Showing posts from 2010

A Few Things

I finally decided to add some content to my website  It was originally going to be Something more ambitious, but I don't have the time.  Instead, it will have links to all of my other projects, blogs, artwork, comics, reviews and stories, including this blog.  Right now it has only a few links.  Even though there's enough content to keep most people entertained for quite awhile, I hope to improve on the selection as time goes on.  I have a comic project that is slow to get off the ground, a novel that I will probably self-publish (I don't want to jump through a bunch of hoops) and put online, some short stories to upload, several art projects-including some contests that I may enter, movie and video game reviews and maybe comic book reviews.  I've been trudging through Marvel's online archive lately. I totally recommend subscribing to their online digital comics too. It's well worth $60 a year.  I also just caught up on theWalking Dead. I w…

Dear Rockstar Games, Please Don't Make GTA5

I was admiring your new project, La Noire, when I saw a surprising number of comments whining about you not announcing Grand Theft Auto 5.  Considering the upcoming La Noire and this year's Red Dead Redemption both have aspects of the GTA franchise built in, I'm not sure I see a point in another entry. After your pioneering efforts in the genre with GTA III, Vice City and GTA IV, is there really anything else we need to say about low-life crooks moving their way up the criminal command chain?  Even if some of us gamers enjoy having a grand theft fix, there are plenty of other competent knock offs of the GTA franchise, including Mafia, Driver 2 and Saint's Row.  There have even been improvements and fun tweaks with such games as Crackdown, Mercenaries 2, and Just Cause 2.

Your company redefined the driving game genre with radio stations, non-linear missions and sandbox cities. You've created the best third-person shooter of all time, Max Payne. You brought us Earthworm …

Our President, The King

Once upon a time the American people didn't want an all powerful ruler. Our system of government was constructed to reduce the chances of it happening, with the inclusion of just enough elasticity as to avoid entirely neutering the President of his usefulness. That elasticity has been stretched far beyond the original vision of the Constitutional Framers. After years of slow expansion, Presidents hold powerful sway over the Legislature and can sign whims into law with executive orders. They have control of an extensive bureaucracy whose agencies create rules to be followed as law. Appointments to offices boil down to the President's preference of political party; merit is secondary. This has happened for a few reasons. First, of course, is because our Presidents have slowly usurped power from the other branches of government.  Secondly, we like the idea of a ruler, a figurehead and lightning rod, to affix our insecurities and blame, to pass as much responsibility onto as possi…

Rights of the Living and the Unliving

Abortion is a sticky topic.  Major groups opposing abortion consider fetuses alive from the moment of conception.  To them, abortion at any stage of pregnancy is tantamount to murder.  Those in favor of abortion are probably more numerous because of the varying stages of abortion they individually accept.  Many of the pro-abortion (renaming themselves the family friendly "pro-choice") don't believe this is a political issue.   They believe it is a personal choice.   However, determining whether something qualifies as murder is certainly a legal and political issue.

Bringing the argument to a different  issue reveals some of our collective ethics about protecting life.  We have obligations to lives that aren't human.  Most people agree that being cruel to animals is wrong.  In fact, torturing and killing them is illegal in most states.  Even though it is not "murder" to kill an animal, it's  punishable.   Even if many of us aren't willing to claim ab…

New Safety Procedures for Oil Rigs

With today's release of BP's explanation for the oil rig disaster, a lot of finger pointing is going on.  This isn't a shock by any stretch of the imagination. We all expected as much. BP says the tragedy was the result of many mistakes by several companies. Of course, they blame themselves the least.  This actually isn't the reason I'm posting. I'm not outraged by BP's press release. I expected them to say something along those lines.

 I'm more interested in the new safety procedures that will come from the investigations on whose fault the disaster was. President Obama has his own commission that will investigate the causes of the explosion, fire and pollution. The commission will then recommend safety products that will prevent this from ever happening again.  This got me thinking about what the new procedures would be.  The first thing to come to my mind was nuclear reactors. They have safety protocols on top of safety protocols.  They have a button…

More American Hubris

There's really no way around it at this point. Anyone who doesn't believe in biological evolution is stupid. We've all had plenty of time to read up on the evidence, and really, only a cursory investigation is required to determine the truth of evolutionary theory. Despite its acceptance throughout the scientific community, it is still widely rejected in the United States. But it is so obviously true, proven beyond the point of contention, that even disagreeing with it proves stupidity, or at the least, proves an unreasonable desire to be willfully delusional. In Europe there is no grand debate over the legitimacy of something that has been proven. So why here, in America?

I posted a blog about the American Ego when speaking about philanthropy. Other countries are quick to point out our hubris at any convenience. There is no point in denying our ego. We have one. I'm guilty of showing too much pride from time to time. I still maintain that our egos have nothing on t…

Diversity in Narrative Media

I haven't posted a blog in a bit because, (1) I've been drawing and (2) I've been working on THIS.  It's a website dedicated to exploring the differences between storytelling media such as video games, movies, books and comic books.  I plan on adding some more to it later on.  I will surely focus on the ever-developing Video Game.  There is a lot of room for exploration on how video games tell stories, how the player affects the story, how the story can evolve due to interactivity.  The storytelling language of video games has not been extensively studied and I look forward to delving into it further.

Antipathy for Illegals

I never had a problem with illegal immigrants until 2006.  I understood anyone who wanted to come to America.  We have lots of money here.  Our crap jobs pay more than any other country's crap jobs.  People can come here and support their entire families with two minimum wage jobs.

Then came the rallies. In April of 2006, illegal immigrants from all over the country demanded to have the same rights as me.  I immediately wanted to deport all the ungrateful bastards.  I wanted to build a wall across the Mexican border and tell the whole Latin-American region to go to hell.  Then I thought about some of the laws I skirt because they are stupid.  A few laws have too much red tape, unnecessary policies, confusing wording and obfuscation to be properly obeyed (Tax laws came to mind.  Some tax evaders have my sympathies.  The government shouldn't have the power to tax the same dollar from a rich person six or seven times and then tax them after they die.  It's absurd).  I thought…

The Glorious Oil Spill

A hardcore capitalist tried to convince me of the power the free market has on the oil industry.  When we had this conversation, there were only gasoline powered vehicles.  Electric cars were an impractical novelty.  Car companies competed with each other. Oil companies competed with each other. Tire companies, engine manufacturers, and vehicle design teams all competed against their respective opposition. However, there was no viable alternative vehicle to a gasoline powered car. Trains, subways and planes take people to approximate locations near where we want to go.  Gasoline powered cars were the only thing that got us to our final destination and their dominance was unopposed. Oil and car companies, with big money, power and expensive lobbyists made sure that innovations opposing their dominance were crushed. This didn't seem very "free market" to me.

I told the capitalist this.  He just said that if people wanted alternatives, they would stop buying gasoline. Consi…

Christianity in Science Class

I wouldn't normally redress a single religion, but other religions have not tenaciously battled to implant their faiths into a discipline that requires the exact opposite of faith.  Scientific conclusions are based on research and evidence.  Experiments are administered and results are published.  If the outcomes of experiment after experiment support a theory, stacking evidence upon evidence in favor of the theory, then and only then is the theory eligible to be taught in science class. 

Allowing faith in science class sets precedent for kids to supplant mysticism and superstition for rational thought and evidence, two vital ingredients in the solid foundation of all scientific disciplines.  Science teachers do not just fill in blanks with whatever religion conveniently gives explanations based on assumptions and a complete absence of research.   What happens when two religions give equally logical explanations of the same event? What makes us choose one over the other?  Faith?…

Two Headed Beast: The American Two-Party System

America, according to Democrats and Republicans alike, is doomed. Other countries believe so too, but I suspect wishful thinking on their parts. Republicans believe that the Democrats are demolishing what makes our country great, removing individual rights in favor of government control that will drive us into financial ruin.  Democrats believe the Republicans are keeping the U.S. in an archaic state of apathy and greed, perpetuating an already failed financial system that funnels money to the top at the expense of the working class.  Ask card carriers from either major party for a prediction of American prosperity and they will try to convince you, with the utmost certainty, that the other party will ruin your life and their way is the only way to save the country.

Both parties are correct and both are incorrect.  Republicans and Democrats are certainly damaging the country and neither party is willing to explore non-partisan solutions.  And here is the American public in the middle …

Jenny McCarthy Gets Her Money's Worth From Free Speech

At what point does a person take the freedom of speech too far?  Most people cite the example of shouting "fire" or "bomb" in a crowded theater, which could cause extreme physical injuries including trampling deaths. Most of us recognize the prudence of safeguards against such actions. We accept certain limitations on speech when it comes to probable public endangerment. Other people cite the Presidential Death Threat as an example. We're not allowed to proclaim, "I will kill the President of the United States," unless we want the Secret Service kicking down our door.  That too, most of us understand.  But what about the murky areas between obvious extremes?  What if endangerment is subtle and erosive rather than overt and explosive?

At what point does someone incite a riot rather than passionately express her views to the public?  At what point does condemnation of a nation's administration turn into aid and comfort to the enemy?  Wh…

Founding Fathers and Religion

Fascination with the founders of our nation is a unique attribute of Americans. We not only study them, we seek their counsel and pillage their opinions for insight into modern problems, hoping to find shortcuts to solutions.

Gordon S. Wood, in his Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, explains it so:
-"The identities of the other nations, say, French or German, are lost in the mists of time and usually taken for granted...But Americans became a nation in 1776, and thus, in order to know how we are, we need to know who our founders are. The United States was founded on a set of beliefs and not, as were other nations, on a common ethnicity, language, or religion. Since we are not a nation in any traditional sense of the term, in order to establish our nationhood, we have to reaffirm and reinforce periodically the values of the men who declared independence from Great Britain and framed the Constitution."
The Founders were amazing thinkers who wrote s…

Movie Review: Born of Hope

Born of Hope is a fan film prequel to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it quickly transcends past amateur filmfare. After all, this movie cost as much as Clerks,The Blair Witch Project or El Mariachi. Writer/editor/director/etc. Kate Madison dumped her life savings into the film and managed to scrounge the remaining funds from donations.

The film takes place before the birth of Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortenson in the canonized trilogy) and during his young life. Instead of focusing on his youthful exploits, the film follows his parents, Arathorn and Gilraen, climaxing in a showdown with orcs.
Madison takes painstaking steps to tie this movie to Jackson's trilogy. The moods are similar. The script is consistent, and though the story is by-the-numbers, it's well-written. We are introduced to the movie with a title card that flickers into view and a detached voiceover explaining the history of Middle Earth, just as in the original films. The costumes ar…

What is Census Advertising Worth?

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) seems to share some of my views on misappropriation of government funds. They attack government officials for frivolous spending and improper distribution of tax money. I love the idea. I wholeheartedly endorse organizations that wish to limit government waste. I am all about efficiency.

CAGW, however, seems to have disregarded a fundamental attempt to identify the truth (i.e. they didn't do any research). The president of CAGW, Dan Williams, openly bashed the Census Bureau's Superbowl ad as a "colossal waste of money." The advertisement cost nearly $3 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the $133 million the Census Bureau plans to spend on advertising between now and May. In the same Fox News Article, Williams says, "That's a lot of money to spend on a glorified public service announcement. While they're counting people, we're going to be counting the dollars that they're spending." Furt…

The American Ego

Americans have a compulsive need to defend themselves in the eyes of the world. Now that the world is more globalized, most of realize the world hates us. Instead of taking it in stride, like the leaders we claim to be should, we throw fits. It's a bit embarrassing. An article from the UK Guardian shows the American Government pledged to donate more money to Haiti than any other government--$450 million. The amount will cost the American taxpayer about $2.50. That's fine. Canada, making the second highest pledge, said its government would donate $130 million, costing their taxpayer quite a bit more considering their population (man, woman and child) is about 33 million--approximately 1/9th the U.S. Population. We must keep in mind that other countries are also generous and consider population. While I'm happy the American Government hasn't become so jaded by every other country's opinion and ceased charitable donations altogether, we cannot lose sight of t…

Avatar to the Rescue! Maybe.

Some of you are aware that movie theaters lost much of their relevance when Big Screen met DVD. Moviegoers began to forgo opening weekends of blockbusters and opted to wait for DVD releases. Girlfriends had a tougher time convincing their boyfriends that romantic comedies were worth seeing on a fifty foot projection. Boys taking girls on dates no longer needed to pay forty dollars for a movie, candy, drinks and popcorn. If they watched a movie at home it would cost fifteen bucks, tops. Parents no longer wanted to quiet their crying kids without the ability to pause movies. Crusty old curmudgeons could watch movies at home without the nuisance of noisy whippersnappers and cell phones. None of us have to sit in a jam packed theater, wondering why, oh God why, was the only open seat next to the fat, sweaty dude who steals armrests.

I came around to team DVD a little later than some. I couldn't immediately take the plunge because I still remembered getting vertigo in the open…

Stephenie Meyer Sucks. And How?

We all have our guilty pleasures. I loved Hudson Hawk, the 1991 musical comedy starring Bruce Willis. That's right, loved it. This is the same movie Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers called "unspeakably awful." Not to stop there he says, "You want to throw things, yell at the actors, beg them to stop. But the film drags on, digging horrible memories into the brain." And yet, to me, that movie rules. It has characters inexplicably survive tremendous falls from buildings and cliffs. It has Sandra Bernhard in it (shudder). It makes cartoon slapstick sounds like those in Batman & Robin. The villains are named after candy bars. And, as if that wasn't enough, David Caruso as a mime!


I get it. I understand liking something fun and familiar and just a little bit awful. Stephenie Meyer books appeal to adolescent girls, and the occasional misdirected boy, because they are high-school-age fantasies in which new readers don't know the outcome. I ca…