It's Oscar month, and Turner Classic Movies has continued their tradition of spending a month showing really good movies that leave me trapped on the couch, hostage to their wonderfullness.
Last night it was Terms of Endearment. It's not a perfect movie but between Shirley MacLaine's gutsy Aurora Greenway and the Jack Nicholson's former-astronaut gut there's a lot to love.
I mean, yeah, this is a movie about cancer and mothers and daughters and the wonders of Houston, but we all know the truth, Nicholson's Garrett Breedlove is the best part of the whole thing.
Aurora: "Do you have any reaction at all to my telling you I love you?" Garrett: "I was just inches from a clean get away."
But Garrett, the rascally astronaut wasn't even supposed to be in the original story - James Brooks added him in a part tailor-made for Burt Reynolds. It just go to show sometimes the unintended can be glorious.
Of course, it can also be toxic as the EPA has just concluded. Three years after the Bush administration said the federal agency would cease to regulate the amount of perchlorate, a key ingredient in rocket fuel, the agency has reversed the decision.
Perchlorate, a substance used in solid propellants for rockets, missiles and fireworks, may interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce homrones critical to developing fetuses and infants.
The key word being "may." The stuff or rocket fuel "may" impact tap water drinking humans at the same time that it may not. Studies haven't been shown conclusively either way. Besides, fun fact is some perchlorates are actually used to treat thyroid disorders - which just seems kind of interesting.
The thing to think about when considering perchlorate regulation - and so many other environmental regulationy-type things - is the politics. The Dems are screaming for regulation and "won't someone think of the children" while the Republicans are waving spooky fingers and talking about "Big Brother" and "Big Government" and the terrors of regulation.
I understand the reluctance to regulate. It makes my eyebrows raise too. I mean, who knows, rocket fuel in our water could be a good thing. It might have no impact at all. A country already saddled with tremendous debt could end up paying to remove the perchlorate that might have turned us into a nation of mathematical geniuses. You never know how things will turn out, or how Jack Nicholson will do, until you try.
However, Being pro-regulation is the trendy thing, band considering this stuff has been found in cow's milk, breast milk and drinking water for millions, it seems worthwhile to look past the leftness or rightness of things and just regulate.
I mean, the unintended can have fantastic results. Sometimes it can result in Jack Nicholson's scampish astronaut colliding with Shirley MacLaine onscreen in a way you can't take your eyes off of. But sometimes it's just a bunch of thyroid-damaging rocket fuel.
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