Saturday, December 20, 2014

Life Doesn't Have A Color - #AllLIvesMatter

A million metaphors to destroy both "sides" arguments, but the fundamental problem is that there are sides. One side have always been the outcasts of society and they were kept that way for years, by the government and those who work for it. There is a dark, painful history to their anger.

One day, 13 years ago, brought up day after day this week. Some who lives 3000 miles away, speaking as if they were there. I read a note from a man, 28 years old, tells how he bleeds blue, because of that day. He was 15 at the time. Don't use my tragedy for your benefit. I suffered too, but have never stooped to using it as an excuse for another man's actions. I too have had a job where my life literally hung by a thread every day. I have never dreamed of telling others of it. I don't know what it is like to wake up black or wake up and put on a uniform. I've heard countless stories about both and not once did they truly see the other side. Isn't the job of both, to learn?

I hope those who posted blue all day realize that they didn't win. They lost horribly. A few friends liking or sharing their posts didn't make up for 45,000 people marching in the streets. That mocking their slogan only lessened the power of the message. Social media, for all its horrors, is a wonderful gauge of what is important. Last Saturday's hashtags trended worldwide. Today's didn't crack the top ten, even in New York City. It's not a knock, it's simply an observation.

I stand by all my friends who put that uniform on every day, but I also stand by the 13 year old who was slammed against a car in front of my house, looking suspicious, as he called me from out the window. I stand by my friends in blue who have wrestled weapons away from others who have tried to take their lives. I stand by my friends who have had their dignity taken away, because of their parent's biological makeup. I stand by friends, who have saved people from fires, crimes and theft and never received a single accolade, especially those who have done things we'd all be shocked at if we knew it went on in our backyard. I stand by my friend who was harassed for sitting in a park, while six others sipped bottles and were ignored. I stand by all those I've read about who have died protecting us from those who harm and have no value for another's rights. I stand by all of those who simply want to be treated as an equal based on the very fact they are human, regardless of whether or not they remind someone of another. At the end of the day, the men and women who put on that uniform and the men and women who can't and should never need to hide who they are, need to come together and realize that they are the same. When we started attributing a color to different people's lives, it only segregates us and lessens us as human being. We fail! We start winning when the hashtags start saying #AllLivesMatter or there is no need for them at all.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Elf On The Shelf Is Nothing More Than Bullying Your Kids

Every Christmas since I joined Facebook, my news feed is filled with that silly little elf. Sure, last year I had fun and posted pics I found around the net of the elf doing blow off of Barbie's ass and such, but I don't have kids and I wouldn't allow that little guy in my house if I did.

Here's the problem with it. It's bullying. Just because you attach a cute story to it, you're instilling the fear of no gifts to a child who is still naive enough to believe in Santa. Sure they will laugh when they awaken to see the Elf making cereal, but that wears off quickly and the thought that the elf might possibly have been watching them is creepy enough, but monitoring their behavior? That's plain sick.

I have a big problem with what I see friends doing these days and calling it parenting. I'm not saying a DVD from time to time isn't a needed break, but I know people who use this for hours on end. The lack of imagination they are using will hamper them socially down the road. Don't tell me you only use them for educational purposes either, because when your fifth grader can't understand math, because there isn't soothing Mozart and a puppet teaching it, it will be your fault.

The elf is a lazy way of controlling your kids, whether that was the reason you bought it or not. It also sets your children up for heartbreak if they don't get something they had hoped for. Imagine you get something for them that is the wrong size, shape, color, whatever the case may be? They will think in their hear that they've done something wrong. If you're reading this and saying, "My kid is much too smart for that," then why do you use the elf? Wouldn't they be smart enough to know the elf is false gimmick, just like Santa?

Kids who this was made for are in their formative years and if you attach a negative action to a positive objective, you create a world of doubt in a child's mind. I've seen children have complete breakdowns because a parent has forgotten to bake cookies to leave out for Santa and they had to run out Christmas eve and go buy them, just to console the child. What's the lesson? If you attach something to a child being rewarded, they will take that very seriously and if you create a game, where for an entire month, they worry about their daily actions and how it will affect their Christmas bounty, you create anxiety.

You don't have kids.
You don't understand.
You're over thinking this.
You're wrong.

Watch a Catholic walk into a Lutheran church and tell me child programming doesn't stay with us forever.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2 Quickie Reviews - Dead Snow 2 & Hansel & Gretel: Which Hunters

First off, you don't know Dead Snow, here is how I explain it to everyone. It's a Norwegian zombie film, but the zombies are fast, organized and don't want brains or to eat flesh necessarily. Oh yeah, and they are Nazis. To tell any more would be to ruin the fun, but it gets better. They made a sequel that starts right where the first left off.  The best part is that the sequel might actually be better. It's hilarious, has some nice looking (fully clothed) women and just enough over the top gore to make horror fans happy.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is far different. In what could have been a very great movie with a little more humor and better action, it fails to really pull you in. The odd thing about this, is both movies are directed by the same guy. A little more camp and funny dialogue, which there is some of and this one could have been great. It really did have the basis for a good idea and has its moments, but never finishes them off. That being said, it has a lovely to look at cast, especially my new crush Gemma Arterton and for the ladies, Jeremy Renner.

If you have to choose, obviously go for the double feature of the Dead Snow franchise. Oh and yes, I'm hoping they have a part 3.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Observations

So much happens these days and we get our information instantly. The reasons are both good and bad, but it allows us to find out some necessary things, such as weather and traffic and it also forces our hand into making assumptions. Some of us wait for information, but most jump to ill-advised conclusions and then that silly little bastard named pride jumps into our minds. That is why the this weekend's parades were seen as so awful by some and so beautiful to others. Some have a vested interest because of the color of their skin and others because of the job they hold dear to them like a child. I won't pretend to understand anything other than pride. I only wish people didn't confuse pride with right and wrong. Pride has caused my faults to cause me more harm than they should and they've magnified my achievements, but what they can do on a large scale is move mountains. Some to clear a passage and some to throw down upon others. Both of these are happening from both "sides" all around our country.

All that being said, my mind isn't really there now. I'm worried about a dozen or so people in a Sydney Australia coffee shop, hoping for the best and hoping this incident doesn't become their Ferguson. Already, Muslims are in fear for their lives, because of the actions of what is believed to be one person. Can you imagine and entire town, state or country, deciding the fate of an entire group based on the actions of one person? I guess, when you think about it, all these religions with millions of followers are based on the word of one person, who claimed to know more than others. Millions believed and it spread, like a cancer, until some differed. Even the good, spreads like a disease, being slowed and often stopped by the bad. Ironic how the positives of religion and the negatives spread exactly the same way. Uneven facts, supported by people with extreme pride with the belief that they are true.


Regardless of what you believe, what you look like or what you think of me.

Questions about The Nightmare Before Christmas

I've copied and pasted my questions that I wrote on the IMDB website. Yes, the same one I get trolled every time I don't like a popular movie. 

Every time someone doesn't like something, they get trolled to no end on this site. So I'm going to ask a few questions and see if some can make some sense of the hoopla surrounding this. Yes, while hard to believe, I'm just getting around to seeing this.

1. Aside from the animation technique, what is it that truly grabs you about the movie? The music? The dialogue? The story?

2. Does anyone else feel that of all the Disney, Pixar, etc movies that have come out, that this one is the most simplistic? It's obviously made for kids, but it has so little to offer adults (IMO).

3. What in your opinion was the moral? As an adult I took a somewhat cynical look at it as being a "stay with your own kind" type of thing. If one was to really dig, you could come up with tons of racial, religious and class talking points, but I honestly think those were unintentional.

4. Why have I never read anything about this being a complete ripoff of The Grinch that stole Christmas?

Obviously, I didn't enjoy the movie. I thought it was silly, the music was pretty awful and the entire concept was stolen and turned into something without a silver lining. Aside from the love story aspect, it's messages seem to be mixed and then neatly wrapped up into a neat package. Oddly enough, this is my gripe with all of Burton's films, as they all seem to start with a great idea, then scatter, then come back at the end without any real feeling of closure or explanation. His themes always seem to be a mishmash of many and rarely work (for me). I completely understand this is a matter of personal taste and I'm in a very small minority, but can anyone give me some fresh insights other than the standard "You didn't understand it" or "It didn't need to have meaning." Thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Three People

I was thinking about three people today. I'm not friends with any of them on social media and I guess in many ways, you could say we're not friends anymore. I don't remember anything happening that wasn't civil, but the connection has been lost. 

The first is someone I simply lost contact with. I worked with him briefly and while we were never close, I sort of took him in, since he was an out of town guy. I found that we had fun when we went out, but I always had this sense he wasn't very honest. He always had me drop him off somewhere other than home and I later found out that he was staying at his grandmother's house. He invited me over at one time and when I asked if she lived alone, he said yes. The house was very modern and there were not pictures of any kids or grand kids. I played cards at her house and she was apparently out of town. I think he sensed that I felt there was something up and after, we never really spoke. I also always felt he had a child, but didn't let on. He was lazy, but a hard worker at getting work, if that makes any sense. I thought of him after a conversation today in which I referenced him.

The second is a friend who I was very close with for a brief time. I found him once and he found me, but the time apart made our friendship always seem strange. The oddest part of all of it, is I became friends with his sister on Facebook and we've never discussed him. I know the family has dealt with tragedy recently and while I did express my condolences, I didn't feel like asking at that time. In my mind, the window is now shut from my side, but who knows.

The last is someone who I liked a lot and who I shared a romantic relationship with over a short period of time, but it was one of those people, you always found yourself back with, even if not emotionally. I kept in touch and we always said we'd get together again, but I think it was my constant taking her for granted that she finally got sick of. Even when I did reach out, I acted immature and the way I did when we were much younger. I do actually miss her though and strictly as friends. I sort of understand her decision, but she never discussed it with me and for all the weirdness between us, that was the first time it went that way. I wish her all the best and hope she worked out the problems in her life that plagued her. I know she was a strong one, despite that not being who she portrayed to me. 

Well, off to bed to think of others or maybe just them some more. 

Quickie Review - Guardians of the Galaxy

Without giving anything away, let's just say this. If you want to laugh, be excited and listen to some pretty groovy tunes. this is the movie for you. Normally, I'd tell you about the great camera work, dialogue or subtle nuances that appealed to me, but this is just pure fun. In my opinion, the special effects actually kind of suck. The story isn't anything new, but it works. The cast is a group of oddball space cowboys and they all get thrown together. Basically, if you like Star Wars, but you're too impatient to watch three movies, check this out. Lots of big names and some you might not quite recognize.

Now listen, I normally despise sci-fi and even more so, superhero movies. This is both and it is neither. It is first and foremost an action movie, but secondly it's a comedy. Even better, it's message is somewhat timely and when you throw in the amazing music, it's a can't miss. Sure you'll be bothered that it leaves a possibility for a sequel, but what doesn't these days?