My mother used to have a refrigerator magnet that said, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” I always loved that sentiment. If you read this review, thank you for your time.  If you can’t read this review, Bob Bowdon might ask whether you went to public school in New Jersey.

The Cartel seeks to expose the public education system in the United States through the example set by the New Jersey public school system.  Asked to comment on the low level of education of today’s high school graduates, one educator calls it a “national disaster for the future of the United States Workforce”. Money and greed are prime culprits in this documentary, as tends to be the case (not unlike another of my favourite documentaries, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”); but what might surprise you is that Bowdon disagrees with New Jersey Governor Corzine’s decision to increase educational funding in the state budget.  Intrigued? Go see the documentary for yourself — it opens tonight at select theatres in New Jersey, and the success of this run will dictate whether or not there is a national release. If you aren’t in the New Jersey area, you can find more information at http://www.thecartelmovie.com/

Check out the trailer:


Grrr. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for weeks. My friend Cass lives in New Mexico, and this was supposed to be a three-day mother-daughter weekend of margaritas and girl talk in the mountains. I should have arrived in Albuquerque late last night, but two flight reassignments and one pointless $47 cab ride later, I STILL haven’t left New York. Between recession-inspired cancellations of all direct flights from NYC to ABQ and inclement weather in Minneapolis, I’ve been handed enough frustration to withstand a dirty martini and a Disaronno & coffee, and all it cost me was 14 hours of my vacation. Joy. Good thing I didn’t give up coffee or alcohol for Lent, or I’d be, well, let’s keep it G-rated and just say unpleasantly cranky.

Also, I’ve really fallen off the wagon here with blogging. Anyone still reading? Hit me up in the comments.

*title references one of my favourite Jake Armerding songs. Incidentally kinda wishing I’d gotten stuck in Minneapolis on the off chance I could’ve gotten to hang with him & his wife.

I don’t usually rant about things, especially when I feel I’m not as informed as the people directly involved in situations.  However, I’ve had more than one friend go off complaining about the Writer’s Strike, taking umbrage with the writers (they’re not writers themselves).  Plus I have a raging head-cold, which makes me cranky, so it’s my turn to RANT.

LAY OFF!  Do you KNOW what the writers are demanding?  Have you asked a writer?  Have you read any of the literature they’re handing out?  I will admit that this may be bias on my part; I am friends with a writer or two.  One in particular has really struggled with this strike — not because she doesn’t support the guild, or because she doesn’t feel that what they’re asking is fair, but because she’s a soon-to-be-mom who will be giving birth and trying to provide for her child in the midst of this strike.  She’s not selfish.  She’s not whining that if they don’t give her more money, o god, she’ll have to sell her BMW and re-mortgage the bungalow in Malibu.  No, what she’s fighting for is fair pay for all the writers most of you know nothing about because they don’t make much money and therefore aren’t of interest to the media.  And the cause that she champions would actually give MORE struggling film and TV writers a chance at a career!  Think I don’t know what I’m talking about?  Maybe you’re right.  Challenge me on it.  But those of you who’ve just ranted and ranted over what you’ve heard televised about this strike (and does that seem like a reliable source, considering?!) without researching what’s going on, you’re getting under my skin.

Ok, I’m done.  Back to sneezing and sniffling and croaking out, “Good morning, ******** Corporation, Can I Help You?”