Category Archives: Entertainment

My Five Stars

Are we the same?

Of course not. So, why would my preferences have any influence over your choices in life? They shouldn’t. Unless of course, we’ve established some sort of commonality between us.

When we see this somewhere on the web:

FiveStars

We think to ourselves, “hey, it must be good!” right? But, who are those people who liked that thing, whatever it might be (book, movie, electronic device, candy bar, restaurant, car, etc.) Are they like you or like me? Doubtful. What if everybody who really liked “X” were all penthouse-owing, world-tripping, elitist oligarchs, a bunch of self-declared aristocrats? Or what if they were all children in an Icelandic grade school? How much do you have in common with either of these? (You might, I don’t know, but that’s not the point. Or rather, that IS the point.)

Or what if you see some sad item for review with no stars. Some poor, dejected thing which nobody liked, everybody hated:

NoFiveStars

Again, who were these people to have rejected, outright, the efforts of whomever created or offered this item for review? Maybe it was wicked great, but reviewed by a whole slew of folks who had NOTHING in common with the creator. Nor did they have ANYTHING in common with you. Maybe YOU would love whatever that thing is.

And maybe you’d HATE that thing the kids in the Iceland school loved.

My point here is that reviews are treated as omniscient, but in reality they should be treated, organized in such a way that when you examine a reviewed item you see the reviews of ONLY those people who are as similar to you as contextually possible.

Who are these people? See, that’s the problem. That’s the golden prize at the end of all of this sociality. If you had a tribe of cultivated, curated people around you, people who held similar tastes in a high percentage of topics and ideals, you could trust those people’s reviews, their opinions would come much closer to yours.

This is what’s missing from facebook, twitter, google, linkedin, instagram, snapchat, et al. These “friends” or associates you have gathered in your time online, they do NOT represent a reflection of you. They’re a hodgepodge of people you’ve collected over time with vastly disparate views and morals, likes and dislikes.

Five stars? Zero stars? They mean nothing without knowing WHO rated them; without knowing if those people were anything like you.

Solve this problem, and you create a truly successful social experience.

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Cigarettes and whiskey

Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women, they’ll drive you crazy, they’ll drive you insane.
Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women, they’ll drive you crazy, they’ll drive you insane.


Tonight the world explodes

Tonight is the 4th of July.

Of course the whole day has been the Fourth, but it’s the night that rings in the actual event. Did I say “rings” I should say detonates! Destroys! Explodes!

And I have to wonder — where in the HELL do these people get their fireworks? Russia?

Criminy! If this doesn’t sound like Mosul during Iraqi Freedom, or the war against Isis and the associated put-you-in-a-box-and-send-you-to-the-bottom-of-the-sea, I don’t know what does.

BOOM! Crap! That just made me dive for cover. And I’m am NOT trained for this. Well, I am couch-trained by Hollywood. Is that enough? “INCOMING!”

Crackle-snap-pop… It sounds like Rice-Krispies made out of potassium nitrate and charcoal. Sheesh! Was that a SCUD missile?

Yo! North Korea! You know, you’re trying to send a wee-little-bomb over the whole damn Pacific ocean to hit Amazon and our good ol’ capitalist friend Jeff Bezos with one of your makeshift DukeNukem’s? Um, yeah! That ain’t gonna happen, yo! Hell, Jeff himself has got better rocketry than you do! And his buddy Elon? Yeah! Say goodnight MOON!


Media content tags

Rather than brand media (film, television, novels, art) with assumed age guestimations

G, PG, PG-13, PG-17, R, X, Adult, Young Adult, Middlegrade, Childrens, Mature Audience, General Audience, and so-on-and-so-forth, we should simply state what is contained within the media and then mark the following checkboxes (or initialisms) on the labels.

  • XSX: explicit sexual situations
  • ISX: implied sexual situations
  • XNU: explicit nudity
  • BNU: brief nudity
  • XDU: explicit drug and/or alcohol use
  • IDU: implied drug and/or alcohol use
  • XLA: profane language
  • SLA: strong language
  • XVI: explicit violence
  • SVI: strong violence
  • MVI: violence against minors
  • XMO: explicit mortality
  • IMO: implied mortality
  • XCB: explicit criminal behavior
  • ICB: implied criminal behavior

Using such a list would standardize all media regardless of form. Then, rather than have media judged by some arbitrary age restriction (what IS a young adult novel anyway?) the consumer could know the content parameters (or metadata) and choose for themselves (or their children).

Want to watch the movie Fury? Well, Fury would be: ISX, XLA, XVI, MVI, XMO
Harry Potter novels? IDU, SVI, IMO (some are XMO)
Bambi? IMO
Raiders of the Lost Ark? XDU, SLA, XVI, XMO

Are there a few other tags we should include? XAX – extreme anxiety inducing perhaps?
Want to tag a few more media items?
Your thoughts?

 


Learning to drive

There are three parts to learning to drive:

  1. The Law!
  2. Situational awareness.
  3. Physical interaction and muscle memory.

As I considered these (more on them later), in my endeavor to teach my children how to drive, I thought about that number — three.

And how curious it is and how it might represent a balance between so many aspects of life.

Jessie posted an article on argumentative discourse where there were three factor that comprise a good discussion 1) episteme, 2) eunoia, 3) parrhesia.

There’s the three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial.

Three parts to the Holy Trinity.

A three legged stool is the most stable of simple structures.

We’ve got, beginning-middle-end, birth-life-death, three-wishes, the troika, and the three languages on the Rosetta Stone. Just dozens and dozens of references to the balance of ideals, concepts, strengths, forces all done so through the juxtaposition and interaction of three.

What three lobed thing, in your life, your universe, means something to you?

But back to driving…

First, we must learn the law. Knowledge of what is legal, or not; how to treat the road signs, the road-lines, the signals and public alerts and indications — the rules of the road — all of this must be learned and memorized so that you can know how the other two factors should be situated.

Second we have situational awareness. Within the framework of the law, we have what is going on around you *right now*. Are there cars, people, animals around you. Are you driving on a curvy, straight, slick, gravelly road? Are you going too fast? Too slow? How’s the light? Are you getting tired? Everything that makes up the environment of your driving experience.

Thirdly there is the actual interaction with the vehicle. Some people rarely think this is a thing to learn — or at least to spend much time on. But in my mind this must be the very first thing you should learn. The car becomes an extension of your body. When it accelerates or screeches to a halt, you feel it in your body. When you go too fast around a curve, the centripetal force alerts you to the danger. When your wheels start to slide on ice or snow or hydro-plane, you feel that instant queasy, fair-ride feeling of lost control. How hard can you slam on the breaks? How does it feel to power-slide? What does it feel like to hit a deep pothole or get lifted off your seat during a gravity escaping leap over a country hill? Such things must be learned by your mind-body. These are not conscious parts of driving. These must be subconscious reactions that your body takes over when your mind is freewheeling in chaos.

Three parts to driving. Three parts to conversation. Three parts to government, and a good milking stool. “Three shall be the number. And the number shall be three…”


Are you overwhelmed?

I’m overwhelmed.

Are you?

I’ll bet you six copper pennies in a can of Coke that you thought to yourself:
“You’re damned right I’m overwhelmed.”

But who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by today’s onslaught of pointless, blathering, necessary, important, useless, whimsical, inane, senseless, critical STUFF?

JUST, JUST STOP ALREADY! BAHHHHHH!

*Sigh*

Alright, here we are, dealing with so much information, this constant inundation of news and memes and tropes and updates and “hey, look at my cute dog wearing Lady Gaga outfits” and the ice is melting faster than we thought and you need to try this new tech gizmo and, well, you get the picture. It’s too much. In fact…

It’s overwhelming. And not only that — hey, look at you reading this! Just one more thing you chose to do out of the tens of thousands of things you could be doing — yet you chose, for probably some faulty reason, to read this. Thanks. No really, I realize this is trite and utterly anonymous, but just know, I feel your pain. And you reading this, well, it’s a solid. Really.

And to pay you back here’s a picture of a porpoise doing a head stand on a trampoline floating in the Gulf of Mexico… Naw, I’m just joshin’ with you.

Now tell me this, wouldn’t you really (*really*) just like to have, perhaps 100-200 people you paid attention to. JUST THEM. ONLY THEM. Like they were your village, and you could do your thing, and they’d do theirs, and once or twice during the day you’d hook up with a few of them and say hi and how-ya-doin’ and later, in the evening, you and a bunch of them would walk down to the river, or the town square, or the communal pasture and just rest there, leaning on a fence post, sipping a beer, just chatting about the day and the people around you and the small corner of the world you live in? And that would be your day…

Wouldn’t that be nice? And by nice I mean better? Like WAY better than this pressure you feel every time you find yourself online, checking email(s), facebook, twitter, instagram, the news (ugh! the news), and all the tiny micro-shit that just keeps pounding on your consciousness?

The world invades our lives. It feels like ALL OF THE WORLD is now invading our lives. And I’m tired of it. I’m half disgusted, half encouraged, half enraged, half sympathetic — I’m pulled in dozens of ways. And I know you are too. And I wish I had an answer to assuage all of this anguish and stress and anxiety. But I’m sorry. I don’t. Here’s a video of a bunny sleeping with a fox in a kennel and aren’t they both darling?

Oh shit, I’m sorry. You see what I mean? This crap never ends. Well, here’s hoping I didn’t extend or heighten your level of angst. Because, you know, that would just add to my own exhaustion, and I’m already…


Unexpected latitudes…

Unexpected latitudes…

None of Florida is in the tropics. And none of New Zealand. But half of Australia is. And parts of China too.

Iceland is not above the Arctic Circle.

Paris is farther north than Seattle.

Cambridge England is as far north as the northern most tip of Mongolia.

Edinburgh Scotland is farther north than the southern tip of Chile is south.

The southern tip of Africa is the same distance from the equator as Los Angeles.

Denver, Philadelphia, Madrid and Bejing are all about the same distance north.

Nice, France is farther north than Vladivostok, Russia. And is farther north than Tasmania is south.