things guaranteed to make janklow emotional: pop stars and gun control legislation

let’s save a little time this week (like every week! ha!) by not worrying about writing a “real update” and doing Ogre’s old favorite of just getting really outraged about the news. is this outrage real? justified? who knows?

ooh, guns guns guns!
today’s challenge will be for you to tell me how many guns in this photo are commonly sold by US gun shops thanks to the 1994 assault weapons ban having expired; i anxiously await Calderon’s entry!

Calderon blasts Arizona immigration law, seeks assault weapons ban

let’s be honest: if you say this news story cross your computer screen (or, i guess, maybe your newspaper? i don’t know if you internet dudes read the newspapers anymore), you could PROBABLY have guessed that it would draw my ire. i tend to be predictable like this: if someone promotes banning guns, my cold, dead fingers clench around the nearest firearm i can find, and i begin to cry tears … tears of PURE RAGE. anyhow, this was a good story for making me freak out:

“Mexican President Felipe Calderon addressed two of America’s most contentious political issues during a speech to the U.S. Congress Thursday, asking for a return of the assault weapons ban and blasting Arizona’s controversial new immigration law as a “terrible” endorsement of racial profiling.”

now frankly, i don’t know why Calderon thinks there’s a lot to be gained from lecturing Americans on any of their “most contentious political issues”; we ALREADY don’t agree, and it’s going to encourage us to do so when a foreign president lectures us? but i already disagree with the guy, so maybe i am just not giving him a chance.

“He also urged Congress to re-impose the assault weapons ban, asserting that violence in Mexico spiked after the ban was lifted in 2004. Mexican authorities in recent years have seized 45,000 weapons that could be traced to the United States, he said, and there are now roughly 7,000 gun shops along the U.S. border with Mexico where assault weapons can be easily acquired.”

now given that the assault weapons ban did not ban guns so much as COSMETIC FEATURES, i think we all know that there’s some clear lying going on here. further, you’re already talking about multinational, billion-dollar drug gangs here: they were really unable to fight until they could FINALLY buy an AR-15 with a BAYONET LUG in this US? please. see, here’s the thing, Calderon: when you tell a clear fiction, i can just assume you’ll lie about anything else to make your point.

and let’s not even go into how the .50-caliber machine guns and fully-automatic rifles are NOT being purchased in American gun shops. it’s just not happening. and the weapons that can be traced to the US are a small percentage of the weapons seized… and so on, and so on.

“Saying he respects the U.S. Constitution and understands “the purpose of the Second Amendment,” he added, “believe me — many of these guns are not going to honest American hands.””

so he understands that “honest Americans” want to buy the guns legally… but we shouldn’t have them because someone who’s not an honest American might get them? well, we COULD prosecute those guys and leave the Americans alone… no, no, we should just punish people who follow the law. that makes more sense.

“”Today these weapons are aimed by the criminals … at Mexican civilians and authorities,” he said. “With all due respect, if you do not regulate the sale of these weapons in the right way,” American authorities and civilians may be soon face a similar challenge.”

not only is this a cheap attempt to scare Americans into banning certain guns (“if you don’t ban them, THEY WILL FORCE AMERICANS TO ATTACK CIVILIANS!!!”), but there’s still a lack of logic here. was it the ability to buy guns that caused Mexico to end up in the condition it’s in? because i’m pretty sure they have fairly strict gun laws down there.

summation: if Calderon could at LEAST work into his lectures that he acknowledges a) the ability of Mexican drug cartels to get more (and more powerful) guns from OTHER locations than the US and b) the assault weapons ban didn’t really address the kind of guns causing trouble in Mexico, i would at LEAST consider him a real politician i just disagree with. but he remains simply a lying douche. and no one wants to be a lying douche.

another reason i dislike M.I.A.: she’s always making these annoying faces

M.I.A.’s Agitprop Pop

so, okay, this is the way pop stars are: they want to be SERIOUS and DEEP and have these INTERESTING PERSONAS, and it’s all generally fake. we know this, we should act as if we know this, but we don’t. a lot of this i attribute to Americans being stupid, but some of this i also attribute to musicians who simply are so fucking stupid and/or conceited that they HAVE to cling to their images of themselves (this also applies to, say, Rick Ross). this is basically why Lynn Hirschberg wrote the above-linked article about M.I.A…. an article that then prompted her to throw the author’s phone number on Twitter and write a diss song about her, because these are clearly the kinds of responses adults have when they’re upset with what someone wrote about them.

now, granted, i am sure both sides have a point (Hirschberg is probably right about all the negative character traits that M.I.A. supposedly has, and M.I.A. probably has a legitimate point in that Hirschberg didn’t write an article that HAPPENED to be negative, but rather, that she always MEANT to be negative), but honestly i don’t care, because i just don’t like M.I.A. at this point. if she showed up in Hell to perform “Paper Planes,” i would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons. or something like that. let us briefly discuss the 13 most distressing things about M.I.A. from this article!

secret bonus 13 most distressing things about M.I.A. from this article listicle!

01. “Three days later, her son, Ikhyd (pronounced I-kid) Edgar Arular Bronf­man, was born.”
if this name doesn’t turn out to have some secret origin in some legitimate source (i mean, i have no idea, i just doubt it does), then this is just another in a long line of stupid-as-fuck names celebrities have given their children. and that makes M.I.A. less “original” and “outsider” and more “fucking Hollywood scumbag.”

02. “You gotta embrace the pain, embrace the struggle,” she proclaimed weeks before Ikhyd was born. “And my giving birth is nothing when I think about all the people in Sri Lanka that have to give birth in a concentration camp.” As it happened, Maya, who is 34, gave birth in a private room in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.”
i know she’s quick to point out that the father’s family “insisted” she do that, but does that really seem like a valid statement from someone who is SUCH an outsider REBEL? sounds more like posturing. and really, i don’t care if she gave birth at Cedars-Sinai or bought a house in Brentwood, it doesn’t matter. what matters is doing so while seeming to be so opposed to the very concept.

03. “Her only jewelry was a simple diamond engagement ring.”
i am seriously of the opinion that anyone who talks about feeling the pain of people in third world countries so much should NEVER be caught dead wearing a goddamn diamond ring. NEVER. you can’t tell your fabulously rich fiancé to buy you a ruby instead?

04. “And then, within a month, I found out my house was being bugged, my phones were being tapped and my e-mails were being hacked into.”
to be honest, i always assume when rock stars who are SO political say this kind of thing that it’s a blatant lie that can never be supported meant to make them feel important. of COURSE her house is bugged, her opinions and voice matter so much! you know what i’d do if i was a singer and my house had been bugged and i found out about it? i’d bring one of the bugs to the interview and show the reporter. you know, as proof.

05. “”The biggest Sinhalese community is in Santa Monica, people who are sworn enemies of the Tamils, which is me.” She paused. “I live around the corner from Beverly Hills-“
stop right there. you live in BEVERLY HILLS. you are not about to get into street warfare with the Sinhalese community in Santa Monica. stop this nonsense! “Beverly Hills” is an ancient Native American phrase meaning “you don’t have any real problems to bitch about if you live here.”

06. “”I wasn’t trying to be like Bono,” Maya told me. “He’s not from Africa — I’m from there.””
now, on the one hand, i see her point: unlike Bono, she hails from the land that she’s constantly trying to draw awareness to (although i doubt Bono’s attentions are limited to Africa, but i digress). however, on the other hand, she left when she was 8… so doesn’t all this “i’m from there” talk smack of overcompensating? and if you’re trying to get a lot of people who aren’t from that place to care about it… why attack the concept of being vocal about places you’re not from? should i really give a fuck about Sri Lanka? i’m not from Sri Lanka, right?

07. “I’m tired of pop stars who say, ‘Give peace a chance.’ I’d rather say, ‘Give war a chance.'”
war was given a chance and it didn’t work out so well for the Tamil Tigers. so shouldn’t M.I.A.’s position be “i got what i wanted, and i’m satisfied even if it didn’t go well?”

08. “”I kind of want to be an outsider,” she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. “I don’t want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I’m a terrorist.””
i’m not even going to mention the French fry thing, as it’s a point of contention right now. i’m just going to say that declaring your desire to be an outsider is the LEAST rebellious thing you can do. it’s what every angry 13-year-old says to their diary!

09. “When Richard Russell, the head of XL Recordings, Maya’s British label, visited the house, he told her it reminded him of how the Rolling Stones recorded the classic album “Exile on Main St.” in a villa in the South of France in the ’70s.”
i’m mainly distressed by the comparison to the Rolling Stones; granted, i’m sure that Russell’s not saying M.I.A. = the Rolling Stones, but it’s a little too close for comfort.

ooh, Che Che Che!
as far as i can tell, the only thing M.I.A.’s wardrobe is really missing is a dose of the coolest shirt of all time!

10. “”All of what I’m wearing is American,” Maya said. “If I was a terrorist, I wouldn’t be wearing American clothing.””
this quote is just an example of M.I.A. basically saying “OMG everyone considers me a terrorist!” now, i have never heard anyone call her a terrorist; i’ve heard her called “naive” or accused of adopting terrorist trappings to posture or, at the very worst, called a “terrorist sympathizer”… which is still not the same thing as a terrorist. and yet she is so desperate to be identified as someone called a terrorist that it comes up CONSTANTLY.

11. “”She worked for the queen for 25 years,” Maya said, as the car finally emerged from traffic. “And now, they’ve taken my mom’s U.S. visa away. A 65-year-old woman is counted as a terrorist, and America supports that.””
all i could think was “is she implying that her mother working for the British queen is a reason why her mother should have a United States visa?”

12. “”I am so tired of stylists,” Maya said. “They are ruining individual style. If Patti Smith was starting now or Debbie Harry, the stylists would try to dress them, to change them. Their style would be lost.””
at first glance, this seems like just a critique of stylists. but what it says to me is that M.I.A. thinks she’s the only artist (or one of a very select group of artists, maybe) who can RESIST stylists. and i happen to think that, at the very least, Patti Smith could have resisted being “styled.” but maybe that’s just me?

13. “”But, at the same time, I like questions. I can’t get a visa right now because of things I’ve said. And that’s wrong. If certain words are banned, then that has to be written up on every box of crayons or paints or on every pen. There needs to be a warning on everything I use to write with that says, ‘Do not write these words, or we will put you in jail.'”

this article can basically be summed up with this quote: “What Maya wants is nearly impossible to achieve: she wants to balance outrageous political statements with a luxe lifestyle; to be supersuccessful yet remain controversial; for style to merge with substance.” exactly. this shit doesn’t work. and everyone knows that “Paper Planes” is only REALLY good when it features Bun B and Rich Boy!

ah, there we go. that feels better. it certainly compensates for arguing angrily with a one-armed man today.

destroy structures and enemies by shooting rapid-fire eyeballs and vomit at them!

one of the 13 perfectly dominating obsessions that i have in life continues to be “anything related to zombies, unless it’s the movie House of the Dead or something,” and perhaps unsurprisingly, this means it’s the kind of thing i might happen to fall back on as something of subject matter for a listicle… if, you know, i needed something on the fly to serve as the subject for a last-minute update. not that this kind of poor-planning-meets-shoddy work kind of thing could possibly happen around here at house of hate, where our work is funded by the five richest kings of Europe and only the highest level of professionals are hired to write-

i admit that i feel compelled to write lead-ins and, to a lesser extent, make them self-deprecating. here we go.

janklow’s 13 favorite games that involve zombies in a notable capacity

Zombie Nation
i guarantee 100% of my audience wonders what this image could possibly have to do with zombie games. it’s not clear?

13. every role-playing game that involves zombies in a minor way
this is admittedly a bit of a generalization, but here’s the meat of it: there are a lot of RPGs out there that aren’t about zombies and that cover a lot of ground beyond them, but that still frequently and notably feature them; i’m specifically looking at anything D&D-based or games in the vein of all that Call of Cthulhu nonsense. you know what i’m talking about: you might be playing an elf wizard and busy with some quest to save (fantasy world region or city) from (nefarious evil plot), but there will inevitably be zombies around at some point. you can also consider this entry a note that this won’t strictly be about video games, if you like.

12. Zombie Nation
short story: i remember picking up this game for the NES simply because of the title (you can probably imagine why) and being INCREDIBLY disappointed in it. now, of course, you’re thinking this: he put a game that was incredibly disappointing on his list of favorite games that involve zombies? well, let me borrow this synopsis:

“Zombie Nation, or Samurai Zombie Nation as the in-game title screen calls it, is a 1990 NES action game developed by KAZe … This game is known for its strange juxtaposition of zombies and samurai… The player can destroy structures and enemies by shooting rapid-fire eyeballs and vomit at them. Enemies include zombie snipers, zeppelins, and lava monsters. The player can upgrade his/her firepower by rescuing zombie hostages that leap out of structures when destroyed.

The plot of Zombie Nation takes place in 1999, when a meteor known as “Darc Seed” crashes in the Nevada desert. Darc Seed then shoots magnetic rays and turns the people of the United States into zombies. Darc Seed also brings the Statue of Liberty to life to follow its commands. The magnetic rays also allows Darc Seed to control many deadly weapons, including the most powerful weapon of all – the legendary samurai sword Shura. The head of the samurai, Namakubi hears of Shura falling into Darc Seed’s clutches. He then heads to the United States to destroy Darc Seed, free the American people from the looming zombification, and reclaim the samurai sword Shura.”

yeah. it’s so beyond insane. unfortunately, the game, in my opinion, sucks. but it’s SUCH a great talking point on the internet!

11. the Resident Evil series as a general concept
basically, there are a ton of Resident Evil games for various video game consoles, as well as all the related Resident Evil material out there (comics and those terrible, terrible movies, for example). they’re generally overhead-view survival horror games, and there are certainly more than one of them. so why i have boiled them down to one item on this list? well…

01. i never really played these games because i never liked them. in fact, you might even say that i hate them and refuse to play them. so i’m not sure they belong on this list. however…
02. the Irishman played/plays them and enjoys them and will most assuredly defend them (at least to some extent). i’m tempted to explain this away as a manifestation of his belief that Milla Jovovich is an intensely desirably sex object, but i think he enjoyed the games prior the movies ever existing. and more to the point…
03. he could probably make an argument that i need to ACKNOWLEDGE these games. so there you go. but fuck if i will ever play them.

i’m not arguing that the game doesn’t lose some of its impact when the jump-scares are no longer a surprise on your second play-through. i’m just saying it has zombies

10. the DOOM series
the DOOM series has been a lot of things – a groundbreaking first-person shooter, a reference in the Columbine massacre case, a mild disappointment by the time DOOM 3 rolled around – but if there’s anything consistent about it, it can be summed up with: “you’ll be shooting the hell out of things that are visually impressive for the time, and many, many of these things will be zombies. but you’ll probably forget how crammed with zombies these games are because the flashier demons will overshadow them. and then, one day, you’ll make a list about your favorite zombie games and you’ll shoehorn the DOOM series into one entry because of that oversight.” i mean, come on, they’re not ABOUT zombies, right? yeah… let’s go with that.

09. Zombie Driver
it’s an overhead-view driving game kind of like the older Grand Theft Auto games, only you plow through tons and tons of zombies on your missions. what this game basically is: proof that i will purchase and enjoy ANY $5 game that has something to do with zombies. this is literally how my brain works: i see the word “zombies” and the price tag of $5 and it starts to shock me with blinding pain until i make the purchase. no lie.

08. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
merely yet another one of the first-person shooters in the Wolfenstein series, Return to Castle Wolfenstein has a serious “prevent the raising of an army of undead Nazis” zombie theme to it. and if there’s one thing i have learned from watching Shock Waves, it’s that we have absolutely got to stop any and all zombie Nazis from existing before they can create a movie featuring themselves that is SO BORING that it makes me want to die. granted, i feel fairly certain there was a degree of zombie-related events in the prior (and less graphically enjoyable) games in the series, but i simply don’t recall the ins and outs of them so well as to discuss it. i remember shooting some kind of cyborg Hitler in the face with a machine gun, though, so those games were clearly not without their strong points.

07. All Flesh Must Be Eaten
i mentioned some other RPGs up above that involve zombies in a minor way; this would be a different kind of RPG, because All Flesh Must Be Eaten is ALL ABOUT ZOMBIES. or, to put it in a more wordy fashion, it’s a survival horror role-playing game that focuses on zombies as the main aspect of survival horror. in fact, i think it’s fair to say it spends more time thinking about the zombies than the game system itself (although that might just be my unfair impression). the only shame is that i have never really been able to find enough people tragically nerdy enough to make a real, good-sized game of AFMBE happen; at this point in my life, i doubt i ever will. deep down, i suspect this is actually a good thing, but i’ll never admit that. uh, except for right now. but never again!

Left 4 Dead
i’m not saying i enjoy the game because it lets me live out my fantasy of battling against zombies with a close group of friends after said zombies have largely destroyed civilization. i’m just saying it’s fun to play

06. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
the TimeSplitters series being a solid (if forgettable) series of games wherein you travel through time (shocking, i know) and fight various villains in a cooperative first-person shooter fashion, you might have played it and beaten it and not even remember what it has to do with zombies. well, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect is being included on the list because a) it’s got a significant number of zombies in the game (and as playable characters for the non-story-based parts of the game) and b) myself and my Irish sidekick have long argued that the TimeSplitters is the most underrated FPS series for video game consoles out there. yes, we insist in advancing these theories that no one will ever care about; we’re also fond of the consumption of beer, but i cannot imagine what the latter might have to do with the former. and speaking of games played by myself and my Irish sidekick…

05. Borderlands: the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
Borderlands itself is another cooperative first-person shooter; it’s really more “science fiction” and/or “sort of, kind of, post-apocalyptic” than zombie-oriented. however, the first DLC for this game is all about zombies (hence the above title) and comedy, but i have to rank it well for this reason: it strikes me that it functions like a Romero-style zombie movie. see, when we first played it, the zombies didn’t seem incredibly daunting, and we’d casually get into fights with small groups of them in completely ill-advised and ridiculous ways … only to find that as we did so, we’d set ourselves up to get wrecked later in the game. this is what everyone does during every Romero zombie movie ever, even as the audience screams “why would you make such stupid choices? smoking weed and listening to your headphones? getting a blood-pressure test?” well… you get complacent, that’s all.

04. Zombies!!!
this crazy board game (and its numerous and even more ridiculous expansions) is tied in my mind for the best board game EVER only with the Dark Tower (a crazy board game from my youth that, if you haven’t ever heard of it, should one day be source material for an update), and is crazy fun, although it has spawned some notoriously FURIOUS fights between me and my sibling (fights i was 100% correct in, of course). it’s basically a tile-based strategy board game where you’re evading zombies; given the furious nature of the fights, teamwork is seriously not to be considered. actually, myself and another guy (who shall remain nameless) were always convinced this game could be made even better with some rules tweaking; perhaps one of those tweaks should be something to prevent my sibling from stabbing me with a steak knife because i accuse her of cheating?

02-03. Left 4 Dead/Left 4 Dead 2
both are cooperative first-person shooter video games “set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic” where “the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the “Survivors”—against hordes of the infected,” so you can gather the kinds of things you’ll be doing. we might as well rank this two together because a) they’re essentially the same game (in fact, i recall this being part of the criticism of L4D2) and b) it’s hard to tell which is “better”: the one that’s more original, or the one that’s probably tweaked enough to be a better game-play experience. so let’s not even have that debate at all, okay? okay. i have to admit, though, i should really penalize this game for the amount of times it’s caused me to be playing it at 3 in the morning SCREAMING profanity at my useless, useless AI teammates. i save you fucks all the time, and you can’t come back to my aid once? terrible.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
now, admittedly, this giant baby is not a zombie. it does, however, give you an idea of the kind of game we’re talking about. also, to hell with that giant baby and its bazooka-resistant body

01. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
a 3/4-overhead-view shooter wherein you battle zombies and the rest of the typical B-movie monster fare (vampires, werewolves, Leatherface, aliens) with the most ridiculous weapons possible (you start with a water gun and progress to things like bazookas and, uh, silverware) as you attempt to save civilians and, of course, cheerleaders. maybe this game only ranks this high because of my fond memories of playing it on my Genesis as a youth (it’s certainly not only oriented around zombies)… but frankly, i’m grown and old now and i’ll never have as much fun playing ANY game as i did when i was a kind. so there’s the secretly-depressing nostalgia to clinch it. still, it’s a manically fun game and if you missed out on it because you were too busy punching random goons in Streets of Rage… well, your loss.

motorcycle chains = once a popular weapon in the world of street crime?

despite my stature as a) a tiny, tiny little man and b) America’s most beloved entertainer (well, maybe i’m second to Don Rickles, but who isn’t?), it cannot be said that i have completely resisted the allure of the martial arts on a personal level. granted, my willingness to shell out upwards of $45 to watch Anderson Silva style on people (4/22 ELBOW STRIKE DESTROYS TONY FRYKLUND NEVER FORGET) has never been in debate, but it must be admitted that, should you ever meet me, internet people, you would find it unlikely that i was ever even attempting to wreck dudes seriously.

this, however, is not the part of the story where i reveal some secret dude-wrecking history (even if i AM a bad enough dude to rescue the president), but simply the part where i admit i took some karate lessons as a child… LIKE EVERY OTHER RED-BLOODED AMERICAN CHILD OF MY GENERATION. now, i didn’t take it very long or get very good at it (my major memory of those days is my distinct recollection of being kicked into a mirror by a much larger child), but what happened as a result is that i will always, always, have a soft spot for karate. and while this sometimes leads to awesome moments of uncalled-for glee (such as when Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans and declared that “karate is back”), it mostly leads to me being disappointed. this is the theme for today’s listicle.

some ways (less than 13 of them, anyway) in which karate has disappointed me

Ashida Kim, obviously
but it could have been worse: i could have taken martial arts from someone like THIS

McDojos as a general concept
there’s basically no way to approach this concept (the mass-marketing of karate in the most capitalist way possible) without being disappointed by it, whether it’s because you think it’s cheap and soulless and doesn’t really train real practitioners of karate or because you have some weird “karate is sacred and important and should not be cheapened” thing going on, the reasons don’t matter as long as we agree that “McDojos” just aren’t quite right; the fact that the term “McDojo” can be fairly used should give that away. given the popularity of karate for a time, it means that these schools are basically what one thinks of when they think of “taking karate lessons in the 1980s.” now, ultimately, this isn’t karate’s fault and i shouldn’t be disappointed in karate for it… but at the same time, if you took karate anywhere in the US, you have to accept a nagging sensation that maybe you’re just some McDojo product who sucks at life.

this crazy old karate book i have
okay, i can’t find this book and i don’t remember the title; all i can tell you is that it’s yellow and talks a lot about karate. i’m sure you’re thinking, “what a fascinating description,” so let me tell you that there’s a part of this book that’s about using karate to defending yourself against street weapons like knives and … motorcycle chains. this book has to have been written in the 1950s or something, because the only place i remember seeing “motorcycle chains” as a weapon were Streets Of Rage video games and movies about what a wild time the greasers had in the 1950s (such as the Outsiders, although i do not recall if there were any motorcycle chains in that movie).

so where am i going with this? a book about karate led me to wildly misunderstand the prevalence of motorcycle chains in American society. and i think karate let me down on that score.

the Karate Kid
still really not understanding why anyone thinks this series was any good

the ending of the Karate Kid, Part II
i really don’t want to make this list entirely about the Karate Kid movies, although i most assuredly could; if i happen to catch of those films on televisions today, i am stunned to think that anyone ever took them seriously as films, let alone anything to do with any martial arts. Ralph Macchio as a leading man (of sorts) AND as a bad-ass karate dude? ridiculous! the continual way Ralph Macchio always progresses from “terrible at karate” to “awesome at karate” in every film? ridiculous! the crane kick? “sweep the leg?” that goddamn “You’re The Best” song? this list goes on and on.

but since this list is about karate, not the Karate Kid movies, allow me to cut the Karate Kid some slack (eh, it’s an underdog story and i can allow that his ability to make karate happen was inspired by his childish hopes of feeling up Elisabeth Shue) and completely write off the third and fourth entries and just insult the Karate Kid, Part II. see, deep down i can always forgive the “competition” inherent in the Karate Kid/the Karate Kid, Part III as the shenanigans of stupid white kids. basically anything terrible can be explained away in this fashion … well, in films, anyway. i SHOULDN’T take them seriously, so how mad can i really get about them?

the Karate Kid, Part II, however, is way too Asian in character for me to forgive it, and the ending is atrocious; we have the same “terrible to awesome” shit… but it results in a tournament to the death somehow (Karate Kid movies are all about improbability)… that is resolved with some fucking “drum technique” nonsense and nose-honking. which would be acceptable from white kids in southern California, but not from honest-to-god Japanese people in Okinawa. karate, you fail me again.

the Karate Kid Redux
and here my concern was that there was no way they could make the karate kid any worse…

creation of this whole new Karate Kid nonsense
okay, i lied, i’m not over this. they’re remaking one of these movies? and in doing so, probably secretly hoping to relaunch a SERIES of these movies? there are, however, two major reasons why this is even more objectionable than Ralph Macchio winning a nation’s love through karate:

–this “remake” (it’s so not a real remake) is structured around the concept of “Will Smith’s son likes martial arts, so let’s make him a movie where he’s a karate hero.” this is such an illegitimate concept. Macchio could at least claim to have had a mild acting career and then simply took this crazy karate role; Jaden Smith’s entire acting career is basically “well, my father’s famous and people want him to like them, so now i am in some movies.”
–there’s no karate in this movie. what’s that, you say? Jaden Smith travels from Detroit to… China. and learns kung-fu. no one seems to know anything about karate, or practices any karate. it’s just a word on the movie’s poster.

now, since there’s basically no karate in the film, you’d think i could avoid blaming karate for this… but there’s no way that’s going to happen. karate, you fail me again.

surely there’s no way this exciting poster can be wrong!

perhaps this film can be summed up with only its tagline: “the skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate.” well, that doesn’t explain anything about it, but it should give you the idea of what went wrong here: the plot features an Olympic gymnast somehow combining gymnastics and karate in around to create a new (and utterly terrible martial art) and then get involved in a complicated 1980s-era game of diplomacy and spy stuff and there’s maybe “a deadly competition in a fictional country, Parmistan.” i really recommend you read the plot in full over at America’s most trusted source of information if you want your mind to be blown by sheer nonsense.

karate is at fault for all… that somehow.

Machida not having such a good evening
at this point in the fight, you could actually hear my heart breaking at the sight of karate failing me in such a spectacular fashion

Machida’s defeat at the hands of Shogun
you see, when Lyoto Machida defeated Rashad Evans and declared that “karate is back,” it was a bright moment for those who have a soft spot for karate; sure, many successful fighters and/or movie stars have incorporated karate into what they do, but no one has really been a “karate guy.” Georges St-Pierre may love Kyokushin karate, but he’s not a “karate guy.” but Lyoto Machida was (and is, i mean, he didn’t die or anything) and so when he became the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, it was great victory for karate.

then he barely defends his title against Shogun before promptly losing to him in a rematch. is Shogun a good fighter who fought a good fight? yes. did Lyoto actually defend his title, something most previous light heavyweight champions have been unable to do in recent times? yes. still, when Shogun quickly knocked him out, karate failed me.

but having written and read all this, i realize there’s a slight chance it’s not so much that i’m disappointed by karate as i am disappointed by the 1980s. and there’s a really solid chance that that’s more accurate. or maybe i’m disappointed in both karate AND the 1980s? i don’t even know anymore.

things are getting even more redundant and/or emotional this week

to quote a certain dude who occasionally posts something up on the internet, “i think i’m about to do this “pull random stuff off the internet and make light of it” thing for a couple of weeks in a row now, and i don’t even have any shame about it.” but hey, look, i know how lazy that looks, so what i’ll do here is post the link and THEN post a brief synopsis of the emotion i am feeling so that you can get a jump on how YOU should be feeling before the rambling starts, okay? okay.

Bloomberg and some of his best friends: guns
Bloomberg needs to stay as far away from the illegal handguns as possible, lest one of them leap into his hand and make him COMMIT MURDERS

NYC Mayor Takes Aim at ‘Terror Gap’ in US Gun Law
emotion to feel: disgust (and maybe a little anger)

now, look, here’s the deal: i love guns, i love guns a lot, and since Bloomberg seems to always want to fuck with my ability to purchase and love them, i hate Bloomberg and his little games. granted, this is the deal with rich people: concepts that poorer people have to deal with (self-defense, let’s say) never apply to them, so why the fuck should they matter? but i’ll spare you my general anti-rich-dudes rant and just get into my beefing with this article.

“Bloomberg is leading a national coalition of mayors backing legislation that would use the FBI’s computerized record check system to flag and then stop gun purchase attempts by anyone on the [federal watch list of potential terrorists]. More than 1,200 people on the list have bought guns from federally licensed dealers since 2004, the Government Accountability Office reported today.”

so my question is basically two questions: what the hell is the standard to make it onto this list, and how many of those 1200 people have committed a crime with those guns? because while i know Shahzad bought a gun, i also know he didn’t use it in the crime he’s been arrested in connection with. and ultimately, this is a big thing i hate about these anti-gun guys: they can’t just make an argument against guns, it HAS to be IMMEDIATELY tied to whatever knee-jerk reaction people are having about something, even when that something hasn’t involved a gun at all.

“While the investigation into the bombing attempt continues, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Shahzad’s gun purchase may have been a signal that he was preparing an attack.”

or, considering the fact that he didn’t use the firearm in the attack, and considering that no one seems to want to comment as to the timing of the purchase, maybe it wasn’t a signal at all? and further, here’s where we’re going with this: a guy on the watch list who’s not a terrorist can buy a firearm and thus be considered to be preparing an attack. fucking ridiculous. Raymond Kelly, fuck you.

“[Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.] added, “Some of the people pushing this idea are also pushing the idea of banning handguns.”
“No one is trying to ban handguns here. … This is far from that,” retorted committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. The bill would permit anyone barred from buying a gun because of placement on the list to challenge that action in court, he said.”

this is where i point out that Lieberman’s response is evasive. Graham doesn’t say this bill is a push to ban handguns, he says guys supporting this (Bloomberg, at least) are also in favor of banning handguns (again, Bloomberg, at least). and Lieberman knows this. so if you want to defend this bill, at least man up and acknowledge that it’s ACCURATE to label Bloomberg in that manner.

i’ve also heard this defended with “well, you have the right to go to court and dispute the watch list placement.” seriously, no one who’s innocent and has to spend time and money in court confirming that fact is ever going to see that as a boon that’s been tossed their way. and speaking of me getting overly worked up over stuff…

i really don’t have any words to go along with this. well, except for the massive influx of them coming directly…

SWAT Raid on Missouri Family
emotion to feel: anger (and maybe a little disgust)

now, i must admit i love to clown on Missouri (and if you know me, you know why, but we don’t have to get into that here) and i personally feel that the drug war could be prosecuted in a better fashion and/or the resources used to do it spent in better ways. legalize that shit, tax the hell out of that shit, and use the DEA to step on people evading the law and prisons for the kind of guys i don’t want out in society. i don’t give a fuck if you sell marijuana, i care if you commit violent crimes in the process and/or use the massive illegal proceeds to corrupt governments around the world.

i should also add that, generally, i try and have respect for police, given that they often do a shitty, dangerous job… and yet every time i say this, someone has to go and fuck it up for the rest of them. enter these Missouri cops. here’s a basic synopsis of that raid from the link:

“SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on. They found a “small amount” of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment. So smoking pot = “child endangerment.” Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety. Just so we’re clear.”

to start, i’ll tell you what: i’ll grant the argument that having a child in a home with drugs that COULD get raided could be the basis for a “child endangerment” charge, although something tells me that was tossed in as something the police could bargain away in return for the arrested not pressing the other issues at stake, such as the shooting of the dogs.

now, i think everyone knows how partial i am to dogs; there’s a reason why this site remains adorned with a visual reminder of the greatest dog ever to live (and who i name all my fictional video game dogs after). and in this case we have the officers shooting dogs from two breeds i fervently defend: a pit bull, which was apparently CAGED when it was shot to death, and a corgi, which survived. a fucking CORGI. look, maybe you see an angry caged pit bull and you shoot it without thinking; you might be a dickhead when the details come out (i say this mainly as we hear no indication that the officers were shocked or threatened by either dog), but hey, you can make an argument for it, because we’re talking about a sizable, intimidating dog. but a fucking CORGI? has no one ever seen one of these dogs? and you fucking SHOT it, officer? really?

you know, the basically drill here is that i am going to get fucking infuriated by this video, and then J.Miles will make the case in defense of these officers (well, maybe not, but he usually does) and then i’ll calm down. so J.Miles, get working on this one.

JaMarcus Russell, ex-Oakland Raider
fuck you, man, fuck you

JaMarcus Russell cut by Raiders
emotion to feel: UNBRIDLED JOY

so earlier in the off-season, i was a little sad: the Raiders had a shockingly good draft (seriously), but it resulted in them trading away my favorite Raider (Kirk Morrison) for next to nothing (what the fuck, Raiders, a little LB depth never hurt anyone), and so i had mixed feelings. then the Raiders picked up Jason Campbell from the Redskins (cool, even if he’s not been GREAT yet) for a mild pick next year (cool) and gave him an extension, thus implying that he’d be the starter going into this season and the next. or if not him, then Gradkowski, because surely this was a sign they’d cut Russell before he got hurt in training camp and we owed him the whole $9.45 million?

then they let JaMarcus into the training camp, and my heart sunk. at this point, i asked myself, what further indignity must i accept? what more must i do to convince Al Davis to have mercy on me? and then this:

“Three years after being selected with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, JaMarcus Russell is out of a job. The Oakland Raiders cut the quarterback on Thursday after a disappointing tenure-“

well, “disappointing tenure” doesn’t even begin to describe it… but who cares? JaMarcus has been cut! WE’RE FREE! seriously, this is the kind of time when i have to run out into the yard, tear off my shirt as if i’m celebrating some kind of ladies’ soccer game victory, and then start dancing furiously on everything. actually, strike all that, because that’s just weird. the more appropriate way to celebrate this is to run out into the yard (this part of the reaction will never change) and then up and down through my neighborhood questioning people about their reactions to this news, as if we’re in some weird version of A Christmas Carol. i promise to sound at least as insane as Patrick Stewart did in his rendition of Scrooge.

and one final shout-out to Bloomberg

Springfield XD-9 and S&W M&P

i’m usually much more on the ball about noting the new guns that appear around here, but both of these came in in quick succession, both used and generally brought in to have another fun 9mm (the XD) and .45 (the M&P) to fuck around with. fun fact: i almost bought an XD instead of my FNP due to the latter’s color scheme before i was told to “man up” and get the FNP (which i really love, so that all worked out). and now i have the XD as well.

and here we thought that “one gun for every year i’ve been alive” thing would be a challenge to achieve!