Sunday, January 24, 2016

Talkin' Films 2015

Star Crash is a 1978 space opera direct by Luigi Cozzi  that was more or less a Star Wars ripoff.  This film is a low budget film, make no bones about that.  But if watching these type movies are a part of your movie watching diet you might find it fun escapism, just don't expect 2001: A Space Odyssey.  As it misses that mark by a few light years.   However if Godzilla films, Death Race 2000, Galaxy of Terror, Humanoids of the Deep, Grizzly, C.H.U.D., Xtro, The Deadly Spawn, TerrorVision, Maniac Cop, Night of the Creeps, etc. are films you occasionally enjoy watching, then I think you might enjoy it as well.   John Barry actually does the soundtrack for the film too.

While reading a few things about this film I ran into this interview with director Luigi Cozzi over on the ShoutFactory TV site, wherein he talks about having written the script for Star Crash before having seen the original Star Wars.   Ah, those were the days...

At any rate if interested in watching the interview, follow this link. 

Switching gears, every year it seems that whenever the new Academy Award nominations come out you always hear grumbling comments about how bad the movies have gotten over the years.   I'm sure you've heard some of them:  too many sequels, too many remakes, too many comic book movies, too many teenager films, etc.  Sure there are those, and to be honest I grumble some myself, but they still make some interesting films too.  I personally still enjoy watching the Academy Awards.  I don't always agree with what they pick as the year's best film or actor performances, or with some of their other nominations, but I do enjoy watching the ceremony because I enjoy films.  Sure some years are better than others, and sometimes better films are made over other years.

I had a lot of fun watching some movies this past year, and particularly had fun watching Mad Max: Fury Road, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I generally run behind in my movie watching experience as I just don't get out to see the newer releases.  I just as soon sit at home and watch them on DVD these days.  I've got Netflix and that has allowed watching movies at home and the experience has become a lot better and easier for film fans.  Looking over some of the movies I watched this past year has revealed that indeed there are still good movies out there for those interested enough to search for them.  I'll list some of them below that I saw this past year though it's not a full list of everything I saw, and as I said, I have not seen all the new releases of 2015 either.

I saw these movies the past year: 

 Bronson--The past week I saw this for the first time, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  The director seemed influence by Stanley Kubrick to me.  Perhaps it might have been that it or the main actor (Tom Hardy) was British.  Also the way the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, framed certain scenes or sequences or used humor, whether intentionally or unintentionally, reminded me of Kubrick, particularly his, A Clockwork Orange.   It was about one of Britain's more notorious criminals.  It also gave me a lot to think about.  For instance, I wondered what the motivation for Bronson (or any criminal) was.  Are they just deviants, sociopaths, outcasts, and amoral people?  Why do they act the way they do?

Going Clear--Is a documentary on Scientology, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.  If you've ever been curious about the ahem, religion, check it out.

Love & Mercy--I wasn't totally won over by this biopic film about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.  Though I love the Beach Boy's music.   I think some of that stems from the fact that I already knew quite a bit about their history.  I also don't know that the splitting of Brian's life into two timelines and having that played by two different actors worked for me totally,  however, both actors, Dano and Cusack did a good job as well as, Elizabeth Banks. 

Submarine--Was a fairly quirky independent film about the growing pains of adolescents.

The Theory of Everything--biopic film on Stephen Hawking.  I already knew some things about Hawking life, but still I thought this was a pretty heartfelt drama. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service--another quirky film that was a mixture of comedy and a spoof of spy films.  This film could have turned into a big flop in so many ways, but I think it turned out pretty well.

Dark Star: H R Giger's World--documentary on the Swiss surrealist and painter that inspired the Alien film and franchise.  It was his dark vision that helped influence the success of that film and franchise. 

History of the Eagles--Is a two-disc on the history of the country rock band out of California.  Yes, I used to enjoy their music along with many other fans.  If you are a fan, you should check it out.

The Wrecking Crew--doc on the behind the scene studio musicians who "were" the band in many cases.  Who knew?  They played back-up on so many groups and albums of that time period.

Ex Machina--SF film on artificial intelligence.  It gave me something to think about afterwards, which is always appreciated.

Chappie--I had low expectations of this one, but I actually enjoyed it.  I laughed a few times, and although I don't care for rap or hip hop culture, somehow it worked for me.  I know some loathed this film. 

Imitation Game--I loved this one, about how Alan Turning cracked the German code in WWII.  A great character sketch played by Benedict Cumberbatch.  Good performances all around.

Mr. Turner--My first impression (no pun) on watching this the first time around wasn't very high, but I watched it again the next day and enjoyed it quite a bit.  It's worth watching.

The Babadook--rarely do horror films do much for me these days, but I enjoyed this one.

Interstellar--It was not 2001, not that I was expecting that,  but I did enjoyed the stories and visuals. 

Birdman--unusual experience, but not exactly my cup of tea.

Boyhood--enjoyed this one quite a bit.  Pretty amazing backstory on how it was created, but the story itself was interesting too.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes--I was an apes fan back when I was younger, and I still am.  Pretty rockin'.

John Wick--pretty fun action film.

Jack Reacher--I enjoyed it better than Wick, but both are worth a watch.  Bonus trivia: Reacher drove a 1970s Chevy Chevelle SS in the film (among other cars), which my brother used to drive that model of car too.

Gone Girl--whodunit type mystery that was handled pretty well.

Beware Mr. Baker--A documentary on Ginger Baker who was the drummer for Cream, and many other bands.  Parts of this film will take you aback and go, what?? or it did me anyway.  Funny and sad in parts.

Finding Vivian Maier--documentary on photographer Vivian Maier, who was not a professional photographer.  She was a nanny by trade, but photography became her means as escapism and hobby.  That aside it made for an engrossing tale.

Life Itself--doc on Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times movie critic.  I always enjoyed watching Siskel & Ebert on TV.  Their appreciation for film helped me develop my own appreciation, along with many other people I would imagine.

The Homesman--Is a pretty well made western that had some some odd things thrown in the mix, which made me wonder what the director was trying to say at times about the nature of life.  Perhaps it is that life is random. 

St. Vincent--A comedy about a curmudgeonly neighbor played by Bill Murry who befriends a young boy next door to him.  Fun film.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation--I saw this one this past week too.  I still enjoy the franchise.  There are a lot of twist and turns in this one.  I revisited the whole MI franchise this past year actually, and I still think Ghost Protocol is the one I enjoy best, but they're all pretty fun. 




Monday, January 18, 2016

Auxiliary


The other day I posted a review of the graphic novel called Invisible Ink by Bill Griffith.  The Comics Journal picked it, among others, as the Top 20 comics for 2015.  The graphic novels they pick or spotlight aren't going to be mainstream stuff.  They tend to enjoy things more alternative or underground, but that's okay as I can enjoy both.

As a follow up, however, (and I meant to include this with my Bill Griffith's Invisible Ink review) there was a recent interview with Griffith's on their site, which is where I first read about his new graphic novel.  At any rate they'd done a recent interview with him, more or less promoting his new release, so here's a link to that, if interested.

While perusing TCJ site, and reading their 2015 Best Top 20 Graphic Novels list I saw the listing for Extra Good Stuff, which I may end of buying.  Back in the day when I used to be a pretty frequent comics buyer at some point I started enjoying comics away from the mainstream titles, which got into more personal stories and away from superheroes or genre like sci-fi and fantasy.  That whole movement of autobiographical, slice of life, real fiction appealed to me.  I used to follow many creators like Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar, Chester Brown, Joe Matt, Seth, Jeff Levine, and a slew of other writers/artist.  I also enjoyed self publishing or zines for a while. I used to peruse Factsheet 5, and find small zines in it.  Among all of that though was also Dennis Eichhorn's Real Stuff comic, which was published on the Fantagraphics imprint, if I remember correctly.

Eichhorn's comic, Real Stuff, and other title, Real Smut, whether real or semi-real or imagined was a little different from some of the other comics in that genre.  His stuff was more street oriented, rough and tumble.  He was always getting himself into some sort of jam, brawl or mischief so it seemed.  I could never figure out if this was just embellishment on his part--more or less exaggerating a story to make it more interesting or if these incidents really happened to him, either way some got pretty wild.  I think  the stories fall somewhere in between and maybe even some of them he may have even heard someone else tell, but either way, they made for some fairly hilarious and interesting reading.  They sort of reminded me of some of Charles Bukowski's tales.  From what I had read and from the few pictures of Eichhorn I have seen, he appeared a pretty beefy guy, so who knows, many of the tales might have actually happened.

At any rate, TCJ listed Eichhorn's last book, Extra Good Stuff on their Best Of list as well.  While there I ran into a written interview with Eichhorn.  I can't remember if I'd read that or not, so I'll post it here so I can refer back to it too, and others can read it as well.   Here's an obituary on him from TCJ.   Here's also a strip by Eichhorn called Them Changes drawn by Seth and Chester Brown.  There are other stips on Boing Boing as well if you care to read more by him.   Here's also an interview that Boing Boing conducted with Eichhorn, it's just a short interview, but fun to hear. And finally here's an interview I found with one of his collaborative artist, Tom Van Deusen. 

By the by there's also a podcast on TCJ about the Warlock comic by Jim Starlin.  I wasn't a huge Adam Warlock or Starlin fan, though I'd picked up a few reprints of the series.  It was a little to cosmic for my taste, and sometimes didn't make a lot of sense to me at times (which they allude to in the podcast). About the first ten minutes of the Warlock podcast they more or less bullshit a bit, so you may want to toggle it forward a bit to the discussion.   It's not real in depth, though it was fun to hear.


There's one other comic I ran into today that falls into the slice of life/autobio genre by John Porcellino.  When I was reading and buying a few things out of Factsheet 5 (this was before the personal computer/internet thing).  I ran into Porcellino's King-Cat comix.  They were all small xeroxed comixs, which he'd self produced, and you had to send him some cash in the mail, and he'd send you back a comic. He had many issues and would send you a price list if you want or you could order his newest one.  His stories tend to focus on the sort of mundane things in life, which might be about something he did at work, or partying somewhere on the weekend, or going to see some band play and so forth.

At any rate he has a new graphic novel out called The Hospital Suite and I'll have to pick up a copy.  His comix tends to be minimalist, not only in the way it's drawn and presented, but also there's not a lot of text with them generally, at least when compared to older mainstream comic books.  They generally aren't hugely wordy at least when compared to a mainstream superhero novel, etc., and many of them sort of end on a sort of uplifting ending, or a Gee whiz, it's great to be alive type vibe, or they have some sort of zen insight into them.  Evidently his newest effort is more serious about him being ill for some time and coming to term with that.  I'm anxious to read a copy.

Lastly here's a little article I found on the actor, Dennis Hopper.  I didn't know he was buried in Taos, New Mexico.  I've been through there a few times, and it is a cool place.  In fact that whole area of Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque is fairly interesting.   I have an amusing tale to tell about when me and my brother went camping up in that area, but that might be for some other time.  




Friday, January 15, 2016

Podcasting

As they say, there's not enough hours in the day, and I feel particularly that way when it comes to listening to podcasts, however, I still fit in a few and enjoy them when I do.  My two favorites are Fresh Air and my comic nerd in me enjoys, iFanboy.com too.

I generally prefer Terry's show when she covers the arts whether it be a musician or something having to do with films, however, some of her other topics will surprise me as well.  I'm not too keen on the political ones, but again, sometimes they'll surprise me.  This past year was no exception. 

Here's one she rebroadcast that she did with David Bowie when he passed a few days ago.  I'll admit I was taken aback when I saw the news as well.  http://www.npr.org/2016/01/11/462653510/david-bowie-on-the-ziggy-stardust-years-we-were-creating-the-21st-century-in-197

Here's another she did recently with musician Carol King:  http://www.npr.org/2016/01/08/462269283/carole-king-the-fresh-air-interview

I always enjoy hearing these end of the year, Best Of broadcast covering the best in TV, movies, music and so forth as well.   http://www.npr.org/2016/01/02/461503849/fresh-air-weekend-our-critics-pick-the-best-tv-books-movies-and-music-of-2015

If that's not enough to wet your whistle, there are many other podcast of various subjects on her site for downloading. 

If that's not enough here are several more I ran across today.  Some deal with films, others music, some gaming, some pop culture, and various other topics.  Have a look & listen.  
http://www.ew.com/article/2016/01/14/podcasts-you-need-hear-2016





Thursday, January 14, 2016

Guilty Pleasure

The photo above is the movie theater where when I was younger we'd go see movies.   That was the only indoor theater in town, but there were a few drive-ins around town too, and we'd watch movies there as well.  Once my dad revealed to me that he thought about owning a cinema and thought it would be fun occupation or enterprise.  The Arleyne theater above is no longer there and that area of town has been renovated.  This was when I was much younger from the ages of around grade school to early high school.  Sometimes my mom would drop me and my siblings off there, and we'd watch a movie, and call her when the movie was over, or if she wanted to go shopping, she'd find out when the movie ended and would wait for us outside.  I remember seeing Disney films there, Elvis Presley movies, a few horror/SF films there, and some Harryhausen films there, along with 007.

When my family moved to West Texas, we continued our movie going experience to this theater called the Ritz.  It was in the downtown area, and there was another theater close by just around the corner.  Both the Ritz and the Arlyne had balconies, and seemed, at least at the time, fairly plush.  I often wondered where the Arlyne got its name, that just seems an odd name for a theater.  Perhaps it was the last name of the owner, I have no idea.  But we continued watching great movies.  At the Ritz I continued to watch even more Sci-Fi.  I saw 2001, The Planet of the Apes, Fantastic Voyage, A Clockwork Orange, more 007 sequels, and other action films there.  It's odd, but I think between me and my brother I picked out what movies we'd go see, whereas at home he'd pick and choose what TV we watched.  The good thing about that, however, is that we both had pretty similar taste.  That holds true for music and books as well.

Ever so often though, whether you go see a film at the cinema or you just watch them off TV, cable, etc. you are bound to run into a few duds.  Some films are just out right dogs, but a few, although not great films, are entertaining, fun, escapist, guilty pleasures.  I'm not talking about some fiasco like Battlefield Earth that was universally -- and rightly -- condemned on its release, a film that's so bad you wanted to pull out your eyeballs and hurl them at the screen.  I'll further add, this is a subjective  call, because what I enjoy as a guilty pleasure might well be someone's favorite film of all time.  There may be someone out that that actually thinks Battlefield Earth is a great film (I find that hard to believe or that they'd be above the age of six, but I guess it's possible).

The guilty pleasure film is one that isn't that great of a film, more than likely has flaws and plot holes, or is just beyond suspension of doubt, or may even contain all and more of those criticisms.  These are not films that for some imbecile reason you liked, and kept liking, until enough others began to like it as well, allowing you to lie to yourself about how right you were when everyone else was wrong. No, I'm not referring to that. I'm talking about those guilty pleasures that make you so guilty you dare not mention them approvingly in certain circles, since such a confession would mark you for life, scarring your reputation beyond any hope of recovery. I mean those movies that will never develop a cult following, that merit the scorn that's been heaped upon them. Don't pretend you haven't got a few of these in the closet. None of us has perfect taste. No matter how much you educate your taste buds, you still make room for chili fries and pork rinds. I realize that it's mighty tough standing up in front of everybody and saying, "My name is Rupert, and I'm an alco -- excuse me, I actually enjoyed _______________ (fill in the blank)."

I'm gifted when it comes to publicly degrading myself, so I'll start. Here are some of the films I've enjoyed -- there are others -- that I've seen and ENJOYED, even though I know they've gotten criticized and have mixed reviews:

 8MM--with Nickolas Cage--I honestly don't see why some people didn't like this film.  I thought this movie was pretty edgy and dark, and it's not one of Cage's top tier films, but I still enjoyed it.  Granted it reminded me a lot of the George C. Scott film, Hardcore, which is the better film, but I thought 8MM had enough going for it that it is worth watching, and even rewatching again.  I guess it helps if you are into crime picture, mysteries, and that sort of thing.

How about The Avengers with Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes?  I used to enjoyed the British TV show, but I already knew going into this film it was going to be a film made for that built-in audience of fans, similar to Charlie's Angels.  So was it a good film?  Heck no.  But for me anyway it was watchable, and after reading a few reviews, I found it more indulging that the critics who panned the film.  Now granted I didn't go to the cinema and pay to see it, I just caught it off TV on a rainy day, but for that it was fine.

I've already posted about the infamous, Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale movie, Val Helsing here.  Is it a great movie?  Not hardly, but it is what it is:  an early CG effects film, that tried to the appeal to a teen horror market.  Depending on my mood, and if it's around Halloween time, I could see watching again if the mood struck me, but I don't think I'd want to watch it again anytime soon.

 
What about the Popeye movie starring Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall?  Actually I think the movie was pretty well cast, particularly with Duvall as Olive Oyl, but actually the other actors fit pretty well too.  The first time I saw this film, I was on the side of the fence that thought it was a bad movie.  However, I've seen it a few more times, and there is an attraction to the film.  I do think the third act goes on too long, but I like the set-up to the film, but it does wear a bit thin in spots.  For a film made from a comic strip it works okay.  Is it any better or worse than say the Dick Tracy film or The Shadow film?  I guess that's your own personal call.  I actually own The Shadow and the Dick Tracy films, though I'm not a huge fan of Dick Tracy.  I like certain scenes in that film though.  Any film has its acolytes. In a sense, that's what this post is all about.

Road House!  I avoided this one like the plague when it was making the rounds on cable back in the day.  For one I'm not a huge Patrick Swayze fan, and Sam Elliott is about the same for me.  At least Elliott can be pretty good in certain character roles, albeit they are similar badass types.  But the premise, aye yai yai... This came on the El Rey network a few weeks ago, and I just had to check it out.  I was sort of in the mood for a mindless action film, and well, it fills that bill, but it's also pretty doofus on so many levels.  Here's what Leonard Maltin had to say about the film: Bouncer Swayze--an NYU philosophy major no less--is hired to clean house at a hellhole Midwest saloon, and tangles with local kingpin Ben Gazzara, who regards the burg as his own.  One broken limb won't suffice when twenty-seven more will do; braindead yahoo fare is fun for while, until it goes overboard with violence.  I particularly enjoyed the braindead yahoo fare line.  Roger Ebert went on to say:  Was it intended as a parody? I have no idea, but I laughed more during this movie than during any of the so-called comedies I saw during the same week.  For sure it's an eyeroll type movie, or was for me, but at the same time in its own goofy universe, it's watchable.

So what would be your guilty pleasure, Heaven's Gate film?  I could certainly name off more.  Is your favorite guilty pleasure Tomb Raider, Gigli, Ben Affleck in Daredevil, Batman and Robin, or Showgirls?  I guess we all have those secret films that we don't like to admit we enjoy in private.











Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Invisible Ink

Invisible Ink is the newest graphic novel by Bill Griffith, more famously known as the syndicated daily creator of Zippy the Pinhead.  I don't think people know much about his creation, Zippy, unless they live in a metro area like New York or San Francisco or unless they are from the 60's era, because the strip didn't run in Middle America newspapers.  He came out of the underground comix movement.   He is not a household name like Charles Schultz, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, or even Garry Trudeau.  He's more fringe.  But his newest graphic novel comes off more down to earth, and it's better for that.  Here's a small bio on Griffith if interested.

This new graphic memoir deals with Griffith's family and life, and though the subtitle may suggest something lurid or soap operatic, it is actually fairly poignant and insightful.  Born in 1944, and like a lot of baby boomers, Griffith grew up in a fairly conservative atmosphere--not only in home life, but in the country as well.  His father was in the military, and his mother a housekeeper.  His parents were a bit of a mystery (although I think that's probably  the case with most families today).   In 1972, after the death of his father, his mother what's to get something off her mind and reveals that she'd had a long and happy relationship with a man Bill had only slightly known.  Oddly and a bit of coincidence, the man was Lawrence Lariar, a cartoonist and a crime novelist among other occupations.

After Bill's mother dies, he becomes interested in this secret part to his her life, and using her notes and files (she was also was a writer) reconstructs her past sixteen-year love affair with this man he hardly knew, which takes the reader on a journey into not only her life, but his as well.  It's one part detective novel, another part memoir, which sheds light on his growing up in the 50's, his coming to terms with the mystery of his real dad, and the culture of the 50's and 60's, among many other things.

Along this journey you learn a bit about Griffith's great-grandfather, who was William Henry Jackson, a photographer of the old west and who helped create the American picture postcard. Perhaps this is where he gets his artistic side?  After his mother's death he goes to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to his uncle's house who gives him many old clippings and artifacts about his family's history.  I enjoyed these insightful interludes with his uncle, just talking about various things, going to eat at a various restaurants in the Winston-Salem area, and just talking about their family.

You get the impression that Bill's mother's side of the family was more open and down to earth, whereas his father was more secret, less revealing, and closed off.  Actually I don't think that's too indifferent to many father's of that era, which is not to say that all fathers from that era weren't close or loving (I'd like to think, most were), however, in Griffith's case not so much.   Perhaps one of the reasons his father never spoke much about his past or growing up, was that it was too painful, which he writes about in the book. Griffith's father wasn't portrayed as an ogre or monster, but was unemotional and detached,  he was away from home a lot of the time with the military, a financial provider, but that's about it.  At some point in his father's life he was demoted in the military due to the budget, which effected him, and turned him bitter.  That didn't help matters.  His marriage grew rocky, probably due to this shift of emotions, which later created a wedge between his father and mother.   It wasn't always that way though, as he relates they had a few happy years before all this settled in.
Bill grew up in Levittown, NY his neighbor was Sci-fi artist, Ed Emshwiller, better known as EMSH.  Just another one of those anecdotes in the book.  Emsh even used Griffith's mother as a model for one of his magazine covers.  Again a brush with another artist which is serendipitous and foretelling in the career path that Griffith himself would eventually be taking.  It was sometime in 1957, that Griffith's mother takes a part time job in Manhattan working for Lariar, which is where they eventually meet.  She was always interested in writing, and perhaps since he was a writer as well, she thought it might make for interesting work and maybe she could learn something as well.

From there Griffith's goes into a bit of history about Lawrence Lariar's life as a cartoonist, taking classes at the New York School for Fine and Applied Arts in the mid to late 20s,  trying to get popular syndicated newspaper strip going, creating a small cartoon workshop, and writing gag cartoons with other fellow cartoonist.  During Lariar's early career, the stock market crashed and everybody was on hard times scrambling for money, you can imagine publishing was a pretty lean paying job to begin with.  Yet Lariar continue to make cartoons and strips, though none of them really ever catching the public interest.   In 1943, Lariar published his first mystery novel, Death Paints the Picture, followed by three others in the next few years.

At any rate, between these three to four plots the book skips around, from his mother and father's life, to his own personal life, to Lariar's life, they all form the story to this memoir.  I found it all pretty interesting to read, and recommend it.  His cartooning is not slick, but a little more rough hewn, or individualized.  I actually like that aspect of his drawing style. Overall  I enjoyed Invisible Ink.  It was one of the better graphic novels I'd read this past year.  His craft at drawing city scenes, landscapes and buildings and such is spot on.  If you are looking for an interesting read, I'd say check it out.   









Saturday, January 09, 2016

Bad Dreams

Back around New Years I went to a galaxy far, far away--actually it wasn't that far, it was just to a theater just across town to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Like many, I enjoyed it as well.  If you haven't seen it yet, and you are a Star Wars fan, for sure check it out while it's still showing at the cinema as the special effects were wonderful.  This time, as opposed to the last time when I went to see a cinema showing, the projectionist had the sound set at an adequate hearing level, which made it all the more enjoyable.  The cinema I went to was one of the older cinemas in town rather than the newer Carmike 14.  Earlier in the year I had gone to see the Mad Max: Road Fury film, and they had the sound so loud in that place, it was a miserable experience.  So I'll continue to patronize this older cinema. 

At any rate after the film was over, I went and got a hamburger as I was hungry, then afterwards on the way back home I turned on the radio, and fell upon a book discussion, which was probably broadcast from a repeat from earlier in the day with the PBS host, Diane Reem.  She generally comes on earlier in the day here.  She was speaking to some author that sounded familiar to me from the way his voice sounded, but at first I couldn't place him.

It turns out she was speaking with Stephen King who has a new book of short stories out, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.  It sounded interesting to me, and I always enjoy listening to King and hearing what he has to say.  If anyone is interesting in hearing the same interview, check out the link

It was a good way to start the new year.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Photograph

Last night after watching a movie, I was about ready to call it a night and flipped channels around pretty quickly just out of curiosity, and ran into a Tavis Smiley show on PBS and he was interviewing Ringo, the drummer of the Beatles.  Smiley's show comes on a bit too late in my area, so I miss it quite often, but it's generally pretty good and he has on good guest.  Of course I stayed up to watch it, which means I got in bed even later.  That's how if roll.

Here's the first part of the interview if interested: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/ringo-starr-part-1/

And here's the second part: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/ringo-starr-part-2/

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Collected Insanity

I just watched an interesting video off Youtube from Jerry Kroth Ph.D.  He was a  professor at Santa Clara University who taught psychotherapy and research methods when he was teaching there.  I think he has since retired.  What he said and his takeaway on politics rather mirrors my own.  For the longest time I've heard the phrase:  We are a Plutocracy, not a Democracy for a while now.  A Plutocracy is a government by the wealthy, whereas a Democracy is a government by the majority.

I'll post the video or a link to the video  below, if you wish to watch it, but that's part of the video.  It's more or less broken up into three parts or he makes three main points.  It deals with propaganda, but also the media, the spin on things, but also why things are the way they are.  Like I said, I think along the lines of how he explains things too, but I'm sure others might think he's another nutty blowhard or conspiracy theory nut or liberal professor--your mileage may vary.

With all the recent presidential candidates bloviating along with the pundits and the talking heads and what have you about who is going to be best one to run the country, Kroth maintains, it really doesn't matter due to the fact that we are a plutocracy.   I don't agree with him totally on this because I don't want a president that is like Ted Cruz who stated he would  carpet bomb ISIS, not without a very good reason.  How do you carpet bomb a philosophy, an ideal, or concept?  World War III can come later, not soon as far as I'm concerned.  We used to have a phrase at work: It can always get worse, and it usually did there.

At any rate, Kroth maintains that we are a plutocracy, which I've heard for a while now.  Before he gets to his main points, however, he sets it all up with a discussion about propaganda, the news and how it is reported and spun these these days.  Whenever I hear someone from the right mention something about the "liberal media", I always have this knee jerk reaction (sure there are a few liberal slanted media firms, but I don't think they all are).  Why?  Because they are conglomerates run by the wealthy--they tell us what they want to.  Granted you can go to Fox News and hear things filtered through a right winged spin or you can pick MSNBC to hear the liberal take on the matters.   But I don't think all media is run by some mass conspiracy liberal cabal.  They all have their slant, and they all want to do one thing, sell goods.
At any rate how did we get here?  That was one of my questions.  How did we turn into a plutocracy?  What can we do to reverse things?  That is another one of my questions, as it just doesn't seem to be fixable or too big to fix.  So what is this plutocracy thing? 

Oh by the way, check out Carly Fiorina here on the campaign trail.  She's standing beside a pickup truck full of corn on the cob.  She's wearing a checked shirt with her sleeves rolled up.  I bet she's ready to do some chicken plucking.   Whew wee, I bet she's just like us farmers and likes to chicken pluck and slop the hogs.  I bet she's just like all us other chicken pluckers.  Wrong.  (By the way, that doesn't leave any of the other candidates out of the picture either.)  Why?

Net worth.  Net worth is what you are worth, minus all your bills and what you owe or your liabilities.  So that would be your house, minus what you owe on it, plus your savings, stocks and whatever, minus your bills like college bills, medical bills, credit card bill, all the bills.  You total up  your assets, minus all your liabilities, and that's your net worth.  The average American's net worth today is around $90,000.  That's an average, give or take.  That's it!

So do you know what the average Congressman's net worth is?  $7.8 million.  That's 86 times greater than the average American.  The average Senator is $14. million net worth.  That's a lot of beans.  Scroll back up and look at those 21 candidates running for president.  Carly Fiorina's net worth is $51. million.  Hillary Clinton's net worth is $45. million.  Jeb Bush is worth around $22. million.  All of those candidates on average have a net worth around $13. million, with the exception of Lindsey Graham or Mark Rubio--they is the po'boys of the group.  They only got around a million, but they are propped up (at least in their running campaign) by rich guys with high net worth.

It's a big club, but you ain't in it.  So you see these people are pretty well off.  Plus they make the bottom 1%.  Not many chicken pluckers in that bunch let's be honest.  They might eat chicken from time to time, but that's about it.  And they all have nice houses, some more than one.  So we are a country run by big money.  That's about it.  In the video Kroth goes into greater detail, and it's worth a watch if you are so included.   Here's a link.