Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Internet Made Me Do It!

When life goes awry, cross your fingers behind your back and point to the computer next to you.

It seems to me that any time someone does something stupid, and the internet is involved, people blame the internet, a non-sentient network of inanimate computers....anybody else see a problem?

I have prepared some scenarios for us to experiment with:

Scenario: A teen girl goes to a dark alley to meet a new friend she found on Myspace and gets kidnapped because her friend's a pervert pretending to be her same age. What went wrong?

Answer: A. Myspace or B. The Teen should have used common sense and not gone to the important disclaimer: The opinion here does not in any way condone, justify, glorify, make light of, or in any other fashion say anything about the actual events that prompted certain individuals to point an accusatory finger at the internet. i.e. I do not think suicide, bullying, or other such things are funny.

Scenario: a teen kills himself because he reads some mean things that his "friends" said about him on Facebook. What went wrong?

Answer: A. Facebook or B. The Teen had a clinical problem if he thought of killing himself, so its only partially the fault of his "friends" who were doing what kids have been doing forever.

Scenario: A man uses his credit card to buy a book from a website that he found on Google. The website offers no signs of being reputable and no way of checking its validity. The man is completely robbed by the owner of the site who escapes the law. What went wrong?

Answer: A. The Internet or B. The man is another of Barnum's born a-minute.

Answer Key: If you chose any "A" answers then shut up and get off of this computer. Maybe you can find yourself a Time-Machine that will take you back to 1985 when most people thought that the Calculator was a dangerous computing device.

If You chose "B" then you must realize that computers have become a part of a grand list of scapegoats including:

  • Communists
  • The Devil
  • Witches
  • Illegal Immigrants
  • That other kid on the playground who told me to do it

All of the problems that people like to attribute to The Internet are problems with the PEOPLE on the internet. The people are saying mean things and going into dark alleys of their own volition. Social Networking is like meeting people on the street, take the same precaustions.

It's time to stop blaming The Internet for the stupidity, frailty, and strangeness of people. We need to focus on the actual issues involved. For example: instead of banning Myspace, we should teach our children how to not be stupid!

We need to stop being stupid before the government steps in. Already, there are bills flying around that can ban all Social Networking from schools (that would include educational sites, as well as Myspace or Ebay). If people would start pointing fingers to the individuals who are really to blame, the out of date politicians can keep their spectacles on topics they can actually understand.

Or we could resign ourselves to writing new fairy tales for kids: Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Internet.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Right Between The Eyes: Shoot 'Em Up hits the spot.

He's a British nanny and he's dangerous. Clive Owen stars in the action film to end all action films.

When you go to see an action movie, what do you want to see?

  • Explosions  
  • Car Chases
  • Lots of blazing guns
  • hot girls
  • bad ass heroes
  • exciting escapes
  • daring deeds
  • bad ass villains
  • hot sex scenes
  • one liners
  • just enough humor
  • did I mention bad asses?
Why does anyone go to see a movie with Clive Owen in it?
  1. to see him kicking ass
  2. to see him being bad ass
  3. to see him kicking even more ass
  4. to see a complete removal of all asses in the film due to Clive Owens bad ass boot.
Shoot 'Em Up has all of this unlike any other action film; this film does not hold back. How often are we amazed by the skill and dexterity of our hero? While watching Antonio Banderas defeat of enemies in Desperado and Once Upon a Time In Mexico, or as we see Schwarzenegger remove an entire island of enemies from his path in Commando, it's easy to think, "I bet this guy could do anything! He could probably deliver a baby amongst all of that!" In Shoot 'Em Up's first scene, Clive Owen fights off 60-some guys with a gun, while he delivers a baby; he cuts the umbilical chord with a shot from his pistol. Don't we wish that we could have a sex scene and not stop the action? Clive Owen does his woman, and kills his enemy. Yes, he's that good. The bad guys "walk in" on Owen and Monica Bellucci with guns blazing. Clive grabs his weapon and dispatches the first wave without leaving bed. The two keep it up while our hero continues to blaze through his opponents.

Clive Owen plays a man with no name, no past, and nothing to lose (read the poster), known only as Mr. Smith. Isn't this the perfect action hero? He knows everything about any situation they are in. He hijacks cars, knows how to clone people, can fire any weapon, he's an expert marksman, he's got one liners down, is there anything else? Oh, yeah, he's British.

The villain, a high-ranking hitman played by Paul Giamatti, is perfect. Excellent at what he does to the point of absurdity. Brutal and full of great exclamations like "well fuck me sideways!" He's the perfect opponent for Owen's character. He makes great phone calls to his wife explaining that he's going to be away longer than normal on his "business trip". He's really trying to murder Bellucci's baby. Why? Watch the film.

I could never do this movie justice in a review, so go see it. It has a good plot that I have intentionally dodged and it's full of action. But this film achieves excellence with its wonderfully bad ass characters and hilarious situations. This film never pulls a punch and goes the whole nine yards of ammunition to have everything an action movie should. Watch Shoot 'Em Up, and see how bad ass one British nanny can be.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Music Industry says: Me want money!

The RIAA needs to shut up, grow up, and move out of the flipping stone age.

They have been happily untouched by ordinary people who would do such heretical things as:

  • tape TV shows

  • use Tivo

  • copy cassette tapes

  • use a photocopier

  • use a scanner

  • copy vinyl

Now, we can copy CDs; the RIAA can't stand it. They need to realize that this is the way the world works and stop trying to grab every bit of money they can. The sharing of MP3s is a natural response to the practices of the record industry as of late. High priced CDs and gouging for concert seats. The people are speaking out. The industry needs to let go and realise that CDs are being assimilated into the list I just gave. People will copy - people will share. Instead, the industry could use MP3s sharing as a way of advertising. Releasing certain MP3s into the net and having them spread around before the whole album is available for download. Whatever the plan that is used, the RIAA needs adaptation, not legislation.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Mexico, Shut Up!

Apparently, New Mexico has a problem with genius.

in response to USA Today's Article: Some Not Laughing at New Mexico's Ugly Alien tourist ads All of the quotes in this entry are from this article.

" "New Mexico has a lot to offer — we don't need to bring our standards down," said Ken Mompellier, head of the convention and visitors bureau in Las Cruces, the state's fast-growing second-largest city, which has refused to use the alien ads to bolster local tourism pitches, as it normally would. "

Right, so having a hilarious campaign is bringing your standards down? Comedy sells. It's not like the new campaign features a scantily clad woman lying in the beautiful New Mexico desert with the tag: "New Mexico, Hottest Place In The Nation"

"...And the things I'm hearing from people, some of it is very negative." -Mompellier

There are people who will say negative things about anything.

List of The Famous and The Historical about which "people" have said "negative" "things":

  • Lord Byron
  • Steven Spielburg
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Frank Miller
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The Cotton Gin
  • The 13th Amendment to the United States of America's Constitution
  • Eating Food
  • Using Electric Instruments (i.e. guitar, piano, organ, violin, etc.)
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Taichovsky
  • Dancing
  • and, yes, your mother

But this is what bugs me most:

" Chris Stagg, a marketing executive at Taos Ski Valley who serves on the commission, said Saatchi's creative team might come back to the panel's next meeting with a "less harsh" version of the campaign.
Aliens are fine, he said, but do they need to be creatures "that look like they're going to suck your brains out?" "

Okay, that is the reason that these ads are funny and attractive. The juxtapostion of the tourism scenes and the hideous aliens. In an interview by Ben Kharakh at Gary Rudoren, Author, Rudoren, an author of the book Comedy by the Numbers is quoted:

"Absolutely! Adding surprise and juxtaposition in your design as well as your comedy keeps the audience on its edge. If you telegraph humor or if you make your architectural moves obvious, you lose a great creative opportunity in my opinion. I love visiting a building that reveals itself to me more as I move through it and observe it. I love humor that keeps me guessing and takes unusual choices."

There's a good point! Also, consider Gary Larson's ingenious comic strip The Far Side. Much of the hilarity of Larson lies in brilliant juxtaposition. As in the episode where ketchup bottles are watching a horror film. The film shows a ketchup bottle broken with its contents spilling out. A mother kethup bottle is turned, talking to her young son saying, "Don't worry, it's not real ketchup." THAT'S funny! and THAT'S Juxtaposition and THAT'S why these aliens are ingenious.

These alien ads have won an award for a good reason. They are great. They remind me of Super Bowl ads that usually feature some sort of rediculous juxtaposition. To spell it out: a tourist bicycling through New Mexico is not funny; a hideous alien sucking the brains out of astronauts is not funny - but a hideous alien bicycling through New Mexico, THAT'S funny!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why Superman Sucks

Superman is defined by his superness. He has super speed, super strength, and super suckiness - to name a few.

I will admit that Superman has merit. He has a relatively cool costume. In the face of modern, capeless super heroes he boldly sports a red embellishment to his costume. And I can't deny the coolness of getting your power from the sun. It's also pretty bad ass the way really big, really heavy things can fall on him and he either catches them, or leaps from the wrekage unscathed.

The most bad ass thing that sets him apart from all the other super heroes, is that his alter-ego is not a super hero. All other heroes wear a mask to protect their normal selves from their super counter part. Superman, however, is super all the time. "Clark Kent" isn't even his real name. He hides his true self to protect his super alter-ego. That's pretty bad ass.

But that is the only truly redeeming feature of Superman.

Superman has the power I've always wanted: The Power Of Convenience. His abilities are exactly that of whatever is convenient at the moment. I remember when he had X-Ray vision that allowed him to see through walls. Next thing I knew, that X-Ray vision could burn holes in things. Oh, wait, no, that's heat vision. Wait...oh, he now has heat vision and X-Ray vision. Ok. What? oh! so he can also see really far and through solid objects. No, no I guess he can control his X-Ray vision so that he can see through some things and not through others. Got it.

Or how about Kryptonite. It use to just remove his powers. He became an ordinary dude and an assailant could actually hurt him. Now it makes him, I'm sorry, it completely incapacitates him. it just makes him weak enough that he can struggle to escape. Sorry, my mistake, Superman is actually paralyzed by the effects of kryptonite until the heroin can save him or until she is injured by the villain. I'm confused, I guess kryptonite's real effect is that it can kill Superman if he is exposed to it to long...unless he's trapped and needs to be rescued...but sometimes he has the strength to push the kryptonie away. The kryptonite always takes effect from 20 feet away...30 feet...5 has to be in clark Kents pocket.

On the convenience of plot note: What the hell is black kryptonite? email me if you know cuz I sure don't. and when did kryptonite come in red?
Is christmas evil on krypton?

Since we're talking about powers, let's talk about how LAME superman's powers are.

1. Impervious to Attack

Superman's greatest strength as a hero is his greatest weakness as a bad ass.
Look out! Oh, Wow! That car hit him and he's okay! Look out! gosh, that train hit him and he's okay.
Well, whadoyaknow, that building fell on him. Big surprise! he's okay!
Look, bullets don't work. Oh no, look out. A knife. Nevermind.
Hey, have you seen who won that hot dog eating competition? Superman? well, duh the bazooka didn't hurt him. did you see the article? That's some real news.

Superman's powers just get boring after a while. How long can you sit on the edge of your seat wondering what new thing won't hurt our valiant hero.

2. Super Strength

Superman is so strong that he can destroy anything on earth with various amounts of effort that range from "I can do that with two hands tied behind my back" to "whew, pass the lemonade, I kinda broke a sweat." The only thing he can't destroy is anything the writers make up for a particular story. Convenient.
This also gets old.
Oh look, he smashed/lifted/punched/kicked/carried/threw/smushed that thing! Oh, wait, thats idolatomantoriam! The only metel in the universe Superman can't break...except for that other thing from last week called marghchatite when he needed Lois to save him.

3. Flight

First of all, Superman never used to be able to fly. He could leap tall buildings in a single bound. The effect of "flying" was created when he jumped so far and fast that it gave the appearance of flight. Convenience dictates he can fly. And how does he fly in space...does he generate his own gravitational pull?

4. Heat Vision, X-Ray Vision, Super Hearing, Super Speed

Okay, so if Superman has all of these powers, how does he ever lose to an opponent? He should be able to hear them coming, see them if they are hidden, and blow them away with heat or get away fast. That goes for all of his other random abilities too! Super lungs? blow them away! Super-Anything, kick their collective ass!

In conclusion, Superman makes very little sense, can be downright boring or predictable, and has really really annoying villains. I won't even go there. I stopped watching saturday morning cartoons a while ago; I would like some good villains and dialogue.