Monday, February 27, 2017

And The Oscar Goes To...OOPS!

Social media blew up last night as the most amazing M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist ending occurred in the final minutes of the Oscars. I watched it unfold in disbelief as much as anyone. Somehow, despite all the surely well-rehearsed steps taken to prevent something like this, the wrong winner was announced for the last and arguably most anticipated award of the night: Best Picture.

Here's how it supposedly happened: "Someone" (as yet unnamed according to my searches) appeared to have handed the presenters of the award, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty (presenting on the 50th anniversary of their roles as "Bonnie and Clyde" in that 1967 film), a sealed envelope which should have been for Best Picture but was actually a duplicate of the envelope that had just been used for Emma Stone as Best Actress.

Every year, according to the Price-Waterhouse rep who commented on this flub, the awards are printed on two sets of cards in envelopes in two separate suitcases. This is as a precaution should something happen to one set, a "fail-safe" redundancy. Makes sense. But somehow, "someone" used the set that was supposed to be the reserve, first mistake, then, proceeded to give the wrong award from that set (Best Actress rather than Best Picture), second mistake.

And, in what I consider the third and most egregious mistake of all, the presenters, Beatty primarily since he first read the card then Dunaway who also read it, either failed to notice the small print which said "Best Actress" on the bottom of the card designating this as the Best Actress award, as well as misunderstanding the format of the card which read Emma Stone in larger font first then La La Land in smaller font underneath being the title of the film of her awarded portrayal.

It's funny but as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came out on stage, my first thought was "Wow, they look really old." Not out of meanness, just noticing the facts. They are old. And they both looked and acted a bit "out of it" like many old people do. Sorry, just stating my observations. Faye looked like she was squinting a bit, since it's been years since she's been familiar with the bright lights of the stage and Warren was making these weird little mouth movements like he had cotton mouth, or was he mouthing his or Faye's lines for the presentation? Maybe he couldn't quite read the TelePrompter and had to go on memory?

They said their little scripted lines and then Warren opened the envelope. He saw what I'd described already and I'm sure a big part of him was screaming out inside "This doesn't look right!" I mean, I do believe he's presented at awards shows before including the Oscars. I'd bet money on it. But even though he hesitated in what the audience and even Faye thought was a comedic way he must have reassured himself that there'd be no way someone would screw up so much. So he did what any doddering old fool would do I suppose and handed it over to the woman. Faye didn't even bat an eye. She saw La La Land on the card, ignored the actress name and the fine print and read out the wrong winner.

Sadly, the cast and production team for La La Land came up and grabbed "their" golden Oscars and three dudes got to the mic making heartfelt teary-eyed acceptance speeches while people in headsets and the shivering old Beatty were milling about behind them trying to tactfully break the news to the group. One dude even went to the mic and started thanking his maw maw, paw paw or whatever and then blurted out "We lost by the way!" Jimmy Kimmel, the host, never looked so awkward as he ambled towards the mic.

Jimmy jokingly blamed Steve Harvey in reference to a similar fuck up a couple of years ago at the Miss Universe pageant when Harvey announced the wrong winner and the same super-awkward exchange took place minutes later as the the crown was removed from the wrong girl to the right one. On stage. Ouch!

Gotta hand it to the La La Land guys though, unlike in the Miss Universe mistake where the wrong woman just stood in disbelief and did nothing, the La la Land folks were happy to give over their 2-minute Oscar-hood to the folks with the real win, Moonlight.

This presentation went very long this year, not wrapping up until well after midnight and I'm sure millions of viewers who were struggling to stay awake on a Sunday night switched off their sets once the Best Picture winner was first announced.

Like many who may have done the same thing on election night when all the media outlets were still anticipating a Clinton victory, they'll be waking up to a bit of a surprise this morning I'm sure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silent Movies

For two decades, one of my favorite rituals was to log into IMDb after watching a movie to learn more about what I'd just watched. I'd get info on the actors, the crew, professional and amateur reviews. But what I looked forward to the most was reading the message boards where people would post questions or comments about the film and there'd be sometimes epic threads in all flavors of intelligent and not-so intelligent responses. It was the internet as a community, where people across the world would be able to talk about the movies.

Just now I finished watching "Passengers" and went to IMDb to check out the boards about it. And, as I scrolled down to near the bottom of the page where the message boards usually were placed I couldn't find anything. This happens sometimes for really old or obscure movies since there hasn't been anyone who cared to post anything, but for a brand-new and popular sci-fi film with top notch actors? I checked out links to other films and got the same result. Nothing.

I googled "IMDb forums" and found out why. Several media sites had articles announcing that as of yesterday, February 20th, the message boards on the site had been discontinued.

I feel like I've just lost an old friend.

Welcome to the new internet. Free speech is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Apparently, according to several of the articles I read, IMDb became disenchanted with having to police the boards for vile trolling and hate speech. According to at least one article, hate comments were rife and have been usurping the boards more and more as time went by. I call BS on this. Yes there'd be the occasional dickhead who spouted crap but for each douchebag there were plenty of others who would put that troll in their place right quick. Plus there were built in features to the boards which helped sanitize them for a more general "PG-rated" user experience like the word "beep" replacing any written curse words.

I'm one of the early users of the internet and I remember those days fondly. It truly was like the old wild, wild west. And I remember how we pioneers predicted that the frontier would be slowly but surely tamed and toned down once the corporations got their greedy, grubby hands on it. And sure enough, that's what's been happening over the past twenty years.

So what's next? reddit? Why that's nothing but a cesspool of libtard geeky neckbeards sitting alone in their mother's basement, right? Shut 'em down! Blogger? Eh, blogs are a dead forum anyway but too many try to rabble rouse as it is. Shut 'em down! What about the creme de la creme of free (thus sometimes disturbing) speech...YouTube comments? By some accounts, they've already started sanitizing content through monitization guideline restriction and frequent controversial channel closures. And many if not most YouTube comments are notoriously vile.

Free speech interferes with the true machinations of the corporate entities that are transforming the Web. The real message is what the corporations want you to see, read and hear. And it comes down to one thing. Their bottom line.

We see it so blatantly now with Facebook and Twitter. Ads are everywhere. Insidious ads that directly target your interests. How do they know what you like? Everything is witnessed and logged. Google searches, online purchases, sites visited, even software installed as reported by your operating system. Think your emails or Dropbox files are private? Think again. Why, someone's probably watching and listening to you from your computer or phone's camera and mic. No where is safe. Big brother is indeed watching you. They want your money.

Gone now are the days of sharing free thought and ideas for the sake of knowledge, learning and understanding. Anything that detracts from the corporations' goal of getting your money is being silenced.

This is how freedom dies on the Web. It's deleted. Like it never even existed at all.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Rico Koyo Era Begins

Breaking News:

Ric just messaged me that the fellow weekend bike warrior that promised him a management job just left the company he was working for and took a better position elsewhere.

So what's this mean for Ric?

He's likely screwed.

Without the advocacy of this guy, Wilmer, being his mentor, Ric only has his own merits to bargain with. Though he does have some management experience from decades ago, it's not in the hospitality industry. In fact, I'm pretty sure of all the many jobs Ric's had over the years, he never mentioned working even as a waiter in a restaurant, so I don't think he ever has. How could that hold up to other more qualified applicants?

Ric said that Wilmer is pulling for Ric to be his replacement. Um, as a COO of a multi-million dollar company? Wilmer has a freakin' MBA, how would Ric be able to take that job?

I haven't yet talked to Ric directly about all this but he did preface the text saying "Life sux even more now." so I think he must realize that he's being fucked with. I warned him a couple weeks ago when we went to see Rogue One together that I researched this Wilmer guy on social media and I thought there might be some concern about him. Wilmer had been posting on Facebook and other sites that he was in the works for a big move. I guess this was it. Why this guy lead (and presumably is still leading) Ric on is beyond me. How could he be such a douche? Unless Ric totally misunderstood him or is outright lying about all this. I don't really believe those two options though.

Poor Ric.

I hate to withdraw even more than I have from him over the years but let's face it, he's heading for a total collapse I believe. He's burning through his 401K remains, now down to some $20K according to him. I'm pretty sure his standard budget, not accounting for the costs of this DUI defense now, total more than a couple grand a month in expenses.

With no ability to drive, he's right back where he was in 2004 when he got his license suspended during the 3rd DUI drama. Yet then he had his AIG job and he moved from Casselberry to Lake Mary just so he could be closer to it. Amazingly, despite the punches dealt to him, he really pulled out of it quickly. Cognitively restructuring his lost driving privilege into a fanatical zeal for biking and getting his finances together enough to buy a condo he was determined to not be beat.

Once he got his conviction and part of the sentence was a year's probation after a 30-day rehab stay I watched in awe as he complied with his mandated alcohol abstinence with apparent ease. The year he was a pod person.

So this time 'round, I think he'll either have to totally transform himself as he did then or face real hardship. I just can't see how he'd be able to do it right now as all the shit is hitting the fan, but maybe, just maybe he has enough resiliency and drive to bounce back yet again.


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Exhibit A

I wish the best of luck for Ric in his upcoming drama regarding his newest DUI but I present a bit of disconcerting evidence from his Facebook timeline:

Here he is with his buds, celebrating his birthday at Friendly Confines, his bar of choice in Lake Mary, two nights before his DUI.

Here he is with Joe at 2:00 am later that night after hitting only "two light hits" of weed.

Here he is with his nephew at several Knoxville watering holes the two nights after his release from the Georgia jail.

Hopefully his judge won't see these.

...It's Gonna Be A Bumpy Ride

About two weeks ago I wrote a post titled Fasten Your Seat Belts... announcing that Ric had bought a car and after a hiatus of some 13 years he was going to be driving again. Why 13 years of no driving? Well, as you can read about here, he was charged with his 3rd DUI just before the founding of this blog.

Un-fuckin'-real as it may sound, Ric, in just two weeks after buying his car, has been charged AGAIN with another DUI!!!

It was just this past Friday as he was driving north on Interstate 75 through some little redneck town in Georgia since he was traveling to visit with his nephew at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. According to Ric, the cops stopped him because, and Ric admits fault in this, he was doing 85 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. Understandably Ric was super nervous and the cops noticed this. They assumed he was on something and made him do a roadside sobriety test. Then he was cuffed and put in the cruiser.

But Ric's story gets a little muddy from here. He said that they wanted to take him to a hospital to do a drug blood test and Ric says the cops were suggesting to him that if he refused to take the test he could be set free and be on his way after a night in jail and a quick arraignment. Ric said the cops were saying the blood test could take several weeks to complete and this might delay his release? (Sounds fucked up to me) Ric apparently refused the test and requested a breathalyzer to which the cops said no because they were under the belief he wasn't under the influence of alcohol but drugs.

So he was brought to the jail and spent the night there. He got a bail bondsman to post bond for him. When I asked him what collateral he used since the bond was for something like $2,400 he said the bondsman put up his own collateral. (Huh? I'm pretty sure the only reason he got a bond in a state outside of his residence is he must have signed his condo as collateral. Why he's not admitting this is either due to ignorance that he did it or embarrassment.)

He was released the next morning but did this experience deter him from continuing on his journey to Knoxville to play 54-year-old frat boy with his under 21-year-old nephew? Nope. He posted selfies of himself with his nephew at Knoxville sports bars smiling as if nothing ever happened.

After his weekend in Knoxville, according to him, he spent the last couple of business days in Atlanta in order to iron out the issues by hiring a lawyer and conducting his own, self-paid drug tests. This was likely good advise from his lawyer. As to why he didn't do it the night of his arrest? Maybe the cops deceived him or maybe he was afraid of what the tests would reveal since he admitted that a couple days before he left for Knoxville, he and his friend Joe smoked some pot. He said he only had two light hits. Hmm. How the plot thickens.

So what's Ric looking at? Well, in Georgia, he's charged with a first offence misdemeanor DUI under the influence of drugs. But once this is communicated back to Florida, it will be tacked on to his existing record and count as his 4th DUI charge. Since he refused the blood test, he's looking right there, no matter what, at a one year suspension of his driver's licence.

If he beats the rap and the case is either dismissed or he's found Not Guilty, he should be free of further penalties, but the one year suspension, at least in Florida may stand since he refused the test. I'm not entirely sure but I think that's the case. And this will, IMHO, be the outcome. Without a positive test for drugs in his system (assuming the ones he did come up clean) there's no evidence.

But we're talking backwoods Georgia. Good Ole Boys, Dukes of Hazzard country. What if they come up with "evidence?" Or what if the judge doesn't need evidence to convict? "Roscoe says you was high as a kite, Boy, and you're gonna hang!" "What's more, I detect a bit of homosexuality in you, Boy!" Clap Clap of his gavel. "Full penalties to you, you Sodomite!"

Yikes! Let's hope it doesn't come out as that. But either way, without his licence he'd have a very hard time being able to get to and from his new job promised to him. It's down in the I-Drive area. And though he was talking to me how he might be able to get there by public transport and his bike, it isn't likely feasible.

Sadly, though I had a bad feeling about his prospects even before these new developments...quitting his job, and hanging his hopes on a career in a field he knows nothing about...I now feel he's never gonna be able to ride this one out. It'll be a full blown Koyo for him, for sure.

I hate to say it, but my oh my, how the tables have turned.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Cracker Nostalgia

Earlier this week I took advantage of a BOGO at Publix on Nabisco crackers mainly 'casue I had two blocks of Cabot's cheese that I bought the week before. Can't have cheese without the crackers.

I got my all time favorite Chicken in a Biskit and my second favorite Vegetable Thins. I don't regularly buy crackers but if I do I usually opt for a box of Chicken in a Biskit so I'm familiar with the evolution through the years of that brand. More like Devolution if you ask me. Their a drier, blander and less exciting version of their former selves. But I hadn't bought Vegetable Thins in many years so I was shocked to see what I got when I opened the box. The shapes were all wrong. They used to be good-sized crackers that you could put a slice of cheddar cheese on. Now they're tiny. They used to have shapes that were like the vegetables they were made with...onion, carrot, bell pepper, tomato. Now they're some funky convex and concave curved rectangles. Like CIAB, they also were dull and dry. What a disappointment.

I tried looking online to see when the recipe had been changed and I didn't see any reference to the crackers of my youth. Oh,oh, was this another Mandela Effect? Luckily no, as after a little more digging I found some references to the old shapes. Remember, the internet has a short memory span and it looks like these new crackers have been around since about 2008 or 2009 it seems.

But what was really weird and I found it almost right away was the fact that during the 60s, when I guess these crackers had first come out, the original Vegetable Thins shapes were the same as the newest ones. So it looks like they went back to their classic version. Yet I know that by the 70s the crackers were redesigned into the vegetable shapes I remembered. That's what made me think of a Mandella Effect.

The picture of the old cracker boxes reminded me of some others I loved as a kid but have been discontinued a long time ago. Bacon Thins. Yes! Why is this no longer a thing? Onion Thins were really good too. Now Celery Thins? Never tried them but I guess it's no wonder they're not around any more. Makes me think of old fashioned glass condiment dishes with sections for celery and olives. Mmmm. NOT!

But you know, it does make me think how good an idea it would be to start up a small baking company that produces crackers in these mid-century, old style flavors. You could have Pickled Egg Thins. Or Head Cheese Thins. Or Pimento Loaf Thins.

Hey, how about cocktail party selections like Extra-Dry Martini Thins or Highball Thins? Why drink and nibble when you can combine the two?

Or maybe to realistically reflect the era you could have Duck and Cover Thins, Dead Not Red Thins or maybe Whites and Colored Thins...or how about Back Alley Abortion Thins. Too much? Did I go too far?