Saturday, March 21, 2009

TV: Transformers Animated Season 3

Transformers Animated Season 3 debuted last week--I'm scrambling to track down the first episode, since my DVR was on the fritz. The show continues to be captivating. I have a bit of a bias, since I'm one of those avid fans. But this show has it all, good animation, good storytelling, well-timed humor and a sense of pace that could ensure two or three more seasons--that is if Hasbro allows a series based on a toyline to have such longevity.

The episode is appropriately titled "Three's a Crowd". I'm not going to do a review that spells out the episode word for word. But I will say that this episode continues to expand the size of the Transformers Animated family, and the ongoing story of the brewing Second Great War that will inevitably come into being.

I will introduce this spoiler, since it is likely to loosely tie into the new Revenge of the Fallen movie...


The new character that comes into being with an Allspark fragment, a forklift and a Headmaster unit is a new third Constructicon by the name of Dirt Boss. Dirt boss is not a character based on a G1 Constructicon, though there is a Revenge of the Fallen figure with the same name, and the same vehicle mode. He adds to the unique flavor of the personalities of the Constructicon group, balancing the goofball, wistling, cackling New York-accented construction worker with the grumbly, slightly sinister, small but hefty Chicago mob boss. He instantly takes control of the group, with a little Three Stooges Moe slapstick. And there's even some potential foreshadowing at the end when Scrapper, Mixmaster, and Dirt Boss find themselves inexplicably entangled with one another...

Do I see a couple more Constructicons joining the entanglement to form the mighty Animated Devestator?

Friday, March 20, 2009

MOVIES: Is Watchmen a bust?

Apparently, the Watchmen movie is considered to have bombed. It is #2 at the box office now in its second week, having made 140.7M worldwide--most of it's budget ( Compared to recent comic book movie box office successes, this comic book movie has flopped. Though Watchmen has a relatively long box office life left, as well as the undoubted success it will claim on DVD, most movie afficionados compare it to movies like Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, the X-Men movies, and Batman: The Dark Knight and it obviously hasn't made the numbers it "should" be making.

Watchmen is rated R, has gratuitous violence, nudity--namely ample flacid penises, and steamy super hero sex. It's in a category all it's own--I suspect many aren't quite sure how to classify it. It's not as kid friendly as the above mentioned movies, and it goes further than the Punisher, Blade, Hell Boy or even Spawn movies. There's no super hero movie that has ventured into the territory that Watchmen has. It's a deep movie, with socio-political and philosophical tones--it's not just eye candy. It has a shelf life, there's more to it than just watching explosions, special effects and sappy acting.

I'll be honest in saying that there were moments where watching exploding bodies and super hero sex was a little over the top for me. But this film is definitely deserving of a re-watch, and my eventual monetary support of the DVD.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who's the Driving Force of our Economy?

Berni Madoff should be hung. Here it is--the guy sat on house arrest in his penthouse, given plenty of time to funnel his money into offshore Swiss bank accounts (don't get me started about the Swiss, they're up shit's creek with all of this offshore money storing), and it took forever to prosecute him.

Then you had those automotive CEOs flying in their private jets to ask for more bailout money.

Then you had the corruption on Wall Street.

Next, you have AIG execs getting awarded $73 million dollars in retention bonuses (some of them didn't end up staying with the company btw), and this money came out of the bailout money being paid by us the taxpayers.

Are the wealthy driving the economy like many have been arguing for years now?

Uh, no.

The wealthy have been finding ways to protect their money, and benefit from tax cuts, credits and loopholes--eroding the stability of the US economy. Now, they're screaming "socialist" because someone's trying to change the game, and give assistance to the true drivers of the economy--the working class, the Middle Class. If we the Middle Class can't pay our bills and stay out of debt, the economy tanks. Businesses that depend on consumer dollars (which is most businesses) shrivel up and die if there are no consumers. And there's only so many millionaires and billionaires to go around. It's the Middle Class that keeps the thing going.

So if you cut wages, outsource jobs to China, Cuba, Mexico, India and Hell, and you enslave consumers with shady entrapping loans and credit resources, you siphon off the spending power of the all-important Consumer, thus leading to an economic collapse.

Where did I get this economic theory from? Life in the U.S. of A.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

POLITICS: Republican Incredibility Part 1

I don't understand. The Republicans, who had maintained control in Congress since 1995 (until they recently lost that control to the Democrats), continue on this rhetoric about the Liberals, the Left-Wingers, the Democrats.

Leading to an almost scandalous series of events that lands the United States of America into a dark, dank, dismal hole that will take several years to dig out of, the Republicans can't point fingers, since they controlled Congress, and held power in the White House during most if not all of this time.

Bin Laden is still out there, multiple billions of dollars have been siphoned to fund an unpopular and misguided war, excessive deregulation "free market" policies have led to gross abuse at the hands of Wall Street, over-inflated corporations, and banks.

How can so many decisions go wrong?

Conservative Rush Limbaugh continues his near-extremist rhetoric about how the Liberals are destroying the country, and how President Obama needs to fail. He proposes that tax cuts are the solution to our present economic calamity. He fails to see or acknowledge how the Conservative approach has put us in a hole, and led to a public perception that the conservative Republicans have fucked it up and can't be trusted.

Tax cuts? That's what the Republicans always say.
  1. "We're out of toilet paper!" Give a tax cut.
  2. "I lost my job." Give a tax cut.
  3. "They just spilled another 3,000 gallons of oil in the ocean." Give a tax cut.
Can we be a little more creative, folks?

Tax cuts work in the ideal world, if all the conditions are right. But they rarely are. The idea is: you give people tax cuts, they have more money to spend, and government cuts back on its spending, thus leading to the stimulation of the economy.

In reality, people DID spend the money from Bush's tax cuts, but very little of it would help stimulate the economy...obviously.
  • Financial burdens placed on the Middle Class, along with the stagnation of wages and the rise of unemployment, was helped very little by tax cuts.
  • The government has consistently increased spending during the Bush Administration, leading to a rampantly increasing national debt. Tax cuts didn't solve this either.
The Republicans have discredited the Obama stimulus package (without offering any inventive alternative), and the President's approach to getting it passed. But what the President did show was that he can take control, and hold firm to what he believes in, and get a bill passed in record time. President Obama took power in a system where bureaucratic tape is stronger than steel--and this terrifies those serving the status quo.

So you hear all this stuff about how scary Obama's "socialist" views and brute force are, and how this doesn't bode well for American prosperity.

People fear change, and Obama did promise that he was going to bring it. So there are those who will fight it, because they don't understand, and their losing the world they know. But change is necessary and inevitable, especially when it's painfully clear that the status quo is broken.

Come back for Part 2 when I rant about the Bernie Madoffs, Wall Street, and the backwards banks and creditors.