media stupid

Origin stories in movies

Y'know, Chinese movies don't waste time with origin stories, like you'll find in many western movies. Batman, who's basically a smart guy with a mask and a sweet ride, gets an origin story. He's had a handful of movies, and more than a couple of them have had some retelling of a story that we all pretty much know. To explain why he has a mask and a car.

If you're watching a Chinese movie and a dude has some crazy ability, you already know why he has it. Kung Fu. I watched a Shaw Brothers movie a couple of weeks ago, it had a dude who'd spin around and split into two of the same guy so the two of him could start hitting two other guys, then they'd spin around and rejoin into one dude. Nobody asks how or why he's able to do it (or even acknowledges that there was anything odd about it), we all know the answer. Kung Fu.

That dude's chin is learning the humble beginnings of the other guy's foot.

A guy is shrouded in a mothlike cocoon, then comes out stronger and able to shoot beams out of his eyes. Huh? Dude, Kung Fu.

Punch a guy in the sole of his foot to heal that wound on his face? Kung Fu!

Break your fall from a canyon-spanning bridge by landing on a fragile twig sticking out of the cliff-face halfway down? Kung Fu. Set fire to the forest by waving your hand! Leap to the next village! Run invisibly through town! Grab the guy's sword from the other side of the river! All of it? Kung Fu.

I have no problem with a guy who swings from a rope and climbs pretty well being explained by Kung Fu, but that guy is getting an entirely new movie to explain how he can do that - we just had three movies that did that, each one re-explaining what we already knew.

I know, Marvel Comics have this whole "mutant" thing, but they all have childhoods of torment that they could have all gotten over if Stan Lee had just gone, "Y'know, my genius tells me that we could have a bunch of characters with weird powers and not explain any of them. Kung Fu."

What are you doing for the apocalypse?

So Harold Camping, who previously said the world would end in 1994, is trying to convince people that it will happen this weekend for sure, and I haven't made any plans yet.

I used to host parties for occasional apocalypse, a favorite being 1998's X-Day. Brandon, my Minister Of Mixed Drinks, devised a concoction called an Armageddon, with the frozen/slush version being a Ragnarok; I believe they involved pineapple juice for some reason, but other than that I couldn't tell you what was in them. A couple of bands played, and there may have been a couple of hundred people there, most of whom I'm sure were unaware the world was about to end.

With this weekend's apocalypse imminent, I feel weird not having any particular plans. I might just end up playing Champions Online or catching up on some television with my wife, but neither of those options seem like a dramatic enough build up to some post-rapture looting.

If you think the end of the world should be loud and angry (with more than a dash of wit), you could check out Gogol Bordello opening for System Of A Down at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater.

If you see Armageddon as a time for introspection, you probably already have tickets to the Belly Up Tavern's sold-out Yeasayer show.

If you want to pay respects to some local ska-core icons with a death motif, the Voodoo Glow Skulls are going to be at the Casbah.

You could also go for some burlesque presented by the Keyhole Cabaret, assuming you are some kind of old-timey perv with a sense of aesthetics and style.

And, of course, there is Lonsdale & Brooks: Geeky Music for the End of the World. Knowing them, I can pretty much guarantee more than a couple of Cthulhu references.

I still haven't decided how I'll be seeing out the end of the world this time. How abut you, what are you doing for the world's demise?

Healthcare Musings

(Opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer or anyone but me. Sometimes not even me - I'm still trying to understand this myself.)

The problem is primarily one of reportage, exasperated by attention whoring.

The story becomes about the knuckleheads at the townhall meetings who start yelling, rather than any actual concerns they might have. Attention focuses on the guy carrying a gun rather than the message. Anything real gets lost, the story is now about methods.

The two main concerns regarding this issue have come about from misinterpretations of the bill(s): There are no death panels, and illegal aliens won't get free health care. No, I have not read the entire bill(s), nor have you (you can find it here http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf though). Thousands of pages each, several versions, several drafts. Many lies regarding them (Page 425 begins the section that Betsy McCaughey and Sarah Palin liked to present as the Death Panels. Really it's about enforcement of the patient's own choices regarding living wills and other end-of-life issues). Congressfolks claiming to have eliminated passages that were never there.

Yelling and noise.

How will it get paid for? Don't know. People are busy debating misinformation and being disruptive when they could be clarifying misunderstandings or presenting concerns to their representatives.

From a capitalist perspective, universal healthcare would be very good for small businesses.

If an owner of a small business needs a bit of help, there are wage minimums that may make it prohibitive to hire a worker even part-time (one more person out of work, one more business weakened). Assuming that business owner can budget payroll, odds are she won't be able to pay for health insurance as well. The employee in this case clearly cannot afford it on his own.

Since the employee can't pay for healthcare and needs the income, he will work when he really should not, lowering productivity, spreading germs, costing the business more money (and long-term income with potential loss of customers). Government assisted health care would help alleviate that.

More and stronger small businesses would make for a more stable economy.

Why don't we hear an outcry like this when public funds go to support a private entertainment business (if a stadium is so great for the local businesses, shouldn't they be investing it it themselves?)? How about the communist aspects of eminent domain and its abuses (as far as I'm concerned, that's most if not all uses of it)?

But if someone is broke and needs some help with their own physical well being, it's all WHARRGARBL!!

Why health and not housing, food, and fuel?
Someone who is unhealthy can't or shouldn't necessarily work, go to school, and be able to improve their lot to the point where they can contribute to society at a greater level.

Ideally, this would mean fewer people on other government programs. Reality? No idea. Is it open to abuses? Probably.

How will it be paid for? I'd like to know.

Summary

Rejected:
* Easily distracted media
* Debating misinformation
* Minimum wage laws
* Being ill
* Public funds for entertainment venues
* WHARRGARBL

Approved:
* Openly carrying a weapon
* Small businesses
* That picture of the wharrgarbl dog

Previously mostly against but find myself accepting more and more:
* Universal healthcare

This dramatic recreation

... with the implicit threat that you may be in danger from cardboard cutouts.

Ever get the idea that some "journalism" is based on a dare?

Keep an eye on those shipping cartons.

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