Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The obligatory Halloween post

Thanks to school and deployments, I don't have anything else to do this evening, so I'm spending Halloween at home doing nothing in particular. Sure, I should be doing homework...but I'm not. I'm celebrating getting a 96 on my History 108 mid-term and watching the gun stuff on Outdoor Channel. At least I will be until UFC Unleashed comes on.

Since none of that has anything to do with Halloween, I guess I'll get on with my Halloween topic. Of course, since today is the day, a lot of stuff on TV tonight has to do with "spooky" stuff. Most of it isn't, but since Lugosi and Carloff movies are kinda scarce, that's just the way it is. One thing that there is in abundance, though, is programs about ghosts.

If you read my treatise on reincarnation-go ahead and read it, I'll wait-you'll come to the conclusion that the idea of a transitory spirit doesn't hold a whole lot of water with me. The accepted myth of ghosts is that they are the disembodied spirit of someone who died in a bad way. Could be through trechery, murder, accident, unusal Christmas tree mishap...whatever. The general theory is that it wasn't grandpa dying peacefully at home after a long and fruitful life. Why that matters, I don't really know...which makes sense, because you know I don't believe that myth. The "accepted" mythology of the ghost is not particularly feasible.

Now, that is not to say that I don't believe in the spiritual plane; I definitely do. The Bible makes reference to it, and the existence of God and Satan requires that there be an otherworldly place for them to occupy. Going beyond that is getting into spiritual arguments that are somewhat beyond the scope of what I'm intending to convey here, so I'll leave that as it is at this time.

People report scores of happenings that can't be explained easily. We've all heard them; they go by the name of "ghost stories", and are meant to have an etherial explanation to what cannot be explained empirically or scientifically. Let me get this out of the way: I don't believe they're lying, and I believe that many, if not most, of them believe what they experienced at a very deep level. They attribute these happenings to the unhappy spirits-ghosts-of individuals that should have moved to the Great Beyond and for whatever reason have not. I don't believe that they're ghosts. So where does that leave us? If I don't believe they're ghosts, what are they?

My theory on this has not been put forth as a common explanation: those things imputed as ghosts are not ghosts, but they are from the spiritual plane. They are demons and angels. Since most of the stories skew to the malevolent, the majority, if not all, of them are demonic.

Demons are the antithesis of angels. They are the minions of Lucifer (that Satan dude. I guess he likes a lot of names. Pretty vain), who was a fallen angel that can't get it though his head that he can't be God's equal. He was cast out of Heaven for rebelling against God, and his followers went with him. Those followers are demons in league with Beelzebub who do his bidding. That's an archaic way of saying they're his posse, and they're all a bunch of guidos that do what he tells them to. Or he does it himself. Yeah, that's possible: he's not omnicient or omnipresent. Even with his power, he can only be in one place at a time. I guess he's in good shape with all that running around.

"Why?" I hear you thinking. Well, I don't really hear it, actually. I just know that's the next logical question. That's pretty simple, really. Satan can do a lot of creepy, freaky things. As proof, I give you Hillary Clinton. Well, maybe not, but she does things that make ya wonder. Anyway! We mentioned the "why" and couldn't avoid taking a shot at the worst of the Presidential candidates. So here's the very simple "why": because Satan doesn't have to make you a follower of his to achieve his goal. In the book of Revelations, we find that da debbil loses. This is fact, and he knows it. However, since he's already invested in this particular course of action (arguing for predestination...hmmmm....) and can't stop now. Maybe he doesn't know it, but he should. At any rate, as I stated earlier, he doesn't have to make you a satanist to pull off his plan. All he's got to do is to take your eyes off of God. If he's got you thinking ghosts are real, and that the mythology is real, he's done his job.

That quiet little "boom" you heard? Yeah, that was your mind being blown. Again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UFC 77-don't read this if you're gonna get the PPV later!

Naturally, since I was supposed to be writing a paper today, I took a break from it to watch this PPV. Overall, I was pretty happy with the fo'ty buck I spent on it; the fights were mostly good ones. There was no lightweight epic war like the last one I watched, though. That's too bad, because I like the lightweights.

What's up with Jorge Gurjel? Dominated the first round, and then just fell apart in the second and third. He took shots he shouldn't have, and got literally beaten tonight. As a BJJ black belt, he lost to a brown belt. That's no good.

Vera/Sylvia was pretty dull, but Vera just didn't do enough to stay away and use kicks. Everytime he threw a punch, it seemed like Tim was able to tie him up, force him into the fence, and just wear him down. Meh...that's got a lot to do with why heavyweights aren't my favorite weight class. Brock Lesnar got signed, though, so I guess we'll see if the hype is real or not. I'm very curious, because he's freakin' huge, and was a very decorated wrestler. Gonna be interesting.

I simply do not know what to do with Anderson Silva. The guy doesn't seem to have any significant weaknesses, and he's every part of him is a weapon. He's got KO power in both hands, both elbows, both knees, both shins and both feet. He's unbelievable. Rich Franklin has a good jaw and he's a big, tough, skilled fighter. He was almost beaten at the end of the first round, and got KO'ed in the second. As Joe Rogan said (he's a decent color guy, but he's a lousy comedian), he's at the top of his game, and like Joe, I don't know who's going to challenge him. Looks like Spider Silva's gonna have a good, long run as the title holder.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Shut Up and Sing: shoulda taken the advice

Starz is showing a lot of documentaries these days. The Warren Miller stuff is cool, even though I don't ski. I didn't realize how old he is, and he still spends a LOT of time on the slopes. That's awesome. The other least they haven't shown Michael Moore's garbage yet.

One of those is Shut Up and Sing, which is a film about Natalie Maines' big mouth and how it affected the Dixie Chicklets and their company. The thing is, if they'd just have followed the advice in the title of the documentary, they'd have been fine. That's not what they-specifically Natalie-did, and there were issues stemming from it. The thing is, if they had any idea who their audience was at that time, they either would not have put themselves in that controversy, or they wouldn't have made the comments they did. To quote my boy Sneaky: Situational Awareness of an F'n Rock (hereafter referred to SOAFR).

In case you don't remember, at a concert in London a few years ago, Natalie Maines said "We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas". Now, just so we're trackin' here: the 1st Amendment gives an American citizen the right to say whatever they want, short of the "yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater" scenario. She, as well as every other American, has the right to speak her mind, think what she wants, dissent what the government is doing, and on and on. Anyone saying that she, or any other American, doesn't have that right is at least un-patriotic and at worst anti-American. Its how the whole blogosphere exists. Its one of the reasons that America is the greatest country on earth.

The whole reason for me to write this, though, is to point out that they just don't get it. They don't understand who the country audience is, they don't understand that exercising their rights is not done in a vacuum. They just don't get it. At all. That blows me away.

Several years ago, the Chicklets were being interviewed by some network TV anchor guy. I don't remember who it was; it doesn't really matter. They were talking about success, and how the Chicklets weren't seeing the money commensurate to their sales. TV anchor guy did some quick math in his head, and said "this doesn't add up". The dumbfounded looks on the Chicklets' faces were priceless. Turns out they had to sue their record label or management (don't remember which, but they sued somebody) to get the money they were owed. So they seem to have a track record of being less aware.

Then The Comment happens. Now, when you make comments in a culture of hard work, morals, doing the right thing, and conservative politics, they need to be thought out and need to take that culture into account. That there would be a backlash would seem to be, to anybody with two halves of a brain cell to rub against eachother, obvious and inevitable. We're in what's called The Communication Age. There's just about nowhere in the world you can go that what you say won't be noticed by somebody. If those comments were made thinking that they wouldn't be noticed because they were in Europe...well...that's just stupid. They got the backlash that anyone would expect from fans of country music.

And they don't get it. Maines said "I can't believe anyone cares what I say". Here's the double edged sword of the 1st Amendment: you can say anything you want to. But if you're in a position of celebrity, you're automatically under a microscope. Because you're in the spotlight, you automatically are going to be noticed and have attention paid to you. And, because you make money selling a product to the public, you're dependent on their money, which they vote with.

They cried "Censorship!" because country radio wouldn't play their songs.'s the thing. What you say has consequences. Just because no effort was put into thinking about the repercussions doesn't mean that they don't exist. Guess what? Saying things in the context of your job probably will have an effect on your job! What a surprise! Words actually matter? Who'd a thunk it? What happened to the Chicklets wasn't censorship, it was consequences. When the President was asked if what was happening to them was censorship, he said "''the Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind,'' adding, ''they shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.'(TMZ)
Can't put it any better than that. I guess that's the difference between a Yale graduate and somebody who allegedly went to UC Berkley and didn't finish.

This film isn't going to do them any favors. If anything, if it gets widely seen by the people who used to be their fans-who they call the source of "redneck bullsh*t" in the film-their careers really could be over.

It appears that they're trying to break from country music and do something different. The problem is, that's not what got them where they are. It rarely works to go down one road to get to gain a fan base and then take a road in a different direction. Ask TSOL. Never worked for them, and they're a good band. Ask Faith No More. They tried going in a different direction and ended the project. Same thing happened to Was Not Was, except that they had a hit that sent them in a different direction. Don Was even went so far as to say that "Walk the Dinosaur" was both the best thing that ever happened to them, and the worst at the same time. Bottom line: I'm betting the Chicklets are doing all this because its all they have left. If they're banking on the dislike for the President to be their fan base, they might wanna look at Congress's 11% approval rating. And Congress is run by the Dems now. It was a good run, Chicklets, but its pretty much all over now. Thank Natalie for not knowing who your fan base was.