20 February 2007

Scary Arcade Magic...

What the fizzle-fuck? Silent Hill: The Arcade? Ummmm...

A) Why is Konami investing in this? Unless it's strictly a Japanese product, (which deprives us U.S.ers of the joy) and perhaps the japanese market booms with the arcade situation, this is a seriously lame-ass move. I love Silenty Hill but the psychology and the ambience are what make these games great. But I'm also not willing to invest quarter after quarter into a first person shooter where I get little to no ability to explore, nor do I get to turn off my lights and play in solitude and freakiness of my own house. Standing in a crowded theater lobby shooting at patient demons isn't that frightening. Arcades can be fun, but they're the wrong format for a Silent Hill game, which takes vested interest, not $0.50 for ten minutes of random gun fest.

But then maybe they'll make it fun. They could put you on a horse, and make you run through silent hill, and you could force your horse, always "Magic Peach" regardless of what horse you'd actually like to choose, to run while you whip it. And it could gripe the whole way.

What? They already have done this? What do you mean Final Furlong is quite possibly one of the worst arcade games to every be made? How could it NOT be fun?


15 February 2007

Death to Equal Rights for Women!

My grandparents have this habit of sending me emails that are just... a little ridiculous at times. Today I got a whole slew of them, and decided to write back on this because it was so very misinformed. Angered as I was, I couldn't keep it to myself, so here's the email, and my response to it.

February 8, 2007

Urgent Alert!


The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
- John F. Kennedy

Dear Friends of the Family,

Women come in all shapes and sizes, all different backgrounds, and have all different needs. Understanding the importance of our role in society is what binds us together. We give balance to the family, the community, the nation and the world. We flourish in the home, institutions of learning, careers, and with our own personal fulfillment. These are characteristics that for generations have been cherished and respected. Today more than ever the uniqueness of women is under attack. Unfortunately, the radical feminists want us to lose our individuality and take us out of the childrearing business. The tools used to achieve this include the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women treaty (CEDAW). This treaty threatens not only our laws, policies, and culture, but our nation's sovereignty.

I ask that you act today to offset the tremendous pressure that our adversaries are putting on Congress. With the change to a Democrat majority in Congress, it is easier for our opponents to push through their agendas. And, they are at it again. The ratification of CEDAW will impose oversight and intrusive policies from an appointed United Nations committee with a radical agenda. Our voices must be heard now.

Call to Action

Sign on to our petition opposing the ratification of the CEDAW treaty. UFI will deliver the signed petitions to the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before a vote occurs. Your voice will be heard through this petition.

Brief Background & Reference Guide

CEDAW is the International Version of Equal Rights for Women
The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (or CEDAW as it is better known) has a history worth noting. In the 1970s and 80s the federal equal right̢۪s amendment was sent by the U.S. Senate to all 50 states for ratification. It fell three states short of passage. Since that time, the radical feminist movement infiltrated the United Nations working groups on CEDAW.

Radical Feminists are Behind CEDAW
According to the National Organization for Women (NOW), a campaign is underway to have local, state, and federal governments adopt resolutions in support of its ratification. More than a dozen states have passed resolutions in support of CEDAW, along with nearly two dozen counties and almost 50 cities. NOW called for ratification of the convention in its action agenda for the 110th U.S. Congress.

CEDAW is a Treaty and Treaties are Law
The Constitution of the United States clearly states the importance of treaties. In Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution, treaties are "supreme Law of the Land." The founding fathers firmly believed that treaties should be upheld as constitutional.

With CEDAW comes International Oversight
Countries that ratify CEDAW are required to report to the oversight committee immediately and then every four years on how they are implementing the treaty and the demands of the committee. Currently, China and Cuba are members of the CEDAW committee. Only countries that have ratified CEDAW may apply to be members of the committee. These members are given power and authority over treaty countries with no appeal process. Following are some examples of the UN CEDAW demands:

Governments have been directed to legalize prostitution in direct conflict with language in CEDAW that opposed prostitution.
37 pro-life governments have been instructed to change their laws on abortion even though abortion is not part of CEDAW.
Poland was just questioned on its stance on abortion because of its pro-life government.
Ireland was criticized for allowing the Catholic Church too strong a voice on public policy.
Libya was directed to reinterpret the Koran to fall within committee guidelines.
Out of Control Courts
Justice Kennedy referenced international law when he delivered the court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas (2004) which ruled on homosexual marriage. International law or treaties are starting to creep into state and federal case law. We believe the United States is a sovereign nation and should stay that way.


Dear Friends and Upholders of Family Values

I read that email on how CEDAW is going to destroy america, family, women's place in the home and so on... but I'm failing to see what evil plan CEDAW has up their sleeves, especially since the email is EXTREMELY vague. So some feminists are trying to push a pro-abortion stance in the international community. How is this different from what feminist groups in the U.S. are doing?

How, exactly, is America's constitution in danger? Isn't the U.S., as a melting pot of cultures and people as the email expresses, supposed to be about an equal stance for all? Besides, when was the last time the United States listened to the United Nations anyway? We're a major player amongst the world's nations and one who pretty much ignores what everyone else has to say. Iraq anyone? WMD's anyone? We have a history of not listening to the UN unless it suits our agenda, and since the U.S. is slow on the uptake in equalizing the rights of people who aren't straight white males, I'm not sure you have anything to worry about.

Please explain to me how these crazy liberal lefties are taking away the "childrearing business" from women today? What is this, "Sarah, Plain and Tall?" Newsflash: women already have the choice as to whether or not they will remain in the home to raise children. Many, in fact, choose careers instead these days. Its not that unusual, nor is it the fault of some random group like CEDAW. If anything, this email is promoting an inequality based on gender in its assertion that women's place is in the home and it should be celebrated; those who choose different clearly are immoral agents some dark international force. I, for one, cannot understand how this purports to be in favor of women, "who come in all shapes and sizes, all different backgrounds, and have all different needs" by keeping them subjugated under a unilateral standard. That makes so little sense as to be ludicrous.

Furthermore, have any of you bothered to read what the convention has to say, at all? It's easy enough to pass around emails that spout some skewed drivel that demands the american people's attention. But the american people ought to be an informed people too. Try reading what they have to say, what the purpose of this convention is, and then make a decision about these things. (Granted, the convention has been infiltrated by radical feminists, in fact I believe that's on the resume of several of the committee's members...)


Take a quick second to discover that the United States is "not a party to CEDAW convention." No, we don't participate as of yet, and thus we aren't discussed. Countries involved (countries who radified the convention) are reviewed every four years and given provisions to make strides towards equality for women. This does not replace or revoke the sovereignty or the constitution of the United States. is no different than anything else the UN does, in terms of sanctions or convention rulings for countries. This history of the ratification of CEDAW was proposed by Jimmy Carter, but shot down and wasn't supported by Reagan or Bush administrations. The Clinton Administration tried to ratify it again, but with proposed conditions, one of which stated that: the U.S. "would have a 'non-self-executing' provision, which proposed that no new laws would be created as a result of Convention ratification; and a 'dispute settlement' provision, which stated that the United States was not bound by Convention Article 29(1) which refers unresolved disputes to the International Court of Justice."
Essentially, U.S. laws would not be changed by joining the convention, and there would be no way for the convention to take actions against it if it didn't implement any of the provisions suggested. The current adminstration supports the goal of CEDAW but has some concerns similar to those of the previous.

Frankly I'm just not impressed. Perhaps my favorite part is that the United Families International ("securing the Family since 1978 - whatever did we do before that?) begins their message with a quote from John F. Kennedy, a democrat. It then goes on to say that with democrats holding the house and senate, we're could be in some serious trouble. The greatest irony is what the quote says. Essentially this is just somebody getting worked up over statement or two that they decide to make a crusade out of it. It's fairly unrealistic. Oh, and tossing in a case about homosexual marriage? Controversial it may be, but relatively unrelated.

In the future I suggest you all do what this great country has allowed us to do: think and make decisions for ourselves. Too many people in this country are lazy when it comes to political standings. We let others tell us what to think, incorporate unrelated information cloud our judgement (is this god's chosen canidate? really?) or allow ourselves to buy into opinions without understanding the issues. Read, research and decide for yourselves. This is all I ask.


13 February 2007

Manque Mannequins: Art. Life. Whatever.

I haven't blogged in a while, and I think there comes a time in every man's life when he needs to sit down, on February 13th, 2007 and write a blog. Today is that day for me.

But its gonna be a short one since I'm tired.


Creative catalyst.

Stimulating in oh-so-many ways.

Yes, these are all terms I've heard... well technically not heard, but imagine I could've heard referring to male mannequins. You see, I was writing a post for a friend, and felt, as many do, constrained to leave a creepy picture of a mannequin. And believe me folks, there are plenty out there.


But as I was searching, I started to realize something. A mannequin is used (usually) as a human shaped clothing rack, to desplay the latest fashions, in sizes that are unreachable to most real humans.

I should know, I used to work at Banana Republic. We used to just have body foms, but those days passed and the Gap Inc. decided to boldly embrace new, exciting advances in mannequinn technology and began shipping us the new display dolls.
I remember the day well.

"What is it?" I asked.

"I think it's part of a leg. That's the knee, see?" my general manager assured me. As the visuals manager, I had know these were coming and it would be within my duties to assemble them. Mistakenly, I had assumed they'd be shipped with their pieces in one box. It is an occupational hazard to ever make assumptions about logical proceedings from corporate.

"Why is the knee skewed to the side?" My curiousity couldn't be restrained.

The pasty white thing she held in her hands was strangely curved on both sides and if it was a knee cap, this person needed serious medical attention. Overlooking the fact that it was chopped into multiple pieces over course. Trying to visualize what the mannequin would look like assembled, this leg would indicate he was crouching, ready to spring.

The GM looked at it, shifting it around. "I don't know. It'll be hard to dress in that position." She stared, then cupped her hand around it's knee. "It's such an odd shape."

Just then another member of management, the delightfully gay Rob, walked through the doorway. "Hey, Christina, where is the rec..." trailing off, he saw the two of us gawking awkwardly at the fiberglass piece. "Lonely?" he asked.

"What?" the two of us asked simultaneously.

"Well," he continued, "I just assumed I since you're in the back room fondling a mannequin's package."

Ah. Of course. That strange shape which in no way resembled a man's crotch was in fact his junk. If you turned it the right way... Yes, that was definitely an ass, now that you look at it. Well, sort of an ass.

That night we set up all the mannequins, and discovered that with their semi-poseable arms, amazingly dirty scenes could be reinacted with these gents. Oddly enough the anatomically incorrect bulges stuck out further than anything else on their frontal side. An ego trip, I suppose. The female forms appeal to women by being sizes that twiggy would find evnvious, while the male ones sport supposed cock and balls easily seen through any of the layers of clothing put on it. Clever.

So as I searched today through the multitude of pictures of these dolls, I noticed how disturbing their semi-life-likeness was. They aren't human, and in many cases are strangely stylized to not even appear human. And yet, as certain horror genres have explored, if you found one chilling in a dark alley, there's a strange unease about it.


And then there's the artistic aspect. Since art imitates life, or whatever it does, why not bring mannequins into the fold? What are they except imitations of life? One can find an abundance of pictures, paintings, films, etc. where the mannequin is used as an expression. In one gallery, it's not enough to have the mannequin, he must be modified to be as close to human as possible. I.e. have a lil' somin' below the belt.

So what is our fascination with mannequins? If you're in business, you use them to sell. If not, then they're just strangely disturbing representations of things we can't achieve, a cruel and mocking image of what we wish we might be, and certainly a reflection of the imitations of life.

Perhaps what is so frightening about them to me is that there are real people out there who are just as empty, plastic and pretty. Mannequins built to look like people, and people who strive to look like mannequins. Who is really imitating whom? Those built to imitate, or those imitating them?

How circular.

If you're interested in purchasing mannequins, for artistic purposes or otherwise, visit:
Mannequin Maddness
Particularly check out Dennis the Menace, and the "Hip Hop Mannequins" under their male mannequins section.

08 February 2007

Robbie meets Freud.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things I've read in many a moon. Fascinating stuff. Who said video games have no merit? Oh that's right, Roger Ebert.

Saving Ourselves