Jan 31, 2012

Meme tagged

I was meme tagged by Clair, author of The Country Mouse Tales. I haven't done one of these in a long time, it kind of makes me want to do the interview thing again.

1. Which is your favourite holiday or celebration? St Patrick's Day was my favorite for a long time, mostly because of the heavy drinking and silly music. Even as a child I liked it as it was just plain silly.

2. What's your favourite song to rock out at a karaoke party? Or, if you're not a karaoke person, what's your favourite song to sing in the shower? Well my favorite karaoke song was The Ballad of Chasey Lane, which I may or may not have sang in inappropriate situations.

3. Do you wear pyjamas? If so, do you have a favourite pair? No.

4. Which of the cities you have visited is your favourite? Rome.

5. What do you think of the Kardashians? I try not to. I think Daniel Craig's thoughts on them sum it up nicely.

6. Do you have any tattoos? No.

7. Who was your favourite teacher? Jim LeMonds, my old Shakespeare teacher and now author. Not only was he a great teacher, but he's one of the most genuine people I've ever met.

8. How much sleep do you need each night? Do you sleep well? I'm lucky to get six hours, and no I don't sleep well.

9. If you were a Star Wars character, which one would you be? A few friends and I were sitting around a table talking about what Star Wars character we would all be. It was unanimous that I would be Han Solo. It was one of my proudest moments. The guy who got stuck with C3PO was none too happy.

10. What is your favourite kind of candy? Reese's Pieces, hell anything made by Reese's.

11. The Simpsons was recently voted the greatest TV show of all time - what's your take on this? I'm OK with it. I like the Simpsons, but wouldn't say it's my favorite show of all time. It's influence can't be denied, so I'll accept it. There have been better shows produced, such as M*A*S*H, The Shield, and Mr Belvedere.

"You see that and you think 'what, you mean all I have to do is behave like a f------ idiot on television and then you'll pay me millions?" - Daniel Craig

Jan 30, 2012

It's important for the economy.

Since the Tea Party entered the scene we haven't seen such jackassery in our national politics than since the Dixiecrat nonsense. Every two weeks or so a new story comes out about a Tea Party member being all Tea Partiery and one is left to scratch their head thinking why anyone gives them any attention, support, or credit for being a functional literate citizen.

 Tea Parties the country over have made a concerted effort to try and change the history books to make our nation's forefathers and Confederate traitors look like the moral equivalent of Pa Ingalls. Today a mental midget from the Tennessee Tea Party explained why they are promoting revisionist history in favor of glamorizing long dead people. Here is a direct quote from Tea Party activist Brian Rieck: "Slavery is of course portrayed in the textbooks nowadays I'm sure as a totally negative thing. Had there not been slavery in the south, the economy would've fallen."

This happened. This is how the Tea Party thinks. And for those who say Mr Rieck doesn't speak for the entire Tea Party, well that may be true, but I'll be damn to think this quote isn't shared by the majority of people who took to activism the minute Obama was elected in an effort to "take their country back." It's funny how so many Tea Parties keep saying they're only about smaller government and less taxes, yet they're trying to use government entities to fictionalize textbooks. The Tea Party care nothing for smaller government, hell they would welcome a dictator if that person promised to rule by the laws of Deuteronomy.

Yeah, so fuck the Tea Party. Seriously, anyone who thinks that slavery shouldn't be portrayed in a negative light can go to hell, or Yakima, WA.

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him." - Ephesians 6:5-9

Jan 26, 2012

Wiwille's movie reviews part 86

I have little recollection of the original The Blob. I know I've seen it, and Steve McQueen was in it, and he ran from a theatre which I can only assume contained the mysterious antagonist, but that's about it. When I was asked to review the remake I was thinking about revisiting the original first, but decided against it and let this film speak for itself.

The Blog is hardly original, which being a remake is no shock at all, but it's a safe formula. A small town gets exposed to a threat of fantastic origins and it's up to teenagers to save the day. In this film, the teenagers are a young Kevin Dillon and no one else you've heard of. They fit every cliche, Dillon plays the misunderstood loner who has a the look of someone you want to punch in the face for reasons you can't understand. There's a mildly attractive cheerleader, and jocks with questionable motives. Also present are evil scientists who are in the pocket of the military industrial complex. Combine this with a script that even borrows a line from Star Wars: A New Hope and you have a sci-fi horror film that serviceable.

What makes the film stand out above others is that even though the blob concept seems ridiculous, it actually has suspense. You don't see the creature have any emotion, but you can tell it's cunning. The special effects are really well done in a pre-CGI world, and actually look real instead of the cartoonish images you see today. It did what a sci-fi horror should do, keep you a bit on the edge of your seat.

As a remake I imagine it's no worse than the original, but I'm hard pressed to recommend it. Even though it was far better than I expected, I doubt many would enjoy it above superior sci-fi horror remakes of the time, such as The Thing.

Thanks to Tad for submitting this. Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on One Bad Apple. Rules are posted here.

"Surprisingly worthy remake." - Widgett Walls

Jan 25, 2012

It's only a game.

Kyle Williams seemed to have a great season. He was playing for a playoff team, in one of the biggest games of his career. All was going well for the 49ers last Sunday, until the Giants punted to him. He set back to received the punt, grabbed it, and ran as punt returners are want to do. Sadly, he was tackled, but before he was brought down, he fumbled the ball, ensuring a Giants victory.

This wasn't the only fowl up he committed that day, but it may be the one he's remembered for, forever. And now San Fransisco fans aren't letting him forget it, by sending him death threats.

I find the whole thing sad. Sure I'm a fan of the 49ers, but never will I wish harm on someone who doesn't play well. Football is a team sport, and one play does not make or break a victory. Had the team played better, forced a turnover as they did so many times before, converted on third downs, and held the Giants from making a field goal, the bay area team may have been headed to Indianapolis. Sadly one man is shouldering the blame for a poor performance, and he may be rested in the hallowed halls of major sports blunders with the likes of Trey Junkin.

To all that wish Williams harm I have this to say, if there's anyone that knows anything about ball handling, it's San Fransisco fans.

"Cause there's only one reason for doing anything that you set out to do. if you don't want to be the best, then there's no reason going out and trying to accomplish anything." - Joe Montana

Jan 24, 2012

Open letter to no one listening.

Dear Republicans,

At the start of the election season, which keeps getting earlier every four years for whatever reason, I had reason to believe you may have had a fighting chance to contend with the incumbent. Obama, even with all his victories, was seemingly unpopular even with his own base. People were tired of the slow growth of the economy, and even more tired of a President they saw as gaining minor bills passed through Congress, instead of enacting real change in the way we do business.

Then you sprung up a list of candidates that proved to have some merit, but now that's all gone. Sure you've gotten rid of some of your crazies (Bachmann) and some of your grossly incompetent (Perry), but what's left is a terrible choice for voters.

Let's look at Gingrich, a serial adulterer and someone who resigned from Congress in disgrace. Now for the former I normally wouldn't care as I expect ambitious, powerful men to act as such, but for someone like him who keeps making the claim that they want legislation to protect the sanctity of marriage aught not tell the people how to live and love.

As for the latter, how can a voter trust Gingrich to accomplish his job when he can't even hold onto a Speaker position? His resume doesn't speak highly of his accomplishments, other than the Contract with America, which should've been titled "don't let Clinton pass anything" bill. We all know how terrible and useless it was, and was hardly the work of a uniter that we expect from a leader.

Now we have Romney, who seems like John Kerry circa 2004. An uninteresting, candidate that you might just settle for. You seem sort of like the unattractive middle age woman looking for a man to finally have children with. Why you think a man who's so out of touch with the common clay can somehow rally the base to your cause is anyone's guess.

Paul and Santorum are just laughable. Now I know a lot of well meaning Paul supporters, but they don't seem to understand what all he stands for, or refuse to learn anything about him. Santorum hasn't a prayer, even though that seems to be his only strategy at this point.

So you've basically given another four years for Obama, and I'm hoping when he takes the podium on election night he'll thank you for your gross incompetence.


"I'm not a natural leader. I'm too intellectual; I'm too abstract; I think too much." - Newt Gingrich

Jan 20, 2012

Tales of parenting.

When people told me I would experience sleep deprivation after Kenadie was born, I never really comprehended how hard it would be. I don't think anything prepares soon to be parents how little rest they would get, unless they previously served in combat. Now some without kids may think it's no big deal, just drink your coffee and man up, but really lack of REM sleep makes you do some really incredibly dumb things. Let's take a couple of examples.

1: The other day Kenadie decided sleep wasn't for her, and the next day I went into work feeling like I boxed 24 rounds. I had to use the restroom, so I entered the bathroom as one is want to do. I was face to face with a lady who had a look on her face that was half confused and half frightened. I apologized for my mistake and walked out.

2: Today I sat at my cube and attempted to unlock my laptop. I pressed the buttons on the external keyboard, but nothing was happening. Nothing. After a few minutes of pressing more buttons in vain I realized I hadn't put my laptop in it's docking station.

3: When my wife wakes me to get something in the middle of the night, I go into the kitchen and immediately forget what it was she wanted. Sometimes I try to make it look like I knew what I was doing, but will come back with something completely unrelated to what she had asked for, to her great frustration. A friend of mine was sent into his infant's room to pick up a diaper, only to come back with a pillowcase. He's not sure why either.

Sometimes I miss the energy I had when I was 22.

"Babies control and bring up their families as much as they are controlled by them; in fact the family brings up baby by being brought up by him." - Erik H. Erikson

Jan 18, 2012

Help stop SOPA.

Well the internet has unleashed the dogs out on SOPA, because it has nothing better to do than protect the world's favorite time waster. Still SOPA is a piece of crap bill that does little, but to harm free speech and unecissarily put businesses and writers at risk for simply linking to a site that may have copyrighted content. I agree that copyright enforcement is paramount to promoting creativity, but this bill reaches beyond that and would punish the people it claims to protect. I urge you all to sign every petition you see today and write your congressman urging them to vote against this.

And to those webmasters who are going black to protest this, well enjoy your day off!

Jan 16, 2012

We actively support it.

Today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr Martin Luther King. We do this as we wear clothes made by child slaves, use machines that destroy the environment, and consume services and products delivered by the oppressed world wide. I'm sure he'd be proud.

While there are many good lessons to be learned by King's work, we often fail to remember them. During the later years of his activism, King spoke about how we'll never gain true racial equality until we strive for economic equality, something we'll never do, nor even want it seems.

Slavery still exists here in the US. We see underground brothels here in the US where women are forced to give sexual favors for those who can't seem to want to get some action through legitimate means. Children are traded amongst those who have no right to breath oxygen, and yet we have no leader attempting to change these horrible practices.

If Martin Luther King Jr taught us anything, is that people are empowered to change our political and moral landscape. Anyone can be a leader to help stop the things that plague us, but yet none of us attempt do so. I'm afraid the dream may have died with him, sadly.

Still, we should never forget what one man can do to make the world a better place, and that's why today I give thanks for the man who's shown so many how righteous actions can provide a better landscape for many.

"A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 13, 2012

Overrated films part 31

As anyone who's traveled outside of Mississippi knows, racism is everywhere. Yes, America has made great progress in race relations, but if you only watch Hollywood crafted media, one may assume it only existed in the deep south, pre-1974.

The Help attempts to chronicle the blatant prejudice that many black people endured during the civil rights movement, and does it adequately, but fails in many respects. It's the story of a local reporter, who decides to tell the story of African-American maids who are treated as second class citizens in their work and personal life, but the only difference between their careers and the ones of slaves is that their paid a barely livable wage.

In an attempt to finally break free of the bondage of Jim Crow and those who adhere to it's philosophy, the maids bravely tell their sad tales of having to use separate bathrooms at their employers, endure cold and often juvenile taunts, and being mistreated in every way imaginable. It's an inspiring story of the power of the pen and it's ability to change our perceptions.

As moving as the story should be, the film is bogged down with so many faults it's almost difficult to list them all. The real drag are the subplots, which are at best unnecessary, and at worst distracting. A forced romantic subplot tells us nothing about any of the characters and a heartfelt, but anti-climatic tale of a maid who stole a ring to pay for her son's education took me out of the film.

The real issue I had was not the Hallmark-ish speeches delivered every five minutes, but the antagonists, which can make or break a film. In The Help, the racist maid employers are so one dimensional that one can only imagine early 60s housewives as having no other emotion or life goal than to oppress black people. They were just evil for the sake of it, and had absolutely no depth. It's as if they were perpetuating stereotypes while at the same time crushing others.

The film does have it's merits, like most overrated films. The acting by the leads is at times remarkable, and for that I would recommend it alone, and the cinematography makes the city of Jackson as picturesque as a Thomas Kincaid painting. And really, that's the target audience of this film, people who enjoy their message films to be sanitary and unchallenged, and in that it succeeds in spades. Perhaps it is a good idea to see such content, if only to remind us that we sometimes need to see issues in such black and white contrast in order to understand the grey.

"As in many reductive period pieces, there are no real characters here, just archetypes, namely reactionary cretins and sensitive souls who anticipate modern attitudes." - Ben Sachs

Jan 12, 2012

The history of personhood.

There's been a lot of discussion regarding the idea that corporations should be considered people in the eyes of the state. What's funny about this is that most media sources cite the fairly recent Citizens United as setting the precedence for companies having the same rights as an individual. Oddly enough that was not where this idea started, nor ended obviously. It goes back as far as the early days of the Republic, but Citizens United was the first case of this issue that the Supreme Court specifically cited First Amendment protection, at least that I'm aware of.

Now it's popular to think of corporations as run by people who bathe in the blood of Japanese virgins, but the question remains, should we abolish person hood protections for them? Should the government be able to search and seize their property without a warrant? Should the government be able to regulate their business structure, including prices for good and services? Should they not be able to endorse a candidate they want elected, just because they're wealthy?

Let's just say corporations no longer have the right to endorse a candidate, couldn't a shareholder, or a group of them, do so on their own accord? I know that sounds fatalist, but if powerful people want a candidate elected, they can just simply write the checks from their own bank account and not from the assets of the company they partially own. What will really change if the Supreme Court changes their mind? If you're a shareholder should you be barred from giving to a campaign individually?

There aren't any easy answers to this complicated issue, and since it's in the court's hands there won't be any compromise, unless the public demands a new amendment that outlines clearly how a corporation should be viewed by the Federal Government, but this will never happen, because we're lazy and love the luxuries big business gives us, damage to the Republic's soul be damned.

"One of the fundamental necessities in a representative government such as ours is to make certain that the men to whom the people delegate their power shall serve the people by whom they are elected, and not the special interests. I believe that every national officer, elected or appointed, should be forbidden to perform any service or receive any compensation, directly or indirectly, from interstate corporations; and a similar provision could not fail to be useful
within the States."
– Theodore Roosevelt

Jan 11, 2012

Debating homeopathy

I have friends who'll swear by homeopathy, something which I don't understand, but I tend to not care. If they want to abuse their health with nonsense, then it's their business. What bothers me is their promotion of the quackery to others, swearing unproven methods works for peoples' health, which can be risky at best, negligent at worst.

You may ask why I care about even that. It's a valid question. My father has high blood pressure and was recommended, by a doctor no less, to take a cheap alternative, a homeopathic remedy (name eludes me). He abandoned his then current prescriptions to try the sugar pill, with almost fatal results. This is the dangers of magical thinking behind seriously diluted "medicine". Thankfully my father is OK and his blood pressure is under control when he went back to taking proven medicine and kept up his diet and exercise.

A friend posted on Facebook a homeopathic remedy she recommends as a sleep aid and something to combat anxiety. The product is Calms Forte, a homeopathic substance designed to help those who suffer from sleep deprivation. Her friends asked questions about the substance and she claimed it worked swimmingly for her.

Against my better judgment I posted a video (below) of a girl demonstrating how Calms Forte has no active ingredient by downing the entire bottle of the substance. I commented that I can't speak for it's efficiency, but it is safe.

My friend was not pleased that I posted this video and stated the girl is "full of crap" and "wasn't intelligent about homeopathy". I took the bait and asked exactly how she got it wrong, as the girl's description seems to fit with Hamenann's law of similars and dilution preparation. This sparked an anecdotal testimony to how other homeopathic remedies helped her kids cure coughs and the like, but as expected never once addressing the lack of data proving the treatment.

Her tone seemed defensive and even a bit offended, so I politely apologized for any offense I may have caused, which I didn't mean to. I didn't expect to change her mind, but I believed that her friends should hear the other side of any argument before they put their health at possible risk. Perhaps I should've let it go.

My friend is a good person with a kind heart and I believe she genuinely believes in this stuff. She was simply attempting to help people with their ailments, something I normally applaud, but such misguidance can be dangerous.

In the end I feel I accomplished nothing, because man hears what they want to hear, and I probably came off as arrogant for daring to challenge homeopathy, which in my experience, is promoted by the extremely thin skinned.

Below is a video made by James Randi, who was challenged by the maker of Calms Forte to try the "overdose", but since relented.

"I do not expect that homeopathy will ever be established as a legitimate form of treatment, but I do expect that it will continue to be popular." - James Randi

Jan 5, 2012

Conspircay theorists, this is your champion.

There was a brief time I liked Jesse Ventura. He seemed like a rare straight shooter in politics, even if he was a bit incompetent. After he left the governor's office of Minnesota he decided to jump the crazy train and entertain viewers and spread fear with all sorts of nutty conspiracy theories that make about as much sense as why I like to read Hawthorne naked in a on the hood of my car...uhh...

Anyways Jesse Ventura would have you believe that if you don't think the government orchestrated 9/11 that you'll let "the man" implant listening devices in your reproductive organs and you'll become an informant for the police of those who are unpatriotic. It's horse shit, but there's a market for it and he's exploited people's fears all the way to the bank.

Lately a Marine sniper, who reportedly has the most confirmed sniper kills in US history, got into a spat with the former pro-wrestler. According to the sniper, Jesse showed up at a wake for a fellow Seal and started bad mouthing the war, which was highly inappropriate, especially considering he was so upset at the memorial service turned political rally in Minnesota a few years back.

According to the sniper's account, Jesse took things a bit further and said some of the seals deserve to be lost and were murders of innocents. Chris Kyle, the sniper, punched him in the face.

Did it actually happen? Who knows. I don't normally condone violence, but in this case Jesse got what was coming to him. To bring your politics to a wake is unforgivable and you deserve getting your saggy geriatric ass handed to you.

"I speak my mind. If it offends some people, well, there's not much I can do about that. But I'm going to be honest. I'm going to continue to speak my mind, and that's who I am." - Jesse Ventura

Jan 4, 2012

Pat knows it all.

A majority of Evangelicals have never read the Bible, which is strange to me, but that's for another post. They like to rely on their religious leaders to guide them on the morality of being a Christian and on the character of God. Enter Pat Robertson to guide the flock about the Testaments.

Recently he had a conversation with God, a act that if I claimed the I took part in my wife would have me committed. God did speak to Robertson and told him some interesting things. One, he said he was now aware who will win the Presidential election this year, and that America will be divided and mass chaos will ensue, because God believes Obama is out of touch with the majority of Americans, never mind that the majority once elected him, unlike his predecessor.

Why God told him to tell everyone what he knows, but fails to let him go into details is anyone's guess. It's obvious that he's deluded, or worse, lying, but the sad part is is that many will believe this nonsense. I wonder if Pat will make any bets....

"This is a spiritual battle which can only be won by overwhelming prayer. The future of the world is at stake because if America falls, there’s no longer a strong champion of freedom and a champion of the oppressed of the world. There must be an urgent call to prayer." - Pat Robertson