Archive | November, 2011

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OWS Song

Posted on 30 November 2011 by scanjack

It’s a little bit funny this occupy outside
I’m not one of those who can wear hide
I don’t have no money ’cause Mom’s wallet she hid
I’d really like Dad’s tent back where we both could live

If I was a banker, but then again, no
Or a man who makes profits by selling this blow
I know it’s not much and not the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one’s for you

And you can tell everybody you occupied this song
It may be quite stupid but now that the pepper spray is done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re on the dole

Gitmo Nation

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Freedom of Press, and Speech?

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Thraxxus

Rupert Murdoch, considered by some to be Murdoch the Devil, owns a huge portion of the Western World’s Press, period. His company, News Corporation, is the second largest Media company on the planet.  That said, chances are if you live in the west at all then each and every day Murdoch’s empire touches your mind in some fashion. Why is this important? Recently Murdoch’s empire has come under fire for doing some seriously, what some would call, unscrupulous things to get a news story – mostly cell phone hacking.

What is cell phone hacking? For discussion purposes let us touch on that for a moment. Your cell phone is, in effect, open to the outside world if one knows how to get to it. There have been loads of stories in the past of the FBI hacking people’s phone to gather information about supposed crimes etc. In effect, anyone with too much time on their hands and the ability to use the internet can figure out how to do it. So what can someone get from your phone? Everything that is on it. Email? Check. Pictures? Check. Listen in on conversations? Check. So you have to ask yourself why aren’t these things more secure? The truth is pretty straight forward: locks are meant to keep honest people out. Cell phones have some locks on them, but they aren’t very good.

The News Corporation has been accused, and in effect found guilty of, cell phone hacking of celebrities and people of influence.  There really are too many to list. Seems wrong somehow, right? Your gut feeling is that this isn’t right – these people are having their privacy violated. That is the key word here – Privacy. Let’s talk about that for a second. Privacy is based really around the concept of Expectation of Privacy – meaning where can you logically expect privacy?

There are two types of expectations of privacy:

  • subjective expectation of privacy is an opinion of a person that a certain location or situation is private. These obviously vary greatly from person to person.
  • An objective, legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy is an expectation of privacy generally recognized by society.

If you consider in association with cell phones and cell phones conversations, something that by definition leaves your current location and goes across the planet in some fashion, can one really have the expectation of privacy? Your conversation is being BROADCAST by your phone to cell phones towers. Anyone in that path could theoretically pick it up – so why the expectation of privacy? In effect it is the same thing as opening your window to shout across the street to your neighbor. Anyone within ear shot could hear it – are they not supposed to? All they have to do is pay attention to what you are saying.

Okay so that covers transmitting of conversation, fair enough. What about voice mail? What about Email transmitted to your phone? Same thing – went across the digital highway to get to you. The only thing that might protect you hear is the Wire Act and other laws like that which cover data and voice conversation over state lines. What if you live in an area where these rules don’t apply – like Great Britain? Furthermore what about the content that is actually on your device directly – like pictures? Here is where things get sticky. The device in your hand, with your content on it that was captured by it (phones with cameras in them) can be considered a private device right? It is your’s, you are in possession of it, and you don’t want to share what is on it with other people – so logically you can expect privacy within the device right? One would think – catch is that also is up for grabs. Your cell phone provider can use the service that you are on to check your phone’s operating system, files, and thus anything that is on it – and if they can do it so can anyone else.

Given all that has been said, what really is the issue then? You now know that expecting privacy on your cell phone basically isn’t protected by anyone, although lots of people are arguing that it is, and thus you can’t really expect privacy. Why then are so many people upset about this “violation of privacy”? Was a law broken? That is in debate. Was what was done dirty handed? Oddly enough that is also in debate. The catch here is that the Press has certain freedoms (nice video here), mostly attached around source protection – meaning they don’t have to disclose source AND those sources, in many instances, can be considered to be seedy at best. In the past News people have been known to break into buildings, wire tap, spy etc. Anything really to get a story – so really how can we expect them to not do all of those things to cell phones?

There is one fundamental thing at stake here that actually applies to everyone, not just news people: the freedom of speech. The freedom of the press is really an extension of that basic fundamental. Is it morally right to steal information from someone? Depends on who you ask. Is it morally right to report on what you have stolen? Again depends on who you ask. Is it against the law to do those things? Not really. Again, in a fashion, it depends on who you ask. What is important is that people are allowed to speak their minds, no matter how disgusting their thoughts are – this is why racist assholes are protected and allowed to say their hate speech. As long as that gross, disgusting crap they are spewing is not acted upon then it is legal. It is the same reason that you can complain about politicians – you are allowed to without reprecussion – for now.

That is really what is at stake here – Freedoms. If you take away the freedom of the press, what is next? Who will be checking up on bad people doing bad things? Who will be a whistle blower to protect the weak, meek, and innocent? If they aren’t allowed to report on Princess Diana drinking coffee or diving somewhere (realize she died running from reporters), then how can we say they will be allowed to report on anything important? Where does it stop? Therein lies the real crux of the issue – if there is a real line, where is it, and what actions deem that someone crossed it?

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Occupy

Posted on 26 November 2011 by Thraxxus

I have been silent fora brief spill as I have been paying attention to the Occupy Wall Street fiascos that have been going on around the country. It turns out that most major cities have at least some version of this going on. What has been killing me was some of the interviews that have been shown on television with some of the people occupying. “Why are you here?” Simple enough question. The answers that have been shown on mainstream media have been, to put it lightly, pathetic. “I want a job!” Or simply they hold up a sign that says “I am part of the 99%!” Okaaaay.. and that means? Things to note, and thoughts that I have had on this subject:

  1. The 99% are those that are not in the top 1% of income Americans – meaning most non rich people
  2. If you really want a job why are protesting instead of looking for a job?
  3. How are the 1% in the 1%? What are they doing that is so wrong?
  4. Is anyone really protecting those in the 1%? (Oddly enough this is where we start crossing the line into conspiracy theory – or do we?)
  5. Protesting in the USA, peaceful protesting that is, should be protected by the Right to Freedom of Speech. Right? hmmmm
  6. Why are people being carted off, arrested, pepper sprayed for sitting somewhere? Many of these cases have reported that those that were mistreated actually did no violence themselves, so what is the deal here really?

Then I stumbled across this article. Basically this guy spells it out, in graphic detail, what people are really protesting (not the crap that MSM is showing you) and what truth there is to the protesting. What this guy illustrates is alarming at best, and borderline Civil War directed. If what he says is true, and at present I have no reason to doubt him given the recent actions of politicians in this country, then the USA has truly been stolen from her citizens.

From my perspective, things are going to get far worse before they get better. Maybe all those rantings by Scanjack over the last two years were closer to mark than most of us wanted to believe. The USA seems to be sliding into a rather dark place with increasing speed. Hold on folks, going to be a dangerously bumpy ride.

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A Plethora of Films….Yep, Including Twilight….

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Reel Rhino

Jeffe, did you say I had a plethora of movies?  Ah, yes El Whoppa, I did say you have a plethora of movies.
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REVIEWED THIS POST:

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas – 2 of 5 Horns

Anonymous – 4 of 5 Horns

J Edgar – 3 of 5 Horns

Immortals 4.5 of 5 Horns

Our Idiot Brother – 4 of 5 Horns

Martha Marcy May Marlene – 4 of 5 Horns

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 – 3 of 5 Horns
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Sorry for the delay folks!  I have been mighty busy…a garage sale, raking leaves, fighting crime…it takes a toll on a big fella!

As for the present moment (yeah, okay…this post is a few days old!), Mrs. Reel Rhino is out with some other ladies taking in the AMC Stubs Special Event, also known as, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I.  Ohhhhhhhh….Team Jacob….Team Edward!  Everybody get sooooooo excited.  Stay tuned for the Twilight review at the bottom of the page.

I am not a Twi-hater, but I do have fundamental problems with these movies.  I think the wooden acting has killed these films in a manner similar to the Hayden Christensen-Star Wars debacle.  This series would have been so better served by teens who could actual emote.  These kids, for their deep Shakespearean love, really fail to act like anything resembling real teens.  I hope these last two films are at least decent, as for all my complaining, I will have to still see it.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas: 2 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: “Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, stoner buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel cause a holiday fracas by inadvertently burning down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree.”

A sub-par entry into the H&K series, there are a few decent gags, but otherwise, this film falls completely flat.  I mean that IMDB synopsis pretty much says it all.  This flick is saved by the presence of Neil Patrick Harris only, as everything this guy touches, seems to turn to gold.

I only wonder what “the community” will think about NPH forsaking his gayness, even if for the sake of a comedic bit.  His bravery to live out loud was praised, but the whole thing is proclaimed a gag in this flick, as a ploy to get chicks.  I get the joke, and perhaps his supporters will as well.  I am a firm believer that in the name of comedy, all can be forgiven, but for such a sensitive issue these days, maybe it was too much too soon.

Other than a very enjoyable role by NPH, this film is clearly a must miss.

Anonymous: 4 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: “A political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare’s plays; set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her.”

This is the “real” story of William Shakespeare, as told by the master of disaster, Roland Emmerich.  “They” say that this is the first film by Emmerich that actually is a truly decent film.  While I believe that this is a truly decent film, I do think that Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and The Patriot were all wholly enjoyable, albeit somewhat guilty pleasures.

Supposedly, the works of William Shakespeare were actually written by “Anonymous,” and in a moment of haste, when the call for the talents of the writer of a stage play was being chanted, Shakespeare stepped up and took the credit.

This film was at times hard to follow, as events unfold in 3 different times and in a variety of venues.  And it is very much a period piece, with everyone dressed in drab garb.

But for whatever this film got wrong, it got right the presentation of a really enjoyable film spinning a tale that for some scholars, may be an actual portrayal of the history of The Bard.  It is one part drama, one part comedy, one part action….Check it out if you get a chance, it is a really decent 2 hours in the theater.

J Edgar: 3 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: “As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.”

I will lead with this: this film WILL take the Oscar for Best Makeup.  For the three leads, Leo, Armie Hammer, and Naomi Watts, they aged them perfectly.  The old detraction from their appearance was the jarring nature of hearing Leo speak through an old man’s body.

This is a film with great potential, but far less delivery.  It is a thinker, not a doer, and it plays out as a procedural of J Edgar’s life, with too little action but for a couple of dynamic arrest scenes.

The speculation to J Edgar’s personal proclivities is the interesting aspect of this movie.  There were some high points on the history of the FBI’s major cases, most notably, the Lindbergh Kidnapping.  I found the presentation of the kidnapping and investigation very plain.  Now I speak from a position of insider authority on the Lindbergh case as I have studied it and presented on it professionally.  I think to an extent, this dulled this bit of the tale, and it covered a solid chunk of the flick.

What I did like, as a CSI myself, was the depiction of the creation of the FBI Crime Lab, not the first one in the country, but the first with the scope and impact that the FBI lab had on crime fighting, most notably at the time, the collection and categorizing of the fingerprints of known offenders.

All in all, I was entertained by this movie, but just not moved the way I have been in the past from the offerings of Clint Eastwood.

I will say there was a fair amount of hate in my theater, for every time the bits concerning the speculated homosexual behavior of the legendary lawman hit the screen, some of my fellow moviegoers felt the need to offer guffaws, and one guy actually yelled out “that’s bullshit!”

No my friend, you are the bullshit.

Immortals: 4.5 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: “Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.”

I love the films of Tarsem Singh…for some pre-viewing research, check out The Fall, from 2006 or The Cell from 2000…yep, The Cell…that flick with J Lo.  Both films are so vivid, the decent stories in each are forgiven for the stunning visuals.

Mirror, Mirror, the other Snow White click, is due in early 2012 and it will be Tarsem’s fourth film and I have high hopes.  I also like the look of Snow White and The Huntsman.  If you haven’t yet, check out the trailer.

Immortals is a really well made film, that like Tarsem’s previous efforts, look beautiful.  This is an example of 3-D truly enhancing the product by giving great depth of field.

This is a fantasy, and there are bit with the Greek Gods intertwined with the story of the mortals, and the one who would save them.

Henry Cavill is Theseus.  Henry Cavill is the next Superman, in the Chris Nolan produced reboots.  Cavill shows himself here to be fully capable in the hero role.  His boyish looks have a sense of innocense that should translate well into the Clark Kent side of Supe.

Mickey Rourke plays King Hyperion in yet another role in which he seems to have born to play.

There is a fight sequence towards the end of the film that is Matrix-esque and for 2011, just as exciting.

Immortals is billed as being from the Producers of 300, and it is worth the billing.  Stephen Dorff is

Martha Marcy May Marlene: 4 of 5 Horns
FROM IMDB: “Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.”

This film may be best known for starring an Olsen sister…no, not one of the twins, even younger…Elizabeth Olsen, 22 years old, and a fragile being in this film, freshly escaped from a collective farm/cult.  She flees into the arms of a long lost sister, two years removed from each other’s lives while she was living under the roof of “the family.”

The “father,” Patrick, is played masterfully by John Hawkes.  Hawkes is coming off a banner 2010 having been nominated for best supporting actor for his role of Teardrop in Winter’s Bone.  Not to typecast this force of the silver screen, but he was built for roles like this, a very similar character, hard and worn, to last year’s Teardrop.

After two years in the family, Martha has had enough, and one morning, she hits the trail at the crack of dawn.  She calls her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson), and after being gone for two years, she is more than happy to reconnect with Martha.

Martha is not forthcoming with what she has been through, but it becomes obvious to Lucy, that something is wrong.  It is also obvious to Ted (Hugh Dancy), Lucy’s husband, who had never met Martha, and who is very astute to Martha’s oddities.

The film is told in two parts, toggling back and forth from the beginning of Martha’s run with the family and the beginning of her time again with her long lost sister.

The tension in this film builds as the running time continues…but it never rises to its billing as a thriller, which is really my only complaint.  The tension comes from Martha’s experiences in the family and the discomfort that grows as Martha’s social awkwardness grows less and less tolerated.

I enjoyed this film and I think that Olsen, Hawkes, and Paulson will all be contenders come Oscar season, as well as screenwriter and director Sean Durkin, who has already been nominated for Best Breakthrough Director in the Gotham Awards.

Check it out, if for no other reason, to see something different from the mostly trashy flicks playing in theaters now.

Speaking of trash…

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: 3 of 5 Horns
Now the Mrs. Reel Rhino disagrees with my feelings of mundanity towards this penultimate entry into the Stephanie Meyer series, but it isn’t the first time I have disputed with my lady, and it won’t be the last.

There were a few decent moments in this flick, but my chief complaint remains this is such a far fetched presentation of teens, let alone teens in love.  I guess living as long as Edward has, you could do little else but be a piney little whiner.

If you remeber a few posts ago, I gave the Team Jacob flick, Abduction, a passing 4 of 5 horns review.  That review stands, and I also think that T Laut is one of the few people in this flick that can actually act. Lautner, Billy Burke, and Ashley Greene, and Anna Kendrick are really the ones in this that I find palatable.  Billy Burke because he;s a cool dude, Kendrick because she is legitimately talented albeit misused as a comic sidekick honoring the role she created before she hit it big, and Ashley Green because, well as Mrs. Reel Rhino put is, is adorable.

Lautner had me going full on Team Jacob, until that scene were he was wolfed out and has the meeting with his wold pack, him proclaiming “I follow no one….I am the grandson of a chief!!!!”  The wolfpack scene was re-dick-U-lous.

I didn’t hate this movie…I just find it more silly than it had to be, and for a richer bit of acting, the story may actually have stuck a little more solid.

Notice how I didn’t mention Kristen Stewart….yep, that was on purpose.  I only hope she is asleep through much of Snow White and the Huntsman, which otherwise looks pretty damn good.  I’m not trying to judge, but she is terribly melodramatic.

See this movie if you must.  See it on the big screen if you plan on seeing it, as it will accentuate it just a little bit…speaking of accentuating the movie going experience.  There was a crying infant front and center.  The screaming lasted from beginning to end…intermittently.  When the baby wasn’t yelling, the other audience members were…at the baby’s parents.  Nice.  See also, my last post on being an ass at the theater.  These people qualified whole hearted as a bunch of asses.  Nice one.

Our Idiot Brother: 4 of 5 Horns
From IMDB: “A comedy centered on an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters.”

A formulaic, but enjoyable film, featuring Paul Rudd as said Idiot Brother.  This film has a star studded cast in Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, T.J. Miller, and Kathryn Hahn.

Basically, Paul Rudd is sent to jail for selling weed to a uniformed officer.  This act should give some insight to the intelligence level of the man, but what you also see out of the gate is the heart of this guy.  He is as compassionate and caring as he is idiotic, but most of his caring leads to more idiotic antics.

After being released from jail, we see him bounce from his mother’s house, to each of his sister’s, and back to his mother’s.  In each scenario, Rudd’s Ned gets involved in the lives of his family, and in each scenario, he gets them into hot water.

The formulaic part is that in the end, everyone is better for the chaos that has invaded their lives.  That is no spoiler, but only info as to the type of movie…for take away the f-bombs and weed dealing, and this would almost qualify as a feel good family film.

Instead, we have a really competent adult comedy with a decent feel good flow to it.

Check it out when you get a chance, which will likely be at home as this flick has already been through a pretty limited run in the theaters.

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Whew!

That’s a lot of movies!  I am about spent and for now, I will bid you adieu.  Until next time, take care!
Reel Rhino

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Hospital again(this makes six)

Posted on 20 November 2011 by ~baba

Last night my chronic back pain flared up, I happened to have a massage therapist handy but it turned out not to be muscle soreness, it was a flare up of my colitis. I’ve been diagnosed and treated once with an antibiotic, then rediagnosed as chronic back pain though I’ve always known it was colitis. This morning it wasn’t any better and I went to the hospital emergency room(cheaper than a doctor here) After an examination and various tests and check ups I was told it was indeed colitis and I also had high blood pressure and early signs of kidney problems. I guess the old body needs some supplementation. I was given a list of 11 prescriptions and told not to eat hot or salty foods, all they have here most places. I’ve decided to fill the antibiotic and the steroid and see if they work to aleviate the pain, I don’t have too many of the other symptoms, some are pretty bad so I guess I’m lucky. Colitis is now thought to be an autoimmune disease and runs in families. I’ve never heard of anyone related to me who has had it but I have an email to my brother discussing family health. The doctor I had spoke English very well and I complemented him on it, most health professionals here have limited if any English skills(and I’ve spent 13 days in hospitals here) Not much about Thailand here but just to make even I’m not going to post a photo of my colon……………baba

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Family

Posted on 16 November 2011 by ~baba

I’ve done some of the tourist stuff, rode an elephant, seen Khosan Road area, seen cobras, one in my room, done most things a tourist would do here in Thailand(even taken a couple of bar girls home). But yesterday was better than all of that. Koy, my landlady, and I went to pick up her children from school. I had to wait outside as the kids came out of the various grade classes, one shyly came over and offered his hand and I shook it, immediately about 50 boys of different ages came over and shook my hand, some introducing themselves, some asking questions, it was nice to see them. In the Thai schools that I’ve seen the children are in uniforms and are very well behaved, even off of the school grounds. After we got the girls, who were very proud to have their ‘falang’ ‘papa’ come pick them up, we went to the country where an uncle of Koy’s had cut about 20 saplings to build an addition to her restaurant(minimal structure, best food I’ve had in Thailand) We Then went to the market. Koy told me to take the kids and get out of her way, she was going to shop! Wew, Wei, and I went and got crepes with various sweets, orange slushies and the cost for two of each was about a dollar. By this time Koy had finished shopping and we went to her restaurant. The her father and I unloaded the saplings and the women folk built a fire to light the charcoal and proceeded to cook. Soon it was ready and instead of eating on the restaurant tables, mats were spread and the feast was laid out in the center and a plate of rice for each person. There was about a two pound fish, fresh salad greens, side dishes of all types and it was all good. I realized that few foreigners had the opportunity to see the ‘real Thailand’ by just vacationing and I was lucky to become part of a family and see the country’s every day life. I love these people, not just my family, I love the guys who work hard all day for less than $10, the toothless old ladies who wave at me as I bike by, the rice farmers, harvesting now, drying rice everywhere on blue tarps… Some places one lane of the highway is for rice drying. These are hard working and beautiful people. Can you tell I’m impressed?…..baba

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A Speech to Live By.

Posted on 16 November 2011 by Thraxxus

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate;
has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity;
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . .

Soldiers: don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written:
“The kingdom of God is within man”
Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men; in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!

. . .

Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow, into the light of hope, into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up. Look up. – Charlie Chaplin (The Great Dictator)

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Pooamka

Posted on 10 November 2011 by ~baba

Or something like that, last night Mama,  Papa, Wei, and Wew (my family) got into the family pick up truck and Koy, my girlfriend said  ‘Go’  so I went with them. We went over dark bumpy roads, winding thru rice paddies and finally arrived at a row of candles on posts and a candle lit ‘dock’ with children and an adult placing floating flower incense offerings. The lit up centerpiece was a Naga, thought to be mythical until 1972 when the US Military, during the kill everyone in Asia war, happened onto a 37′ specimen in the Mekong River. The Naga was lit up by candle light and the occasional firework burst. Everyone seemed pleased to have a falang participating in the festivities and there was a crate of local rum. A truck pulled up playing Thai music at earsplitting volume and the cigarette smoke and fireworks smoke was heavy. Wei and Wew set their offerings afloat and Wei the older one turned to me and recited a practiced speech to me, ‘Papa Dave, you make me angry.’ I think she may not have meant that, she was smiling broadly so I’ll wait to discuss it later. The kids were coughing as well as Papa Dave so we left and came home. It was a wonderful event, Pooamka is as close as I could get to an explanation, I can’t wait to do it again, whatever it was………..baba

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Sometimes good stuff happens…

Posted on 09 November 2011 by ~baba

At the urging of my roommate, Som, I left my comfortable, cheap, beautiful, furnished apartment in a familiar area with friends and acquaintences everywhere and moved across town to a place I’d never seen that wasn’t furnished and we had to buy all our appliances, curtians, everything. IT’S WONDERFUL! The neighbors(it’s a duplex) are a gramma, grampa, cute mommy and her two adopted girls. Every meal they come over and get me and make me eat with them, it’s good food and they’re genuinely glad to have me. The kids have asked me if they can call me papa and I’ve said yes, I’m babysitting them now while their mom is going shopping, preparing to send them to school. A few days ago I went to school with them, they were so happy, they’d never had a daddy take them to school and they were so proud, I felt awesome. Just now they turned off the computer(blinkinblogs saved what I had written, YEA!), told me to stand up, walked me outside and we got on my bike, I took one a few blocks down the street to the family restaurant and brought the other back, we’re communicating pretty well with minimal words and gestures. The mom can speak a little and we spend some evenings practicing English. Monday or Tuesday I go to Lao for my visa, I hope they’re lax at this time, sometimes they give you a final 15 days stamp and yer outa here! I have court papers and hospital bills and a pleasant demeanor so I feel good about my chances. I have some recent photos of Mommy, Wei, Wew(the kids) and of Som………baba

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Hunting Stupid

Posted on 08 November 2011 by Thraxxus

I personally know a few hunters, not one of them seems all there. Most of them are nice people, to people that is, however they tend to take on a more sinister sociopath based perspective to reality when discussing animals – of any kind. Things are said like:

  1. Deer? I loves killin me deer. Hell if I could kill one with my bare hands I would! (Bullshit. Period)
  2. Bear? Naw, they ain’t scary none. You can easily pick one off from a 500 yards! (Not very sporting old fellow. Trying doing it the Native American way – run up and slap one).
  3. My Dog? Yeah once he slows up a bit I’z gonna put a bullet in im and gets me a new one! (Can you wife do the same to you?)

None of those lines are made up btw – well.. no they aren’t. So why does old Thraxxus have an issue with hunters this fine day? It is hunting season! And that means that stories about stupid hunters are coming out in droves – and that makes me happy.

Story number 1: Hunter Lights himself on fire and falls from a tree to his death. I sincerely hope that a group of deer found him and cracked jokes over his body. I mean really how funny is this? Sure a guy died, blah blah. However, he died by LIGHTING HIMSELF ON FIRE. I can’t even imagine the crap going through this guys mind just moments before this occurred and then how those thoughts took a dramatic turn right after he lit himself on fire. “oh yeah… gonna git me a nice buck today. Probably a 18 pointer! (no idea if this is even possible btw) I swear old Gus will show them youngins down at Skippy’s Bar who is.. whoa.. holy shit! Wtf!?!?! AAAAAAH” SPLAT.

Story number 2: 79 year old shoots his friend. Just going to quote the story here because, well, its just too good on its own. “Matthew Raley was guiding James Wennerlind and his son on a turkey hunt. The old man fell asleep and the guide walked into the field to try to spot some birds to hunt. When he walked back toward the slumbering hunters, he was mistaken for a turkey and Wennerlind opened fire.” ROFL right? I wish I could have listened to them explain that to the cops. “See, now Billy-Bobby-Joe there, well, he always did remind me of a turkey.. and so when he stepped out of the grass, and them turkeys is mean mind you, I just figured he might be a gobbler makin a play for us. Damned evil bird the turkey. Oh sure they taste good with gravy and mashed taters, but if you let one sneak up on you? It is game over my friend.”

And finally third we have a story about protesting gone bad. Apparently some lady was opposed to duck hunting to such a degree that she waded into the water in front of some duck hunters to tell them so. Some how, and this is the funny part, SOMEONE SHOT HER. Anthony Bourdain said that duck hunting was one of the most boring activities he has ever been forced to do. Basically a bunch of idiots sit for hours waiting for a duck to come by so they can open fire on it hoping to take it down. In the mean while they all tell mindless stories about previous duck hunting trips. No shit. What gets me here is that if you wish to protest against people who kill stuff, you should probably do it when those people AREN’T ARMED TO THE TEETH. Just saying.

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Review: TOWER HEIST and REEL RHINO is an ASS?

Posted on 05 November 2011 by Reel Rhino

So I’ll cut to the “I’m an Ass” part first.  I did go and see Tower Heist this evening.  I would like to think that for around 150 movies at the theater a year, that I am a sensitive movie goer.

I hate when folks bring loud and inappropriate aged kids to the theater.

I hate when cell phones aren’t set to silent and when these phones do ring, the person who owns it can’t seem to sort out:  –a) where the phone is, and   –b) how to stop the phone from ringing in the darkened environment of the theater.

Even more so, I hate so very much, when people actually answer the phones in the theater.  Are you kidding me…you are really answering the phone…

“Hello”
“I’m at the movies…”
“I’ll call you back later…”
“Yeah, okay, I’ll meet you there…”
“Tell Bob I said hi…”
“Okay….okay…okay….bye.”

Cardinal rule…you don’t answer your phone at the theater.  I am on call, 24/7/365.  Usually 5 or 6 times a year, I will have a movie interrupted by a call out.  When my phone “rings,” at the theater, it is set to silent.  I get up, press answer, and let the person on the other end of the phone listen to the movie as I walk out of the theater.

Bottom line, I hate inappropriate disruptions at the theater.

I am a considerate movie goer, but apparently today, I stepped over one man’s line.

When the credits were approximately 3/4 of the way through, I pulled out to update the Media Stinger page.  If you don’t use it yet, be sure to check out MEDIA STINGER to see what movies have scenes during or after the credits.  I use it for every flick I go see, to see if it will benefit me to stay until the lights come on.  I contribute when I can, and I got credit for getting the Stinger submission for Tower Heist, but not without a price.

When I pulled out my phone, and this was the first time it was out since the trailers ended, within seconds, a man sitting two seats to my right stood up, tried to tough guy tower over me, and said “THANKS FOR HAVING YOUR PHONE OUT DURING THE MOVIE!”  Caps indicate his tone, and I was quite frankly, flabbergasted.

My quick retort was: “I didn’t!” to which he said “IT IS OUT RIGHT NOW!”

I should have just uttered: “NUHHH UHHHHHH, POPPY PANTS!,” but what I actually said was that I thought he was a real joy to be around and told him to get out of my face.  Now I have been losing weight, but at 335, I am still quite formidable.  He left immediately and no blood was shed or blows were thrown.  I was angry, but I still have self-restraint.

My statement regarding this interaction is this: for my agitation at others during a movie, I consider the trailers and the credits fair game for cell phone use, especially when there are no stingers at hand.

I was sorry that this jackalope was upset and had he handled it differently, I would have apologized in kind.  But I stand by my take on credits rolling cell phone usage.

What say you Reel Rhinoites?  What are your boundaries for theater etiquette?  What is your worst disturbance at the theater story?

Mine relates to an infant child crying through the duration of Drag Me To Hell.  That screaming infant helped me on my own personal descent into hell…what theater behavior has got your goat…let me know in the comments or via e-mail, and if I get a good enough response, I’ll do a follow up post.

Now, on to the show…

TOWER HEIST 3.5 of 5 Horns
This was a passable entry into the adventure heist comedy genre.  I will say that if this was an R-rate flick (it was PG-13), that Eddie Murphy would officially be back.  For what he could spout in this milder environment, he was channelling very well, a similar vibe he had in Trading Places, the 1983 classic Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd flick.  If you’ve never seen it, stop reading right now and go do it.  I mean it!

Okay, welcome back.

Brett Ratner specializes in movies that seem to avoid risk, giving us much of the same old stuff, rather than anything resembling new ideas.  I don’t say that to be mean, but I find his films so middle of the road.  Not since 1998, when he gave us the original Rush Hour, did he really impress me as a director…Rush Hour the first was well paced and funny as hell.

Even Red Dragon (2002) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) were based on previous properties and in both instances, these missed the bar set forth by their predecessors.

There really is an all-star cast here: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Michael Pena, Tea Leoni, Judd Hirsch, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, and Gabourey Sibide.  For as great as that sounds, they all deliver fair performances, but Murphy and Sibide stand above the others, by far.

From IMDB: When a group of hard working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s (Alda)  Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence.

Alda is a penthouse pimp who is adored by the staff at his high end apartment tower.  The bend to his every whim until they find out he is being charged with securities fraud, an investigation being led by Tea Leoni’s free spirited FBI Agent.

Our hero is Stiller’s character, the apartment manager who is fired after taking out some aggression on Alda when he finds out they have been swindled.  He was canned along with Casey Affleck and Pena, and the three of them hatch a plan to get it all back, but they need help.

Broderick is evicted from the apartment, a former market expert, and he is brought in for his expertise.

Murphy is a low level criminal who Stiller knows as a neighbor, and he is brought in as the expert in all things criminal.

Round out the gang with Sibide, a disgruntled maid who is about to be deported for an expired work Visa, and the gangs all here.

The vehicle for the MacGuffin (the cash) in this movie is a bit interesting, but I won’t spoil it here.  The fact that the backdrop for this film is an apartment along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, is also interesting.

Really that is a good way to describe this movie: interesting.

It is an interesting movie with a great cast, but the movie is never brought to the sum of its parts.  It is like Oceans 14, without Clooney or Pitt, and not nearly as good as any of Soderbergh’s offerings.  I enjoyed seeing this, especially due to the resurgence of the Eddie Murphy I remember from my youth…here’s hoping we can get this guy into an R-rated flick soon.  If they reboot Beverly Hills Cop with a rumored sequel, if it is PG-13, I will protest.

No more Meet Dave, no more Imagine That, no more Norbit…get back to the good stuff, baby.  And for the record, I am a Pluto Nash apologist…yep, like it a lot.  Get over it folks…it was the last time Randy Quaid was funny and overall, it is much more fun than anyone give it credit for.

Until later, have a Very Harold and Kumar Christmas…maybe that’s up next for me…maybe Anonymous.  I haven’t decided yet.  Who knows what the weekend will hold…just hopefully it doesn’t involve any more verbal lashings by codgery old men.  A boy can dream…

Reel Rhino

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Mini Reviews: Puss in Boots and Margin Call

Posted on 03 November 2011 by Reel Rhino

Yep, mini reviews…that’s all I have for you…

I gave the leaves in my yard round two this week, so I am a little tuckered out.  I would like to get this out there…I think that Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill will be THE atrocity of 2011.

There, I said it…I think they should reconsider the title, and change it to Battlefield Earth II.  What is he thinking?  Sandler can really be funny, sweet, dramatic, and more, but what in the hell is going on here?

This could officially be his first steps down Eddie Murphy Road…which hopefully Eddie, an insanely talented guy, is about to pull himself out of.  Tower Heist has had some early reviews that sound not so bad.  We’ll see.  Who knows, Eddie’s Nutty Professor was a blazing success, perhaps Jack and Jill will…nope, I can’t even say it, let alone write it…

This poster is awful…it looks like a parody poster.  The thing is, its rated PG.  I am guessing this is being drummed out as a family movie.  I think it will flounder.

Puss in Boots – 3.5 of 5 Horns
This is the not so necessary spin-off  to the Shrek flicks, that perhaps wore out their welcome, by at least one film.  I guess Shrek Forever After was funny, but really their writers do a good job of channeling the zeitgeist of popular culture and film.  The Shrek flicks always also seemed to work in some hidden, yet very adult humor, without risking they not as savvy kiddies getting the jokes.

That is really what Puss in Boots got right…some well placed jokes, some decent action, and a really good looking presentation of the IMAX version.  But, what in the hell are the prices like in Denver…$17.00 for a matinee showing at the United Artists downtown theater?!?

That’s a little too rich for my blood, but they do have a great auditorium for their IMAX screen.  Too much dough, though, too much dough.

Puss in Boots is an enjoyable, mindless day at the theater.  Antonio Banderas has charm, Selma Hayek is tone perfect as Kitty Softpaws….she is one bad kitty.  Zach Galifianakis plays Humpty Dumpty…he is as talented in voice as he is in person, but I think it is mainly because you can picture him making silly faces as he delivers each and every well enunciated line.

A passable effort…okay, an enjoyable one, but not mind-blowing and I stand by what I always say…I prefer originality to the same old thing, and this is sadly, the some more of the same old thing.

Margin Call – 4 of 5 Horns
A timely film, albeit this being a fictional tale, depicting in spirit of the fall of the Lehman Brothers investment firm.  I saw this on On-Demand, which is nice, but curious…why not the big rant from the theater owners here?

The cast alone warrants checking this one out…Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, and more…it plays out with something like a Glengary Glen Ross, just not exactly as engaging, and with a couple of gals thrown in, like Mary McDonnell and Demi Moore.

This is an enjoyable film as a procedural on the dark side of finance.  It’s relevance makes it more exciting, and generally speaking, being primarily a talkie, there are some decent thrills and tension throughout.

Again, for a shorty review, I say see it, but save the big screen for big screen type flicks.  Check it out On-Demand, and enjoy a flick and send the message…if you build it, we will watch.

Until later, take care…we’ll see how Tower Heist holds up.  I’ll be back soon with more to report.
Reel Rhino

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String Her Up!

Posted on 02 November 2011 by Thraxxus

Lindsay Lohan is going to jail, for like a few days. The woman needs to be sent there for a long time. WHAT ARE WE DOING!? There are some people serving eleven year sentences for smoking pot, and this woman gets off breaking law after law because why? She is famous. Fuck that. I am so sick and tired of the bullshit preferential treatment that famous get. String them the fuck up. Show them that they are not above the law. Go full blown Judge Dread on these assholes. What the hell is wrong with our society. She is an ACTRESS – nothing more. Nothing special. Just some woman who started as a kid in shows and now does movies.

Why does this exempt her from being forced to do terrible acts to her cell mate in the middle of the night? Normal citizens that break the law end up practically living in prison and yet this glorified gutter slut goes free on a regular basis. What the fuck is wrong with America? She makes millions of dollars per film, photo shoot etc, and yet claims financial hardship when it comes to fulfilling her civic duties? Fuck that and fuck her with a Christmas Tree Shaped dick. Man I am tired of the bullshit special treatment of the rich and famous in the USA. String them up, all of them, and start with the man juice dumpster.

Stupid whore.

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Halloween?

Posted on 01 November 2011 by ~baba

What did you do for Halloween? I watched a zombie fest on a movie chanel out of Macau but couldn’t stay up to finish it inspite of drinking coffee all evening. I still haven’t moved, haven’t even seen the place yet. I may let Som move there and I’ll move over a little at a time over this next month. The scooter deal is going slowly, he hasn’t printed the contract because his printer is out of ink, meanwhile I have no transportation to the new place, a tuk tuk ride would be over 100 baht each way and would come to $200 a month which I can’t afford. The scooter would be $66 plus gas and oil. I have to go to Vientiene for a visa again, it’s been over three months since I got the two month double entry visa, two two month visas in one. Each of the two could have been extended by a month but it’s 1900 baht each time and getting another 2+2 visa is only 2000 baht in Lao and I like Vientiene, for a major city it’s pretty easy going and relaxed. Last time I spent the night there the beautiful desk clerk asked me to marry her and she was serious. The city is alongside the Mekong River and has a cafe/restaurant district there like Paris. Laos was a French colony and has fantistic breads, bakeries, cheeses, wines, and BeerLao which is a delicious hoppy beer that is only $1 for a 22oz bottle. Anyway I have to get another visa by the 18th and I think I’ll go as soon as I get my SS check so I’ll have the money, last time I was late getting my visa it cost me 1500 baht for the three days. A friend of mine is so far over due now that he can’t pay the fine so he’s basicaly hiding till he gets caught or sneaks into another country. The police and immigration are serious here, I wish him luck……….baba

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