So, what do they watch on Mexican television?

That’s from “María la del Barrio” and it appears to have run for one year in Mexico the 1990s. I can see why, because no one can be that intense for more than one year. And what’s with everyone NOT jumping on her and grabbing the scissors.

Of course, if you have more than an hour to kill, the series finale was really intense.

Makes you wonder if the actress who played the crazy lady later took quieter roles in her career?

Where is Ukraine?

That’s what 2,066 Americans were asked in a survey.

This is where they put it:

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In case you can’t figure it out, the red dots are closer to Ukraine than the blue dots are. What’s really unbelievable is that some people put Ukraine in the middle of the U.S. I really hope they were joking.

But how could this get any worse? Political scientists from Dartmouth and Princeton tell us (from the Washington Post):

On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.

So people who were the most unlikely to know where Ukraine is were more likely to say we should intervene militarily in Russia’s takeover of Crimea. Yeah, let’s send American troops to battle the Russians on the Russian border. I wonder how that would end?

And a doll shall lead them

This is a human:

human-barbie-doll-gq-magazine-april-2014-women-photos-01

This is a plastic doll:

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The human, a Ukrainian woman named Valeria Lukyanova, has surgically altered herself to look like a doll. Weird, right?

No. This is the weird part (from GQ):

Valeria grows pensive, which in her case means rolling her eyes slightly upward without changing anything else about her face. “I wouldn’t say so. Everyone wants a slim figure. Everyone gets breasts done. Everyone fixes up their face if it’s not ideal, you know? Everyone strives for the golden mean. It’s global now.”

“But that’s a relatively new thing,” I reply. “The ideal of beauty used to be different.”

“That’s because of the race-mixing.”

If I had a glass of multi-chutney carrot-juice mix before me, I’d do a bright orange spit take.

“For example, a Russian marries an Armenian,” Valeria elaborates helpfully. “They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad’s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it’s all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this. I love the Nordic image myself. I have white skin; I am a Nordic type—perhaps a little Eastern Baltic, but closer to Nordic.”

I feel like checking my watch. We’ve gone from nails to eugenics in about two minutes flat.

I realize that just like everyone reading about Human Barbie, I had had a simple narrative prepared in my head: A small-town girl grows up obsessed with dolls, etc. Instead, I get a racist space alien.

Just let that sink in. The human is real. But the doll has better values.

Here’s a video of the human:

And here’s a video of the doll:

Is it time to give up on humanity?

TIme Machine: Charlie Chaplin (1914)

Charlie Chaplin started making movies 100 years ago this year, including this one:

It’s called “Making a Living,” and Chaplin isn’t the Little Tramp in this one. He’s the Swindler. It’s possible the Little Tramp hadn’t been created yet, but the slapstick quality of that character is seen in this one.

I don’t know much about the West Coast, but I’m guessing this is Los Angeles. My limited knowledge of streetcars and Los Angeles comes from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” though. But then I saw the palm trees and the Fremont Hotel, though the hilly streets threw me off and made me think of San Francisco. I guess I have no idea where this is.

Anyway, as I usually point out in these Time Machine posts, look at the technology. The automobiles are essentially new. The mode of mass transportation is the streetcar. Roving photographers appear to have been pretty common, and it seems newspapers were printing photos at the time. Plus, we get a chance to see the movie world’s perspective on how a newspaper was put together in 1914.

By the way, the police in this movie? Those are the Keystone Kops.

2014: The year of Scarlett Johansson

It looks like Scarlett Johansson is becoming the superhero of 2014. She’s in the new Captain America movie:

She’s a space alien in “Under the Skin”:

And this summer, she’s going to be some kind of super smart, strong, deadly character in Luc Besson’s “Lucy”:

That’s three movies to look forward to in the coming months.