Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Awright, I might not be posting here anymore, but you infuriating spammers have driven me back for a brief change of policy; no more comments for ANYONE!

Monday, January 18, 2010

In honor of Civil Rights Day

As posted last year, and as relevant now as it's ever been, Dr. King's "Letter From Birmingham Jail."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sorry, Minitrue doesn't work when you have the internet...

This short article somehow makes hypocrisy and untold atrocities funny. It's a more cathartic sort of laugh, but still.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

List Shock

Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade list intrigues me. I own 14 of the top picks, and I've heard 21 more and agree with most of them, though I'm strangely surprised to see such indie scene favorites as Arcade Fire and Cat Power sharing top billing along with more mainstream, "blah" (and here I editorialize) choices such as Coldplay and U2. This is the magazine that gives 4-star reviews to bands like Linkin Park while still recognizing rollicking, original stuff like TV on the Radio with similarly high scores. How can I reconcile that?

The publication's schizophrenia is reflected in the list of the voters for the feature. "Howlin" Pete Almqvist and Nicholaus Arson from The Hives along with Mary J. Blige, the Senior Vice President of VH1 and four members of Kings of Leon? Yoko Ono, The Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am, Lil Wayne and two members of Fall Out Boy? I can't criticize the list of voters - it's as diverse as music itself - but it certainly reflects Rolling Stone's weird desire to (and possibly ability to) hit every base possible with their commentary. Rolling Stone eats up the sort of by-the-numbers rock U2 has been putting out for the last decade or more in almost the same breath that they praise Bjork. I have trouble wrapping my brain around it, or even interpreting what this means. Certainly I don't have a specific point in mind.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010

From projectcensored.org, the "Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010," a.k.a. the "Top 25 Reasons To Avoid the Mainstream Media" (not just liberal bias kids!). Read and marvel, time and time again, how is this legal? And why is nobody talking about this?:


Wednesday, December 30, 2009


After eight years of denigrating human rights and weakening our country's principles when we ought to have been strong, Dick Cheney doesn't know when to leave well enough alone:
"He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war," Cheney said in the statement. "He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won't be at war."
None of this would be relevant - Cheney is plainly a despicable human being committed to atrocities and empire-building in the name of false freedom - were it not for White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer's comments on the matter, which solidify something that many of us have been thinking for some time:

"Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country," Pfeiffer said. "And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the president."

Pfeiffer also took issue with Cheney's contention that Obama was pretending no U.S. war with terrorists existed, saying the president and members of his administration have referred to being at war with al Qaeda several times.

"The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and -- unlike the last Administration -- we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies," Pfeiffer wrote.

Cheney's comments represent nothing more than the last snarl of a dog fleeing a property with its tail between its legs, the final whimpering relics of an international philosophy of justified brutality that ought to have taken its last breath by now. Let's see that it stays that way, desperate justifications notwithstanding.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Without racism, soldiers would realize that they have more in common with the Iraqi people, than they do with the billionaries who sent us to war."

Two videos in a row, though this one consists of so much unfiltered truth and poetic appeals to brotherhood that it cut through the malaise of my currently flu-addled brain:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Drivers who cannot handle snow

Speaking as somebody who lives in a fairly icy neighborhood, it does amuse me how people in less snowy areas totally lose their cool the moment the ice comes down. Schools and businesses close and everybody stays home, more to protect them from themselves than anything.

Take the drivers in the following video. You can hear the first one actually hitting the gas after the first collision.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A note on the ads

For some time, I've used Adsense ("Google Ads" in some vernacular) primarily as a simple way of keeping track of the number of visitors to my page. My earnings for the last couple of years sparked sharply over a period of a few months, and then stayed shockingly even. This blog has had 44,932 visitors and made me $28.62, which I will never receive because Google doesn't pay you until you reach $100 in earnings.

Anyway, I've never cared to monetize this blog, and the labor/payoff ratio is low enough that I've decided to just remove the two ads on the side, leaving only the one at the bottom which should stay nicely out of the way while still fulfilling my tracking needs. My previous philosophy was that a couple of unobtrusive ads might make me a few bucks and wouldn't bother anybody else. Now that the first part of that seems like it's never going to happen I might as well bother nobody.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Avatar Impressions

is not the shallow sludge of a movie that some negative reviews would lead you to believe. Nor is it the hyped "future of film" that, I'm convinced, nobody really fell for anyway. What it is is a mildly formulaic redemption story with more than its share of character, which uses its technology well and puts together some very coherent, enjoyable action that's as stylized as it is realistic.

What Avatar does well, most importantly, hasn't ever really been done before. This is the point, what people are saying when they call Cameron's latest epic the future of film. This movie's character comes primarily from its use of detail - the vast attention (and dinero) that went into the film is clearly apparent. For the first time, CGI creatures have quite literally the same personality and even charisma as human actors. I don't mean this lightly - in the massive scenes of congregated indigenous "aliens", you feel the same sense of organization and unity that you'd get from a crowd scene of dedicated extras, and the alien doppelgangers that the humans jack into Matrix-style mimic their facial expressions and demeanor with uncanny, blissful accuracy (the blue, CGI Sigourney Weaver in particular is incredible to watch).

It would be easy to dismiss Avatar as Pocahontas in space with a few technological gimmicks, but this would neglect the fact that all of the technology is being used in the service of the story. A somewhat predictable story in the hands of gifted cinematographers, animators who know what they're doing and some committed actors becomes as moving and involving an epic as any in recent memory. Even the actors playing sci-fi archetypes (the "bomb-'em-to-hell!" bulletheaded merc and the nerdy, ethical scientist) treat their roles with enough commitment that the movie is never shallow. This strong use of technology makes the film what it is, and the fact that none of this would have been possible even five years ago puts it firmly into the category of "modern" cinema. I fully understand why Roger Ebert cited the same feelings he felt watching the first Star Wars film in 1977 - this is an inventive, visually engrossing and, occasionally, moving film. The story is a couple of steps above mediocrity and the characterization more than a few.

The 3D effect, finally, is well-done, and never distracts from the story with flashy gimmicks (the kind that my oaf of a roommate insists upon). The main problems with cinema 3D, however, remain - a slightly blurry effect that makes focusing on quick motion or fine detail a little difficult - and your eyes may get tired for the first few minutes of the movie before you get used to using your muscles in that way.

In conclusion, I think that the film is well worth seeing, and since I'm not sure how well it will hold up on the small screen or second-run theater, I recommend seeing it now. It's nice to see a technological monstrosity employed for good rather than evil, and while the "plot" may be a little weak, the journey itself is handled very well, with action scenes that are not only fun to watch but actually matter.

[Note: Despite citing Ebert's review, I had not yet finished reading it when putting this together. Ebert makes his point regarding the film's action in a very similar way. The unintentional mirroring in my impressions review on that point is just that.]