Tuesday, August 31, 2004

V I P, yeah you know me

okay, not sure if this will qualify as a rant (doesn't everything i say qualify?).

anyway...i was watching a "look at all the money celebrities spend" show recently, and heard someone in the service industry refer to specific celebrities as "VIPs". these particular celebrities (yes, they're a couple) spend thousands of dollars on one meal or an evening out.

okay, i could spout off about the obvious "shouldn't they be feeding the hungry" rant, but i'm not gonna go there. i am concerned about something much less important, yet perhaps just as curious. i understand that celebrities get certain "priority treatment" because they are who they are...but is it really VIP treatment if they're paying for every cent?

i mean, yes they get into that one restaurant that none of us could get into (nor do we likely care about), but they're also probably slipping the "maitre d'" (sp?) a couple hundred, and tipping everyone else on the way to the table. so, really, they're only important because they have the money to back up their reservation? does anyone else see the irony of this?

if they were truly important, wouldn't they be getting it all for the low, low price of nothing?

suicide on wheels

wow, another rant about cyclists...already? yes. this is in regard to cyclists who flirt with death. cyclists who seem to think that, because motorists are to treat them as they would other vehicles, their bike must be as tough as other vehicles.

based on the comments i received about my last "bike rant", i know i have at least a couple of cyclists in the audience...so listen up! i realize it's a frustrating thing for both cyclists and motorists in winnipeg that it's currently illegal for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, but let's not take our frustrations out on each other. cyclists, if you want to be treated with the same respect as motorists are supposed to show other vehicles, you need to realize that the same LAWS apply to you.

no, i'm not referring to speed. clearly, unless you're a frigging looney toon, you will not meet (nor be expected to meet) the minimum speed limit. however, there are other laws that apply to you. see that stop sign?! yes, that means you mr. or ms. cyclist. don't think you need to observe it? be prepared to accept the risk. and don't look at me that way when i make the "you're a jackass" face at you, because you've earned it.

hey there, biking with a buddy? that's great...SINGLE FILE! last i checked, it wasn't legal for 2 cars to drive buddy-buddy style on a two-lane road, it's not legal for you. wanna flout that rule? you're gonna get tchatched!

now, i know...i know. you're gonna say to me, "johnny...", you're gonna say "johnny, so many cyclists abide by the law." great, maybe a bunch of them do...maybe you're one of them, but a whole bunch don't. clearly, they're the ones i'm referring to. that's it, i'm done!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

so biff wants to be a buff

in case some of you haven't noticed, i love movies. more than that, i love film. i love its boundaries and i love its freedoms. i find few art forms that hold as much potential to both tell story and provide the visuals that, often on their own, can be quite impactful.

along with that, i find it interesting to know a lot about movies, past, present, and future. people like what they like and that's all there is to it. for the life of me, i can't figure out why certain people don't like certain movies to the extent that i do. likewise, i've had people recommend certain movies to me, or else describe what a wonderful experience they had with a certain picture, and once i've seen the same movie i can't, for the life of me, understand what's so damn special about "this" or "that".

but what bugs me even more is people who define, for me, what does or does not qualify me to be a movie or film buff. guess what, people, my attempt to avoid certain titles or dislike of them, or disinterest in them, does not disqualify me for the label of "movie buff". as a matter of fact, i can argue that, for certain titles, the fact that i choose to avoid them may be the decision that specifically is the reason i should consider myself a buff (*cough* *catwoman*).

yes, people have made statements about my qualifications that, for the most part, they were joking about. well, that makes me feel much better...

Saturday, August 14, 2004

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phone rage

i'm not even sure i can make this rant coherent (well, even as relatively coherent as the others).

i was driving home from work the other day when, after moving into a right turn lane i realized there was a guy on a bike ahead of me who was moving very slowly. i tried to see if i could evaluate what his particular damage was when i realized that...this guy...in rush hour traffic...was driving his bike with one hand and holding his CELL PHONE TO HIS EAR WITH THE OTHER!!!

am i wrong or is this particularly stupid?! you're on a bike! there are large, multi-ton vehicles driving all around you that could, if given even a second, destroy you.

i won't even get into people who drive cars and have long, non-handsfree, conversations on cell phones here. if you are on a bike, get off the phone!

car snobs

i have a friend that i call a car snob. let me elaborate. this friend of mine holds prejudice against all "domestic" cars no matter who the maker is, where the car is made, what the reviews say, what people who have driven a given domestic say, etc.

of course, there are exceptions to every rule. he will, in the very least, admit that the '67 ford mustang was a great car, but upon hearing that ford has made certain improvements to the newest show model, he will inevitably scoff.

then there's this other guy i know, let's just say it's not in my best interest to indicate how or from where i know him (it involves financial income). upon hearing that my current favorite somewhat affordable car is the PT Cruiser, he cynically commented that the PT cruiser is built on the fram of a Neon. well, even if this is true, the last i checked it wasn't the frame of the Neon that some people complain about. never mind all the positive reviews and fairly good reports on road tests, "this thing's got the frame of a Neon!"

somewhere along the way, the following equations became commonly accepted: domestic=bad, import=good. it could be that imports are generally more reliable than domestics, but to treat any "rule" as perfectly consistent is just plain tomfoolery!

i'm driving a domestic that's been in the family since '89 (when it was purchased as new). we have never had to do any major work to it. it's at 260000+ km, and still going. now, we haven't exactly taken care of it either. it has some minor problems, but i know those who have imports that were released around the same time as my car and are having twice as many problems.

note to car snobs: CHILL!

faith on a letter board

i was talking to a friend recently about "church signs". now, of course, some people know that the typical ones do more to keep people away than bring them in, so they don't bother trying to be funny and they just try to be sincere. this is admirable.

then there are others...i'm not sure who writes these things, but i think the ratio of horrible to even remotely clever is about 896:2. you have to ask yourself how the person at the church who slides the letters onto the board could possibly not know how ridiculous many of these things sound.

the most recent atrocity that comes to mind is "God answers knee-mail." Uh, earth to humorless guy, this isn't making your church look like the most happenin' place. now, i'm a church guy myself, so i'm writing about this from the inside. if churches have to have a sign board and can't put something funny (in a good way) or clever on the sign (e.g. "'Don't make me come down there!' -God"), then they need to stick to sincere.

Monday, August 09, 2004

blood glory

i've been thinking lately about the complaint that so many people have that "this" or "that" glorifies violence. in effect, what many people are implying is that any display/description of violence on tv, a movie, music, or books is glorifying violence.

guess what? i don't buy it! by definition, anything that idealizes something, or makes it out to be better than it actually is, glorifies it. prime example: the terminator series. now, this is actually one of my guilty pleasures. i have seen all three episodes of that series and i would likely see future episodes. but, truth be told, in the terminator movies, violence is glorified. granted, the glorified violence is mostly the violence that is aimed at the "evil" robots, but you get my point (okay, not a great example...but you come up with a better one). if this offends you as a robot, my apologies.

the problem, that i find, is that people say that things like goodfellas, the sopranos, saving private ryan, basically glorify violence just because it is displayed. but, as i explained to someone recently, these things don't really glorify violence because it is generally not shown to be without consequences. in goodfellas, "good guys" and "bad guys" die. in the sopranos, violence has rarely, if ever, been shown to be without various consequences. in saving private ryan...well, if you've ever seen it, i doubt that you came away from it with a favorable perspective on violence.

so, what's the virtue of my time with you today? if you're one of those people that is so quick to proclaim that "this" or "that" glorifies violence, just think about how much "glory" is really being depicted in the simulated violence that you are condemning. then again, seeing that guy's legs blown off in "band of brothers" does make me want to join the army...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

less moore

those of you who have talked to me about recent trends in the genre of documentary filmmaking know that i wish michael moore would just go away. it's not because i disagree with his opinions, which, for the most part, i do. it's not because he's a biased filmmaker, which he will freely admit that he is. truth is, few filmmakers are unbiased; and whether or not i agree with a person's opinions often doesn't affect whether i think they're doing their job properly or not.

i looked up the word "documentary" on my favorite dictionary site (here). i usually find this site to be fair in its definitions. most of what came up as a result of the word search dealt mainly with presenting facts or presenting views in a factual manner. the fact is that moore doesn't really do either very well, or at least he stretches the definitions of these ideas.

a prime example is moore's recent interview on the tonight show. he was talking about the american democracy and how it presents a serious lack of options to voters, because americans only really have 2, maybe 3, options. when providing an example of a better system, he referred to canada, because "they have, like, 5 major political parties." by my count, we have the liberals, the coservatives, and the ndp. could someone please tell me what the name of the other 2 major politcal parties are?! and no, the marijuana party, as much as some would like to believe it, is not a major political party. this isn't even the first time he misrepresented what it's like to live in canada (e.g. implying, in bowling for columbine, that nobody in canada locks their doors and, because there's no gun violence, there's really no significant violent crime).

this is exactly my point. moore is constantly misrepresenting facts and presenting them as inherently true, not to mention his unconvincingly empathetic use of his subjects (the "victims") only because they serve to promote his agenda (but that's another rant altogether). public opinion polls, when presented back to the public, constantly do the same thing with facts that moore does. this is fine when taken "with a grain of salt". the problem is that many critics that i have heard review moore's films are quite open about how much he manipulates his facts and just don't seem to care.

but to do to facts what moore does before he presents them to anyone, and then to expect people to treat such a presentation as a serious indictment of any person or group of people is absurd. it probably wouldn't bother me as much, though, if there weren't so many people heralding the profundity of moore's "discoveries".

and some of those who like him will tell me that "the least you can admit is that he's a good filmmaker!" i don't care. there are many good filmmakers and a few great filmmakers that put moore's methods to shame. in comparison to these, he's not even really that good. the use of constant voice-overs and public confrontations designed to embarass certain people isn't exactly a one-two punch when used in every film.

okay, okay, i could go on and on as i already have been. you get my point...i don't believe for a new york minute that he's really doing us any good.