Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
OK, I'll try to keep this short.
We've lost in Iraq.
We've lost in Afghanistan.
911 was allowed to happen.
Hurricane Katrina was bungled.
Our economy is a total, absolute mess.
George W. Bush, a Republican, was in office for 8 years up until about a month ago.
Why are there still Republicans??
Are you people seriously thinking that there's a place for your politics? 8 MILLION more people voted for the Democrat for the White House than they did the Republican.
Newsflash: your point of view is not popular with America, I don't care what color skin your man has or if your man is a woman. Your politics are done.
Your little tea parties and your socnetting and your plans to rebuild your party and retake America are a JOKE. YOU WILL FAIL because you still exclude people. Gays, women and minorities want to be represented equally. You don't do that. You also think torture and terror are just fine so long as they are weapons in YOUR arsenal and fail to see the COMPLETE FLAW in your logic.
So, just go quietly, please.
Let's stop talking about "parties" and start talking about the issues that matter.
We've got problems, stop pretending your party's crappy leadership skills aren't behind most of them and let's start finding solutions. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP BITCHING ABOUT HOW THE DEMOCRATS ARE SPENDING MONEY. CHRIST you think we AREN'T FUCKING PAYING ATTENTION???
Some of you bitch about a few million here, a few hundred thousand there, what about a trillion in useless wars against a useless, loser enemy in two countries that have noting to do with 911? What about spying on Americans? What about the robbing of unalienable rights supposedly guaranteed in the US Constitution to all humans??
And NOTHING the Democrats can do at this point will hurt the country more than Republicans already have.
And yes, I'm broad-stroking all Republicans because if you disagreed with how your party behaved you should have spoken up or LEFT THE PARTY. I was raised to be a good little Democrat and so when they started doing things I didn't like, I LEFT. Now I can't be blamed for their stupidity or their mistakes or anything the Dems do. If you call yourself a Republican, you are giving yourself the same label as George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain and all the other big-name Republicans that think:
Torture is fine in certain circumstances Banks and businesses should be bailed out for their own mistakes America is weak enough for a few religious freaks in the desert to be a threat There is a pro-abortion movement Women should be paid less than men for the same work
Should I go on? I said I'd keep this short, so I won't.
Take responsibility for yourself and your party's actions and leave it!
Leave the labels, face the problems. Working together we can make the world a better place.
This isn't a diatribe against conservatives or Christians or anyone who shares similar views. It's just a critique against people who call themselves Republicans.
This is hilarious--well, assuming you think massive incompetence being a Pentagon job requirement is funny. Can you believe this? Apparently there was a password on the politically sensitive file at this URL:
By the look of it, the only thing protecting the contents of this file is the fact that it's a password-protected MS Word doc. Wtf?? What bright-eyes thought this would be a good idea? Let's just leave a politically sensitive WORD DOC in an unprotected directory and expect a fracking MS Word password to keep it safe. WHAT COULD HAPPEN?
So, anyway, the post at Wikileaks.org (see screencap above or original here: https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/N1 ) doesn't explain how the "encryption" was "cracked" but I suspect it was something simple, like the highly technical process of entering random words until something worked.
You may be wondering what was so politically sensitive in the Word doc. Well, it turns out it was a document meant for NATO officials, and it tells them not to tell anyone that the country of Jordan is involved in helping us with the War Against Terror (aka tWAT) in Afghanistan. What's the catch with the world knowing Jordan is involved? It's supposed to be a secret. Apparently, back in 2001 they officially withdrew from the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), which is officially in charge of our efforts in Afghanistan. It seems like they sure didn't stop helping us.
Why is it a big deal that Jordan is still involved in our Afghani efforts? Well, it seems they're real big in the torture community. They are also said to be big helpers with our extraordinary renditions program. So, essentially, they help us when we go into one country, kidnap a suspect and deliver said suspect to another country where we ask them questions and let local authorities torture if we don't like the answers.
In an obviously related story the Pentagon shut their entire site down this afternoon. Gee, I wonder why they did that!
Does anyone still wonder why the world has so much wrong with it when our leaders are smegging moronic enough to use only a single password to protect sensitive information?
OH yeah and the password on the doc? Progress.
Well done, Pentagon! Well done!!
I wonder if this story will hit CNN or any of the other MSM news "sources."
Technically any good? I usually don't care for stories that blur the line between reality and fantasy but creator Satoshi Kon manages to blur and blend that line so skillfully, I didn't care. The characters are so well defined, the story is so intriguing and the acting so solid that I just kept watching even when I couldn't quite reconcile what I was looking at with reality.
The reality-bending stuff is explained in the end, but only if you look for it. That's, of course, what I like about a lot Japanese media--they don't spoon-feed everything to you.
So, on a technical level, this series is about as solid as solid can be. Even the animation (save for one episode) was impressive for a series (usually series get smaller budgets than movies).
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied. The show makes a very interesting and critical statement about culture and how humans can give into fear and paranoia and, in a way, enjoy it.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now. This is an anime that is safe for most ages. There are isolated acts of violence, but they are quick. The only catch with kids watching this is that it is a very mind-bending show at points. Of course, that's one of the reasons I loved it so much.
Sadly, it appears to be out of print in the US. I do think it's worth seeing if you can find a copy, though. I found mine on Netflix.
PLEASE NOTE: I do recommend AGAINST watching the English dubbed version. This is not just because of my general bias against western voice over actors generally not being as good. It's because the translation sucks. In Japanese the nemesis is referred to as "Shonen Bat" which apparently translates to "bat boy". In the English dub, they refer to him as "Lil' Slugger." Bleh. I prefer the simpleness of the more utilitarian Japanese to the snarky English version--and who knows what else the translation changes?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Watch or buy it!
Technically any good? This film is incredibly effective. Moving at a quick pace, this film picks you up, carries you along, smacks the crap out of you (and your belief systems) and then drops you off at the side of the road like a cheap prostitute. I've heard from friends and strangers that this film changed their lives. I can't say it changed mine, but it did have an effect.
Over the years I've watched a LOT of so-called "conspiracy documentaries." They all claim to have the answers and the truth and the warnings about the coming "New World Order" blah-blah-blah. I watch them because they are hilarious and, creepily enough, sometimes accurate. Zeitgeist takes the best, most believable of these conspiracy theories and rolls them into one film.
For that reason, I think this is the most effective film to watch if you're growing dissatisfied with the way the world is run. Zeitgeist does a good job of explaining where our culture comes from and where it is likely going (though I didn't find myself agreeing with it all the time).
Sadly, it gets mired in 911-related shock tactics that made me wonder if the filmmaker realized how hypocritical he was actually being. Like most opiniontaries, this one gets a few things wrong and the film's use of what Naomi Klein calls "The Shock Doctrine" as a cinematic technique has the power to undo the rest of the good the film does.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely educated. After growing up a news-junky and then spending the last seven years exploring the world of conspiracies (for a novel series I've written), I do have to say that I have no idea what to believe about our past, present or future. And this film doesn't help make things clearer.
It does point out a lot of evidence that suggests our civilization is largely built on lies told by power-hungry people who want to control everything through the control of money.
Gotta admit, the film has a point.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - BUT WITH A WARNING: While Zeitgeist is a genuinely powerful and effective movie, it does rely on many of the same tactics it criticizes the "ruling elite" of using to control the masses. It's important to watch ANY documentary with a clear and critical mind. And most importantly, when you're done watching it, do some research. Read up on some of the things you've been told about.
If nothing else, by presenting such a radically negative view of Western Society, documentaries like this remind us to think for ourselves. Even if you don't agree, it's important to consider what other people say. Zeitgeist, I think, nails a lot of things on the head, but it's not for the faint of heart.
Click the poster image above to go to the official site where you can watch the movie and its sequel (I'll be reviewing it next week), or buy copies of both on DVD.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Check out more Ballpoint Adventures strips at thepete.com/ics
Direct all hate mail to: youareoverlysensitivetostickfigureviolence@
thepete.com (and don't expect a reply).
Here's Jay's 12 second take:
Jay Doesn't Understand Obama's Plan on 12seconds.tv
Sure, it's an oversimplification, but if loans are what got us into trouble in the first place, how are more loans going to fix things?
Seriously: Banks give loans to people who can't afford them and then pawn off the lawns to someone else who then gets screwed.
Obama wants us to give money to the same banks who will then, somehow miraculously NOT give money to people who will default on the loans?
Since the economy is hurting, a LOT of folks won't have good enough credit to get loans, so who are these loans going to be given to?
Watch it now:
Two more parts to go! Wahoo!
Technically any good? Based on a play of the same name, this movie is pretty tight script and story-wise. There is almost nothing I would have done differently and there was no point in which I was bored. The movie tells its story, develops its characters and slides you to the edge of your seat with subtle skill. The acting from Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon and Christopher Reeve is is solid and very convincing.
The only flaw, I felt, was the music--while there was nothing wrong with it, in theory, I felt it was jarring in a movie that simply didn't need any music. The performances and the editing are enough to pull you along and keep you enveloped. The perfectly reasonable, but fairly period, music knocked me clean out of the film.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely entertained and definitely satisfied. It made me want to read the play and maybe even want to be in it. :)
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like intense but not terrifying moments. There are some definitely adult themes here, but for intelligent adults looking for a fun movie that won't make you feel like you're being spoken down to, this is a perfect pick.
If you haven't seen this movie, don't talk about the plot with anyone. Conversations about this film with even those who haven't seen it are tantamount to spoiler mine fields that are very likely to destroy your first experience watching this film.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
So, the American worker is no longer worth paying for? We're doomed
then, aren't we?
Check out more Ballpoint Adventures here: http://thepete.com/ics
The headline of that CNN.com article cracked me up when I first saw it late last night. Turns out the GOP actually used the phrase "coming out party" to describe Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's turn at responding to President Barry's Mini-State of the Empire address tonight. Jindal's appearance on national TV (people still watch that?) is seen as a big deal for the 37 year-old Indian-American who was a US Congressman before taking office in January 2008 (I read his Wikipedia article!). But is this married minority coming out of the closet?
Of course not. It just goes to show you how effing clueless the Republicans still are.
They think they can "put a fresh face on the party" by making sure that "face" isn't white.
As if that somehow changes the bad ideas the party embraces. As if it means the Republicans suddenly like minorities and think women should get paid the same amount as men. As if "GOP" now stands for the "Gay Old Party."
That IS something to remember--the Republicans still don't like gays.
They still believe that a "pro-abortion movement" actually exists.
They still favor businesses and bankers over American citizens, think that Al Qeada and the Taleban are two mighty armies that threaten our way of life (instead of being two loose-knit bands of extremist losers) and most of all don't seem to mind when the American government commits domestic and international crimes (too late to impeach Bush, but he can still be indicted, can't he?).
Then again, the Democrats believe those things, too.
In the end, it doesn't really matter what color skin the face on which ever party has. It's all the (corrupt) business as usual.
Technically any good? This is your standard, bad b-movie, designed to entice dumb teenage boys to watch in the hopes of finding some nudity and there is a bit of it, so that's nice for those of us who enjoy seeing topless women. Of course, one of them gets raped, so you might want to bear that in mind.
Aside from the rape scene, the film is generally what you would have expected to see on MST3K since it's pretty much on the level of Hobgoblins (and even shares a cast member). The acting is as flat as you'd expect, though I never blame the actors. The story is damn near non-existent, though I have to say it's more coherent than what we've got going on Battlestar Galactica, so there is that.
How did it leave me feeling? Achy neck from shaking my head so much. Even as a dumb b-movie, this isn't one I'd recommend. I also found it kind of weird that while we see a topless woman get raped, during the healthy, nice sex scene between consenting adults we see later on, there is no nudity. Kinda sad if you ask me. I always prefer to see boobs in a positive situation.
Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. There are loads of better (read: more fun) bad b-movies out there (even with nudity) if you're interested in doing your own MST3K-style DIY quipathon.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Remember kids, it's just a poorly drawn comic strip!
Read more Ballpoint Adventure comics (including ones from years ago)
The trailer makes me wonder if the director has grown-up at all since then.
Technically any good? I have to admit that I am seriously biased against Tarantino's films. The only one I've ever liked (and I do love this movie) was True Romance and he only wrote the script. I thought all the others he's made have been over-rated and ultimately kinda stupid. This movie, again based on the trailer, looks no different.
Sure, the FX will look great--it's QT, his movies are always slick looking. They're just lacking in any interesting story or characters. Speaking of story, the story of this movie looks amazingly simple and uninteresting. Not to mention amoral and encouraging the audience to feel good about being violent again.
We can't feel good about our war on terror, so we'll feel good about killing Germans.
Yeah, that's just what we need.
Acting-wise? Who cares? It's a QT movie. Good acting doesn't really matter. It's all about TheSlick.
How did it leave me feeling? It left my skin crawling. How Brad Pitt agreed to do this movie after reading the script is beyond me. The trailer illustrates one of the few things that was wrong with World War II on both sides--the absurd hatred of the other side.
Now Tarantino is going to glorify that hatred.
Yeah, there was a time when I would have loved a movie like this. But then I grew up.
Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See. Let's not encourage this kind of storytelling. Let's ignore QT for a while in the hopes that he'll go back to telling actual stories with actual characters, like he did in True Romance. Wouldn't that be nice?
But don't trust my opinion--click on the poster image above and watch the trailer for yourself and see how good it makes you feel.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Whoa--check it out! It's my first Ballpoint Adventure strip in like a
WHILE. Got plenty more, too. Be sure to let me know what you think!
I designed this for the Mimoco DIY Vimobot contest. I didn't even place :( But I'm happy with the design nonetheless. I think I do pretty well with a few sharpies and some vinyl. :)
See, the idea of the contest was to create a design that would be used for one of their thumb drives. My thought was that the metal electrocution cap on this guy would be the cap of the USB so when you plugged ELC into your USB port, he'd look like he was all nervous about being plugged into your computer--like the 3 volts a USB port puts out was going to kill him.
I guess not everyone has the same sense of humor about capital
punishment that I do.
Check out more pics of my End Life Crisis piece, including progress shots and even some original sketches for this and other Vimobot designs, in the Flickrset for this project:
@Siskita and Kay After Performing at the Oscar Night at the Algonquin Salon, originally uploaded by thepetecom.
I'm missing the Oscars but I just got to see these two perform! Video
The Miley Cyrus Pic CNN Mobile left up for 45 Minutes, originally uploaded by thepetecom.
CNN's mobile page for 45 minutes earlier tonight. Can't imagine why!
This was a very depressing bit of news to come across on Friday.
CNN.com reported that Obama is keeping the same policy on "battlefield detainees held without charges by the United States in Afghanistan" and agree that said humans "are not entitled to constitutional rights to challenge their detention."
Isn't that nice?
SO, let's review:
According to Bush AND Obama, when the founding documents (the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution) say that We, The People of the United States of America agree that "all men are created equal," and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," we actually only mean AMERICAN men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable Rights. FOREIGN men are not really human, apparently, and deserve no such Rights.
Like that one "habeas corpus" that guarantees your right to challenge your imprisonment in a court of law. Seems like a good right to have though, you know, just in case any mistakes have been made.
So, I'd like to thank Barry O'bama for reminding us that while Barack Hussein Obama may be the first black guy in the White House he's also just another American President who was corrupted by his power. See? There really is no difference between white people and black people!
Ironically, watch for part 2 of TheVlog for January 20, 2009, featuring footage Siskita and I shot from Washington DC, the day Obama was inaugurated. I'll be posting part 2 at http://tv.thepete.com soon. Watch for it!
We all need a little iron(y) in our diet, don't we?
We humans think we've got it all together. It's a shame we can't just relax and admit we (and our leaders) do make mistakes from time-to-time. I think we'd benefit from a healthy dose of second-guessing of the folks in charge. In fact, I was just reading Volume 1 of the Action Philosophers compilation (written and illustrated by old college buddies of mine) and it turns out that one of Ayn Rand's devotees was none other than Alan Greenspan. Not sure what that means entirely, but if the Action Philosophers comic is to be trusted, we, maybe, shouldn't be too surprised that Greenspan was so wrong about the Free Market and deregulation.
Ah well, live and learn... I hope!