Monday, January 27, 2020

No More "Undecided Voters"

I would like to see the section in political polling about "undecided voters" disappear. Vanish.
Pick a side!

Stop being undecided. It's lazy, kind of fearful if not for some, cowardly.
it requires little to no thinking or decision making.
Chose a candidate when they are announced.
Then carve it down to the better candidate over time and stick with one, altering as info comes out until you cast a vote.

But no candidate?
Sometimes no candidate on election day?
Sometimes no vote cast?
Or not EVEN planning to vote at ALL?

That is what got us here. To this nightmare.
IF people would decide, would act, Trump would never have become our worst POTUS in US history.
So undecided voter. What will you be doing to us next time?
And the next...?
Make the effort.

Undecided voter, let's bring that number down to all decided. Stop being undecided. And don't be fearful of switching to a better candidate, rather than making no-decision. Taking a stance, quickens your understanding, your decisions, and leads people to interact more. 

I get it, introverts hate that decision. Kind of an introvert myself. But I make the effort. It's our duty to learn, think and choose. You can change your choice, but making no choice, drags it out, keeps you more ignorant than necessary and at times, leads some to never voting at all.

Because in doing so and doing so early, it changes how you think, it enhances your view, your position, your information. Because you have to seek more and become knowledgeable.
It makes you more fully, an American citizen.

A right thousands died for. For you, for us, and in the American experiment case, for Humanity.

Monday, January 20, 2020

On The Veracity of Trump vs Schiff

A Trump supporter said recently to me about Trump:

"...well everyone says stupid things here and there and why is it only women have the reserved right to change their minds. but this could depend on what deal he was working on and whose skirt he needed to blow smoke up that day? So why is it politicians aren't allowed to change their mind or positions?

That was in response to something I posted:

I responded back: "Interesting comparisons lol And good to note, Trump's still saying stupid things. At least he's consistent in that sense. We've not heard Schiff literally rambling incoherently like Trump has, however.

"If you apply even loosely the rules of grammar on Trump's free-wheeling (not reading another's words off a prompter) speech, he literally does not make any sense much of the time.

"However, if you guess what he means, leaving many to read disparate things into it, working into Trump's hands, then it makes sense. It's just questionable what sense that may be. It's why he says one thing, then later the opposite and has to do with media platforms and news cycles. And a new form of plausible deniability most rampant among dictatorships and wannabes."

Except, the difference between a high level of communication (a lower score) and a lower level of communication (like Trump's higher score) is that the better you communicate the more succinct and understandable you are and the worse, the more what you say is left open to interpretation. It's a crapshoot sometimes what Donald John Trump is talking about and we see that in social media with people arguing over what he ever could possibly be talking about in his statements. Especially when one day he says one outrageous thing and then the next day says the opposite. On purpose. To confuse and inflame.


It got me thinking...

I took a random slice of Trump and Adam Schiff's speaking and analyzed them. I didn't look at the content. Just paged down in the transcript, grabbed a random paragraph (no, honestly, I did not cherry-pick this. I hate people doing that. And, I'm not a Republican or Trump supporter).

The higher your score, the dumber you are, less educated, less articulate, and less meaningful. Typically we speak in less collegiate levels for ease and speed. But to descend into grammar school does a similar function to speaking at too high a level and leads to difficulty and ambiguity. That is to say, people have to guess at your meaning. Something you should NEVER see in a POTUS. It is behavior we see in dictators or wannabe dictators and people trying to sound smarter than they are in being consistently unclear.

Flesch Reading Ease:

Schiff: 55.03

Trump: 75.88

Adam Schiff on Face the Nation: "Well, we've gotten an initial briefing on it, and it really is too early to say. We grieve, obviously, for the families of those who were lost. And we're going to press Saudi Arabia to do a full investigation on their end, even as we do one on ours. And I wish the president of the United States, rather than trying to speak for the Saudi government, were pressing the Saudi government for answers. But we're going make sure that we not only get to the full truth here, but also that we review whatever protocols we have in place for the selection of people that participate in these military training programs both here and abroad, so that this kind of insider attack never occurs again."

Donald Trump Dallas Rally Speech Transcript – October 17, 2019: "The economy is booming. Our people are prospering. Our country is thriving and our nation is stronger than ever before. But the more America achieves, the more hateful and enraged these crazy Democrats become. Crazy. They're crazy. They're crazy. At stake in this fight is their survival of American democracy itself. Don't kid yourself. That's what they want. They are destroying this country but we will never let it happen. Not even close. For three straight years, radical Democrats have been drawing to overthrow the results of a great, great election. Maybe, maybe the greatest election in the history of our country. They want to oppose an extreme agenda. They cannot pass it and they cannot win it at the ballot box. They're not going to win. The not even going to get they won't come close in 2020. They know it. They know it. They're not going to win it. They say, let's see. What's another idea? What's another idea? How do we win this election? You know, I really don't believe anymore that they love our country. I don't believe it."

The Flesch score uses the number of syllables and sentence lengths to determine the reading ease of the sample.

A Flesch score of 60 is taken to be plain English. A score in the range of 60-70 corresponds to 8th/9th grade English level. A score between 50 and 60 corresponds to a 10th/12th grade level. Below 30 is college graduate level. To give you a feel for what the different levels are like, most states require scores from 40 to 50 for insurance documents.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Trump, Soleimani Assassination and Reality

There's a lot to unpack in Pres. Donald John Trump's Qasem Soleimani assassination incident. One being that George W. Bush for two terms and Barack Obama for two terms BOTH decided it was more dangerous to kill this cretin. As it was with Sadman Insane, wiping him out was a huge mistake in his case because of the power vacuum it left. 

Yes, fine, kill Soleimani, or Hussein. But do it thoughtfully. Play the Chess game, or the Go game, but play it, don't just cut off someone's head. Have a plan. Have another to take over, one who will do the job we need, perhaps more so, the one that country needs.

Yes, Soleimani needed to go, but how we did it was important, that was the issue. Having not involved the CIA and the DNI in this decision is patently ludicrous, not allowing for truly assessing the repercussions and therefore acting without full consideration which is never advisable.

What conservatives think Dems are unsettled about is mostly not what they are actually unsettled about. We don't even have to go into the timing of the Trump impeachment or re-election situation or how such a distraction such as this was wholly expected. Or the desire for a war leading up to a damaged election on the administration's side is greatly desired.

Really, there's much more here than is superficially obvious.

One does not make decisions like this without the DNI and the CIA involved, and others like the NSA. they were not in the room in or involved when this decision was made.

Almost more importantly is this:

Trump's Soleimani assassination has taken an Iran with a fractured leadership and a citizenry becoming more united against them and turned that right about to the other direction.

What's not to know about that, we've been hearing it for weeks and months now. Then this happened and it reversed...not to mention Iraqis who saw him as a hero because when they were attacked by ISIS he was the first to show up and fight for them. This is much messier than the administration is trying to let on or those in full support of this action are realizing.

This is also the Middle East we're dealing with here. It's screwed up and interesting and educational to note that when Bush Sr. attacked Iraq, he left Saddam in power. For a reason. He didn't want to, he had to. He had been head of the CIA, which was why I voted for him, though it would be nice to have a POTUS who knew something for a change. He knew what he was dealing with. 

I voted for Reagan the first time, the year I started college. I knew him as a kid on TV and from movies. Then I saw on-campus protests against the Iran/Contra issue at Western Washington University, day after day. Why were they so against the guy I had finally voted for. See, when I turned 18 I voted that year. But that was it. 

Through the military and the Jimmy Carter years. I didn't know him, he seemed OK, but everyone in the military I knew at my based hated him, mostly because he was cutting bases, and closing them down. So after the USAF I thought I should vote next time and I did. 

So, I voted for, Reagan. Stupid? Yes. But. I didn't vote him for re-election, I didn't like things he did, or his view on the world, or his dumping government responsbilities for citizens onto Churches and charities. So very Republican, so very disingenuous. The "no debt because we sloughed it off to others", mentality. Lazy, ignorant, mean spirited, greedy, power grabbing, underhanded, all that has lasted until today and grown worse, in this current travesty of the GOP.

I'm fooliish at times, not stupid. But I did vote for Bush Sr. thinkinng it good to actually have a POTUS who knew the inside of intelligence and actual "Intelligence". I was proud of voting for who I thought was the best person for office, regardless of their party. I was raised in a Union household, a Democratic family. Liberal I suppose, progressive. 

Until recently when the GOP has taken a deep shite and a deep dive off the deep end of Reality. Literally denying reality, time and time again.

Sonny boy Pres. Baby Bush wasn't, didn't and so ignored dad and took Hussein out, with the nightmare that led to. But then W planned to do that even before he became POTUS anyway.

Nothing over there is easy, clean, or obvious. If it seems like that, there's something unknown lurking.

And now we have the same issue with Trump we had with Baby Bush.

Ignorance and satiation of one's beliefs desires and feelings over reality and associated issues. And of course, obfuscation, distraction, and redirection.

By the way, I learned my lesson with Bush Sr. Leaving Saddam in place left me very unsatisfied and upset with him for a decade until his son took him out. And then I learned how complicated things really are over there. You do what needs to be, not what you want or just think should be done. Just watch the near end of Lawrence of Arabia and know that it's all still going on.

Right and wrong are shaded with many colors, especially in the Middle East. And even when you're right at times you will suffer the consequences. This present situation will come back to bite us.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Gumdrop, a short horror - Soundtrack Update

I am currently in post-production with my short horror film, "Gumdrop, a short horror" which is beginning to coalesce into a viable film. It's now just under fifty minutes in length. Another thirty to forty minutes and it would be a full-fledged film and not a short. Technically at over forty-seven minutes, it is not a short film.
Post for Gumdrop, a short horror
I have been working since we wrapped principal photography last summer on editing this film. I haven't had the time every day or at times even every week to work on it, but it is finally approaching something that resembles a movie. I am still editing shots, sequences, and scenes, but I have also been adding audio effects and music and tweaking transitions.

By the way, my other major project, "The Teenage Bodyguard", my true crime biopic screenplay I have spent years researching and writing and am currently working on with producer Robert Mitas, is still healthy and underway. We're waiting on a lookbook to be finished up for the project and will then be moving on with finding a director and production company to film it.

As far as Gumdrop, I started looking into music for the soundtrack a few months ago. I contacted producer Joe Wilson who offered the use of one of his artists, Alex Dewell, with songs from her 2018 album, "Hund". It is on CDBaby and where you can hear samples of the songs I've used. I have discussed this artist in a previous blog in 2014. I met her some years ago and even then she was obviously talented.

The songs I settled on for "Gumdrop" are: Get Away, Gotta Run, IDK, and, Tell Me I'm Alright. This album was produced by Joe when he took Alex to London and recorded it at Abbey Road Studio with some great backing musicians. Here are some older songs by Alex on CDBaby.

They are already now incorporated into the film. These are lighter, more pop songs and represent a female character in the film named, Miranda (played by Aura Stiers, a practicing event "Mermaid" which I incorporated into the film.).

However, my film needs rougher songs, something harder for the main character, "Sampson" (played by Tom Remick). He who's Sampson character grew up extremely abused in old Czechoslovakia back when the Iron Curtain still existed back in the 1950s. I also needed more current music.

My original thoughts were to come up with some 1950s Eastern European Soviet Bloc country's music and maybe fuse it with heavy rock music of some sort. As well as plane old modern heavy metal, or post-metal, or Gwar or some such.

A while back, friend and fellow filmmaker Kelly Hughes at his Lucky Charm Studio, got hooked up with a band in Italy, Postvorta, when they contacted him about a collaboration. We liked their music and so he did a music video for them using their song, "We're Nothing."

I'd considered asking them if they would like to be involved with my film, as I knew that Andrea whom Kelly worked with on the video, was interested in doing some film soundtracks. So I asked Kelly to ask them about it for me.

We've been busy with our current endeavor, the Bremerton, Washington monthly event for horror and local indie horror filmmakers, "Slash Night" at the Historic Roxy Theater.

Brief aside... Slash Night has been going on now for four months as of this coming weekend event on January 11th, 2020. Last month our last show of the year was our best show so far and it's getting bigger and better each month. Drag performers Bobbie Lee and Bobby Rae, a local performance team did a live performance for us that they created just for this event and it was pretty amazing!

Since I hadn't heard back from Kelly yet on the Postvorta request I'd made, I was about to remind him, when...

I got a suggestion to like a Facebook page called, 22Decemeber Records. They claimed they were into Post Metal, Sludge, Post Rock and Ambient. Which I thought was great. What a coincidence!

So I liked them and emailed their 22December company email account. I got a timely response.

POSTVORTARavenna, Italy
As it turned out, they were interested!

But unexpectedly, it turned out that it was Andrea Fioravanti, from Postvorta! He whom Kelly had done the music video with. He was excited to look at my project. And so we are communicating and moving forward. Now that I think about it, I think Kelly did once mention something about a 22Decemeber. I just forgot. Living with my memory is an exciting and at times annoying condition. To be sure.

There is still much to do before finishing the film and getting it out there to film festivals. I project another month or two before I'm ready. I will be submitting it to our own Gorst Underground Film Festival, now in its third year. As I've been a judge and nurturer helping Kelly in his efforts (and each year it's been bigger and better),

I obviously won't be judging my own film. And I don't expect any extra consideration because of my position. Honestly, we just don't work that way. Trust me, Kelly is pretty critical. But then also, because we're an underground festival, we don't necessarily judge things as many mainstream festivals would. Which is part of our charm?

Our Slash Night monthly event is attached to our annual festival as a way to build a community for the annual GUFF event. But my film won't show in the monthly events as it is not a "short", even though, it is indeed, short.

GUFF will be moving to the Historic Roxy Theater this September and perhaps an after-party at another venue. We're still working out the details.

OK, Kelly is still working out those details. And a great job he does, too!

Stay tuned. For all of it!


Monday, December 30, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!

Welcome to 2020! 

I'm mostly now adjusted to being out of the 1900s and now I have to acclimate to entering the third decade of the new Millennium....
Just please 2020... be better than 2019?!
But really, so glad you all could make it to here!

OK. To start off with I'd like to offer you a new book to start your year with. Written by the author/cartoonist of Dilbert, Scott Adams. His book is, Loserthink: How Untrained Minds Are Ruining America". It's funny, irreverent and America needs this bit of rational consideration. For both sides of the country and all sides of the political spectrum. Here is a segment of him on C-SPAN2's BookTV

2019 treated far too many of us with utter contempt and disrespect. I look forward to 2018 being much more congenial and powerfully friendly. And if it's not...then I look forward to wrestling it to the ground, crushing its face into the mud and beating the holy tar out of it because This year...I'm not putting up with that crap any longer.

As we enter this, the third decade of the new Millenium... so say us all!

Let's celebrate. Or would you rather skip all the trouble? I know, I know. Many of us have felt through this year that it would be better not to bridge that gap and just relax and fall to end it all. But a new year brings hope. And more strenuous efforts to deny the stupid, remove the ill-mannered, and better everyone's lives, not just the few.

I mean, what are holidays for anyway?

Who cares about them? Why should we care about them? Especially if we find in them, celebrating things we are not that partial to, or in support of, or see only the negative in them. Like an "Uncle Mike's" annoying habits, or a "grandpa's" drunken grouchiness. Aren't they just another waste of human resources? Emotional exhibitions with too frequently no need or basis in logic? Or reality.

Obviously, holidays are for the celebrations for which they were originally intended.

Though some do supersede those original reasons. Such as Christmas. A birthday. New Year's, Halloween, etc. They are a reason for celebrating their original intent, to be sure, but also for sharing communal experiences, renewing old alliances, expanding one's relationships.

They are for exceeding one's normal experience of any normal day. A reason to do the exceptional, a thing to plan for and enjoy the planning of, not to ruin it by stressing over that planning, not for exceeding oneself to the point of misery or destitution.

But to be the abnormal, in a positive sense. To pamper oneself, or others. To use that which we save up for over time (to use, not abuse), to remember our reasons for existing in the first place. Whatever that may be. To show others that you care when normally it isn't considered, executed, or appreciated.

We have to face the fact that holidays are not only for what they are claimed to be, or originally were all about.

They offer one an opportunity to shine, in various ways. To know one is appreciated, to show that the appreciation of others. To build memories that will last a lifetime. To, in even the smallest of ways, give others acknowledgment of your appreciation of their existence, of their help, or their care for you. And to assure that this relationship continues or even expands in ways that are a benefit to yourself, to themselves and to your associated communities, both local and extended.

They are there to enjoy ourselves in our own experience of them and through the experience of others sharing in those experiences with us. It can be a bonding experience far outweighing the effort of experiencing them, as well as in the shared memories of those events many years into the future.

Or even beyond life itself if recorded and later shared by friends, family or even unknown descendants or merely other citizens.

So don't blow off these holidays.

Do not fear them. Or the potential the future holds for the next one.

Embrace them. They will embrace you back.

In the end, we may all very well benefit from them.

All the best to you and yours in this new year of 2020!

Monday, December 23, 2019

What "Merry Christmas" Really Is To All Of America

Merry Christmas! It seems like a fairly innocuous greeting. Right? I'm sharing now last year's Christmas blog, for a reason, in these our such divisive times.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
It has inherent goodwill intended. Which confuses some.

Because we live in a diverse world, a diverse multicultural, multitheistic country and environment, we merely need to be aware of that in our thoughts, speech, and actions.

No, it's not asking that much of us. For myself, I was raised Catholic, old Slovak Catholic. I went through stages of seeking God and found how humankind invented all this thousands upon thousands of years ago.

I have in my search for what is truth in religion, or "God" in a supreme intelligence, or whatever you wish to refer to it as been through many stages. I see using the gender of "Him" (or "Her") as questionable in ascribing a kind of anthropomorphism to an entity far beyond our understanding and why ethereal beings need gender is quite beyond us, though not really).

From my childhood and deep into my 20s, I have experienced being a "born again Christian" in my late teens. Then in my research and studies to "find God", an agnostic, an atheist, an agnostic again and finally a follower of reality as best it can be defined, through science, through the Buddha Dharma when lent itself to the Christian form of restructuring Judaism, and also Aikido, "the Art of Peace".

I was surprised to find how much "Buddhist" beliefs fit into Christianity and general psychology orientations during my university years of study toward my degree in psychology, and in Phenomenology, and physics.

That being said, I don't just have a problem with Christmas and below I'll explain why.

IF one cannot function appropriately and positively in that kind of life, one in America's "tossed salad" citizenry and community, one of diversity, of inclusion, of acceptance and fellowship, then one is of limited mental, emotional and cultural capacities.

Do you find this offensive? Some do.
So before you start ranting about the ludicrous immature belief in a "war on Christmas", of which there is none, but is rather an opening of awareness of others besides one's self or one's culture or religion, or in some cases, one's "bubble", do consider you are merely extending that well-intentioned greeting to other to whom it may have no meaning to them.
Not everything is as we believe. 
  • December 25th is understood to not be the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. 
  • The song Jingle Bells was originally intended for Thanksgiving, and was titled, "One Horse Open Sleigh" 
  • December 25th was originally a pagan festival day but the Catholic church absorbed it in order to compromise and assimilate pagan cultures when they were moving into.their region. 
  • Christmas now has transcended the Christian faith and spread out in a secular fashion to those of other cultures and religions. How is that a bad thing? The underlying principles are still there and if Jesus were alive to see this, he just might be okay with it. Because what he preached was the reality and not the dogma, not the diction, not the rules. But the people. And compassion for one another. 
  • The Golden Rule is based on the principle Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,” adding, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The significance of Jesus "Christ’s" statement here is huge. What we call the Golden Rule is the summation of God’s entire view on the way of life.
So much of Christmas is about peace and love, make it so!

What we believe to be is different originally than we thought to begin with. So there is really no need to be zero tolerant, or uncompromising, or to believe in a war on something merely because of a call for greater awareness and understanding of other's different cultures or religions. Essentially...

It's Okay! We need either greater awareness and compassion for one another or have more wars and cultural friction and misunderstanding of one another. Especially during a season that calls out for greater compassion and caring, help and sacrifice for others, it truly is, okay.

So why would you offer it to them? It is obviously out of ignorance either in an understanding of our country or specifically in another person, you do not know very well and perhaps should take the time to consider and address them appropriately in a way they can understand what you mean and intend.

To wish them goodwill and happiness this season. Christians, many of them, like to point out the original intent and meaning of "Christmas" is all about Jesus. But as was pointed out above, that is at very least disingenuous and even, ignorant.

It really just means we have to give some thought to something we may never have given much thought TO. Which is actually the original intent of that greeting. to wit, if you are NOT giving it enough though, in the first place. You are actually, in the bigger picture of things, going counter to what you are trying to do and say. In trying to point out to others that there is or was a war on Christmas, you are the one missing the point in coming from Christians who cannot actually give the greeting enough thought and feeling, in order to share it in the most appropriate and productive ways.

Even if that means using another greeting.

This really isn't all about you after all.

What we all really need more than anything else in this world, is simply to all get along.

Because that is in the end, the Thought...that is in the end, what counts. Isn't it?

So with all that being said, I really have to end here with this...

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays, whatever you believe and practice!

Reality of America

I have been railing against "corporate thought", or "corporate thinking", for decades.

We are now at that crossraod. Corporating thought has invaded the US Government through Donald Trump.

So what IS "corporate thinking"? OK. Here we go...