Friday, December 7, 2012

Swedish Artist who Used Jewish Ashes Is Troubling..

"Carl Michael von Hausswolff mixed the ashes from the infamous Nazi facility with water to compose a small painting of grey streaks. The work now hangs in a gallery in the Swedish city of Lund.

But Salomon Schulman, a leading voice in Sweden's Jewish community who lost many relatives to the Holocaust, has condemned the painting as "revolting".
Who knows," he wrote in a letter to a local newspaper. "Maybe some of the ashes originated from my relatives. No one knows where they were deported: all my mother's siblings and their children, and my grandparents."
Those ashes were people. There are still people on the planet related closely enough to these victims that this act should give you pause. These were people wiped out because of what they believed, not because of anything they did. On my grandmother's side, we had family in Germany who died horrifically in this way. What if these were your great grandmothers ashes Michael? Would you personally be okay with this? The fact that I am hearing of this the weekend of Hanukkah starting makes it worse. 
 I get he was trying to make art. My daughter is an artist. However, art is not a free license to do anything you want in the name of itself. 
 I have one caveat to this though. If Michael had gotten the ashes from a specific family, and they signed off on it, then I would be okay with this. Because he skulked around, knowing no permissions would be given, and defied the laws of the countries he was visiting, he should be held to account. Not for the art mind you, although we should probably talk about that, but because, "the rules did nor apply to him". 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Star Trek Fandom Arguments 2012: Evolution!

I have given this a lot of thought. So. according to all of the detractors having kittens: JJ Abrams has fucked up the franchise, and no one will go see this new installment. It is not "real" Star Trek, so why should real fans care? 

This attitude flies in the face of what the same detractors were saying about the first film, and it grossed over 300,000,000 dollars worldwide. I love the fact that my daughter and niece can go to a theater and get excited about Star Trek movies just like when I was a kid seeing Star Trek 3 by myself for the first time. No, this is not Roddenberry's Star Trek. However, a true fan would also point out that Gene had less and less influence as he got older anyway. He HATED the militaristic tone of Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan. Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise would not have been his cup of tea either. His vision was extraordinary, and his ideals ran deep and wide. However, Star Trek has always been a microcosm of the moment. From the Iron curtain falling in The Undiscovered County to the idea of how we handle other people's conflicts without losing our way in Insurrection, Star Trek is about how to have humanity prosper. 
The original series was not "DARK", but was born out of a world tortured and ravaged by World War 3. The Eugenics Wars, and Khan, were not puppy kisses and rainbows. As we see in First Contact, humanity fucked up so bad we almost didn't make it. THAT is what carries on from the older Star Trek to the reboot. The idea that we not only bear the burdens, beat the odds, and thrive and spread out into the galaxy. 
One last thing. No hating. Time moves on. This new generation of trek fans is just as devoted as we are. The number on teens/tweens in Trek gear at Phoenix Cactus ComicCon was astounding. They love Star Trek as much as we do. The Star Trek TNG Panel drew 2,500 people, a lot of them youngsters. Do you remember when TNG was pilloried as not being "real" Star Trek" in 1987? To say that the reboot is not "real" Star Trek is just parental basement fan wanking, and we are better than that. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Farewell Wii, We'll Miss Ye!

Our first Wii died a horrible stinking death today. We have another, purchased secondhand, but the first one is a sentimental favorite of mine. Maybe because it was the first gaming console we bought as a family.

Fall 2007 we had just seen the Wii in action at my wife's library. They had purchased one for teen events. We talked about it, and pooled the family X-mas/Hanukkah money to buy the system. We loved it. I had about 200 dollars worth of Virtual Console Games on it. It was the first system our grade-school daughter and I gamed on together. She was introduced to Super Mario Brothers, and loved it. My wife and I fought pitched battles with Zelda's Crossbow training. We also loved Smash Brothers Brawl, and Mario Party. It brought us closer together as a family.

I had soft-modded it before I knew that Nintendo frowned on that. I wanted to play Homebrew, and NES games. So when the disk drive went, Nintendo wouldn't fix it. I know, that was my bad. We took it to PlayN'Trade and they fixed the disc error problem, but today the internal power went. It's gone.

I know we have another Wii. I had some trade credit at Bookman's Entertainment Exchange, so we were able to replace it. However, I cried anyway. I know it might seem silly to get sentimental over a gaming console. But our Wii wasn't just filled with electronics, and was full of memories too. Farewell buddy...we will miss you AKB:(

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My home state of Arizona has gone nuts!

My home state of Arizona has gone nuts! It isn't just the usual independent western states ideology I grew up with. It is something far more insane. It is a way of thinking that is driving my state into the ground.

If you have been following our state legislators since last year, you know all about
SB 1070. This is the law that seeks to remedy illegal immigration issue in Arizona. It is currently under review by the courts.

What really gripes my wagger is that the legislature is putting together a whole new set of laws to challenge illegal immigration and the Federal Government.

This is the wrong approach for our state. These lawmakers must understand that the road they are traveling just makes us less attractive to businesses, and families that might relocate here. The bills, for example, make hospitals and schools check citizenship. They would make any baby born to an illegal parent a non-citizen, despite Federal law. They have formed a legislative committee to decide which laws Arizona has to follow. If we don't like them, we can ignore the Feds.

It has gotten so bad that my home county of Pima is considering seceding from the state, because the views at the Capitol are so far right of the majority of its citizens. The response up here in Phoenix hasn't been great. The majority of idiots on say great!! Goodbye! We don't need you liberal peons, or your money.

This is not the majority view in this state. Neither are the views on illegal immigration.

There are a lot of us who live here who are appalled at the agenda of Russell Pearce and Jan Brewer. We are moderates, whether democrat or republican, who believe our state should represent our best interests. Right now it seems our state is only pandering to the worst.

We are not all crazy, anti-fed, gun nuts. Some of us just want to live in safety and peace, and raise our children. This notion is receding with every lame brained idea our humble legislature puts into law. Gods help us. AKB:}

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Celebrities Are People Too?

I wonder sometimes about the nature of celebrity. Are celebrities born, created, or willed into being? What is the demarcation line between them and us. How did they get to be "them" in the first place. What is their personal, or professional, life first walled them off from the world we live in?

I noticed this while watching The Buried Life on MTV. It's a show about four guys who are crossing things off of a "bucket list" before they die. It is an interesting concept. On this episode Ben, through a lot of madcap hi-jinx, meets Megan Fox on the red carpet at Transformers 2. She really warms to him. He is doing great. He is seconds away from asking her out. Then her publicist drags her away for another interview. Ben is only worthy of five minutes of the publicists time. No more!! He is part of the machine, in this case, the press part. When your allocated time is up, you are done.

What would have happened if they had had a chance to talk, and really hit it off? I know Megan would have probably blown him off, but she wasn't even given the chance to talk to a real person who was interested in her. That is sad. If the Hollywood hype machine is only geared towards getting celebrities face time in the digitized world, how real are they then? Do they only exist due to our rampant voyeurism? Will they disappear from memory like the Greek Gods of old? Why does this moat between them, and normal people exist anyway? Were they not once us?

I often wonder with celebrities, movie stars, actors and such where that line was drawn. Let's use Brad Pitt as an example. Was there a point where you could have sat down with Brad Pitt at the beginning of his career and had coffee? Maybe we could have discussed acting, or how hot that Angelina Jolie will be in fifteen years? I'm not saying we would be best friends, or anything of the sort. I am just wondering when that celebrity veil was pulled between who he was as a struggling actor, and who he is as an international movie star. Could you, as you, say hi to him now? Or, would the ring of people around him prevent this.

Here's another question. Do all of the people around a celebrity, protect them, or hinder them in interacting with the real world? does the celebrity need the people, or do the people make the celebrity? Are those people, the publicists, public relations, and assistants protecting the celebrity from you, or you from them? I'm not always sure myself.

I attend Comic Con International every year as a Professional. My wife is a teen librarian, and is writing a book about Graphic Novels in libraries. She hosts panels on these subjects every year at the Con. Because I am a listed Professional, I get access to the Pro Room for the industry types. It is usually people like us, professionals involved in the comics industry. But is does give you a small taste of celebrity. This year I met the Mythbusters, the guys from Rifftrax (MST3K), Jeff Smith (Bone), and the guys from Penny Arcade. They were all polite, and seemed happy to meet their fans.

I am not saying all celebrities are snobs, far from it. I am saying that the celebrity of today is more recognized, and further away from us normal folks than ever before.

Bejeweled Blitz... is Annoying!

I just tried the demo for Bejeweled Blitz on XBLA. I hate it.

This is why demos are a lovely thing. I like Bejeweled...a lot. I just think the interface for the new game sucks. The controls are unwieldy, the colors are irritating, and the soundtrack is too loud.

I will not be buying it. I am going to stick to Bejeweled 3 on my PC thank you very much. It is a better experience in almost every way. AKB :}