Monday, September 29, 2008

A heartbeat away from giving hockey a bad name

I have developed a terrible tendency to read some of the comments left after a news article or opinion piece, mostly on political news (I'm an election junkie). I guess I picked the comment-reading up in blogland. It's "terrible" because a lot of the people who leave comments on news articles are apparently UTTER MORONS. Also, the comments are often trolled by... well... trolls.

But what gets me is how the trolls fervent defenders of the Republican ticket have a problem with spaces and capitalization (let alone reason, logic, and that other thing... what was it again... oh yeah: spelling). I mean, who in the world has the ability to put a space between two words, but can't be bothered to include one between the end of one sentence and the start of the next? Here's a relatively mild example from the comments of a Christian Science Monitor overview of last week's Republican funnies (I love Tina Fey!).

There is no prof anyone can find of him changing to Obama.Go look it up not one news person can find anything on it.Why did it take him 20 years to leave his church. A church that promotes hate. You don’t think he took a little of that hate with him. 20 years of being told to hate. give me a brake.If he wasn’t running for president he would still be there.He voted against money for the military and said we need to get out because we would never do good there. now he says we have done good. he can’t make up his own mind how can we let him tell us whats good for us?Mccain might be the best choice but he is really our only choice.

I've seen worse than this. Worse by far. And almost always pro-Republican, or rather, anti-"Liberals." Quite often distinctly racist as well. So what's up with that? Is this some kind of proof they're anti-elitist or something?

On a separate (but related) note:

I am really, really tired of "a heartbeat away" now. Can we use another cliche, just to mix it up, maybe? Palin would be "very close," maybe even "next in line." Can we find something other than "a heartbeat away"? It's just got to the point that everybody says it, and it's icking me out.

That is all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Growing up

One thing the Web is piss-poor at, in my opinion, is envisioning the future. It's become quite like TV in this respect. It works well at connecting people with the things they already know, and it's not quite so good at connecting them with new things, things that they didn't expect.

My example: The boy-child living in my house.

Now, Wil has this Web address, as does his father, and so I mean it in quite practical terms that I mean no disrespect. In fact, the opposite of disrespect: I respect the fact that Wil's life is not like that of similarly-aged people of previous generations. Or perhaps better described, similarly-aged people of the same "class" of previous generations.

I'm sure there were young people of very wealthy parents as far back as... forever... that had trouble figuring out how to motivate their children. And what I'm learning from obvserving Wil is that the children likely were not oblivious to this problem. In fact, when I think back to my own teenage years, I was not oblivious to this problem. People around me seemed to have ambitions. I was not at all clear on how to get some of my own. Wealthy parents' children must always be a problem, obviously, because it's hard to argue that they can't be supported. But the other thing that many of you will have already experienced (yourself and/or in raising your own) is that it is difficult for ANY child in this day and age (and society) to really BELIEVE that they can't be supported indefinitely. I mean, they've been supported THEIR WHOLE LIVES. How can anything else make sense?

So here we are. A few years ago, Wil said he wanted to get a job, instead of bowling. So he quit bowling.

Recently, I had occasion to ask him why he wanted to learn to drive. He answered that he wanted to learn to drive because he knew that it was something he was going to need to know.

And that's so freakin' significant! Something he knew he would need... versus something he DOES need, let alone something he WANTS.

Motivation is such a BEAR, isn't it? Because really, how do you do ANYTHING that you don't WANT to do in some small place in your brain?

So I'm left pondering... why would this young man, all of 18 years old, want to learn to drive, find a job, save money, move out, make his own meals, make his own plans, live his own life? I mean... it all goes contrary to how his life has ALWAYS BEEN, and it goes contrary to what he's being given RIGHT NOW. When you boil it all down, it'd be kinda reasonable to think him an idiot if he wanted to do those things. I mean, WHAT FOR?

We come back to the Internet because, before the question about driving, I did a little poking around for advice on how to teach driving. And most of the driving-teaching advice pointed to the "fact" that a teenager thinks only about what they want to do with the car, all the freedom they'll obtain, and the problem of teaching them is in bringing them down to the actual details and responsibilities of driving. I couldn't find one bit of advice for trying to help a young potential driver who doesn't want to drive, who isn't all that interested, and who is so aware of the potential threats that he's afraid of getting into the car.

I didn't learn to drive, when I was a teenager, because it didn't make any SENSE. It was scary AND it was useless. We didn't HAVE a car, and I could get everywhere by transit and walking. Later, I added biking.

But I wanted money. Oh boy. I was, still, delayed by my father being quite generous in supporting me as a teenager --I got to shop for my own clothes, on a bit of a budget, and travel and do things that I wanted to do. But I wanted MY OWN money, and I'm not sure how I got that urge, but I did. So I got a job.

So what do you do when an eighteen-year-old hasn't got really expensive interests, gets a ton of money from distant relatives at Christmasses and birthdays, and gets a meager allowance as well? WHY, IF HE HAD ANY BRAINS AT ALL, WOULD HE WANT A JOB?

Pffffffffft. He wouldn't. It would be unreasonable for him to want one. Wil's a smart young man and he knows he will need a job. But flat-out, that's not the same thing as wanting one.

I have an idea. But I don't think there's a chance in hell his Dad would go for it.

Still... the whole thing is perplexing, is all. I mean, I'm trying to get motivated to write a screenplay, work out, go to a doctor to get my feet fixed, learn a language, and work harder at my job. And I really, really, REALLY know that knowing these things "need to be done" is quite different...

...from wanting to do them.

P.S. In reviewing this, I see I am the same old bekbek after all. I remember saying, as a young teenager, that I didn't want to learn a language. I wanted to HAVE LEARNED it. Now, at 41 years old in a few days... I want to HAVE DONE all these things, or have them at that lovely point where it is all fun in tweaking and finishing up and celebrating accomplishment. Getting from here to there? Pffft. See you in another 30 years...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mondays are fun days

Sometimes the trivial things are worth mentioning. Trivial = TV.

Last year, I planned to watch several new shows as they were launched in September-October. Of all of them, the only one I continued to enjoy was Pushing Daisies. The show does have some charm, though it got a bit tiresome by the end of the season, being essentially too cute all the time. The main character can bring the dead back to life with a touch... but a second touch kills them again. So he doesn't pet his dog, who died once. And he doesn't kiss his girlfriend, who is supposed to be dead.

Meanwhile, two other shows snuck up on me. How I missed them in my search for new shows, I'll never understand. I absolutely adore Chuck. He's a nice, "ordinary" guy that works at what's obviously a Best Buy store, but he has a bunch of spy stuff embedded in his brain, so by force of circumstance he is an unprepared and unwilling spy. It's exceptionally well crafted, in my opinion - and plain fun. Then there's The Big Bang Theory, an unassuming little half-hour sitcom that doesn't deviate from the sitcom formula... except that the main characters are geek geniuses, with the obligatory hot girl living across the hall. I ought not to like it, but I do. I really do.

And then halfway through the year, with a great deal of fanfare, we got another new show: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I thought this was a terrible idea, and I was sure it would disgust me, but how could I not watch? And upon watching, I was really distressed with how skinny the actress is (playing Sarah), which really shouldn't be as distracting as I found it to be. And really, how can a drama about cyborgs and time travel be a serious contender? Well, sorry, but dammit... I like it! Phooey, so there, etc.

So this year, Pushing Daisies is back, but I'm not really interested. It's run its course, in my mind. And nothing new that's been announced has really caught my interest, unless possibly My Own Worst Enemy. We'll see about that one. But that leaves us with what? Three shows from last year that I want to watch this year: Big Bang (CBS), Chuck (NBC), and Terminator (FOX).

Just the three shows.

And that's not all. But first, there's more. WE DON'T EVEN HAVE CABLE. We decided to save the money, so we have a nice antenna. Remember what antennas are? Here's a clue:

And with our antenna and our new digital conversion boxes (because U.S. TV broadcasting is going all-digital early next year), we get a perfect, clear signal (I'm convinced it's actually better than what we used to get with cable) on all three channels necessary for watching my three shows! WOOT!

So here's the fall schedule. Pay attention.

Monday, 8 p.m., Terminator (FOX).
Monday, 8 p.m., Chuck (NBC).
Monday, 8 p.m., Big Bang (CBS).

Anybody see a problem???

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Selling My Comic Books

Here's something aggravating:

The current prices for collectors' comic books are dependent on printing. A 1st-printing copy of Batman: The Dark Knight gets considerably more than a 2nd-print copy.

I bought my copy when the book came out at the Silver Snail in Toronto, as far as I can recall. Is it a 1st-printing? No idea. There's no COPYRIGHT in the freakin' thing, let alone a print number.

Why can't comic books have some of the same info as normal books get?! It's damned aggravating. Apparently you have to be some kind of Super Collector to be able to tell the print number, and that's not me.

But I'm selling the thing. That, and my Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. And my Elfquests. And my Wolverines and X-Mens. So I gotta know!

Friday, September 12, 2008

McCain-Palin lies

Paul Krugman, "Blizzard of Lies."

Mr. Krugman says, about the blatant lies repeated --long after they've been publicly declared as untrue-- over and over again by the McCain-Palin campaign, "they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs."

I disagree. Oh sure, that's played into their hands. "Balanced" apparently means, these days, "let them lie if they want to - all is fair, yadda yadda."

But what I'm seeing, and this was backed up yesterday by some nice interviews on NPR (I'll add the link when I find it), is that there're quite a lot of people in this country that have been successfully convinced that the media --all of the media except possibly conservative talk-radio-- is "out to get" Palin and is itself lying.

This tactic is probably as old as dirt, but I first became aware of it with the Bush campaigns. What's being (erroneously, as far as I can tell) called "the base" has been led down a lovely little garden path on which it is not necessary --it's even a bad idea-- to read the news or assess facts critically, since any source of critical information other than those that obviously agree with your own worldview is immediately suspect.

If a news article in a highly reputable newspaper says Sarah Palin is lying, the newspaper article is by definition a pack of lies.

These people want to believe not only that McCain-Palin are the right choice, that their own choices are the right choices, but that any normally reliable source of opposing (or "fair") information must be ignored or slandered.

Which takes the pressure off, eh? It's not necessary to judge things critically. Don't worry about it. Don't think about it. Don't question. Just BELIEVE.

Sounds familiar. :(

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Politics: The Reality Show

Is it any wonder that the entire country seems to be in love with Sarah Palin? Unlike the "elitist" uber-celebrity Barack Obama, Sarah Palin is a "hockey mom" celebrity. It's like she won a contest to be a contestant on "Politics: The Reality Show," and millions are tuning in each day to watch how "the mom next door" fares in the world of politics. Yay, Sarah! cheer the fans. You can do it! We believe in you!

Uuuuggggggh. This is blechy to the max.

But for a population that apparently prefers to watch really ignorant, unskilled, ill-equipped, talentless people stumble through fake obstacles - which is the "script" of all reality TV, it seems - we really cannot be surprised that Sarah Palin the celebrity has way more appeal than someone who actually might be able to lead this country out of the awful mess it's gotten into.

Pffft. Please, somebody tell me it's all just a dream.