Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Ladies and gentlemen...there is corruption in the oil industry.
I know, I know--WHAT?!
But it's true. Apparently, all this time--when I thought they were being responsible businessmen and honorable custodians of the environment--they have been bribing government officials to let them do whatever they want, drowning Congress in money to prevent both regulation as well as alternative energy development, manipulating prices to engineer windfall profits, and cutting corners at the expense of the environment.
The question here is: What are we going to do about it?
The answer here is: Nothing, sadly.
The better question here is: What CAN we do about it?
The answer here is: Nothing, sadly.
And so the distressed ostrich tucks his little head into the bosom of Mother Earth and ignores the hopeless sadness of the world around him. Death will come soon, but not soon enough.
Until then, enjoy yourself, for Christ's sake, ostrich!
Take those jet skis out to Lake Havasu and tear some shit up! Throw your aluminum beer bottles to the wind! Shoot some guns in the park! Forget to feed your baby! Who cares! We'll all be dead in 50 years anyway! WHOOOOOOO!!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It's so weird that the Democrats are not sticking it to Wall Street right now in the much-blathered-about Financial Reform Bill, considering they have the votes and there is a bipartisan public outcry for real reform, right?
There has never been a better chance to help the little guys, right?
Wrong. While the time is certainly ripe for reform, there is unfortunately an election this fall and, therefore, the financial titans are in the perfect position to play one side against the other to get the watered-down 'reform' they want.
If incumbent Republicans don't use every childish trick in the book to delay votes, reject amendments, and extract toothless compromises, they won't get any money and they will lose their elections to even-more-nutjobby Teabaggers.
If Democrats (who receive more funding from Wall Street than the GOP, by the way) stand tall and clamp down on derivatives (among other issues), Goldman Sachs--who stands to lose 41% of their earnings--will make sure Republicans won every seat in November to overturn the law before it takes effect.
Thus, the pickle we are in and why we will stay in this pickle we have been in for quite some time now. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and those pesky SEC lawsuits against Goldman will ultimately amount to little more than huffing and puffing and a whole bag full of money for a bunch of lawyers.
Sadly, in order to perform any potential future good, the Democrats need to take a dive in order to stockpile every penny they can get from Wall Street or the Republicans nutjobs will crush them and the nation will be handed once again to the heedless, farting toddlers obsessed with deficit nonchalance, corporate tax cuts, propaganda, environmental destruction, "family values for you not me," and the raping of the middle-class-cum-working-poor.
The really bad news, however, is that there will always be another election waiting in the shadows and there will always be those--on either side of our two-headed monster--that will vote against what is just in order to line their pockets with gold.
...and you wonder why not a single city in the United States made it into the top thirty in Mercer's Best Places to Live in the World survey (Honolulu was 31st).
How have all these other (European, Canadian, Oceanic) nations figured out how to bribe and steal while also giving the people a better quality of life? Are they just slightly less greedy? I might have to head over to Germany and do some research...
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the one, the only:
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y PicassoDon't believe me? Check it.
Now, in light of all this new shit, one question immediately comes to mind:
How the fuck does all that fit on a birth certificate?
Say it ain't so, Charlie!
I know I'm not in a position to say I would turn down hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few weeks work, but...are things really that bad that the guy who wrote Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind has to whore himself out to Kung-Fu Panda and fucking Shrek?
That is like Pablo Picasso feeling the need to help out General Mills by drawing Count Chocula in 1971, which I don't believe he did, thankfully.
Kaufman musta blown his nest egg on Synecdoche, New York, which--I'm just gonna go right out there and say it--I actually liked. For about the first 90 minutes anyway...
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A cell phone company in Bulgaria supposedly suspended (five years ago?) the number 0888 888 888 because the last three people who used it have all died.
Sounds like an eerie coincidence, right? There must be voodoo at work, right?
Well, here is a brief profile of the last three people assigned this mobile number, courtesy of the Telegraph:
1. The first owner Vladimir Grashnov – the former CEO of Bulgarian mobile phone company Mobitel which issued the number – died of cancer in 2001 aged just 48.Hmm. So...some 48-year-old guy died of cancer...no big deal there...two criminals were shot dead...no big deal there, either...three rich people wanted the only Bulgarian vanity mobile number that consists of the same digit...ditto...snore...
2. The number then passed to Bulgarian mafia boss, Konstantin Dimitrov, who was gunned down in 2003 by a lone assassin in the Netherlands during a trip to inspect his £500 million drug smuggling empire. Dimitrov, who died aged 31, had the mobile with him when he was shot while eating out with a model. [You kinda wish 'with' wasn't there, right? Me, too. -Ed.] Russian mafia bosses – jealous of his drug smuggling operation – were said to have been behind the killing.3. The phone number then passed to Konstantin Dishliev, a crooked businessman, who was gunned down outside an Indian restaurant in Bulgaria's capital Sofia after taking over the jinxed line. Dishliev, an estate agent, had secretly been running a massive cocaine trafficking operation before his assassination in 2005. He died after £130 million of the drug was intercepted by police on its way into the country from Colombia.
Call me crazy, but I find the fact that two nine-figure international drug traffickers were both thriving in Bulgaria far more fascinating than this whole telephone-number thing.
The GDP of the entire nation is only $45.9 billion, after all (by contrast, the US GDP is $14 trillion). Assuming Dishliev's operation was about triple that last bust (it could well have been more), these two drug smugglers alone accounted for $1.27 billion--or 2.8% of Bulgaria's GDP.
That is the equivalent of two men in the United States independently running drug empires worth a combined $39.2 billion, or roughly the entire GDP of Bulgaria.
To give you an even better perspective on that number, when the DEA dropped in on Pablo Escobar's secret cocaine factory in the jungles of Colombia in 1984, they seized 14 tons of cocaine--worth only $1 billion. At their peak, the entire Medellin Cartel was only making $25 billion a year.
The bottom line here? Who knows. Selling drugs is lucrative? Don't carry a cell phone?
Oh, wait--I know:
If you are an illicit captain of industry in a small European nation and worth a staggering sum of money, you should probably travel with a grip of bodyguards in a fleet of bulletproof Mercedes sedans.
Also, you should avoid having a phone number that is so easy for people to remember (or perhaps take a page out of Stringer Bell's book and avoid phones altogether); aren't you supposed to be minting money in the shadows?
And, while you're at it, what with those crafty Russians and their penchant for poisons, you should probably hire a food taster. May I recommend a voicebox-less Carrot Top? I'd love for somebody to take that asshole off our hands...
Friday, May 21, 2010
If you loved him in Assassination of Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone, it seems like you very well might love him in The Killer Inside Me, directed by Michael Winterbottom.
Looks like a killer flick. In theaters this June!
[June 4th in the U.K, June 18th in NYC (IFC), June 25th in Los Angeles (NuArt)]
MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama evangelist who authorities say terrorized his family while preaching at revivals has been sentenced to life plus 51 years in prison after being convicted of killing his wife and storing her body in a home freezer.
Circuit Judge John Lockett imposed the sentence Thursday on Anthony Hopkins, 39, who showed no remorse during the proceeding. He got the maximum sentence of life for murder and additional time for convictions including sodomy and sexual abuse.
(courtesy Huffington Post)
Okay, so...it isn't the Anthony Hopkins we all wanted it to be--cuz we all love a great hook that follows through, no matter the cost, right?--but it is an interesting story nonetheless.
Stay with me now:
During Hopkins' trial in April, prosecutors said he killed his 36-year-old wife, Arletha Hopkins, in 2004 after she caught him molesting a girl, then stuffed her body in a freezer at their home in north Mobile. Investigators discovered the body in 2008 after a young woman abused by Hopkins told child advocates about it, authorities said. Police arrested Hopkins while he was preaching at a revival in the south Alabama town of Jackson.
Defense attorney Jeff Deen said his client admits putting his wife's body in the freezer, but he doesn't know how she died.
"There's evidence in the trial that it could've been by natural causes, and it needs to be explored on appeal," Deen said.
Okay, so...there was a body in Anthony Hopkin's freezer for four years, while he was parading around the South preaching gospel to a bunch of suckers, molesting young girls, doing research for a role. Sorry.
I hate that it's the case, but this whole tragic affair in Alabama is no big surprise. I read about shit like this every day. Yes, the rise of the internet--not to mention the ready availability of audio recorders, video recorders, still cameras, traffic/security cameras, cell phones...--has been a sword with two razor-sharp edges.
Are people more corrupt and disgusting these days? Lord, no--think about the kind of shit the medieval aristocracy were up to, not to mention the Kennedys; think of how easy it was to cheat on your wife when phones didn't even exist. People today just get caught a whole hell of a lot more often, although, thanks to The People's short attention span and general ignorance, they rarely pay any price.
Anti-gay politicians busted for being gay, family-values politicians busted with mistresses/second families, deficit hawks voting for unlimited defense spending, Catholic priests molesting thousands of children, Popes kissing Nazi boots, televangelists raking in millions, Tom Cruise pretending he's not gay, Southern preachers molesting girls and murdering wives...it's all there on the internet, all there recorded for posterity, all there being ignored by 99% of the population. I wish the unwashed masses--who, unfortunately, have all the political muscle--were aware of all this shit, or at least aware of what it all means.
If you're reading, dear, dear, unwashed masses that I love more than little baby Jebus himelf, here is what it all means:
We cannot implicitly trust anybody in power to do the right thing--EVER--despite what they may or may not say with their mouths when they want your vote or get caught on camera with their dick in a small child or barnyard animal. Rather, we need to judge them based on their deeds and then hold them accountable; we need to look into the issues and identify those who act against our interests. This requires that we not only do our due diligence and read Huffington Post, Harper's, and Nothing is Sacred every chance we get, but also that we process what we are reading, come to intelligent conclusions, and act upon them.Sadly, much like when they were in school, the unwashed were not paying attention.
They are all out there in this magnificent world, soiling theater seats as they chortle at lazy donkey-fart jokes in Shrek Again! In 3D!, petitioning the government to get their goddamn hands off their Medicare, Photoshopping fake Kenyan birth certificates, spacing out during reruns of Two and a Half Men as they reminisce about how cool high school was, playing video games, beating up fags on their way to the gay bar, staring at the wall and saying "Duh...", or taking advantage of the awesome drinkability of shitty domestic beer as they needlessly wave around a loaded handgun at their five-year-old's backyard birthday party, as part of some kind of elaborate joke nobody gets until they accidentally shoot a child in the face and they all crack up until they realize what actually, somehow, happened.
What is to be done about all this? Nothing.
That's right--nothing. Eventually, the people will do the right thing and revolt en masse. Eventually the cycle will repeat itself and people will wind up in the exact same place. It is what we do.
Why do you think intelligent people who are not also thieves and assholes always have such a frustrating time of things?
The secret is to not care, to stop giving a shit about the gross injustices perpetrated every day across this once-great (before mankind spoiled it) globe.
The rich have gotten richer, the rich will continue to get richer, evils are rewarded, and the businessmen and politicians may change but they will all stay the same. The day when naive voters are turned away from their polling places by ear-splitting, paralyzing sonic rays emitted from a Halliburton Soft-Kill Crowd-Control Cannon is nigh, folks. It is nigh.
So drink up, tune out, fuck around, and stop washing yourself so damn much.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Yes, I have finally said it out loud and, for clarity's sake, I must inform you my tardiness in so doing is most certainly not due to any wavering of opinion glinted by misguided fanboy nostalgia.
I had merely forgotten about him because his movies are so forgettable and he has been so delightfully irrelevant until the recent fusillade of Robin Hood advertisements plaguing my fair city and its otherwise carefree citizens.
Yes, he directed Alien. Yes, he directed Blade Runner. Yes, he directed Thelma & Louise.
I feel the need to point out, however, that he did not write those movies. He did not create those worlds, those stories, or even the characters. Which is not to say he did nothing, as I am well aware of the tasks performed by a director, but directing those movies hardly puts him on the same shelf as Francis Ford Coppola, who at least wrote Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and Godfather II before deciding to stop making movies that anybody gave a shit about or even the same shelf as two-hit wonder Michael Cimino, who wrote the story for The Deer Hunter and the script for Heaven's Gate before taking a 22-year nap.
Not only that, but I have no special place in my heart for either of the three aforementioned 'seminal' films he directed. They are favorites among many film geeks/historians and feminist theory professors, but they do nothing for me. I have seen them all and never had a desire to see one again.
And so it is no surprise to me that Scott's laughably ill-conceived and wholly-unappealing reworking of the Robin Hood myth was eviscerated today by the fine folks at Movieline.
A selection of gems from their review:
No wonder Russell Crowe, who plays the renowned bandit hero in Scott’s big fat mess of an epic, looks so cranky and numbed-out. Robin Hood isn’t merely misguided, or overly ambitious, or excessively laden with special effects. Its problems are much bigger than that: The picture is simply oppressive in its blandness, a lumbering symbol of everything that’s wrong with big-budget moviemaking these days. Reportedly, Scott may have spent as much as $237 million on this dreary parade float of a movie, but why quibble about the actual amount? The real outrage is that the dollar signs don’t even show.Ouch!
The picture’s numerous battle sequences are cluttered and imprecise, but worse than that, they’re just plain ugly.
And the story — set in the days before Robin Hood started robbing from the rich and giving to the poor — is all mechanics and no drama. Brian Helgeland’s screenplay (from a story by Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, and Cyrus Voris) is needlessly complicated. The filmmakers obviously think murkiness and unnecessary digressions are the same as depth.
No actor in Robin Hood escapes with his or her dignity intact, with the exception of Eileen Atkins as Eleanor of Aquitaine. [Cate] Blanchett, often a fine and subtle actress, is somnambulant here — she drifts through the movie like a half-awake, half-aware ghost. She also comes off as sexually indifferent to, if not outright repulsed by, Crowe’s Robin. When the two move in for a kiss, their smooching has a perfunctory, “Think of England” quality.
Crowe is playing a quality here — a kind of drab, holier-than-thou dignity — rather than a character, and Scott never calls him on it. He either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care, but that’s all of a piece with this bungled picture. Scott isn’t a graceful director, and we shouldn’t expect lyricism from him. But any filmmaker telling the Robin Hood story should be able to achieve more than a persistent throb of dullness, which is the best Scott can manage here.
Historically, James Cameron generates a lot of ink for his bloated budgets (think Titanic + Avatar) and uses this free press to feed his bank account until it overdoses, but I think spending $237 million on this inglorious turd (plus over $100 million in marketing costs), will only reward Scott with innumerable mentions alongside Waterworld director Kevin Reynolds (despite the fact that it eventually turned a slim profit), as there is no way in hell Robin Hood is on anybody's wish list this weekend...or ever.
[Incidentally, you will be pleased to know that Waterworld director Kevin Reynolds also directed the previous Robin Hood turd, starring Kevin Costner (which somehow netted $390 million globally, despite sucking). So Scott and Reynolds have even more in common than at first blush! -Ed.]
I would wish you luck this weekend, Mr. Scott, if I did not crave your failure like Cathy craves chocolate.
Why so harsh on the Riddler, you ask?
For your consideration:
"Hmmm...all of my movies have sucked since 1991...what should I do now? No, wait--what would George Lucas do?"
Enter Blade Runner: Director's Cut, Blade Runner: Final Cut, and Blade Runner: This Is Totally the Next-to-Last Cut, I Swear DVD re-issues and not one but TWO Alien prequels.
What else would you expect from a 72-year-old egomaniacal hack?
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Rad Journal may be a site devoted entirely to all things radiation, and it may have avoided upgrading its layout since ARPANET launched in 1969, but it's worth checking out nonetheless, as there is some pretty cool stuff there.
Stuff like this:
March 25, 2009
TOKYO – Tsutomu Yamaguchi, a 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person certified as a survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings at the end of World War II, officials said Tuesday.
Yamaguchi had already been a certified "hibakusha," or radiation survivor, of the Aug. 9, 1945, atomic bombing in Nagasaki, but has now been confirmed as surviving the attack on Hiroshima three days earlier as well, city officials said.
Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said.
"As far as we know, he is the first one to be officially recognized as a survivor of atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki ," Nagasaki city official Toshiro Miyamoto said. "It's such an unfortunate case, but it is possible that there are more people like him."
Certification qualifies survivors for government compensation — including monthly allowances, free medical checkups and funeral costs — but Yamaguchi's compensation will not increase, Miyamoto said.
Yet, Yamaguchi is satisfied that his record is now a historical fact.
"My double radiation exposure is now an official government record. It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die," Yamaguchi was quoted as saying by the nationwide Mainichi newspaper.
Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic bomb attacks. About 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.
Yamaguchi is one of about 260,000 people who survived the attacks. Bombing survivors have developed various illnesses from radiation exposure, including cancer and liver illnesses.
Thousands survivors continue to seek official recognition after the government rejected their eligibility for compensation. The government last year eased the requirements for being certified as a survivor, following criticism the rules were too strict and neglected many who had developed illnesses that doctors have linked to radiation.
And you thought you had it rough!
As if to reinforce their emphatic anti-homosexuality stance, the Boy Scouts of America have introduced a new badge--for playing video games.
Finally, overweight suburban heterosexual boys can get their first badge!
Next on the docket? Badges for masturbation, weight gain, and accidental napping.
Talk about playing to your audience...
In other Boy Scout news--from three years ago--the Radioactive Boy Scout has been arrested!
David Hahn, 31, aka the radioactive boy scout was arrested and charged felony larceny on August 1st  after a maintenance worker saw him stealing a smoke detector (smoke detectors contain a small amount of a radioactive isotope) from a ceiling in an apartment in the complex where he lived in Clinton Township, Michigan. Officials later found 16 smoke detectors in Hahn's Detroit suburb apartment.
Hahn became known as the radioactive boy scout in 1994 for his attempt to build a nuclear reactor in his family's backyard shed in Commerce Township, Michigan, he was 17 at the time.
In August of 1994 police stopped Hahn during a investigation into neighborhood tire thefts. This lead officers to find radioactive materials, chemicals, rocks, plastic, glass bottles and two exploded pipes in his car.
In an interview with Michigan health officials, Hahn, said he had been trying to produce energy and hoped it would help him earn his Eagle Scout badge. He acknowledge having a backyard laboratory in a potting shed at his mother's home.
Hahn's reactor was a large, cored-out block of lead, and he used lithium from $1000 worth of batteries to transform samples of thorium and uranium into fissionable isotopes. He gather radioactive materials by collecting small amounts from household products, such as americium from smoke detectors, thorium form camping lantern mantles, radium from clocks and tritium from gunsights. His home made reactor ended up emitting toxic levels of radioactivity, around 1000 times normal background radiation.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency designated Hahn's mother's property as a superfund hazardous materials cleanup site, dismantled the shed and its contents and buried them as low-level radioactive waste in Utah. Hahn refused medical evaluation for radiation exposure.
Hahn's recent mugshot shows that his face is covered with sores which investigators claim are from exposure to radioactive materials. He is being held on a $5,000 bond in the Macomb County jail. If convicted, he could face up to four years in jail.
(courtesy Rad Journal)
In addition to everything else about this news story, I love that 'cleaning up' a Superfund site amounts to little more than 'burying it in Utah.'
This explains so much about the fine people of Utah...