The Impossible is the best disaster film – almost an intimate twist on a documentary – pulling you in to the scary, gritty, and dramatic lives of disaster victims.

One thing that fails the reality test is the utter lack of Asian victims – in Asia? The locals are mainly as extras and the main body of suffering humanity seems to be Caucasians.
I won’t call them survivors – it’s not that simple. Everyone stands out in the film, the extras and the stars: Naomi Watts, Ian MacGregor and especially Tom Holland as eldest son Lucas. He grows from a self-absorbed kid in the backstory and matures as he battles the waters and chaos and saves his mother.
This is a vacation this family (with plans for an idyllic holiday on Thailand‘s beaches) will remember and carry scars from.
The Tsunami that devastated the shores of the Indian Ocean is depicted realistically and painfully. Buts it’s the aftermath and the drama of survival and humanity (in all its diversity with Thai locals and tourists from all over) that the film is about.
This is a very good film for the family (although it’s bloody in parts).

“The Impossible (2012)
An account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time.”
Check it out at the IMDB and see the film by all means.


Fallows, James M. China Airborne. New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. 

Fallows, James M. China Airborne. New York: Pantheon Books, 2012.

Fallows, James M. China Airborne. New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. – photo Russ Imrie 2013

Why should you read this book? Well, you should read this if you are at all interested in China. It’s written in Fallows’ “Atlantic” style, where he has been journalist as well as written for the New Yorker and NPR. So it’s bright and dead air is hard to find.

Each page has facts or an aside every American could stand reading. Fallows plants facts and insight everywhere—like the population reality that China deals with in a diverse and massive country…He’s been there.

…that the U.S. and China encompass approximately the same land area but that with vast mountain and desert regions, China has quite a significantly smaller arable land base; that one must consider it would take the sum of the populations of Mexico (110m), Brazil (200m), Cuba, all the Caribbean Nations, Canada, Colombia, every other Nation in North and South America (total about 1B) plus Nigeria (155m) plus Japan (125m) to almost equal to China’s 1.5 billion.

Philosophically, this work addresses one of the great questions of modern times: what model will move civilization forward on this globalized planet? The open, chaotic, and democratic model that the western-centric democracies seem to be embracing? or the authoritarian single-party (Communist in this case) top-down government model of decreed agendas that The People’s Republic of China follows today.

Fallows posits that the absolute need, economically driven, for China to conform to a world-class air-traffic control and manufacturing system will inevitably bleed over into the wider society and systems. Standards such as high-speed rail development and safety standards, environmental technology, high-value electronic manufacturing, and even the odd  double standard Chinese press operates under—where English language newspapers like the Economic Observer operate in conformance with the censors’ patronizing assumption that Chinese readers (even those born and raised in the West) won’t “get it” while in-country publications such as Southern Weekend are ‘way over-controlled, tends to work toward cracking open China’s incestuous leadership and its parochial regulatory system.

Fun and free excitement!

China’s “build it and they will come” MO (an artifact of central [mis]planning, and an urgent need to keep low and semi-skilled workers employed as well as to distribute what we in the U.S. would call “pork”,  results in not a few empty developments, and in one case, a modern airport in Tibet that was virtually useless due to geography and local climatic/weather conditions.

On page 179, Fallows treats us to a section of the epic first-ever landing at the storied (and basically inaccessible by the existing Chinese air traffic control system, such as it was) with a link to Nevarus  (acquired by GE) and thus this YouTube video in a tour-de-force demonstration of modern, world-class Required Navigation Performance (RNP) 
Access on Top of the World: Linzhi (Air China Test Flight) 国航-林芝


I travel a bit and usually take my MacBook.
I take many photos and videos, usually with an iPhone (where I’m blogging now using the WordPress app).
My iPhoto Library is huge and I keep it on an external HD.
I often hauled it around on trips—not the greatest scheme, and bulky.
So do what I’ve done is to start using a USB thumb/flash drive instead. When you return home, export all your new photos and vids in original format from the thumb drive then import to your base library in iPhoto.
Works great, saves time and grief.


3.5 GB Flash/Thumb drive mounted in USB port – photo Russ Imrie 2013

Welcome to my media blog. This blog is based in the Washington DC area. So, much of the content has a political/public affairs bent to it.

A lifelong love of reading and self-improvement motivate my work here. In a world that grows more deeply intertwined through culture, commerce and technological development by the day, it’s important that people acquire knowledge on the issues facing civilization, develop it, and share it.

the Media Seen Too Blog…

Is the work of Russ Imrie, an IT freelancer living in the Washington DC Area. A registered American Indian and veteran, interests herein are widespread especially around historically themed film and writing. Also technical/nerdie stuff at the supTweet Blog and is a new contributor to China Daily Mail (search Canada and Oil there).

copyright 2012, 2013 and forever, for that matter, Russell Imrie

Pakistan reels along in chaos, says Pamela Constable in Playing With Fire, a digest of her penetrating experiences in today’s Pakistan. Shrines, Madrassas, Karachi to Kashmir, she analyzes what makes Pakistan such a failing state, or if it indeed has an actual future for it hybrids forces that transcend its short timeline.

Playing With Fire – Pakistan at War With Itself book cover

Constable, Pamela. Playing With Fire: Pakistan at War With Itself. Random House, 2011.

The arrogance of power, whether state or culturally enforced, is all that holds the state of Pakistan together and in shreds.

That and an option many Pakistanis choose out of desperation–Islamic Fundamentalism, i.e.–the Taliban and its draconian social order that uses extreme violence to enforce its edicts and is absolutely against Western understandings of women’s rights.

Pakistan bomb kills children near Shia processionBBC online November 24, 2012 (7 killed)

Taliban bomber kills Pakistan Shia marchers” BBC online November 22, 2012 (23 killed) 

Afghan funeral bomb: Suicide attacker ‘kills 25’ in east” BBC online September 4, 2012 (Afghanistan funeral attack)

Coupled with the denial many Pakistanis seem (according to Constable) express in Lahore to Karachi that the butchery by Moslem Taliban of the Moslem Pakistani population is indigenous, and not from some plot by the West, Pakistan can’t seem to get around to solutions of real, 21st-century problems the nation faces. Issues like rule of law, corruption, energy, water, housing, abject poverty, and education (some of the world’s lowest literacy rates exist in Pakistan’s tribal belt).

This fundamental denial of science, a vital democracy, rational thought and its appeal to undereducated or illiterate populations (which we see even in the US and evident in the recent re-elections) has a death grip on Pakistan’s hopes to reform and grow.

Names and players, from Judges to impoverished farming families, have their stories told here. Murders, “tactical” prosecutions to gain property, pervasive cynicism at every level–an intricate scenario emerges in Constable’s work that exposes the incredible (and depressing) ecology of layer upon layer of corruption and faith in a tortured land. I think this a must-read for those interested in a comprehensive survey of present-day Pakistan and its role in history.

Of particular interest (and explored in my developing post on “tactical” stereotyping in media and civilization) is hackneyed nugget from the “Great Game*” era in a description of the fear wielded by Pakistan’s infamous Inter-Service Intelligence Service, or ISI:

“p. 111; The Agency cultivates a reputation for omniscience, omnipresence, and impunity, and it floats rumors of horrific punishments in secret prisons, where men are said to be thrown into dungeons and tormented by rats, snakes, or starving dogs…”

Of course this horrible fate echoes from the ghastly ordeal of Stoddart and Conolly, two English adventurers who were thrown into the Black Pit of Bukhara in the 19th century. The torture, in Stoddart’s case, went on for years  before Connolly arrived to rescue him. Then on the orders of the Amir, they were both beheaded in a public spectacle after digging their own graves. Déjå Vu, anyone? The fear and bafflement of the Euro-American intelligentsia then lives on and is an undercurrent in this work today, albeit it comes from a frank and close-to-the pulse exploration. Pakistan today is living some of the outflow from ancient tectonic forces unleashed by arrogant empires. Now it’s dragged out again by an intelligent non-fiction author, perhaps unconsciously. I hope Pakistan’s future overcomes the narrative. It passes on and on like Cultural Herpes – even incorporated into the elevated atmosphere of  academic think tanks and reports, such as this one from the Center For International Media Assistance.

the Media Seen Too Blog…

Is the work of Russ Imrie, an IT freelancer living in the Washington DC Area. A registered American Indian and veteran, interests herein are widespread especially around historically themed film and writing. Also technical/nerdie stuff at the supTweet Blog and is a new contributor to China Daily Mail.

copyright 2012 and forever, for that matter, Russell Imrie

American University updates media managers and libraries on latest law and best practices on lawful use of copyrighted materials for legitimate purposes.

Russ Imrie October 2013

Lawyers, authors, journalists, and librarians are among the often misinformed on the extent law and practice supports legitimate, good-faith inclusion of copyrighted material in today’s digital environment.

It sounds crazy, but copyright lawyers will, without actually reading or viewing a given complete media resource as to its need to include specific releases or permissions, will just say “no, get permissions and come back.” This is often unnecessary under law and discourages the nurturing intent of the “fair use” principal.

Librarians, out of an uninformed concern of infringement penalties, suits, etc. will decline to undertake a project or advise someone who asks (of course!) the librarian if using a resource or image is ok to stop. Often the librarian at a university is the go-to authority on these questions. This has a wide impact on authors and researchers.

When I continue this post I’ll discuss expert information in this easily-cloned world of media and publications.

Meanwhile. check out the Center for Social Media at American University in Washington DC where guidelines are available for download. Strong on film and library issues, the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic Research Libraries, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use fir Media Literacy Education, and the Documentary Filmmaker’s Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use should be read and used to guide your projects.

l. to r. Brandon Butler ( Association of Research Libraries), unidentified, Peter Jazzi (Prof of Law AU), Patricia Aufderheide (Prof AU School of Communication) - photo Russ Imrie

l. to r. Brandon Butler ( Association of Research Libraries), unidentified, Peter Jaszi (Prof of Law AU), Patricia Aufderheide (Prof AU School of Communication) – photo Russ Imrie


For the first hour, you might wonder where the story is while throat-cutting, shotgun blood-splattering hits and alcoholic black-outs stalk the confusing vignettes.

Then it gets weird. You start to feel something for Farrell’s Marty, a blocked screenwriter. Who wobbles through a crazy field of characters. His job is to write a script, instead he becomes the story. From gritty LA to Hollywood Hills, to a campout that’s not your mother’s camping trip. Not with this many guns, anyway. A fevered surreal romp that just starts where reality ends and goes from there and still manages to eke out a cup of empathy from some really bad people and their narratives.

See more at IMDB

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