Friday, October 04, 2013

Class vs. No Class

I am so sick to death of Miley Cyrus.  The formerly clean-cut Disney girl has tramped out in every way possible, and rather than becoming popular for any musical ability, she is a source of mockery for anyone who sees her antics.  Frankly, she is about as classy as a plate of pus.  Now, I'm no fan of Sinead O'Connor ... at all ... but her feud with Miley in which she accuses Ms. Formerly Hannah Montana of mocking the mentally ill is the stuff of TMZ joy.

It got me thinking of some things I've considered about actors and other performers: who stands out as classy and who stands out as classless?  I've decided to make a short list, to which I hope others will add, and wonder if the differences stand out as starkly as they do to me.

Just about any rapper
M. Cyrus
J. Bieber
Charlie Sheen
Alec Baldwin
Ted Nugent
Any Kardashian
Paris Hilton

Sir Patrick Stewart
Nathan Fillion (argue with me ... I dare you)
Michael J. Fox (anyone who can do a series that not only increases the knowledge of Parkinson's but can also laugh at himself for the things he deals with is an incredibly classy guy)
David Tenant (tell me when you have read anything negative or disgusting about him)
Vin Scully (65 years and going strong as a broadcaster ... and loved by everyone ... even other teams)
Anne Hathaway (she's done some nudity, but she always seems so nice in all of her public appearances)
Hugh Jackman
Kate Middleton

OK....your turn.  Give me some suggestions, and I'll keep thinking.  I particularly want to note who qualifies as classy.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Human Governments: Not working so well, are they?

If this week should have taught people anything, it's that even the so-called "best form of human government" doesn't work.  One can list tons of negatives about fascism, socialism, and communism.  One can recite the crimes and inequities of dictatorships, monarchies, Islamic regimes, and totalitarianism.  But one cannot state with all certainty that out of all of the governments that exist, the American form is the best.  It is laden with special interests, selfishness, childishness, elitism, and other psychological oddities that make its leaders decide that shutting down all of its facets is better than being reasonable.

Jon Stewart pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is a law.  It was voted upon by Congress, signed by the President, and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.  Guess what?  That makes it legal and an active law.  Period.  By trying to use it as a bargaining chip, the Republicans are denying the constitution that they claim to hold so dear.

Thousands of years of human governments, and not one of them has functioned for the ultimate good of its people.

My point is this: stop waving the flag and saying how awesome American government is.  It has become a joke rather than a beacon.  It's an embarrassment and the butt of jokes of other nations, not because they are jealous, but because the U.S. system has become so dysfunctional.

A guy took 19 shots at a group of Jehovah's Witnesses with a 9 mm pistol, just because they were following the Bible's requirement that they preach the good news.  Part of this good news involves God's government.  So now, I guess, if you don't agree with something, you shoot it.  I wonder what the writers of the Constitution would say about that.

In any case, stop shouting "U.S.A." for one minute and ask yourself:  If things are so great, why do politicians let babies go hungry to try to prove a point?  (Don't believe me?  Ask how WIC is funded and what it does.)  Then maybe, just maybe, instead of hating Jehovah's Witnesses, you could give a listen to what they are saying.

One more thing...

The U.S. Postal Service wants to raise rates for a first-class stamp by three cents up to forty-nine cents.  My questions are these:
Will this solve the financial issues they are facing?
How will they address the retirement funding?  Will the Congress allow changes?  (Yeah...right.)
Why not just raise it to fifty cents?  A nice round number that will make buying stamps easier, maybe help the Post Office a bit more, and still be less than just about every other country on this planet charges.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Supply and Demand

I like to think of myself as "reasonably intelligent".  (Shut up, Red!)  I can usually figure out perplexing issues, such as:

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? (2174 ... I figured it out as a bored teen.)
Why do kids like Cinnamon Toast Crunch?  (Lots and lots of sugar.)
Why doesn't Justin Bieber date Miley Cyrus?  (The stupid lack of talent and taste would cause sinkholes in time and space.)

But I can't figure out a couple of things about the roll-out of the new iPhone.

First off, I realized that I can buy my wife a new iPhone 5c AND get paid to do it!  By selling her 4s to for $200, I can buy her the 5c for around $140, and still have enough left to buy her a new case for it!  (We were already going to renew the contract with AT&T.)  How is this possible?  Some kind of timey-wimey burp in the logic circuits of the TARDIS?

Second, word is coming out that the 5s will be in very short supply on release.  Explain THAT one to me!  Apple advertises this thing, but doesn't allow pre-orders.  Why?  'Cause they haven't made enough of them!  Look, Apple folks ... You've been at this for awhile now.  Is it because Tim Cook has lost control of the ship?  Are they creating their own demand for the new phone since it wasn't as innovative as past versions?  What's next?

"The new iPhone 5s 1/2, with 10% brighter screen!  But limited quantities are available, so stand in line 2 weeks early if you want yours!"

I refuse to give in to this kind of artificial pressure from Apple!  So, to show my displeasure, I refuse to wait in line for a new phone!  No.  Instead, I will drive up to my AT&T store about an hour after it opens and calmly grovel until I get the phone.  See?  That's me not giving in to the man!

(I hope they have one for me...)

Friday, September 13, 2013

I'm So Glad It's Friday

I'm not going to say TGIF.  Anyone who says that has a misconception on things to be thankful for.

That being said, I am truly glad that it is Friday, because I hope that next week will be better.  Anyway, I think it's time for "Friday Rants" (Registered Trademark pending, Patent Pending, Copyright 2013, etc., etc.)

Let's start with:

Apple:  Well, all of the predictions were true.  Everything from the 5c to the 5s was leaked ahead of time.  Normally, I wouldn't say that either one was so fantastic that I would have to go out and buy one on release day, but since I do "need" a new phone, and since I am now convinced that Android bites big robot butt, I'm going to try to get my greedy little hands on the 5s.  I'm not getting it for something so mundane as the fingerprint sensor or the better camera.  The geek in me likes those things, but the nerd in me also likes the new processing setup and speed.  Nothing incredibly innovative, but still the best smartphone out there.

Tokyo Olympics 2020:  Considering the financial successes of the past however many Olympic games, I have to ask the Japanese delegation: Is this really the wisest use of your money?

Miley Cyrus:  Yes, a lot has been said about the mad twerking bimbette, but I really wonder if, when she left the protection of Disney, she wasn't able to get refills on the prescription medication that kept her from losing her tiny little mind.  Let's see: talentless, trampy, daughter of a semi-famous country singer, various insane escapades...Hey!  She should date Bieber!  Oh wait ... is she gay?  If so, then she can go ahead and date Bieber.

Doctor Who 50th:  New rumor has Peter Davidson (5th Doctor) having a role in the 50th.  Not sure how they'll pull that off, as he has visibly aged a lot since his regeneration.  (Although not as badly as Tom Baker and Collin Baker...sheesh!)  I'm just wondering....Where is Paul McGann???  Doctor #8 needs to have a big role!  That would be fantastic!

Anthony Weiner:  Is he off the stage yet?  Please?

That's it for today!  More next week!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Why So Syria?

As a complete non-political entity, I do have to ask one question: Why is it that dogs learn when you hit them in the nose with a newspaper, but politicians don't?  Actually, maybe the smack on the nose would be a good idea for a politician!

In the years before World War I and for a few years of that slaughter, the United States was isolationist.  They didn't want to get involved anywhere.  After that, the U.S. decided to get involved in just about any conflict anywhere.  And yet, after Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan ... there's talk of dropping bombs on the moms in Syria.  Sigh.... and people wonder why we don't go to war.  Even experts can't tell who the good guys are in Syria!  Fact is ... there are no good guys.  There are just bad guys and the innocents who get caught in the crossfire.  And those innocents are flowing out of Syria into Saudi Arabia and other lands to get away from the executions, gas attacks, bombings, machine guns, and various other forms of slaughter.

I've got news for anyone who feels justified and "good" in going to battle:  God isn't with you.  Really.  Check your Bibles.  When God was with a military force, not only did that force win, but they won either with no losses, or without even having to fight.  Ever see that happen in modern times?  Didn't think so.

I believe that President al-Assad of Syria is guilty of using sarin gas on the "rebels".  I also believe that the "rebels" are guilty of executing captured soldiers.  Why do I believe this?  Because the proof is there.  Because we have been warned that people would go from bad to worse in this "time of the end".  Because humans with weapons of any kind (and even without weapons) have proven themselves to be cruel and vicious beyond belief.

It's sad.  Truly.  And pitiful.  And disgusting.

That's just another example of why we preach peace.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Why No Posts?

It always seems to come down to this.  I stop writing because no one is reading.

I say no one, but I know of a few.  Analytics say that I'm getting more than a couple of hits, but no responses other than a couple of friends. 

I should be writing this for my own enjoyment, but I don't write every day because, let's face it, it isn't a job.  So where do I go from here?  I don't know.  I guess I'll keep posting from time to time, perhaps 3 times a week. 

Please understand, though, that this blog doesn't take sides politically.  While I may seem liberal, that doesn't mean that I'm political.  So if you are looking for my version of Fox, MSNBC, or anything like that, it isn't going to happen.  Even if I make a social statement, it isn't a political statement.

So, I'll keep at this awhile longer.  I'll try to be interesting, funny, topical, local, international, serious ... you name it.  But -- and this is a threat -- if the readership doesn't pick up, I'm probably done.

With that, some quickies:

Apple:  Whatever happened to Apple's famed secrecy?  It used to be that you would never know what was in the pipeline until Steve Jobs unveiled the product on stage.  Now there are pictures from Chinese factories and other locations giving just about every piece of information about a new product before it hits the stage.  Can you say "anticlimactic"?  I knew you could.

Microsoft:  Wow.  How many wrong turns can a company take?  Microsoft used to be the powerhouse in the computer world, and now it's just one flop after another.  Buying Nokia to get a replacement for Ballmer?  What the...?  What's next?  The Windows toaster?  The Microsoft rectal thermometer?  (Trust me ... with Microsoft's record, no one's buying that item.)

Sacramento anti-arena forces:  Please ... please ... go away.  The arena will be good for downtown business.  Period.  Go protest something else, like idiots who waste time with signature-gathering efforts that no one wants.  Oh ... wait.

Doctor Who:  I am such a fanboy.  With that, I just heard that after the Christmas special, we probably won't have any new episodes until autumn 2014.  2014???  Steven Moffat, I'm calling you out!  Stop it!  You may be good at lying and keeping secrets and playing with plot lines so that they make sense to you and no one else, but quit delaying seasons!  (See:  Sherlock.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So ... How's That Android Treatin' Ya?

In a previous post or two, I noted that I was thinking of moving from Apple to Android in the world of smartphones.  After much trepidation, I pulled the trigger and got an HTC One.  How did it go?  I am the proud owner of an iPhone 4S.

You might ask what the heck was wrong with the HTC?  Do you really want a review?  You do?  Suit yourself.

1)  Transferring info from the iPhone to the One was presented as an easy thing to do.  Just click the synch button on the program downloaded into your Mac and voila!  Instant synch.  NOT.  I actually had to download two programs and manually move everything into the HTC.  On top of that, the AT&T bloatware that is unremovable caused lots of problems with my address book and photostream.  Fail!
2)  The main screen that cannot be changed has a "feature" that is constantly updating with your Facebook, Twitter, news, etc.  It's big, and ugly, and after five minutes I wanted it gone.  But wait!  You can't!  It's part of the HTC operating system laid over Android.  Fail!
3)  Creating ringtones is supposed to be easy.  You just go to your music, find a song, click "make a ringtone", change the start and finish points, and there you go!  Not.  There are two ... count 'em ... two music players on this phone, and when you find the right one, they make it impossible to figure out how to slice and dice!  The speakers and sound are great, when you can find the song you want.  Fail!
4)  The Google Play store is a mess, since they allow anyone and everyone to put apps out there.  Some look like the app you want, but if you look at the creator you find that it isn't the right one.  Deceptive, opportunity for viruses, annoying, and ... yes ... Fail!
5)  Downloading a document is easy.  Finding it once it has been downloaded is virtually impossible.  Fail!
6)  Fail!  (Just because.)

Between yesterday evening and this morning, I spend about 6 hours playing with the phone, trying to like it.  I didn't.  So, at noon, I went back to AT&T, got my money back (less a restocking fee ... criminals), and had the sim card put back into my old iPhone 4S.  At which point, I went on to, got a quote of $220 for the phone, clicked "Accept", and began my wait for the shipping materials to be sent to me.  I have until the end of September to send it, by which time I will have either an iPhone 5, 5C, or 5S (6?).  There may not be many new bells and whistles to the new iPhone, but I'll wager to say that it works, works well, and makes sense.

I usually learn my lessons by getting hit by a two by four with a nail in the end.  Chalk this one up to another scar made by that rusty old nail.  I am, and for the foreseeable future will be, an iPhone fan.  Win!