Royal Wedding Mania- through the eyes of an American

Good evening and happy Sunday one and all ūüėĬ† Today opened up with such a spectacular moment as I went to get my breakfast-¬†John Waters was on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and can I say that he is hilarious!¬† Love him and I’m not even from Baltimore.¬† Then, as the day went on, I saw a striking theme emerge on standard cable-¬†the Royal Wedding.¬† Yes, we are days away from the moment when Kate and Wills will finally wed.¬† Good on them- so why do I have to be subjected to a history of the recent Monarchy for the past week and this upcoming week?

What truly struck me about a program on TLC was the emphasis that was being put on how much the Monarchy had modernized and that Kate would not be Diana.¬† Thank you captain obvious.¬† I have kept an eye on the happenings in England, mostly since my mother had been living there up until a few months ago, but also because they are one of the most powerful developed nations in the world and as much as I hate to admit it-¬†if one of the Princes makes an ass of himself, global stock markets would probably sway, so it is relevant.¬† I do have to ask, though-¬†isn’t the media perpetuating the press stampede that plagued Diana by giving this event so much coverage?

If you truly want to have an evolution and allow the royal family to truly be the heads of the state, wouldn’t you just back off in general?¬† Even in America, we are star mad, but the stars have been fighting back and I say-¬†good for them.¬† How many hollywood couples have secretly gotten married, had children, or even gotten divorced in the past couple of years?¬† It’s a trend and the paps have noticed-¬†they are keeping tight-lipped about their private lives and in the case of Kate and Wills, it seems to have served them well as a rule.¬† I guess that I’ll never actually understand what it’s like to have a King or Queen of my country.¬† Even the President has more privacy than this family and he’s the “leader of the free world”.¬† The thought has been rolling around in my head though- what would they be like if they were just average, ordinary schmucks¬†like the rest of us?¬† One commentator stated that Wills and Kate would love to be normal, but I wonder if they truly understand that desire.¬† Yes, he slept on the street for a night, yes- he went backpacking through Chile in his gap year and slept in a tent making fire and porridge, but would any of them (Kate included) truly trade the gilded cage in for poverty?¬† Me thinks not.

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Melbourn Sand Art Exhibition 2011

Good day happy people ūüėĬ† Seeing as the post’s that have gotten the most hits are the pics I’ve found of really cool sand castles- here you go!¬† More sculpture for you from the indexes of www.amusingplanet.com, who have a fantastic¬†post from the Melbourne¬†Sand Art Festival 2011.¬† The skill that these artists show is phenomenal, not just for the imagery, but for the precision that it takes to work in this medium.¬† Another great artist that I love to see more work from is John Sager out in LA.¬† He reminds me of the Tool stop motion animation videos that mesmerized me as an angst filled teen.¬† Enjoy the fun!

Movie Review: Atlas Shrugged Part 1

Friday the 15th of April has finally come!!!¬† I woke up, got some breakfast/lunch and made my way tot the one theater in the area that was playing the film.¬† I give this an overall rating of 7 out of 10.¬† Call me biased, but I’ve always been a big fan of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.¬† The fact that they’ve FINALLY made a movie out of the book is just incredible.¬† That being said, it was never going to be a blockbuster movie.¬† The story and content are way too philosophical to be the Godfather, but the screenwriters should be commended.¬† The action of the film was steady, though not fast paced, but they managed to take nearly 400 pages of pretty dense material and create a good story with character development, plot movement, and mystery.

The problems that I have always seen with attempting to adapt Atlas Shrugged into a movie are pretty simple.  The characters have a lot of inner dialogue that advances the story and much of the plot points are given to you via newspapers, subtle conversations and small interactions between minor characters.  One way that the screen writers addressed this, in my eyes, was a very important updating of the world to a near future date.  One reviewer described this as a dystopian future and taking from the atmosphere the blatant references to Ayn Rands communist experience in the USSR was a master touch and highly necessary.  It was actually a little disconcerting to watch because the world of the film was 99% our current reality.  The dialogue, as it is in the book, is overly philosophical, but that is the nature of Atlas Shrugged.  It is a story about a philosophy.

The one thing that I was a little disappointed about was the portrayal of Dagny.¬† Taylor Schilling did a phenomenal¬†job of portraying one of my heroes¬†of literature, but the one part of the character that I didn’t feel was her sexuality.¬† Dagny’s affair with Reardon left me a little cool.¬† The progression was meh¬†and the culmination of the affair was expected-¬†overall, not a hot scene and I pictured fireworks in the sexual tension when I read the book.¬† I did, however,¬†love the way that Ellis Wyatt was portrayed, he was dynamic and interesting and larger than life in a way that the book didn’t convey.

Either way- I am going to be waiting for part 2 with bated breath.  Not only did I enjoy the movie, but I am more sure now than I was yesterday that this is a relevant story in the current world.

A call for political realism

I was heartened today while listening to the news.¬† I saw the Barak Obama that I elected to the Presidency peaking from behind the podium as he spoke to the audience at George Washington University.¬† Most importantly, I’ve finally heard a politician speak logically and realistically about the deficit and the current s*%t storm that Americans are living through.¬† As I sat home tonight listening to the audio via the fantastic Minnesota Public Radio web site, I actually caught myself nodding and wanting to call out like I was in church because the feelings that I and a large portion of this moderate country have been expressing have at least reached the President.¬† Yes-¬†we need to curb our spending, yes-¬†we need to fix social security, yes- we absolutely need to address our tax codes.

The rhetoric last week from congress about the proposed reforms for Medicare and Medicaid left me in a perpetual state of face-palm Homer Simpson impersonations.¬† Instead of addressing the larger problems of both systems, which I do believe are flawed, their plan proposed ways of playing hot potato with the bill.¬† Everything that we’ve been hearing has been a series of elaborate ways to push the bill off onto another sector and not a way to fix the bill.¬† In the real world-¬†outside of the beltway- if your bill is too high, you find a way to lower it.¬† If you can’t afford your data plan on your smart phone, do you cancel your phone or do you look at your service and make adjustments?

I am fully aware that there were not specifics presented in this speech and I’m not too optimistic that we will hear about much more than the big three issues of Taxes, Healthcare, and Social Security because those are the ones that allow Congress and Senate to jump up on their soap boxes and get into campaign mode.¬† As a voter, I have been on the fence about the 2012 election and very much saying that I will wait and see who the candidates will be, but listening to this speech has put me to the 51% mark to vote for President Obama for a second term.¬† Many of my loved ones will be hoping mad that I’m stating this, but in my humble opinion if there is even a chance that we can look at how the country got into this mess and do an honest assessment of what is needed to get out of it- then I do feel that another 4 years will be necessary to see these reforms through.

I take you back to my love of Kevin Kline in Dave- He has been faced with the results of a Presidential Veto that cut funding for many homeless shelters and he asks the Secretary of¬†Commerce,¬†“Well I’m sure that’s really important, but I don’t want to tell some eight-year-old kid he has to sleep in the street because we want people to feel better about their cars.¬† Do you want to tell him that?”

The President wants to balance the budget, “…by making governments smarter leaner and more effective…” and I whole heartedly agree with him and his speech writer even though I know that it will mean higher taxes for me.¬† I am by no means middle class or wealthy, but my parents will be effected by these changes.¬† Will I still be living under the assumption that I cannot depend upon collecting social security-¬†yup.¬† Will I still have my mothers words echoing in my brain now that my financial house is finally back in a reasonable state- yup.

There is a large part of my brain that is cringing because I am a believer in the free market economy and I do understand the sentiments of videos such as the Sharply Unreasonable Compromise I still have to stop and ask myself the simple question- Will NOT compromising and finding a way to make things work garner the result that we want?¬† One thing that my mother always told me when I was at my most stubborn was that being righteous and screaming to the rooftops about the injustice might make you feel better, but it gets you no closer to accomplishing your goal.¬† I want President Obama’s vision to succeed because I do feel a love for my country and the liberties that I possess and the debate does make it interesting.¬† The time is now for reigning back the partisanship and coming up with functional and long-term solutions.

One last clip for you today- from Dave ūüėÄ

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/04/13/midday3/?refid=0&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MPR_Politics+(Politics+from+Minnesota+Public+Radio)     Thank you to Minnesota Public Radio for posting this speech

The Fox News Apocalypse

Good evening cats and kittens-¬†welcome to one of the most dramatic Thursdays I’ve watched in a long time.¬† Thankfully I was insulated from most of the day while at work, but from the moment I got home to try to enjoy the little bit of relaxation I would be getting for the next few days the television has been spouting news of the impeding government apocalypse that seems to be playing itself out not 15 miles from my front door step.¬† Am I the only person who is just disgusted by all of the posturing and politicking going on?¬† HELLO!!! McFly!!!! We aren’t only talking about a government’s budget, we aren’t talking about the world hitting midnight on the doomsday clock-¬†we are discussing the livelihoods of nearly 800,000 people.¬† Do me a little favor and count the number of zeros and realize that’s just the first wave.¬† The social programs that are “clogging” up the budget, well call me a socialist, but I’m not sure what the problem is with healthcare and retirement funds that my tax dollars and your tax dollars have paid for is.¬† I’m sick of hearing about how this can’t work or that can’t work because the Republicans/Democrats won’t allow this/that- this is a BS excuse.

Gentlemen and Ladies of Congress and the Senate-¬†I invite you to get your heads out of your asses and do your jobs.¬† For those of you who feel that compromise is too little too late because we’ve done too much of it-¬†TOUGH.¬† For those of you who are taking this as a test of game theory and brinksmanship- GET OVER YOURSELF.¬† This entire debate has done nothing for me, an average tax paying citizen, except make me nauseous.¬† There is only one person that I’ve heard speak tonight that made me want to stand up and cheer and that was Eleanor Holmes-Norton who was so pissed off at what was happening that she was spitting mad on national television.¬† I don’t really agree with everything that she does, but quite frankly she always has an opinion that makes a lot of sense.¬†

The federal budget is being held up over debates on social programs.¬† I say fire them all!¬† This is not the time to debate healthcare-¬†this is not the time to determine DC’s ability to fund abortions with city funds-¬†this is ABSOLUTLY NOT the time to restructure Medicaid and Medicare!¬† You, our civil servants, whose job it is to represent people like me are creating panic and chaos over a budget that will only cover the next 6 months!!!¬† What is God’s name will happen when you find yourselves incapable of creating a budget for 2012?¬† Maybe it’s time that you stop thinking about your own agendas and start to think about what is right for the people of this nation because this partisanship truly seems to have little to do with what we actually want.

We want jobs.¬† We want social programs.¬† We want to pay taxes.¬† We want to support our families.¬† We want to live peaceful lives.¬† How are you accomplishing this things?¬† You’re fighting for us to tax the richest people in the nation- OK, that’s cool, but what then?¬† Oh, you want to privatize social security, um, alright, but what then?¬† All of you in the capital building, you stand there spouting out these plans and solutions and you can’t honestly say that any of these will work the way that they’re supposed to.¬† You can’t guarantee this nation that these solutions will bring the country out of the recession or give every man, woman, and youth a job.¬† You stand there saying what it is that you think the people in your district want to hear, but you don’t think past your next election campaign and THAT is what has gotten this nation into the mess that we are in.

I have said this once and I will say it again-¬†my favorite political movie is Dave with Kevin Klein.¬† Why, you ask?¬† Because the first thing that he did was bring in¬†a regular old CPA to look at the countries books and give them an enormous reality check!¬† The most realistic thing that I’ve heard in the past 3 days was on NPR when one of the guests on Fresh Air clearly said that there was now way that any of these problems could be solved without raising taxes AND cutting spending.¬† Oh My GOD!¬† That is¬†such a novel idea.¬† The time for every person in this country to think that there is the chance to get something for nothing ended about 2 years ago, but you- the people we have charged with running the government and assuring that every person in this country is fairly represented can’t seem to get that through your thick brains and are continuing to squabble.¬† Grow up.

Ans all of this isn’t even touching on the news coverage with its dramatic¬†music and fast cuts as though we were watching a natural disaster unfold- are you kidding me?¬† As if people aren’t worried enough, now you need to create more drama around this minute by minute coverage than there actually is!¬† Just play a damned video of a polar bear playing with a beach balls for crying out loud- it would be more educational.¬† I’m going to hope, beyond rational hope, that the Senators and Representatives get their heads out of the asses before midnight tomorrow so that we ARE able to have the discussions about healthcare, social security, and taxes that truly need to happen.¬†

 

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