Thursday, May 31, 2007

Martian nuggets. Like chicken nuggets, just more sci-fi and shit

The Girl is out of town this week, visiting the homeland (well, the half-homeland.) Since I'm apparently unable to socialize without her - my first 24 hours of alone time have been spent with my friends Netflix and Playstation - I'm forced to put my rambling thoughts down here instead of actually conversing with other humans. Winning the Madden 2007 championship has sapped my strength for the day, though, so all you get are nuggets of genius, not the whole bowl.
  • Spider-Man 3 blew, just like word-of-mouth was letting on. 28 Weeks Later was pretty fun, exactly like the whispers intimated. Georgia Rule was phenomenal, which was - nah, just kidding. I didn't see Georgia Rule. The rumor mill has absolutely failed Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, though. The film remains under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I think I saw it more out of perceived obligation than any real desire. And whaddaya know, I had a great time. It was an absolutely quick 2 1/2 hours, a marked improvement over Dead Man's Chest, and had more than a few fun scenes (the stone crabs showed the exact kind of creativity big Hollywood films are supposed to lack.) I'm just not getting the hate. And best of all, the filmmakers ignored whiny pretty boy Orlando Bloom for the majority of the film, and figured out a clever way to leave him out of further sequels (and I promise that's not a spoiler.) Plus, any movie that opens with the a child's hanging is solid in my book.

  • There are apparently too many damn SUVs on Neptune.

  • A few nights ago, at about 2 a.m., I heard a piercing wail coming from outside my bedroom window. The Girl woke up and agreed that it sounded a little like a woman's scream, but somehow dissolved into a bird-like shriek by the end. And it scared the hell out of us. I finally worked up some nerve, opened the door, turned the corner toward the back yard - and the thing screamed again, from no more than 20 feet in front of me. Needless to say, I turned the fuck around and went right back in. This has happened on multiple occasions since then; the inhuman screams, all in the middle of the night. Well, we finally have discovered our culprit thanks to my sister's eagle eyes from her eagle's perch on the top floor. We have a fox. On our property. And thanks to the Internet and a surprising amount of fox-related websites, now you all can hear exactly what we did. Here's the sound. Now imagine having that wake you up from a deep sleep, from just outside your open window. I'm honestly surprised I didn't piss myself.

    (If the fox sound link isn't working, cut-and-paste this:

  • Last week, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez - an avowed socialist - shut down one of his country's television stations because it had been critical of him in the past. This morning, Al Gore - an avowed Democrat - went on CBS's "Early Show" and threw his support behind the Fairness Doctrine, which the government would use to stifle free expression by making sure the Republican's biggest stronghold - radio - give equal time to its opposition. Chavez says he is "democratizing" the airwaves. Gore says "the first concerns among defenders of democracy arose with radio." I'm failing to see huge differences in these two philosophies. Given the American left's love of Chavez, am I wrong to be fearful of that type of government if a Democrat is elected?

  • Reggie Willits is a rookie leftfielder for the Los Angeles Angels. Reggie Willits. Close your eyes and picture how you imagine Reggie Willits looking. Reggie. Willits. Is this what you envisioned?

  • I really, really want to see Transformers. I know I shouldn't. I'm ashamed of it. But I can't help it. Anybody else out there with me? Please?

  • Oh hell yes.


USpace said...

Very interesting, bad scene, Communists are either deluded or outright thieves.
Chavez is truly a cockroach and an enemy of freedom, Gore is too...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe thinks
don't argue with critics

just steal their corporations
put poor people out of work

DAve said...

Are you absolutely sure the "piercing wails" you were hearing weren't coming from a Sidelines waitress?

Shan said...

I share your inexplicable desire to see Transformers. I didn't play with the toys, didn't watch the cartoon, and the concept sounds ridiculous on the surface. Plus, sitting through a Michael Bay movie is like being in that room that Ben forced Carl into on "Lost." But damn, if the trailers don't look all kinds of kick-ass.

And I totally agree on POTC:AWE. It's bizarre, because my "gut reaction" to both sequels was labyrinth, convoluted, yet really fun, eye candy. But thinking about them more, and rewatching the first two on cable, the writers actually did a fantastic job of creating a whole "mythology" for these characters. There are many, many subtle moments that create the backstory and legends, and foreshadow future events without dropping an anvil on your head. Every subsequent viewing adds to the enjoyment and depth of the story, unlike other "filmed at one time" double sequels that collapse under the weight of their own pretensions (cough*Matrix*cough). In fact, the only thing I would excise from either of the two POTC sequels is the goofy "cannibal island" shenanigans. And Hans Zimmer's score, while highly derivative of his "Gladiator" work, is dead on.

Doug said...

So four celebrities got their picture taken with Chavez and that means all of us on the "American left" love him? That's news to this "American leftist," hombre.

But my sister and I are both on the verge of peeing our pants with excitement over "Transformers." And we are not ashamed. Nor should you be. In fact, the next time I go home to visit the parents in Columbus I may bust all my old Transformers out of the attic just to prepare.

Jmac said...

What Doug said, on both accounts ... minus the imminent urination.

I love the ability to take celebrities and make them viable representatives of either sides political establishment. Appears to be a bit of a disconnect.

Also ... the Chavez and Gore analogy is ridiculous my friend. Chavez clamping down on free expression by banning a TV station is no where remotely near someone endorsing the Fairness Doctrine which enables any side to express itself freely in whatever shape it sees fit and it gives the other side the opportunity to do the same.

If Dude No. 1 wants to use 100 hours to make his point, that's fine. Just block off equal time for Dude No. 2 ... this would appear to be an increase in free expression, would it not?

Josh said...

I don't think it's "free expression" to force a radio station owner to give his/her station's time to a viewpoint that would bring in less ratings (and thus less money for a business and its employees.) A radio station executive should be able to put whatever they want on their station. It blows me away that any sane person could defend the Fairness Doctrine, which is as anti-free expression as you can get. It's the ol' Democratic standby: if you can't beat 'em, get the government to force them to weaken themselves. If Air America - or any other liberal form of talk radio - had been a success, you know we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Oh, and one of those "celebrities" I linked to was a former president. And even though I think he's been politically irrelevant since 1980, I do think most would consider him a "viable representative" of the Democrat party.

Josh said...

"Just block off equal time for Dude No. 2."

I can't get over how that sounds. Just give 100 hours to someone your core audience doesn't want to hear, and thus decrease your ad revenues and ratings. But hey, it's fair.

Jmac said...

Perhaps we're boiling down to the jist of the differences in the ideologies then. Your definition of free speech and free expression is the owner of the radio station being given the freedom to determine what he/she should put on the station.

Not that I'm disputing that - or that feel the Fairness Doctrine would necessarily undermine that - but the other aspect of free speech and free expression is ensuring that all parties involved have the ability to voice their opinions to an audience, and mass media offers them that ability (though one can argue the impact of blogs and podcasts are making things like the Fairness Doctrine irrelevent ... as well as making the traditional media less and less in control of the dispersing of ideas).

I also think the Fairness Doctrine is being misconstrued by all parties involved. It was originally intended to ensure fairness for candidates seeking office, and not for how many hours of conservative talk radio should be balanced by progressive talk radio.

I, for one, don't think that progressive voices have suffered all that much. The run the internet, are seeing growth on the radio (Air America was a flawed business concept, but individual progressive hosts are making significant inroads) and the fastest growing cable news network is one which offers a lineup that has a balanced selection of commentary hosts (MSNBC which has liberals like Olberman and conservatives like Carlson).

Which is why, again, bombastic statements like 'it's the ol' Democratic standby: if you can't beat 'em, get the government to force them to weaken themselves' are silly. I'm a good Democrat, but you don't see me out there saying 'Republicans are out to screw the poor and reap the benefits for their uber-wealthy donors.'

Why? Because I don't think that's true. I think the Republican ideology is severely flawed, but that doesn't mean I'm going to make blanket statements which aren't grounded in truth.

Josh said...

Everybody has the right to voice their opinions, sure, but why does everyone have the right to do so using privately owned mass media?

Josh said...

Alright, you took umbrage with my statement against Democrats: "if you can't beat 'em, get the government to force them to weaken themselves."

Well, what is the one form of media most heavily invested in conservatism? And what is the one form of media this so-called "Fairness Doctrine" is intended to alter?

The Democrats are gearing up to use the police power of government to weaken opposing views (just like Chavez.) I don't see how you can argue that.

Doug said...

Some Democrats. Not all Democrats.

I know that may seem like a lame distinction, but I try to accede to your wishes for me not to tar all Republicans or conservatives as Bible-banging, gay-bashing warmongers, so how 'bout doing a similar courtesy for us lefties.

Josh said...

I'm talking about the Democrats who have been elected to office. I apologize if I missed something, but I haven't heard a single Democrat come out against these Fairness Doctrine rumblings. And if Al Gore is talking about it on a morning show, they're becoming more than rumblings.

waltisfrozen said...

"am I wrong to be fearful of that type of government if a Democrat is elected?"

Yes, you are. The picture that you linked to with the word "Chavez" is from my site. I uploaded it to illustrate how much I (a member of the "American left") dislike Hugo Chavez. Yes, Chavez is a leftist, but I see a lot more similarities between him and the Bush Administration (hunger for power, paranoia, distrust of the press) than to anyone in the Democratic party.

Furthermore, wouldn't the Al Gore comments in favor of the fairness doctrine be at odds with the things that Chavez has done?

Josh said...

The Fairness Doctrine is very explicitly the government restricting freedom of a private radio station's expression by force. This is exactly what Chavez is doing.

Jmac said...

Josh we just disagree on this, and I'm not even a huge supporter of this implementation of the Fairness Doctrine (which, as I originally pointed out, was designed for equal opportunity for political campaigns, which I fully support). I am a bit muddier on what would be this interpretation, but I'm also not necessarily opposed to it.

My concern with it is more feasibility, but that's a whole different thing I suppose.

But, you defend the rights of private businesses, and, again, I don't disagree. However, to play devil's advocate, isn't there something inherently wrong about a handful of individuals owning all primary forms of mass media (as Rupert Murdoch is attempting to do by buying The Wall Street Journal)?

How is it 'fair' that two or three hyper-wealthy individuals all of sudden control all the means of communication? And they fill it with the ideological views they prefer? Again, we're not talking about whether or not Friends is tanking in the ratings, but someone's personal beliefs. In those cases, ratings be damned ... you're going to keep parroting your beliefs no matter what, and you're going to slant coverage to be favorable to your side.

In doing so, you develop this perception as being 'fair and balanced' and the only source for news, no matter if it's factually incorrect or deliberately misleading? And other dissenting voices - ones which deserve to be heard - won't because the owners don't agree with it.

Again, in a sense, this is equating the Constitutional right of free speech to something that should be driven by supply-and-demand, and that doesn't seem right.

Josh said...

I see what you mean, but Rupert Murdoch did not get so rich by saying "ratings be damned." If Fox News hadn't proved a financially successful formula, it would have been changed by now.

jeffmcm said...

1. Spider-Man 3, while deeply flawed, is better than most people are giving it credit for. Check out Matt Zoller Seitz's review for a good analysis. It's a popcorn movie that, like the previous two, is also a morality tale and has sequences as good as anything in the previous movies.

2. This is deeply foolish and shows that you don't understand the science.

3. That sucks.

4. There are huge differences between Gore and Chavez which are blatantly obvious to see: Chavez is a thug that only idiots support, Gore isn't. Yes, you are wrong to be worried about 'the same thing happening here'. Fairness = fair.

5. What's your point? Does he like to eat fried chicken too?

6. Why are you ashamed?

7. Good for him.


jeffmcm said...

Re: your most recent response: News should not be driven by the marketplace. The marketplace wants to give us Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, not Macneil-Lehrer.