Monday, April 30, 2012

Music Video Monday: Man Or Muppet



This past weekend, I watched The Muppets, finally. For a bit of nostalgia. The film was aimed at our generation (many of whom have children of movie-going age). I grew up on The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie and Sesame Street. It's embarrassing to admit, but in elementary school, I had a "crush" on Miss Piggy. I always liked when she got mad.

This movie was aimed at bringing the Muppets back into public consciousness and popularity. However, while the film did do a fairly good job at balancing the nostalgia factor with the inside jokes and playing tribute to the past, I wasn't all that impressed. I guess its a positive sign that I grew out of it. I've been wondering in the past few years what it is about our brains that makes a person no longer be interested in the things that they were once interested in. For example, a few weeks ago, when I went to see a documentary film, I was stunned by the number of superhero / action flick trailer that were shown, including the new Spider-man and Batman films. I loved those two comic books as a teenager and enjoyed the previous films, but as I watched the trailers, I didn't even feel a twinge of excitement like I would have as a teenager or young adult. I plan to see the new Spider-man and Batman films this summer, but a part of me wonders if I'll be bored by them. Perhaps this is what it means to grow up? The gray matter comes in and pushes out the "childish things" of the past?

What I did like about the new Muppets movie is this song, "Man or Muppet", which was nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars (I forgot which song won). I love the line, "if I'm a man, then I'm a muppet of a man; if I'm a muppet, then I'm a manly muppet." The song is hilarious and it really did get to me. The lyrics are downright clever and the song is absolutely brilliant. While I was hoping for more out of the film, I think it did the job it was meant to: helping our generation introduce the younger generation to a lovable cast of characters. Sure beats "Spongebob Squarepants."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Personal About Ads

Keeping with my series on analyzing a random personal ad that I find on Craigslist, here's an interesting one.
Do you LOVE soccer? - 32 (SE)

I am not into sports, I'm rather quite adverse to watching anything physical. You might be wondering why I'm looking for someone into soccer?? Well, I am going to school to earn my masters degree. On top of work, school and my daughter, I am stretched for free time. I looked it up, and the soccer season lasts until close to my graduation day! Yay for both of us. You can watch your uninterrupted games, go out with your guy friends, and I have time to study. What a deal, right?

Only other thing is you must be smart, and taller than me, 5'9", smell good, no drugs. I drink socially ;)

Some company is good, but please no recent breakups. I am not a good rebound girlfriend. I don't want to hear woeful stories of how she did you wrong.

*on a side note... No weird sex stuff (switching partners, wearing diapers), can't buy my love, and I'm not going to be the women to move in and starting watching your hoard of children, or do your dishes, or do your laundry. Basically a guy who can take care of them self.

I'd actually respond to an ad like this. A woman that doesn't like sports? Winner! However, I don't meet her height requirement (in many ads, I find it interesting that even women who call themselves "BBW" have height requirements on a man that they are seeking relationships with yet want the man to be understanding of their "weight issues." Um, you can always lose the weight but people can't make themselves grow any taller).

What I find interesting about this ad is that the woman is in grad school and wants a relationship NOW, but not such an intrusive relationship to distract from her studies, so her solution is to date a soccer fan so he can be occupied by watching soccer all spring so as to not distract her from her last semester in grad school. Really? Why not wait until the summer to seek a relationship? What about dating a guy who is not into sports, but who has his own hobbies and interests to occupy his time? I totally understand not wanting to be smothered by another person's neediness and to give people some space / alone time. I could totally date a career woman or someone busy in grad school. I think I would be supportive without being needy for attention, because I have a lot of personal projects of my own. It doesn't have to be a soccer fan.

It's interesting when women put in disclaimers, such as not wanting any "weird sex stuff" or x-rated photos. I'm surprised that there are men who actually respond to women's ads in the most crude manner. Based on the numerous ads I've read where women have such a disclaimer, it seems to happen too often for many women. It's the downside of putting an out there. So, if these types of responses get screened out, why don't they respond back to the nice responses? The ones that are intelligent responses?

Because I did not meet her height requirement (and partly because she has a child), I did not respond to this ad. It wasn't bad, but a woman should understand that not all men are obsessed with sports. Wanting a guy who loves soccer just so she can focus on finishing up her grad degree means that she might miss out on all the guys who have busy lives and interests that won't interfere with her goals. And if she gets into a relationship with a soccer fanatic now, what's she going to do next year when the guy is still obsessed with soccer and she doesn't want require any distractions from a relationship?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ladies, Would You Date This Guy?

On Facebook Tuesday evening, someone on my friends list posted this photo and soon began a competition to make the most witty comments regarding the guy in the photo. We had some fun. One guy called him a "loser on steroids" but I corrected him with, "a loser on supersized soda and junk food."

Not long after that, some women jumped on, condemning us for being "hateful" in our comments and mean. They defended the guy and quite surprisingly accused ME of actually being "envious" of this guy. One lady hated my snarky comments so much that she said that even if I looked like Tom Cruise, she would not date me! Wow...who's being judgmental now?

I realize that my sardonic sense of humour can come across as mean to some people, but we were just having fun. This is typical guy stuff, as anyone would understand in a fraternity or on an all-male ship in the U.S. Navy. Women don't seem to understand gender differences and try to make themselves out to be more thoughtful and caring / compassionate. I know enough from life that this is a bunch of crock. Women can be every bit as vicious, if not more so, as men. I've seen pretty girls treat my brother nice to his face and then make fun of him to their girlfriends. They don't want guys to see them being mean, but when it's a girl's night out, they aren't saints.

I got tired of their personal attacks on the guys who made comments about this guy, so I wrote: "Be honest, ladies. Would you date this guy?" I don't know too many women who would date a guy like him. All it takes is a quick browse of personal ads on Craigslist or even Match.com. This guy (don't hate me for saying it, but I know you're thinking it) looks like someone who lives in his mother's (or grandparents) basement. It's hard to see what he's collecting, but someone said that it was "Manga" (Japanese graphic novels) as well as "Manga" figures. The caption pretty much condemns people for "judging" him as a "loser", stating that he's doing what he's passionate about. However, I'm failing to see "the passion." What I see is "escapism." I don't see a happy guy. I see someone who might be depressed or isolated. Is he working on accomplishing his goals or is his goal to read every "Manga" there is? That's not a goal. At least not a real one. Sure, we all have our "thing", but based on the picture, I can't say that I see the caption as being true.

It is annoying, however, when you point out something or ridicule something and a person will come back with, "You're just jealous!" It's such a childish, knee-jerk response. If they really thought about it, are they seriously thinking that anyone would be jealous of this nerdy looking, obese guy displaying a "Manga" as though it was the highlight of his life? Get real! If I envy anyone, it's George Clooney. His looks, his wealth, his ability to date any woman he wants, his sense of humour, his charisma, his passion for justice and international development issues. Now that's a role model!

You're not going to come across as credible if you actually think that a few snarky comments about some unknown nerdy guy is a sign of "jealousy." I actually felt sorry for the guy when I saw that picture. I doubt that he and I would be natural friends, though. I don't know who took the photo, who the guy is, nor who wrote the caption. I don't find the caption to be true, though. I hope that the guy gets out some and engages his mind in deeper pursuits than the photo shows. There's nothing wrong with reading "Manga" on occasion, but if its the only thing he reads, his mind might be a bit mushy. Hope not.

I challenged the defensive ladies to ask him out on a date. They might make his day. But I bet the reality is that when they are with their girlfriends, the viciousness that they speak about him will probably be far worse than the guys' snarky jokes about him. This is why I dislike the gender wars. Women can be shallow and reject guys left and right for dates because he wouldn't pass muster with her circle of friends, but if a guy happens to comment on another guy, we get condemned. I prefer people being honest and if there are any women out there who would really date a guy like him, I have to see for myself because this seems to be the exception, not the rule.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

NObama in Church?

This weekend, I went to Eugene, Oregon to attend a Young Adult retreat under the theme of "Peace as a Revolutionary Act." Unfortunately, a suicide by a homeless person in Puyallup WA last week caused the person who had planned the lessons for the weekend to cancel. In the end, we just talked about some spiritual ideas but not really following the theme. It was rather disappointing and had I known, I would not have gone, but I'm actually glad that I did. It was nice to catch up with a few people I know and to meet church members I haven't met before. It was also nice to get away for the weekend.

For the church service on Sunday, the young adult was in charge and I decided to do the prayer for our world community. I had planned to mention Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Barack Obama in the prayer as examples for us to follow. Each of those four individuals are known for a particular thing that I wanted to point out. However, because of the nature of our politics, I asked a lady at the Eugene congregation if it would be alright to mention Obama in the prayer. She said that because of the "political nature" and the divisiveness it causes, she did not recommend it. She told me that some people in the congregation would completely shut down upon hearing his name and get upset. Really? Yes, really! I was stunned.

When Bush was president, my home congregation of Atlanta said things from the pulpit that I considered "inappropriate" (namely, when one lady said to the congregation: "God wanted Bush to be president"). A few years ago at my home congregation in Tuality, one man gave a sermon in which he read a quote by George W. Bush in regards to the Thanksgiving holiday. I thought that was not crossing the line because it wasn't a political statement. Rather, it was simply quoting the president regarding the national holiday. Surely, people are smart enough to distinguish between a political statement and a personal one?

Nope. So, I honored the wishes of the young adults at Eugene and left the President out of my prayer, even though it made me mad to do so. Obama is an inspiring figure and his life story bears it out. Why should Fox News poison certain groups of people from liking anything about Obama? When did our country get so toxic about the president? When George Herbert Walker Bush was president, everyone respected him and it wasn't considered offensive to mention the president in church. I believe it changed when Clinton became president, because rightwing conservatives simply cannot accept a Democrat as president, so they have their way in church (it's okay to praise a Republican president in church, but not a Democratic one). And ours is considered a "liberal" church!

Here is the prayer I said to the congregation (followed by the line that I left out):

"Dear Creator, you have given us a world of beauty and wonders, but a world that is also filled with anger and hatred. We pray that you would give world leaders your vision of a world at peace, where nations and peoples find ways to build communities rather than destroy them. Help us to have the ability to forgive like Nelson Mandela, to laugh like the Dalai Lama, and to experience moments of solitude with a grace like Aung San Suu Kyi. Help us to become your peacemakers in our world. Amen."

The line I left out was: "to transcend racial barriers and seek mutual understanding like Barack Obama..." Was that line untrue? I could not think of anyone who embodies that more than our president. It saddens me that so many people seem to hate him without learning about his amazing life story. They hate him over lies that are spewed by the Fox Propaganda Network, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Ted Nugent, the Republican cast for the 2012 election cycle, the Republicans in Congress. Someday, I believe people are going to realize what a great man Obama is, what a strength of character to live your dream, trying to make a difference in the lives of people, but having to deal with too many subconcious hatefulfulness (Nixon's Southern Strategy in 1968 was essentially telling white people in the South: "The GOP may never do a thing to lift up your lot in life and give you a middle class lifestyle, but if you vote for us, you will always be better off than any black family." It's hard for them to maintain that illusion when there is a successful, attractive, black family living in the WHITE House).

It was a sad day for me that even in the Community of Christ, there are still members who have hate in their heart that they would be unwilling to hear our president's admirable desire to transcend race being mentioned in a prayer. A part of me thinks that if Obama couldn't be mentioned in a non-political way in our church, then Christianity has failed. Jesus died in vain. How can anyone say that the love Jesus and all that he lived and died (and resurrected) for if they can't look beyond their own hatred towards our first African-American president? Our church has a long way to go before we ever reach the level of Christ consciousness.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lady Finally Arrives With Beautiful Grace

On Friday the 13th, the long-awaited, much delayed biopic about Burma's most iconic figure, Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in select theaters. The film is titled The Lady, not to be confused with last year's The Iron Lady about Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The title is appropriate because this was the term of endearment used by the people of Burma when the ruling military junta made it illegal for anyone to even say her name. This movie was supposed to be released last fall for Oscar consideration. I think it was released in a couple theaters in New York and Los Angeles, but it did not receive a single nomination. I'm not sure what the Oscar rules are, but I hope that it gets consideration for next year's Oscars. If the film is just now getting its national roll out, it deserves a shot at Oscar Gold (particularly Michelle Yeoh in the title role).

When I heard about this film, I was excited because Aung San Suu Kyi's life is definitely worth a biopic treatment. Being a fan of biopics, I'll see them all. It's become my favourite genre. There are great ones (Gandhi, Evita and Kundun come to mind), good ones (Milk, The Queen and The Iron Lady), and boring ones (Nixon, J. Edgar and Coco Before Chanel). Regardless of what I may feel about them upon leaving the theater, I will go see them. Several years ago, I thought that Michelle Yeoh would be the perfect actress to play Aung San Suu Kyi. When I found out that she was the one who pushed this project, I was pleased. Yeoh is one of my favourite actresses and one I want to see in more films. I consider her to be the most beautiful Asian actress I've ever seen. She's just a beautiful woman, period. She can play any role, not just Asian specific ones. Out of all the well known Asian actresses, though, Michelle Yeoh actually comes the closest to resembling Aung San Suu Kyi, so she's a natural to play the iconic figure.

Friday after work, I rushed downtown to pick up my favourite meal at Cafe Yumm! and head to the theater to watch this film at the 7:10 p.m. showing. I feared that it might be sold out and that I'd have to see a later show, which would mean catching one of the last buses back to my neighbourhood (one of the things I miss about living downtown is that I never worried about time, because everything I wanted to do was within walking distance of my apartment). However, the fear was unfounded. They still had tickets and the film was being shown in one of the smaller theaters at the cinema complex.

I had high expectations going in, because this is one film that I've been wanting to see for years. The problem with high expectations is that the likelihood of disappointment is a big risk. However, as I focused on the film and took it all in, I was impressed. This is a well made motion picture. It's about as close to perfect as you can get. It wouldn't surprise me if French director Luc Besson was aiming for award season nominations. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Whatever it takes to create a quality film is important. Movies rarely get as great as this one does. In fact, this film is a lot like a literary novel. There's even a prologue (the opening scene of a young Aung San Suu Kyi and her father before he goes off to form a government and gets assassinated) and an epilogue (taking place in 2007 when hundreds if not thousands of Buddhist monks in orange saffron robes march across Rangoon to Aung San Suu Kyi's house, where The Lady appears and throws them a flower). In between those two scenes is her life's story.

It's pretty much a straight-forward film, with only a few flashbacks. The action begins when Aung San Suu Kyi receives a fateful phone call that interrupts her domesticated life as the wife of an Oxford University professor. She is informed that her mother has had a stroke, so she does her duty as an only child and returns to Burma. She tells her youngest son, Kim, that she will be gone for a week, or perhaps two. However, at customs back in her home country, she tells the Customs agent that she will be in Burma for however long she's needed. An informant reports back to the General, who then goes to a soothsayer to know how to proceed. The soothsayer warns him that the ghost of a beloved leader has returned and is with this newly arrived visitor.

Some may think that this is cinematic indulgence and literary license, but I actually read a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi over the Christmas holiday and was struck by how superstitious the General who ran Burma was. In fact, he was so superstitious that he made the currency divisible by 9. This meant that instead of the standard banknotes that use numbers like 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, the General had banknotes in amounts like 9, 18, 27, etc. According to the book, but not apparent in the film, the military junta do consider themselves to be Buddhists.

While Suu is back in Burma, caring for her mother, she learns that the political situation has deteriorated and the military is shooting at college students who are protesting the latest government outrage. In a sidenote, as a teenager in the 1980s, I had a Burmese penpal (her name was Candy Tet Tun). I stopped hearing from her in 1988, the year of the student crackdown. I don't know if she died or was sent to prison. I don't know whatever happened to her. Hopefully, she's been alive and well all these years and it was just a natural end of being penpals.

Some university professors approach Suu and tell her that as the daughter of national hero Aung San, only she had the stature to unite the people around a political movement aimed at a democratic Burma. She's reluctant to take on this role, as she had married an English academic and was raising two sons (her oldest, Alexander, is just two years younger than me). However, the people of Burma see something regal in her and she soon rises to the challenge, mesmerizing a crowd of thousands at a main Buddhist pagoda in Rangoon.


The film is beautifully shot and offers nice contrasts between a colourful and beautiful Burma (actually, Thailand stands in for Burma) versus a drab and dreary England. Scenes alternate between Suu's political activities in Burma and her husband's life back in England. There are also scenes of military brutality (though not to excess). Occasionally, her husband and sons would visit her in Burma. In a powerful scene from her life (which was the inspiration for a U2 song, "Walk On"), soldiers train their guns on her and are given the order to shoot if she continues to walk (scene pictured above). She does so fearlessly and the soldiers don't shoot. This incident cemented in peoples' minds that she was a powerful spiritual presence in the country. It is humourous to see Burmese people tell one another about that incident, with the usual exaggerations that inevitably occur.

Scenes of her house arrest and the imprisonment of members of the National League for Democracy add extra weight to the film. When she wins the Nobel Peace Prize, it was especially heartening to watch the mini-drama of Aung San Suu Kyi anxiously eager to hear the ceremony on a BBC broadcast (the power goes out and a search for a battery-powered radio goes on). When an orchestra plays Pachebel's Canon in D, I just about lost it! There were so many times in the film where I cried my eyes out. I tried to stay strong, but obviously, this woman and her story resonates deep within my soul. I rarely cry at movies, but I couldn't help myself here. That piece of classical music was actually my favourite when I did not like classical music much. Now, because of its over usage in wedding ceremonies, it has become somewhat of a cliche. However, hearing it in the scene from this film matched with Aung San Suu Kyi playing along on her piano, it was just an incredible piece of music. In fact, the musical score throughout this film was touchingly beautiful. I plan to get the soundtrack. Not surprisingly, Eric Serra is the composer, who has done other scores for Luc Besson's film, including my all time favourite film score: La Femme Nikita.

Actor David Thewlis plays Michael Aris, the British academic husband, and Anthony Aris, the twin brother. The separation is especially emotionally tough for him, as the military junta kept denying his visa request to see his wife when she was under house arrest and especially when he was diagnosed with cancer and given anywhere from 6 months to 5 years to live. The military junta tried every tactic to pressure Aung San Suu Kyi to leave Burma, particularly by isolating her and denying visas for her husband and sons. In the biography I read about her, the government even spread lies about her in an attempt to get the people to turn against her. They would print things like that she was a treasonous whore for marrying a foreigner, especially a white man. They also said that her marriage was on the rocks because she refused to leave Burma to see her husband, even after he was diagnosed with cancer (since she left her life in England to care for her mother in Burma until she died). However, if Aung San Suu Kyi left Burma, she would not be allowed back into the country and the democracy movement would be fractured without a compelling leader.

Last week, I attended a World Affairs Council event and saw a Russian lady I hadn't seen in several months. So we talked and I mentioned this film. She had never heard of Aung San Suu Kyi, so I told her the basic story and was shocked when this lady was not impressed. She said that Suu should have chosen her husband and left Burma. However, based on biographies and what is known about Michael Aris, he was supportive of his wife's decision to remain in Burma. I believe that both knew that she had a unique destiny. In fact, Aung San Suu Kyi has written about how she made Michael promise her that if she married him, and at some point, duty calls for her in Burma, that he would allow her to fulfill that obligation. People might not understand her decisions, but I certainly do. The love story of Aung San Suu Kyi and Michael Aris shows what true, transcendant and unconditional love is all about. They both knew that she had a special destiny to fulfill and they did their best within that confining obligation. In the film, Suu gives her husband permission to divorce her and remarry, but he refuses. Despite their separation, he still loves her deeply.

Aris passes away in 1999 and when Aung San Suu Kyi receives the news, she collapses on the floor in grief. Her grief is so palpable that I once again shed a few tears. It's probably a good thing that I was unable to snag a date for this film or to entice others in the Movies & Meaning group that I participate in to come along. It was embarrassing enough to think that people on either side of me possibly seeing me wipe my eyes a few times, it would've been much more so if people I know saw me doing that! But I can't help it. This film just resonates with me at a deep level. Had this film been released last year, it would have beat The Adjustment Bureau as the best film of the year. I expect it to be the best film I will see this year, even beating the long awaited adaptation of the classic Jack Kerouac novel, On The Road. It truly is a film for the ages. I left the theater feeling inspired towards a life of greater spiritual awareness and I also felt a deep sense of gratitude to God for blessing us with the grace of an amazing soul on our planet right now. This film is definitely worth seeing and undoubtedly, I will see it again in theaters as well as buying it when it's on DVD. It may be redundant to say, but I love this film. It truly is the best a biopic could ever get. A well-made motion picture and a beautiful tribute to the world's most inspiring spiritual leader.

Merci beaucoup to French director Luc Besson for taking on the challenge of making this film. Glad to see that a high quality biopic on a much admired international figure could be made outside of Hollywood financing. Michelle Yeoh deserves a lot of credit as well for finding the script and shopping it around for a producer and director. Even if it did not earn the raves of film critics, receive any major film awards, or even earn much at the box office, it is an important film and inspiring. Thank God that it will live on in DVD where more people will likely see it. However, if it plays at a theater near you, please make the trip to see it. You'll be glad that you did.

If there were only two things that I could have added to the film, I would have shown a couple of scenes of her in meditation as well as her telling people more of her views on politics and spirituality. I also would have featured U2's song "Walk On" somewhere in the film. Those are only minor points. Some of the details I love about the film include her son wearing a U2 shirt (in the "Walk On" video, Bono wears a shirt with Aung San Suu Kyi on it) and that the Burmese language is featured in some scenes, particularly the famous speech that Aung San Suu Kyi gave at the pagoda. I've never heard Burmese spoken before, so it was a nice detail worth hearing to lend a lot of realism to the film.

What else can I say but that this film is perhaps the best biopic I've ever seen. And I had high expectations. Luc Besson has created a masterpiece and Michelle Yeoh is masterful in her portrayal. She shows her acting abilities and should easily transition out of action films into more serious fare (I hope that she will play The Tiger Mother next in a film adaptation of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In January at Amy Chua's booksigning, I told her that she should sell the movie rights to her book to Michelle Yeoh and her eyes just lit up and she said, "That's who was interested in buying the rights to my book!"). I can't wait to see this movie again, perhaps next week. Hopefully, it will expand to more theaters and garner more attention. However, I think most Americans are not interested in international stuff, so this film will fly under the radar. Just another indication that I'm in the wrong country. I also wish I could meet a woman who is as impressed by Aung San Suu Kyi as I am. Perhaps I need to start looking for a Burmese community in Portland!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th Special: Examining a Personal Ad

I've been wanting to start a new regular feature on my blog that analyzes a personal ad I've found on Craigslist for the purposes of amusement, as well as point out what is wrong with it. I guess I could be nice about it and just skip over the ads, but I think some ads are worth taking a look and for why they are ridiculous. Reading the personal ads on Craigslist is guaranteed to make one depressed about the state of humanity. The shallow superficiality is apparent through most of the ads. No one seems genuinely interested in meeting people. Many have tall orders for what they want or a litany of what they don't want. Instead, why not write an ad that reveals oneself and let whatever person is attracted to that respond, and then respond to their emails? I have seen a few well written ads and responded to them, but did not get a response back. It is frustrating. I'm really beginning to think that there are way too many shallow people in our country. Why is it so hard to find people of depth? If you have some basic experiences in common, why wouldn't you want to meet in person for coffee / tea and a conversation? You never know what will happen when you meet people. It might not lead to a relationship, but it might lead to new ideas, a new direction in life, or new friendship.

So, here's this week's ad selection:
The Right Man that will make me smile and laugh, and who knows how to deal with me during my times of emotional. The one that will take care of me financially, emotionally, and intimately with love and compassion. The one that can communicate well with me and understand me or at least try to. One who isn't always jealous when I talk to or meet with other guys, and yet will get jealous once in awhile to show that he cares about me. Accept me for who I am and what I do in life, and who will love me no matter what happens. One who isn't clingy and can be relied on when I need him the most, and one who can be trusted as well as be honest in everything that we do. You don't need to be all Perfect, but if you're the Right Man then we will be able to get along well with each other.

The following names not reply to this ad for reasons that triggers bad memories for me, and I apologize if this offends you but it's the names and not the person that I'm trying to avoid: Michael, David, Bill, and Sean. Please be a non-smoker, non-illegal drugs, non-alcoholics but drinks lightly, and if you can't accept this then move along to the next person that you are interested in.

Send me your picture first and I will send you mine :)

So, what's wrong with this ad? Well, she gives a laundry list of what she wants but says nothing about what she would offer the guy. And some of her demands are selfishly hypocritical and inconsistent.

For example, she wants a guy who isn't "clingy" yet be reliable when she needs him the most. What if she's "clingy"? What if her needs are demanding and he feels as though he gets little in return for being there for her?

The biggest issue I have with this woman's ad, though, is that she does not want a guy who gets jealous when she talks to or has friends with other men. Her next sentence then says that she wants a guy who gets a little jealous occasionally to prove to her that he really cares!! Seriously?!? Are you freaking kidding me? A guy has to act or be jealous in order for her to feel like he loves her? This is why I'm so not suited for the dating game. I'm not interested in the personal dramas that people are addicted to. Because I have maintained friendships with females I've was friends with in college and my various places of employment, I would never put the demand on any woman I was in a relationship with that she couldn't be friends with her male co-workers or college friends. Would I get jealous? I don't know, but a part of me doesn't think so. I believe in karma, so if I was in a relationship with a woman and she cheated, that's her karma to deal with. Not that I wouldn't feel betrayed or not get angry, but I don't think being jealous is a healthy state of being. Besides, if you cannot tell if a guy loves and cares about you until you try to make him jealous, then you seriously have issues. If you really cared about someone, why would you do things to try and make them jealous? This kind of stuff makes me very cynical about love, as I believe that most people have no real concept what true love truly is. True love to me means that you don't do things to deliberately set them off or make them jealous or try to get a reaction out of them. These are ego games to make us feel like we have the power to cause an emotional reaction in someone else. I don't play that game. There is nothing spiritually nourishing about behaving that way.

I'm sure that if I was in a relationship with a woman who tried to make me jealous, my aloof nature to those sorts of mental / psychological games would confuse her and make her act more outlandish. But in my view, this is not authentic love. Authentic love would inspire you to be the best person you could possibly be. Jealousy is a lower emotional response. Unconditional love is the highest level of being. I'd rather aim for the higher than the lower.

Finally, this woman says that she will not date men with the names of Michael, David, Bill and Sean because of her previous negative experiences with men who have those names. Really? Does she not realize how shallow that makes her sound?!? What if her soulmate happens to have one of those names? Does she not realize it is not the name of a person that's the problem. It's the personality type. The way our universe works, if she keeps selecting men by a shallow criteria, she will keep meeting men who have the type of personality that she apparently does not want. They might not have any of those four names, but what will she do, keep adding new names to her list of guys she won't date? Incredible! This woman deserves to be a spinster with a house full of cats for the rest of her life. Based on the way her ad is written, I believe she would be a pain to be in a relationship with. I would imagine that her life might be filled with unnecessary drama and she pushes men away by being "clingy" and trying to make them jealous in order to show that they really care about her. She may, in fact, be pushing men into doing the things she does not want because she has unrealistic expectations of what authentic love is all about. Good luck finding a sap to date you, shallow woman!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Surprisingly Good Rom-Com

I saw a movie in Redbox that sounded intriguing, but have never heard of. It's What's Your Number? I don't remember hearing about it in theaters at all. How did this slip past me? I wanted to watch something light to contrast with the psychological thriller Take Shelter which a co-worker recommended that I see so she could get my thoughts on it. I won't review that film, because I thought it was much ado about nothing. While it had great performances by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain (she was an amazingly understanding wife) and was mildly intriguing, I did not believe that it amounted to much. I guess the point of the film was to provoke audience thoughts about whether the guy was having a schizophernic break with reality or did he have a prophetic vision of doom? In the end, no film brilliantly addresses the nature of mental illness as well as A Beautiful Mind does.

So, What's Your Number? was a perfect contrast to an "icky" film like Take Shelter. I had my doubts in the beginning, though, when Anna Faris interacted with her girlfriends. I thought it was going to be a "chick flick" instead of a romantic comedy (unlike most guys, I actually separate the categories between "chick flick" and "dating movie". I don't like "chick flicks" for the most part, particularly the Sex and the City variety, but a dating movie generally involves a relationship while chick flicks are all about female friendships). What's Your Number? is about a woman who reads an article in a chick magazine that women who've had sex with more than 20 men have a difficult time finding a husband. It's one of those double-standards that society holds for women but not men. Because she's right on the dot with having slept with 20 men in her long dating life, she decides to reconnect with each of the men to see if one of them might be someone she might marry. It's an intriguing premise.

Her across the hall neighbour is played by Chris Evans, who has no problems bedding chicks. His problem, though, is that he doesn't often like the after-sex snuggle or the stay-in-bed mornings, so he sneaks out until his date decides to leave his apartment. He helps Anna find her old companions and a friendship develops. You can see where the story is heading, so it's no spoiler if I reveal that they eventually fall in love with each other. Much of the humour in the film is meeting her previous boyfriends and seeing why they weren't perfect material for her. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments and I can definitely see Anna Faris as the new queen of the Romantic Comedy (taking the roles once held by Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, and Kate Hudson). She is sweet and laugh out loud funny.

The reason why I ended up loving this film in spite of my overall dislike of the romantic comedy genre is because of the overall message. I'm a sucker for the "friends becoming romantic partners" (Chelsea Clinton is the most famous example of a lady who ended up marrying her best male friend from high school). A relationship should always have a good grounding in friendship. In this film, she found in Chris Evans' character a man who had countless meaningless sex with women he couldn't connect with on a real basis, but did not judge her for having slept with 20 guys before him. Since they had a no sex rule between them, this allowed for a genuine friendship to develop first before any sex would happen. I've read enough books on dating and relationships, and the common advice is to get to know the other person first at a deeper level before bringing sex into the relationship. Some say the third date rule or later. The point is to not have a sexual experience on the same day that you meet because for men, that might be the last time the woman sees him. Once conquered, it's on to the next. It's in our genetics!

While the movie was sweet and provided a good message of friends first, which blooms into a relationship, it's also worth noting that it has Hollywood's superficial values in it. Most guys who are friends with women don't happen to look like Chris Evans, so what is the realistic chances that their friendships will grow into a full blown romantic relationships? For many men, being stuck in the "just friends" category is the seventh level of hell. At least in purgatory, you get promoted eventually. If we're going to be honest here, I doubt very seriously that there are women who would want a strictly platonic friendship with Chris Evans. That guy would have zero problems finding a one night stand on any given night.

Still, this is a likable romantic comedy that has plenty of laugh out loud humorous situations and likable characters with an overall important message (note to women: the guy who encourages you to pursue your passions is the guy you should take note of). Since I don't remember hearing about this film in theaters, I'm guessing that it was not a hit. Now that it's on DVD, it's worth watching. Hopefully, it will find an audience and inspire a new way at looking at potential mates. With all the divorce that happens, people don't seem to be making the right choices for long term relationships. I know a few people in my age group who divorced their spouse because they had nothing in common at a deeper level. When you're young and horny, physical and sexual attraction seems to matter more than intellectual and emotional attraction. After you've had all the sex you can stand, communication and a deeper emotional / intellectual connection begins to matter more. For me, a woman who engages my brain is sexy and matters more than what she may happen to look like. I hope I will meet a lady who is looking for the same in a mate. I'm getting tired of navigating the superficial world of dating.

Friday, April 06, 2012

The McDonald's Woman Who Claimed "I Won!"

Last week's record MegaMillions drawing (over $600 million jackpot) had three winners in different states: Maryland, Kansas, and Indiana. No one has come forward, except for a lady in Maryland who works at McDonald's. The basic info on her is that she is a Haitian immigrant with seven children. She claimed to have bought a separate lottery ticket for herself, even though she was part of a lottery pool at work and bought tickets for that.

When I heard that story, I was automatically suspicious. The media reported it but she did not show anyone a ticket with the winning numbers on it. Also, why would she go to the media before going to a lawyer / financial advisor or the lottery headquarters to collect her winnings?

If her claim is true, it makes her look like a greedy, selfish bitch. If she is part of a lottery pool and tried to stiff her companions, does she not realize the bad karma of that action? Not just that, but there was an incident in Georgia several years ago where a pool of taxi drivers won a multi-million dollar lottery. One of the members of the pool had paid into it for years. When he did not pay the group for lottery numbers one time, it happened to be the time that the lottery pool won. The pool said that he should not get a portion of the earnings since he did not pay them in advance that time. He claimed that he should be included because he had paid on a regular basis for years. The result was that it went into litigation and was tied up by lawyers. I don't remember reading whatever happened in that story, but it is never a good thing when you have to get lawyers involved. All you are doing is throwing money at lawyers, who don't care either way what happens, so long as they get as much money as possible.

It's sad to see what greed brings out in people. We see it every year on the day after Thanksgiving when normally civilized beings become rabid consumers storming shopping centers in the wee hours of morning for the shopping deals. It doesn't matter who they hurt to get to the merchandise of their greedy desires.

That's what I see with this McDonald's employee, if her story is true. If she's part of a pool, too bad. She'll have to split the money. There is no way she can prove that she bought a separate ticket if she collected money from everyone and bought tickets.

However, her story doesn't add up because she has changed the details a few times and in interviews, she does not express emotions that are consistent with how a "normal" person might act. For example, in the past week, she said that she hid the winning ticket in McDonald's. Seriously. Why would she do that? When she went to McDonald's to look for the ticket, she claimed that the manager would not allow her to enter the restaurant. Gee, I wonder why? Now, she's saying that she lost her ticket, but wouldn't let her daughter look for it in the house. I saw the video where she claimed to have lost the ticket. She states it "matter of factly". There is no trace of emotion in her voice. You would think that a woman who has seven children and works in a low wage job like McDonald's would get upset about losing a winning lottery ticket! Instead, her response was more serene and Buddha-like. An "oh well" kind of non-attachment. I find that hard to believe. Instead, logic dictates that she likely never had the winning lottery numbers and only created this "drama" to get attention for herself. When she received too much attention and too many questions, she was unable to answer them so she saw the only way out of the situation she created for herself is to say that she lost the ticket rather than admit to lying.

If I was a manager at the McDonald's where she worked, I'd fire her. Not only has she proven herself to be untrustworthy and a likely liar, she also created unnecessary drama at work among her co-workers. How could she return to work knowing the trouble she stirred by her incredible story? I imagine that everyone in her lottery pool would be quite angry with her and never trust her again.

Greed does strange things to people. This is a case example. The media also failed when they chose to run with this story without proof that she won. This should be a lesson for them. Anyone can claim to be a winner, but before the media reports on the story (no matter how sensational it might be), they should ask to see the winning ticket first. This seems to be basic Reporting 101 stuff. Does the media not verify facts any more? It is vital to establish a person's credibility. Otherwise, we end up with attention-seeking narcissists who just want fame by any means necessary.

This woman wants attention. I say we give it to her. Is she in the country legally? INS should look into it before she collects unemployment insurance or welfare. I have a feeling that her nightmare is only just beginning. She is nothing more than a modern retelling of the old story about the boy who cried wolf. Instead, it's the woman who claimed "I won the lottery!"

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

NBC Punk'd Palin


Yesterday, has-been grifter Sarah Palin played guest-host on NBC's The Today Show in a bit of counter-programming, with former Today co-host Katie Couric guest hosting on ABC's Good Morning, America. While I keep wondering why the media finds this woman relevant (seriously, if she was plain-looking, would she have ever become famous?), there is always the inherent human curiosity factor when it comes to train-wrecks and disasters. As far as walking disasters go, Palin is a lot more amusing (and easier on the eyes) than George W. Bush.

I watched clips of the entire performance on YouTube. I have to admit that Palin showed her likable, comedic side when she began her segment by sitting on a couch reading newspapers with magazines and newspapers on either side of her. This was an obvious site gag to the devastating non-response she gave when Couric had asked her what newspapers and magazines she read to keep informed (Palin's response was something like: "any and all of them."). She also shared a joke about being mistaken for Tina Fey when she showed up at 30 Rockefeller Center that morning (as Jon Stewart said on his show, "Yeah, didn't happen!").

In one segment, Palin got to observe and chat with Tori Spelling (four months pregnant who also has a 5 month old baby at home), who was hawking her book, Celeba-Tori (a vanity book filled with ideas for hosting "the perfect party." I am so getting this for my sister's birthday in May. As a joke. My sister does not like Tori Spelling. Neither does my mother). There was another segment where women discussed raising teenage daughters. Then another one featuring Starr Jones, Donnie Deutsch, and one other person, along with Sarah Palin and Matt Lauer. This was a lightning round of discussing current pop culture topics: Oprah Winfrey owning up to making mistakes in overreaching when she started her own television network, a new Facebook app that allows people to create an enemies list, and Ashton Kutcher being selected to play Steve Jobs in a bio-pic. This segment was amazing, because Sarah Palin was actually against the Facebook app for enemies list, because she says that this creates unnecessary division and contributes to a darker world. Um, seriously? Does she not know what has come out of her mouth since she emerged on the national scene in 2008? She is constantly harping on Obama like she has a personal vendetta against him. Donnie Deutsch actually called her out on that, saying that "anybody but Obama" is part of the problem.

When Matt Lauer interviews Sarah Palin in the most serious part of Palin's visit to the network, she proves that she has not changed one bit. She kept saying that she supports "anybody but Obama and his failed socialist agenda." Excuse me? Socialist? No serious journalist or political scientist would ever accuse Obama of being a Socialist. His policies have been pretty standard Republican fare, when Republicans were reasonable (before Reaganism). She also kept using the term "lamestream media" which no serious, self-respecting journalist, academic, or other member of the punditocracy would use. Its one of this snide words that guarantees applause and hollers at her rallies. How "lamestream" is a media that keeps giving her a microphone and a camera in which to make tossed word salads? Who is she trying to kid? She benefits from the shallowness of our media. If she was born in Europe, she would never have made it to the political scene. There, intelligence counts for a lot.

Overall, I thought she was over-hyped nonsense. She was best at the fluffy stuff. But when asked what Oprah could do to attract viewers to the OWN Network, Palin offered: "Have more conservatives on!" Seriously? Does she not understand what Oprah's intent in creating that network was all about? Oprah basically wanted to create a spiritually inspiring channel on the cable dial, much like her magazine has done. Its about living a better life from a self-improvement and inspirational outlook. Having conservative personalities on OWN would defeat her purpose. Gosh, can you imagine the hate-mongering gasbag Rush Limbaugh having an hourly show on OWN? It would be the equivalent of showing a porn film on PBS! So, Palin's suggestion shows what a tool she is. She can't turn off her political extremism and see what Oprah is all about. Thank you, NBC, for reminding us once again what a clueless waste of life this shallow woman is. I wish she would go grift her teabagger fan club again (I've read that many of her fans were upset that she chose not to run for president, after teasing them all summer that she was seriously thinking about it).

Matt Lauer was also being a moron on this program. He kept referring to Palin by her title, "Governor." Um, she only served half a term and resigned. I think a resignation disqualifies a person from using that title forevermore. After all, when Miss USA beauty pageant queen has to resign her title, is she still referred to as Miss USA? Not a chance. The only title Palin deserves is the one that describes her best: Grifter.

I read a few blogs about her performance and was surprised when I came across one that mentioned that Palin was actually played the fool and didn't even realize it. The blogger mentioned that all the topics they had Palin discuss were ones that hinted at her various controversies. Such as getting Tori Spelling on the show, who is four months pregnant after having a five month old baby (there are questions surrounding the mysterious pregnancy of Palin, who did not look pregnant and claims that her water had broken just before she gave a speech in Texas, and after giving the speech, she flew the long journey back to Alaska and then drove an hour from the airport to an obscure little clinic to "give birth" to her Down Syndrome baby, Trig). The discussion about Oprah overreaching could have been a wink and nod to Palin, overreaching when she was selected to be McCain's Vice President in 2008. The discussion about the Facebook app of having an enemies list was a clear jab at Palin and she walked into the trap! Everything she said failed to match her real rhetoric when it comes to the Obamas. And then the discussion about Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs brought the conversation around to Julianne Moore playing Sarah Palin, which Palin said that she has not watched (I don't quite believe her denials. She's so narcissistic that she would definitely have watched). The segment about raising teenage daughters was another topic aimed directly at Palin.

So, if NBC really did arrange all this as a kind of trick against Palin, it was brilliant. She walked right into that trap and played the fool, once again. If NBC did not specifically choose these topics and guests with Palin in mind, then it is an amusing coincidence. Perhaps the universe conspired to align these topics in order to expose the truth about Palin. She truly is an unsophisticated moron, just as the radio d.j.'s from Montreal revealed when they tricked her into thinking that she was talking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the 2008 election. Good job, NBC!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Movie Trailer Monday: The Lady



Instead of featuring a music video this week, I decided to feature a trailer to a film that should be coming out in the next couple of weeks. The U.S. release date has been changed a few times, which is frustrating for me because this is one of the most highly anticipated films for me in the past few years. The film, The Lady, is a biopic about Burmese Dissident and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. This is the second trailer, which is slightly different from the first trailer and a lot different from the teaser trailer. I cannot wait to see this film. Michelle Yeoh is one of my favourite actresses and she is also one of the most beautiful Asian women I've ever seen (second only to Aung San Suu Kyi, in my opinion).

Aung San Suu Kyi has been in the news a lot lately. And just this weekend, she won a huge landslide victory that hopefully the military junta will honour this time (in the 1990 election, when her political party, the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory, they did not honour the results and arrested her and other leaders in the party, which had the unintended consequence of making her a favourite to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991). If she is allowed to take office and eventually become Prime Minister, this would be a huge step forward for Burma (or Myanmar). I'm truly excited. And whoever owns the distribution rights for The Lady, NOW is when you want to release this movie. Don't wait any more!! Capitalize on the news and release it in theaters this Friday. I really want to see this movie!!