Thursday, October 31, 2013
Today is Halloween. When I was a kid, we all dressed as Hobos for school. Hobo day was one we looked forward to and then that night, we would put on our costumes, be they store bought or homemade, that our parents had tried to keep us from playing with for the week or so leading up to the big day. Then we would head out into our small town and move from house to house trick or treating hoping that we didn't get the nasty candy. When we got home, there was perhaps a special like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or a Bugs Bunny Halloween special on TV. The older kids would later go out after all we younger ones were home and play the traditional pranks such as soaping windows or maybe even T-P a tree or even throwing an egg or two.
It was fun times and maybe there would be a party at someone's house or the church where we would eat popcorn and bob for apples. We never worried about the germs of bobbing in water for the apple It was good times, and none of us worried about Halloween being "an occult holiday." Such ridiculous ideas were never considered and were foreign. So with those days in mind I wish you all a very Happy Halloween and may the Great Pumpkin fill your treat sack with the best candy.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Take these two stories about Far Right Spokesperson, Sean Hannity. Both took place in the past couple of weeks. Hannity interviewed three couples about how Obamacare ruined their lives. The problem was that not one of the couples had even checked, and two of the couples said they would not check, to see if the ACA would help them. It would. True story. A few nights later Hannity called the ACA hotline and had an operator on who said many of her callers were unhappy with the rollout. She was fired for violating her media clause which she was apparently unaware of. Hanity offered her a year of her salary to make up for the firing and then advertised on his show to help her find a new job. Also, a true story.
|A meme with factual information,|
but politically spun.
|And what was that lie exactly?|
|Really? Have you even turned on a|
We all want to be right, but the fact is that too often we post things that aren't. It takes time to become informed and sadly, too many people just blindly post undocumented facts. We don't check, we don't verify, we just think it sounds good.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Take this one for example:
I've seen this one off and on for a couple of years. Why is this one for NBC? Was there some point when NBC made statements like "let's disrespect these things"? And if you don't repost have you ceased to be an American? Are you Canadian? I just don't get it.
Next comes this:
This one popped up the other day. I remember this one from the 2012 (or was it 2011?) and it is pretty easy to debunk by using most any fact checking website. To show you how something never dies, our credit rating is AAA again, it was restored although it could still be dropped again because of the recent shutdown. It was originally dropped after the last threat to not raise the debt ceiling in 2011, by the way. Gas prices had crashed following the economic crash after reaching an average all time high of around $4.12 in July 2008. By the time of Obama's swearing it, prices were already trending up having hit a low of $1.61 in November of 2008. Currently gas prices are at a three year low. The debt has been been reduced although there is disagreement as to how much or for how long. Unemployment was down to 7.4 in September, although thanks to the shutdown, it will probably go back up. We have two budgets one in the house and one in the senate. The house has refused 18 times to go to a conference, I have no idea what the 3rd war is. Inaccurate facts are a lie, by the way. Still this meme will continue to pop up and continue to divide even though it is clearly inaccurate.
How about this one:
This one is interesting to me. I've blogged about its continued inaccuracy on this before. As of right now all, but seven states have laws s regarding the pledge. The irony was that two of the people posting this were in school when I was teaching. One poster said the pledge everyday as per Colorado Law as little as two years ago and so knows that this generation is doing the pledge. Another poster of this exact same meme was back in the day when we stopped doing the pledge for a time in high schools except at all school events. This person was not a part of the generation that grew up saying the pledge. So we have a complaint about schools not saying the pledge from a person who knows we say it and another from a person who didn't. Please check your memory. Thanks
Political memes divide. And that division is forever on the internet even when it's a lie. Think before you post. Stop the Hate.
Thanks Brian for keeping me honest.
Monday, October 28, 2013
I have a tendency to DVR a lot of shows, especially running series like Game of Thrones and Dexter. I am actually a couple of seasons behind on Thrones, but I finished Dexter. I was disappointed, not just with the final episode, but with the entire season. Truth be known, Dexter probably went at least two seasons past its prime. So here goes, and if you have not yet watched Dexter's final season yet, you might want to skip this as I will probably give more than a few spoilers about both show and books so beware.
There be Spoilers Here!
As I remarked awhile back when reviewing House as a series, all adaptations suffer when they leave the premise. House, I pointed out, started out as a medical version of Sherlock Holmes, but when the series left the character premise in later seasons, the show began to lose its edge. The same is true with Dexter. I know that maybe, if I had not read the books, I might feel differently, but I know folks who have only viewed the series, and they too were not happy with the last couple of seasons. While the series strayed from the books, it also strayed a long ways from the originally established character. Realistic characters grow and change, but Dexter is not such a character. For that matter, none of the characters in the series is of that nature. Therein lies one of the problems. Maybe we recall when Dexter was the angel of death, but the show's writers must have forgotten that idea.
Anytime the script leaves the established nature of a two dimensional character, they have violated the verisimilitude (truth) of the writing. I remarked on another site that on one of the shows I watch that one of the central characters had violated her nature and received a reply that what had happened was more realistic. While there maybe truth in the response, it is not true to the series. Deb killing LaGuerta, Dexter becoming attached to another serial killer and slowly becoming "human," Dexter's odd visits by his father which started as backstory and then became Dexter's conscience, and even Masuka suddenly becoming a loveable father all left the established premise.
Next was the final season, itself. It lacked cohesion. We are suddenly introduced to a magical psychologist who actually came up with Harry's law, had a serial killer son of her own, was counseling the would-be next Dexter, and helping Dexter with his love life. It didn't stretch the credibility of the series, it shattered it. Not only did we seemingly have a convention of serial killers, we had the serial killing family, a drunken, drug addled sister and a boat load of plotlines that had ZERO to do with the series. I really don't care about Masuka's Daughter, Angel's restaurant, Quinn's love affair with Angel's sister who is also Dexter's nanny, while Quinn is actually still in love with Deb. Next is the love affair of Dexter and Hannah. It caused a loss of focus on the seventh season and was one more unnecessary plotline in the eighth. With Hannah's reappearance, there was the feeling of "oh yeah, the writers still need to do something with that whole worthless plotline from the seventh season. Let's make Dexter suddenly more human and then keep him from having his happy ending." Next was the "let's throw in a plotline where Deb works for a private investigator, is a drunken mess, sleeps with criminals, and then is killed off for no other reason than series is ending, and we have to kill off at least one major character." Soap opera much?
The plotline with Colin Hanks could have been one of the great ones. Deb's discovery of Dexter, the killer, could have been the perfect plotline to have even possibly driven the series into possibly more seasons, but instead, the seventh season becomes less about what Dexter does, and more about leaving what was a great premise. A show that establishes itself as a series about catching and killing serial killers while avoiding all the complications of dealing with high profile killers, then that show needs to stick to that premise. Leaving that premise is something we've seen again and again, and it almost always spells disaster. It happens when a detective show establishes that it will solve one crime an episode suddenly becomes a continuous plot about catching the same killer. Ratings and viewers drop and the show has been "improved" to death and yet Hollywood seems to never learn. Leaving premise is killing shows like Bones, The Mentalist, and even Castle. Staying on target is why NCIS has lasted. Everyone knows going in what to expect. Each week, the team of NCIS will solve one case, at some point a minor plot point or two will be inserted that will grow into a longer plot line that will lead to the last two episodes of the season and the cliffhanger that will lead into the next season. Characters are established, changed out as needed but the premise remains the same. Gibbs is always Gibbs. Unfortunately, Dexter was not always Dexter. He went from avenging serial killer to angst ridden "teen boy" with family issues. It killed the series and created for a very poor final season.
Dexter giving up everything and killing off Deb for no reason and then having Dexter appear as a lumberjack was not humorous, dark or in keeping with the premise. It was just dumb. I would have been better if they had just let Dexter ride off into the storm. It would have been inconclusive, but at least, better than making Dear Deadly Dexter into a Monty Python song or a song and dance man.
Friday, October 25, 2013
I agree with the idea of this meme. Every person who uses a gun needs trained. The statement that trained kids don't have accidents is wrong. It's called an accident because we all have them. Kids have them all the time. A better statement would be: Kids Should Be Properly Trained.
The problem here is not the message, it the messenger. Showing a little girl dressed in oversized camouflage (note the sleeves) properly holding an empty gun on the porch may give some other message. It just seems a little bit disturbing, for some reason. It could be the background or the age of the subject or the deadpan look she is giving the camera. It's the optics.
It really makes no comment on gun control, unless, of course, one is advocating for laws requiring training, but I don't think that's the intent, and a law requiring training would be a form of gun control.
Finally, what's with the hat? Does anyone know what language that is?
You see it really is about optics. Oh, if you have kids or you own a gun, please get them and yourself trained. Thanks.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
It holds your attention, but I spent time wondering exactly what was going on. The movie starts out in flashback, but then drops that to become a story of Julian Assange meeting Daniel Berg and then showing Assange flashbacks. We are also not ever really sure which of the flashbacks are true and which ones are a product of Assange's need to manipulate and keep his own secrets. There is also the sequences of the imaginary Wikileaks office that is in symbolic cyberspace. Then at the end, we are reminded that this is a flashback although we now arrive at a different point than where we began, but that too is interrupted by a brief imaginary interview with Assange who is now living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Add to this terminology that relies on computer knowledge that most of us don't have, a road trip to add server points, at least I think that was what they were doing, and the rapidly changing character of Assange, and a loosely related storyline about people in Washington's diplomatic corps and one of their informants, and the movie just tends to roam from cogent sense in a number of spots.
The movie is worth the watch, but save your money and watch it when it comes out on the premium channels.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
You have the right to comment. You even have the right to use the most vile derogatory names. You have the right to swear and label entire groups. But if you do, you have lost the argument. It is also considered and defined as the lowest of the seven forms used to spread propaganda. So in doing so, you have become the propaganda mouthpiece for one agenda driven group or another. Congratulations on your promotion. It's kind of like the rule that first appeared on social networks, Godwin's Law. It states that in an argument that becomes heated and goes long enough someone will eventually bring up Hitler. Whoever does this, automatically loses the argument. Something, by the way, you might want to consider next time you post one of those memes comparing your "favorite" politician to the monster that was Adolf Hitler.
I am not saying that there aren't places to use names for folks who are clearly living in a different reality. There are humorous, or at least I find them humorous terms for them like tinfoil hats or Wack-a-doodles. These are not terms that particularly attack one group or another but fits an individual. We all know of or have a Wack-a-doodle in our lives. I've blogged about them. There is clearly no logic to what they believe, although there is little doubt that they believe it. They accept whatever the internet spews forth without question or research. They also tend to live on a single type of site that will support their belief system. Although truth be told, calling someone a moronic fool or idiot probably won't do much in your argument, even if the labels are true. Wack-a-doodles seldom realize that they are Wack-a-doodles.
I enjoy comments. I also will delete any that use foul language or name calling as a method of argument. That's my right. I don't do it because I'm a prude or can't take a derogatory name, I do it because there is enough divisive hate on the internet. If you want to bring something up that has nothing to do with a post, is also pretty much a dead give away that you've got nothing. Let me put it this way. If you read about an article about the ACA (Obamacare) and instantly attack Obama for the talking points on Syria or attack Republicans for their blocking the vote, you are losing. The article has nothing to do with Syria or the block the vote. It is about the ACA. (It's also probably not a good idea to announce how much your insurance is going up and then say you refuse to go on the healthcare website because you hate the ACA and refuse to prove yourself right.)
Show your support. Show your dissent. Do it though by being on topic and as you tell a child, by "using your words". If your one of those who use the name calling, you are spreading the hate.
Stop the hate.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
This is one of those memes that has some very iffy or vague statistics. I can find no such research that shows this to be true. Why? Because, first it doesn't tell us what kind of murders or how those murders were measured. Are they the number of murders that actually occur or are they the number of murders ranked by populace or are they the number of murders compared to other places? You see the problem.
Then there is the problem of definition. How many of these murders were actually caused by guns? Do you remember the meme about knives and baseball bats are more often weapons in murders? You cannot have it both ways. Use murders as if they are only done by guns and then complain that cars kill more people.
There are two other issues. While Chicago for example does, indeed, have strict gun laws, just outside of Chicago, the state of Illinois and surrounding states have weak ones. Guns are easy to get by just going as little as ten miles outside the city. Then there is also the issue of one of the cities that has possibly the strictest laws in the nation, New York City is in the top 20 for the lowest crime rates per capita in the nation. So which of these cities is the outlier?
Making up statistic is easy. Vague is Vague. If the persons who created this meme could at least document this some how, and explain how other cities with strict gun laws have a low crime or even low murder rates differ then I would be okay with it.
Monday, October 21, 2013
If you have not seen Captain Phillips buy your ticket and go. It is one of the best movies I have seen this year. The movie has all the intensity of a thrill movie like Gravity, except in Captain Phillips we meet the characters, and you come to understand who the characters are. It is a truly amazing movie and above all it has Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks has come a long ways from his very lame sitcom of Bosom Buddies to becoming one of the leading actors of his generation and is now I think among the elite of the best actors in movies. His performance as Richard Phillips is astonishing. It is understated and just his performance at the end of the movie is perhaps one of the most moving, I've seen. The mark of any great movie is when the actor ceases to exist, and the character comes to life. Phillips lives in Tom Hanks. It is easily the first Oscar worthy performance I've seen.
The movie is a taught, real life thriller, for lack of better terms and is based on Richard Phillips' book, A Captain's Duty. Anyone who remembers the news from 2009 knows the outcome when Somali pirates captured an American freighter ship. Failing to control the crew, the four pirates took the captain, Richard Phillips, captive hoping to ransom him. The kidnapping quickly involved the U.S. Navy and ultimately the Seals who came save Phillips. It was unique in that no ship of that size had ever been taken by pirates. Yet despite knowing the outcome of the real story, the movie captures its audience with its characters and intensity putting the audience on the edge of their seats without the gimmicks of 3-D or heavy duty green screen effects.
I know there is some controversy about the accuracy of the film but Paul Greengrass, the director, stands behind the research he and Michael Bronner did for the movie. Of course the events have been dramatized and collapsed for movie storytelling, but the facts, he insists, are accurate. The controversy comes from crew members who are complaining that the shipping company was too careless about the pirates and too close to Somalia's coast in its route. They have filed a 50 million dollar lawsuit so a movie which does not show this does not support their case. The real Phillips is also a witness for the defense. Regardless of all this, it is still a great film.
What is more, we care about these characters and understand even the pirates. They are not some random villains who go out and do bad things. We come to understand the lack of choice these people have to survive. Their costal oceans have been fished out by the large commercial ships and the corruption in the country goes deep. Or as one of the pirates puts it, "I have bosses." We see the pirates as struggling to survive. At one point Phillip (Hanks) turns to the pirate leader named Muse or "Skinny" played by newcomer Barkhad Abdi and says something to the effect, "There must be choices better than this (piracy)." Muse responds, "Maybe in America." The finality of the statement of this self-described "simple fisherman" is echoed when Phillips finds himself with a gun pressed to his head and says, "You're not just a simple fisherman anymore." We see the reaction of Muse in that moment realizing what he has become. Abdi, who had never acted a day in his life, is a Somali immigrant who came as a child to the US with his parents and was a taxi driver when he and several others of the small Somali community in Minnesota answered an open casting call. He is really very believable as are the rest of the pirates.
Overall, Captain Phillips is well worth the time. Go see it.
Friday, October 18, 2013
I honestly have no statistics that prove or disprove this. And that is the problem. I cannot find these stats on any website other than antigun control sites and not one of them offer me a link as to where they came from. The only argument that I've seen is the well worn one about gun control and Adolf Hitler. The only problem is that Hitler only controlled the guns of those he conquered and unfortunately he considered the Jews a conquered people.
There is a logic to it that great dictators often disarm their people to maintain control, but it also ignores that there are plenty of gun controlled nations that haven't had genocides. England has strict gun laws as does Austrailia, Japan, China and a host of other nations. So the meme ignores the other side of the problem.
The only other problem is the "if the UN is able to disarm the world as they plan" statement. There is no such document before the UN. The creator of the meme would be far better off to drop the paranoia about what is generally one of the most ineffectual organizations in the world. Just look what it took get Syria in trouble for using chemical weapons. The UN doesn't have a standing army to disarm even if they wanted to and the disarmament by dictators who have an army, tend to disarm their own nation. So what nation would the UN use its awesome power to disarm exactly?
There is initial logic here, but the argument is weak and paranoid.
These memes don't serve to solve problems, but divide further. By posting it, noone is offering a solution, just more rhetoric.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
This is one of two memes like this I've seen which came out during the shutdown. The other uses such foul language, I wouldn't venerate by posting it.
Where do we begin? Days before the shutdown, the National Parks Service posted a warning that it would be forced to close. Every congressman knew this. EVERY ONE had access to this information. It was very clear.
The lead to defund Obamacare was Republican Senator Ted Cruz. You can find a boatload of speeches where he said this and his advocating to use "any means" including the shutdown and the debt ceiling as tools. There are numerous articles about it.
I repeat, EVERY Congress person had access to this information. So when the vote came led by House Republicans and Ted Cruz who had numerous, documented "secret" meetings with those house members, the Parks Service closed everything including the WWII Memorial. Obama had nothing to do with it, it was part of the shutdown.
So who went to the memorial for Photo Ops with the Vets?
|Representative Michelle Bauchmann (R)|
Yep- the very same Republicans who advocated the shutdown and met in secret.
|Sarah Palin, Senator Mike Lee (R), Senator Ted Cruz (R)|
|Representative Randy Neugebauer|
confronts Park Ranger.
So who is using WWII vets? Who are the cowards here?
Tell me again how this vile piece of hate is unbiased.
Don't "like" this stuff; don't "share" this stuff. You are being used by an agenda driven, extreme group. When you see it, never go back to that page.
One voice can soon become a choir.
Don't "like" this stuff; don't "share" this stuff. You are being used by an agenda driven, extreme group. When you see it, never go back to that page.
One voice can soon become a choir.
Stop the Hate.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The other day I was in the checkout line in WalMart and the checker remarked on my tee shirt, saying, "Wow that really is a classic Doctor Who shirt." I was wearing my Doctor Who tee that had a picture of Tom Baker, the actor who played the fourth Doctor, on the front.
"You always love your first Doctor," I replied.
The clerk thought for a moment and said, "I don't remember who my first one was. I suppose it's the current one, but I still remember watching the old ones on PBS when I was a kid."
As we left the store, I began to think what else is there in the nerd world that folks love because it was their first? "A lot," came the wise answer from one of my schizophrenic other selves.
"Oh yeah? What?"
There have been about twelve or so Doctors since the show debuted in 1963, not including Doctor Who movies, TV specials, radio shows, spoofs and stage plays. Heck, even Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson, played him one of those spoofs. So there are a lot of Doctors to be your first character. And then there is Star Trek."
"Well that's easy classic Trek. They are, after all, the founders of the franchise."
"Well, I, for one, like Next Generation. They had the longer run and better effects."
"I liked Enterprise," piped in a third
voice, the personality who also loves bad B-Movies.
"Okay, Okay. There is Star Trek the original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, Star Trek the Animated Series, and those new guys in the two reboot movies."
"I really like those, but a lot of fans didn't. Afterall, you always love your first Star Trek," said a sly fourth voice which had been patiently waiting to turn my words against. I hate that guy.
"And then there are fantasy books. There were Tolkien and Lewis and Brooks and Burroughs and Howard and those Dungeon and Dragon books, and now Martin and guys like Rothfuss and Weeks and Gaiman. Who do you choose: the master, Tolkien? The ground breaker Brooks? The political world of Martin? The fantastical of Gaiman? Who?"
I pause. I ponder. I gather the group of my schizophrenic voices in close.
"I like them all. I choose them all."
And they nod in agreement.
"But you still always love your first Doctor Who," I think myself, once they are all out of range.