Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Easter Bunny is a Psychopath

     Every year around this time I post The Easter Bunny Hates You. The video tickles the darker side of my funny bone. You know, the side that is sarcastic and nihilistic. The prominence ebbs and flows, but the aspect is ever present. The Easter Bunny hates You has been around for eleven years now, I think I have posted it stretching back eight or nine years to my original. The joke has definitely run its course.
     How else can I present the Easter Bunny in a demented light? What about a photo of a chainsaw wielding, psychopath Easter Bunny on the hunt? Yes, that will work. So here is a photo of a chainsaw wielding, psychopath Easter Bunny on the hunt. Just as he is on the other 364 days of the year,.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Allison Mack is Co-Leader of a Sex Cult

    Remember a few weeks ago when '80's hottie Heather Locklear tried to kill her boyfriend before beating up a police officer? The incident appeared to confirm the old adage the best looking girls are also the craziest. Now we have possible confirmation of another adage. Allison Mack, who played the cute computer whiz Chloe on Smallville, is the co-leader of a sex cult involving slavery and BDSM. So the quiet nerds are the biggest perverts.
     This Daily Beast article will send you down the rabbit hole of Nxivm,, but I will summarize what is immediately relevant to Mack. Nxivm, pronounced Nexium, is an alleged self-help group founded by Keith Ramiere. Ramiere sought the attention and finances of C and D list celebrities to both finance his activities and serve as devoted sex slaves. The slavery involved branding woman’s private parts and corporal punishment for disobedience. At one point, Ramiere used mack and her co-star Kristin Kreuk to lure in new members. Kreuk quickly bailed, but Mack became a devotee. She has now risen to the rank of co-leader.
     Ramiere was arrested earlier this week on charges of sex trafficking, forced labor, and physical abuse. Mack is expected to be arrested, as well. She will likely face the same charges. Picture that the next time you watch Smallville. Mack does not seem like the type to become involved in such a mess and yet, in a way, she does.
    Now the most interesting related question not involving sex—are mack's current legal troubles a result of the alleged superman Curse? If you are not familiar, There is allegedly a curse placed on anyone who plays superman on screen. The curse began when '60's television Superman George reeves committed suicide or was murdered, depending on what you believe, and continued with Christopher Reeve, who famously portrayed the Man of Steel on the movie series, being paralyzed in a horse riding accident. 
     The Superman Curse has been expanded in recent years to include other cast members who have met with misfortune, such as Margot Kidder's mental breakdown and even Richard Pryor's MS diagnosis. So Mack might fit in. At least some will rationalize her being cursed.
     The idea of a Superman Curse is a little too superstitious for me to believe. Kirk Alyn, who played Superman in the serials, lived to the ripe old age of 88. Granted, he predated Reeves and thus may have dodged the curse. But Dean Cain, Brandon Roth, and Tom Welling have not suffered much beyond a lackluster post character career. There is no much to pin the supernatural blame. It is f  un to speculate on a side aspect of comic book lore regardless.

Opening Day


     Today is Opening Day for the 2018 Major League baseball season. The off season was the quietest I can recall since the days of owners' secretly colluding to artificially lower players salaries. Not to start any conspiracy theories. I am just noting the lack of changes in teams from last year. So expect few surprises from last season.
     I am a long-suffering Atlanta Braves fan. It is no surprise the team is not going to do any better than last year. The Braves will probably finish slightly ahead of the incredibly awful Miami Marlins. With any luck, the Philadelphia Phillies will fumble and the Braves can finish in the middle of the National league East pack.
     Regardless of how well my team performs, I still enjoy a sense of romanticism about baseball. It is a game rich in history and statistics perfect by a nerd such as me. My thoughts on the game are summed up well by james earl Jones' “If You Build It, They Will Come” speech from Field of Dreams.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Teenagers Should Not Make Public Policy


     Yesterday, the much touted March for Our lives the parkland High shooting survivors organized was held in Washington. The kids were hoping to start a revolution, even going so far as to end the march with Jennifer Hudson performing a cover of Bob Dylan's '60's protest anthem 'The Times They Are a' Changin',” There has been much self-congratulatory comments going around since Hudson hit her final note, but the question remains...are the times a'changing? In a word, no.
     There is no real gun control debate in the United States. Twenty-five first graders lost their lives at Sandy Hook over five years ago without any inclinations to limit Second Amendment rights. Both the United Kingdom and Australia suffered less bloody and emotionally charged gun crimes which prompted their restrictive gun laws. The United States is not going to budge now because of Parkland.
     The Parkland kids' cause is not helped much by the shooting incident at a Maryland school which was stopped by a police officer using his gun to stop the perpetrator before the incident could turn into a mass shooting. The cop is a hero, but his actions do not fit in with the gun control narrative. In the aftermath of the Maryland shooting and lack of media attention versus Parland, you can see how the media never lets a tragedy go to waste when pushing an agenda.
     It is not just the media, either, although they are as guilty as anyone of forcing these kids, who are suffering from grief and PTSD, into the national spotlight. It is also the public school system itself to uncritically accept that guns are inherently evil and taking them away will save everyone. These kids, who are too young to both buy guns or vote, are lecturing their parents on what they should have the right to own. The kids are being praised for it, too. Because they have been indoctrinated well.
     There is a reason kids seventeen under are not allowed to vote, and it is not solely because they are prone to voluntarily eating Tide pods. Although come to think of it, that is a fine example of their general lack of discernment skills. The Bible says to let no man despise they youth, but can we despise youthful ignorance? Or at least ignore it when so blatantly obvious?

The Bangles Appropriate Ancient Egyptian Culture

     We should not stray too far away from the appropriation of ancient Egyptian culture when we have an even more popular example than "King Tut" by Steve Martincovered yesterday. “Walk Like An Egyptian” by the Bangles ranked Billboard's number one song of 1987. the song's popularity made the Bangles one of the most recognizable musical acts of the '80's.
     But is the song offensive? I am one to think few things can be viewed with a sense of humor because of the existence of so much absurdity in the world. But not everyone thinks as I do, so it bears further examination. The song is goofy, but lacks the sense of irony inherent in”King Tut”'s satirizing the commercialization of the traveling King Tut museum exhibit. Songwriter Liam Sternberg was inspired by watching passengers on a ferry walking awkwardly in order to maintain their balance. The poses reminded him of figures in Egyptian hieroglyphs. So the inspiration is a bit mocking. There is no compelling meaning to “Walk like An Egyptian” overtly or covertly.
     The song's airplay has been limited on occasions in the past during times of increased tensions between the Middle east and the West. The first major instance of banning the song from airplay occurred during the 1991 Gulf War. The second was after the September 1tth, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These cautionary steps were taken in spite of the Egyptian “walk” predates Islam by thousands of years. But whoever accused radical Muslims of having a sense of humor about anything even marginally associated with them?
     As I said above, I do not see any offense, nor would I take anyone who did too seriously. It is a catchy, fun song that makes pretty much no sense whatsoever. But oh, Susanna Hoffs and those eyes! Hoffs suffers from stage fright, so she often looks directly at individual audience members to cope. She had no idea the camera was filming a close up as she glanced from side to side. The scene is one of my favorites from the MTV era.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Steve Martin Appropriates Ancient Egyptian Culture

 
     It is not fair to accuse Steve Martin of cultural appropriation with this performance of his great novelty song “King Tut,” but in 2018, who can guess what the consensus might be? We were certainly less stringent about what was okay to poke fun of back in 1978. Martin did briefly appear in the Egyptian outfit during the 2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special without fear of accusations of racism, but he deleted a tweet in which he complimented the late Carrie Fisher for being an attractive young lady when they first met to avoid accusations of sexism, so who knows how bold Martin feels these days?
     Any criticism would be ironic. The whole point of the song is to satirically poke fun at the cheapening of a cultural wonder through merchandising by creating a silly song about it in order to sell records. We are too sensitive these days, but we are also too ignorant and satire impaired.
     By the way, DNA tests show King Tut was, like all pharaohs through the 25th dynasty, a Caucasian.   Martin even refers to the Boy King as a "honky."  Probably not a term he could get away with on television these days, either.
    Enjoy “King Tut” by Steve Martin. The skit remains one of the most expensive bits Saturday Night Live ever produced. Impressive, considering martin was never a cast member. He was on the show so many times, a lot of people assume he was once part of the cast. It is hard to believe this was nearly 40 years ago.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg Addresses Facebook Security

     Following up on my previous post, Mark Zuckerberg addresses the 

Cambridge Analytics issue on his Facebook page and in interviews 

Facebook Under Scrutiny Over Users' Personal Data Security


     Facebook has come under government scrutiny after revelations Cambridge Analytic s, a political firm hired by Donald Trump during his successful 2016 run for president, acquired the personal data of tens of millions of users. Facebook's stock plummeted as the top brass went into crisis mode—apparently without Mark Zuckerberg, who is dramatically said to be missing in action.
     It is not only Zuckerberg's current status being dramatically over stated. It is the whole situation in general. Consider the following two points.
     One, the type of data defined as “private” Cambridge Analytic s gained access to and utilized. The data was users' friend networks and likes. The data was used to create a personality profile for targeted campaign advertisements. Google has been doing the same thing for years by keeping track of your search results in order to show you advertisements you will be most interested in. Which is not to say the private data breach is a good thing. But it is not user social security or credit card numbers, either. It is not terribly difficult to see a Facebook user's friends list or likes if one makes an effort to do so.
     Two, Barack Obama gathered the same data from Facebook during his successful 2012 reelection bid. Except then, the move was touted as part of a cutting edge, social media savvy campaign. When Trump did it, the tactic suddenly became unethical. Keep in mind Zuckerberg has floated the idea he might run for president some day, perhaps even as soon as 2020. Trump was an outsider neither establishment Democrats, nor Republicans, wanted. But he won anyway due in no small part to the work of Cambridge analytic s. So Zuckerberg is a threat to the establishment like Trump. Of course government wants to put the brakes on him.
     But it this the beginning of the end for Facebook? No, that probably came a while ago when your grandmother signed up. At some point, everyone who wanted a Facebook page got one. The younger generation coming up now is not as interested in the site because, as noted, their grandmother is on there posting recipes and sharing ten year old memes. Privacy concerns may turn a few users off, but the whole matter will blow over quickly. One would be hard pressed to find a web site that does not collect personal data for marketing purposes. Really, considering all the dirty laundry shared on Facebook that ought not be, how many users actually care about privacy?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

First Day of Spring


     I would shout hallelujah, but the best aspects of spring have not yet arrived. February was said to be the second hottest on record, but the temperature consistently dropped throughout March so far. A cold rain has fallen a few times as well. It has not been terribly unusual for the flowers to bloom in March in South Carolina. Blooming flowers are not likely to happen this march.
     Spring is my favorite time of the year. I like the warm, but not hot weather. I like the anticipation of the fun summer will soon bring, albeit that is mostly nostalgia of my younger days. But must of my fondness hinges on warm, sunny weather. So the warm, sunny needs to hurry up and get here already!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)


   Dr. Stephen Hawking, world famous Cambridge University physicist and author of the best selling A Brief History of Time,  died early this morning at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76. Hawking was a brilliant man who studied black holes and the origins of the universe while confined to a wheelchair unable to move more than a finger and his eyes. Nevertheless, he was a world traveler who crossed off an impressive bucket list including hot air balloon rides, floating in zero gravity, and guest appearing on Star Trek: the Next Generation.
     Most people would probably have no idea who Hawking was if not for his brief appearance as a holodeck projection playing poker with science officer data and some of the greatest scientific minds in history like Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.  Also of note is his appearance voicing himself on The Simpsons.  I am not certain why he decided to appear on The Big Bang Theory other than for the sake of irony, but he did so.
     Most of my knowledge of Hawkins' work relates to his theories about the Big Bang in philosophical and Christian apologetics terms. He would probably find that fact cringe worthy, bot there was a time when he believed—or at least pandered to—the idea that if an answer to the origins of the universe could be found, we would finally understand the mind of God.
     Regardless of the answer to the origins of the universe is or whether there is any meaning to understand, hawking now has the answer he spent the majority of his adult life seeking. Perhaps he has found a sense of satisfaction in that.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Arnold Schwarzenegger Announces Plan to Terminate Big Oil with Frivolous Lawsuit


     Arnold Schwarzenegger announced this weekend his intention of filing suit against Big Oil for "First Degree Murder" because oil companies have allegedly ignored global warming which has lead to the death =s of countless people. Is he serious or just an idiot? Not that the two are mutually exclusive. Regardless, Schwarzenegger has not yet decided where to file his suit.
     He has two other problems before filing suit. First degree murder is a criminal charge. Schwarzenegger is proposing a civil suit, which would be wrongful death instead. He also needs to establish standing in order to bring suit. I am skeptical he has been personally affected by the deaths of countless people Big Oil has allegedly killed through its negligence in ignoring global warming. Unless Schwarzenegger has an on point stature up his sleeve granting him standing. I am confident he does not.
     Never mind that Schwarzenegger accepted $1.3 million in campaign cash from Big Oil and individual oil tycoons during his bid for re-election as governor of California in 2006. Or that he commuted daily by private plane from Los Angeles to Sacramento while governor or that he drives a Humvee now. The odds are he will not name himself as a co-defendant in his suit.
     Nor will Schwarzenegger ever file this frivolous suit. Any judge will throw it out immediately for any number of reasons and Schwarzenegger knows. He is playing for the affection of California liberals who remain unsatisfied with his time as governor. Not only is Schwarzenegger hypocritically playing to left-wing environmentalists, but he is also pandering to the #MeToo movement bringing sexual harassment to the public's attention in spite of his decades of sexual harassment accusations and fathering an illegitimate child by his longtime housekeeper. It is all a Hollywood pageant.

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Non-Holiday Selfie


     It is not a holiday, but I am posting a selfie, anyway. Surely somebody somewhere is celebrating something. How about we call it a celebration of no more Olympics or Oscars? No one watched either one according to the ratings, so it is more like Columbus Day. It is a holiday, but no one notices beyond a sale at Wal-Mart.
     I am actually posting a selfie for two reasons. Three, if you count my narcissism. One, I have gained weight. While I am still skinny as a rail, my face is not as gaunt as it was towards the end of last year when I inexplicably lost a good chunk of weight. Now my weight is heavier than it was before I began shedding pounds. So the whole deal wound up better than before. Second, I have new camera software which takes better photos in terms of color and quality. I wanted to update various profiles with a better photo.
     Alas, the selfie is a bit off center. I would prefer to be centered in it, but I decided to shrug and use it, anyway since I already posted it on Twitter and Facebook. Photos do not always need to be perfect. Maybe I will update with another on Easter if vanity demands.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

David Ogden Stiers (1942-2018)


     David Ogden Stiers, probably best known for portraying uptight Epicurean Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester II for 131 episodes of M*A*S*H, died this morning after battling bladder cancer. While Stiers was most famous for his role of Winchester, Stiers was active in movies, the stage, voice acting, and conducting orchestras. He was the conductor for the Newport, Oregon Symphony at the time of his death.
     I am of the age at which I can recall enjoying M*A*S*H in reruns. I appreciate the show in general an Stiers in particular. It is no easy feat to join the already talented ensemble cast of a hit series and fit in comfortably, much less excel. But Stiers did so because of his remarkable talent. Stiers was an all around Renaissance Man when it came to the performing arts.
     Stiers was gracious to fans of M*A*S*H, but liked to avoid the subject. Classical music was his passion, and he was happiest as a conductor. Classical music was so much a part of his life, fondness for it was a key aspect of many charters he played over the years. One of my most favorite was the one off Edward Tinsdale, a conductor whom Helen Chappell cons into an audition on his honeymoon, on Wings.
     As a geek, I am most familiar with stiers' science fiction roles. Most memorable were Timicin on Star Trek: the Next Generation and the villainous Oberoth on Stargate: Atlantis. Stiers voiced numerous animated characters over the years and also lent his voice to George Lucas' directorial debut, THX 1136.
       Godspeed, Mr. Stiers.

Phantom of the Opurra


     I have yet to make a Caturday post in nearly four years of blogging. Such a deficiency must be remedied. The above is one of the most striking photo of a feline friends I have ever found. The accompanying pun may well be one of the most I have ever used. Including the best and worst in one post. Because life is all about maintaining a balance.
     Upon seeing the photo for the first time, I immediately thought of The Phantom of the Opera. On Reddit, someone noted this cat looks a lot like Deathstroke the Terminator from D Comics. Here I was attempting to be all cultured and highbrow and all that, but the comic book geek in me felt compelled to agree. The colors are flip-flopped, but this cat does resemble Deathstroke.
     The photo is not edited. The color pattern of the cat is rare, but does occur when a cat has an extra x-chromosome. Cats with the color scheme are called chimera after the mythological creature which is composed of various animals.
     If I owned a chimera kitty, would I name him Chimera? Maybe. But Janus, the Roman two-faced god, is more likely. Maybe I would name him Harvey after Harvey “Two Face” Dent. I am a comic book geek, after all. The reference might not be so obvious to non-comics geeks. Aaron Eckhart's portrayal of Two Face in The Dark Knight was overshadowed by heath Ledger's Joker in the public's mind. Then again, has anyone ever heard of Janus? I am probably immersed in too much trivia for my own good.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Cereal from a Galaxy Far, Far Away


    Movie merchandising can be incredibly strange. Take cereal, for instance. Some of your favorite movies had a cereal tie in, like ET, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Batman Returns, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The grandpappy of all movie mass merchandising was Star Wars. Naturally, Star Wars had a tie in cereal.
     It is anyone's guess why C-3PO was chosen for the cereal. Darth Vader would probably have been a much cooler character to market. Maybe the powers that be did not want to feature a villain on their cereal. Or perhaps C-3PO was chosen to avoid paying royalties for use of actors' likenesses. The answer is not clear.
   What is also not clear is who is the alien with whom C-3PO is sharing breakfast? They appear to enjoy a strong bond of friendship. Is R2-D2 aware of this? Did the two droids have a falling out sometime before this breakfast was served? The mystery remains unsolved.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Huckabee Heave Ho


     The CMA Foundation, the charitable organization run by the country music Association to promote music education in schools, appointed for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to its board of directors. Less than 24 hours later,after the backlash from industry figures over Huckabee's conservative stance on most political issues, especially those concerning the LGBT community.
     Contrast Huckabee's departure under pressure to the CMA's about face on freedom of speech late last year. The organization went so far as to threaten to boot any journalists who asked questions regarding politics or gun control at the first CMA Awards after the Las Vegas shooting which targeted a country music festival. Host Brad Paisley protested the restriction and the CMA rescinded it. The CMA explained its intention was not to infringe on the right of the press or freedom of artists to speak their minds. Their view appears to have changed in recent months. Now the CMA bows to pressure from those who were pressuring it to not infringe on freedom of speech.
     The CMA is officially apolitical. It ought be that way, too. Maybe it should have been more cautious in appointing an outspoken conservative to its foundation's board of directors. But the fact is they did appoint Huckabee knowing full well his viewpoints. Country tends to lean conservative in philosophy. Its fan base certainly does. It is not wise for the business side of country music to show contempt for its audience. It is too soon to tell if there will be any vocal support for Huckabee from country music fans, but I am confident many will be upset at his being forced out under pressure.
     It was not too long ago country radio stations were holding events in which steam rollers would crush Dixie Chicks CDs because Natalie Maines said on a London stage she was embarrassed then President George W. Bush was from their home state of Texas. I do not advocate destroying the material of left-wing artists, either, but the times have definitely changed if conservatives are not welcome in country music.