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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pineapple Express

James Franco makes a great stoner.

He played one in Freaks and Geeks. But then he went on to be an alright comic book villain, an alright navy boxer, an alright WWI pilot in a crappy movie, and Tristan, lover of Isolde.

But he really makes a great stoner.

(This one was funny...and unexpectedly violent, too.)

We Are Marshall

I haven't cried this much since Rudy.

Seriously.

From the plane crash on, I cried just about every scene. I couldn't wait for it to finish so I could dry my eyes. This movie was written for tears. Tears of sadness, tears of triumph, and most of all, tears of emotional empathy.

Everyone did a great job, Matthew McConaghey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, the great Ian "Al Swearengen" McShane. Even David Strathairn gets his moment.

The music swells where it should and McG actually makes a film out of it instead of a glorified music video.

Oh, and did I mention I cried?

Ancedotal Evidence of the Crappy Economy

I had quite the shock this morning as I checked my bank account online. The paycheck I just got on Tuesday is already gone. And I don't mean, so depleted that it feels like it's gone. I'm talking gone.

Wiped out.
Already spent.
Not there anymore.
FUCKING GONE.

And it's not like I don't make decent money or engaged in some profligate spending. I went grocery shopping, topped off the gas tank in the truck, paid my phone bill, took care of half of this month's mortgage. I didn't piss it away on baseball cards and bubblegum, that's for sure.

Oh, I did buy some DVDs, but got them used and didn't spend very much on them. I also took the girl I'm seeing out to dinner.

I know, such extravagances!

Friday, August 22, 2008

30 Days

I finally got Disc 1 of Morgan Spurlock's show 30 Days and watched it even. Interesting show, although there's a lot to criticize.

Minimum Wage
In this episode, Morgan Spurlock and his fiance (don't remember her name) see if they can live on minimum wage in Columbus, Ohio. Talk about depressing. Trying to prove their point --that living on minimum wage is almost impossible-- they engage in some questionable antics. Morgan Spurlock aggravates an old arm injury doing manual labor, gets home that night and it starts to swell and ache. So he goes to the emergency room.

The emergency room! For a sore arm.

No one on minimum wage would do that. Why? Because it's expensive, as he finds out later when he gets the bill, and it's unnecessary. Put some ice on it. That bandage that the hospital charged you $40 for? Get it at Walgreens.

The fiance gets a urinary tract infection. To the emergency room they go! Drink some cranberry juice. Fight through it! If it gets really bad, kidneys throbbing, can't move, can't see, can't think bad, then you go to the emergency room.

We get it, Morgan. The working poor have it harder than we can even fathom, but I think some of them are willing to trust Grandma's home remedies more than our overpriced health care system.

If this episode were a card game, it would be called Stacking the Deck.

Anti-Aging

An overweight family man wants to return to the glory days of college and six pack abs. His method? HGH injections, testosterone replacement, a workout schedule, and 41 different supplements and horse pills.

Lucky for him, his personal trainer is hot.

Unfortunately, though, his wife is jealous. And demanding. And bitchy. But he loves her.

And he lets her attend his personal training sessions with Heather, the hot and very motivated trainer, which if you think about it, is just asking for trouble. If she's worried her hubby would be unfaithful, she should have faith that a hottie like Heather wouldn't hook up with such a schlub. The schlub is so whipped that there's no way he would be unfaithful to his wife anyway, even with a hottie like Heather looking so good in her skin-tight shorts and half shirts.

And as we see in the show, if the wife is there, watching hottie Heather doing provocative exercises right in from of her schlubby hubby, she's going to find all the hotness floating around in the air a little bit threatening. Because, let's be real, the wife is kind of lacking in the hot department.

That drama was ridiculous. Every time I mourn for my wasted years of singlehood and long for the family man life, I can just think of the schlub and his wife and thank God, if he exists, that I'm not trapped in a similar situation.

Muslims

This was actually a pretty good episode, though it followed a predictable arc. Devout Christian goes to live in Muslim Michigan for 30 days, learning about the religion, living according to their customs, and all that.

At first he's resistant, then he opens up a little more, and by the end of the show he has a new respect for Muslims. He goes in asking about sleeper cell activity and leaves knowing how to pray in Arabic.

Despite the formula, this one was worth the price of admission.

The Crash

In case you've been wondering, where's James? I've been hanging out with Waldo. I also located D.B. Cooper and Amelia Earhart. Cooper is rude and narcissistic, as if "getting away with it" makes you a good person, but Amelia is great company. Good kisser, too.

Anyway, what really happened is that my computer got infected with a virus. No, scratch that. I infected my computer with a virus. My virus checker asked me if I was sure and I said I was, so next thing you know....hijacked!

To me, computer viruses are one of those things that proves that God, if he exists, is not the beneficent and moral being that most religions think he is. Because God, if he exists, has the power to stop that shit.

He can set those miserable little fuckers down and say, "Hey, listen. I know you think it's funny/makes you feel powerful/gives you a few pennies every time you annoy someone, but STOP THAT SHIT!"

Surely, the hackers and phishers and spammers would listen to God, right? And if they didn't, God could turn them into little piglets. He could grind their fingers to little nubbins so they couldn't type anymore. He could turn them into a sprig of arugula growing in the shade, quietly twisting in the wind and awaiting the vegan slaughter.

But he doesn't. He sits back and claims "Free will."

"I gave these monkeys brains," he says, "and if they want to destroy each other's computers for fun or profit, then what can ya do?"

A computer is a tool. It's a cool one, and a little more complicated than the hammer or the shovel, but nonetheless, that's what it is. A powerful, expensive tool.

Would the sociopath breaking into sheds just to destroy your shovel be as proud of himself as your typical internet malefactor?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Operation: E-mail Smear

Uncle Jim sent out an e-mail from a Captain in Iraq who was unimpressed with Obama's recent visit to Iraq. Here's the content of the e-mail:
Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to "The War Zone". I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram. As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He a gain shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service. So really he was just here to make a showing for the American's back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you.

I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States . I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country. If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

In service,

CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier
My first reaction upon reading this was a thorough rolling of the eyes.

By now, I'm exhausted by this idea that the appropriate response to encountering a US soldier is to immediately fall upon your knees, fan the air, and chant "We're not worthy."

Because it seems like anything less than that just isn't good enough for some people. The (admittedly low) pay, the medals, the citations, the post-service benefits like education, easy access to loans, healthcare, the untold number of "military preference" programs out there, none of that is good enough.

Anything short of full-on deification (as we've seen with General Petraeus, who John McCain has called one of the greatest military thinkers in history...and I'm not making that up) or blatant ass-kissing, which is apparently what Captain Porter wanted, is going to be met with the old "disrespecting the troops" canard.

It's enough to make one sigh.

But above and beyond all that, when I read this e-mail from Captain Porter, a few other things struck me.

The first thing that hit me is "Who is this Captain Porter dude and why is he sending out political e-mails?" That's a strict no-no in the military, and it seemed to me that a captain might know that. So at first, I wondered if there even was a Captain Porter.

So I googled "Captain Jeffrey Porter" and lo and behold, the first entry: A Snopes.com debunking of Captain Porter's e-mail! Turns out Captain Porter is real, and he really regrets sending the e-mail:
Now the Bagram captain is dialing back, having signed the viral e-mail with his name, rank and unit — a possible violation of military regulations barring political statements. This morning, he sent [us] a new statement (punctuation corrected):

"I am writing this to ask that you delete my email and not forward it. After checking my sources, information that was put out in my email was wrong. This email was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the email and if there are any blogs you have my email portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too. Thanks for your understanding."
That last request might work on BoingBoing, but as you can see, I'm not complying with Captain Porter's wishes.

Snopes also posted a video of Obama disrespecting the troops...I mean, "meeting, talking, and eating breakfast with U.S. troops in Afghanistan." I even saw some hand-shaking in there.
Watch the video and if you understand English, you might hear Obama say, "The food is excellent, but the company's even better."

You troop disrespecter, you!

In my initial reply to Uncle Jim, I wrote:
You know what they say: The only time you should start worrying about a soldier is when they stop bitchin'.

I can’t believe everyone thought some Captain America’s crybaby letter home to mommy about, sniff, how a politician, sniff, wouldn’t shake his hand was good enough to forward. Maybe he should stop thinking about the famous people who come by to help his morale and do his fucking job.

Some people mark their tours in kills or scars. This dude apparently marks his in an autograph book. Fucking pogue.
I then responded to everyone in the distro with the Snopes link.

I'm all for taking shots at your political opponents, but I also think you shouldn't subvert your loyalty to the truth in order to do it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Phony in Chief

I watched a little bit of the debate-thingy at Rick Warren's church. It wasn't really a debate, since the candidates took the stage separately, but both McCain and Obama were in the house. I caught the end of Obama's segment and the beginning of McCain's, and from what I saw, my opinion remains unchanged.

Obama is still the man and McCain is still phonier than Pam Anderson's tits.

Here he is, bitching about Congress, which he's been a part of since 1982:
And you know, we laugh about it, but we cry and we should cry because the Congress is supposed to be careful stewards of your tax dollars. So what did they just do in the middle of an energy crisis when in California we are paying $4 a gallon for gas, went on vacation for five weeks. I guarantee you, two things they never miss, a pay raise and a vacation. And we should stop that and call them back and not raise your taxes. We should not and cannot raise taxes in tough economic times. So it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes.
Like I said, phony. Check out his pronoun usage.

He says, "In California we are paying $4 a gallon for gas..."

We? You're the Senator from Arizona, bud. (Although, I just realized, I think one of his 8 houses is in California...)

And when he talks about Congress, which he's been part of since 1982, the pronoun suddenly becomes "they." "Two things they never miss, a pay raise and a vacation."

So I have two questions for the Senator:

1) Just how much gas have you purchased at $4 a gallon in California? Is it enough to become an honorary Californian?

2) In your 24 years in Congress, how many vacations and raises have you missed? So many that you're not really a member of Congress?