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Companies Are People Too…

“What good is a man who does nothing to make the world better?” Act One;Scene Two inscription above Balian’s Blacksmith shop in “Kingdom of Heaven”

 

Howdy! As with the upcoming 4th of July Weekend and other stuff we have going on and all the busy BS that comes with that and other stuff we have, this is gonna be it for about a week-and-a-half…or so. As a matter of fact, right now it is Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, you won’t know t’day’s from t’morra’s or t’morra’s from yesterday’s.

 saywhat

OK, here we go….

-Believe it or not, we are only days away from the halfway-point of 2014! Can that be? Uh-huh. Anyway, let’s get into stuff…

 

-THE SUPREMES HAVE DECREED THAT….

Corporations ARE people, my friend!

 

Yep, They sided with Hobby Lobby, though even MSNBC doesn’t have its hair on fire…with the exception with the head of NOW, who said Slavery was declared legal as a religious right, as well as Jim Crow laws…it doesn’t seem much different from what is already allowed for employees of religious institutions. One lib-commentator from Yle said it’s more like a set of tweezers being thrown into the works than a monkey wrench.

Me? I don’t know. Really, I don’t. I don’t think religion has any place in the political arena. That said, what I am waiting for is for some Muslim run business to do the same type-thing to some so-called “Christian” and see what happens. Right now, we have these evangelicals who think because they’re on their holy crusades, so should everyone else. Granted, a new hire at Hobby Lobby does NOT have to accept employment with them. They may always seek employment elsewhere. Still, as noted by NOW, there have been some nasty-azzed things done in the name of religion and also considered as being legal.

 

Also…a case brought by an Illinois woman who works for the state who objected to having to pay union dues, as she doesn’t believe in unions and won. OK, I get it. Fine. The CTU does the same thing. At least they used to as MBH was a member…but not right away. And during that time, there was a deduction taken from her check, which the union took as a “fair share” payment. Now on the surface, one might say, “Wait a minute there, Sapphire!” What do you mean taking my money?” Well, it turns out that the wages she and others as she were earning were derived by collectively-bargained agreements between CPS and, ta-DA, the CTU. So, despite not being a member right away, those folks were being paid union-scale. So, is it fair that they should be paid the same as  those who worked hard; maybe walked a picket line; lost wages doing so and pay their unions dues but still not pat the same dues?

 

Obviously, it’s a lot harder to do but maybe Ella Noise should then decrease Ms. Harris’ wages to whatever they feel they want to pay her, within the law. After all, since she does not believe in unions, why should she receive union wages or benefits? Perhaps they should look for ways to terminate her position. Why not? As long as she has no union rules governing her position, again, who cares but her?

 

I know. Sounds kinds prickly. All I’m getting at is this. It’s one thing to declare one’s personal rights, etc. It’s quite another to continue to demand those hard-fought union benefits but NOT pay for them…just because you don’t believe in unions. Or, as has often been said here…”Ya Can’t Have It Both Ways”.

-Some may recall my longing for some for-real Conservatives…not the Tea Party idjits who seem more like the John Birch Society high on crystal meth and coming down on PCP. On several occasions I’ve mentioned a few names. Well, we lost one this past week in former Sen. Howard Baker from Tennessee. The S-T’s Carol Marin, (outta-town-readers, may remember her from her time on “60 Minutes” and CBS Evening News.), had an insightful OpEd piece in Sunday’s paper, which pretty much sums up what I’ve been mentioning, as well s what the GOPers really need. Here’s a link…

How I learned from Howard Baker – Chicago Sun-Times

-”No-Boner-Boehner’s Lawsuit”

I once read that the definition of “chutzpa” is a kid who murders his parents; then throws himself on the mercy of the court as he’d been recently orphaned. That’s kinda where we are with this idiocy; again fanned by the CMPCP-crowd.

We have the Speaker of the House, which at best, would aptly be described as recalcitrant, is now suing the President for his making so many Executive Orders. Here’s a graph of Executive orders; by year. Not to defend Barry, as some of what he’s done has been an over-reach,but, facts are facts and the following shows that he’s issued the fewest…fewer than even Ronald Reagan…and Stubya, who had the House, Senate  AND the Sues his first 6-years in office!

Oh well.

Look, go ahead and disagree with the guy. Zeus knows, I do. But this is nothing more than election-year BS; promulgated by the idjits of DaGOPers’ lunatic-fringe. Of course, by reporting these facts, according to those folks, I’m a lefty.

 WABBIT STHEASTHON

-We begin with our almanacking from Saturday, Sunday and Monday, as some significant scheiss happened on the 28th, 29th and 30th of June. So, let’s stroll on down  to see what historynet.com has to say happened…

…on June 28th, in…

1778,   The wife of an American artilleryman carried water to his fellow soldiers at the Battle of Monmouth, earning her the nickname of “Molly Pitcher”.

1884,   Daggone Commies in Congress declared Labor Day to be a legal holiday.

1914,   The assassination by Serrbian zealots of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria occurred in Sarajevo.

1926,   The writer of “Springtime for Hitler”, Mel Brooks, was born. Too bad it hadn’t been written before…

1942,   The Nazis began their invasion into southern Russia which would eventually lead to the Battle of Stalingrad; which would expose a YUGE chink in “The Thousand Year Reich’s” armor.

1970,   Muhammad Ali, fka Cassius Clay, stood before the Supremes on draft evasion charges.

1971,   Muhammad Ali, fka Cassius Clay’s draft evasion conviction was overturned by the same Supremes. Undoubtedly, he was unaware of this but he joined many significant others in legally evading the draft, such as: Dick Cheney; Paul Wolfowitz, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and the following dude, Bill Kristol, who was taken down by Lefty-nonpareil, Katrina vanden Heuval in this link:

http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/06/29/washington-post-columnist-demands-accountabilit/199924

1972,   Trick M. Nixon announced no further troops would be sent to Vietnam. That aws nice, though by that time, well, you know…a little late.

…and on June 29th in…

1652,   Massatoosits declared itself an independent commonwealth.

1880,   After considered and careful consultation with the locals that whatever occurred in the future, no actions would be taken without care and concern that all mutually benefit from said actions, France annexed Tahiti. And they all lived happily ever after.

1917,   Ukraine proclaimed its independence from the Ruckin’ Fusskies. Not that that’d have any kind of effect on anything.

1926,   The Fascists in Rome arbitrarily added an hour to every work day to, ahem, “improve efficiency”. So THAT’s what Rahmbi must been thinkin’ of when he declared his “longer school day”, and then cut his teachers’ pay.

1979,    Watette JoAnne was born.

…and on June 30th…

1520,   Montezuma was murdered by Spanish Conquistadors…though he had the last laugh with his, ahem, “revenge”.

1960,   If not one of the scariest, fer-sher/fer-sher, one of the creepiest movies EVER, “Psycho”, was released.

HEADLINES and BLURBS…

“Obama to tap former P&G exec to head VA”. “President Barak Obama has nominated former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as the next Vetereans Affairs Secretary…”. Well, who’d be better at cleaning up a mess but a guy who ran a soap company?

 

“Town for sale, bar included”. “A businessman is seeking a buyer for his rural town — for  the price of $400,000.00.”

 

It goes on to say that though, “…the town is tiny, the Swett Tavern is the only watering hole in a 10-mile radius…”.

-Closing this section with a few comments from a “Letter to the Editor” from Sunday’s S-T, by a woman who was complaining about the unfairness of charging “brick and mortar” businesses taxes which are not levied on online-only retailers.

I don’t think there’s anyone who likes paying taxes, is there? That said, making storekeepers charge; collect and then remit, taxes on all their purchases, but not doing anything at all with onliners, just is not fair. Oh well.

   DUCK SEASON

“Edge of Tomorrow” 3.625-stars.

-OK, finally have gotten around to this, so here goes.

Not too long ago, I had been mentioning about how many post-apocalyptic films/TV shows, etc., have been like Westerns on TV in the late ”50s/early ’60s…and how ho-hum it’s almost getting to be as how many other ways are we too watch us destroy ourselves or be destroyed by others? This one is worth the watch.

It begins a bit disconcertingly as a run-of-the-mill Tom Cruise move. The handsome-quick-talking-smart-ass-with the devilishly-cute grin. I’ll explain.

The world — well, Europe is being invaded by “Mimics”…which are anything but mimicking us, as they appear like some kinds of 20-legged octopi; with wolverine-like heads…but not the US; China or Russia but central Europe; mainly France — and these space-aliens are hellbent to take over the world. (OK, if they have 20-legs they wouldn’t be octopi. Sorry.) We earthlings respond by forming the United Defense Forces (UDF), of which Tom Cruise is American Lt. Col. Bill Cage who ran an ad agency before the invasion; joined and became a combat-info officer, whose main duties are to “sell” the war to the world. On the eve of the invasion of France, Cage is summoned to the offices of Gen. Brigham, played by Brendan Gleeson. (Think Norman Schwarzkopf with red hair and an Irish brogue.), who wants him to now ”sell” the invasion, as well, as…well…he thinks the invasion is doomed to failure. Cage protests. (Think Bill Murray’s “Phil Connors in Groundhog Day.); loses and is “embedded” with a crack group of GIs led by Bill Paxton’sas Kentuckian, Master Sergeant  Farell,  whose drawl is as languid as a long, full drag on some Kentucky tobacco; followed by a sip of sweeter-than-sweet 101-proof bourbon; who spouts military-aphorisms like a high-school football coach on a Friday Night in October. (An aside. It was surely nice to see Bill Paxton NOT playing some kind of dorkalpetic. He is a talented actor and he does very well with this role.)

Ok, so back at the troop depot, (this will serve as Bill Murray’s bedroom in “Groundhog Day”), Cage spots a propaganda sign on the side of a building of heroine and cmely lass, Sgt. Rita Vrataski, over which in large, red letters is scrawled: “FULL METAL BITCH”. After which Paxton takes Cage to the platoon, which is the usual array of misfits. (Why does Hollywood always have to make these folks out as if they’re all from the “Isle of Misfit Toys”, anyway?); they get prepared for battle; with Cage protesting all along the way.  Anyway, the invasion begins. Cage finds himself on a beachhead; surrounded by fighting…death…and Mimcs. One Mimic, an “Alpha”, heads directly towards him when —  somehow — Cage finally figures out how to fire his weapon(s); does so; killing the Alpha, which bleeds all over him. (The similarities with Cage and Bill Murray’s “Phil Connors” from “Groundhog Day” begin to here. The “star” doesn’t want to do what he has to do…when and where he as to…too bad, do it…but I don’t want to; yadda-yadda-yadda.) The next thing we see is Cage; back at the depot with MSgt. Farrell, etc., etc., etc. There is, however, one YUGE difference between Murray’s “Phil” and Cruise’s “Cage”. While Connors just goes to bed; gets awakened by Sonny and Cher singing “I got you, Babe”, each morning; Cage must die to re-set his days.

He finds this out when he comes across Vrataski on the battlefield. Not unlike Connors, each day when he returns to the battlefield; he learns more and fights better and better and better. But never as well as Vrataski, played by the fetching young Emily Blunt. We first meet her as she disembarks from her landing-craft, toting what appears to have been a tail-rotor from a helicpoter, which had been  fashioned in to some kind of scimitar-edged broadsword; which she wields as well as any Knights-errant, ever. Eventually, in one of his many-multi-re-sets, she tells him SHE had the same power but lost it. (You’ll hafta see it to find out how.) She decides to train him and believes together; they’ll defeat the Mimics.

Not so fast. They find out that just as they can re-set; so do the Mimics. So, how to defeat them? Sorry, you’ll hafta see it. I’ll give you this much. As in the most recent James Bond film, “Skyfall” where out-of-necessity and to survive, 007 had to go decidedly, lo-tech, so do they, to a degree.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The action is overtly-bodacious in its battlefield depictions. The growth of Cage and Rita, (By the way, Addie McDowell’s character’s name in “Groundhog Day” is, “Rita.), as a dynamic-do of sorts could have been clumsy. It wasn’t. Blunt establishes her physical strength, in a training area, set aside for her where we meet her after one of Cage’s early re-sets. We see her “planking”; going through her fighting moves, etc. On top of that, besides being the “FULL METAL BITCH’; she’s quite beautiful.

The members of Cage’s platoon do well as he metamorphoses from one re-set to the next. Again, this could have all gone operatically-over-the-top but doesn’t. Excuse the reliance on street slang but they “keep it real” throughout the film; the action is as good as any and the heroes are, well, heroic.

 

And, though it does follow the “Groundhog Day” metaphor of constantly getting a re-do until they get it right, it’s not a carbon-copy…not even a mimeographed copy. It’s there. It’s part of the story and it is handled well…and obviously a bit more seriously.

OK, now for that .375%-neg.

As I mentioned, the “attack” is in central-Europe, though, they never say why, nor do they say why an Irish General’s leading the charge instead of an American. (That’s not a “By jingo” type request. After all, we are the lone, “super-power”.)

The “Mimics”. Again, by definition; a mimic is one: “who copies the behavior or speech of other people : a person who mimics other people; also : an animal that naturally looks like something else”. Well, other than the Alphas, which walk and somewhat resemble rhinoceros-sized wolverines, they aren’t mimicking much of anything as we know it.

The 3-D. We saw this in “Real-D, 3-D”, as the only other showing was in IMAX 3-D, but that didn’t start till 4, and getting to our theater at that time…the middle of rush hour…just took that out of the equation. I don’t know why the typeface just changed but…anyway, at the beginning, I found the 3-D distracting. Otherwise, it was OK. That said and maybe as I’ve been watching films and TV shows in 2-D all my life, I don’t get all hot ‘n’ runny over 3-D. IMAX, yes.

Oh yeah, the “fighting-suits” the soldiers wear. Battery-operated and akin to a multi-weapons platform; they are totally cool. And unlike the heroes of the Old West, their ammo runs out; as do their batteries.

We paid $8.50 and felt it was well worth it. Don’t know if the next apocalyptic-thriller…pre or post…will be as good but this one is.

“The Counselor”.

Speaking of “post-apocalyptic”, watched Cormac McCarthy’s “The Counselor” over the weekend. He is also the auhor of another “post-apocalyptic” film, “The Road”, which was very good. However this was the antithesis of “Edge of Tomorrow”. It is wordy; drawn out and seemed like nothing more than a series of semi-non-seqiturian soliloquies; so loosely connected but boring in their droning on and on and on, that the only reason I watched it all the way through, was with the hope that at the end, there would be some kind of payoff, which there was not.

I read that it could only garner a 34%-approval rating from critics and now that I’ve seen it; it’s easy to understand.

Books or plays are driven by words either spoken by a narrator or character(s), we expect that. But in a film, if that’s the tack being taken, then the dialogue has to make sense. For example, Brad Pitt plays “Westray”. When he speaks to Michael Fassbender, (“The Counselor”), he sounds exactly the same as he had as “Rusty Ryan” in “Ocean’s Eleven”, when he does his bit with Andy Garcia’s “Terry Benedict”, after they’ve broken into his vault at The Bellagio, winding up with, “Two words. Mini-bar.”  Talk about “mailing it in”!

We are told Fassbender’s “up against the wall”, moneywise, with no reason how nor why. Javier Bardem’s Reiner, sounds as if he’s on some perpetual-psychedelic-high. Cameron Diaz is evil-personified but again, we don’t know why. She goes to Confession for what seems to be to only “confess” her sexual-proclivities and to see how embarrassed or hot she can make him; she steals the drug shipment…again, other than greed, we don’t know why. Penelope Cruz is her polar-opposite. Well we do know why; she’s Penelope Cruz. There are cameos by Ruben Blades, John Leguizamo, and Goran Visnjic, all similarly wasted.

Recommendation: Don’t waste your time…even if you have HBO.

ON THE SMALL SCREEN…an end and a beginning.

 

THE BEGINNING…

Watched “The Leftovers” on HBO last night. I’d read it was terrible; MBH that it was “the best”. Y’all know what that means…gotsta see for ourselves.

 

OK, so while there was no “apocalyptic-event”, there was. Well, 140,000,000 people just disappear. Poof. As Bob Gunton’s Warden Norton says in “The Shawshank Redemption”, “…disappeared like a fart in the wind…”.

Our story centers on life in a small New York suburb, where the “leftovers” are left to deal with feral dogs and a guy who’s killing them off; fellow-leftovers who’ve lost most or all of their loved-ones and then the “GRs”…Guilty Remnants”, one of which…our “hero”… Police Chief Garvey’s wife, has become.

 

As it is the “Pilot’, it’s about 95%-exposition; setting us up for the “rest of the story”. Besides White-Irish-cop, Garvey who works for Black, female Mayor Warren; there are the GRs; a cult on an estate run by “Holy Wayne”, a charismatic black dude who can make folks feel better just by giving them hugs…for a price…who has a “thing” for young Asian-women. His estate is guarded by Blackwater-Cliven Bundy-types, who look as if they’d kill you rather than talk to you.

 

Back to the GRs. They’re something. They do not speak. They only communicate through handwritten notes. They all smoke cigarettes. Why? Well, there’s a sign which says: “We do not smoke for enjoyment. We smoke to show our faith”. Maybe they should been called the “RJRs”, as in R. J, Reynolds Tobacco Company.

 

As we move through the story, we are exposed to Chief Garvey’s seeming reliance on RX-drugs and alcohol. He also seems to be constantly at odds with Mayor Warren; his daughter; can’t reach his son nor wife…all of whom are still struggling 3-years “after”.

 

There was enough in this first offering to get us back for another episode. Is it another “True Detective”? That remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

 

…AND AN END…

Last night was the season-ending episode of “Penny Dreadful”. As it was broadcast an hour later than normal, we skipped it for “The Leftovers” and will watch tonight or tomorrow.

 

 

I’M A BIG FAN!

-Have any of you caught HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, yet? If you like “The Daily Show” and/or “the Colbert Report”, you’ll love this, mainly as it’s on HBO and we all know how much more latitude there is there.

                                                                            AND NOW…SPORT

DaFLUBS…

-Just as the year has nearly halved itself; so has DaFlubs season. At this writing, they have played 80-games, just one short, so we will do our halfway-point-4th-of-July review.

After dropping their first, scheduled double-header since the 1980s, their record is now 34-46, or a .425 W/L %. At this rate…and that’s gonna be a stretch…they are on schedule to wind up with a 68-94 record. Ouch!

But wait! There’s more!

As we have seen the past several years, at this time of year, the Theocrats are “sellers” and they’ve taken guys who’ve been good and traded them for prospects, which in the short-term, hurts. Just look at the past 4-years. However, it does appear that some of what they’ve done is beginning to bear fruit. They got Jake Arrieta in a trade with the “O’s” last year along with Pedro Strop for Scott Feldmann and Steve Clevenger. It seems that their pitching coach, Chris Bosio, is pretty good, as he’s taken quite a few journeyman-pitchers and made them better.

So, while that’s been sorta good, Smarj is a goner. Maybe Hammel, too. If that happens, get ready as it’ll be B.O.H.I.C.A. time, again. As we have a newbie Twacker, B.O.H.I.C.A. is the acronym for: Bend Over Here It Comes Again.

This may sound heretical and as much as he’s pitched really well, I don’t think they’ll miss Smarj that much. Why? Well, yes, he has a solid ERA of 2.83 and a WHIP OF 1.29. BUT, he’s only won twice. So, yes, we’ll lose a very good pitcher but how many games more will we lose when he isn’t pitching when he’s only won 22% of the time he’s taken the mound? I wish he’d stay but I doubt he will.

I really think they’ll miss Jason Hammel more. Oh well.

Position player-wise, so far…

-Rizzo seems to have resolved his ineffectiveness against lefties; is hitting for more power and his “D” has been much improved.

-Castro also seems to have regained his “just put the bat on the ball” approach, which it seems they tried to change, last year. We all understand that “seeing more pitches” helps. But every once in awhile, a hitter comes along who practices, T-Tom’s “See the ball; hit the ball”, philosophy. Castro seems to be one.

I don’t see many of the rest of their guys staying…even Mike Olt. Unfortunately for him and despite the fact that he’s hit10-homers…which would translate to 20-homers, the guy’s K’d 71-times in 161 A/Bs. That’s 43+% of the time. To K like that, he has to have 18 or more homers NOW to stick. I know, they got him in the Garza trade. Hopefully, he’ll learn the strike zone better and can stick. Otherwise, I don’t see him staying.

-I’ve come to the conclusion that as good as Darwin Barney is with the glove; he’s just a bad hitter.

 

-Junior Lake may stay. Seems he has more “ceiling” than the rest of the roster.

DaSOX…

-They’ve completed 83 games and if we continue to simply “double” what they’ve done; they’re on a pace to win 78 games. Now before I get any raspberries for that, let’s remember that last year, they won 63. That’s a 23.8% improvement!

 

Joe’s Mutts…

…are 37-45; ; setting up for 74 wins.

 

Rene’s Doyers are 47-37…Wowzers! 94 wins! Dude!

 

Whitney’s Yanks…

…41-38 or 82 wins. Man, what us Cubs fans’d do for 82-wins!

DaHAWKS…

-It looks as if we’re gonna be losin’ some guys we all like. They just dealt Brandon Bollig in a salary-dump move. They need to re-sesign Toews and Kane and they’re gonna ask for a whole lotsa cabbage. What’s worse, the Cap didn’t rise as many speculated it would. That only leaves them $500,000.00 under, with those two guys expecting raises in the millions. Something’s gotta give. We should know soon, as the Hawks are hoping to have their gold-dust twins extended, soon. Some talk has Sharp or Seabrook being dealt. Ouch, babe!

DaBULLS…

-Free agency begins at 11:01 CDT, tonight. Will they get Mello? Who knows? As have said before, it’s one thing to be courted. Quite another to be nothing more than a “stalking horse” for the purpose of raising the stakes for a higher contract.

 

 

-I did like the #1 pick, Doug McDermott, mainly in that the kid can effin’ SHOOT! Just a hair, short of 45% from 3-point range! He’s a “cap-friendly” Dunleavy/Korver” type, whom if he pans out, will be a welcome addition to a scoring-challenged group.

-”The Poodle”. Has there ever been a more spoiled-bratinella of  player in our town…EVER? Other teams’ stars work on other players…”recruiting” them if you will…to help[ convince them to come and play with them ”The Poodle”? Uh-uh. Like “Chico” usedta tell “The Man, “It’s not my yob”. Maybe it isn’t. But when the best basketball players on the planet are doing it…and succeeding…to take that ‘tude only underscores how much of a turd he can be. Oh well.

 

OK, as I’m going to be rather busy the next week or so, I’ll seeya when I seeya. So, in the meantime; in between time…remember anytime we can look down at our plants instead of up at their roots, it’s a good one.

 

Have a great 4th!

 

DaBigFatWat.

 


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