Thursday, April 16, 2015

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens - Trailer #2

End of this trailer I wept like a little girl. I have never felt so much joy and excitement for a movie in my life.



Enjoy! (and full-screen that video ferchrissakes!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marco Rubio ...or Is He?

Here's a picture of Marco Rubio, Florida Senator who is aiming for the Republican nomination in the race to the White House.



Here's a picture of Michael Weatherly, known for his work as Dinozzo on NCIS.



Here's a picture of Timothy Olyphant, known for his work on Hitman, Live Free or Die Hard, and Justified.



So how can a guy look so much like two well-versed, attractive, and just downright cool actors - and still be such a douche?

ALSO:



Christ, Rubio, what is that? You're dotting the "i" with our nation? What sort of self-aggrandizement symbolism are we supposed to pull from that?

And what the hell did you do to Alaska and Hawaii!?



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ABC World News Tonight: The iPhone Struggle is Real



I've just had ABC World News Tonight on in the background as I prep dinner.

David Muir was passing on the news that Obama was removing Cuba from the list of supporters of terrorism and added this bit:

And some of the reporting during our time there has shown us that there are children who have never even seen an iPhone

I'm sorry, what?

As of two years ago, Cuba was still exhibiting symptoms of the crushing of rights in the forms of exile and political prisoners. When the fuck did kids getting to play with an Apple device become the measure of ...anything?

Is this a sign of our own entitlement society? A complete and utter lack of understanding of what really is "poor" or "disadvantaged?" Maybe ABC should do a focus piece on sub-Saharan Africa and the poverty and blight and starvation that happens there every day and has for ...ever?

Mind blown.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Indiana is for Bigots. And Handouts. But NOT Gay Wedding Pizza Catering.

Anyone who has been paying any attention is aware of Indiana's new Religious Freedom law and all the hullabaloo it has created. The governor is under fire, legislature is frantically trying to rewrite the law, and businesses and organizations and even whole states are boycotting the Hoosier state.

(If anyone is not aware, Indiana's law is NOT the same as the federal or other state laws conservatives are comparing it to. It was written with the aid of anti-LGBT lobbyists who have been very clear of the intent of the law and can be seen standing behind the governor during the signing of the law.)

But aside from all the fallout taking place around the state, the story of Memories Pizza in the small town of Walkerton (pop. 2,247) in Northern Indiana caught my attention.

There's not a whole lot of people in Walkerton, so Memories Pizza isn't a huge business. But somehow they thought it a good idea to speak out to the media and publicly state that they would never cater a gay wedding with their pizza. Nevermind that no gay couple would ever cater a wedding with pizza or that Memories had never been part of such a request: they wanted to make it clear that because Jesus they would never be a part of this wildly hypothetical homosexual situation.

Cue the Justisplosion!

We start with the fuse being lit by this little story. People were just aching to see if anything would come of the law the way it was being framed and there it was in one happy little sound bite. It went viral.

To the Yelp! Yelp was the first to fall. I think they had 2 reviews before the story. Now they have hundreds of 1-stars. Likewise they were lambasted in comments on their Facebook page.

And because they hadn't secured their domain name, someone else bought it and populated it with a message not to discriminate.

And then things reportedly got a little out of hand. Apparently they were receiving so many critical phone calls and even some threats, the owner decided to temporarily close.

And at that point, I'm a little sad for them.

There's no excusing ignorance or bigotry, but the owner did clarify he welcomed anyone into the restaurant, just didn't want to take part in a gay wedding. I'll give him a bit of a pass on that. It was stupid to make a spectacle out of himself, but it's also stupid that there were so many phone calls and threats by people going too far that he had to shut down.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to shutting down. They started a GoFundMe page. And that's where the backlash to the backlash is living right now. As of this morning, they'd pulled in about $30,000. But then Glenn Beck plugged the hell out of the page on his radio show. As of this writing, they have pulled in over $190,000 in less than 24 hours. And since they keep bumping up their goal, it appears they're quite comfortable with the insane handout.

More than anything, this is an interesting societal proxy war on norms in the age of a 24-hour news cycle and unlimited interconnectedness. Bigotry will not be tolerated by much of our society, so when that one gopher head pops up in a hightened atmosphere of sensitivity, all of Yelp and Facebook and phones come down upon it. A way to counter the counter comes along. Some jump in to support. Some call that support "anti-bullying" but most are anti-liberal, anti-gay, anti-tech, right wing media brainwashed about the details, or all of the above.

Indiana rewriting the law is not going to solve the problem, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. Eventually LGBT will become a federally protected class, and then the real discussion of where one person's right to discriminate bumps into another person's right to be treated equally. Or at least we would if real discussions were possible in this environment of highly-polarized, highly-politicized, feigned persecution and bigotry wrapped in religion.


UPDATE: As of 11am EST 4/3: Yesterday's plug by Glenn Beck was followed by Rush Limbaugh then Sean Hannity. Hannity had the owner on his Fox show last night. The fund is at about $540,000.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Art in the Form of Honey on Naked Bodies

NSFW. Naked people covered in honey. So obviously NSFW in an arty way. No, really - this is truly art. I love this.






(P.S.: 4 days in a row? I'm baaaack! I feel all tingly!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gonna Need Some Van Murals to Properly Claim Comeback, No?

America! Fuck yeah!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pat Robertson's Gay Boy Kiss

File this under schadenfreude.

The right wing is all abuzz about teh gayz again. Okay, fine, they never stop - one would think they had some kind of fixation on the homosexual lifestyle.

This time the youngest gay kiss on teevee EVAR has just happened, and OMG it was a kiss and it was two boys and they are 13! Good thing I didn't kiss a girl until I was 18 and consenting.


OMG, teh gayz are kissing!

The irony, the schadenfreude, comes with the origins of this kiss.

The Family Channel was founded by Pat Robertson. Yes, that Pat Robertson. He founded the channel as a Christian Broadcasting Network channel in 1977. It became the first basic cable channel to be transmitted via satellite from launch. In 1988, it incorporated the word "Family," going to The CBN Family Channel, settling on The Family Channel in 1990. In 1998, it was sold to Rupert Murdoch and FOX, with the one caveat: not keep it pure, not keep it Christian, but keep airing The 700 Club. Robertson made out like a bandit as the channel was purchased for $3.3 billion. After that, Fox Family was sold to ABC. ABC Family now regularly airs Harry Potter witchcraft marathons and, recently, a gay kid kiss.

So Pat Robertson, the man who claims natural disasters are created by the existence of homosexuality itself, turned over a solid values-programming channel for raw greed and spawned what is today the youngest gay kiss on cable television.

Hehe. Total schadenfreude.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Catholic Answers, Catholic Lies

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy spending time in the car listening to right wing and religious AM talk radio. It keeps me informed about what's happening in circles to which I don't belong, fires me up, gets me thinking, and serves as fodder for this blog.

This weekend I was in a museum looking at some illuminated texts and remembered a rather poignant piece of radio I'd dismissed from a couple weeks ago.

During this episode of Catholic Answers, they were doing a "Non-Catholic Open Forum" where they specifically ask the audience to let just Non-Catholics to call with their questions. The show is generally a doctrine-splain-o-thon with some highlights in either caller ignorance or odd interpretation, but this one was cringe-worthy, and it wasn't the caller's fault this time.

Patrick Coffin with Bishop James Conley were hosting and "Henry in Kansas" came on with this question:

Why the Church wasn't doing anything to stop the slaughter of the Native Americans over here? Because of that we lost a lot of knowledge, a lot of books, codices and all that.

(Question is doctored/paraphrased on the linked page.)

Patrick Coffin replied:

Before we change to second gear, Henry, Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1300s and the technology of written material didn't exist in the New World, so I'm not sure what books were there to destroy - since there weren't any books.

WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK!?

Henry comes back with the very factual and calm response that Aztecs and others recorded their knowledge in pictographs and other writings and Patrick dismisses him with "I'm not sure that's true, Henry."

First off, the printing press was developed by Gutenberg about 1450.

Secondly, the words that came out of Patrick Coffin's mouth - besides the random date pick - were drivel of the most ignorant sort. Not only is there "written material" that we have records of tracing back over 5000 years, but to say that there were no books before the printing press discounts the over 1400 years of hand-written Biblical material that serve as the very basis of his religion!

Arrrrgh!

So for anyone who listens to Catholic Answers Live for clarifications on specific Church doctrine as it exists today, you should be in the clear. But if Patrick Coffin or any other apologists start making mention of history or dates or happenings outside the codification of the Bible, you might want to vet those "facts."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teh Gayz Driving Conservatives Crazypants

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided not to delay same sex marriage in Alabama, and conservatives are flipping their shit.

The huge flip-out is brought to you in part by Justice Clarence "Pubes on a Coke" Thomas. In his dissent on the Alabama case, he may have dropped a hint that SCOTUS is going to lean pro-LGBT in upcoming rulings.

In just two days, Alabama has turned into a disaster. SCOTUS struck down the state's ban, meaning immediately same-sex couples can get married. But Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was all "Hell naw, not in my 'Bama!" and ordered probate judges to ignore the highest court in the land and NOT offer marriage licenses. Some are complying and some are defying that order. And now a woman has been arrested for officiating a same sex marriage. Wut?

The walls of bigotry continue to fall, and it couldn't happen at a faster pace. Hell, even Nebraska took their lumps and decided they loved guns more than they hated gays and by proxy recognized same sex marriage.

But that doesn't mean the anachronistic creepers aren't going down kicking and screaming. Sam Brownbeck, governor of Kansas, took a break from dealing with the budget nightmare he created to issue an executive order removing LGBT from the state's protected class list. Because sometimes slashing pensions and cutting education needs to be punctuated with an announcement to the nation of "Don't worry folks, Kansas still hates fags."

And now we even see congress getting in on the action. Ted Cruz, recent ex-Canadian and potential presidential candidate, has re-introduced the State Marriage Defense Act which would require the federal government to defer to state law in deciding if people are married or not. This is, on its face, insane: imagine getting legally married in Alabama and receiving all the normal state and federal tax benefits and then moving to Ohio with your job and suddenly you're not married, lose all protections, and can't even visit your partner in the hospital. It'll never make it to Obama's desk. But Teddy's aiming for the White House and doesn't want anyone thinking he's okay with them queers.

We are living in a monumental time. SCOTUS will be deciding if the Constitution guarantees the right for same sex couples to marry by June, and based on Thomas's hint, it's going to change the law federally. It is going to be a sight to behold, and finally give me a chance to officiate same-sex marriages here in Ohio (or Indiana, or Kentucky).

Let's just hope that the sullied character of the bigots desperately grasping at straws and straw men don't do too much damage in their sad attempt to keep hold of a time long past its expiration date.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About "American Sniper"

I saw American Sniper this weekend. This is a quagmire wrapped in a clusterfuck, cream-filled with a shitstorm of feels, mostly because people can't separate the different aspects of the conversation. Some include: Rogen's comments, Moore's comments, accuracy of the film, quality of the film, themes of the film, Kyle's hyperbole, legitimacy of critiquing a veteran, and legitimacy of the Iraq war.

Unfortunately, most critic detractors pack it all into a lazy box of stupid and say things like "no liberal can claim to support the military" or "LOL Moore's crew are all fat tards" or "you are an idiot traitor of America!" (Things I've read online in the last three days.)

So let's break this all down and make sure we understand the differences between the pieces parts.


American Sniper as a Movie

SPOILERS!

American Sniper was a little short on development. I think Clint Eastwood got a little too ambitious in trying to cram all that graham and still have room for the honey. The husband-wife relationship was rushed. We never see real development in their pairing beyond what we might have seen in a flashback. The inter-war bits of their lives were almost filler as we watched him go from tour to tour.

The war bits were more vivid, more fleshed out, but still rushed. We saw tough choices, partial relationships, and even a moment with Kyle's brother that showed war as disheartening.

And when he came home, Kyle's regeneration was pinned down to a couple scenes. Then he was happy. Then he died.


Sloppy Filmmaking

Aside from the stuffing mentioned above, there are a couple sloppy mentions:

After tour three, Kyle's wife says "If you go back, we won't be here when you return." HUGE words. But a hug and it's all good and he's off?

The Butcher and the Sniper: Tour two and three were based on finding "The Butcher" so they could find the "bad" sniper. Fail both time. But then four was the money shot on the sniper and The Butcher was ...where? Nothing.

Ring switch: Kyle wore 3 different wedding rings throughout the movie: a small silver one right after his wedding, a small gold one during his service, and a large silver one after discharge. Why?

Fucking fake baby. Really? For a blockbuster movie? Producers noted Baby #1 had a fever and #2 didn't show. You're Hollywood. Only two babies in Hollywood? No, Cooper gets no props for acting with a plastic baby; Eastwood gets shit on for putting him in that position. WTF?

Texas: In this scene, we're moving to Texas. Not really mentioned where we lived when not at war before, but now we're in Texas because ...that's where Kyle dies?

Final scene: A SEAL sniper who is a complete expert on the use of firearms walks through the living room with what very much looks like a real revolver. He shushes the kids and walks into the kitchen where he not only points the gun at his wife but cocks it. In play. This is either stupid or a commentary on how socilization of veterans makes them forget everything; either way, it's wrong. And then they focus on him putting the cocked gun on the cabinet. Chekhov's Gun, anyone?


Themes in the Film

America protects freedom. Patriots protect freedom. War can be misdirected. War can tear families apart. War can ruin families. Patriots can crash. War hurts people. America is great. Recovery is difficult. War makes PTSD. We need to help ALL our veterans. Hero is a word. Hero is forever.


Kyle's Hyperbole

This doesn't really hit the movie (other than it's based on the book he wrote), but Chris Kyle is a known a proven fabulist. That means he lied and made up stories. Take it for what you will.


Rogen's Comments

Seth Rogen said American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that's showing in the third act of Inglorious Basterds. Rogen was making a goofy comment about how American Sniper was ...idunno... a little hyperbolic? A little hero worship?

Ignore everything anyone says about how it was like a Nazi Propaganda film. That's ignorant talking point bullshit. They probably never saw the movie, let alone the movie in the movie. Here it is:



So Rogen jokingly said this Hollywood movie about a real person was a little "kill all the bad guys" like the movie-in-movie he's referencing. Funny. But why is that bad or crazy? How was it not in jest? Conservatives =/= humor.


Moore's Comments

Michael Moore tweeted My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse.

Moore's own uncle was killed by a sniper. His family (and probably fam military friends) put that in his head. He said it. And in return, I've heard nothing about how his family suffered or how his uncle was a hero. Instead, we get jokes about how fat he is and is stupid.

Way to honor a fallen soldier, military folks. If you attack his retelling and/or his weight, you know nothing of honor. But enjoy you LOLz.


Eastwood

Maybe: Eastwood saw this as a modern day western, a tale of guns. He didn't give a shit about the real life. The Kyle backstory was chattel to give him a baby. The man in almost-white is hunting the man in perpetual black. The parity moment is when the man in black picks up the phone to leave his apparent wife with the baby. They are the same. If Kyle were born in Syria, he very well could have been his own nemesis. Khaki and black, good and bad, the long con, the long war, with long guns, and the long shot that ended it. Swing a bunch of American flags at the end and beg for an Oscar.

The man spoke to a chair for over ten minutes. Why is that weird?

Nah, speculation ended: Eastwood came out and called the movie anit-war.


Fin

I think snipers are necessary ...but I shouldn't have to agree to that to defend my personal patriotism. I don't think the movie was bad because it was about Chris Kyle. I think that movie was average because of how it was made. I know (proven by a court of law) that Chris Kyle made up stories. Mentioning that does not make me a terrorist or communist. Criticizing what people do in the name of questionable war does not make them against the people who have to fight that war.

There is a difference between respecting the troops and respecting the war. Too many people don't get that. And the war hero and war worship that comes from simple minds who like little boxes is disrespecting every man and woman who put their lives on the line for this bullshit.

Any questions?

Sorry About the SOTU

Eh, wanted to compile a point-by-point, but news moves too fast and that gig is already irrelevant. I provide only the following post.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SOTU STFU

Getting back in stride, figuring out what is important, and CFC is on the short list. I'll venture an "I'm back, baby!" when I hit a few more posts.

I'm working on a Ricky-appropriate response to the State of the Union Address, but until I get there, here is my immediate take on what I heard last night - and the Republican Response.



Cheers and see you soon!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Air Asia Allahuakhbar: Made-Up Right Wing Nuttery

Today I was listening to Hannity's shenanigans and out of nowhere he says that they recovered and listened to the black box of the crashed AirAsia plane: the last words heard were a chilling "Allahuakhbar." When Jamie Dupree called him out and said that was probably made up, he shied away from the story, saying he's just reporting what he heard.

[I would generally use "Allahuakhbar" in two words, but am reiterating the nutter website usage on purpose.]

First problem: The whole story is completely made up. I ran into it again tonight after bumping against it on a site called Downtrend (link withheld for the sanity), a website rife with right wing conspiracy nuttery. Madness. Their link of the story goes back to Yahoo News, but the Yahoo News post has been scrubbed of the content. But it does cite a title and source of New Straits Times out of Malaysia. Only problem: there is no story about the black box contents there.

Second problem: "Allahuakhbar" is not a dedicated cry of war. It means "God is Great" and is used in many situations. If the pilots were Muslim and they were about to hit the water, "Allahuakhbar" would be something they might shout, as someone might shout "Jesus help me!" or "God be with me!"

I just wanted to get that out as it'll probably be circulating among the nuttery of the internets - and it's a big giant load of bullshit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ricky Shambles: Election Official

Since I moved after the divorce, I registered in my new county and checked the box that I was interested in being an election official (one of the people checking IDs and giving out ballots). Tonight I went through my training class. (I now live in a primarily conservative county.)

I was impressed with the focus on making sure EVERYONE has the right to vote, what IDs are acceptable, and that there are ALWAYS at least one Republican and one Democrat at the table at all times. The main trainer made many serious points to the effect of "If you at any point think 'I have to tell them they cannot vote,' take a breath, and if you cannot figure out how to make it work provisionally, call us. We will answer. We will make it right."

We had a few "I don't get it" folks, and I really hope they do by next Tuesday.

One guy piped up "So, let me get this straight. If one of them illegals comes in with an address in our area, they just get to vote?" Trainer man shut him down immediately: "No, a person can vote ONLY if they are a registered voter, and that requires registration with a legit, citizen driver's license or legit SSN."

And when marriage name changes came up, the other trainer brought up "same sex marriages." Audible grumble from half the crowd. She was also quick to say "Roll with it. This is the law and if you come into Ohio with a marriage license changing your name from another state, it's valid."

For as conservative as it is here, I'm happy about the training, and am looking forward to next Tuesday. At the very least, I'll be the guy up on what is a valid ID. I'm sure there will be many tales over the 14 some hours I sit there with the other officials, and I promise you a solid review of my experience.

Ricky Shambles, reporting for duty!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Predatory Lending Makes Me Angry: TitleMax

Title Max got your real money...



(I'll never get Adsense to work with rants like this.)

Fuck these guys. Fuck them. Predatory lending is a disease of monsters preying on the weak and poor and ignorant. There are genuine reasons someone might need this type of service in an emergency, but this commercial is nothing more than glamorizing pawning the title of your vehicle with the beauty of money money money and mo money. I'm a pretty brilliant person and even I don't know exactly what that would entail, but smart enough to know that this is a dangerous trap.

So, fuck Title Max. Spread the word.