Monday, July 28, 2008

I know the origin of the Joker!

Someone took their toddler to see this guy at the movie theater!

I could indeed wax poetic about this movie, and use all kinds of well deserved hyperbole. Let's just say I think I am going to have to choose which one of my top five favorite movies to bump to number six so Dark Knight can be number one. All the emotion and visceral effect I was looking for in movies this summer is here, giving me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every time the Joker came on screen. Not only is the Joker anarchist, the movie makers destroyed all the rules of summer movie making to give us a film where the good guys really don't win. Brilliant movie.

Now let me explain the title of this blog.

Both times I have (so far) gone to the theater to see this film, someone had toddlers or babies there, to include a 9pm showing. Now, yes I also sat next to the Oh Shit Guy, but about six minutes and four "oh shits" into the film one patented "Dan's Scornfully Delivered Glare of Scorn" put an end to that. It was the three year old sitting behind me that was the problem. Not just for my enjoyment of the film, but the fact these parents didn't bother to be parent enough to look into this movie before dragging the kid in to see the most convincing portrayal of a sociopath in movie history. To be fair, the movie should be rated R, not PG 13; however, there's a large gap between 13 and 3. Let me thank these lousy parents for the reminder about why I had stopped going to movie theaters. And I hope when their kids' first mug shot looks like this:

They don't blame movies or video games or some other excuse, they accept they were just bad parents.

More about the movie later... Thanks for indulging my crotchety gripe about youngsters.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ironically giving my opinion on not caring about someone elses opinion.

I am doing this one on the fly as the story unfolds, and the Lovely Jennifer and I are getting ready to leave town, so I only hope it comes out coherently...

Recently Jesse Jackson while thinking he was having a private conversation used the term "nigger." (Please notice I am not using 'The N-Word'; I think it is a complete cop out which reduces the despicable ugliness of the word, and it's a word that should be despicable and ugly.) Now, the folks who are revealing Jackson using this word have not bothered to give us any sort of context (i.e. did Jesse say "Barack Obama is an uppity nigger" or did he say "Bill O'Reilly called me a 'nigger' five minutes ago"?). We just don't know what he was talking about. Bad on them for stirring up controversy for controversy's sake. I would imagine if it was truly damning, we would have the full context, but obviously there is something that would weaken their anti-Jackson message if we saw it all.

That's its own discussion though. Whether or not Jackson gets to use the term without repercussion, whether or not Faux news should share... not relevant to what I want to say right now.

My big beef right now is with MSNBC. While watching the morning news, I have seen them show a clip once an hour of some rich blonde Cracker (do I have to call that the 'C-word' or can I say cracker? I think 'c-word' usually connotes something else though... decide for yourself if I think that is applicable) from the TV show "The View" coming to tears over the idea that anyone would use the word. I could go on all kinds of rants about rich white people really having no say on whether or not the word 'nigger' should be used, but she's on a talk show and their job is to talk. If someone thinks these four women's opinions are important enough to tune in for, that's their problem. I don't really give a crap about their opinions, or the opinions of most humans who are not in my inner circle. What I wanted to see from MSNBC was NEWS! Showing me whiny white chicks going off on a sob fest about a black dude who chose to use a word inflammatory to his color is NOT NEWS! It's not even an Op-Ed. It is a waste of my time when you could be telling me about important things. Things like news from Babylon that I have to look on the BBC website for because American news programs have decided suicide bombings performed by Babylonians we hired to do our security is less important that Jesse Jackson whispering "nigger." That pisses me off and makes me say WHO GIVES A FUCK (notice I did not use the term 'the f-word'; it is a complete cop out which reduces the crude shock value of the word, and it is a word that I think should still be crude and shocking).

The news needs to stop telling me how I should "feel" about world events. I should get the facts so I know what to THINK about world events. Let's turn off this feely crap for a while and think about the fate of our world and country, OK?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Go read this man's comic.

(Warning up front- we're about to get really geeky)

Look, I miss Ted Kord too. He was a fun, jolly guy, and I still get a bit choked up when I crack open my OMAC Project TPB and see Max Lord but a bullet in dear Ted's head. He was smarter than Batman, and had moxie to the end ("Rot in hell, Max.") but simple fact is he's gone. Dead. I would say Bucky Barnes or Jason Todd dead, but that doesn't mean what it used to: J'onn J'onzz dead maybe? Anyway, enjoy the fact Ted is still out there on Carlton Earth with Vic Sage as the Question doing their thing and realize that drama means conflict and conflict means change.

What I am getting at is this-- if you refuse to read Blue Beetle because it is Jaime Reyes and not Ted Kord you are, in the vernacular, a big doo-doo head. The most consistently entertaining regular Superhero title in comics right now is Blue Beetle. Sixteen year old Jaime Reyes is what Peter Parker used to be- interesting. He's got a wonderful supporting cast, many of which are his teenage friends. What do you know, after 70 years of superheroes, there's a title that acknowledges the world is different for these people. These teenage kids aren't worried about drivebys and terrorists-- they are in a world where aliens and supervillains regularly attack the planet! They want to do something about it. Jaime and his buddies are still going through teenage stuff, but in the middle of that, he's kinda getting a kick out of having superpowers. Good for him!

Something else this titles does most don't, is you can pick up pretty much any issue, and get a whole story. Indeed something ingenious John Rogers does on his run as writer is tells a number of good one-shots with cool guest stars, and then does a couple issues tying it all into an arc- if you haven't read those issues, the tie-together stands on its own telling you what you need, and if you did read them, ok.

Also unlike the abominable changes that overtook Checkmate and All-New Atom when they changed writers, the rotating authors on Beetle actually keep the character consistent, and make him someone I want to read about.

In short Blue Beetle is fun, well written, doesn't require you to read thirty other books to know what's going on, and features someone who may be the only ethnic superhero from a major company who doesn't give in to stereotyping. He's a Hispanic kid from El Paso, and acts as such without become DC's token Mexican character.

And if you miss Ted Kord like I do, seeing Jaime learning how to be a superhero from reading Ted's notes should be a real treat.

Please go buy this book while you still can. I am sure DC is going to kill it; it is actually entertaining and not full of CRISIS!!!!!!

You might even get an occasional Bwaa-ha-ha! If you know what I mean by that you are a big geek. Welcome.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Go see this man's film.

So, I braved the Oh Shit Guy and the Giggly Teenage Girl Group to go see Hancock last night. Thankfully, OSG must have been at Wanted, though the Girls were in my theater. Someone told them to shut the hell up before I did though, so I was able to actually watch the movie in peace.

I know this movie is getting some very mediocre reviews. They are wrong. See, three days before I went to see The Incredible Hulk, which was fine but lacking in almost any emotional resonance. Apparently Hancock absorbed it all Rogue style because unlike the "let's focus on nothing but Hulk smash" script, there's actually emotions and drama in Hancock, and like Iron Man, it's a grown up film which happens to be about Superheroes. Indeed, that may be the problem-- I would compare it to another movie I really liked that no one else did, Superman Returns. Each are about real people in a world which allows superbeings to exist. Each involves characters having to deal with the consequences of their decisions. And each deserves more audience than it is getting. Yeah, I know Will Smith is richer than King Farouq- then go see the movie to help out Jason Bateman. He's incredibly talented, vastly underrated, and may be the hero of this film. I am keeping this review spoiler free, but depending what Dark Knight does for me, this may be my favorite movie of the summer.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rights and Left

All over the Liberal Media (and when I say Liberal Media, I mean those who are self labeled as such, i.e. Air America Radio, etc), I see a flurry of accusations regarding the current administration's attacks on American Civil Liberties. From the suspension of Habeas Corpus, Warrant-less wire tapping, the Patriot Act allowing for search warrants to be issued by law enforcement agencies without a judge's signature provided it's under the auspices of national defense-- it would seem there may be plenty of reason to fear the intentions of the current administration. (For a timeline of alleged civil rights violations, check out this site . Check this site out. They also enumerate the violations of civil liberties by the administration.)

So what do you do? How do you keep these violations from expanding? The Democrats won Congress in 2006, but that hasn't really changed anything. Citizens have conducted protests all over the country, but it hasn't really changed anything. Courts have not been able to hold members of the administration accountable for anything, even as egregious as outing our own covert agents engaged in fighting the War on Terror.

At this time only the most crazed of talking heads are talking about subjects like martial law, or certain people refusing to leave office, but what about three or four administrations down the road? If there is another terror attack on U.S. Soil could a future administration take that step in an emergency, and then refuse to reinstate due process for our Republic when the crisis passed? Unfortunately, history is on the side of the Tyrants. Every Republic in history became an Empire; every Democracy in history fell to the rule of might over the rule of reason. If only the Founders could have had the foresight to provide a means to protect freedom from an overzealous administration so our children will be free to waste their time on TV and pizza too. Oh wait...

It's called the Second Amendment, and recently the Supreme Court upheld the fact it supports the individual's right to own a firearm. The Liberal pundits have not been pleased. Now, I am no lawyer, and far more intelligent people than me have interpreted the Second Amendment to mean things like the National Guard, hence the use of the term “well regulated militia” in its text. I have seen the arguments about how “you don't need an AK-47 to hunt deer, or to protect your family from crime.” I even heard a Liberal commentator for whom I have great respect make the argument that the firearms protected by the Second Amendment would be firearms similar to those which existed in 1789.

Again, there are people far more versed in Constitutional law than I, however I don't understand why there is confusion over the intent of the Amendment. The Right to Bear Arms is not about hunting or stopping crime. The Right to Bear Arms is so the Citizenry can defend itself from tyrants. How can I come to this interpretation? It's called “context.” ALL of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights are to protect the citizenry from an overzealous Federal Government. You may remember (or maybe you don't) that there were two primary factions when the Constitution was written: the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. As a compromise between those who wanted a strong central government and those who feared it descending into tyranny, the Framers wrote the Bill of Rights. This is an enumerated list of rights the Federal Government could not screw with to ensure justice for generations to come as the Nation grew.

Should the Second Amendment be frozen in time? Does it apply only to the weapons that existed when the Bill was written? By that reckoning, the First Amendment could only apply to speech or religion which existed in 1789. The Internet would not be protected by the First Amendment. Gangster Rap would not be protected by the First Amendment. Comic books would not be protected by the First Amendment. Television or radio news commentary would not be protected by the First Amendment.

Arguing that the Second Amendment is outdated would mean the Administration is right-- the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, all of them are outdated and the Founders were too shortsighted to imagine the War on Terror. As Liberals argue the Second Amendment is outdated, they are giving tacit approval to the Administration's assertion that other Amendments in the Bill of Rights are outdated.

Now, I do think there is validity to the idea the Second Amendment calls for a State-run militia to regulate the armed citizenry. However, I cannot accept this as being the National Guard for one simple reason: The National Guard can be activated under Federal control. Indeed, I served with National Guard folks in Babylon, not exactly a force meant to protect the citizenry from a tyrannical government (unless we are now saying the Bill of Rights extends to Babylonians too. If the Bill of Rights DOES extend to the Babylonians, then it certainly extends to those in Guantanamo Bay...).

So it comes back to my original confusion. Liberal pundits believe the administration is bordering on tyranny and bending the Bill of Rights to their own interpretation. Yet, it is a similar misinterpretation they wish to apply to the Second Amendment. Conservatives are just as bad when saying it's OK to take Habeas Corpus from certain citizens, but dear God don't touch my guns. We can't have it both ways. The Second Amendment is there to protect us from Tyranny- of course you try to resolve any issues in the system first. Of course voting and protest and the legal system are the primary weapons against tyranny. Of course we as a citizenry have the responsibility of acting like adults if we are going to keep our right to Bear Arms, and if you have violated the social contract by committing a crime, you forfeit the right to be part of the body politic. But when all else has failed, if a President some election decides two terms are not enough, and he is now President for Life. When the rights of the citizens are no longer considered and the infringement of those rights is the norm and not the horrid exception, the citizenry must be prepared to fight for their rights just as the Founders did with the right the Founders gave us for just such an occasion- the Right of the Individual to Keep and Bear Arms.

I don't think we are there, and I am most certainly not calling for armed revolution, but I applaud the Supreme Court decision, and ask my friends on the Left in this Country why they are complaining about THIS Constitutional Right being upheld when so many others are not. I ask my friends on Right to apply the same vehemence to protecting the other nine Amendments as they do the Second. It's what keeps us free, and keeps this Nation one worth defending if you love liberty, and attacking if you are a tyrant.

Dear Right and Left, the Constitution exists independent of your party politics, and objective to political wants. It is a marvelous document that history has not yet progressed beyond. Now, on this anniversary of our Nation's birth, I reprint the greatest gift one Generation ever gave succeeding Generations, The United States Bill of Rights. This is what I have sworn to uphold and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Those enemies include apathy, greed, and closed-mindedness. Right, Left, open your minds and look upon the self evident truths enumerated below granting We the People our Freedom. Amen.

The United States Bill of Rights.
The Ten Original Amendments to the Constitution of the United States Passed by Congress September 25,
1789 Ratified December 15, 1791

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A well−regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

III No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re−examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Use them together, use them in peace (OK- that's actually from 2010:Odyssey Two, but you get the idea...) Happy Fourth.