Sunday, July 15, 2007

Welcome Back Potter

Unable to withstand the fear any longer, I ventured out to the cineplex and caught the earliest showing of the new Harry Potter movie.

"Wait... Fear?"


For those who can't count, this is movie #5.
My fear is that at some point Warner Brothers will just assume that the audience will show up based on the fact that the sign on the door says Harry Potter.

No worries though.

More than a few critics have panned The Order Of The Phoenix.
Biggest complaint: It's too dark...this is not the Harry Potter we met in film one.

Hey Mr. and Mrs. Critic, let's clear something up right now.

Harry Potter isn't a set of children's books. It is a set of books about a person named Harry Potter. It just happens that Harry starts off as a child in this series. Harry isn't a child anymore and his life has always been lived in the shadow of pure evil. As to the "darkness" in the film...Harry is now a teenager - ever known a teenager that didn't get at least a little darker than they were as a child?


The movie is by far my favorite in the series so far. The best fight scene I've seen with magic - ever!
The jokes were funny. The sad parts really made me feel sad. No doubt it's a grown up just so happens that I like grown up movies.
Justice was done to the book as best as could be expected. **another note to those who still see Harry Potter as a children's many children's books are 870 pages long?

I give the film 5 out of 5 Thumbs.

The final book will also be getting a review here soon...but I'm not sure why.

Fans of the books are going to read it even if it gets thousands of crappy reviews. People who aren't fans of the book aren't likely to start reading the series because the end has finally arrived.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

7, 8, 9 ...

A news story out of Boston tells about how an 8 year old boy was shot and killed by a 7 year old boy.

A news story from Arkansas reports the death of a 9 year old boy ...shot and killed by a 50 year old man.

Anyone who can read these stories and still somehow think that guns are the real problem needs therapy.

The 9 year old boy was shot and killed for repeatedly throwing rocks.
The 7 year old shot the 8 year old with an illegal handgun.

While it is true that if we replaced the guns in these stories with another type of weapon...let's say a knife...these kids would probably still be alive, in truth, it is the behavior of these kids that is the largest part of their deaths.

The 9 year old had been throwing rocks at this guys house over a long period of time.
The cops have a record of this as an ongoing problem. The 50 year old who shot and killed the boy had previously thrown a brick at the kid.
Let's face it...that kid was looking for trouble, and he found it.
I'm not suggesting that he should have been killed for throwing rocks, I'm just pointing out that the boy was tempting fate. Making people angry is not a sport...and it sure as hell isn't a good idea to do it on purpose.

As to the two kids in Boston - the story doesn't say what happened.
I'm sure that it was either the gun being treated like a toy, or one kid taking revenge on the other.

In other news, a 7 year old boy was smothered to death by a professional wrestler in Atlanta.

What do all of these news stories have in common?

All 3 of these children were killed by their parents.

Plain and simple.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Drugs Are Bad, Mmmmm-Kay?

Somewhere in the slight of hand known as politics is the quiet little voice of truth asking a simple yet profoundly important question.

Should we be the keepers of our brothers?

At the onset of this discussion we seem to all have a similar position.
I don't want to be kept - and I sure as hell don't have the time, money or desire to keep someone else.

As I add to my collection of years and experiences, I start to see that we are less the billions of individuals and more the billions of parts of one individual.
If you'll allow a John Lennon quote:

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

My position:
The choice of whether or not to keep one's brother is, at best an illusion, and at worst a blatant fallacy.
The more frightening truth is that we are all, in fact, already being kept by each other ...and quite beyond the ability to admit it.

Let's work it out in a word problem;

Rachel calls Steve at 3:30 am asking him to cover for her at work tomorrow because she is "sick". Steve notices how Rachel always seems to get "sick" right after payday. As a matter of fact, Rachel has been "sick" 5 times in the last 8 weeks.

Question: What should Steve do?

For the purpose of discussion, let's say that Steve avoids conflict with Rachel and takes the subject directly to his boss. As it turns out, there have been a few other issues with Rachel and upon further investigation it is discovered that Rachel has, for whatever reason, developed a nasty methamphetamine addiction.

Question: What action should the boss take?

Once again we will assume for the sake of continued discussion that Rachel is fired.
Now she is unemployed, has poor references that prevent her from being hired and a raging drug habit to keep her company.

Question: From a statistical standpoint, is Rachel more or less likely to commit a crime under these circumstances?

At this point we pause in the discussion of Rachel and think about the number of prisons in America that are stuffed full of drug related offenders.

Question: (True or False) Americans could solve more of their problems if they spent more money on prisons and less on schools, roads and energy.
*Note: Shifting the discussion to Governmental Pork or the Iraq War is considered cheating and therefore gives us just cause to flame you and attack you with Spam ...and various other canned meats.

Let's skip ahead 28 months and check in with Rachel.
Rachel has decided that she is going to turn things around and get her life back. She is granted parole and finds work in a restaurant kitchen. Along with her new outlook on life, Rachel also picked up Hepatitis A while she was in prison.

Question: You see where this is going don't you?

Assuming that Steve never ate in Rachel's restaurant...
Steve has already paid taxes to have Rachel arrested, tried and imprisoned. He has paid taxes for a parole officer and a rehabilitation program. As a final insult, Rachel's low wage job does not have health care benefits. In the interest of disease control, Steve's medicare will now be covering Rachel's stay in the hospital.

I happen to be a big fan of smaller government and lower taxes.
So let's help Steve save some money.

Who do we cut out of the equation?
1. The police
2. The courts
3. The prison
4. The parole officer / rehab program
5. Medicare

Cutting any one of these will hurt Steve more than it will help him.

It is in Steve's best interest to look out for Rachel. If he doesn't, she's going to raise his taxes and lower his property values.
If Rachel cared about Steve...and everyone else in her community, she would have avoided the drugs in the first place.
As a matter of fact, it probably wouldn't be far off the mark to suggest that Rachel started taking the drugs because she felt like nobody really cared about her and her actions were meaningless in the eyes of the world.

As far as I can tell, the best thing I can do for myself is to care about what happens to you.

I'm not talking about legislating behavior and morality.
History has shown few things to be less effective.

All human beings are born with a limitless capacity for love and forgiveness.

While we may put up walls, windows and doors in that space to make it less intimidating...the infinite amount of space remains.

So, is possible for me to be my brother's keeper.
It may be in my best interest to be my brother's keeper.
I might even find a way to allow myself to be kept by my brother.


Is it even possible to reject this relationship with every man woman and child on Earth?
Everyone's life has an effect on mine - and mine on theirs - no matter how opposed I am to the fact.

Don't the drug dealers only screw with my taxes and property values - because I let them?
Sober still people outnumber addicts by a pretty good margin don't they?

The strength of the American fighting forces lies in their devotion to each other.
Take the Marine Corps for example. "Semper Fi" does not translate into "Me First".

Our founding fathers wrote:

WE the people of the UNITED STATES in order to form a more perfect UNION...

...WE hold these truths to be self evident, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

because they knew we were at our best when we stood together as ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE with Liberty and Justice FOR ALL.

*NOTE: If you feel the need to rant about the words under God being left out of the've missed the point. You don't have to believe in God or Allah or the FSM to be an American. The Under God argument only serves to divide us and thus weaken us as a nation, Brother.

For The Record:

I want my tax money back.
I want my professional athletes back.
I want my community back.
I want my country back.
I want my brothers back.

Because from now on, I intend to keep them.

--unrelated side note--- new podcast is up (finally)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Glurge Is Both A Floorwax & A Dessert Topping

I hate glurge.

The people who like glurge (or at least aren't as offended by it as I am) don't call it that. As a matter of fact they don't even have a name for it.

But if you want to see the harm done by glurge in our society, just open you eyes a little wider next Memorial Day.

Here is the question of the hour;

What are the advantages of having a Memorial Day?

Few things on this Earth piss me off more than something with "Support Our Troops" printed on it. -
There are thousands of ways to support the men and women of our armed forces...none of them involve t-shirts, bumper stickers or yard signs.

I'm the 6th generation of my family to serve in the United States Military. I was raised that the outward show of support only required a flag that was flown properly...and maybe a yellow ribbon on a tree in the front yard. Anything more than that and you were just showing off for the neighbors.
At the tomb of the unknowns there isn't a chorus line of singing dancing Marines in full battle gear. It's just one guy...doing his job...guarding the tomb.

Whatever happened to quiet dignity?

Why do I have to be forced to wade through a slimy bog of glurge about how much we owe our troops and how great they all are?
When I was in uniform and walking around in public, I would cringe whenever somebody felt the need to make some noise about the service member in their midst.
All I could see was somebody who wanted credit for their patriotism.

What I treasured the most, were the silent nods from the silver headed men and women who had in their eye a familiar glint. A hint of recognition.

Those of you who know what I'm talking about will remember the feeling... as soon as they were out of eyesight, you'd check your uniform to make sure nothing was out of place. Making sure that those who came before will be proud of what they see today.

The point I'm finally getting around to is this:

To honor the troops, you must first follow their example.

A cheesy e-mail about patriotism and a story about how bad the California Liberals are is not how we honor our dead's how we shame them. Talking and crying rather than getting something done.

Next time you want to honor the troops, here are a few suggestions;

1. Shine your shoes.
2. Say "Yes, Sir" and "No, Ma'am".
3. When you have a hard task in front of you, get it done without bitching and moaning or making excuses.
4. Look people in the eye.
5. Mean what you say and keep your promises.
6. Take care of your family.
7. Don't fly your flag in the dark or leave it out in the rain.
8. Learn the words to the national anthem.
9. Vote
10. Enlist in the service of your choice.

We honor the sacrifice by being better citizens.

That's it.

A bumper sticker can't dissarm a terrorist.
A sappy e-mail will never be worthy of a salute.

Glurge is just about as unpatriotic as you can get.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pinch Me

I didn't know you could really be "too happy" until now.

Ever since I've moved here ...I can't relax and I can't sleep.

I'm too happy.

My mind is a nonstop buzz of all of the little things that are wrong at the moment. Being in debt really isn't so bad as long as you have a good job that can cover the payments.
For some reason I continue to focus on my debts or the fact that I need to wash my truck.
Everything is so right that I just can't trust it.

My face hurts because I smile so much.

These are good problems to have.