The Horrific Story of a Gay Elderly Couple Separated, Removed from Home and Belongings Auctioned Off

The story of how elderly gay couple, Clay and Harold, were treated by the County of Sonoma in California could shock even the most homophobic. Using every legal protection available to them wasn’t enough to protect them from being separated at the end of Harold’s life. Clay was forcibly removed from his home, put in a nursing home against his will; all of his possessions were taken by the county and sold at auction. The only thing he has left from his life with Harold is a scrap book. The information is preliminary, assuming these facts are correct, we have a major problem on our hands in Sonoma County.
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The Massive Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Cover-up and the Silent Acceptance Through Participation

This week it came to light that the Boy Scouts of America have kept “Perversion Files”; thousands of files that outlined sexual abuse in the BSA and how they systematically covered it up. As the BSA propagated acts of prejudice against nearly a quarter of the country’s population by banning gay people and atheists from participating, they allowed the sexual abuse of children in their care. This cover-up and allowance of sexual abuse has been happening for nearly 90 years in the BSA, meaning anyone still alive today who was the parent of, a participant in or a supporter of the BSA has done so during this policy.
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2012 Movie Review: An Exhausting Push-Pull of Nonsensery

In 2012, the world sinks into… the world. A ridiculous, nonsensical, pseudo-comedic bit of film making, 2012 made me wish for the end of the world.

Metamorphosing gamma rays zingalinged the subterranean super magma in the core of the earth, when the sun had a temper tantrum and mutated the falafel crust. Meanwhile, writer and limo driver, nearly dead-beat father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) takes his children camping in Yellowstone. While there, the kid’s mother, Kate (Amanda Pete), is one of the first affected by the rutabaga tectonic changes in the earth. As the earth begins to collapse, Jackson struggles to save his children, his ex wife, and her husband. They meet Caesars Palace and Bentley Automobiles along the way.

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Don’t believe that’s the plot? Well, too bad. The writers Roland Emmerich (also the director) and Harald Kloser didn’t bother to try to make sense with the science. They just string scientific words together and hoped no one would be smart enough to notice. Why not just say my grandma’s whirly-gig collection set in motion a series of earthquakes and tsunami’s that was powerful enough to wipe away all life? Or a team of butterfly enthusiasts trained butterflies to flap at the same time? That would make far more sense than the plot they offered up.

2012 gave me tendonitis in my jaw from overuse in two hours and forty minutes. Just when you think it will be a good old fashioned action movie, it becomes a tongue in cheek comedy. I spent the entire movie putting a tongue in my cheek, taking it out, grinding my teeth, putting it in, taking it out, grinding, in, out, grinding. (I’ll stop there because it’s beginning to sound a bit pornographic.)

If the push-pull wasn’t enough in theme, the film makers did it again with the plot. A good portion of the movie revolves around taking off, launching, peeling out, landing, parking or docking. The size of the cars, planes, boats, and ships changed, but the action is the same. Generally, the characters are saying, “Oh no, can we get to the (insert mode of transportation here) before the (select one: a. ground shifts underneath our feet, killing us when we are crunched in the core of the earth or b. fire comes from the sky and lands on our mode of transportation and burns us alive, or c. a sudden influx of water swirls around us, drowning us around our family) and the people who are relying on us.” Then they revel in the fact that they did in fact catch that (insert mode of transportation here), until they have to land it in a tenuous place. The only variation on the back and forth theme is the occasional awkward love related scene, be it romantic love, parental love or estranged love. Even this variation runs on a loop through 2012.

The special effects can’t live up to their name, either. They are just bad enough to make them seem artificial. They reminded me of those plastic trees that are almost good enough to pass for the real thing, but can’t, and it makes the person viewing them feel a bit stupid for almost falling for it.

Most infuriating about 2012 was the shameless and endless plot rewrites to fit the product placement and product features. Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas is as essential to the plot as their stop there. Yet we have to see chips, billboards, and hotel signs with their name and logo on it over and over and over again. Bentley bought extended prime marketing spots in the film. We see the logo, the characters say the name repeatedly, the writers don’t even try to pretend it isn’t product placement.

2012 is the longest 2 hours and forty minutes in recent memory. I might have been less exhausted if I had actually lived through this tragedy. I’m off to massage my jaw and cry a little bit for the loss of life in the theater – mine.

Who is the newest writer for Skeptical Inquirer? I AM!

Over the past few weeks I've been talking with Skeptical Inquirer Magazine about writing reviews for skeptics on their website. I'm elated to say the kinks have been worked out and it's official; I'm their voice in the dark (theater).  This is a fantastic opportunity for me to write for people like me and I couldn't be more excited that it is with SI. It's more than a little embarassing how much I've been dancing around my house, the store, in bed, at the DMV, and in my car.

This is a huge opportunity for me, no only because this jumps me from strictly online reviews to potentially print but it also puts my foot in the door to write about things that really matter to me in the future.  I am by far the most average person at the magazine, which is mostly written by phd's, professors, and well respected scientists, etc.  It essentially spring boards me into a new league of both writers and skeptics.  It is an amazing jump in status, credibility and opportunity.   I'm psyched.

I hope you read some of my reviews or even subscribe to the magazine.

A Christmas Carol - More Like a Christmas Crisis

Animated and in 3D, Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday story, A Christmas Carol, spills onto screens again.  A garish demonstration of the capabilities of the new 3D technology, the story only pops out when it possesses an opportunity to show off the technology.
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Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is a miserly old man who holds tight each penny in his pocket.  After his business partner, Marley (Gary Oldman) dies, Scrooge loses all perspective, turning even surlier than he was before.  Devoid of all Christmas spirit, Scrooge tries to drain the spirit out of everyone around him.  The spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come (All voiced and drawn to look like Jim Carrey) warn him about the consequences of inhospitality and holding on to his money too tightly.  

Robert Zemeckis should hold his head in shame for such a disgusting display of technology driven plot.  He both “wrote” and “directed” this version of “A Christmas Carol.”  A responsible director-writer would make Marley, the Spirits and Scrooge feel like they within hands reach by re-arranging the 3D to places in the plot that are enhanced by the extra dimension.   Instead, he created a masturbatory mess.  

The plot is carved back to the bare minimum and stripped of all opportunity to connect with the audience emotionally.  In fact, Zemeckis relies heavily on that fact that A Christmas Carol is so ubiquitous that he commits the sin of Cliff’s Notes.  Taken on its face, having no prior knowledge of A Christmas Carol, a viewer would see it as shallow and infuriating.  The plot is replaced with scenes meant to show off the remarkable 3D technology.  3D Scenes drone on twice as long as the plot they are supposed to enhance.  The floor drops away, fingers are pointed at the audience, and characters are dangled from different angles.  In fact, no opportunity to sacrifice the plot for the technology was missed.

Even still, the 3D is so good, it might have been fun to watch this tech demo if the voice acting was varied, interesting and sincere.  It wasn’t.  Jim Carrey plays Scrooge in all five stages of his life, as well as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future and he does it terribly.  Scrooge lacks any depth, has no resonance, all changes seen seem forced and shallow.  The Ghost of Christmas Past can only be appreciated by a herpetologist or a speech pathologist and I am neither of those.  The Ghost of Christmas Present’s insipid laughter made me consider leaving the theater, but that would mean abandoning my mother-in-law in her seat, and even I’m not that mean.  The only saving grace in Carrey’s performance is that the Ghost of Christmas Future barely talks.

Radio Disney brought teams of children to see A Christmas Carol at the press screening I attended.  There were scenes that frightened the tiny so badly that they began to cry, scream and cuddle up in the arms of their mothers.  There were times during A Christmas Carol I considered jumping into my mother-in-law’s lap and cry like a baby.

This may go down as a rumble worthy topic at family holiday parties because my hubby’s-mummy liked A Christmas Carol.  I suggest instead of wasting money seeing such a despicable waste of a classic story, spend the same money seeing the play at a local theater.