Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A New Deal


     Up until last week, I had been purchasing my medical supplies from a local pharmacy. They provided one box of each item per month. The supply left little room for unforeseen circumstances, but was doable. But my copay rose every year from three dollars at first to thirteen dollars beginning last month. I had to grin and bear it. Until last week, that is.
     When I tried to reorder last Monday, I was told the pharmacy would no longer carry my items because they were not making a profit off selling them anymore. But the store would be happy to order them for me personally every month for $120 per month. A generous offer, but one I was not inclined to accept. So I needed to find another source. I switched to mail order the same day.
     I received my first shipment today. It was advertised as three months worth, so I was expecting three boxes of each. It turns out the pharmacy had been gypping me. I received twelve boxes of each instead with no copay. What the mail order company considers three months worth, the pharmacy considered a year's worth. Not only that, but the pharmacy would have charged me $156 in copay fees. It is absolutely ridiculous how much hardship I was put through over the last three years in both money and stretching supplies beyond what was reasonable or necessary. Now I have months worth delivered to my door for free.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It is the 25th Anniversary of the World Trade Center Bombing


     Today is the 25th anniversary of the first attack on the World Trade Center. On February 25th, 1993, a truck bomb exploded in the parking lot under the North Tower. The bombing was perpetrated by terrorists Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, and Ahmed Ajaj. The bombers intended for the North Tower to collapse onto the South Tower, thereby killing tens of thousands. Instead, the bomb killed six people while wounding over 1,000.
     I was in the tenth grade. It was a school day when the attack occurred. We did not hear anything about the attack during the day. I only heard about it when a teacher coming back from lunch told another she had heard of an explosion at the World Trade center on the radio. The idea of a handful of terrorists carrying out such a large attack was inconceivable. Remember how Iraq was first suspected? Surely a nation had to be the culprits.
     It should have been conceivable, though. We made a lot of mistakes in not recognizing the threat terrorism presented. Our good fortune in the minimal amount of casualties gave us a false sense of invincibility. If we had looked more soberly at the original World Trade center bombing, we might have been able to prevent the far worse tragedy of the 9/11 attack over eight years later.
     But as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfomwitz noted, “Someone once said history has more imagination than all the scenario writers at the Pentagon, and we have a lot of scenario writers here. No one ever wrote a scenario for commercial airliners crashing into the World Trade Center.” Maybe there really was no way to foresee 9/11.
    On that day in 1993, I did not see any images from the World trade Center until the afternoon. When I did, there had never been anything like it in the United States in my young eyes. The image posted above is the one that has stuck with me over the last two and a half decades. The image is the indelible mark the first World Trade Center attack left on me.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Blast from the Past



     I found these two photos while rummaging through some old online albums from way back when. They are both from the fall of 2003, so they are around fourteen years old plus a few months. I was 26, living in Virginia, and studying law in my third year at Regent University. In many way, I do not look all that different then than I do now, but in many other ways, I have changed dramatically. For better or worse.
     Those were good times over all. I felt like I was on the right track. Nowadays< I have learned how long it takes to regain my bearings once becoming derailed from the right track. It you are unaware, it takes a long, long time and much patience.
     After discovering these photos, I knew they belonged here for long term keeping. They are a vittersweet reminder of younger, better days.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Billy Graham (1918-2018)


     Billy Graham himself would be the first person to tell you this world was not his home. He was only passing through on his journey to heaven. Graham is finally home after a 99 year journey. The first question on my mind this morning when I heard of Graham's passing was how many people are now in heaven because of his worldwide evangelism efforts? It must be a glorious high number.
     Graham was one of the few high profile Christian leaders I viewed with no wariness. Too often, Christians of his stature became embroiled in contentious social issues at best or became embroiled in partisan political issues at worst. Graham managed to serve as council to presidents while remaining above the fray. He said his devotion was to the Gospel, and any divisive issue he commented upon might alienate someone who might otherwise be receptive to his Gospel message.
     I am aware there are controversies with statements graham made decades ago in private regarding liberal Jewish influence on culture. I do not care to wrangle over the issue in his obituary. He apologized to Jewish leaders. They accepted his apology. That is the end of it as far as I am concerned.
     Graham's ministry was worldwide and spanned decades. There is no one truly like him out there today. His passing is the end of an era in evangelism. In a world as chaotic and lost as ours is now, one can only wonder what God has planned for the post-Graham world.
     Godspeed, Rev. Graham.

The Twitter Lock Out


     The knives came out on Twitter overnight. The site locked out a countless number of conservative users last night for what it termed “suspected automated activity.” In other words, twitter finally got around to purging alleged Russian bots. I lost around 250 followers. Only six of those was a following back. Then again, I knew and interacting with many of my now departed followers long before the 2016 presidential election. Something tells me twitter exercised less care than needed in its purge. My follower numbers are creeping back up this morning, so hopefully Twitter is correcting its mistakes.
     The purge is assumed to be because of several articles published in recent days alleging Russian bots were promoting pro-Second amendment hashtags in response to the latest calls for increased gun control in the wake of last week's school shooting in Florida. As noted from personal experience, some real tweeps were caught up in the purge. I am a small potatoes user, but some of the more popular conservative users lost thousands of followers last night. It seems unlikely they were all Russian bots.
     While some of my lost followers—and those of other users—are trickling back in, one must be suspicious this is another case of censorship against conservatives by Twitter. There were no liberal users purged even though the left has participated in, spammed about, and used just as much fiery rhetoric as conservatives. No surprise. Twitter makes it clear conservative opinion is not welcome on the site.
     But twitter determined I am not a Russian bot, so I have that going for me. They did not freeze me out of my account. It will be interesting to see if I eventually incur the wrath of the twitter overloads. As last night's purge demonstrated, you do not need to be a big player in the game for the site to compelled to put the kibosh on you.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Proper Fandom Terminology


     I organized some scattered bookmarks on Chrome today. The idea was to consolidate them into smaller lists. It was not a difficult matter until I lumped my movie & TV, science fiction, comics, and video game folders into one. What should the folder be named. Something short and simple. The obvious choices were nerd, geek, dork, etc. An internal debate ensued over the roper terminology.
     I eliminated dork immediately. If you are not aware, dork is the proper term for whale genitalia. Yes, that is the allusion when referring to someone as a dork. You are calling them a whale weenie. Dork is far more insulting than descriptive, so it was nixed in short order.
     The elimination of dork left nerd and geek as serious contenders. But which was more appropriate? Nerd tends to refer to someone with a lot of specialized knowledge in a subject. The term leans more towards the academic. There are math nerds and history nerds. Geek tends to mean someone who is excessively fond of something. There are Star Wars geeks and comic book geeks. Those definitions leave much room for overlap. If you are a big fan of Star Wars, you probably have a lot of specialized knowledge of it. In that case, are you not both a Star Wars nerd and geek?
     I ultimately compromised. Nerd remained more academically oriented. But since I just plain do not like the sound of the word geek, I chose fandom. Nevertheless, I am now nagged by the question of which term is the most apt for any given status. It would be interesting to get other people's insight on the issue.

An Inside Look At Robert Mueller's Russia Probe

         When it rains, it pours.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Can You Tell Me How To Flee Sesame Street in Mortal Terror?


   Sesame Street has experienced some pretty scary moments in recent years. The show has been infested with political correctness, social justice saturation, and the prospect of self-funding via its multi-million dollar merchandising empire rather than tax[payer funding. But does anyone remember the time Sesame Street faced the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West?
     Probably not a lot of people do. The episode on aired once on February 10th, 1976. My 41 year old self was not even born yet. Margaret Hamilton reprises her role from The Wizard of Oz. In the episodes, the wicked witch of the West flies over Sesame Street when she loses her broom. It is picked up by David. He subsequently refuses to give it back to the Witch in fear of the havoc she might cause with it. The witch causes it to rain indoors in retaliation and threatens to turn big Bird into a feather duster.
     The episode prompted an abnormally large amount of mail. Most of it was negative. Parents wrote in claiming their children now refused to watch Sesame Street out of fear the Witch would return. The production held test screenings after the episode aired to gauge childcare’s reaction. The children paid more attention to the segments featuring the Witch. They were also fascinated with her green make up. The test screenings failed to determine whether the children were afraid of her. Regardless, the show played it safe and never repeated the episode.
     To make the situation even stranger, Hamilton appeared on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood less than a year earlier. Mr. Rogers interviewed the actress in order to establish she was a friendly person who only pretended to be an evil witch. Hamilton dons the costume and performs the voice, but does not apply the make up. There was no negative reaction as far as I am aware. The segment is on YouTube, whereas footage on Hamilton in character on Sesame Street is not public. Perhaps the make up is the line between fascination and fear?
     I am personally puzzled by the incident. It was probably blown out of proportion by overprotective parents worrying jittery producers. I am confident I first saw The Wizard of Oz around the age I watched Sesame Street. I do not recall ever being afraid of the Witch. I was never afraid of the flying monkeys, either. I probably would have thought it neat if she appeared on Sesame Street. Most kids would. At that age, kids tend to like things that are scary, but not too scary. The Witch falls into that category. So the whole situation sounds like adults overreacting.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tomato is the New Orange


     It is no secret I am fickle when it comes to the color of my post title and links. It should be no surprise the latest color choice lasted a mere two weeks. I looked at it last night and it dawned on me, high contrast on black though it was, the orange was too much like Clemson Tiger colors than this old alumnus of the University of South Carolina could tolerate on his main blog. It needed to go.
     Blue and red appear to last the longest in my whims, so I went searching. Actually, I quickly nixed blue because any shade looks odd next to the hooded cyclops in the header and I use the most high contrast blue I know of for my television review blog, Abstract Visions. So it needed to be some shade of red different from the last time around for the sake of variety. I finally settled on the current color. It is officially called tomato, hence the post title.
     Ever since I was diagnosed what diverticulitis fourteen years ago, tomatoes and I have not gotten along. We needed to be permanently separated from each other, to be exact. I am still okay with spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza sauce, so we still meet in some form every now and then. Maybe this color scheme will be one of those few amicable forms to be enjoyed for a while.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Gun Control Debate is a Myth


     Today is the day after another mass shooting which took the lives of seventeen people and wounded dozens more. Times like these are rife with high emotions of grief and fear. In the midst of national mourning, the gun control debate is inevitably reborn. I feel sorrow in times like these when there is a senseless loss of life because of one person suffering mental illness who never got the help he needed. I do not offer thoughts or prayers on social media because those have long since because virtue signaling cliche. Likewise, I avoid the gun control debate.
     Why do I mourn? For the loss of innocent lives as well as the troubled people walking around now contemplating committing the next massacre. Whether it is a bullied kid, someone wanting to make a name for himself, or someone eaten up with religious fervor of one brand or another. Nikolas Cruz had all the signs. He lived a troubled life with an adopted family. He suffered from mental illness. He enjoyed harming animals. He was obsessed with weapons. The AR-15 he used to commit yesterday's massacre was in a lock box in his room. He frequently posted photos of himself online with weapons. He was so prone to violence, he was expelled from school. Eve a year after the fact, students say they knew the shooter was him even before confirmation. A random YouTuber was astute enough over an online comment to contact the FBI. No one around Cruz noticed what was about to happen?
     I am still a supporter of the Second Amendment. I am all about personal responsibility in use maintaining vigilance over those gun owners with ill intent or mental instability. There are 125 million guns in the United States with billions of rounds of ammunition. If even a sizable minority of those guns were in the hands of people with ill intent or mental instability, it would be painfully obvious. The broken people who commit these mass shootings are the tiny majority.
     I have been heavily criticized in the past for saying freedom is ugly, but it is. Freedom of speech is not all Jon Stewart Mill's marketplace of ideas. It is also Nazis marching in Peoria. Or Charlottesville, to update. There is much good in freedom, but you must take the bad as well. If the freedom to bear arms is considered good, then the ugly side must be realized. Every now and then, some homicidal person is going to snap and shoot a lot of people at once. As I said, I have been criticized for saying freedom is ugly. I have been deemed even more harsh for my rationale on gun control.
     But frankly, I do not believe a gun control debate matters in the United States. When the United Kingdom suffered the Hungerford massacre in 1987, its population accepted strict gun control laws. When Australia suffered the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, its population accepted strict gun control laws. When the Sandy Hook school shooting resulted in the murder of twenty-five six and seven year old children, Americans did not accept strict gun control laws. If murdered children are not motivation to enact gun control, then the debate is over. The price for the freedom to bear arms is steep, but Americans are willing to ultimately pay it.
     I am certainly not claiming that is a good thing, but it is the reality. Freedom is ugly. There is a price to be paid for it. It appears the United States has yet to encounter a price it is not willing to pay for the freedom to bear arms. The reality of the matter does not leave any room for debate, so I avid debating guns as much as possible. It is a no win scenario.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Daryle Singletary (1971-2018)


     I just learned Daryle Singletary died today. He was found passed away at his home in Lebanon, Tennessee this morning. No cause of death has been released, but Singletary's death is described as “unexpected.” I suspect, but hope I am wrong, he took his own life. Singletary was only 46 years old.
     Singletary was one of a number of young country artists to emerge during country music's surge in popularity in the early to mid-'90's. He enjoyed a handful of hits during the time period. My favorite, “I Let Her Lie,” is embedded above. Singletary's later career consisted largely of covers of classic country songs. Those covers often felt like a pining for the less rock and roll influenced country of yore. I hate to see another traditionalist leave us.
     Godspeed, Mr. Singletary.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Justin Trudeau Walks Back "Peoplekind."


    I am fair to those I criticize, even public figures, so I feel compelled to allow for Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau to clarify his recent remarks on'peoplekind.” To refresh your memory in these hyperkenetic days when anything that happened two days ago is no longer worth knowing, Trudeau was asked by a young lady during a town hall what what Canada could do for the future of mankind. Trudeau chastised her for using the word mankind because it was not inclusive. 'We,” the prime minister corrected, prefer to use the term “peoplekind.” I unmercifully mocked Trudeau for his extreme political correctness.
     Trudeau faced a backlash almost immediately. His more conservative critics, like me, attacked the silly extremes of political correctness and pandering the feminism in inherent in his exchange with the young lady. His liberal critics were still not happy with the lengths Trudeau went to please them. Then again, when are they? The left thought Trudeau was mansplaining to the young lady. Mainsplaining is an even greater evil to feminism that thinking a woman is attractive. Just to give you some idea of the severity of Trudeau's infraction.
     Trudeau has backed off his comments because of the heavy criticism. He now says remark was a bad joke. He is referring to his use of 'peoplekind” as legitimate terminology for humanity. I do not believe he was joking. One of Trudeau's most frequently used political tools, mostly because of his lack of policy acumen, is to move as far to the left as possible in order to appease naive liberals. Sometimes, it backfires on him, as was the case here. To my knowledge, Trudeau has not addressed the mansplaining charge. Perhaps because he realizes there is no way to win attempting to appease feminists.
     The whole scenario feels like a joke to me. A young adult asks the Canadian prime minister how he plans to save the present and future of the world? That is a question a four year old would ask Superman. Yet it is just another day in liberal politics.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Black Panther is Not Beyond Criticism


     Allow me to preface this post with a few points. I have not seen Black panther. The only idea of the film come from the trailer. The trailer looks pretty cool. While I doubt I will shell out the cash to see the movie in a theater, I will certainly see it when it is released on DVD. There has yet to be a film within the marvel Cinematic Universe the comic book geek in me did not find some enjoyment. Some were better than others, but I have liked them all. I anticipate I will ultimately like Black panther. All that said, the protectionism surrounding the film well ahead of its release is annoying.
     The first thing that bothers me is Black Panther is being billed as the first black superhero. Black Panther is not even the first black MCU superhero. There is Nick Fury, War Machine, and Falcon. Those are just MCU characters. There has also been Hancock, blade, Spawn, Steel, and Blankman going back as far as the early '90's. If you include television, there is Black Lightning, Luke Cage, MANTIS, and black superheroes as part of ensemble casts of live action and animated series as far back as the '70's. Now either people suffer from long term memory loss or the implication is Black Panther is the first “real” black superhero. If that is the case, then critics are put on notice bad reviews of the film will be deemed racist.
     Black Panther currently enjoys a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Today is the first time I have seen it fall below 100%.  The site recently declared it is monitoring voting on the film's rating in order to maintain the integrity of its score. Is there a concerted effort to down vote Black Panther before it is even released because the main character is black?  A fringe group, maybe. The more likely possibly, like with   the 2015 all female Ghostbusters remake, there is a large effort to protect Black Panther's reputation in the name of social justice.
     Shortly before the release of the all female Ghostbusters, James Rolfe of Cinemassacre posted a video explaining why he had no desire to see it and therefore would not review it. For one, the trailer did not resonate with him. The trailer did not resonate with most people. It still holds the record for most down voted movie trailer on YouTube. Rolfe's second point is that he loves the original film and does not see how anything better has been brought to the table. The only difference between the two is the gender switch of characters. Rolfe was blasted by both online and mainstream media as a misogynist for his rationale. Keep in mind Rolfe is mostly known for his character the Angry Video Game Nerd. He is not a frequent film reviewer. He only makes videos of a select few new release that catch his attention. But the message is clear—no one can criticize a film that is making a social justice statement.
     Ghostbusters ultimately under performed and the box office while garnering generally negative reviews. So the effort to make the film iconic for feminism failed. Misogyny was blamed, of course, but it is difficult to deny Ghostbusters was simply a bad movie. How will Black Panther turn out in the end? I do not know. If it is too politically charged, it might turn off moviegoers. Those who refuse to buy tickets will be called racist. It will not be a fair criticism. One of the reasons the MCU films have done so well, especially compared to the darker DC Universe films, is they have a lighter, more fun tone. They are pure escapism. If Black Panther is not in the same vein, it might bomb. The fear of that happening is palpable within those attempting to shore it up beforehand.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Justin Trudeau's Over the Top Political Correctness


     Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encountered what Barack Obama might refer to as a teachable moment at a town hall meeting when he corrected a young lady who had the audacity to refer to the future of mankind. Trudeau chided that “we” prefer to say "peoplekind” because it is more inclusive. He received loud applause from the audience and added for good measure “we can all learn from each other.”
     Just to prove liberals are not happy with anything no matter how far into absurdity one goes to appeal to social justice, Trudeau has been criticized for mansplaining to the young lady. I am going to shock everyone by agreeing with this criticism. Trudeau was arrogant and patronizing towards her. His attitude was made even worse because what he said to her was total idiocy.
     So mankind is now out because it presumably implies only the patriarchy is included. What is next? What about a mandate? Or a demand? Is it a depeopled? Actually, that sounds like population control. You know...eliminating people for the sake of the environment. Many liberals might actually go for that one. I should probably stop here before I give them any ideas.
     Trudeau's declaration of peoplekind came shortly after claiming he could take Russian President Vladimir Putin in a fight. No word on how a boxing match with Putin would promote peace for all peoplekind. But I am confident Putin would pound Trudeau into maple syrup. Considering what Trudeau believes about political correctness, it sounds like he has been hit in the head a few too many times already.
   Here is a short clip of Trudeau mansplaining inclusiveness instead of promoting the patriarchy:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Elon Musk Launched a Tesla Roadster Into Space


     Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster with a mannequin astronaut driver into space between Earth and mars this afternoon. The Tesla rode the SpaceX Heavy Falcon rocket to its destination.. the Tesla overshot its target and is actually headed towards an asteroid belt in its orbit around the sun, but nobody's perfect.
     Yes, the above photo is an image of the real deal.  No Photoshop.
    Only in America, in our absurd climate, would someone decide shooting an electric car into space with a phony astronaut driver is a good idea. Maybe Japan, but instead of an astronaut, the driver would be a young, big eyed girl in a sailor suit. There would probably be a green, tentacled monster hiding in the back ready to attack her. The anime practically writes itself.
     Exit question: how many Tesla need to be active and the roads to counterbalance the environmental impact of the fossil fuel that launched the Tesla into space?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Non-Holiday Selfie Because I Gained Weight

     The tradition is to post a selfie every holiday. The next holiday will be Valentine's day. Valentine's day is a celebration of love. It feels narcissistic to post a photo of yourself on a holiday celebrating love. It is also vain, especially considering I am posting the above photo because I look better in it than the previous. Therefore, here is a non-holiday selfie this week instead of a holiday selfie next week.
    My steady weight gain is continuing after inexplicably dropping a considerable number of pounds towards the end of last year. The gaunt look I was sporting on my face throughout November and December has faded into memory. Hopefully, whatever smacked me back down a couple months ago does not make a return visit.
     Unless I am extremely unfortunate, it will not. I manage four Ensure a day on top of three meals and whatever else I feel like eating a day. Four Ensure is the equivalent of the nightly feeding tube supplement I received from 2013-14. This explains the weight gain. Over time, I may even hit my heaviest weigh in at 112 pounds. It took many months for me to hit that number the last time around. Here is hoping.   

Sunday, February 4, 2018

My Tom Brady Whammy Finally Took Effect During the Super Bowl


     Like everyone outside of New England, I was rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles during that inconsequential football game that kept interrupting those -ubercommercials Also like most of the country, my interest in the NFL waned this season because of the national anthem protest. But my irritation at the idea of the playbook stealing, deflated football using New England Patriots winning another championship compelled me to watch. That and watching the super Bowl has become a communal experience.
     Recall I put a whammy on Tom Brady in the last playoff game. The Patriots were down for most of the game, but they came back. So my whammy did not take effect. Meh. I do not believe in magic, anyway. I cannot with any degree of certainty claim Brady getting sacked on the final scoring drive, therefore allowing the Eagles to hang on for the victory, was my my doing, but if you wish to credit me, feel free.
    In all seriousness, there are two reasons I am happy to see the Eagles win. First, I loved the coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Nick Foles opened their post-game interviews by giving all the glory to God. The Eagles are well known for a Christian atmosphere on their team. None of them took a knee to protest this national anthem this season, either. Second, Brady did not shake Foles' hand at the end of the game. What an embarrassing act of poor sportsmanship. I do not care how impressive it is for Brady to play as well as he does at forty. He is obviously lacking emotionally and spiritually. Those faults outweigh his accomplishments.
     I will give credit for no player on either team taking a knee in protest during the national anthem. It was also a nice touch to feature Medal of Honor winners participating in the opening coin toss. I am not certain how much the acts make up for, any genuine attempt at redemption is appreciated.

Saturday Night Live Spoofs Patriots and Eagles Fans

      Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey return to spoof cocky New England Patriots fans with a sketch set during the early days of the American Revolution. It might be my favorite comedy bit so far this season. Saturday night Live is at its best when the jokes are layered and everyone—surprise guest stars and host (Natalie Portman here)--get in the act.
    A recent poll suggests only 16% of the country is rooting for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. For what little interest I have in the big game today, I count my self in the 84% who do not want the Patriots to win. The Eagles are America's team today with much reluctance.
     Watching the super Bowl is about as close to a shared national experience as Americans have these days. As the case has been frequently in recent Super Bowls, I will be watching mostly for the commercials.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Urban Champion (NES)

     Urban Champion was Nintendo first attempt at a 2D fighting game. First attempts are almost always the worst, and Urban Champion certainly is. There is not much to it. You control one of two ordinary guys—Nike or mark—engaging in a fistfight in front of an apartment building. The object is to knock your opponent off screen. Do this twice and then a third time into am open manhole. Each time you knock your opponent into the manhole, you win a round.
    You only get two kinds of punches in order to beat your opponent. One is a soft punch. The other is a hard that will send him flying. I cannot figure out how to consistently throw a hard punch since the same button performs each. The best I have been able to do to throw a hard punch consistently is charge him, throw a punch, and keep doing both as he gets up and charges back at me. But I can easily beat anyone with this method. But the lack of variety in fighting techniques gets boring fast.
     The worst part is the game does not end. You play until you lose three lives either by being knocked off screen or falling into the manhole.. But if you are even remotely good at playing, you will never die. I never did. In fact, I never even came close to running out of the 200 stamina points or the 99 second time limit for each round. I stopped playing when it became clear the challenge never increased no matter how far into the game you ventured.
    There are two instances to break up the monotony. The first is the police car that randomly drives by. Mike and mark automatically stop fighting and casually walk to opposite ends of the building where they whistle until the cop leaves. Supposedly, the cop appears when you run out of stamina and arrests you, but I never ran out to see for myself. The other is the lady who drops a flower pot from one of the upper floors. If it hits either of you, the unfortunate fighter is stunned and his opponent earns a free shot. The flower pot dropper may be the same lady who drops confetti on the eventual winner. If so, she is fickle.
    Urban Champion is a curiosity worthy of only one play. After ten minutes, you will have experienced everything the game has to offer. You will be extremely disappointed by how little to offer that is.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Memo Day


     The House Intelligence Committee's memo on the Department of Justice and the FBI request for a warrant to wiretap the Trump transition team was released earlier today. Critics argued releasing the memo might reveal secret tactics that compromise future investigations. Others believed the memo would vindicate Donald Trump by proving the deep state has it out for him. So what is the final word.
     First, the facts. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid ex-MI-5 agent Christopher Steele for a now discredited dossier of opposition research on Trump. The DOJ/FBI took the dossier and a Yahoo news article to a secret FISa court in order to get a wire tap on the Trump transition team without informing the court the Steele Dossier was created as a campaign tool.
     The bottom line is DOJ/FBI engaged in shady tactics, but not in any Watergate level scandalous actions.
     I can see why critics did not want the memo released even though the argument it might reveal secret tactics is not valid. Unless the DOJ/FBI just did not want people to know how far the law gets bent during investigations. I do not even see why the memo was classified in the first place other than rear end covering. To understand why critics wanted to keep the memo secret, reverse the roles. What if the McCain campaign paid a former Pakistani intelligence officer for a dossier claiming Barack Obama pledged loyalty to radical Islam on a trip to Pakistan in his youth. The dossier is a complete fabrication, but the Bush DOJ/FBI uses it to abstain a warrant to spy on the Obama transition team in order to undermine his presidency. The same critics would hail the memo's release and call for the heads of everyone involved.
     As you can see, in order to make any serious hay out of the memo, you must speak of it in partisan terms. The truth of the matter is certainly embarrassing for the DOJ/FBI, but it does not mean much without effective spin. Conservatives will believe what they want; liberals will believe what they want.