Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pachunk

Pachunk.

That's not a word.  It's a sound.  It's a sound made into a word.  That's how I wanted to start today's post.  With a sound.  Pachunk.  I really hope it sets the tone because it’s the kind of tone I want to set for today's post.  Pachunk.  I think you get it.  It just kinda sums up what it feels like to write this today.  

Do I have to explain it?  

I think so.  It's not a negative thing.  Pachunk is not a bad sound.  It's a very businesslike sound.  It’s pleasing.  There's a bit of finality.  It's the sound of locking something down.  It’s like you just finished counting all of the money in your personal vault and you've got a little more than you originally thought but not so much more that you're alarmed by your inability to properly calculate your wealth, so you walk out pleased.  You’re pleased because you counted out more money than you expected, sure.  You’re mostly pleased you have a personal vault in which you keep all of your cash and you can go in and count it whenever you want.  You’re also pleased because during the several hours you spent counting the money in your personal vault you earned at least another 2% of the total you just counted that you’ll be able to add to the cash in the vault.  When you're that wealthy, 2% is a significant number.  A pleasing number.  

Anyway, you walk out of your personal vault and you close the door.  That's not what makes the pachunk sound.  The door closing is more of a woosh-bong kind of sound.  It’s also a nice sound but not the sound I’m looking for in the tone of this post.  Once the door is closed you have to lock it down.  There are several ways you can do this.  You can have the old fashioned spoked wheel or a large lever or an oversized combination lock.  Personally, I would choose a retinal scan with some kind of manual override in case I die and my family forgets to pluck my eyeballs from my corpse.  I would understand if they forgot.  My death has most likely upset them greatly.  I’m sure ripping out my eyeballs isn’t at the top of their list of things to do before they shove me into the fiery oven. 

Anyway, it’s the locking that makes the pachunk sound.  It's a signal that you're done and that everything behind that door is safe and sealed away.  You're rich and you've just finished tallying the cash that you can afford to have sit in a vault not earning anything.  You've got loads of other money working for you in other places.  This pile of cash is just gravy.  You are pleased.  Quite pleased.

Pachunk.
****

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Bachelorette Episode #3 - A Review

Why do they spend the first five minutes showing us pointless shit like Emily’s mom bringing her breakfast in bed and previewing what we’re going to see in the episode?  Can’t we just get straight to Chris Harrison’s 40 seconds of screen time?

When Chris leaves the date card, he utters the words, “Only 16 left.”  Yes, three episodes in and the show is practically over.

First Date — Chris
The date card reads, “Love is a steady climb.”

In case you haven’t figured out the complex riddle from the date card, Emily and Chris will have to scale the building atop which they will be having dinner.  About halfway up the wall, lightning flashes in the distance.  Thanks to the previews, we know nobody dies so there’s no real tension here.  They make it to the roof without incident.  Emily declares Chris a “manly man.”  You know, because she’s thirteen.
At dinner she says, “If I saw you across the bar, I would not talk to you.  I would be too intimidated.”  Every time they are together she talks about how hot he is.  You know, because she’s thirteen.  When Chris reveals he’s 25 she voices her concern about his youth.  SHE’S 26!  (I mean, thirteen.)  See, I told you she’s fucking ageist.  Just not in the way I originally thought.

Fortunately for Chris she’s blinded by hot.  He gets the rose despite being a year younger than her yet twice as mature.

Suddenly there’s a country music concert in the street for just the two of them.  I didn’t catch the name of the band but the lyrics include “…makes a man say, mmm hmmm.”  Therefore, I’m sure he’s super popular.  Chris asks her for kiss at the end of the song and she plays coy, “Why don’t you try and see what happens?”  No surprise that she kisses him back.  Seriously, she’s thirteen.

Group Date — Charlie, Alejandro, Stevie, Ryan, Alessandro, Sean, John, Michael, Doug, Jef, Tony, Travis
The date card reads, “Let’s play.”

The guys meet Emily in the park, she tosses them a football and takes off.  Great date so far.  She meets her girlfriends in the park and informs them they will be interviewing the guys.  She takes her sweet time.  Eventually she brings the guys to meet her friends and spring the surprise.  The guys are predictably freaked out.  

Most of the questions focus around how comfortable the guys are becoming a father.  Of course, they are all extremely comfortable becoming a dad.  The girls give Travis a hard time about the ostrich egg he’s toting around.  Stevie, the party emcee, wastes no time getting up and dancing for the girls.  He doesn’t seem to notice that it’s awkward for everyone but him.  They make a few of the guys do pushups.

Wendy, Emily’s most camera friendly friend, is smitten with Sean.  She makes him take off his shirt and do push-ups.  It’s pretty creepy.

After the interviews, Emily brings in a ton of kids for the guys to play with.  The guys do just fine with the kids.  Ryan decides to go over and chat with Emily and her girlfriends.  When the girls ask him if he would still love Emily if she got fat, he says no.  He realizes he lives in America, right?  Everyone gets fat.

In the evening, they head out for cocktails.  Sean takes an opportunity to compliment her friends and play up his parents’ relationship.  She eats it up.  He’s definitely getting the rose.

Doug says that her girlfriends remind him of his buddy’s wives.  He reveals his dad passed away from Epilepsy and his mother left because she couldn’t handle it.  He and his sister spent their childhood in foster homes.  That’s earned him at least two more episodes.

Tony misses his son.  Emily tries to convince him that it’s harder on him than it is on his kid.  The chat doesn’t seem to help.  Doug tries to talk him down.  If Tony is trying to earn the reassurance rose, he may be overplaying it a bit.  Also, he’s pathetic.  Just leave, already.  Eventually, Emily returns to tell him to go home to his kid.  

The rose goes to Sean.  I told you it would. 

Final Date — Arie
The date card reads, “Love is a wild ride.”

Emily flies Arie to Dollywood.  It’s a Dolly Parton themed amusement park in Tennessee.  There aren’t as many boob-shaped structures as you might imagine.  Why Dollywood?  Emily is a huge Dolly Parton fan.  Shocker!  It turns out, she’s never ridden a roller coaster before.  Then she rides one.  Boring.  They go into a theater and find two microphones and a paper that reads, “Write a love song.”  Before they finish, Dolly Parton appears and Emily freaks out.  Dolly plays them a song.  Emily keeps saying, “I could die, I could die.  This is the best moment of my life.”  Dolly tells them she wrote a song just for this occasion.  It sounds like she wrote it on the walk from the dressing room to the stage.  Though, don’t all country songs sound that way?

One of the reasons Emily admires Dolly is because she “wears costumes every day.”  

Emily and Dolly have some time alone for “girl talk.”  Arie should be thanking Dolly for that.  No way was he going to get any of Emily’s attention so long as Dolly is in the room.  Dolly gives her the same advice any human being would give her.  Also, Dolly’s face is scary.

In the evening they have dinner in some kind of barn/stage.  He tells her about his relationship with a woman with two kids.  They broke up because he was ready to have a kid and the girl wasn’t.  He asks about how his schedule will be for her.  She says she welcomes it.  He’s hitting all the right notes here.  It’s like someone scripted this or something.

She tries to fake him out by starting a I’m-not-giving-you-a-rose speech.  It falls flat.  Someone has to believe you are capable of humor before you can pull off a joke like that, Emily.  She bailed on the joke after she saw the look on his face.  She could see that he was upset.  All I could see was that he was drunk.

The Cocktail Party
She announces to the guys that she’s developing some crushes.  She grabs Kalon right away.  He says, “I really took it personally when I didn’t get a date card.  Sharing you with these guys is devastating.”  She asks him how he feels about her being a mom.  He says he always imagined that his first kid would be his own.  He starts to explain and Emily jumps in.  He tells her, “I like when you talk but I wish you would let me finish.”  Where’s Kanye when you need him?

On the advice of Emily’s friends, Travis asks Emily to chuck the egg onto the driveway.  She does.  When the show pushes something so hard in previews that seems totally out of character for the Bachelorette, you know it’s going to end up be something stupid and innocuous.  I called this at the beginning of the show.  Seriously, ask Dee.

She asks Alessandro, “How do you think you would be as a dad?”  He says that being a father is “a compromise.”  She doesn’t like it.  She tries to give him an out by asking if there is a language barrier issue, but he digs in and insists that it’s a compromise.  She walks him out.  He seems strangely shocked.  He’s real dumb.

Arie seizes this opportunity to make out with her.  I’m sure there’s some sort of perfect auto racing metaphor I could use here if I paid even the slightest bit of attention to racing.  Something like, “He really lubed her carburetor, amiright?” 

Sean says he misses her after being away for 48 hours.  He tells her that he’s ready to be a father and that Ricki would be his daughter.  She could call him whatever she wants, but he would consider her his daughter.  Perfect timing.  There’s a very good chance that she’ll give him a second rose tonight.

The Rose Ceremony
Sean, Chris and Arie have roses.  Only one guy is going home tonight since she sent home about six dudes today.  

The final two are Stevie and Nate.  Yes, Alejandro got a rose even though he’s yet to utter a single word this entire season.

Stevie goes home.  Why?  Because he’s not on the Jersey Shore.
****

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Bachelorette Episode #2 - A Review

The show opens with a clip of a local news report about The Bachelorette being shot in Charlotte.  You’d think the people that run the show don’t think anything interesting can happen outside of L.A.

Chris meets the guys in the courtyard to explain how the show works.  In case one of these guys ended up on the show by accident.  He leaves the first date card.

The card is for Ryan and it reads, “Be my king in the Queen City.”  So they’re going to Cincinnati?  When asked about receiving the card, Ryan says, “I wasn’t surprised, I don’t go into a ballgame expecting to lose.”  To the guys he says, “My pastor always said, ‘If you treat a woman like a queen, she’ll treat you like a king.”  Not true.  Sometimes she’ll verbally abuse you.

Cut to shots of shirtless dudes hanging out by the pool.  All we see are body parts.  We don’t even know who these muscles belong to.  Imagine the outrage if they ever did something similar with all the women on The Bachelor.  Trust me, I’m paying attention.  There are almost zero gratuitous bikini shots on The Bachelor


First Date — Ryan
Magical douche hair!
In what may be the first date ever actually planned by the star of the show, Emily takes Ryan to her house and he helps her unload groceries.  They make cookies because it’s her turn for “snack duty” for Ricki’s soccer team.  Chocolate chip cookies?  Yes, let’s reward our children’s physical activity with wads of sugar and fat.  Buy some damn fruit and take this guy for a picnic in the park or something.  When they deliver the cookies, Emily makes Ryan wait in the car because she’s not ready to introduce Ricki to anyone.  Also, she’s ashamed of his douchey hair.

In the evening, she shows up in a tiny dress and sports car to take Ryan to dinner.  This is supposed to be sexy, but it’s not.  I know that I’m supposed to find her attractive.  She’s blonde, skinny and has big boobs.  The components are there but she just doesn’t do it for me.  It feels like she’s made out of Legos.  It’s also important to mention that she has terrible fashion sense.  

At dinner she asks him about his ex-girlfriend.  He says he learned that he wants someone to make him chase her.  Emily asks him what happens when he gets the girl he wants and the chase is over.  He basically avoids the question by making bad jokes about sweating and by turning it around on her.  Then he smiles and tries to handsome his way out of any further questioning.  It works.  Maybe his douchey hair has magical powers.

She gives him the rose because he makes her “feel comfortable.”  That’s all?  Some cushions are all it takes for this girl to give out a rose?

Emily leads him out of the restaurant and they are serenaded by some country band.  Gloriana, I think?  I don’t know, someone terrible.  There is a crowd around them and everyone has their phones out taking pictures of them dancing on a raised stage.  Creepy and weird.

Group Date — Alejandro, Nate, Alessandro, Tony, Michael, John, Jef, Charlie, Kyle, Chris, Stevie, Kalon, Aaron
The card reads, “Let’s set the stage for love.”  The thirteen super sleuths figure out that they’ll all have to perform.  Stevie, the rat-faced Party Emcee, is stoked.

When they arrive at the theater, Emily introduces them to Kermit and Miss Piggy.  The Muppets inform them that they will be putting on a show for a charity.  Five guys are chosen for a dance number, three guys will do stand-up and five will sing.  Charlie is assigned stand-up and begins to freak out.  He reveals to Emily that he has a speech issue from his accident and he doesn’t think that he can speak in front of a crowd.  She switches him to the singing crew. 

In an abusive relationship.
Look, I love the Muppets but they need to retire the Miss Piggy getting jealous of another woman with Kermit bit.  We’ve seen it a thousand times and it’s never been funny.  Also, Kermit needs to get out of that abusive relationship.  Can someone get him some help?

The curtain goes up to Emily awkwardly stand-dancing on some steps.  Seriously, she’s bending one knee and bouncing her hip.  That’s it.  Miss Piggy actually dances with the guys and then it’s suddenly over.

Kyle and John each do one joke.  Kyle’s joke is clearly stolen from a children’s book and John’s joke consists of calling Kyle unfunny.  I’m sure Emily is impressed.

Miss Piggy hosts a dating game type show.  Charlie, Jef and Aaron are called on stage.  You know, because the producers couldn’t resist torturing Charlie.  Miss Piggy makes Aaron recite a poem and she asks Charlie what he tells a woman to impress her.  Instead of breaking down into a blubbering mess, he answers the question.  Disappointment.

At the end all the guys join Emily, Kermit and Miss Piggy on stage to sing Rainbow Connection.  This had to be the worst Muppet-based charity show ever.

In the evening, Emily and the guys enjoy some cocktails.  Chris is determined to get the rose.  She spends most of their one-on-one time telling Chris how good looking he is.  When she meets with Jef, she asks him where the hell he’s been all day.  He mopes about the whole situation “being weird.”  No shit, jackass.  The whole concept of the show is fucked up.  She tells him she handled it in much the same way.  Stevie immediately starts dancing with her and the other guys peek in and laugh from the stairwell.  Eventually, Kalon walks in to break it up.  Stevie switches to Angry Rat Mode.  In his interview Stevie pretends to not know Kalon’s name.  Now it’s Aaron’s turn to cut off and Kalon’s time and Kalon asks him for two minutes.  Aaron refuses so Kalon steps away.  Emily just sits there the whole time saying nothing.  Kalon explains his actions by calling himself a “gentleman” and “a little more eloquent.”  I think he means “pompous ass.”  Stevie drunkenly says to Kalon, “I don’t like you.”  Kalon responds, “I wouldn’t like me either if I were you.  Thankfully, I’m me.”  I know I’m supposed to hate this guy but I like him.

She gives the rose to Jef because he needed to be reassured.  This happens every fucking season.  The group date rose should just be called the Reassurance Rose.  Also, enough with the overreaction to not getting the rose on the group date after you have a great moment with the The Bachelorette.  You’re getting a fucking rose.  Just not that one.

Final Date — Joe
The date card reads, “Come close to my heart.”  Gross.

Joe is taken to the airport where they will be getting on a private jet to glamorous West Virginia — Emily’s home state.  Really?  West Virginia?  I’d rather bake cookies.  She takes him to The Greenbrier which is a really old hotel or country club.  I’m not sure which.  They swim in the pool.  Whee!  

In the evening Emily straps on another awful gown and they head off to a private dinner.  Emily asks, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”  Is this a job interview?  
Joe responds, “Happy.”
Emily asks, “What does that mean?”  
Joe says, “Happy with the decisions I’ve made in jobs and relationships.”  
Emily asks, “What does that mean?”  
Joe responds, “If I end up with you, I’ll pack my bags and make a life.”  
Emily asks, “What does that mean?”  
Joe responds, “What does it mean to you?”
Damn, I was hoping that would go on forever.

In the room where they are having dinner, there is something called the Love Clock.  You are to write a “love wish” and put it inside the clock.  It’s actually dumber than it sounds.  Joe writes, “To come back to West Virginia with Emily and Ricki and meet her parents.”  Emily writes something completely non-committal that was clearly written for her by the writers.

She doesn’t feel the connection, but she tells him that she doesn’t know where she fits in in his life.  Really?  This is a first date concern?  Stop being a pussy and just tell him you don’t feel it.  He does not get the rose.


Back at the house
While discussing the possibility of becoming a father, Kalon tells Doug that he put being a father on hold to come on the show.  Whoops.  Kalon just pushed Doug’s Dad Rage button.  Hell, he just pushed my Dad Rage button.  Doug’s not having it and tells him to apologize.  Kalon tries to back out of it and Doug puts his foot down.  Also, Doug is fucking huge.  Don’t fuck with Doug.

The Cocktail Party
Lots of talk about “stepping it up” now that Joe went home.  The guys need to re-evaluate why they are there.  You know, because they have a three day attention span.

Arie steals her away.  He tells her he’s dated women with kids and he loves kids — in the good way, not the creepy way.  Ryan gets more time with Emily and all the guys freak out.  He’s written her a letter and she reads it aloud.  It is the longest letter ever.  Seven pages.  Tony approaches to break it up right as she opens the letter.  She reads the whole thing and forces Tony to stand there and listen the whole time.  C’mon, Emily.  Have a plan.  You know this kind of shit is going to happen.  That was only awkward because you let it be awkward.  Tony eventually gets some time with her.  He reveals that he has a five year-old son but I’m not sure it has any impact because Emily is drunk.  

Kalon decides to sit off by himself and perpetuate his outcast status.  Emily asks if something is bothering him.  He says that he’s uncomfortable because he’s the youngest.  They bond over being old souls.

Sean says, “Kalon has a way about him.  I have a feeling he uses his vocabulary to assert his dominance in the household.”  What?  Because he’s smarter than you he’s an asshole?  He is an asshole but it’s not because he’s smart.

The Rose Ceremony
Two guys will go home tonight.

Kalon gets the first rose and all the guys shift around and roll their eyes.  Even though Stevie looks like a rat, he gets the last rose because they need him around to feud with Kalon.

Aaron and Kyle go home.  Neither break down and cry.  We’re at least a week away from dude tears.  She’s systematically eliminating the older guys.  The average age of the guys who have been eliminated is 32.75.  The average age of the remaining guys is 28.4.  She’s totally ageist.

I did math for this review.  You’re welcome.
****

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with an Occupier - Part 2

This is Part 2 of my interview with micah philbrook, my friend and protestor involved with the Occupy movement.  Click here for Part 1. 


JF: Do you think the popularity of Occupy would be as great without social media sites like Twitter?
micah: I do not think the global spread of this movement would have been as fast, maybe not even possible, with out the social media outlets available today. 

Our fearless protestor.
JF: Do you think the movement in it's current incarnation of occupying public spaces is sustainable?
micah: I think it could be sustainable, but faces a lot of hardships in the form of police and state repression. But, if left alone, i think it would be completely sustainable. 

JF: Are there other methods of protest being developed?
micah: There are many methods already being employed. Occupying a public space to create a community is one of many. More standard varieties like marches and sit-ins, street theater and boycotts have been used by many occupations. Teach-ins have been held on many a subject and cause, since education is often one of the best ways to protest the current system. 

JF: The popular chant of the Occupy Movement is "We are the 99%." Many of the 99% have jobs, families and other responsibilities that keep them from being able to camp out in one place for an extended period.  How would you suggest those people get involved?  Is there any discussion about recruiting these people for use in other ways to aid the movement?
micah: Those that feel they cannot sacrifice time to be at the actual site of their local occupy, can support in many ways. The first and easiest way is simply talking about it with friends and family. Research it and find out what the movement is about, and discuss it. Getting the discussion started is an important part of any revolution. Other ways to support can be found on the website of the Occupy. Many need supplies donated and often have ways to accept monetary donations. Most Occupies have an extensive network of support online as well. OC has many committees that work online and in meetings, creating proposals and organizing the operations of our movement. 

JF: Has there been any talk or action about registering Occupy members to vote?
micah: Some have suggested OC register people to vote, but many feel that the current political structure doesn't work and that voting for a Democrat or Republican won't do anything to actually effect change.

JF: Has there been any talk or action around rallying Occupy members to vote (especially in primaries)?
micah: Not really, for the above reason. I imagine there will be more as they approach. There is a group looking to "occupy the caucuses", though i believe it's to spread the message to the people, not the politicians. 

JF: What do you see as the future of the Occupy movement?
micah: I honestly don't know. I’d love to see it cause real change in the area of campaign finance and corporate person-hood. But even more, I think it has the possibility of showing people that a different world is possible. That a community of sharing enlightened individuals is not just an idealistic utopia, but an attainable goal to which we should strive. 
Either way, i am down for the ride. and i think we are winning the fight. :)

JF: You said that many feel that the current political system doesn't work.  Are you implying that there are many who want to see the current political system overthrown?  Or just changed?
micah: Many within Occupy Chicago do want to see the current political system drastically changed, many even would say overthrown. I know plenty also contend that the current political system should just be reformed or restructured.

JF: How do you expect change in the political system to happen if you refuse to participate?
micah: I personally think the change will come from the people. Your question implies that the only way to change the political system is to participate in it, through the narrow channels available to us. I refuse that sort of dictated minor input into my "democratic" government. I feel that the people will together decide how they want to structure a government that actually works for them. And I don't think that will happen from casting votes and calling representatives begging them to represent us. That has been what has been the answer, and the political change that I feel is needed has not happened yet. All major social movements that led to policy changes reached that goal from the people rising up and forcing change. It wasn't through voting and playing with in the prescribed system.

JF: Many would argue that the Tea Party achieved some success and influence because of their willingness to engage the political system, find candidates and vote for their candidates in the primaries and general elections so that they would have a representative voice in government.  Is Occupy rejecting this idea completely?  If so, why?
micah: Occupy Chicago recently released as a statement that I feel answers this better than I could. It is entitled "Who We Are" and can be found here: http://occupychi.org/press/blog/2012/01/05/who-we-are

JF: Many of the Occupy protests have turned violent.  What is the Occupy Movement's philosophy on peaceful vs. violent protest?
micah: Occupy Chicago, like all Occupys I know of, is a non violent peaceful protest movement. We have rejected the notion that the only way to make change is through violence. Most examples of violence at the various occupations and marches around the country were instigated by the police, through the use of fear tactics, rubber bullets, tear gas, and in some cases sound canons. The use of military grade weapons as crowd dispersal methods on peaceful protesters is a deplorable tactic and has lead to many injuries. At no point has (and I feel they won't ever) Occupy Chicago or any other Occupy called for violence at any of it's actions or rallies.

JF: The Tea Party protests did not turn violent even though many protestors openly carried guns.  Yet, the peaceful Occupy protestors have repeatedly been physically assaulted by police.  What do you attribute this to?  Is it simply that the Tea Party was more mobile and local governments have less tolerance for extended protest?
micah: I think the answer is that the Tea Party protests did not challenge the ruling class retaining their control over the population. Not in any real or lasting way. The Tea Party blamed the poor and less fortunate more often for the ills they perceived, and not the people in power, whom Occupy sees (correctly I feel) as the real culprit.


JF: What online resources should people visit to learn more about the Occupy movement?
micah: Each Occupy has it's on website and most have a Facebook page. Here are some of the occupations and informational resources that I found helpful.
occupychi.org
occupywallst.org
www.nycga.net
www.occupytogether.org
www.occupythenation.com

other news sources:
http://www.alternet.org/

Interview with an Occupier - Part 1

This weekend international dignitaries are here in Chicago for the NATO Summit.  Most of the local news coverage this week has focused on the protests that will be taking place during the conference.  One of my good friends, micah philbrook*, is one of those protestors.  Micah joined the Occupy movement in its very early days in Chicago and has been active with the movement ever since.  I thought I would get a feel for what Occupy is from someone on the inside and share it with you.  This is a very long interview, so I broke it up into two posts.  Part 2 will be posted later this morning.

These questions were asked and answered back in December just before Occupy Chicago went on hiatus for the winter.  I will follow up with more questions with micah next week after the NATO Summit is over.  After all of this, I’ll give my thoughts on Occupy.

Here’s what micah said:

JF: Why are you part of the Occupy Movement?
micah: I believe this movement represents a global awakening, something never before witnessed on this planet. Millions of people across the earth, standing up against unchecked greed in the form of corporations and governments.

micah doing his thing.
JF: How did you get started with the Occupy Movement?
micah: I was following @youranonnews on twitter and saw tweets from @OccupyWallSt about a week before it started. I began following that movement as it began, on Twitter and through Facebook. Then i noticed @OccupyChicago tweeting about a starting protest. I followed that account to the Facebook page and event, and came down for the first protest outside of the Willis Tower.

JF: Occupy has refused to form limited and specific goals or demands.  What is the reasoning behind this?  How was this decision made?
micah: Occupy Chicago and all the other occupies are autonomous entities with a lose affiliation based on ideals. As such, I can only tell you why I think Occupy Chicago hasn't and perhaps some of the reason can be extrapolated to the entire movement, but i do not portend to speak for Occupy Chicago let alone the entirety of the Occupy movement. 
First off, many object to the term demands and prefer the word grievances. I tend to agree, mostly because if ones grievances aren't met, then one can escalate to demands. And, as i understand it, Occupy Chicago's main goal, or cause, is to end the corporate abuse of the American political system. OC feels that there is too much money in politics.  I completely agree with this. It seems to me the politicians are listening to the people/corporations that pay them, in the form of campaign contributions and lobbyist perks, rather than the American people. Therefore, even though polls consistently show the majority of Americans are in favor of universal health care, an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a strong social welfare system, these are continually blocked and undermined by our elected officials. So, i think OC and all the Occupies can easily find other issues and causes and demands/grievances but they all stem from a central point.
Also, I believe OWS did come up with their 12 grievances. At one point OC discussed adopting them, but eventually tabled the debate till OC could debate the idea of grievances or demands at all.  One reason it's been tough in OC to make a cohesive list of goals is due to the wide variety of political and personal ideology present in the group. Many of us are "left of center" but there are enough "center", and even some "right of center" Occupiers, that no easily decided upon list of goals has been reached. It has been far more effective to coalesce behind the central idea of getting the money out of politics, than to create some formal list.

JF: How do you respond to those that say a movement with no specific goals is no movement at all?
micah: I think the specific goal of returning the democratic process to the people and the removing the grip of wealth over the right to vote is a good starting goal.

JF: Despite the resistance to choose any one specific cause, people have cast the Occupy movement as anti-corporation.  Do you see the Movement in that way?
micah: Part of removing the corporations from their place of power in our political structure entails rolling back some of the deregulation that has occurred over the past three decades. Not least of which is the corporate personhood they enjoy. This interpretation of the 14th amendment has been grotesquely enhanced in the last 30 years to a point where the supreme court decided that since corporations are people they can anonymously contribute to political campaigns. In addition, corporate banking institutions are not only allowed to cannibalize each other in ways outlawed after the 1929 depression, but are also rewarded for their malicious use of predatory loans and hidden rate mortgages fueled by an equally government sanctioned speculative market populated with fraudulently created derivatives designed by investment firms on a path of unchecked greed and accumulation.
So yes, I think the Occupy movement is anti-corporation, or at least anti-corporations as they are now. Many in the movement wouldn't say they want all corporations banned or outlawed.

JF: Do you believe that corporations are evil?
micah: No. They are products of a system that celebrates and encourages profit. Humans are smart, given the chance of course we'd come up with super efficient ways of maximizing profits within the system’s limitations, pushing the limits ‘till we are told not to, by law enforcement or the laws of economics. I think some of the results of the corporation are evil; famine, poverty, environmental ruin, war. While these things aren't solely caused by the corporation, in the modern era many times they have been the cause. And while some might say that the corporations isn't the problem, it's the CEO's and other presiding officers, I would argue that the main goal of the corporation is to maximize profits for its shareholders, and accordingly, those that don't constantly make more profit are seen as failures. Consequently, those in charge are constantly pressured to meet that demand, no matter who they are. The corporation's main directive doesn't care who is in the driver's seat as long as profits are growing. 

JF: Do you believe that corporations should cease to exist?
micah: Yes I do, in their current form.

JF: How do you respond to those who criticize Occupy for leveraging corporate created technology (cell phones, Twitter) to aid the movement? 
micah: It's an argument tactic of misdirection, a red herring.  When the slaves revolted, they used the technology that was available. In our country, and many like it, we have a limited amount of true choice in the products available for purchase that are presented to us on a regular basis. Certainly, one can choose to shop wherever they want, but try buying something that didn't get made by a worker that was paid an unfair wage, using a process that doesn't pollute the earth, sold at a price that reflects the true cost of that product’s labor. At the best one can shop at premium stores that promise those qualities and values are their main focus. But those premium values come with a sizable markup. And therefore it's nearly impossible for most Americans to afford that sort of lifestyle, especially American families facing ever hardening times on the job market and spending power of their dollar. So yes, we use cell phones and computers, Twitter and Facebook. We also wear brand name clothes and have cars and video game systems. I heard it answered best before; “Using the master's tools to destroy the master's house."

To be continued.  Check in later this morning for Part 2.

*micah specifically requested that I not capitalize his name.  These are not typos.
****

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Bachelorette Premiére

As I’m sure you know, the Bachelorette for this season is Emily Maynard.  You remember her.  She’s the boring blonde with the six year-old daughter and dead fiancé.  Her fiancé was a race car driver who died in a plane crash.  Just think, we might have an interesting Bachelorette if he had decided to drive.

That felt good.  I’m back.

Emily leads off the show by saying, “My ultimate goal is to find someone I can meet and marry.”  Thank you for explaining the premise of the show.  We’re treated to a montage of Emily and her daughter while she tells us in the voice over how lonely she is after her kid goes to bed.  It seems to me like she just needs a friend.  Getting a husband to cure your loneliness is overkill. 

She calls her daughter, “like the sweetest little thing ever.”  Her daughter may be like the sweetest little thing ever, but my daughter is the sweetest little thing ever.  I will not debate this point.

After being bashed over the head with the fact that Emily is a single mother, Chris Harrison warns us that this season’s winner must be a husband and a father.  Something he claims has never happened before.  Except that time when Jason Mesnick was the Bachelor and a single father.

Know your Bachelor/Bachelorette history, bitches.

Chris also informs us that this season will be set in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He really means they will be in North Carolina until they want to go on an interesting date.

It really feels like they missed an opportunity to do the first gay season of The Bachelor/ette in North Carolina.

Emily Arrives
She looks mortified as she steps out of the car.  Or that might just be the usual look on her face.  Her dress looks like she was the last one to get to the prom store and she too what was left.

She sits down to have a heart-to-heart with Chris — who we know now was dealing with a crumbling marriage when this was shot.  Remember this when he’s dishing out relationship advice.  She admits she’s scared to do this because she “fell in love twice and lost it twice.”

She then says, “I want it so bad.  I want to get married.  I want babies.  More than anything, I want the perfect person to share that with.”  Nope, no red flags here.

The Men Arrive
In bullet point format because that’s all they really deserve.  The names in italics were given clip packages at the beginning of the show:

Sean - Insurance agent.  He seems more interested in getting to the bar than in actually talking to Emily.  Probably a strong play.


David - A New York City singer/songwriter.  He says, “Writing songs comes natural.”  Cut to him sitting at the piano singing, “Emily” over and over.

Doug - Single dad.  Walks right up and says, “I’m a hugger is that okay?”  Then he plays up the single dad part real hard.

Jackson - Fitness Model.  He kneels down in front of her and says, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”  She couldn’t be less impressed.

Joe - Field Energy Advisor.  So he hangs power lines?  He’s going to try be “the funny guy.”  He mostly just shouts at her.


Arie - Indy Car driver.  Because the producers just couldn’t resist.

Our villain. 
Kyle - Financial Advisor.  He doesn’t really say anything and he’s not the strong, silent type.  A bad combination.

Chris - Corporate Sales Director.  He leads with the fact his parents have been married for 35 years.  He doesn’t mention if they secretly hate each other.

Aaron - Biology Teacher.  He’s wearing nerdy glasses and I’m not entirely sure they’re a prop.  He says, “I’m a high school biology teacher but I’m here to find chemistry with you.”  This is the kind of stuff that works on Emily.

Alessandro - Grain Merchant.  I think they mean pot smuggler.  He says, “Emily, you’re real.”  Yes, dude.  People on TV are not robots.


Jef - Fuck you forever, Jef.  If your parents made the call on the single ‘f’ I might cut you some slack, but I’m guessing they didn’t.  He’s a CEO of a bottled water company.  He rolls in on a skateboard hanging on to the back of the limo.  His opening line is the brilliant, “I’m really glad I didn’t wreck.”


Lerone - Real Estate.  Is there something wrong with my TV?  I can’t believe it.  There’s a black person on The Bachelorette.  There’s a very good chance she’ll eliminate him before the rose ceremony.

Stevie - Party MC.  He brings a tiny boom box and dances his way in.  This guy is even cheesier than the Weatherman.  He will bear the brunt of most of my hate.


Charlie - Recruiter.  He fell off a 2nd floor balcony and suffered severe traumatic brain injury.  At least he has an excuse.  He closes his clip by saying, “I may have a head injury but there’s nothing wrong with my heart.”  


Tony - Lumber Trader.  He’s really into fitness.  He has a kid and his wife cheated on him.  He closes his feature with, “Who has two thumbs and is going to marry Emily?  This guy.”  He introduces himself to Emily by bringing her a glass slipper and saying, “The name’s, Charming.  Prince Charming.”  After the whole thing she says, “What’s your name again?”  I’m almost 100% sure he’s not playing a character that is a parody of every contestant who’s ever been on the show.

Randy - Marketing Manager.  He comes out dressed as an old woman.  He plays a grandma who introduces her to a “lovely young boy.”  He then reveals himself.  Strangely, I kinda like him.  I’m sure he’ll be gone faster than the black guy.

Nate - Accountant.  He doesn’t say much, but she tells him he smells really good.  As he walks away she says, “So cute.”

Brent - Technology Salesman.  He brought a name tag for himself.  He tells her she can take it off once she gets to know his name.  He should have drawn a circle on it and written, “Rose goes here.”

John - Data Destruction Specialist.  He’s a whiz with a shredder.  As soon as he says, “All my good friends call me Wolf,” I black out from douchebag overload.  You know he’s pissed there are no other Johns so he can’t go by Wolf full-time.

Travis - Advertising Sales Rep.  He brings an Ostrich egg and calls it a symbol of her and Ricki.  He’s basically doing the grade school egg-as-a-baby thing.  Do you really need to make this any harder than it already is?

Michael - Rehab Consultant.  He’s a professional recovering alcoholic?  Without explanation, he gave her a guitar pick.  He lists John Mayer, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake as his three favorite artists.  Add that knowledge to his awful hairstyle and he may just be Satan himself.

Jean-Paul - Marine Biologist.  He admits he doesn’t know anything about her.  She looks extremely disappointed.

Alejandro - Mushroom Farmer from Medellin, Colombia.  He’s definitely not in the drug business.  He’s almost exclusively speaks Spanish which she barely understands.  Great move leading with the language barrier.


Ryan - Sports Trainer, though he’ll first tell you he’s an ex-pro football player.  He’s the early leader in douchey hair.  When he meets her, he pulls out a note and pretends to read from it.  One side reads “You’re so beautiful,” the other side reads “I’m so nervous.”


Kalon - Luxury Brand Consultant.  So he’s a sports car dealer?  He calls himself, “The modern southern gentleman.”  He ends his clip by saying, “This will be the first day of the rest of my life.” Apparently he spends a lot of time in the card aisle of the drug store.  He is the last one to arrive and he comes in on a helicopter.  He doesn’t even try another bit.  Everyone immediately hates him.

The Cocktail Party
The first thing out of Emily’s mouth, “Gawl-lee, I’m nervous.”  That’s the exact moment I would have walked out.

Chris gives her bobble-heads made to look like himself and her.  He proposes they do a little “scene” with the dolls.  Unfortunately, we are not shown what was most definitely the greatest moment in Bachelorette history.

It never fails that the guys without props take some easy shots at the guys with props.  One time I want it to result in fisticuffs.  Just once.

After her one-on-one time with Jef, she says, “He makes me feel like a nerd.  He’s super cool and I hope that he thinks I’m cool, too.”  What is this, sixth grade?

Doug gives Emily a note from his son Austin.  The kid writes about how great his dad is.  You just know that Doug threatened to take away his Xbox until that note was finished. 

The guys waste no time picking out the guy who is there for the wrong reasons.  They choose Kalon, not the guy who is missing a letter in his name has a bottled water charity company to promote.  We all know that dudes who rent helicopters don’t have true feelings.  Isn’t that basically what the Occupy movement is about?  Kalon reveals to Emily that he was raised by a single mom.  Sean breaks up their conversation by asking, “Do you mind if I steal her away?”  Kalon says, “Of course I mind, but it’s not really my choice.”  A reasonable response.  Stevie — who was apparently eavesdropping —  immediately starts talking trash about Kalon’s response.  Kalon calls him out on it and Stevie just kinda squirms.  A rivalry is born.

Arie tells her that he is a race car driver.  She looks like she’s about to cry and then remembers she’s on TV.  She eventually says she’s okay with it in the most unconvincing way possible.

Emily grabs the First Impression rose and steals Doug away.  It was the letter from his son that sealed the deal.  Cut to Stevie looking pissed.

The Rose Ceremony
Chris explains how the ceremony works — as if we all don’t know by now.  Easiest job in the world.

The roses go to:
Chris, Ryan, Kalon, Arie, Charlie, Jef, Nate, Sean, Joe, Kyle, Aaron, Alejandro, John (Wolf), Alessandro, Michael, Stevie, Tony, Travis.

Lerone couldn’t even make it past the first episode and they didn’t even give him a goodbye clip.  That’s racist.
****

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stuff

You may be wondering why I didn’t post last week.  Well, it’s because I needed to gear up for another season of reviews of The Bachelorette.  Not really.  I was just busy and tired.  It just happened to work out.  Anyway, you can expect a review of tonight’s premiere of The Bachelorette sometime tomorrow morning.  By the way, I’m going to go ahead and dub this the most boring season of any of the Bachelor/Bachelorettes.  I’m tempted to make all the dead husband jokes I can think of right now.  Unfortunately, that won’t leave me with anything to write about during the season, so I’ll hold off.

Okay, maybe just one:
Your husband is so dead that you have to go on a reality TV show to find a new one.
There you go.  A little primer for tomorrow.

Question of the day: How long will we have to wait for Tim Tebow’s season of The Bachelor?
****

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I Believe...

…that teams like the Redskins, Blackhawks and Indians should change their names or at least pay royalties to the people whose name and likeness they are using for their extreme profits.

…that the worst thing you can do to a parent is to wake their child from a peaceful slumber.

…that Dirk Nowitzki sounds an awful lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

…that anyone who thinks comedians aren’t adding anything to society has never watched The Daily Show or The Colbert Report or they just don’t get the joke.

…that we should be able to say people are from York the way we say people are from Jersey.
****

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Things In My Brain

Every Monday I walk into the bedroom to see Dee sitting on the bed watching Dancing With the Stars and I remember that I never have to watch one second of that show again. It's the closest I'll ever get to pure happiness.

Look, I like that Verizon commercial with the crying mom and daughter but not when it is run during every single commercial break during the NFL Draft.

Speaking of the draft...
Who knew the Vikings were clever enough to completely pants another team? Oh wait. It was the Browns. I guess it's not that impressive after all.

Other than Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, name one player on the Colts defense who could start for any other team in the league. You can't because there isn't one. And yet, the Colts didn't pick a defensive player until the fifth round and that player just had his ACL repaired. I get that they want to give Andrew Luck some weapons but it seems to me that the best way to help an inexperienced QB is to build a strong defense so he doesn't feel the pressure to score every time he has the ball.

My prediction for the Colts' record next season: 4-12. I'm being generous.

Guys, let's get a handle on the "Reply All" button. Everyone doesn't need to see all of your responses. That's what Twitter is for.

Why do TV shows even bother to have the main character threaten to stop doing the thing that makes him the main character and is the basis for every plot on the show? We all know he or she is not going to stop. It's the oldest and laziest trick in the book. C'mon TV writers, step it up.

Is it a coincidence that pH threw our Zombie Pub Crawl this weekend and Castle does a zombie themed episode that includes a zombie walk the very next Monday? I don't think so. They are clearly ripping us off.

Yeah, yeah, I'm watching Castle. I'm a sucker for cop shows.

Also, I'm kinda hoping Nathan Fillian will suddenly turn into Captain Hammer and break into song with Neil Patrick Harris.

Saturday night, someone introduced me as "my acting coach." That was weird, but I'm totally adding it to my LinkedIn page.

Dee and I went house hunting on Sunday. I took notes on each house. For one of the houses we saw, I simply wrote, "Gross."

You and your wife can have all the kids you want but my wife will out-mom your wife any day of the week and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.