Category: Rants

RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers!

RiffTrax Live: Starship Troopers

We’re huge RiffTrax fans here and when they did their first KickStarter campaign back in February we backed them.  Backed them hard!  They were trying to earn enough to Riff “Twilight”.  Apparently, since the movie is still busy printing money like Guttenberg on Meth, there isn’t enough for that.  So they did “Starship Troopers” instead.

Broadcast by Fathom Events to hundreds of theaters (and, for the first time, Canada) this is the fifth live RiffTrax event and the first using a major studio film.  The prior events, “Plan Nine from Outer Space”, “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. “Reefer Madness” and the modern turkey classic, “Birdemic”, were some of the best times we’ve had in a theater and this one didn’t disappoint.

“Starship Troopers” is actually a decent film on its own.  Campy, clichéd and over-the-top, but also fun, well-paced and visually impressive.  I prefer it when the guys riff truly terrible films so I can’t say this was my favorite live event.  It was still worlds better than any of the comedies I’ve seen this year.

RiffTrax never disappoints!

Pants make Earth Special

I recently caught the end of “Cowboys & Aliens” on cable again and as I watched the climatic battle I remembered the bit of my original review about how Hollywood was getting in a rut with its aliens:

Grey, hairless, oddly-bent knees, big teeth, covered in mucus  and dripping with drool.  It started with “Aliens” of course but then we got “Battle L.A.”, “Super 8″, “Independence Day”, “Skyline”, “Pitch Black” and everything from “Avatar” that you weren’t supposed to want to bang.

As I watched the sequence again I was struck by something that solidified my problem with all of these designs.  The one thing that neatly represents all my complaints and frustrations.

Where are all the pants?

These are advanced civilizations.  They’ve perfected space travel, energy weaponry and (I assume) fiscal accounting policies and practices.  Don’t any of them wear pants?  Togas?  Kilts?  Uniforms of any kind?  Even if only to tell the grey, backwards-kneed space janitors from the grey, backward-kneed space generals?  Do aliens really not have a bikini area?

TiVo Sucks, Part 2

As I’ve written before: TiVo sucks.  In that first article I lamented the lack of innovation and features for this premium product.  The worse thing I can say is that now, over a year later, every single one of my issues still exist.  In fact there hasn’t been a single truly significant upgrade.  Nothing that screams, “you can only get this here!”  The service today is, for all intents, the same service I challenged as not advanced enough for premium pricing then.  Hell, it’s been two years and they still haven’t completed the HD interface.

Now that my contract has ended I’m considering dropping Tivo and reverting to the stock offering from Comcast.  I went to the Tivo site to allow it to convince me not to.  I got the following “10 reasons you’ll love Tivo”.

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TiVo Sucks

My premise is simple: TiVo sucks.  I will defend it, but I do want to make one thing clear: TiVo sucks, but having used TiVo, Comcast and DirectTV DVRs I feel confident in saying “so does everything else.”  This will not be an exhortation to switch brands of DVR but rather a lamentation of the state of an industry so dominated by what’s become a mediocre product.

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The Last Polictical Posters the Right will Ever Need

Now that the conservatives are just about through tearing each other to shreds over the Republican nomination the machinery is finally being retooled to fold, spindle and mutilate the real object of their ire: Obama!  But it’s so very difficult, isn’t?  First you have to imply a lie.  Then you have to renounce that lie while subliminally insisting that it’s true.  Who has the time?!

So, in the spirit of helpfulness, I’ve created these political posters.  The last political posters the Right will ever need.

No thanks are necessary.

My Christmas Pledge

As we approach the holiday season in the United States it’s a time for many to reflect on the past year and look forward to spending time with the family.  For some it’s a time for copy-paste rabble-rousing.  So you might see this kind of thing making the rounds:

DO NOT CARE IF THIS DOES OFFENDS SOMEONE… THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE…I AM SICK AND TIRED EVERY YEAR WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AROUND; THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TAKE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT MIGHT OFFEND SOMEONE…WELL, HOW ABOUT ALL OF THE CHRISTIANS?… WHAT ABOUT OFFENDING US BECAUSE YOU ARE TAKING OUR CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS?…CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS!… IF YOU AREN’T CELEBRATING CHRIST THEN WHY ARE YOU CELEBRATING? … CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR!…CHRISTMAS IS ONE OF A FEW HOLIDAYS LEFT THAT CELEBRATE “MY” CHRIST!…LEAVE “MY” HOLIDAY ALONE!…AND TELL EVERYONE MERRY CHRISTMAS, NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS!…

The key point for me here is the question “If you aren’t celebrating Christ, then why are you celebrating?”  I suppose that’s a legitimate question (even wrapped as it is in a sea of nonsense).  As a response, but primarily as an answer to that specific question I’m replying to the above – wherever I see it – with the following:

The holiday being celebrated is older than Christ tracing back at least 1000 years previously as the birthday of the Persian deity Mithras and at least a 1000 years before that as a pagan solstice observance.  The church adopted the mid-winter feast in the late 4th century as the birth of Christ (there is no mention of Christmas or December 25th in the Bible and even it were it would actually now be January 7th after the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar).

BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER – at least not in the long run – what does matter is that humans across the northern hemisphere have, in one way or another, faced the harshest point of winter with joy, good-natured indulgence and family for well over 3,000 years.

It’s a celebration of the turning point when the year moves, ever so slightly, towards life and warmth again. When the hardships left to face are less than those already overcome.

No matter what trappings have been added, changed or removed over the millennia it’s a time to celebrate the human spirit and revel in our ability to wring not only survival but comfort and safety from harshness.  To put the worst behind us and share the best of what’s left come.

People may take that as they will but the intent is to demonstrate that people of different beliefs can share moments of celebration together despite varying motivations.  While I can’t speak for all humanists I feel confident in asserting that we don’t care if anybody says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”.  Out of respect for an ancient tradition we’re all enjoying our families, our friends and our communities in celebration.

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