It’s 2020 and you’re not allowed to Caucus anymore, America.

•February 12, 2020 • Leave a Comment

There’s just no reason that voting in a primary should require milling about a folding table in a gymnasium for hours like the aftermath of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that no one wants to leave.  You show up, you vote and you leave.  You don’t grab a free t-shirt and round up as many undecideds as you can to go sit in the Yang corner with you.  It’s weird.  You’re weird.  I know it’s February and you haven’t seen anyone but your cats since Christmas, but Caucusing has got to go.

I know you know how to vote.  You do it in November.  There’s no reason you can’t do that in February too. Perhaps you’ll find that it’s much easier to vote for Bernie Sanders if you don’t have to sit next to his supporters for three hours.  You’re a dying breed, Caucus States.  Alaska, Kansas, Hawaii, Maine and Washington have all seen the light and quit the Caucus.  You should too.  What are you waiting for?

It’s not like you’re afraid of the future or new technology.  It was your desire for an App that got you in all this hot water, Iowa.  You don’t need a computer application to record what squad a primary voter got down with when you just vote and leave.  Election reporting is a lot easier with the “Vote and Go” method.  Sure, every once in awhile Florida hangs a chad and makes it harder than it has to be, but you Caucusers, you’re the Amish of the electoral system. Instead of a big hat, you’re wearing sweatpants and have nowhere else to be.

Personally, I want my voters to have somewhere else to go.  Work preferably, or school, failing that, I’d take just about anything better than loitering on public land pretending to be statesmen.  Don’t even get me started on Kentucky.  Quit trying to have it both ways.  You Kentucky Republicans are done too.  I’m not suggesting your caucus is co-located with a Klan meeting, but you know I’m thinking it.

Vote and Go.  This isn’t high school, we don’t signify our political beliefs by who we sit with in the lunchroom.

 

 

Star Wars 9: The Rise of SPOILERS

•December 22, 2019 • Leave a Comment

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you probably shouldn’t read this. Although really, if you do, you probably won’t a) believe me or b) go see the movie.  Dexter finale rules pretty much apply here.  If you tell someone in the first few seasons of Dexter that he will eventually abandon his son with a murderess and move to the Pacific Northwest to be a lumberjack, they will not believe you; until they get there.

Episode 9 marks JJ Abrams return to the franchise, a return that he wasn’t necessarily eager for on a timeline that was determined to be tight even by him.  Couple that with the fact that he and Rion Johnson killed off the characters of the original trio who are ACTUALLY STILL ALIVE and left the character of the now-deceased Carrie Fisher in the picture, and things are starting to break bad.

Still, this is the third act in a three-act play.  Abrams set up the first act, surely he can react to the changes in the second, to deliver a satisfying third, right?  He has plenty to build off.  The Force is not something just running through a few families.  There are children across the galaxy moving brooms and doing other menial Force-related tasks.  Rey has been trained up and Snoke is no more.

So where do we go from there?  Down. Way way down.  From the opening crawl, you know what you’re in for.  Forget all the fighting and the First Order and the deaths of your beloved heroes.  Palpatine is podcasting, ya’ll.  Messages are being sent out all around the galaxy threatening revenge.

Kylo better investigate, and he better act just like he did in the first movie.  None of that Rion Johnson character growth.  Just put on the mask and get to it.  Oh, he smashed the mask in the last one?  No worries, a galaxy far far away has that glue that you shine a UV light on and it fixes anything, better put the mask back together.

Seriously, Ren doesn’t need the mask.  It’s not like Vader’s breathing apparatus.  The mask is an affectation.  He doesn’t have multiple masks?  This nasty mouth breather is rocking the same sweaty mask every day?  For real?  He can’t just borrow a mask from his crew, the Knights of Ren.  Those guys who never talk, have zero character development, and seemingly no connection to Kylo at all.  Them.  I sure hope he doesn’t fight all of them with no qualms in the third act of this story (he will).

So the newly masked Ren, goes through an ass-whooping montage to find one of two wayfinders that will lead him to the Emperor’s hideout.  Makes sense that there’d be only two, since there are only two Sith at a time.  This will be the only thing that tracks logically in the whole movie.

The only structure on the Sith planet is a big black dark temple that for some reason floats above the ground creating a wall-less tunnel for no discernible reason.  Here, Kylo finds the desiccated fingertipless mess of an emperor hooked up to an Immortan Joe style tubes and wires machine.  During his 35+ year powder, Ole Palps has been conjuring up a fleet of Star Destroyers.  He calls them The Last Order, you know, because someone else called that other group The First Order.  First Order, Last Order, you think the same shitty writer is responsible for the creation of both?  Probably.

Assuming that this is a Clone of Palpatine, that the emperor had originally ginned up, and the Sith consciousness cannot just be extinguished, then I’ll say maybe somehow his Sithiness flew across the galaxy and found its way to the waiting vessel.  This vessel then in secret with only a modest budget creates an armada of ships, ships that require crews in the thousands to tens of thousands to fly.  This is his dowry for the Remasked Kylo Ren.

Why Supreme Leader Ren doesn’t just off the Emperor-on-Life-Support and end our suffering now is beyond me.  Ole Clammy Face says, good idea, and sets off on his errand of KILLING REY.  Essentially the SAME errand he has been on or attempting for the two films previous.

I’m already sick of writing this and I haven’t gotten past the first few minutes.  We cut to Chewie, Poe and Finn meet up with a Resistance agent to get news from a “First Order Spy”.  During their escape, Poe begins sending the Millenium Falcon in and out of lightspeed, hopping around with no coordinates set.  This is “Hyperspace Skipping” and despite the 10 films prior to this one, in JJ Abrams world, this is a thing now.  Nevermind the fact that the position of planets and stars changes constantly over time as they execute their orbit and very advanced mathematics is required to ensure a ship traveling at the speed of light does not fly too close to a star or through a moon has been the whole point since day 1 of Star Wars in 1977.  Ignore that.  This is a thing.

Rey is training to be a Jedi.  But she’s training herself.  You know like a guy in a garage with a VCR full of Brazilian Jiujitsu tapes giving himself a black belt.  She has everything she needs.  Of course, she does.  She’s the Last Jedi.  There are no other Jedi to tell her how badly she sucks.

That’s where Poe comes in.  He flies the Falcon back with it fully on fire and he and Rey engage in a little Han-and-Leia Empire Strikes Back Back-and-Forth about the current condition of BB-8 and the Falcon.  Why?  Because idiots with tickets in their hand like familiar things.

Finn checks in with the Chunky Chinese woman who was a MAJOR CHARACTER in the last installment, but Abrams hates her and wants her gone so that Finn can kinda sorta not really tell Rey how he feels about her, can get some new feelings for the only other Black woman in the galaxy, and then go home alone completely at the end of everything after a cringe-worthy group hug.  The Last Black Woman plays a larger role than necessary but is incredibly underserved.  She is last seen with Lando Calrissian who has recently taken up Geneaology and will help her google where she comes from, or something.  I’m pretty sure General Calrissian is a serial killer.

Next we’re treated to a lot of scenes with found-footage Leia in which our Directorly Hero uses several technologies to make it appear that she is interacting with our live actors and not a tennis ball on a stick playing recorded lines.  She sets them on their quest to do something, find something, it doesn’t really matter.

They go to a desert planet, I don’t remember why.  Rey gets a necklace from a street girl and doesn’t even give her five bucks for it.  Ren calls Rey up on the Force-phone and snatches the necklace off her neck from across the Galaxy, because that’s a THING you can do when you’re JJ Abrams and you don’t give a shit about logic or fans.

With lab results that would make David Caruso put on two pairs of sunglasses, Ren determines that his quarry is on a planet due to the makeup of the necklace.  Surely, he somehow knew the necklace was new.  What if it had been an old necklace, Ren?  What then?

He continues to talk to his people like an interlude on Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak…and they go to start one of many battles between Rey and Ren.  Of course most of these battles take place in the Matrix-y Forcephone world where nothing and everything is real.

Rey starts suffering PTSD masquerading as childhood flashbacks and lo and behold they find a DAGGER.  A steel dagger with etchings on it.  Etchings that can be read but not translated by C3P0 because “programming”.  This dagger will tell them where to get the thing that will tell them how to get to the thing, that, Christ, this whole movie is one part D&D campaign and one part Talking Dead, and two parts fart.

I’m a little fuzzy on all of this.   They need a droid wiz to do a very simple procedure, they choose Bobu Frick, While searching for Bobu, Poe runs into one of his ex-girlfriends who looks just like the chick from Metroid, played by Felicity. They take C3P0 to see Bobu Frick, pronounced Bob-ooh Frick.  A cute little guy that’s a knock off of the Kumail Nainjani guy from MIB3, and only amusing because my friend’s father’s name is Bob Fricke.  He gives Threepio the chance for a neat-o death scene.  But JJ walks that back just like he did with Chewie. 

Oh yeah, I forgot, there was a Chewie death fakeout on the Necklace World because Ren and Rey used the force to fight over a spaceship like it was a fucking toddler toy, and if Rey couldn’t have it well then she was just going to lightning the shit out of it.  Sorry, freighter that LOOKED like the one her friend was on but totally wasn’t.  Nevermind that with the Force she should have known Chewie was still alive just like she a) knows Leia dies later and b) recognizes Chewie’s life force again when its time to walk back every decision made in this movie, just like he walked back every choice made in Rion Johnson’s movie.

So whatever, Bobu tells them to go to Endor.  But not the forest where the Ewoks are.  The sea, where parts of the Death Star ended up.  Where these parts have severely f’ed up the currents.  Using the knife as a sextant, this girl who GREW UP ON A FUCKING DESERT PLANET then sets out on her own in a ship across waves so big Bodhi from Point Break would shit his pants.  There she gets in another lightsaber fight with Ren.  Where he crushes the wayfinder so that she can’t have it.  You break my toys, I break your toys.  We’re children.

In retaliation, Rey steals his ship, and flies it expertly despite never being in one of those before.  IN writing this recap I realized I skipped the scene from the earliest preview where she does a backflip over a TIE something or other and it explodes into a ball of fire, that Ren then walks away from unsinged (because he fixed the fucking autopilot just like Batman).

It becomes comical how everything explodes in this movie.  Speeder crash EXPLOSION, electric car crash, Explosion.  Pop a balloon?  Explosion. In one of the previous battles the landing gear on the Falcon has been messed up, so they have their own problems, But they also have a First Order captain’s badge that was Metroid ladies escape plan, but she totally gave it to Poe, without wanting to come with them, because, well, because they only had the actresses time for a few days probably while she filmed THE AMERICANS.

Where were we?  Does it matter?  Rey tries to quit by flying to the gorgeous island where she trained with Luke and we get a  Porg callback.  Then in another callback to Yoda lifting his X-wing in Empire, the Ghost of Luke Skywalker lifts his X-wing from the ocean so that Rey can fly off with the Wayfinder she got when she stole Ren’s ship.  She then proceeds to fly this X-wing with NO ASTROMECH droid, into hyperspace towards the Sith Planet.

The Resistance is tracking her and excited by the fact that they will be able to go help her when the cute little robot they found earlier, goes, oh that place?  Why didn’t you just say you wanted to go there?  I totally know where there is.  You didn’t need a dagger, or a triangular cube, you could have just asked the droid.  Never underestimate a droid.  Leia said that in her canned responses to Rey’s acting.

Side note:  You cannot tell me that the actors weren’t aware of how shitty this undertaking was.  You can see it in their performance.  They are quite often just phoning it in.  ANd not Force-phoning it, actually phoning it.  There’s a point where Poe is saying his bedtime prayers to Leia about how he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he can’t do it like you and that has to be Abrams directly talking to Lucas and Kasdan.

Anyway, they go to the Sith planet and oh shit there’s all those battle destroyers with their crews that transferred in from the SS Plot Hole, and they give Poe and Finn a bit of business to do like the diligent extras they are. At which point, Finn and his new girl ride animals on the wing of a star destroyer in space with no breathing masks or space suits, and even my 7-year old son is now having trouble with the movie.

Turns out The Emperor didn’t want Rey dead like HE TOLD KYLO REN in the first place.  It would be an awkward Thanksgiving if Ren were better at his job.  Nope, Rey is the Emperor’s grandfather and he wants her to strike him down so that he can haunt her with the Sithy Force. At least we see why he’s such a piece of shit to everyone, his only goal in life is to be struck down.  The worst motivation for an Antagonist possible.

“What’s my motivation?”

“Uh, you want to lose.  You want your opponent to kill you.”

“Why?”

“Uhm, Semantics.  Look you said it before, in Return of the Jedi, and that was cool.  We’re trying to get you to say it again.”

“Yes, but I’m alive.  I can say all the new things.  Not like Leia, you don’t just have to have me regurgitate all the shit I’ve already said in other movies.”

“Still.. Nostalgia sells.  Just repeat yourself.”

So in a few last gasps of bad, Rey manages to let Ren  Force-Yoink her lightsaber with his previously established teleportation grabbing skill, so that he can fight his former friends and minions, people HE PERSONALLY lead down the wrong path with not even a second thought for them or their lives.

Then he shoots it back to her, so she can double up her Lightning-on-LightSaber defense and shoot his own hatred back at him, thereby “not striking him down” and escaping the whole “sith haunty haunty” experience her grandpa had previously intended.

This kills her though.  So Ren now Ben Skywalker, does the same thing that Rey did to him and the space worm, and heals her death.  Is this the power over life and death that actually lead Anakin astray to find in the teachings of Plagueis all those years ago?

“Man, listen, who Darthy Plagueis?”  — JJ Abrams.

She lives.  And can give consent to a Kiss.  A long one.  And having experienced true love’s kiss and actually made out with a girl, Ben/Ren totally ghosts Rey and completely disappears.  His dead mom disappears too.  What did she die of?  Shame, I guess.  It’s unclear.  She took a nap, and then maybe she took too many sleeping pills, so that she could fuck with her ungrateful son through the Force one last time.

Either way, if you’re keeping score EVERYONE with SKYWALKER blood is dead.   Rey returns to base.  Everyone is happy.  There’s a gay kiss that was shoehorned in with no relationship building for the gays.  Take your token representation and praise Darth JJ.

The galaxy got together in a flotilla of ships to battle the First Order and Last Order in that Order, but its barely worth mentioning.  It was just an excuse for Billy Dee Williams to “Woohoo!” behind the wheel of the Falcon one last time.

Group hug.  Chewie gets the medal he should have gotten in ’77.  Abrams gets a paycheck.

Disney gets a killer weekend at the box office, and you get a story less coherent than the ones your seven-year-old comes up with when he’s playing with his Star Wars LEGOS.

You leave the theater feeling like you stepped on a LEGO with your dickhole.

The End.

 

Thank God we still have the Mandalorian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently Down The Stream

•September 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Now, that I’ve cut the cord on cable, I really have to stay on target with the shows I watch. This post is really more for me than for any halfninja readers, unless you’re really into where I’m at in a particular program.

 

What I’m Watching:

Mayans M.C. – 2 Episodes in
The Purge – 2 Episodes in
Lethal Weapon  – 2 Episodes into Season 2
Ozark – 3 Episodes into Season 2

 

What I’ve Finished:

Iron Fist
Castle Rock
Community

Rest in Peace, Rowdy Roddy Piper

•July 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

On the eve of Rowdy Ronda Rousey’s title defense against Bethe Correia, we lose the original “rowdy”, Roddy Piper.

I didn’t want to believe it.

He came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and it seems like he ran out of bubblegum.

Going to watch THEY LIVE tonight in his honor.

Disney Infinity: A Gift for your “Kids”

•May 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I bought Declan a Disney Infinity, since they make very very few video games for kids under 10, and while he likes “playing” it, his idea of playing it is making me create and defeat ‘bad guys’ while he watches.

Luckily for me, the game is actually hella fun to play.  In the first month of having the system, I’ve purchased three playsets, and like 11 guys.  It’s become a problem.

Listed below are some things I wish I’d known before I started playing.  Mostly just Toys that you unlock in the game, the fun ones that are more than just window dressing.

Space Mountain:  It’s 2500 points to unlock, but it has a trampoline and three invisible rails inside of it.

The Sword in the Stone:  Don’t bother getting this until at least one of your characters is level 10.  Once they are, just hit X next to it, and you’ll unlock Wart’s Sword.

Dragon’s Gate:  Put a Magic Band from the Disney Parks on the base and you’ll unlock a bunch of shit.

MMA Judging finally gets it right, sort of

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I was all excited last night when the Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier decision came back as a unanimous 49-46 victory for Jon Jones.  Not because, I was rooting for Jones, I wasn’t. I was excited because I had Jones winning every round but the 2nd, and it would seem from the numbers that the judges had shared my opinion, all of them.

3 judges agreeing on every frame hardly ever happens.  I thought it might have been a sign of a step forward in judging these contests.  Then today, I found an image of the scorecards and sure enough Cardo Urso (which I can only assume means Dragon Card in English) got it wrong.  He gave the third round to Cormier and the 2nd to Jones.

Unless he temporarily forgot who was in which corner there’s no explanation for this.  Cormier completely flagged in the third and did very little.

At least they got it riht in the end, sort of.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as a parent

•January 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The turtles have made a comeback in recent years thanks to several reboots and the involvement of Nickelodeon.  So much so, that my now 3-year-old son is nuttier about the Turtle-y Teens than I ever was.

So I’m rewatching all the old cartoons with him (he has two DVDs full of the old episodes).  The first thing I noticed was the songwriting credit on the theme song.  One of two writers is listed as Chuck Lorre.  This is the same Chuck Lorre that went on to create Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and several other television shows (although those are his two most successful).

The music is nothing special, the lyrics likewise aren’t but given their provenance, it was kind of funny to take a look at them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Heroes in a half-shell
Turtle power!

They’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team (We’re really hip!)
They’re heroes in a half-shell and they’re green (Hey – get a grip!)
When the evil Shredder attacks
These Turtle boys don’t cut him no slack!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Splinter taught them to be ninja teens (He’s a radical rat!)
Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines (That’s a fact, Jack!)
Raphael is cool but crude (Gimme a break!)
Michaelangelo is a party dude (Party!)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Heroes in a half shell
Turtle power!

So essentially you have a four person team: One is the leader, Leonardo.  A second, Donatello, does the technical work with machines (this was pre-internet).  The third is cool but crude and the fourth is a party dude.  This means half of the team’s strong suits are how they drag the team down.  Coolness, Crudeness, and Party-dudeness are not exactly traits you are going to list on your Linked In profile.

Oh, and the voice of the Shredder is Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  I’ve spent the last five hours of cartoon watching waiting for the Shredder to tell Will to get a job or Jazz to get out of his house.