Wednesday, June 25, 2003

How The Web Can Kill You!

Let's face it, there's alot of crap on the internet. With ten thousand sites about Pound Puppies and enough online casinos to put Atlantic City out of business, the Web tends to be more like a cesspool than a melting pot of ideas. Every once in a while, though, you will find a gem of a page that really helps you. These websites are the reason that Al Gore created the internet. You get answers, not sales pitches, and you can go with life. Or go about hanging yourself. Apparently, this woman decided that dealing with the pain of her grandmother's passing away was too much to live with. She went on a suicide website, learned how to commit suicide by hanging, and went ahead and finished her project. Now her father wants all suicide websites to be removed from the net due to their "dangerous" nature.

Here's where we get into strange territory. Was it really impossible to consider that this obviously unbalanced woman wouldn't have done herself in were it not for the information she gleaned from this site? I mean, it was her grandmother, and while I can understand that the granddaughter-grandmother relationship can be very close, I also know that grandmothers, by their very definition, are already way past their "sell by" date. Glom on to the yournger relatives, dufus. Can we really hold websites such as this accountable for the use of their information? Even suicide societies don't like to be affiliated with such "self help" sites. “When someone’s in the grips of a mental illness like depression, they’re not able to think rationally,” says the Hemlock Society’s Julian Rush. “This kind of unbridled freedom in this area can lead to a lot of abuse.” Goths have all the answers, don't they? And what the hell is "unbridled freedom" supposed to be, anyway?

All I can get out of this article is that someone who was very sad killed themself. I don't see how a lawsuit is going to prove anything other than the deceased was not well. Stop trying to deflect the responsibility and let her rest.

Monday, June 23, 2003

If you want to get a feel for what is really going on in Iraq right now, I encourage you to read "Where Is Raed?", another blog on the Blogger network. Now you will have an inside look at what the war has done to this country, the good and the bad. Although Raed updates about as often as I do, he at least has a good reason. What he lacks in posting frequency, he more than makes up for in content. You won't see any crappy movie reviews in his blog, no sir! What you will find is some very interesting "slice of life" posts from an internet geek in a war-torn land. Give him a click, and see how he stole his template from me, although I haven't figured out how he did it yet.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Belgium has filed war crimes charges against Bush and Blair over the Iraq fiasco. That's all good and well, but they don't want to hold the courts in Belgium. They want them to be handled by the US and the UK. What a grand idea!

Friday, June 20, 2003

Today is my birthday! I'm going to SF to see the Cliftons at Kimo's tonight, so I should have some interesting stories to relate by this time tomorrow. Wish me a happy birthday if you feel like it. Or, better yet, send me money.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The Flintstones have entertained the last two generations like few cartoons can. They are not only fun for children, being a cartoon, but they also have enough "adult" humor to make Mom and Dad chuckle, as well. It's "slice of life" comedy, a formula that has always worked for the American people. Just look at the enduring popularity of the Simpsons, now in it's 15th season(or something like that).I have been a fan of the Flintstones since it was in syndication on early primetime back in the seventies, but there is a darkness that sullies my fond memories of this groundbreaking sitcom. That darkness is "continuity". Let me explain.

In the first season of the show, there was an episode called "The Snorkasaurus Hunter" in which Fred and Barney decide to take the girls hunting to combat the rising prices of meat. Their prey is the elusive Snorkasaurus, known for it's beautiful mating call, "Snork! Snork! Snork!" If you have seen this episode, you know where I'm going with this. The snorkasaurus is a wisecracking dinosaur, voiced by Jerry Mann, who befuddles the two wily hunters and manages to befriend Wilma and Betty. The group decides to adopt the creature, who becomes a servant of sorts at the Flintstone household. Wilma's name for him? Dino.

"What?", you may be saying right now. "But Dino just runs around barking at Fred and knocking him on his ass every time he returns home from work!" This is also true. You never see him even take out the garbage, he just acts like a dog for the rest of his career. He is also later refered to as a "dogasaurus", further adding to the confusion of those of us who remember this early episode. Continuity, Mr. Hanna. Continuity, Mr. Barbera. I know you probably didn't think that your show would be picked apart some thrity five years later on the internet, but you have to have some vision. Now I don't know what to refer to Dino as. Is he playing dumb just to get out of housework? Is it something in the water? I know it's just a cartoon, but there are two different stories on how Dino came to the family, Barney woked at a different place every episode, and Wilma has had two maiden names!

I don't ask for much, but I do ask that you write a script that doesn't confuse me later on. Especially when it's a cartoon. If you need me, I'll be reading my Dynamite! magazine in the can.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Yahoo bought out Blogger, and as a result, they fucked up the Blogthis! app pretty good. I had just typed a pretty good post on this article, but when I tried to submit it, I got a 404 error, and the whole post was lost. What a bummer. Anyway, I guess just read the article and form your own opinions as to whether bubble gum can be racist in the traditional sense of the word, or if it can only be guilty by association.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Today I watched a movie that may have caused me to go sterile. This movie is so horrible that, until recently, it had been outlawed in the southern states since it's release in 1986. Since my sister is writing a book on 80's trivia anyway, I have decided to throw my little contribution in the pot and nauseate you all as well.

Today I bring you Playing For Keeps.

Danny(Daniel Jordano, henchman #2 from Streetwalkin') graduates from high school realizing that he is ill-prepared for real life. Unwilling to get a real job like the rest of us, he soon finds himself in financial straits. Provenance smiles upon him conveniently, however, when he finds out that his mother has inherited a spacious hotel somewhere in New England. The catch? The place is all fucked up like a football bat, and the property taxes are due in sixty days. At least half of this premise has been stolen directly from One Crazy Summer, starring John Cusack, but it's not really that unique a plotline anyway. And this isn't the only movie that Playing For Keeps "borrows" from.

Danny enlists the help from his best friends Spikes(played by Sean Penn's retarded brother, Matthew), and Silk(played by Leon Grant, "Marc" from 3-2-1 Contact). Silk is also the token black friend most movies in this era needed to promote racial equality in the innocent days before gangsta rap. Danny sells these two on the idea by playing up the extravagance of owning a resort hotel. This leads to dream sequences that were so reminiscent of Zanadu that I was convinced that Olivia Newton John was going to rollerskate by at any moment. While Spikes' fantasy was only slightly homoerotic, Silk's screamed softcore gay porn so loudly that I was surprised he didn't wear a feather boa during his dance sequence. Like I said, this was before NWA and Public Enemy, and while I am not a big fan of rap, when I see the way blacks are portrayed in early eighties movies, I can definitely see the appeal of forming your own image and not letting Hollywood do it for you. Anything would be better than being forced to pretend that what you wanted, more than anything else in the world, was to be a male jazz dancer, and still try to demonstrate any masculine characteristics for the rest of the movie. Which he doesn't, by the way. Not only does he get a plateful of beef stew and ketchup smeared in his face by the skinniest redneck I ever saw, but he also drives a backhoe across a wooden bridge dressed as a nun. No, really.

When they get up to the hotel, after selling all of their worldly possessions, guess what? Danny didn't tell his friends about how bad the condition of the property was! I never saw that coming! Now enters the Evil Guy. Mr. Cromwell(played by Robert Milli) has his eyes set on this property so he can...ummm...I don't remember, but it was like building a condo complex or a highway or something like that. It's really not central to the plot what he wanted the property for, just keep in mind that he wants it. He has found out that teenagers from New York have decided to fix the hotel up, but isn't particularly worried that they'll be able to pass the upcoming inspection. He's evil and has no scruples, so he'll figure out something. First arrow in his quiver: a smear campaign on the teens and the lecherous Roman bath house they are trying to open up at the stately piece o' shit overlooking the town. The townsfolk portrayed in the movie are stupid and gullible, which is probably how the writers think all New Englanders are. Now, my brother lives in Connecticut, so there is at least one smart person out there. I can't vouch for the rest of you. Before you get all uppity about New England charm and all the great people who live there, save it. I've been there before, and I know they grow 'em stupider in the northern latitudes. But these bumbling hicks are a little too contrived to be realistic. I later found out they were all Pennsylvanians, so that solved it.

The villagers are up in arms about all the rumors, even though the teens try to explain that it's really going to be a rock and roll hotel, not a brothel. You know, MTV in every room, the Billy Idol Suite, an arcade with such cutting edge titles as Frogger and Joust. I don't see much of a difference, but that's just me. Plus, the hotel is for kids only, so you know there isn't going to be any hanky panky going on around there. Riiiiight. While the teens clean up the place, they find out that there is a hermit in residence. Rockerfeller is played by Harold Gould, who earned a Ph. D in theatre from Cornell. I guess they didn't have a class on dodging shitty movie roles back then. From what I can tell, only two of the cast form this film ever did another picture: Harold Gould and Marisa Tomei.

It turns out that the illustrious Mr. Rockerfeller is a "retired" Wall Street analyst on the run for fraud. What better person to take financial advice from! He tells the kids that they need investors, and the kids interperet this to mean that they should shake down all of their friends back home, who are also unmotivated and poor. They end up giving all their "investors" a share in Motel Hell in return for money and manual labor. There is a scene where they are actually digging ditches for a pool or something. This montage of scenes showing the kids fix the house is accompanied by Sister Sledge singing "Here To Stay". This scene was an obvious knockoff of the house-fixing scene from Revenge Of The Nerds, but they have borrowed so shamelessly from so many other movies by this time that it barely needs mentioning. I just wanted to mention it anyway. So there.

Well, Cromwell finds out about Rockerfeller and tips off the local fuzz. Rockerfeller is carried away and the children lose their only source of motivation. They sit around and do nothing except think about themselves and how much their lives suck until it is revealed that Cromwell is not just a sneaky guy around teens. He has broken zoning laws on another one of his projects or something, and if the kids can get the evidence, they can be rid of him and life will be beautiful. From here on the plot is going to sound hazy because I simply could not concentrate on this movie anymore, and began to surf the web while the film played in the background. What I can tell you is that they do find the needed evidence by causing some sort of riot at the supermarket(?) and get him busted just before the county inspector shows up and gives the hotel a big A-OK! The final scene is the grand opening of the hotel(for kids!), and apparently the kids saved some of the money for advertising, since about 400 teenagers pour in the place at one time. They run up the stairs without checking in, they prance around in horrendous neon-colored wardrobes, they drink underage, and Danny couldn't be happier.

I don't know how I made it all the way through this movie without throwing my TV out the window and pouring holy water on my cable box to exorcize the demons that live within, but I made it. I remember seeing ads for this movie when it came out, and thinking that this movie was going to suck big time. I'm glad I was right.

I would also like to add that this is the first semi-complete review for Playing For Keeps on the web. I beat out X-E, Whatever Dude, and Something Awful on this one. That ought to count for something.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Here is an article that I don't know whether to laugh or cry at. What's worse than planning a school massacre? Having your so-called "friends" narc you out just when you finally get the guns and the balls to set it off. I think it's very telling of the mental state of our suspect that he botched what should have been a fairly simple plan. Any sane child would have just starting shooting up the school on their own. This guy was just too clingy.

Seriously, this article has disturbed me like few others have. What was going on in this kid's life that he decided that he was going to end it that day? Was he abused, or was he just a bored kid like Eric and Dylan? Do the other kids get charges of conspiracy? Was there a Grassy Knoll involved?I guess I'll have to keep following this one. It's just gritty enough to be interesting.

Have you heard of the Star Wars Kid? This hilarious video has been maiking the rounds on the net for a couple of months now. Apparently, some kid filmed himself with his school's video camera doing his best Darth Maul impersonation. If he had erased the footage, we would not be having this post. Fortunately, he forgot all about the cassette, left it in the camera, and now the internet community has something else to poke fun at for a couple of weeks. There was a fund drive recently to raise money for an iPod for this young Padwan Learner, and at the time of this post, the pot is now at $4300. That's alot of money for being a geek.
But what is the price of fame? Although "Star Wars Kid" got signed lightsabers, free software, t-shirts, and more than $4000, he feels embarrassed by the publicity. He has been written about many times by both the mainstream media and internet discussion forums, and not all of it has been kind, as you could assume by watching the video. His parents have decicded that the sudden onrush of infamy is disruptive to their young warrior, and they are pursuing legal avenues. I think the lesson learned by this kid, even more important than how to lift a X-wing fighter out of a swamp using only the Force, is this: Don't film yourself being a dork. Yoda couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Here is a great article asking the burning question, "Should President Bush be impeached for lying to the country?" My personal answer is, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" I encourage all of you to read this article in it's entriety, because it is filled with facts that make a pretty solid case for at least some type of legal penalty againt Dubya. If you really look at the evidence, he could logically go to jail for high crimes. This would be great, but of course he will be pardoned by whomever succeeds him. Friggin' politicians always look out for each other.

Friday, June 06, 2003

I think that organ donation is one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. You are literally giving them years of extra life in order to enjoy at their fullest. When you die, you have visions of your heart going to some poor kid in Chicago who only wanted to be an Eagle Scout. Or your lungs go to emphysema patients who vow off smoking forever after and live to be 100. What you don't expect is that the recipient of one of your organs will be busted in a crack house three years later. After reading this article, I may have to re-think this whole donation thing. I would hate to have my kidney donated to a crackhead gangster, but I bet his teacher thought the same thing.

Blah, blah blah. You've read it here about 800 times, but once again the BBC has leaked US intelligence reports about there not being any reliable information on Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. The Pentagon state that since there were no ground troops to confirm or deny the possession of such weapons, that we couldn't be sure. So we sent in an invasion force to set the record straight. Seems like a good plan to me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The US government finally comes clean! Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz went off the deep end with his comments at an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore this weekend. Basically, all the bullshit I have been saying about the true motive for the latest Iraq war has been echoed by Mr. Wolfowitz. See? This site isn't just filled with the paranoid prattling of a disaffected citizen. I mean, it is, but there are others who share my opinions. Now that the shit has hit the fan, let's not make the same mistake twice. Just say "no" to the propsed invasion of Syria. They don't have that much oil.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Some unexpected good news has come about for this tiny corner of the Internet. Thanks to a 3-2 vote by the FCC, the rules governing media outlet ownership have bee relaxed greatly. What does this mean exaclty? Well, have you noticed how many radio stations sound identical to each other these days? That's because a couple of years ago the FCC had relaxed ownership laws on radio stations, allowing companies like ClearChannel to buy up radio stations like they were Pokemon cards. They then simply broadcast one show from New York or LA and give it local bumpers. Now the same show is broaddcast to every major city that has a station ClearChannel owns. This greatly affects record sales, as only songs and bands approved by these large media corporations make it onto their playlists. The end result is that the only songs youu are likely to hear are the songs that they want you to hear. You are now a puppet of big business.

Now they have been given the green light to do the same thing to TV, newspapers, and God knows what else. It used to be illegal to own every media outlet in town, but not anymore. The world is starting to look more and more like Max Headroom, where one channel controlled all news and entertainment. This could mean the end for UPN, but nobody watched that anyway.

Why is this good news for me? I have now joined a fairly exclusive club called independent news sources. Thanks to this ruling, I will probably get alot more viewers looking for a different slant on current events and the like. Of course, it will all be my own spin, so it will be as biased as ClearChannel, but my reporting tries to be funnier. At least there's that.