TSA Propaganda

this also appears on rationaldad.com

One of the things I’ve said many times on my Tantrum/Art Installation/Political Theater Project, http://www.securityedition.com is that we, as adults, know that being searched everywhere we go is wrong and is completely antithetical to what “Being American” means, and yet our children are growing up in a world where going somewhere and being searched is a given. They are being trained, if you will, to believe that something is odd if there isn’t a search.

They are being taught to play that game that’s so popular now. The “IF I WERE A TERRORIST” game.

HOW TO PLAY THE “IF I WERE A TERRORIST” GAME
You hear people saying it if they go somewhere with large crowds and minimal to no security. “A terrorist could just walk in here and blow this place up.” Most recently, the Edward Snowden “controversy” has seen talk radio guys playing “IF I WERE A TERRORIST”. It goes a little something like this – hit it: “All a terrorist has to do is go somewhere like wikileaks and they have all the information they need to blah blah blah blah blow up blah…”

Propaganda like this article is a great way to get people to start thinking like good citizens. In fact, the article from the Orlando Sentinel says that “A survey of travelers conducted by Valencia College this year found 96 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their TSA experience…”

Whoop De Frickin Do.

WE KNOW BEST, CITIZEN
Here’s a rockin logical fallacy from a JetBlue exec:

“…airport officials should not fool themselves into thinking that a switch to a private company would magically make all the lines go away…”

That’s right, citizen. Your overlords know best for you. There is no reason for you to concern yourself with this important business. After all, it’s merely a minor inconvenience when compared to the possibility of the type of evil those big bad terrorists want to perpetrate. Remember: They hate our freedom!

Whew… got that out of my system.

COMPLETE EFFECTIVENESS?
Okay. Here’s some more from the article:

“Officers have discovered an average of about a gun a week so far this year, while checking 37,000 bags. Nineteen guns have been picked up this year, compared with 40 last year. That’s the highest number of guns found at any airport in the state.

During 2011, TSA officers confiscated almost 18,000 prohibited items, not including liquids, and referred 481 passengers to law enforcement, resulting in 57 arrests.”

Those 19 guns are the ones they’ve found, right? If you are human and understand there’s absolutely no way the extremely competent TSA has prevented every gun from being taken on an airplane, you must understand what that means: Guns have been taken on airplanes and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.

Do I think that guns should be allowed on airplanes? I don’t know. I’m just saying that guns have obviously been brought on airplanes and all is well. Even suggesting that guns should be allowed gives ME the shivers. And I’m a whackjob.

THE AUTHORITY SONG
We’re raising our son to be respectful of others. Navigating those who have no respect for anyone is a difficult prospect, especially when those people have the ultimate power.

As you were, citizen. As you were. There’s nothing to see here.

Freeeeeeeeedom!

A couple o’ things:
http://www.rationaldad.com has launched.

It’s me rambling aboot stuff while navigating raising a kid as an atheist, freedom-loving dad. I try not to take myself too seriously, but sometimes I really ought to. I do that at RationalDad.com.

The bride and I took the lad to his first 4th Of July fireworks display yesterday. We had a wonderful day in general, having begun at a party at the home of some people from P.E.T. class. The bride has been slammed at work, so it was nice for her to just sit and chat with people.

Regarding fireworks displays though, this is how I think they should be done:

http://tinyurl.com/bwzex5e.

It would be sooooo much cooler!!!

Glowing in the dark

Last night, we were late getting home and had to get Duncan into his bath right after we got in. He was pissed and started to whine and cry. After trying to reason with my 3 year old, I said “Hey, come outside with me, I want to show you something.”

It has been so hot here in Burbank, but I love the heat because it makes the nights beautiful.

We sat on the steps and I told him about how I love summer nights. How I always felt like nights in the summertime were a reward for the cold and hard times people go through the rest of the year. Even a break from the heat of the summer days. He didn’t really get it much, but it sort of distracted him from having his quick transition from a great day with mom and dad to bath and bedtime.

He loathes sleeping. We think he might feel like he’s missing something. He will kick his legs or move his arms just to keep himself awake.

Back to the matter at hand:

I aksed him to listen to the sounds because they were specifically summer night sounds.

“What can you hear, Duncan?”
“Crickets, a car, rollee pollees…”

On cue, a train whistle blew. Perfect.

“You hear that?”
“A train!”

We were whispering by now.

I aksed him if he heard the cars on the freeway. He nodded.

He leaned into me and I put my arm over his shoulder. We sat there for a while. Some more crickets began chirping. I told him they were singing to each other so they could sleep.

Duncan said “I like the night because it makes everything glow in the dark.”

I got teary because I’m a wuss like that.

Now I Understand

I’m trying to understand this:

In 2008, the wise, progressive and super-smart voters of California, voted AGAINST gay marriage and FOR Barack Obama.

In 2012, the cousin-fucking, retarded, banjo-playing idiots of North Carolina voted AGAINST gay marriage.

In 2012, the president of the United States voiced his support for gay marriage. May ninth, 2012. Not when he was campaigning. Not when he was a community organizer. Never before in his public life has our current president ever said “Yeah, people who love each other should be treated like everyone else by the government. They should be able to get a permit from the government to… um… love each other… or something. They should be treated equally.”

He said this today. In 2012. The first time.

But the people in North Carolina who decided to vote are ignorant, cousin-fucking retards and our 49 year old president is a hero because at 49, he has said in public that everyone should be treated equally.

Please explain this to me. I am not getting this.

Today’s Two Minutes of Hate: The Voters of North Carolina. Let’s all scream at them at the top of our Facebook lungs for two minutes, shall we?

My newest crush

People like me who support Ron Paul have now been completely marginalized by the media. We are a punchline to a joke told while laughing behind hands, right? The arguments for liberty and freedom are met with “get real” at the least and “you’re a racist” at the most.

So today, Scott Horton, (my newest man-crush from antiwar.com & antiwar radio) while talking about how Rachel Maddow is a fool and a shill for our most recent demagogue dipshit president in a long line of demagogue dipshit presidents summed up exactly what this marginalization of Ron Paul will cost us:

With Romney “chosen” as the candidate of “the right”, Obama will happily try to OUT-HUEVO Romney. “I’m a badass, too, motherfuckers!!” Obama will now be running to the right on war and gleefully claim that he is just as tough as Romney and has no problem sending troops in anywhere someone so much as looks angrily at an American flag.

The war begun by the previous demagogue is going on a decade, right? No sign of letting up. A friend of mine who was way into the attack on Iraq has a son who is going to be able to serve in another ten years. It’s a frighteningly short 16 years until Duncan is eligible to “serve his country”.

So yeah, you got to ‘make history’ somehow and elect someone who has no moral center. Clinton, who would say and do anything to get elected at least had a point of view. Obama’s only point of view is to stay in power. Good. You got him. He’ll have another term.

Meanwhile, the guy who ran on a platform of silliness like peace, personal responsibility and inalienable rights is a fool and a racist.

Let’s roll!

I am an idiot who was on Southland

I did a cool little part on a TV Show called “Southland”.

Because I’m an idiot, I didn’t realize it was the season opener which aired last week.

The episode is called “Wednesday”.

Crap.

Poop

I write this with the complete understanding that I was in a movie called Ski School II.

In Atlas Shrugged, there is a section where the head of the science institute sells himself out and murders what science means to people. From that point on, science means anything anyone wants it to mean. Anything can be claimed to be science and anything can be done in the name of science.

It ruins the man who does it. He had been respected by the population who didn’t know anything about science yet despised by those who knew enough about science to know that it made their jobs difficult if not impossible. His acceptance of the terms makes the “new science” legitimate. The point being made is that it’s not so much that the concept of science was destroyed, but the real tragedy is when one is part of doing such a thing.

Getting a movie made can be said to be impossible. Getting a movie made and then into theaters in wide release is even more difficult. Getting a movie made, into wide theatrical release and then having people go see it is so difficult that, statistically, we might as well say it is impossible. A “movie” is now only made unless it is a “sure thing”. A sure thing contains one of these elements.

The fine folks who are bringing you movies are finally realizing that having a “name” in the movie doesn’t even matter, though if you do have a “name” attached to your movie, you will have a better chance of getting it made. Not much, though. It’s not on that list anymore.

Let’s say that at least $100 million dollars will be spent on the movie that fulfills one of those requirements. After marketing and all the other crap, it will cost even more. Easily. (I did some actor math (bad math) and your payments on a $100million dollar home [30 year fixed] would be about $300,000 a month.)

That may be the tail wagging the dog. It might be because movies cost this much that they must have all of those elements, but maybe not.

An actor who is “single card, main title” in a “movie” will easily make at least a month’s mortgage payment on that house but more likely negotiations start at a cool million. If you’re one of the people in the end crawl credits, you’re probably hovering around SAG scale. Maybe more, but…

And that’s not the point. Lots of money is spent on movies, why shouldn’t actors who are recognized in them make a boatload? No reason not to. It’s a very good thing. More people should make more money. If you’re starting out and get to work for one day on the latest Michael Bay crap-a-thon, making 600 bucks for the day is plenty. It’s a trade-off. Them’s the rules.

I understand, deeply, that actors like John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, John Turturro and Patrick Dempsey need to make money. They used to be able to do a couple movies a year and make a few hundred grand. Maybe a million bucks or more with a back-end deal. The type of movies that made them stars are not being made and distributed the way they used to. If they are being made, they’re being made for a relatively small amount of money. So, John Malkovich makes an okay amount of money doing what we call an “indie” film once every couple of years instead of a couple times a year.

On the other hand, Malkovich accepts the offer for TransformersIII and pays off every mortgage his family has ever thought of.

John Turturro tells himself “Hey, I do this Transformers diarrhea flow, they pay me 5 million bucks, I can go off and make that Strindberg bio-pic with my friends that I’ve been wanting to do since I got into this crazy game.”

Frances McDormand, who is a national treasure, can just work. Seen any interesting roles for women over 30 lately? ‘Nuff said.

Patrick Dempsey gets to play a bad guy. He probably got to drive one of the cars shown in his “office”.

They are actors and actors act. They can then do stuff they want to do. TransformersIII is just a money job.

We can forgive them.

Right?

Can we?

Really?

Here’s the problem. It’s not that great actors have jumped, smiling and tap-dancing, through flaming hoops of anal vomit. Not really… probably.

This is the problem: Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg can go to bed telling themselves that they have the approval of John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, John Turturro and Patrick Dempsey.

Michael Bay believes he has directed John Malkovich. He believes he has had some creative input into John Turturro’s world. Spielberg feels a kinship to the Coen Brothers because McDormand and her husband came over for dinner and they talked lenses.

The fact that those actors are in it, make TransformersIII an even more reprehensible piece of cunt-snot than it already is. Their presence makes TransformersIII legitimate. (A fine word – legitimate). They legitimize Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg. They have been let into the club of artists. They bought their way in.

After the bride and I “saw” it, I told her that I’d rather our toddler son, Duncan, watch Japanese fist porn. In Japanese fist porn, there are consequences for behavior. He would learn that someone shoving a fist up someone’s anus causes the other human being to feel something.

There’s nothing even close to that in Transformers. Actions that are possible dangerous or pleasureable cause nothing but posing. It’s not even porn. It’s people who hate themselves playing with toys.

And, you know, I find taking offense at things to be tedious. If you are offended, you should leave. Leave it to the people who are not offended. I will. I will leave TransformersIII alone. But I would simply like to point out a few things, beginning with this: The new Steppin-Fetchit is now the Asian-Guy-Who-Acts-Gangsta.

I think it’s very soon where most movies are computer animated and actors simply provide the voices. That’s fine. I’m not whining “ah why can’t we return to the era of Canon films and art like Alien from L.A.!! I’m just pointing out that the only thing that is going to draw us out of our homes and into a theater is pure spectacle. We are in a world where all that is demanded by audience is spectacle. The Cirque Du Solielification of entertainment. Fireworks. No story necessary.

And, truly, that’s fine. I work 9-5. There is enough story in my life. There really is enough drama and comedy every day in the news. My son is a story. My wife and I laugh and play and have drama. Going to see fireworks on the 4th of July is fun. I love watching things explode.

But, an hour of fireworks isn’t a one act play. Cirque Du Soleil isn’t an evening at the theater. TransformersIII isn’t a movie.

If we can dismiss the amorality of massive anonymous bodycounts, using the memory of a national disaster to force emotion into a fireworks display and excusing hyper violence because “it’s only a toy”, TransformersIII is simply an evening of fireworks with great actors slumming and paying off some bills.

On the other hand, if there’s a shred of idealism left in us then, by our attendance and refusal to hold people who know better accountable, we are letting Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg shove Hasbro Toys right up there where the poop comes out of us.

Fact or Myth?

Hey good people of earth… I have a project for you. I know I’m not supposed to question these things but…

As a new parent, I’ve heard many horror stories about how kids die. Specifically, these two:
1) Drowing in the toilet and
B) Smothered by a sleeping parent.

I’ve done extensive google-ing and the only toilet drownings are parents murdering their kids by drowning them in the toilet. I’ve located one article about a parent smothering their child (this is really tough to write… sheesh). But not one article about accidental toilet drowning or parental smothering.

One woman who way into Facebook neglected a kid in the bathtub, but I don’t find a child drowning in the bathtub to be much of an extraordinary claim.

There are plenty of articles about kids being killed by the family dog or falling down stairs, but that’s it.

If you search you will find many articles with people saying that these things happen but with not one source attribution.

Regarding the smothering, a friend online said “it happens every day” and someone closely associated with the baby cult we’re in said something similar regarding toilet drownings. “It happens all the time. It’s horrible.”

I think it’s a myth. As parents, we have plenty of horrible crap to worry about. I’d like to reduce the millions of things to worry about by two. It’s the “Big Toilet Seat Lock” industry perpetrating their evil corporatism upon us!!! Either that or just well-meaning people wanting to protect children.

HEY BUDDY!! GOT A JOB FOR YA!!!

Tech Recruiters: I have great pity for these fine folks – it seems like a horrible job, and I suppose that they behave the way they behave because of behavior on both my side of the industry and the employer side of the industry. But, MANOHMAN, can they be annoying and weird.

Two days ago, I updated my Front End Dev resume on Monster.com. I opted to leave it “searchable by employers” but what that means is “have 20 recruiters call me regarding jobs that I’m not qualified for”.
Not only am I getting calls about .net gigs and email about managing a C# team in Torrance, but I think I’m being stalked by one guy who actually sent me a poem via text-message.
And I (block)quote:


Dean, don’t be mean
i gotta crazy job for u
crazier than charlie sheen.

This is the jam
with a bit of penut butter
smashed with ham

Dean let me tell u about all the goodness i got in between!

True story. Really. It’s on my phone. I’ll show you sometime.

Each and every one of them leads with a variation of this line: “Hey, buddy, a colleague of mine just handed me your resume and I’d like to discuss a position that I think you’re a great fit for. Gimme a call back at Desperate Recruitment Solutions…” The ones who email me send a robot-killer: “A colleague of mine just handed me your resume and I’d like to discuss a position that I think you’re a great fit for, please send me your resume.”

They probably mean “updated resume” but still.

Here’s the problem with all of this. Up until a year ago, I’d been out of work for just about two years. That includes any showbiz stuff. I was scouring the boards… there was nothing for front-end guys. Now I have a very nice gig, but we are just now tying up the loose ends created by that nightmare. What I learned about these tech recruiters is that they do not have jobs that you are a perfect fit for. They are at the worst lying and and at the least just playing a numbers game – compile enough resumes and ‘heads’ and eventually, one will hit and their company will make the arm and leg they charge companies for their “service”. One place I worked was paying the recruiter $60/hr for my $30/hr job. And I never met the recruiter. They just sent my resume over.

I say “just” as if that’s nothing. I understand that one must cull through a billion submissions, but… just sayin’. It’s good money if you can get it.

The poet who is stalking me said he has a front end gig for me that pays 110k. There are no front end dev positions paying 110k. Not U.S. dollars, anyway. Yet.

As soon as a company passes on your resume, they are impossible to get on the phone. I actually made it in to the office of one recruiter and it was like the call center in Slumdog Millionaire. A big dry-erase board with goals and “this weeks winners”. (by the way, if you are a ruby or .net developer, you win at life). A bell was rung when someone filled a position. Horrible.

The experience that really soured me on them was the guy who was buddy, buddy, buddy with me – “they want someone with a sense of humor, buddy” and, after my phone cut out on his boss once, I wrote an email, apologizing to her, ending the email saying that I’d purchased my phone plan from a guy in Nigeria who also promised me 30 million dollars. Cute, right? “I’m sorry that our call ended so abruptly. Service in Los Angeles is maddening. I hope we can talk again soon. I don’t understand why service is so bad, etc. …” Starts off nicely and culpable and then adds a quick little “joke”. No poem… nothin. Right?

My buddy wrote back saying that his boss didn’t think I seemed professional. True story.

I guess I’m just sour on the flesh-peddler idea in general. Except for three people and you know who you are.

Now, if you actually DO have a front-end-dev gig in Burbank that pays over 100k/yr, please shoot me an email at my first name at this domain. Better still – a recurring t.v. gig that leads to a regular gig 2nd season leading to directing 2 episodes 3rd season. Howbout that, buddy?!

Why do we insist on treating each other like shit?

empathy, self-centeredness and other SAG member stuff

One of the best qualities of being human is empathy. We feel empathy for the people affected by the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan, but, other than write a check, we are unable to actually do anything to help out over there. Jamy Ian Swiss has a great presentation about empathy and its place in effective advertising and, of all things, good magic.

The “situation in Japan” is terrifying and confusing, especially because of the nutty bias against all things nuclear. Digression: I had an episode this past weekend listening to a reporter from CNN actually say “There’s nothing happening now, but some believe there could be a meltdown!” Last night, as I was torturing myself with Rachel Maddow, she was (condescendingly… go figure!) ‘splaining how nuclear reactors work – “…instead of an explosion, the rods create heat, which creates steam…” Because, as we all know, nukes are only capable of those two things.

Instead of being able to DO something – Instead of being in a position to help, we scare ourselves with stories that big bad radiation is coming and that we need to stock up on iodine or iodide or kelp or kelp iodine or… SOMETHING… ANYTHING… from Whole Foods. It can only be from Whole Foods because, well, it’s Whole Foods. After discovering that, OH, SLUG ME IN THE CUNT! WHOLE FOODS HAS BEEN SOLD OUT OF KELP IODINE SINCE SATURDAY AFTERNOON!!!!, we too, can now be (big sigh of relief) victims of the earthquake and tsunami. We can take part. We can suffer, too. “Hey, Japanese people! Lookie here… I’m in peril, too! See, I can’t get kelp iodine!!!” It’s also a way to inject some order into a weird, random event. Instead of not knowing what is going to happen. Instead of uncomfortably drifting in the wind of wait and see, we now have a task: GET ME SOME FUCKING IODINE!! STAT!!!!

It happened after 9/11 – An actress on a t.v. show hired private security guards because “they hate our media”. For weeks after the attacks, a Jewish community center down the street from where we were living at the time, used pylons to block off a lane of traffic in front of their building because they felt they were a possible target. People wouldn’t go to work in tall buildings across the country because, not only did they work in the tallest building in their city, there was a reason for terrorists to fly planes into their business, too. The movie studios “got tough” about identity and made actors miss auditions. Everyone began playing “If I were a terrorist…” You can tell when there’s a game of “If I Were A Terrorist” being played: Someone says “A terrorist could just…

My most excellent acting teacher, Howard Fine (not the stooge, no) used to harangue us with “comfort is a false god: don’t pray to it!” (I suggest adding “don’t pray to anything” for good measure, but…) It’s a great thing to remember when we are made aware of random events. I say “made aware” because random events are happening so often that referring to them as random may be a mistake. We have literally awesome technology that allows us to be aware of things that are happening anywhere and everywhere in the world. There are always nutty, horrible, unexplainable and scary events going down. It’s a great tool, but we often forget that there was 24 hour news before 24 hour news channels. Plus, because we are now used to receiving immediate and accurate information, as Tom Petty once told me: The waiting is the hardest part. If there is no resolution within my attention span, I’m going to create some resolution, by gum!

Me and my SAG member buddies are especially self-centered. Not necessarily a bad thing. Along with chiseled abs for guys and, um, chiseled abs for the ladies, being aware of feelings is one of the main job requirements. We have to self-examine and figure out where we are emotionally, not only because it’s good for the “art” but because everyone around us lies. (Great job… Fat? You? No… That was your best work… We are behind you 100%… The guys at network are talking another season… etc.) Also, since we’re never working, we create these little tiger blood dramas for ourselves to star in. Convincing yourself that you can only eat a type of chicken sold at one store keeps oneself distracted from the fact that you haven’t been on a set in 10 months. This is all yet another episode to convince me that things were easier when religion and the religious were clearly defined. The downside to fewer people believing in that stuff is figuring out who is doing something because of “faith”.

Unfortunately for the cynics, people are basically good. Even without a man in the sky. Thanks to humans, life is better now than it’s ever been.

The sky will fall when it falls. Every generation believes they’re the last generation of humans to walk the earth. It’s sexy. “Hey, my generation destroyed humanity! How rad is that?!

(rad, get it?)

Next Page →