Thursday, March 06, 2008

"I don't look back in anger because there is nothing really anyone can change..." Ike Reilly Assassination

"The argument that we are making is that the people of our respective states voted. They cast that precious right. They made their voice heard, and those delegates who represent them should be seated at both conventions," Crist said on CNN's "American Morning."

That quote came from Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Regarding the exclusion of Florida (and Michigan's) Democratic Party delegates at the upcoming Democratic party convention.

I got my ass chewed out by a co-worker the other day because I opted to not vote in the primary elections here in Rhode Island on Tuesday. Now before anybody starts to ream my ass again let me explain why I did not vote in a largely meaningless election (did you like that backhanded dig?).

I am not a member of either political party, mostly out of protest because I firmly believe that their dumb-ass partisan bullshit does more to harm the United States than it does to help. I am also fairly disgusted with the whole process at this point and I am not excluding any of the Democrats or Republicans from my scathing contempt. I sort of half wish that we could hit a giant reset button (ala video games) and start the whole Sim Government game over.

But back to the point. The Primary Elections are a machination by the political parties to help them determine who they think their best candidate is (i.e. most loyal, likable, credible, agenda pushing). There is no place in the constitution that calls for Primary Elections, or advocates for them or sets up rules governing them; which is why the RNC and DNC have such starkly different systems for electing their candidates. So with that in mind. I am also not a member of a great many other clubs or parties.

I do not belong to the NRA, Green Peace, PETA, The Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, or the VFW. Now out of respect for those institutions I don't for a second think that I have any business helping them select a chapter chair or national service representative. So why in the FUCK do people insist on making my feel shitty about not voting in a stupid Democrat or Republican Club contest. Because realistically this is all we are talking about. The DNC and RNC, both clubs I absolutely detest for the damage they are doing the nation, have somehow duped the public into thinking that it is their civic duty to go out and cast a vote to help them determine who the best candidate is.

And the irony for this election is that Obama and Clinton are walking into a disaster because the delegates from Michigan and Florida are going to be excluded.

I honestly wish that going forward the RNC and DNC would just draw straws and tell me who, from their silly hierarchy, is going go be running that way news stories about Mosques and schools blowing-up in Iraq, and Military recruiting centers in Times Square being bombed would make the front page of the internet news sources; and maybe of a shot at the "top half of the fold".

Christ Almighty I have been reading so much British news to find out what is happening in the WORLD that I am starting to spell colour, utilise and specialise, much to the dismay of my employers and friends.

Folks, the Primaries a farce. Get revved up for the real election; not this feel-good charade that the morons that lead the government backward are spoon-feeding us.

There I feel tonnes better.

"I may not be a perfect soul, But I can learn self-control, So pardon me..." -Weezer

I found myself typing an email to a friend of mine today and wanting to say something that needed a qualifier; in this case it was, "I hope this doesn't sound too inappropriate." Then I sort of realized that if I have to qualify a statement like that then maybe I should just keep that thought to myself.

And that my friends is growth. On a personal level at any rate.

I still say wildly inappropriate things on a pretty regular basis but to be able to recognize that something like that is mind boggling to me. I wonder where the next bit of growth will come.

On a totally unrelated note but something that has been on mind lately. I love Amie Street. And again I feel like I am a day late to the show. What a great site. It has loads of legal free music, from bands that might be on the verge of breaking out and then you can be the guy that says, "Oh yeah Flibberdy Band, I used to listen them back before they were a Top 40 band and signed with XYZ Major Label." And isn't that what every music snob really really wants?

The selection of the music there is what I find the most mind boggling. I have no qualms with stating that my musical preference is for what I would call prog/indie rock; but I am using that term to encompass a lot of sub-genres like power-pop and pop rock. But Amie Street has Reggae, Rock, Alternative, Hip Hop, Country, Folk. It is a pretty diverse listing of music. And their pricing is amazing.

The pricing scheme involves a pretty amazing model where albums become more expensive as people buy them. So a band like Vampire Weekend (one that I have been listening to a lot) starts off at free and after a time becomes 98 cents a song. Although I have only seen one album that was that expensive.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

“There is no glue to hold you…” –XTC

The teaser tagline for Doug Liman’s new venture is “Anywhere is possible” and in this case it is the literal and metaphoric truth. The movie, which I had very high hopes for walking in the door, took a huge leap and came up very very short of its mark.

The story revolves around Hayden Christiansen’s trouble youth David Rice. He discovers, through precarious circumstances at school, that he has the ability to teleport any place that he can imagine: which we find out includes Tokyo, Paris, London, Rome, bank vaults, and Ann Arbor’s Public Library system.

The story itself is pretty flimsy. David moves, or rather leaps, from home after falling through the ice of the local river and then dodging his angry father—Classic “that-guy-actor Michael Rooker”—before a would be confrontation about tracking water through the house. He leaves without so much as a trace and we see in a montage how he kept himself occupied over the last eight years.

We are shown a scene where he robs a bank and then we are shown the villain, Samuel L. Jackson’s Roland. But this is where the flimsiness is exposed, and pretty ruthlessly. We are led to believe that the David is a hero and Roland is a villain or anti-hero. But there is never enough in the story to support the actions of the characters. We are told that David leaves IOU’s for people after he robs them, but we never seeing him paying them back. We are told that Roland is a psychotic zealot but outside of him killing one Jumper that we know nothing about we aren’t shown that he is anything more than a tenacious cop whose catch phrase seems to be that “nobody but G-d should have this power.” All of the main characters share this flat two-dimensional aspect. It is like watching a movie of caricatures rather than characters

There is a hot chick in the movie (she takes up most of the story shot in Rome) and she is the old love interest. And that is pretty much her whole role in the story; she is an excuse to show off some flashy special effects and an occasional shot of token hot girl in underwear.

The story of the movie is so flimsy that talking about anything else gives away too much and I don’t want spoil anything for the poor fools that are going to pay to see this movie.

But I am going to mention, from my point of view, the most important thing in movies. That is a continuity of suspension of disbelief. What happens in Jumper is David falls through a sheet of ice. He then disappears without saying good-bye to anybody. Fair enough, he clearly was a troubled lad; nobody liked him, who can’t appreciate that sentiment of wanting to escape at any price.

But then he goes back.

And walks into a bar where he finds out that his ex-love interest is working. They have some banter, a small fist fight ensues between him and his old high school rival, and then out of nowhere the hot chick agrees to fly to Rome with a guy who was last seen falling through a sheet of ice on a frozen river. She may have said to herself that he wasn’t dead, but I don’t think for a second that a smart girl decides on a whim to fly to Rome with someone she hasn’t seen in eight years.

Yes, I am willing to believe that people can teleport, or shoot laser beams out of their eyes, or grow to incredible proportions those are all physical things that are easy to bypass in your minds eye (they are also things that I have wanted to do for a great many years). But there is something immutable in the responses of humans to certain situations. And if you are going to throw in a plot twist as shaky as the reconnection of a troubled youth and the hot chick he adored and then have the foundation of the rest of the story be built on her willowy shoulders you need a stronger story to begin with.

It may seem like I am really down on this movie, and I think that would be a fair assessment but it wasn’t all=-bad. Jamie Bell, who was inspiring in Billy Elliot, has a great turn as an equally tenacious jumper-zealot when it comes to the destruction of the arch-enemies. Samuel L. Jackson is also good as Roland and I was really struck with the way those two really buoyed up the rest of the movie.

The effects are also worthy of mention. And I will say this: Doug Liman knows how to make action exciting. He did it with “Bourne Identity” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”, two movies that kept me on the edge of seat through multiple viewings. He does the same with “Jumper” but it is just polish on a terd; although, again, it is glorious polish. There is a segment in which Bell’s Griffin jumps a London Double Decker bus into the desert. There was a lot of near-miss style diving and amazing effects but it just isn’t enough. And I think it should reiterate just how important a strong script is.

Final judgment for Jumper is this: It isn’t all-bad; there are some funny lines and a couple of performances that are worth the price of admission at a matinee or a super Tuesday discount bargain night. If you have a super high powered home theater you might just wait to see it on Blu-Ray or DVD. But please for the love of G-d don’t see this for any more than seven dollars. I have a supremely high tolerance for crap and I was hurt, spiritually, when I saw this one.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"Who let the dogs out" - Baha Men

I was walking home from work on Sunday night and a white Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe drove past me and one of the occupants -- a girl judging by the voice -- barked at me.

Is that what kids do for fun these days? Drive around the Theater District barking at people on Sunday.

Sad. Just Sad.