Thursday, February 22, 2018

Making Their Voices Heard

If there is any good to come out of the tragedy of the mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, FL last week, it’s been the inspiring and heartening actions of the students who have stood up to make their voices heard, that the kinds of gun violence that killed 17 people at their school cannot continue.


Unfortunately, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and in response to “inspiring and heartening:”, we get the despairing and disheartening forces that have arrayed themselves against these students.


Various right wing agitators have called into question the sincerity of these students, accusing them of being coached by liberal activists. Hell, there have been questions at the validity of these students of actually being students. Conspiracy theorists have posited that certain key students like David Hogg and Emma Gonzales are ”crisis actors”, professionals brought in to stir up a liberal agenda.


Apparently “proof” that David Hogg is an actor showed up on You Tube, a video of a news report in California. Oh, he was in California, now he’s a “student” in Florida? That’s gotta mean something, right?


That is David Hogg in the news report, being interviewed last year when his family was visiting California. He didn’t just show up out of nowhere to appear in Parkland, FL last Wednesday. It has been confirmed he was and is a student at that school.


You Tube took down the video when the scam was discovered but the proliferation of attacks on these students for daring to speak up is just completely reprehensible. 


Then get a load of this craptastic sequence of events. Several hundred students from Parkland took a bus to Tallahassee, the state capital, where a vote was to be held on discussing restrictions on automatic firearms. This was not a vote to actually do anything, just discuss the topic. In front of these students, survivors of a gun massacre, the legislature down the act of just discussing gun control. They did, however, vote to approve a measure declaring porn a threat to public health and safety.


This was their priority: porn. Not guns. 


But these kids from Parkland are undaunted. They continue despite the barriers and the false accusations against their character and their very identities to make themselves heard.


And they are not alone. Other schools are seeing momentum growing to stand up to the business as usual that has led to some many needless deaths by gun violence. If something at long last is actually going to change, it will be because these young people will show the way.  

Billy Graham

I was very sad to hear of the passing of Rev. Billy Graham yesterday. At 99 years old and in poor health, it was not unexpected but it represented a passing of something that I think is missing from Christianity.

When I was a kid, Billy Graham’s crusade TV specials would pre-empt regular programming, probably something else I would prefer watching. But my parents would watch and I would too, somewhat begrudgingly. Until Rev. Graham began to talk. And I would listen.

It was hard not to listen to Billy Graham. He had a powerful voice that conveyed the sincerity of his beliefs and the passion for his faith. And at the end, when the assembled throng gathered to hear him speak would begin to sing “Just As I Am”, it was hard to not feel the power and the wonder of the moment.

I don’t recall Rev. Graham talking a lot about what he was against other than just the broadly defined term of “sin”. The crux of Graham’s sermon was what he was for, peace and love and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Sadly, Christianity these days is defined more of what it’s against, against gays or abortion or (strangely enough) gun control  or immigration. American Christians are so committed to what it’s against that it’s aligned itself with a dim witted immoral moron lacking in human empathy to further its efforts against things.

What, pray tell, American Christians, are you for?

Rev. Billy Graham dedicated his voice, his passion, his life in what he was for, not what he was against. That's what I remember about the man.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Black Panther

Went to see Black Panther on Sunday. I had bought tickets in advance which was a good thing because shows were selling out. Even with advance tickets, we still did not get there early enough to get good seats. We were on the 2nd row so it meant looking straight up at the screen.

Basically, this movie rocks! Black Panther is strong with the Marvel Studios force with all the action, adventure, humor and drama we’ve come to expect from the MCU. But Black Panther is something unique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a depth of storytelling we’ve not seen before.

First of there is a sense of legacy and history. Other debut solo films in the MCU are at the start of something. Black Panther is built on a legacy.  T’Challa is the new king of Wakanda and the latest beneficiary of the powers of the Black Panther. King T’Challa has to forge his path as the ruler of Wakanda while building on the foundations built by his father and the Black Panthers that have come before. Unfortunately for the high esteem T’Challa held for his father, King T'Chaka, there are actions and decisions made by his father that negatively impact Wakanda in the present. 

In 1992, King T'Chaka travels to Oakland, California, to visit his brother, N'Jobu, who is working underocver. Black market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue had infiltrated Wakanda and stolen vibranium. T'Chaka accuses N'Jobu of assisting him. N'Jobu's friend reveals himself to be Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, who confirms T'Chaka's suspicions. N'Jobu planned to share Wakanda's technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T'Chaka arrested N'Jobu, N'Jobu attacked Zuri, forcing T'Chaka to kill him. They left behind N'Jobu's son, Erik, as returning with him would complicate their lie that N'Jobu had disappeared. Erik would eventually grow into a U.S. black ops soldier, earning the name "Killmonger".

Killmonger, having defeated T’Challa, sits upon the throne of Wakanda and begins to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world.

What’s interesting about Killmonger as a villain is that he’s not completely wrong. Yes, he’s brash and uncouth with no regard for protocol or tradition but his questions have power: Has Wakanda been right to keep its true identity a secret not just from the rest of the world but especially from those who have most needed their help?

T’Challa manages to reclaim his position and power as Black Panther but he knows he can’t keep Wakanda apart from the world. 

There is a lot at stake in Black Panther. T’Challa’s destiny as a king and his very life are on the line as is the future of Wakanda and with it, the fate of the world. It’s all wrapped up in political intrigue and dark personal secrets. There is a lot to take in and a lot to think about.

Black Panther delivers the solid core of what we expect from an entertaining Marvel movie but it is a film of incredible depth and heart. 

The cast of this film is incredibly strong. Right at the top, Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther is a person with a deep nobility but with a very human heart. He has a sense of humor along with a sense of duty. He’s not a perfect person but he’s trying his damndest to be.

On the other side of T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik "Killmonger" Stevens delivers what Marvel movies tend to lack, a truly engaging and fully realized villain. The lessons of his life have left him with a great deal of anger he has focused into becoming a virtually unstoppable killing machine. But for all his rage, he is methodical, plotting step by step to return to the homeland of his father and claim the throne of wakanda that he sees as his birthright and to use its gifts to reshape the world into his vision.

What is particularly extraordinary is the cast of women in Black Panther. If the movie has a strong message regarding race, it has an equally important one for gender equality. 

Lupita Nyong'o is Nakia, T'Challa's former lover and  an undercover spy for Wakanda. Nakia still has affection for T’Challa but she is no mere “former girlfriend” but is a strong, tenacious fighter with a powerful drive to help others. 

While Nakia works outside Wkanda, Danai Gurira as Okoye is a powerful presence inside the kingdom. She serves as
the head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces of Wakanda, T'Challa's bodyguards. Okoye is very stoic and fiercely loyal to the throne and to her country but she has her flashes of humanity like her ribbing T’Challa’s fighting skills or her awkwardness wearing a wig and a dress in her undercover mission to South Korea. 

And we can’t over look Letitia Wright as Shuri who almost steals the movie.  Shuri is T’Challa's sister who designs new technology for the country. She is brilliant, innovative and enjoys the hell out creating new inventions. Think Tony Stark but less insufferably arrogant and possibly a bit smarter. 

Martin Freeman shows up as Everett K. Ross, a CIA agent who finds himself in Wakanda, who is totally gpobsmakced by the futuristic society that’s existing unseen by the rest of the planet. Still, he steps up to help to save T’Challa and fight for Wakanda. In the comics, Ross is more comic relief but here is a capable agent. There is humor in Ross’s “fish out of water” perspective but not at the expense of his character. 

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue is a major piece of work. Klaue is a criminal psychopath with a sonic disruptor arm-cannon and a song in his heart. And he’s an evil vicious murderer. Klaue could be the MCU’s version of the Joker. 

I could go on but the thing is, there is a hardly a misstep in the story or the acting in this movie. OK, the final knockdown drag out fight between T’Challa and Killmonger is a bit muddled but that’s the risk of two characters in dark body suits fighting in dim lighting. Really, this film holds together, as tight as a drum. I would place Black Panther at or at least very near the top as Marvel Studios’ highest quality production.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Quick Tuesday Check In

Hi there!


Today is Tuesday. Yesterday was President’s Day here in the USA where we take time to honor and celebrate 44 out of 45 Presidents.  I had the day off from work which was rather fortunate as I spent most of the day not feeling very well.


It started Sunday evening when I began feeling nauseous. No details but things got worse. It was not the flu but some kind of gastro-intestinal thing of some kind. Maybe it was a virus or maybe I kept remembering who the 45th President is. Whatever the cause, I felt bad.

Today, I feel… less bad. I’ve made it to work so there’s that. 


Before things went south for my tummy, I was having a semi-decent day. Saw Black Panther Sunday afternoon and it was AWESOME! (A more detailed post on that tomorrow.)  


So that’s all for today.


Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Doctor Who: Thirteen In Action

Hi, Whovians!  

Here are some photos of where Doctor Who Series 11 is shooting on location. 

To see the complete video where these photos came from, CLICK HERE.  Check it out. There's a clip where we get to hear some dialogue from the Doctor!

I'm really psyched to see anything Doctor Who related so this is all pretty cool.

Seeing the new Doctor's out fit in action, I'm kind of getting used to it but I'm still having trouble with the trousers. I keep thinking that Jodie's shins must be cold. 

Well, that's it for this post. Let's say "goodnight" to the TARDIS. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Donald Trump's How To Get Away With Collusion

So Robert Mueller struck yesterday and it was a doozy. 13 Russians and three Russian entities were indicted on Friday, laying out evidence that foreign nationals interfered in the 2016 election and boosted the candidacy of President Donald Trump.


The 37-page indictment puts forth evidence that evidence that foreign nationals interfered in the 2016 election and boosted the candidacy of President Donald Trump .


This should represent a massive blow to Trump who has tried to undermine Mueller’s investigation and dismissed the existence of pro-Trump Russian activity in the 2016 election.  Instead, Trump, in his tiny little bubble universe, sees this as vindication.


Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!


God, this man is so stupid.


Just because the Russians began their US election fuckery before you began your running for President fuckery does not preclude their fuckery intersecting your fuckery.


OK, there’s this guy named Bob. Bob is a hired killer who’s been working since 1998. Bob’s an evil bastard but he has a strong work ethic. Pay him money and Bang! Someone you want dead is dead.


In 2004, Sally got married to Darnell. She may have loved him then but she can’t stand the son of a bitch now. So she hires Bob to kill Darnell. Bob gets paid and BANG! Darnel’s dead.  

The police actually get a line on Bob and now they’re looking at Sally. “Hey, I’m innocent. Bob’s been killing people since 1998 before I got married to Darnell. No collusion!” The cops go, “Hmm! We didn’t think of that.” And Sally gets away with murder and no the hell she doesn’t because that’s just stupid!


The indictment does indicate there were contacts between the Russians and people associated with the Trump campaign. Unwitting contacts.


When I hear “unwitting”, I’m thinking “These morons didn’t have a clue.” So even if the Trump campaign did not do anything knowingly criminal, you can bet there’s a ton of evidence that they were just fucking stupid. 

I mean, just look at the guy at the top.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Trump In the Wake of Tragedy

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at the Parkland, FL high school on Wednesday, how’s our moron in chief been doin’?


Being his usual dumbass self, what else?


Li’l Donnie went on Twitter Thursday morning to say that neighbors and classmates should have reported 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz to authorities after he first exhibited disturbing behavior.


So people are mourning the dead and dealing with the shock of this horror and Trump’s first instinct is to blame these very people for being complicit in the creation of their tragedy?


Yeah, Dumbass Don, somebody should’ve told somebody. The thing is people did tell others about Nikolas Cruz. A lot.


The thing is authorities can only do so much. Law enforcement’s job is to enforce laws. Well, duh! And if Cruz wasn’t breaking any laws, there’s precious little enforcement of laws that law enforcement can do. Cruz may have been a disturbed individual but until he actually broke a law, cops couldn’t do anything.


Mental health people have limits too. Turns out Cruz was being seen by mental health professionals but he was not forced or mandated to go into treatment so mental health people had no authority to keep him in treatment. Cruz brought himself into treatment; he could take himself out.


And even with all that, Cruz was legally able to buy a gun. An assault rifle, for crying out. It was perfectly legal for Nikolas Cruz to purchase a weapon that has as its sole designated purpose the ability to shoot and kill as many people as possible in a short span of time.


Yeah, Dumbass Don, somebody should’ve told somebody. People did.


And yet, here we are.


And Li’l Donnie’s not done yet. Get a load of this brief statement he made.


"We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference."


Notice what was NOT mentioned. Guns. 


Hey, Trump! Nikolas Cruz didn’t kill 17 people with his poor mental health. No, he killed them with a fucking assault rifle!


Li’l Donnie’s words were of comfort… to the NRA. To the injured and dead, to families torn up with grief in Parkland, FL, to anyone with an ounce of human empathy elsewhere in this nation, on this planet, his words don’t mean a damn thing.


During his campaign, Trump made a big deal that America was drowning in violent crime, that we were a nation consumed by anarchy with criminals running rampant and unchecked in the streets. He swore that when he was President, those days would be over, that people would no longer have to live in fear of being shot. It was a claim he repeated at his inauguration.


So far, Trump has taken all of one action regards to gun control while in office. That act was to repeal a rule set up under Obama (of course) that made it harder for mentally ill people to get firearms. The one fucking thing this god awful turd of a man has done is to make it easier for the mentally ill to get guns.


There are many, many reasons that I do not refer to Trump by the title of “President”. He doesn’t deserve it; he has not earned it. That right there is one especially egregious example. His one act regards to gun control was not made in service to the safety of the American people but to serve his petty need to overturn anything Obama did and out of loyalty to the NRA who helped put his fat ass in the Oval Office.


Once again I am left with a sense of rage and an overwhelming sadness. Once more lives have been lost and I have absolutely no hope that the future will be any better.

Making Their Voices Heard

If there is any good to come out of the tragedy of the mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, FL last week, it’s been the inspiri...