Saturday, January 31, 2009

Memo to Democrats:


I know it may be hard, after 8 years of total Republican control over everything, but knock it off!

You people are acting like a bunch of battered women who refuse to stand up to the men that have been battering them. You are not the minority any more. You have commanding control over both houses of Congress, and a President who is more than willing to sign the legislation you send him.

I realize that partisanship has divided Washington for almost a decade. There's a reason for that. That reason is that the Republicans responded to all of your input with a message that basically amounted to "Sit down and shut up!"

It's time to return the favor.

It's time to let them know what it feels like to be on the losing side for a change. It's time to let them hear the voice of the people. It's time to be strong.

Just don't forget the people who got you where you are. Do that, and you'll end up where the Republicans are now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who are These People?

After my post of a day ago about The Dark Knight being robbed of its deserved Oscar nods, I've had a chance to read up on some of the takes of the year's films by the so-called "respected critics" that populate our culture.

I have to ask: Who the F&*K do these people think they are?!

For some reason, these people think they are better than the average moviegoer. Why?

Because they have been published? Please! I've had 3 letters to the editor published in my local newspaper. Believe me, that doesn't make me any more special than the kooks that have been published lately.

Because they are on TV? People get featured on TV every Saturday night. On a show called COPS. It is nothing to brag about, believe me.

Because they receive free passes to local premieres? I've been to local premieres for free thanks to promotional tickets I've won. Big Deal.

Because they are "members of the media"? I am a member of "the media". I publish an on-line blog that is read by maybe 3 people. Again, big deal.

My qualifications as a critic are the same as any other movie critic, in a newspaper, on-line, or on television. Zero. And my opinion is as valid as theirs. The only difference between me and them is that a few more people will see their opinion than mine. It doesn't mean they are better critics than me. It just means that more people will see their reviews than me.

Which matters not one bit to me.

Friday, January 23, 2009


So. The Oscar nominations were announced. So how many of the major categories is The Dark Knight nominated for? One! A measly one nod for Best Supporting Actor for the late Heath Ledger.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy he was nominated. I'm ecstatic he was. And I'm sure he'll win.

Let's face it: It can't be easy to take a character from a 2-dimensional cartoon drawing and turn it into a 2-hour 3-dimensional performance. Jack Nicholson did a good job in the original Batman movie, playing the character much darker than it had been before, with just the right touch of violence. But his character was still largely cartoonish in nature, and somewhat comedic, and you never took his scenes too seriously.

That was NOT the case with Ledger's Joker. His portrayal stripped away all traces of the comic book. There was nothing to laugh about here. His Joker was an anarchic agent of chaos and death, uninhibited by rules of either law or society. His Joker would just as casually shoot you as look at you. And, unlike the Jokers of the past, Batman could not defeat this Joker, not as long as he held fast to his own rules. In the end, the only way Batman can beat him is to sacrifice his own reputation.

But Ledger's performance was not the only thing to admire in this movie. There were excellent performances elsewhere as well. Christian Bale has, for me, become the character of Batman. Michael Keaton did an adequate job in the first two movies, but his performances could not match the sheer intensity portrayed on-screen by Bale in both of the latest movies. Val Kilmer? Forget about it! George Clooney? Two words: Bat. Nipples.

Aaron Eckhart also did well as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. His fall from shining white knight to murderous disfigured vigilante was easily believable. And Maggie Gyllenhaal did a much better job than Katie Holmes. I know Katie hails from my hometown (Toledo, in case you were wondering) but she just doesn't have the talent. Sorry Katie. Gary Oldman as Lieutenant/Police Commissioner Gordon does well in a largely thankless role as an honest cop trying to play by the rules pitted against an enemy who has no rules. And As far as Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are concerned, well, by my count they have 11 academy award nominations and 3 wins between them. 'Nuff said.

And the direction is spectacular! Many of the scenes in this film were shot using IMAX equipment, so the visuals are stunning. (I never managed to see an IMAX version of this film, unfortunately, something I hope to correct at some point in the future.) The movie itself, while over 2 hours long, never drags or lacks for action or suspense. And when a movie can make a theater full of people sit in stunned silence no less than four times (by my count), you know it is effective.

But, like all summer blockbusters, the movie was robbed of the Oscar nods it deserves. Oh sure, it got its share of nominations for the less prestigious categories: Editing, make-up, sound editing, etc. (And it should win the make-up category hands down based on Two-face's make-up alone), but those are minor in comparison.

Oh well. I can console myself with the fact that the movie swept nearly every category in the People's Choice awards. For my money, those are the REAL Oscars, since the winners of those awards often tend to out-earn the Oscar winners by a factor of 5 to 1, or more.

And the producers of the movie can console themselves by sleeping on the huge piles of money they made off the second-highest grossing film in box office history.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...

The 44th President of these United States:

Please note that is was Roberts who got the oath wrong initially, NOT Obama!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Diving Headfirst Down the Slippery Slope

Recently, the Supreme court ruled that evidence against a man could not be excluded because the evidence was obtained in a bad search. In this case, the suspect was pulled over because the arresting officer had been told--erroneously--that there was a warrant for the suspect's arrest outstanding.

It was, according to the police, a computer error. An innocent mistake.

An. Innocent. Mistake.


So. I'm sure the proof was there. I'm sure the evidence was secure. I'm sure all the ducks were in a row.

This time.

The U.S. Supreme court, under the command of an ultra-conservative chief justice, has just set this country on a rocket sled down the slippery slope towards a police state.

How long before there are more "innocent mistakes"? How long before more "computer errors" happen? How long before the requirement of a search warrant is dropped altogether?

Think it will never happen? I'll bet you never thought the rules against evidence obtained illegally would be dropped...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Why I am a Union Member

This is a relatively simple post defining why I am a member of an Organized Labor Union.

I believe in the labor union for one simple reason: it is the antidote to fascism.

You see, a fascist government relies on the complete cooperation of every sector to maintain its hold over the people. A fascist government already controls the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of that government, if they even exist.

A fascist government controls the media. The whole idea of a free press is an unknown.

A fascist government controls all business. The few businesses that are not state-controlled are headed by cronies under the thumb of the government.

The only aspect of a civilization that cannot be easily controlled by the government is the workforce. And if that workforce is organized, it can wield a power that cannot be controlled by any government. That is why organized labor is the only antidote to fascism. And that is why labor unions have been fought for decades by governments, corporations, and the media.

You see, if the workforce of any group of people is united under one voice that represents THEIR interests, and no one else, then there is no force, either governmental, judicial, corporate, religious, or other institutional form of control that can stand against them.

That is why Labor unions are feared.

That is why they have been fought so hard.

That is why they must NEVER be destroyed.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 in review

I know I'm a couple of days late with my (sorta) traditional year-end year in review post. I could say I was busy, but I've really just been too lazy to get it done.

So here we go. Where to start? Ah yes...

Best Moment of 2008: President-elect Barack Obama.
Runner up: Watching George W. Bush ducking shoes thrown at him by an angry Iraqi reporter.

Worst moment of 2008: 700$ BILLION dollars given, no questions asked, to the banking industry.
Runner up: Almost NOTHING given to the American Automakers, who have contributed far more to this country than the banking industry

Best Sports-related moment of 2008: OSU 42, Michigan 7. 'Nuff said.
Runner up: Detroit Red Wings: 2008 Stanley Cup Champions.

Worst Sports-related Moment of 2008: LSU 38, OSU 24. Again, 'nuff said.
Runner up: Detroit Tigers AND Toledo Mud Hens both finish at the bottom of their respective divisions.

Best Movie of 2008: The Dark Knight. Possibly one of the best ever.
Runner up: Iron Man

Worst Movie of 2008: Doomsday. Seriously. When the high point (or possibly low point) of a movie is one of the heroes being barbecued alive, well, that should've been a clue... Oh, and by the way, what the heck was the deal with the medieval knights? Little tip, guys: A bullet is always gonna beat a suit of armor!

Runner Up: The Incredible Hulk. OK, so this movie wasn't as bad as Ang Lee's Hulk movie, but come on. That's like saying being shot in the foot isn't as bad as being shot in the gut...

Movie that disappointed me most: Hellboy 2. Seriously. Ron Perlman was so good in the first one, but it seemed like he was just phoning it in this time. I guess maybe if he'd had another decent script to work with...
Runner-up: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. OK, it was a great movie--right up until about the last 10 minutes or so. Seriously, WTF?

Movie I wish I'd seen in 2008: Wall-E. For some reason, I can never bring myself to go to see a Pixar movie in a theater. That's something I need to get over, considering the number of perfect Gems they've put out so far.

Movie I'm glad I DIDN'T see in 2008: Speed Racer. By all accounts, this movie sucked dirty ass water.
Runner-up: Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Seriously. George. Buddy. Time to give the franchise a rest. Go back to your ranch and sleep on your huge piles of money.

Thing I'm most proud of from 2008: Still having a job.

Thing I'm least proud of from 2008: Still have a dead-end job.

Thing I'm most looking forward to in 2009: The administration of President Barack Obama.
Runner-up: X-Men: Origins

Thing I'm LEAST looking forward to in 2009: My next eye exam. Can't wait to see just how badly my eyesight is degrading.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Here's to 2009. May it be better than 2008 (nowhere to go but up!)