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Showing posts from September, 2018

Netflix & Chill #51: Justice League

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Watched On: Redbox (DVD)
Released: 2017
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons
Rotten Tomatoes: 40%
Pick: Mine

Here's the weird thing about the DC Universe that's starting to bother me: individually, they seem to get characters that I want to see more of. Unfortunately, they haven't manage to stick all those interesting characters in a movie that works really really well just yet and Justice League is no exception.

As with it's predecessor, there's plenty of interesting characters to enjoy here. Ben Affleck remains intriguing as Batman. Gal Gadot is wonderful as Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa reinvents Aquaman and makes him a a bad ass for the 21st Century. Ezra Miller brings an entirely different take on The Flash to the big screen, but proves no less charming than his televisual counterpart, Grant Gustin. If there's a 'weak link' in the ensemble, it m…

This Week In Vexillology #270

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All right, let's take a left turn. Yes, I'm going to working on getting the last of the Unfortunate Wordpress Experiment out into circulation again, but I also decided that I wanted to explore some more of my dear old Motherland across the pond. I recently saw on Reddit that someone had taken the time to make a map of England with every county flag show in the boundaries of it's respective county. Which made my ears perk up a bit, because I didn't know that the counties of England actually had flags... (I suppose I should have, really, but never bothered to find out.) So I figured why not instead of boring you with a bunch of flags you've seen me do before, why not challenge myself and explore all the flags of England? So I'm going to try and do them two at a time and see where we end up-and since you might as well do this is some semblance of a logical way, I'm going to start with Cornwall and Devon.

First up, Cornwall:
Though there are claims that it was u…

We Need To Demand Better

He's going to be confirmed. He shouldn't be- and there's a decent argument to be made that despite his credentials, it was fucking idiotic of the Trump Administration to nominate him to begin with- but none of that matters now. He's going to be confirmed.

Now, I might be wrong about that. I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, there might be an outbreak of common sense down in Washington D.C., but I think it's all too far gone for that. And that's the really depressing thing about all of this...  if you watched the testimony yesterday, then you probably have formed you're own conclusions about the veracity of the accusations and his defense thereof- personally, I believe her and was less than impressed by him. Did he think this particular nomination was going to be a walk in the park? Did he think they were just going to line up and vote him in? Had I been in his shoes, I would have said no. I would have said HELL NO. At the end of the day, you'v…

Boozehound Unfiltered: Larceny

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One of the nice things about turning 35 is that I (usually) get at least one new bottle of whiskey to dig into and this year- I got two! So I figured I might as well start with the bourbon before moving onto the Irish surprise next month- which brings us to Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon. A small batch bourbon from Louisville, this one raises the eyebrow immediately because it's a wheated bourbon- they use wheat in the secondary grain instead of the more conventional rye- which might explain the color on this one a bit- it's more of a deep rich brown than you normally see in bourbons. (I mean, I drink a lot of bourbon, but I don't know if I've reached the magical 10K hours mark or anything yet, but in my experience, the darker colored ones usually have hints of red more than brown.)

Officially, it's John E. Fitzgerald Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon and it's got a pretty nice looking website and a good story to boot: Mr. Fitzgerald was a bonded Treasury Ag…

Sportsyball: The Last Two Minutes

The Iowa Hawkeyes: You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see Iowa get the ball back with two minutes left in a game and put together a sustained, long drive to close out a game. Michigan State in the B1G Championship Game. Penn State last year. Wisconsin this year. As soon as we went three and out on that last drive before Wisconsin scored the go ahead touchdown it all felt very familiar and the script unfolded exactly the same way it usually did. The Defense, magnificent all night, was finally running out of gas and instead of shutting them down, there was more give than there was before and the chips just couldn't fall the right way. So we lost to Wisconsin...  I do think that second touchdown was kind of a dick move, but it wasn't running up the score. It's not like they were up by twenty and wanted to rub it in some. We should have expected it. We should have anticipated it. We didn't, so we lost to Wisconsin.

The weird thing is though that it wasn'…

Free Write Friday #1: Iced Coffee

Editor's Note: I'm trying to get my creative groove back, so I'm finding writing prompts over on r/writingprompts and taking them for a ride to see where I get. This is my first attempt.
Earth was known as the tea capital of the galaxy, but that title help ill-meaning; the tea of Earth is a dangerous drug for aliens.
0600 came early for Officer Havel Smith. After nearly three years on day shift, he kept expecting to get used to the schedule, but he had never been a morning person. Ever. So the process of getting up and getting showered and dressed and into uniform and then driving to work was always, without fail, something of a trial. Coffee, however, helped.
Coffee was the fuel that drove Officer Smith's day. Every morning, as soon as he had been freed from roll call and getting briefed on whatever overnights had to deal with, he would get into his squad car and make his way down to the local coffee shop and order his usual non-fat caramel macchiato with an extra shot…

Scotus Pocus

Here's the thing with the Supreme Court: any argument, any confirmation fight, any disagreement: if you switch the parties of everyone involved, you end up in the exact same argument.

Here's the thing with Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser: I believe her, not just because that's the decent thing to do in the 21st Century, but because it really stretches credibility to me that any woman would put themselves through a mountain and a half of undeserved bullshit for something they made up. ("But why wait so long to come forward?" Well, the culture has changed. People are far less likely to be silent about things like this these days than they were in times past. Again, I find it entirely credible that this woman kept her silence on the matter and moved forward with her life as best she could, because so many woman have undoubtedly done just that.)

At this point, I don't know of Kavanaugh's nomination is going to survive or not. The cynic in me probably thinks i…

Netflix & Chill #50: Molly's Game

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Watched On: Redbox (DVD)
Released: 2017
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O'Dowd, Bill Camp
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Pick: Mine

I own every season of The West Wing, have seen every episode of Sports Night and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and The Newsroom and I went ahead and brought the Aaron Sorkin masterclass on screenwriting and I pretty much make it a point to eventually getting around to watching pretty much everything the man writes and/or creates, so when I heard that Molly's Game was going to be written and directed by him (his directorial debut, no less) I put it on the list of movies that I would eventually, maybe, hopefully get around to watching. Turns out I didn't have to wait too long and, even better: this was a really, really good movie.

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) is a world class mogul skier, who opens the movie about to qualify for the 2002 Winter Olympics, but ends up severely injured instead, effectiv…

This Week In Vexillology #269

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Let's get down to business right away. We're still reaching to the bottom of the barrel of the Unfortunate Wordpress Experiment and we're in the race to the finish line of the Lost Archives, so let's get to it.

This Week.

Back in Africa.

Double shot of the old Vitamin C with Chad and Cameroon.

First up, Chad:
No, I haven't made a mistake. This isn't the flag of Romania- it really, really is the flag of Chad. The shade of blue they use is darker than what Romania is rocking and here's the deal. Chad kind of got this tricolor going first- kind of. When the flag was adopted on November 6th, 1959, Romania's flag had a communist symbol in the center stripe which lasted until 1989 when their Communist government was overthrown. Then the symbol was removed and the flag reverted back to it's pre-war configuration which is pretty much the same flag that Chad had going on.

The Chadians kind of make noise about the similarities now and again, but Romania isn&#…

Squawk Box: Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

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I wanted to watch this show for a couple of reasons. First, Amazon has been promoting the shit out of it since like March, which seemed ridiculous to me, but for months now, you couldn't go anywhere on Amazon without seeing some trailer or banner ad for it. So if you're going to hype a show at me that much, I'm going to want to tune into to see if it lives up to the hype.

Second, I love this character. Growing up, I read pretty much every Tom Clancy book I could get my hands on- great, thick tomes, all of them. So the idea of Jack Ryan moving to the small screen intrigued me greatly. I didn't like Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears. I didn't even bother with Chris Pine in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. So I was more than willing to give John Krasinski a shot in the role occupied by the latter two as well as Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin.

The great part: it all works really, really well. The first season is only eight episodes, which I think helps immensely, because …

35 Random Observations about Turning 35

1. If one trip around the sun is roughly 584 million miles, then 35 trips around the sun is 20,440,000,000 miles. I feel like there should be some frequent flier miles for that much travel.

2. In my lifetime, I'm only on my third Pope.

3. Additionally, there's only ever been one British monarch.

4. There have been six US Presidents and six British Prime Minister since I've been alive.

5. In 1983, there were 158 members of the United Nations, today there are 193.

6. The Cubs, White Sox and Red Sox all broke their respective 'curses' in my lifetime.

7. The Triple Crown of Horse Racing has been won twice in my lifetime.

8. It struck me when I was in line at Hy-Vee the other night. I remember when food stamps were actually bills/stamps and not on electronic cards.

9. The Euro didn't exist when I was born. Neither did the Channel Tunnel.

10. We've never landed on the Moon in my lifetime. (Or Mars for that matter.)

11. Six countries have won the World Cup in my l…

40 For 40: Year 5

When I wrote this list five years ago, part of the criteria I set was that I could revise this list when I turned 35. The way I figure it, people's priorities change. People change. Life changes. I listened to an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience a few months back, where he interviewed Kevin Smith not long after he had survived a massive heart attack. I was struck at home changed Smith seemed to be by the experience- I don't know him personally, but it was... moving almost, to listen to him talk about being so serene about it. Accepting the fact that he might well have reached the finish line of the great race that is life that night really made me think.

The average life expectancy for US Males as of 2015 was 78.84 years. That means in five years, I'll be officially at the halfway point, according to the statistics anyway. The older I get, the less I seem to care about acquiring 'stuff.' I'm more interested in accumulating experiences now- and, of course, ma…

Let's Talk About Socialism, Because Everyone Else Is

I suppose we should talk about socialism. Everyone else seems to be these days- but here's the kicker that's sort of starting to annoy me. All these people running around talking about the glories of socialism and how socialist they are and how we should all be socialist? I'm not sure they really understand what the hell socialism actually is. (And for that matter, not having lived in a socialist country for the majority of my life, I'm not quite sure what it is either, but I'm willing to take a whack at it.)

So, let's start with a definition. This is what the Googles delivers:
socialism
1. a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
2. policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism
3. (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communis…

Bookshot #111: The Hero With A Thousand Faces

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I've always loved mythology ever since I was a kid. I devoured Greek myths. I was that kid who read The Illiad and The Odyssey multiple times and enjoyed them greatly when I did so. I still get irrationally angry about what Disney did to Hercules. (Spoiler Alert: they royally fucked it up. Hades was never the bad guy, Hera was. Kevin Sorbo and  Hercules: The Legendary Journeys does a far better job at staying true to the mythology.) So, it's kind of surprising to me that it's taken this long to pick up Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces and read it.

The heart of the book is Campbell's theory that the important myths from around the world have survived for thousands of years because they all share a similar and important structure, which Campbell calls the 'monomyth.' Campbell explores this myth and it's structure throughout the book- but does so in a fairly unusual way that kind of through me a little bit at first, but by the end of the bo…

Netflix & Chill #49: The Last Jedi

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Watched On: Netflix
Released: 2017
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Pick: Mine

The Last Jedi picks up right where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) handing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) his old lightsaber on the planet of Ach-To. He throws it away and reveals to Rey that he has no interest in joining the Resistance and has, in fact, exiled himself from The Force in the wake of his failure to train Kylo Ren to be a Jedi. R2-D2 persuades Luke to train Rey as a Jedi, but unbeknownst to Luke, Rey and Kylo (Adam Driver) begin communicating through the Force, which puzzles the two of them at first, but they gradually begin to have visions of the future where they're partners.

The Resistance, meanwhile, is on the run following the attack on Starkiller Base. Poe Dam…

This Week In Vexillology #268

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It's been a busy month: we're settling into a routine in our new house and I'm training someone right now at work, which means the majority of my brainpower gets shoved to one side and stuck in a blender. It's also getting harder and harder to find inspiration for these weekly posts. I'm just not feeling it of late, which is okay. That happens from time to time. Life ebbs, flows, goes in and out. So expect the next few weeks to feature the last of the Lost Archives and maybe by the time we get deeper into the fall, I'll have found a bit of inspiration to get back to digging up new flags to feature.

But enough of all that...  This Week In Vexillology we've got a double shot from Africa. First up, Ghana: The first country in Africa to kick start the wave of decolonization, Ghana adopted their flag in 1957 and then re-adopted it again in 1966 after a brief four year hiatus between 1962-1966.  It's the second country after Ethiopia to feature the Pan-Africa…