Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week Five Thoguths from the NFL

Sorry about the long delay, folks: school, as you ywould think, is taking up the majority of my time, thus the lack of posts last month, and probably this month as well. I've stated a new column at B&D called Thoughts From the NFL. every Tuesday, i'm going to give my analysis from the biggest games from around the NFL, the playmakers, and the stories that are making waves in professional football. Weeks one, two and four are already up, so let me start it off with thoughts from Week Five.

* I don't know what to say, or where to start with the Chargers. This is the fourth consecutive time San Diego has started 2-3 under Norv Turner. What fustrates me as a fan is that 3 of the 5 losses came agains shit-kicker teams like the Chiefs, Seahawks, and now the Raiders. Our Special Teams unit is a mess, as they've made guys like Leon Washington (Seattle) and Dexter McCluster (Kansas City) look like the next Devon Hester and Darren Sproles by comparison. Next week is a revived St. Louis team, and their star rookie QB, Sam Bradford, again on the road. I haven't been a staunch defender of Turner, but if his team loses next Sunday, and the Bolts miss the playoffs, I can honestly say that no fan will want to go to a Charger game until Norv is removed from his post.

* If there's one thing that infuritates me more than the Chargers handing a win to Raiders, its how far the Dallas Cowboys have fallen this year. It's not just the that excessive celebration penalty that Jason Whitten got flaggged for wich cost the team yards on their kickoff in the 4th quarter, it's how badly the D played agianst Vince Young. It's the stupid and penalty-killing drives that Tony Romo's been producing. (the holding call with 03 seconds left in the season opener vs. Washington and yesterday's fiasco.) It's been costly turnovers. The talk coming out of Dallas was that this was a Super Bowl Contender, that Jerry Jones's team would be the first in NFL history to host the big game in their house. They're far from it, and, like the Chargers, they need to quickly find themselves.

* We're five weeks into the season, and they're isn't a clear favorite. Teams like Dallas, San Diego, Indy, and New Orleans are all struggling and/or dealing with injuries. Minnesota is 1-3, even with Randy Moss back with the Vikings. Kansas City is a surprising 3-1, but they have a young Secondary and an average QB that will come back to earth late in the season. The Texans, at 3-2, are the real deal but I don't see them beating the Colts twice. You could make the case that the Steelers are probably the favorites, based on a healthy Troy Polamalu and the return of Big Ben after serving a 4 game suspsension, or on the Jets, with the stellar defense, and continuing growth of Mark Sanchez. There's just hasn't been a big game where you can clearly see a favorite.

* Speaking of the Vikings, after the Jets win over the Vikings 29-20 last night, is it fair to say that Minnesota's dead, and that Farve should have stayed on his farm in Missisippi, doing whatever it is Brett does in his spare time (other than sending pics of his "junk" to women in the locker room)?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tea Party = GOP (Now with 2x the crazy!)

First there was Sarah Palin. The architect of downright dipshit candidates that the Tea Party now promote. We all remember her list of maladies: she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was, she couldn't tell you what newspapers she liked to read, winks numerous times in a vice-presidential debate, she supported hunting wolves from an airplane, she used to ban books while mayor of Wasilla, and once received protection against witchcraft from a witch doctor.

Then there was Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate that won her Republican Primary and is now locked in a fierce race in Nevada to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Her claim to fame? She used to be apart of Nevada's Independent Party back in the 90's. The party she supported through the 90's (up until she left in 1997) were strongly homophobic.

Next came Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Ron Paul is one of the few Republicans in politics I have respect for. His son, on the other hand, is a real piece of work. We all remember Paul Jr. being interview by Rachel Maddown and how he would tackle the Civil Rights Act of 1964...or his lack of action. Dr. Paul stated that he believes that institutionalized racism is wrong and abhorent, but it's not the place of the federal government to demand that private businesses sy that they cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orentation, and disability. Nevermind that private and public ownership of busses, diners, and other areas that blacks were discriminated against played a huge part in why Dr. King marched on Washington D.C. on August 22, 1963, or why African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama boycottted public transportiation.

And now we have Christine O' Donnell, the Republican nominee from Delaware. Of all the things i've listed about the batshit candidates, she takes the cake. Not only is she another overzealous Jesus freak and a Palin-clone(i.e. the good ol', plain-speaking girl next door routine, looks and speaks just like your mother or family elder), she also believes that masturbation is a sin against the Almighty himself.

“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust. The reason that you don’t tell [people] that masturbation is the answer to AIDS and all these other problems that come with sex outside of marriage is because again it is not addressing the issue. You’re just gonna create somebody who is, I was gonna say, toying with his sexuality. Pardon the pun.”
No words can describe just how ridiculous that statement is. Did I also forget to mention that she used to "dabble in witchcraft?"

These are the members of the Tea Party, the group not created from Dick Armney's "Freedom Works" think-tank and from irrational fears that the President is a black radical hell-bent on taking away the white man's guns, and his daughter's virginity founded on freedom, on reducing the size of government, on getting a foothold of the out-of-control deficit, on shouting from Arizona to the footsteps of Capitol Hill, "Read our lips: No new ta..." Wait a minute...these guys sound like what former Republican Presidents have been spouting off for the last 20 years!

The Tea Party is really nothing new = it's the GOP, but in a shiny new wrapper, only now they come with frothing-at-the-mouth racial insensitivity towards gays, blacks, and latinos! The sad part in all of this is that the Republicans foolishly thoguth they would be able to control these people...now in this election cycle, the puppetmaster has become the puppet, and if Obama and the Democrats can't get their act together and sell the slow progress they have been legislating, the last 8 years of the Bush Administration wouldn't look so bad after a few rounds with these reactionary lunatics.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ones That Mattered: The 10 Best Movies of the Last Decade

Sure, this comes month late, but I want to honor the best 10 movies that came from the previous decade; the ones that stayed with me, even today. These are the best of what film making offered us, the ones that mattered.

twbb Pictures, Images and Photos 1. There Will Be Blood - The first 15 minutes of this explosive and chilling meditation on family, faith, and greed, we see Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis in a performance for the ages) risking life and limb for silver in a mine shaft out in the West. He finds what his heart seeks, but not before busting his leg, leaving him a limp for life. As the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," and in Plainview's case, it only intensifies his lust for power, and the depths he is prepared to go to achieve his ends. His need for power is matched buy three obstacles: his 10 year-old adopted son, H.W. (an excellent Dillon Freasier), a charismatic, fundamentalist preacher, Eli Sunday (Paul Dano matching beat for beat with Day-Lewis), and his own hatred of humanity. In the film's breathtaking and bold 30 minutes, he has his vengeance on all three. Anderson, with his uncompromising vision of America at the turn of the century, has crafted a modern epic that meditates on the dark side of strike-it-rich capitalists, or - if you want to extend the metaphor - the true face of it.

2. Spirited Away - Even the wizards at Pixar Animation Studios call director-writer Hayao Miayzaki the true master of animation. One look at his visually stunning and bittersweet tale of growing up, masked in an re-telling of Alice In Wonderland, will have you in agreement. Of all the animated movies to come around, Spirited Away is the one that stuck with me most, and made me truly fall in love with the power of film-making. 9 year-old Chirio becomes trapped in the spirit world after her parents take a detour en route to their new home, and turn into pigs after mom and dad obliviously eat from the food of the spirits. Her only hope of returning home and rescuing her parents is to do hard labor for Yubaba, the owner of the bathhouse for the weary spirits. The use of hand-drawn animation (with splashes of computer animation thrown in) and composer Joe Hisashi's luscious and haunting score are mated in a graceful and beautiful waltz, each serving to flawless storytelling and Miayzaki's world of pure imagination.

3. Babel - Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu shot this ensemble drama in various locations across the globe: from the deserts of Morocco, to the San Diego-Tijuana border, to the metropolis of neon that is Tokyo, Japan; in five different languages (including sign language); all covered in a the modern-day age of social networking and terrorism, to showcase humanity's failure to communicate with one another. Explaining the plot and the characters are too complex and complicated to explain, and that's what Inarritu is going for: he wants the audience to look past the story and begin to listen to what's going on underneath the surface. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchette, and Adriana Barraza are all top-notch, but the film's grieving heart is centered in Rinko Kikuichi, a deaf Japanese teenager who uses sex to bury the pain of losing her mother who committed suicide. Watching her, naked on the balcony of her house was she stares down the busy neon lights of the city, is quietly devastating.

4. Children Of Men - Alfonso Cuaron's sequence in the car where Theo (a career-best by Clive Owen), a disillusioned theocrat helps smuggle a young African refugee (Claire-Hope Ashiety) out of the decaying United Kingdom with help from his separated wife, Julia (the great Julianne Moore), only to be ambushed by an angry mob, is a breathtaking sequence, which sets the tone for this bleak and hopeful dystopian sci-fi thriller that seems a little too close to the present day: its 2027, women have been infertile for almost 18 years, and almost all of civilization across the world has fallen into chaos. It's a hopeless future, with different clashes of ethnic, religious, and political groups fight for what's left of a crumbling world, and Cuaron works miracles to shine a dim light on a future that's lost all hope to save themselves.

5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - If it's cheating that i'm combining The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, then so be it. Yes, they are three separate movies, but if you add all three masterpieces together, you have one 9 1/2 hour story that redefines what an epic can - and should - be. Credit director/co-producer and screenwriter Peter Jackson for bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels vividly to life, combining explosive and visually arresting storytelling and textbook themes of paralleled bravery, unimaginable sacrifice, and the deepest bonds of friendship and compassion in the face of an unspeakable evil in the dark lord Sauron, attempting to capture the One Ring and, with it, destroy the world of Middle-Earth, and actors Elija Wood as Frodo Baggins, Sean Astin as Samwise Gamtree, Frodo's loyal companion, Viggo Mortenson and Aragorn, the heir to the King of Gondor, and Sir Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf.

6. The Departed - Sure, the action isn't in the mean streets of New York City, but Martin Scorsese still brilliantly uses crime, corruption and social decay as a torch way to the soul. His viceral tale of crime and consequences is a remake from the Hong Kong masterpiece Infernal Affairs, this time set in Boston. Collin Sullivan is a rat implanted in the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) unit to keep Irish mob boss, Frank Costello (a wicked and electrifying Jack Nickelson) from being turned in to Capt. Queenan (the always reliable Martin Sheen) and Staff Sgt. Dignam (an excellent Mark Walberg). Meanwhile, rookie cop Billy Costigan (the ever-brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio) is picked by Queenan and Dignam to act as a mole in order to gain Costello's trust and take him down. How the rest of this thrilling crime drama shakes down, I won't reveal. But it's what Scorsese brings out in DiCaprio and Damon's characters - two men struggling to out the other without compromising their identities, and wrestle with their own dilemmas; Sullivan wants to break free from Frank and start a new life with Madoyln (Vera Farminga); Billy wants out of his mission of trying to nail Costello after a year of doing his dirty work - that makes The Departed unforgettable and unmissable.

7. The Incredibles - Pixar is to animation, as Radiohead is to rock music - neither group can do wrong. For me, Brad Bird's take on a family of supers forced into seclusion because the U.S. Government couldn't keep paying for the damages they've created as a result of their heroics is my favorite of the decade from this extraordinary company. It's a mix of James Bond, X-Men and Indiana Jones all rolled into one, but it's Bird's first-half, his satire on suburbia and the struggles of marriage after 15 years, that really resonates.

8. Mystic River - Clint Eastwood's haunting and hypnotic murder mystery is as powerful and as compelling as any other work he's done this decade. Sean Penn breathes fire and menace as Jimmy, the father who's daughter was murdered and now turns on his childhood friend Dave (a wonderful and tragic Tim Robbins), the prime suspect in the case, as Sean (Kevin Bacon) tries to search for the truth before Jimmy takes matters into his own hands.

9. Almost Famous - I've seen many coming-of-age comedies that have made me laugh and sympathize with the gangly, awkward protagonists, but writer-director Cameron Crowe's story of William Miller, a 15 year-old getting the chance of a lifetime as he travels with his idol rock group across America and writing for Rolling Stone magazine about Stillwater, stole my heart, and then broke it so the audience can feel as if we are William himself. Billy Crudup as the asshole lead guitarist for Stillwater, Kate Hudson as the legendary Band-Aid Penny Lane, and Frances McDormand as young William's overprotective mother all give fine performances, but it's Patric Fugit as William that shines in this love letter to rock 'n' roll of the 60s and 70s.

10 (tie). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Dark Knight - Simply put, both Christopher Nolan's and Alfonso Cuaron's works have pulled off an amazing feat: they both combine spectacular entertainment without compromising their visions of our favorite worlds, and both directors have made their sequels complete standouts from their original predecessors.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Title. Same Jonathan.

I've decided to Scrap Jonathan's Corner.

Wait, that didn't come out right. Let's try again:

I've decided to scrap the name of the blog, Jonathan's Corner, to The Way I See It. I figured that it was time for a change, so what the hell? Change the name and she where it goes from here.

As for the lack of posts? School (and procrastination) are taking up most of my time, but I will try to write as much as I can on here and on Banned and Dangerous, so this is just a head's up, and to let ya'll know i'm not dead or have disappeared somewhere. There's so much I want to get through, like the end of the Summer Movie Season (A few gems in a lackluster, and bland, showing this time), or the story of some kook who wants to remember 9/11...by burning the Koran, a September to remember in the National League, the beginning of the football season, and the crucial 2010 Midterms that will decide if the Democrats will keep the majority in the House and Senate. I'll be hitting these topics within the coming days and weeks.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

War Is Over!

By now, you've seen the video footage of the last of U.S. ground troops leaving Iraq, thus ending Operation: Iraqi Freedom. 50,000 U.S. forces will stay to train the Iraqi army, and provide security for the country for the time being. Most of you who have read my blogs, both at Jonathan's Corner and on B&D, know my stance on the Iraq war, so I won't continue to beat a dead horse. Instead, let me take this time and this space to thank the men and women who served with the up most honor and distinction during tour after tour. These brave souls answered the call when their country called on them to serve, and did their job to the best of their ability. For that, they have my, and a nation's, eternal thanks for doing what they did.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ballad of a Young Man

I owe this latest piece to the film Into The Wild, about the true story of a young man who abandons his wealthy lifestyle to find true freedom in the wilderness of Alaska. The story, the breathtaking scenery, and the music moved me to write this poem about leaving innocence behind and making your own way through life and it's treacherous obstacles.

As the celebration of adolescence past
Has all but ended
The Young Man found himself more afraid
Than he originally thought
Or even intended.

This new road laid out before him
The many paths he can take
All have their consequences and shortfalls
Readily, anticipating when the Young Man
Will surly make his grave mistake.

His heart pines for the better days
When the Young Man was just a Boy
When fears didn't weigh down on young shoulders
When dreams stretched out for infinity
Like the Young Man's favorite expandable toy.

There is no going back
The door has already been closed
For there is a new journey which awaits him
A new adventure to parttake
A whole new world waiting to be vastly explored.

The time has come, Young Man
To start down this winding road
On your own
Time to find yourself
As all of us have done before.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

There is a God!

So I thought this was awesome.

99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% out of 100 I don't condone or like it when someone acts like a jerk towards a celeb, no matter how much of an annoying douche he or she is, but this Bieber kid is just so damn f'ing annoying (songs and all, sorry infected Bieber heads) that it's nice to see this brat get taken down a peg.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Fundamental Problem Between Democrats and Republicans

Of all the things Dems and the GOP could endlessly argue and debate, I would at least think that the rescue workers - many of whom have suffered damage of their organs, have developed breathing problems, or other medical-type issues - that sacrificed their lives to save others trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center....something like giving them free healthcare and compensation for their tireless efforts would be a no-brainer, everyone in the freaking House of Representatives would unanimously support.

The bill came to the floor, was debated for weeks, and the final tally was in: yeas - 255, nays - 159. Did I mention that the bill, despite it's clear majority, didn't pass? Yes, you read that right: it had a clear majority in the House, and it didn't pass. And, oh yeah - and i'm sure this will shock every last one of you - most of the 159 representatives who voted no were.....drum-roll, please.....Republicans. So what was the argument behind voting no, you ask?

GOP critics branded the bill as yet another big-government "massive new entitlement program" that would have increased taxes and possibly kill jobs.

To pay the bill's estimated $7.4 billion cost over 10 years, the legislation would have prevented foreign multinational corporations incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding tax on income earned in the U.S.

Bill supporters said that would close a tax loophole. Republicans branded it a corporate tax increase.

Pardon my French, but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?!?! These are the men and women who put their own lives on the line for their fellow man, and this is how you choose to repay them!? By giving them the proverbial finger while you, once again, defend the interests of Corporate America!? What the hell is wrong you?? At what point did outright greed trump helping those who have given back and are suffering from respiratory problems and whatnot?

And the Democrats....I can't even begin to explain what I think of these guys....

King said Democrats were "petrified" about casting votes as the fall elections near on controversial amendments, possibly including one that could ban the bill from covering illegal immigrants who were sickened by trade center dust.

When will you guys stop acting like a bunch of petrified pussies, and start standing up to these corporate thugs? You have the Majority and yet, you're letting the Minority run the show???

Great. Republicans keep sucking that big business cock, while Democrats refuse to fight back against Republican opposition. The result is that the 9/11 first responders don't receive the treatment and the benefits they so rightly deserve, which, inherently, outlines the fundamental problem with our two parties in this day and age: Democrats are like the Lion in The Wizard of Oz, desperately searching for some courage, while the Republicans have morphed into Daniel Day-Lewis's character in There Will Be Blood: a greed-filled misanthrope who has longed forgotten to call the human race his own.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hom Sweet Home

This is the first poem i've written in quite sometime, and it touches on my fear of total isolation when I grow older: that feeling of regrets, wrong paths taken, and feeling stuck in a place that offers no escape. My influences come from The Seatbelt's brilliant ending theme to the show Cowboy Bebop called "The Real Folk Blues", The Shins' "A Comet Appears", Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" and "No Suprises", The Beatles' "Within You Without You", and Dixie Chicks' "A Home". I hope you enjoy.

The man opens the door
dragging his weary feet across
the living room floor
to a house that doesn’t feel
like a home.

The nine-to-five shift
he labors is done
his check’s in the mail
but there’s no satisfaction
no sense of achievement
that his Inner can hail
it’s nothing but a drug
another pill for him to take
to make his Outer happy
it’s there for his dead body
feeling comfortably numb.

He looks into the mirror
vague traces of regret
misery and lost causes
staring back at him
talking without speaking to him
how his future is all but set.

The deafening silence
of his house that’s not his home
slowly kills him
like searing pains of acts of violence
no wife to kiss and hold
no baby to run around and rome
are just as effective
as a gun, or a knife
once these longing feelings take hold.

He lays on his couch
the lights have gone out
nonsensical noise filling the air
of his television set
about he said/she said
and a can’t miss sale
all trying to slay
the empty silence about.

A single tear falls from his face
as he lays down his head
wishing for a way
to escape this isolating place
in a house that’s not a home
a place where there’s love instead.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Restraining order!

Probably the creepiest, most disturbing piece of fan-mail i've ever encountered for a celebrity.

Who hasn't gotten through the whole thing not think, restraining order for this weirdo?
And while we're on the subject on sick, perverted people, how does a 40+ year old adult, who is a registered sex offender, nab a job as an ice cream truck driver?

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Palin Foreign Policy Manifesto Or: Why We Should Vote Obama in 2012

My friend Kerri Greene and I were talking about positive and negative energy in the Universe and how she does her best to throw out positive vibes rather than negative. For the most part, I'm trying to follow her lead:

* Guys like Sean Hannity and Mike Galllagher, and Bill O'Reilly who I hated with passion; now, whenever I see those clown on TV, I just change the channel. It's just not worth the energy to yell when I already know their shtick is to appeal to the lowest common denominator and exploit the viewer's negative-held beliefs on anyone and anything that maybe different that them or how they think, or look, etc.

* The Los Angles Dodgers, our rivals in the National League West are just that: our bitter rivals in a hotly contested divisional race. I'll be disappointed if the Padres don't win the West and L.A. does, but I won't lose sleep over it.

* Not being the jock or the cool kid who got the super-cute girls in high school, adding my insecure nature and struggle to be just like I am, drove my depression in my Junior and Senior years, and i'm now beginning to realize that all of that shit doesn't matter, that traits like that don't really help in the real world (unless you're an athlete who's banging a underwear model or a porn star, then you suck even more!)

Sarah Palin, though? I have to give her credit: when she spouted her foreign policy, "Peace Through Bombing the Shit Out of Anyone Who Fucks with Us" agenda, she set off a nerve in me. Here's some of her bullet-points:

On Defense Spending:

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with preaching fiscal conservatism. I want the federal government to balance its budget right now! And not the Washington way – which is raising your taxes to pay for their irresponsible spending habits. I want it done the American way: by cutting spending, reducing the size of government, and letting people keep more of their hard-earned cash.

This administration may be willing to cut defense spending, but it’s increasing it everywhere else. I think we should do it the other way round: cut spending in other departments – apart from defense. We should not be cutting corners on our national security.

First off Sarah: the Obama administration is actually doing what you propose, by way of a spending freeze starting in 2011, where just about everything but defense is cut.
Second: We did reduce spending the "American" way. It was in the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush Jr. years, and now we're in the "Great Recession" because of the policy that Big Business and Corporate America can be trusted to regulate itself, when in fact, they can't.
Furthermore, what's the point of our military might if citizens at home are falling through the various cracks? How we claim to defend the interests of America and her allies abroad, if we're behind the ball on universal health care for all citizens, or clean energy jobs?

On the War on Terror:

When George W. Bush came into office, he inherited a military that had been cut deeply, an al Qaeda that had been unchallenged, and an approach to terrorism that focused on bringing court cases rather than destroying those who sought to destroy us. We saw the result of some of that on 9/11.

And who, pray-tell, was in charge of the country, months before the devastating attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center? Who was handed a memo that read "Bin Laden Determined To Strike U.S.", one month before 9/11, and still did nothing!?

When President Obama came into office, he inherited a military that was winning in Iraq. He inherited loyal allies and strong alliances...their basic foreign policy outlines should have been clear. Commit to the War on Terror...Promote liberty, not least because it enhances our security.

If you mean "winning" by bribing the Sunnis and the Shi'ite not to kill American ground forces, then i'll gladly give you that one, but let's not kid ourselves on the former president and allies and alliances. Our only major partner in this nightmare was Great Britain, as the rest of the world opted-out of joining W. down a quagmire of epic proportions not seen since Vietnam. Oh, and Obama is still committed to the War on Terrorism: we're escalated troop levels in Afghanistan, and the use of drones is becoming a big factor in our approach to taking out terrorist leaders.

On Dealing with Less-Than Likable Leaders and Nations:

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration reaches out to some of the world’s worst regimes. They shake hands with dictators like Hugo Chavez, send letters to the Iranian mullahs and envoys to North Korea, ease sanctions on Cuba and talk about doing the same with Burma. That’s when they’re not on one of their worldwide apology tours.

Or, what normal, sane leaders would call, diplomacy. Before the Republican Party abandoned rationality and reason for quick, knee-jerk action in the international arena, President Nixon actually used it to cool off tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. You see, Sarah: even Nixon, paranoid crook that he was, understood that the continued arms race between the two nations would lead to the tipping point that neither side would be able to contain, so he introduced the SALT I and SALT II treaties to reduce the no. of stockpiles of weapons both sides would build to avoid plunging the world into a nuclear holocaust. Hell, now Nixon would've been considered a "pussy" by arrogant, trigger-happy morons in this day and age because he favored avoiding war.

On Obama's "Differing Views of America"

When asked whether he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama answered, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Amazing. Amazing.

I think this statement speaks volumes about his world view. He sees nothing unique in the American experience?

Bullshit, Sarah. On the campaign trail, then-Senator Obama stated many times how his story and his rise on the national stage wouldn't have happened anywhere else but in America. Oh, and when you have a white mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, and when you travel beyond the borders of the United States for a good portion of your life, you tend to see the world and your country in different-colored lenses, which is well-needed clarity for this country.

At this point, anyone who's read her policy carefully, pretty much understands what the former Governor of Alaska is about: she's a Bush Jr. clone who prides herself on not-knowing jack. She doesn't know and understand complex foreign policy issues, and frankly, she doesn't want to know. To her, if the discussion doesn't include "U.S.," "America," "United States," "Americans," "U.S.A." or some combination of the words, then she doesn't give a damn. To her, its our way or its gonna rain bombs over your neck of the wood, diplomacy be damned; plus only pussies try to "reason" and "negotiate," because might always makes right. Sarah Palin and the new trigger-happy members of the Republican Party are the textbook example of Jim Rome's take on "Likes to Fight Guy", but on an international stage.

Going back to Kerri and throwing out positive energy in the Universe, I was about ready to write a short post, and just blast her away, as i've done in some posts in the past. As I read her piece, I had a change of heart: like getting worked up about the right-wing clowns, and the Dodgers, and what i'm not when I attended Otay Ranch High School, it's not worth the energy. Plus, its more therapeutic for me to write out lengthy pieces on, as disheartening many liberals and progressives are with the change (or lack thereof in the eyes of some) President Obama is administrating, that the other alternative the GOP is proudly suggesting, is a no-brainier: we'll stick to fighting for the change he promised on the campaign trail than resort to cynicism and apathy, allowing their brand of insanity to return to the White House.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ramblings on a Saturday night

A few nights ago, I make a quick run across the street to Vons off on Canyon Plaza. As I'm putting my items on the conveyor belt, I scan the pop trash mags next to the M&M's and Trident gum packs.

One mag headline had the star of The Bachelorete, talking about how much of a jerk the winner and "lover" (allegedly) Jake was towards her once the cameras stopped rolling. I guess someone forget to tell her that actually falling in love with the "winner" is a no-no. I mean, the big-wigs at ABC have to keep the reality series going with the likable jilted lovers looking for happiness, and the stuck-up fame whores looking to keep their faces on E! News every night.

Another mag had one of the stars of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on the cover, and when I read the captions Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson, I almost immediately looked to the next mag on the stand. I'm sure Lautner is a pretty cool dude, and i've seen some interviews of him on late-night TV where he comes off as a charming guy, but I can't wait until this whole Twilight-fad joins Pokemon, Hannah Montana, boy bands, and Heidi and Spencer in the trash bin of pop culture history. I've had enough about hearing endless debates between Team Edward and Team Jacob and whether or not Pattinson and his co-star, Kristen Stewart are dating.

The last magazine I skimmed over is something I still can't fully comprehend: a magazine devoted to Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber. From which celebrities find him adorable, to his secret tattoo, to his clothing style, it covered just about every aspect you could think of on the kid. And then there was this section I found honestly pathetic: how your boyfriend can look like Justin......page 72. Am I the only person who finds that disturbing? Why would you want your boyfriend to look like male jailbait?

More to the point: why do we, as a society, place so much emphasis on popularity, on who's "in" or what's "out"? Allow to steal a quote from the Denver-based folk/alternative band DeVotcKa: "If you win the rat race, if you come in first place / Then a rat is all you will be." If we're this shallow and vapid, that we have to look a certain way to impress groups of people, or believe that if we just do this we'll feel accepted amongst the sea of same, then we're only lying and deceiving ourselves, and effectively, slowly destroying our individuality for the sake of vanity.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the trailer

Warner Bros. leaked the trailer online so the rest of us wouldn't have to sneak into The Twilight Saga: Eclipse to watch it. I love the Internet.

Part I comes out November 19, and Part II will be released July 15, 2011.

Monday, June 28, 2010

On Fandom and Twilight

A woman's marriage nearly ends in divorce because she became obsessed with Twilight.

"I found poems my husband had written in his journal about how I had fallen for a 'golden-eyed vampire,' " says Johnson, a 31-year-old accountant from Mesa, Ariz., who became so enthralled by the blockbuster series of young adult novels and movies that she found herself staying up all night, re-reading juicy chapters and chatting about casting news and the are-they-or-aren't-they romance between the stars of the films, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

" 'Twilight' was always on my mind, to the point where I couldn't function," Johnson says.

At what point in your life does an obsession to a movie series, or a book saga, begin to completely grab hold of your entire life? Especially to a shitty, piss-poor excuse for a vampire-werewolf romantic drama like Twilight? I know we're facing rough times as a country, but is your life really that boring if you're going on a binge for everything that's related to R-Patz, K-Stew and T-Lat? Was the hubby not giving you the attention or love you needed in that marriage that you had to dive into a awful book about a shallow, clingy woman, her jerk of vampire boyfriend, and her friendship with a pussy-whipped werewolf that slowly reaches stalker status thought the course of the novels? Star Wars dorks think that losing yourself in the Twilight-craze is weak.

Look, I can proudly say that i'm a nerd for the Harry Potter saga. I love the books, and when I have kids, some of the first books i'm going to steer them toward is the epic tale of The Boy Who Lived. I've been to midnight showings for Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince and will for The Deathly Hallows Parts I & II. I'm not obsessed with the franchise to the point where I spend hours a day, hitting up the online message boards, discussing the books, and talking about the movies. I'm not going to stand in line for 5+ hours to watch a Harry Potter movie, unless the theater management strongly suggests that I arrive an hour and a half in advance because there will be a long line of people waiting to see it. The bottom line: I'm a dork for the movies and books, but I keep my dork in check -- I don't let the series, as brilliant as it is, get the better of me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Greed Over Principles or: the G.O.P.'s attitude toward Americans

Remember John McCain's slogan he used back in 2008, Country First? Remember how all of the GOP talking heads repeated how that, under a McCain-Palin administration, he was going to put "Country First"? When all Senate Republicans and one conservative Democrat stood together to block a jobs bill that would have reinstated many financial aid programs, including unemployment benefits to those currently out of work and/or looking for a job, is this what they had in mind when it comes to "Country First"?

Reid and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), in an effort to mollify a handful of conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans, have spent the past several weeks trimming the bill to reduce its deficit impact. But after jettisoning several provisions to help the old, the poor and the jobless, reducing the bill's ten-year deficit impact down from $134 billion to just $33 billion, the bill is still sinking. Not a single Republican is willing to lend support and Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson is still holding out, leaving Democrats two votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

Extended unemployment benefits lapsed at the beginning of June. By Friday, more than 1.2 million people out of work for longer than six months will have found themselves ineligible for the next tier of extended benefits, which were originally provided by the stimulus bill to fight the recession. Other programs that lapsed include elevated federal aid for state Medicaid programs and a "Doc Fix" that prevents doctors from a 21-percent drop in reimbursement for seeing Medicare patients.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a statement put out today said the reason the Republicans in the Senate blocked this important piece of legislation for millions of Americans is because they're worried about what this will do to the deficit.

That's complete bullshit!

If these so-called "fiscal conservatives" were so concerned about the deficit, then why did the GOP rubber stamp Bush Jr.'s tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans and to big business? If the Republicans were that concerned about bringing some fiscal discipline, then they wouldn't have allowed Reagan to balloon defense spending from $134 billion to $290 billion within the 8-year tenure of his presidency, or hold firm on Bush and the neoconservatives' push to drag America into an unnecessary war with Iraq. Now these self-righteous pricks have the stones to tell us that now they're worried about the national deficit they helped create over the last eight years, only after they were bounced out of power!?

Let's cut the fucking bullshit and get to the real reason the Senate Republicans are giving the proverbial middle finger to Americans who are desperately trying to find work: they've made the cynical bet that the only way they'll get back into power is to block, de-rail, and oppose every scrap of legislation the Democrats and President Obama try to push through in order to help middle-class Americans. They don't care if America has to face another near-economic crass, or if kids on the streets of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have been reduced to begging for food because the parents can't afford a damn meal, let 'em starve; hungry kids are not they're problem. To the GOP, the ends will always justify their means.

So, I revert to my original question: back in 2008, when McCain's slogan was "Country First", and all the right-wing talking heads said that under a McCain-Palin administration the pair would put "Country First"...did they mean this one? Because they've got a funny way of showing it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hermit Crab

A typical weekend for me goes something like this:

Friday: Catching up on the news of the day or day before that on MSNBC, CNN and online with the Huffington Post.
Doing some cleaning around the house - maybe some laundry, often washing dirty dishes, constantly cleaning off the counter in the kitchen, folding up the blankets in the living room, and replacing the piddle pads on the walkway to the door.
Occasionally some reading - either the local newspaper or a book i'm re-reading.
Studying for the next class or completing a homework assignment.
Catch a movie with mom if she feels like it.

Saturday: Watch television.
Go online.
Continue studying for classes and/or completing homework assignment.
Do late brunch with mom and dad at the Broken Yolk Cafe.
Listen to my music on iTunes or on You Tube.
Watch one of the dozens of movies I have on DVD.

Sunday: Sleep in until 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning.
stock up on groceries at the commissary either in Imperial Beach, or all the way out to North Island in Coronado.
Make dinner for the family.
Maybe we see another movie. Maybe.
Listen to my music, again.
And if the laundry hasn't been done, then I'll do the first load.

That is my weekend in a nutshell. And the next weekend. And the next. You get the picture. Its practically what I do. There is the occasional time where i'm carried off to a barbecue thing with Mrs. Laura, a friend of mom's, but mostly every visit is an awkward affair where I don't really feel all that comfortable in. Even when I'm with mom at the salon, I really don't say much to my own stylist (yes, I have a stylist who cuts my hair, bite me!) who likes the both mom and I friends. Everytime i'm in a social setting, I feel totally awkward: I'm stiff, I don't really talk much, I try to find some place to be alone and wonder why the fuck I can't converse...It's like i'm not myself whenever this happens.

Factor in my struggles with self confidence and shyness, and you have a rarity in a young person: someone who prefers the quiet, familiar confides of being at home, than going out and being social with friends. Adding insult to injury, sometimes being at home is the loneliest, worst place to be. I'm stuck in my own private purgatory, and it's one I often think I won't be able to handle or get over anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm changing my scene

I thought it was time for a new layout; something that suits to my liking...which just happens to be reading. This is what I wish my bookshelf could look like. Enjoy the new layout, and tell me what you think of it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My generation sucks

That there
That's not me

I go
Where I please

Radiohead, "How To Disappear Completely"

People keep telling me that every generation had its share of pop culture bullshit. But how can they explain the nonsense that's been going on the last few years: Taylor Swift winning Album of the Year at the 2010 Grammys after Kanye West couldn't keep his big-ass ego in check for one night. A mediocre series of novels is hailed by millions of their fans as the heirs to the brilliance of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga, then become blockbuster movies that appeal to fickle-headed teenage girls who want their dream boyfriends to be sparkly (quite literary), Prince Harry-like handsome, and share sentiments that their life sucks (even though their higher middle-class and come to school decked out in Abercrombie & Fitch gear). Musical heroes aren't what they used to be: we had pioneers like Kurt Corbain, Tupac, Michael Jackson, to name a few, who we idolized, almost religiously, but now heroes consist of manufactured pop schlock like Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Bros., and Justin Bieber. And every generation had its share of fame-seeking, attention whores looking for their 15 minutes, but if they could see what Perez Hilton, Heidi Montag and Paris Hilton will do to keep their names in the tabloids, even they would agree that those freaks are going too far. In my generation, apparently, good taste is hard to come by.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why I'm an Agnostic

"I think Jesus is the product," says televangelist T.D. Jakes. In that short sentence alone, this fraud has told me what he honestly thinks about Christianity, more than what any sermon he pulls out of his fat, black ass.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Proud to be Seditious, Mark?

Dictonary.com defines sedition, as the following:

1. incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government.
2. any action, esp. in speech or writing, promoting such discontent or rebellion.
3. Archaic . rebellious disorder.

The U.S. Constitution also talks about what constitutes as an act of sedition:

SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the Constitution of the United States; or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act; or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

It is one thing to be completely ignorant about something.
It is another thing entirely to be completely ignorant about something, but still speak like you know what you are talking about.
Mark Noonan's latest screed throws him in the latter category.

After all, we were born of rebels:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, speaking at a law school forum, said that GOP opposition to the Obama program “is almost at the level of sedition.”

Patrick later said the phrase was a mere “rhetorical flourish,” but this isn’t the first — or the fifth — time a prominent liberal politico has accused conservatives of approaching sedition in opposing Obama administration policies. See, the “almost” part is key, because then it isn’t offensive, right?

And the thing is, we’re not like the liberals who call themselves rebellious. No, not like that at all – liberals are slaves who, doing their master’s bidding, think they a “speaking truth to power” or whatever catch phrase of the day it is. We, on our side, are like this:

Words like 'sedition' used to refer to serious crimes and misdemeanors, but now, they've become political catch phrases, and have almost lost their meaning. I believe that until one of Rush's or Beck's empty-headed zombies attempts to overthrow the current government and/or make an attack on the life of a public servant in a high position of power, then it should be considered an act of sedition, and the Beck's and Limbaugh's of the world should stand trial along with the conspirators.
Having spoke my peace, back to Noonan's screed: Mark, you're in no position to take the moral high ground here, about how "liberals are slaves who, doing their master’s bidding..." because it has been well-documented time and time again that you acted like Bush's personal pit bull whenever a valid Bush criticism reared its ugly head.

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. – Patrick Henry

We refuse to give up that force and we won’t be cowed by hacks like Deval Patrick. Call us seditious and we’ll wear that badge with pride – we do, indeed, seek the overthrow of the liberalism being imposed upon us. There will be no let up on our part until liberalism is consigned to the ash heap of history.

First off, self-labeling yourself as 'seditious' isn't something something to be proud of. Being labeled as "seditious' is the equivalent of being called a traitor to your fellow countrymen. Why the hell would you want that label slapped on your conscious?
Secondly, your attempt to tag yourselves as the re-incarnation of the ideals Patrick Henry and the rest of our Founding Fathers fought for are an insult to Patrick Henry himself. Henry and the lot were railing against a King who taxed his subjects to the point where the Monarchy would find new ways to squeeze a profit out of the people who were already poor or low income. If you had no currency left to give to King George, then land, labor, and crops would be next on the chopping block. To make sure none of His subjects revolted, those who did would be made an example of, namely, through imprisonment or hanging from a tree in the middle of town. President Obama has nowhere near reached that level of dictatorial brutality, nor would it ever happen. Quit aligning yourself with men like Patrick Henry when the flip side of our democratic process doesn't go your way.
Finally, there is no way you will ever be able to vanquish the concept of liberalism. Ideas never truly die, and they always find a way to return to the forefront. How do I know this? Take a look at countries like China and North Korea. Years after the Cold War ended and capitalism beat out communism, the theories and practices of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, etc. still live on through the current leaders, and their primary economic platforms.

Stand down, Mark. You're just making a complete fool of yourself.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Halfway there: the best (and worst) movies of 2010 so far

Best of the best:

The Ghost Writer - Yes, Roman Polanski is a sick son-of-a-bitch. But as a filmmaker, he's at his best with The Ghost Writer, a political thriller that keeps you guessing and questioning everything until the film's revelatory and haunting ending. Ewan McGregor dives into one of his best performances as a Ghost writer who suspects that his new employee ex-Prime Minister Adam Lang (an excellent Pierce Brosnan) may be a war criminal. Exiled to a beach house on Martha's Vineyard, the Ghost's job to write for Lang goes deeper as his former processor suddenly dies but leaves across clues to Lang's ascendancy into British politics. Polanski shoots the movie as if we are in the Ghost's shoes: every frame asks us to question the motives of everyone and everything around us. The standout, though, is Olivia Williams as Ruth Lang, Adam's ball-busting wife with an ax to grind with his secretary/mistress (Kim Cattrall) and hidden motives as well.

Shutter Island - The Scorsese-DiCaprio duo is now 4-for-4 with the psychological-thriller Shutter Island, another triumph of bold, blistering storytelling from the great Martin Scorsese. Watching his latest yarn about two Federal Marshalls Teddy (DiCaprio) and Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) try to solve the mystery of missing inmate Rachel Solando's escape from the Alcatraz-like prison island that is the Ashcliffe mental hospital for the criminally insane, is like going 12 rounds with a prize fighter on his best day. Scorsese pummels us with Freudian secrets, communism, insanity a hurricane that threatens the walls of Ashcliffe, and a shocking revelation towards the end you don't see coming, and by the end you're walking out with more questions than answers. Here's a tip: just let the dark poet Scorsese paints sink into your skin. For decades, he's used the criminal underworld, the mean streets of New York, and moral corruption as a torch way to uncover the fragile human condition in his characters, and in this movie, his bread-and-butter approach to storytelling intensifies, tenfold as Teddy tries to piece together the mysteries of Shutter Island before he loses his own sanity.

How To Train Your Dragon - DreamWorks Animation fires the first shot in the race for animation domination in 2010 with the surprising coming-of-age drama, How To Train Your Dragon, a film that soars with thrilling 3D visuals and a potent, although familiar, story to match. Jay Baruchel gives scrappy humor and surprising depth to Hiccup, the village outcast who befriends the most feared of dragons, the stealth-bomberlike Night Rider (he names him Toothless), only to learn that during his encounters with the winged beast, that dragons are not as dangerous as the village of Vikings have them pegged to be. The same feeling of pure exhilaration when we saw Jake Sully taming and riding his blue-winged beast in Avatar is matched when Hiccup and Toothless take their first ride together.

Worst of the worst:

The Wolfman - The casting was there - Benicio del Toro as Lawrence, an actor who returns home to investigate the sudden death of his brother by a vicious beast, Sir Anthony Hopkins as the estranged father with a terrifying secret, Hugo Weaving as the ruthless inspector hired to track down the beast, and Emily Blunt as the widow to Lawrence's brother - and it wasn't a pussy-whipped horror film that isn't afraid to go for the jugular. So how did this wind up to be the worst movie I've seen so far? Simple: the actors themselves were wasted in their performances (in particular, Hopkins who hammed up his role to the point where one would shake their head in disbelief as to how he could accept this role in the first place) and the director, Joe Johnston, delivered practically no scares and even more shameful, no haunting residue the original Wolfman movie left on its audience.

Brooklyn's Finest - Tell me if any of the following themes sound familiar: One corrupt cop (Ethan Hawke) is lining his pockets with drug money after his team conducts the raids. An underground snitch working for the NYPD (Don Cheadle, WTF?) has his loyalties pushed to the brink between making detective and his criminal drug dealing friend (Wesley Snipes). And one officer (Richard Gere), who's life is in shambles - he starts the morning by finishing off last night's bottle of whiskey and having sex with a sympathetic hooker - is set to retire. If you're thinking that director Antoine Fuqua ripped off better, more thought-provoking, and hard-hitting crime dramas like The Departed, Lethal Weapon, and Fuqua's own Training Day, to name a few, then you're correct. Instead of giving insight to a city that's rotting away from the inside from corruption, drug use and the crumbling infrastructure of Brooklyn's neighborhoods, this cop drama just feels deep down phony.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More bullshit from Palin

From the Book of Matthew:

12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

My utter disgust for religious fanaticism has been documented many times over on this blog, and over at Banned and Dangerous. I hate the ignorant pawns of blind faith - the kind that asks you to unwaveringly follow without questioning and having second thoughts about one's faith, the kind of people who have the nerve to judge me because my viewpoints on God and faith are not the same as his or hers. It is revolting to me how any one person can take an innocent life and then claim that they were carrying out God's righteous will, or how any individual can mask their intolerance of another person or group through their Holy Books.

What I hate even more than the pawns, are the snake-old salesmen, the charlatans, the money-lining shyster-scumbags who prey on the lesser angels of human nature in order to assume power or make a quick dollar. Enter former Governor of Alaska and Former Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and her misguided belief that American law was based on Judo-Christian teaching.

According to Palin, the recent backlash against the National Day of Prayer is proof that some people are trying to enact a "fundamental transformation of America" and to "revisit and rewrite history" in order to shift the Christian nation away from its spiritual roots.

Palins's advice: "Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant -- they're quite clear -- that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the ten commandments.

"What in the hell scares people about talking about America's foundation of faith?" Palin continued. "It is that world view that involves some people being afraid of being able to discuss our foundation, being able to discuss God in the public square, that's the only thing I can attribute it to."

Governor Palin, you're full of shit. The Founders created laws based on the ideas and beliefs that came from the Age of Enlightenment, where artists, thinkers, philosophers and the like began to strongly question the Church, the notion of a monarchy, and the idea of a select few ruling over the many. Laws like freedom of speech, the right to peacefully assemble, etc., did not come from the Bible.
And, as an FYI - If the Founders meant to build our Constitution and our laws around Christian teaching, wouldn't they have specifically announced in the Constitution that the United States subscribes to the Christian faith?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ya think?!

Newsweek's article on the teabaggers states the bleedin' obvious.

Surveyers asked respondents in California and a half dozen battleground states (like Michigan and Ohio) a series of questions that political scientists typically use to measure racial hostility. On each one, Tea Party backers expressed more resentment than the rest of the population, even when controlling for partisanship and ideology. When read the statement that "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites," 73 percent of the movement's supporters agreed, while only 33 percent of people who disapproved of the Tea Party agreed. Asked if blacks should work their way up "without special favors," as the Irish, Italians, and other groups did, 88 percent of supporters agreed, compared to 56 percent of opponents. The study revealed that Tea Party enthusiasts were also more likely to have negative opinions of Latinos and immigrants.

As to the reason why these reactionary recneck bigots and outright crackers are so pissed off? When the teabaggers holler "we want our country back!" they mean they want their county back...when they were the majority in American society, as this revealing chart on future U.S. growth in population projects.

Among the other key population projections:

■ The Latino population, already the nation's largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation's population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005.
■ Births in the United States will play a growing role in Hispanic and Asian population growth; as a result, a smaller proportion of both groups will be foreign-born in 2050 than is the case now.
■ The non-Hispanic white population will increase more slowly than other racial and ethnic groups; whites will become a minority (47%) by 2050.

This is what it all comes down to for the teabaggers: they're afraid of being the minority party. It scares them that, in 40 years, they won't be the majority (ethnic-wise) anymore, and now the race is on to cling to their old prejudices and majority, foolishly believing that it will be enought to stop what what will eventually happen. In this sense, I feel sorry for this group. Almost.

Of course, many teabaggers are furious when they get painted as a hateful, racist group of pissed-off rednecks venting becasue the president is black, as Tom Fitzhugh states.

"It really makes me mad...They have tried to portray us as a bunch of radical extremists."

And here's Fitzhugh's beleifs about President Obama as the section continues on:

He considers Obama an abomination—possibly "the most radical-voting senator that ever was" and someone likely to "takeus down the path of destruction." He believes the administration is intent on taking away his guns, trampling on states' rights, and opening the borders with Canada and Mexico. He has serioanyone with a functioning brain belives that you ignorant fucks are anything but racists!us doubts that Obama was born in the U.S. and suspects that the president is a closet Muslim.

Yet Tom and his ilk want me to beleive that this group's outrage isn't motivated by race? A quick note to him and teabagger nation: comments, like the one Fitzhugh trot out, are the reason why African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, gays, and anyone with a functioning brain belives that you ignorant fucks are anything but racists!

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Date in History: April 23 Revisited

On this date in history, April 23:

* 1635 - In Boston, Massachetusetts, Boston Latin School is estaablished, making it the first public school built in the United States.

* 1910 - U.S. Preisdent Theodore Roosevelt makes his "Man in the Arena" Speech, which later serves as inspiration to François Pienaar, the captain of the South African Rugbuy team in 1995.

* 1935 - The country of Poland adopts its own Constitution.

* 1949 - The People's Liberation Army is created under Mao Zedong.

* 1990 - Most importantly, on this day, Jonathon Purcell Holmes is born on this day to two loving parents, Rhonda Gamble-Holmes and Johnny Holmes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dumb and Dumber: America's Idiots

Made this earlier tonight. I have a new Adobe photoshop, so I decided to have a little fun, at the expense of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Uh...what the f%@k, Virginia!?!

The month of April marks the beginning of the regular season in baseball, my birthday, and - thanks to Virgina's current governor Bob McDonnell - Confederate History Month. Yes, you read that right. Gov. McDonnell is celebrating the South plunging the nation into a war over slaves and states' rights.

WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and [...]

WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Its been a while since i've taken an American History course and i'm sure the textbooks haven't radically changed all that much (unless the Texas schoolboard has done a near-whitewash of the reasons why the Civil War Broke out, the same way they blanked out Thomas Jefferson for Christian icon John Calvin); I understand why it is required studying in high school, but we never celebrated how a nation nearly tore itself apart and the blood that was shed becasue of fundamental differences.

What's worse is that the main reason why both sides engaged in the first place - the beleif that Southern States had the right to own other human beings for back-breaking labor - according to McDonnell, slavery wasn't the biggest issue that caused a Union to split in two and put the nation through four years of intense combat and bloodshed.

McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."

The issue of slavery wasn't merely an issue that led to the Civil War: It was the only thing.
Its the reason why young men, on both sides, fought in the battle of Gettysberg and died.
Its the reason why the Confederacy broke away from the Union.
I would ask what the fuck is wrong with the fuck is wrong with this governor, but that was before I found out two revealing facts about McDonnell:
1. He went to Regent University (aka: Pat Robertson's school of duh), and we all know that school's track record on their former law studensts.
2. His thesis, entitled The Republican Party's Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade.

At age 34, two years before his first election and two decades before he would run for governor of Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell submitted a master's thesis to the evangelical school he was attending in Virginia Beach in which he described working women and feminists as "detrimental" to the family. He said government policy should favor married couples over "cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators." He described as "illogical" a 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by unmarried couples.

So allow me to rephrase my question: Virginia, why the fuck would you elect someone like this!?

Monday, April 5, 2010

An example of how laid back Southern California is

Souther California experiences a 6.9 earthquake and what do we do? We tweet about it - some of us even brag about how cool it was - then we shrug it off, as if it never happened. Which it, for the most part, was: The only damages were shattered glass windows at certain liquor stores and at the Sports Arena, and some residents were without power...then got it back within minutes.

Apparently, it's the wildfires that get us freaked.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't stop, Democrats!

This week, Democrats finally grew a pair and passed health care reform. The bill is far from perfect (many of us would prefer a public option, but we can takle that bridge later on in the year, and we will), but two things were proven: 1.) our government can still take on big issues and 2.) President Obama and the Democrats in the House and Senate have the spine and the will to stand by their convictions, instead of folding over like a piece of paper becasue Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh lie and distort the message that healthcare isn't a socialist plot to destroy America, but a right every citizen deserves; it shouldn't be a priveledge to prolong one's life when they get sick.

Anyway, I originally intended to make a long post about this occasion, but Bill Maher beat me to the punch.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To anyone who still believes we have the world's best health care system

To all the conservatives and critics who are trying their damned hardests to block health care reform, then claim that our for-profit health care system is the best in the world - here are some damning facts about the U.S. system of health care:

-According the World Health Organization, the United States ranks 37th in the world of health care performance, and ranks 72nd in overall health.

-Of all the wealthy, industrialized nations of the world, the United States is the only one that does not guarentee all of its citizens with some form of coverage.

-The gross domestic product (GDP) America spends on health care is over 17%. by 2019, we will spend almost 20% (that's 1/6th of the national economy) on health care costs.

-A report published American Journal of Public Health last year, finds that 44,000-plus Americans die every year becasue of a lack of health insurance.

-The U.S. Census Bureau states that 45.7% of Americans are not covered.

Our currents health care system is nothing to pat oursleves in the back for.
Insurance industries like Aetna, WellPoint, and Humana (to name a few) rake in quarterly profits of billions of dollars, while dropping their patients left and right for "pre-existing conditions."
Business goons, like Ron Williams, the chairman and CEO of Aetna, recieve $38.12 million in bonuses, and Angela Braly, the President and CEO of WellPoint, has $14.86 million in stock options. Meanwhile, American families are forced into bankruptcy becasue of rising medical and hospital bills they can't afford to pay on a regualr salary.
There's no hint of compassion or care in our health care system - you know, the ingredients needed in treating the sick, wounded, and dying in any society - it's sending a messge, basicallly saying: "I've got mine. You have some illness and you need help to cover costs? Fuck you, you're on your own."

Not only is this third-world status of caring for a nation's citizens, this is capitalism in its ugliest expression. How can anyone say that we have the world's best health care system and have a straight face while saying it?

If after all the evidence presented you still don't believe that our health care system needs to be reformed, here's an ugly story about how an insurance company cut a patient's coverage because he has HIV.

(Reuters) - In May, 2002, Jerome Mitchell, a 17-year old college freshman from rural South Carolina, learned he had contracted HIV. The news, of course, was devastating, but Mitchell believed that he had one thing going for him: On his own initiative, in anticipation of his first year in college, he had purchased his own health insurance.

Shortly after his diagnosis, however, his insurance company, Fortis, revoked his policy. Mitchell was told that without further treatment his HIV would become full-blown AIDS within a year or two and he would most likely die within two years after that.

So he hired an attorney -- not because he wanted to sue anyone; on the contrary, the shy African-American teenager expected his insurance was canceled by mistake and would be reinstated once he set the company straight.

But Fortis, now known as Assurant Health, ignored his attorney's letters, as they had earlier inquiries from a case worker at a local clinic who was helping him. So Mitchell sued.

Thankfully, Mitchell won his case, but the courts discovered it wasn't just Mitchell who had been dropped before for his medical condition.

Previously undisclosed records from Mitchell's case reveal that Fortis had a company policy of targeting policyholders with HIV. A computer program and algorithm targeted every policyholder recently diagnosed with HIV for an automatic fraud investigation, as the company searched for any pretext to revoke their policy. As was the case with Mitchell, their insurance policies often were canceled on erroneous information, the flimsiest of evidence, or for no good reason at all, according to the court documents and interviews with state and federal investigators.

Capitalism at its best, folks! [/snark]
The current healthcare bill in Congress is far from perfect. There's no public option to keep the insurance companies honest and provide competition, among other complaints. But it is a first step on the road to obtaining universal coverage. We've been debating about this for decades and this is the closest we've ever been. To me, it doesn't make sense to go against a bill that will cover 30 million more people who really need it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wicked cool!

Allow me to geek out and show two kick-ass trailers that will headed to theaters soon.

First one: Anyone who grew up in the 1980's remembers the film Tron. During its time, the movie was the standard in eye-popping visual effects. 25 years later, James Cameron's Avatar was what Tron in 1982: a bold, new vision of filmmaking. In 2010, the trailer to Disney's Tron: Legacy is - in a word - Un-fucking-believable. Cameron might have to give that tile back.

Then there's Iron Man 2, which looks totally badass. And Mickey Rourke is playing Whiplash!? Fuckin' A, I am so there!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Diamonds In the Rough: The 10 best movies of 2009 #6-10

6. The Hurt Locker - Any filmmaker could have made this into another forgettable war movie dealing with the Iraqi War, or preach to the converted about how unnecessary it is for the country, or make it into film that celebrates our men and women with mindless action and crappy dialogue. What makes The Hurt Locker the first memorable war picture about the quagmire a tour-de-force of gritty realism and breathtaking ferocity, is that Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal don't preach and refuse to pick a side. They show the soldiers as brave men under fire, but also as conflicted guys hoping they come back home alive. Jeremy Renner gives the standout performance of the year as IED specialist Sgt. William James, a man with an addiction to his profession, but struggles to adapt to his regular life back home.

7. The Informnat! - Matt Damon has great comedic chops (see his roles as butt-boy Linus in the Ocean's 11 movies, the infamous "I'm Fucking Matt Damon!" ballad with funnygirl Sarah Silverman and his scene-stealing supporting role as himself in the season six finale of HBO's Entourage) to complement his amazing body of work thought the years. Never has Damon been this good: his performance as real-life wistleblower and white-collar criminal Mark Whitacre is all parts pitch-perfect comedic timing and quietly devastating. Director Steven Soderbergh, along with screenwriter Scott Z. Burns take this tale of one man's brilliant con job of playing the big business wistleblower and lining his own pocket, and how he constantly lies to himself to the point where he believes the tangled web he wove.

8. District 9 - Not since Alfonso Cuaron's Children Of Men has there been a sci-fi movie that turns the genre on its head and manages to look stunning and thrills while doing it. First-time director Neill Blomkamp blends alien contact, apartheid, and third-world living into one exciting and visually stunning film that rarely lets up or slows down. The aliens in District 9 aren't the ones Speilberg wowed us with in War of the Worlds and E.T.; they're part lobster, part mutated roach, all 100% frightening. Sharlto Copley is brilliant as Wikus van der Merwe, the fall-out employee who starts out relocating the prauns to District 10, and through infection of an alien chemical, ends up sympathizing the race his company has gruesomely exploited. Far from a brave new vision
of science fiction, District 9 shows us the human condition and how fear of the unknown brings out humanity's ugly, cynical, and uncaring face.

9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Simply put: its the darkest, most haunting Potter movie of the six. There's a confidence David Yates excuses after handling Order of the Phoenix: he's more confident and comfortable in trying to cram a 600+ book into 2 1/2 hours. The actors, which have always been top notch by this large British cast, raise their game to a whole new level, particularly Jim Broadbant as Hogwart's newest Potions mater, Horace Slughorn; Rupert Grint's ever-perfect comedic timing as Ron Weasly; the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter playing Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Lord Voldemort's trusted allies, simmering with seductive menace; and Daniel Radcliffe's ever-growing maturity as the title character, to name a few. The standout is Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, played with soulful vulnerability and moral doubt as he prepares to become a hired assassin for the Dark Lord. What gives Half Blood Prince its haunting power is cinematogrpher Bruno Delbonnel, capturing vividly and beautifully the dark forces that are closing in around Harry's magical world like an albatross around its neck.

10. Up In the Air - Its a bittersweet comedy of the moment: self-recluse Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) travels across America to fire you from your job because the bossman (a snarky Jason Bateman) is too much of a pussy to fire you himself. After many years of flying from state to state firing people and selling them the bullshit that they're gonna be fine (not to mention all those frequent flyer miles he's got saved), Bingham's need for human connection stares him in the face. In comes Alex (Vera Farminga) a corporate big shot who shares a similar love for American Airlines, traveling light, and trade and compare credit cards. Props to director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking) for blending touching romance, top-notch humor, and a no-bull honestly look on the state of business leaving its workers hung out to dry without any hope or a safety net.

The Best of the Rest: An Education, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Capitalism: A Love Story, Crazy Heart, Invictus, Watchmen, Precious: Based On the Novel "Push," by Sapphire, Julie & Julia, and Where the Wild Things Are.

Right-wing racists say the darndest things

This was posted on Banned and Dangerous yesterday, and I wanted to post this on here.

The Founders were all White, Brilliant and smart. They created a Constitution for the White Children of Adam. There were no black founders. Our Founders considered Blacks beasts of burden.
If they had intended to include blacks they would have included blacks at the Constitutional Convention. In fact, they declared blacks as sub-human in the Constitution itself.

The US Constitution says Blacks are only 2/5 human. The Founders knew long ago that Blacks are Sub- Human apes..I say nothing. The US Constitution does.
Are we trying to make Humans out of Apes?
Why do we allow them a Black Caucus?
Why are they in Congress or in Higher Offices?
Why are they in Law Enforcement?
Why are we allow they to have Black History Month?
Why are we allowing them to get away with Affirmative Action?

Comment: This idiot also realizes that whites that were not well-educated and did not own land also joined slaves and women as people who could not vote, or were lower on the ladder in the eyes of the Founding Fathers in the early years of the United States, right?
He also realizes that, along with slaves and women, the people barred from attending the Constituitonal Convention were significant portions of his own race - i.e. poorly educated, non land-owning whites - the Founding Fathers supposedly made for their caucasion brethern. Only those who were rich, owned slaves, had land, and were highly educated attended. You know, the same people who wrote the freaking document!
By his rhetoric, me, ET, the Count, and this idiot would all be in the same boat: no represntation of any sort. And lets not forget that in the year 2010, whites are still the majority ethnicity group in the U.S. Somehow, its us "sub-human apes" that are taking everything away from Whitey.

News flash, white boy: you're not losing shit, so shut the fuck up!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shutter Island

Shutter Island, the new film by Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese, is as much of a mind-bender as the characters who inhabit the mental asylum for the criminally insane. On my first viewing on Saturday, it was like me and the audience were going 12 rounds with a prized fighter at the top of his game. The movie pummels the viewer with vivid and graphic flashbacks of Teddy Daniel's (Leonardo DiCaprio) past, hidden motives from the head honcho, Dr. Cawley (the great Ben Kingsley), and a deadly hurricane which threatens to bring down the walls of Ashcliffe, both literally and figuratively.

Here's a tip: just let all the madness and dark poetry Scorsese paints sink in. For decades, Marty's used the criminal underworld and the mean streets of New York City and Boston, to name a few, as a blazing torch way into the darkening, haunted depths of the human soul. From the terrifying opening score composed by Robbie Richardson, to the ever superb editing of Scorsese's longtime partner Thelma Schoonmaker, Shutter Island is another triumph of gut-punching storytelling mixed with utter devotion to the filmmaking of old.

Teddy and his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are U.S. Marshals assigned to investigate the disappearance of one of Ashcliffe's patients, Rachel Solando. Once there, the pair quickly begin to realize that the truth behind the woman's disappearance is as elusive as she is. On Shutter Island, everyone has some demons - or secrets - buried within. Even Daniel's motives for taking on the case, are shrouded in mystery. That's all i'm telling you about Shutter Island, partially because there are certain parts from this head trip of a movie that I still don't understand. I will tell you that DiCaprio gives his most complex and devastating performance yet as Daniels, as he tries to connect the dots to the many mysteries on Shutter Island, before he loses his own sanity. I can tell you that Ben Kingsley plays Dr. Calwey with quiet menace that'll keep you guessing his agenda up until the end. And I can tell you that production designer Dante Ferrti and cinematographer Robert Richardson are magnificent in bringing to life this hellish mental facility.

In the end though, you don't have to figure everything out to realize that Scorsese's still at his best, even when the story twists, turns, and throws a twist that would shock M. Night Shyamalan himself. A great filmmaker and his talented cast will keep you enthralled every time.

***1/2 stars out of ****

Girls, don't do this!!

This is, perhaps, the strangest thing i've heard of in the month of February: women adding tiny beaded crystals to spruce up the vagina. No, I am not making this up.

Vajazzling is a burgeoning beauty treatment, popular with celebs and kinky Martha Stewart-ites alike, that involves ladies bedazzling their freshly waxed lady parts just as they would their neato neckerchiefs or fancy fannypacks – with tiny, magical crystals.

So women aren’t just obsessively coiffing their “areas” to look like pre-teen Barbies – they’re now glue-sticking Barbie’s earrings down below, too?

What the hell? If you really want to impress us "down there" then just keep it odor-free, neat, and tidy. Trim it if you want; going bald is a plus in my book. Just don't bling-out your lady parts. If there are two things that don't need the sparkle treatment, its blood-sucking vampires (I'm talking to you, Edward Cullen!) and a woman's privates.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Diamonds in the Rough: The 10 Bes Movies of 2009 #1-5

Like my 10 worst list a while back, this top 10 list isn't as timely as I hoped, but, once again, now is as good a time than any. 2009 marked the end of the first passing decade of the new century...and we went out with more questions than answers, and doubt rather than a sense of certainty we all felt after making history in 2008. CEO's are still practicing the "greed is good" philosophy that led to the financial catastrophe and recession we are still in, the promise of revamping the nation's health care system is in serious jeopardy of not passing Congress, and doubts are quickly rising about our newly-elected President's ability to carry out his agenda.

Movies in 2009 seemed to imitate life around us. Films that were sure-fire contenders for Oscar glory were deadpanned by critics (Nine, The Lovely Bones), blockbuster franchises turned out to be total crap (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), and average films managed to become favorites for awards season. Still, there were those that broke through all the mediocrity and garbage on 2009's disappointing movie-going season. A movie about the Iraq war managed to be both a white-knuckle-thriller and avoid preaching to either base. Pixar reminded us why they are still the kings of animation going into the 21st century. James Cameron took us to Pandora...and took the movie going experience to a whole new level. And the ultimate revenge fantasy came to life by the man who cut cop's ears off...among other twisted things. Here is my list of the 10 movies that mattered in 2009.

1. Inglourious Basterds - History tells us that Adolf Hitler and his newlywed Eva Braun died by committing suicide before Berlin fell to the Allies in 1945. In the eyes of Quentin Tarantino, Hitler and the rest of the Nazi high command meet their match at the hands of Brad Pitt, Hostel director Eli Roth and their squad of Jewish-American soldiers, known only as "the Basterds." Tarantino's latest effort was more talkative than Pulp Fiction, more violent than Kill Bill Vol. 1, and it was the most entertaining, balls-to-the-wall movie that came out this year. Tarantino's dialogue (subtitled mostly in German and French) is as ludicrous and engaging than ever, while prolonged suspense, tantalizing dialogue and outrageous acts of violence are mated together in a dance of carnal passion as only Tarantino can deliver. Pitt, playing the leader of the Basterds, takes Aldo Raine and plays him like a blast-from-the-past Apache warrior, exacting his mixture of revenge and near-psychotic enjoyment in slaughtering Nazis, with demented glee and raw intensity. Dianne Kruger plays bravery and brains as German movie star as Bridget von Hammersmark, in the biggest role of her life: acting as a double-agent for the Allies. Mélanie Laurent breathes fire and brimstone bottled up as Shosanna Dreyfus, the last French Jew who escaped execution from the hands of the charming, sadistic SS Cor. Hands Lander, who makes Ralph Finnes' Amor Goeth seem sane and friendly. And the film's real bastard, Christoph Waltz, as Lander, creates QT's most memorable character since Jules Winfield spouted Bible verses before going on a killing spree in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino provides the shot of adrenaline movies have been missing for far too long: a cast, a script and it's mad director, all unwilling to compromise to please the naysayers and create a bloody, entertaining, and chilling meditation on how America conducted its foreign policy during the Bush years.

2. Avatar - 11 years ago, James Cameron became the king of the box office with his overrated romantic drama, Titanic, and sailed that ship to Oscar glory in 1998, winning 11 Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture. In 2009, there's a new box-office king that has dethroned Cameron's tale of star-crossed lovers on a doomed ocean-liner, and it's...James Cameron. This time, the world of Pandora and it's indigenous people, the blue-skinned Na'vi are the big draw. Cameron brings 3D to the mainstream, shooting his breathtaking alien planet in the third dimension. But its the story, albeit predictable, that has us engaged: a crippled ex-marine (Sam Worthington) ships out to Pandora to get the natives to move out of the largest deposit of Unobtainium (a resource needed to fuel the dying planet Earth in 2154), only to end up falling for the tribal princess, Neytiri (an excellent Zoe Saldana), and joining their rebellion against the human invaders. We may have seen this tale before (Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai), and anyone can see the exploitation of the Na'vi in the movie can connect that to America's exploitation of Native Americans, but Cameron delivers it with eye-popping style and passion for his beautiful and terrifying new world.

3. Up - Pixar is to animation as Radiohead is to rock and roll: neither group can do no wrong. They can make their weakest releases - A Bug's Life and Cars for Pixar; Pablo Honey and Amnesiac for the Oxford quintet - and they would still be considered great. Their newest release, Up, continues that winning trend. This time around, they introduce us to Carl Fredrickson (voiced with weariness and touching poignancy by Ed Asner), a retired widow living in the same old house him and his now-deceased wife, Elle, lived in as the rest of the world around him becomes an isolating urban jungle. He uses the retirement saving he's collected, ties countless helium balloons to his house, and presto: it becomes a floating blimp with a roof and sets his sails to Paradise Falls. Accompanying him is a stowaway wilderness explorer, in the form of chubby eight year-old Russell (Jordan Nagai), and what soon begins as a trip to fulfil a promise to his wife, soon becomes a race to protect an exotic bird from the hands of obsessed and disgraced explorer Charles Muntz (the great Christopher Plummer) and a confrontation of Carl's and Russell's demons. With first rate visuals, a bittersweet storyline and a heart-filled score composed by Michael Giacchino, Up soars on Pixar's unlimited and endless heights of sheer imagination.

4. The Hangover - It's about four dumb, drunk boys sending off the friend, Doug, in style in Vegas, of all places, before he gets married in three days. One wild night later, the three buddies Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zack Galifianakis), the brother's groom - lose the groom-to-be. That's all you need to know about Tood Philip's The Hangover the most outrageous and ballsiest comedy of the decade, where Chinese mafia bosses, strippers, and returning Mike Tyson's prized tiger are all a part of the growing process for this trio of outgrown frat-boys.

5. Star Trek - The MVP of the summer movie season is J.J. Abrams, the director who breathed new life into the presumed-dead Trek franchise, by bringing style, swagger, and depth to our favorite characters from the original U.S.S. Enterprise. Chris Pine doesn't resort to the speaking style of William Shatner, but the cocky attitude, and the charm he displays are still seen thought the movie. Simon Pegg is hilarious as Scotty, and Karl Urban is inspired casting, playing the no-nonsense medical officer Lennard "Bones" McCoy. The surprise standout is Zacary Quinto as Spock. Instead of letting the pointy Vulcan ears act for him, Quinto digs deep to expose the conflict raging between his cold logic and his human emotions.