Tip of the Iceberg

While I completely understand the desire to undermine the significance of the Confederate States of America and the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia which has come to be such an explicit symbol of racism under the disguise of southern heritage. And it is true that the Confederacy only lasted 4 years 1861 to 1865, which is a remarkably insignificant amount of time for a nation to exist.

I don’t know why these posts annoy me. I think it’s just the idea that this was a thing for 4-years, when in actuality it was something much bigger and far more sinister.

I think that it’s important to remember that the folks waving these flags and honoring these monuments are not remembering that Confederacy, but rather a much longer history of oppression, slavery, and violence that began nearly two and a half centuries before the American civil war.

I don’t claim to know the exact date that slavery came to these lands that would eventually become these United States, but let’s consider a significant starting point for slavery in America to be 1619. Which is when the privateer The White Lion brought 20 African slaves ashore in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia. We’ll use that as our starting point.

So, while the flag may have only been around for 4 years the ideas that inspired it had been around for 242 years. And it is those two and a half centuries before their defeat are what we are still fighting against. And that is a very long history of vile human behavior. The Confederate States of America was just the tip of that iceberg.

Things that Matter

I know that I don’t have much of a platform here at arohen.com, but I do send my thoughts out into the world with a good bit of regularity and I’m feeling guilty about not talking about some of the things that have been going on in the country. I do the occasional rant, but mostly I just talk about what’s going on with me. Today, I’d like to step up on my soapbox and address the elephant in the room. Possibly, multiple elephants… just depends on how long this gets to be.

First, a qualification, or perhaps a disqualification. I am a white, middle aged man. I think, by most standards, I’m middle-class. I grew up far out in the distant, white suburbs of Detroit. Until I started working, I had essentially no interaction with anyone of color; black, brown, red, yellow, green, blue, whatever—my life was very insular. I was oblivious to this fact. I didn’t think about it. It was not an issue in my world. Now that I’ve moved to Grand Rapids and sent my child to one of the most diverse schools in the county, I don’t think my background was necessarily the way I would have chosen it. I would have picked a life of greater diversity. It seems to have made my son a better person, probably it would have done the same for me.

I have had black friends, coworkers, clients, and neighbors, but I will readily admit, not very many. I am far and away from being an expert on race relations. But I like to think that I have a good grasp of right and wrong, justice and injustice, and a belief that people are people and that skin color is simply a matter of heritage based on geographic distribution and environmental factors (i.e. how much ultraviolet light your ancestors had to deal with). I would tell you that I’m not a racist, but how many white men have you heard say that. Inexperienced and naive. Sure. Ignorant. Possibly. But with that caveat, here is my take on black lives matter, racism, and where we find ourselves now.

Black Lives Matter

Those who keep saying that all lives matter and take exception to the mantra, Black Lives Matter, are being strategically obtuse. Of course, all lives matter, thou shall not kill and whatnot… murder bad… no shit. Typically, this is paired with some plea to quit making it about race. I’m not sure if this is deflection or an obfuscation of the issue that the phrase is intended to draw attention to. The issue being that black lives are being disproportionately ruined or outright taken by institutional racism. You can find your handful of examples making your point and I’ll find a handful to counter, but the numbers don’t lie. Massage the statistics however you want, this society is geared toward making things more difficult for those who are poor, a minority, or otherwise disenfranchised. I don’t like it. I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have the answers. I’ve never been black, but I’ve seen plenty of racism. I have been poor, and everything is harder, more expensive, and less forgiving. The combination of the two is a recipe for social unrest. I don’t think we can be surprised that this is happening again, what with us not doing all that much to change things since the riots in the 60s.

Here, in these United States of America, this is not a black problem, rather, it is a white problem that affects blacks. Whites have the numbers, the money, and the power in this country. The Census Bureau puts the white/black split of the population at 76.5%/13.4% and puts the poverty rate in the US at 11.8%. The white/black split for poverty is 10.1%/20.8%. I’m not going to dig into corporate leadership or governance, but I’m certain those numbers will be skewed heavily white as well. I only point out these numbers to make the point that white America is in control and if white America is in control of the money and the power and damn near everything else, you know who isn’t making reforms to a broken system…. White America.

This is not about giving up control or losing your power. Much like my religion argument from a while back, white America is firmly in control and the numbers would have to swing wildly for that to not be the case. This is about doing what is right, eliminating racial persecution, creating a baseline that is not tilted toward the oppression of a minority. Are we not beyond the point where the strong make the rules and fuck the rest?

If someone tells you that something is wrong. Tells you that things are unfair. Tells you that they are hurting. If they tell you these things and you have the power to change them and you don’t… who is to blame for that. You.

great show, terrible symbolism

Now let’s move on to Civil War monuments, the confederate legacy, and the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (the confederate or rebel flag). I was born in a North Carolina hospital, LOVED the Dukes of Hazard television show, and had a fondness for that particular flag. It all made me feel like I had some southern heritage, a little rebel in my soul, and it looked cool. But you know what, I’m older now and have a better understanding of history, symbolism, and subtext. If the Dukes of Hazard drove a car with a swastika on the roof and was called the “Chancellor Hitler”, well, I’d like it a lot less. I liked the Dukes for the same reasons I like Robin Hood, all the flying cars, and that good ol’ boy, southern hospitality thing is great, but that car and that flag need to go. Time and education have caught up with this particular symbol. And as it keeps getting pointed out, most of these monuments and statues didn’t go up in the deep dark past, they went up in the 1970’s. Which coincidently lines up with the black rights movement. They were a message. A statement of place if you will. It is time to put them in the museums and galleries. They were in the wrong. They lost. They do not deserve to be glorified. We should never have, and most certainly should not continue, the glorification of those who fought for racism and the right to own another human being. Besides, that flag has become the accepted symbol of white supremacy and we all know it. Enough of that shit.

Lastly, I want to shout out a bit of praise to the US Supreme Court for protecting LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination. We should always strive to increased freedom and to eliminate oppression. Inclusion not exclusion. It is a very good and just decision and one that pushes us further in the direction of common decency and tolerance.

i bet they don’t

So, there you have it. I feel a little bit exhausted and yet this is way under 2,000 words. Be good to each other. And hey, be careful out there. The covid-19 pandemic is still in full swing, cases are resurging and rising around the country, and while it only makes sense that everything needs reopen, I am not seeing near enough masks on people out in public. For your health and for the health of others, be considerate, wear a mask. Thanks. Later.

Upper Limit

I mentioned this a while back to Lady Ronn and it seems to be an increasingly popular topic for the news to talk about, but how old is too old to be the president?

I’m not an ageist. But, I’m also not a spring chicken just shouting about how the old folks running the country are out of touch. You’ve got to be 35 to run for president, and that seems pretty sound. I know a lot of people under 35 and most of them are still figuring things out, being president should require a certain amount of maturity. But what about the upper age limit? Right now, there isn’t one and I’m genuinely thinking that there should be a point at which you can’t be president. I’m feeling the rigors of my job and I’ve still got 15-years to go… I can only assume being the president is more demanding in nearly every capacity.

Before I share my proposal, let’s look at the age of our next president at inauguration–Trump would be 74, Biden would be 78, Sanders would be 79. Just for comparison let’s look at the age of the living former presidents–Jimmy Carter is 95, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are both 73, and Barack Obama is 58. All of whom have been out of office for years.

Here are my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps you should be no older than 4-years younger than your retirement age to be president. For me, I can retire at 68, so 64 would be the cut-off. Sure, a second term would throw a rock into the system, but I think we can risk it for four more years from a sitting president. Look, I’m not saying that these folks need to leave politics. They are experienced politicians and would make valuable cabinet members, advisors, and congress members, but maybe not leader of the country. Which is a job that has some rather hefty demands on a person’s energy, focus, and mental agility.

Bloody Hell

I recently watched the BBC One/Netflix Dracula series/movie. Lots of slashes there, but why? Because, it’s my understanding that the BBC One made the thing and Netflix bought the rights. And while it is set up as a series, it’s only 3 episodes long and the total runtime with credits and recaps and titles and what-not is, probably, about four-and-a-half hours, basically, a long movie. You may have gathered from my previous post, that at the two-thirds mark, I was a bit disappointed with the product as presented. Then it got bad.

It’s hard to do Dracula and do something that hasn’t been done before. My research, which is not extensive in any way, shows that there have been more than 62 Dracula films and that the character of Dracula has appeared in something like 200 films. Now, you throw in novels, TV shows, comic books, and games into the mix and you’ve got a character who is pretty well known and fairly extensively defined. I cannot imagine that anyone reading this is completely clueless about Dracula, but I am willing to bet most haven’t read the original novel. One thing that you could do to make your film stand out would be to make the most faithful screen adaption of the novel. That’s what I was hoping for. That’s not the route that was taken.

No. We were given yet another reimagining of this classic. Of which there are already very, very many. I realized this pretty quickly and made an attempt to quash my disappointment and take it for what it was, another reworked take on Dracula and the rest of the cast. A little gender swapping. A little character melding. A lot of blood and gore. Plenty of flies. Oh, and way too many scenes of people popping their fingernails off. So gross.

I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who might watch it, so I’m not going to go into detail. But let’s start with the good.

  • Sister Agatha is great. Dolly Wells does a wonderful job of bringing this character to film. I would watch a series based on this character. Dolly Wells also plays Zoe, but she’s not as spectacular.
  • Claes Bang does a good Dracula. My problems are with the story, not with the actor or the character.
  • Special effects are good.
  • Production values are good.

The bad stuff is hard to go into without giving away parts of the plot, but suffice it to say that the biggest issue I have is how far off from the source material it veers. I really wanted the definitive BBC production of Dracula. So without spoiling anything… all the other characters are forgettable, the gore was a bit excessive for my tastes, and the ending is crap.

My quick survey of the internet seems to say that the 1977 BBC version with Louis Jourdan is the most faithful screen adaptation of the book. I’ve never seen it, but I may have to seek it out and give it a watch. There are also a lot of advocates for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 Dracula being closest to the novel. I did see that one, in the theater none-the-less, and while I enjoyed it, I remember that it took more than a few liberties with the book. Most of which seemed to revolve around Winona Ryder in my memory. Whatever the case, there is not much consensus and I am not going to sit through 60+ movies to figure out which is the closest. I’m sure there is a whole other list of “best” Dracula movies.

All I know is, I was disappointed in this particular version of Dracula and the ending is garbage. Really, the whole third episode was crap. That’s my two cents worth. Later.

WtF People?

Maybe it’s the bias in my newsfeed, but I keep seeing these articles about people cutting off Teslas or vandalizing Teslas or blocking chargers for electric vehicles and I can’t help but wonder, what the fuck is wrong with these people?

Are they afraid of electric cars? Do they have a grudge against Tesla, Elon Musk, or both? Are they all oil drillers or traditional auto workers who’ve been put out of work by a small, fractional reduction in gasoline production due to electric vehicles? Or is it just pure idiocy and ignorance? My best guess is that it’s the latter.

Look here people, it might not be next year or five years from now or maybe not even 10 years, but this is the inevitable wave of the future. These here newfangled, electronical cars. Yup. It’s all about the batteries. We’re not even going to get into your not-driving future. Enjoy that while you can.

First off, I meant to say electronical. Secondly, we’ve been working at getting off gasoline since the 1970s, admittedly we’ve been doing a terrible job at it, but we’re working on it. We’re going to end up with faster, quicker, easier maintained, electric cars. It’s just a matter of time.

I’m not mechanic, but I do love me some cars. And I’m considering running a 220 line and circuit panel out to my garage, because I know that’s going to be the future of transportation and quite possibly my next car. I looking at 2023 as the likely replacement timeframe for the Impala.

Also, have these people not seen all the footage that is captured by these Teslas? They’ve got cameras and surveillance all over them. The news media loves to post images and videos of these idiots doing all of this stuff. At this point I don’t know if anyone has gotten away with it. I think they all get caught, called out, prosecuted, fined, ticketed, whatever.

Hey, I’ll admit it, there are a lot of cars, trucks, and SUVs that I don’t like. I’m not going to name brands or models, but there are some undesirables out there. But, even still, I don’t torment any of the drivers of any of those models or seek to damage their very expensive bad investments. I guess what I’m saying, and I’ll make this as simple as possible, is that if you are one of these people or are considering acting like one of these people, just don’t. It’s not funny. it’s not clever. You’re not making a valid point. You’re just being an asshole.

Change can be scary and it’s okay to be scared sometimes. It’s not okay to be a jerk, no matter how scared you are.

Amazon Payment Fiasco

I’ve had my first negative experience with an Amazon purchase experience. This is an actual Amazon issue, not a problem with one of their vendors. Which is impressive, given how often I shop on Amazon and how many years I’ve been using them. The issue was resolved, but it was still a thing. Here’s what happened.

I’ve been on Lady Ronn to upgrade her camera for a while now. The Canon Rebel she’s been using is nice enough, but it’s not professional quality and if she’s really going to go for this photography thing she needs something else. Her instructors agree. So, after much brow-beating, badgering, and bullying, I finally got a decision out of her. Which is all I was really waiting for; an excuse to spend gobs of money.

I loaded my Amazon cart up with camera equipment and made my purchases. Which went pretty much as I would expect. Flawless. Except that an hour later I received an email letting me know that there was a problem with my order, the purchase had been rejected, and I needed to change my payment information. Okay. That was my bad. I used the Amazon Store Card and the limit on that card wasn’t enough to cover the cost. I should have used my credit card, but I hadn’t thought about it. I don’t spend sums of money like this very often. And here’s where the problem starts.

There is a handy button on my order to change the payment source. And I have three sources to choose from, but it doesn’t matter which one I choose. Everytime I make a change it won’t take. The screen loads and indicates that the payment source has been changed to the Store Card… which is not what is supposed to be happening. I fought with that for 10-minutes before deciding that it didn’t matter how many times I repeated the process it wasn’t going to change. Because it didn’t!

My next idea was to raise the limit on the Store Card. So, I go to the website, request the increased limit, it gets processed immediately, badda-boom, badda-bing, and I go back to my order page and try again. It still says it has changed the payment source, but it still isn’t changing anything. It’s also not registering the new limit, so it’s still failing. Another 10-minutes of trying to make that work… didn’t.

At this point I was annoyed. Trying to find a customer service number for Amazon did not improve my attitude. Finally, I found a link to a text window that offered me a callback to resolve my issue. And that call was almost immediate, the lady on the phone was helpful and pleasant, everything seemed to be resolved. She told me that I’d get a message if there were any other problems. So I went to bed thinking things were fixed. Not so much.

I checked the order details when I woke the next morning and saw that the $8 screen protector was now paid for and shipping. The camera and the lens… not so much. Change payment source, please. Head explodes!

After cleaning up the mess and digging a bit more into the payment links, I found a place to “retry” a payment type. In case you fat fingered your numbers or made some sort of error while entering a card. With one click I was able to refresh the payment attempt, recheck the card balance, and complete the purchase. Success.

The camera and lens showed up today, but the process of getting them here was not a particularly positive one. Sorry for the long rambling rant. That’s my story. Later.

Impeachment, That is the Question

Politics. That’s was your heads-up. Consider yourself warned. Trump impeachment. Why?

Full disclosure. I am not a fan. I’m not a flag wagging, chest thumping member of either party. I vote based on who I agree with, not which party they’re in. Mostly, I’m a moderate, or possibly a centrist, I reserve my right to declare which based on your definition of either. I’d like to keep my gun, but I’m willing to let you run a check on me when I buy a new one, and I understand limiting what I can buy to things that aren’t military grade weapons. I want to keep God out of my schools, courts, and politics, but I don’t care what sort of house of religion you go to. I’m all about free speech, equal rights for everybody, increasing freedoms, and reducing qualifications for those freedoms. But that’s just who I am. Whatever the case, there is no attention paid to the vast swath of Americans that just want things to be reasonable. Back to the impeachment thing.

Why? Are they doing this because they don’t expect to beat him in November 2020? I am not a fan of the president. I don’t like him as a celebrity/personality. I didn’t vote for him. And I most certainly have been mostly embarrassed by (and for) him as the leader of our country. The list is long, of ways by which he has done the office of the presidency wrong. But, three years in we’re going for impeachment? His approval rating is like 40%. I’d like to see both parties put up a challenger to Trump. But the GOP is working through the process of canceling any primaries or caucuses that might put up another candidate, thereby announcing that they are all in on this guy. Not surprising, being as he is the sitting president, but still disappointing. I like options. And the Democrats still have damn near a score of candidates fighting for the spot. Let me know when you get it down to a handful and I’ll start paying attention.

Don’t get me wrong. I want trump out of office. I’m just not sure that going through an impeachment process is the way to do it with a year to go before the election. I’m not convinced that it’s worth doing at this point.

I’m all for impeachments. Hell, I think the threat of impeachment should be greater and that the barriers to impeachment should be lower. After all, impeachment should not be limited to things covered by the legal system. That’s not why it’s in the constitution. It’s there to protect the sanctity of the office. It needs to be a tool of the political system as well. High crimes and misdemeanors sounds like the good stuff, but I think more emphasis should be placed on breaching the public trust and conduct unbecoming. Impeachment is in there (the constitution) as a check on runaway tyranny, and it’s not just for presidents. These people need to remember that they are public servants. And we expect our servants to behave well.

With that as the criteria, lots of presidents have committed impeachable offenses. Has Donald Trump breached the public trust? I think a rational, fair-minded person can come down on the side of thinking he has and that his actions merit impeachment. But a grand jury can indict without charging and a congress should look at impeaching without the goal being to evict or convict of legal crimes. Censure and reprimand are tools in the congressional toolbox. We don’t need to get everybody out of office. Maybe we just need to thwack ’em upside the head every so often to keep them on the straight and narrow.

I think the president has done things worthy of impeachment. I’m just not convinced that doing so at this point is going to be beneficial to the democrats, the government, or the country at this point. I also believe that if they try and fail, it’s going to benefit Trump in the coming election. I want him gone, but let’s just vote him out. Like the Mueller report, I’m not saying he commited crimes against the office of the presidency, but neither am I exonerating him from his actions.

We have the tweets, the press conferences, and the facts. Very soon we’ll have the “tell all” memoirs from every member of the cabinet letting us know what these smart, accomplished, and credible people really experienced during their time in the white house. The legacy has already been set in place.

It isn’t right. It isn’t fair. It isn’t fit. It isn’t proper. But it’s where we’re at.

Yes, impeachment is the constitutional process for addressing presidential misconduct. But maybe the coming election is a better forum to adjudicate this and avoid the rush of vindication and exoneration that will occur when the Senate refuses to convict. I’m probably too late to the podium with my arguments, they’re going to do what they do, without listening to me. I just don’t think this is going to work out the way they expect it too.

Besides, President Mike Pence… Who is that? Probably a more conservative version of George W. Bush with a more overt religious bias. I don’t want that. I’ve got more than enough religion mixed up with my government already. No thank you.

Posting Notice

I pulled the snopes card on a friend today and I kinda feel bad about it. While this is a direct result of that, it is not a reflection of that person or that event. So, this is not about you… you know who you are.

Look, I get it, the internet is a wonderful, horrifying place full of news and pictures and people trying to steal your soul. But here’s the thing. Putting a paragraph of nonsense on your Facebook page or in a tweet or, oh hell I don’t know, on whatever other site you’re using, has in no way protected you from the pages long user agreement that you clicked past so that you could reconnect with your 6th grade sweetheart, post picture galleries of your cat, or whatever else you’re doing inside of your web browser. You wanted the cool new website, tool, app, AI overlord, whatever it was and now you have that thing. So great.

These are private companies out to make a buck and grow their influence. They want the same thing you want. If you leave your lawnmower in my garage there’s a chance, possibly a good chance, that I’m going to use that lawnmower. It would be super uncool of me to sell that lawnmower, but maybe I could rent it to the kid next door once a week. You still have a lawnmower and a free place to store it, I’m making a little cash, and everybody has a nice short lawn. We’re all getting what we want.

I could tell you that, if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product. And probably that’s true a lot of the time, but it’s also true that there’s a business model for giving something away for free and then offering something a little better and a little fuller featured for a few bucks. Micro-transactions. Or selling the user base to advertisers. Whatever the case, nobody eats for free.

If you’re just posting the usual social media nonsense, who cares. You don’t. If you did, maybe reading those agreements would be the way to go. I’m just saying. If you’re trying to build a business, sell a service, or create something, then I hope you did read that agreement. Because some lawyer wrote that thing up and wanted to make sure that his client got what they wanted from you, was thoroughly protected from your nonsense, and had the law on their side. Your little announcement that you disapprove, disagree, or don’t allow means jack nothing.

I’m not picking on Facebook here, but I just downloaded their user agreement and ran it through Word to see how long it was, so I’m using them as my example. The Facebook user agreement is 9-pages long. You think you’re getting around that by reposting something that someone, somewhere came up with to get you to do exactly what you did. I’m afraid that doesn’t happen. You need lawyers to get out of contracts. That user agreement is a contract.

For most of us it doesn’t matter. Nobody wants your picture of great aunt Hilda’s cross-stitched poodle on an oven mitt. Not even Facebook. But if you put it online, it’s true, that shit is there forever. Maybe not on your profile or on your site, but it’s on a server back-up somewhere. If you go nuts and kill 11-people at a bowling alley, you bet your ass all that stuff is going public. Somebody is going to do the work to dreg it up. We all have the right to a reasonable amount of privacy and control over our content, but there are an awful lot of people out there working to undermine that right. Here’s the complete break-down of what I’m trying to say. If you’re online so is your information, your history, your preferences, a lot of info you don’t even realize you’re giving away. It’s a lot. But your choice is to not be online. That just isn’t practical anymore. That’s not the world we live in. So just be careful with what you put out there and try not to think about it. The internet already knows more about you than you would be comfortable with. But hey, maybe all that data has been anonymized. Probably not. But we can pretend.

“If you’re not paying for a product, you know, like arohen.com, then you’re getting that product for free. I mean, I’m paying quite a little bit for all this, but you… you get it all for nothing.”

– Ronn McCarrick

Make America Better

So I should probably stay away from Facebook. I mean, I usually do and that’s for the best. But I’m seeing a lot of really thinly veiled racism, political ignorance, and other shit that annoys the hell out of me coming from people who should just be better. Having said that, I’m about to piss everyone I’ve ever known off; friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, even people who don’t know me, pretty much everyone.
On the president, he got elected and that’s a thing. Okay. I hope it all works out for the best, but it sure looks like a shit storm at this point. Trump is a dirty business man, a slimy celebrity, and now a crooked politician. Yes, he’s rich and successful, but he’s not a good person. Politics aside, he’s just not. All the various scandals and outrages the media keeps pulling out and the outrageous, unexplainable things that Trump does… they’re all centered on one thing. It’s all a diversion and an attempt to take the focus off the fact that he has tripped on his own dick and put himself in a position to be exposed for all history as the worst, most corrupt president ever. The Mueller investigation isn’t a witch hunt, there have been 19 indictments so far and Trump hasn’t even been interviewed yet. It’s an ugly mess, but it’s a real thing.
Veterans, service people, thank you for your service, but remember you served this country. The whole country. Not just the part you agree with. Not just the part you like. Not just the people that look like you or go to your church. The whole country. Don’t use your personal biases and petty hatreds to shade your time in the military with bigotry, prejudice, and distrust. Thirty percent of the serving military is minorities right now. You’re a patriot. We thank you. But you might also be an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.
I know it’s a holiday and I shouldn’t get up on a soapbox today, but… Home of the free. Land of the brave. Every religion. Every color. Everyone can be an American. That’s supposed to include the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Am I ringing any bells here? History? Government class? Anything? Hello!
Based on the census data from July 1,2016 America is 76.9% white. White people get over it, you’re winning. There are more of you than all the other colors combined. Stop acting like you’re the minority and shit isn’t fair. You look like asshats.
Seriously look at this shit, blacks make up 13.3% of the population. Hispanics make up 17.8% of the population. Everyone else you don’t like makes up less than 10%. These are not big numbers. Probably, even if they wanted to (and they don’t) there’s not enough of them to take over. Just let people be people and recognize that given those numbers and human tendencies, they probably have a legitimate set of complaints. The human default is a clannish, tribal protectiveness, but we’re an intelligent race of beings and can work to quash our baser tendencies. And we should. Better, fairer, safer, and more inclusive; these should be our goals.
Sure, I’ll give you that the percentages may be different where you live, but I’d be willing to bet that even where you’re at, you don’t have an accurate idea of the population numbers. White privilege is a thing. It’s a thing because whites are ¾ of the population. They have a lot of influence. It’s real. And all you Christians, you make up 69% of the religious community. The same shit applies to you.
And as long as were talking about things that are annoying me, women make up more than 50% of the population (50.8% to be exact). You know men. You know how people are when they have power and influence. People can seem nice, but really be assholes. Men do a lot of dick-swinging to prove how manly they are and how important they are and how powerful they are. It’s a thing. These women are not in some conspiracy to bring down rich and powerful men. Rich and powerful men are abusing that power. It’s real. I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. You know you have.
Look, you’re doing well. That’s great. You’re in the majority. Only 30% of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree in this country. The median HOUSEHOLD income is under $60,000. Which, just to put it in perspective means that (making some broad assumptions here with the numbers) 163,383,374 people in this country, the United States of America, who if you added up all their money as a household, are making less (possibly significantly less) than you alone. I don’t want to even get into the numbers for the rich because it’s just covetous greed.
Something like 62% of us think we’re in the middle class, but PEW research says that middle class income ranges from $43,000 to $125,000. Okay, sure. Whatever. That is an incomprehensible range that does not reflect reality. Two parents and a kid or two living on $43k, I bet they don’t feel middle class. The people at either end of that spectrum are living lives so different that they would be unrecognizable to the other side. I’m not advocating that the government redistribute everyone’s income to make things fair, and neither are any of the politicians (despite the fear mongering). But I am saying that there are a whole lot of people who are still struggling to make a living in this country and we should maybe recognize that the wealthy and the corporations do not have our best interest in mind. And, I just want to say, you don’t hear about a lot of poor politicians.
I recognize that this is becoming a rambling mess and that I can’t be bothered to do much editing to it, so I’ll wrap it up with this. America was founded by white, male, Christians. Who cares. Everybody has to be something. That’s what they were. But while they were all flawed individuals, just like you and I, the language they decided on—agreed to in compromise and put down in writing—embraced some very important ideas. Ideas that things can, and should, be better.
Freedom of speech. Where you can say whatever you want without fear of government persecution. But this does not free you from the opinion your words may engender in your neighbors.
Freedom of religion. You can be whatever religion you want. But don’t expect your beliefs to be those of your neighbors. You may love Jesus, but I don’t give a shit, I don’t want to hear about it. Probably, your Muslim, Jewish, and Wiccan neighbors just want you to stop telling them they’re going to hell and looking disapprovingly at them.
Lastly, no body gives a shit how things used to be. Times change. Ideas evolve. Ideally this will work to make the country and the world a more open, accepting, friendly place. Get over your shit and start working on making that happen.
Enjoy your holiday. Have a hotdog and a beer. Spend some time with the family. Kick off the summer with a bash. But recognize and remember all those who have given their lives for you and for your country. And recognize that all the brave men and women in uniform today are in danger of being on that list next Memorial Day. That’s what the holiday is about. Honor and Remember.

Sequel to the Jungle Book?

Just trying to be funny there folks. I know it’s not a sequel to Jungle Book. That kid was raised by wolves. This kid was raised by apes. I don’t think they were even in the same jungle. Though both were enjoyable movies in their own rights. Let’s talk about The Legend of Tarzan
I only recently listened to the audiobooks for Edgar Rice Burrough’s first two Tarzan books; Tarzan of the Apes (1912) and The Return of Tarzan (1913). I was both surprised by them and enjoyed them immensely. The Tarzan of those two books is not the Tarzan of television and movie fame in many ways. Hollywood always makes changes, some aesthetic, some practical, and some just for the sake of making changes. That’s just the way Hollywood does things. But the gist of things is that Tarzan is a man raised by apes.

I was excited when I saw the preview for this movie. It looked promising. Good CGI. Good actors. Seems pretty accurate to the source material. Last night I watched this movie and I’d like to share my opinions and observations with you, so that you can decide if you want to watch this movie.

  • I’d like more Tarzan and less politics, please.
  • There were some unnecessary changes made to the backstory in typical Hollywood fashion.
  • You have to remember that Tarzan is a superhero. He’s batman without the suit. Crazy strong. Crazy smart. Heightened senses. And he has a British title and estate.
  • Get Samuel L. Jackson out of this movie. What the hell, man. This guy is the Jar Jar Binks of Tarzan. Why is he here? His character adds nothing to this movie that couldn’t have been accomplished with one of the other characters.
  • Good Tarzan. Good John Clayton. Believable. I can see this guy as Tarzan. Did you know Tarzan was a special agent for the British government? Well, he was.
  • Good Jane. They made a lot of changes to her character to make her stronger and more important to the story, which was not so much the case in 1912. Burroughs had written Jane off, but the public outcry for more Jane was such that he had to put her back in the stories.
  • The film maker seems to be trading too much on having Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad) and Eric Northman (True Blood) in his movie. Nothing the actors are doing, just an impression I’m left with. And why is Samuel L. Jackson in here? Just to be Samuel L. Jackson seems to be the answer we’re left with.
  • The villains were good and their motivation seemed both believable and understandable. Though, I’ll say it again, they seemed to spend too much time on this and not enough time showing us Tarzan doing cool shit.
  • Any number of the African tribesmen could have made a better, more understandable sidekick than Sam Jackson.
  • Why is Tarzan friends with the lions? Perhaps something I didn’t get around to reading/listening too, there are twenty-four Tarzan novels by Burroughs alone and I don’t know how many by other authors.
  • Tarzan’s brother kicked the shit out of him, which is good because without his steel fang (knife) or lasso I don’t know that he was ever capable of beating one of these big ass apes. That’s how it played out in the books anyway.
  • There’s not a lot of depth here. But what the fuck did you expect, it’s a story about a man raised by apes. Jane gets captured and Tarzan saves her, seems like a pretty good Tarzan story to me.
  • Could it be better. Yes. Is it bad. No. Just get Samuel L. Jackson out of it and it’ll go up a full star, maybe two. Why is he here?

I hope you found that in someway helpful. I enjoyed the movie, but it was not without it’s flaws. Did I mention Samuel L. Jackson? Yeah, get rid of that fucker, he done messed up a decent movie.