Posts Tagged ‘opinion

27
Sep
19

Are You a True Friend/Ally or ‘Expectator’?

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ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!

This…is…Spart–  Oh, wait.  Wrong movie.  But, it did deliver the same impact-ful question/vibe.

Are you a spectator or the leading role receiving your fill of expectations?…or both?  Or, maybe you just don’t care, either way; your life is a combination of labor and minimal social entertainment, routine and not worth thinking on this level…you’re basically a pack animal.

I had this thought, this morning.  I have received plenty of expectations from people over my lifetime.  I’ve been told how smart and talented I am and what I should do with my life more often I can count.  But, I can probably count on my two hands how many “angels” I’ve met, people who really stepped up to be a friend…however tragically short that time with me was.

And, that, ladies and gents, and boys and girls of all ages, is what my life really boils down to…my productivity has been lacking due to a lack of support, acceptance and assistance.  If you get by without much of that, then maybe I’m just not like you.  Or, maybe you don’t realize what you have.  I know what I have…I just don’t feel it’s enough to make me live nearly up to the expectations I receive.  I live my life, feeling like a disappointment, no matter how I pitch myself…until I tell myself to turn a blind ear (and eye) to those who pitch expectations and just do my own thing…but doing my own thing hasn’t exactly been fruitful because it’s very lonely.

And, all introvert-ish thinking aside, all my ability to work alone and keep myself busy aside, I need people.  I need friends.  I need to know I am good in and out and acceptable, not just tell myself I am okay as I am.  It’s not superficial or looking in the wrong direction for emotional support.  I think it’s just (my) human nature showing its true colors.  But, lacking any adequate social skills, other than knowing how to speak bluntly (which isn’t always an asset…), and occasionally being a good listener (used to be more often, when I had more heart left to share)…I don’t see the means to bringing more people into my life.  And, what I keep finding isn’t filling the “job slots.”  I feel like I’m sitting in some tiny office, expected to hire a company full of subordinates, and I get no callbacks or resumes worth getting a response.  [If that makes sense; if it doesn’t I really don’t care much, anymore.  The old perfectionist, misunderstood me would be up in arms, right about now, tossing papers and fuming…and then collecting those papers because I was once a “neat freak.”]

It’s even more apparent when I try some online games…or, rather, games you can partake online (or offline) and have some kind of interaction…when there’s hardly any interaction.  Do I have to “add 100 friends” just to get a ding or a whoop?  Am I falling short by trying to pick a half-dozen people who I consider up to the task of being a cooperative player?…versus being one of the countless drones who just click LIKE and REPOST buttons in this blog-verse?  [I think, ever since I started bitching about the LIKE button, I’ve received far fewer LIKES; so add one more detail to the “this sucks” pile…not that I cared about LIKES…just, in a sad case when you get no other response…anyway.  Meh.]  Is it all just processing the day, or do people actually care about each other?  Are there ANY genuine friends in this world?  Or, do I just hear stories, like fiction on the wind?  Am I being teased with fantasy and lil wizards who have dead parents?…plenty of the convenient dead parent stories.

When I was a kid, I was “the quiet one.”  I didn’t have automatic friends show up looking for a pal.  I didn’t know how to interact with kids while staying as safe as all the adults wanted me to be.  I was afraid of getting hurt/hit; so sports and physical games were essentially out of play.  When I finally found a friend…and I am not sure how that even happened, other than two guys (and one rare girl) making some joke on the playground which broke the crucial ice…we had to talk the relationship over with our parents; I had to get an Okay to visit or have them visit me.  I had strict rules about phone calls that fluctuated daily, so I never knew where I stood; nor did the friend know how to deal with my parents.  It was a torture-some game of hit and miss time together.  So, to be fair, I couldn’t expect much.

But, there WAS that one girl…the diamond in the rough…who put up with it all and stuck by me.  And, though I didn’t actively support all of her interests…which made me a bit of a spectator but not an “expectator”…I felt I did a fair amount of being there for her…until peer pressure, I suspect, got the best of us.  Having to say, “We’re just…friends,” when your heart is saying “I love this girl, I think,” is rough.  And, the more I denied my feelings or slighted her, the worse I felt.  And, I think, deep down, she knew and felt something, too; or she was just the most loyal friend I’ve ever known.  And, we were not even in the same interest circles, other than maybe video games.  She didn’t draw.  And, I didn’t do gymnastics or think much of forestry…though I’ve grown to enjoy state parks and exploring nature.   But, we got along so well…and I adored her, madly.  She wasn’t the prettiest girl in the class, but she had more class than most; she earned my respect, and then some.  [I’m pretty sure I’ve written about her before; so I don’t want to repeat myself or go on too long about this.]

As I became a teen and adult, after a shocking sex-education class, I had far less luck with friendships and finding allies.  I had plenty of hecklers, jesters, shapeshifters and all-around-lackluster faces around me who had more fun being pests than anything friendly, especially if I didn’t approve of something they chose to do/say.   I get it…and it wasn’t exactly new to me…people changing and turning on me…but I was hoping ONE in the bunch might be as nice as that girl was.  Nope.

In the “working world,” I’ve grazed paths with pretty faces who just couldn’t find a way to fit and guys who’d rather talk sex, sports and music, of which I know less, I guess, and am not particularly into discussing.  I get a rare “We should do something together” offer which goes nowhere for whatever reason; either I can’t get ‘there’ (to where we are to meet) or the other person never follows through with an “Okay, let’s do this; when is best for both of us?”  I have gone on very few dates which all ended badly.  I’ve been a spectator to a number of sour relationships which usually involved quick sex I did not need to hear about the next day.  It’s not exactly a social-friendly atmosphere or sustaining life experience.  It kinda makes this rabbit want to eat in a different pasture; ya know?

And, breathe.  No mas.  ‘Kay?  That was a rather personal explosion and old would I just visited.

So, looking at yourself, on a regular basis, are you a spectator or avid ally/friend?

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20
Sep
19

I’m Sick of These M-F’n Tools Saving Every Species on the Planet!

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That was my weak attempt at sounding like Samuel L. Jackson in that infamous movie about snakes on a plane.

But, let’s talk about a bigger tool.

Common, you’re such a tool. Those AI ads he keeps doing…just rub me the wrong way for some inexplicable reason. And, the latest one really struck a sour note.

One more pitch to save some “endangered” species.

I’ve got nothing against respect for nature and being concerned about all life on the planet. But, if nature decides to eliminate any species, we need not be responsible.

Do you understand what I am saying?

Nature decides what species will live, what new species will join the rest and which will become extinct.

As much as humans like to play god, and as much as Americans like to boast being the best at everything these days, we humans are responsible for the crimes we commit against nature as well as how much we are willing to treat it right. We are capable of maintaining the planet better than any other species. But, we cannot be the overprotective parents, especially when our energy and resources are needed to save ourselves from our own mistakes and from nature’s harsh backlash, probably for the crimes we’ve committed and thus are rightfully doomed to face.

If someone is pitching an AI solution to keep every species known on the planet alive and thriving, isn’t that a bit silly?

For one reason, what happens if, among all of the preserved species, new ones appear in small numbers? Well, we have to protect those, too. And, the next group? Yep. Them, too. Before long, we have a planet swallowed up in lifeforms without adequate resources to sustain them all, sort of like the junk lady in that 1980s Labyrinth movie piling stuff up on Sarah’s back.

[If I may be so blunt, are we just preserving these species because they make pretty photographs for some wildlife magazine you want to print on excess glossy paper which is just going to end up in a landfill when the multitude of shrinking attention spans cast them aside like yesterday’s hot topic?]

Ya know why the big ol’ dinosaurs went extinct? It wasn’t just some massive rock from deep space that created a sinkhole in the planet and devastated the climate. It was a population boom that couldn’t be supported by available resources. And, nature took them out, replacing them with a wide assortment of lifeforms, including us, sort of like an American football team replacing its most expensive player with a few cheaper ones to fill some holes in the defensive line. Now, we are the dinosaurs. And, if we don’t get a grip on our actions……..

Secondly, the planet will be overrun with technological gizmos, not just those keeping watch on every animal like some high-tech spies for some company surely getting something out of this access to what is probably some privacy nature did not intend us humans to take.

Those gizmos will require maintenance and resources we must provide, further depleting our time and resources which could be applied to means capable of preserving all life, not just one rare species at a time, invading the privacy of nesting and other rituals. And, just as your personal computer-phone puts out enough “heat” to fry an egg or your ear, and just as cellphone towers and electrical towers in general put out invisible radiation which impacts all life around them in negative ways, those flying and roving gizmos sent with the supposed intent of protecting all of these other species are sure to put out something that could very well be harmful to something if not everything in its path, because when have humans been known to create anything perfectly clean and safe? Mmm…never? At least, it seems everything we’ve made has had some negative output in the news.

[Can you imagine some drone appearing outside your bathroom, claiming it’s just making sure you’re still alive while you stand there naked about to take a shower? How long before that becomes so annoying that you change your washing habits and/or your whole daily routine, ultimately impacting your life expectancy? And, what if that supervising drone puts out some kind of radiation to scan your home and detect your body heat or some other signature? More invisible rays passing through your body and everything you hold dear, possibly invading your sleep cycle, causing you to wake with the feeling something weird was buzzing in your ear like a mosquito, a species we certainly do not need to preserve unless we are using them as weapons…and that is dangerous talk.]

[What if it doesn’t stop at drones? What if we get tags like all those species humans tag to track their numbers? That, too, is a human habit I find repulsive. Yet, we spend enough energy doing just that while water supplies and other resources continue to become hazards to us all. Would you want to walk around with some colorful plastic tab clipped to your ear or neck or ankle for the rest of your life? Maybe if your the sort who likes tattoos and/or piercings. But, not me.]

We are as responsible for upsetting the environments of all these other species as we are preserving them. But, two wrongs don’t make a right. And, yes, in a way, boxing every life form into some kind of human protection system isn’t right.

I know it’s a bigger and more vague goal to correct the other wrongs we have done to the planet, but that’s the homework we need to get done. Not being the policing, over-protective parents of the planet’s population.

If the world loses its snow leopards, it will go on. But, if the world loses its clean water supply or safe atmosphere, more than the snow leopards will suffer; all species will suffer. If one more human tribe puts its faith in nuclear power as a resource, more than a few snow leopards will suffer for a longer time than any human petition mob can survive to protect those snow leopards.

If you spend your time and resources sending machines to watch over some small cluster of one or two species instead of cleaning up the environment or protecting all life in a particular area you can manage, your effort is futile. If you are in a desert and give all of your water to a lone lizard you think is the only one of its kind, you will die in that desert before you learn that the lizard will be just fine on its own.

And, if no one bothers to read this, if it doesn’t make an impact on improving the way we humans treat the planet, then it was a waste of my time, energy and technology. All of which could have been saved had I not bothered to turn on the TV and see the man, calling himself Common, in one more lame commercial.

 

 

14
Sep
19

Wedding/Engagement Alternatives

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Wedding/Engagement brainstorm!

So, I’m half-asleep, watching one more lame late-night talk show; and I see Jennifer Lopez talking about her latest marriage/engagement to Alex Rodriguez. I’m thinking…this is what marriage for her? And, how many, like her, go through this rotating stomach turn fest of multiple marriages? And, how many jewelry companies dish out how many ads and how many rings priced how high for this mess?

No mas! ‘Kay?!

So, it hits me like a bullet train outta Tokyo. Bam!

Wedding rings. Wedding rings get bought and boxed. Then they sit in those boxes for a while until the guy proposes, when they go on women’s fingers during a very tense moment. Then those rings sit on the fingers of those women, anxiously waiting for the next step and the next ring, which gets placed on the same finger during a tense moment, in which so much is planned and expected to perform without error.

And then, more often than not, lately, an uncertain amount of time passes before…

The ring gets misplaced.

OR

The marriage grows stale and/or unveils faults which crumble the union, though the ring remains.

The ring goes on, but the marriage does not. Now, what sense does that make? I thought the ring meant never-ending love. So, now, I am inclined to think a wedding ring is a expensive lie and waste of resources.

[Besides, I cannot feel as passionately about a diamond ring as I would/should feel for any woman. I cannot pick out “the perfect ring” for the “perfect bride” if there is even the slightest chance those words will fall short one day. Nor am I a fan of rings, at all, and cannot see myself wearing and caring for one the rest of my life with anyone.]

So…what to do; what to do…

How can we replace something as iconic as the wedding ring? That’s like replacing Coke or Pepsi or the Big Mac. I mean, how can we replace something that has been pitched as essential for so long but isn’t exactly good for us in the long run?

Oh! I got it.

WEDDING WATCHES. ENGAGEMENT WATCHES.

If you’re snickering right now or thinking I am strange, go ahead. Laugh. Then think about this.

Most marriages I’ve encountered, on a level beyond the superficial, newfound happiness or obvious conflicts (IE parents who don’t like the man who has married their daughter and refuse to accept him as their son-in-law), reach a “rough patch.” Those that don’t are typically marriages without kids in which both partners have schedules in sync and they regularly travel or keep up the dating cycles to keep things fresh. That, I think, is a big key–or ring–many misplace or slight. When you tie yourself up with a family, mortage, car, etc., your mind and body get divided; you look at sex differently (especially if you don’t want more kids to throw off your balance…unless you’re those rabbits that can keep popping them out and don’t give a damn how big the farm gets, when you come from a dynasty). Even expenses take on a different light. You reach a stop light where you have to make some key decisions about your habits and/or future. [And, I am not even a licensed psychologist, people!]

Now, what happens when you buy a watch? Well, some go big and buy the expensive watch which costs more than it’s really worth; but some are built to last. Some go cheap and enjoy it as long as it lasts before it gets replaced or repaired.

Repaired. Ah. Lightbulb!

What is a married couple doing when they go to marriage counseling, as many do? They are attempting to repair the marriage…just like a watch! Well, not just like a watch. I mean, sure, there are metaphorical gears to re-align; but no physical metal parts (unless you’ve had a very unusual replacement surgery).

So, why not a pair of HIS and HERS watches, instead of wedding/engagement rings?

That way, when the watch needs a new battery, new wristband, new whatever, you do a marriage check-up (if not sooner). It’s an evaluation period; it’s a reminder to refresh, reset, renew, reboot, wind, unwind…get yourselves back into working order. Maybe a new battery means you need to renew vows or do something you haven’t done in a while. Maybe a new wristband means trying something new together or changing the way you do something that’s become a bad routine/habit.

I know, in this age of everything-on-one-small-screen-you-can-fit-in-that-larger-pocket-made-to-accommodate-those-not-too-small-small-screens, who wears watches, anymore? [Well, I do.] What time is it? Wait; let me open my purse or dig into my big back pocket and pull out my portable clock, or rectangular pocket watch-computer-coupon-book-flashlight-et-cetera. It’s a white rabbit age. Everyone’s late for an important date; and they’re all packing rectangular pocket watches.

But, some watches come with some nice little perks, like heart monitors and step counters, for you exercise-conscious folks who need to mind their shape (and diet). A watch can be an amazing companion, just like a loving spouse.

What does a ring do? Look pretty as long as its polished? Like wearing makeup or getting a spray tan? Hmm.

If you lose your spouse down a drain, did you leave her at some dive bar?

The watch can be just as perfect a choice, with more fashionable choices than I’ve seen for rings. And, it’s not guaranteed to last, to just exist perfectly on its own the way a ring is treated.

You see what I am saying? You buy into the rings and expect them to be there, like the marriage. But, the marriage can fall apart if you’re not regularly attending it. If you can’t attend a ring, if there’s nothing to attend, what good is it? And, how does it keep the union going? By remaining attached to your finger?

So, should married couples remain stitched together or holding hands? That’s not going to work. That’s not going to happen. And, from my limited experience with couples (as I’ve never been married, to tell the truth), no couple needs or should be together every minute of the day, of the week, month, year or decade.

You can keep a watch on as long as you want or take it off, just as you can wear or take off your ring. And, the watch is bound to need a tune-up, now and then. But, that’s okay. And, that’s good. Because you need to remember your marriage needs attending, even if you get divided by kids and all the other financial and social details that get in the way.

I wear a watch. I can do this. I will wear a marriage watch and take it off when I choose, if my lover will do the same. It does not mean we go about “fooling around” as some seem to give reason to removing their rings. Just because we don’t have our watches on doesn’t mean we are single.

So, sure, that may come up as a challenge or problem in social situations when someone sees no ring (or watch) and is inclined to press the question (are you married) or assume single status. But, that’s life. If a question can be asked, it will be, no matter if you’re wearing a significant ring or not. Heck, married folks worm their way into affairs without giving the ring a third thought. So what?

Wedding watches. Engagement watches. Pass it on. I think it’s just the new ring we’ve all been seeking. It’s time to give the old ways of marriage a fresh look and a check-up.

…….And, it all started with the Big Bang.

Why not take this one or more steps further? Why stop there?

Watches just aren’t your thing?

How about a wedding CAR for the couple that likes to take road trips? You propose at a garage, revealing the ride for your next adventure together (versus those car commercials for the well-ta-do family that buys every kid in their family a new car off the lot and tops it with a giant bow). Or, you drive to pick up your soon-to-be-spouse in the new car/vehicle and propose from atop the hood before driving off together to your next destination.

Or, if that’s too rich for your blood, how about a wedding BED? You welcome the soon-to-be-spouse into your soon-to-be-shared home and present the ultimate love nest in the room you share ONLY when you’re happy to share a room that way. [I have a whole thing and other posts about having separate bedrooms for most nights, to preserve the relationship by providing personal spaces/sanctuaries and not sleeping together when there’s a factor causing friction.] You could refresh the relationship every time you change the sheets, replace bedding or flip the mattress.

So, there are three grand ideas. And, I am sure these will help inspire others. There’s no limit to the possibilities…or none I can fit into my mind at the moment. And, if I think about it enough, this post will never reach its end.

14
Aug
19

The Older Man at the Dating Carnival

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So, there I was, a middle-aged man at what is essentially a carnival, surrounded by families, couples and a zoological encyclopedia of younger women often traveling in small packs like wild gazelles.

I found myself longing and looking at the young gazelles…and then feeling completely out of sorts and out of place. Had I indulged my youthful thoughts, I’d later admonish myself for acting like some pedophile. I look around, trying to spot the older cheetahs, the cougars and elephants…and I can’t see anything other than mothers, wives and grandmas. I feel completely out of place with attachment to nothing other than the family I accompany, and even that is sketchy attachment, like a loose tooth waiting to pop out of a kid’s mouth. I am adrift in the sea of human connectivity. And, being so lost, I had almost no interest in being among the crowd.

Part of me wanted to blink my eyes and storm right back to the car or even hike all the way home. Part of me was lingering like a child insistant on getting a balloon or toy before he goes home. I came to sample new foods and help my nephews have fun and be safe. I could only manage the babysitting duty. The food (and mingling, if I had that nerve) just couldn’t fit itself into my abilities; the heat and crowding didn’t help.

Some day, you’ll find me in a National Geographic special on human nature and see the lone, hungry outsider who can’t seem to find a mate or make many decisions. He will be tortured by constant references to Taylor Swift (whose name kept popping up at said carnival as if the phone was ringing for me to take some kind of action I did not know).
[What am I to do, Tay? They’re playing your song. They’re naming pigs after you. They have your “swag” for sale. The days of Hannah Montana and the first wave of Spice Girls didn’t generate as much attention. Suddenly, you’re everywhere…and I feel like I am nowhere. I don’t want a Taylor Swift sundae or Cotton Cand-Tay. I want to *savor* the real thing.]

Sorry, readers, for bringing her into yet another blog post. But, it happened for a reason. Of that, I am certain. I’m just not sure why.

14
Aug
19

Award Shows Are Bogus ver. 081419

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I’ve been fairly certain for a while. But, now, I am convinced; award shows are complete crap, utter rubbish, excessively expensive lies designed to look glamorous at the expense of souls.

All participants…all of those members of the “foreign press”…are either naïve or devious scum. Now, some of that naïve scum could redeem itself; there’s still hope. But, those who run the machines are surely black as sin or the thickest roots in an underground railroad to decide, like some Hunger Games contest, which celebrities and “little people” (the faceless crew members who outnumber the big names and slave over the projects of those who call themselves producers) get food and care for the year and who gets to fight over the scraps and eat shit. The lucky ones get their names attached to the next box-office big ticket while the bottom of the food chain gets to show of their bodies and talk stupid in the films that come out at the end of summer, when “kids” go back to school and no one gives a flying fook what they watch.

Now, breathe. And, let me shed a little light on the shape of this crap…or, rather, what supports my stomach-turning, fury-stoking feelings.

Every year, there’s that “best picture” film that takes one big award and another…and another…and gets so much buzz from all those cracked camera-toting tabloid freak shows who put every famous and not-so-famous face on the spot with stupid questions, testing them to see if they crack and say anything different from their last interview, anything negative about the people they recently knew as part of the crew. Everybody is “amazing.” Every experience is something good for the resume, even if the person secretly loathed or struggled through it. Every director is uniquely talented. Every interview is to make sure the next job goes smoothly and to collect a check; so don’t expect anyone to answer openly and honestly, even if you’re straight-shooting, expected-to-cuss Samuel L. Jackson.

So, why do we even do interviews?! It’s not for the fans. It’s for promotion…more and more promotion. An interview is a talking movie poster which can’t say anything about what happens in the movie, due to contractual threats that pretty much shackle all who partake in making the expensive torture package that actors refuse to watch because they struggled through it; they didn’t enjoy it. An interview is just a painful showcase of faces who habitually look down when they feel the urge to lie, to hold in the vomit and glaze over what they’d like to say. Hey! Look who’s in the movie! And, they’re talking without reading a script! How amazing…like watching animals behind glass in a zoo.

If you really enjoyed making something, wouldn’t you want to look at it, again? Or, do you go crazy because you find a mistake and realize you can’t correct it? Your hard work is now someone else’s baby, and you have no control. So, all your effort amounts to what someone makes of it. That’s rather cruel punishment in its own way and not respectful to the creative soul.

And, I have sampled a number of these “amazing” films. Not one has earned 5 out of 5 stars with me; they’re all lucky if they get a 3. I saw The English Patient, Schindler’s List, The Hurt Locker and, just recently, The Shape of Water. Oh, there was SO much buzz about The Shape of Water, not too long ago. And, I remember the high praise the rare FEMALE director got for The Hurt Locker. Of all the films I just mentioned, I guess The Hurt Locker was the best…but that’s not saying much. When you put Average Joe in a pageant with four corpses beaten to a bloody pulp, of course Average Joe is going to look good and smell all the sweeter. It’s like that one girl in school who gathers a cluster of less pretty girls around her so she stands out as the pretty one; it’s like some status tactic used by schools of fish.

Now, let me come right out and say I did not see these films in the theater for a good reason; I had my doubts from the start. And, again, it took just one lousy lie of a rental to sully my belief in all the award talk. But, I keep hope alive, and I…I guess maybe I’m a little naïve, too, yet, to give these other “hits” a chance. I want to see what makes them so great.

So, let’s talk about my latest mistake, The Shape of Water. Oh, how the director got lauded with praise and looked so sweet and innocent on stage, giving his grand speech and kudos to all who let him make such a…gruesome, rude and lewd film. If I may be so frank, it’s as if he was extremely horny and hungry while watching the old Creature from the Black Lagoon, late at night, and then had the nerve to think making a remake with more nudity and foul language was a great idea. What a damn creative fool.

Sally Hawkins is the poster woman for the demure, docile, closet freak. Thank goodness she didn’t go on some murderous rampage; that would have really ruined the part. All crap aside, she gave the film an ounce of redemption…well, aside from what she had to do in the first half-hour. Seriously, del Toro, excessive nudity…excessive because it had NOTHING to do with the story. Nada. You didn’t get a close up of her scars until the one guy examined her. No; you just had her get naked, over and over, again, for your personal amusement.

And, what was with the other sex scene? Why didn’t you go one step or two steps further? Why not have the gay artist–with his foul mouth and obsessive dialogue–take advantage of the pie guy? Come on, throw in some finger this and f-that while they indulge in some gay sex. Or, why couldn’t Octavia Spencer get naked with her husband? Why can’t black and gay folks get fair sex play? Booo! No, I’m just kidding. But, really, why include any sex other than what was the focus of the film? There only had to be one sex scene, and you spoiled it before they got in the tub.

I would not be surprised if you ended up in court with all the other poor and stupid men who are getting grilled for indecent actions. I would not be surprised if something popped out of your closet. Why can’t you keep certain lewd thoughts to yourself? And, why did you have to make the film so graphic when it could have been a much nicer and just as exotic love story?

You went down some Stephen King, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino side street and drove through Frank Miller’s neighborhood. You took Splash and turned it into Sin City. Oh, sure the ending is bittersweet and finally happy; but I ate a ton of shit before I could even try to smile; so the whole experience left me queasy. You poured acid on my whipped cream sundae. You’re not the worst film maker out there…but The Shape of Water had better not be your opus. I’d like the water to wash it out of my memory so I can fantasize, again. Your “big hit” is a giant seagull dropping, not something I could comfortably watch more than once. It has little to no replay value; I’d snip off just the final ten minutes and call it a lovely short film that encompasses the best of the story…which pretty much makes the movie another Citizen Kane; just spare us the horrific two-plus hours and tell us it was your childhood sled.

You want my humble rating? Would that do anything for you? I’d give The Shape of Water 1 out of 5 stars, overall. I’d give Sally Hawkins 4 stars for being a beautiful, caring freak who thankfully didn’t do anything too gross or wrong to make me hate her; and I feel sorry for her, for having to expose herself the way she did. I’d give cinematography 3 stars, maybe 4, because the movie did have a decent colored noir quality to it; it suited a Dick Tracy sort of story. But, Octavia Spencer pretty much reprised her roll in The Help; so what can I rave about that? One black woman in an otherwise white world? And, the story? I already said; it’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon in modern 3-DUH, Dolby foul mouth, bloody Sunday whack-a-vision. You get no points for creativity other than visual artistry, period. You are just another big name with all of the latest tools in your kit, and when given the chance to build a sand castle, you played with mud pies. When you had the chance to focus on a Cinderella story, you chose to screw the docile doe in the dark room; you put the horny jerk in the same cage with the last unicorn (and thank goodness *that* didn’t happen). [And, FYI, oddities eating cats went out with Alf…and it wasn’t any funnier then, either…but it was suggested, not on camera.]

But, ya all come back now and watch my masterpiece, again, ya hear? This is a family show…not. It definitely earns its R rating, unlike some films that only get an R because of one lousy little cross of the line. I’d say The Shape of Water even edges an X rating…because there was more flashing of boob and overt sex than most R-rated films I’ve seen.

Here’s a brief lesson in the school of suggestion: Sex, nudity and gore can be veiled and still convey the message.
1) When Sally’s character takes a bath or shower, we could see her silhouette behind a shower curtain, and we’d still know she’s naked. Or, you could have her enter the bathroom and cut to her already covered in soap suds; no need to expose the actress or any body double you may have used…which would only make the whole effort even more stupid and pointless.

When I was in school, my English/writing teachers would draw red circles around portions of stories that didn’t contribute to the plot or characters and took away from the overall enjoyment. What you included (which turned me off and made me ill) was definitely not key to anything; I am sure most viewers would be aware of a person needing to get naked for a bath or having sex with a wife…or were you afraid people might think the creep’s marriage was void of sex?…hey, that might have made that other scene with the cleaning lady better; ya know?

2) A rather pointless sex scene could be conveyed with sounds and/or two flirty people slipping into a room together; ya don’t have to show the woman exposing herself and the cruel, creepy, FBI-ish, White-Collar-Bizarro guy throttling her on the bed!

[How to curb/replace the excessive foul and lewd language is another matter…I’d just omit it. It didn’t make the love story any prettier. It just lumped your enchanting crapper-piece with the likes of Superbad and…I can’t think of any other crappers at the moment…thank goodness they are washed from memory. I’ve seen movies with rape scenes that were just as creepy/unsettling but more suggestive than overt.]

3) When your feature creature wants to eat another animal… Couldn’t you have shown the creature holding the cat and then cut away to an audio clip of someone crunching celery. Then, when the owner returns, have him look down and recoil in horror…and we’d get it! We’d know why he’s horrified. Ya don’t have to show all the bits and blood. Bleh!

Can you imagine some steamy love story where the man makes the woman bleed in the you-know-what area and one or both lovers develop a scarring STD after they have their sweaty fun? [Ya know what; that just gave me a crazy idea for a sexual alien comedy that would still be far cleaner than your mess.] Would you enjoy that movie as much as a more suggestive one without the unfortunate side effects of some realities? There’s a line between realistic and horrifying reality…and you sure cross it, mister, but not for the benefit of the viewers…unless you want to scare people away from love fantasies and support eating disorders…because I could have developed one had I kept my eyes glued on the screen and not used the fast-forward button.

At this rate, I could lose my appetite for film, altogether, before I am old enough to be a cripple stuck in a wheelchair in front of some TV with a bunch of other elder folks losing their minds to medication abuse. Just think…what’s the use in going into movie-making, aspiring to create some soul-satisfying masterpiece when the whole industry is one more mine field of twisted metal, of warping your dreams into nightmares and slave labor? People are dying and committing suicide for some reason. And, it doesn’t surprise me when I try to grasp what all goes into this industry and the infuriating cover-ups that get splashed all over TV screens, even when some creative soul dies tragically.

Losing my appetite for film would be a serious crime against nature, against my creative soul. The water is so polluted, even I am having a hard time writing/creating anything spectacular; but, then again, I work alone, most of the time. I don’t have a clue what it’s like to be surrounded by teammates who can actually work together to make something run like clockwork and make people wonder what the budget must have been to create such a spectacle.

So, I must remind myself not to pay a lick of attention to award shows. Or, at least, I must go to bed before that final fifteen minutes into overtime when we viewers are supposed to be holding our breaths for the big reveal, the final envelope of crap. I must write them off and stick to the trailers that work for me.

Sell me a good trailer, and I’ll give you a chance. And, if you lie to me…..well, let’s just say my response will be…amazing, amazing crying crazy amazing. You’ll certainly find me writing you off my interest list. And, I have ways of swaying the masses. Not that it matters much when the majority seems to be losing all sense of creativity, as if they’ve become so numb from countless abusive images that they no longer have the brain cells to produce anything remotely as good as the stories they refuse to let go, stories from so long ago, they’ve been dragged behind cars for decades, tossing through one remake after another like tin cans on strings.

You know who the real losers are here (aside from creative souls)? The movie theaters and good people who appreciate them. All of the modern technology this world pushes for and all of the crappy, expensive films that get made…bump out all of the wonderful places that one could say feel like a second home. The day when someone decides to shut down the last movie theater in favor of some microscopic internet service station (ding! ding! goes the air tube keeping you couch potatoes alive), I’m sure to cry or have a considerably furious stomach upset because it will be like a nuclear bomb going off and destroying some serene tourist attraction. [Don’t get me started on the horrors of nuclear power pursuits.]

There wouldn’t be any concern for piracy if people didn’t introduce devices that could do such a thing. And, if movie theaters could afford better security without making visitors feel violated like other venues that practically X-ray you when you walk through, if people still cared, maybe thieves wouldn’t get away with what they still do, even after the days of VHS and the most primitive of camcorders. I don’t know why anyone cares about bootlegging, lately…because I am not sure what films are really worth stealing. Or, is that why so many films suck and twist the original story material?…is that why Michael Bay mangled Transformers?…because too many pirates were trying to make a buck off other people’s work? So, since the dawn of film piracy, everyone in the industry just started pumping out their worst, not their best? We settled into dependency upon whatever the latest technology is and putting up poster children as feature stars? Are we selling good stories or the latest model of movie camera you can only get at exclusive electronics stores?…on sale this week until tomorrow…flash sale!

And, breathe. I…don’t know how to wrap this up. The stench is just pouring out of me. So, I leave it as it is, like a broken garbage bag. I had to air it out, though, so I didn’t die from the stink in silence. Now, you know, and knowing is half the battle.

10
May
19

You Don’t Bring Me Pleasurrre…Anymorrre

***

This one goes out to all you tech heads running this space.

You don’t bring me commeeeents.
You don’t lead me to lasting friendshiiips.

You hardly show me anything helpfulll, anymorrre,
When I log in during the downsiiide of my solituuuude.

I remember when this was all fresh and new;
And, flashing signs promised so many pleasing options.
You used to welcome me with that little light.
Now, I’m lucky if it ever shines.

When it’s good for you, WordPress,
It still sucks for me.

Well, you just roll over;
Roll out your new format
And tell me to update my technology.
Because you don’t bring me pleasurrrre, anymorrrre.

It used to be so simple. [Used to be.]
But, nothing ever is.
Just like breathing in all of the pollution,
Your place is littered with lousy biiiz.

WordPress, I’d say I remember all the things you taught me,
But then, I learned them before yooou.

I learned how followers are often nothing but cons, mindless drones and thieves.
And, how LIKES mean next to nothiiing.

Well, I also learned how to limit my usage
And apply my time to better thiiings.

But, honestlyyy, what are better thiiings?

So, do you think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye?

Because you don’t lead me to lasting friendshiiip.

You don’t confirm my work has valuuue.

And you don’t really bring me pleasurrre…anymorrre.

[But, I’ll still be posting here until divine intervention points me to a better alternative…until the love runs out.]
lyrics by Alan Bergermeister and Nellie Emerald, sung by Barracuda Heartstrings

26
Apr
19

Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Movie Review

***

I refuse to start this review with one of those term-paper introductions that splash the movie title and throw in a blurb about some big-name actor or how the movie is grossing tons of money around the world. It won’t make you a grateful bunch of readers. Instead, you get this… [Snap!]

So, this is it…as far as “its” go in terms of ending an epic string of movies. It’s like Back to the Future…except it’s nothing like Back to the Future…buuuut it is. Confusing; right? The “wizards” of Marvel Studios and Disney put their mushy “I’m running out of creative ideas! What’s Paul Rudd doing this week?” heads together and came up with…this…with Avengers: Endgame. And, just about everyone you’ve seen in a Marvel movie (not everyone) since 2008 makes an appearance.

So, if you like family reunions and looking at moving photographs of lots of people you might have known, this is IT! This is your movie. But, as for the hype–which I gotta say is far less than I’ve seen for a number of other “franchises” (like Harry Potter and Star Wars, even though Star Wars has felt like it’s been dragging the original three films through the murky mud of some fan’s brain for some time…and both of those franchises haven’t come close to this many films)…and considering the theater I was at for the premiere was only half-full–meh.

[Wait. The theater was half-full…half of the theater was empty. Damn you, Thanos! You got to the audience, too!]

[I said “so,” twice, in case you didn’t notice. That’s because this is a so-so movie.]

I’m getting reeeeeeally tired of being the bearer of bad news. So, I’ll keep my typically lengthy opinions unusually short (if I can…which I usually don’t…so maybe I won’t). We’ll see just how time and space grabs me. Ya know…spitball this review thing and see what happens. There’s only one possibility that will work…and it’s the one that will get this thing written.

In short (ha), I think we are not far from making movies in which the people paid all the big bucks don’t even have to work in the same room, just let the hundreds of “little people” piece all the bits together and run it like a cartoon…like some sports video game that required every famous face from the team putting on little dots and moving in front of some motion-detection equipment. We can make a big-budget movie by just having the stars make fools of themselves in their hotel rooms; they’ll never look at themselves on film and will just B.S. through countless interviews, telling everyone how “amazing” it is to work with all those other people they didn’t see in the same space and time…it’s just another job. They came, they pooped on themselves, they collected their paychecks. Punched in…punched out. [And, at that rate, how long is it before people punch in and punch out of the movie theaters?…or stop going completely because either movies lose their charm or people cheat to watch them other ways? And, all that technological artistry is just feeding a mechanical monster that is consuming everything organic like Galactus…you know, that giant cosmic-empowered guy that appeared in a Fantastic Four movie oh so long ago…when Chris Evans was “flaming” instead of strutting in blue spandex…well, a different outfit made of blue spandex.

I seriously do not want movie theaters to go the way of the phone booth, people! Let’s not be so damn lazy and careless about this! And, that goes for movie makers, too. You have to either put in the effort or find someone who will. Help out the little people who have grand ideas but little means of making 3D molds of everything and “sitting down” with “big stars” whenever you send a call their way…or their “agent’s” way…or by contacting SHIELD…or however you do it these days.

All right! All right! I know. I just went way off into space, lost track of time and reality, got consumed with stomach-turning thoughts about people in power and haven’t said much about the actual movie…sort of like Captain Marvel’s part in the final “shebang.” Let me see what nuggets of goodness I can pull from this “billion-dollar blockbuster.”

Well… I’ll give it one big point for the final battle. When you hear Chris Evans say, “Avengers…assemble,” you get the second half of some serious, bad-ass clashing. If “Infinity War” didn’t alter what you thought was possible, this movie will. But, then, it’s just one group’s take on the Marvel universe, just like any comic book being re-written by someone who is lucky if they knew the previous writers and artists. [And, how many people have played the Hulk and Spider-Man in the past 20 years?…anyway.] You might have thought it was big news in the previous movies when there were roughly a dozen characters moving across the screen in one slow-motion shot. Well, that’s nothing compared to a few hundred?… at least, it felt like a few hundred tiny little faces moving across the screen…sort of like the big jungle battle in Infinity War…sort of like the old TV days when you could watch the black and white ants fight each other for dominance…….

Sorry. I drifted into space for a moment. ‘Lost track of time, again. I con-tesseract.

If you are one of these “modern” people looking for all the “girl power” and LGBT support you can get, enjoy your in-flight meal. Though, it feels a bit forced. And, for all the growling the women did…I kinda felt they could have been more bad-ass than they were. [I’m really tempted to throw in a few spoilers, here….mainly, because the movie isn’t worth secrecy.]

If you like superheroes being silly…as they have been in other recent Marvel movies…you get plenty of that, too. Yet, some of the “jokes” felt like only some people would find them funny while others just laugh because they thought they were…well, jokes. For instance, I was not one who laughed when Hulk punched his fellow heroes in the first Avengers film. And, why the Hulk would walk a thousand stairs just to be that Hulk that hit you at the front door? I can’t say I laugh at the sight of Chris Evan’s butt…but maybe you do. Although, the Thor makeover was mildly amusing…as was Robert D-J’s little quip about it…until he gets a tad too emotional. [I’d rather watch Mark Hamill get upset about who his father is. When I’d rather watch a Star Wars movie than a Marvel Comics movie, there is something wrong.]

If you like the thought of a two-plus hour game of Three-Card Monty, enjoy the time-travel hijinx. The movie makes repeated references to Back to the Future. [And, to be honest, I’d rather go back and watch THAT movie than this one. As silly as it may have been, Back to the Future roped me in and gave me a good time. Endgame feels more like I was roped and then dragged behind a bus before some outlaw decided to end my life, anyway, with a bullet to the brain, prolonged torture just to reach the anticipated result.]

And, if you reaaaaally wanted to see a different side of or more of Nebula, played by the lovely, wonderful Karen Gillan who had to shave her lovely hair off for this freakin’ part!…you get that, too. I was actually touched by her performance, this time. I almost cried for her…which is kind of sad, considering, the last time I saw her, she was being pulled apart at the circuits. She also gets to pull a nice little……

[My words just turned to dust. Did you see that? Movie magic.]

She disappears for a……

Would you cut that out! Wait. To whom am I speaking?… Hmm.

She sort of gets to be the surprise bomb in the movie. And, truthfully, there should have been more to what was happening because the film kept feeding little bits of power/potential to Thanos…it just never materialized. I consistently felt like I was being handed “red herrings” with a dash of dramatic music; something really bad could have happened…and it didn’t. [Oh-ho-ho! What’s he going to do with that now that he has it? He’s going to get there before they do!] So…why did they put that in there? Just to mess with our heads? In-con-theev-able! Three-Card Monty!

With all of the power the heroes are packing, it astounds me that they could not resolve this “crisis” sooner. Yet, the way Tony Stark pulls it all together, per his usual Marvel-Disney-movie “skill,” seems over-simplified, too. Again, one minute you have it all mapped out…and then you don’t. [But, if we remember Dr. Strange and what happened in the previous film, we ought to grasp how things just have to fall into place, even if they don’t make sense while they are happening in the present moment. If you don’t get it, you just have to see things from a larger perspective, take it from a planetary scale to a universal scale.]

There was a tiny message about even heroes being “human” thrown in one scene, and I get it…or why they said that. Having a hero fail and then have to make up for that failure, that’s decent writing. That puts meat on the bone that otherwise is just…well, Captain Marvel shaking off her shackles and blasting everything out of her way (not to mention claiming she has the duty of overseeing the whole universe!). [As if Thor wasn’t “big” enough as a god of thunder…now we have a woman who absorbed some big supply of cosmic power and delivers justice like a gunslinging goddess while another character collects enough power to act like a god, gives us the impression he might be onto something beyond our comprehension…and then gets swallowed up in “human” greed and lust for having things his way.]

And, on that note, Captain Marvel’s presence in this “final” Avengers film is one component that made me come to my previous conclusion about films being made from hotel rooms and without actors in one space. I just happened to see the lovely Brie Larson in a five-second interview on one of those late-night talk shows. And, she described her first task in a Marvel movie. She wasn’t looking at people. She was looking at tape markers. Tape markers. ‘Bad enough people have to follow tennis balls on sticks to make a scene, now we have bits of tape to pretend are people, people we interact with emotionally…right.

Goodbye, humanity. It’s all going NFL Game Day 3000.

In the few moments she appears in Endgame, Captain Marvel often–if not always–looks a bit cartoon-ish…like she’s not really there…like they just captured Brie making faces and slapped them on video game models. I noticed there were credits for people READING as characters. So, pardon my lack of technical movie-making knowledge, but I am guessing that means people–and not necessarily the actors being portrayed–read lines for parts when the characters were in action and speaking…just not physically doing so. There were people cast to “stand in” for the characters when they weren’t…you know, actually standing in the same room and able to touch each other. [Eew! Superhero cooties!]

Biggest disappointment? That may have been the Hulk, even though I briefly enjoyed Mark appearing like a friendly Shrek, handing out tacos instead of telling everyone to get out of his swamp. He left that task to Thanos, and Thanos dropped the ball. Even when Hulk had a chance to smash, he made light of it. What was the word he used to describe smashing? Anyway. There really wasn’t a moment in the film where I felt like all that Hulk could be did anything. Instead, sort of like is time in Infinity War, he was like Beast from the X-Men…the more intellectual guy who quietly monitors HQ instead of being at the heart of the action, though he’s built like a tank and bigger than most of the cast. And, even at the controls, he was only “human.” [Maybe it wasn’t so smart putting a guy at the controls who screwed up a gamma bomb and turned himself into a “smart monster.”] Which isn’t always a bad thing…but…he’s the Hulk! I mean…come on. You’re hyping this movie about a group of heroes that includes the Hulk…and he’s just going to eat tacos and “chillax” with the “smartphone” crowd? Gee. Thanks, Marvisney…or, Disnevel.

But, it’s okay. Because the other black guy…not the one who got all the press the previous year…the one with the artificial wings…he’s got this. And, the ladies have this. Or…maybe not, considering I just didn’t see any grand result from their part…just a splash-y image for some magazine dying to feature the Marvel women all on one cover for their next issue.

Did I just leak some spoilers? My bad. I’m only human. But, in the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter. Trust me. And, I am not going to tell you who “dies” in the end. [It pissed me off a little. Yet, we all gotta die, sometime; right? And, the Star Wars people; they took out Han…so…low.] But, on that note, everything seems to just be a contract-ual matter. So, can we even watch this and be engrossed in the story?…or do we say, “Oh, right. His contract was up. So, he just had to go. He was on his way to lunch and another gig when he did this scene.” Is that the future of movies? We change the story to fit the salary restrictions or accommodate the actors (and actresses, to be fair) some other way? Is everything going to be about the money it costs/makes and job-interview “shtick” instead of telling a genuine story as it was written?

If you can’t respect the characters and/or the original story, spend a little more time at the drawing board. Not the “smart board” you change by just flicking it with your fingers when you feel “in charge.” Why do I even want to hear about ticket sales or when the DVD deluxe, exclusive content, supreme, diamond, platinum edition comes out in stores? What does any of that matter? [Funding, I’d wager. Find any way you can to put the word “money” into people’s minds, like a subliminal message, so they’ll toss some out a window and hopefully into your film studio which is all falling under one mousy umbrella, one galactic-sized ha-ha empire. You have all the resources in the world and still pump out a story that falls short yet gets all the latest technological show bits.]

I’m perfectly fine just having a copy of the first Robert D-J Iron Man (even if that climax with Pepper fleeing the building and Tony’s “expose” at the end grinded my gears). I’ll do like Tony does in the second Iron Man film, brush away the excess distractions, pick out the best strawberry and find some nugget of hope and inspiration in the project while other actors take over other parts and make “jokes.” [We’re back in production mode, people.] I can live without the rest…which is kind of a mess, when you look over all of it. It’s a bit like some kids starting an elaborate finger-painting project. Well, now who’s going to clean up all the paint? ‘Someone not in view of the camera, clearly.

Maybe, in the enormous amount of time that is five years or so, things will be much better…or worse. Who knows.

I give Avengers: The Next Generation…er, cut…Avengers: Revolution…no, that’s not right…Avengers: Endgame 2 stars out of 5. It has enough content to give you a reason to review the previous films (if you feel like torturing yourself). It packs a few punches and has a few chuckles. It definitely stirs a few tears if you let it. But, in no way does it deserve a passing grade. Infinity War, sadly, was better. It’s just too much of a headache following all of the time hops and listening to the cast quarrel about what’s going to work, what didn’t and what they will do next.

You know? It’s all very complicated…coming up with the theory relativity and that other one about strings faster than Einstein while failing to work the machines properly because you built them… You just wouldn’t understand. I don’t understand it. And, the people who made the movie are not going to take more time trying to explain the science. Even Stan Lee knew very little about actual science.

[Just a heads-up…you don’t have to sit through the credits…unless you want to look at autographs and hear the anvil chorus. There are no surprises–as far as I know–to be seen. Except…where was Elvis ever featured in the movie? The story arc has ended. The cast will now slowly recede into a private world of therapy and texting and wondering if they will keep that tattoo they got to feel like part of a team for eleven years or so, sort of like the cast from the Lord of the Rings movies.]

I don’t like group comic books for a reason. This was one. They tried touching on personal stories but only included a few of the characters in that effort…where was the heart of Black Widow…and Bruce Banner? Why does Thor get such a spotlight?…oh, because the actor playing him works for peanuts–or beer if we believe that–and has all the time in the world, and the other actors don’t. Even Hawkeye is such a joke, he’s a hair-line away from being lumped in with Jar-Jar Binks. Yep. Oh, I’m just kidding…come on, man up. Work those tear ducts. Work ’em. You can cry for your friend.

[By the way, after seeing Hawkeye in a different light, I am seriously wondering, again, why we cannot make a Ninja Gaiden movie even loosely based on the original three NES video games (versus the arcade version which, from what I can recall, didn’t have much of a story). I was feeling the Ryu Hayabusa in this movie! You take the rainy, neon street Hawkeye was on and throw in some of that Black Panther car-chase magic…a bad-ass sorcery-wielding samurai ala the Sith Emperor from the Star Wars films and maybe a CG mystical dragon spirit…and you’ve got one decent, quasi-live-action trailer for an action-packed thrill ride with a Far-East mythical flavor that does not need to be dumbed down just so “the Rock” can shout “Woo!” You might actually have to, you know, talk to someone who knows the video games to work out the whole script…and cast people who authentically fit the parts instead of having some misplaced accent-holder morph him or herself into one more role to up his or her chances at an award that year…but I’m sure you know that, you Sprite slugs.]

Humans just seem incapable of putting a bunch of multi-dimensional, emotionally-involved, active characters together in one scene–not to mention one two-plus hour, big-budget epic–without it looking like a cluttered poster; here are all the He-Man action figures and accessories you could get your parents to buy in a fancy painting. The original artists put these characters together because they wanted to sell more comic books by giving a bit of everyone’s favorite(s) a spot in one book. Some people buy that. I’m not exactly one of them. I’ll watch Charleton Heston ham it up in The Ten Commandments every year at Easter. When will I ever care to sit down and give another hour to Endgame? Not likely ever. That’s like revisiting a funeral just to think about what you failed to say….or who wasn’t there with you.

I like Marvel Team-Ups, better. Iron Man and the latest young Spider-Man…that was decent. It’s a shame if that can’t continue. It’s a shame Stan won’t exactly get to be a part of it, other than in memory and from a hopefully comfortable seat in the spirit-verse.

Make peace and love, not war! And, be…excelsior…to each other. [You could have worked that line in, people! Bill and Ted/Stan Lee reference! Come on, Jon Favreau! Or, Snyder. Or, whatever “replacement” is manning the controls. Another movie reference I just made…huh? Huh? Wait. Who IS manning the controls? Oh, crapping wild stallions. Who left Banner in the control room?]

*Snap!*




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