Tuesday, August 30, 2011

User comments are often very dumb

Netflix, Amazon, imdb.com

Turning on the old day time talk show, there would occasionally be something on there...

There was a comic book about the Jeffrey Dahmer case. Families of Dahmer's victims were offended by it, naturally, but everyone there in the studio audience, everyone on the show, had the idea that comic books were intended only for children. They heard "comic book" and they imagined this on the rack next to Heckle and Jeckle and Scrooge McDuck comics.

They did a show on a company selling trading cards. They printed up serial killer trading cards. They were sold at specialty stores, and they kept explaining that. But, apparently, everyone in the audience imagined that they were selling these at candy counters as bubble gum cards.

And, finally, there was The Faces of Death, the profoundly offensive "documentary" showing archival footage as well as fake footage of people dying.

I had some friends who rented one of those movies on videotape. I watched a few minutes of it and left. The guy who insisted on renting it changed his mind about watching it, but two guys who later turned out to have some serious mental problems kept watching.

One thing I thought was strange. They showed a scene which they claimed was filmed by a news crew of a man setting himself on fire to protest nuclear energy. I thought it was strange that there was a reaction shot---the camera man apparently stopped filming a man on fire to get a shot of the crowd reacting to his being on fire. I was also impressed with how quickly men in security guard uniforms rushed in with fire extinguishers.

That footage was obviously fake.

There was other stuff that was apparently real, and a lot that I would assume was fake. The whole thing was profoundly offensive in any case.

They were discussing this "documentary" on The Phil Donahue Show because a disturbed 13-year-old repeatedly watched it before murdering another child.

People were right to be repulsed and disgusted by the movie and it likely played a role in the child's murder, but I bring it up here because the audience seemed to think this video was a product of "Hollywood", that this was produced by the mainstream movie industry. They couldn't distinguish a movie produced by a movie studio from one pieced together by some scumbag with access to an editing room.

"It's a movie, ain't it?"

In a way, it's similar to the user comments and reviews on Netflix, imdb, and Amazon. These people seem to have no idea what they're looking at. If it's on DVD, they assume it's the product of a major studio then they're bewildered and angry when it's not what they expected.

Look at amateur reviews of extreme low budget movies, any art film, any underground movie, any foriegn film, anything remotely avant garde. Anything that's not complete crap.

I heard that idiots kept returning The Blair Witch Project to video stores complaining that it was filmed on videotape and black & white film.

I've thought for a long time that mediocrity is the ideal. Just give them what they expect and make them happy.

Faces of Death vs. Jenny Jones

Well, this horrible series, The Faces of Death seemed to be partly responsible for one murder of a child. Jenny Jones, the daytime talk show host who was attacking the long-haired wretch who produced the disgusting Jeffrey Dahmer comic book, was more directly responsible for one murder. A young man named Jonathan Schmitz was humiliated on her show. He had a history of mental illness. He shot and killed the gay guy who he felt humiliated him on the show.

That puts Jenny Jones on par with Nancy Grace who was responsible for one suicide. She lured a young mother named Melinda Duckett onto her show then badgered and attacked her, accusing her of being responsible for her own child's disappearance. Police had never considered the woman a suspect in the disappearance of her 2-year-old son. But Grace badgered and abused her, essentially accusing her of murdering her own child. She committed suicide before the show was aired the next day. The scum at CNN then allowed Grace to use to her show for the next several days to justify her conduct by continuing to attack the dead girl.

Nancy Grace claims that she hates crime because her fiancé was killed. But I'd say the guy really dodged a bullet when his co-worker shot him. Imagine being married to Nancy Grace.

Grace, by the way, wrote a book in which she lied repeatedly about her alleged fiancé's death. She claimed he was killed by a stranger when he was killed by a co-worker, she claimed that the killer refused to speak to police when he actually confessed almost immediately. She claimed that the jury deliberated for days when it actually took a couple of hours and she falsely claimed that he repeatedly appealed his conviction---he never appealed.

How did she get all this wrong? Did she even know the victim? Did she pick a random murder victim she saw in the paper and claim he was her boyfriend to hide the fact that no man would ever want her?

Nancy Grace is now married. Sadly, she has children, twins. They were born 7 months after her wedding, which is why she lied about their date of birth. My guess is that they'll end up just like "Dr Laura's" sick bastard son.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jon Voight's an idiot

Last year, Jon Voight wrote a silly "open letter" to Barack Obama accusing him--I don't get this at all--of being anti-Israeli, of hating Jews and trying to promote anti-Semitism world-wide.

This has been a standard smear against blacks for years now. Baseless accusations of anti-Semitism are just a slight refinement of the old racist smear they used to use against black leaders, that they "hate white people". Glenn Beck tried to use the old version against Obama and got slapped down, but people seem to be getting away with the new version.

Voight recently traveled to Israel. He said he was "shocked" to find that Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals. It's an odd thing to be surprised by. For one thing, Zionists have been using this as part of their propaganda for years.

It should be noted that Israeli hospitals are being paid by the Palestinian Authority for treating Palestinian patients. They're making a fortune from it, gouging the Palestinians for the limited funds they receive from international donors. The Palestinian Authority got tired of paying for Israeli propaganda and they didn't want to be dependent on Israeli hospitals, so when the Israelis launched their attack on Gaza, they briefly halted payments to the Israelis. And the instant the payments stopped, the Israeli hospitals began refusing Palestinian patients.

No, Israelis aren't helping Palestinians. They're just grubbing for Palestinian money.

It is strange, though, that Voight loved Israel so much even though he assumed that Israeli hospitals were racially segregated and that Israeli doctors refused to treat non-Jews.

Here's Voight's "open letter" to Obama. Really amazing. Making a valid criticism of a politician is such a simple thing to do. Making a criticism based on an ideological difference is even easier. But there's nothing here but baseless nonsense:

June 22, 2010

President Obama:

You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone’s enemy — and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm’s way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.

You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals who want Israel eradicated.

You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.

With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,

Jon Voight

Even if you accept his attacks on the President of the United States, Voight traitorously insults America's loyal NATO ally Turkey by calling Israel the "only Democracy in the middle east." Even if Israel were a democracy, they wouldn't deserve any credit for it since they actively oppose the democratic revolution in Egypt.



And one more thing:

What exactly did Voight mean when referred to "the Jewish people and...the American people as well"? If you're Jewish you're not American? Was he using the word "Jew" when he meant "Israeli", or more correctly, "Israeli Jew"?

Someone commented on this entry and stupidly accused me of hating Jews. Imagine his reaction if I had said anything like that.


09/02/11

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Something they used to do in movies based on plays

Michael Caine put out an instructional video on movie acting. At one point in it, we see an actor performing a scene from a play. Maybe it was from Alfie. I don't know. He's sitting in an apartment with his girlfriend. His girlfriend leaves the room and goes into the kitchen, and the actor turns and begins speaking to the camera.

Michael Caine stops him. The actor was a stage actor, so when he starts talking to the audience he speaks loudly so they can hear. On film, Caine tells him, you speak quietly, confidentially, so the girlfriend in the kitchen can't hear.

But there are a lot of movies based on plays where they don't do this. I'm talking about old movies. And it's very strange because the movies were generally made with actors and directors who had no connection to the stage production. The actors bellow out their lines as if they were on stage even when it's wildly inappropriate in a movie. Maybe they were trying to recreate the experience of viewing a play.

I watched a family drama called The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. There are a bunch of relatives visiting a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. This is in the '20s. The wife is thinking of taking the children and leaving. She has talked to her sister, Eve Arden, about it. Arden is afraid her sister will try to move in with her, so she takes her husband aside and tells him what he should say if the woman says anything to him about it. The problem is that she bellows out her lines at the top of her lungs. If it was real, everyone in the house would have heard.
Then there was Every Little Crook and Nanny. About a nanny who kidnaps the son of a Mafia don played by Victor Mature.In one scene, we see the nanny and her husband or boyfriend or someone-----I think it was Lynne Redgrave and Paul Sand. They are in an apartment with the kidnapped child. I don't remember if the child even knew at that point that he was being held for ransom. But the couple is shouting every word they say, even things that are supposed to be spoken normally. The kid can hear, the neighbors can hear, anyone who happens to be walking past down the hallway can hear them shouting as loud as they can about the kidnapping they committed.

There was one scene I remember from The Bad Seed. Leroy, the handyman, is working, looking up and talking loudly to the camera. There was no way to do it realistically in a movie, but they could have made an effort---had him mutter to himself as he worked.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Angus T. Jones looks trim and fit


I posted this long ago, and I hope it doesn't come across as anti-Angus T. Jones. I thought he was adorable as a kid. Now he's a nice-looking young man.

Angus T Jones has lost weight. Or maybe he's just gotten taller and remained the same weight, but he looks rather slim now. He has sideburns. He also wears glasses. I wonder if they're real. The poor boy plays such a dumb kid on Two and a Half Men, and there are celebrities who wear fake glasses to make themselves look more intelligent----that's why Kato Kaelin started wearing them, and, I heard, Sylvester Stallone.

I've always wondered how overweight actors felt about fat jokes. There was Kate Smith who started out in Vaudville. She appeared in an act with two comics would say things like, "Every time that girl sits down, it looks like a dirigible coming in to dock!" They say that poor Kate would sob in her dressing room after each show.

In Angus T Jones' case, he was just a child, yet they were making jokes about him eating and eating and eating. There are actresses on TV who've been turned into anorexics this way. There were fat jokes, jokes about various excretory functions, masturbation. Jokes about poor hygiene. But as he got older, they gave him girlfriends.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jon Voight: Just embarrassing

Jon Voight turned into an especially idiotic Bush supporter. He used to at least give the impression that he was a leftist, or at least a liberal. I don't remember him expressing any political views back then, but, if he did, I would have found it embarrassing.

It happens all the time. Dim witted people enthusiastically embrace some opinion you sort of share.

There was a hippie-like person---this was many years ago. I was hanging around at the university and he started talking to me. Nothing he said interested me, so he started talking to another guy who was listening carefully.

The hippie guy started explaining the Russian Revolution.

"The Communists---were the Mafia," he said.

"You mean the Communists were like the Mafia?"

"No, no. The Communists---were the Mafia."

"You mean the Communists acted like the Mafia?"

"No, no. The Communists----were the Mafia."

"How were the Communists like the Mafia?"

"No, no. The Communists---were the Mafia."

Some time later, he spoke at a political rally. He started by saying that they don't usually let him speak at these things. Then he started talking about how John Lennon and Yoko Ono were living separately at the time Lennon was killed. He seemed to think this was extremely significant to the peace movement.

But that wasn't really a case of an idiot sharing your views. That was more a case of an idiot giving the vague impression that he was some sort of leftist. Of some sort.

I wonder what ever happened to that guy.

And then you have Jon Voight.

I don't know if he ever expressed his political opinions before when he was supposedly a liberal or a leftist or something. All he did was appear in some political movies like Coming Home and the movie based on the Pat Conroy novel.

He was also in some terrible movies over the years, like Table For Five.

And now he's a right-winger. He denounced anyone who criticized George Bush because Bush was the leader of the Free World and represented America, but now he's smearing Barack Obama in the dumbest terms possible.

Here's a quote I lifted from Wikipedia from Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher:
Last weekend, I tuned into a Fox program hosted by the avuncular former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, of whom I am a fan. There sat actor Jon Voight, staring gravely at the host, who praised the thespian's "courage." ... Voight then accused the president of trying to depose God and deify himself — as, according to the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist will do. It may sound ridiculous — after all, who looks to celebrities for political wisdom? — but it's deadly serious to millions of Americans. To his great discredit, Huckabee, a pastor, let this crazy talk pass unchallenged.
I suspect Voight was just as embarrassing in his pre-right wing days. But you can't tell. I know that you're not supposed to say that right-wingers are stupid, but I've seen it happen----when people turn right-wing, they very often turn stupid. And it's not just that I disagree with them now. They become objectively stupid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Movies they show in TV in New England


Quite a few years ago, I lived on the east coast for several months and I saw movies on TV I hadn't seen in years.

I saw an old made-for-TV movie I watched when I was six or seven years old called The Screaming Woman. An old woman keeps hearing her neighbor calling for help----she's been buried alive by her estranged husband who thought he had killed her. But the old woman can't get anyone to believe her.

I remember sitting in the living room, my sister complaining constantly. In one scene, the old woman, Olivia de Havilland, tries to hire neighbor children to dig up the woman. She offers them a dollar. Cheap old bat. A woman's buried alive and all she'll pay is a dollar?

"A DOLLAR!!!" the children exclaim.

Even back then, when a pack of Twinkies cost 12 cents, kids weren't that impressed by a lousy dollar.

If she had paid them more, maybe they'd have helped her. As it was, they got spooked when they heard the buried woman begging for help and ran away. I'll bet they would have done it for twenty.

My sister also didn't like the freeze frame at the end over which the closing credits ran. It ended with a shot of Olivia de Havilland in a horse-drawn buggy, as I recall, looking very proud of herself. The movie was set in the present-day. At the time I thought the idea was that old people liked things like horses and buggies because they reminded them of the old days.

They showed that thing on a Boston TV station. I hadn't seen it since 1972, and I haven't seen it since.

Also saw a terrible movie called Bunny O'Hare, starring Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine. Bette Davis is angry at the bank that foreclosed on her mortgage. Ernest Borgnine is an ex-convict plumber who takes her toilet to sell as the house is bulldozed. So. Bette and Ernest join forces. They disguise themselves as hippies and commit a series of bank robberies. Ernest Borgnine would release a bird into the bank. While employees tried to get it out, Bette Davis would rob the bank. And bank employees, seeing an elderly woman wearing a wig and hippie clothes, would naturally describe the robber to police as a young bohemian girl.

That movie made a big impression on me when I was eight. This year is its 40th anniversary. You'd think they'd do something to commemorate it.

I later read that they had to re-dub Bette Davis' last line. She insisted on saying "Fuck you" which would have gotten it an R rating. They had to redub it as "screw you" to get a PG rating. Thank God they did or I never would have seen it.

Interesting thing was how well I remembered the movies when I watched them again. I hadn't seen them since I was second grader. It could be that, watching them at such a young age, my memory wasn't distorted by additional knowledge.

But anyway. I don't know why these things were on TV there but not here. Do they show different stuff east of the Mississippi? Are we, on the west coast, that much smarter than the easterners?


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Masterpiece Mystery

Okay. Now it's Sunday night. And there's nothing on. So I'm watching Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. A murder case involving historical reenactment. English people reenact a battle from their Civil War.

Seems like there was an old episode of The Avengers which took place among people who were into medieval reenactment.

And was there a made for TV movie or some pilot I saw? It would have been about 30 years ago. Two amateur sleuths race to prevent a murder. One of the would-be killers says they'll knock the victim off his pace. They realize that the victim has a pacemaker and they plan to murder him with a microwave oven. Which is ironic since it had some sort of medieval reenactment thing happening, if I remember correctly.

Kim Kardashian X rays her buttocks on re-run

It's Sunday morning and there's nothing on TV. So I'm watching E! Kim Kardashian is about to expose herself to X-rays in order to prove that she doesn't have implants in her buttocks. Not that an X-ray would prove that. Horrible family.

One of the Kardashian girls already had skin cancer. You'd think they'd be more sensitive to the dangers of radiation. In this case, there's no medical purpose.

They start by X raying one of the others, Kourtney. They want to see what her breast implants look like in an X ray so they'll know what to look for on Kim's X-ray. If you've endured the medical risk of breast implant surgery, what's a little X-ray? What possible harm could come from bombarding your breasts with radiation?

This isn't the 1950s. There was a time when they had X ray machines in shoe stores. You'd put try on shoes then look at X rays of your feet to see if they fit properly. In the early '50s there were thousands of these things in shoe stores all over the country. Even in 1950, they realized it was dangerous. The machines were poorly maintained and leaked radiation. They were also designed so radiation hit you in the testicles and ovaries while you were looking at your feet. Who knows how many birth defects they caused.

By 1970, shoe store X-ray machines were either directly banned or effectively banned by strict regulations in every state, but there was one still illegally operating in a shoe store in West Virginia in 1981. It's pictured above.

Well. I guess it doesn't matter. It's only Kim Kardashian. What the hell. X ray her some more.

Next episode - their mother pressures one of them to marry an alcoholic

They all have these horrible boyfriends. One of them is an unwed mother and their pimp of a mother, Kris Jenner, wants her to marry her repellent bourgeois alcoholic boyfriend because it's what God wants. (She actually said that.)

Again, she may as well.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Poor Robert "Sandy" Vietze

Well, if Robert "Sandy" Vietze were a petite 18-year-old instead of a big hulking would-be Olympic skier, perhaps people would find his drunken antics cute or amusing.

Vietze was on the US ski team. He was flying back to Vermont from Oregon where he'd been training on Mount Hood. He somehow managed to buy a large amount of beer and liquor in a bar somewhere---he had 8 drinks---then he got on a plane. During the flight, he got up and relieved himself on a sleeping 11-year-old girl. He was arrested, but the family decided that their daughter is under enough stress so they aren't pressing charges, not that prosecutors would need them to.

But look at him! Tall, strapping! Relatively even features! If he'd been in the Olympics, if he did any good, he could have been the new Bruce Jenner, the new Kurt Thomas. He could be doing TV, movies, commercials.

Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas was in a martial arts movie called Gymkata. He combined gymnastics with kung fu to form a ridiculous "new" martial art.

Bruce Jenner, who won some gold medals for something, starred in Can't Stop the Music with The Village People.

Well, if you're going to get drunk and urinate on a child, it's probably best to do it before you become famous, not after. Look what poor Gerard Depardieu is going through, and he just went on the carpet. And he's old. He couldn't help it. He has prostate trouble.

Depardieu probably made the wisest choice under the circumstances. He could wet his pants and become known as a pitiful, incontinent old man, or he could go in the aisle and become known as a drunken wild man, the elderly Bad Boy of French cinema.

Vietze could still parlay this into a screen career. Maybe get a reality series out of it.

I wonder what he actually hoped to do. His parents paid over $40,000 a year for him to attend an exclusive ski academy in Vermont. He was planning to be in the Olympics. Was he figuring on becoming a celebrity? They had to have been expecting some sort of payoff.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Girl expelled for reporting rape

School forces child to apologize to rapist, and he rapes her again

Several years ago there was a case---a 16-year-old girl was expelled from school for reporting that she had been raped by a teacher. Nothing happened to the teacher. A few years later, the teacher, a serial rapist, went to prison for another rape he committed.

Turns out that this is common practice in schools. Children are no safer from sex abuse in public schools than they were in Catholic schools. Sexual predators working in schools are moved from school to school. Their crimes are covered up by school officials. Teachers tend to cover up for each other.

There was a case shown on Dateline NBC or some such show. There was a hearing for a fifth grade teacher being dismissed for sexually molesting girls in his class. One of his former students, now in Air Force, returned to testify that he had done the same thing to her. And the young woman's former 6th grade teacher testified in the teacher's defense, claiming that she remembered this girl and knew her to have always been dishonest.

Now we have another case. The rapist this time wasn't a teacher, but the school did all it could to protect him. They expelled his victim, a 12-year-old girl in special education, and forced her to write and deliver an apology to him. The boy has since pleaded guilty to raping the girl. The girl's mother is suing the school. The school says the lawsuit is frivolous.

This is a school district which recently banned Slaughterhouse 5 and Twenty Boy Summer from it's high school library.

According to the Republic Middle School website, the principal and two assistant principals all graduated from Christian colleges.

From CNN.com:
A lawsuit filed against a Missouri school district alleges that officials failed to protect a female student from repeated sexual assaults from a male student, and at one point expelled her for reporting the alleged attacks.

A rape examination proved that the girl was telling the truth, and the male student pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack, the suit alleges.

In a response filed in court, the Republic School District in Greene County, Mo., denied the allegations and called the lawsuit "frivolous."

The lawsuit, filed in July, alleges that the girl was a special education student at a Missouri middle school in the 2008-2009 school year when she told officials about harassment, sexual assaults and a rape by a male student.

School officials told her that her story was not credible, and told her mother that she had recanted the story, the suit alleges.

The suit alleges that school officials made the girl write an apology letter and deliver it to the boy -- without consulting with the girl's mother.

She was then expelled for the rest of the school year and reported to juvenile authorities for allegedly filing a false crime report.

She was allowed to come back to school the next year and her mother urged school officials to protect her from the male student. School officials denied the request, the suit alleges.

"During the 2009-2010 school year, (the girl) was terrified that she would be sexually harassed, assaulted , or raped again at school, and was unable to sleep many nights," the suit says.

Though she tried to avoid the boy, she was harassed again. She did not report this because she was scared that school officials would not believe her.

In February 2010, the same boy grabbed her, dragged her to the back of the school library and raped her again, the suit alleges.

"School officials approached (the girl's) claims with the same skepticism as the year before, even going so far as to state that they had 'already been through this,' " the suit states.

The girl's mother took her to a child advocacy center that confirmed that a sexual assault occurred and DNA evidence found in the girl matched the male student, the suit alleges.

The male student was "taken into custody in Juvenile Court and pleaded guilty to charges brought against him," the suit says.

The suit does not state the exact charges the male student allegedly pleaded guilty to.

Despite the results of the test, the girl was suspended from school for what the school called "disrespectful conduct" and "public display of affection," the suit claims.

School officials did not respond to CNN's attempts to get comments, but the school district released a statement on its website.

"It is important to remember that the allegations in a lawsuit are just that -- allegations. The district has filed an answer denying the allegations," part of the statement said. "The district cannot discuss confidential student matters and does not comment on pending litigation."

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, but did not state a specific dollar amount being sought.

Maybe the law is different in Missouri, but don't they put school officials in jail for failing to report sex crimes against children?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gerard Depardieu does something disgusting on a plane

What is Gerard Depardieu's appeal? I've never understood it. A big ugly French ape. He never seemed very interesting. I was surprised to learn he was in Going Places which I saw on Home Box Office (as HBO was called back then) when I was in junior high school. I was disgusted by it. I learned later it was a comedy.

I always feel guilty for judging actors harshly based on their looks or other things they have no control over. But in his case, I think it's okay since he commented unkindly about some actress I never heard of. This was from the British Guardian:
"I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She [Binoche] has nothing. Absolutely nothing! She is nothing, compared with her, Isabelle Adjani is great, even if she's totally nuts. Or Fanny Ardant – she is magnificent, extremely impressive. But Binoche? What has she ever had going for her?"
Depardieu then attacked Leos Carax:
"Carax needed six years to shoot his film with Binoche, which turned out not even to be a film but just a piece of shit."
A guy from that French movie magazine, Cahiers du Cinema, responded:
"The best explanation I can think of regarding the insults to Juliette Binoche, whom I consider the best actress of her generation, and also a very generous and daring person, is heavy drinking. It's only a guess, but other explanations would be worse.”
And now, you know what Gerard Depardieu did?

He was sitting on an Air France plane. He was drunk. 62-years-old and he sat there saying over and over in French, "I have to piss, I have to piss."

They told him he had to wait they were about to take off.

So Gerard Depardieu got up and relieved himself on the carpet.

They kicked the scumbag off the plane along with his friends and his baggage.

I wonder how he felt about it later.

His friend, Edouard Baer, said the poor guy was terribly embarrassed, he couldn't wait and the bottle his friend passed him was too small.

Couldn't he have planned ahead? His overwhelming need to urinate couldn't have been that sudden, although he could be on diuretics, I suppose. It'd be rather amazing if he didn't have high blood pressure.

Still, he should have cut back on fluids before the flight and used the lavatory before boarding the plane. It's just common sense.


US ski team member Robert "Sandy" Vietze goes to the bathroom (almost) on a child

There was a story in the news about an 18-year-old in the same situation. Except he was a big lout named Robert "Sandy" Vietze, a member of the US ski team, and he almost urinated on an eleven-year-old girl. There was no indication that he was blocked from using the toilet. Future potential employers will be able to Google his name and find out about this. Since he's being charged with indecent exposure, he may have to register as a sex offender anyway. And it turns out that he was a "top alpine skiier" on the US ski team getting ready for the next Winter Olympics. He's been kicked off the ski team.

The family of the girl decided not to press charges. They didn't want to put her through any more stress than she's already under. The girl's father is a stage 4 cancer patient.

I somehow doubt any of that means anything to Vietze. There was another report on this case which ends by wishing him luck "living this down", but I'd be surprised if Vietze feels any shame or embarrassment. He's probably confused as to why he's been kicked off the team and doesn't know what the big deal is.

And here is Robert "Sandy" Vietze on You Tube speaking at some sort of graduation ceremony:

http://youtu.be/Iz_RMNUigU0


His family home has an assessed value of $645,400.00 according to homes.com and there are videos posted on YouTube of him skiing in Austria. He graduated from the Green Mountain Valley School, a ski academy and private school which charges over $42,300.00 a year tuition.

http://www.gmvs.org/


I don't think there's much future. He's not skiing in the Olympics and I don't think he'd get any endorsement deals if he did. He's finished! The best thing he could do now would be to change his name and move as far from Vermont as possible. Every potential employer and anyone else he meets who'd be apt to google his name would discover his disgusting crime. A name change is his only hope.

I wonder what ever happened to Aleksy Vayner.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Again I talk about Breaking Bad


The show's getting kind of dull.

You had the recent episode focusing on the ladies. The horrible, horrible ladies. But Walt is no longer recognizable as a mild mannered high school chemistry teacher, so what's the point?

It's like the time they tried to resurrect the old Gilligan's Island by having the castaways open a resort on the island after they are rescued. The one compelling element was that they were stuck on an island and wanted off, and with that gone there was nothing.

Walt shouldn't have told his horrible wife what he was doing. It was better when he was out of his element among the criminals but still much smarter than them.

Now his obnoxious brother-in-law has become a nice guy after being badly injured. Jesse has become friends with that horrible killer guy whose name I haven't bothered learning. The other bald guy. I noticed last night that Walt's son is in awfully good shape and looked like he could beat the crap out of most of the kids in his school even if he is on crutches. They seemed to breeze through the money laundering. You can do that? Just tell your friends you won money counting cards and the IRS won't arrest you?

I grow disenchanted.

I did read a guy on a message board suggest what he thought would happen----that Walt believes Gus will kill him as soon as he's able to, so Walt will turn to his brother-in-law for help. The poster thought that his brother-in-law would actually find out about Walt's criminality and not mind terribly.

He wasn't quite correct. But his brother-in-law is beginning to suspect something about....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mel Brooks vs. Woody Allen

I heard a quote when I was in high school. Someone asked Mel Brooks why he didn't try making serious movies. He said it was because he and Woody Allen were the only two people who knew how to make a decent comedy.

Even in the '70s, there must have been SOME competently made comedies.

Brooks started out, by the way, trying to make slightly more "serious" comedies, or at least original comedies. His first two movies were The Producers and The Twelve Chairs.

The Producers everyone knows. The Twelve Chairs was based on a 1928 satirical Soviet novel by Ilf and Petrov. I thought it was pretty good. The book featured a criminal named Ostap Bender. I suspect that the character Bender on Futurama was a reference to this.

The story is about a Russian aristocrat deposed by the Russian Revolution. His mother-in-law is on her deathbed. She tells him that she had hidden a fortune in jewels in the seat of one of the twelve dining chairs in their mansion which has now been converted to an old age home by the Soviet government. He sets out to find the twelve chairs and soon finds himself working with Bender. But his mother-in-law also confessed this to a Russian Orthodox priest who is also searching for them.

There was a movie called It's In the Bag, made in 1945 with Fred Allen and Jack Benny which was loosely based on the same story.

The Producers and the movie The Twelve Chairs both failed financially. That's why Brooks turned away from original comedies to doing broad parodies.

Woody Allen's career took the opposite path. He started out making movies that were simply a series of gags. Notice that he didn't direct Play It Again, Sam, based on his play, because he was afraid to. It had a story----a beginning, a middle and an end. He didn't think he could direct something like that.

I don't remember what it was, but Allen had written a play before that. He was shocked when it was criticized for being too funny. It had too many jokes.

So Allen started trying to compensate for his weaknesses by making more and more "serious" movies.

And the results were a mirror of image of the results for Brooks.

Allen's first broad comedies did great, made a lot of money. His later "serious" movies barely broke even, and only because of the foreign markets. Allen has tried to claim since then that his early movies made very little money either, but it wasn't true.

Now, Woody Allen appeared as a voice actor in an animated ant movie which probably made more money that all his other movies combined.

But why anyone would ask Mel Brooks why he doesn't make "serious" movies? Looking at those broad parodies, the acting isn't exactly realistic. Why on earth would anyone think he was qualified to make a drama?

I should mention that Brooksfilm did produce The Elephant Man, and a biopic about Frances Farmer among other things.

With Woody Allen, the more artistic he tries to be the less cinematic his movies are. His "serious" art movies are 100% verbal. Everything is spelled out in the dialog. Reading the script and watching the movie are practically the same experience.

The only cinematic works of art Allen's made are his early, funnier movies. They may be verbal, too, but try to imagine a novelization or even writing a synopsis of Radio Days or Love and Death. They work well as movies but only as movies. They can't be translated into any other narrative form.

Mel Brooks, meanwhile, has gone into sad decline. People have stolen his movie parody gimmick making movies like Aiplane!, Scary Movie and countless others. He's made a few bombs--Robin Hood--Men in Tights, The History of the World Part One.

Well, everyone goes into sad decline if their lucky enough to live that long. Hitchcock, John Huston and Sydney Lumet managed to make triumphant returns at the end which Brooks has now done with The Producers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One suggestion for Breaking Bad

The lawyer should quitting saying, "I know a guy."

There've been a few episodes where the sleazy lawyer reveals that he knows a guy who can solve whatever problem. In the latest episode, he tells Walt that he "knows a guy" who can help him and his family "disappear". Which seems...is it really that difficult?

If I had a vast sum of money and a drug lord were after me, I would look at a map. It's a big world. Europe. Asia. You could go live in the heart of the Ukraine, Mongolia, Vietnam, India. Would they really follow you there? Why would Walter want to stay in Albuquerque, anyway?

I never understood why more people don't flee the country. Think of how much better Monica Lewinsky's life would have been had she hopped on a Greyhound for Canada.

Then they have that ubermensch who works for Gus and goes around killing people.

The show started out being about a science teacher who becomes a criminal, and now it's about super criminals. It's like he's working for SPECTRE now.

But there's no way out of it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Violence for no reason


There was that German silent movie, Spies, directed by Fritz Lang. It was very cool. The only thing that I didn't like was how pointless it was. The story was that all this stuff was happening because some spies wanted to stop some other spies from delivering a copy of a treaty to an embassy or some such thing. They never explained the significance. Yet people were killing each other, one guy committed Hara-kiri. They were crashing through buildings in trains, setting off bombs. Why not just let the other people see the treaty? Aren't they generally public anyway?

Someone was trying to convince me to watch Fight Club.

"So it's about people who are in a club and they fight for no reason?" I said.

"Yes!" they enthused. Said something about----I don't know----frustrated would-be celebrities or something. I didn't understand it.

I used to really be into Samurai movies. I watched one called Samurai parts I, II and III. A biopic of sorts about Miyamoto Musashi, or Musashi Miyamoto (which is the title in Japanese).

Musashi was a great Samurai. He killed over 60 men. Only problem was that Japan was at peace at the time. He killed 60 men in duels just to show he could do it.

Contrast that with the Zatoichi movies.

If they're killing each other for sport, I'd be just as happy if they ALL died.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ingmar Bergman, Andy Griffith


I guess I haven't seen that many Swedish movies. Because the three most recent Swedish movies I've seen are Fanny & Alexander, Pelle the Conquorer, and one called Slingshot.

Come to think of it, I've also seen My Life as a Dog and a terrible, cheap action movie with Dennis Hopper as a CIA agent.

But, those three movies, Fanny & Alexander, Pelle the Conquorer, and Slingshot had one thing in common. Well. Two or three things. They were about kids, they were historical dramas, and they all had extremely disturbing corporal punishment scenes. It seemed ironic since Sweden was the first country to completely ban spanking.

What does this say about movie violence? You had these disturbing, violent scenes. They couldn't claim they were reflecting the violence in society. They couldn't claim that they were really protesting against violence since hitting kids is already illegal there. On the other hand, the scenes were such that the filmmakers couldn't be accused of advocating violence.

It could just be that the practice if beating children is so shocking to Swedes today that they couldn't ignore or gloss over it in movies set in the past. In the same way, Americans couldn't make a movie set in Alabama in the 1960s without commenting on racism.

Can you set a movie in the deep South in the '60s without mentioning the Civil Rights struggle? Would it be racist to do so? I've heard The Andy Griffith Show denounced as racist on that basis-----a show about a Southern Sheriff in an all-white town. And The Beverly Hillbillies, with Granny and her Confederate flag and her belief that the South won the war, all this while Civil Rights workers were being murdered in the streets.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mark O. Hatfield RIP


Mark Hatfield, former Oregon Governor and Senator, has died at age 89.

He was known around Congress as St. Mark because of his high moral standards. He was rather religious. He had regular prayer meetings. But he prayed only with rich guys from the timber industry. They were very nice. They gave him large loans which he was never asked to repay. As Jesus commanded in the Sermon of the Mount, they forgave his debts.

I think he also got the government to give a large sum of money to a private college in return for their admitting his idiot son.

My own memory of Hatfield was the time I was at my job in a downtown furniture store. My car was parked in front. It was a twenty-year-old Toyota which was rather banged up. The front end was pushed in which put the radiator perilously close to the fan, and one of the engine mounts was broken. I looked out. An old man in a Cadillac was trying to parallel park behind me. He pulled forward until he hit my car. Then he backed up. Then he pulled forward and hit my car again. Then he backed up again. It didn't seem to do any damage, so, okay.

The old man came inside. And it was former Senator Mark Hatfield!

Later, I went out to my car. I started the engine. Because the motor mount was broken, him ramming into it had cause the engine to shift a bit and the fan tore a hole in the radiator. The car only cost a hundred dollars in the first place, so that was the end of it.

I can't help but wonder if it was the hand of God that tore the hole in that radiator.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More stuff about Breaking Bad

I learned recently that there are people who really, really hate Skyler, Walt's wife on Breaking Bad. There's a facebook page devoted to their dislike. They don't mind Walt who, so far on the show, has dissolved a couple of human bodies in acid and watched a girl die of a drug overdose because he didn't want to call 911. The girl's death led to her distraught air traffic controller father causing a terrible disaster.

Walter is a very bad man, but he'd be okay to live with. Only problem would be the possibility of being murdered by his drug lord friends or going to prison when they falsely implicate you in his crimes.

With Walt, it's like what Alfred Hitchcock said. He talked about suspense in movies. There was the scene in Psycho. Tony Perkins cleans up after the murder. The camera pans around the motel room.

Presumably, the audience wanted the killer to be caught. They didn't want the killer to get away with it. And yet, as they watched Tony Perkins mopping up the blood and picking up the stuff, the audience was in suspense. When the pans around the room, they're looking for anything he might have missed---they were trying to help him.

The situation was stronger than the character. Or...was the character stronger than the situation?

In any case, I hate drunks, speeders, car thieves and reckless drivers, but when I see those police chases on TV, I always find myself hoping the poor guy gets away. I don't approve of Walt's crimes, but for some reason I don't want him to get caught.

Walt started out as a pitiful high school teacher, moonlighting at the car wash, his students showing him no respect, his disabled teenage son being taunted by wealthy jocks. Criminality made him grow as a person, become more assertive. He couldn't deal with disruptive students but he faced down an extremely violent drug lord and walked away with a bag full of money.

The only thing is, the premise of the show is that Walt wants to make money to provide for his family after his death. He's terminally ill. Why does he want to provide for his horrible wife? She was apparently unfaithful. Part of the backstory was that Walt had been a prominent chemist, had started a company with a friend who made lots of money off Walt's work after he left in disgust----they didn't say why but it may have had something to do with his horrible adulterous wife. And someone somewhere mentioned that Walt wasn't sure his son was his.

Walt was so much closer with Jesse than with his actual son. Walt, Jr., seemed rather pitiful and immature idolizing his scumbag father.

On the other hand, Walt gets Jesse beaten up again and again, has him committing horrible crimes including murder, gave him the task of disposing of Walt's victims and he stood and watched while Jesse's girlfriend died of an overdose, which I mentioned above. Poor Jesse. Rejected by his family.

Maybe the series is more like Shane, or Hud, or All Fall Down, with Jesse in the Brandon de Wilde role, as a young fellow idolizing men he really shouldn't look up to.

And how long is this show going to last anyway? Will it be like M*A*S*H* where the Korean War lasts for decades and two 50-year-old men are playing draftees? The guy is was told in episode one that he didn't have much time left to live.

Maybe his criminality is improving his health.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A kinder, gentler, real life Breaking Bad, sort of

I had a friend in high school. His mother traveled a lot and didn't take him along for some reason. I think he was about sixteen before she stopped hiring a babysitter, but this probably wasn't a wise move.

When he was fourteen, his mother went out of town for a week and left him with a babysitter. He got up in the morning to go to junior high school. He went out. Got in the car and drove to school.

In high school, his mother left town and he took the opportunity to brew a large batch of beer. It's easy enough to do. It's legal for adults to brew it. I don't know if it's illegal for the young to do.

A few years later, there was a report in the local news. Some high school kids had been arrested. They were preparing to brew a batch of beer for themselves. They had a friend who wanted some, so they were going to give some to him. Then other people heard about it. And more. And soon they were taking advance orders.

They were arrested. I'm not sure what they were charged with and I don't know what happened to them. It doesn't seem like that serious a crime. The greatest legal threat was probably getting sued after a customer gets drunk, tries to drive and hits somebody.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Obama, Republicans

There was some nonsense in Look magazine back in the '50s. They showed how the Communists could take over America.

How would they do it? They'd use the "old Communist trick" of creating a crisis and then taking credit for solving it.

Not exactly what the Republicans did. They created an artificial crisis and used it to get what they wanted.

Well. Obama is a terrible president. You can't put your faith in the Democrats and it's probably too late for a third party.

We should note here the amazing reversal under Bush. After September 11th, the world's sympathy was with the U.S. Bush put an end to that.

And Obama? He was enormously popular in the Muslim world. At first. Now he may actually be less popular than Bush.

Libya is probably more humiliating a defeat than Iraq after all the talk about how weak Libya was, how Gaddafi was on the verge of collapse with no popular support whatsoever. They claimed that he was so reviled in Libya that he had to hire mercenaries to fight for him. In reality, they're handing out AK-47s in Tripoli.

It was going to take days, not weeks, Obama said.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Breaking Bad, the women


I watched last night's episode of Breaking Bad. Focused on the ladies this episode. The wife of the DEA agent brother-in-law is a kleptomaniac. Walt's wife---I liked it better when Walt tried to keep the two parts of his life separate. She plunged into criminality too readily. Walt I can understand---he was angry and embittered. It's surprising he wasn't already a criminal.

The women are kind of unpleasant anyway. What are they, sisters? The whole family is made up of criminals except for the son, and he's probably not Walt's.