Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fear Once Again Raises its Ugly Head

President Obama (I never get tired of saying that) has nominated Sonja Sotomayor to replace retiring justice David Souter to the Bench.

This may be the most significant first decision made in the first days of the young administration. By all accounts, she is a moderate to liberal judge, who tends to err on the side of doing what's right by cases she hears--i.e. she tends to believe that if an injustice has been done, it is the duty of a judge to undue said injustice.

She may come by this attitude naturally: She was a Prosecuting attorney for years, and she has to know that both the state and the accused MUST be represented fairly.

But now she has an appointment with the Big Bench. And the Conservative fearmongering attack machine has geared up full force to fight her. Led, of course, by Rush "Bounce Bounce Bounce" Limbaugh.

They are using the tactics of fear: "She will ensure that no white person ever holds a position of authority again" "She will negate prostitution's illegality." "She will never support the right of a man to exercise control over a woman's body."

Never mind the fact that if the Democrats had any sort of a spine, they would ramrod her selection through the Senate without so much as consulting Republicans.

But hey, why should they do that? It's not like the Republicans did the same thing with the nominations of Chief Justice "I can't remember the words to the Presidential Oath of Office" Roberts or Justice "Scalito" Alito.

Oh, wait...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The Indianapolis 500 will start in a few minutes.

I can't say as I care much for the race itself. First of all, How anyone can derive any enjoyment from driving 500 miles and getting nowhere is beyond me. Second, the eventual outcome of the race is rarely in doubt. Typically the winner will be one of five individuals who win the majority of all the races in the season.

There is no suspense in the pits either. Unlike NASCAR races, all 4 tires can easily be changed at once on the cars, thus eliminating the decision of whether to change all four tires or only two at a time.

Not that I am a fan of NASCAR either, but still.

But what I do enjoy is the pageantry that takes place before the race. The National anthem. The Military flyover. The military ceremony (the race is on Memorial Day weekend). The singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana" (By Jim Nabors--never been able to explain that one). And the words, "Gentlemen: Start your engines!"

It almost makes me wanna watch the race. Almost.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dick. Cheney.

Is. An. Asshole.

OK, so let's examine the track record of the Cheney/Bu--er, Bush/Cheney administration.

1) Allowed, through a series of intelligence blunders, the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history to happen.
2) Used said attack to justify the invasion of a country that had NOTHING to do with said attack.
3) Prolonged that invasion into an occupation that caused that country to degenerate into a cesspool of violence and destruction that claims the lives of American troops on almost a daily basis.
4) Completely ignored the TRUE planner of that attack.
5) Shredded the Constitution, and removed all restrictions on Federal surveillance of American citizens, in the name of "preserving freedom"
6) Imprisoned hundreds of people in a specially constructed prison without charges, trial, or any means of due process whatsoever.

And the Obama administration is the threat to national security?!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Susan Boyle

For those of you who have been living in a cave for the last 2 months, you should know that Susan Boyle is the surprise contestant who appeared on Great Britain's version of "American Idol", and wowed everyone, including the judges, the audience, and just about everyone who has an internet connection with her stunningly talented voice. Seriously. This woman has a voice that would make Lena Horne, Maria Callas, and Renee Fleming sit down and cry.

The trouble with this woman is this: She looks like, not to put too fine a point on it, she took a nose dive out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

Oh, this just in: I'm a shallow, insensitive prick sometimes. Deal with it.

As a result, no one took her seriously. Not the judges, and certainly not the audience. Until they heard her sing.

Nowadays, everyone knows who she is and what she can do.

But it won't last.

Let's face facts: This woman is never going to go on a concert tour. She is never going to star in a series of movies. She will never be featured in a music video. She will fade back into obscurity, simply because there are too many people who don't like how she looks.

Okay, so I get that today's society is obsessed with looks. (Let me say at this point that there is a good reason I don't have any pictures of myself on this blog.) It's the price we pay in today's 24/7 media obsessed world. Nobody likes to look at ugly people, no matter how talented they may be.

Don't believe me? I will make a bet with you the 3 readers of this blog: A year from now, ask any ten people you know who Susan Boyle is. If you get anything but a blank look, I'll give you a dollar.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Star Trek

I have just seen the new Star Trek movie. Not to give too much away, but it does involve stripping away nearly the entire Roddenberry Universe and starting over from scratch. Seriously. Roddenberry's ashes must be spinning in his grave.

In the process, of course, the groundwork has been laid for a whole new series of movies, and maybe even a new TV series. This movie is an attempt, in other words, to attract a whole new generation of Star Trek fans. To attract the "Twitter" generation.

The movie also employs the time-travel/Alternate reality theory. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, let me cite an extreme example: Suppose a time traveler went back in time to 1939 and supplied the Nazis with the designs and lists of materials needed for the Atom bomb. Nazi Germany conquers the world in days. Our world is changed forever.

This scenario, and variations of it,has been explored at length in any number of movies, TV shows, and books, from Back to the Future to It's a Wonderful Life. They even dealt with a variation of it in the original Star Trek series ("City on the Edge of Forever") and in Star Trek: The Next Generation (Yesterday's Enterprise)

Of course you always run into the problem of the time-travel paradox as well. For example: The grandfather paradox. You travel back in time. You happen to meet your own grandfather. You have a violent argument. You kill him. Thus you will have never been born. But if you were never born, how do you travel back in time to kill him?

Of course both can happen at once. Take this: A man travels back in time. He hands the lookouts on the Titanic binoculars. They see the iceberg in time to warn the bridge. The ship never hits the iceberg and never sinks. No movie is ever made about it. As good as it Gets rightly wins Best Picture that year. However, as a result of the safe voyage, the time-traveler's great-great grandmother never meets his great-great grandfather on the ship that would have rescued her. Thus, the time traveler is never born. But if so, how did he go back in time to save the ship?

It's usually at this point where my head explodes.

But in this new movie, they have taken the concept to the extreme level. The alternate reality and the time paradox theories have taken the Gene Roddenberry Star Trek universe out into the courtyard, tied it to a post, given it a blindfold and a cigarette, and executed it with a full firing squad.

It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Banning cell phones

A small town in my area is contemplating a ban on the use of cell phones while driving.

I have to say that I have mixed feelings on the subject.

I use my cell phone on occasion when I drive, but I always use a hands-free device--a bluetooth or other similar device.

I've been driving since I was 15. I haven't had an accident (knock on wood) in nearly 18 years. I'm a good driver. And I am fully capable of talking into a bluetooth earpiece while maintaining awareness of my surroundings.

I am also fully aware that there are people who are not capable of such awareness. I see them on the road nearly every day. Some of them have nearly hit me.

So this is my proposal: Instead of an outright ban on cell phone use while driving, do this instead: give everyone a new driving test.

Just like everyone took when they first got their drivers' licenses, make everyone take a supervised test. Give an instructor your cell number, then have him or her call you and engage you in a spirited conversation while you perform a basic driving test supervised by another instructor. If you are able to pass it while talking, you will be allowed to use your phone while driving.

And I think that using a handheld phone while driving should be forbidden, plain and simple. With the wide variety of hands-free devices cheaply available nowadays, there is no excuse for not using one while driving.

If anyone can think of a simpler solution, I am open to suggestion.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Live Action Comic Series

There have been a number of movie series that have come out in the past few years. These movie series are, in no particular order: X-Men, Spider-Man, Transformers, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk.

(I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not gonna link to those! I'm not your search engine!)

Most of these movies have been made possible by the advent of highly advanced CGI animation, which has made it possible for comic books to come to "real" life.

But what has made them even more possible has been the movement of my generation into what is called the "Money Demo", the coveted 18-49 year old age group that traditionally has the most money to spend.

You see, I came of age watching the various animated TV series that were created from the comics mentioned above. I had such a hardcore geek love for all of them that I never missed an episode. And now, as I am an adult, I am now experiencing those same series being made into live movies.

And I can't get enough of them.

Apparently there are a few folks in Hollyweird who still know what they are doing. That gives me a bit of hope.