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.