Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The history of the Hulkbuster armor

If you've seen The Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer, you may have noticed what looks like Iron Man putting on a gigantic exosuit to fight Hulk. Comicvine.com has put together a history of the suit from comics to movies. Here's the article. Quoting from the piece, the "Hulkbuster was a specific variant of the Iron Man Armor designed to combat the Hulk." It begs the question, "Does Tony Stark turn evil or does he Hulk go bad in the upcoming movie?" We'll find out when the movie comes out. Meanwhile, check out the teaser trailer below.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Lizard Squad humiliates Microsoft

You may have tried to play that video game you got for Christmas and was not able to connect online. Well, don't blame your router. Business Insider is reporting that the hacker group, Lizard Squad, has taken down XBOX Live and the Playstation Network. I had trouble last night with XBOX Live, However, both networks may be back today, Christmas day.

First, let me admit I was wrong when I wrote that Lizard Squad would get crushed by Microsoft, the owner of XBOX Live. Lizard Squad threatened XBOX Live that they would bring down the network on Christmas Day and it looks like they did. I will assume that Microsoft knew of the prior attack and threat. Because if it didn't then some lawyer has a class action lawsuit on his hands. But I digress. I am going to surmise that Microsoft had some countermeasure in place. And yet a group of hacker trolls defeated and humiliated the most powerful software company in the world.

But what does this mean in a larger sense? In light of the Sony hacking, and now the antics of Lizard Squad, should we fear? Yesterday, it's a major media company. Today, it's a video game network. Tomorrow, perhaps it's a banking network. And are our government networks safe? Until the United States brings Lizard Squad and other hackers to justice, no one can be sure.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Interstellar review

There's been a tendency in popular entertainment to not explain things in story telling. Look at the TV series Lost, or the video game Destiny. While screenwriters are taught to show not tell, there are times that one must have some exposition or else the audience will spend most of their time trying to figure out what is going on rather than getting the major message of the story. This lack of exposition affects writer-director Christopher Nolan's film, Interstellar.

Interstellar takes place in a dystopian future where mankind is struggling to survive due to large dust storms. And if you want to know what is causing this environmental disaster, well you can forget about it. Writers Christopher and Jonathan Nolan aren't going to tell you. Widower Cooper (Mathew McConaughey) is a farmer and former astronaut struggling to raise corn and his family. His daughter Murphy starts to get strange coded messages from her bedroom which she says are ghosts. One of the messages are coordinates to a nearby secret NASA base.

Cooper and Murphy drive to the base. They are arrested and brought before Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his daughter Amelia. (Anne Hathaway) Professor Brand tells them that NASA knows the world is dying but they have discovered a wormhole created by some intelligent beings. Deducing that the aliens put the wormhole to save man, NASA sends three astronauts separately through it. NASA is getting signals from them and that they have landed on three planets surrounding a black hole. Brand enlists Cooper to join his daughter to find the astronauts and explore the worlds to see which ones would support mankind in their exodus from earth. Failing that, there's another plan where the scientists would start humanity all over with fertilized eggs.

To enjoy Interstellar, you're going to have to accept its plot devices on faith. For some reason, Nolan decides not to tell you what is causing earth's drought. While the logical culprit is global warming, I wonder if the writers wanted to avoid the cause for political reasons. Can't piss off the Kock brothers, can we? Then there is the physics involved in the movie. Cooper and Amelia go to one of the planets and according to them they will age at a significantly slower rate than the rest of earth due to the black hole. I'm talking hours for years. It's gut wrenching to see Cooper get videos from his children now grown up when he's only been on the planet's surface for a few hours. There are additional twists such as Amelia's relationship with one of the lost astronauts that causes the film to feel disjointed. Without exposition, the plot twists make the story telling artificial, i.e. it's melodramatic for no reason.

While watching Interstellar, I spent too much time trying to figure out one, what was going on with the earth. And then trying to figure out the time issues regarding the physics. This could have been problematic if Interstellar wasn't so well made. The stakes to humanity are so severe that it kept the drama moving. The screenplay is intelligent and relies on serious science. Once Cooper and Brand land on an alien world, I was captivated as to what they would find. The film kept me glued to the seat with intrigue. There are some nice nods to other science fiction movies specifically 2001: A Space Odyssey. When you see the rectangular shape of TARS, the robot in the movie, one can't help think of HAL from 2001 and the alien monolith. I did feel the design of TARS was a little impractical but maybe the nod to 2001 was the point.

As for the acting, you can't go wrong with this cast. McConaughey loves his daughter and there's pain when he leaves her. Caine and Hathaway's scientists are brainy, and sincere. Jessica Chastain plays a grown up Murphy. She's wonderful as the hurt daughter who's dedicated finding a solution to earth's problems with Brand.

Interstellar continues the pattern of Christopher Nolan's filmmaking. He doesn't dumb down anything for the masses. Despite its flaws, the film is thought provoking and exciting. The grade is A.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

You stink Lizard Squad

It looks like for the second time this month, the hacker group Lizard Squad has hit XBOX Live. If you've been trying to play XBOX Live this morning and last night, you've probably been thrown out of the service and been unable to connect. Well, it's not your Internet connection. According to Neowin, it's the hacker group Lizard Squad. And they did it when the 2014 Game Awards was set to air. How's that for strategic planning?

It gets worse my fellow XBOX players. XBOX Live will go offline then come back online. Then after a few hours, it seems Lizard Squad attacks again. They've threatened more sabotage this weekend with a tweet that reads, "This will be an entertaining weekend."

This is one of the problems of the Internet. You get trolls and you get these guys, the hackers. Ha, ha. (sarcastically) Lizard Squad you got us. But you want know something my reptilian friends? I don't need XBOX to have a good weekend. I can go to a movie, or go out to the pub or watch football. But you will eventually be caught. That's because you're messing with Microsoft. These are the guys who run the PC world. It ain't Sony. You're interfering with the company's ability to make money through financial transactions not just players gaming with each other. They will crush you. Enjoy eating that prison food. And by the way, you guys are using Twitter to brag about your exploits. You really don't think they can't track you, do you? Who's the idiot now?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Destiny XBOX 360 review

Destiny, the video game, has been out for more than a couple weeks now. The game developed by Bungie, the guys behind Halo, is one of the most hyped games in years due to its pedigree and new manner of playing it. It's new to a degree since it's an online first person shooter that has RPG and MMOG elements. Certainly, this form of gaming is not trail blazing for the XBOX, as Defiance (2013) came out first. Bungie didn't want day one reviews because they claim the game must have thousand of players for it to gestate. I've played the game through campaign mode and multiplayer. Time for this blog's review. So , the question is does Destiny live up to the hype or at least live up to the aspirations of the kick ass live action commercial for it? (Embedded below.)

"Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me." Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) in Young Frankenstein (1974)

The prologue to Destiny starts with the introduction of the Traveler, a big spherical living being, at least I think it's alive that comes to earth. It's benevolent and helps man to achieve a new Golden Age where man is able to colonize the planets of the solar system. But hundreds of years later after the Traveler's arrival comes the pursuing Darkness . Okay you know with a name like that you can guess it's evil. What else are they going to call it? The Pinkness? But I digress. The forces of the Darkness causes a collapse of human society. You wake up in a ruined Russia by your Ghost (Peter Dinklage) who is kind of a cross between Guilty Spark from Halo and Bit of the Tron film. It's a good performance by Dinklage as he must be part machine and sentient life form. He informs you that you are a Guardian with a smart ass raccoon as your only friend. Um... okay that's Guardians of the Galaxy. Anyway, this leads to you exploring the planets and blasting bad guys.

That premise would be great assuming Destiny will enlighten us with exposition. But that's one of the major problems of this game. There's no explanation of anything. You just take the word of your Ghost or Guardian "supervisors" that certain aliens are bad and they need to be blasted. I didn't care about my character other than the fact I got to create his face which by the way is always a cool feature. But I also didn't care the other people in this half baked story. I can't even remember the other characters in this story. Mass Effect, this is not.

And here's another thing that bothers me about the story. It's supposed to be science fiction. But you got plants and buildings on Venus. Really? In real life, Venus is a hellish place. Temperatures there reach 788 degrees F. The atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur dioxide. Yeah, I get the concept of terraforming but Destiny's story doesn't tell you about that. So, how about a little science in the science fiction?

You will be treated to some gorgeous graphics. And I'm talking about the XBOX 360 version of Destiny. Yeah, the XBOX One version has more detail but you really won't notice the difference. I mean you spend most of your time killing aliens. Regardess, the colors of the planets are rich. There's much detail for them whether it's the rocks, plants or pools of liquid found on Venus. I felt like I was on alien worlds. Human and alien structures are all interesting though some of the buildings are repetitive since they're almost all ruins. Yet, they are rendered so well they beg you to explore them. You will love the look of your character and his or her costume. Helmets are kind of goofy though. How does a Warlock see through his helmet without eye sockets?

Interesting sound is what you would expect from a science fiction shooter. Weapons make futuristic sounds. Enemies sound quite foreign. But what I love about the sound is the soundtrack by Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori. If you remember Halo's distinct themes you get more of the same. Destiny's music is lush, mysterious, heroic and dramatic. It adds to the conflict.

The future of video games?

The first thing about Destiny's gameplay that grabs you is the gun mechanics. This is certainly where Bungie has learned quite a bit from its Halo games. Firing a weapon is a joy whether you are aiming or free firing. Aim. Put your bullets on target. Melee is fun too. Finally a melee attack that instantly kills lower level enemies or ones that have very little health left.

But maybe Bungie should have just stuck with guns. Because Destiny introduces superpowers kind of like Mass Effect but with much less success. First you can upgrade the superpowers but since they don't explain to you how to do that, you're stuck having to research this. And the superpowers kind of stink. They regenerate every four or so minutes. And unlike Destiny's glossy ad below they are not so powerful that they wipe out a boss with one blow. You've got to degrade an enemy boss to a sliver of armor for one power, one kill. Then there's the armor. It's confusing since each piece has stats for regenerating grenades, superpowers or melee powers. And there other things or items that improve your lot in life but since nobody explains this stuff, you're just going to be confused on what they mean. Spinmetal? Hadronic Essence?

What about the missions? Extremely repetitive. Most of the time you are guarding your Ghost as he hacks something and you get attacked by bad guys. Then there are the boss missions. Kill alien boss while he spawns minions to harass you. Speaking of spawning, aliens will spawn in areas you have cleared. Kind of discourages going back to explore areas. Okay, there is fun as you and your buddies take on missions. The questions is how long will this fun keep your interest in the future.

The Social Network

Destiny is supposed to be a social game. But everybody is not talking at me and I can't hear a word they're saying. I mean you see random players and nobody talks or maybe they can't talk? For example, the Tower is an area where players upgrade weapons, get bounties, equipment etc. I've tried to talk but get the silence of outer space. I get more social interaction from the mean streets of Grand Theft Auto V. And speaking of the Tower, there's nothing to do there. You can dance outside but who cares. Meeting some interesting NPC (non-player character) or even have a mini-game would be welcome. Since you can dance how about a dance game?

The multi-player aspect of Destiny comes in two flavors. Co-op or player versus player. Going against other players is enjoyable since your weapons fire as well as they did in the campaign. In other words you have a chance here. Finding your opponents on the map can be difficult. And chances are you're going to get whacked and humiliated by an eleven year old. Co-op is great since your buddies can help you with a difficult boss. And trust me, you don't want to play missions on the Hard Diffculty setting by yourself. You will end up taking two hours to bring down a boss.

Being a game that must exist online creates a new set of problems. If you have trouble with your home network, or Internet connection, you're screwed. And this happens to everyone in online gaming. You're about ready to take down that alien boss when you lag out or get disconnected. That's already occurred to me while playing Destiny. Doh!

Hype and Glory.

You've heard me compare Destiny to Mass Effect specifically I should say Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 3 gets it right. The online multi-player works with the single player campaign. From a plot aspect, Mass Effect 3's online gaming is consistent as you join forces to fight the aliens threatening the galaxy. That being said you can play the campaign without going online. And one more thing. Mass Effect's story is rich, smart and emotional. I cared about the NPC characters in the game.

A great video game should have two components. A rich single player game which does not require online access. And a fun multi-player that is online and can also be done as a network. Bungie did well with Halo 3. And as I have pointed out, Mass Effect 3 works perfectly. I think the video games that will stand the test of time and be successful will be like Halo 3, Mass Effect 3 and Grand Theft Auto V.

Destiny does not live up to the hype. It's an uninteresting but well made first person shooter. To really enjoy it, you will have to put in more effort to get into it than a great video game. The grade is B.

Too bad Destiny is not as cool as its live action trailer.

Monday, September 15, 2014

John Oliver explains Scottish independence for you and begs for Scotland to stay with England

It's going to take an Englishman to explain Scottish independence to us Americans. So luckily for us, John Oliver of Last Week Tonight is here to do it. Very funny stuff. I especially like the joke about Mel Gibson. Courtesy of HBO.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

John Oliver on the Ferguson riots and police militarization

Here's John Oliver from HBO's Last Week Tonight with a segment on the Ferguson riots and police militarization. Funny stuff for a tragic situation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wolfenstein: The New Order Tips for Chapter 6, London Nautica on the Uber difficulty setting

Today, we discuss the hardest parts of Wolfenstein: The New Order, Chapter 6, "London Nautica." The difficulty setting is the hardest, i.e. "Uber." First, review my general tips for Uber. Second, let me say both "London Nautica chapters, Six and Fourteen are some of the hardest levels in the game.

1. Main Hall

Once Bobby, destroys the front of the building, make your way to the opening of the London Nautica. Before you get there, you get attacked by a guard robot. Throw a Tesla grenade at its feet. While it is shocked go around the back and shoot it, aiming for the circular vent or area below its neck. One dead robot. Now loot its metal for armor and look for ammo scattered about. You're about to go into the Main Hall.

Go into the Main Hall. A door opens and a heavy robot with soldiers attack you. Run to your immediate left. Go through the vestibule and enter a room full of ammo. Stand behind the glass door to the closet of ammo. From here, you are going to kill the ten to fifteen soldiers who will try to rush you position. Remember, "patience." They throw grenades at you but if hug the door, you will take little damage. In the meantime, kill soldiers dumb enough to run into the closet. You will also see soldiers on the stairway across from the room. Take them out. Once it's quiet, get ready to run.

Run out of the closet, back into the hallway. The heavy robot is still there, but we'll deal with that later. Run and I mean run up the stairs to your left. A door opens and a soldier manning a gun turret opens fire. Kill him and take over the turret. Okay, here comes he second wave. Kill them with the turret. If you have to, fall back into the door behind you and run into the cafeteria, looking for cover from the kitchen area or salad bar. Wipe out this second wave.

Now all that's left is the heavy robot. You now have the advantage. You have the higher ground as you are upstairs. Remove the turret. Shoot the robot from the safe distance of the cafeteria. Now loot the whole area. Move on. Eventually you will encounter the last part of this Chapter, the hangar.

2. The Hangar

Before you crawl in the duct that leads to the chopper hangar, get all the armor from the lab and one opposite from duct. Okay, now arm you pistol with the silencer and drop down into the hangar. Immediately crouch behind the cover of the railing. There are platforms with the choppers. On one in front of you is a soldier. To the right is a commander. And on the same, platform you are on is another soldier. He's actually the closest to you. Oh yeah, there are two guard robots here. One on a platform and another on the floor.

Take your silenced pistol. Stay crouched. Move the targeting reticle over the soldier on the platform across from you. Free firing causes the reticle to turn red. Shoot. Now look to your right. Target the commander. You can take out the soldier the closest to you first. Anyway, take down the first commander with your pistol. Then kill the soldier next to you with the pistol or a take down. There's one more commander. He's to the far right in front of the control room. Shoot him with the silenced pistol. If done correctly, you've killed the first wave by stealth.

The rest of the way cannot be done by stealth. Drop down. Throw a Tesla grenade at the feet of the guard robot. Quickly, shoot the circle on vent on the back with an assault rifle or shotgun. One dead robot. Now take cover beneath the platforms from the other robot. It's too stupid to jump down. Move between platforms to get a good shoot at the circular vent from the back. A few shots from a sniper or assault rifle and it's over for this robot.

Now comes the second wave of soldiers. I think it's about ten to fifteen. Run to a control room. I use the one where we took down the second commander. Run to the far right of the room and crouch. They can't shoot you from the floor and the soldiers must rush into the room. Kill them as they enter with a shotgun. After you've killed about five to seven of them, you can peek out of the windows of the control room and snipe the rest.

After you've taken down the soldiers a big heavy guard robot busts out of a door across the way. The Laserkraftwerk (LKW) is the key to victory here. Run to center platform. Don't worry the heavy robot is confused by you running somewhat close to it. This platform has two chargers for your LKW. Alternate between the two while using the platform for cover. Give that robot a dose of fully charged shots. Boom, down it goes.

The hanger section is actually easier than it looks. Just be patient.

The Expendables 3 review

The Expendables 3 starts out with Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone in drag going across the country to compete in the "Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant." Um... that's the plot of "To Wong Foo!... Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar." (1995) Okay, this movie starts with the Expendables in a helicopter trying to free Doctor Death (Wesley Snipes) from a prison train. They are successful only to have Doc run amuck and take over the train. He then rams the train into a prison to kill a tyrant. Now how did he know the target would be behind the wall at that time? Thus begs the question, "Can a movie that starts out dumb, turn out to be good?"

Well, it gets even dumber. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), team leader and his Expendables have a job to stop an arms deal done by a drunk, racist pig... um sorry I'm describing Mel Gibson. But wait he is in this movie. Their job is to stop an arms dealer who is played by a drunk, racist pig that being Gibson. The twist is that he's Conrad Stonebanks, a former Expendable who turned bad. Did I say it got dumber? Okay. They take Doc on the mission immediately AFTER they break him out. You got it. No training. No shrinks for being locked up all those years. Nothing.

Anyway, the mission goes bad. And it takes Indiana Jones to retrieve The Ark of the Covenant from the Nazis. Er... Sorry fo that. CIA handler Drummer who's played by Harrison Ford now wants Stonebanks captured. Ross is worried his team is getting too old... ha, ha. He recruits a younger team. (Victor Ortiz, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell) If you can't figure the rest of the plot from the trailer then you haven't seen many modern action movies.

Usually, I discuss the acting performances for a movie. But what's the point? There are so many old guys from the eighties along with the new kids, it all played like a party in a bar that you were not invited to. That can mean this movie is going to stink. Okay, I will say Antonio Banderas as over the hill assassin, Galgo, was a lot of fun. The man moves with such grace. And his earnest desire to join the team seems to be a metaphor about Hollywood dumping actors for younger people. What can I say about Stallone? He comes off as a meathead. Whereas Harrison Ford adds some elderly dignity to the CIA handler. With all due respect, because I'm not a young whipper snapper, Ford should be done playing Indiana Jones. Of course, this wouldn't be a an Expendables movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger firing a big gun and saying some catch phrase from one of his movies.

The screenplay by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt and Stallone makes more sense than the second movie. I mean in Expendables 2, you had Chuck Norris appear out of nowhere. But there are some problems. The aforementioned opening scenes and when Ross gets his young team together, there's no training montage. I mean these kids went into the mission cold. That being said, thankfully Ross listens to youthful wisdom and uses the high tech way to capture Stonebanks. So the last two thirds of the movie makes some sense. Okay, I'm still wondering how the Expendables prop driven airplane evades another country's radar.

Director Patrick Hughes is competent. There are some nice tracking shots but he suffers from the same cinematic disease that has been inflicted on modern film. There is way, way too much fast cutting. (Edits of a scene so it lasts no more than three seconds.) Too often it's used to show action. But in this movie, it only adds to the confusion. A good fight scene is like a dance. We must see the bodies in action and I mean the full bodies. The same thing with a war scene. If you're going to use that much fast cutting then it's got to have logical flow. The Expendables 3 was cut like it was made for people with ADHD. Yet, with all the confusion, the story was correctly told and it was an interesting and fun tale. Finally Brian Tyler's score was very good with a nice heroic theme.

The Expendables 3 is time wasting fun. It's not going to win any Oscars. And it's better than the last one. But that's like saying a deep fried twinkie is better than a normal twinkie. The grade is B.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Boyhood review

There are two summer movies that are impossible to dislike. One is Guardians of the Galaxy. The other is Boyhood.

Boyhood is a film about the juvenile life of Mason Evans Jr. (Mason) and his growth to adulthood. The remarkable thing about his movie is that Moses is played by one actor, Ellar Coltrane starting at six, and filmed for twelve years to capture his growth. We meet Mason as a young child living with his single mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and his sister, Samantha. (Lorelei Linklater, the director's daughter) Olivia is divorced from Mason Evans Sr. (Ethan Hawke) who gets the kids on visitation. The kids clearly adore him for his fun loving ways. But he's not a responsible adult. The movie is comprised of moments of Mason's life. Playing video games. Spending time with his separated father. Fighting with his sister. Seeing his mother having bad relationships with abusive husbands. Becoming a rebellious teen. Drinking. Falling in love.

I say that the film is remarkable because writer and director Richard Linklater has managed to capture a fictional life that echoes the human experience. He was able to get four actors to play a part for twelve years of on and off filming which enhances the realism. All the conflicts, drama, comedy ring true. Linklater is not interested in giant dramatic tragedy because that usually doesn't happen to most people. But he's more into the problems of everyday people. And at the same time, he makes this family likable, and I should say lovable. You can't help but root for Mason. His mother and father are far from perfect but do an admirable job of raising a good kid. Yeah, Mason is probably not going to become President but I do trust in the end that he's going to be a good person. Yet, all of this is done without the camera gymnastics that have polluted modern film.

Ellar Coltrane's performance is spectacular. As a child, he gets the idea of who his character is. When a stepfather makes him cut his long hair, we see the dismay in his face. Of course, director Linklater deserves some credit here. He gets the same from his own daughter, Lorelei. Yes, we see the brother-sister rivalry that one sees in most families. There's also growth for the adults. Ethan Hawke's father is a affable guy who really has very little idea of being responsible in life. Yet, his love for the children that will shape them. Patricia Arquette's Olivia, is a person that we all have met. She's a struggling single mother who meets the wrong guys constantly. Yet Arquette is strong for her children, no matter what obtacles life throws in her way.

There are small problems with this film. Many times when you have the writer and director being the same person, you can have either a cinematic disaster or a good movie. Boyhood falls into the latter category. Linklater probably had so much footage and wanted to show the emotional and physical growth of Mason that he left too much of it in the final cut. There were scenes that didn't help the dramatic narrative. For example, there's a scene where a pre-teen Mason is walking with a girl. The conversation didn't do anything for the movie. At 164 minutes, this film should have been cut by thirty minutes. Boyhood is also aloof at times. In one scene, Olivia is crying over an impending empty nest. Mason doesn't do much to comfort her. He just seems clueless. Linklater should have given closure here with reassurance from Mason because we know that he loves her. Still, none of this hurts this movie that much.

Every summer, the theaters are full of cinematic bombast. Much of it is numbing on one's senses. Boyhood comes in like a sweep of fresh air. It's a graceful, lovely slice of life. The grade is B Plus.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wolfenstein: The New Order Chapter 4 Uber Tips for Eisenwald Prison

Here are some tips for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Chapter 4 "Eisenwald Prison" on the Uber difficulty setting. Again as in past Uber tips, I will go only over the hardest parts. If you haven't reviewed my general Uber tips, check them out here.

The hardest parts in Chapter 4 are at the end. You and Fergus or Wyatt escape the cell block and pry a door open. You should kill the prone Nazi trying to kill you. Then take out the dog. Look to your left. Carefully kill soldiers on the plaza. Make your way up to the plaza. Once this first group of soldiers are dead, a fire trooper or shotgun trooper appears from the turret across the way. Take cover. If possible let him climb the steps as you take cover from the corner. Now, let him have it with heavy weaponry either a grenade, shotgun or your RPG feature of the assault rifle. Once he's down, watch out. Two soldiers come from an open door. Kill them. Now carefully go into the building from which they came to get more armor. AS you enter, to your immediate right is another fire trooper. I use my RPG. Down he goes.

Loot the building and go down to where Fergus is. He opens the last set of doors. You will face a control room protected by steel bars. Go to the left. Mow down soldiers. Now go to the control room and flank the others. Once everyone here is dead, loot the control room. Leave the area. Before you get to the stairs, arm your shotgun and whack the soldier that comes down the stairs.

Go up the stairs. Now you come to a hallway. Don't rush in. It's full of soldiers and a fire trooper. Arm your assault rifle and switch to RPG mode. Use it to kill the fire trooper. If you have to, move back to cover to the wall before the hallway. Clear the rest of the Nazis and be careful when you enter the hallway. Arm your shotgun. Two more soldiers jump you. Kill them. Now go right down the hallway. You get attacked by a kampfhund. Kill it. There's a soldier who pops out straight ahead and one comes down the stairs. Kill these guys.

Now go up the stairs to your left. Enter an office area. This leads you down to a room where if you go to far, a door will open. Do not run through the door. There's a fire trooper here. From an angle, throw a couple of grenades and use your RPG or shotgun. Kill him. Go through the door and outside. Take cover behind the metal fence. There are two more soldiers below. Feed them a lead lunch. Chapter over.

Goodbye Lauren Bacall

Yesterday, actress Lauren Bacall passed away. She was sultry, smart, sophisticated and sexy. She captured actor Humphrey Bogart's heart and they were happily married until he died in 1957. It was a legendary romance. But she was more than Boogie's wife, she had a social conscience. She used her celebrity power to fight McCarthyism. Goodbye Lauren, we'll miss you.

From To Have and Have Not. (1944)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Conservative Fox News: Michele Obama is fat

I give conservatives a hard time and for good reason. They often ignore facts to argue for a position. Usually it's the same old song and dance. Liberals are evil. So it comes as no surprise that Fox News medical expert Dr. Keith Ablow would pull something out of his a... ss. During a discussion about health eating for children, here's what he had to say about First Lady, Michele Obama.

"She needs to drop a few."

From The Huffington Post.

Maybe I should say some conservatives are blind. Because if she's fat then I'm Jackie Mason.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Chapter 3 Uber Tips

We continue my series of tips for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Chapter 3 "A New World" on the Uber difficulty setting. If you haven't read my general tips for the Uber setting, here they are. This chapter requires you to clear out a section of Nazis so that the grandfolks can drive the car with Anya in the trunk. At the end, you will face two guard robots. Okay, first do your best to complete this with stealth. You can't avoid the robots quietly at the end though. Second, before you get to the car again and spawn the robots, collect all ammo, health AND especially Tesla grenades. Find these in the barracks and the gun turret building on the right. Burn through the metal opening with a dismounted gun turret. The metal portal is covered by a wooden crate. Inside you will find more grenades.

Okay, get back to the car and ride the side. This will cause a cutscene in which the guard robots bust out of two transport trucks. KNOW YOU ENEMY. Hitting a guard robot with a Tesla grenade will shock it and cause it to freeze. So, hit the first robot, closest to you with a grenade. Now run to the back of it. Near the top of the back is circle. Shoot at it with your assault rifle. The guard robot is now fatally wounded where it overloads. BOOM. Now run to cover and hit the second robot with a Tesla grenade. Same thing. Shoot the circle. BOOM. It's over in less than five minutes. Now get back to the grandfolks. They'll take you to the train station. You will get to ride the train to Berlin and um... celebrate Christmas with Anya.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

Today, Robin Williams passed away. (Huffington Post story) He was a great comedian, actor and humanitarian. His wife, Susan Schneider asked us to focus on the joy and laughter he brought us. So, here are couple of clips of Willams in action. Oh, by the way he was a video game fan.

From Disney's Aladdin. (1992)

Robin Willaims was also very funny as a guest on talk shows. I love it when he has fun with politics. Here's an appearance on Bill Maher's Real Time with then Senator Joe Biden before he was Vice President. Check out how he cracks up Biden when riffing on Bush having a gay male prostitute in the press room.

CNN matters again...

CNN's Ivan Watson was on an Iraqi army helicopter that was dropping supplies to trapped Yazidi people. It's an incredible video as desperate people struggle to get on the helicopter. This is why CNN for all the garbage it gets from competitors and Jon Stewart, shows why it matters. There's a picture of a young girl, crying. You can see the worry and sadness in her face. This is the face of the suffering that ISIS or ISIL is inflicting on innocent people. ISIS is killing, stealing and kidnapping people. Here's the story with the heartbreaking video.

Thank you CNN for showing the world the evil of ISIS.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Uber tips for Chapter 2, Asylum

This is first in my series of tips for the hardest parts of Wolfenstein: The New Order on the Uber difficulty setting. First, check out my general tips for this game on the Uber setting.

Today, we look at the end of Chapter 2: Asylum. The hardest part of this is the end. It starts when you're in the office and push the button to open the asylum's entrance to the outside. You get attacked by about ten soldiers. Stay in cover and take them out. When they're all dead, pick up all of the ammunition left on the ground. Then pick up any health and armor. There's a helmet in one of the rooms on this floor. This might mean you are going outside overcharged on health. That's okay.

Before you open the door to the the courtyard, arm your assault rifle and switch to RPG mode. Now go outside. You see Anya being pushed down by Nazi soldiers. Go to the left of the porch. Get the Tesla grenades. Kill the Nazis with the RPG. You can't kill Anya with friendly fire. When they're dead run to cover behind a wall to the left.

A truck busts through and launches two drones. Try to get them grouped together. Throw the grenades on the ground under them. The electrical charges from the grenades takes them out. Now kill any stragglers. Pick up Anya and end the chapter.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Best Song from Guardians of the Galaxy

The best pop song featured in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy is Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love." (1974) It's a joyous piece of rhythm and blues, rock, and Native American. Indian. Featured in an opening scene in the movie, it tells the audience that they're going to have a great time. I almost got up and danced in the theater's aisle. Here's a video of Redbone, which was a Native American band, singing their big hit.

Stephen Colbert destroys Trump over his Ebola virus comments

Here's Stephen Colbert on conservative Donald Trump's stupid remarks about treating the two Americans who contracted Ebola for their charity work. Trump said on conservative Fox News, "But they have to suffer the consequences." Colbert has a great joke in his fake conservative take.

Stephen Colbert rips Putin for banning food imports to Russia

Wow, Russian President Vladimir Putin is banning food imports to his OWN country in response to Western sanctions. Hooray for Stephen Colbert who uses this story to great comic effect. Yes, Stephen, let's fight back Eat more chicken.

Jon Stewart nails Rand Paul for hypocrisy on Israel

It's becoming clear that conservative Republican Senator Rand Paul is going to run for President in 2016. Well, he's been walking back some of his comments that he would cut off aid to Israel. Thank God for Jon Stewart of The Daily Show as he uses clips and the record to show the world that Paul is a hypocrite.

Jon Stewart takes on the Bob McDonnell scandal

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and conservative Republican is on trial for corruption. You see he's accused of peddling influence to Johnny Williams, a businessman who was peddling a "wonder" drug called Anatabloc. This drug is made from tobacco and was nuked by microwave. What the... ?!!! Sounds like great comic fodder for Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.

Conservative Republicans get it wrong about Iraq's Status of Forces Agreement

Lately, there's been a theme from conservative Republicans that President Obama should have left American troops in Iraq after the 2011 troop withdrawal. This is another in long line of conservative non-truths.

Here is the truth.

"Discussions about extending the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement fell apart in 2011 after Iraq's government adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, as American negotiators demanded."

Joni Erst: I would have kept troops in Iraq. Huffington Post, August 9, 2014.

There are other sources to refute this blatant conservative lie.

1. Media Matters uses New York Times story to show that the Iraqis did not want troops in their country.

2. Wikipedia article.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bill Maher pokes fun at Ohio's Straight White Guy festival

I live in Ohio so upon hearing that some people are proposing a "Straight White Guy " festival in Columbus, I was not surprised. Thank God for Bill Maher. Here's his New Rule for this ridiculous idea courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Reds are the champions of the.... Ohio Cup

With today's 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians, the Cincinnati Reds are the champions, my friend. They'll keep on fighting till the end. The Reds are the champions. Reds are the champions. No time for losers, the Reds are the Champions of the .... Ohio Cup.

American military action is the short term solution for Iraq

As ISIS threatens the Kurds in north east Iraq, the question becomes "Should the United States do anything?" That question is answered by another question. Is there a threat to the United States from ISIS?

The answer of whether ISIS is a threat to the United States is yes. All you have to do is go over to Vice News. They had a reporter embedded with ISIS troops. And what we know about ISIS is chilling. I won't link Vice News because there are images of beheaded Syrian soldiers. ISIS wants to establish a caliphate. Minority religions will be banned and their followers will face death. ISIS members in the Vice News video want to attack the United States. If this sounds familiar, it's Al Qaeda all over again. Only worse. ISIS has money robbed from Iraqi banks and American weapons taken from Iraqi armed forces. They are well funded and armed.

So, what should the United States do? For the short term, the United States should use military action. The United States should use air strikes against ISIS. Fighter bombers, or drones. It doesn't matter. This should help the Iraqi army and Kurds push these terrorists back. But for the time being, no American ground troops. This is an Iraqi problem. Short term requires defeating ISIS by the Iraqi military. Long term solution requires a political one. The Iraqi government must respect the Sunni minorities. Respect them and you won't see them running off to ISIS. Democracy is more than majority rule, it requires protecting the beliefs and rights of minorities.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3D review

In Guardians of the Galaxy, we meet the adult Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) on a mission to steal a mysterious orb while dancing to Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love." (Video of Redbone below) It's a joyful scene. This alone makes it impossible to hate this film. I mean you could hate this movie but that would mean you hate puppy dogs. Director and writer James Gunn has taken a lesser known Marvel Comics property and turned it into a goofy but wildly entertaining action comedy.

Guardians of the Galaxy starts out in 1988. At a hospital, a boy Peter Quill is at the bedside of his dying mother. She asks for his hand and he refuses. She dies. Peter, distraught with grief, runs out of the hospital. The hospital sends out a gigantic spaceship to zap Peter since his family doesn't have health insurance. Okay, the hospital doesn't do that. A gigantic space ship does appear out of nowhere and kidnaps him. Okay, it's a little far fetched but this is based on a comic book, folks.

We flash forward twenty six years. Quill is an adult and has grown up to be a thief. He steals the aforementioned orb. Chris Pratt gives Quill a sarcastic, rebellious vibe. He has a nice comic touch. Anyway, Quill travels to Xanadu where he meets up with Olivia Newton John. Um... okay he actually travels to Xandar to sell the orb. Meanwhile, Thanos, the bad guy we saw in the end credits scene of The Avengers (2012) wants Ronan (Lee Pace) to get the orb. He sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana) an assassin who also happens to be Thanos' daughter to retrieve it. Saldana does an admirable job of playing an alien, unfamiliar with human ways. Her green make-up is simply remarkable. It does not look like body paint and the man behind it, David George, deserves an Academy Award.

On Xandar, Gamora and Quill are intercepted by bounty hunters, Rocket who's a genetically altered raccoon and Groot, (voice by Vin Diesel)a kind of walking tree. I'm not kidding about the raccoon and tree bit. Rocket and Groot are CGI creations. Bradley Cooper does the voice of Rocket. It's such a great performance that I forgot that Cooper was a human actor. All four fight over the orb but are captured by the Xandar police. They're thrown in prison where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista) who wants revenge on Ronan for killing his family. Gamora and Quill are able to convince the others that they should escape the prison and sell the orb rather than turn it over to Ronan. You see the orb can destroy planets.

I'm not sure that this film is close to the feel of the original comic. I didn't get a chance to read it. James Gunn has made a comedy with action. It's not a parody or campy. But if fans of the comic were expecting something serious, they're going to be surprised. And I hope they like it. The movie is respectful of its origins and has a lot of heart. It's hard not to cry at the beginning of the movie when Quill's mother dies. Still at its center, Guardians is a comedy and it all works. The seventies and eighties pop culture references, and the inability of the aliens to grasp human behavior makes some hilarious moments.

The film does have some small missteps. Gunn relies way too much on fast cutting in action sequences. At times you will find space battle sequences and other action scenes confusing especially in the last third of the movie. And comic or not, if a film claims to be science fiction, you can't have people floating around space without spacesuits regardless of the lame explanation in the movie. Additionally, Gunn should have reined in Glenn Close's over the top performance of Xandar's president. That byzantine hair style she wore was distracting.

The score for this movie is quite memorable. And compliments for the score of Guardians of the Galaxy must include the seventies and eighties pop songs. Quill runs around with a Sony Walkman, the kind that played cassette tapes. His mother had made a tape of her favorite awesome pop songs for her young son. And awesome, it is. Not only do we get "Come and Get Your Love" but there's Blue Swede's "Hooked On A Feeling" to Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." And don't forget Tyler Bates' score. It's everything you need for a heroic adventure. Bold melody and music that enhances the drama.

As for the 3D version of this movie, skip it. It was converted from 2D to 3D. And all the problems with conversions are here. There's only depth at times but very little pop. But worse is that the movie is too dark. I wanted more light on the screen. You're better off seeing this movie in 2D.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one fun, hilarious action movie. It won't win the Oscar for Best Picture but you'll have a great time. The grade is B Plus.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jon Batiste on The Colbert Report

Here's Stephen Colbert's funny interview with New Orleans jazz musician Jon Batiste. Afterwards is a performance by Batiste and Stay Human. They do "Express Yourself." I love the way he gets the audience to dance with some nice moves by Colbert.

Stephen Colbert takes on the Sarah Palin Channel

Oy Vey. Sarah Palin is launching her own web based channel. Thank God for Stephen Colbert. Here's his funny take on the venture. In it, he announces he has bought the URL "TheSarahPalinChannel.com" Good luck Stephen in lampooning my crazy right-wing muse.

Stephan Colbert takes on Kim Kardashian

Holy Donkey Kong. Reality Star Kim Kardashian has video game App. Here's what Stephen Colbert has to say about it in a very funny piece.

Stephen Colbert on the Poor Door

There's an apartment complex that has a "poor door" for the low income residents. Sounds like great comic fodder for satirist Stephen Colbert. Here's his take in a "The Word" piece.

Wolfenstein" The New Order Uber difficulty tips

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a very difficult game, even on the normal difficulty setting of "Bring it on." On the hardest setting, called "Uber" it can be a whole new level of pain. The enemies are stronger, more accurate and dish out more damage. But some of you like me are completests when it comes to some games. And yeah, some of you guys in the Internet world found the game easy. Okay, you are a great player but for the rest of us, this Wolfenstein is hard. So here are tips for beating the game on "Uber." There are spoilers so you've been warned.

1. Start your Uber run after beating the game on an easier difficulty setting while getting all the Perks weapons, health and armor upgrades.

I started my Uber run after beating the game on the normal difficulty setting using both the Wyatt and Fergus timelines. While I was completing both, I got all the weapons , Perks, weapons, health and armor upgrades. First, you start your Uber run by starting with Chapter One. Starting a new game eliminates your previous progress. You don't have to do that for completing the game on Uber. Second, all the upgrades will definitely help you beat the game on Uber as they will be immediately available. From 360GameTV, here's a video with all the weapons upgrades.

Second, if you've run through the game a couple of times with both timelines, you know where all the difficult areas are. Remember, you can complete Perks by reloading a prior checkpoint. And let's face it. You will get to see the small differences in timelines while getting both the health and armor upgrades. You can't do both with one timeline.

2. Patience.

Remember the expression, "Fools run in." Well, you can't burst into a room full of enemies like Rambo and expect to survive. Have an idea what causes enemies to spawn. Sometimes it's traveling to a certain area. Other times it's the defeat of some other enemies. So if, guns blazing is bad then what's the best strategy? Read on to Tip Number Three.

3. Stealth is the best for your health.

Always use the Stealth strategy if you can. Killing Nazis without them firing at you makes sense, doesn't it. You don't take damage and you save ammo. Takedowns, and knife throws are fine. But it's the pistol with a silencer that is your best stealth weapon. Of course, you can't take down a Supersoldaten or Super Soldier with a pistol but almost all soldiers and all commanders will go down with one to three shots. The pistol has range so unlike a thrown knife you can hit a target from across a room.

4. Free fire at times.

Aiming a weapon may not be as accurate as free firing. Why? When free firing a weapon use the target reticle. It turns red when moved over an enemy. Great stuff when firing a silenced pistol from across the room.

5. The LaserKraftWerk is the key to victory.

The LaserKraftWerk (LKW) is the most important weapon in the game. Once you get the Portable Reactor from the Da'at Yichud secret weapons cache, you'll have a weapon which does not need ammo pickups. However, recharge stations are much, much faster.

The LKW is one of the most powerful weapons in the game. It will obliterate human soldiers when using scope. And when fully charged watch out. It will take down Supersoldaten with one shot, though such a shot will deplete the battery. However, with the portable reactor, the weapon will fill up with energy without a recharge station.

Let me demonstrate how stealth and LKW can make your life easier. In Chapter 15, "Under Attack", you crawl through some vents before you reach a large sewer room. If you're smart, you don't hop down to the ground but stay in the vent. To your left is a Supersoldaten and across the way is another one. Well, aiming the LKW, you charge up the weapon. Look at the six red circles at the bottom of the scope. When they turn red, the LKW is charged. Fire. One shot. One dead Supersoldaten. His partner will march to your position. Retreat further back. Wait for the LKW to recharge. When it does sneak around the corner and let him have it with a fully charged LKW. Okay, don't go down yet. You should be able to snipe two soldiers through the bottom of the fence or guardrail. Okay, now head down and onto the platform. Watch out for soldiers coming from the right, one of them is a shotgun soldier. Arm your assault rifle and waste him with the secondary fire of the RPG. Mop up. Area cleared.

6. You may need to fall back.

There may be times where you need to fall back to previously traveled areas. This especially happens in Chapter 16, "Return to Deathshead Compound." Of course, if you are one of those video game prodigies, then this may not be needed. For the rest of us, it's safer and more productive than constantly dying.

7. When do you get the Uber Hero Achievement?

After you defeat Mecha Deathshead, there will be a final cutscene. Then the credits roll. At the end of the credits, you will get the Uber Hero Achievement. If you have not completed the game on the hard difficulty setting "I Am Death Incarnate!", you will get credit for that achievement called "Super Hero" in a Two for One notice. The total XBOX gamer points for both will be 100, fifty for each.

Monday, July 28, 2014

John Oliver on America's nuclear weapons arsenal

It's hard to see how one can find comedy in America's nuclear weapons and our maintenance of them. Make that the faulty maintenance of them. But John Oliver of HBO gives it a try. And he's hilarious. From HBO's Last Week Tonight, here's John Oliver's funny piece.

Lucy review

Evolution. Human existence. Time. Space. Topics for a summer popcorn movie? Maybe not. But director and screenwriter Luc Besson boldly goes where no summer blockbuster movie has gone before with his film Lucy. The movie may have taken its name from the main character but with scenes of prehistoric earth featuring the hominid Lucy, man's evolutionary ancestor, it becomes clear that Besson wants to tackle human evolution.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson)is an American student in Tapei, Taiwan. She likes to party and meets a man named Richard who wants her to bring a briefcase to gangster Jang. (Choi Min-sik) Lucy refuses but Richard handcuffs the case to her wrist thus forcing her to deliver it. Inside the case are four packets of a drug called CPH4. The drug is produced is present in human fetuses to get the body to build bones and organs. Jang intends to introduce it not for medical reasons but for drug abuse. He inserts one packet surgically into Lucy so she can act as a mule. The other three are also embedded to other mules. While in captivity, one of Jang's men beats her so bad that the drug leaks into Lucy's body. Meanwhile, Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) is lecturing that man only uses 10 percent of his brain. If man were to use more, he could become more like the dolphin with the ability to organically manipulate the environment. By the way, the small use of the human brain was covered in the funny comedy, Defending Your Life. (1991) But I digress, the effect is that the drug allows her to use more of her brain giving her paranormal abilities. She needs the other three packages so she goes to Jang to find out where they are at.

Scarlett Johansson is very good as Lucy. She goes from terrified college student to a woman who's aware of everything in her environment to a human computer. As far as villains go, Choi Min-sik's gangster Jang is ruthless leaving multiple bodies in his wake. Morgan Freeman is well cast as Professor Norman. His lecture on the use of the brain by humans in the movie is fascinating and well written. It's more compelling than some of the action scenes in the film. He's basically playing himself if you've seen him host the Science Channel's Through the Wormhole. In both roles, Freeman demonstrates his love for science and philosophy.

Luc Besson has his detractors. I wasn't a fan of Besson's science fiction movie, The Fifth Element (1997) which was rather juvenile. But you've got to applaud Besson for making a film that tackles human evolution and existence. He deftly mixes action scenes that demonstrate Lucy's superpowers, car chases and images of the universe. Yes, I'm talking about the universe. Besson knows how to use beautiful, strange images to show Lucy's ability to perceive the world. Human evolution in science fiction has been tackled before. Most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey. (1968) Besson is unafraid of asking the audience to think. What can the brain do when a human can access one hundred per cent of it? And I'm talking about from an evolutionary stand point. Mind control over others. Telekinesis? Unlocking the secrets of the universe? There are very few missteps in this film. The movie needs more time to breathe by having even more discussion about Lucy's evolution. And the last scene made very little sense in context with the voice over narration. I'm sure that's something that Besson should think about changing for any future edition of this film.

Lucy is an entertaining movie that explores human existence. I left the movie thinking about what makes us human. The grade is A.

Reds should stand pat at trade deadline

Yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds lost a series to the Washington Nationals. They're not scoring runs lately and have lost eight of the last nine. The Reds at the at the All Star break were 1.5 games out of first place in the Central Division. Today, they are six games out and the 2014 season is about to become another year the team doesn't make it to the World Series.

The Cincinnati Reds should stop shopping for players as if they're buyers. They should not be sellers either, unless another team gives them a deal they can't refuse. As bad as it is right now, the Reds are still in it. Yes, it will take a small miracle for the Reds to make the playoffs. But the team is not out of it.

The Reds should stand pat at the trade deadline. The team is more than one player from making the playoffs. So all the talk about trading for Philadelphia Phillies' Marlon Byrd makes no sense. But should the Reds do anything? Yes. Sign a free agent that will come cheap and has gas in the tank. The St. Louis Cardinals just signed A.J. Pierzynski who was cut from the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees cut Alofonso Soriano. Reports indicate that he's done for this year. But money talks. The Yankees are on the hook for the bulk of his contract. But could the Reds add a little money to get him to play this year? And I mean a little compared to what he makes now. Maybe he needs a week to get back into the swing of things. The Reds could get him to "rehabilitate" at their AAA affiliate in Louisville. A small but "Hail Mary" move is what the Reds need. I believe Soriano would do well at Great American Ballpark. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Sign Alfonso Soriano.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jon Stewart destroys conservative Republicans' view that Reagan would not do fundraisers after the downing of Malaysian Airli nes 17

It's been a conservative mantra that former President Ronald Reagan or Saint Ronald would not have done fund raisers like President Obama after the downing of Malaysian Airlines 17. Thank you Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. In part two of his coverage of the tragedy, he destroys conservative Republicans by showing after the Russians destroyed Korean Airlines 007, Reagan stayed on vacation for four days in Santa Barbara according to Fox News Chris Wallace. Both video pieces are below.

Here's part two where Jon Stewart destroys conservative Republicans on what Reagan would do after the downing of Malaysian Flight 17.

Why CNN matters

I'm watching the cable news coverage of the downing of Malaysian Airlines 17. And I can tell you how the three networks covered it. Fox News: Blame Obama. MSNBC: Must give ample time for our liberal agenda. Then there is CNN. It was informative, interesting and professional. CNN gets some grief from many sources including satirist Jon Stewart of the Daily Show who wants to buy it. But it's the cable news network that consistently covers the news objectively and professionally. CNN matters when it comes to news coverage.

Let's go into a little more detail here about my viewing of the three cable news networks coverage of Malaysian Airlines 17. I watched Fox News because let's face it, they make an attempt at times of doing news though the prime time hours are devoted to conservative right-wing commentary shows. Anyway, there's a vibe here. And it's the old conservative mantra. Liberals are bad and conservatives are good. I mean I see Greta Van Susteren do a segment on why President Obama did some fund raisers right after the disaster. Conclusion from her segment, it was wrong. A couple of things here, Greta. One. It's a serious foreign policy issue but not one that affects Americans on an immediate basis. Two. The fundraisers did not take all week. They were on single nights, leaving the President to still work. Then there is Fox News commentator, former UN Ambassador John Bolton. Whenever I see him, it's the same old stuff. Obama can't do anything right or make that correct. I tired of seeing this guy bend himself like a pretzel to take down Obama. For that matter most of Fox News is like this. Since Russian backed separatists shot down the plane, it's hard to see how Obama was at fault for this. But Fox News does.

I admit I watch a lot of MSNBC. But when it came to this tragedy, I found the network lacking. You could see them duty bound to cover the story but at the half hour, MSNBC had to pivot to its liberal agenda. Malaysian Airlines 17 is an important story. It's an interesting one. But to me the MSNBC had to push its liberal agenda always at the half hour even if Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is the more important story.

Then there is CNN. Everything works here. They had reporters at the Ukrainian crash site. Their experts had serious credentials without political agendas. They ranged from former government officials to former military to airline disaster experts. But it's more than doing a story about why the evidence points to Russian President Vladimir Putin's support of the Ukrainian separatists led to this disaster. It covered the humanity of the tragedy. Today, I watched extensive coverage of the return of the bodies to the Netherlands on CNN. The cameras caught the extraordinary dignity and grace that the Dutch people exhibited on the return of the fallen. From pictures of the Dutch military saluting in honor of the dead, to people lining the streets respectfully applauding the hearses, to government leaders standing in utmost respect, to lovely church services, there was a depiction of the humanity of this tragedy. And one cable news network got it right. Bravo CNN.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Daily Show: CIA employees whine about the cafeteria and Jerry Seinfeld

Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart did a piece on CIA employees whining about their cafeteria. They got a "spy" to talk about the problems. Also there was an interview with Jerry Seinfeld. Funny stuff.

Bill Maher on Republican lies about Obama

Bill Maher on his recent New Rule discussed Republican lies about President Obama. You know ones like death panels on Obamacare. Check out his funny piece here. Courtesy of HBO and Mediaite.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stephen Colbert Recaps the World Cup

Here's Stephen Colbert's satirical take on the 2014 World Cup. Very funny stuff.

Stephen Colbert Threat Down All Bear Edition

Is it me or does Stephen Colbert have a thing for bears? Here's his Threat Down piece on bears. Funny stuff.

The Daily Show Extended Interview with Hillary Clinton

Last night on The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart interviewed Hillary Clinton. And in a comedic way, she does indicate she is running for President. This is the the extended interview in four parts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Reds should pursue Alfonso Soriano

Okay, the Cincinnati Reds are in the hunt for Reds October. They're only 1.5 games out of first place in the NL Central Division. With injuries to second baseman Brandon Phillips and superstar Joey Votto, the Reds need offensive help. But where? Trade? Give up shut the door closer Aroldis Chapman or the very good starter Johnny Cueto? No. Don't mess with what got you here. It was the pitching. And don't think about the kids in the minors. They won't get you much and you don't want to mortgage the future.

That leaves looking for guys who have just hit the streets. The New York Yankees have just released Alfonso Soriano. He can play outfield and second base. He's 38. He's hitting a paltry .221 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 238 at bats. He's known for being a power hitter. I think there's still gas in the tank for Soriano. I believe playing in hitter friendly Great American Ball Park will rejuvenate him. He brings world championship experience to the Reds. And he won't cost you much in salary or minor league talent. I believe by releasing him, the Yankees will eat his salary. So what do you say Reds GM Walt Jocketty?

Fox News' Bob Beckel is no liberal

If you watch Fox News' The Five, Bob Beckel is supposed to be the liberal on the pundit panel. Well, he's liberal according to Fox News. You see Bob got in trouble lately describing Chinese people as "Chinamen." This is not his first time he's made racially tinged remarks. The Huffington Post has compiled some of his other incendiary comments. In fact, in the hilarious Daily Show piece, you can hear Beckel use the term "Chinamen" before the recent controversy. Got to love Jon Stewart's comment on Beckel's alleged liberalism. "Slow down Chomsky." Video below.

As a person of the Chinese race, am I offended by the term "Chinamen?" Yes and no. It's not as racially demeaning as "chink." But it's not neutral either. The word comes from another time when out in the west, Chinese workers were called "Chinamen." It wasn't meant as a term of endearment by the white people who used it. It was meant as negative term. One that indicated those "yellow" people aren't white or Americans. So, it's not as bad as "chink" but it's still not one word that I want to hear being used around me.

But another question is raised by Beckel. Is he the definition of a liberal according to Fox News? Because if he is, then it's an attempt to cast liberals in a bad light. Let me put it this way. I think we can all agree that liberals are the least likely to be the racists of the political spectrum. I mean liberalism sparked the civil rights movement. I an a liberal and know them. They don't talk the way Beckel does. Hence, he's not a liberal.

Here's The Daily Show's riotous video on The Five.

Chris Matthews on Sarah Palin's call for impeachment

Today on Hardball, Chris Matthews went over conservative Republican Sarah Palin's call for the impeachment of President Obama. I cringe whenever she speaks. I am simply amazed at her lack of command of the facts and the English language. Got to love her comment in the piece where she says, "You don't bring a lawsuit to a gunfight." What a moron. And just think. This woman could have been a heartbeat away from the presidency. Here's the video.

Republicans want to impeach Obama

The Huffington Post is reporting that two thirds of Republicans want to impeach President Obama. I'm guessing because he's black. I kid the Republicans. I kid them. But the question is for what reason? The U.S. Constitution requires "treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors." Article II, Section IV. Has Obama done any of those?

It's basically criminal acts which are impeachable. President Obama has not committed treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors in office. I guess the "evil" things he's done is save the U.S economy, start a national health care plan, try to stop global warming, encourage a raise in the minimum wage and oh, kill Bin Laden. So according to Republicans, helping people is a criminal offense. There are more important things to worry about. We still must figure out how to cover the working poor with health insurance. The planet is getting warmer. The economy could be better. Maybe Republicans should worry about those issues. Because folks, if they don't, you should not vote for them.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reds biggest win of the season and Chapman sets major league record

Where in the world did Ramon Santiago come from? The Cincinnati Reds utility player is filling in for the injured Brandon Phillips. And he's making the best of it. He was a hero in yesterday's game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leading the Reds to victory.

It looked bleak. The Reds were reeling from injuries from the last few days. Brandon Phillips out for up to eight weeks. Previously, superstar Joey Votto was hurt and is out indefinitely. Reds starter Mat Latos left the game early due to pain in his back. The Pirates took a 5-1 lead. It looked like the end of the season. And make no mistake, the Pirates are a good team. They're made the playoffs last year and are in the hunt this year. A defeat may have signaled the end of the season.

Then something magical started to happen. In the seventh, Ramon Santiago knocked in a run with a double to bring the Reds to within two runs at 5-2. He would later score. In the eighth, the Reds made a quick two outs. Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco blasted a 419 foot home run. Then singles by Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey. Now up comes the unheard of Ramon Santiago. Could he get another hit? The odds were against him. He was facing All Star Pirates reliever Tony Watson. The answer was yes. Santiago hit a sharp line drive for a single. Game tied. (Video) Now all that was needed is the hit to win it. Pinch hitter Bryan Pena singled in the go ahead run. Reds lead 6-5.

Oh yeah, there's more. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman would set a major league record for consecutive innings with a strikeout for a reliever. He did so with three straight strike outs. Each pitch that struck out a batter was over one hundred miles The speed of the pitches was 101, 102, and 103. Game over. And as Marty would say. "This one belongs to the Reds."

With the victory, the Reds move within 1.5 games of the division leading Milwaukee Brewers. Season is not over yet. It ain't over till it's over. Here's the story with video.

Star Trek 3: Bob Orci has not been confirmed as dirctor

Collider.com is reporting that Paramount has not greenlit Star Trek 3 and that writer-producer Bob Orci has not been confirmed as director. In fact, Paramount doesn't have the script yet. Regardless, warp speed Bob. We know you love Star Trek.

Dick Cheney again tries to defend Iraq War with wrong facts

The Huffington Post is reporting that ex-Vice President Dick Cheney is defending the Irag War with wrong facts again. It's an old one but a terrible misstatement. He says that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda. This is what he wrote in the Weekly Standard:

"It is undisputed, and has been confirmed repeatedly in Iraqi government documents captured after the invasion, that Saddam had deep, longstanding, far-reaching relationships with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda and its affiliates."

Wrong. The Post notes that the 9/11 Commission and the Pentagon concluded that there was no relation between the two. Here are the facts Dick. One. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. That was the whole reason to invade Iraq. Two. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Three. Iraq did not attack the United States. We attacked them.

The war cost us about 1.7 trillion dollars. And killed over one hundred and thirty thousand Iraqi civilians. Reuters report. There were approximately 4487 servicemen and women killed in this wrong war.

Why are we listening to Dick Cheney?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rolling Coal: Conservatives show why they're anti-science

The Huffington Post is reporting that some diesel pick up truck owners are intentionally dumping black exhaust filled with unburned fuel into the air as a political protest against President Obama's environmental policies. This protest is called "rolling coal." Of course, it's not healthy or good for the environment. It's the opposite.

Here's what one dealer of the kits that produce rolling coal had to say.

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” an unnamed Wisconsin seller of smoke stack kits told Slate's David Weigel, explaining some of the rationale behind the movement. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Yep, you heard that right. These conservatives hate Obama so much that whatever he's for, they're against. If he said he was for air to breathe, the conservatives would be against it. Just check out the line,"You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint" Well, screw you."

Voters of America, take note. These guys are the backbone of the Tea Party movement and hence, the foundation of the modern Republican Party. Vote for science. Don't vote for conservative Republicans.

Wolfenstein: The New Order Perks tips

Here are a couple of tips for completing Perks in the video game Wolfenstein: The New Order. First, you don't have to complete the perks through one play through of the game. You can reload the last checkpoints at will and get the Perks. For example, say you want to complete the AR (assault rifle) Magazine Perk. It requires eighty assault rifle kills from cover in primary fire mode. Okay, find a place where you can get a supply of soldiers to kill. I did this in Chapter One where a commander was next to a turret gun. I didn't kill him and let him call for support. Took cover against some sandbags and got about fifty that I needed to complete it.

Second, you might have to complete one Perk to get credit for another Perk. If you go to the Perk menu, you'll see where they require you to complete the prior Perk first. I had trouble with the Sentinel Perk. I then completed the Vaporize Perk then went back to grind the Sentinel one. I started to get credit for my efforts.

As for the Sentinel Perk, here's an easy way of getting it. This comes from Legend Coombsy.

The Cincinnati Reds 2014: Season over?

With the Cincinnati Reds just 2.5 games out of first and having taken four out of five from the lowly Chicago Cubs, is the Reds season over? How could I ask that? Here's why. The Reds biggest offensive threat in first baseman Joey Votto looks to be out indefinitely. Now second baseman Brandon Phillips is out for 8-12 weeks with torn ligaments. Oh, and today, starting pitcher Homer Bailey came out of the Cubs game early with a right knee injury. Want more? Centerfielder Billy Hamilton has tweaked his left hamstring. The baseball gods are not smiling at the Cincinnati Reds.

But seriously, can the Reds survive and thrive? Maybe. It requires good performances of the Reds bench to take over. At the start of the season, you couldn't ask me to pick Ramon Santigo out of a lineup. He's a utility infielder now with a chance to shine. Fans have regularly called on outfielder Chris Heisey to start. Today, he struck out four times. Not a good way to show you are going to help this team offensively. He's got a hole in his swing. But when he makes contact, he hits the ball hard. The Reds are going to have to look internally, i.e., the minor leagues and even any free agents wondering around out there. They can't give up their young minor league talent and mortgage their future. Regardless, there's little there to offer another team. In 1969, the New York Mets won the World Series. They were called the Miracle Mets. Maybe it's time for the Reds to offer their version of a baseball miracle. When it comes to this great sport, one can hope.