Thursday, December 18, 2008
"The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives."
and yet he does seem to have some positive aspects:
"But Mr. Warren has also been one of the most prominent evangelical leaders calling for Christians to expand their agenda and confront global problems like poverty, AIDS, climate change, and genocide in Darfur."
I poked around Warren's website and they do seem to have some non-stereotypical christian right agendas, which is refreshing, but he is, nonetheless, an evangelical preacher. Which brings me to the real question:
WHY is there ANY polarizing religious figure at this event? The basis of the inauguration is a swearing in, by the Chief Justice, of the new president. If there is a peace blessing to be offered or something like that, it should be utterly free of any religious bias or overtones. Yes, the bible has been used in these ceremonies forever, but our "melting pot" nation does not need ANY intolerance up on that podium. I understand that Mr. Obama is appealing to the right, to bring people together, but I don't think this is a good idea. ----
----You know, I hit this point in writing and realized I'm about to launch into an atheist rant...which never fetches wide support and probably needs its own blog. But the CRUX of my feeling is that I don't want attention drawn to INTOLERANCE or RELIGION at this inauguration. I want it to be about progress, growth, change...all that campaign bullshit we are "praying" comes to fruition. I'm disturbed that there's a discussion or even a selection of a preacher to do this. How bout having a rabbi do it? Or an Imam? Or a buddhist? Offer a prayer for a peaceful and productive four years...without the baggage. So, you know what...LAME choice Obama.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I don't find it offensive really, except that it insults my intelligence. Am I supposed to melt into a puddle of tears because he bought his deaf girlfriend a fancy bracelet? Seriously, they are saying, "wook at da nice bwacelet for da poor widdle deaf wadie." It's disgusting. And exploitative. So actually, I DO find it offensive. You know what, my deaf girlfriend is NOT getting jewelry from Kay's this year. Screw you, Kay's!
Then, the suity dude who does GMA's news shared this video which I had watched on the interweb the other day:
Sharks do not attack divers. This shark was not attacking a metal cage with neoprene covered people in it. They don't like eating metal or rubber. They do like eating the tuna in the water or attached to the cage. Mr. Shark here went for the tuna and got stuck in the cage. It was an accident. And stupid GMA guy should not be making allusions to the shark attacking the divers. That's ignorant. You are ignorant, GMA News Dude. Sharks need to be protected, not feared or scorned. And that footage is AWESOME. I would LOVE to have been in that cage. Once in a lifetime experience. Live Free Or Die.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
One can't help but notice the number of new US TV shows headlined by Aussie and British actresses these past two years. Yes, there are actors as well, True Blood's Ryan Kwanten comes to mind, but I'm most disturbed by the number of females filling roles that American actresses could easily be doing. For those who don't know this, it is virtually impossible for an American to work as an actor in Britain or Australia...even in roles AS Americans. However, here, producers have willy nilly to hire anyone from anywhere. Whose fault is it? Most likely, it's SAG's. They are more than happy to increase their numbers and collect a percentage of an Aussie paycheck...but for a union that is supposed to be supporting its members, this seems wrong to me. Shows like Fringe, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Chuck, and the canceled Bionic Woman are all headlined by foreign females and while I wouldn't say any of them are BAD (okay, two of those four I'm not a fan of at all), I could name 10 actresses that I KNOW PERSONALLY who could fill those roles, not to mention the thousands I don't know. So why is there such an explosion of Australians on our TV sets? Honestly, I don't understand. I've been asking around and people say, "they want new talent," which doesn't make sense because we have certainly not exhausted our American talent pool, "they are better actors," which is just bullshit, "they're more attractive," come on...Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
It's not fair. I guess it's not SO surprising that in a time when so many jobs are lost overseas in every industry in America, the entertainment biz is no different. But I want to think our unions actually care about protecting the interests of their current members and their fellow citizens. And while it's mostly "pretty people" that get the import and don't really effect me directly, I genuinely feel for my fellow thespians and wish SAG would step up and support us all. It's not just about money, SAG, it's about the art form we love and want the most opportunities possible to practice in our own country.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Secondly, I despise buying tickets for pretty much anything. Let me share my most recent Ticketbastard (master) experience. Today at 9:59am I logged on to buy tickets that went on sale at 10am. The SECOND they became available, I clicked the link, selected to tickets, and was told I had a six minute wait. So I watched the little light circle of waiting and six minutes later, was told there were NO TICKETS AVAILABLE. 10:06am...sold out. I hate ticketmaster, I think they should have lost the Pearl Jam lawsuit from the 90's, though the Supreme Court did find an accurate, if not socially responsible, way to dismiss the suit. Ticketmaster, through their monopoly of every major concert venue in the country, thereby has a monopoly on ticket sales for every major artist and sporting event. That said, they are not the sole problem, and thankfully, their contracts with many of these venues expire soon and can pass on to other, probably equally evil conglomerates, like Live Nation. Large blocks of tickets are sold to secondary vendors and you can then buy them online for grossly inflated prices at ticket broker websites. So effectively, as I found this morning, it is nearly impossible for an actual fan to purchase tickets to an event at market value. You are either screwed with an outrageous ticketmaster fee, I have seen them in excess of $20, or forced to pay, often, hundreds of dollars over the listed price of the tickets. And because ticketmaster has these contracts with the venues, there is no way around them and no way for bands to book appropriately sized venues without using ticketmaster. Monopoly? Clearly.
What can be done about this? Lawsuits failed. There's no other way to secure tickets. Is this an urgent issue like lack of health care or financial crises and such...not really. But it sucks.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Hell, I'd rather see the government take those billions and turn them into trust funds for people losing jobs...let the money go towards them feeding their children while they look for new jobs or save it for their college education. The bailouts will never end...no matter who you bailout, others will follow. Yes, the auto industry is huge and thousands of jobs might be lost...but that's capitalism. That's what we forced down Japan's throat after we won the war...we made our bed, now we lie in it. I could care less that the CEOs did or did not use private planes...that's not the point. They have wasted congress' time twice now with no CLEAR plan for how to successfully use their requested bailouts. I say good riddance.
In related news, as someone who dealt with the possibility of losing health care this year, I feel very strongly that our new president MUST honor his pledge to ensure that all Americans can be insured for a reasonable rate:
And have you seen this garbage:
What?! You are going to pay 20% of a premium so that IF you lose insurance, they will give it to you?! Seriously? Seriously?! Obama wants to be transparant and have contact with his supporters online. So drop him an email and thank him for his pledge to reform health care...and then do it again if wheels aren't in motion soon after taking office. We have a Democratic congress, senate, and president...now is the time.
Monday, October 13, 2008
So as an absentee voter, I have already received and read over my ballot and YES, the most prominent and important factor is the presidential vote, but if you are bothering to read my blog, you already likely know who you are voting for, so let's look at the propositions. Almost all of these are either a) huge money losses for the state or b) human rights violations (in my humble opinion)...with the exception of the random "Free The Farm Animals" act.
First off, Props 4 and 8 are the human rights ones...4 requiring parental notification for abortions and 8 banning gay marriage. My issues with these are that neither of these "issues" negatively impact society in ANY way. Gay marriage hurts no one, in no way "cheapens" hetero-marriage, and really is no ones fucking business but the couple who love each other. I would guess that gay married couples will, in fact, set a better example for the institution of marriage than the countless hetero couple who divorce every year. As for #4, abortion is legal. If someone wants to have one, they have a right to privacy. I can understand why a parent would want to know if their daughter had an abortion, but ultimately, this is unimportant to society as a whole and the pro-lifers are just trying to chip away at abortion any way they can.
But, since they are more ambiguous in nature, let's look at the bond measures. Regardless of your political, social, and religious beliefs, these should ALL be voted down. Why would I say that? Why wouldn't I support a children's hospital and transportation improvements? Well, folks, remember when Arnold asked the failed Federal Government to loan him 75 billion dollars just a few weeks ago. That's cause our state is BROKE. Worse than broke, IN DEBT. If we are in debt...WHY are we trying to increase that debt? WHY are we building a children's hospital when no one has health care and our current hospitals are a disaster? Why are we giving LAUSD money when millions of our taxpayer dollars are funding useless administration in fancy offices? "But wait," you say, "these are bonds...it doesn't cost us money!" OF COURSE it does. Not right now, but down the road, the State of CA has to REPAY these bonds. And we're IN DEBT. So how the hell are we going to do that?! Yes, I am a liberal democrat, but I am strongly urging you all to vote NO on these propositions. A number of them will raise state debt by over a billion dollars. This is unacceptable, and until Sacramento can manage their current "budget," I will continue to vote NO on all bond measures.
Feel free to vote yes for the farm animals though. :-)
Thursday, August 7, 2008
1) the heinous level of pollution...should ANY athletes have to be exposed to that?
2) China has become a massive world power by exploiting and mistreating its own people.
3) China is willing to support world regimes that treat their people even WORSE.
4) China owns most of the US debt...in other words, we are indebted to China. This is frightening.
5) they eat dog...not really anymore, but I tried to put something slightly humorous 'cause there is nothing funny about China.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I have a few sections of notes about my trip and my experiences. If you have no interest in my brilliant musings, you can scroll down to the picture link at the bottom. There is commentary on the pics as well. Thanks for checking them out!
Looking back over my pictures…this looks like a pretty amazing trip. As some of you know, it was a bit less than. I got horribly ill a few days in (I think Egypt is second only to India in terms of tourist illness. I also was a bit put off by what I’ll call the “tourist culture” in Egypt. People are CONSTANTLY badgering you to ride in their taxi or come into their store. It’s utterly overwhelming. The concept of a quiet stroll up the Nile is impossible because on one side, every taxi is honking and yelling at you, and on the other, you have guys in sailboats screaming at you that you need to ride in theirs. I frequently read about Egyptian “hospitality” before I went and while I was there. This “hospitality” is that people will be friendly to you, invite you in for a drink, ask about your life…but they WANT something from you. Money, either for services or for NOTHING. Literally EVERYONE in the main tourist areas wants you to tip them. At every bathroom, they’ve stolen all the toilet paper and expect you to pay them for 3 pieces of it. Or like at the airport, when a random janitor followed me into the bathroom and stood by the sink holding paper towels waiting for me to finish. then wouldn’t let me take my own towels, and asked for a tip. I used an ATM, and a POLICE OFFICER sitting nearby asked for a tip…for no other reason than he sat near the ATM. No. Enough. I know they’re poor, but it’s disgusting and overwhelming. May sound minimal here, but I can assure you after lots of independent wandering around, it is far beyond annoying. All of that said, if you look at my pics and still want to go…I’d recommend sheltering yourself better than I did. Either join a small group tour or else stay in nicer hotels and have guides pick you up for excursions. At lower grade hotels, you will find the staff constantly trying to sell you their tours, whereas at the nicer ones, there’s a concierge who can help you if you want it and otherwise, no one will bother you. A pool is nice in the summer too, as temperatures approached 130 degrees Fahrenheit and it would be nice to cool off. When the time came to leave Egypt for Jordan, I was definitely ready to go. I was still sick for a couple of days in Jordan, but the people were much more pleasant. Jordan is very interesting…seems much more modernized than Egypt, though there are pictures of the King EVERYWHERE, reminding you that you are not in a democracy. Of course, Egypt is a “democracy,” but one who has had the same leader for YEARS…not very democratic.
Many people expressed concern for my safety before I left on this trip, and I can assure you that at no time, in either country, did I feel any animosity towards me for being an American. Despite government propaganda, I think, for the most part, people can differentiate between the American government and the American people. Yes, there are people who can’t…but there are also people in the US who think all Arabs are members of fundamentalist Islamic groups. Even the people I told I was Jewish didn’t have a problem with it. Now if I was Israeli, it would be a different story, but I’m clearly not, so no problems.
I was surprised to find more women wearing hijabs (head scarves) in Egypt than in Jordan. Apparently, according to my sources, Egyptians have become more religious in recent years and this has actually caused a DECREASE in militants or fundamentalist factions…teaching people what a religion really says, as opposed to twisting it, will have that effect. Interestingly, I was also told that Arabs from the more religious countries around the Persian Gulf will often travel to Jordanian resorts where they partake in hookers and other forbidden fruits. It’s odd, and it certainly makes you appreciate the freedoms we have in this country. It also illustrates how easily we could lose those freedoms if the wrong governments were in power. I think women, in both these countries, while enjoying more freedom than under other regimes, are still stuck in a very male dominated culture…forced marriages and the inability to travel or go places without proof of your family or husband still exist and are absolutely horrible to consider when you look at our culture.
Both Egypt and Jordan are very rich with historical significance though. The temples, tombs, and ancient cities are unmatched anywhere and are definitely something to be experienced in your lifetime. Hopefully both governments will be able to maintain the sanctity of these sites, as already they have declined, not only naturally, but from human interference. You’ve no doubt heard about the Pizza Hut/KFC right in front of the Sphinx…and similar encroachments of tourist shacks and stores are at all the sites. When one looks back at pictures from the 50’s, of tourists riding camels TO the pyramids as they sat majestically in the undisturbed desert, it’s pretty damn sad how urban sprawl has destroyed that. So maybe you should go to Egypt now, before the Pyramids become an indoor ski slope or some such nonsense.
Pictures are here…
Feel free to ask if you have any questions!
Monday, April 28, 2008
...like Quint in Jaws! That's fucking stupid! Sharks live in the ocean...we VISIT the ocean. These are beautiful creatures who hardly ever bother humans. JAWS, while one of my favorite films of all time, is just that...a FILM. Sharks do not hunt people, they do not EAT people. If they attack you, it's an accident...they think you are a seal or something. As I mentioned, hippopotamuses kill WAY more people than other animals in Africa, but we don't kill them. Lions, tigers...we don't kill them. It's considered poaching, and is illegal. Sharks are killed for food all over the world...particularly for the Chinese (yes, yet another reason China is inherently evil) "delicacy" shark fin soup. The Chinese apparently believe that dried shark fins prevent disease. This is bullshit. Everyone should see the documentary Sharkwater, a fascinating and extremely upsetting look at sharks' treatment around the world. These animals deserve the same protection as the countless land mammals we protect. And if you are that 281,000,000th person who gets attacked by a shark, that's unfortunate, but we are swimming in their home. If you camp in the mountains, a bear MIGHT attack you. It's a risk we take. The family of the man who was attacked this weekend are already back surfing and swimming. Wish everyone else would get over it too.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
It's a fat, deformed mermaid. 2 tails? No wonder they got rid of it! But now they brought it back, sans exposed breasts, but to what end? To show how pleasing the current logo was?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Democrats burst through the front door of our convenience store with a gun and tell us to empty the contents of our cash register into their little bag with the dollar signs on it.
Republicans walk through the store and smile at us while shoplifting furiously when we turn our backs. When we catch them on surveillance cameras, they just claim they learned their lesson and won't do it next time. Either way I'm being ripped off, and both parties seem to have the attitude that we should be lucky they graced the store with their presence.I certainly believe taxation is necessary. I also certainly believe it should be spent more wisely. And I DO think large corporations have a responsibility to our society and should contribute more...but Beck makes an interesting point that our already high corporate tax rate does not entice business to be based here. And requirements to provide healthcare are not going to bring the AT&T call center back from India. And yet, it is infinitely frustrating to see these companies raking in the dough and passing it right along to their CEOs, ignoring the workers. As much as people bitch about Starbucks, and yes, they are everywhere, I gotta give them kudos...they offer healthcare, paid vacation, and stock options...even to part time employees. Every company should be required to take care of it's employees. Do that and then lower the corporate tax. Sounds good to me.
And outlaw these bullshit commercials. Chevron, you ain't part of any solution. And Campbell Scott, I respect you a LOT as an actor/director, but you should be ashamed of doing these commercials.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
But it's REALLY STUPID to have these:in a high school. They might as well say "Pull for fun!" or "Class Disruption Creator."
Guess what, Mr. Fire Marshall...OBVIOUSLY kids will pull these things AT LEAST once a week. It's to the point where teachers don't stop teachings, kids don't even react, NO ONE goes outside...if it was a real fire...we'd all die. Take the stupid pull alarms out! If there's a fire, kids will scream, "FIRE!" and then we'll know. And we'll know who said it too...as opposed to campus security trying to track down whoever pulled a fire alarm...
...they never catch them. Maybe they need segways:
Monday, March 24, 2008
1) Noise... no one uses the electric type, so we get the full gas screaming engine. My wonderful neighbors' gardener comes at 7am on Mondays...how do I know? Leaf blower. Would you like to be woken up at 7am by a loud metallic scream? Didn't think so.
2) Pollution... Yes, the gas engines produce reek and produce pollution, but the worst part is what is being blown into the air. I LITERALLY saw my neighbor's (the OTHER neighbor this time) gardener blowing a cloud of DUST AND DIRT in the direction of my building. No leaves. DUST AND DIRT. No grass. Just DUST AND DIRT. No wonder so many of us develop debilitating allergies when we move to LA. Every bit of filth; every allergen; every cancer-causing microbe, is blown back up into the air once it's settled. God forbid I don't inhale this horror the first time, it will be blown back up again and again until I do. And how fucking kind of them to turn the blower away when we walk by...there's still a cloud on awful sitting there!
Unlike the pic at the top which is clearly from the Northeast, where they actually get leaves, THIS is what leafblowing in LA is like:
3) Inefficiency... Rather than stumble around with a 40 pound leaf blower on their backs, maybe it might be more efficient to use a rake and broom. It might involve a but more immediate physical exertion, but it also might yield acceptable results. Here's the scenario: Gardener comes, straps on the leaf blower, blows everything up in the air, runs out the door before it resettles. And I'd think blowing dirt in the air doesn't just harm US, but might not be the best way to keep the grass and bushes healthy...which is, you know, a gardener's job.
Here's a Sacramento site with good details and info: http://www.nonoise.org/quietnet/cqs/leafblow.htm
Okay, so what can we do? Well, in LA, leaf blowers are illegal...so how bout reporting them:
gives details on how to do so. I will ask my gardeners to stop using their blowers today. And I'll ask my neighbors to do the same...or I'll report them. :-)
Help me out, and together, we can ABOLISH LEAFBLOWERS!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
And secondly, I have to say a thing or two about Eliot Spitzer.
1) The hooker is cute
though the ginormous fake breasts are a bit much
and maybe not really $1000/hr cute
2) The truly sad part, though, is that Eliot Spitzer seemed, for a while, to be one of the only politicians actually interested in affecting important positive change for the people in New York State, and maybe at some point, the whole nation. He fought corruption, special interests, and organized crime. He tried to legalize gay marriage in NY. And, while he hit some roadblocks and made some poor choices in this early part of his governorship, I think he would have ended up making some positive change in the end. Unlike so many politicians (pretty much EVERY presidential candidate from either of the major political parties), Spitzer was willing to stand up and take action. As I talked about after seeing Sicko, we don't stand up to our government enough, and those who do try to enact positive change don't seem to have the balls to follow through. Spitzer did, and would have. But he made a stupid mistake. A stupid, personal mistake. And while I normally would say his personal life has no bearing on his political work, the hypocracy of going after prostitution rings while you patronize one yourself is pretty unacceptable...analogous to Nancy Reagan smoking pot, or radical Christians like GWB ignoring the teachings of Jesus (turn the other cheek?) and attacking other countries (oh, wait...). I mourn the loss of someone I hoped would make a positive change in our ever-declining society. I wish you could have controlled yourself, Mr. Spitzer.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I was, as I do a few times a year, flying from LAX to Syracuse, NY. Going through security at LAX, I removed my shoes, jacket, hoodie, and laptop, laid them all out in trays and sent them through the scanner. The young guys working the scanner were DEEP in an important convo in slangy urban dialogue comparing the merits of the ORIGINAL (and FAR superior, I might add) Dawn Of The Dead film, to the lame "REIMAGINING." Due to the important nature of this discussion, I'm not sure they looked even once at the items scrolling by on the x-ray screen. In fact, I'd forgotten to take my baggie of "liquids" out of my carry on and no one noticed. At least I wasn't racial profiled as the Jewnibomber...I don't think anyone was. And save for the woman who was literally going INSANE at the check in counter and thinking that using all her toiletries in front of the check in agent would make them acceptable carry-on items (I just can't possibly do justice to the explaining the fits that this woman was having...it was truly incredible), it seems anyone could just sort of slide whatever through the x-ray.
A week later, on the way back to LA, I went through security at the Syracuse airport. This is not a TINY airport, but it is in no way a major hub for anyone. And yet, the stately, old, white TSA agents in Syracuse seem to think it's the Mecca (enjoy the pun) of the Islamic Terrorist movement. Every bag is meticulously scrutinized, tested for chemicals, sniffed, prodded, poked, licked, tossed, and tussled until not only have they confirmed that no contraband is present, but that they have also crushed your freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, greased up your undergarments with their sweaty fingers, and played seven games of solitaire on your laptop. I don't need security to be friendly and fun. I don't hold them to the presidential standard of "person I want to have a beer with." But I WOULD like some efficiency and moderation.
What can we learn from all this?
1) The TSA is utterly and completely devoid of enforcement for the standards they so highly prize.
2) Intelligence is not a factor in the TSA hiring process.
3) Airport security is a joke, mostly in place to slow down our airport experience and torture us by making us juggle our shoes, coats, liquids, laptops, etc.
4) Stodgy old white people are more thorough, intense, humorless workers.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
So yesterday I had an audition for an insurance company commercial for motorcycle insurance...playing a biker, not a cyclist, mind you, but a biker:
So yeah, the only way I can play this role is with a bike helmet COMPLETELY obscuring my face. And thankfully, they had a bike helmet there which completely covered my head and face. Also, thankfully, dozens of other actors had crammed their heads into this helmet throughout the day and expelled all their germs and bacteria all over the inside of the helmet. So NOT ONLY did I audition without my face (that's my moneymaker, people!), but I was subjected to LORD KNOWS how many diseases and infections that likely no amount of my later intensive disinfecting process helped. And you thought being an actor was all cushy.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
And DOUBLE thank God I'm here, because there is a serious issue we need to discuss. The smell at the Sherman Oaks Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. EVERY time I go there, it reeeeeeks of BO. And yes, OCCASIONALLY there's a homeless guy, but rarely. For the most part, Sherman Oaks is homeless-guy-free. But this library just has heinous BO. It IS possible that it's one of the librarians. He doesn't look super dirty, but I could imagine him not showering and he's usually there. I don't think it's book-rot. I just don't know. But SOMEONE needs to bring a giant stick of deodorant to the Sherman Oaks Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library and leave it on the counter. And, in our current unmotivated society, seriously lacking in proactive politicos...please feel free to join me at 4:37pm today as a attempt to deodorate the Sherman Oaks Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. If you have not heard from me by 5:30pm, please send bail to the Van Nuys Police Station, 6240 Sylmar Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
1 Banquet Brand "Spaghetti & Meatballs" Frozen TV Dinner (like Mom used to make!)
1 40oz Bottle of Miller Brand Beer
And when you saw this small, stout, shaved headed, middle aged man purchasing his groceries, one can vividly picture him settling down with his dinner, popping in the latest pornographic digital video disc, and kicking back for the rest of the evening. I shook my head at his sad situation and drove home, where I settled down, alone, on my couch to watch Ang Lee's latest epic, Lust, Caution, while eating Dreyer's Loaded Brand Toll House Mint Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream directly from the carton.
1) First, after the obligatory election coverage, I read THIS article, where the classy online gun dealer who sold guns to the Virginia Tech and the more recent Northern Illinois U rampagers discusses his solution for the campus shooting problem...MORE guns on campus. That way students can shoot the crazy people before they kill too many. They can also shoot mean professors, jilting lovers, bullies, racial groups they don't like, cars that cut them off, small woodland creatures, and little old ladies who cross the street to slowly. Awesome. Actually, the article presents the "more guns" idea in a fairly sane manor, but...no, not getting behind this one. We shouldn't have guns ANYWHERE.
2) Then I read THIS article. Let me explain the LAUSD "must place" procedure. You cannot be fired or laid off from LAUSD. If you run a school into the ground, if you steal computer equipment, or, like this fellow, Mr. Rooney, apparently a supporter of the man in the first article, you threaten a parent WITH A GUN, you will not be fired. You will be a "must place," meaning that you will be moved from your school to another school and this new school has NO ability to interview you or accept you...they are stuck with you. After being placed at his new school, Mr. Rooney, vaguely described as "on voluntary leave," abducts and rapes a 13 year old student. Awesome.
3) And then THIS less menacing but no less stupid story about yet ANOTHER memoirist who LIED. This one made up her whole story. Lady, can't you just write a novel? What the hell is wrong with people?
and so I have decided to stick with the Calendar section from now on. OH WAIT, but there's MORE...online, I find...
4) THIS Dear Catholics, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Leave the poor guy alone! Can't he RIP? Maybe he doesn't want people gawking at his shriveled remains! Ugh! As antireligious as I am, you don't see Jews and Muslims exhuming corpses to look at. It's disgusting and disrespectful. Shame on you, Catholics, shame.
People suck, man. Seriously, what the hell?
ADDENDUM: The NY Times proves that the crazy guy from #1 is not alone...HERE
Monday, March 3, 2008
There is one group, however, that DOES stand up for what they want...evangelical christians. The only real protests I ever see are pro-life or anti-gay. They have yet to, and hopefully will never, succeed, but they do know how to protest. If only they were more concerned with being American citizens before religious zealots, perhaps the evangelicals would see that Republican fiscal policy hurts most of them. That a lack of quality, affordable healthcare HURTS them. That THEIR children are more likely to end up in Iraq than the CEO of Exxon's is. I am endlessly confused at why ANYONE would vote for a president based on religious or personal moral convictions. And not just evangelicals....the Obama campaign talks about CHANGE...vote for CHANGE...but it's no more rational to vote for Obama just because you want "change." GWB was a CHANGE from Clinton and look where that got us. You have to look at how a candidate's substantive politics will effect you. And then get the fuck behind them. It is a disgusting travesty that the government in this country has become so utterly corrupted by big business...and folks, that's what healthcare IS in America. Blue Cross, Kaiser, Signa, United...these are HUGE CONGLOMERATE COMPANIES! And our bipartisan system falls right into line with them. Just as we Americans do for oil companies, military companies, school lunch providers, Walmart, cell phone companies, and countless other businesses, we're bending over and taking it in the ass from insurance companies. And no, I don't mean getting a colonoscopy...cause that's only 50% covered once...you've met your $5000 deductible.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Anyway, JK is suing STEVE who wrote THIS website and has turned it into a 400 page HP encyclopedia which is being published, but held from the shelves by a court injunction. I think I support the Steve guy, but I thought I'd hash it out here for you, faithful readers.
My thoughts are thus...
Pro-400pageencyclopediaofweblexicon: If someone loves Harry SOOOOO much that he made that nutty website which looks like it was actually made by THIS GUY, let him earn a little cash from it. Do a little settlement thing where 1/2 the profits go to JK or maybe a charity of JK's choice (United Negro Wizard College Fund? Actually, on second thought, the only black student is that kid in the movie who announces the quidditch games and he's real annoying, so maybe the fund is unnecessary. Hang on a sec, why is there only one black wizard? JK is racist! RAY-CIST!). Anyway, the guy did a lot of work...throw him a table scrap; he's a librarian...they don't make a lot of money. Plus, seriously, one can read the thing on the web for free OR can EXCHANGE HARD EARNED CASH FOR THE BOOK...free...exchange hard earned cash...free...exchange hard earned cash... Steve deserves to take money from people dumb enough to spend it on something they can get for free. Seriously...would you go buy an Encyclopedia Britannica today? Not unless you are dumb. Cause Wikipedia is FREE! (the fact that Wikipedia has a self referential entry is awesome) Also, the guy is not using the characters to create fiction or change the story...he is making something to support her books. If someone makes a set of Harry Potter stickers, sunglasses, g-strings, whatever...JK gets a check. Same deal...ya? So she wants to write her own encyclopedia of Harry...great, do it...the same fuggazi-nutbags who buy this one will buy yours too.
Con-400pageencyclopediaofweblexicon: JK Rowling created all the characters in the HP universe, so someone else profiting off them does seem a bit fishy. And according to JK's website,
there were "direct appeals for a reasonable solution." So maybe Steve, the librarian/Harry Potter not is a douchebag. Never met him. JK DOES praise the Lexicon website though, and did so before the book was announced...it seems she's really only objecting to the guy making money of her shiz. So okay, I see her point. Plus, as you can probably tell from my earlier comments, I don't think Harry Potter is as much the bee's knees as everyone else. Book 7 was like 400 pages of the most boring camping trip EVER with some okay story on either end, so I harbor resentment that someone gets a bazillion dollars for that which makes my views unfair. I think they should find some sort of happy medium where everyone gets money and then they can all wipe their tushes with hundred pound notes while the rest of us sell HJ's on the corner of Sepulveda and National (outside Gualguetza, 10pm-2am, $15/pop). And everyone goes home happy.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
2) Yesterday, I collected opinion papers from law students regarding their views on gay marriage. These are poor inner city kids with limited language skills, but I was actually pleased by the few I looked at. Despite the fact that their spelling and grammar were atrocious, REALLY atrocious, most of them espoused the view that people should be able to do what they want if it doesn't hurt others. Some even said they didn't like homosexuality, but they saw that it wasn't affecting or hurting their lifestyle. I was very impressed. They then probably went outside, held up the Yum Yum Donuts and tagged racial slurs on the wall, but still...it was nice to see a little tolerance and decency in there somewhere.
3) I love when two girls ask if they can go to the bathroom together and I say they can go one at a time and then they don't go. It's not surprising that they lie or don't have to pee, just that they are so blatantly stupid about it.
4) I also love when the children come in and I am sitting at the teacher's desk typing on my laptop and they come over and ask, "do we have a substitute?" Usually, I just stare at them blankly and eventually they go away.
Monday, February 25, 2008
PROS: Teenagers are using actual, physical toys that retail for around $4 as opposed to a digital money vacuum like a PSP. Perhaps they will gain some sort of hand-eye coordination which could help with whatever career students-who-fingerboard-instead-of-doing-their-schoolwork tend to end up in.
CONS: The clacking noises are really annoying. I played with these toys in 5th and 6th grade...not 11th grade...perhaps something more complex might be in order? These are basically the 20th century "ball in a cup." Toys don't belong in school. Makes you look like a child. Makes you look like a low-functioning child.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Today, the Service Employees International Union which had already backed Obama in CA and NV, did so nationally. For those of you not in a union, what happens is, the bigwigs who run the union decide to endorse whichever candidate THEY think is better for the UNION. While, thankfully, the performing arts unions I belong to do not do this, the teachers' union ALWAYS endorses people and not only sends out fliers TELLING you who to vote for with little or no justification, they also have these LOVELY automated calling devices to leave recorded phone messages at your house from union leaders telling you what to do. As my parents will confirm, I've never been a big fan of being told what to do, so if the union would like to encourage me to vote a certain way, a pamphlet explaining why might be of better use. Then again, how bout you don't waste the paper and just decide who YOU personally want to vote for and I will do the same. That said, everyone is not ME. While teachers are required to be educated, this does NOT mean they are smart or make good decisions! And members of the SEIU may have little or no education or may not be willing to or have the time to invest in learning fully about the candidates in a particular election. Maybe they like being told who to vote for. But you know what? That undermines the principles of democracy. Of course, so do electoral colleges and superdelegates, so what the hell, right.
But back to TODAY. I fail to understand why the SEIU or ANY union would back a candidate in a primary election. It seems stupid. OBVIOUSLY a union won't back a Republican (at least a smart, non-theological union won't), but why back Obama now? Clinton could still win, and if she does, are you putting yourself in a good position with her, SEIU? I wouldn't think so. If you tried to mass your 6 million members against me in a primary election, I wouldn't be so keen on helping you in the future. And part of me hopes that if she does win, she DOES make you pay for your silly decision to endorse a candidate. It's likely that all of your members would benefit from having a Democrat in office, but it's up them to decide for themselves which one.
In summary, if someone in your union tells you who to vote for....tell them where to shove their ballot.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
And no, I am not just bitter because it's Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Daddy's little club girl. With her makeup skills, she could make JM look nice on TV!
She went to Columbia...Ivy League. Stanford is great, Chelsea, but not Ivy League...and Art History vs regular boring History? Point for Meghan. Maybe she can redecorate the White House a little.
Meghan also worked for SNL. Very cool! This is a pic from that era...maybe the craft services at SNL was really good...or she could just have a giant head that she hadn't yet learned how to style properly, but nonetheless, look at how she's grown from this...that, my friends, is fortitude.
In summary, while I wholeheartedly, 110%, in no way shape or form want John McCain anywhere NEAR the presidency of this country. I would like to vote for Meghan McCain for first daughter.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I love independent film. I will gladly watch LOTR 20 times, but the core of my film love is rooted in low budget, character driven, yet unsappy films. I particularly enjoy dark humor and flawed characters. And He Was A Quiet Man has all of those things. Christian Slater is really great as Bob Maconel, a modern day anti-hero, the oppressed office guy...he's Milton in Office Space if
Friday, February 8, 2008
only has 850 friends (apparently all girls). I am very proud to be one of my sister's 1030...I like to think I'd be in her top 12 if this was myspace, but with all the competition, who knows. If any of you would like to be my sister's friend and help her compete for the world record, let me know, I'll hook you up. Also, if you are a wealthy doctor, lawyer, or investment banker and are at least mostly attractive, I will also hook you up...no facebooking necessary. Kudos, sis. I love you.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Slight topic change...I heard a VERY disturbing peace on NPR last night about how our defense budget is higher than the entire budget of Australia. When you consider how poorly equiped our soldiers are, this is just disgusting. I wish I felt confident that any of the candidates for office would reign the damn Pentagon in and rolls some heads. Enough of this shit. And the next time you all want to declare war just to show who has the biggest balls, you better make sure you HAVE the biggest balls. Let's fix this problem...peace and diplomacy. Give it a shot.
That said, Brittany, if you are reading this, please move back to Texas and buy a nice little house and attempt to rebuild your life and sanity. And find a nice psychologist to talk to, someone you have rapport with...not some TV hack. Best of luck.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
1) Electoral College - Wait...you mean back when I voted for Al Gore, I was part of the majority of Americans? More people voted for Gore than Bush? But then why..? Electoral wha?! Well that just doesn't make sense.
2) Superdelegates - Aren't Democrats supposed to want to benefit the common man? Why then do we elevate our elected officials to "super" hero status? Like our friends in the Electoral College, superdelegates wield the power to invalidate our votes. I voted for Dianne Feinstein to represent me in the Senate, but should her vote for a presidential candidate mean more than mine? Unequivocally, no, of course not. "A conservative estimate of the voting power of a superdelegate amounts to one superdelegate vote equaling 153,636 regular votes based on 2004 federal voter turnout. Percentage wise, this means that 0.000007% of the voting population has 19.6% voting power in the 2008 Democratic Primary" (Wikipedia). Not very democratic if you ask me.
3) Religion - No no, I'm not saying it should be abolished PERIOD, just from politics. A president's job is to lead the country, supporting our economy, education, health and well being, foreign relationships, and security. Nowhere in there is religion needed. One could say that a religious person is more "moral," but GWB is VERY religious and has caused more deaths than any athiest I know. Islamic fundamentalists are VERY religious and they send mentally challenged 16 year old girls on suicide bombing runs. Sadly, religion is the least likely thing to be banished from politics. It shouldn't matter. It shouldn't have any bearing on anything. Nothing disturbs me more than to see families in relative poverty voting for a candidate who will DAMAGE their well being solely because of his or her religion.
4) Talking Points - Yeah, this ain't going anywhere either, but I am SOOOO tired of hearing slogans and BS. And this applies to ALL candidates. "Change?" Yes, change. But GWB brought "change." "Yes we can!" Sure you can, anyone can...free country. Why don't candidates just say what they think?! Huckabee was being interviewed by Chris Matthews last night and Matthews cracked a joke to which Huckabee responded that he'd suggested the same joke to "his people" but they hadn't thought he should make it. Well who cares what they say?! I'm not voting for them, I'm voting for YOU! Ugh...just be people. That's why Obama has such a following, cause he seems REAL. He's got plenty of BS too, but at least he seems like a person who might make up his own mind.
5) Wolf Blitzer - I used to watch CNN, but now it seems that Wolf is on 18 hours a day and has become the most ineffectual, humorless man alive. BORING! MSNBC has it's share of blowhards (Pat Buchanan? Disgusting.), but at least they are fun to watch.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I voted this morning on the way to work and raced out (I was a bit late) and didn't get a sticker. That sucks.
My phone browser had a picture of Mitt Romney holding a baby. I felt uncomfortable.
Please get better, Super Tuesday, please.
Monday, February 4, 2008
And let me digress, cause it's my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want, to discuss something we can all learn from Mike Huckabee. Disclaimer, Mike Huckabee frightens the crap out of me because he says shit like, "And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view." Um, no Mike. Separation of church and state, dude. That's why your homie, GWB invaded the Middle East...cause religion-based governments are crazy. So why you trying to do it here? I would rather move to Djibouti than have Huckabee as president. Okay, so that's my disclaimer. The actual point of digression: Mike Huckabe is an appealing human being on TV, on the radio, over communion wafers on Sunday mornings...I jest on the last one, but seriously, the guy talks and seems like a real mensh. Why do no other Republicans seem like menshes? They're either "crazy robots" like Mitt, or the aforementioned "stodgy old men." Huckabee is not the kind of affable that people (not smart people) found in GWB, the "goofy idiot" affable, Huckabee genuinely comes off as a nice, caring guy. When Mitt Romney says mean things about him, he has a puppy dog face that you could just eat up. Point is, politicians should seem nice, normal, friendly, cordial, but firm. And not Jesusy.
Now hold on, dear readers! If I actually thought my commentary would help the Republican party in any way, I wouldn't post it in public, cause despite the fact that I originally registered as a Republican (little known fact that goes with a story for another date and in no way reflects my current political views), I want nothing more than to eliminate the frightening new face of religion and war loving conservatism from the planet. But seriously...do your candidates HAVE to suck? McCain didn't suck as much in 2000. He was actually almost cool then. But then he cosied up to Jerry Falwell and I lost 98% of my respect for him. And now he's a crazy warhead, so the remaining 2% went away. He's still 71% cooler than Mitt Romney though. But 2 million % less cool than any democrat. Vote Democrat.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
After the Wedding – Danish “melodrama.” Great performances (I love Mads Mikkelson…rent The Green Butchers and you will too!)
Charlie Wilson’s War – Very interesting political story whose repercussions we still feel today. Despite the serious story, a funny and enjoyable film….Phillip Seymour Hoffman is awesome (are you surprised?).
Diving Bell and the Butterfly – absolutely fascinating and almost unbelievable true story. Sad, but not despressing…funny at times and empowering.
The Host – is NOT a horror movie. It does have a monster, but it’s more of a comedy/political satire/family drama hybrid…great blending of genre and a thoroughly enjoyable film.
Into the Wild – beautifully shot and incredibly sad. Hal Holbrook kicks ass. And the hippie guy who’s married to Catherine Keener and has never done a movie before. Sweet.
Juno – Okay, the first 20 minutes I was thinking, “DEAR GOD this woman can’t write realistic dialogue to save her life,” but then it became one of the funniest, character driven movies I’ve seen in a long time. I think Jason Reitman and the awesome cast really sold it.
No Country For Old Men – Probably my favorite…bleak landscapes, amazing characters, tension. Captured everything I liked about the book without the annoying prose (and if that makes me sound unsophisticated, YOU try reading a Cormac McCarthy book for FUN).
Stardust – Did you love Princess Bride? Did you see Stardust? Well, you certainly should have.
There Will Be Blood – The first hour and a half is an amazing journey through early oil prospecting in the West…the last hour belongs on the cutting room floor alongside the last hour of every PT Anderson movie. Daniel Day-Lewis, once again, chews the scenery to pieces without ever seeming fake or forced. He’s incredible.
Waitress – Sweet, charming, funny, romantic. My only complaint was the stupid “pie song.” Really…they could write lyrics that make sense? The rest of the movie makes sense. Sigh.
3:10 to Yuma – ooo, a Russell Crowe movie I liked! It’s been a while. This is a fun ride.
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days – part of the Romanian project Memories of a Golden Age, set in Communist Romania, the films in the series are sort of hyper-realistic, emotionally gripping comedies. This one deals with a girl obtaining an illegal abortion. I also loved the healthcare commentary The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu from 2006.
Adam’s Apples – Another interesting Danish film with Mads Mikkelson (the bad guy in Casino Royale). Dark comedy. Fun.
Away From Her – Julie Christie is marvelous, but her husband, played by Gordon Pinsent need more recognition. A devastating film.
Beowulf 3D – Don’t bother with the DVD…the movie isn’t that good. The landscapes and fight scenes in 3D IMAX…unbelievably awesome. Too bad you missed it. Sucks for you.
Breach – Good political thriller/true story…Chris Cooper is great, as always.
Hairspray – say what you want, I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this and sang the damn score for weeks.
Hot Fuzz – not Shaun of the Dead, but YAY!
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters – You do not have to like or know anything about video games to love this movie. It’s really really cool.
Mr. Brooks – I can’t stand Dane Cook (with a fiery passion after those World Series ads), but I enjoyed it. Sue me.
The Namesake – lovely film, well directed, interesting issues….
Once - Like a music video with a plot...and great music.
Ratatouille – Pixar. French food. No talking cars.
Sunshine – like 2001 with more plot…though the last half hour was like whaaaaaa?!
Movies I suspect might have been contenders had I seen them:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Gone Baby Gone
Lars and the Real Girl
Worst Movies of 2007
There has been a request for a worst list. Since I am not a paid reviewer, I don't have to sit through the crap that they do, so I don't see the REALLY awful ones. But here are a few I DID see:
Spiderman 3 - jesus
Pirates of the Carribean 3 - pirate ships are fun to watch, but what the hell was going on in this movie?!
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - watched it on a plane. knew it would suck. it did.
I'm Not There - Bob Dylan fans may like it...I thought it was pretentious garbage.