— America kicks ass. That’s clearly the subtext of this weekend’s box office results. The Heartland fable Cars outpaced The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which zips through Japan; Nacho Libre, which does combat in Mexico; Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, which embarrasses England; and The Lake House, which unfolds in a magical place where people have interest in seeing a Sandra Bullock-Keanu Reeves movie without the word “speed” in its title. Disney’s distribution chief, Chuck Viane, tried to put his company’s Pixar-generated dominance in perspective: “The audience has made its choice: We’re the family film of the summer.” Provocative words from a man who is apparently unaware that summer doesn’t start until Wednesday.
— Whales. We all love them–and not just the one down at Sea World that can do that cool trick where he picks up a quarter with a forklift. But our symbiotic idyll with our largest mammalian brothers and sisters is once again threatened by our most predatory instincts. Yesterday, the International Whaling Commission landed a blowhole for commercial interests when Japan and its Coalition of the Whaling–Norway, Iceland, and a bunch of landlocked African nations (huh?)–voted to overturn a 20-year ban on commercial hunting (it’s largely symbolic since they don’t yet have the necessary 75%). Apparently, blue whales, which, like Menudo, once had a membership somewhere around 250,000, have bounced back to a healthy 1,000! So now we can go back to murdering them for their lamp fuel and threatening stance on immigration. Why do you care? Well, we’re not sure. But isn’t it nice to spend at least one morning a year dredging up the shredded remains of your humanity for something other than the most recent victim of So You Think You Can Dance?
— Despite the outcry from die-hard purists, Disneyland is in the process of renovating its Pirates of the Caribbean ride to incorporate more elements of the blockbuster Johnny Depp movies. Depp’s character, Jack Sparrow, and the villainous Capt. Barbossa will now make appearances, the treasure will have “a lot more bling,” the cannon blasts and fires will become bigger and scarier, and Jerry Bruckheimer, in eye patch, five o’clock shadow, and “PIRATES LIKE THE BOOTY” T-shirt, will be on hand to take your money personally.