I graduated high school in 1997. I’m old. Okay, not as old as some folks, but still- I feel pretty old, and when I think about how long ago I graduated high school…well, it’s just kind of depressing. It was probably my junior year when I started looking into colleges. I knew I wanted to become a Hollywood filmmaker, or at least a non-Hollywood filmmaker if that’s all the success I could muster, so I looked only for film schools around the country. This was before the internet had a lot of stuff on it really. I mean, finding college information, prices, pictures, program information, all of that stuff was pretty much done by seeing a flyer on a bulletin board or going to the guidance counselor’s office and flipping through all the books they had listing all the colleges in the country. I found a flyer about a new school (not so new it turns out) called North Carolina School of the Arts (now known as UNC School of the Arts), and I knew I had go to there. In 1997 they built a studio backlot and studio village, along with a new theater, some sound effects studios, post production labs, etc. I knew nothing of filmmaking outside of my two years in mass media in high school, and even that was mostly really terrible commercials and silly video projects. In fact, most of that class was sitting in a computer lab watching cable TV (the fact that they had cable TV hooked into a classroom amazed us) and eating Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bars while drinking sodas from the machine downstairs of the industrial arts building, using the computer programs that turn text to voice to make that scary computer voice say really awful and perverted stuff. “I just pooped on the desk next to me” seems hilarious when you’re 16 and it’s being said by a stilted robot voice.
I had no idea what I would do as a real life adult, only that I wanted to make movies and hopefully a shit ton of money in the process. I found North Carolina School of the Arts in one of the college books in the counselor’s office, and that was my plan. I had no idea how I’d pay the tuition, but screw that, that was my parents job to worry about. Or so I thought. I was assured repeatedly by my dear mother that I could go to college, and that somehow, some way they would find a way to pay for it, and that was that. Well, as it turns out, I delayed college by a small number of years (actual number: 11 years), so things didn’t work out as planned. Mostly I pussied out. I was super shy (still am to an extent), and that meant this insane fear of ever going to a college campus, let alone going, registering for classes, showing up to said classes, passing those classes, meeting tons of new people in those classes, and basically not losing my fucking mind. I found that idea too hard to swallow, and it’s a God damned shame, because I just read a list where UNC School of the Arts film school was listed as one of the top in the country, and when I dug further, I saw that it was, indeed, 1997 when the studio backlot was built, which would have been my freshman year. That and they actually used film back in those days. What joy that would’ve been.
I eventually went to “film school” here in Bowling Green, Kentucky (I was always, as a boy, told by my peers that in Kentucky everyone married their brothers or sisters) at WKU. The program had none of the cool stuff that UNCSA had (no sweet looking Hollywood type movie cameras, no big lighting rigs, and certainly no Hollywood-esque backlot), but it was a decent enough experience in its own right. Then I somehow, at some point, shifted toward economics (I have two degrees- one in film production the other in economics, and I’m currently enrolled in a masters of applied economics program here at WKU), and that’s my main goal for now…be something in the field of economics, God only knows what. It just struck me as odd that things could have been so very different. I might call Hollywood home…perhaps even North Carolina (it turned out they started shooting a lot of TV and movies in North Carolina soon after I would have finished school there), and I might have had a completely different experience. No use dwelling on what might have been, obviously, but it’s an interesting story nonetheless. Or perhaps not, and you didn’t make this far. In which case, I’m really disappointed in you.
Rethinking US Immigration Policy:
Why an Open Border Would Lead to an Economic Boon
Joshua Taj Bozeman
In this paper, I argue that the current immigration policy of the United States federal government is not only hurting the economy, but that if we opened the borders entirely, we could see an economic boon unlike any seen since the early 20th century, at a time when we welcomed millions to our shores, most of whom built the American economy we know today. This paper argues that a policy shift is in order, and that unless we do something drastic, we might be stuck in a permanent state of recession, and the old hope for a 4% increase in the economy will be a thing of the past. The solution to the fledgling economy could very well be found in an open border policy, one that is fair to new Americans and old alike, one that secures our safety and liberty, all while heralding in a new economic boon that hasn’t been since in nearly a hundred years.
DOWNLOAD FULL PAPER (PDF)
I was browsing some news stories, when a video of a police altercation popped up on one of the sites. Apparently some Fox News anchor was arrested in St. Paul at a bar in the airport there, and Gawker obtained a copy of the arrest via a FOI request. The video along with the written report make it quite obvious that the main officer involved in the matter, Officer Mark Dorsey, is- let’s say, not so honest with his claims. On top of that, this looks to be a clear instance of excessive force.
As someone with a forum, though small and not very powerful, I decided to do something about it and sent the following to the airport’s police department via their complaint email address. I will report back on any reply I receive, and if I don’t hear anything, I will attempt to follow up until I get a reply.
Youtube video of incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GFzFVd4CbI
Gawker report on indicent- http://gawker.com/drunk-fox-news-anchor-brawls-with-airport-cops-in-jailh-1594324253
An inquiry if possible. After watching a video of an arrest on May 21, 2013 of Fox News reporter, Greg Jarrett (obtained by the website, Gawker from a freedom of information request), it would seem that parts of the written police report wildly differ from what it clearly seen and heard on the video of the event. It is reported that in the written statement of the event, Officer Mark Dorsey claims to have thrown Mr. Jarrett down to the ground after Jarrett grabbed his arm. From the angle of the video, it’s impossible to tell if Jarrett ever grabbed Officer Dorsey, but in my viewing of the video numerous times, it does not appear that the officer was ever touched let alone “grabbed.” It is also quite another matter as to whether, if he did touch the officer’s arm, whether or not he did so in a threatening manner that would require any sort of force, let alone the considerable amount of force used by the officer. Dorsey then claims he threw Garrett to the ground after Jarrett yelled “fuck you” twice to the officer. The video is clear in that Mr. Jarrett never utters the phrase once, let alone twice, and he never “yells” anything at the officer in that moment when thrown to the ground..
It would also seem Officer Dorsey is using an inordinate amount of force in the video, slamming Jarrett to the ground when the suspect was already responding as requested while standing up. Officer Dorsey’s anger clearly gets the best of him when Jarrett answers, “yeah” to his question about touching his arm. Has Officer Dorsey ever been accused of excessive force before, and has he ever undergone any treatment for any anger or mood disorders? Worse then the violence, it goes back to the question of honesty in Dorsey’s statement. As reported by several media outlets, Dorsey makes the following claims:
“Jarrett then grabbed my left arm and I broke his grip. I then used an arm bar on his right arm to bring him to the wall,” Dorsey wrote in his report. “Once against the wall, Jarrett continued to struggle and started to spin to break my grip. I then spun with Jarrett and released my grip on his right arm and grabbed his left arm. Using an arm bar on his left arm, I brought Jarrett down to the bench and told Jarrett to stop resisting several times. I got one arm cuffed and told Jarrett to stop resisting and bring his other arm back.”
In the video, it’s clear that most of this never happened. In the video, Jarrett stands up, and Officer Dorsey makes a quick rush to him. This is where Dorsey claims Jarrett grabbed his arm, but as I mentioned, in the video it appears this never happens. After that, he slams Jarrett’s head into the wall with an arm bar to one arm, then asks, “you put your hand on me again?” to which Jarrett replies in a slur, “yeah.” Officer Dorsey, instead of putting Jarrett in another arm bar, as he claims, then throws Jarrett into the bench and onto the ground, face first, screaming, “stay down” repeatedly. Jarrett does not resist, as Dorsey claims, and the only spinning that Jarrett does is to turn his face toward Dorsey to answer his question about putting his hand on him again. Jarrett makes no attempt to resist nor fight with Dorsey.
If we can’t even trust an office like Dorsey to be honest about such a small detail in a report, how can we expect him to get the really important stuff straight? Will there be any punishment for officer Dorsey, or would you merely advice passengers to fly into other airports, in the clearly probable case that they will interact with police officers who will later write dishonest reports about the events that took place?
One would hope that the airport would deal with such matters in a timely and efficient manner, and that guests that travel through the airport can come to St. Paul, having a reasonable expectation that the officers in the airport will not write factually inaccurate claims, and that any force used during any interactions with police will match the severity of the situation, and not boil over into suspects being thrown forcefully onto the ground when such force is clearly not required.
Even the most ardent supporters of gay marriage can see that marriage gains some of its value through exclusivity, no? If gay marriage is a “basic human right” as so many argue, then there should be no limits or rules as to who can join in, correct? If anyone can join a club, and you need not meet any basic requirements, why would you even want to join the club at all?
Me thinks those that claim gay marriage (and other forms of “new” marriage) has no effect on traditional marriage are being a wee bit dishonest maybe?
So, I’m off to North Carolina tomorrow morning. I decided a couple of weeks ago to take whatever money I would need in gas ($106 according to gasbuddy.com) and visit my old roommate, Aaron. Haven’t seen the fella since last May when he graduated and moved away, so I figure, what the hell. I’ve decided to leave at 4AM to arrive near noon in Charlotte, NC. My nifty google maps printout is above…fancy paper, only because I ran out of normal paper, so the 24lb blue parchment will have to do. I downloaded AMERICAN PSYCHO in audiobook…apparently a full ten hours of material. The drive is a little less than 8…or a little more than 7 depending on whom you ask- google or others. I also downloaded CLIVE BARKER’S BOOKS OF BLOOD series. I know how my brain works- excited at first, then bored about halfway through. I’ve been to Charlotte before on a trip when I was…I dunno about 20 or so, with my mom and my brother when he moved out there for about a six month stint, only to hate the living situation and move back.
I have no idea why I’m writing this, as I highly doubt anyone even reads this blog anymore. I barely ever remember it exists, so doubtful anyone else does. I might try to update a couple of times. I might even take my camera if that’s not too lame. I hate being that guy taking pics…I’d totally use my phone, which had a decent camera, until the other day when inexplicably the lens of the camera got scratched all to hell when I slept. I still can’t figure out how that happened…it still takes pics, but it looks as if every pic was taken from a foggy sauna from the eyes of a person with terrible blurred vision.
I figure I’m out for now. I screwed up my schedule due to the hours I worked today, so I’m off to sleep soon, set my alarm for 320AM. I’ll either be pleased or hate my life. Guess we’ll see soon enough…
It’s written from the point of view of high school sophomore Jeremy, a kid who, like many kids, is still sort of trying to figure himself out and his place in the world. He plays soccer but isn’t really a jock, and he doesn’t hang out with a lot of people…until he meets up with a group of kids most would call “outcasts” in some manner. They cuss, they smoke, the girls wear lipstick and black stockings (and have pointy breasts), and he finds that he feels like he belongs. I’m around halfway through so far, and it’s, well- it’s rather delightful to be honest. The writing style is unique (is that even truly possible?) in that it’s written as if Jeremy is telling you the story himself…so lots of grammar errors, run-on sentences, and very few commas to be found. Weisberg goes a fantastic job of capturing the teen voice, so far as I can remember what the teen voice sounds like all those many years ago, but it feels genuine. Maybe it feels genuine in an adult way looking back to the teenaged years, and maybe that’s okay. You can’t help but like Jeremy, and though his circumstances are quite different than mine, I can’t help but live through him, hoping I get the girl in the end, hoping also not to make too much of a fool of myself with these new friends and our new journeys.
The book is genuinely funny. I have laughed out loud several times while reading, and most of it comes from Jeremy’s inner dialogue when he comes up with some crazy view on some issue (like Shakespeare- see below) or how he would save the hot girl if a gunman came into the mall where he was stuck in The Limited, oddly looking at girl’s sweaters when she happened to walk in and stand next to him.
Here’s what Jeremy has to say about how absurd the plot is to Romeo and Juliet:
Unless we take a wrong turn somewhere down the road, I’m pretty sure this is going in the “highly recommend” category. Hope to find more books in the same vein, because like the book Fat Kid Rules the World (which I read earlier this year and loved), it feels like I could completely turn this into a film one day. Maybe…
Let me just start off by saying that All Hallow’s Eve is, as you might guess, horrendous. It’s not scary, it’s unnecessarily brutal, and it serves little purpose even existing at all.
The movie features a babysitter and two young kids…brother and sister, who just returned from a night of trick or treating on Halloween. In his treat bag, the boy finds a VHS tape. He’s 11, but somehow knows exactly what it is as soon as he sees it. Now, first off you’re thinking, wow- the writer has blatantly ripped off the entire premise of the also terrible horror anthology, V/H/S and it’s sequel V/H/S 2. The kid begs the babysitter to play the video, she argues they’re too young, he says they see worse on the internet (probably true), so she plays it. The kids watch the first of three frame stories on the tape with the babysitter…they are put to bed after story 1, and the babysitter finishes the last two alone while waiting for the kids’ parents to return home.
There are bits of homage to past horror films, especially Night of the Living Dead, which is playing on the TV before they start the VHS. You have to wonder what family today even has a VCR, let alone one that’s still hooked up and ready to be used. Silly things like this don’t matter when you can’t write a story to begin with. To be fair, the wrap around story with the kids is the best part of it all. The main actress, despite the scowl she wears the entire movie, is decent enough, and the two kids are both adorable and probably the best actors of the entire movie. They have nice chemistry as bickering siblings and the dialogue here is pretty spot on. The rest of the dialogue, however, is stilted and badly written for the most part, even in the wrap around story.
There are three segments/short films in this “anthology” (tho all were written and directed by the same guy)the first one features the clown character in what seems like a bus stop. A woman is kidnapped…and well, not a lot happens. There’s too much brutal violence and zero scares, and the violence serves no greater purpose than simply being there. The second story is even worse and includes what I assume are aliens and a terrible actress who screams a lot and falls down every ten seconds. The third and final story is the best, though it’s still pretty terrible. Again, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and no scares to be had here. All ending with a ridiculous special effects scene that should have never been included in any film, not only because it’s unnecessarily violent and semi-sexist (it’s weird stuff), but because it looks so insanely fake and dumb.
The wrap around story has a nice twist ending, but I won’t spoil what little fun might be had here. Thank God this movie was less than $10, because it’s not even worth that. I suspect writer and director Damien Leone has a future career of poorly written direct to video DVD releases, but then again, there’s really only one direction he could go from here, and that’s up. I will say one thing, the clown character is well done, the actor gives him nice movement, and his mannerisms are truly very creepy. If given better material to work with, even some of the really violent stuff would have made sense, given a few scares. There’s just nothing here to work with.
So, I was one of those youtube videos where someone had posted the full movie…forget which movie it was, but on the sidebar, I saw the movie “The Quiet Earth.” The info. said it was a New Zealand film from 1985 about a couple of survivors in a post-apocalyptic earth. Sounded interesting enough, so I downloaded it, added it to my Plex watchfolder to stream to my TV later on. Last night, I finally watched it, and let’s just say it was well worth it. An underrated film, no doubt, one that I’d wager few people have even heard of. Perhaps it’s because it’s from New Zealand, or maybe people just hated it back in the day? Who knows.
Our main character wakes up in bed, at home, and something is weird. He knows it, but he can’t quite place it. He gets ready for work, starts to make his commute, and he notices there are no people around at all, cars and trucks are left abandoned in the streets, he comes to a house and tries to get someone to answer, the water is spraying from the faucet, the bed has been used, but the inhabitants are nowhere to be found. A very effective setup to the film, eerie and lonely; we’re likely to see some weird stuff soon. We discover that he works at some sort of secret base, technology everywhere you look, 80′s era computer screens, old printers, doors that go swoosh as the open, a futuristic looking place, maybe military in nature, but definitely a place where secret work is taking place. We find out that what has happened was probably part of some program they were working on with the Americans called Project Flashlight- he doesn’t really explain fully what it is, outside of it being an energy grid set up around the planet, part of it allowing planes to refuel via electrons in the air (at least that’s what I gathered from his various explanations). An interesting idea, very thought provoking, very well done execution.
He realizes he’s the only one left, so he does the regular crazy stuff- drives a car through the mall, loads up on goodies, takes residence in a mansion, records a message played on the radio station to others, “My name is Zach…you can reach me at…” hoping others left alive will reach out to him. He slowly goes mad, decides he’s either President of the world or God, or both. I won’t say much else about the plot, but to mention that it’s all very well done. The locations are great, the empty streets all over make it truly feel post-apocalyptic, the acting is pretty spot on, and the story constantly makes you think about all sorts of issues.
It made me think a lot about these sorts of situations in general. How would we react if we thought we were the only ones alive on earth? And furthermore, if we chose to live our full lives, what would be the best, safest route to doing so? Most of these films seem to imagine a world where buildings aren’t soon falling into the city streets, and that electricity stays on for weeks, perhaps months or longer? But, that can’t be true, right? It kept popping into my head- the electricity would turn off in fairly short order, I’d think, right? Somewhere electricity is produced and harnessed and sent out over powerlines. Someone has to keep the power stations open and working, someone has to ensure the generators keep turning, that they stay oiled, that things don’t overheat, etc. So, how long would power stay on? Our main character solves the power issue early in the film by driving around a truck-based generator. All well and good, but what about food? Surely, there are tons of junk food items and canned foods that would last for a couple years, and then you can easily garden your way to food…I kept trying to throw up roadblocks in my mind. I guess you could easily find gardening books at any book store, right?
So, you’d have food easy enough, and with generators and tons of gas stored in gas stations around the country, you’d be able to power it all well until your death and beyond…but wouldn’t nuclear power plants, no longer being taken care of, overheat and explode, throwing radiation into every part of the planet? Wouldn’t normal power plants explode too? Cities would be pretty deadly, as gas lines would eventually break and explode, skyscrapers would eventually fall over (that can’t be safe!), and all sorts of animals and disease would, no doubt, run rampant through the streets. So, it seems small towns or the country would be safest, but steer clear or places with lots of animals, I’d assume? So many questions, so many things few of us would ever know, having little expertise in a range of topics…but always a cool thought experiment. These movies are always fun in that you imagine yourself in the guy’s shoes, wondering how awesome it’d be to take over a city for a day, able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, no matter how insane. Like a real life version of Grand Theft Auto to the nth degree. It almost makes up for the fact that you’d never see another person again. Almost.
First off, I’m not the target audience. I’m 34, will soon be 35. I read RL Stine (fear street and the standalones) in Jr. high and high school religiously. I even kept reading them after school was finished. From time to time, I come back to the old classic, and I’ve picked up a few of the newer books as well (this trio of books started in 2005). I think some of them hold up well, the stories are truly written well enough for the target audience, and the suspense is there, likable characters exist to keep you interested, etc. I just reread THE CHEATER (fear street) a few months go, and I enjoyed it, there were sufficient twists, and I liked the main characters enough to care what happened to them.
This book was a bit different. First, what I did like. I liked the idea of a group of teens sneaking out at night to hang out, have the city to themselves, whatever. It’s a fun concept, something I can imagine I’d love doing if I were a senior in high school, but the execution here is pretty poor. We start off with Jamie and her boyfriend Lewis. They sneak out at night alone, spending time near the old Fear mansion on what is now a desolate Fear Street, most of the houses gone, a shopping complex is being built on the site, the Fear mansion itself will be gone too soon enough, parts of the house already torn down. An accident occurs, and we’re suddenly sent a year into the future where a new all night bar called Nights has opened, and the group of kids who hang out at night has grown, most of them meet at the bar, sometimes heading out to other places to hang as well.
We get used to Jamie and Lewis, then they are suddenly pushed to secondary status as others become central to the plot, mostly Nate who is friends with the two, a night person himself. I had trouble buying most of the dialogue between the teens. No way kids today talk like they do in the book, and I’d argue that even when I was in high school in the late 1990′s, no one really talked the way they do in this particular book. Too many embarrassingly bad lines thrown back and forth, and none of the teen stuff felt true to life, so it definitely takes you out of it, and you’re reminded you’re reading a book that might be popular, but few would argue it’s truly great writing. Stine knows his bread and butter, the elements that made him wealthy beyond imagination, and he’s sticking with it, even if it all does feel a bit outdated.
What sounds like a whodunnit sort of mystery novel turns out to be supernatural in nature. I won’t spoil much by saying that, but the supernatural element takes hold and it’s pretty much what you get through to the end, it leaves off nicely for the sequel and the third book.
Let me quickly add the whole of the Nights bar- it’s all just plain bizarre. We’re supposed to believe that a popular new bar in the new shopping complex in a city the size of Shadyside is so desolate every night of the week that the bar tender, who is often asleep at the bar, would be able to allow teens into the bar, drinking whatever they want, coming and going all hours of the night, without anyone noticing. Without the authorities saying- hey, why is this bar always filled with kids, and bar tender, how about a trip to jail? None of this is executed well, and it just seems silly, and again takes away from any realism the book might have had. Add that to the poorly done teen dialogue, and the book suffers immensely. Besides- if this whole night people group is so secret, and they fear being caught by adults, why not meet somewhere away from people, instead of smashing car windows downtown Shadyside, yelling and hollering, etc all night long?
Stine was always one of the tamer YA horror authors, never getting too serious or too grown up (you want that, you go to Christopher Pike), so he has a formula, and it’s one that has worked well for him, and he keeps it alive here. Not a great book, not a terrible book, but hopefully the rest of the series redeems some of the lesser qualities of this first entry.