Monday, December 31, 2007
And this is a fantastic documentary. It covers his presidential runs in detail, including the aftermath of the 2000 elections. I voted for Nader in '00 and '04, happily and unregrettably. I still can't fathom the logic of the Democrats who were rabid with rage after 2000 and blamed Nader for why Gore lost. As most rational people know, there were many factors behind the coup of 2000, but Nader's participation as a candidate was very low on that list, if it's on it at all. It's all covered, and to the filmmakers' credit, some of Nader's vocal, outspoken opponents are interviewed. Guys like Todd Gitlin and Eric Alterman, guys whose works I read and are informed by, do come off as total douchebags. And they should really know better. I never felt as if Nader set out to "spoil" the election, and research that was conducted (and is revealed in the film) validates that perspective. I remember for awhile afterward, when I told people that I voted for Ralph, they told me that I voted for Bush, and I'd tell them "you don't understand, New York's a safe state", and it just flew right over them. A lot of people aren't educated in the electoral college, I suppose.
What's worse to me are the turncoats like Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon, who supported and campaigned for Nader in 2000, yet then proceeded to turn on him in '04. That's the worst, just total hypocrites in my book.
I unregistered from the Democrats last week. I wasn't a Democrat to begin with (independent) until Kucinich ran in '04. He is running again. I like Dennis, he's a lot like Ralph on the issues and he's probably as close to a progressive Democrat as you're going to find. Unfortunately, he has no chance. I had to hear that a lot in '04, when I directed his campaign in western Suffolk. I was more idealistic back then, younger. But now, I realize that if a candidate like him had half of a ghost of a chance, he'd be shot. Besides, in '04 when he was told that he couldn't win, he said that he was running to move the Democratic party platform to the left. Which, on paper, makes sense. But just look at the Democrats in the '04 general election leading up to the present. They've been horrible and haven't stood up to Bush once. To me, that vindicates Nader's position in his campaigns. We're told that Nader's responsible for our last 8 years, but in the meantime, where the fuck were the Democrats?
Well, I didn't mean to get off track. Anyway, do see the Ralph Nader movie, "An Unreasonable Man". I'm not planning to vote next year, but the one exception I'd make would be if Ralph ran again. Run, Ralph, Run!
Now, as I've probably spoiled your good mood, let me rectify that. If you are in the New York area and it reaches midnight, rather than watch the ball drop and see lame musical acts on these New Years' specials, tune to Channel 11 for the annual Honeymooners marathon. It's over 50 years old, but I'm such a huge fan, as it easily blows the door off most sitcoms leading up to the present. The characters are just memorable and play so well off each other, and the lines and situations are really for big laughs. I can watch this for the rest of my years and it'll never get old to me, I'll still laugh my ass off, while most sitcoms leave me with a few slight chuckles, at best.
So, for what it's worth (if it is worth anything at all), have a happy new year.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I'm impressed that in this shop, you can even get an MSX computer. And there's games for the SNES, etc. Just a total heaven for gamers.
I am running out of room on my small shelves due to my always expanding DVD collection. I barely have time to watch them, but it's so damn addicting, I can't help myself. I'm also gonna treat myself in some fashion, I just don't know how yet. Oh, and I saw "Sweeney Todd" today with Johnny Depp. Very good film/musical.
I can't believe that I'm starting class tomorrow. I worked so much this past week that it just crept up on me. But I'm ready, I already got my reading done and just have to work on the assignments. Now I have to get up even earlier, at 7.
Again, I wish you and yours a great holiday and New Year too. This may not be much, but here's my special holiday gift to you.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, because I read that Boston Legal was a spinoff of The Practice, which I was never able to stand. It was so preachy, and I hated Dylan McDermott's character and that obese woman. But yeah, anyway, it's not like I don't watch enough TV already, and now I have another favorite show I have to watch.
I have a voter registration form that I'd intended to send out months ago. I'd put down that I was going to change my party registration, from Democrat to independent. I balked at the time because I couldn't believe that you had to pay for a stamp to put on the form, since it's going to the Board of Elections. But I'm so disgusted at this point that I'll swallow it.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I was reading about the "cheer chains" that have allegedly been occurring at numerous Starbucks' over the past week or so. A "cheer chain" is when a customer at a Starbucks drive-thru pays for the drink of the next customer in line, that customer pays for the drink of the next customer, and so forth. As cheerful and as in the spirit of the holiday as this sounds, and I hate to be an old fuddy-duddy and rain on Starbucks' parade, but I'm thinking these random acts are a little too perfectly timed with the "pass the cheer" slogan of Starbucks during the holidays. They're probably a product of Starbucks' PR machine, who needs all the good press it can get these days.
Anyway, I came across this website, NewsGroper, that has fake blogs from people like George Bush and Hillary Clinton. One of the parody blogs was from Gordon Ramsay, the guy who does the "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares" shows on Fox. I've never seen them, I try to make a habit of not watching reality television, but I hear they're uproariously funny. And "he" wrote this blog on the Starbucks "cheer chain", which is entitled "I Broke the Fucking Starbucks 'Cheer Chain'".
The blog is also uproariously funny, LOL, so please read it.
It'll never cease to amaze me how indifferent we are towards maintaining and preserving our most basic freedoms. It's like most of us were asleep when they taught us about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in school. I think I remember being taught that, I wouldn't be surprised if they stopped teaching it to the current generation of children and teenagers in school. When he told me what'd happened, I immediately thought of the Fourth Amendment (which prohibits the government from unlawful search and seizure) and probable cause. The police can't just lean into your vehicle and ask you "have you been drinking?" (or any other question, for that matter), without having probable cause. In other words, having a reasonable standard; such as you driving erratically all over the road. Simply making a police checkpoint and asking every driver, or even every other, or every tenth driver whether they'd been drinking makes the Fourth Amendment pretty worthless, IMO.
Shortly after finding out about this, I went to that most valued of sites, Wikipedia, and found the entry on sobriety checkpoints. I found out that eleven states have banned the use of sobriety checkpoints by law enforcement. Unfortunately, New York isn't one of those eleven. But far worse, I then read that in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are Constitutional. Reinquist, the Chief Justice, said that the state interest in reducing drunk driving justified a major breach of the Fourth Amendment. For anyone who thinks that the USSC started to go downhill with the Bush V. Gore decision, think again and look back to this decision. When looking at the Supreme Court, I'm reminded of Emperor Palpatine and the Sith. Powerful, arrogant people who use their ideology for ends that lead to unrecoverable damage to our freedoms, and like the Emperor and the Sith (at least from midway through Episode III to Episode IV) , totally unaccountable.
At least the people in this neighborhood kept partying and going on with their lives in the aftermath, denying the terrorists an important victory. Just a thought: I think the Iraqis are seriously lagging behind us musically, as the article says that people were listening to a sound system blare out the Foreigner song "I Want to Know What Love Is." Damn, I was in diapers when that song was a hit.
Friday, December 21, 2007
An article in Yahoo reminded me very strongly of this. Due to the mortgage crisis, there is a tent city in a South California suburb. It's a growing "city" that now houses 200 people, including several children. I feel this is probably a harbinger of things to come; one person with Catholic Charities says in the article that the rising home foreclosures are an indicator of a "trickle-down effect". In that once those who would have bought homes find themselves renting apartments, the people who would have rented apartments, well, who knows what they'll do now, and so on and so forth.
I have no doubt that we're on the path to becoming a third-world nation. It became apparent once factories began moving south and to Asia, leaving us with not much of a manufacturing industry to speak of, and then you add globalization and NAFTA and all the other stuff, and it's been downhill from there.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Besides, IMO, it isn't the job of the federal government or the schools to teach kids about sex. That responsibility rests solely in the hands of the parents, and it belongs in the home. Just like it isn't the job of the government to have programs like DARE. Can't parents simply tell their kids that drugs will fuck up your life?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The author, Ray McGovern, also refers to our policy of torturing terrorist suspects as a "Jack Bauer culture". When I read that, I thought of Orwell's quote, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." It's easy for all of us to play armchair quarterback and second-guess the actions that these men (and women) decide to take. But can it be a necessary act? If someone in custody knows of, say, an imminent attack (or heaven forbid, something having to do with nuclear weapons), IMO, torture would be a last resort, but still on the table. If living in a Jack Bauer culture is wrong, I don't think I'd want to be right.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It's one thing if it were in the adult women's section, but it was in the junior section (girls 12 and under) for $2.99.
Friday, December 14, 2007
But this is a pretty interesting video for those interested in gaming history:
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Just a note of caution: it takes time for the show to really stand out. Don't get me wrong, it's a really solid season, but the first few episodes are kind of slow-paced and give you the impression that it's a different show than what I described. But stick with it, and you'll be rewarded. The later episodes reach 24-like levels in intensity.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Maybe we shouldn't take it so personally. Politicians always need a whipping boy of some kind to deflect the responsibility from where it really belongs: inattentive, wandering parents. Before this, it was violent movies and obscenities in rock and rap music. But since politicians don't understand gaming culture, and again have probably never so much as picked up a joystick, they should shut the hell up and stick to more pressing issues.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
If this is true, I feel that it was a terrible thing to do, but I'm also convinced that we haven't heard the whole story. It's important to understand that most homeless people are human beings and probably have families, but a lot of them have very serious problems. When you work in a retail environment and deal with the homeless each day, like I did, you see that the negative stereotypes that are allocated to them are usually true. They aren't hygenic, they talk to themselves, they're usually very angry and are only one wrong word or gesture away from showing violent behavior, and they're disruptive and either beg people for money, or ask you to give them something for free.
I'm sure there are some real dicks out there who accost and harass homeless people for no reason, but I think it's important to give Starbucks the benefit of the doubt here. It's a private retail environment, and they do have the right to refuse service to anyone. Due to lawsuit concerns, I'm sure that isn't a responsibility that most employees take lightly. My personal policy towards the homeless, if I owned a business, would be the same as it would be for any other customer, with one exception: If you emit a foul odor (like feces or urine), sorry, but you're outta here.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
There is currently kind of an uproar in some elements of the gaming world about the departure of a Gamespot editor and reviewer surrounding a negative review he wrote and did a video on of a game called Kane & Lynch. The company's publisher, Eidos, has purchased lots of advertising on Gamespot to promote Kate & Lynch. So it's not hard to follow where this goes. This editor, Jeff Gerstmann, worked at Gamespot for ten years, and at the end, was locked out of his office and escorted off the property.
Due to our litigation-happy world, we will probably never know the full story of what happened, or if there was something else that led to Gerstmann's demise other than this scathing review. But if this is really the center of it, than it's disgraceful and inexcusable. Anonymous people from within Gamespot are writing of breaches in the wall separating the editorial staff from the sales department (the people who sell ads). So I could no longer look to Gamespot for honest, no-holds-barred reviews of games that I'm interested in. And as for Gamefaqs (which, again, is owned by the same company), who knows if the wrong kinds of user reviews are rejected?
I just see gaming, in general, moving in a direction I don't care for. I grew up my whole life around games. I can't relate with the mainstream crowd today who talk about Halo 3 or Guitar Hero, or these other kinds of games. I'm currently playing this neat little handheld of 8-bit Sega games. Columns is a game that's 20 years old, and I just feel this calming magic whenever I play it, that I just haven't been able to get in the newer generation games. It's kind of following a rock band from the time they're playing small clubs and releasing records on independent labels, and you feel special cause you're part of a small fan base, but then they break through into the mainstream, all of a sudden everyone and their mother is a fan, and they aren't special to you anymore, you kind of feel like they sold out. I know the analogy doesn't entirely fit, but that's how I feel about gaming right now.
I've heard all my life about how America is the land of the free, and that this whole shebang got started in the first place by immigrants from Europe who were marginalized for their religious beliefs and wanted to be able to practice them in peace elsewhere. But yet, it's been a constant for political candidates, especially those running for the Oval Office, to talk about faith and how they practice their religion. This is no more clear than this current situation with Romney, and JFK before him (who was, of course, Catholic). This guy's wasting important time, in which he can address far more pressing issues, so he can appease a few religious bigots so that he could, maybe, get their vote.
Faith, and how often someone practices it, isn't a litmus test for how qualified they are to serve in office, or in their capacity to use proper judgment and make the right decisions. Just look at Bush. As I recall, he made his faith a centerpiece of his 2000 campaign, and look at the job he's done in 7 years. Whether you get into political office should depend on your traits as a decision-maker, and your intellect, and your savvy, and on your ability to raise money (sadly, I'm not being sarcastic here), not on how often you go to church or pray to your God.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
If you're interested in this kind of thing, I really encourage you to seek out a site called Eidolen's Inn, which gives a very in-depth, comprehensive view of the history of Sega. It's very compelling, and a real treat if you love the history of games. To briefly clarify something, the reason why Sega was bleeding money and lost the war to PS2 had nothing to do with the performance of the Dreamcast console. The Dreamcast did an excellent job, and was a smash hit by the standards of the late 90's. It was due in large part to past mistakes. Sega overextended themselves with too many consoles, as was stated in the program. But something that wasn't mentioned was the decision by Sega of Japan to discontinue support for the Genesis, their most successful console, in order to focus on the Saturn, which proved to be a failure in North America. This cost them millions of dollars. SOJ were real boneheads, the arrogance of these morons never ceases to amaze me.
IMO, this is the best cover design for any DVD I've seen. It just captures the feeling of "24", and Jack Bauer, perfectly. Jack is, without a doubt, the most tormented character on TV today, perhaps ever. He has lost everything in the name of protecting his country. And that really came to a boil in Season Six, with the ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** killing of Curtis, after which he called Bill and told him that he couldn't do this anymore; his reuniting with Audrey, the woman he loves and the only person he has left, only to find that she's in a catatonic state; the involvement of his family (the Bauers get my vote for the most dysfunctional family on television); and his confrontation with James Heller in the last episode of the season, in which it all comes out.***SPOILERS OVER***
So, to me, this cover was just a natural. Jack is clearly at odds with himself and the world around him in Season Six, so this cover was just brilliant. But unfortunately, Fox isn't going with this cover. This will be the cover instead:
I like it, if it was the only one I saw, I'd be okay with it. The cover design isn't a big consideration when I buy my DVDs. But after seeing the first one, this just seems so damn generic. It's Jack Bauer in a typical badass pose covered transparently by the American flag. It's no surprise to anyone who's even heard of the show. But the first design is such an eye-opener, it looks different from anything else on the shelf. If it was something made by a fan, than I can't really fault Fox and the creators of 24. But if it was really being considered as being the cover and was turned down, than, shame on them. What a way to pussy out, for whatever reason.