Netflux “No Country for Old Men”

Every year, when they do the Oscars, I have to add a few of the top films to the Netflix queue.  Last year it was The Departed, this year, No Country was among those so chosen.  These have a bit in common, as they are among the most violent of the Best Picture winners out there.

One of the main themes of the film seems to be that the times are getting more violent.  All throughout the film I was wondering how often real crimes of these types are committed, essentially killing sprees.  I don’t think it’s quite so many as the movies would have you believe.  I’ve always bristled at the notion that things are not as safe as they used to be, and that notion was used throughout to help anchor the story.  As the movie progresses, though, some of the characters do mention that it was always this way in the West, so that redeemed this problem for me a little bit.

As a western, the story strangely fits.  I think the basic story itself could have been constructed in such a way that it would have fit in any locale, but all the elements of the classic western genre made it more poignant, especially the vast vistas early in the film.

The cast is definitely star-studded, and excellent.  Even minor roles were played like they were major.  A few characters who only had a few scenes were as compelling as was humanly possible.  I had a “Hey! It’s that guy!” moment with Garret Dillahunt, except I didn’t know what he had been in (I found out later that it was Deadwood and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

The ending of the movie I did not find compelling.  I think maybe I just didn’t understand it or go deep enough into the subtext to understand it.  Even though I didn’t get it, I felt like I wanted to get it.  When Tommy Lee Jones talks, you listen.

All in all it was pretty good.  If you don’t mind violence in your movies, I would recommend it, because there are so few movies out there worth watching.

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Kids Rights: rites

Kids have to be protected and guarded by their parents, this is a biological fact. And yet, all human beings have rights by their very nature to freedom and the pursuit of happiness. These values can sometimes conflict, and when they do it can be difficult to sort out who should have the say: the kids or their parents.

This is why most societies around the world have rites. Once children go through these rites, they become adults in the eyes of the community, and that is the point at which they are given the full freedom accorded to every human being. In my opinion, smart parents will give them a good deal of freedom before this point to prepare them, but once the person goes through the rite of passage, they are guaranteed both adult freedom and adult responsibility.

Unfortunately, in our country, we don’t really have something like this. Some religious organizations still have something along these lines — Bar Mitzvahs, Confirmations, or Rumspringa for example. And there are a few things we can point to — getting your driver’s license, graduating high school, turning 21 — that might give the young person an inkling that they are expected to be an adult, but all of these are based on age.

All people are different, and there isn’t a specific age at which people are ready to be an adult with all the rights and responsibilities that attach to it. Some people as young as 14 or 15 are ready, whereas others might not be ready until 22 or even older.

I’ve been trying to think of different ways that something like this could come about in our society.

  • John McCain has a plan for expanding a national service system, where people would volunteer to go into the military or into a domestic program like Americorps for two years before or after college.  Many think his idea is to make this mandatory, which I am dead set against, but if it were simply encouraged as a good idea it could fit this bill.
  • Rites like this have traditionally been some sort of test, either of strength, or courage, or moral turpitude.  It could be like that, sort of like the SAT of being a responsible person.
  • One friend suggests that it could be something like what a teenager in the video game The Sims II has to do:  choose an aspiration like love, money, books, or family.  Maybe they could have to do some sort of project toward that end, like an eagle scout would, for example.
  • Another possibility would be to have a program where people who die donate their estates to a fund that gives young adults some “starting out money.”  Once they take that money, their parents aren’t supposed to give them any more.  This could help to equalize society in a pretty interesting way, giving poorer kids a shot at making it and lessening the number of trust fund kids.  If you believe in taxation, you could create a system like this using taxes.

Any possibility, I think, should be purely voluntary, but that doesn’t mean they can’t start a tradition or even a strong social more to follow them, which after all, are pretty much what rites of passage are.
The whole reason for my idea is to eliminate the current levels of age discrimination in the law, those arbitrary ages preventing people from driving, drinking, voting, suing, buying things and all the things that responsible adults get to do, and responsible young people should be able to also.

Do you have any ideas?

Day 1

Day one of being single.

I didn’t bite into a brick of cheese directly, yet.

I spend a lot of time checking out the Internet. When I woke up this morning, a few people had messaged me during the night, so I replied to them, checked my e-mail, and all that good stuff. I wrote a short blog post about missing my brother.

I had recently joined Geni and Facebook at the request of friends, so I played around on those two sites. They seem worthwhile and interesting. I petted the cat for a while, then decided to watch a movie. I put on No Country For Old Men and then the phone rang!

It was a friend who went to my college who I had never met other than online, and he said he was in the area and was going to hang out downtown and go to the monuments. I haven’t been to the downtown monuments in a while, and this guy and I have had really good conversation in the past, so I said yes.

This is when the ball really started rolling. I made some lunch, I got dressed, I programmed my phone, I did the dishes, I actually did some things that were useful, which, if it hadn’t been for that invitation, I probably wouldn’t have. I would have stayed in bed all day moping and surfing the internet.

So, I’m glad that happened. It distracted me when I needed it and we had a good time. We saw all the normal sights:

  • The Capitol
  • The Supreme Court
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II Memorial
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Einstein Memorial (a personal favorite)
  • Korean War Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial

This is actually a lot of walking, for me.   At least 3 miles, I think.  This is definitely a good thing, and I had a good time.

I promised some friends I would play some WoW, so I am going to do that now, and hopefully have a good time doing that too!  All in all, a better first day than I expected.  And I think that’s all we can ask for.

Lance Corporal Broseph

My brother is in the marine reserves and just started his two weeks of service in Honduras helping to repair a school.  (I sincerely hope I didn’t just violate operational security!)

Anyway, I miss him, but I’m sure he’s having a great time.  I can’t decide whether to start moving furniture now or wait for him to get back, since he is the brawniest of the family, and a good friend who’s ready to help whenever I need it.  I’ve already been in stasis for the past few weeks just waiting for Melissa to remove half of it, so two more weeks won’t hurt, right?  I just hope I’m not making excuses.

I really appreciate the work he is doing helping people, and when he gets back, maybe I’ll invite him to share a few stories with you.  He is an excellent writer and an interesting guy.

Alone.

Melissa left at 10:16 PM tonight.

She took my two beautiful beagles, Molly and Claire, with her.

I haven’t cried yet. I am OK right now.

I want to share one of the last conversations we had, I hope it’s not too personal for her to mind:

Me: If I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know now, I would do it all again, but I would have tried harder.
Her: Me too. You made me a better person.
Me: …and you made me happy.
*long pause*
Me: I guess it takes both.

Shoddy Service

We are having a problem with Mega Movers.

They scheduled us for 1 PM, then called and rescheduled for 3 PM.  Now, at 4:30, Melissa called them and they said they would “definitely be there today.”

We’ve had this kind of problem with service before, so I’m wondering if it’s our location, or if it’s just the nature of business around here.  On their web site it says their goal is 100% customer satisfaction.  Hilarious.

But what this really means is that Melissa will be around here for a few hours longer.  I’m okay with that, although it’s stressing her out something fierce, and I am sympathetic.  Seperation is never easy, but things like this can make it harder.

More snarky nerdy joke video!

A lot of you seemed to enjoy when I linked the Alt Text video about Link’s weapons from Legend of Zelda. Well then, here’s another easy post for me that you will enjoy!

Alt Text on Superheroines:

Alt Text on Level 1 D&D spells: