Monday, March 30, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Take a look at the 9-to-5 people. Just look at them.
Don't you wanna punch them in the mouth?
They refuse to wear jeans and 10-year-old sports t-shirts to work. They leave snippy little messages, like "Thank God it's Friday!" or "My weekend is gonna be so rad, yo!!" Well, what about the people who BEGIN their work week on Friday? What about the people whose weekend is Monday and Tuesday? What about them?
Do these people have a voice in our society? Do they have a champion?
Ladies and gentlemen, let's look at the plaintiff in this case, one Steven J. Suarez. He begins his work week at 7 p.m. on Friday. Then he'll work from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday. A weekend of girls, booze and heroin already a distant dream, Mr. Suarez chugs into work at 2 p.m. on Sunday, then the same on Monday. Finally, on Tuesday, the light shines at the end of the tunnel.
But no one cares.
Free tickets to big games will be raffled on Friday afternoons. All the "normals" will join up and go to Happy Hour at a local bar, where they will eat cupcakes from between a waitress' breasts. They will attend dances and functions on Saturday nights. They will have a beer and watch football on Sundays.
I shan't ask you to blame these people. They only take advantage of their situation. But when some people walk into said place of employment at 6 p.m. and ask "Why are you guys still here?" then all the power of our legal system should be utilized.
When a well-dressed employee looks askance at Mr. Suarez in his jeans and t-shirt as he prepares for the graveyard shift on Friday, that employee should be jailed. Mr. Suarez could very leave work on Saturday morning as the sun comes up, which has happened numerous times. So fuck off about his clothes, OK?
Sorry for the language, ladies and gentleman of the jury, but this is a grave topic, a topic far too often ignored.
When a crankypants 9-to-5'er turns up his nose at the off-color jokes that may or may not be told at 2:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I ask for the death penalty. The graveyarders can't go to the birthday parties, the July 4th barbecues, the concerts or even their own co-workers' weddings. But 9-to-5'ers have the temerity to criticize what goes on at work while they're passed out in some seedy backward alley awash in a array of bodily fluids? Really? Really???
While you sleep, they work. They provide the blanket of freedom the 9-to-5'ers enjoy and then these 9-to5'ers question the manner in which they provide it! I'd just assume they go on their way - to their box socials, book clubs and American Idol voting - and say "Thank you."
Either way, we don't give a damn what they think is appropriate!*
My colleague for the defense, Scumsack Dribblebottom, will say we choose this line of work. We make our own bed. And I grant him that, to some extent. It's part of the job. Mr. Suarez has known that for a long time. What Mr. Suarez detests is the pomposity, the obliviousness and the hypocrisy. He's angry, my friends. He's an angry, bitter old man. But he's right. He's sick of being an outcast -an other - because he does the dirty work.
If he's going to be robbed of any opportunity to engage in indiscriminate drug use in bars that are much too cool for him, then, by golly, someone's gotta go down with him.
I think the snooty Joe Iced Coffee who leaves work at 4:30 p.m. every day is a good place to start.
I rest my case.
*Unless, of course, you are a superior, then it's whatever you say, sir (or ma'am).
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
That's moot. What I need some clarification on Facebook.
Ever heard of it?
That site is my social portal to people I know very well, people I should know better, people I knew way back when and some I've never heard of before. Because of Facebook, I can tell if some random person from high school is married or what job he/she has or where he/she lives and whether he/she is depressed or happy. I can tell what kind of Dunkin' Donuts product he/she purchased that morning. I can know if "Life sux." It's the classifieds of my social circle. Heck, I find out stuff about my own family through Facebook.
Of course, many old farts have pondered this phenomenon at the New York Times or The Economist. How will Facebook and other social websites affect society and the way people interact blah blah blah. As an old fart myself, I figure I should chime in. I work for a huge media conglomerate, too. Here are some important questions/critiques/complaints/random observations.
1. Birthday wishes: This is a tricky one. Essentially, what's the cut off period for wishing happy birthday to someone you haven't seen in a long time? A year? Five years? Will I come off as creepy for wishing someone a happy birthday if the Spice Girls were popular the last time we spoke to each other?
Also, I feel a certain pressure to come up with something witty. The person's wall will be littered with "Happy Birthday!" messages and you know I just can't be like any ordinary schlub. So I'll make an age joke. Maybe a sex joke. Something different. It takes work though. It really does.
2. Status comments: What's more pathetic? 1. Someone who posts a comment on a certain person's every status message/note/link. 2. That I notice when someone posts on everything even if they're not commenting on mine? To protect the innocent, I won't use names, but I noticed the above a few weeks ago and it started to grate on me. Every time I scrolled through the news feed, I saw this one person commenting on everything.
Some people are Facebook-aholics. They post 15 status messages a day and comment on 15,000 others. I, for one, don't think we need the running commentary. Everything in moderation.
But am I a Facebook-aholic just for noticing this? Or does that just make me a keen observer of my surroundings? You decide.
3. Do I know you? I'll accept anyone who friends me. I have "friends" on Facebook from England -- people who thought I was the Steve Sears from Berkshire. I'm friends with people from high school who I never talked to, not once. I want as many friends as possible, OK?
When the "People You May Know" tool came out, I went through a few of them, but I always wondered, "Is this weird? I haven't seen X since 2001." I just couldn't stand the same three people in the toolbar at the side. Facebook was literally begging me to friend those people and I gave in. The people that are left now are either complete strangers or ones that I just can't justify friending because we spoke once during 10th grade Chemistry. There's one kid now who I thought was a complete jackass in high school. I won't friend him. Yet Facebook will dangle his face in front of me for all eternity.
The big question is: Where's the line between being a semi-stalker or just an old acquaintance looking to reconnect in a very superficial way?
4. Wahhhhh: Remember when Facebook redesigned a year or so ago? People howled about their privacy. They set up online petitions. What they didn't get is that THEY JOINED FACEBOOK. That's what the site's for, letting friends know what you're up to. If you want privacy, move to Wyoming and read books. When a free social site makes it easier to be social, I think holding a Internet Tea Party is an over-reaction.
I've seen some complaining about the new homepage, which doesn't seem much different that the old. Again, the site's free. No one forced you to join. Now go complain about more important things, like Julio Lugo being employed by a major league baseball team.
In conclusion, despite the over-abundance of applications and under-abundance of anything really important, Facebook is cool.
And someone should write a book about it.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I appreciate this film tackling the superhero genre from a different angle, that of normal, very flawed people fighting crime, most of whom are either retired or forgotten. We've also got a terrible Richard Nixon impersonator in the White House and it's 1985.
The opening fight and the title sequence are well done, the pages of a graphic novel translated to the screen with some great choices for music. It also goes without saying that some of the special effects and images in this movie are impressive. However, I do find myself less impressed by special effects now that every movie seems to have them. Think of a billionaire finding 500,000 in his or her pockets. Been there, done that.
Frankly, it tried to pack in too much. Too many scenes that did not matter and could easily have been cut. There's a final showdown that falls under its own weight with overwrought, comic book diatribes. And the junior Silk Spectre? The acting just did not cut it. The romance angle with her bored me. Every big superhero movie has to throw a romantic angle at the audience, but I wanted to drop it or duck out of the way.
Did they show the Comedian killing JFK in the opening credits? How do you just toss that into a movie as an aside? Perhaps its covered in the graphic novel, but that doesn't excuse it.
As any journalist will tell you, it's cutting things out that makes a good article a great one. Better editing would not make this a classic, but it could have made it a very good movie. And having a more coherent ending would help as well. It's interesting and bold, for which I give the movie some credit, but it just falls flat.
I give this film the patented Steve Sears rating.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
My mind has been wandering the past few days, and guess what popped in? Fake video game names. Yes, I have a strange brain.
So here's what I came up with.
1. Osiris Crumblepot: Osiris is your aging power forward who's been around the league and is always good for some "veteran presence." He never quite lived up the hype coming out of college. He made some bad investments. Was temperamental with the media. But he's good enough to ride the bench and perform his M.L. Carr impersonation.
2. Shelby Cervantes: A young, hot-shot outfielder, ala Jacoby Ellsbury. He's speedy and has some pop -- at the plate and with the ladies. He might develop a drug problem and expose himself in front of Tim McCarver during a post-season celebration.
3. Dunk Travers: Another old center who was great in his hey-day, but can only wear the Marc Blount face as he sits on the Pervis Ellison memorial bench seat. He could play the Patrick O'Bryant roll for a contending team.
4. Gunther Ponchatrain: A middling, career backup quarterback. Think Scott Zolak but with a cool name and even better Louisiana accent.
5. Tra'LaShawn Colson: A speedy wide receiver who always hurts his hamstring but makes you forget about it with the occasion 90-yard touchdown catch.
6. Samson Punchbox: Easy. A two-tooth hockey defenseman with little-to-no skill on the ice but tremendous potential to break a pool cue over your head in some sleazy bar after the game.
I do not ask anything of you, my loyal readership. But I have a request. I want you to add to this wonderful list. Come up with a cool name for a fake athlete. Surprise me. Enlighten me. Delight me.
If you don't, I will be very disappointed.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I've been listening to No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom album (which is pretty good) and Rush Limbaugh is everywhere. From CNN to political blogs to newspapers to CSPAN to Comedy Central, it's Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Limbaugh.
Unfortunately for Rush, this isn't 1995 anymore and he's stuck outside the trendy nightclub of American politics begging the bouncer to let him in. Yet, there he is, on every square inch of media.
Some say that the Democrats have pulled off a brilliant political ploy by bringing up Rush Limbaugh at every opportunity in attempt to portray an unpopular (with everyone who's to the left of Genghis Kahn) radio talk show host as the leader of the Republican Party. It's worked. Now every major figure in the party cedes to his every whim. He's Jabba the Hut and they're his servants. Great work, Dems.
Too bad this political Jedi mind trick means I have to hear about this guy every day. He's no longer fresh. His ideas have been repudiated. He's past his prime. He shouldn't matter anymore. As much as I deplore the Republican Party, they should have a better spokesman than that guy. That way, I'll be spared his new celebrity status, which he must love right now.
Fun fact: You know what's one of Rush's favorite TV shows? 24.
We're at the middle of Season 7 and it's been quite a ride. No show - and I've watched many - has ever come close to matching the suspense this one can create. It's just fun to watch, and this season has seen a rejuvenation.
However, the on-going torture "debate" falls flat. Credit them for trying. But how is the debate supposed to be fair when you have Jack Bauer on one side - he of the super powers - and sniveling bureaucrats on the other. Besides these clueless suits, you'll have the sensitive agent who doesn't want to torture but relents when there are no other options. They always see the light, even if they find it distasteful.
For several seasons, 24 has presented torture as necessary and useful. Fine. I accept it as a great literary device to create suspense and drama. Just don't use this an allegory to the real world, because 24 and the real world have very little in common.
If the United States of real America resembled the 24-verse, the following would be true:
- Two nuclear explosions on U.S. soil
- Air Force One shot down
- Scores of deadly bio-weapons attacks
- Nuclear plant meltdowns
- A terrorist plot/cover up run by the president
- Months of suicide bombs
- Assassination of a former president after he survives about 15 previous attempts
- Kidnapping the president
We'd be losing our minds. There would be no U.S. It'd be ThunderDome time as Tracy Jordan would say. So in Monday's episode, Bauer is thwarted in his attempt to torture information from a senator's aide. As a result, terrorists infiltrate the White House and we're supposed to think to ourselves, "Well, torture would have worked. Let's do that in real life."
Wrong! To believe this, you'd have to accept that a gang of 12 soldiers from an African country could invade the White House, which is one of the most secure buildings in the world, by swimming in the Potomac, drilling a hole in cement, bypassing the security in the cellar, breaking through a conveniently soft cement wall and mowing down Secret Service guards like they're redshirts.
In the real world, torturing the guy would not have mattered because to attack the White House in that manner is impossible. So anytime a conservative cites 24 as reason torture should be used, ignore them.
That said, the episode was as tense as they come. The show still has it. It just doesn't have credibility in the torture discussion. Got that, Rush?