Opting Out on Obama

Plus: A Houston actress hits the big screen.

Edumacation, Political Animals

Opting Out on Obama
Nearly four thousand at least looked at the form in Houston

By Richard Connelly

The Houston school district provided some anecdotal evidence of how many parents ordered their kids not to watch President Obama's speech on education (Westside represent!!), but we wondered if there was a little more info to be gleaned.

The district put up on its Web site a link to a form that could be printed, filled out and taken into school. Of course, parents not aware of the online form could probably have simply sent in a note to school officials saying, "I'm a closed-minded Fox viewer and Rush fan" and that would have been good enough. Still, we were interested in just how many people — computer-literate people, mind you — used the online form.

There's no way to tell exactly — some people surely looked at it out of curiosity, some media people or even other school districts no doubt looked at it — but HISD spokesman Norm Uhl was able to give us some stats.

And the bottom line — the online form got almost 4,000 hits. Yes, that number has four digits in it.

"Viewership hit two peaks: one on Friday, September 4 (with 896 page views), and the other on the day of the speech, Tuesday, September 8, (with 1,625 page views)," Uhl tells Hair Balls.

Total unique page views: 3,918.

Not all those people printed the form out, of course, and even all those who printed it out might not have used it. Perhaps they just wanted a memento of those crazy, wacky, early Obama years, kind of like people who collected fake Kenyan birth certificates.

Still, 3,900 is a pretty stout number.

Years from now, though, when the communists and the socialists have completed their takeover, we can feel proud in knowing that at least in Houston, a large number of people were brilliant enough to see through the plot.
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Movies

She Oughta Be in Pictures
On the assembly line with Jason Bateman

By Liana Lopez

If you were at the Edwards Grand Palace Stadium for the 7:05 p.m. Friday showing of Mike Judge's new film Extract, you were probably wondering about all the inappropriate applause at the beginning of the show. The usher with the airplane light couldn't figure it out either.

Only Lidia Porto and her special guests had the answer. Porto, a professional actress who calls Houston home, plays the role of Gabriella, one of the main factory yokels.

"We were going to clap each time she was onscreen, but when she appeared three times in the first ten minutes of the film, we realized her character wasn't just a bit part," said Bryan Parras, one of the fans at the not-so-private screening.

This is Porto's second appearance in a Mike Judge film. "I had already done a small part in Idiocracy, so Mike Judge asked for me to audition for Gabriella," Porto said. (In case you're wondering, she played the female reporter in Idiocracy.)

Watching the film, you can't help but make the connections to Houston, Austin and Texas in general, but Extract was filmed at a water-bottling plant in Los Angeles. Porto spent two weeks last October hanging around the set with actors Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis (That '70s Show) and workers from the bottling company.

And she had nothing bad to say about anyone. "A lot of those people you see are actual employees. They were great, and I loved them. Every second with Beth Grant felt like a blessing to me; she is the nicest, wisest, most generous actress and person, and she is a total pro. Oh, and when Mila's friend thought I was the living end because I had been on Prison Break and it was her favorite show...that was cool," Porto says.

Jason Bateman, she says, was the nicest guy in the world. So nice that he bought the entire crew personalized Reynold's Extract work shirts as seen in the film. She didn't get to talk to him much because when he wasn't acting, he was tracking the Dodgers in their failed bid to make the World Series.

But Bateman had a lot of fun too. "Whenever he wasn't on camera, Jason [Bateman] would curse up a storm, to get reactions out of us, and just to crack us up."

She also had a lot of good things to say about Mike Judge. Judge seems to think highly of his actors and crew too, since he brought some of them back to work on this film.

 
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