Sunday, July 20, 2014

From Top To Bottom

Going into surgery in a few more hours.
Nothing as serious as it is painful and inconvenient: Something about slicing a foot bone and screwing it back together into a different shape. (the 4th metatarsal on the right foot, I think...)

This should solve a bunyun-ish  problem I keep having... So bad that it's left me all but crippled at times.

I'll be laying around with my foot in the air and booted for a couple weeks, but after that, it's gonna be mostly an easy ride while I heal for two to three months on disability (longer, if I can help it.)

On the positive, they intend to leave my head and neck out of scalpel range for a change. I'm happy about that.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mojado Nation (Part Dos)

--Last word I hear is that the Feds have stopped trying to bus Mojaditos to Murrieta. I guess the public uproar was just too much. They're bringing them in through the back door, though, with several local Inland Empire churches already taking possession of several hundred individuals.
This is the type of charity that churches should be doing and I got no issue with that.

--The issue is do have with the churches (my own parish is complicit, as well) is their intent to spread the charity to the unwilling. Jesus taught that we must be charitable, individually. He never taught us to take our alms from another to credit ourselves.
But that's what the churches are doing. Helping the migrants navigate the with housing applications, food stamps, and medical care, free school lunches... all provided by taxpayers.
It's not charity when somebody is paying for your donation.

--In Mass this weekend the priest offered up a prayer 'for migrants, that they may find the peace and security they seek'. No mention of the 'the taxpayers, that they may find justice in a system stacked against them'. This is part of the problem within the Catholic Church and why so many are leaving the Faith. Those who pay the freight are expected to continue while all the spiritual services go to those who dont pay anything. Care for the underprivilaged is a good thing, but when it becomes a self serving fetish, things change.
We get lectured to become more accepting of those 'not like us', but those 'not like us' are not lectured toward their responsibilities toward us: like, volunteering for the church, learning the local language and ways, not trying to turn the congregation into another Mexican church where we feel like foriegners in our own parish. Demanding respect for your culture while dissing ours is no way to make friends.

--Having had to spend some time in one of the regions few emergency rooms, things are going to get a lot rougher around these parts with hundreds of free riders being added to the mix.

--the same goes for everything else relating to public services. This region is primarily a commuting population. It was hit hard in the recession and hasnt bounced back yet, with unemployment in the double digits (for those that are still in the workforce. Many of our residents are fixed-income retired, this region serving as the retirement zone for much of Los Angeles and Orange County.) 

--I don't have a problem with any one of the migrants on a personal level. If I was living in a mud hut and somebody was offering a free chance at something better for my kids, I'd take it too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

FIFA Update.

 This hot Belgian babe caught the eye of the marketing folks  at L'Oreal...

They offered her a covergirl gig... and celebrated on her facebook page.

On the day her country was scheduled to play the USA, she encouraged her team to victory by posting this to her facebook page...

 Soon after, L'Oreal dumped her citing cruelty to animals.
(Rumor has it the real reason was finding someone who could  pronounce 'Despiegelaere')

Soccer isn't boring at all!.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mojado Nation

Since so much is happening in my neighborhood, I'll just go ahead and post some thoughts and ramblings, in an order as coherent as US immigration policy:

--It was broadcast early today that the Feds had given up on delivering any more bus loads of migrants to the Murrieta facility, after two previous loads had been turned back. The authorities has gone through the process of removing barricades and opening streets... 'Hey, it's all good, you win... Sorry bout the drama. No hard feelings, ok?'
Driving in to work at the moment,
and I'm thinking: it's a trick.
Nobody backs down Federal authorities and gets away with it. NOBODY! There will be buses, today, if not tomorrow, but they are coming...
and YES, they did...
and were turned back, for a third time, by an angry crowd.
These protester folks are good.
Sure, they left the impression of being off-guard, but they must have everybody on speed dial or something... with spotters far enough ahead to give advance notice to those on-site or near-site.

--The anti-migrant protestors seem like an honest bunch to me. I went there twice over the weekend... to check things out... get a vibe for the scene in person. While I was there, a dude bout my age walked up and offered to bring sodas, bottled water, some sandwiches... "whatever you need". He spoke in a clear, proper English with an obvious Spanish accent (Think Ricardo Montalban from Fantasy Island). I struck up some convo with him.
He's a migrant from Argentina, many decades ago... (paraphrasing) "who did it 'the right way, when nobody gave me anything'.  He stressed: I'm not anti-immigrant. I'm not anti-Latino. I am both, and pro both. My children are Latinos and Americans... And I'm an American, by choice. First and always. My choice. They need to do it the right way, with the right heart. This country gave me a chance when my old country never did. Have to respect that."

--the real reason I made two trips to the protest-vigil:
make personal contacts and hand out my business card.
It looked to me like things may get 'ramped up' and some folks would be needing bail... I wanted a piece of that action if I could get it.
Poltics, Shmolitics... I want your money,... whatever side you're on... I'm here, and I'm here for you.

--there were some arrests last Friday.
Backstory: La Raza showed up and began making their presence known, trying really really hard to piss people off and get both sides riled up. Prior to... things were boisterous and loud, but both sides were intent on keeping their own crew 'in check'. Police lines were respected, threats not tolerated... it was a peaceful demonstration and counter-demonstration.
It was La Raza that broke this code and tried to get the violence started.
And it was the La Raza peeps that got arrested. Six of them.

to be continued...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Can We Lose What We Never Had?

You know all about it now: Iraq is beginning to fall into the hands of an al Qaeda offshoot, while neocons are up in arms over the policies of the Obama administration for 'losing Iraq'.

I don't accept the notion that 60% of Iraqis who are Shia will tolerate being ruled over by an extreme Sunni movement, and this bloodshed is only beginning. ISIS may stretch to Baghdad, but it will be stopped there.

What ISIS needs to worry about is the legacy of Saddam Hussein and the policies/ideologies of the Baathist party that ruled Iraq for decades. One thing can be said about Iraq is that it does have an educated population. This is not a collection of goat herds living with 15th century ideas. These are modern thinking folks that won't be easily subdued into a medieval dictatorship.
The mainstream Sunnis themselves will bring about the end of ISIS as soon as they are able to gather up their head of steam, while Iran will not tolerate Shias being subjugated by an extreme brand of Sunnism.

Speaking of Iran, they are the big gorilla in the room. This is a perfect time for them to strike and claim a form of dominion over south Iraq, maybe set  up their own client state.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think a divided Iraq into three parts is the best way to go and will finally give the Kurds the nation state in the north they've been fighting for and deserve to have.

One thing for sure...
It looks to me like the political map of the Middle East will be changing.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl

I figure I may as well weigh-in on the Bowe Bergdahl thing, just I'll just post some thoughts on the matter:

For starters, I don't have much faith in the media to tell the whole story. No matter what I'm hearing, either from CNN, MSNBC, FNC or AJA (al jezera america, yes, i watch it...) I can't help but assume that I'm being spun and the truth is somewhere in the details that aren't spoken.

As for things unspoken... according to my brother, the word-rumor mill around the army is that he was not just a deserter, but also a collaborator. This has been floating among the soldiers themselves for several years, despite gag orders.

That stupidly stupid Rose Garden ceremony that POTUS staged for his parents is likely much warmer than any reception Sgt Bergdahl himself will ever receive from anybody.

Five high ranking Taliban in exchange for one dopey ass soldier seems like a fairly steep price.

POTUS, as Commander-In-Chief, has the authority to release anybody from military custody that he desires. All this about him 'breaking the law' means nothing when the law itself is illegal. That's just my take.

Wouldn't be awesome if POTUS really wanted to bring him home so as to subject him to the military justice system (who won't be wishy washy with him) while planting micro chips on the five Taliban leaders so as to track them for droning at a future date?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Retrieval

The year is 1864.
In the dead of night, a young Black teen, apparently a runaway slave, knocks on the door of a farmhouse and is met by a white lady with a shotgun who leads him to the barn. Cannons boom in the distance. Once inside, he settles down among a few other Blacks for the night.

It's not what it seems...
While the others sleep, the young teen slips out and reports to a group of  bounty hunters who descend upon the homestead, torch the barn and lead the human contents away in chains.

In the next scene, we see the boy Will (Ashton Sanders) and his 'uncle' Marcus (Keston John) receiving a few coins for their work and then being sent northward to lure in another subject to the bounty hunters, a Freeman named Nate (Tishuan Scott).
If they succeed they will be rewarded with a huge sum, enough for them to go far away and begin a  new life. Refuse, or fail, and they will be hunted down and killed.

It's a beautifully filmed piece of work, properly spaced so that the story moves along freely without getting bogged down. My biggest beef is with whoever was in charge of make up.
Shot in digital, a benefit when it comes to scenic beauty, is not a good thing when filming facial close ups. This is a slave population we are dealing with here and facial complexions should not be this clean and smooth. And who the hell thought the freshly bic'd head and pierced ear of Keston John (who looked like he could have just walked of the streets of West Los Angeles with his posture and delivery) fit the period? Or the finely manicured eyebrows of a runaway slave woman?

Two real highlights belong to Sanders and Scott.
Sanders' 'Will' looked natural as a young, confused, daring and scared teen, the weight of his fucked up life heavy on his shoulders. He's been beaten down so hard he doesn't even notice it, just plodding on, taking it as it comes, trying to get to the next day. I couldn't help but feel affection for the kid, despite the evils he was willingly pressed into.
Scott's 'Nate' carries himself with an air of well placed confidence. A man who's survived his share of struggles yet never lets his guard down. He lives a life of fear, too, but won't let that stop him, having earned his place on this earth.

Though set in the Civil War and involving slaves, this story is not about either topic. It's a tale of hard choices during times of confusion and chaos, where right and wrong may not be a choices at all when the compass never points to True North.

If you're looking for a feel good movie, this is not it. If you want a good movie with feeling, go for it.