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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Griping

So I'm sitting here thinking, what am I going to blog about today? And the only thing that comes to mind is how much I hate working the weekends because the people I work with (at the theaters) are all ignorant part-timers with the work ethic of your average homeless person.

I mean, don't fucking put me on hold for ten minutes. It's unprofessional and it's rude.

Don't make me call you five times to do something that takes five seconds. I'm not your babysitter and I don't want to be. Just do your job.

Don't tell me "they said," because...well I don't know who "they" are, and when you do say that, it indicates to me that you don't know what you are doing. You are just doing what "they" said because...well, probably because you're fucking stupid.

Ah, you know what? What's the point?

Duuuuuude....

These panorama videos from CNN are tight. More! More!

Updated: The embed sucks, so here's the link.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Willfully Perverse

Thank you, Andrew Sullivan:
That's why I haven't criticized the decision on constitutional grounds. I'm not enough of an expert on that. But the notion that there is no difference between an individual's inviolable right to speak or publish his or her own views and a corporation's right to flood the marketplace with advertizing to advance its own economic interests and to effectively buy off politicians' votes seems willfully perverse to me in the real world.

Sold Out

If you're a fiscal conservative that believes in a government that's as representative as it is democratic, this Supreme Court ruling should make you blanch.

Walter Shapiro explains why:
The financial meltdown has given the federal government greater sway over individual companies than at any time since the Depression -- and this kind of economic clout is likely to continue if the Republicans regain power. With its 57-page decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court has raised the potential of the ultimate wink-and-nod political quid pro quo -- federal economic assistance in exchange for overt corporate political support.
But if you're a Republican hack, then by all means...cheer like the fools you are.

Conservative...Not Dumb

I wish more "conservatives" (i.e. Republican hacks) would read Daniel Larison instead of listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck*.

Here's Larison calling out the hysterics on the right:
When some Republican says that Obama and his party have been governing from “the left,” he might even believe it inasmuch as Obama and his party are to his left politically, but what he really means is that he strongly disapproves of how Obama and his party have been governing. He may or may not have a coherent reason for this disapproval, but declaring it to be leftist or radical leftist conveys the depth of his displeasure. That is, it is not analysis of political reality. It is therapy for the person making the statement.




* (I saw a bit of Glenn Beck's show last night. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings when I say this, but if you watch his show, you are an idiot. No, you are not a "real American" listening to the voice of conservatism. You are an idiot. Glenn Beck isn't a conservative. He's a lobotomy waiting to happen.)

Why I'm Not A Republincan: Reason No. 457896

It's amusing to me that the "conservative" position --and I use the scare quotes sneeringly -- is that if you're a living, breathing person whom God hath supposedly imbued with a soul, you should have no rights if:

* You're from a foreign country and cross the border illegally.

* You're picked up in Afghanistan or Iraq by mistake and spent a couple of years of wrongful imprisonment down in Gitmo.

* You're an abortion doctor.

* You represent Acorn.


And then there's the folks who only get some rights but not all.

For instance, are you gay? Cool. You can have the right to vote, but not the right to marry!

But where it gets really weird is when "conservatives" (read: right wing nuts) start to argue that corporations have Constitutional rights.

No, it's true. If you're a living, breathing, organic creature with an alleged eternal soul, you have rights...as long as those in power say you do.

But if you're a legal construct that exists only on paper for business purposes and business purposes only --no living, no breathing, no eternal soul, just a signature on some documents-- your rights are inviolable.

I know I have antiquated beliefs in this regard, but to me, a right that can be taken away (as in, no habeas corpus for you!) is not a right at all. And we must thank our overlords and masters for not taking our "privilege" away from us.

And something that doesn't really exist, except on paper, doesn't have any rights at all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dumbass


I wonder if she regrets it. Maybe not yet...

The Old Days

Holy shit! Back in high school, 1991 it must have been, this kid in my drama class bragged about going to the Clash of the Titans concert and throwing piss bottles at Alice In Chains during their opening set on the tour. I didn't really believe him and besides, why would you even do that? Because you don't like grunge?

It just seemed like stoner braggadocio to me. But it has been confirmed!

From the February issue of Guitar World, Scott Ian of Anthrax and Kerry King of Slayer talk about it:
Ian: Alice in Chains had a fucking hard time on that tour. But you know what? In a lot of ways, it's what made that band. We'd stand onstage every night and just watch them get pelted with anything and everything those crowds could throw at them. And Layne would be jumping into the audience and punching people. But they never once walked off the stage. Every night they finished their fucking set. They stood there and they took it. But yeah, it was absolutely trial by fire for them.

King: I remember at Red Rocks, which is that giant amphitheater built in a canyon [in the Rocky Mountains near Denver]: we were watching Alice in Chains and somebody had a big gallon jug that they emptied out and pissed in. They dumped it on Alice in Chains more than once. I was just like, "Goddamn, that sucks."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wah

Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking took exception to the decision of the Vikings to throw for the end zone while leading by 24 late in Sunday's division-round game. Brooking made his views known at the time, and he made his views known afterward.

"I thought it was classless," Brooking said...
Herm Edwards said it best. You play to win the game.

The Jets won, too, beating the Chargers. I hate the Chargers. They should have never been in the playoffs to begin with. How they managed to string together a season, I'll never know. A roll of the dice, as it always is with that team.

Philip Rivers can choke on a lug nut for all I care.

The Saints? Get a load of Reggie Bush. One punt return for a touchdown, and an awesome run for 46 yards. I'm serious, this run was something to see. They're going to be tough next week.

Dan Rodeo

My brother offered to take me to stock show rodeo tonight, but I'm bushed so I declined. But it reminded me of something my nephew asked me a few years ago.

"Uncle," he says, "Who's Dan Rodeo?"

"I dunno," I said. "Where'd you hear of him?"

"You know, from that song. Rolling Dan Rodeo with a shotgun."

This song also happens to include my favorite line from a Rage Against the Machine song.
Fuck the G-ride
I want the machines that are making them
Zach De La Rocha is too radical lefty for me (I know!) but at least he understands that the true wealth doesn't come from the bling.

It's in the production of the bling.

Another Day, Another Lame Avatar Critique

This time, from Gregory Weinkauf, who writes:
I ask: Can James Cameron think for himself?

Unfortunately, I got my answer with Avatar, which I saw a few weeks ago. The answer, alas, is: No.
He then goes on to list some of the things that James Cameron "stole" and then tries to cut to the bone with this:
Pilfered trappings aside though, ultimately, and most crucially, Avatar flies or sinks in terms of story -- and here is where I must award it an Epic Fail. This story sucks. It's predictable, boring and flat, and nowhere within it breathes a single character complex enough to sustain an adult's interest. Oh, those natives, they're so soulful and fierce (with a matriarch swiped from Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novels). Oh, those corporate suits, they're so heartless and mean (Aliens cannibalism). Oh, me, I'm so bored. It's dead, Jim! And furthermore, how has the worthless Sam Worthington risen to star status? Is "blank slate" the new mode of hero? Such dullness!
Hey, we get it! You don't like the movie.

But seriously...does every unoriginal movie with a bad story get this much scorn?

Obviously not, since movies with unoriginal, poorly conceived stories are released weekly by every studio in business. So what is it about Avatar that brings the hate?

Is it disappointment that it wasn't the Greatest Movie Ever Made, as the hype would have you believe? (An easy way to avoid this pitfall is a "Don't believe the hype" policy.)

Is it annoyance that it's so spectacularly popular? I'm definitely of the mind that "popular" doesn't mean "good," but on the flip side, something can be popular and good.

Is it because they had fundamental misunderstandings of how the movie business/creative process operates?

This one is a definite yes in some cases. I saw a post on Boing Boing outlining all the "risks Avatar could have taken." Look, when you're dropping $200 million to make a movie, the last thing you want is a bunch of "risks." Maybe it'll be more artistically pleasing to all the sci-fi nerds, but if you're the guy writing the checks, you want a crowd-pleaser.

And really, the sci-fi nerds need to just let their disappointment go. Take this criticism from Weinkauf:
Toss in a protracted, migraine-inducing blur of swooping "banshees" (i.e.: dragons ripped straight from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series; I hope she sues), and a bunch of mutant beasts which are, frankly, rather stupid-looking, and this "Pandora" really ain't no great shakes.
If I told the average movie-goer that the banshees of Avatar are rip-offs of Anne McCaffrey's Pern dragons, I think the most common response would be, "Who the hell is Anne McCaffrey and what the hell is Pern?"

(Seriously? Weinkauf wants to hit Cameron for being unoriginal, so he cites Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series? Newsflash: Anne McCaffrey didn't invent dragons; she "stole" them from somewhere else. And a fantasy novel with dragons in it? Now there's an original idea! -sigh- )

That goes doubly for this:
Let us also note Avatar's acute similarity to Poul Anderson's 1957 novella, Call Me Joe, which features a paraplegic human who takes over a larger, stronger alien body on another planet, and eventually "goes native." Sound familiar?
To you, maybe. But I'd put money on this: There are not many people who have this kind of familiarity with Poul Anderson's 50s-era work. Maybe James Cameron read the story and said, "I'm going to steal this idea when 3D technology advances enough to make it."

But I doubt it.

The creative process is less about creating from scratch than it is about taking existing ideas and making them your own.

You know, kind of like how John Steinbeck took elements of the Bible and wrote East of Eden with it. Like how Shakespeare "stole" many of his plots from Plutarch. Like how Anne McCaffrey (and almost every fantasy writer) "stole" from Tolkien.

So you didn't like the movie? Good for you! It's not the only one playing. Go see something else. Or tell us yet another (lame) reason why the most popular/profitable movie of the last year totally sucks.

Updated: Did I say most "popular/profitable movie of the last year?" I meant to say the most popular/profitable movie since The Dark Knight. More popular than Star Wars.

As for James Cameron? I'm with this dude:
"One guy makes two movies in 10 years, and they're by far the biggest movies of all time. That's remarkable," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for the studio.