Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

In a day and age where everyone is so leery of how to wish someone well during the holiday season, I find a heart felt, "Happy Holidays" to be socially sufficient.

And I mean it too. :)

The celebration that I grew up with was Christmas, but over the years I've found that my evolving belief system will no longer allow me to say, "Merry Christmas". You see, to do so would make it seem that I not only celebrate the birth of one religions pantheon, but that I follow it's covenant, and worse still - that I can only assume that you do too. In a world filled with many different spiritual beliefs and opinions on the existence of a higher power, I find this assumption annoyingly presumptuous and bordering on rude. The only thing that keeps it from being truly offensive is that most people who greet one another in this way, do so with the best of intentions.

It's that implied intent that we all have to try and remember this time of year, and really that is what has inspired today's blog entry. In the last few day's, my limited exposure to the major media outlets has brought to light the typical outcry of the offended. What catches my attention more often than not are thoses involving seasonal displays on public land or government properties.

As an atheist, I am not offended by such displays and especially in public places. To me this is simply a matter of free speech, and so long as anyone can take part, I see nothing wrong with it.

Decorations on government property do come under greater scrutiny due to the supposed separation of Church & State. I wont lie to you, I would love to see any mention of religious belief stricken from all corners of our government, from swearing on a bible to the "In God We Trust" on our money.

A government building, represents everyone and so should it's aesthetic nature.

If I am a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha'i, agnostic or an atheist, I should be able to accept that the majority of the populace celebrates a particular religious belief. I should also be able to accept public displays of that majority faith as well.

However, when I go to a government office, a place that should show no sign of religious bias, and I find it festooned with all manner of Christian symbolism, it's hard for me to believe in a lack of bias and the assurance of equal rights and protections.

This subject was recently an issue in the county in which I live, it seems that an alleged atheist was offended by the decorations, and in particular those topping a Christmas Tree in a government office. After the complaint was formally received, the decorations were removed and I agreed with that decision.

While I'm not in love with what the holiday season has devolved into, I do love decorations, I love the smell of pine in the air, I love light displays in neighborhoods, and yes I even enjoy a lovingly crafted nativity scene.

There's no good reason for decorating a government building, small personal displays in private cubicles aside, there are better things for those tax dollars to be spent on. Better would be that those funds were given to charitable organizations, feeding the homeless and helping people find work.

Remember folks, this is supposed to be the season of GIVING, not DECORATING.

Joe

Friday, November 6, 2009

Somebody tell me how...

Before I say anything else on the subject, my condolences go out to the friends and family members of the victims of the Fort Hood tragedy. No one but those who are suffering from this dreadful incident can truly understand the kind of pain that they're enduring now.

With that said, I have but one question to chant like a mantra, over and over again...

How?

  • How the heck does someone like Nidal Malik Hasan become a member of the this countries military?
Yes, as I type this I do realize just how loaded with racial and religious bias this sounds. Let me make my feelings clear, I am human, I am subject to all the conditioned feelings that the last 42 years of my environment have instilled, but I am keenly aware of them and I do not let them take over my objectiveness freely. My understanding is that Nidal is a citizen of this country, born here, and subject to all the rights and rules of any other US citizen.

As a US citizen, one of the many opportunities that you have is to join the military, Nidal chose that path and more power to anyone that does. What I'd like to know is...how?

  • How the heck did this guy get checked out as a stable individual worthy enough to be not just a soldier in the United States Army, but an officer?
Again, I don't care what his parents nationality is or who the heck he chooses to worship, what I'd like to know is how?

  • How does anyone obtain the rank of Major in the US ARMY without having a background check, one that should include a thorough psychiatric check.
Yes I do still realize that people are going to wonder at my motivations, am I suggesting that we should we perform this sort of check on everyone or just people of Muslim faiths? Again, I don't give a rats ass about your ethnicity, your sexual proclivities our your religion. What I do want to know is, as a person of rank, someone who holds a position of authority and can command others, do you have the mind set for the job?

Nidal Malik Hasan, clearly should not have been a soldier in the US ARMY, let alone hold the rank of Major. Reports of his allegiance to his faith over his service as an officer in the military of his birth country should have set off alarms long before Thursdays tragedy.

I guess that as much as I want to avoid it, or deny it, this does bring up the nasty subject of ethnic and religious profiling. As I said earlier, I too am subject to the effects of conditioning that my lifetime has instilled, but I'm aware of them and I do try very hard to consider how those feelings can effect my judgment.

When I see a man of Middle Eastern Descent sharing the same plane with me, my instincts are immediately defensive. All manner of media inspired prejudices begin to play in my mind for at least the first few seconds, until I remember where they are coming from, and I get a handle on them. It does not help me or anyone else who deals with these occasional insecurities, when a man like
Nidal Malik Hasan gives further fuel to the stereotypes.

The truth, is that anyone could have flipped out last Thursday, but because it was this man, our ability to interact and trust an entire culture, has eroded even more. Of course that works both ways, now if your a member of any Middle Eastern culture or creed, and you live in this country as a citizen or a visitor, you get to live with an ever growing measure of distrust over your own motivations and of those you interact with everyday.

As much a we all hate the term, as a species and indeed a predatory one, we (all of us) profile people. It's a survival instinct, we categorize people from the moment we meet them, we add details and update those profiles in our minds during and after every encounter. How we act on those profiles, how we let our own misconceptions effect our actions towards those people is where the term "Profiling" get's a bad rap.

I do believe in the use of profiling, especially when dealing in matters as sensitive as the security of this country and in the screening of people who wish to enter the military. Will people be offended by this, will they feel they are being singled out? Yes they will, but its the reality we live in.

On a personal note, I have friends and extended family members who are citizens of the US by either birth or immigration, and are of Middle Eastern Descent. Because this country has not seen fit to provide a solution in regards to air travel, they are not allowed the same check in procedures as I am, and that's wrong. Is this profiling? Yes. Is this profiling effected by misconceptions and a poor system of administration? Yes. Should it be fixed? Hell yes!

So how do we move beyond the Fort Hood tragedy? Carefully, and with an understanding that our world is effected by limitless misconceptions. There are a lot of people out there teetering at the edge of that chasm we call sanity. They are of all descents, religious beliefs, and color. They are your neighbors, your friends and your family. Heck, I've been there once or twice myself.

Joe

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wake Up you Fools!

I live in a country populated by far too many idiots. But before you misunderstand me, let me define my use of the term, IDIOT. An idiot isn't someone uneducated, or stupid, an idiot is someone who cannot face facts without trying to cover them up, or someone who chooses to simply deny their existence.

I will not say that I have not been affected by this affliction of idiocy, I'm just as capable of being an idiot as anyone else. My only hope is that I feel I've been imbued with a fair measure of realism, and that sometimes helps to counter act the level of idiocy I project.

So why am I ranting, again, what has awakened the sleeping couch potato?

This morning's Google news flash from CNN...

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain said any added military deployment in Afghanistan smaller than the 40,000 troops reportedly requested by the top U.S. commander there "would be an error of historic proportions."

Of course any news worthy event that devours our American Tax Dollars at a rate of $1000.00 a second, has consumed well over $228 billion dollars over the last eight years, and has cost the lives of hundreds if not thousands of American soldiers, tends to get my attention.

CNN went on to ask the following question of McCain...

Asked whether he thought the war in Afghanistan could be won with fewer troops than Gen. Stanley McChrystal has reportedly requested, McCain said, "I do not."

It wasn't McCain's answer that pissed me off as much as CNN's question, specifically the use of the term "won". Like it was a game that we were playing, and trying so desperately to win.

Let's review the reasons for our invasion into Afghanistan, shall we?
  • We were assaulted by a bunch of thugs living in caves in the mountains of Afghanistan, and as a result, nearly 3000 people died.
  • The Taliban government, who then ruled Afghanistan, refused to cooperate in helping us to track the murderers down.
Those are the two most obvious reasons, or at least the ones that mattered to the average Joe.

So if we were to treat this war as a game, with the necessary objectives that must be met in order for us to win, and based upon the two reasons we invaded Afghanistan, where are we eight years after the start?

What objectives have we met, what were the objectives?

The average Joe would declare the main objective to be obvious, track down the leaders involved in the attack, with special emphasis and the game winner, to be the capture and or death of Osama Bin Laden.

Secondary objectives might involve dismantling of the Taliban government, and installation of a new, more democratically elected government.

So the score, just in case you weren't keeping track, Visiting Team has 1 point (though it's highly debatable) for dismantling Taliban governance over Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda? Well damn, like roaches living in the cracks of humanity, they're giving us a scrappy little fight aren't they?

But hey, that's not a bad score, I mean the game is tied up and that makes for some exciting TV!

We've done some great work for the citizens of Afghanistan, we've freed them of the Taliban..., what wait a minute...are you shitting me? Folks, it turns out that we haven't gotten rid of the Taliban at all, turns out that they were just regrouping for the next quarter!

Wow, that's quite the game losing fumble for the single remaining Super Power in the world, don't ya think?

No apparently we don't, think.

What this Veteran of Vietnam, made famous by his capture and subsequent survival at the hands of a vicious enemy, wants more than anything in the world, is to not to be a member of a losing team again. What John McCain fails to see, and what CNN fails to report is the facts, and the facts are that we have already lost this game by default. We've lost and were still losing lives and dollars on a game that should have already been called.

Game over people, lets get our boys and girls back home, let's start spending at the same rate of $1000.00 a second on the things that should really count, like health plans for everyone, like eradicating our needs for fossil fuels, and securing our borders enough that we won't ever have to fear another 9/11.

Joe

Friday, September 11, 2009

District 9

Wow!

OK, this is the very nearly the best film I've seen this year. I'd seen the teasers for this movie for a couple of weeks prior to it's opening day, and decided almost immediately that it was not gonna be worthy of buying a ticket. I'd come to the conclusion that it was going to be some farcical, poorly done piece of satire about aliens and humans just trying to, "Get Along".

I was so very wrong. My movie friend would laugh and tell you, "No surprises there!"

Hey! You laughed far too quickly on that comment, movie friend.

As always, I do hate to do a review and give too much of the movie away, but what I will tell you is that this movie is so good, it should be relegated to your classics list if you collect them.

District 9 is a masterpiece, a unique story wrapped in a real world parallel, with reenacted scenes that actually took place in South Africa during the height of Apartheid. Just in case your reading this and don't recognize the term, I've linked it to Wikipedia, go ahead, click it and educate your self.

For those of you who understand what South African Apartheid was, the depths of depravity that were committed in that time and place against human beings who's greatest crime was the color of their skin, then this movie will bring it all back to you.

If you start to laugh during the ghetto relocation scenes, stop, and realize that this isn't a joke, this sort of thing was actually done to real people. The treatment of the aliens in these scenes is not some outlandish machination or parody of what someone imagined it to have been like as a native South African, this was as close to experiencing what really took place, without having been a participant. I wont lie to you, it's ugly.

This is not for young children, I'd relegate it to adults and young adults, 12 and over but only in the presence of an adult who can follow up with further education on what really took place in South Africa.

So to close, go see District 9, it was totally awesome.

Joe

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Desperately needed...finance reform?

Hey folks,

Guess what? The Supreme Court went back to work today and the topic of discussion was the oh so compelling, special interest, corporately funded argument for election reform.

Why? Well, it seems that an act of congress passed in 1907 is spoiling these corporations efforts to continue to purchase and own the votes of publicly elected politicians. The Tillman & Publicity Act's of 1907 and 1910, set limits to campaign financing for corporations, and ensured that full disclosure of these contributions be made available to the public.

I'll admit, that until this morning, I didn't even know the name of this law, but anything that stands in the way of corporations having the right to own the vote of politicians that are supposed to be serving the public, should be squashed. I mean come on, where's the fairness in allowing disclosure?

How the hell are corporations supposed to work in the shadows, perverting everything that stands in the way of their need for profit, when any Joe can look up their local representative on the internet to discover whose interests they best represent?

The Tillman act is part of a socialist agenda meant to handicap large corporations, whose tenuous existence barely survives with limited liabilities, Constitutional recognition as individuals, tax loopholes you could drive whole armies through, and profit margins barely in the billions.

These act's needs to be rescinded immediately! That way, we can move on to more important stuff, like dissolving the House and Senate entirely and replacing them with a business council headed by Donald Trump!

Yeah! Can't you picture it? I mean, if we just let the corporations have their way, we wouldn't have to bother with public voting at all. Lets just trust them to decide what was best for all of us.

It would be a god damn modern day utopia! Oh yeah, I wanna be a part of that reality.

Joe

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Ah well,

With the end of the week comes this weeks movie in review...

Taking Woodstock appears to be Ang Lee's interpretation of how events leading up to and during the three day music festival might have effected the life of a quirky Jewish family running a motel in the small town of White Lake, New York.

The movie was not quite what I'd though it was going be. Sure it had all the funny stuff that you'd expect and caught in glimpses from previews, but really by the time all was said and done, I was asking myself one question. Where the hell was the music, man?!

I mean at some point, you knew it was coming and I didn't exactly have my heart set on listening to Joan Baez. I wanted to hear some of the good shit, like Jefferson's "White Rabbit", Santana's "Soul Sacrifice", or The Who's "Tommy". Good grief man, give us some Joplin belting out "Piece of My Heart", or at the very least, just a taste of Hendrix...please!

I went to see this movie with two very good friends, and while waiting for our orders at the BBQ Smokehouse in Sebastopol, we discussed the movie. I love to listen to these two, because they have far greater depth than I when it comes to analyzing any sort of production. It was unanimous, we were all surprised at the nearly total lack of representation in regards to the MUSICAL experience that was Woodstock.

My friends were much more knowledgeable about the details of Woodstock then I, they'd seen the documentary, and they knew all the facts. For instance, the actor portraying the big hair producer was a dead ringer for the actual Michael Lang. They were able to spot every portion of reenacted file footage, from the set up at Max Yasgurs 600 acre farm, to the chaos of unprecedented traffic induced highway closures, and piece sign flashing nuns.

It seemed to me that Ang Lee's vision was more a story about the atmosphere that surrounded Woodstock, and not so much the event itself. The main character barely made it to the event and even then only after reluctantly partaking in an acid trip with a very friendly couple in the back of a Volkswagen bus.

As I sat and listened to my to friends talk about what they thought of the movie, a word crept out more than once. I think it best described what the director had provided far too much of, and in my opinion rather poorly, stereotypes.

I was two years old when this event took place and quite literally living on an island in the Pacific ocean, so I couldn't have been more removed. Even still, from what I have gleaned in my forty some odd years, Woodstock was many things to many people, but to me it has always been about the music, really damn good music.

Politics, religion, and ethnicity, have always been bridged by this thing that we all love, good music.
That to me was what Woodstock was able to do for three short days in 1969.

So to sum this movie up, I'd say it was entertaining, and worth the watch - just not so much at the theater.

Next week, District 9.

Joe


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boycotting...clearly Un-American effort to kill free speech...

Uhm...what the hell?

That's what I said when I heard about the Wall Street Journal's publication of Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey's feelings about the Public Option plan. So here we have the figurehead of a corporation, who's business is literally revered by it's liberal minded customers, giving his opinion on health care reform and the so called Public Option plan.

Just so you know, I am not a fan of large corporately run grocers or big box stores. I avoid them as often as I can, as I prefer to keep my money spent, local. I do categorize Whole Foods as a corporate franchise.

Whole Foods is thought to be a bastion of organically grown, democratic liberalism. Apparently that is a misconception, if you doubt me, please feel free to read the conservative right tripe, that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, has parroted for an industry that has brought you the finest health care system in the world...err...well the 37th best.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

As you can imagine, this has sparked a growing movement to boycott Whole Foods markets.

So guess what? All those folks out there that were real big on the "Tea Bag" movement sponsored by various (one in particular) news outlets, are now stating that this sort of boycott proves that commie liberals are out to squash free speech.

I'm sorry, did I miss something here?

What frustrates the heck out of me, is that while I support health care reform and the need for a Public Option, it's only going to aid the ignorant fools who fight so hard against it, to breed more of themselves!

It's a hard thing sometimes, to be right.

Joe

Friday, August 21, 2009

500 Days of Summer

OK, I do recall a promise I made to Anne that I'd do a review on this movie.

"500 Days of Summer" is a very nicely done, love story. It is a love story, none of us bought the add, did we? This was a delightful film, done with a measure of cinematography that was very refreshing.

I'll admit, there was a brief scene where I was terribly worried we'd gone to see a musical, that would have been a very painful event for me, as their is no faster way to put me to sleep than to make me watch a filmed musical. If I want to see a musical, I'll go to a live theatrical play, which admittedly is very rare. :)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows us again the depth of his acting talent, this kid is good! He's got Heath Ledger looks but with a depth for acting that I think is still relatively untapped. Of course I didn't exactly go to see him so much as my latest female favorite acting talent, Zooey Deschanel.

Deschanel has been a favorite of mine since the 2000 release of "Almost Famous", she like Gordon-Levitt, has such tremendous depth and appeal that I would imagine we'll all be seeing her for quite some time.

So as usual I'm not gonna give much of anything away, this was a film that many if not most people who've been friends with someone they wanted to be more than a friend with, can easily relate to. As a guy, I can certainly relate to the Gordon-Levitt character.

Go see it, it's good clean fun! :)

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/500daysofsummer/


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Charlie Brown Scream...

Wow!

Pardon my French, and this is wholly directed at the current administration, the political party that owns both houses, and declared the Public Health Care option dead. WHAT THE F*%# ?!

This one goes out to all the folks who behaved like chickens in a hen house, and suddenly started defending the fox when the farmer came out with his gun to save them, WHAT THE F*%# ?!

This one goes out to my friends and family that read and listen to my rantings, I'm sorry, I really thought these guys had the juice. I helped them get there, I gave them my money, I gave them my commitment and extolled their virtues. (OK maybe just Obama's virtues.)

F***************%# !


OK, enough expletives for now, after all, I gotta save some for work too.

So...what next? I really don't know... Hey, here's something freakishly bizarre, yet another well written bit of commentary posted on CNN of all places. Heck this is the second time in a week that they've actually posted anything worth reading.

This is gonna cheer you all up, this guy is gonna explain why a lot of us haven't gotten much better than a 3% raise in the last ten to fifteen years. Enjoy!

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/18/reinhardt.health.inflation/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn

Awe heck, if you really want to read something to put you in a better mood, go check out Jim's latest rant. It was so damn funny, I nearly spotted!

http://www.stonekettle.com/2009/08/things-that-chap-my-ass-about-commuting.html


Joe

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saving Grace

All right - I was all set to do some serious short story fiction this morning and made the mistake of reading my messages...damn it! The following mad tirade was originally posted on Fancast because as usual, I couldn't keep my mouth shut!

So...I got an email from a very good friend today, the one that makes sure I understand what quality content in media is all about, specifically Film and TV. Turns out that TNT may be canceling a very good show called "Saving Grace", maybe you've heard of it?


Though not quite as bad as hearing about a loved one or close friend dying, there is always a measure of disbelief and sadness that follows. Course, then comes the disgust and bitter disappointment with networks, who can't see or appreciate the art, and magic of a perfectly cast and intelligently written show.

But here's the problem folks, the networks who bring you the good with the bad, are in the business of making money. Show's more often than not get canceled because they cannot meet the required Nealson ratings. So who's at fault here, the network who gave you a taste of something really good, or the public who failed to watch?

It would be easy to state the obvious, given the cold hard facts, but it's more complicated than that. We are a strange society, populated by honest and hard working folks, many of whom came to this country through unbelievable hardship, but endured long enough to make it here. Whether born to citizenship in this country or harder still, earned citizenship, the vast majority of us has chosen at the end of our long day, the simpler and more immediate means of gaining our cathartic high's.

Material wealth, alcohol, sex, explosions and voyeurism have become the tactile, visual, and audible drugs of choice. Networks didn't decide one day that they didn't care about the content of what they produced, most of them started out believing that what would make them great, what would drive their ratings through the roof and make them profitable, would be great content.

We as a society, have proven that content, more specifically the quality of content isn't always all that important. Those in the networks directly responsible to their shareholders and insuring that they meet their 10% increase in profitability every year, discovered this after hiring new marketing and research experts.

These corporately groomed, ivy league, businessmen and woman didn't bring creative talent to improve the content of the networks' programming. What they brought, was the cold, calculated drive to increase the size of their commercial accounts, and reduce their operational expenses.


Through research, it was determined that the concept of Reality TV, a genre we actually started in 1948 with shows like "Candid Camera" , was garnering some serious ratings in Britain, and without much expenditure.

So in came the great network experiments, the birth of "Cops" and MTV's "The Real World". We all watched, they were something new and interesting and the ratings were impressive enough to start the inevitable domino effect that has lead us to where we are today.

We have reached a level of saturation and acceptance of this genre's ever devolving means to entertain through the use of glorifying the most socially depraved forms of human interaction. This viewer wonders just how far off is it before extreme fighting to the death for convicts facing life or death sentences, becomes the next network rating's wet dream come true.

Oh dear, now I've done it...some network toady who's brother manages a privately owned prison, is gonna see this and freak out!

So how do we keep shows like "Saving Grace" from dying an early death? We have to stop watching the crap, no matter how tempting it may be, and start watching the good stuff. More than that, we have to convince our friends to do the same, and that's the real challenge.

Anyhow, I'm ranting and I'm sure most of you saw this ridiculously long post and gave in to what effects us all, our inability and lack of time to concentrate on anything more than two or three paragraphs. Heck, even I would have probably scrolled right past.

Oh well, at least I don't have to live with the guilt of giving birth to nationally syndicated and televised death matches using convicts, it's an old concept. If you want to see the latest film that takes advantage of this, trust me, it's coming to a theater near you.

**** 3:15PM - Little update on this cancellation notice, it wasn't TNT that killed the show, it was the studio - Fox TV! Oh I despise these cretins...they were the bastages that killed "Firefly" too!***

Joe

Friday, August 14, 2009

Town Hall Debacle

OK - I can live with the scared and ignorant folks who have been attending these town hall meetings on health care reform, but it's the politicians who know better, the ones that continue to perpetrate the lies that feed the fear and ignorance that have really been pissing me off.

These parrots of the the current health care "INDUSTRY" don't care a lick about their constituents, they only know how to suck greedily at the teat of corporations that have bought their vote.

That's right folks, your politicians are really NOT yours. They vote where the money is, just how many thousands of dollars have you given your senator or congressman lately? Are you sure they're representing your best interests, or the best interests of someone who's come in with a better offer?

We allow this shit people, lobbyists and former lobbyists (don't think for a second they ever stop being lobbyists) have infiltrated every inch of the fabric that is this countries political system.

Their job is not hidden from us, they are not nefarious villains skulking in the shadows, they are part of the political process, and their job is to buy votes! Just so you understand, they're not just going door to door, blasting you with radio and television adds, they are going directly to the politicians and tempting them with money to forfeit OUR rights to representation.

Many would say, "Yeah but that's capitalism!" I see it for what it is people, legally sanctioned bribery. And yeah since "Extreme Capitalism" is what this country runs on, then yeah I guess it is capitalism. It doesn't make it right though.

I'm not going to try to rescue the folks who have fallen to the dark side of the health care reform argument, they are beyond my help and they don't want it. For those who timidly put out a hand asking for some clarification, I'll be more than happy to help them up.

Folks, if your trying to see beyond all the bull that various sources of media are spewing at you every minute of the day, and your looking for the truth, I've got good news and bad news.

Lets start with the bad news, their is no one source to which you can go to and be assured that they are giving you concise and unbiased information. Their is no radio station you can dial to, no channel on your television called "Truth", though their are a few that come to mind who make that claim almost daily. :)

The good news, is that if you've actually read this particular rant of mine this far, you have been blessed with a mind still capable of a talent that is sadly lacking in our society and classrooms, critical thinking. You have access to the most powerful tool ever given to people living in the free world, the World Wide Web.

Your going to have to visit dozens if not hundreds of sources to research this topic, remember that most are going to represent their arguments for or against health care reform. Your going to have to glean the truth from the fiction on your own. I can give you one hint to aid you in your process of dissemination, if the web site you visit starts out strongly lambasting the current administration, you can bet your ass that they might be skewing the facts a bit to best represent their argument.

Good luck...

Joe

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tribute to America's Know it All...

We've all known someone like this in our lives, many of us have known more than one, these are people who have opinions on just about any subject and are never too shy to share. Awe crap, I just defined myself...but seriously, the one I choose to pay tribute to today is...a professional.

Today I choose to say thank you, to a person who's very name causes such perceptible disdain, when mentioned in certain circles, has actually given cause for many people to begin foaming at the mouth and swearing out loud.

This man has gone to great lengths to show us the evils of monolithic corporations, specifically their effects upon our society through their heavy handed influence of government offices. He has worked to expose a recent presidency that used its influence and power to fill the pocket books of the rich and filthy rich, while driving the rest of us honest folks straight into the bowels of economic depression.

In 2007 he produced a movie that attempted to shed some light on America's "For Profit" health care system. So accurate was this documentary that Wendell Potter, the former top public relations Executive with CIGNA, told Bill Moyers, "I thought that he'd hit the nail on the head with his movie."

* Ref: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07312009/profile.html

Moyers interview with Wendell Potter is the clearest, and the most honest revelation of this countries health care companies motivations and actions.

If you are still uncertain about the reasons why some politicians continue to support the status quo while denouncing the introduction of a public insurance option, do some research damn it! Find out more about your senators, congressmen & woman.

What are the connections between them and vested special interest groups who represent the current industry as a whole? What you'll find may be shocking at first, but trust me, you'll soon come to realize that a heck lot of these public servants have been bought with campaign finance. It's the accepted practice throughout the land folks, and the only way to stop it is to expose it, over and over and over again. Why so often? Well, because humanity as a whole is afflicted with a combination of short term memory, and a state of apathy that has been nurtured since the creation of the first corporation.

Sorry...I get a bit emotional when it comes to healthcare.

So getting back to my tribute, I've always been a fan of this individual, and I have gladly endured putting up with the derision that comes from friends and family. You naysayers can bitch, whine and snivel all you want, but the truth makes it impossible to ignore just how much Michael Moore has gotten right.

As a self proclaimed know it all, I am also a realist, in that I know that I am not always right, and in fact, more often than not - wrong. In this particular case, I will simply state, "The majority of regular folks who make a point to slander or discredit Michael Moore, are simply ignorant of the facts. Their ignorance is either conditioned by their environment or their fear of accepting the truth, that those we were taught to trust, have sold us out for their own profit.



Joe


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Movie Review - "Julie & Julia"

All right,

I know what people might say - if people actually read this blog, "Dude! That's like, a total chick flick!"

OK, first let me address those who might say that and accuse me of being limp wristed, "Bite me!" I apologize to no one. I like a well written and well acted movie, and the crap that the industry spews out on a regular basis is really tiresome.

I owe my taste in music, art and film to a select group of people in my life who understand that content and more importantly the quality of that content in any artistic field is all that really matters. In the area of film, I owe to one of my best friends (a woman) the joy of having seen some of the best films ever. The minute we saw the trailer for "Julie & Julia", we both agreed it was a must see.

Folks, this movie could not have been casted any better, Maryl Streep damn near channeled the Julia we all grew up with, Stanley Tuccii is as near to perfection as one can be, and I'm totally enamored with Amy Adams as Julie.

How to describe this movie without giving anything away..., it's charming, witty, appetizing, and all around good fun! This is the ultimate date movie for those who are not complete idiots, or lack the necessary appreciation to watch a movie without constant explosions or gratuitous sex scenes.

If you haven't seen the trailer for this yet and are wondering if it's for you, go to the web site at... http://www.julieandjulia.com

Movies similar to this are...

Chocolat - go here for IMDB details... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241303
Big Night - go here for IMDB details... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115678

Bon' Appetit!

Joe


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Solar Tower

Folks, if you think that there are no clear answers to replacing our dependance on oil and coal for fuel, then you need to take a look at these two web sites discussing updraft technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCGVTYtJEFk

Australia, a country which relies almost solely on coal fired generators, and has to import the majority of their coal has the right idea, check out the following web site.

http://www.solarmissiontechnologies.com/index.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tWlP0knKQU&feature=related

Look at these things! Could you imagine the scope of converting to this type of technology? It could be a public works project on a scale this country hasn't seen since Roosevelt's "New Deal"!

We can all just pussy foot around and pretend that cars and trucks that the auto industry now provide with double the gas mileage are the answer, or we can do the right thing and get busy building 1000 meter high monuments to humanity in the deserts of North America.

Joe

Movie Review - "The Hurt Locker"

OK, this was a fantastic movie.

If your looking for fantasy or science fiction, your not gonna want to see "The Hurt Locker". This is the real deal, circa 2004 Baghdad.

Kathryn Bigelow has directed a masterpiece war film that captures a glimpse into the reality of a time and place that most of us never have had to, and hopefully never will have to see in person.
This is not a glorification of events, this is simply allowing the viewer a chance to get a taste for what this particular group of people got to, and get to experiance every day.

This has been a dismal year for film thus far, don't get me wrong, I'm as much a "Harry Potter" fan as the next geek, but this was the best use of film I've seen in a while.

Joe

Friday, July 24, 2009

Morally Bankrupt...

It saddens me every time I listen to friends and relatives discussing health care, and what frustrates me most are the statements of, "Well I just don't want to have to pay for everybody else. I mean why should I have to pay for them?"

We have in the last 41 years of my life become a very cold and very hard society, not because were any different from countries with socialized medicine, but because we simply haven't had the benefit of having it. We don't know anything else, we only hear or see whats reported to us from people paid to represent some particular interest group.

But I digress from what I'd meant to say...and I say it regularly and always upon seemingly deaf ears or those that simply cannot comprehend, "It's morally wrong for health care in this country and indeed any country, to be an industry for profit."

Profit has so become the bottom line in our culture that when I say this people often look like I'd just fed them a spoon full of Castor oil. I mean think of it people, if a man, woman or child lay before you bleeding from a severed leg artery, would you do the morally correct thing and try and help them out, or would you be too busy trying to determine the cost of expenditure to yourself?

If you can't arrive at an immediate and simple answer to that question, then my case is lost to you and I except my failure to explain it to you - this time.

I wont give up, I'll never give up.