Hi, my name is D and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit. Me? I'm not even a noun, I'm a fucking verb, dude.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Montreal Pre-Season Baseball Games

Coupla years ago, I wrote about the wonderful Cincinnati Reds when they chose to venture up North of the border to engage in a friendly match between the Blue Jays inside of Montreal's Olympic Stadium. As a Montreal baseball fan who's currently without a team I appreciate greatly when teams choose to do this, I must say.

For the Reds one See: Here: (https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2014/09/montreal-baseball-project-marches-on.html)

In that article, I remembered the great man Barry Larkin, the great man Chris Sabo and this and that. I love remembering shit, man it's fun...


 Remembering is nice.


I guess I should now remember the Pittsburgh Pirates teams I grew up watching as a child unit.

I remember Sid Bream's face like it yesterday, I remember Jose Lind turning double plays as if it happened yesterday, and I remember Doug Drabek striking guys out like it was yesterday just the same.

But....

... Is there a time where the past just doesn't even fucking matter anymore? Maybe I should stop thinking about the past. Yes, I am wicked excited to see the legend Al "Scoop" Oliver, star of both the Pirates and of the Expos, who will be there in Montreal at the end of March and yes the past is amazing and great ...

... but sometimes the future is fun to think about too.

Maybe this Pittsburgh Pirates article shouldn't be about Jose Lind, Sid Bream, and pre-steroids Barry Bonds which my memory R-E-M-B-E-M-B-E-Rs greatly ... but maybe I should join the current test of the times and think about shit that is going on right about a time called ... Right About Now.

This following Pittsburgh article shall focus on two current Pirates instead of Pirates from the eighties. Because, Hey, it's not 1989 ... it's like 2017 right now,

Alright let's go:


Pirates I wanna SEE

One of the human persons I paid tickets for to see in live human flesh to play in the Montreal exhibition game is a man who I saw in the WBC LIGHT IT UP ... the great 5 tool man ... Andrew McCutchen.

This guy reminds me of Dawson but with walks. He's fast, can hit, can do it all, and has an eye too. He's legit a five tool player ... in the WBC he was exceptional, a true and utter Star in every sense of the word.

Now he has short hair, last time I visited Pittsburgh many years ago when he was younger Cutch had wild dreads.  Either way you slice it, or any way his hair is, this man is a 5-Tool All Star in every sense of the word.

I think if he keeps going on the path he's going that Cutch will get into the Hall of Fame, man. I think so.


The Other PIRATE I PAID MONEY TO SEE 


Yo, like seriously, and humanly honestly, I bought tickets to see these games because I want to see Raines (my childhood idol) give a speech, to see Andrew McCutchen ... but also ...

I bought tickets to see the Korean superstar Jung Ho Kang! He's basically the first true superstar from Korea to become a MLB super star ... and YES, one of the reasons I bought tickets to these games was to see Korea's super star in the live and in the flesh!

So why is he being detained and not allowed into North A fucking Merica for!?

See: (https://sports.yahoo.com/news/report-jung-ho-kang-denied-u-s-visa-may-not-play-for-pirates-in-2017-161103692.html)

I've seen athletes do the most insane of things and not be deported ... what da tong dung fuk did Jung Ho Kang ever do to anyone?

Come on now, this immigration shit is getting so silly. There's no way that Pirates superstar Jung Ho Kang is a threat to Pittsburgh society. That's absolutely ludicrous. Get real.

Humans get borned on somewhere, they didn't choose where the heck their idiot parents had sex at ... like in a car in Spain or an airplane in the air in like French Indo China or whatever ... and then those love-sex-babies they got birthed and became human adult-verbs basically, doing what they do, what the fuck they feel like doing. I was born in Canada but I could care less, you know? It's not like as a non-existant pre-baby I asked my jabroni parents to do sex and shit and make me in the geographic location they currently resided at, you know? Your dumb parents have sex and make you alive ... and then you are forever beholden to their physiognomies, backgrounds, genes, hopes, dreams, and shit.

There is not ONE historic example of a baby whilst in mothers-womb putting a quarter in the umbilical-telephone and calling up their parents and saying ... "Yes, hello? Future parents? It's me your slimy baby calling you to tell you when and on what geographical longitude/latitude I would like to be born on ... so yeah, get on that please. K thanks, bye."  That has never happened in history because it is genuinely IMPOSSIBLE (though I've seen something quite similar in the film "Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son in Law" but that was but mere fiction.)

Humans are just human .... they just wanna do the do.... if this guy, Jung Ho Kang (강정호) , wants to play baseball for the Pirates then just let him. If he wants to be a Major Leagues Super Star then just let him do it ... he probably trained big time to do that, you know? Why because he was born somewhere but now wants to make a living somewhere else does that make a person evil or something?

I don't think so.


Conclusion 

I bought tickets to those Pirates games for many reasons, to support the fan attendance number to make Montreal look good for expansion, to re-live past moments in that building, to see Stroman who did good in the WBC, to see Cutch who did good in the WBC ... but also to see Jung Ho Kang.

You can't advertise a headliner, sell tickets to whole the shebang, and then say "oh, one of the headliners can't be there"...

It's like if I got tickets to see wrestling in the 80s, and they booked Ultimate Warrior to fight like Kamala or something.... and then when you get there the Ultimate Warrior isn't there.

Come on now, this immigration/border obsession is getting out of fucking control now.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

World. Baseball. Classic.

Yeah!

The United States of America has just been crowned for the first time ever .... the winner of the World Baseball Classic. I have previously written one time on the subject,


See here: Why The Americans don't Win the World Baseball Classic (Feb. of 2013)


In that one, we looked at what I believed were factors at play as to why the United States of America, the supposed King of Baseball, doesn't beat teams like Japan and the Dominican in this Olympic style tournament. It talked about homeruns, and of Terry Crowley I think at one point, and a comedic interlude involving the great Earl Weaver was in there if memory serves me right.

It looks like that 2013 article can finally be laid to rest now that the USA has been crowned the champion of this illustrious tournament.

This tournament has it all, it's Worldly, it's Baseball, and it's CLASSIC. I don't know what more anyone can ask for. The Worldhood of Baseball is inherently Classic and over the last few weeks it was on full display for all to see. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis once referred to Baseball as a Country .... insinuating that Baseball was in and of its own self ... a Nation.

After this tournament ... I have come to agree with the great sage Dock Ellis (rest his soul), after seeing so many regions and physiognomies united under the flagship of Baseball and how beautiful it was ... I have no choice but to agree with Dock Ellis on this matter. On display was the dynamic flair of Puerto Rico, the consummate efficiency and attention to detail of Japan, the talent powerhouse which is the Dominican Republic, The diaspora teams who may be American now but who gladly suited up for their parents or grandparents homelands, the determination and reliability of Canada and Mexico (USA's most trusted allies), the heart and soul of Venezuela  ... and last but certainly not least the birth land of baseball itself ... The United States of America.

When the dust of this gentlemanly tournament settled we saw for the very first time ever ... the land where Baseball was first born .... was once again crowned as the Champions of it.

.....and it probably couldn't have come at a better time.


Deep Divisions

I've been reading Broadcast Icon Dan Rather's poignant essays he posts to social media of late and I think he has his finger on the pulse of the current deep, almost historic, partisan divisions in America's political landscape of today. In a recent one he described the political climate of the times as,


 

"...consumed by the churning political hurricane that is America today. The deepening divisions that are pulling at the fabric of our nation are on raw display. This is my country that I love with all my heart. We are a weakened nation, in our own estimation, and that of the world. If this was happening in some distant land, we would shake our heads and thank our lucky stars that we are Americans. But this nightmare is happening here, and we have no choice but to confront that disorientating truth."

-Dan Rather, March 4th of 2017


The political bickering, the slander, the fighting, the trickery, the slings and arrows being volleyed to-and-fro ... has this really become depressing to the point where the very fabric of it is on the verge of tearing? Reading the papers, yes, that seems to be the case .... but ... Americans should remember something in times such as these .... and that's .... that there's another side to this coin. Yes, America is the land of Freedom and of Law .... and yes, we know its political stability and Laws are sacrosanct to itself and its function ... but .... America isn't just a political sphere .... there's another side to the coin which embodies America ....

What's on the other side of that Coin, you ask?

When you walk down the road and see children playing and laughing .... That's on the other side of the coin.

When you continue down that same road and your foot gets stuck in a crack and you tumble down to your knees .... yet, .... there's an arm and a hand immediately outstretched to help you back to your feet .... that's on the other side of the coin.


It's that local pizza store you stop at every friday night to buy-a a slice-a of the pizza pie!

Its that park right by where you live, that every time you enter foot in it and look around, you have to stop and wonder for a second if this is a Norman Rockwell painting which has come to living breathing life or if it truly is a real park that exists in total reality, who's sights and sounds are so real they hurt. A reality that echoes in your heart and the powerful truth that dawns on you that you exist in this real life painting who's beauty is captivating .... that's on the other side of this coin too!

It's the feeling, the feeling at this park, when you step onto the field and look at the sun and say "WOW" .... that's there too.

You know what else is on the other side of this coin? The coin that represents America? Well, there's first base ... then there's second base .... oh, then there's this thing I like to call third base .... and then we all know what comes next don't we ...

..... IT'S CROSSING HOME PLATE AND SCORING THE WINNING RUN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH TO WIN GAME SEVEN OF THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

That's right America, Baseball is on the other side of this coin. It's been there the whole entire time.

America's not just about some sly fox up on capitol hill greasing some pocket or wheelin' some deal! America is not just about some tycoon up on the beltway buying off some other tycoon! No, you rightly must understand that it's not! It's not just about some salesman trying to sell you some crap or other! It's more than just about the richest man in town trying his darndest to fleece the second richest man in town through some hoodwinkin' carpetbaggery! It's not only about some official up on stupid idiot street trying to line up his next scam! NO! That's only half of the coin named America ....

... the other half of America is the part that you look at and say "WOW! YES! I'm proud of this!" and even in these trying and turbulent times of political uncertainty up there in the Land of Politicians ...

... there's still powerful and inspiring moments of glory to be found in another land ... the Land of Baseball.

Now whaddya say America!? CAN YOU GET DOWN WITH YOUR OWN BAD SELVES!!?!?!??

Yeah!


(Congratulations as well to Puerto Rico for taking home the Silver Medal. Puerto Rico and all the Boricua should also, yes indeed, get down with their own bad selves. Wepa!)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Basketball Movies

I read many years ago to this day that there will be a Space Jam number 2 .... and that was probably in 2001. The year is now 2017 and still there is only one entry in to the pantheon of Space Jam films. The latest reports say there will be a Space Jam 2 released in 2019 ... but they've been saying that as the day is old, I can tell you that much. I'll believe there will be a Space Jam 2 when these tired old eyes of mine see it on the Big Screen.

Personally, I didn't even think, judging by movie-rating standards that Space Jam One was even that great a movie. The thing that the 1996 version of Myself liked about Space Jam was that it collided Universes together. It took three separate entities ... 1) the World of Basketball, 2) the World of Hollywood, and the 3) the World of Old School Cartoons .... and smashed these Worlds together to form a totally unique Universe in which it was normal for Cartoons, Basketball Men, and Hollywood Stars to exist together.

It was this collision of Worlds that generated this sense of surreal imaginary bewilderment and silliness that I liked about it. I've noticed this Surreal Imaginary Bewilderment before ... stuff like Roger Rabbit movie for one, or when Mr. T from the A-Team merged with Wrestling and fought Roddy Piper, or back when SquareSoft bought the rights to put Disney characters in video games and merged the worlds of Mickey Mouse with the world of Final Fantasy (I still don't know how anyone approved this idea in a board room but to be honest it isn't as bad as it sounds.)

When you make a fiction-based World in art creation for entertainment purposes, you are in a sense baking an Apple Pie from Scratch as one Carl Sagan once said, the rules which govern your fictionally created Universe do not and should not be based on the same rules that govern our Real-Life Scenario Universe. You have free reign to make your World based on many interesting possibilities.

In that SquareSoft Disney game they made for example, it was Surreally strange when you first enter it. I was familiar with both the World of Mickey Mouse and the World of Final Fantasy and their entertainment-based Universes. The pre-cursor to this was probably that Mario SNES Square game where Mario fights Culex the Crystal God complete with Final Fantasy Boss Music. The Square Disney game for PS2 went further and like totally merged the Disney Brand with the Square Brand. It was hard to wrap your head around it at first, but it turned out to be good. The brain has fun I guess entering into this merged scenario and thinking .... "Ok, so Donald Duck is gonna fight Sephiroth now? Ok this is odd. I don't summon Ifrit or Ramuh anymore I summon Bambi????"

Space Jam One was more than two Worlds colliding it was THREE. Hollywood + Basketball + Looney Tunes. Again, I'm not sure how this idea came up but I can't say it turned out badly.

Fuck, I gotta wait til 2019 for Space Jam 2 to re-unite this tri-fecta of Universes? I got the Basketball Jones right about a time called Right Now though, baby. I'm sleepin' with a basketball under my pillow and maybe that's why I cannot sleep at night. That Basketball? It's like a Basketball to me. Yes it is.

Looks like I'm gonna rate a buncha basketball movies and if you want you can read what I write....

I'm not gonna cover Dramatic Basketball movies though because I don't like that genre. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Basketball is the Harlem Globetrotters and that jazzy song that they have. Basketball to me is 70s, Afros, whacky stuff .... that's what I think about when I think of Basketball. I don't really get the Basketball Dramas .... there's a lot too like He Got Games, and a lot of coach ones. It usually mixes gangster drug dealer story arcs with a side-order of basketball these movies and is filled with hood-movie cliches that you'd see made fun of in Keenan Ivory Wayans movies. The drug dealer cleans up his act through basketball but dies before making the NBA type stuff. There's even a drug dealer hood basketball movie starring Leo DeCarprio in it ... I'm not sure what the casting director had in mind there casting Leo DeCraprio in a hood basketball crack-head movie. I'm not gonna cover any Basketball Dramas and I'm gonna skip the Basketball Mystery Who-Done-it film "The Playaz Court" too (which I think had Mac from Night Court in it).

There's some really not-so-good ones that are being omitted too which aren't dramas but I don't have enough to write about them. Mister Kotter's coach one is not really drama but it's not that good. Celtic Pride with Akroyd and Damon Wayans and the guy from Home Alone is not good enough to write about either. There's a Will Ferrell one that has the 70s afro mystique I'm looking for but I don't remember it well, all these Ferrell movies just blob together in your mind, I know there's one where he flies out of Montreal's Olympic Stadium at the end like an angel but that's the skating one right? I've seen the Will Ferrell basketball movie but I really don't remember anything at all about it.

White Men Can't Jump was a very good movie that started a beautiful friendship between Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson and proved that a white guy and a black guy can be powerful best friends. I'm not leaving White Men Can't Jump out for any particular reason, I like this one, it's very good, but I can't cover everything or we'll be here all night.

Okie dokie....




1. SPACE JAM
"Everybody get up it's time to slam now, we got a real jam goin' down ... Welcome to the Space Jam!"

In 1996 the world changed forever as the Universes of Hollywood, Basketball, and Cartoons all collided. The viewing audience was ushered into a world of intrigue and total immersive imagination as Three Worlds we knew well were all inter-connected together for the first and maybe last time.

Many of my generation's brothers and sisters still remember where they were when this movie came out, it sticks out in our memories as the moment the impossible became the possible.

Basketball, Hollywood, Cartoons ... together. At last. United as One Forever and for Always. Their bond seemed odd and difficult for many to understand and accept but when the dust settled and the audience exited the theater they all collectively knew one thing....

.... that the memories formed in our hearts and minds that day could never be taken away from us. The collision of Worlds that no one thought possible was proven for one and all to see. The merger of sound upon pictures and pictures upon motion of these Three Thought-to-be-Impossible-to-Bond Worlds ... were Bonded. Anything Became Possible.

Space Jam in its purest form represents unification. Unification of Impossible Dreams that which now have been Achieved can Never Be Broken. 

Space Jam is NOT about a group of Cartoons, Newman from Seinfeld, Bill Murray, and others united behind Michael Jordan to defeat an inter-galactic group of Monsters/Gangsters at a game of basketball ... it is about the Bonding and Unification of Impossible Dreams which once bonded have no choice but to become...


.... A Reality.


- Final Rating -
Filmatography:76
Music: 72
Acting: 73
BONUS: Unification of Universes: +15

Final Score: 89



2. Slam Dunk Ernest

I covered this film at great lengths in one of my many extra-long Ernest articles. Please see here for my official opinion of the great film Slam Dunk Ernest if you are interested in knowing my official opinion on that subject:

See: https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2016/01/palette-cleanser-lets-rate-more-ernest.html

It truly is a wonderfully crafted masterpiece and might even be considered if I ever sit down and contemplate compiling the 50 Greatest Movies of Any Genre of Any Era of All Time which I might do one day but maybe like 20 years from now after I see what the 2020s and 2030s have to offer up, y'knowhatimean?


- Final Rating -
Filmatography: 86
Music: 61
Acting: 93
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score: 80



3. Cornbread, Earl, and Me
"My name? My naaaaame is Corn Bread. His name is Cornbread. Cooooornbread. My name is Corn Bread. My naaaame is Corn Bread!"

I like this film, I think it's well directed and well filmed ... the only reason I didn't file this away with the other dramas and leave it out is because there's something about this film that I find humorous even though it's not intended to be.


Let's set up a bit first. This is a good movie and the acting and everything is great. It fits the mold of "youth finds way out of ghetto but tragically dies the day before he gets out" trope which is common in Basketball Dramas slash Hood Flics. The sequence where this talented basketball youth suffers an untimely death is beautifully filmed in the pouring rain and is dramatic and well done .... but .... the character who dies in this scene is the character named "Cornbread".

Look, if I was a writer and I was gonna write a very touchingly sad, dramatic type scene where a main character dies in the pouring rain, blood flowing down the street mixing with the pouring rain ... I'd probably make that character this tragedy happens to the "Earl" named one or something like that, or even have changed it to Cornelius which is a more standard Corn-based Name. If you do this build up and name the character Cornbread you wind up with everyone in your beautifully dramatic scene yelling things like "Cornbread NOOOOOO", "they KILLED CORNBREAD!", "Oh my GOD NOT CORNBREEAAAAAAAD!!!!!" .... it adds a layer of silliness to an otherwise great scene ... look here (it starts around the 5 minute mark in that video below):





The pacing, the music, the rain, the acting, everything is PERFECT, it's literally a beautifully filmed scene ... but the writers named the character that has such an emotional death scene here Corn Bread. Why Corn Bread? You know every actor is gonna be yelling this name with distress, pain, and anger ... you know that so why name that character Corn Bread for? It really sillies-up a very emotional scene.

"Why CORNBREAD!? WHY!? NOT COOOOORN BREAAAAAAD!!!! NO!!!!!!!!"
 
I saw this in another movie once, that movie the Outsiders with C. Thomas Howell does this too by naming characters silly things. You get this in the Outsiders where like some kid is yelling "No! Why Sodie Pop!? Why! Why did you do it Sodie Pop!? Why did you sell out Pony Boy for!? What did the Pony Boy ever do to you Sodie Pop!?"

Those Keenan Wayans movies satirize this well, I find. There's one where a guy named "June Bug" dies, I think in "I'm Gunna Git You Sucka" and it's like "WHY JUUUUUNE BUUG! NOT JUNE BUG!!!!!! ANYONE BUT JUUUNE BUG!!!! HOW CAN YA TAKE JUNE BUG AWAY FROM US!??? JUNE BUG WAS SOOO YOUNG!!!! NOOO! WHY!?"

 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 81
Music: 77 (His name? Well, his name is Cornbread)
Acting: 72
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score: 77




4. Juwanna Mann

This is my jam right here. Juwanna Mann. If I see this masterpiece on the TV... for some reason I always have to watch it. It's good.

This is the story of a bad-attitude self-centered basketball player who's arrogance and Rodman-esque behavior runs him out of the league.

So what does he do? He dresses up like a chick and joins the WNBA like any sane person would do if faced with a similar situation.

It's got In Living Color people in it like Kim Wayans and Tommy Davidson ... Davidson's even in character as that broke-ass record producer character he used to do with David Allan Grier. The lead is portrayed by Miguel A. Nunez Jr who's very good as the leading man/lady. Miguel has range, son. He's got range.

This movie came about a decade or so after Lady Bugs which was a Rodney Dangerfield vehicle where Rodney makes his step-son dress up like a girl so he can lead his boss's girls soccer team to the big victory. Ladybugs is such a wonderful film, very well crafted. This gender bender sports film format works, I gotta say. Man, I should do a "Rodney Movie" review next but it would mean having to re-watch some distant Rodney Movies and some of them aren't that great so I dunno, maybe not.

 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 73
Music: 77
Acting: 88
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score:  79






 5. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh 
It's the Fish havencha havencha heard? It's the Fish havencha havencha heard? It's the .... FISH THAAT SAAAAAVED PITTSBURGH!!!" 

Alright, I've seen this. Obviously not when it was in drive-in theaters because I was not even born yet. I saw this only a few years ago after I saw someone, I think TV's Frank, tweet a joke about it.

I'm going into this thinking, from the title, okay so ... there's a fish, right, and it's gonna save Pittsburgh through Basketball? Is that what's going on here? Obviously as a man with an imagination similar to my own I began speculating how a fish was gonna save Pittsburgh through Basketball-related means and I must confess my mind came up with some pretty whacky routes to go with this thing. Aqua Man from Super Friends springs to mind, anthropomorphic basketball playing fish monsters come to mind, maybe a mermaid .... 

Pass to me Fish Man! I'm Open!
...but it turns out the "fish" that saved the steel city was just the concept of Pisces from that voodoo shtick astrology. Yup, there's no god damned fish monsters who play basketball in this movie which I must say is stupid. You know if you name a movie something like this that an audience is gonna drive up to the drive in, buy popcorn, buy drinks, plug the thingie into their car radio to hear the audio and whatnot, then patiently wait through the opening credits to see some Fish Men or Fish Monsters play basketball for some sort of Championship ... but No. The fish is just a "concept" in astrology ... there's NO FISH IN THIS MOVIE! NONE WHAT-SO-EVER! NONE! NO FISH AT ALL!

Still, when the dust settles and you come to grips that there's no talking bass shooting threes, or no carp hitting jumpers, or no octopuses blocking multiple men with their multiple arms you can still appreciate this film for what it is ... and thats, a feel good yarn about this rag tag group of misfits (who all HAPPEN TO BE THE SAME ASTROLOGICAL VOODOO SIGN) who win the big big game!

There's just one scene in this film that stuck out as "I wouldn't do a scene like that" and that's when the Whiz Kid, who's a child prodigy with a divine knowledge of astrology at a very young age, approaches the leader of his local basketball team in hopes of offering his tactical astrological projections to the team in order to help them win the big game .... and this scene occurs in a sauna basically. The leader of the team is sitting naked in a hot bath while the kid makes his astrological pitch to him ... why this setting for this scene? Couldn't the kid make the pitch at like a restaurant or something or outside the arena? Why is this scene set in the locker room bathroom? Like the kid is trying to tell this naked dude that he can help his team through the mysterious wonders of astrology .... and the naked dude is shifting in the tub and you can see like parts dangerously close to his groin as he shifts ... and it's like .... why do this scene in the fucking bathroom for!?

Whatever it's still a great film, I must say. The theme is played often enough that you just kind of sit back and wait for that theme to be played again. Holy shit is this some kind of number. Here, listen to this shit:





Oh fuck. I honestly love this song. I love it. It's amazing! It got some jam on it too. Yeah. But for real, my jam for once and for always is The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh .... Yeah. It 'aint a joke, 'aint a jive, it's all about a team of 5 just tryin' to stay alive! No Super man, No Spider man, No Six Million Dollar Man not even Wonder Woman's man ..... such a dream, could it be, so far from reality now it's just history ....

........................................... HATS OFF TO THE FISH.


 - Final Rating -
Filmatography: 62
Music: 133 (Limit BREAKER!)
Acting: 62
BONUS: Unification of Universes: N/A

Final Score:  86




Post-Final Ratings Assessment:

Space Jam: 89
The "Fish" that "Saved" Pittsburgh: 86
Slam Dunk Ernest: 80
Juwanna Mann: 79
Cornbread, Earl, and Me: 77


Space Jam wins ... but you know something ..... Yeah I respect Space Jam for doing what it did .... but there's a twinkle in my most human of hearts that thinks the 2019 entry to the Space Jam lore is gonna suck. I dunno, I think it will suck. I mean how can you tell people there's gonna be a Space Jam sequel for like 20 years and then never do one ... and now like 25 years after the first one there's gonna be a new Space Jam. Well, you know what Space Jam? You waited too long. You waited too long, Space Jam. There's a large part of me that wants NO PART in viewing the Space Jam sequel.


Call me bitter, call me stubborn ... but I don't know if I can bring these tired old eyes of mine to watch the next Space Jam movie. I don't think I can.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling passed away today. I was a fan of his life's work. I wrote about him in an article once a while back,

This One: https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2014/09/a-tuesday-comparison-comparin-writings.html


In that 2014 article, I compared one T. Malthus' viewpoints to children fighting over toys and pondered whether the Malthus viewpoint was obsolete and whether a new popular statistician could shape the world view in future years. It was good, it got hits.

Most people in North America wouldn't consider smart people as inspirational role-models but I think Hans Rosling's work was inspirational to a large degree.

Through his work with Gap Minder and other places he aimed to show that science and technology is making large headway in the battle against global poverty levels. Through his talks on various websites and tv outlets he often attempted to counter the popular viewpoint that the "Third World" was a cess-pool of violence, over population, and savagery .... people in the "First World" tend to think Africa or India or someplace is still living in like the 1500s ... but it's not the case at all. Using quizzes he would often ask an audience what they thought the birth rate was per woman in the "Third World" and usually 95% would get it wrong. He'd ask questions about child mortality and vaccination rates and again about 95% of the First World audience would get it wrong. People in the "First World" really still have the view that certain continents are cess pools of violence and degradation but that's not the case at all.

Humanity really should be proud of how many of its members have rised up and out of poverty. We've come a long way, honey we truly have. We should really be proud of ourselves in that regard ... even though we still have a lot of work to do in terms of global poverty.

According to a book I read once, "The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time" by one Jeffrey Sachs ....

We've gone from:

in 1901: 99% of Humanity Living in Poverty
in 1981: 56% of Humanity Living in Poverty
in 2001: 44% of Humanity Living in Poverty

... and according to World Bank estimates ... in 2017 about 11% of Humanity is Living in Extreme Poverty.

In 1901 only the 1% of super duper rich people had things like enough food, access to clean water, sanitary toilets/amenities and now by 2017 only 106 years later 89% of Humans Worldwide have these things. That's pretty good. Through GapMinder you can see videos of graphs of these stats and how they increase over time. You can see how much gain we've made into child mortality rates, poverty rates, and other factors.

Rosling was also an exceptional teacher who was able to take these concepts and teach them worldwide using the simplest of visual tools and language. His talks and seminars took difficult statistical relationships and analysis and explained them in the simplest and easiest to understand of terms. Taking difficult things and explaining them to people in easy terms is the hallmark of a good educator. He was an exceptional educator.

Through the advancements of Science and Technology we've made a lot of headway into solving many global problems. People really forget how much progress we've actually made in the last century. People can say what they want about Humanity and Society about how bad it is ... but looking at the stats on Gap Minder and understanding just how far we've come .... people like Rosling really reminded us that humanity has a lot of room for good as well. We've come a long way baby, and people who operate on a fact-based world-view really should recognize Rosling for how much he promoted a fact-based statistically-proven view of the world around us and our understanding of it.

Stats for me started on the backs of O-Pee-Chee baseball cards .... and now Stats are a huge part of my fact-based worldview. I love stats, man.

Like I ended the 2014 article, I still believe that Humanity is heading to an era where thanks to Science and Technology we will all "live like millionaires" with an infinite abundance of renewable energy resources, food resources, and clean water resources. I still abide by that original conclusion that Malthus is finished and that Statisticians like Rosling are the new Big Name Statisticians of Tomorrow. Hans Rosling's life work was very inspirational and important.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Identity Politics is the Cheapest Form of Politics

Today we are going to look at the concept of "Identity Politics" and discuss whether this is okay or if it is the downright cheapest and lowest form of politics imaginable.

Identity Politics

Obviously, identity politics has exploded on the pop scene of late and many are scrambling to understand what the heck it is. The Nigel Garage led Brexit vote thing-a-ma-doo and the whacky American election thing-a-ma-jig has made Identity Politics the norm now and I think not many people in those regions were really ready for it or fully understood what was going on.

I wasn't surprised at all by Brexit or the American 'lection as much as other people were .... I've grown in up Quebec region where on the minor-league "provincial level" (regional areas of Canada) Identity Politics has been the status quo here for over 50 years. It's powerful stuff, powerful stuff. It's also the reason I don't vote and can't stand politics and view politics as the most insidious form of human thinking and behavior.

So yeah, I'm biased, I hate this form of politics. What is it? The old Internet defines it as so,

"a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics."


I don't think that's the jist of it though. I would define "Identity Politics" as the following,

"A method to get-over or win in politics by scapegoating minority groups who do not share certain skin color, religious, or linguistic traits that the majority population has" -My Definition


Older American Examples (to show it's not new there either)

It's nothing new anywhere, this has been a common form of political strategy all the over the world for thousands of years, the only reason my region (Quebec) is probably more familiar with this term is because we've seen such advanced forms of it in provincial level politics here that that term has been used to discuss politics here for decades now ... while the term "identity politics" is something quite newer to other regions who might not have needed a clear cut term for it in prior years.

America has always had it too but in shorter bursts and in most cases entire campaigns were not entirely designed on it. Just to show this is nothing new let's look at a clear cut example from yesteryear where-in some cheap heat is ran by Bush to beat Dukakis (Dukakis? I liked Dukakis).



Alright in this example by the Bush One campaign to vilify Dukakis, we see an ad which on the surface suggests that Dukakis apparently supports weekend passes for prisoners who display good-behavior and in one case of the weekend pass program a prisoner committed a crime. The ad on the surface attacks Dukakis for supporting this program, but is that all that we're seeing here? This ad campaign heavily focused tv, radio, and billboards with the face of one Wille Horton (the day-pass man). He's a scary man and this ad is saying Dukakis wants to release a horde of them to kill you.

Subtly, this ad said "Dukakis wants to release a horde of black guys to murder you" ... and this ad was popular enough for Bush One to in fact defeat Dukakis. He used an isolated instance of an individual crime as a way to scare the base majority population with photos of scary looking minorities. I feel bad for former Detroit Tigers outfielder Willie Horton who probably had a difficult time in airports and the DMV thanks to these attack ads due to sharing a name with this man in the attack ad.

Yet, in terms of today's American politics this example of Identity Politics is subtle and pretty tame. Today it is totally common to flat-out scapegoat a minority community at the drop of a hat or at the drop of dime full throttle with no worry of any brushback or fallout and no damage control will be needed. In today's politics totally open Identity Politics is the NORM.

My Region

As stated above, my provincial Canadian region has engaged in flat-out open-source minority scapegoating for so long that this shit doesn't shock me as much as this overt Identity Politics is shocking millions of British and American people right now following Brexit and the American Fiasco.

It is so common in my region for politicians to use Cheap Identity Politics that I can't even anymore. I literally can't even. Seeing the cheapest form of politics talked about in the media ad nauseum is the status quo for quebec regional politics. Let us count some of the ways.

One time, a mayor of a small town called Herouxville banned muslim wear (hijab, turban, etc.) .... and how many muslims actually lived in this small town ... wait for it .... ZERO! In this case the mayor of the town wasn't even scapegoating a minority that actually even lived there!

There was a weird time here where they had this dopey "Charter of Values" thing where they wanted to ban religious symbols. It seemed strange that 99% of religious people in quebec are catholic christians yet this charter aimed mainly at Muslim and Jewish people and their customs who make up about a combined 1% of religious people here. All the streets in quebec are named after christian saints and there's a gigantic ugly metal cross thing on Montreal's mountain ... but religious symbols like that seemed to be unaffected because they claimed they are "historical religious symbols" basically giving the religion that 99% of religious people believe in an exemption and focusing the ban on the 1% of minority religions.

There's always smaller ones like 9 year old girls getting kicked out of soccer leagues because of muslim headwear and things of a smaller scale. That's just 24/7 stuff.

Want to know what is the main debate going on the last few months currently in Quebec provincial parliament? It's not how to boost the struggling economy that has been in stagnation for 30 years now or anything like that. What is the main debate this month? Well, they are debating non-stop whether or not a lady can wear a Burka.

(see: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/18/burqa-ban-proposal-quebec-parliament-hearings)

This is the main topic of debate here now. You should know that the Arabic population here is about 1% in total, most live in the multi-cultural Chill Area (Montreal), that many are second or third generation Canadians and who are pretty much as Canadian as Poutine Pie .... and of those people the amount of females wearing the burka in reality right now is anywhere from ZERO to THIRTY. Taking all this into account ... is debating whether 0 to 30 people in your 8 million people populated area are allowed to wear a scarf-thing really a valuable use of time or does it just boil down to one big old fashion Identity Politics nonsensical WASTE OF FUCKING TIME?


Are you Readin' the News? Are ya Readin' The Papers?

If you're following the news you probably read that a mosque here after months of torment and abuse has been attacked during prayer service by a psychopath yesterday resulting in six deaths. 

(see: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/shooting-at-centre-culturel-islamique-de-quebec)

After something like this happens are all these politicians here who nonstop scapegoat this group of people ... is it going to go back to business as usual after this? Is the Arabic community still going to be the soup-du-jour scape-goat-of-the-day in the non-stop Identity Politics Soap Opera you politicians engage in? Is tomorrow the debate in your parliament back to debating over whether Arabic people can wear a certain hat?

There's dangers in constantly without remorse engaging in xenophobic scapegoating. When elected politicians do it it gets scary because it's almost like you are egging unbalanced people on and roiling up people for no reason at all.

I read a book once called, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by one Charles McKay in 1841,

See: "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds"

It was a series of then-contemporary examples of the public going out of control over the silliest things. I remember coming away from it thinking, since the dawning of time it has been incredibly easy to whup up a pointless idiotic fervor over nothing at the drop of a damned dime! I see this happen everyday in society now ... there's a new Popular Delusion that brings out the scary Madness of Crowds every damned day. Whipping up the masses into a fervor is more easy than you can imagine. People who have been elected to office, in any country, have to keep in mind how easy it is to rile people up.

The Identity Politics of today is aimed at the masses by powerful people and I really hope people who use this cheap form politics understand just how easy it is to rile segments of the population up and that getting people riled up over nothing can be very needlessly dangerous.

Conclusion

I find Identity Politics in the modern age to be dangerous and totally negligent behavior and the people with influence who engage in it for gain to be of the cheapest variety of human being.

In the words of Charles McKay who wrote Extra-Ordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds let's end this one on a quote:


"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." (McKay, C.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Expos Fans, Don't Boo

I was reading articles like this one below the other day about an owner who was part of the collusion scandal is being elected into the Hall the same day a player effected by it is being elected,

https://nypost.com/2017/01/21/the-elephant-in-the-room-in-inducting-tim-raines-and-selig/


I've also noticed a lot of articles about Selig along the lines in regards to "How can you not put Bonds/Clemens in the Hall of Fame due to steroids/HGH but will put the man who turned a blind eye and let the players use them into the Hall of Fame?" I notice Jose Canseco for instance is very livid about this on Twitter lately amongst others.

I remember when Dawson got in the Hall in 2010 there were people in Expos gear at the induction who booed Selig because they feel he was responsible for the End of the Expos and hold a grudge.

All these three points about Selig are somewhat valid, even I wrote a negative piece about Bud coupled in with a tribute article to Bill Veeck a while back (This one). But, it's time to forgive and forget now. It really is.

When Warren Cromartie started his ambitious and many thought impossible goal to bring back the Expos to Montreal he made it clear that Montreal needs to forget the past, stay positive, and focus on the future. He made it clear 6 years ago when this movement started that Expos fans should stay positive.

The Exhibition games over the last few years have really proved that. We showed up 50,000+ strong and cheered for the game of baseball itself as well as past heroes in the pre-game ceremonies (Pedro et al. last year, Vlad et. al, the 1994 team reunion previously, and Rogers/Cro/Rock/Carter's family in the first year). We are a positive fan base, there's no doubt about that. We are a classy and positive group of people who comprise Expos fans.

We know there's gonna be a boat load of Expos fans going to Cooperstown, Expos Nation says they've got busloads already booked, so we know that day is going to be loaded with people in Expos gear ...

.... and I have a feeling like in 2010 these people are inclined to Boo if they see a certain person. Personally, I think it's a mistake to do that. Cromartie is right that Expos fans need to forgive and forget and remain positive. These bus loads of Expos Fans are going to cheer Raines because he was a Hero to this city.... and that should be the only reason they have for going.

Booing certain people while they are there is not classy and this Expos fanbase prides itself on being classy and positive.

Congratulation to Tim Raines, my childhood Hero, for finally being elected to the Hall of Fame ... and also Congrats to Bud Selig for making the Hall of Fame because despite many scandals during the tenure of Selig as MLB commish his tenure did lead to record profits and fiscal health of the league.

As for the Return of the Expos movement? It seems stronger than ever at this point and as Cromartie has said, it started as a positive movement and should remain that way. Booing people in Cooperstown, I don't think, is what this whole thing is about.

So, please don't Boo nobody.




Expos, Baby.

Friday, January 20, 2017

RIP Roy Innis

Another obscure obituary here. Other than the New York Daily News, I've seen no pro-outlet mention the death of Roy Innis last week.

He was a controversial figure in his later years so I guess people remember that Innis more ... but Roy Innis in regards to his media appearances deserve to be remembered. I don't think things that happened on Talk Shows involving Innis will ever happen again. "Reality TV" is all scripted now and everything on the dumb TV is a work of WWE Wrestling proportions now.

Roy Innis was part of two of the most memorable moments in the Entire History of TV. He had live on-screen altercations with both Nazis and with Al Sharpton.

Innis was booked by Geraldo in '88 to a debate white supremacy against dirty Nazis. Yeah young people, talk shows used to be WAAAAY different back in the day. The following is not a scripted event, it's real, poor little Geraldo even got his nose broken by a Nazi in this melee:



This isn't Springer scripted fighting. Innis stood up and then a whole melee ensued. Like, this is one of the most amazing moments in the history of TV. What's up though, is this lost to history or something? How come no one is running pieces about Roy Innis in the media other than one pro outlet?

Day-time TV has really changed since the 80s. Now a days Daytime goes The Price is Right - Ellen - The News ... In the 80s Daytime went more like The Price is Right - Violent Uncontrollable Fisticuffs - The News.

The other big media feud Innis had was with Sharpton during the Brawley fiasco. Innis knew it was a hoax that the lawyers and others were pulling and called them out on it.

For those who are unfamiliar with this, Brawley and lawyers claimed a policeman raped her and wrote words on her with his caca ... but it turns out it was a hoax. Innis was pissed about this because he thought doing hoaxes like this and running "cheap heat" * (a wrestling term for when you lie to try and make someone look bad, more in footnotes) really undercut the civil rights leaders goals. Innis thought Sharpton was a jabroni and holy fuck did he let him know about it.

There's two events that were aired on the Downey show and one that wasn't but clips exist on youtube. The un-aired one is quite wild ... Sharpton calls Innis a "Punk Faggot" in it.



But yo, Innis was a large man and he was no "punk faggot" in the least. He dropped Sharpton at their next appearance. Check (The altercation ensues at around 6:30):





Anyways, we've re-entered here in North America into a very wild and odd political climate where basically anything goes again ... so I don't understand why media won't mention the death of one of the wildest talk show guests in history. These two moments are two of the most iconic moments of the 1980s and it doesn't seem like anyone in media remembers them at all.

Media, you can't tell me that Innis was too controversial a person to do pieces on, I mean look at current day politics, today's political climate is like 5000x times more insane than anything Innis ever said.

Rest in Peace, Roy Innis.



*Cheap Heat is term people should get used to. I'd say 99.6% of politics now a days is Cheap Heat politics. A guy just won an American election solely on Cheap Heat for instance. Personally, I hate Cheap Heat in all forms and don't believe Cheap Heat is ever justified in any circumstances.

Footnote 2: The Wikipedia definition they have for Cheap Heat is WRONG. Cheap Heat is not when a heel calls a population of a city certain mean names that's just standard heat. Cheap Heat is when a wrestler screws something up in the ring in a fashion that makes the other wrestler look bad. It's a way to get Over by making your colleagues look bad so in turn you look good.



Edit: More on Cheap Heat. Look, you need a certain amount of "Heat" to get "Over" and it doesn't matter whether the heat is BabyFace-Positive or Heel-Negative ... if you're Over you're Over. Cheap Heat is when you get "Over" by making an effort to make the people around you look stupid. You didn't get yourself Over legit but you got yourself Over by making everyone else look bad and thus when everyone looked bad you by contrast looked good... THAT'S CHEAP HEAT.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

On Vaccines

Alright. This is a big topic this week.

I don't have as many readers on this blog as I used to but I still think I have some info to contribute to society at times.

In terms of popularizing rationality and science-based literacy, I think there is a great gap between the science people and the public. Maybe I can try to take some things they try and get through to the public and try to explain them in the simplest of terms. I think dealing with the public is not always easy for science-based people and in the current internet age it is common for correct expert views to be sunk in a sea of nonsense that pollutes the internet at all times.

I read a lot of science blogs like Science-Based Medicine and others who try and convey science related matters to the public .... and they make valiant attempts, especially regarding vaccine importance and safety, to inform the public about the importance of it (which is a great service) .... but I don't know if it gets absorbed into the public sphere as readily and as easily as it should be.

I wrote something very early on when I started this blog about something I noticed while reading "high end" material (I guess you'd call it), it was an essay where I wrote two-essays-in-one about the Ramones song "I donn't Wanna go Down to the Basement":


Here: Analysis of Joeseph Ramone's piece, "I donn't wanna go down to the basement" 


In that one, I tried to get the point across to academia types that if you really ever want to educate the public you have to speak their language. There's many pitfalls in the world of academia where it's easy for explanations to get distorted. I think that there's so many silly programs in academia that are not real fields with a tangible grading system, that the academic world can teach people to just butcher up language into a convoluted mess in order to appear to be smart. If you want to educate the public on matters ...  you have to present it in a way that is not butchered into silliness. That's my main point with that old Joey Ramone essay.

I write as a person would talk, and I use terms that don't make me look smart ... and I throw in some kooky or bad words sometimes to keep people interested. That's the style I'm trying to go with.

Look, I'm not suggesting real publications write the way I do ... I mean they'd look unprofessional ... but they can maybe gravitate towards this style somewhat if they want to try and get difficult subjects to the public. I don't think portions of my style are compatible with real professional publication writing but the overall idea of trying to talk to the reader, I think anyway, is actually a good writing mechanism to employ for academics who are trying to write science publications aimed at the public.

So, with that in mind let's try and do a vaccine article aimed at the public where the examples will hopefully be things people can relate too.



Autism

Touchy subject but let's get it out of the way first. Is there an "autism epidemic"??


Autism is a psychological condition and you have to understand that psychology is a very speculative field. Freud is like the king of this field and a lot of his stuff is interesting but it's not exactly stuff that you can exactly prove. Freud's stuff mostly boils down to sex-related perverted speculations and not real concrete science. Psychology has a lot of room for error, let's say.

When a real medical doctor adds a disease to the big disease book and tries to list the symptoms of a disease for future reference ... they are able to list key and identifiable physical characteristics of a disease. A doctor can describe a symptom like "ass warts" as growths that appear on the ass. You can look at it and diagnose a medical physical symptom quite easily and it is easily identifiable in future cases.

Is the same true for a mental psychological symptom? No, it isn't. It's much more difficult for a mental symptom to be defined. You can tell the doctor you're sad and fatigued and he or she can pretty much just pick a diagnosis out of the air to say you're sick with. They can say you're sad and fatigued due to "manic depression" or something even though there's no real physical signs to prove this diagnosis to be 100% correct.

When you're dealing in a field where disease is defined by symptoms which are not concrete ... there's a lot of room for interpretation.

You following so far?

Alright now, so the symptoms that are listed in psychological books for these "diseases" that they teach in schools are open to interpretation and often the definitions for these diseases can be changed by some psychologist at the drop of a hat ... these definitions for psychological diseases are in no way written in stone.

What I mean by definition is simply how you describe something. Think about it like this, let's say I give you a stat, alright, I give a statistic that there are 275,000 mail carriers who work for the US Postal Service and I'm telling you this stat under the definition that "mail carrier" refers to a person who is payed by the US Postal service to deliver mail to citizens.

Now, let's say out of the blue, the definition of "mail carrier" changes to "You are a Mail Carrier if you've ever held mail in your hands at any time."

After that definition change, how many mail carriers are in USA? It's not going to be 275,000 anymore. It will jump from 275,000 to around 300 million. After the out-of-the-blue definition change that number of people would meet the criteria of being a mail carrier.

Now one might look at this and say "wow how come there's so many more mail carriers!? Is it because so many people have joined the postal service this year!" No, obviously not, the answer is because they broadened the definition of what it takes to be called a mail carrier ... that's all.

There's still 275,000 people who are paid to deliver the mail ... but the definition of mail carrier now
includes people who have ever held a letter in their hands and thusly the number of people who could be described as being mail carriers jumped from 275,000 to 300,000,000.

In regards to autism, let's say the definition started in a psychology textbook as "child unable to read basic text and count to 50 by age 10"...ok? Not many kids meet that definition, maybe tens of thousands at the most. But, let's say one day the official definition of autism has a symptom added to it such as "doesn't speak well", alright so now more kids are defined as having autism, now let's say they add the symptom of "is shy" to the definition... now you're talking about 250 million people in the USA would fall into the definition. Public speaking is regarded as most people's biggest fear so it's not far fetched to estimate shy people being a good 250 million people in the USA.

For each symptoms you add to the definition of autism ... guess what happens? The more cases get diagnosed. The more symptoms added to the definition in the official textbook ... the more kids meet the criteria and thus more get diagnosed. It's literally that simple, we went from a few tens of thousands under "can't count by age 10" to almost literally everyone by the time "is shy" is tacked on to the definition.

There's is NO autism epidemic. There's just a more broad set of terms applied to the disease when diagnosing it. I mean, if you add ... "the child is shy" to the official symptoms list ... for sure there's gonna be an explosion of new cases.

The "Autism Epidemic" is a definition based epidemic. If they altered the definition and removed many symptoms from the official list, guess what? Fewer kids would be diagnosed with autism.

What is the official list of symptoms you ask? It varies from psychologist to psychologist (this is not a very well uniformed field of study) .....  but here's an example list of the symptoms (from WebMd):



"-Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.

 -Failure to establish friendships with children the same age. 

-Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.

-Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding another person's feelings, such as pain or sorrow.

-Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 40% of people with autism never speak.
 

-Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
 

-Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously.

-Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.

-An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.

-Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
 

-A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
 

-Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping."
(from WEBmd).





Okay, guys, guys, guys .... this is no longer a description of a mental condition, ok? This is just an UNENDING list of symptoms. If you keep adding symptoms to this list you know what's gonna happen one day right? If you keep piling this list with symptoms, you psychologists, you will eventually have a definition SO BROAD and wide ranging that 100% of children will be diagnosed with autism. Okay? You gotta settle down with the piling on of symptoms to this definition of Autism, alright?


Liking video games? Ok like you've now described every child in North America with that blanket statement. If liking video games is a signal a kid has the autism then EVERY SINGLE KID has autism!


Psychologists defining autism is akin to the kids from high school who liked to use a Hi-Lighter marker to highlight what they felt was important in a text book for their class. A lot of these kids ended up making every word in the entire book YELLOW! At that point ... if they were trying to highlight the key factors of the text but ended up making every word in the book yellow .... then what was the point? This is what psychologists are doing with autism ... they are gonna highlight every key factor in child behavior until they highlighted the whole damn book .... at that point what was the point of highlighting anything to begin with?


Okay now, let's re-define the term of being mentally challenged back down to reasonable levels. Can the kid count to one hundred? Yes? Ok. Can the kid read a children's book? Yes? Ok. Can the kid do simple arithmetic like 5+6? Yes? Ok. If your kid can do all that ... then he or she is not mentally handicapped, ok? He or she might not be the brightest banana in the bunch but they are not mentally challenged if they can do those things. Alright? To me, "mentally handicapped", are kids who cannot count or read or do simple reasoning or tasks by age 10. That's it.

Me? I'm not trying to sell some dopey psychology book to Harvard ... I'm not making no money ... I am allowed to keep it sane and simple when making a definition of a child being mentally challenged.

Is there an Autism Epidemic? No, there certainly 100% is NOT an Autism Epidemic.



Celebrities with Lots of Media Pull are Pointing Heavy Fingers at Vaccines

There's no autism epidemic but you would sure think there is. Psychologists all over the world are assigning fairly normal children with a scary sounding disease.

A lot of celebrities have had that term applied to their children and they are fighting back it seems and Against what?



...Childhood Vaccination.

They attributed the rise in autism not to the obvious broadening of the definition but to Vaccines.


Guys, NO.

Polio, Measles, Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Meningitis, etc., etc., etc.

These are very dangerous and have all been kept at bay and in many cases been ELIMINATED by vaccines. The only people who die from this now are in third world countries in places where they don't have access to these vaccines. Millions of children worldwide still die before the age of five due to contracting the above diseases ... but it's super rare if not impossible to get these diseases in rich countries. Why? Because we have 90% vaccination rates for children for these diseases and have successfully achieved Herd Immunity thanks to having close to 100% vaccination rates.

The people getting vaccines into third world countries and vaccinating children there are HEROES who are saving millions and millions of young children's lives every year. These people are heroes yet if you listen to celebrities you'd think these people were monsters.

Celebrities and conspiracy sites have gone absolutely off the deep end. They go on the wildest tirades against vaccines in the media and many people take them very seriously. It's gonna get to the point where Calcutta, India will have a higher vaccinated children percentage than Marin County, California .... and that's actually insane. It's literally and undeniably ludicrous for that statement to be approaching truth.


Why? Because so many people in rich countries are getting their health advice from Celebrities, "Mommy bloggers", and conspiracy-laden websites. These people have NO CREDENTIALS WHATSOEVER!!! NONE! They have never studied vaccines or have any idea of how they are created or administered. These celebrities and these websites are completely void of any understanding of any science in most cases ... spouting just outright nonsense and the most odd conspiracy theories.


There is NO conceivably viable reason why vaccination rates in some North American regions are dropping even under 80% in some cases. You're gonna get so low at some point that those regions will lose Herd Immunity.


Kennedy

My Grandfather had a framed newspaper clipping of a photo of John F. Kennedy in his living room of his apartment for as long as I can remember whilst he was alive. He was Canadian from Irish roots and Kennedy was his favorite President.

I like that family, they are wonderful, they seem like very nice people, and my Grandfather the illustrious Paw Jack that he referred to himself as, was a big big fan of President Kennedy ....

but .... I gotta really say .....

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, I think you are behaving incredibly silly. It is near shocking that you believe that trying to stop the vaccination of children is a noble goal. I really think it is near shocking.

Why is it that so many Environmental-oriented wealthy people use their law degrees to try and ban certain substances that aid humanity? It all started with a lady named Rachel Carson who penned a book called "Silent Spring" where she said that DDT was making bird shells thinner than usual ... and it was so popular that DDT was banned.

There's a great deal of people from that era, mostly the very wealthy, who became Environmental Lawyers thanks to that book and formed various organizations like Green Peace, National Resource Defense Council, and Robert Kennedy Jr.'s firm .... who think their way into the history books is getting something banned like Rachel Carson did.

Was banning DDT a good idea? Seems so, yes, .... but the counter-case that mosquito parasite-related illnesses like malaria or zika cause the deaths of 500,000 people (mostly children) worldwide and that DDT was an insecticide that worked well against removing mosquitoes from highly problem areas where they breed their larvae ... there's even a decent case that DDT could save lives in the form of removing mosquitoes and thus malaria-related deaths.

You people on missions to be remembered in history as a great Rachel Carson-esque hero for getting something banned during your lifetime really need to find something that's REALLY dangerous and with no value to get banned before you start your holy quests? Ok? Vaccines are definitely NOT something you want to go on a banning crusade over.

If you really have to find something to devote your life to banning from society before you can feel like you've accomplished something in life please try and look elsewhere than to Vaccines. Vaccines are not something you should devote your life to banning and even though your intentions seem to be noble and your hearts are in the right place ...

.... you are misguided and doing WAY MORE harm than good.


Conclusion

If you are a person who didn't or is thinking about not vaccinating your children because of statements you've heard a Hollywood Celebrity or one of the Kennedys make please try to understand that Vaccines do a lot of good in the world and that 99.99% of licensed medical doctors are for them whole-heartily (the 0.01% exception being "Dr Bob" Sears who has sold a lot of books in his lifetime by latching onto to this phenomenon of parents worried about vaccines).

Autism, and children with mental challenges in general is heart-breaking to the parents and everyone feels for you and wishes the best for you and your child ... but .... please don't go on an unending crusade against childhood vaccination in an effort to try and make a difference in the world. Your attempts may be of sound heart and noble intention but they are very very misguided. Time and funds gathered by Autism foundations should be used to promote acceptance for those who suffer from it and not used to go on smear campaigns against childhood vaccination.

Sesame Street has done great things with it's Autism Outreach lately on that show by teaching the young generation to love and respect children who are different or who have difficulties. I think that's a beneficial thing to do with money donated to Autism charities. That does make a difference and is a better investment of those funds than trying to stop children from being vaccinated against life threatening childhood diseases.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Defining "The Jazz": A Short Dissertation on the A-Team

What is the Jazz? 


Today, ladies and gentlemen, we shall be looking at a concept that seems to still be without definition. I'm speaking, of course, about ... The Jazz. I'm not talking about the musical genre known as The Jazz, though we shall dip briefly into Musical Jazz and speak of what makes Musical Jazz cool, but when we talk about the Jazz in this article we are speaking specifically about the concept known as "The Jazz" on the hit 80s television show -- The A Team --.


The A-Team


In this Short Dissertation on the concept only known as The Jazz (and not the musical genre) we shall be: Firstly (A) Quickly looking into where the word originated from which is the Musical genre known as Jazz, (B) How Characters on the A Team Program attempted to explain to the viewers at home the definition of the concept known as "The Jazz", (C) Third-most we shall be looking at how other members of modern society have tried to explain "The Jazz", and Fourthingly (D) I shall attempt to synthesize it all and offer to the reader my own personal interpretation of .... "The Jazz."


Alright, buckle your safety belts reader, and if you gotta go pee do it now .... because once you start readin' a short dissertation on "The Jazz" there's no turning back: So, Here. We GO:



The Etymological Origin of "The Jazz" within Jazz Music

Jazz Music is a free form style of music ... but don't let that fool you into thinking that anybody can just pick up an instrument and be a gifted Jazz player. No, Jazz is NOT like abstract art in the sense that anyone can do it. Good Jazz is preformed by the most talented players imaginable but they are playing what they want. It's not from a sheet with notes, it's just free form playing, listen to a sample here:


This is not Abstract Art of just throwing crap around ... these are some of the most talented artists ever yet their structure has no form ... it is free flowing .... you work with each other .... you go with what the bassist's doing and you flow with what the drummer's doing and you groove your own style with how the saxophone man is grooving his style .... and in the end it's this big Free Form Entity. It's Jazz.

It's chaotic but due to the talent and trust shared by each player for each other ... it's also very orderly. It's a perfect clash of Order and Chaos. You couldn't just have Order and get Jazz, like read notes off the sheet and play it with full stuffiness .... yet on the other hand you couldn't just have chaos as in pick up an instrument and smash it over something style ludicrous do-what-you-want Chaos ... you need the perfect congruence of Chaos and Order to achieve Jazz Music.

You can see them in the clip above, no one knows what the other is going to do and in that sense it should come out as jumbly wild nonsense ... but it isn't at all ... it's very together and concise ... they are so good at their craft and have such trust in the others abilities ... that it is so purely organized looking as a final product that you'd think they were playing off of the same music sheets.

Jazz music, I would define as, being so incredibly talented at your craft that you no longer need structure because your experience with the craft has honed your instincts to a point where your Free Form expression of said craft comes across as a final product as being more structured than the structure itself.

There's a great Free Form Freedom to Jazz. There really is.

Yet, we are not talking about Jazz music as we are trying to conceptualize a concept who's definition has plagued humanity for decades now. What is "The Jazz" referred to on the 80s smash hit television show ... The A Team? Many of you may not be familiar with the show, so, nextly we are going to present how various characters on the show attempted to explain the "Jazz."



Characters of the A-Team Various Attempts to Explain the Concept of "The Jazz" 

The first time viewers of the A Team were ever introduced to the concept of the Jazz was on the Pilot episode, where as Face Man (in the only appearence where the character is not portrayed by Dirk Benedict), asked the A-Team's Strategist Hannibal Smith why he pulled so much "Maury Wills Junk" (referring to Maury's annoyance of pitchers by taking leads off of first base before stealing second) prior to pulling a sluice gate lever, which then flooded the canal/road and in which culminated in stymieing their pursuers. Bosco B.A. Baracus interrupted Hannibal's response to Face Man's question and responded:


"You know Ol' Hannibal, he loves The Jazz man, he loves The Jazz" - B.A. Baracus


We are introduced to this concept of The Jazz yet are (purposely?) left in the dark as to what this "Jazz" is or why Hannibal loves it so much.

Nextly the Jazz is invoked when the A Team is splitting into two groups to flank an enemy and the Face Man insists he be paired with the Tough Man Baracus instead of Hannibal. Hannibal inquires as to why the Face Man would rather be paired with Baracus and Baracus explains that when Hannibal is on The Jazz ... he's crazy.

It seems The Jazz is something in Hannibal that makes him reckless, unpredictable, and erratic ... yet Hannibal is the A Team's Strategist and should be the most calm and collected of the ensemble. How can their leader be so prone to reckless behavior that may endanger his team? It seems, as with an ensemble in Musical Jazz, the A Team trust Hannibal with their lives and throughout his erratic and sometimes dangerous free form plans ... this trust is still there ... they still trust him even though his actions are viewed as erratic, reckless, and without structure.

On a subsequent episode "The Jazz" is explained to the recently recruited character Amy as being that feeling when a gambler puts all his chips on the table. It's the moment as the dice rolls, or the card is pulled, or the ball lands, where the gambler doesn't know if he's gonna lose all of his money ... or make a shit load of money.

That's The Jazz. When Maury Wills dances off first base he knows the pitcher can throw over at any time and catch him dancing ... but he still does it. He still takes off from first base even though he knows he can be caught stealing. Maury Wills, like Face was implying, had The Jazz. He just got a hit or a walk and safely reached first but he tries to go double-or-nothing by either getting picked off or caught stealing .... the risk is big ... but the reward is big. That's the Jazz. Stolen Bases are Jazz.

There's a large feeling of Freedom in The Jazz. You can stay at first base if you want and play it safe. You can go to the boardwalk and catch a show in Atlantic City and play it safe. You can jump in B.A's car and rush off to safety without embarrassingly getting Colonel Lynch trapped in the canal whilst the sluice gate opens (getting him ALL WET). 

Or...

You can try and steal second base, you can go to the Tropicana Hotel and put it all on the table, you could wait until Lynch is exactly inside the canal/road before opening the sluice gate .... so he gets ALL WET!

In that time where Hannibal was waiting for the perfect Moment ... Lynch could've shot Hannibal or blew out the tires on B.A.'s truck but Hannibal needed to get that colonel All Wet and didn't care about the consequences or the risks because that man was on The Jazz!

Hannibal would endanger the lives of himself and his team .... just to get his pursuer wet. Now that's The Jazz.



What other Figures in Modern Society have said regarding "The Jazz"


Last article I mentioned a story I always found fascinating. It was the one about Telly Savalas losing all his money gambling yet for some reason "feeling clean" afterwards. That was the Jazz right there. It was the moment where it was all riding. That Living in the Moment type of moment ... that he had a chance to win it all and every moment leading up to, and after, that 5 seconds where it was all riding .... seemed to last for an eternity. The cup of coffee afterwards tasted amazing and during that cup of coffee bought with the last dollar to his name after he lost it all .... he probably realized he just spent all his money on a "Moment" and he probably didn't even regret it. That? You know what that is? That's the Jazz.

I recently read Norm MacDonald's book which is a collection of Incredibly Fascinating life stories he shares with us .... but that's just a subplot ... the main plot of the novel is Norm's journey with his trusted Sancho-Panza-esque sidekick Adam Eget to Atlantic City to carry out his "Plan" ... and the Incredibly Fascinating life stories are shared as flashbacks whilst Norm is experiencing varying forms of morphine-related psychosis during various stages of the "Plan".

Norm MacDonald's book is rife with The Jazz, I would even regard The Jazz as one of the main themes of this exceptionally crafted novel. You should read it, I won't go into it too much. It's good.

My own Synthesis of all Data Relating to said "The Jazz" and my own Personal Interpretation as such,

Now it's my turn. This is my opinion. After studying everything I could in relation to the Concept on the A-Team referred to as "The Jazz," after understanding the etymological background of it, after listening to many characters on the show's interpretation of it, and after applying those concepts to other variations I've seen in other forms of history or modern life .... it is only now that I feel confident enough to construct and be allowed to have an opinion on The Jazz. Would you like to hear it? Ok, here it goes...

The Jazz is Free Form Chaos presented in the most Organized of Manners. It is a moment in your life where all around you was complete and utter chaos yet you were calm, collected, and in total control of your own actions during that chaotic situation.  It was in this highly chaotic yet totally orderly moment in which you felt total Absolute Freedom. Even with all the chaos around you, you knew that you had a plan and even if the plan failed miserably, you were still in complete calmness whilst carrying it out. Thus The Jazz can only be described as,


Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom.



Conclusion 


To me, Writing is My "The Jazz", and it will be different for everyone. Everyone has to find a fun and safe outlet to experience their version of Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom. For me, my The Jazz is writing, it really is. You're probably wondering how Writing incredibly silly, overtly long, overly constructed, almost downright pointless essays on a variety of strange topics can be a "The Jazz" to someone ... but it is for me.

Any topic, at all, can be chosen and a multitude of almost infinite sentences can be constructed for that topic. It's Free Form. I can pick whatever Topic I want and smash out keys on a keyboard like a jazz pianist smashes out keys on a piano.

I set out a goal, (A), (B), (C), and (D) in the opening intro .... and I think at the start of the process.... No, there's no way this can be done, you can't write something interesting, professional, and unnecessarily long about a topic such as "The Concept of The Jazz on the A Team" because it's not possible .... and that's when the Jazz really takes over ... the second you think it can't be done ... that's when the Jazz takes hold ..... It becomes a personal mission to prove yourself wrong ... and if you impose a Time-Limit .... then things get real Jazzed Up real quick.... if you tell yourself that you got to write this incredibly strange yet professional unusually long essay but only have 2 hours to do it .... then your brain starts to really pick up the Jazz. Some of the longest and silliest things I've ever wrote were done in approximately 40 minutes .... the self-imposed time limit of getting the words down and in a way that's readable .... it's the time limit is what really sparks the Jazz up something fierce.

I wrote the intro at 1:59 and it is now 3:57 ... meaning I am 2 minutes under the 2 hour time limit.

Then, you quickly proof read it to find errors .... and while you proof read what you just wrote the whole piece kinda settles in .... and there's a feeling that comes over you. It's like Something has just Came Together ... Something that Wasn't There Before .... and all you can really do when you're satisfied with your work is sit back and say to yourself .....



That's what The Jazz is. It is Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom but It's also the,

Chaotic yet Organized Free Form Freedom .... Of Accomplishment.