movie thoughts … Independence Day: Resurgence

November 19, 2016 2:47am
Tagged with:

id4_2We knew before even pushing play that this was going to be awful, and for all of its many, many flaws, it certainly fulfilled its legacy.

For starters, it’s kind of shocking how this movie even got made and that someone managed to convince a studio that it was worth spending $165 million to make because as far as I could tell, I’m still not sure how this didn’t end up a straight-to-DVD feature!

You’d think that Will Smith’s absence would’ve been the only clue needed that this was destined for failure…

And yet nearly every other B-character, plus Jeff Goldblum!, managed to take time out of their busy schedules to return. It almost became a game trying to remember who each of them played in the original movie before their character ended up getting killed this second time around! I mean, good on Will Smith’s widow for actually going to school with that stripping money of hers and all, but so many of these characters were just such a stretch with this movie, it was almost hard to remember that in fact the original Independence Day was a bonafide blockbuster. 😛

I think I was earnestly rooting for the aliens by about the 20 minute mark? I don’t know – when did that weird sphere thing show up that they immediately blasted out of the sky? That was when I was more or less done, and this isn’t a short movie!

The action sequences were forgettable, or at least the ones that weren’t carbon copy versions from when they happened in the first movie, anyways. If you took away all of the cribbing and unnecessary callbacks to the 1996 movie, they probably could’ve got this thing done in under an hour and had people moving on with their lives a bit sooner, but instead we had to meet Will Smith’s son, and understand his backstory … which is basically the same as his Dad’s, and then his Mom has to die – literally before his very eyes.

The only way it could’ve been made any more tedious would’ve been if Jaden Smith had actually been cast as Will’s son.

*shudder*

Bill Pullman’s character is made kind of sad and pathetic, which is too bad because he was awesome in the first one, and the whole idea of the alien queen chasing a school bus through the desert just didn’t work at all.

Plus, when she died all of the other ships just packed up and left – even the great big one the size of the continental US?!

I could’ve swore that we shared our tactics around the world and blew everything up in the last one … we didn’t just zap one and the rest fled like this movie seemed to imply.

But I think I’ve gone on long enough – this movie is great if you’re looking for a really bad movie to watch late on a Friday night, and maybe you’ll only be half paying attention or your spouse will fall asleep partway through.

I can’t wait for Independence Day: Part 3 which is apparently coming out in a couple of years FOR REAL! Maybe they’ll make all of the aliens women to change it up a bit, or maybe they’ll just go the straight-to-DVD route…

…because DVD as a format should be completely dead by 2018, wouldn’t you think?

Can’t We Have Donald Trump From 2005 Instead???

November 16, 2016 3:08am
Tagged with:

Another YouTube video blog post … I suppose it’s just that kind of day, but I stumbled across these videos of Donald Trump being interviewed by Conan O’Brien back in 2005/2006 – plus one of him singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Regis Philbin?! – and I guess after watching his campaign for the last 16 months, I can’t help but think how…

…NORMAL HE SOUNDS!!!

I mean, I have to remind myself that 2005 was when that whole “grab her by the pussy” tape was from, and maybe it’s partly Conan’s personality driving the segments, but it’s so bizarre even trying to compare these interviews to some of the angry and crude rally cries that we saw from him over the last year and a half.

Here he seems eccentric, but still reserved; personable, and not just to his brain-dead loyalists; playful and even polite!

This was a few years into The Apprentice, so the “You’re fired!”-shtick had become a thing. I even remember specifically watching the season in 2005 because it was when Randal and Rebecca were in the finale and Trump asked one if he should hire both, which would’ve been well-deserved, but the guy said no and so he didn’t!

Maybe I’ll just go back through YouTube and only watch clips of Trump from at least a decade ago for the next four years to help get me through this Donald Trump Presidency™… 😛

Finding Inspiration in the Stars

November 15, 2016 3:40pm
Tagged with:

It started out with just a random suggested video to watch during lunch – this one was about Commander Chris Hadfield returning to Earth after living on the International Space Station, talking about his reacclimation and all of the great creative things that he did to help “sell space” to a curious public during his stay…

From there I was pointed to this related video about fellow astronaut/cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko from Russia, who most recently spent a full year on the ISS to study the effects of space on the body with the thought of travel to Mars in our not-so-distant future…

…and I think what I loved about watching both of these videos back to back is that they’re really a great reminder of how space exploration brings us together, from listening to the passion that both of these men share in talking about their work as well as the things that they each missed back on Earth while they were away.

Even something as simple as the need for subtitles were a positive reminder because in a way they’re proof that despite Kornienko clearly speaking Russian throughout the interview, that passion and humanity still shines through that he’s talking about returning to Earth and its natural features that he loves.

There’s also a couple of scenes of all the astronauts together on the ISS and they’re always smiling and waving and working together towards a common goal. It just seems like if they can come together for the greater cause of science to transcend boundaries up there, we should be able to figure it out back down here on Earth, too. 😉

Then Stop Doing Racist Things…

November 15, 2016 2:32am
Tagged with:

An ongoing theme that I’ve been noticing over the last week, and honestly something that I’ve keyed into for a while, is that frankly a lot of people don’t really seem to know what racism even is.

If they did, we wouldn’t keep hearing the same excuse over and over again – “I didn’t mean it in a racist way” or “My comment wasn’t intended to be racist…” The latter was the response given by the mayor of a small town in West Virginia after supporting the post of a county employee who wrote on Facebook“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.”

You know, because apparently West Virginia never got word that references to apes and monkeys have long since been established as ethnic slurs against black people.

Even earlier today I read a report quite literally from the local high school less than 5 miles down the street from my house where a white teacher said to a group of black students, “Don’t make me call Donald Trump and get you sent back to Africa.”

A high school teacher – someone who the community has trusted with teaching our children – doesn’t understand what racism is.

I get the impression that most people’s understanding of racism basically begins and ends at slavery and segregation, so anything that’s ever happened since the 1960’s can’t possibly fall into the same category – no jokes, no offhand comments, no words that they hear other races say that they can’t imagine why they can’t say them, too. These things are all said in jest and no harm is intended, so they can’t possibly be racist … and if they are, then it’s just the PC police pulling the race card to make everything about race.

Here’s a ProTip for you – If you don’t mean to be racist, then stop doing things that are racist! – it’s not complicated!!!

Making jokes about lynching the president … who’s black … happens to be racist.

Continuing to use racial slurs that anyone over the age of about 22 knows are racial slurs … is a racist thing to do.

There’s no excuse for this stuff. My oldest son is 2.5 years old and actively working on talking, and we already have to steer him away from saying words that are only for adults. As far as I’m concerned, once you’re old enough to have taken a history class or two, you should start to understand that racism is bad and as a society it’s something that we try to steer away from.

Because the thing is, I’d love to give these people the benefit of the doubt and say that “they just didn’t know!” but come on now. These people are nowhere near 22 years old – one is a high school gym teacher, the other is the director of a non-profit – they’re both old enough to know better. They just don’t want to.

Disappointingly, I have friends and family who use the same excuses and it’s absolutely cringeworthy every time, not only because they should know better, too, but also because I like to think of them as better people than that.

It’s not “political correctness,” it’s you behaving like a racist.

If you don’t want to be called a racist, then don’t act like one.

Day #4 – A Trumped Stream of Consciousness, Part 2…

November 14, 2016 12:27am
Tagged with:

It’s hard to say whether things are truly cooling down or if social media has just gotten quieter over the weekend because people are actually out doing things instead of sitting at work posting 😉 , but the time to process and soak up opinions and information has been useful, I think.

In particular, I’ve been weighing a lot the idea of responsibility as a result of the “I’m not a racist, I just like what he says about ______”-argument and I think the reason why I struggle with it is because for me when we talk about all of the different political issues, I find myself dividing them up into different groups and prioritizing them. So while I’m also concerned about the economy and ISIS and immigration and whatnot, when there are civil rights issues on the table like repealing LGBT rights or marginalizing women, it’s hard for me to even talk about something like immigration because I don’t see how we can discuss other things when equal rights for our citizens isn’t the #1 priority.

That said, I do find it interesting how it’s already being reported that Trump is wavering on some of his key policies such as looking into amending Obamacare instead of repealing it altogether, softening his stance on immigration, and even using fencing for parts of his monumental wall instead of just miles and miles of infallible concrete as far as the eye can see.

Same thing for his cabinet – for an anti-establishment candidate, Trump certainly ran straight back to the well to pick top lobbyists and the current head of the RNC for his cabinet just like the politician’s playbook calls for, not so much “emptying the swamp” as emptying the swamp … right into his new administration.

I also read that there’s some confusion about how his businesses will actually be handled because traditionally it’s expected that a politician would put his assets into a blind trust to avoid any conflict of interest over policy decisions … however having the kids run the business in his place is a very different thing than a blind trust!

…particularly when it’s also being reported that he may desire to only live in the White House part-time and spend some of his days back in his penthouse in Trump Tower, which obviously has direct access to the office where he normally works…

I’ve got to say that it was a little weird reading about that suggestion because not only does it pose the question that a lot of people are asking about whether Donald Trump expects to be a part-time president, to me even more so it raises a lot of logistical questions about whether something like that would even be possible!

Already almost immediately after he won the election, the FAA declared a temporary No Fly Zone over Trump Tower in Manhattan until he is expected to move to the White House after being sworn in in January, however even though mum is typically the word when it comes to presidential security measures, it’s no secret that lots and lots of security is built into the White House and its surrounding area to protect the President and all of his staff.

Plus, his staff is all there, too! 

How would President Trump work from his golden tower in NYC while the rest of his support staff is left running around back in Washington??? Not that leading his own companies is a 9-to-5 job, either, but the president pretty much works non-stop all of the time … aside from maybe spending vacation time in New York, and even then, what kind of disruption to the rest of the city would it pose to have the president coming in and out on a regular basis?

Are the windows in Trump Tower bullet proof? And missile-proof?!

It’s kind of like the same reason why he won’t be able to use his own jet that he’s used for years as well as the entire campaign. The two jets currently used today as Air Force One are highly customized aircraft between being able to also transport his entire support staff and also hosting security features managed by the defend the President and his staff against everything from other aircraft to even the EMP that would result from a nuclear blast.

It’s not like they make an aftermarket air force defense kit that Trump can just pick up to have installed onto his own plane, and I would think that the same thing would apply to Trump Tower, too.

Would they just close Fifth Avenue whenever President Trump feels like sleeping in his golden bed instead of the public housing that taxpayers pay for at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?!

Ultimately I’m sure a lot of this stuff will work itself out, and for what it’s worth, Donald Trump is allowed to have anxiety for the job just like anybody else would … even though right now some people are interpreting all of these things bundled together as a question of how much he really wants the job in the first place.

Is there any possibility that Donald Trump actually wanted to win the presidency more than he really wants to be the president for the next four years, where his every move will be choreographed by Secret Service agents and his gold anointed life as a billionaire in Manhattan will have to be put on hold for him to hold this otherwise highly coveted office that only forty-four other men have ever held in the history of the entire country?

 

I may end up writing a whole series of posts on this topic – we’ll see how it goes – but in spending a lot of time over the last couple of days thinking about how both our election process as well as the day-to-day democracy in general could be improved, I feel like a BIG AREA that is ripe for improvement … though I admittedly don’t know exactly what these improvements are … is around the area where a lot of folks from both sides of the aisle have been pointing their fingers – the media.

Especially here in the age of information where groups of all sizes, individuals, and even people just creating memes can be “news sources” for people online, it seems like it’s more difficult than ever to get information in front of people that’s unbiased and factual…

For those who still get their news from TV, it doesn’t help that more likely rely on commentators than actual reporters – arguably because that’s what happens when you’ve got 24 hours to fill with coverage without 24 hours of legitimate reporting coverage to offer.

And for those who get their news from the Internet … whoa boy! Where to even start?! Almost every site sways one way or the other, some quite blatantly so, some are deliberately just spreading fake news and not with humorous intent like I do, and social media can be an absolute mess – as Facebook is currently arguing right now – with regards to best distributing the posts of the users while also taking care not to promote false and defamatory content along the way.

I certainly won’t go so far as to say that online and especially social media doesn’t still offer news value, however I think it’s reasonable to say that regardless of format, what the American people need more than ever is news outlets who can be relied upon to report the news and do it fairly, accurately, and reliably … which admittedly gets tricky in this divided country that we currently live because right now so many people want their news slanted the way that they do, which just exacerbates the problem of having highly polarized news outlets catering to party lines instead of ones down the middle that report on the entire landscape equally.

Even when we have those professional sources to fall back on, that still doesn’t help the fact that far too many Americans literally get their “news” from soundbites and memes and Facebook shares where they don’t even necessarily read the article as much as they allow themselves to get riled up by the headlines that show up in their news feeds as they scroll for the next issue that queues up in their social media echo chamber.

really don’t know how you ween people off of unreliable social media “sources,” but I’ve got to think that it starts with having solid, reliable news sources for both sides that you can point people to as an alternative.

Right now I hate the idea that in a way people are really able to “choose their own facts” because each side has their networks and websites that lean in their directions which reliably contradict the other side, so it’s easy enough to just label the other side as liars whenever any conflict comes up and they’ve almost automatically got “news sources” that they can point to in support of their position whether in reality something is really actually true or not.

We need to get past this desire to spin every story in the direction of the target audience and instead be able to rely on our media to report the news in the best manner fit to serve the facts that are actually present.

I think only when we can get the people back to a point where both sides can trust a single news source collectively instead of their own niche versions can we expect them to really come together and realize that maybe the two parties’ beliefs aren’t all that different after all. But as long as people have their own version of the truth to point back to, we’re never going to get anywhere.

In short – there’s only one true version of fact, and we need to be able to rely on our news media to deliver that information to the people.

Day #2 – A Trumped Stream of Consciousness…

November 11, 2016 2:14am
Tagged with:

Last night’s post really blew up on Facebook in ways that I didn’t intend. I purposely made it public instead of using off my No Politics filter and the result was a lot of name calling and fighting, and even a really nasty exchange with my Dad.

It still shocks me how anyone could look at so many examples of violence and hate and have their first response be anything other than shock and disgust.

That said, late this evening it was reported that one of the stories about a Muslim woman getting her Hijab torn off was fabricated, and I fear that people will use that example to assume that every last story they hear must also be false.

I refuse to believe that.

It’s also been hard for me to process people arguing that the protests taking place are “just sore losers” and not a legitimate voice worth listening to. If nothing else, our own Constitution guarantees people the Freedom to Assemble, and though it doesn’t condone any violence or destruction of property, I think compared to people actually getting hurt in the name of racism/sexism/etc… it’s a minor concern at best.

That said, with all of the negativity and fear being harbored, I’ve found comfort in a smaller group of likeminded friends and family whom I respect and trust on social media – many of whom are also struggling with how to process everything that’s taking place – and it’s nice to see that there are others who also deem what’s taking place to be something serious that shouldn’t just be swept under the rug.

I also took a lot of comfort in this compilation of stories from teachers about how they’ve addressed their students’ responses to Trump’s election from pretty much all grade levels. As much as I worry about youth hearing the horrible things that are being said and parroting them, the fact that many children identify that this sort of behavior is wrong and are willing to help support one another across demographic barriers gives me hope.

And finally, in that same story I came across a quote by Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu that I liked quite a bit:

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

As I walked through Walmart late this evening, I found myself reminding myself that there are so many good people still in the world – complete and total strangers, with no idea how or if they even voted – and it made me think of the things that I can do to help try to see that light among the darkness…

  • Be kind to people, especially those who I’ve never met … because why not?
  • Heaven forbid I witness something, be the person who steps forward to call out bigotry and not the one who turns a blind eye.
  • Don’t allow myself to become complacent should these bad stories continue to surface.
  • Use this passion for what’s right to make good art, whether it’s humor or editorials or just my own processing, and encourage my colleagues who strive to do the same.
  • Look for the best in people, in society, in our future, even when all signs point to chaos. Have faith in America.

This is disgusting – a collection of the abuse shared by minorities from Trump supporters only a day after he is elected president – as found on social media…

A Muslim American is confronted by a woman in Walmart who pulls off her Hijab and tells her, “These aren’t allowed anymore, so go hang yourself with it around your neck, not your head.”

A group of white men on the subway sees a woman by herself in a dress and joke about “grabbing her by the pussy,” and one physically tries to do so as she walks by. She yells as they laugh it off until the group is kicked off the subway by some onlookers.

An African-American woman in Indiana is approached by some white men in a truck and taunted, “Fuck you, nigger bitch. Trump is going to deport you back to Africa.”

A Muslim woman in Louisiana is assaulted by two men and has her Hijab and wallet stolen.

A woman is presumed Hispanic when she has a cup of water thrown in her face by an older white man after he tells her, “I can’t wait until Trump asks us to rape your people and send you back over the biggest damn wall we’re going to build. Go back to hell, wet back.”

An African-American woman in Michigan is taunted by a group of men while pumping gas, “Yeah, we were talking to you, nigger – go back to Africa, Trump doesn’t want you here!”

A woman in Philadelphia finds her car graffitied with “Trump Rules” and “Black Bitch.”

A Muslim woman at San Diego State University is assaulted by two white men making derogatory comments about the Muslim community as they take her purse and backpack, and then proceed to steal her car.

An African-American woman is confronted in line by two men, “I’m so glad Trump won. Now all the niggers can go back to where they came from. Y’all don’t belong here. You shouldn’t even be able to vote.”

A gay man finds a note left on his car that reads, “Can’t wait until your ‘marriage’ is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell. #Trump2016 #REPENT #GODBLESS”

Multiple stances of school kids as young as kindergarteners teasing their Hispanic and Latino classmates about getting sent back to Mexico.

A Hispanic boy is beaten by his classmates and told they can’t wait until Trump deports him. When reported to the police, they deem it a school matter and do nothing.

Many of these stories were shared via @ShaunKing on Twitter, though I can imagine that even more occurred that weren’t shared at all…

How am I just now seeing this?!

The trailer for the next Legend of Zelda game (on the Wii U) looks gorgeous – it’s really amazing how far that franchise has come in 30 years…

If I’m being completely honest, even though I’ve swooned over all of the artwork and game play from Skyward Sword, despite having that game sitting on my shelf for years now, I’ve yet to actually crack it open and play it for myself! I think it’s just because I hardly have any time to play video games anymore – I spent a bit of time with Hyrule Warriors when we first got our Wii U and really enjoyed that, but I also liked how I could pick up and just play for a little while whereas it literally feels like starting a quest when I sit down with a traditional Zelda game.

Maybe I’ll have to find some time around the upcoming holidays … in the evenings after the house has gone to bed … to get myself caught up on the franchise a bit so that I can justify picking up a copy of this whenever it comes out next year! 😉

You’ve Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated…

October 18, 2016 10:32pm
Tagged with:

What do you do if you’ve got two kids that for the life of them just can’t seem to get along and only want to FIGHT any chance they’re near each other???

No, no – this isn’t a parenting post about my newborn twins, who are still in the NICU and thus separated by a good five feet as well as a partition at all times anyways! 😛

In fact, we’re talking about adults … who argue … on Facebook, specifically, because not to defend the other quadrants of social media or anything, but I’ve never seen half the arguments on Twitter that I see boil over on my Facebook posts. I’d like to say that I don’t know what it is about Facebook that makes it different from other platforms, but I actually know exactly what it is because honestly it’s the same thing that makes Facebook attractive to me for entirely different reasons…

Simply put, Facebook is where I have friends and family from over the years; Twitter is where I have the people who are most like me.

And so whereas from one angle I love Facebook because it connects me with relatives and distant friends who otherwise aren’t really online people so they can still see family photos and the goofy humor stuff that I write, but in a way it’s also a bane because when we start to get into messier topics like, oh say, POLITICS, we often don’t share remotely the same opinions and sometimes people aren’t very civil about it.

…which I hate.

I shouldn’t have to apologize for what one of my Facebook friends says to another, nor should I have to play referee between people that have taken political passions to an entirely unhealthy level.

I’ve also found very recently that it’s stressful/painful/whatever you want to call it when close friends and/or family make comments about your beliefs that you once would’ve thought above the types of conversations that you’ve had with them.

I don’t want to go into anymore detail for fear of outing anybody, so instead let’s just say enough is enough and I’ve finally decided to do something about it. And luckily, Facebook actually makes that pretty easy…

Up until this week, all of my Facebook posts have always been public because I’ve been publishing to the Internet since back when it was text only and I don’t really believe in walled gardens. Still, my own sanity is worth twisting that perspective just a bit, so I made me a list and checked it twice … and ultimately came up with about 20 people on Facebook who I’m flat-out just tired of arguing about politics with during my time spent there.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-10-16-37-pm

I’ll still set most of my Facebook posts to public, but now when I have something I want to share that I just know is going to elicit undesirable comments from these same people who always get into the same arguments, I can set those posts to be Friends only – excluding those on my No Politics list – and BAM!

Peace and quiet on Facebook at last. 😉

Now a couple of points to close on:

  • As to whether you’re on this list if you find yourself reading this on my blog! Let’s be honest with ourselves – you’ll probably know it if you are, and if my Facebook posts have seemed less controversial to you lately … no, I haven’t gone conservative – I’m just tired of arguing about it with YOU. 😛
  • If bullet #1 there raises the argument that I only want to discuss things with people who agree with me, I’ve actually already written a fine editorial about this so feel free to go read that if you’d like. 😉

At the end of the day, I’ve only got so many hours and though I welcome a good discussion, it does either of us little good to keep having the same ceaseless comment threads over and over again. So maybe you can just gush over my latest family photos or that funny thing that I wrote about farting at the library instead.

But if you take offense to farting, too, so help me god if you don’t wind up on an entirely new list altogether! 😛

© 1999 - 2017 Comedic-Genius Media, All Rights Reserved.