Archive for February, 2009

Movie Review: What just happened?

 

What just happened is more than just the title of this movie. It (and WTF) are what you will be thinking after you watch this total waste of time. There was nothing likable about this movie, the writing, acting, directing, editing even the soundtrack was horrible. It had such a talented cast I thought it had to be atleast OK. After watching this movie though, I think that everyone involved with this film should have to return any and all awards they have ever received for acting and become ineligible to win any in the future. In fact I’m thinking a few should get jail time for putting people through that load of crap.

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Shantaram

 

I read the book Shantaram in July-August of 2008. It’s a novel about an escaped convict from Australia who goes to Bombay. It’s based on the author’s life. When I was on about page 600 or so I heard that it was going to be made into a movie. My first thought was wow this would make an epic movie. The first person that popped in my head to play the lead role was Daniel Craig. (During the same time period that I was reading Shantaram I watched the movie Layer Cake starring Daniel Craig.) I saw enough similarities between the two characters that it was a natural fit for Daniel to play the lead roll in Shantaram (in my mind anyways). Then I heard that it was Johnny Depp that bought the rights to the book and my heart sank. I think Johnny Depp is a great actor and all (especially when he plays weird characters) but from what I was reading I just couldn’t picture him in the lead roll of this story. To me that would be like having Anthony Hopkins play the roll of Payton Manning in a movie about the Colts winning the Super Bowl. It’s just not right. Being a great actor doesn’t mean you are the best choice for every roll. I hope Johnny makes the movie. I just hope he isn’t acting in it.

 

My review of Shantaram (and other books I’ve read) can be found at: http://www.goodreads.com/profile/FeloniousMonk

 

Thoughts on Abortion

 

Many years ago I heard of a shooting of a doctor (who preformed abortions) by some pro life nut claiming to be a Christian. I really couldn’t understand how someone claiming to be pro life (or a Christian) could kill. The reasoning was taking a life to save many other lives. Being pro choice I decided to put some real thought into the matter and try to understand both sides and that way understand my own position.

I started with the reasons to have an abortion. It became clear that almost every reason began with I. “I’m too young,” “I want a career,” “I can’t do this on my own,” etc. Even in the case of rape or incest it came to “I can’t bring a child from those circumstances in to the world.” Then there is the abortion when the mothers life is in danger, which boils down to “I want to live.” Even though I can understand the reasons for wanting/having an abortion, it became clear, (even if I didn’t want to admit it) an abortion is purely a selfish act. With that being said, everyone has the right to be selfish.

The next step I took was the question of “When does life begin?”. When I honestly answered that question the only answer I could come to was that life begins at conception. Sure the embryo may just be cells but it’s going to be a baby/child (not a third arm), and the question was “when does life BEGIN?” and not “when does life become recognizable?”.  If the law makers ever admit that life begins at conception then abortions would have to be illegal and those having them or giving them would have to be charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They (the law makers) could however come to the conclusion that abortions early enough would not be punishable (which leaves us at where we are now) or less punishable. Then you would have the problem that if age becomes a factor in punishment of murder, you could argue that killing a child (even a fetus) should get a more severe punishment. Kill a child and you kill any offspring they may have had, effecting the planet more. Where as, killing a 70 year old should get less of a punishment since they are past child bearing age. Then you could argue that a 70 year old male could still father kids so would that make men worth more than women? So how can the law makers (or anyone) admit when life begins if their answer lead them to a place they don’t want to go? (Who is to say whose life is more valuable?)

 

Question: Who has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body? Answer: The woman. However, in the case of pregnancy/abortion though is it really just her body? Should the man have no say in his child? The answer to both of these questions I believe is no. As I established earlier life has already begun so it is not just her body. For the second question, it took two to make it it should take two to decide on a course of action (in a perfect world). If a pregnant woman gets 100% of the say shouldn’t she also get 100% of the consequences? I’m a realist though and I know that is impossible to enforce or expect. It shouldn’t become a world where a man can say here’s the money for an abortion, now I’m not responsible if you decide to have it. Then again how fair is it that only one person gets to say, hey I’m having it and you’re paying for it (for 18 years) or I’m getting rid of your baby and you have no say in it? There is also no way for a man to say hey you are having or aborting it if you want to or not. Since the woman carries/grows the baby in her body it is more of a womans issue but since the decision she makes will affect the man it isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s a human issue.

Being pro choice is not the same as being pro abortion and anyone that says it is is an idiot. These are the same people that don’t want to educate or reduce the number of abortions. They just want to teach abstinence. Abstinence and waiting until you are married was fine and dandy back in the day when people got married at an earlier age (13-16 years old). Now though we live in a world when some girls hit puberty at the age of 8 years old. Abstinence should be taught along with other birth control methods and sex education in general. Planned parenthood does not (or should not) equal abortion clinic. Every last pro-lifer that is out there trying to make abortion illegal should have at least one adopted child too, since they always say that you should keep it or have it then put it up for adoption. Don’t just adopt the babies either, there are plenty (too many) children that age out of the system and are never adopted. There are also studies out that show that unwanted children are more likely to end up in prison. So anyone not willing to take responsibility for educating people or for the unwanted children being born, be it through welfare or adoption, should keep their mouth shut about abortions. In the event that your teen tells you that they are pregnant, never tell them that “I’ve raised you better than that”. Apparently you didn’t, so you have some responsibility too.

My conclusion is that I’m still pro choice, but only because I know the world is better off with legal abortions than with illegal abortions taking place.

Sports And Steroids

 

Another “superstar” (stupidstar) admits using steroids. There is enough blame to go around, from the franchise that wants to win,  the League that doesn’t want to admit, (or minimizes) the fact that they have a problem, the player that needs an edge, to the fan that loves their favorite players so much that they will forgive them anything (as long as they win). I’ve heard people say let them use steroids, they can balance the health risks with the financial gain and make their own decisions. I’ve also heard some say with the cost of tickets and team paraphernalia I want the best performance they can give me (and for my team to win). I think those people are morons.

Sports are a competitive business. So why wouldn’t someone do what ever they can to be better than the next guy, to get and keep their job and make the most money they can?  Besides the fact that it’s cheating and places more pressure on others to use just to keep up. Rules and penalties are now in place. Tests are given. Players appeal then take a reduced suspension. Seems like cheating is going on and to me at least it seems that some teams (coaches) are looking the other way if not helping them to cheat. Coaches need to win to keep their jobs, so if a superstar on that team is doping why should the coach do anything?

While watching the Superbowl there were several personal fouls most of which seemed to be nothing more than stupid plays or frustration. On one play though a Pittsburgh defender was punching a Cardinal player (several times) in the back while he was down on his hands and knees then shoved him when he raised up. My first thought was “roid rage”. The refs called the personal foul right away, even the announcers commented on it saying he went too far or he should be ejected from the game. I personally thought he should have been ejected and tested right then. He alone tainted the Superbowl for me. I believe the guilty player was also the defensive player of the year, which makes me wonder how he won that.

I’m to the point now where every time I see someone hit a home run, make a great play or lose his cool (in any sport) my first thought is “steroids” and I’m not alone in my thinking. The Leagues need to take some real steps to clean sports up and earn back the respect of the fans (mine anyways). If a player is caught using a banned substance all their stats up to that date should be erased or at the very least have an asterisk (and not count for any hall of fame records). He should then have to be automatically tested every week (blood and urine) until he tests clean for a straight 52 week period. During which time his pay is cut in half and is halved again every time a test comes back positive. Even if his contract runs out no  team (his or another) should be allowed to pay more while he is under penalty. Once he has tested clean for 52 weeks his pay would return to normal. Repeat offenders should just be banned from the sport, period.  A banned substance clause should be in every contract. It’s bad enough we have little girls thinking that if they aren’t a size 0 they are fat, now we have little boys thinking if they don’t use steroids they can’t make it in sports.

Until the NFL, MLB and other Leagues (and players) really try to clean up their sports (and not just make half hearted attempts while they continue to make money), sports will just be freaks making too much money. Guess what I’m saying is basically I’m done with sports.

Latin

 

I seem to be obsessed with the Latin language. Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to learn Latin. So I’m once again installing a language program to learn it. This is something I’ve done a few times in the last 8-10 years, install the program work on it for a while then get busy or frustrated and quit for awhile, or even years at a time. Most of the frustration comes from not knowing others who know or want to know Latin. Like with most things I think you really need to use it or lose it. Good news is that every time I install it, it’s much easier to get to where I was and go a little farther. The language program i have is excellent (http://www.transparent.com/) and I do really well while I’m using it. I just need to be more consistent (and I will be, eventually).

 

I wish I knew what it was about Latin that draws me to it, it’s not like I’m into Romans or that period of time in history, and I’m not Catholic, so I guess the reason or reasons will remain a mystery, even to me. I also own a program to learn Spanish (which I have had for almost 10 years and just installed for the first time), which is what I should be learning. For one thing I love going to the Mexican store up the street from me, they have the best guacamole and a trip to Mexico would be nice from time to time, so knowing some Spanish would be beneficial. Spanish would be easier to learn. With all the Spanish speaking people, TV, Newspapers and movies that are available to me, I will have more opportunity to use Spanish than I will ever have to use Latin. Still most of the time when I sit down to work on a language it’s the Latin program that I open. Eheu!