inspired, depressed and jealous

I was just reading Metafilter and came across this mention of an American who got murdered a few days ago in Iraq. His name was Bob Zangas. He apparently went over to Iraq with the marines, served his time there, and then decided to stay on as a civilian in order to help train Iraqis how to go about starting a free press. He was a blogger too, and Metafilter had a link to his last entry. I guess it was written the day before he and another American civilian were gunned down by a guerilla disguised as an Iraqi policeman. At least thats what seems to have happened Ive just read a few of his posts now and theyre making me horribly sad. Bob, 44 years old and the father of three, seemed like a really decent guy… Theres a photo of him standing with a group of smiling Iraqi women. He was teaching them about journalism I feel as though I kind of know the guy now and it makes me ashamed in a way that I probably heard about his death a few days ago, as I was listening to the radio and getting ready to get out of bed, and didnt think anything of it. Its gotten to the point, at least for me, that I forget that there are real people and real families behind each of the numbers. This was a good reminder.

OK, when youre done with that, heres something from the New York Times magazine that’s a little less depressing. Its the incredible story of how a man who started making a tiny animated film by himself, in his apartment, got the attention of a producer who then came forward with money, superstars and a staff of 100 to help him finish it Im jaded, so, of course, I think this is bullshit dreamed up by a studio marketing department (in advance of the film’s summer opening), but theres a little part of me that wants to believe. If it is true, the story of Kerry Conran and his movie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, could be the most inspirational thing Ive ever read. Heres a short clip (I hope it makes up for the depressing story at the start of this post):

For Conran, the question, as he put it, was ”Could you be ambitious and make a film of some scope without ever leaving your room?” And so 10 years ago, Kerry Conran went into a room in his apartment to make a movie. In some ways, he is just now beginning to come out of it.

The guys apparently from Flint, Michigan. Im thinking about writing too him and asking if he can give my friend Chuck a job when he makes it out to California.

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