06
Mar 18

Why Should We Boycott Youtube? Because, School Shootings.

I am going to bite the bullet and boycott youtube. I like having access to youtube for quick movie trailer reference, and especially for songs. It’s like my home jukebox. I’ve gotten good at finding the higher-quality recordings, there are good mixes, and it’s quick. But I will give it all up until they get rid of Alex Jones’ youtube channel, due to his support of “school shootings aren’t real” crisis-actors hogwash. This conspiracy idiocy, promulgated by twitchy fringe slaves of the NRA, hurts the families of those who were killed at the school in Florida, and at Sandy Hook, and elsewhere, and creates an extra barrier to concerted work to control assault weapons and improve background checks on gun ownership. Much pressure is being put on youtube over this–see the link below–and we all need to add to it.

Now, my boycotting them is not going to register on their radar. But I just want to be able to live with myself on this and take part in a sort of tacit and unofficial boycott that I hope will become more widespread and known.

AND if you go to the basic youtube page and scroll down, look on the lower left you’ll see a place to click to send them feedback. I sent them a note demanding they ditch Alex Jones on the basis of his massacre-conspiracy toxicity. You could do that too. Also you can go to The Alex Jones Channel on Youtube then select “About” then hit the flag to report it.Then you fill out the form. If you search it for “Parkland” for example you’ll find video he supports all about the “false flag” crisis actors blah blah. You can report him for endangering children by turning people’s attention away from the real danger of real school shootings, also endangering the families of people who are murdered who receive death threats from these loons, and you can make a comment at the end of the report telling youtube it should be ashamed for making money off these dangerous lies.

Please do share this suggestion in any way at all with people.

Check out this story. The link might take you down the page so scroll up to the top for the story.

 https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/03/infowars-conspiracy-theories-have-advertisers-ditching-youtube-channels/?comments=1&post=34922459

 


22
Feb 18

SUE THEM

I think a progressive organization should start a fund for people accused of being “crisis actors” to take legal action and for other people–even politicians–being defamed by far-right false news sources.

I think there need to be a series of major, broadly supported lawsuits. Perhaps the SPLC or some other progressive organization can organize it. Ten million dollars collected to sue these assholes, and to sue guys like Alex Jones. Maybe that’ll encourage the Clintons to sue with their own money.


14
Feb 18

THE ANNOYING INTERNET: HOTEL BOOKING AND LYRIC SITES

Ah, the annoying internet.  Two examples. First, when I’m online looking up hotels to stay at, or airlines, it used to be that you got the hotel itself first, the website with the front desk number and reservations number–reservations made within the hotel. Now you get a raft of intermediary businesses trying to get you discounts and they’re all people who can’t answer your questions. They can book you a room maybe at a slight discount but not always. Bunch of goddamn parasites.

Lots of times their URLs are deceptive–like, it’ll say the name of the hotel, Joe’s Hotel say, and then after that the name of the intermediary parasite company. JoesHotelFrontDesk dot com — the company is deceivingly called Front Desk. Wanting to talk to the hotel directly you got to sift through a dozen of these and look *carefully* to pick out the real hotel website.

It’s deceptive, and it’s inefficient and it’s irritating. I should not see these booking companies first–I should see the hotel. If I want booking companies I can google hotel discounts or something. (When I was a Boy, the damn search engines were simple and good!)

AND THEN there’s trying to find LYRIC sites online….try finding correct song lyrics online. When looking for song lyrics online, most of the time you get bullshit, they don’t provide the real lyrics, they provide a spazzy version with many errors. The lyric sites are often put up by people in Europe and Eastern Europe who really don’t understand the lyrics very well, even if they can hear them, and they write down the wrong stuff. Lyric sites (often with obnoxious ads) copy the badly transcribed lyrics at other lyric sites. The result is lots of new bands doing covers full of errors. On youtube, the videos that offer “the lyrics”, if not put up by the band or artist directly, are likely to be at least partly wrong, sometimes very wrong. And these people do NOT get permission from artists to put this up…Nor do the lyric sites get permission or ask anyone to vet lyrics.

Some artists, like David Bowie put up all their lyrics so people’d get it right. Lou Reed put out a really good big book of his lyrics. If you go to RollingStones dot com put LYRICS in their search bar, and you get videos where the official lyrics are available. Try that with bands and artists first before searching online.

Lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult and Iggy Pop online are often partly wrong. Sometimes they leave out passages too. I checked and some of my own lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult are misreported.

NOTE! Many lyric sites not only have super annoying advertising they’re trying to put malware on your computer.

Google Music (not just the google search engine, but Google Music) seems to make an effort for accurate lyrics. Artists should sue these other bastards for this misrepresentation.


12
Feb 18

On Reading Rolling Stone’s Special David Bowie Book…

What’s especially interesting to me in the RS Bowie book–comprised of highlights from this great artist’s life, interviews through the years–is the two arcs of his life: the arc of his life as an artist, and especially the arc of his maturation as a person. Interviewed in the 70s he’s talking as if he’s going to be the new messiah…very, very vain, arrogant stuff…sneering at rocknroll. Saying he’s never going to tour again. Then three months later Bowie announces a giant world tour…and so on. And it’s all very cocaine talk. You can hear the cocaine fomenting the megalomania. He almost killed himself with the stuff, later…

So then another interview, a few years later, Bowie is somewhat more reflective; another one still later, shows no megalomania, but always himself as the fave topic; then the next one, less narcissism, more looking at the world and people, a seriousness, as if Bowie’s recognized the real scale of one life against the universe…A man and an artist growing up.

One really has to admire his insistence on returning at intervals to commercially risky art-driven albums. They fail commercially, for the most part–but he doesn’t care. He does something commercial (but good) to finance the next art recording.

Hopefully everyone who loves intelligent rock has heard Bowie’s last two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar–the two comprising a final outburst of genius. The last one, Blackstar, a grappling with death, with real death; not death as an abstraction but his own inexorable death with which he had a definite appointment. The videos for Blackstar are stunning…And when one considers how he planned it, knowing he would die, and doggedly doing the work in the last months, getting it right, one is stricken to the heart.


28
Jan 18

MANSPLAIN MANSPLAINING TO ME

The problem with the term ‘mansplaining’, despite some truth in it, is that along with being a sarcastic term for a demeaning tone of condescension and patronizing, it can also be mis-applied to perfectly legitimate explaining.

Men are about half the human race and they must be able to explain themselves to the other half or the species will shrivel and die. We males, as we abundantly demonstrate, have serious issues–but surely not every explanatory remark made by a man to a woman is condescending, patronizing, demeaning. While thoughtful women know the difference, there are those who declare, “He’s mansplaining!” to “win” the argument even when the man is not being demeaning. The whole mansplaining concept can be a kind of pre-emptive censorship at times, as well. The man says nothing for fear of being a “mansplainer”. And notoriously, failing to talk things out is a toxic state of affairs.

Yes, even women can be unfair. And do women never engage in eye-rolling, demeaning, condescending explanations when speaking to men?

Is this post mansplaining? I hope not. I just know that I don’t dare shake my fist at women over all this…We men are on the defensive all the time now, and  to a large extent we deserve it. Karma is a…well, not a bitch. But it may be a lady.


15
Jan 18

An Off-the-Cuff review of ‘IT’

      We finally saw the movie IT. We found it entertaining, with a lot of good set pieces, well worth a horror-film fan’s time, but there were disappointments. I’d been given the impression by glowing blurbs that it was an epochal horror film, something supposedly as significant as The Exorcist or Psycho or The Creature from the Black Lagoon or The Incredible Shrinking Man or The Blair Witch Project (I found Blair Witch to be scary and it created a whole subgenre of horror film) or Ringu or The Host… But it wasn’t as significant as any of those films. The Exorcist had a real auteur at the helm, a director with an innate sense of image flow and narrative traction. IT, by contrast, has a director who’s either weak willed enough to be excessively interfered with by producers and studios, or who doesn’t understand storytelling and cinematic flow very well. He’s not awful, he’s just either prone to choppiness, and lapses into narrative vagueness–or someone made him cut a lot of connective tissue. I also think the that music used to signal “something scary is coming” is a weakness in filmmaking, and it’s a weakness here…
      Most scenes, as individual set pieces, seem well written,  very well acted (Bill Skarsgard is quite effective indeed as Pennywise the Evil Clown), and the majority of scenes have their scares. There are moments when Pennywise makes his move to take down a victim, coming at us face on, that are strikingly, chillingly constructed, a sort of rapid-pace montage of rapacity. The climactic scene is nicely constructed…The girl who plays Beverly is wonderfully charismatic, and is the boldest and most empathetic of the group, a good role model for young women. The cinematography, creature effects, shot composition, art design, is all high quality, sometimes exquisite. And the script does seem very Stephen King inspired. However…
      I know, there are a lot of characters to juggle, you can only fit so much in, but if that’s the challenge, rise to it. Work harder. Say more with less if you have to, but include what you need to make it flow…As it is the film feels herky-jerky, and there failures of internal logic, as after hugely horrific incidents the group of kids are often flirting or kidding around when they should be much more devastated. And there are a lot of threads that are not followed up. I’m sure it was all more cohesive in the novel. And I see that this is designated Chapter One, so a sequel is planned, which may knit the first film into an overall weave–much more from the King novel. (Which I haven’t read, but I’m aware it’s a huge book.) If I were giving the film as a whole a rating using stars–I’d say overall, IT is a two and a half or three star movie. But if I were giving stars just for acting, visuals, production values, pacing (it’s 135 minutes but didn’t seem too long), soundtrack, I’d give it four stars.
      You can call the following a spoiler if you like, but I don’t think so, it won’t mean anything to anyone but those who’ve seen the film: That bit near the end “the kids are floating down”–and then nothing more. That whole aspect is never resolved. What happened to the souls or ghosts of the murdered children? We never learn. Also the kids in the group  don’t explain anything to the town. No one in authority is sent down into the well. Does the book resolve this stuff?
      Still, it’s worthwhile, and you can see it now as a streaming rental for five bucks.

15
Jan 18

The Infinitely Creative

Just returned from a walk, a chilly, gray visit to the beach. It was low tide, as January seems the low tide of the year, but my dogs were lively, seabirds went about their business. Thought of the moon pulling the tide like a hand coiling a spring. It’ll release, the tide’ll rise, either way, there’s turbulence, interaction–gravitation with planet, wind with water, a churning, a constant striking of sparks from flint.

It strikes me, so to speak, that there’s no need for a creator in a universe that is all creativity. It is its own creator.


06
Jan 18

Know Thyself

First…from the Gnostic text, though some say it really closer to being a straight up gospel…The Gospel According to Thomas: “…These are the secret words which the Living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote: And He said: Whoever finds the explanation of these words will not taste death. Jesus said; Let him who seeks, not cease seeking until he finds, and when he finds/he will be troubled, and when he has been troubled, he will marvel, and he will reign over the All. ..Jesus said: If those who lead you say to you: ‘See, the Kingdom is in Heaven’, then the birds of the Heavens will precede you. If they say to you: ‘It is in the sea’, then the fish will precede you. But the Kingdom is within you and it is without you. If you will know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father. But if you do not know yourselves then you are in poverty and you are poverty.”

This “knowing yourself” is not so easy. There is a story (there are several extant versions) of a Zen monk who went to his Master and said, “Master I want to be like you, and soon. How will this be accomplished?”

And the Master said, “It can be accomplished like this: go for just seven days watching everything you do and everything you feel, and do not let your attention lapse at all for those seven days.”

The Monk said: “Piece of cake!” He went and tried to do this, and after just a few minutes found he was thinking, instead, of dinner. And afterward, was drawn into free association and ceased to be vigilantly aware within himself. He tried again and again but could not be completely vigilant for more than a few minutes at a time. And he had been asked to be vigilant continually for seven days! So he returned to his Master and said, “It is too difficult to learn to do this in seven days—can you give me more time?”

The Master said, “Yes. Take seventy years.”


29
Dec 17

THE NEW SNOBBERY

What’s buggin’ me lately is THE NEW SNOBBERY. Not so much reviewers, though there are some who engage in it, but mostly it’s people at parties or on social media, who just can’t stand it that other people are enjoying things that aren’t their cup of tea; that people are enjoying something like THE LAST JEDI (one guy claimed *the Jedi* were “fascists”!), it’s all so formulaic and actiony and corny or something they say, or like THE SHAPE OF WATER, how dare audiences enjoy the romance, the sentimental parts, the inevitability of the way the story plays out. Or the new STAR TREK, that’s supposedly for the *simple* people. And they claim that The Lord of the Rings movies are (somehow) racist or classist or something, and also designed to entertain, well, other people than the Snobs…They’re even going after A WRINKLE IN TIME..These New Snobs have to constantly take in only film or TV or books that are deeply cynical and everyone dies in the end. Snobbery isn’t new but there’s a new burst of this extra postmodern hyper politically correct looking down on anything that’s a franchise, anything that’s from big studios, type of snobbery…

I dig Bergman and Herzog too, and PBS Masterpiece shows…But looking down on people for enjoying some encouragement, some pure entertainment, a hint of hope and transcendence, as in The Shape of Water and A Wrinkle in Time… It’s intellectual classism…


23
Dec 17

The One Millionth Off the Cuff Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

We saw STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI today. There are various SW fan community subsets. There are probably more than six, like maybe Wookie fetishists, we don’t talk about those–but basically, far as I can see, there are six. There are Star Wars nerds, Star Wars super nerds; there are Star Wars geeks, who are more detail oriented than the nerds, and SW supergeeks, who are quietly hated by the studios involved, and there are two more: SW Dweebs, and SW Super-Dweebs. SW Dweebs are often somewhere on the autism spectrum, and that is not mocking them, I think I’m on the spectrum somewhere myself; they are a little compulsive and judgemental but they’re good-natured and not usually wrong. Then there are the dreaded super-dweebs. The super-dweebs are all about how THEY want the thing to be; they’re control freaks who can’t tell where their preferences (or pretend preferences for the sake of an imagined self importance) end and crafted entertainment begins. They feel that THE LAST JEDI should be excluded from Star Wars “canon”. They feel it breaks with the big overall story in some way. If it did, I think George Lucas would’ve straightened that out and…it wouldn’t. I don’t see how it does. If you do and want to tell me, message me about it, so we don’t make all six categories wail “Spoilers! You’ve ruined my life!” What I want to say to the super-dweeb SW fans is, *if you think this movie is all wrong, you didn’t listen closely enough to Master YODA’s spectral comments in the movie.* They’re also missing some philosophical depth I haven’t seen before.

We liked THE LAST JEDI a lot. I personally agree with some reviewer who said it’s the best SW movie since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Those who growl about JJ Abrams should take note that the director is also the writer, and he is Rian Johnson who wrote the movie BRICK which won a special prize at Sundance; he won numerous other awards in his relatively short film/TV career. He wrote and directed LOOPER which I now want to see, he wrote three episodes of BREAKING BAD. The guy is a masterful director, as you can see in THE LAST JEDI, and a very good scripter. And whoever oversaw the editing should win a best film editor Oscar. The editing was great–suspense and pacing in it, superb. Someone was bitching it was draggy. Whaaat? Lots of action, it thumps right along, and the non-action scenes pulse with drama and flash with humor.

The script uses a good deal of humor, in a balanced way, which I always enjoy. It was good, effective humor. There are all kinds of cool creatures in this thing–my favorite is the weird oceanside creature that Luke Skywalker actually milks.Yes, he milks an alien and drinks that milk right up. Spoiler, Luke milks an alien, oh no! …Hamill is excellent in this, my wife thinks his best performance ever and I think so too…I loved the sophisticated but evil interplanetary casino in this movie…And Carrie Fisher. I’m not a terribly sentimental guy but boy the scenes with her affected me. She was very good, and…my wife and I squeezed each other’s hands and said, “Carrie!” (We’ve read her books, seen docs on her, saw her live in person in her one-woman show.) …I just wanted to say that Adam Driver was way better in this one. He rediscovered his gravitas, his anger, his timing. Better director I’d guess.

There’s a scene at the end that my wife thinks may be (unconsciously?) inspired by a scene at the end of the movie of CAMELOT…it worked, anyway… There are a few special effects and a few props and set items I thought could’ve been realer…but it didn’t really matter. The movie has winning ways, if you’re not a super-dweeb…oh and Chewbacca has a bit more character development in this, and one very amusing scene.

BTW, did you know that Wookies make good eating? They’re delicious. What are they like to eat? They’re Chewie.

Now is that joke nerdy or dweeby or…