Sunday, July 15, 2012

Movies I Missed in 2012

This is more for me than any readers that I may still have. It's kind of a sad post. It's about the perils and sacrifices of having children. I wish I started this list when my first son was born, but better late than never. It's a list of movies I hope to see someday, that I missed in theaters because you can't bring a 7 and 5 year old to see The Dictator.
  1. The Dictator
  2. Ted
  3. Jeff Who Lives at Home
  4. The Amazing Spider-Man
  5. The Avengers
  6. The Dark Knight Rises
  7. The Hunger Games
  8. Men In Black 3
  9. 21 Jump Street
  10. The Three Stooges
  11. Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  12. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Please note this list in incomplete, and contains titles scheduled, but not yet released. If there is something I missed (there is), please feel free to make a comment and I'll do some homework and see if it is list-worthy. Like I said, mostly it's just to help me to remember what to watch someday. Also, they are in no particular order.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Game Change

I'm not going to be in the business of the factual content of the HBO movie, but it did leave me with the following feelings:

1) John McCain is a good man, and probably would have made a decent president
2) I felt really bad (surprisingly) for Sarah Palin. Except towards the end.
3) There were three Sarah Palins in the movie:

The first one is "the team player." The first Sarah we meet just wants to do right by her family, Alaska, the American People, and John McCain. A true patriot.

As the movie develops, Sarah begins to succumb to the pressure. You start to feel really bad for her. She wasn't treated fairly. She starts tuning out her handlers. She misses her family. She just can't physically learn everything she needs to learn in the given amount of time to do it in--it's just too much.

Finally, the McCain campaign created the monster. Once they realize she's a brilliant actress but a crappy politician, they give her the script to her success. She does well in the VP debate, regains her confidence, realizes how much she is loved and how much cash she is bringing to the campaign, and her ego takes over. She begins to think she is bigger than she is.

Ultimately, it paints Palin as far more likeable than I've ever found her to be for 2/3 of the movie (albeit they do portray her as somewhat of a foreign policy idiot, which I don't think is a stretch), and only giving way to the unlikeable psychopath we came to know and love towards the end.

Both McCain and Palin aides have come out against the book and the movie, saying it is chock full of unattributed quotes and inaccuracies. McCain stated he will not watch the film and I believe him. I cannot say the same about Palin--while she is on the record as saying she considers it a false narrative, I don't think her ego will allow her to pass on the chance to watch a movie about her.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rick Santorum, Ignoranus*

I'm not sure what part of this video is more awesome...the reference to something burning "down there," or his reference to "no written speeches" as he holds up his written speech.

Perhaps Rick should take a more open stance towards contraception after all.

*Ignoranus (n.): A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What goes as offensive these days?

So, after the Patriots lost, my friend (who hates the Patriots, more specifically, Tom Brady, more specifically still, what the media has turned Tom Brady into) posted on facebook something to the effect that he was glad the Gaytriots lost. Somewhere along the line, one of his friends asked him if he could stop referring to them as the Gaytriots, since it offended her, and some of her gay friends when used this way.


She and I got into a facebook debate about the evolution of language after that. For those of you who don't know me, here is a short list of relevant facts:

1) Although I am not a homosexual, I believe them to be no different from anyone else. I am not a "homophobe," and I support equal rights for everyone.

2) I generally take offense to derogatory remarks. And I'm not shy about letting the offending bigot know they're an idiot.

3) I majored in Professional Writing in college.

My argument was this:

What my friend was saying was not intended to be offensive to homosexuals. The "Pay" in Patriot just conveniently rhymes with "Gay." It was a humorous spin off of the team name. It clearly never intended to hurt a homosexual.

When someone says "that's gay," I don't even register homosexuality in my mind anymore. An exact parallel would be if someone were to say, "that's retarded," I associate it with something that is stupid, I don't associate it with something that has Downs Syndrome. To me, the meaning of the word has evolved, and moved past the offensive. The person I was having the discussion said for the record, she would have been offended by "retarded" too.

I said if retarded offended her, I could cite some other examples. Sticking with the football theme, what about the Washington Redskins? Did that offend her? What about 'Poppycock?' That was one of the most dastardly terms of its day. From the Dutch, it literally translates to "Doll Shit." It was sort of like dropping the "F" bomb.

In an opposite evolution, a faggot used to be a pile of sticks. Then later it was a cigarette. Now, it's offensive. It's still offensive. It will probably remain offensive for the rest of my lifetime. But perhaps not forever...

My point is that language is fluid. Meanings change over time, all the time. You can choose to be offended when someone says something that you know they didn't mean for it to be racially, sexually, derogatorily charged, or you can understand that meanings change with each generation.

The last thing she said was that her gay friends asked that the language not be used "in that sense."

Although I didn't say it, I couldn't help but think:

"My gay friends would tell your gay friends to stop being so gay and retarded..."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ISO: Daily Reads

Back when I first started blogging, there were two websites that directed 90% of my traffic here. They were also the way I found almost every blog on my blog roll. Those two websites were and Both have seemingly went out of business.

Blogmad's page no longer exists. Blogexplosion exists, but the FAQs page is dead and I don't know what my username is anymore. An email seeking help went unanswered, so I assume that's just a ghost ship.

I'm looking for something similar. I don't particularly care about driving traffic to my blog at this point, but I'd like to find some blogs that are updated almost daily. How the hell do people find interesting blogs these days?

First I tried I find it to be awkward and clunky. To make matters worse, it seems like every blog I stumbled to was last updated two years ago. How hard is it to add a god damn filter to only stumble to blogs updated in the last two weeks?

Since then, I've been to a myriad of other sites:,,, and I don't even know who else. The end result is always the same.

Doesn't anyone know how to search for recent, interesting blogs anymore?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The 2012 Wish List

I'm pretty sure I didn't get anything from my 2009 Wish List (I didn't bother with one for 2010 and 2011). Since I have no more readers, it seems unlikely that anything will come of this list either, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to have it out there, if nothing else so I can keep track of what I want.

I've decided I really, really want to start reading in my free time again. This will both be good for me, and good for my marriage, as it will mean less time on the computer (a constant sore spot for my wife). So look for the list to contain more books than usual this year.

Think you know a gift or book I might enjoy? Drop it in my suggestion box, or the comments of this post. On to the list:

1) Hope: A Tragedy, by Shalom Auslander (thanks NPR, for introducing me to this guy)

2) Foreskin's Lament, by Shalom Auslander (Best. Title. Ever.)

3) My War: Killing Time in Iraq, by Colby Buzzell

4) A playstation 3

5) An iPad 2
An iPad 3
6) A Turtles Don't Like Peanut Butter Tee-Shirt, XXL
7) Blog Updates weekly from An Online Petition for Jennifer Love Hewitt.
8) Diablo III for PC
9) X-COM: Enemy Unknown for PC

10) For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, by Nathan Englander

11) Beware of God: Stories by Shalom Auslander

12) Salmon of a Doubt by Douglas Adams
13) Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams
14) Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams by Nick Webb
15) Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
16) Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead by Robert Brockway
17) The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
18) No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ending Poverty

Recently, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook. He was looking for a charitable way to help out the less fortunate, and came across a website called Kiva provides microloans to third world nations, and in turn provides you with their stories and updates about how the money is being used. His post, and my response is as follows:

"This seems like a pretty good idea. Has anyone done it?"
Kiva - Loans that change lives
Make a loan to an entrepreneur across the globe for as little as $25. Kiva is the world's first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs across the globe.

I took 15 minutes or so, and poked around their website for more information. Does the loan pay interest? Who are we helping? What are the terms? On the surface, it seemed like a really cool idea for people to help other people who didn't have much. Upon investigating, it seems that you don't loan the money to those who need it--they already got a loan from a bank. You're loaning the money to the bank that lent to them. I posted my response:

"I just read up on it, and I'm not sure I get it. Basically, it sounds like you assume the real lender's risk with no reward other than feeling good about helping the less fortunate. Instead, I recommend digging a hole, throwing fistfuls of cash into it, and burying it. There is less risk (although I suppose you *could* forget where you bury it), and similar reward."

"Um...or maybe donate that rotting money to something? I think that "feeling good about helping the less fortunate" is the whole thing."

Now, I'm all for helping the less fortunate, but I don't consider bankers to be "less fortunate" in general. Allowing them to get a reward while good people assume the risk seems, well, I'll just let the story tell itself.

"I would argue there are better charities to give to than assuming lender risk, which is flat out financially incompetent."

"It's 25 bucks. That's not a lot of risk. If you give to any charity, you expect physical return on your "investment.". Seems to me, with this there is a shot the money comes back so you can help someone else. I've got no stake in the thing, least of all return on investment."

My point was you aren't really giving the money to them. They've already received the money from real lenders. You're lending the money to the lenders, thereby assuming their risk. THEY ARE CHARGING INTEREST. Why would you assume someone's risk while letting them reap all the profits?

Now, if they offer reduced interest rates to the organizations BECAUSE of generous souls who assume most of the risk in the loan, that's another matter entirely. Somehow, I doubt this is the case, but I only spent about 15 minutes reading on their website. IF that were the case, then it's a pretty cool organization. If it's a third party that just finds suckers to assume risk on debts for nothing, well, I would encourage you to spread your good will elsewhere.

J seemed disinterested in talking about the matter further. Maybe it was something he found that he thought was cool, and didn't feel like debating it. Hopefully I didn't piss him off somehow. (If he still reads my blog, I guess we'll find out).

I decided to test my theory about lower interest rates being provided since they were essentially providing risk free loans. Here's what the website offered me:

"As of September 2011, the average interest rate and fees charged by Kiva's Field Partners is about 37%."

37-FUCKING-PERCENT?! They can do this because the areas they are "servicing" don't have access to banks. Predatory lenders offer better rates.

I suggested that if he really want to help these people, donate $25 to an organization that will just GIVE impoverished people the money, with no requirements to pay it back. Much less pay it back at an insane interest rate that will help to keep them impoverished.

I found one more little tidbit from their website. It confirmed my speculation that they did indeed offer lower interest rates because of the interest-free pool of wealth they were collecting from Kiva donors.

"Kiva lenders allow microfinance institutions to access capital at 0% interest; this can help our Field Partners offset their operational expenses and keep their interest rates low."

Given they are charging 37% interest on the average, I find this hard to believe, but then again, I'm not exactly an "expert" in microloans to 3rd world countries. Maybe that's a pretty sweet deal there. I'd hate to see what rates the predatory lenders charge over there.

In case it is, my argument remains that we need to find a better way.