Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

The Aurora Massacre: Is Hollywood the Problem?

July 26, 2012

Famous Hollywood Director Peter Bogdanovich (Targets, The Last Picture Show) weighed in a few months back about a disturbing trend he had noticed in the current crop of movies.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story:

People go to a movie to have a good time, and they get killed. It’s a horrible, horrible event. It makes me sick that I made a movie about it.

We made Targets 44 years ago. It was based on something that happened in Texas, when that guy Charles Whitman shot a bunch of people after killing his mother and his wife. Paramount bought it, but then was terrified by it when Martin Luther King was killed and Bobby Kennedy was killed. The studio didn’t want to release the film at all. So they released it with a pro-gun-control campaign, but that made the picture seem like a documentary to people, and it didn’t do too well.

It was meant to be a cautionary fable. It was a way of saying the Boris Karloff kind of violence, the Victorian violence of the past, wasn’t as scary as the kind of random violence that we associate with a sniper — or what happened last weekend. That’s modern horror. At first, some of the people [at The Dark Knight Rises] thought it was part of the movie. That’s very telling.

Violence on the screen has increased tenfold. It’s almost pornographic. In fact, it is pornographic. Video games are violent, too. It’s all out of control. I can see where it would drive somebody crazy.

I’m in the minority, but I don’t like comic book movies. They’re not my cup of tea. What happened to pictures like How Green Was My Valley or even From Here to Eternity? They’re not making those kind of movies anymore. They are either making tentpole pictures based on comic books or specialty pictures that you pray someone will go see.

The fact that these tentpole movies are all violent comic book movies doesn’t speak well for our society.

Obviously, there is violence in the world, and you have to deal with it. But there are other ways to do it without showing people getting blown up. One of the most horrible movies ever made was Fritz Lang’s M, about a child murderer. But he didn’t show the murder of the child. The child is playing with a rubber ball and a balloon. When the killer takes her behind the bushes, we see the ball roll out from the bushes. And then he cuts to the balloon flying up into the sky. Everybody who sees it feels a different kind of chill up their back, a horrible feeling. So this argument that you have to have violence shown in gory details is not true. It’s much more artistic to show it in a different way.

Today, there’s a general numbing of the audience. There’s too much murder and killing. You make people insensitive by showing it all the time. The body count in pictures is huge. It numbs the audience into thinking it’s not so terrible. Back in the ’70s, I asked Orson Welles what he thought was happening to pictures, and he said, “We’re brutalizing the audience. We’re going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum.” The respect for human life seems to be eroding.

I disagree with the distinguished director concerning a few points.

Movies based on comic book heroes aren’t a cause of violence per se. When Christopher Reeve starred as Superman, there was not an outbreak of violence reported, nor has there been one after the current Marvel Superheroes Movies, including The Avengers.

The difference between those movies and The Batman Trilogy? They weren’t dark in tone. They were uplifting. Sure, there was plenty of violence in them, but, it happened to “the bad guys”, as a comeuppance.

The Batman movies, take an already dark and brooding character, and somehow, make everything that’s going on in the world around him, even darker than he is, as if there was no sunlight or hope in the everyday world.

I believe that the majority of Americans, Conservatives, have always had respect for human life.

However, we live in a time in our country where Traditional American ethics and values, including our Christian Faith, have been ridiculed and mocked by the Left and their Power Brokers as being antiquated, restrictive, ignorant, and even, bigoted.

And the majority of the movies which Hollywood has expectorated out in the last few years have reflected this skewed and intolerant view of Traditional American ethics and values.

For example, movies like Redacted, about the Iraq War, which Americans shunned like a Yoko Ono Concert.

When a movie is entertaining, and doesn’t try to run down our country, or teach anti-Christian or anti-American views and values, people turn out in droves, like they did in the case of “The Avengers”.

Americans are looking for another John Ford or Frank Capra, but instead, Hollywood’s giving us Tim Burton and Rob Zombie.

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Oblivious

July 5, 2012

Yesterday, while the majority of Americans were celebrating our country’s Independence and loving our Freedom with family and friends, there were some nattering nabobs of negativity that were on Twitter showing their backsides: 

@chrisrock

Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

sarah@mamaswati

#headwall RT @chrisrock: Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Chris Rock

@chrisrock 4 Jul 12

Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks

Some Americans let Rock know exactly what they thought of him:

David Burge@iowahawkblog

@chrisrock Good one! I bet your Guatemalan house staff got a good chuckle.

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Loren Heal@lheal

The Declaration of Independence led directly to emancipation, @chrisrock. No nation with that as a foundation could long tolerate slavery.

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Jon G.@ExJon

Oh FFS, grow up. RT @chrisrock: Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Raging Conservative@RagCon

So, “Reverend” @TheRevAl , you are going to rebuke @chrisrock for his racist tweet right? I mean you walked with MLK right? #tcot

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Andy Hall@LazerANDYHALL

Hey @chrisrock – how’s that foot taste, pal?

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Truth is hard.

Update: Actor Don Cheadle finds Rock’s tweet absolutely guffaw-worthy.

Don Cheadle

@IamDonCheadle

“@chrisrock: Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks” Haha

4 Jul 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite

Back in 2002, Wheel of Fortune Host Pat Sajak wrote down his thoughts about the Hollywood Elite…and hit them right between the eyes:

I could go on with a laundry list of silly and hypocritical things said and done by some of my fellow Show Business luminaries, but the point here is not to make them look silly. They’re perfectly capable of doing that without my help. The larger point is the disconnect between the realities of this nation and its people, and the perceived realities of many in the entertainment community.

I don’t mean to sound too harsh—or hypocritical. After all, I seem perfectly happy to have cashed my checks for the more than 30 years I’ve been in television. And I’m not exactly working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I do make a living by selling vowels and spinning a giant multicolored wheel! So who am I to be pointing fingers? Well, I’m just someone who wants to feel prouder than he does—as proud as he once was—about what goes on in his industry. And that’s why I spend only part of my time around it. I need to step back occasionally. I think it does help me see the world more clearly.

And that’s the irony of it all. Most of you, in a very real way, are more aware of what this nation and this world are about than the supposedly well-connected and in-tune people who inhabit our media culture.

Former CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg has written a best-selling book called Bias, in which he maintains that the real problem with the media is not a bias based on liberal vs. conservative or Republican vs. Democrat. It is a bias based on the sameness of worldview caused by social, intellectual, educational and professional inbreeding. These are folks who travel in the same circles, go to the same parties, talk to the same people, compare their ideas, and develop a standard view on issues that makes any deviation from them seen somehow marginal, or even weird.

They think they have diversity in their midst because they take pains to hire a representative mix of gender and race. But there is no diversity of thought. On the great social issues of our time, there is an alarmingly monolithic view held by what has become known as the “media elite.” You can bet that the New York Times is careful about how many women it hires, but you can also bet that it is not very careful that these women hold diverse views on issues they’ll be writing about, such as the environment, gun control or abortion. My guess it that a pro-life view within the wall of the Times is a pretty rare one. And the same holds true on the entertainment side.

It is just assumed that “right thinking people” hold certain views. If you don’t… well there’s the problem. How can you portray people fairly in film or on TV if you think their attitudes are so foreign?

How can you write about people fairly if they seem so out of touch with that you are used to in your everyday life? That might help explain why religion is rarely depicted as a natural part of life in the average sitcom or drama series, despite the fact that tens of millions of Americans say that it is important to them.

At a dinner party in Los Angeles recently, our hostess was about to say some grudgingly kind words about President Bush and the way he was handling the War on Terror. She prefaced her remarks by saying, “Now I know everyone at this table voted for Al Gore, but… “ Well, she knew no such thing. She just presumed it. It’s what “right-thinking” people did. This “false reality” is a phenomenon that permeates media circles.

It’s the phenomenon that caused Pauline Kael, former film critic for The New Yorker, to remark after Richard Nixon’s election sweep in 1972, “I can’t believe it! I don’t know a single person who voted for him.” This was a man who won in 49 out of 50 states and she didn’t know one person who voted for him. And I don’t think she was dealing in hyperbole. She simply had never met those people. She couldn’t believe they really existed.

It’s the phenomenon that allows the media to “rediscover” patriotism and heroism in the wake of September 11, when millions of others in St. Louis, Cleveland, Salem, Phoenix, Cheyenne, and a thousand other cities and small towns, know that those traits never went away.

It’s the phenomenon that explains Hollywood’s disdain for Big Business. You read about it in the newsmagazines and see it in the movies. Big Business is bad. The people who run these businesses are heartless, often criminal, brutes. There is no regard for the little guy. Thousands are laid off while the greedy business executives reap windfall profits. Never mind that some of the biggest and least-competitive businesses are in entertainment. They merge, they lay off thousands, while stock options accrue to the top executives. Top talent at networks and in movies get tens—even hundreds—of millions while so many of their co-workers lose their jobs. They simply don’t see the contradiction. They are above it.

And, perhaps worst of all, it’s the phenomenon that allows movie studios and television networks to program with an utter disregard for your kids and your communities. It’s not that they’re evil people. They have kids, and they care about them. But they see no connection between what they do and the results of what they do. And, besides, you’re not really families and communities. You’re ratings, demographics and sales.

You see, they are—for the most part—clueless. Clueless about this country and its people. Clueless about you. And they are afraid. They are afraid of the new technologies… afraid of the dwindling numbers of viewers or readers or listeners… afraid for their very existence. So, don’t you see, they have to do what it takes to survive. They must survive. They are important. Who do you people out here—the ones they fly over on their way to the other Coast for meetings—who do you think you are?

Well, you are this country. You are its future. And I think that’s a very good thing to be.

Hollywood’s disconnect with the rest of America explains the rise of Redbox and the titanic collapse of America’s Box Office Receipts.

Americans don’t want to spend more on these Liberal idiots than they absolutely have to.

 

Biochips: Safety or Subjugation?

June 2, 2012

16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, (17)so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Revelation 13: 16-17

Are we on our way to having to wear a “mark” for identification?

The New York Daily News has the story.

Would you barcode your baby?

Microchip implants have become standard practice for our pets, but have been a tougher sell when it comes to the idea of putting them in people.

Science fiction author Elizabeth Moon last week rekindled the debate on whether it’s a good idea to “barcode” infants at birth in an interview on a BBC radio program.

“I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached — a barcode if you will — an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals,” she said on The Forum, a weekly show that features “a global thinking” discussing a “radical, inspiring or controversial idea” for 60 seconds .Moon believes the tools most commonly used for surveillance and identification — like video cameras and DNA testing — are slow, costly and often ineffective.

In her opinion, human barcoding would save a lot of time and money.

The proposal isn’t too far-fetched – it is already technically possible to “barcode” a human – but does it violate our rights to privacy?

Opponents argue that giving up anonymity would cultivate an “Orwellian” society where all citizens can be tracked.

“To have a record of everywhere you go and everything you do would be a frightening thing,” Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Daily News.

He warned of a “check-point society” where everyone carries an internal passport and has to show their papers at every turn, he said.

“Once we let the government and businesses go down the road of nosing around in our lives…we’re going to quickly lose all our privacy,” said Stanley.

There are already, and increasingly, ways to electronically track people. Since 2006, new U.S. passports include radio frequency identification tags (RFID) that store all the information in the passport, plus a digital picture of the owner.

In 2002, an implantable ID chip called VeriChip was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The chip could be implanted in a person’s arm, and when scanned, could pull up a 16 digit ID number containing information about the user.

It was discontinued in 2010 amid concerns about privacy and safety.

Still scientists and engineers have not given up on the idea.

A handful of enterprising companies have stepped into the void left by VeriChip, and are developing ways to integrate technology and man.

Biotech company MicroCHIPS has developed an implantable chip to deliver medicine to people on schedule and without injection. And technology company BIOPTid has patented a noninvasive method of identification called the “human barcode.”

Advocates say electronic verification could help parents or caregivers keep track of children and the elderly. Chips could be used to easily access medical information, and would make going through security points more convenient, reports say.

But there are also concerns about security breaches by hackers. If computers and social networks are already vulnerable to hacking and identify theft, imagine if someone could get access to your personal ID chip?

Stanley cautioned against throwing the baby out with the bathwater each time someone invents a new gadget.

“We can have security, we can have convenience, and we can have privacy,” he said. “We can have our cake and eat it too.”

Back on 11/25/10, SiliconIndia.com made this point about biochip implantation in humans:

When it comes to the use of biochips on humans, it works a little bit differently. The chip is implanted in a way where it is able to bind with your DNA. Many government agencies have been working with biochips which can be used for identification purposes. When we think of this as an invasion of privacy, we should also look at the positive side of the technology. This would be a great use to find missing children, if this technology goes as far as an implant at birth, those who have been kidnapped or missing, can be easily found. This type of implantable chip is being researched by defense departments in India and abroad in hopes to be used for soldiers, to monitor their location and relay health information if the soldier gets wounded in battle. This would be a great way to get medical data relayed of what the doctors may be dealing with before the patient ever gets to the hospital. Not only that, a biochip will make it easier to find that wounded soldier.

But there are certain areas which always lack definite explanations. You can’t value human life and you can limit his identity. It questions our morality when it comes to cloning humans and similarly we find it weird when we get ‘tagged’ by some minute chip. Whatever lies in the future for biochips, its implantation in humans still pricks our conscience.

And why is that?  Simple.  It’s that still small voice inside of us, that Divine Spark that makes us all individuals.  The thought of being tagged like an animal goes against the grain of our human spirits.

It disturbs our souls.

Letterman’s Obama Rant Plus My Top Ten List

May 17, 2012

A headline posted on Breitbart.com, referring to the Ultra-Liberal CBS Late Show Host’s rant in defense of his messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, reads:

LETTERMAN CAMPAIGNS FOR OBAMA ON ‘LATE SHOW': ‘WHAT MORE DO WE WANT THIS MAN TO DO FOR US, HONEST TO GOD?’

Letterman’s rant occured when NBC News anchor Brian Williams appeared on Tuesday night.

Mediaite.com summarizes the visit:

He was first asked about CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, who Williams described as being suspiciously “sunny” in his disposition. “Life’s too short, if you feel like something a dog left on the sidewalk, say it,” said Williams.

Williams had great praise for the CBS and ABC News teams. Letterman, in turn, complimented Williams on his Rock Center special on the assassination of the Osama bin Laden.

Letterman drew applause from the audience when he said that he felt Obama had demonstrated “great courage and great intelligence” when he “gunned down” bin Laden and asked “what more do you want to lead your country?”

Williams said that most uniformed military personnel would tell him under the Bush administration that bin Laden himself was not a priority. “What you now find out, interviewing everyone in that picture, that of course it was a priority but it was a renewed priority when President Obama came into office,” said Williams. “He inherited a different set of circumstances – combat was winding down, arguably, at least the first if not the second.”

Letterman said that circumstances in Obama’s first term were worse than those for Bush, so “why didn’t he go after him?”

Williams outlines just how low the chances were that Obama could have been able to corner bin Laden where he was in Pakistan.

Letterman questioned why Obama should not be able to use the killing of bin Laden as a campaign tool when he believed Bush’s team would have done the same thing in that position. “Remember the Iraq war, “mission accomplished,” well holy ****, the mission was not accomplished,” said Letterman. “They put a banner up on the SS Lincoln, George flies up on the thing. He was very cute.”

“What more do we want this man to do for us, honest to god,” asked Letterman to applause.

“And there you have it,” responded Williams.

The segment concluded with a discussion on gay marriage and Letterman attempting to get to the bottom of his confusion as to why some would oppose same-sex marriage rights.

Evidently, ol’ Dave’s righteous indignation and concern only applies to Liberals, like his “messiah”.  Remember this little gem of graciousness?

From foxnews.com, posted on June 11, 2009:

David Letterman is in the hot seat for several crude jokes he made on CBS’ “The Late Show” about Sarah Palin and her teenage daughter.

Letterman, in his monologue Monday night, noted that the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate attended a Yankees game during a trip to New York City, where she was honored by a special needs group. Letterman referred to Palin, Alaska’s governor, as having the style of a “slutty flight attendant.”

The “Late Show” host also took a shot Palin’s daughter, while poking fun at the Yankees’ third baseman.

“One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game,” Letterman said, “during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”

The backlash was almost immediate, with Palin’s supporters denouncing the CBS host for making jokes that many said were sexist and for what they called an unfair attack on the governor and her family.

“I think that calling the former vice presidential candidate a slut or saying that her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez, I think everyone can agree that’s over the line,” Washington Examiner correspondent Byron York told FOX News’ Greta Von Susteren.

But an even more disturbing fact, which Letterman may not have known, was that the daughter who accompanied Palin on her trip to New York was 14-year-old Willow — not 18-year-old Bristol, the unwed mother of Palin’s first grandchild.

Now, many critics — including the Palins themselves – are slamming Letterman for jokes that they say make light of sexual abuse of an underage girl.

In a statement to FOXNews.com, Palin accused Letterman of making “sexually perverted” and “inappropriate” comments that she doubted he would “ever dare make” about anyone else’s daughter.

“Acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others,” she said.

Palin’s husband, Todd, echoed her sentiments, telling FOXNews.com, “Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable. Alaskans know it, and I believe the rest of the world knows it, too.”

A representative for “The Late Show” declined to offer comment for this story.

Letterman, after experiencing a huge backlash from what seemed like the entire nation, was forced to apoplogize.

Johnny Carson, he ain’t.

In honor of this long-in-the-tooth and short on humor Liberal talk show host, I came up with my own Top Ten List of answers to ol’ Dave’s question:

The Top Ten Things That Americans Want President Obama to Do:

10.  He and the Missus take the same plane to their lavish vacations.

9.   Quit Apologizing for America.

8.  Admit that Obamacare is nothing but a way to control our lives and line a bunch of local hack politicians’ pockets.

7.  Concentrate on improving our economy, instead of his golf game.

6.  Fire Attorney General Eric Holder.

5.  Write a National Budget based in reality.

4.  Publically admit that Christians comprise 78% of America’s population.

3.  Quit treating those that fervently wish to behead all of us infidels as friends of this nation and quit degrading our real friend, Israel.

2.  Stop using our Armed Forces as guinea pigs for your social experiments.

And the number one thing that Americans would have President Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm) do…

1.  Resign.

A Tale of Two Julias

May 5, 2012

It was the best of women.  It was the worst of women.

Let’s compare a couple of famous “Julias”, shall we?

Julia, a half-hour comedy premiering on NBC in September 1968, was an example of American network television’s attempt to address race issues during a period of heightened activism and turmoil over the position of African-Americans in U.S. society. The series was the first to star a black performer in the leading role since Beulah, Amos ‘n’ Andy, and The Nat “King” Cole Show all left the air in the early and mid-1950s. By the mid-1960s, a number of prime-time series began featuring blacks in supporting roles, but industry fears of mostly southern racial sensibilities discouraged any bold action by the networks to more fully represent African-Americans in entertainment television. Series creator, Hal Kanter, a Hollywood liberal and broadcasting veteran whose credits included writing for the Beulah radio show in the 1940s, initiated Julia’s challenge to what remained of television’s colour bar. Kanter had attended a luncheon organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and been inspired enough to propose the project to NBC. The network agreed to run the show, but programmers did not expect it to do well since it was scheduled opposite the hugely popular Red Skelton Show. The show proved to be a surprise hit, however, jumping into the top ten list of most watched programs during its first year, and continuing to be moderately successful during its remaining two seasons on the air.

The series revolved around the lives of Julia Baker, (Diahann Carroll) a widowed black nurse and her young son, Corey (Marc Copage). Julia’s husband had been killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, and the series began with the now fatherless Baker family moving into an integrated apartment building in Los Angeles while Julia secured employment at the medical offices of Astrospace Industries. She worked with a gruff but lovable elderly white physician, Dr. Chegley (Lloyd Nolan), and a homely but spirited white nurse, Hannah Yarby. Julia’s closest friends were her white neighbors, the Waggedorns–Marie, a scatter-brained housewife; Len, a police officer; and Earl J. Waggedorn, their son and Corey’s pal. While Julia lived in an almost exclusively white environment, she managed to find a series of impeccably refined African-American boyfriends. Paul Winfield played one of her more long-standing romantic partners. Performed with elegance and dignity by Carroll, Julia represented a completely assimilated–and thoroughly non-stereotyped–African-American image to prime-time viewers.

This week, desperate to show how wonderful a socialist society under “The Lightbringer” would be, the Obama Administration, last week, presented for our edification and illumination,the fictional, err, I mean compressed, life story of a young lady named Julia.

Rich Lowry, writing for nationalreview.com, summarizes it:

Julia begins her interaction with the welfare state as a little tot through the pre-kindergarten program Head Start. She then proceeds through all of life’s important phases, not Shakespeare’s progression from “mewling and puking” infant to “second childishness and mere oblivion,” but the Health and Human Services and Education Departments version: a Pell grant (age 18), surgery on insurance coverage guaranteed by Obamacare (22), a job where she can sue her employers for more pay thanks to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (23), free contraception (27), a Small Business Administration loan (42) and, finally, Medicare (65) and Social Security (67). (In a sci-fi touch, these entitlements are presumed to be blissfully unchanged sometime off in the 2070s.)

No doubt, the creators of Julia — imagine a dour and featureless version of Dora the Explorer who grows old through the years — weren’t seeking to make a major philosophical statement. But they inadvertently captured something important about the progressive vision.

Julia’s central relationship is to the state. It is her educator, banker, health-care provider, venture capitalist, and retirement fund. And she is, fundamentally, a taker. Every benefit she gets is cut-rate or free. She apparently doesn’t worry about paying taxes. It doesn’t enter her mind that the programs supporting her might add to the debt or might have unintended consequences. She has no moral qualms about forcing others to pay for her contraception, and her sense of patriotic duty is limited to getting as much government help as she can.

Back in October of 2009, 35,000 people were waiting in line outside of Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan when trouble ensued. These people were so desperate for help with mortgage and utility bills that threats were made, fights broke out, and people were nearly trampled.

Ken Rogulski was there, reporting on WJR in Michigan. He decided to interview two people there in line for Obama cash.

ROGULSKI: Why are you here?

WOMAN #1: To get some money.

ROGULSKI: What kind of money?

WOMAN #1: Obama money.

ROGULSKI: Where’s it coming from?

WOMAN #1: Obama.

ROGULSKI: And where did Obama get it?

WOMAN #1: I don’t know, his stash. I don’t know. (laughter) I don’t know where he got it from, but he givin’ it to us, to help us.

WOMAN #2: And we love him.

WOMAN #1: We love him. That’s why we voted for him!

WOMEN: (chanting) Obama! Obama! Obama! (laughing)

I wonder if they were “Julia’s” Aunts?

In the span of 24 years, we have gone from a Julia who was a successful, self-sufficient, hard-working, single, American mom, to a “Julia” who is a leech, living off the money of American taxpayers, and doesn’t know what the words “self-sufficient” mean.

We have to boot the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC out on his derriere on November 6th, 2012.

It will be a far, far better thing we do than we have ever done before.

The Origin of Easter Traditions Plus KJ’s Top 10 List

April 7, 2012

Here we are, the day before Easter Sunday.  Here in America, Christians will go to church in the morning, usually followed by a meal later in the day, and ABC’s annual four and one-half  hour airing that evening of the classic movie “The Ten Commandments”.

Cue Edward G. Robinson as Nathan:

Where’s your Moses, Naaaooow?

So, how did Easter Traditions begin?  And, where did they come from?

The origins of our Easter Traditions are quite fascinating, per infoplease.com:

According to the Venerable Bede, Easter derives its name from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A month corresponding to April had been named “Eostremonat,” or Eostre’s month, leading to “Easter” becoming applied to the Christian holiday that usually took place within it. Prior to that, the holiday had been called Pasch (Passover), which remains its name in most non-English languages.

(Based on the similarity of their names, some connect Eostre with Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility, but there is no solid evidence for this.)

It seems probable that around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the traditional symbols.

In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants.

In addition, eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.

…Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Hollow eggs (created by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents) were decorated with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious figures in Armenia.

Germans gave green eggs as gifts on Holy Thursday, and hung hollow eggs on trees. Austrians placed tiny plants around the egg and then boiled them. When the plants were removed, white patterns were created.

…Hares and rabbits have long been symbols of fertility. The inclusion of the hare into Easter customs appears to have originated in Germany, where tales were told of an “Easter hare” who laid eggs for children to find. German immigrants to America — particularly Pennsylvania — brought the tradition with them and spread it to a wider public. They also baked cakes for Easter in the shape of hares, and may have pioneered the practice of making chocolate bunnies and eggs.Easter cards arrived in Victorian England, when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit. According to American Greetings, Easter is now the fourth most popular holiday for sending cards, behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.

After their baptisms, early Christians wore white robes all through Easter week to indicate their new lives. Those had already been baptized wore new clothes instead to symbolize their sharing a new life with Christ.

In Medieval Europe, churchgoers would take a walk after Easter Mass, led by a crucifix or the Easter candle. Today these walks endure as Easter Parades. People show off their spring finery, including lovely bonnets decorated for spring.

In honor of the holiday, I composed the following list:

The Top 10 Reasons I Miss an Old-Fashioned Easter

(Or, the Ruminations of a Cantankerous Old Man) 

Being an **ahem** older American, an empty nester, if you will, I have found my mind wandering back to memories of Easters past. Here is a list of those memories I’d like to share with you…in no particular order. 

  1. I truly miss the smell of boiled eggs and vinegar of Good Friday. 
  1. I miss dyeing eggs. Paas rules! 
  1. Why did my parents always hide my Easter Basket in the top of their closet? 
  1. Why did my Daddy always cut the yard on the Saturday before Easter? 
  1. Somewhere, there is an Easter picture of me wearing a crew cut, a blue and brown plaid sports coat and a blue bow tie. No. That wasn’t last year, I was in First Grade. 
  1. Who grieves for all of the ear-less Chocolate Bunnies? 
  1. Why did we always have deviled eggs with our Easter meal? Wasn’t dyeing the eggs enough? 
  1. The is nothing like the smell of an Easter Ham in the oven.
  1. When you’re a parent/grandparent hiding Easter eggs, you suddenly gain a new found respect for what your parents went through. 
  1. Why didn’t the preacher just go ahead and wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” to cover those he wouldn’t see again until next year? 

Happy Easter, everyone!


From Star Wars to The Hunger Games

March 25, 2012

The biggest box office hit in America right now is The Hunger Games.  In fact, it is setting records.

Deadline.com has the story:

Lionsgate’s record-shattering The Hunger Games opened with $68.25M grosses for Friday’s North American box office, including $19.75M in record-setting midnights. That should make for a first weekend of $140M with upside from 4,137 locations, with a screen count just under 10,000 prints. About 75% of those prints are in digital theaters, including 268 IMAX theaters across North America. Hunger Games records include: the highest non-sequel opening weekend ever, and the highest debut single day for a non-sequel ever, and the highest March opening ever, and the 5th highest opening day ever. Why is it doing so well? Because this brutal actioner about love and courage was based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of post-apocalyptic young adult novels and made better than it had to be given all the omnipresent marketing and media hype.

Imdb.com summarizes the plot for us:

In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

But, is this movie appropriate for children?

Commonsensemedia.org cautions parents:

Parents need to know that although the bestselling Hunger Games books are enormously popular with tweens, there’s a clear distinction between reading about violence and seeing it portrayed on screen. Developmentally, the 10- to 12-year-olds who’ve read the book may find the movie’s visceral, sometimes bloody teen-on-teen violence upsetting — especially the brutal scene that opens the Games, in which several teens are slaughtered by their fellow contestants. Even young teens need to be mature enough to deal with the 20+ deaths in The Hunger Games; characters are viciously dispatched with various weapons — including spears, arrows, and swords — as well as by having their necks broken, their skulls cracked, and their bodies ravaged by carnivorous and poisonous creatures. Despite the violence (which is, overall, less graphic than the novel’s descriptions but is still very intense), the movie explores thought-provoking themes about reality television, totalitarian government, and screen violence as entertainment. And Katniss, the main character, is a strong heroine who’s resourceful, selfless, and a true survivor. Her mentor, Haymitch, is initially depicted as a cynical drunk, but he ultimately proves to be a valuable ally.

So, the top box office hit in America features children killing other children?  

How callous have we become?  Okay.  Now, I’m depressed.

Back in my day (Here’s where I sound like my Daddy), we had great movies.  In 1975, we had Airplane!, one of the funniest movies of all time (Excuse me, Stewardess.  I speak Jive.) and Jaws (This was no boating accident!)

And in 1977, I attended the following premiere in the now-long-gone Paramount Theater in Eastgate Shopping Center in Memphis , Tennessee:

Part IV in George Lucas’ epic, Star Wars: A New Hope opens with a Rebel ship being boarded by the tyrannical Darth Vader. The plot then follows the life of a simple farm boy, Luke Skywalker, as he and his newly met allies (Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, R2-D2) attempt to rescue a Rebel leader, Princess Leia, from the clutches of the Empire. The conclusion is culminated as the Rebels, including Skywalker and flying ace Wedge Antilles make an attack on the Empire’s most powerful and ominous weapon, the Death Star.

It was a throwback to the old movie serials I used to watch on my parent’s blonde wood, black and white television set when I was a child.  It was an intergalatic cowboy movie, featuring heroes you cheered for, villains you booed, and good triumphing over evil.

The original Star Wars was an allegory, illuminating the hero in all of us.  Luke Skywalker was an average guy: a dreamer, longing for adventure, not wanting to settle for complacency, who received the opportunity for the adventure of a lifetime, and seized the moment, becoming a hero.

Sure, there was violence, but it was Saturday morning cartoon-style violence, featuring fight scenes such as American boys had already imagined while fighting invisible aliens in their bedrooms.

Nowadays, compared to The Hunger Games, it almost seems naive in its optimistic good spirits.

How did we get this coarse and brutal?  

Hold on.  Before you call me an old wuss, realize that I grew up watching Memphis ‘Rasslin’ on Saturday Mornings with my Daddy.  Heck, my Daddy and my Uncle “R” even took me to the Mid-South Coliseum, where I watched Jerry “The King” Lawler and Bill “Superstar” Dundee win the AWA World Tag Team Titles from Doug Summers and some huge “Russian”.

Plus, I lived in a neighborhood during my middle school years that was so rough, I had to carry a lead-filled bat around with me, because I was a little feller (and there was no government-mandated anti-bullying drive in the schools back then).

Anyway, I guess I’m just concerned that popular culture is forcing children to grow up too fast.  Middle school kids (‘tweens) are way beyond where we were, in terms of their social development.

And now, Hollyweird has them fighting to the death on a tarnished Silver screen.

And, they call this progress?

The ARM Chip: The Rise of the Machines

March 17, 2012

Soon, when you sit down in your easy chair to watch TV, your TV could be watching you back.

The story’s found at dailymail.co.uk:

When people download a film from Netflix to a flatscreen, or turn on web radio, they could be alerting unwanted watchers to exactly what they are doing and where they are.

Spies will no longer have to plant bugs in your home – the rise of ‘connected’ gadgets controlled by apps will mean that people ‘bug’ their own homes, says CIA director David Petraeus.

The CIA claims it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home.

Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

The resultant chorus of ‘connected’ gadgets will be able to be read like a book – and even remote-controlled, according to CIA CIA Director David Petraeus, according to a recent report by Wired’s ‘Danger Room’ blog.

Petraeus says that web-connected gadgets will ‘transform’ the art of spying – allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.

‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ said Petraeus.

‘Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters – all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.’

Petraeus was speaking to a venture capital firm about new technologies which aim to add processors and web connections to previously ‘dumb’ home appliances such as fridges, ovens and lighting systems.

This week, one of the world’s biggest chip companies, ARM, has unveiled a new processor built to work inside ‘connected’ white goods.

The ARM chips are smaller, lower-powered and far cheaper than previous processors – and designed to add the internet to almost every kind of electrical appliance.

It’s a concept described as the ‘internet of things’.

The original article, found on wired.com, adds the following:

…On Tuesday, the company unveiled its new ARM Cortex-M0+ processor, a low-power chip designed to connect non-PC electronics and smart sensors across the home and office.

Previous iterations of the Cortex family of chips had the same goal, but with the new chip, ARM claims much greater power savings. According to the company, the 32-bit chip consumes just nine microamps per megahertz, an impressively low amount even for an 8- or 16-bit chip. Gary Atkinson, ARM’s director of embedded applications, says the chip is 40 percent more efficient than its predecessor. This reduction, he says, will finally allow “fixed function” chips to integrate with everyday devices — and start telling them what to do.

“If you look at the edge of the internet today, [it’s] your mobile phone, your tablet, your PC. That’s what you interact with, and that’s what sends and receives data,” Atkinson tells Wired. “What we’re talking about with the ‘Internet of Things’ is extending that connectivity out, connecting every day devices to the internet.”

This is hardly a new idea. Tech companies and pundits have trumpeted this sort of thing for years, envisioning a world where smart sensors do everything from regulating your home’s air temperature to flipping the lights on and off. But Atkinson believes we’re finally on the verge of such a world, and he takes the vision a step further, imagining a world filled with things like “smart umbrellas.” Rather than checking the weather each morning for rain, you could buy an umbrella that beeps at you when it’s needed.

Today’s chips are small enough for this sort of thing. But, according to Atkinson, they consume too much power. With the Cortex-M0+ processor, he says, ARM has changed that, offering a chip that consumes virtually no power when it’s turned on but not actually doing work — i.e., when it’s in sleep mode. Geoff Lees, vice president of Freescale’s microcontroller division, who has partnered with ARM on the chip, says this power efficiency is crucial for devices that generate a lot of data, such as blood glucose monitors or underground flowmeters. Now you essentially “don’t need an on or off switch,” he says.

This gives “Big Brother” The ability to turn out household appliances against us.

Remember the movie, Maximum Overdrive, starring Emilio Estevez, and based on a Stephen King Novel?

For 8 days in 1986, the earth passed through the tail of a mysterious Rea-M rogue comet. During that time, machines on earth suddenly come to life and terrorize their human creators. A small group of people in a truck stop, surrounded by “alive” semi-trailers, set out to stop the machines before the machines stop them.

The problem was, it wasn’t just those trucks, it was soda machines, Cuisinarts,  electric knifes, and other machines that came to life and attacked humans.

And now, you tell me that my HD TV is going to be used to spy on me?

Perhaps that movie wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

I knew that Mickey Mouse clock was staring at me.

Generation XY: In Search of Free Room and Board

March 16, 2012

Jerry Clower, the late, great country comedian used to say:

Them kids you sent out in the wide world? They’ll be coming home (two beats) and they’s bringing more with’em!

He was a prophet.

The Christian Science Monitor has the story:

After graduating from Brown University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and completing a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Cassie Owens was left with a few dollars on her stipend and no job in sight. So, Ms. Owens returned home to her mother in Philadelphia.

“I moved back home pretty much for lack of money and prospects,” she says. Owens’s cousin, Evon Burton, who also returned home after graduating from Morehouse College in 2009, adds, “The choice is to go out and be in debt or to pursue your dreams and save up money at home, in a safe, stable environment.”

Owens and Burton are among the scores of so-called “boomerang kids,” young adults who move out of the family home for school or work and then return home. Unable to find well-paying work in a weak economy, escalating numbers of young adults – as many as 3 in 10 – are returning home to the family nest, resulting in the highest share of young adults living in multigenerational households since the 1950s, according to a Pew Research Center report released Thursday.

“The rise in the boomerang phenomenon illustrates the effect the recession and the weak economy are having on young adults,” says Kim Parker, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the study. “Young adults were hit particularly hard in the job market and are having to delay reaching some basic financial milestones of adulthood because of this.”

In 1980, some 11 percent of young adults lived in multigenerational households, suggesting that a strong economy helped youngsters gain independence more quickly. Today, some 29 percent of 25- to 34-year olds either never moved out of their parents’ home or say they returned home in recent years because of the economy, according to the Pew report. Among 18- to 24-year olds, that figure is even higher – 53 percent of young adults in that age group live at home.

“These statistics show that the recession has exacerbated a trend that was already under way since the 1980s … living at home longer and boomeranging back more frequently,” says Barbara Ray, coauthor of “Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood and Why It’s Good for Everyone.” The recession has hit this age group particularly hard, says Ms. Ray, and high unemployment among young adults, combined with growing college debt, means more youngsters are returning home.

Surprisingly, most “boomerang kids” don’t mind living with mom and dad. If ever there were a stigma about living with parents through one’s late twenties and thirties, the recession and, along with it, a practical dollars-and-cents outlook on life have all but erased that perception.

Of those living at home, some 78 percent say they’re upbeat about their living arrangements, according to the Pew study, and 24 percent say it’s been good for their relationships with their parents (48 percent say it hasn’t changed their relationship).

Owens says she’s happy to have an opportunity to look after her mother, who isn’t in good health.

“My parents love it and if they could keep me here forever they would,” says Erika Brunner, who moved back home to Lafayette, N.Y., in 2010 after completing her bachelor’s degree, working, and traveling in Europe for five months.

What are some of the secondary effects felt by the families whose young adults move back home?  OnlineUniversities.com reports that

One-third of parents have to remortgage their home to support adult children.

When kids boomerang back home, it often comes at a big financial cost to parents.

The help parents give boomerang kids often affects their own retirement savings.

In a time when it’s getting harder and harder to save enough for retirement (health care doesn’t come cheap), the plans of many parents are taking another hit.

Two in five parents are giving their adult children financial help.

The costs associated with caring for kids don’t end at 18 these days. In fact, many parents spend as much as 10% of their income to support their adult children.

Due to greater acceptance, 85% of college grads plan to move home after graduation.

Once upon a time, an adult child moving back home may have gotten the neighbors talking, but these days, it’s pretty common.

The millennial generation may be less likely to rebel against the values of their parents.

While not every young adult wants to live at home or gets along swimmingly with mom and dad, a Pew study found that millennials aren’t as rebellious as their parents were back in their early twenties.

Many 20-somethings now put off marriage.

Expectations for adult milestones are different today than they were in the past. Few young adults these days plan to be able to get married, buy a house, or have kids before they’re 30.

Boomers are now supporting both older and younger generations.

Boomers are taking a hit in both directions. Not only are they supporting or caring for their parents, but many are also providing financial support or housing to their children as well.

Many young adults increasingly rely on advice from adults.

There is no doubt that these are uncertain times, and for many new grads that can mean looking to parents for advice on how to manage careers and finance.

Boomeranging kids may be more likely to care for aging parents.

Adult children who receive help from their parents to get on their feet may be more willing to repay that help by caring for their parents in old age. Relationships forged when children move in with parents may just help pave the way for adult children helping out their parents down the road.

The phenomenon of boomeranging is changing the young adult demographic not only in the U.S., but also around the world.

Kids aren’t just boomeranging here in the U.S. As the economy takes a downturn around the world, college grads are shacking up with mom and dad in higher numbers just about everywhere you look. In the UK they call them “Yuckies,” in Italy “Bamboccini”. Whatever they’re called, boomeranging kids are popping up everywhere, changing how a whole generation of young people are entering their adult and professional lives.

Boomerangers may have spawned a new life stage called emerging adulthood.

In years past, psychologists were doubtful about the legitimacy of the life phase we now call adolescence. Clearly it’s gained some acceptance since then, and many see the same happening for the newly coined phase called “emerging adulthood.”

Many boomerang kids feel like they’re stuck in limbo.

Once, graduation from high school or college may have been the rite of passage between the world of an adolescent and a full-fledged adult, but that’s no longer the case. Many boomerangers feel trapped in a liminal space that’s somewhere in between.

Boomeranging only further entrenches the disparities between income.

Moving back home with mom and dad may be more advantageous to those from middle- or upper-class families. Studies show that they’re able to give more to struggling kids in college and afterward.

While having the kids move back in and sponge off of Mom and Dad may bring familial warm fuzzies, it does nothing to strengthen the survival skills of the young adults in question, nor is it very beneficial for Mom and Dad’s bank balance.

Is America producing a generation of Co-dependents?

Next thing you know, a 30 year old Law Student from Georgetown University, who dates the son of a wealth Democrat Donor, will be testifying before Congress that she wants us to pay for her yearly $3,000 supply of Condoms.

Oh, wait…

“Game Change” Same Old Liberal Propaganda

March 12, 2012

My bride and I dropped HBO a couple of years ago, to save money.  I’m glad that we did. The Liberals who run it have screwed up what used to be a very good movie channel.

They’ve turned it into a propaganda platform for their political ideology, featuring the misogynist rantings of the decidedly unfunny Bill Maher and made-for-HBO movies, such as Game Change, about the nomination of Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee.

The Weekly Standard has the story:

Nicolle Wallace was the onetime consultant to CBS News and media aide to George W. Bush who was assigned to work with Sarah Palin after the Alaska governor was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. It was Wallace who assured the McCain campaign that her dear friend Katie Couric, a committed liberal with a history of interviewing Republicans and conservatives in a quietly nasty way, was the right journalist to conduct a major early interview with the extremely conservative vice-presidential nominee.

Palin has only herself to blame for how horribly she came off, but as she was the most hotly sought-after interview in the world at the time, the McCain campaign could have picked and chosen and been cleverly calculating about which journalist would win the prize. Wallace was responsible for one of the great blunders in political advance work of modern media history.

Now, imagine you’re making a movie about the Palin story, one that demonstrates a modicum of sympathy for Sarah Palin’s excoriation at the hands of the media. (I know, I’m talking crazy, but go with me here.) In such a movie, Nicolle Wallace’s catastrophic guidance could have been portrayed in several ways. It could have been played as a simple goof, a wrongheaded political calculation. Or as an example of a kind of golly-gee naïveté, with Wallace being snowed by a seductive Couric. Or as a careerist move killing two birds with one stone, with Wallace seeking to stay in the good graces of her former colleague Couric despite several years of working for Republicans.

Needless to say, that is not how Nicolle Wallace is portrayed in Game Change, the new HBO movie based on the John Heilemann-Mark Halperin bestseller. No, indeed. Wallace is the movie’s heroine. She is the voice of reason, the increasingly alarmed witness to the evil McCain has perpetrated by foisting Palin upon the world. It is through Wallace’s interactions with the vice-presidential candidate that we see confirmed every bad thing anyone has ever said about Palin (save that she is not the mother of Trig—it steers clear of that Sullivanian filth). Wallace (played by Sarah Paulson) delivers screenwriter Danny Strong’s inadvertently hilarious Blue State zinger when, dripping with righteous scorn during a confrontation with Palin, she says with disbelief, “Yeah, you’re just like Hillary.”

Wallace’s deeply principled revulsion is mirrored by that of Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson), the McCain campaign chief whose initial excitement at Palin’s political skills and smarts is fast superseded by his awareness of her religious fanaticism (Schmidt gets a horrified look on his face when she says she sees the hand of God at work) and her ignorance.

Yes, if ever you wanted circumstantial evidence that the sources within the McCain campaign who spent October 2008 dumping on Palin anonymously might have included Wallace and Schmidt, you need look no further than HBO’s Game Change. The movie presents a moral case for the disreputable conduct of aides who, we can presume, fearlessly drop dirty dimes anonymously to save their own standing in the liberal culture from which they desperately wish not to be excluded.

Those closest to Gov. Palin, and the Arctic Fox, herself, aren’t particularly impressed by the movie, to say the least.

According to ABC News:

In response to the movie “Game Change” focusing on her historic selection as the GOP vice presidential nominee in the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin says in an email to ABC News that the film doesn’t matter to her.

“I believe my family has the right priorities and knows what really matters,” Palin emailed. “For instance, our son called from Afghanistan yesterday and he sounded good, and that’s what matters. Being in the good graces of Hollywood’s ‘Team Obama’ isn’t top of my list.”

Palin’s allies have dismissed ”Game Change,” which is based on the book that described the former Alaska governor’s lurch onto the national stage, as a bundle of lies. Her former aide Jason Recher called it a “false narrative cobbled together by a group of people who simply weren’t there.”

Randy Scheunemann, who advised Palin during the campaign, said that “to call this movie fiction gives fiction a bad name.”

Other aides who worked on the campaign – campaign manager Steven Schmidt and top aide Nicolle Wallace – have said the film is a generally accurate portrayal of Sen. John McCain’s selection of Palin, whom they allege was emotionally and intellectually not up for the job.

Of course, Schmidt is now working as a on-air contributor for MSNBC, where Ms. Wallace is a frequent guest as a Political Pundit.

No agendas here.  Nope.  Nothing to see at all…literally.


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