment

the-wrestlerIn the Oscar-nominated film The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke’s character Randy and Marisa Tomei’s character Cassidy visit a thrift shop to buy clothes for Randy’s daughter, Stephanie.

“What is she?” asks Cassidy, riffling through racks, trying to find the right style. “Goth? Punk? Hippie?  Preppy?” Sadly, Randy says he “ain’t got a clue,” then adds: “I think Stephanie’s a lesbian. Does that make a difference with you?” “No,” Cassidy replies. “That’s cool.” All around them rise well-stocked racks of clothing. Off one rack, Randy lifts a lime-green satin letterman-style jacket, beaming: “Oh wow! What about this? It’s got an S on it! It’s perfect.” Cassidy tries to hide her alarm, noting diplomatically: “It’s winter, so maybe we should get something warmer — like a peacoat.” She picks one out and shows it to him. At first Randy agrees, then raises the lime-green satin jacket high into the air, admiringly. “I don’t know,” he smiles. “This is pretty rock ‘n’ roll.” Cassidy smiles. The smile spreads slowly across her beautiful face.

“You should go with your gut, man,” she says.

Cargo Washes Up on British Beaches

February 2, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Posted in News | 1 Comment

timberIt’s just like old times — like a Daphne Du Maurier saga about scrounging the washed-up cargo of wrecked vessels from the English shore. “Scavengers flocked to Kent’s beaches to collect some of the tens of thousands of planks of wood that washed ashore from a Russian cargo ship,” reads this account in The Daily Mail. Last week, the Russian-registered Sinegorsk hit rough seas and didn’t wreck but shed 1,500 tons of its sawn-timber cargo fourteen miles offshore from Sussex. Scavengers brazed icy surf to collect planks: “Despite having issued warnings about not picking up the timber, police failed to prevent locals from illegally taking the wood for themselves…. Under maritime law it is illegal to try to keep the cargo from the Receiver of Wreck — the official whose job it is to return booty to the ship’s owners. Offenders can be fined up to £2,500.”

Zimbabweans Scavenge to Survive

February 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Posted in News | 1 Comment

girlIn Zimbabwe these days, scavenging isn’t a hobby — it’s a means of base-level survival. “Along a road in Matabeleland, barefoot children stuff their pockets with corn kernels that have blown off a truck as if the brownish bits, good only for animal feed in normal times, were gold coins,” reads this New York Times story on a stark situation in which “the half-starved haunt the once bountiful landscape of Zimbabwe, where a recent United Nations survey found that 7 in 10 people had eaten either nothing or only a single meal the day before.” This mass starvation is the result of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s inhumane policies, by which farms were systematically stolen from their owners — with many farmers and their families slain in the process. The result is an economic catastrophe, as the farmlands now yield a minuscule fraction of what they once did, and unemployment is rampant. The U.N. survey ” found that the proportion of people who had eaten nothing the previous day had risen to 12 percent from zero, while those who had consumed only one meal had soared to 60 percent from only 13 percent last year. For almost three months, from June to August, Mr. Mugabe banned international charitable organizations from operating, depriving more than a million people of food and basic aid.” According to the Times, rural and urban Zimbabweans “have become scavengers, living off the land and surviving on field mice and wild fruit, white ants and black beetles.”

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