Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's the Seperation...

One of today's big news stories is that Prez-elect Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren to handle the invocation at his inauguration. There is, justifiably, outrage among liberals and particularly GLBT groups that a conservative religious leader who fervently backed Proposition 8 should be given a place of honor at the swearing in of our new leader. To pop in some NYT quotes, this sums up why this is a "bad" dude:

"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

A Nice Reminder...

Though it's not Friday, so no Storycorps on NPR this morning, I still got a little misty-eyed while listening. There was a very sweet story about a family that buys xmas themed children's books every year and pulls out the box of them every Thanksgiving, reading a few every night to their kids before packing the box away til next year after the holiday. It was a reminder both that not EVERY American is obsessed with the commercialism beaten down our throats during the holiday season, and in a more general sense, how important reading to children is. I'm not going to quote studies or offer hard facts other than to say this story reminded me of my parents reading to me as a kid. We read childrens books when I was younger, but as I got a bit older, we read some young adult books, alternating chapters...I distinctly remember Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series...I think both Dad and I liked those. I actually reread them recently (in honor of the crappy movie being released...boooooo), and thought about how I hope parents still do read with their kids the way my dad did. I fear that parents, along with children, have become impatient, too busy to take 30 minutes for a bedtime ritual not including television. To be honest, the thought of reading kids books over and over to a child almost makes ME cringe, but I think it's too important to neglect. And once I actually HAVE a child, hopefully it won't seem like a chore at all. In the meantime, THANKS DAD! I still read every night before bed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recycle THIS...

I'm done. I'm fed up. It's not happening anymore. I REFUSE to recycle my bottles. I took my recycling to a Ralphs and was told they were only accepting cans that day. What?! That makes no sense to me. So fine...I drive to ANOTHER Ralphs...SAME THING. Cans only. WTF?! They said try back the next day. The next day, at 11:30am...they are closed! And similar situations happen EVERY TIME. Inevitably, if they ARE open, I am stuck behind someone with hundreds of cans/bottles (for some reason, they're often Asian...restaurant owners? dunno). So I'm done. Before moving here, I always thought CA, with it's health food and laid back lifestyle was a mecca of recycling and environmentalism. So WHY is it IMPOSSIBLE to recycle?! I don't even have bins at my apartment building. Growing up in Upstate NY, you could recycle at EVERY grocery store, whenever that store was open. It was automated. Easy. Why can't CA do that?! I shouldn't have to devote hours of my time to turning in $3.00 of bottles. So screw it. I'll leave them somewhere. Or give them to a homeless person. Or throw them out. Because really, it's gotten to the point where I don't care. I just want them gone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morning glories...

I watch about 10 minutes of GMA in the morning while I dress (yes, ladies, TEN MINUTES AT MOST to look THIS good!), and this morning caught this commercial:

COMMERCIAL LINK

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:

AWESOME VIDEO

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

Get Off My Yellow Brick Road...

Okay, I'm writing an industry blog that's been bubbling around my head lately. But first, a disclaimer: I love Australia. It's a beautiful country that I would love to go back to someday. The people I met there and those I know here are lovely. And there are some wonderful film actors from Down Under, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Toni Collette...but that said...

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

Ticket To Bitch

First of all, please check out Jen & Abby's new CD: jenandabby.com or on itunes. They are the best!

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

Bail us all out please...

As AT&T lays of 12,000 workers, has it not yet become apparent that bailing out US auto companies is a bad idea? Where will this bailout money come from? President-elect Obama promised us affordable health care for all Americans. Let's put the $100 billion towards THAT, so laid off workers from ALL industries can afford to take care of their families. Let's use that money to stimulate smaller businesses and promote growth in that sector. So the Japanese build better cars...we lost, let's start over. Chevy, do you really believe in your Volt? Great! Then stop building your other cars and focus there. Many of you know Eliot Spitzer as the NY Governor who got busted with a high priced prostitute. That aside, he is a very bright man and offers some great insight here:

http://slate.com/id/2205995/

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:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/index.php

And have you seen this garbage:

http://www.emaxhealth.com/1/158/27162/united-offer-insurance-against-health-insurance.html

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

Dissecting the ballot...

Ya, okay, so I haven't written anything in forever, but I am compelled to do so now despite my radical drop off in readership.

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

China still cool?

The title is a Simpsons reference. China is not cool and I am disturbed that the Olympics are there. For a number of reasons.

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

EGYPT AND JORDAN TRIP

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…

http://picasaweb.google.com/davidgreenman/EgyptJordan

Feel free to ask if you have any questions!

David

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shark Frenzy...

Those of you who know me well, know that I LOVE sharks. Have since I was a kid. In my bedroom, I have a big poster of a picture I took of a great white in South Africa...fascinating, beautiful, powerful...sharks are incredible creatures that should not be feared. Your chances of being killed by a shark in any given year are about 1 in 280 million, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. 1 in 280 million! You are MUCH more likely to die in car crash, get killed in Iraq, or be eaten by a hippo. And yet sharks are considered fierce predators who must be killed. Some people actually work as shark hunters...
...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

Starbucks New Logo...

I like Starbucks. As I've mentioned previously, I think they take good care of their employees and their coffee is tasty, so I have no problem with the company. But WHAT were they thinking going back to their old logo:
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?

Movie Review: The Visitor

If you live in a major market where you can see The Visitor, you really should. It's a wonderful character piece about a depressed widower who finds an immigrant couple unknowingly squatting (they think they are renting it) in his NY apartment and ends up befriending them. There are a few plot points that don't quite connect, but three exceptional performances are worth the admission price and it's really one of those indie films that transports you...you leave feeling as though you were on a trip with a group of characters. I'm not much for ruining movie details, so just check it out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Taxation With Bad Representation...

It's tax day and there's an election coming up, so lots of news about taxation today. McCain and Obama are accusing each other of continuing Bush's spending plans (who knows if either or both will) and Glenn Beck, who I don't usually read, has an apt metaphor here:

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

Pregnant "Men?"

I continue to believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger movies are not real. Yes, he's the governor of CA, which is disturbing, but really...can we expect a new game show where professional wrestlers KILL prisoners? (American Gladiators meets Guantanamo Bay! Love it!) And yet, that classic knee-slapper "Junior" is suddenly a true story? Well...Good Morning America shocked me with the lead in that a MAN IS PREGNANT! I had to leave for work, but once I got here, I immediately investigated. Here's the deal: this woman had a "sex change" and is now a man. Well, duh. Of course a MAN can't be pregnant. But how could someone with a sex change operation still get pregnant? How bout if he STILL HAS A VAGINA?! I'm all in support of sex reassignment, but in order to CHANGE GENDER, you need to go the whole nine yards. Keeping your vagina, skipping hormone therapy, and getting pregnant DOES NOT make you a pregnant man. And you know what, I resent being told that you are a pregnant man. Cause it's not true. And you are just being a media whore...or media pimp. So, thank god, Arnold's films are still fantasies. Though if someone wants to send him to Mars, preferably SOON, I'm all for it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

HIGH SCHOOL FIRE ALARMS...

WHAT?! You may ask... I don't object to smoke detectors, they can stop unsafe indoor behavior:

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

LEAFBLOWERS...

Those of you on the East Coast probably know what THESE are, but have not experienced their true awfulness.Banned in Los Angeles in 1998, nary a day goes by that I don't see, hear, smell, and taste a leaf blower. As a child, I remember desperately wanting my dad to buy one, my young mind imaging blowing our yard refuse into a pile in a matter of mere moments...and now, I loathe every inch of them. Let me enumerate the reasons:

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:
http://www.zapla.org/
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!

NEW NAME!!!

I have renamed my blog, "Things That Should Be Abolished..." I stole it from an old post title and I think it can tie in with most of my postings...so here we go...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Re-WTF-ed...

Last night I watched Redacted, Brian De Palma's Iraq movie. His goal was to give a fictionalized first hand account of a group of American soldiers who broke into an Iraqi house, gang-raped and murdered a 14 year old Iraqi girl, and killed her family. This is based on a true story. Clearly, De Palma, like I am, is strongly opposed to this war and our presence in Iraq. However, this movie is SO vile (and if you know me, you know I enjoy some pretty rank shit), that it undermines his entire point. He shows these disgusting, disturbed, and utterly stereotypical soldiers in their mundane daily duties, with no redeeming qualities to begin with, and then GRAPHICALLY raping and killing. After that, they, of course, threaten their teammates and feel no remorse. He SORTA shows how the military tries to cover up the events, but the real focus of the movie is what heinous human beings these soldiers are. And you know what, a movie about how heinous people are teaches us nothing and completely misdirects our anger. Despite my utter disdain for this war and lack of any support for us being there (personally, I'd like to dismantle 80% of our military), this movie is wrong. Don't see it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Toilets And Hookers...

First of all, THIS is positively insane. You really must read it. I had to double check the URL to make sure I hadn't clicked on The Onion or something.

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

Safety, Amrrrrrca Style...

I know you've been saying, "why hasn't David taken on the TSA yet?!" Well, I meant to after a recent airport experience, but was sidetracked until I read THIS today. So, finally, here it is:

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

Too Much Lust, Too Little Caution...

Since I was asked, I finally finished Lust, Caution and found it a bit meandery. Lotsa lust, but bit too short on the caution (suspense). Similar to the reaction I had to There Will Be Blood, I was into the story and then for the last hour or so was waiting for there to be some pay off. And there never was. Characters were interesting, but I stopped caring about them halfway through. I'm also really not into sexual brutality for contrived reasons, so found some the sex perplexingly graphic and unnecessary. So there it is, since you asked.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Don't Mess With Caususes...

I've just been rolling my eyes at the stupidity of the Texas caucus, but I haven't really given it a second thought...BUT, I just stumbled onto THIS article detailing stupidity that could only come from the home state of our beloved Commander In Chief. To sum it up for you, a huge fight between a caucus precinct head and why she characterizes as an angry mob of Obama supporters occured, with the precinct head being pursued to the local police station by the angry mob. They may or may not have been carrying torches and pickaxes. No wonder the US is the laughing stock of the world. Pakistan's elections went smoother.

I Hate To Bring It Up, But...

I am an actor. I usually leave acting stories out of my blog, but I thought I'd share this one.

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.

FINALLY!

WENN has confirmed the question plaguing ALL our minds for years and years now! The answer...YES, Kelly Rowland (who?!) from Destiny's Child (oh, they're still around?) has BREAST IMPLANTS! Thank god for investigative journalism!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Don't Even Think About It...

I flew Virgin America Airlines in the first month they were in operation. While the seats offered no added comfort over normal airlines, the in-flight entertainment system was quite good and I liked that I could plug my laptop into the plug under my seat. Just driving through town, though, I noticed an ad for Virgin where a woman is BLOW DRYING her hair in her airplane seat. She plugged in her fucking BLOW DRYER and is BLOW DRYING HER HAIR on an airplane. I once had a guy eat Jody Maroni's garlic fries next to me on a plane and the utter inconsideration shown by bringing the smelliest food on earth onto an airplane almost resulted in my cramming his fries right up his fat ass, but I was able to restrain myself since it was a short flight. However, I gotta say, lady, if you pull out your fucking BLOW DRYER on a flight with me, neither a pesky sky marshall nor god himself could save you.

A Real American Hero...

I have reached a point in life where the announcement of a ridiculous remake or silly spin-off doesn't phase me. Making a live action Transformers? Whatevs. Cleveland getting his own Family Guy spin-off? Sure, great, fine. Justice League live action movie? Did you guys SEE THIS? I bet you can't improve on that too much, but what the hell. Now, making a movie out of one of my favorite childhood toys and comics, GI Joe? Okay, cool, lame, whatevs.....hang on a sec. When I think back, GI Joe in 1980 was fun...there was little actual killing, particularly of main characters. The bad guys were bad, but in a slightly Snidely Whiplash way, more so in the TV series than the comics. But the basis of these characters is really intense. Cobra is a terrorist organization. TERRORIST. The word has a different meaning now than it did back in my youth. These are homegrown terrorists with ENORMOUS financial resources who attack their own country. Heavy shit. Is this GI Joe movie for kids? It really can't be. But will adults sit through a war movie with characters such as Dr. Mindbender (so demented, he doesn't wear a shirt!), Shipwreck (wasn't he in the Village People?) , Cutter (who looks like your uncle who wants your 4 year old to sit on his lap a lot), and Recondo (who appears to have just stumbled out of British occupied Africa circa 1923)? GI Joe seems lost between deathly serious and utterly ridiculous. So how can you make a movie? According to Hasbro's (who clearly has no interest in the success or franchise potential of this film) recent MTV interview "I don't think you'd see this movie as wacky, I think you're going to see this movie as being inspirational for younger kids and totally in the sweet spot for the guys who grew up on G.I. Joe." Well, okay Hasbro, but I'm not convinced. AND, I don't think war toys are not what we need to market to kids right now. If it's something like Power Rangers, which are utterly ludicrous and unrealistic, fine, but an elite fighting force taking out terrorists...too close to home. You will either trivialize our current crises or assasinate our intelligence. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

The End Is Nigh!

I just had to zip from work to an audition and learned that the apocalypse may be on it's way. A landslide in West LA (I guess traffic CAN get worse!), a Metro Bus leaking natural gas, Times Square exploding...thank God I am back safe at a Los Angeles school amid the largest resurgence of gang violence in 10 years!

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

Linking To A Star...

This blog filled me with joy!!! So I link to it here. Looking forward to checking out the rest of the site!

http://www.toplessrobot.com/2008/03/the_12_smuggest_pricks_in_hollywood.php#more

Shopping With Champions...

Last night I went to the grocery store. The guy behind me purchased the following:
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.

Something I Should Never Do Again...

This morning, I read the newspaper. I now want to shoot myself in the face. A sampling of the stories I was subjected to:

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

Apprenez Du Fran├žais!

So I finally saw Michael Moore's Sicko this weekend. And yes, Michael Moore is very effective at driving his message home...often to a fault, I think. He's usually amusing, which is great, but one can definitely see the filmmaking in his work as he ratchets up the tension, using reversals (ie Sara is an American, fully insured and taken care of with no problems whatsoever...BECAUSE SHE LIVES IN ENGLAND! BAM!) and forcing dramatic situations like taking a group of uninsured 9/11 workers to Guantanamo Bay, where the prisoners get healthcare (come on Mike, if we don't treat their health problems, they will die...and then we can't WATERBOARD THEM! BAM!). But ultimately, Moore really does shine a light on our government and forces us to wonder why they WON'T care for their constituents. I think the most effective moment for me, one that I've thought about a lot over the past two days, comes during one of the least dramatic parts. A French doctor explains WHY he believes France has socialized medicine. He explained that the French people are willing to stand up to their government...if they are unhappy with policy, they protest and make their voices heard. The French people really CAN enact change in their government. One of the ways our government has succeeded in avoiding this is by keeping US citizens poor, uncared for, and frightened. If we DEMANDED healthcare, they would give it to us. If we DEMANDED that our children receive the education they deserve, they would get it. But instead, we are a country that complains quietly and feels unable to do anything about it. Don't just vote for the political candidate who has the nicest tie...tell them, "THIS IS WHAT I WANT, AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME OR I WON'T VOTE FOR YOU!" This is America...we're supposed to set a standard for "freedom," and yet we have one of the worst mortality rates IN THE WORLD!

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

The Neverending Story...

JK Rowling has a bazillion dollars. I believe that is literal and accurate. Harry Potter has made more money than Jesus. And you know what...it ain't that great a book! Sure, they are better than DaVinci Code and Sweet Valley High, and YES, I have read them all, but seriously...I never understood what all the fuss was about. Dumbledore is oddly ineffectual and could probably just kill all the bad crap and end the damn story in Book 1, but noooooooo that would be too easy. And how bout when they have those silly, contrived riddles and loopholes that end storylines in bewilderingly succint ways. I can't really provide tons of examples cause I don't retain this trifly shit well, but there was that one book where Harry and Dumbledore are in a cave and Dumbledore has to drink some liquid for some inane reason. I think it was in Book 6. It was real real lame and silly. Anyway, fine, it made kids read, that's swell, here's a godjillion dollars, JK, now go invest in something (I recommend a Pinkberry rip off chain).

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

Lessons From The Classroom...

1) There is a boy named IRENE in my class today. To the best of my knowledge, this is not a unisex name. In fact, as you now know if you clicked the wiki link, it's derived from a Greek goddess. When a boy answered during roll call, I almost yelled at him for answering when I called a girls name...instead, I called, "Irene!" again and when he answered, silently said, "WTF?!"

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

TUBULAR!!!!

I just returned from a week at Cornell, so nostalgia is coursing through my veins...and here I am, back at work and faced with MORE nostalgia.

Back in junior high, there was a craze for mini-skateboards that you "rode" with your fingers. Aptly, they were called fingerboards.

Fingerboards are similar to video games in that you can do skateboardesque tricks with absolutely no chance of cracking your skull, much like the video gaming ability to go on a murderous rampage with no physical or societal (though perhaps marital!) damage. Unlike video games, however, fingerboards are stupid and lame. And, as I blog, no fewer than 3 high school aged miscreants, right in front of me, are clickity-clacking their small toy skateboards on their desks. Apparently, this craze is back. Let's discuss:

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.
Anyone wanna add to those lists? I think we should require that all drugs, handguns, and fingerboards be exhanged for books. Kids should read. That would be neato, awesome, and indeed, tubular.

Friday, February 22, 2008

'07 Movie Update

I am out of town this week, thus the relative silence. I DID see Gone Baby Gone, however, and it is definitely one of the best '07 films. Both Afflecks do fine work, as do the rest of the cast. The film has a great Bostony feeling and the plot is always engaging. Rock on, Gone Baby Gone. I hope Ben Affleck will do more work behind the camera...and yes, I there is a double meaning to that desire.

Friday, February 15, 2008

State Of The Unions...

I am a member of three unions. Because I have to be. And because there ARE benefits to being in a union. It's not all roses though. One of the "benefits" of a union is "solidarity," which is great if you are trying to get a new contract approved, but not great when you are asked to forgo having a personal opinion.

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

Not HER Again...

This is NOT about Britney (I learned how to spell her name correctly thanks to you, dear readers). This is about politics...that involves Britney. Councilman Dennis Zine is proposing the "Britney Law" discussed here, here, and here. Basically, it's a 20 yard zone around a celeb that you can't violate. Waste of tax dollars. What concerns me the most is what Zine credits for inspiring this law...$24,000 ($25K in one article) was spent to escort Britney to the looney bin. Now just a second here...who authorized spending that money?! Seriously, who? Because they need to be fired IMMEDIATELY! If a celebrity needs private protection from an extensive police force, including a fucking helicopter, they can pay for it themselves! In THIS story, the LAPD says it was for public safety. BULLSHIT! Here's a VIDEO of this escort. I have the President with less of an escort. As a resident of LA County, I am furious that my tax dollars went to this. I sit in classrooms that look like they were made out of cardboard and watch kids unable to learn because there are 42 kids in the class and listen to the Governor talk about our huge budget crisis in CA that necessitates cutting money from schools. Well here's $24 fucking K that could have helped. I am disgusted by politics and wasteful spending...get your heads out of your asses people. Mayor Villaraigosa, PLEASE fire whoever is responsable for this disgusting display of wastefulness. And tell celebrities to hire their own bodyguards and escorts. I hear Blackwater does a good job. Meantime, LAPD, how bout catching the asshole who broke into a car at my apartment building (you know, your job) instead of pretending you are the secret service.

And no, I am not just bitter because it's Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Choosing A First Daughter...

It's Wednesday, so let's be petty and sexist, k?

It was just brought to my attention that John McCain has a daughter named Meghan. I thought I'd share some photos and thoughts:

Here she looks like an American Gladiator. It's kinda hot and sinister...reminds me of my childhood crush on the Wicked Queen in Snow White. She could kick the crap out of Chelsea.










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 would never put MY children on Youtube, but...

these are cute:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UCOPNuuGeKA
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=-fVDGu82FeQ

Movie Review: He Was A Quiet Man

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 Milton had brought a gun to work. In Quiet, Slater must cope with becoming an actual "hero," even as his own thwarted, insidious plans lingers in his head. Elisha Cuthbert is also good as the shooting victim he falls into an awkward romance with. A dark film about alienation, growth, pain, and manipulation. Not flawless, but refreshingly character based and enjoyable. Check it out.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Related To Royalty!

I just had to let you all know that my sister is the most popular person EVER! She has 1030 friends on Facebook. 1030! ONE THOUSAND AND THIRTY! She is WAY cooler than you and almost certain to be featured in the 2008 Guinness Book. Even my cousin Sam, a notorious pimp:

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

SPACED OUT?

Apparently NASA has launched Atlantis back to the space station. This may be an unpopular opinion, but WHY are we spending billions on NASA while people are starving, jobless, uneducated, and unable to afford insurance?! Space, "the final frontier," is super cool. I love Battlestar Galactica! But seriously, this space station is not making us safer or smarter. And the space shuttles were designed before I was born...no wonder they are falling apart. The only reason I can see to NOT shut NASA down is that there would be major job loss...but if we had those billions back in our coffers, we could help support the hard working NASA folks while they find new jobs.

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.

LEAVE HER ALONE!

I don't really care what Brittany Spears does. I feel bad that she's having so many problems, but she's not a personal friend and I'm not a fan, so it really has no bearing on my life. And yet EVERY DAY I have Brittany stories shoved down my throat. Good Morning America had a lead news story about her today because she was released from the hospital. Just leave her alone! I have a friend who would argue that being famous means she deserves this attention, but I would reply that while, yes, she puts herself out there and certainly has very destructive behavior patterns, WE, productive citizens of the United States, have more important things to worry about. Instead of listening to a mundane story about a crazy celeb or looking at magazines of celebs with no makeup on (what, they're REAL people under there?!), how bout you read a BOOK, they come in all levels, or watch a FILM, feel free to consult my 2007 movie pics, but seriously...you SHOULD NOT CARE what Brittany Spears does. And people, if you all stop paying attention...she'll go away.

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

Things That Should Be Abolished

Discussing politics this morning, I was struck by a friend saying, "nothing about the way we elect presidents is 'fair.'" I have therefore decided we must abolish the following things. If you don't know what they are, I've wiki-linked them...

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

The Future Of America

You think I'm gonna write more election babble, but you are wrong. I'm going to write about high school students. Apparently, there's some sort of underage myspace message which incorrectly informs high school students that by saying "it's an emergency," teachers MUST, BY LAW allow them to go to the bathroom. Even with their drug money, King Cobra 40, and 9mm prominantly displayed in their hands, the children expect me to believe they their bladders are full and they REALLY have to go or else they will wet themselves. Today, I have a brilliant young mind who apparently thinks the "emergency" line works in any situation, as he tried to get me to let him take a note to the office...it was, of course, an emergency. His note likely would prevent a catastrophic tragedy. Let's add the fact that this young man has NOT done his class assignment, and very possibly CANNOT do his assignment as he does not possess the mental capacity to read, process, and then respond to basic concepts of World History. If I'm not dead in 20 years, I shudder to think of the world I will live in.

Young People Are Dumb: Super Tuesday Begins In A Lackluster Fashion

I was listening to NPR last night and a female college student, voting in her first election, claimed that she would vote for Edwards, Obama, or Kucinich for prez, but she will vote Republican rather than for Hillary. Yes, reread it again...KUCINICH or REPUBLICAN before Hillary. I'm sorry, young lady, did Hillary kill your mommy and immasculate your daddy in front of your fraternity pledge boyfriend?! W...T...F?! How can someone hate her so much? Seriously. I understand her not being someone's first choice. Or not liking her even. But this is about POLITICS, people! The ever popular "would you want to have a beer with them" question is STUPID. People wanted to have a beer with GWB and I don't even need to enumerate the possibly irreperable harm he has done to the country. Equating Kucinich and Republican as both better than Hillary is the MOST ignorant thing I have heard in a long time. And I hear LOTS of ignorant things. It makes me want to throw up my hands and give up. Let us all pray that this young lady is a freshman and will learn something in the next 3 1/2 years.

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

Super Jewsday

Okay, so the Democratic party let Joe Lieberman down...I understand that. But I am sad to see him endorsing John McCain. I know why he's endorsing McCain though...cause Joe Lieberman is a warmonger...a democratic warmonger. And a stodgy old man. Enough with stodgy old men. But what really bothers me is that Joe Lieberman seems to be the most prominent Jewish politician. Now I could care less about religion in a candidate and I don't practice it myself, but since I have Jewish blood in my veins, I hate to see a face of Jewish politics side with war. Israel itself is contentiously militant enough...do we need it here? I vote for Chuck Schumer for new head Jew. Do you Chuck Schumer? Senator from NY. Cool dude. And a better Jew face than Joe Lieberman. Shame on you Joe. Shame.

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

FAVORITE FILMS OF 2007

Top Ten Favorite Films of 2007 (in alphabetical order):

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.


Runners-up:

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.


What's On The Menu Today?!

Last night, I was shopping at Vons, and this little old Asian lady behind me in line bought 2 gallon jugs of milk, 14 cans of whole kernel corn, and two packages of Hilshire Farms sausage links. Creamy Corn Casserole anyone?!