I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Les Miserables misses the boat

I finally got around to watching Les Miserables and while I didn't hate it I do have to say I was not that impressed.  Quite a number of years ago I saw the show and truly was impressed with the revolving stage and massive set pieces.  On Broadway it was a pop opera spectacle.  All of that changed when they turned it into a big budget feature film.  What started off as a musical based on the Cliff Notes of a very, very long novel was turned into high opera.  I hate opera.  There is a vast chasm between a live performance and screen presentation.  The camera lens becomes the sole perspective which shows you what it wants you to see.  It drills in for lingering closeups, not understanding sometimes distance is a good thing.  It utterly fails when it comes to ensemble pieces, forcing the editor to make many, many cuts in an attempt to create a sense of unity.  On stage four minute songs do not seem that lengthy because the actor moves around connecting with as many members of the audience as possible.  In the film version they become tediously long, especially when the songs are slow moving, mini-arias.

Performance wise, Anne Hathaway is heart wrenching as Fantine.  Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, well, I kept waiting for someone to drive truck through his vibrato.  The rest of the cast was pretty much on the same level as he, many quality performances but not much heart.  This is a sad thing to say, but truthfully, I didn't really care for the characters.  Depth is not always measured by how pretty the music, or how sad the lyric especially on the bit screen where the lens magnifies every nuance of a performance.  I suspect the reason the film made so much money had more to do with the fact that so many wanted to see it, not because it was great.

Sadly, for the filmmakers, I have no desire to ever see this movie again or even listen to the music, and that's a big fail.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

John Faraci - as unamerican as they get

Before I worked for Home Depot I used to work for xpedx, the distribution branch of International Paper.  What did I do?  Worked in accounting - accounts payable / receivable to be precise.  Back in 2008 our District A/P manager came to our facility in Camp Hill and told us that while International Paper was indeed moving it's accounting to Poland our jobs were not at risk.  Not being  the dumb, easily duped type, I got a part time job at Home Depot.  It was no surprise to me when, in February, 2009, my department was called in and told 'yes, our jobs are going to be outsourced to Poland.'  In the heart of the recession we were told we were losing our jobs.  We were also reminded, constantly, that this was a business decision.  Not only were we being laid off at a time when nobody was hiring, Poles were flown in so we could train them on how to do their jobs.  True, I did receive a nice severance package but I was also 56 years old at the time.  Even today it is quite difficult for your average 56 year old male to change jobs, try and imagine what it was like in 2009.  And this was a business decision made by the CEO of International Paper.  A guy name John Faraci.  During America's worst economic recession this man chose to lay off hundreds of workers and outsource to Poland because it boost xpedx's profitability.  He also decided it would be better for the American economy to send the Credit Departments of every xpedx to Guatemala.  This is John Faraci.

Would you really trust this man?

Yesterday, while I was mixing paint at Home Depot, not one but two associates stopped by and told me the same thing.  Xpedx was being sold to Unisource.  When I got home I found an email from an other associate who said "it looks like their cutting us lose."  She included a copy of a letter she had received from Mary Laschinger, president of xpedx (included below).  A meeting was held on Monday with xpedx employees which provided very little information.  They are in the dark.  And there are a lot of them.  One year ago, this is what they said.  I suspect this, in John Faraci's mind, is another way to outsource.  Will people lose their jobs?  Do you think he really cares?  Remember, it's all about being making money.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dealing with the hell that is call Facebook

One of the most insidious evils in today's society, and you might never think of it as evil, is, of all things, Facebook.  Remember when you could use it to find long, lost friends, or acquaintances you might want to think of as friends?  Well, you can still do that, however one of things which has changed is those people have not been given a platform on which to shout out their loves, their hates, and their grievances.  Facebook is not about catching up any more, or simple socializing, Facebook is about forcing your "likes" down as many throats as possible.  You are basically given three choices in dealing with these morons:  unfriend them, ignore them, or join them.  I've been doing the first, after a polite message from me to them explaining my reasoning.  Most of them provide me with an angry retort before they disappear forever.  My ego does not need countless friends in order to survive.

Another really major problem is the relentless advertising.  In case you don't know, if one of your friends clicks on an advertisement, you will soon be getting a little notification which starts off "you might also like..."  Facebook is not about making your life simple by giving you valid suggestions, Facebook is about creating revenue from advertising.  What is even more surprising is that there are all of these dumb shits out there clicking on things left and right without understanding Facebook keeps a file with their computer ID on it and every time they click they add a bit of information to that file.

I suspect Facebook's main goal is creating a hive mentality in our culture.  Try finding a product or a service which doesn't have the Facebook logo attached.  All it takes is one click and you've found them on Facebook.  In the end, what will save society is product overload.  It's already beginning to happen.  Just because you like something doesn't mean you're going to buy the product, or even visit the website more then 2 or three times.  Just because some moron out there likes 400 or 500 different companies doesn't mean that bozo brain is going to be spending his hard earned cash with those companies.  At some point in time the revenue spent to advertise on Facebook will out way the cash returned.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mitch McConnell - Number One With A Bullet

I see Mitch McConnell is in the news again because he and some of his staffers were saying bad things about Ashley Judd.  Ha ha, somebody recorded the conversation. Double ha, ha, somebody released it to the media.  Didn't something similar to this happen to Mitt Romney?  Oh, yeah, I remember that, when he talked about 47% of the American people in a not too friendly manner.  Hey, Mitch, I hate to tell you this but Politics is not like Hollywood where bad press is not better then no press at all.  If you are up for re-election glowing praise is what you want.  You do not want to be recorded sitting around with a bunch of dumb shits bad mouthing a possible opponent.  Tell me, Mitch, who do you think comes out of this smelling like roses.  From what I can tell, you're pointing your finger all over the place except at yourself.  You do understand that you were in charge, even if you were not an active participant.  No, I don't think you do.  I suspect you are going to pull a standard Republican ploy and actively hunt down the culprit in order to remove yourself from the issue.

This is one more example of the Republican Party sinking into the tar pit of oblivion.  Damn, even your insiders hate you enough to go public.  Now, I'm sure this kind of behavior happens in the Democratic Party as well.  This is what politics is.  They, however, are not the ones with recordings on a bullet ride to Number One.  A word of advice, if you want to make National News, don't do it this way.  All this does is make you look stupid.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

North Korea lights another fart

For years the Chinese government sat back and watched North Korea posture and rattle swords and, figuratively speaking, lay on their back and light farts at the United States.  For most people, the accepted reality was that North Korea was their bastard.  They helped bring it to life and only they chose to ally themselves to the sorry, little country.  Over that period of time things have changed, slowly at first, but then more rapidly.  One of those changes being China rediscovered Capitalism.  Before, when their spoiled brat of a child acted up, they most likely chortled among themselves, watching the world react with stogy amusement.  Now, however, with Kim Jung-un government muttering daily about the threat of nuclear war, I suspect something else is crossing the collective Chinese mind.  Whether they want to admit it or not, they are responsible in more ways then one.  Instead of reigning back this spoiled brat of a country, they permitted juvenile outbursts.  Instead of teaching their illegitimate child about responsibility, about the benefits of Capitalism they allowed it's people to starve.  If the idiots of the north actually do something stupid, or bad, or both, the world will look at China and say "where the fuck was your head?"  This is not a good thing when your economy depends upon untold trillions in exports to the world.

Dumb Shit

As with most parents of too late discover their only child is a spoiled brat, I suspect the Chinese have a real problem on their hands.  While they may be hoping dialogue will work, in the end they may have to rely on intervention, a resolution which would be bloody for both countries.  They should have resolved these issues a long time ago.  Now they're letting the fat faced moron and his hyper active military regime back them into a corner in which they will only have two choices.  Sit back and do nothing and hope your economy survives, or smack the North Koreans back, really hard, in order to teach them a lesson.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The great Fabian Cancellara wins the Paris-Roubaix

For those who missed the NBC Sports coverage, Fabian Cancellara won the Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.  Because I have an interest I have several cycling apps on my tablet which give me updates so I found out late Sunday afternoon, EST.  To my amazement, NBC Sports aired the race... at 11 PM EST, about  8 hours after the race had been concluded and the winner announced.  They then re-telecast the entire race yesterday starting at 5PM, EST.  As a cyclist, I know how nice it is to be even vaguely considered by NBC Sports.  We have American cyclist and American teams racing and NBC Sports has no problem in handing them the shitty end of the telecast stick because... well, let's be honest, it's just cycling.  They don't care because they don't see any viable ad revenue.  I had to laugh at what advertising they did air:  Evenrude outboard motors, 2 cycle vs 4 cycle.  If you own a Cervello, or a Cannondale, or a Trek, I would say there is a good possibility you might not be interested purchasing an outboard motor, or a boat for that matter.  There was no advertising about gears, or chains, or saddles, or helmits, or riding kits.  Of course, these are the things cyclists are interested in, not motorboats.  With all of the great bicycle manufacturers out there, not one name was mentioned.  There were, however, a number of Gatorade spots, but none of the featured a cyclist.  But then, by would you expect something like that from Gatorade.

Congrats to Fabian Cancellara!  I'd like to see one of our great, steroid giant baseball or football stars race for 5 hours and 45 minutes, a lot of that time over cobblestones, and survive.  Hell, I be interested in how many could even survive an hour.