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Grev

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Just let it go...for real this time... [21 Sep 2011|07:23pm]
...so...here...we go...again.

Although this time, I think I've figured out the problem.

Another round of fan dumb has been unleashed, this time on the Castle premiere. And it's given many loud protesters ample ammo to stop watching...and explain loudly to the world that they've stopped watching.

Why? The only reason would be to get other people to stop watching. Or to be an attention whore, in the "I quit watching before it got really bad" vein.

Well, go. No one's stopping you. No one will be upset if you just leave.

You know what we will be upset about? Lording your newfound freedom over those who still want to watch.

I've seen it happen quite a few times, most notably General Hospital (which, it seems, like its ABC soapmates, is just about to go extinct...and lo, will the cries of those who hated on it so much be loud then!) People proclaiming to the world that they're not watching, as though producers are expected to cater to every fan's every whim. Look, I'm sorry last year's cliffhanger wasn't resolved the way you wanted, and Castle hasn't cracked a good joke in two episodes, and that you feel that Castle and Beckett should be getting it on like rabbits, and you need to find another show...

...but non of that is the fault of any of the fans. We don't want to hear how cool you are that you can quit this show. And we sure as hell don't want to hear about how we're lesser people because we still watch.

Just go. Just let it go. Just use your newfound free hour per week on other pursuits. I hear there's football on ESPN that you can watch instead, for one. Catch up on your sleep, play with your kids, whatever. We aren't stopping you. We really don't care. And we don't care why you stopped watching and why we're worse people for watching. What interest is it of yours that we watch anyway? Or is it that since you no longer watch, no one else should, either? What is this, high school? Grow up and let it go.

And you don't just see this in teevee shows. There seems to be an insatiable need to tear down that which you once loved, something I don't get...because I just stop. No theatrics, no "This thing is bad and you should feel bad", I just stop whatever I used to love. I can't get mad enough at that thing to tear it down. If I do get mad enough to try and tear something down, you know there's no love involved at all. My reasoning: Why subject yourself to it? Why quit something and then hang around? Again, for your health, for the health of your former fan-mates, and for everyone's sanity...just let it go.
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The obligatory "Where was I ten years ago?" post... [11 Sep 2011|03:02am]
...so, I'm gonna tell you my 9/11 story. It involves the shower, my nieces, a Final Fantasy board I'm no longer a part of, and Alyson Court.

Bear with me.

I was in the shower when 9/11 hit. I was prepping to babysit my then youngest niece (who wouldn't be in school until the year after), and I had found the channel that would be her secondary babysitter. Our cable company at the time took advantage of our being close enough to the Canadian border to give us the CBC station out of Windsor. The CBC had a solid block of kids' programming all morning (it had some of the classics like Mr. Dressup, Little Bear, Rolie Polie Olie, etc., stuff I liked because I don't really like the faux interactivity of most shows...which makes babysitting my current niece rather nauseating for me, because aside from Wubbzy and the Fresh Beat Band, that's all Nick Jr. is...), but what made me prefer it over PBS or Disney at the time was the CBC Kids interstitials...headlined by none other than Alyson Court.

I may have mentioned that I follow her Twitter feed...but for those who don't know, she's a very well-respected voice actress. You might remember her from such shows as Beetlejuice and X-Men, and such video games as the Resident Evil series (where she's been the only voice of Claire Redfield, and, Capcom willing, will always be). Other than this, her most famous front-of-the-camera role would be as Loonette the Clown on the kids show The Big Comfy Couch (which actually led to a case of mistaken identity which caused me to discover Senta Moses...but that's a story for another day, and Senta's not in this one...sorry.) Anyway, the CBC kids' interstitials were the second time I had actually seen Alyson out of the poofy clown suit and clown makeup (the first being an episode of the Canadian-produced series based on John Woo's Once a Thief...which, again, is not part of this story.) So, while my youngest niece would enjoy Olie and Mr. Dressup (and yes, once in awhile I'd change it over to Mr. Rogers for her...), I got a chance to hear Alyson's lovely voice every day.

So I got out of the shower, looking forward to hearing that lovely voice (a small while before my youngest niece was dropped off...), when I turned the teevee to the CBC channel...

...only it wasn't Alyson I was seeing or hearing.

Instead, it was Peter Mansbridge I was hearing (I think), and what I was seeing was the North Tower of the World Trade Center with a large, smoking hole in it.

I immediately turned on the ABC channel, which was just ending GMA...except that it would stay on for most of the day.

I don't remember seeing the second plane hit live...I guess I was a little in shock that the first one hit, as most people were. But I do remember being glued to the television, barely remembering when my brother dropped the little one off. (I think I had her stay in another room with Nickelodeon on, since that channel wouldn't show the really bad stuff.) Being the burgeoning internet junkie that I was (we were still on dial-up through AOL at the time; I think it would be that summer when we switched to the faster stuff), I ran off and logged on to the discussion place where I was most comfortable at the time: Eyes on Final Fantasy, a board based on the video game which I had become accustomed. It's still there, actually, so I know that I joined the forum in February. I read all the reactions, and posted once: A theory on who did it (Either Osama or the PLO), what the President was going to do (close the borders, ground planes, scramble AF jets, and declare martial law (Luckily, that didn't happen)), and where the fourth plane was headed (I thought the Sears Tower...hey, they hit the big business hub of New York and the military hub in DC; my reasoning was that they'd hit another big business hub). It actually seems wild to me that I actually only posted once in that thread, now that I know I can look at it; I feel like I was chatting for awhile (though I probably spent a little time in some AOL chatrooms, too).

Most of the rest of the day was a blur; I remember my parents got home from work a bit later, and I picked up my other two nieces from school for the full babysitting experience...but other than that, my eyes were glued to the screen for most of the morning...but then they were off when it became too much for me.

And then it was almost literally the only thing on every single channel for the better part of a week. The 24-hour news cycle channels got plenty of run time that week (those bottom-of-the-screen crawls debuted that week, and were mostly used to give you non-9/11 news...) It was very tiring for everyone, but I guess everyone felt we needed to dwell on it for that long. The thing is, I'm not good with the low emotions...and the high emotions that engender those low emotions (anger and fear) I really don't want to relive. So I guess I blocked most of it out, though I know I lived through the highlights.

What I'm saying is, if you somehow stumbled upon this humble blog trying to get a message from this 9/11 writing, you're not going to find it. All I have is what I experienced, and why all this stuff is intertwined in my head. And the fact that what happened after, from the justified beginning of the hunt in Afghanistan to the absolutely not justified misadventure in Iraq, from the PATRIOT Act to waterboarding; from the Department of Homeland Security to the Terror Watch List; and everything in between, just disappointed me for the first time in my adult life...and then the callousness of many of the people that supported many of these things enraged me.

9/11 changed many things. There are some things I don't want back, like complacency, but sometimes I'd rather even take that back if I could live in a world where that terrorist attack never happened.
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On the paradox of perpetual betterness... [09 Sep 2011|10:14pm]
...so, Fark headline:

"I spent 95 percent of my union-work time defending the incompetents, the lazy, the malingers and the malcontents. And they got paid the same as my fellow workers who showed up every day and gave their all to the job"

The guy who says this thinks it's because of unions. But that's not the real problem.

The real problem is that he thinks he's better than everyone else.

But that's not an uncommon assessment: Most people do, especially at their own jobs.

Follow me here: You have what's called the Dunning-Kruger effect, wherein the average person thinks that they're above average at what they do, even if they're incompetent. Basically, they don't know enough to know how they're doing, so they think they're doing well. Meanwhile, those who do very good think they do shitty, because they also don't know enough to know how they're doing. They're also have one more quality than the average person: humility.

...and that lack of humility leads us to the flip side: Since the average person thinks they're above average at what they do, their swelled head leads them to believe that everybody else is worse than they are at their job. Even if it can be directly proven that they aren't, they still think it.

Now, combine the two above facts with the cognitive dissonance of remembering every negative event and forgetting every neutral or positive event, and you have statements like the Fark headline above.

The problem?

Quite often, those swelled heads start talking about what people "deserve". And to me, "deserve" is a four-letter word.

Basically, people get offended when people who appear to do less than they are are doing better than they are. They've been taught that hard work will get you places, and many were taught that through the church with the so-called "prosperity gospel": That hard work and prayer will get you riches here on earth. Never mind the fact that most Scripture absolutely eschews personal wealth, only focusing what happens after you die. In fact, the earliest Christians were hermits and monks; only Catholicism's rise changed that, and the thought that God and Jesus want to make your material life better. They didn't go all the way, and thus the splinter groups.

Anyway, onward back to the premise (sorry, Mort). You've got people who mostly think they're doing better than they really are...they think they're working hard, and many are, I'll grant you. And they think most people aren't working as hard as they are, which may or may not be true. So what do they go after? The social safety nets. Why? Because they prop up the "lazy". Unemployment, to them, only makes people sit on those glorious checks (which always seem to be bigger than theirs...) rather than look for a job. Welfare? Yeah, that black chick with all that stuff I can't afford is on welfare, so why should we have it ever? (Note the subtle racism: The lazy ones are almost always black, unless you know them.) They don't seem to get that the "lazies" and the "gamers" are the outliers, and the normal person on unemployment is someone who got laid off from a job very much like theirs, and the average person on welfare didn't qualify for unemployment and needs money for their children and can't wait for a callback from one of their own many interviews, and that they could be next on either of them.

And the reason? Because they're better than those lazies on welfare and unemployment. Because they have a job, and they're hard workers...only guys like the guy in the headline don't think that. Those guys think the people who think they're hard workers are lazy, and the only reason they're around is those damned unions...except in places where there are no unions, in which case they must have friends in the company or something. And this paradox where everybody's better than everybody else is the crux of most of the reasons why we can't beef up our healthcare so that everyone has some sort of coverage, and why we can't get people to want to raise taxes, especially on the rich (but I'll be in that tax bracket someday!), and why everyone wants to cut the budget in the social services, but no one wants to cut the budget in anywhere else (Those damned lazies don't deserve a dime! But we need to spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined for protection!)

In short, the paradox is why we're in the rut we're in. And if we can't get out of it, if we can't aid our fellow men instead of condeming them and trying to cut them off at the knees when they try to stand on their own...that, more than anything else, will be the fall of the United States of America.
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Eyes and ears forward... [24 Jul 2011|07:47am]
...so:

Prick up your ears! Here he is, the manicurist of memory, the cosmetologist of the cosmos, the Joe Flynn of the logical spin, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You spelunk 'em, I'll dunk 'em, let's locomotion!


This episode of Beakman's World involves plunking a piano, wrigglin' and wiggin' out, and inventive illusions.

This would be Episode 34 of Beak, number 8 of season 2, and, if I'm right, the very first Those Disgusting Animals!

Time to play!

Tickle those ivories...Collapse )

Beakmania! w/Those Disgusting Animals!Collapse )

Use your illusionCollapse )

Whew! My eyes are tired from that one! And now, a little Beakman break, but I will continue the synopses soon!
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I still want my flying car!... [23 Jul 2011|06:06am]
...so:

Let's get a move on! It's time to g-g-g-goose your g-g-g-gourd! Here he is, the footman of the fantastic, the valet of the veritable, the Ted Bessell of our scientific vessel, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You dish 'em, I'll squish 'em, let's watusi!


Time to dish another ep of Beakman's World. This time: colorful skies and efficiency explained.

This is episode 33 of Beakman, ep 7 of season 2. And it's the second one of the season with an extended second segment.

Blue skies, smilin' at me...Collapse )

Beakmania!!!Collapse )

Workin' on the line...Collapse )

And there's Beak for today. More later!
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Dig on through to the other side... [21 Jul 2011|08:49pm]
...so:

DEFCON 4! It's time to ignite (BOOOOOM!) your id. Here he is, the custodian of coolness, the horticulturalist of hipness, the Hager twin of all that is in, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You broach 'em, I'll poach 'em, let's peppermint twist!


Beakman time, y'all! We go underwater without gettin' wet, get sticky without buyin' paste, and we let off steam to get around the place in this ep.

According to Netflix, this is the first hiccup. It sez this is Ep 6 of season 2, making it ep 32...but it doesn't have ep 31 (which I think is the Bats ep, but I'll have to check).

Anyhoo, let's dive in!

Tunnel vision...Collapse )

Beakmania! w/ Art Boin!Collapse )

Choo-choo!!!Collapse )

And that's another edition of Beakman's World.
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Chargin' up to get a rise outta ya... [20 Jul 2011|05:58pm]
...so:

Get the lead out! It's time to turbocharge your topknot! Here he is, the comptroller of the quizzical, the CEO of in the know, the Tina Louise of the hard to please, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You yank 'em, I'll gank 'em, hey! Let's samba!


Time for yet another Beak-synopsis. This time, it's sizzlin' cells (of batteries) and a lot of hot air (in balloons).

This would be Episode 30 of Beakman's World; Ep 4 of season 2. And I believe this is the first time Mark Ritts was a Famous Dead Guy...and possibly the last.

Keep going, and going, and...Collapse )

Beakmania! w/...nothing?Collapse )

Up, up and away...Collapse )

...and that's yet another Beakman! See ya next time!
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Elevate to the moon!... [19 Jul 2011|06:28pm]
...so:

Pony up! It's time to Carnuba wax your clarion! Here he is, the poobah of profundity, the honcho of "how'd it go?", the Herschel Bernardi of the hale & hardy, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You flay 'em, I'll sautee 'em, let's mashed potato!


We are really motorin' through 'em now, aren't we! In this ep of Beakman, we go loony over the lunar, flick out flames, and eloquently elevate.

Notes: Ep 29, S2E3. (There will be a few we'll have to skip 'cuz Netflix ain't got em, but I haven't gotten to one yet.) And it's the first Famous Dead Guy of the season!

Time to blast off!

Man in the moon...Collapse )

Beakmania! w/The Beakman Challenge!Collapse )

Goin' up!Collapse )

Okay, then, another ep of Beak down! One more will be comin' shortly!
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Beak-scoop... [18 Jul 2011|11:38pm]
...so, before I go further with these Beakman's World synopses, I have an edit on an older one. Seems there were too different versions of one episode goin' around; the Phoebe-sode about camels and gas density. The Beakmania segment has two different versions. One, which was during the syndicated reruns, features a segment on strep throat with the Doctor & Meekman. The second, which is in the Netflix version, features the Wide Beak-world of Sports, and discusses just how Michael Jordan can appear to be floating in mid-air. That segment is now part of that synopsis, which you can go see by following the link above.
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Pump out the wing beats... [17 Jul 2011|03:10am]
...so:

PLAY BALL! It's time to rotate your recall! Here he is, the porter of prescience, the skycap of scintillation, the Judy Landers of the geese and ganders, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You snare 'em, I'll tear 'em, lets monkey!


No time for monkeyin' around, it's Beakman time! We're divin' into the bloodstream, crashin' through candy glass, and hoverin' in a helicopter for this one!

This is episode number 28 of Beakman's world over-all, and Ep 2 of season 2.

Be still, my heart...or don't!Collapse )

Beakmania! w/Art's Diner!Collapse )

Whirlybird gets the worm!Collapse )

Useful? Yes! That's the Beak for this w...wait, I just did one of these yesterday. Okay, Beak for today.
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Submarines, comin' up, Chuck! [16 Jul 2011|05:02am]
...so:

WAKE UP! It's time to maul your memory! Here he is, the caliph of chemistry, the bailiff of botany, the David Groh of get up & go, the one, the only, the Beakman!

You flick 'em, I'll stick 'em, let's rumba!


Ooooh yeah, it's back, baby! You'll remember (maybe?) back when I used to post a whole lot more in this thing (500 words a day? Now you're lucky to get that many a month!), I did synopses of the ol' hit science show Beakman's World. Well, it's been a long time since NetFlix decided to stream the (not quite) whole series, but I hadn't gotten around to re-starting the synopses, though there are still 39 episodes that need the treatment.

Until now.

The ep that gets the synopsis treatment today is officially episode number 27 (it's number 25, I think, on NetFlix's order), and, if you've been keeping track, it's the first episode with Eliza Schneider as Liza in it. It's also the first episode of the second season (well, duh), and the first on its new home at CBS (though I believe TLC still aired it as well, back when their lineup had more than just large, unusual, and messed-up families on it). What's in it? Submarines (not the sandwich), balloon shish-kebab (not edible), and a little bit of spewing (not real). As was customary for these synopses, I'm putting each section behind spoiler tags, which I no longer do for anything else.

Now, let's dig in!

Dive, dive, dive!Collapse )

Beakmania! w/THE BEAKMAN CHALLENGE!Collapse )

Swallow this!Collapse )

So, there it is. I'm back in the Beak-saddle. I'll have more synopses as I progress through the stuff I haven't seen.
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On courtroom media; or, guilty until proven innocent, and even then... [05 Jul 2011|05:47pm]
...so, Casey Anthony has been acquitted in the murder of her daughter Caylee.

I have just two thoughts about the verdict, and the case as a whole.

First, why was this even news, let alone getting 24/7 HLN coverage? Actually, I know the answer to that: Missing White Girl Syndrome. Caylee was a cute little 3-year-old girl who went missing for a month before her body was found. Had she been found quickly, the media, especially, probably would not have batted an eyelash. But other than that, I don't have a single real reason why she should be national news. Neither Caylee nor Casey were particularly famous, and other than the mystery, the actual murder was, unfortunately as this sounds, run-of-the-mill. In fact, I'm pretty sure had this never been in the news, Casey Anthony would be in prison for her murder now.

But she's not, and that dovetails into my second thought: The media still hasn't learned its lessons from...my goodness, was the O.J. murder trial really 15 years ago? And my big question is, will they ever?

You'll recall that the media, in their race to the ratings, basically made sure you knew that O.J. was fully guilty. Sure, some of the things O.J. did made him much more circumspect, but the media made sure the court of public opinion was overwhelmingly against him, so much so that the black community backlash was huge...it turned into a blacks vs. whites trial, and the video of the celebrations when he was acquitted was shown for all to see. I'm sure many of those celebrating are somewhat abashed at doing that at the time...but make no mistake, the sensationalism of the media (which I won't call "librul" here, because here the only agenda it was pushing was ratings) pretty much led to the shock of the acquittal. It was a travesty of justice, say the same talking heads who pretty much guaranteed his conviction.

And they never did learn from what they had wrought, did they? In fact, they kept it up. They did it to Robert Blake, Phil Spector, Kobe Bryant, the Ramseys, etc. At the very least, the jury cooperated on Spector, but Blake was acquitted, Kobe's case was thrown out (and Ben Roethlisberger's two cases were as well), the Ramseys have never been charged. But, invariably, in all of these cases, the media has gotten the court of public opinion's conviction before the opening statements were even made. They did it here, too...and they were wrong again.

But the media never learns. In fact, in these sorts of cases, it's gotten worse: Nancy Grace was merely a prosecutor in Georgia when O.J. was being tried, and she was playing as fast and loose with the law as a prosecutor as she would eventually be on CourtTV and HLN. One of her cases ended in a mistrial because of her conduct, and one of her murder convictions was overturned due to the sparseness of the evidence...and again, her conduct. This was the woman CourtTV thought would make a great court analyst...and in a way, she has been. At least, to the media's definition of "great": More ratings. But those ratings, of course, came at a price: A loss of journalistic integrity. Everyone was guilty according to Grace, even in cases where they obviously weren't. It got worse when she moved to HLN and become the master of Missing White Girl Syndrome. Her interview with the mother of a missing boy, where she all but accused the woman of being part of her son's abduction, was a chief contributing factor to her suicide. She basically convicted the Duke lacrosse players of rape...and was absent from her show the day after they were cleared of all charges. Hell, she even made Elizabeth Smart uncomfortable in her interview, and she was a kidnapping victim, for God's sake.

In short, the media have graduated from the level of journalism in the O.J. trial...to Nancy Grace level. Everyone is guilty in their eyes, no matter what. It's "shocking" when someone is declared not guilty, or has charges dropped against them, because the media makes sure you know about all their faults and foibles, and thus you believe them, too. Even my own mother, who is usually smarter than this, thinks Kobe Bryant "got away with murder"...despite being charged with rape.

That's why, contrary to most people, I generally err on the side of innocence...like the law should. On the other hand, most people believe that every celebrity gets away with crimes with impunity...so they believe the media when they tell them they're guilty. Which is a contributing factor to why this sort of thing is so popular...and yet another step downward on the road to the abyss of journalistic integrity.
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Can the little guy really fire back anymore?... [06 Jun 2011|08:40pm]
...so, let's get away from moping over a married woman, and get to moping on the bad economy and the crooks that brought us here!

But, there is proof that some people are actually working for the "little guy" (even if that little guy had enough money to buy a house outright).

Seems a man named Warren Nyerges had his Florida home foreclosed on by Bank of America for non-payment of their mortgage. There's only one problem: Nyerges didn't have a mortgage on his home; he had, in fact, paid for the house in full with cash. The case went to court, and when the facts came out, BofA dropped the case. The judge ordered them to pay the Nyerges' legal fees, a total coming to over $2,500. Small change to a bank, right? Except BofA hadn't paid them yet.

Cut to Friday, when the Nyerges' lawyer entered the local bank's branch backed by two sheriff's deputies with an ultimatum: Cut them a check for the legal fees, or the moving crew outside will start hauling out every piece of furniture in the place to be sold at a public auction. Desks, chairs, lobby sofas, everything would go.

BofA, wisely, cut them a check.

This, however, is just one incident in the multitudes of stalling practices and mismanagement in the wake of the original housing bubble. And now there's word that the housing market is dipping again. Now, I don't call this a double-dip. Why? Because you have to fully get out of the first crisis before you can call it a double-dip. And we're still immersed.

I really think that we need to give anyone who holds a mortgage an ultimatum: Show us every mortgage you hold to be perused by the public, or have every mortgage you hold become null and void right then and there. Most of these mega-corps will go on about how this will wreck the economy...

...to which I say, "The economy's wrecked either way. Your own board members have seen to it."

See, my philosophy with most decisions is that anything you can't control and will happen with any choice you can make is thus irrelevant to the choice at hand. Eventuality of something makes that something fully irrelevant. For example, if you can save one person from dying, but not two, the fact that someone is going to die is irrelevant to the choice of which one to save. (Of course, superheroes have that annoying tendency to compromise the eventuality of death, but for us normals...) The choice has several factors, but "SOMEONE'S GONNA DIE!" is not one of them.

Likewise, right now, the economy is going to let go, sooner or later. Every option anyone has tried to throw at it that would not make this an eventuality has been shot down by those who have a vested interest in making the economy's collapse an eventuality. Therefore, now, any decision we make should not be made on whether it will cause the economy to collapse. That's an eventuality becuase it has been made so. Meaning that we have carte blanche to make the big corporations help as many "little guys" as possible.

My ultimatum is this: Every entity that holds any mortgages or loans will make every such morgage or loan publicly available for perusal. Then, every one of those mortgages can be disputed for whatever reason (like, for example, I never had a mortgage or a loan, or I don't even own a house.) If a mortgage turns out to be fraudulent, the entity is penalized for what has already been paid into the mortgage (and only the entity, no matter how many entities had it before they got it), and the mortgage is considered fulfilled. Sure, it might mean a few entities go out of business, but then, they shouldn't have been playing with the fire that burned us in the first place.

If an entity does not agree to this public availability, a class action lawsuit for fraud will be opened on every mortgage or loan it currently has. Then, the reverse happens: They must provide proof that each loan is legitimate. It works out the same in the end: each truly fraudulent loan is reimbursed and forgiven. But this, then puts the onus on the entity to defend every single loan it currently has on its books, meaning that they spend more money and are more likely to go out of business. But yet again: they shouldn't have been playing with the fire that burned us, and they should've been forthright when they had the chance.

Of course, this won't happen. The same people in power that will benefit from a wrecked economy have the power to insure it goes off without a hitch, unless drastic action is taken by somebody. But the Republicans are in league with these people, and a few of the Dems are, and those that aren't are painted as though they "hate freedom" whenever they say we might wanna, y'know, rein in a few of these mega-corps that are destroying Main Street, the only street worth worrying about. Because the economy is screwed, because the rich get richer and richer and sit on money, meaning the economy doesn't have nearly as much money flowing as it did in the good times. And then, the government foolishly cuts taxes and keeps them low in the middle of it, ensuring the broken down economy doesn't have any fluidity. And then the cascade happens: Unless something happens to increase fluidity, the economy is going to stay depressed as it has been (nevermind the fat cats that are making more money than ever; they have also willfully taken themselves mostly out of the economy at large as well), and it will burrow through the "rock bottom" that was claimed shortly after the President took office. When that happens, even the clever ones won't have the money to do anything anymore.

So, here's my final question today to those of you who are jealous of teachers' pay and benefits, and yell that they should be cut "for the good of the budget": Is it really for the good of the budget, or is it because you don't make as much as they do because you lost your job and the only new one you could get doesn't permit you to unionize? Is it really other workers' fault that you were laid off, or did the CEO of your company buy a yacht that cost just about as much as the yearly salaries of you and everyone else they laid off shortly afterwards? Is your anger really with teachers, police, firefighters, and other state workers...or should it be with the private fat cats who made the pay of teachers, police, firefighters, and other state workers look good by comparison?
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How to be a good fan, from the (raw but unbroken) heart... [03 Jun 2011|09:16pm]
...so, this is a post spurred on by my own thoughts about Senta Moses. Again.

...though I don't know whether I should be calling her by that name, now.

You see, she got married a couple of weeks ago. To a handsome grip named Rob (who I sorta think is too good-looking to be "just" a grip). In fact, I think the ceremony was on the day the world was supposed to end, which set up a "but I repeat myself" joke.

In reality, though, I have a philosophy which helps me (who still has trouble looking at photos of Senta) to cope quite a bit:

Relationships are a two-way street.

We are all fans of something or someone. If we are fans of actors, by the nature of their very public jobs, we have the advantage on them: they give interviews and do movies and teevee shows which allow us to see quite a bit into their lives. In the case of a select few, TMZ et al lets us into a lot more of their lives than even most actors. However, actors rarely have the same information of their fans.

The example involving me is: I can tell you Senta's birthdate, her parents' names, her new husband's name, where she was born, and, if I really wanted to dig, where she lives now. (I do not want to dig, for reasons coming up in this entry.) Senta, on the other hand, barely knows who I am. At best, she knows my name, possibly what I look like from my Twitter picture, and the existence of this LiveJournal, from where she can probably glean a few more facts if she weren't busy preparing for roles. And even then, she doesn't put me on her radar.

Make no mistake: A fan does not have a relationship with someone who he or she is a fan of, generally. It is up to that person to let the fan into their life, and that is generally only if the fan asks nicely. I, despite having had a Facebook page for a few months (Yeah, I broke down and got one, just to be another hub on my "network", and to comment on DVD Podblast entries and stuff like that), have not asked Senta. And I probably won't, because of my own neuroses: Hell, I feel like a stalker just writing this entry.

...However, the key separation between a mere fan and a stalker in my analytical mind (rather than my overly-timid neurotic mind) comes down to the presumption of a relationship. A good fan will simply be along for the ride, a vicarious participant in what their fandom does: Live and die with the team; watch every episode of a show; read every comic; watch anything an actor's in, no matter how bad...those are the hallmarks of a good fan.

A stalker, a bad fan, will assume this makes a relationship. Which brings me back to the start, here: Relationships are a two-way street. Even with people you love, if the communication and/or trust isn't there, the relationship is incredibly bad. (My own ethos is "If there is no trust, there is no relationship. Period.") You have to pull your weight, and your loved one has to pull theirs. If they can't, the relationship suffers. How can this happen if one side of the so-called "relationship" barely knows you exist? This is why stalkers freak out their targets: They don't know who the stalker is, and the stalker is talking as though they're best friends or lovers. They try to force an issue which really doesn't exist, and that's what leads to the restraining orders and the arrests. In essence, the stalker doesn't know his boundaries.

I do. Even though it causes me a little pain, I do. I am but a mere loyal Senta Moses (McFall?) fan, and will continue to be. Rob, on the other hand, has personally known her for a while, was engaged to her for a year, and is now her husband. He has a relationship with her where I do not. And for that, I can freely offer my congratulations to both of them, and truly and earnestly hope for both of them to be happy for a long time.

As for me, I'll keep doing what a good fan does: Keep watching whatever Senta's in (and probably whatever Rob's worked on; did you know he was the key grip for Dr. Horrible?), and possibly, one day, actually meet her, face to face. Then, and only then, may actually be the start of a good relationship.

(And now that I've made myself the living embodiment of the Loony Fan/Stalker With A Crush, I'll shut up now.)
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A handy guide to hoaxes... [24 May 2011|07:20am]
...so, after a few family members and a few respected individuals on Twitter have fallen into passing along death and/or kidnapping hoax stories, I have a few helpful hints for you to make sure that you're not perpetuating hoaxes and crying wolf.

Let's start with death hoaxes. Over the weekend, George Clooney was the target of a death hoax, where it's tweeted that he was killed falling off a cliff while shooting his latest movie, or that he hit a tree while snowboarding in Aspen, or something of that nature. Problem is, the same pattern of death has been attributed to Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, and Will Smith. The story is usually very, very nonspecific as to what actually happened...especially info that would be available, like the name of the movie being filmed in the cliff death, or the mountain being skiied down in the Aspen hoax. There's one very big tip to give to those who would send this along:

If it ain't on CNN, it's probably a hoax.

Most of the names on this list are big enough that you would expect some sort of blurb in a major news outlet. Depending on time of death, it might even be the top story. But if you turn on, say, Headline News and you don't see a story on the actor's death, or even read about it on the crawl, it's probably a hoax. Case in point: Even a retired pro wrestler in Macho Man Randy Savage got at least a few seconds on the news sites when he died over the weekend after crashing his car into a tree. They had lots of details about it, too, like the fact that he likely had a heart attack behind the wheel. You should note that what happened with Savage is very detailed, while what happened with Clooney was very vague. That should clue you in onto what's a hoax and what's not.

The second hoax being perpetuated is the Amber Alert hoax. This one states that a three year old boy or girl has been taken from some place by someone in a car with a license plate number of some random digits, usually 98B351. This one is actually pretty easy to spot, because like the Clooney hoax, it's being vague. In fact, it's being so vague that some points are being left out that would be trumpeted first and foremost in a real Amber Alert. The basic tip here is:

If you have to ask about pertinent information that would be in an Amber Alert, it's probably a hoax.

For example, the most common issuance right now is that a 3-year-old boy has been taken by a man in Rochester, MI, driving an '06 Mitsubishi Eclipse with license plate number 98B351. The problems should be apparent, but if not, I'll spell them out for you:

1. What's the child's name? Any actual Amber Alert would have the kid's name first and foremost; otherwise, what's the use of the alert in the first place?

2. What's the color of the car? Great, it's an '06 Eclipse...but there are a lot of '06 Eclipses on the road, and reading license plate numbers is rather hard when the car's going 70 MPH, even if you're also going that speed.

3. What state is the license plate from? Why is this important? Because kidnappers can cross state lines. You can't assume just because a kid was taken in Michigan that the car that has him also has Michigan plates.

Some versions of the hoax actually address the points above...but maddeningly, leave out some of the info that would be addressed in the first hoax. Example: Instead of saying "06 Mitsubishi Eclipse", some warnings say "Newer silver truck" or "gray car". Great, we've got the color...but what's the make and model? If you have to ask, it's probably a hoax.

One final tip to any would-be warner or informer: If you get one of these in an inbox, a retweet, or a friend's status, check with snopes.com first. Chances are, they've covered it, and chances are, it's a hoax. But don't assume that if they haven't covered it, it isn't a hoax: Sometimes they just haven't gotten around to it yet.
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A hand-guide to Heaven... [19 May 2011|09:37pm]
...so, here are some nice facts about May 21, 2011, the supposed Rapture, or beginning of the End Times:

* Make sure to dress finely when you ascend, because that's what you'll be wearing for all eternity.
* Don't worry if you don't ascend; all those left behind get a free Frosty at Wendy's.
* A big secret: The Rapture actually doesn't care what religion you are. It's estimated that more Buddhists will ascend than any other religion, followed by Muslims, then, strangely, Atheists. Christians are estimated near the bottom, between Scientologists above and Wiccans below.
* Those religious experts who will be left behind will debate feverishly over which day was actually the Sabbath. Further investigation will reveal that it was actually a Tuesday.
* The vehicle that will be used for the Rapture will be a large, lovingly-crafted handbasket. Don't be alarmed.
* When you get to heaven, please wait patiently in the long line. St. Peter's staff will likely be swamped; they haven't had an influx this large since the Black Plague.
* Muslims will get their 72 virgins on a per-case basis, as virgins are processed. After you get to the front of the line, your wait time will be approximately 1 year. Time will shorten as World of Warcraft players start dying off.
* As you step into heaven, make sure to check out God's loving frescoes of Muhammad, the Hindu Hamburger joint, the Halal hot dog stand, and the Fundie gay bar.
* The music in Heaven is the only music that is not offensive to anyone, except for those who are offended by everything: John Tesh.
* The Rapture counts as the end of eternity; thus, married Rapturees are free to cheat on their now ex-spouses.
* Processing to enter Heaven takes 6 to 8 weeks, and your confirmation will be delivered between 2 and 8 p.m. Make sure you're home at the time.

And finally:

* Those who fail to be Raptured will be condemned to live out their life on an Earth without the best of humanity for the rest of their lives, after which...they'll go to heaven anyway.

Happy Rapture!
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The irony still continues... [17 May 2011|07:07pm]
...so, nearly seven years ago exactly, I posted an irony about Dennis Hastert and John McCain.

Today, thanks to this story, I can update it. Here goes:

...so, Rick Santorum, who never served his country in the military, is lecturing fellow Republican John McCain, who was in a POW camp for five years, on torture.

I'll repeat that.

...so Rick Santorum, a man who, despite nobly wanting to serve in Vietnam, decided that his law career was a bigger priority at the time, is lecturing John McCain, who not only DID serve, but GAVE UP FIVE YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN A POW CAMP, much of that time spent BEING TORTURED BY THE VIET CONG, on torture.

It's good to see Republicans have their priorities in order...
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Putting your worst f00t forward... [15 Apr 2011|07:05pm]
...so, a lot of people support Thunderf00t's recent "burning" of 40,000 Korans (on a few hard disks which he blew up). I do not. Why?

Because it's beneath him. And it plays directly into the hands of the very people he's fighting by doing what he's doing.

See, Thunderf00t is one of the big pillars of the rational YouTube community, and there are three things you can count on in his videos against most believers: reason, rationality, and ridicule, when it calls for it (and oh, boy, does VenomFangX always call for it). He's able to put the reasons why the Christian creationists are full of shit into reasonable and rational terms...while calling them full of shit.

The problem with this display, which is pretty much the same problem which I have with Draw Muhammad Day, is that he's not putting his reasons why these Muslim radicals are full of shit into reasonable and rational terms. He's instead trying to provoke them in the same way Terry Jones, the Christian apologist who originally burnt the Koran, provoked them.

That sort of thing may be de rigeur for Terry Jones, but it's beneath Thunderf00t. TF can bring attention to the horrors of radical Islam without provoking them, without stirring up the hornet's nest that Jones started...but he chooses not to. His rationale? Because we can't live afraid of them.

Except, by his choice of response...he reveals that he's just as afraid of radical Islam as Terry Jones is. That fear drives to anger and irrational responses that only make the situation worse. The radical Muslims who this is aimed at will always see people like Thunderf00t as infidels, while other believers who might be swayed by a rational response see this and are galvanized by their beliefs. It's like a group of kids poking at a sleeping bear with a stick: They only provoke it because the bear is scary, but the bear would not be scary if there weren't kids continually poking it with a stick.

The thing is, as an atheist, I see no reason why a rational approach would not work here. Like I said, the true believers would not be swayed. But it is not the true believers that a rationalist should be trying to reach. It's those who are on the fence that we should be talking to. If you're trying to rile the true believers, you're picking the wrong target. Like I said, the fencers see this and are turned off by it, especially if one tries to lump the fencers in with the radicals. In short, you're giving no incentive for people who are thinking of abandoning their faith to abandon it. They know their radical bretheren are radical, they don't need confirmation on that. They need confirmation that the rational, skeptical way is better. And Thunderf00t brings enough of it to Christian fence-sitters. But to Muslim fence-sitters, he offers...burning the one book that attaches them to their faith. Why should a Muslin fence-sitter listen to someone whose only answer to the Koran is burning it...especially when they risk death by doing so?

In short, this is the kind of thing that undermines what Thunderf00t's core message is. And why? To bring attention that radical Muslims kill people? Radical anyone kills people! This is the underlying fear of radical Islam, stoked by the believers of radical Christianity in the United States, unconciously manifesting in one of the few people that should know better than to kick a hornet's nest along with the Christians who are only kicking it to preach to their choirs.
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One more to throw into the hoard... [29 Mar 2011|05:05pm]
...so, quick Senta Moses update: I said awhile ago she was going to be on Working Class sometime in the near future. Well, the near future is this Friday night, which was a certainty after this past Friday went past without her on it, since this Friday is the last of the first batch of episodes. Anyway, she'll be playing a jilted ex-girlfriend of Melissa Peterman's date to a housewarming party thrown by her boss (Patrick Fabian). The date is played by David Faustino of Married with Children fame. Much of the humor of the episode is centered around how Melissa Peterman is a full head taller than David Faustino...so I'm guessing he dumped Senta for someone taller...

Anyway, that would be this Friday at 8:00 on CMT. Also, a little birdie has it on good authority there may be some DVD PodBlast action with Senta coming in the near future (as near as Sunday, maybe...)
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Opening the treasure chest... [24 Mar 2011|11:41pm]
...so, I'm sort of giddy right now in a "Lookie what I found!" sort of way. What did I find?

In a second. But first, some background. (And before we go any further, this is a Senta Moses post. I guess that's what my LJ's devolved into...either politics or Senta, with the occasional non-political rant thrown in here or there. Oh well.)

Anyway, for the past few months, I've basically been searching YouTube for things that Senta was in: TV shows, commercials, other stuff like that. I'd previously struck gold with a short film she was in called Dodgeball (which came out a few years before that crap-artist Ben Stiller's movie, thank you very much), which can be seen here, here, and here (Don't mind the commenters; they're peeved they didn't get a Hollywood movie for free), and an MTV pilot she was in called Sorority (which has nothing to do with Greek), which was archived because it was the first television project for both January Jones and Christina Hendricks. You can see that one here, here, and here.

Well, since I've started my own search (which, unfortunately, is not as simple as typing "Senta Moses" into YouTube and seeing what pops up), I've found a few old gems, along with a few previews of new and/or current stuff she's been in. I found a channel that has most of "Sister Sister", including all of Senta's eps (which you can sift through at that user's page here). I found an episode of "The Division" that she did, where she was the roommate of a deaf rape victim (naturally played by Shoshannah Stern, and of course Marlee Matlin was in that one, too); that one starts here, and each part is in the related videos on the right. I even found an ep of an old Fox show called Opposite Sex that she was in; she plays a hapless geek who gets run over, and guilts the two main characters who ran her over into waiting on her hand and broken foot until she heals. This one starts here, with Senta in full body traction. I don't believe that this one was shown in the U.S., so you'll have to make do with subtitles in some Scandinavian language (I think Finnish). Other stuff includes a Spanish sub of the ep of Ghost Whisperer she was in (that I synopsized and reviewed way back when here, an episode of the show Vengeance Unlimited with Michael Madsen where she plays a computer whiz who almost takes him down; and one or two commercials (including the Best Buy one where she plays a psychic).

But none of these are my "Lookie what I found!" So what is?

Well, back in 1993, NBC converted its Saturday morning lineup. That is, they tore it to shreds, cutting it in half, then giving one half to a Saturday version of the Today show and the other half to Peter Engel, who made what was, admittedly, probably the only show that was making money for them on Saturdays at that point: "Saved by the Bell". Engel got a prime-time show ("The College Years", which bombed horribly, though TBS has kept it with the rest of their SBTB reruns and is cycling through them now, in fact) and the entire block to himself, which was rebranded TNBC. He had cooked up another show right before the switch, "California Dreams", and that, combined with a new class of Saved by the Bell, formed the block's backbone. But there needed to be more programming, so he turned to writer/producer Steve Slavkin, who had done both for the Nickelodeon show "Salute Your Shorts". Slavkin came up with a show called "Running the Halls", which was basically SBTB set in a boarding school. It had an extremely different style from SBTB and Dreams, as it was a single-camera show, which was more in line with Salute Yor Shorts. It was also, like SYS, very, very absurdist. Among the actors hired to be the class were names you might have heard about, including Richard Speight (who was in "Band of Brothers", "Jericho", and "Supernatural"), Craig Kirkwood ("Rev" Harris in "Remember the Titans"), Trevor Lissauer (who'd be in the last few seasons of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch")...and one Senta Moses (who needs no introduction, I'm sure). Unfortunately, the differences between this and the other TNBC shows pretty much doomed it, and it was off the schedule after a year, eventually replaced by "Hang Time"...which actually segues right into the "Lookie what I found!" ("FINALLY! The point.")

About a month ago, some lovely idiot (review: "lovely" for doing it, "idiot"...also for doing it (copyright and all that)) put up an episode of "Running The Halls", in which the I guess Zach analogue chokes in a big basketball game, then is so distraught over it that he fakes a leg injury to get out of being in the next one. The clip is here. A few things pop to mind for me when I see this...one being "Oh my goodness, those kids in that daycare are in their 20s now!" and "None of my nieces were born when this was made!" ...and now, I'll take my Geritol and take my nap. (No, not really.)

Anyway, the reason I was so excited about this find was, well...I've never actually seen the series, as I might have said once before. And I didn't really "discover" Senta until about '99, which I also might have said before. I didn't see the show because, well...I hated SBTB. So I hated it even more when NBC gutted everything on their schedule I did like for SBTB. Sure, I was 13 at the time, but I'm never too old for a good Saturday morning lazing around watching cartoons...which I couldn't get from NBC now, so I looked at other outlets. ABC was the best bet at the time, with stuff like Beetlejuice, ReBoot, Bugs Bunny, and, on my ABC station, a certain science show with a guy in a green lab-coat, a guy in a rat suit, and a quirky female assistant. (This is what some might call "irony". I think.)

Anyway, just wanted to get that outta my system. Enjoy the Senta treasure trove, and I've got all those links (and a whole lot more quirky stuff) on my own otherwise deserted YouTube page here.
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