Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tiresias

One of my favorite characters of Greek mythology is the gifted seer Tiresias. In Greek mythology, there are characters who show up often like a stock character that the playwrights would use for familiarity or to serve a specific purpose. The Greeks got around the problem of continuity by stating that Zeus gave him the lifespan of 7 lives after being blinded by Zeus' wife Hera. Even the god of gods in Greek culture couldn't stand up to his wife.

The key feature to his background was his existence as both a man and woman. To further hammer home the point of his knowledge and wisdom, the writers set him up as someone who experienced life in all ways. His knowledge of both genders' experiences made the gods call on him for an answer. I loved this about the Greeks. The gods constantly interacted (maimed, killed, raped, fooled, helped etc.) with regular humans and often revealed themselves to be worse than the humans. Tiresias had witnessed snakes in the act of love, and for this breach of etiquette, he was turned into a woman. He witnessed the act again and of course, was turned back into a man. Must have made dinner at home interesting that next night? Family therapy night. Think of that ridiculous punishment: see snakes copulating, switch genders now mortal, bwa-ha-ha.

Tiresias was also blind. Oh yeah he can see the future or the secret truth, but he can't see his own ass to wipe it. Multiple stories surround his blindness and they all involve insulting some god who then gets angry and blinds him. He sees Athena bathing naked and is blinded by her. He doesn't side with Hera on the sex question and is blinded by her. Tiresias should have known: don't insult a woman with mystical powers. The gender switch and the blinding appeal to a deeper truth of the human condition. The reality is that no matter how intelligent, rich, or gifted, we are all subject to the cruel randomness of life. Tiresias is sought by gods and by kings, but he must use a stick to find his way. He can see the future, but not see that he will witness snakes copulating and therefore switch genders. We can plan, we cna try, we can have it "all sewn up", but life often has a way of slipping in the banana peel for us to slide on.

Kids and Fame

There is the potential for a tremendous book in this survey and the odd lives of former 'reality show' contestants. This article touches on the rise in children wanting to be famous. I do not completely agree with this article on children of divorce vs. intact marriages, but the survey results are interesting. I linked the two not just in this post, but there might be a motivational link. If a survey could cross question the divorced vs. non-divorced units with the fame questions, we might see a connection, not just theory.


Is there anything wrong with this? I don't know if it is any worse than the high percentage that say rich, but usually rich = security and comfort. Fame equals superficial love, adoration and attention. A child wouldn't contemplate the downside to fame, but an 18-25 year old should, which makes those poll results a bit troubling. The web 2.0 Me Me Me sites have flowered recently. The sites have shown the pendulum shift of wanting attention and being known rather than privacy. The issue will probably reach an apex of openness and image control, and then begin a swing back as a backlash will grow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Come Monday

I can't stand Jimmy Buffett, but I love this song. Even a broken clock is right twice each day.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Movie Review: Inception

When we see a movie, we want to enjoy ourselves. Whether it is laughing with or at the film, crying and emoting, or being lost in a world, we want to go for a ride and be entertained. Inception is an entertaining 2 and a half hours you will love. There are moments of pure popcorn action movie fun, moments of amazing tenderness, moments of exploration and wonder, and moments that will actually make you think. Inception is a complete movie that was made with love, amazing attention to detail, winks and nods to the audience, and time.



Inception was Chris Nolan's baby from a decade ago about dreams and the nature of reality. In a completely non-Hollywood way, he waited to make this movie, refining it over and over again (kind of like Wall-E's creators). Inception's script is well done with realistic motivations behind characters' actions. Cobb has a reason to make his choices. Saito has a reason to crack Fischer. Fischer has a complicated father-son relationship which the team manipulates, but he will act on. The small attention to detail about dreaming is great: dream within a dream, paradoxical nature of dream settings, outside effects influencing the dream, dying wakes you up, dreams feel longer but only take 5 real minutes. This was a great way to get the audience hooked into a complicated plot; it treats the audience as a partner. The story has the great 'heist' set up where a job is offered, the team gets assembled, they show you how they plan to do the job, and then the job gets executed. There is progression, and in the middle of it all, small flashback scenes through dreams or explanations of Cobb & Mal's story.





Underrated element to this movie production is the music. I posted a youtube link earlier on the 'cue' music slowdown score element that was very similar to the French song used as a musical cue for the dreamers. Brilliant. What is also brilliant is the score itself. The music plays up your emotions for the dream inception chase sequence. Music slows you down for the gut wrenching emotional bits where Cobb has to wrestle with his demons. Another thing I did not notice until my 2nd viewing was that some score elements are reminiscent of the theme to Vertigo. In the "Snow Fortress" dream, when the dreamers first drop in and are on the mountaintop, the sweeping music sounds like the section of the Vertigo theme between 1:05-1:40 in the Vertigo link above. It also sounded a bit James Bondian. In relation to Vertigo, it is a small homage to another movie about a guy who does not trust his vision or grasp on reality, losing the woman he loved to suicide and then incorrectly seeing her elsewhere. This small homage made me love this movie eve more because it showed the care and craftsmanship involved in each production element.



As far as special effects, the movie was well done. My wife loved the 'physics of it all' scene in Paris, and I liked the zero G to full G to zero spinning stuff. Kudos to the production crew for pulling that off with as little CGI as possible. The dream training scene of exploding cafe fireworks was cool. The limbo scenes were pretty interesting, as they were an empty cityscape but felt off. The city was full of buildings, but didn't it look oddly phony? You could tell the buildings were not normal but couldn't place why? This type of disorientation worked well with the theme of dreaming, deception and false reality.



A movie is just a shell if not filled with interesting characters, and Nolan delivers with wonderful characters. Cobb (Leo) is the savvy vet who has a ghost haunting his moves and sabotaging him. He is an imperfect man, but a loving husband who wanted to go back with his wife to their life and still wants her around. He keeps a dreamscape around of his memories with her to see her again. He has a driven purpose. He has regrets. He learns through the movie to progress and move on. Some people have ripped the Ariadne character, but she is the 'audience' stand in. She is the rookie, newbie who we experience the movie through with unknowing eyes. As she learns, we learn. She doesn't entirely trust this dream stuff and acts rational, whereas the dream veterans act like this si old hat, making it tougher for us to identify with them. Besides the old pro bit, I did love the British guy Eames. He was a cheeky talking tough Brit with a sense of humor. He was like a cross between a British Public School Boy and a soccer hooligan. Folks have criticized the Mal character for being crazy, but remember that her character for most of the movie is just a representation of how Leo remembered her. She played the crazy, betrayed & angry 'dead wife' well. I think people just hate her voice, which sounds just like Kristen Wiig's Bjork impersonation, especially when Mal is tearing up in limbo near the end. The scene in his dream basement was awesome. She was legit freaky. The characters made sure that this movie was not just a cool idea and awesome special effects.


In the end what is reality, what is dream world and where would you rather spend your time? If you can feel, taste, smell, hear and see it, isn't it real in the materialistic sense? Our mind makes the matter real, so why isn't it real there? Cobb sleeps at night with a special sedative to recapture moments with his dead wife who is really just a recreation in his mind. Even in limbo, she is just a projection from his mind. The random poor folks who sleep all day to enter the dream world are falling alseep to wake up because the dream world has become their reality. It could be tempting, and as the old man says in the film, who are you to judge? Grasp that old lover again or talk to your departed relative, it is possible there. For the fools that think they lucid dream every night from the moment they go to sleep until they wake up, they do not even grasp the true damage that would do to their brain if it were true. How could one live 24 hours with constant stimulus as if one were awake? A person would go insane and lose their grasp on what is real. This is a theme running through Inception. Leo spends more time in the dream world, and by keeping his mind active for so long, he loses a grasp on things. This has to be some of the motivation for his delay in shooting at Mal in the Snow Fortress as he wonders if she is real. How long has he been playing between both worlds? Which world should he, and we, spend our time in? This is a great flick, and one I highly recommend. Please go see it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


****spoiler****
Watching the ending for a 2nd time, it is pretty obvious what the top's actions mean. It looks like it will fall, and even by wobbling so much shows that it was reality. In the dreams, the tops spins perfectly. That quick ending cut did make the dopes shout "Awwww" in the theater because they couldn't think for themselves.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Movie Review: The Room

The Room is the worst film made in the 2000s. Do not watch this unless you want to laugh or MST3K the movie. The good: the score is surprisingly enjoyable, the lighting is good for a small film and the guy who plays the drug dealer is decent. I can't rave enough about the score, it deserved a better movie. The bad: everything else.

- The acting is terrible. Lines are delivered in a wooden and horrible manner. You know obviously that it is a fake story. The mother declares she has breast cancer like she ate a bad muffin. It was never mentioned again.
- They cast a normal unattractive girl in a role that is so 'hot' that men are saying randomly at parties that she looks so hot. Not one decent actress struggling in LA could be in this movie?
- The director, writer and lead actor: one guy, Tommy Wiseau. No talent, not even in one of those 3 jobs. Bad sign unless your name is Mel Gibson or Clint Eastwood. He sounds like a bad Arnold-Borat impersonation with a weird lilt to his delivery. The 'soundboard' is amazing for bad lines and bad deliveries. He also looks like he was carved. His face is weird.
- The story drags on and makes no sense. A guy who has a great job, is loved by everyone, has lots of friends says he is fed up with this world and that everyone betrayed him? They build him up as the most honest, kind hearted person in the whole world, yet he can't handle one betrayal. Subplots have no pay off and go nowhere.
- What about the creepy college student that wants to graduate, get a job, and then make the moves on his adoptive dad's lady????
- There are 3 sets: rooftop, apartment, apartment bedroom. They have some exterior shots that are terrible. They use famous San Francisco shots to tell you it is San Fran, but it seems so forced.
- Tossing a football around in a 4 way quadrangle... 5 feet apart.
- Saying you have to go because you are going to make out with your girlfriend. You also refer to your boxer shorts as "me underwears". You have frosted tips and make funny faces even before you get busy. You are a third tier character in the worst movie of the decade.
- The lead asks for his psychologist friend to be a psychologist to help, but then criticizes him 2 mins later for always playing the psychologist with his friends.
- The random rambling by characters and the constant repeating of phrases. It creates a disjointed feeling where you forget what is important in the story.
- Pillow fights. Multiple pillow fights. None of them are sexy.
- Dudity. Male nudity in the horrid sex scenes. The sex looks gross and painful. Budget must have been tight since they used the same footage in 2 different sex scenes. Nice try Tommy, we see through your tricks.
- Everyone lives in the same building. The guy and his lady, his adoptive 'ward', and the friend that bangs his lady.
- The $6 million budget was spent on what exactly? The writer/director/lead male are the same guy, the sets are minimal, and it looks like stock footage was used for some setting shots. Some investor got screwed out of $6 mil. College students with 10K for a budget could produce better films. Maybe $5.99 million was spent on the score composer?

Inception Horn

Play it, hear it, love it.

Golden Girls Parody

It took the idiots in the world of porn this long to make a Golden Girls parody. This is safe to view, and they even did a parody of the Golden Girls theme song. I do admit that the Sophia "picture it" and "Rose" character throw in of a fake swedish sounding name are cute. The rest is crap.

"Who Goes Nazi?"

Interesting article from 1941 that has received attention recently on big blogs I read. I really like this. She hits the nail on the head. Nazi is a term thrown out often as the ultimate example of evil with little knowledge of what they truly were or did to their own people as well as foreigners. Usually, it means you don't have anything else to support your argument and appeal to people's base hatred of the evil Nazis (you lost your argument). Many Germans became Nazis and many Germans buried their past after the war because they were not party members. Despite the slow death of that generation, the truth endures that many of the people next door or at dinner parties in Hamburg, Munich and Dresden picked up banners and rifles for the Nazis.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pink Floy'd "Time" Guitar Solo


Pink Floyd's top ten guitar solos
Uploaded by nathan4u. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Fast Forward to min 7:30 and that begins the guitar solo to "Time". After a rant like my last post, I have to follow it up with a bit of pure joy: this solo and my cousins' air guitar and drum rocking it out. I wish I hadn't been squinting while doing my air guitar to see more of your action. Thank you both!

Looking at the clock, it shows the solo lasting for 90 seconds. It felt like 5 years.

"12:56 feels like forever ago, what time is it?"

"It's... twelve... fifty... EIGHT!"

Communication

This is a rant, so if you do not want to waste time reading my mad ramblings, stop now.



When the heck did everyone decide that they couldn't tell people face to face important things? Whatever happened to common decency? Is it so hard to say important things to someone's face? God forbid you can't control the exact message and take comfort in the fact that it will not be reacted to immediately in your face. God forbid you deal with normal, squishy problems. God forbid you have to 'deal' with a negative outcome (this obviously ties in with much more in society but I am concentrating on communication here). If something has been building up for a while, tell it to someone instead of a cryptic text or long, creepy email.

It's not just young people, but it looks horrible for the future with these numbers. Nearly 2/3rds have asked out a first date via text and nearly 1/3rd have been dumped via text. Toughest thing for teens is to ask someone out, but you have to do it and learn. I had some super embarrassing moments as a teen in relation to the opposite sex, but they taught me lessons. Hey, rejection will always happen. Deal with it earlier and grow. After a couple of 'nos', you learn it isn't the end of the world when someone says no. This weekend, I witnessed a young man get teased (by me mostly) into asking a nurse out at a hospital in front of 10 of her peers. It was AWESOME. She said no, but consider how much easier any first date request is going to be after that. That took guts, and in this day and age, simple guts for simple things are on back order.


I get it. Texting and email are easier. Easier, but at what cost? You control the medium & message and create an almost predetermined one way conversation instead of a dialogue. Might as well be two robots interacting. You just deal with things along the path of least resistance and least pain. No one wants to deal with rejection nor look bad in front of others, but in the end, lying on your deathbed, you won't give a shit about that stuff. At different times in your life, life will be painful and full of suffering. We all cannot avoid it forever. If you avoid dealing with pain and neutralizing it, you will end up on your very own episode of "Intervention", random addict every episode: "I started doing crack/meth/heroin to numb the pain of losing my ___". I numbed out for a while and stopped enjoying many things, but figured out what was up. I don't ever want to go back there. Experiencing pain and dealing with it is healthy. It's part of life.
This makes me angry because it is opposite of how I act, so I am biased. Part of the joy of life is asking someone out on a first date, putting yourself out there without a safety net, breaking up with someone and hearing something that changes your mind. Texting and email don't allow for that. As I say to many young folks, 'what is the worst that can happen"? My out was always "I've heard far worse from people I love far more". People will respect you for your actions more if you do them in tough spots. In regards to friends, family or partners, if you cannot tell them something important to their face but through a text or email, then how much of a friend are you and how much do you value the issue you are discussing? There are moments in your life that will hurt immensely & moments that will be joyous. Both types will be forever etched in your mind. You are cheating yourself by using the controlled, robotic and emotionless means of texting and email.

Inception Music

Just another taste....


Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Inception Post is Coming...

I must see it a 2nd time with my wife. Inception. Just go see it. Here's a taste....




Yeah, dreamline.

Movie Review: Rashomon

Rashomon was the coming out party for film maestro Akira Kurosawa. He blended elements from Japanese books to create a tremendous story on film that still holds up 60 years later. As it is set in an extremely old time, there is no worry of dating the film with specific references. The film is in black and white, and that seems appropriate with a story involving samurais and speakers of the dead. This is an old film, with a limited cast and limited budget. Have an open mind and a bit of patience but the pay off is there.

The story involves the murder and rape of a husband and wife, respectively, by a well known bandit. It is told as a series of accounts with the finder of the dead man, the bandit, the wife, the dead husband through a medium, and then the witness. What I find interesting is that the entire thing is told to a random fellow sheltered from a storm. You don't even hear the original accounts (except the witness) since two men retell the accounts of the wife, husband and bandit. The husband's tale is told through a 'medium', so we are hearing the story 3rd hand. Each tale has motivations, cover ups, and oddities. Maniacal laughter is present in all of them. Seriously, did these actors go to a laughing seminar? Pay attention to each account, as the account reveals more about the speaker than the truth.


Black and white films allow for the director and camera crew to play with lighting more than color films. The lighting is great, not just artificial but natural. They had to hide the lights and power cords as any slip would destroy the illusion of 'days of yore'. The camera shots of the sky throw the viewer's vision off, which adds to the confusion of what did happen to that couple? Kurosawa puts on an interesting show with few players. There are 7 characters in total, and no extras (obviously the screen actors guild wasn't involved). The actors all put in good performances, and really sell their post-incident stories. The big reveal is worth it, as is the entire film. Check this one out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad Ass Kicker

David Buehler is a heckuva athlete and one tough hombre. Not just because he played for USC and now plays for the Cowboys. He's the most athletic and tough kicker since Kevin Butler. He makes tackles on special teams. He has one of the strongest kicking legs in the business. He also runs fast and benched 225 lbs 23 times at the combine, which is more than most QBs, RBs and DBs. He is a role model for nerdy kickers everywhere.

Chinese Christians

I hope the estimates are true that China's Christian population is growing and might exceed 100 million people. The ability to worship as you please is a wonderful American freedom. There was talk that Pope Benedict and Dubya were on good terms partly because of the long term view on the decline of Christianity in Europe, the fear of Eurabia, and the potential for Christianity in the 3rd world and China. I recall Dubya's comments about freedom of religion while in China for the Olympics, as he had an arm around some random Chinese guy saying things like "when freedom of religion spreads, freedom spreads". China has been and will continue to be fun to watch in the near future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wonderful World of Harry Potter

WWOHP from Whitney Milam on Vimeo.



After watching this, I don't ever want to be teased about my love for Star Wars. Ever. Do you hear me Harry Potter nerds? The spazzing out, the crying, the bewildered looks of other park visitors were all very funny.

Monday, July 19, 2010

3 Minutes To Explain European Financial Problems

Incredibly funny Australian take on the European Money problems. This feels like "Who's on 1st", crossed with a Monty Python skit, crossed with the old political show "Crossfire".



Correct.

1983 Called

... and it wants its one hit wonder pop song back.



Yeah, I know I'm late to this game, but I caught this on a radio station I normally zip by, and this sounded like an 80s New Wave synth B-side.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unemployment Benefits Suggestions

Unemployment benefit extension talk is once again in the news. This is a huge issue as millions are on 'emergency unemployment compensation' and have their benefits expiring this summer/fall. No way will the party in power allow millions to have their benefits cut right before an election. These will get extended through November. Does this make sense?

My thought is no. Some people have had unemployment benefits for 99 weeks now. UE was designed as a 26 week program. It was also designed in an era when a recession meant the business world has mismanaged inventories and had to lay off some workers temporarily until demand came back. Those days are long gone. It is often now that unemployment comes with a total career change or comes as an industry shifts production overseas when demand does come back. It is a program that has lost its effectiveness. Does it make sense to keep extending benefits? Does it make sense for the other 295 million Americans, all feeling some effect of the Depression 2.0, to incur more debt for 5 million to have benefits extended 13 or 26 more weeks? Is it worth the extra $34 billion in national debt? No. Will it 'create' jobs? No. Do we see any benefit from it? People don't starve, but we're a nation with an obesity problem, so how many people starve in America??? Can we turn UE extensions into a better program for all? Yes.

1. Every extension of benefits means that the benefit is cut in half. This means for the first 26 weeks, it's normal benefits. A 26 week extension means you get 50% of your initial benefit. Another extension is 50% less than the previous benefit. This way a benefit is still provided, but it is lowered giving an incentive for that individual to make a move. This removes that tough trade off of why take a job and work for $XXX when I can sit home and receive 75% of $XXX? The French system of UE is set up this way. Wow, awesome for France.

2. Every extension of UE means you show up at the UE office and receive your work assignment. Heck, in all the make work projects of FDR's programs, people were paid money and did actual work. They worked on roads, dams, trails, clean up, etc. If people collect UE, can't we get them to do something around the country? Each county/city would have a pool of workers. I have a strong feeling we'd see people drop off UE if they had to work for UE. For project number 1, I'd send all people on UE extension benefits in the Southeastern Michigan area to Detroit to help raze and clean up condemned buildings and areas marked for destruction. Some of those Southeastern Michigan UE recipients could also be security on school campuses, playgrounds and rough neighborhoods. Here's your yellow vest and a walkie talkie to call in police/fire.

There has to be a better way, as all the government is doing now is creating another entitlement votign bloc. The pain is here and the longer we avoid dealing with it, the worse it will feel. We're in for a ton of pain as the banks start to clear out squatting households and UE gets cut. Lots of money will be pulled out of the consumer discretionary realm. God forbid anyone face any 'pain', please let them squat in their homes forever and keep those UE checks coming. While I am against illegal immigration, I salute the hard work of many immigrants looking for a better life in America. These people do back breaking, dirty jobs that a lot of Americans will not, and except for the illegal part, have much in common with my immigrant ancestors. I never thought in a world of 10% UE (higher if you don't people govt make believe stats), people would avoid work, but I was wrong.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Aeon Flux Redux

About 5 years ago, I posted quickly on the cartoon Aeon Flux. With our Netflix on demand feature through the Nintendo Wii, I have been able to watch the entire series (shorts and full episodes). Visually creative and very confusing, it seems like a show to watch with creator or director commentary turned on. With a refreshed memory, it is still a shock that MTV aired this at all.

It was pretty provocative and serious for MTV. Shows tackle free will, religion, the idea of the state, control, sex, reality and other interesting concepts. There is no direct flow from episode to episode, and one has to approach the show as an Aeon Flux framework where each episode is a stand alone tale in that universe. The shows would have a layered storyline where small details matter. Small mistakes haunt characters later. Small details show how things are tied together. One episode had a triple layered love connection, where one character had her boyfriend, but worshipped and looked up to Aeon, but yearned for a beautiful, humanoid creature. Incredibly cool and let me repeat, all on MTV.

The show was also far more sexual than I remembered. This is probably due to my maturity now, realizing the meaning of specific references. It is possible that they hit on every fetish acceptable for MTV in the mid-90s (feet, leather/vinyl, BDSM, lesbianism, alien/humanoid mating). Keep in mind that Aeon has measurements of 40-14-32 and whenever people provide her clothes, they always fit snug. Where did they find a vinyl tailor in the underground lair? Besides Aeon's figure, most of the characters have comic book proportions and smallish heads. It adds to the strangeness of the world.

While there are mant positives, there are some god awful episodes or ideas. The entire episode "Ether Drift Theory" is atrocious. I laughed at its terrible structure, details, and character motivations. Some other bits are heavy on the human melodrama, which seems forced since no character appears more than in one episode (beyond Aeon/Trevor). A laughable detail is that Trevor clones people by taking a really complicated tissue sample (not just one cell) and then grows the subject from that tissue, but wait it gets dumber, that entity is created with mental skills, knowledge and the personality/mind of the original subject. I laughed out loud at that. That is incredibly stupid for a show that would base an episode on the "diamond sutra". I'll take the good with the bad regarding this show and hope that something like this comes along again. Hopefully, animation costs can decrease the streaming video on the Internet can allow for a creative artist to entertain us all with a confusing, interesting animated world.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"



So this is an episode of Sliders, and this Congresswoman is from another dimension? Right right? Sad part is, I bet a bunch of American schoolchildren probably believe there is a North and a South Vietnam still.

The Price is Right

A cheeseball set, an old host, corny music and everyday grocery store items filled the air whenever the Price is Right came on air. If you watched or still watch the show, be sure to read about the couple that cracked the code. This is far more uplifting than the Press Your Luck code cracker. This actually explains why Drew Carey was so chill and subdued when he announced the perfect bid. I love The Price is Right. I loved Rod Roddy and his blinding sequins, Bob Barker and how he always got the hole in one, and the models of TPIR. Above the personalities, I loved Plinko, how you had to know something about everyday prices, and the chance that a correct guess on a BBQ could become a BRAND NEW CAR!!! Seriously, Rod screamed brand new car better than any other gameshow announcer. I still use "Price is Right" rules for guessing; closest without going over. The perfect game show: random selection for the stage, smart wits win a small prize, spin the wheel of life for further riches and then a final decision. You can't go over.

Hillary is Biding Her Time

UPDATE: I typed the following up the night of the 14th to publish the morning of the 15th. The WSJ published a bit of a rip off, and not as long or well thought out, oped the morning of the 15th.

Don't underestimate the Clintons. Oh the Hil-dog is just sleeping on the elites and media that ruthlessly tossed her aside and were so sexist towards her just two years ago. She remembers. She has things working against and for her. She parlayed her husband's sex scandal into a Senate seat. She came so close* to being the first female POTUS.

There are things stacked against her. Let's review:
1. She lost her best chance (2008) and chickened out of another OK one (2004). 2008: Huge war chest, perfect Dem year, the moderate contenders all bowed out, and she had rookies and crazy libs left to swat away, yet she failed.
2. She is Sec of State right now with no real foreign policy trophies to show.
3. She will have to wait until 2016, if her party's POTUS does win re-election, at age 68. Age and political freshness will be a factor. 24 years on the DC circuit by that point. It's also tough to win after 8 years of a WH control when you are not a VP maintaining the stewardship of the previous POTUS. Ask McCain/Ford/Stevenson (even VPs have issues like Nixon/Gore).
4. She still has a lot of baggage. Plus, many of the big bank issues had a start in the Clinton years.
5. She could risk everything in a primary challenge in 2012. This one would be the riskiest path. She'd need everything to go bad for Obama, but not taint herself as Sec of State. She'd need to paint herself in the post-94 Bill Clinton mode (centrist/pro-growth). She'd need to keep the base despite the betrayal and appeal to enough independents. She'd need to keep black voters on her side or at least get them to show up in Nov after crushing the guy they approve of 90%... still. Everything would have to go right, plus a sitting POTUS would have to stay out of the race after being rejected by his own party. Reagan in '76 and Ted Kennedy in '80 both tried this, with Reagan the closest to unseating a sitting POTUS but still a loser. There is also a difference now compared to '76 + '80 as party leadership realizes the image problems that internal challengers pose, and would do their best to avoid them. It most likely would not happen.

But could it?

The set up would have to be an economy still in the dumps in 2011 (highly likely) and then a foreign policy flare up where Obama flinches, chickens out, makes a bad move, etc. that Hillary could openly disagree with him about that would have her on the side with the American people. Looking at health care reform, trials of Sept 11th terrorists, and now the Arizona immigration law, Obama will do things that a majority of Americans do not agree with. This could easily happen in foreign policy. Say he abandons an ally or doesn't react 'right', and Hillary makes the first move: she resigns and leaks to a willing media that it was because she disagrees with a weak POTUS (she called him weak in ads in Indy). There is a huge contingent of Clintonites on the outside looking in. They are still connected in DC but crowded out by the Obama-Chicago operatives. This leak would question his credibility, portray Hillary as a reasonable alternative in the admin that was 'in line' with America, and isolate his poor choice, removing herself from the foreign policy stink.

Hillary could spend the rest of 2011 conducting a 'listening tour' of America and getting the troops ready, watching MSNBC & a friendly media (all but Fox) flirt with her while FoxNews bashes the POTUS which helps her. Plus the memories of Clinton era balanced budgets will seem virtuous by 2011. There are plenty of moderate Dems & establishment politicians that supported her in 2008 who were frozen out of the Obama admin (Evan Bayh being one). While on tour, she gets the 'refreshed and revitalized' treatment from the press. The whole time she is out there, Obama has to be POTUS and can't campaign directly. He can't just run against W, and he can't respond to her every move like in '08. He can't buy her off with a VP spot since she won't want to potentially lose in the general as the VP or worse, be attached to his stink legacy if he did get re-elected but things were shaky in 2016. She'll be in a great position, and will need to run on the idea of "Leadership that listens to you" (feel your pain) and "Experience will clean up the rookie's mess" (3am ready for the call). If she makes it to a single primary, he is a goner. Look at what Ford and Carter did in the general after the challenges: they lost close general elections after their credibility was damaged by someone in their party. Either she can take him out or she will mortally wound him.

Obama's team and the DNC can't allow this to happen. If they do, the DNC must be the traitors and must have a plan in place to keep the winning team together just with a new quarterback. Tough job. If they let her run, they have to be ready for the switch, portray it as an executive swap to the general public and keep the base energized (1st female POTUS yah!). They'd have to get black voter turnout at normal (non-'08) levels, not lose too much of the ground Obama gained in '08 with Hispanics/Catholics/Men. This is as likely to succeed as it is for Hil-dog to run and win in the 1st place. Their better choice is to have Biden fall on a sword for something Obama goofs on (the media would help spin that), move Hillary to VP and placate her with the idea of 2016. Axelrod and Co. would be better served by that move... but they would be better served, right now, by firing Geithner/Summers/Bernanke, but they do not. Hillary prob realizes her chances as a primary challenger are slim, but in this wild time, one cannot rule anything out. You also cannot underestimate the selfishness and drive of people who respond to the humiliation of their family on the world stage by running for an open US Senate seat. Stay tuned.

*Note that Hillary won the 'popular' vote like Mr. Gore but this time that didn't matter in the minds of Dems since their 08 Chosen One won with dirty caucus tactics, ballot box stuffing in Illinois, and the media's help.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Advice for College Graduates

The first year out is weird. It's the weirdest year of your young life. Yes, it is even weirder than the first year after high school when some go to college, some go into the military, some get engaged, some come out of the closet and some go crazy. That first year out you will not have a new 'thing to accomplish'. You'll be just living life. Your friends that didn't go to college and started real life earlier will probably mock you, and that is OK. There will be those of you that have your life planned out: the first job or grad school, where to move to, when to travel, when to marry, etc. but do not avoid the spontaneous moment or random opportunity in that first year out. I would recommend consolidating loans into a fixed rate if it is sub 6%, and even if it is not a career take some job just so you can make a fat payment that first student loan payment to knock down a lot of principal and spending money. My chemical engineer friend was a short order cook for 7 months. He dranked, partied and had tons of fun, and every other Friday night he smelled of seafood when he met us out. Our group of friends debated him about his assertion that he would never have sex again. He seriously believed it. These are the conversations you have that first year out. Seek those moments out.

Best movie about this period of life is Kicking and Screaming. Watch it, see all of the familiar faces, not just the actors but the types.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner represented everything wrong with big money ownership of sports teams. He also was a one of a kind character that makes current activist owners look like cheap imitations. Owner, law breaker, US airman, shipbuilder, and Seinfeld character, he lived a full life for a spoiled rich kid. My favorite Steinbrenner moment is when he snatched A-rod from the Rangers after an A-rod to the Red Sox trade fell through the cracks. The Sox were upset and released a statement bemoaning the Yankees' move. Steinbrenner responded with the truth and a good twisting of the knife....

"We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed frustrated and
disappointed by his failure in this transaction. Unlike the Yankees, he chose
not to go the extra distance for his fans in Boston. It is understandable, but
wrong that he would try to deflect the accountability for his mistakes on to
others and to a system for which he voted in favor. It is time to get on with
life and forget the sour grapes."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Movie Review: Malice

Malice. One of Alec Baldwin's finest performances. A young Nicole Kidman, Bebe Neuwirth going hard with the Boston accent, Anne bancroft looking like shit, George C. Scott with a beard, a babyface Gwyneth Paltrow making a cameo, and Bill Pullman is the nice guy 'mark' in the long con. Oh did I mention Peter Gallagher's eyebrows show up? All of these people showed up and the budget was 20 mil. Who cast this movie and wrangled the agents to agree to the salaries? What an early 90s mash up.

Malice follows the life of Bill Pullman as he is a struggling associate dean at a college, has a wife with ovarian issues, an old high school classmate/genius surgeon for a tenant, is a suspect in a serial rapist case, and still has time to be a nice guy. The man takes down the future "Saw" murderer, seriously, puts pieces together to figure out he's been conned along with a hospital and insurance company, and bluffs his way into capturing a murdering scam artist aka his former wife Nicole Kidman. Tight script written by Aaron Sorkin makes it a rewatchable film. One hole in the film is that if there was a malpractice award and Kidman filed for divorce, Pullman would get a piece. Something I notice seeing it now is how it is shot calmly. I mean clamly as in some scenes have few cuts. Some shots leave both characters visible to see both the speaker and the listener. This is not just a quick cut, close up mash up shooting technique. The acting is good, the lead is likeable, and the performance by Alec Baldwin is his best dramatic work. Watch it please.

Baldwin's agent should go back in time and tell 1993 Alec Baldwin to get in shape. This was his best film as a sexy romantic/dramatic lead. He had classic Hollywood leading man looks, and the acting in this film, voiced entirely in growly whisper, is superb. His monologue in the deposition is fantastic, and nearly as good as the famous Glengarry Glen Ross monologue a year earlier. He is charismatic, evil, controlled, playful and believable as the genius surgeon with a dark side. If Baldwin had stayed in shape a la Sean Connery, Michael Douglas or Harrison Ford, he could have received more leading man-sexy roles. Instead he tubbed up (started here in Malice) and became 'dad' or 'old commander'. Did you know they stretched out Pearl Harbor to include the Doolittle Raid partly because Baldwin wanted more screentime? I know the middle age spread happens to most men, but this seriously changed the arc of his career. This role is the shining star in his career for drama, and even in this film, the seeds for his sidelining were sown. His hairy, spreading midsection, revealed multiple times in the film, would doom him. Alec, how could you do that to yourself? Can't you see an in shape Baldwin being the male lead in Entrapment, instead of the geriatric Connery? Alec, what did you give up?

Check out Malice. It is a nice modern thriller. Pullman's character develops as the movie progresses in a reasonable fashion. It is nice to see good storytelling, good acting and nice camera work all in one film. Considering the deposition scene and the Glengarry Glen Ross scene were 12 months apart, one wonders why Baldwin never made the leap. Look at that hairy thick torso, and one will find the answer.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Favorite Moment of Titanic



The sound of the viewer matches my reaction. I now have this as a DVR piece on my tv. 2 mins of fall, propeller, spins, then splash.

Movie Idea: Oedipus Rex in the Wild West

The wild west genre is pretty well developed and has amazing classics that new films rarely match. I mean the post-Civil War era of the American West. When you close your eyes, this is the Wild West you see. The older western films had their hokey bits with John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart wearing white hats and sometimes eye patches. I love those films, just as much as the Clint Eastwood westerns like High Plains Drifter and his man with no name films. For modern westerns, Eastwood's Unforgiven is amazing, 3:10 to Yuma and Tombstone are great, and of course There will be Blood is an unconventional western but outstanding. Here's my pitch for a Western.

Late fall in the West. Young man (Ed) on horseback, ranch hand look with rifles, stumbles upon some dead mining company couriers. There are dead bandits as well. He sees bags of silver. He hears more horses coming. Takes position behind stagecoach. Men see his horse, ID themselves as lawmen, but a 3rd man with them looks like one of the dead bandits. Ed asks them to show ID. They don't and 3rd man starts shooting. Ed takes them all out through sharp shooting and defensive positioning (displays physical/shooting skills). He grabs the silver, checks the men, and sure enough 2 are lawmen. He leaves.

Fast forward to the heat of summer. Frontier town shown with a quick draw asshat running roughshod over the small town. Cliche scenes of him winning at cards, threatening folks, being a drunk shithead. Ed shows up in town, cleaned up, new rifles, new clothes, better looking horse. He sits down for game of cards, has some drinks, calls asshat a cheat, explaining how their is no way asshat has 4 aces in his hand (displays mental/observation skills). Asshat challenges him to a quickdraw. Ed takes him up on it and shoots him dead. Town thanks him and gives him the royal treatment. He inquires whom he has to see about the duel and defend himself to the law. They explain the sherriff and deputy left without a trace last year, and it being a small town, no one stepped forward and federal authroity is weak in this time. Hears from Madam that the sherriff and deputy were a bit dirty themselves. While in the saloon with plenty of hookers around him, Ed takes up the open position of sherriff. Town is happy!

Fast forward decade and you have sherriff Ed, now with family, hear news of dead bodies found miles away with stars on them. Town is growing and a bit tougher to handle so he has his deputies on alert and takes one with him to check the dead. He gets to the site and it is the site of our first scene. This is his shoot out that set him up. He's nervous to not give himself away. Intercut his observations of the scene with his memories. There is a body missing. The 3rd man he shot is missing. He must have lived. The deputy checks the bodies, clothes and finds hankerchiefs. Takes them back. In town, old timers get with sherriff Ed and talk. They hear his story, which he paints as a robbery of a stagecoach gone bad. Old timers see the hankerchief and say it was old Sherriff So & So. Lead Old Timer explains he must have tried to set up a robbery, knowing the coach was going through, and take a cut. He was dirty like that. Weird how all are dead but no money was found. Group breaks and sherriff's wife comes in, sees hankerchief and stops.

Back at sherriff's home his wife acts strange. Sherriff & wife see kids to bed. With all asleep, sherriff and wife discuss her awkwardness after seeing him at the station. Old madam knocks on door and comes in. The women talk, Ed wants answers. Wife tells him how she knew the sherriff. She's been lying about her age to Ed for years. She had been a young prostitute in town (teen). Sherriff got her pregnant, madam leaned on sherriff and he paid to have her sent away to have the kid and later set up in town to keep her quiet. Her youth would have ruined him even if it was small town scandal and he was a bit shady. She had named the boy Ed for her father, Eduardo, and he was given to a family of ranchers. Ed starts to put pieces together but doesn't purely leap to the conclusion of his wife being his mom. The film will never be clear cut about it.

Sherriff Ed sets up a burial for the old Sherriff and deputy. Old timers give quick speeches of his justly and good behavior in older, tougher times, and how the newer era is of vigilance, moving forward, Bible etc. Sherriff Ed gets up to speak and when he starts, he is interrupted by an old Mexican who works with the church. He accuses Sherrif Ed of murdering these two. There is shock and the memorial ends abruptly. Old timers, Ed, deputy, old Mexican bandit, reverend and wife get together to discuss the accusations. Old Mexican tells his tale. He was shot but not dead. Made way back to a town, confessed his evil deeds to reverend and sought sanctuary. Reverend vouches for his story and old bandit's remorse. Sherrif Ed comes clean. Admits to what happened. Wife cries (but for which man?). Old timers ask about the money, and he says it made him who he was. Old timers, reverend and Sherriff all agree he should leave town with his family. Reverend takes his confession and donation for some silence and help in explaining away his departure. Deputy will take over. Sherriff embraces wife but she is colder to him. Movies ends with Ed wagon leaving town with a dejected wife and kids. He stops at town bank (I can work in a Wells Fargo product placement since they existed out west then). He still has his old silver. Movie ends with wagon heading out.

Yes, I just set Oedipus Rex in the Wild West. I also leave it open for a sequel with more Ed adventure and origin discovery. Solve the mystery of him being his wife's child or not.

Potential Cast

Ed - Chris Pine or Ian Somerhalder - Finding young actors who are decent is difficult. Need a guy who can play down in age yet can age him with some makeup. Plus this photo helped for Ian. One Ian rule: no smirking. One Chris rule: No hanging from ledges.
Wife - Sofia Vergara - Can she play 13 years older than Ed but still look good enough that she could lie about her age and trick Ed? Yes. Is she fine? Yes. Perfect for the former teenage hooker who gets a 2nd chance and cleans up later. This Western needs that Spanish influence that really was in the West, and she's good for it.
Old Sherriff - Tom Selleck with blue contacts. I need the dark hair square face blue eyed look of Ian Somerhalder to hint at Ed's paternity. Selleck is born for macho roles, plus he can play a bit dirty here instead of the good guy role he usualy plays. Must have mustache.
Lead Old Timer - Sam Elliott - Born to player Westerns. Must have mustache. One tough hombre. Weathered look is good for the role. Needs to play that link to an even wilder era of the West.
Madam - Raquel Welch - She can play that tough, firm woman role. Need a woman who could play middle age in the flashbacks of the Wife as a teen, but be credible as an older woman. Bingo. She's 65+ in that photo.
Reverend - Tom Skerritt - Need another mustache man for this movie.

Just needs a title.

Friday, July 09, 2010

NY Times Special: White Upper Class Gen Y Problems

When enabling goes too far, the Scott Nicholson story. This is a 'backfire' story. The NY Times tries to push the narrative 'the death of the American Dream', but choose a terrible case study to spotlight. This happens often with the NY Times as they seem completely out of touch with the many NYers they want to sell their papers to, or advertisers they want to sell ad space to get to readers. Rather than discuss the truly tough time many people have in the 10% unemployment USA of today from all walks of life, or even Joe Average, they spotlight a silver spoon jerkwad who makes readers' blood boil. Go read the comments (all 1487 of them), they SHUT THEM DOWN. A majority of them are against this article, this overgrown spoiled brat, and the type he represents. This article, sent to me by a former city gal, inspired lunch time discussion amongst me and some older coworkers. Countless blogs have picked on this kid, and I will pick on the entire system.

Observations -

1. Contradictions are many. He wants any job, but turns down a 40K a year insurance job. He signs up for the Marines, is rejected for asthma reasons, then told he can apply again, but says no thanks the sheen is gone. He wants a job that meets his college training, but he was a poli sci and history student (what is his training? reading a lot and writing an essay that sucks up to your professor's POV on the subject.).
2. His family has paid for everything and continues to pay for everything. College fully paid with no loans, rent, cell phone, you name it. They even pay for his half of the rent he now shares with his older brother. Enablers. Grow a pair and be firm with this kid. I had it good and was lucky to have what I had growing up, but jesus, the gravy train should end sometime. There is the difference: my parents had threats and backed them up. After all, who else sells their kid a 12 yr old Honda for $3500.. and had to be worked down to that price?
3. Gramps tells him to go to Europe. WTF planet is he on? Europe is in even worse shape, there is no boom in Europe, and hello, you can't just move somewhere and start working. Foreign countries don't take kindly to those who don't follow immigration rules, especially in a worldwide recession.
4. This is a classic type I have seen in my 8 years working (haha I'm an old man now). Mommy and Daddy told me I was awesome at everything even though I wasn't, my teachers said I was a unique snowflake, and now I want to get the big job right off the bat. Newsflash: you ain't shit, it's a HUGE recession, and this is the real world. You won't get to CEO in 5 years. The entitlement and impatience in many of these mediocre kids always surprises me no matter how often I witness it. Colgate is a good school, but in this economy it will not open every door. Our parents, if they were fortunate, got to where they were through hard work, showing competence, and a good luck. Sometimes finding a manager that takes an interest in you can make that 40K claims adjuster "dead end job" a foot in the door.
5. Note to the NY Times: dean's award at Colgate means for one term he got over a 3.3. Took me 3 mins to find that out online (also found out I would have been Phi Beta Kappa at Colgate). Let's not portray this unemployed mooch like he's Newton. Lazy research. I made Dean's List once, fall semester sophomore year, 4 A-, 1 A, 1 B+. My GPA for that semester was 3.7, and I just made it by the rules at the time. What a joke Colgate, a 3.3 is B+, does a B+ average deserve the phrase 'academic excellence'?
6. They say he has Marine handsomeness. WTF? Is this just because the writer knew he'd mentions the Marine enlistment thing later on? My wife saw the head on photo of him and thought he was mid 30s. What does this have to do with the elusiveness of the American Dream?
7. He mows lawns randomly, and does odd jobs for cash, but won't take a job for the sake of doing a job or get paid for an honest day's work as a temp or the previously mentioned claims adjuster. He says he might bartend. Without any experience, he'd be a barback, hooking up the kegs and cleaning up a bar. His snobby attitude towards anything not in his golden dream career path is horrendous, and this is a slap in the face to the millions in the NY metro area.
8. Polisci or history majors usually run to law school when they leave undergrad because it is the refuge of the confused college graduate. Look at this perfect example.
9. Fuck you grampa for hoping someone could meet him to put him at the front of the line. Yes, I know this works a lot, but WTF, do you want him to ever get anything on his own? Plus, no one likes to hear about the nepotism hire or the his dad is buddies with so and so hire.
10. Where does he think the corporate ladder starts? Everyone starts somewhere at a company. This feeds into his lack of imagination. He has a narrow interest (corporate job) and only thinks of narrow possibilities.

My coworkers and I discussed this at lunch and then thought of our 'starts'. We discussed how a degree means far less than a good work ethic, basic competence, willingness to work both independently and on a team, and dependability. This guy's attitude towards the chance with the Marines made my former Marine coworker laugh "they'd eat his candy ass at basic". My lunchmates said how college taught them time management, how to write, and some higher math skills. Two of my coworkers got starts in grunt office work, and eventually got into nice career paths. Another was an Army Lt., went to a 2 year college, and then started in billing/accounting. He's now, 30 years later, supervising 30 accountants. Me, I was shit lucky. My degree is the only reason I got a job. When I graduated in the last recession, my Wall St dreams were dashed (as well as GE & UTC) and I looked elsewhere. Because of the school I graduated from (and only that), two companies were willing to interview me for a job that normally they don't give to fresh from school applicants. I learned tough lessons, had some great mentors and a great VP who believed in me, inspired me to be better and took an interest in my well being. My job wasn't my dream job, but it was A JOB, and it is an interesting one that has served me well.

When we were walking back, I said to the group that if I were put in a position of hiring/firing decision making, I would fight tooth and nail to NOT have a college degree be a requirement for a job. I would specfically say college degree OR equivalent work experience. With the number of jokers who get degrees now and the horrendously lame coursework 'required', I would rather hire an internal candidate without a degree that I know has a good work ethic, is competent, has drive and is reliable over a 22 year old fresh out of college with no track record. An MBA is an even bigger joke now as they give those to whomever will PAY for one. A college degree used to be a good way for companies to filter people who had spent some years studying, following rules, etc. to get a degree. The degree being a seal of approval. For many kids, now it seems that college is a 4 year extension of high school, but with better drugs, sex and no parents.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tonight the Lebron James Bachelor Episode

Tonight only, on ESPN, Lebron James will announce the team he is signing with on a one hour special. This is incredibly lame. The network that airs NBA games, and the NBA Finals, is hosting the event of a player announcing where he will sign. That takes 10 seconds. They are dragging this out to be one hour. It is pathetic. It is a shame that this league will get more buzz from its offseason rather than its championship. The sport of basketball has a growing global presence, but Commissioner David Stern has completely mismanaged the last decade for the NBA. It is also a shame that his biggest star is living the real life Entourage show with his buddies from high school running his career. No one is telling him he's a jackass for doing this show when he hasn't won squat. No one is telling him that his game matters more than his brand. Too many people kiss his ass, from the commissioner to the sports media to the handlers. I'm a vote for this backfiring on him, changing his career arc and altering how fans react to him. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"The Menaissance"



I agree. I would add that 'responsibility' and 'shame' play a role in the devolution of modern man. A lot of men shirked responsibilities towards their family and were not called on it or just thought "the child support/alimony check will do it" and remained horny teens. The shame of dropping your wife and kids or even illegitimacy evaporated, allowing men to engage in bad behavior. What I've learned of my gender is that men will act however bad women (be it a wife, girlfriend or mother) will tolerate on a regular basis.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Epic Review of Twilight Eclipse

Amazing. Similar to the takedown of Sex and the City 2, but applied to the horrible saga of Twilight. I laughed out loud multiple times. Thank you Harry Knowles.

Jennifer Aniston Acting

Jennifer Aniston is a terrible actress. She does not convey emotion well. She has the same blank look on her face often. What she does do is use her hands non-stop. She holds them up to show she is frazzled. She waves them around to show she is angry. She holds them palms skyward to show confusion. She is awful. Can't Hollywood see that we don't care for her as a person or if she gets the guy? Usually, the other female choice is the better, motionless arm one in the love triangle.

One exception being her acting performance in "She's the One". That was also some of Cameron Diaz' best work.

Comical Old Newsreel on Inflation

The narrator makes me laugh. Whomever wrote the script had a nice comedic touch. His delivery really sells it though "etc etc and et cet-er-a". This is a complete oversimplification of the solution to the problem. I am shocked no one yelled at the screens "I only have 100 dollars, whya re you devaluing them by 35%!!!" Horrible comments when they mention cotton down south. Sorry narrator, this did not sock the Depression.



via zero hedge

Millionaire Squattors

This listing of a million dollar bank owned property is disgusting.

If you don't want to waste time reading it, here's the big details:
- 13 yr old 3000 sq ft California home with 4 beds and 2.5 baths in a nice gated community
- Owners took 771K in home equity withdrawals in the last decade
- Owners have been squatting (no payments) for at least 18 months, and won't be removed until at least October (4 more months)


As the Irvine Housing Blog asks, what would you do with 771K over a decade, and what would you do without a mortgage payment for 2 years? I think the nearly 40 million Americans on food stamps have some ideas.

Happy 4th of July

Hope you are all enjoying some sunshine, good food, family and friends on this 4th of July.


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Movie Review: Zombieland

Watched Zombieland after grilling for the 4th of July weekend. Perfect movie for shutting the brain off and just laughing at zombie killing. The zombie kills are fun, there is a nice, running idea of 'rules', and there are fattie kills. Fatties get eaten by zombies or as zombies they get iced. The film is shot pretty dark, and the camera doesn't jump cut in a stomach churning manner. Action comes to the actors. You see a zombie kill develop. It is nice.

A nice focus for the movie is the focus on the little things in life that make life worth living. The characters discuss the life they may have lost, the simple enjoyment they received from small things, music, movies, and firsts. The sequence in the Hummer is fantastic. The different combos of people discuss different things, which we the audience must think about to consider what they were discussing. My favorite exchange was when Abigail Breslin was telling Woody Harrelson that 'only when she has the wig on is she famous', explaining the magic that is Hannah Montana. You only get that snippet, but hearing it, you know it's a conversation countless 12 year old girls have had with their dads, uncles, adult males about the mystery that is Hannah Montana.

This brings up the best part of this movie: Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee. He was macho, sensitive, funny and creative with his take on zombieland. He didn't have the paranoid survivor approach of the beta male lead or the con women trust no one attitude of the sisters. He was a guy looking to enjoy his time killing zombies and looking for a Twinkie. He paints 3s on his rides for the Intimidator. He uses banjos to kill zombies. He cries about losing his son. He does this all in style. I enjoyed his work in Zombieland. I hope when Zombieland 2 rolls around, and it will, that he can explore the space with killing zombies. I look forward to the entire crew returning for Zombieland 2.

Government Not Allowing Press to Film Spill Cleanup

Anderson Cooper reports that the government and BP are not allowing reporters or cameras within 65 feet of clean up and oil recovery efforts. It is a class D felony and a $40K fine to film, report etc. without the permission of the coast guard. Anderson Cooper nails it right when he says "we are not the enemy". I also want to point out, just prior to the 4th of July, that the first amendment says that Congress "shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press". I do not know where this executive order fits into everything, but this is a shame. One of the most important things is an inquisitive press, which we know barely exists anymore, but would come in handy if they did their job. Restricting them from even attempting to do that job, in an issue that does not affect opsec for military ops or national security, is horrendous.



Because I have to: if W had done this, he'd be a fascist, baby eating dictator and everyone would rightfully know of this asshole move. Obama does it and the Kos kids go back to playing on their Iphones. Tweet this mutherphuckers: the show is over. There was no change as Goldman, BP and the rest of the multinational corporations own our elected officials. The financial crisis was not a 2 week shake up. Ask your grandparents how long their depression lasted instead of just hoping to get some $$ when they die (if you can tear yourself away from your vanity online BS). When the 2nd leg of the Depression kicks up, the government doesn't extend your unemployment beyond 99 weeks, and your no-mortgage-paying-squatting-funemployment asses are kicked out of your parents' million dollar hyperinflated homes that have been in default for 3 years spending the ghost mortgage payments on vacations, plastic surgery and dining out, I will laugh a deep belly shaking guffaw at you. Take that Iphone4G (which you didnt need to upgrade after just buying the last version you Steve Jobs zombie consumer), turn the antenna to the side and shove it straight up your ass.

Ex-NFL Player Bankruptcy

A 13 year NFL vet who made up to 4.2 mil per year at his peak filed bankruptcy. Assets of $1.42 mil and debts of $69 mil. If he had retired in 2001 and placed $4 mil his money (fraction of what he earned in his career) in a 30 year US treasury bond fund at a 5.5% yield, he would have received $220K annually and seen his investment appreciate. He says his family spends 19K a month, and he lives in a 41 foot long trailer!!! The investment in 30 year US treasuries would have been the 'safest' investment he could have made. Nope, he had to get into real estate. No sympathy. He made in one year what most people would not make in 3 lifetimes. Almost all gone now.

I bring this up because the tension between fans paying high $$ amounts for tickets and athletes being paid millions has risen over years. Labor issues within sports leagues are problematic. It is to the point where the NFL and NBA are both facing lockouts in the next 12 months. Despite the obscene wealth of owners, I think fans will side with owners in these lockouts and not care about the players' grievances. The idea of millions in salary for a kids' game, combined with the problem of 'effort' and 'tanking' in the NBA will not generate sympathy. Add the bankruptcy from these former millionaires to the mix, and you'll have fans saying "screw them" to the athletes. I don't agree with this as the owners are just as scummy or just as good as the players.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Wedding Dresses

You will wear it once. People will only remember it if it is truly horrendous or truly over the top. Don't spend big bucks on a wedding dress. Secretly, after a lifetime, they all blur into one.