Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hey Lying Donald Trump: When does the winning start?

Last Friday, Trumpcare, the conservative Republican healthcare plan went down to defeat in the House of Representatives or let me put it this way. Conservative Republicans pulled the bill rather than vote on it since they didn't have the votes. Wow, they control the House and didn't have the guts to even vote on it. Of course, it would help if conservative Republicans would believe that government can help to make healthcare affordable.

Remember when Lying Donald Trump told America as President that we would win so much and get sick of it? Let's go over the scorecard, now that Trump is president. He's just lost at repealing Obamacare. Lied to America that Trumpcare would cover all of America. In reality according to the CBO, Trumpcare would cover 52 million less people by 2026. You, President Trump, have lost with your Muslim ban. Courts have struck it down. Twice. These were two of the biggest policy goals in your campaign. Hey, Lying Donald Trump, when does the winning start?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stephen Colbert destroys conservative Republican Devin Nunes

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-Ca) cancels hearings on President Trump's campaign possible collusion with the Russians and killing the truth. We need some comic relief. Well, check out Stephen Colbert's hilarious piece from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Conservative Republicans cancel the truth

It's now clear that conservative Republicans are more concerned about protecting Donald Trump than investigating any ties between his campaign and the Russians. Don't take my word for it, let's go over the facts.

1. On March 20, 2017, FBI Director James Comey did two things. He told the House Intelligence Committee that one, there's no evidence that former President Obama wiretapped Trump as he had tweeted and two, the FBI was investigating possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. That proved that Trump is a liar and there are some serious allegations regarding his campaign.

2. On March 21, conservative Republican Chairman of the committee, Devin Nunes met at the White House with a "source" to review classified material.

3. On March 22, Nunes had a press conference and also met with Trump to go over the material he reviewed the night before. Now, he makes it clear that these were intercepts of communications that there was a mention of Trump campaign associates. However, none of them had anything to do with Russia. Nunes never shared any of this information with his committee.

4. Nunes cancels a hearing of the people who were investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election on March 24. These were Obama officials and they included the courageous former acting Attorney General, Sally Yates. He claims that he wants Comy to come back. These hearings were supposed to take place this week. But all hearings were cancelled. New Yorker Magazine.

5. As of the writing of this post, no new dates for the hearings have been announced.

6. When asked if Nunes should recuse because of his work on the Trump transition and his meeting with a source at the White House and warning Trump, conservative Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "No."

So, what can we conclude from all this behavior from conservative Republicans? They don't want public hearings into collusion between Trump officials and the Russians. By cancelling the hearings the conservative Republicans want to cancel the truth.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Problems with Mass Effect: Andromeda's hilarious animation and graphics

I've been playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and burst out laughing when I saw some of the animation of game play and cutscenes. Stories about the bad animation with the game have been spreading around the internet for months. Well, it's true. Some of the graphics are terrible. Watch this xLetalis video comparing Mass Effect: Andromeda with the original Mass Effect released in 2007.

Here is some more video of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which is even funnier.

So what's causing these problems with character animations?

1. Bodies and faces are badly designed.

I'm not going to post every article by feminist hating writers that say Mass Effect: Andromeda's women were made "uglier" But check out this article from The Sun which features pictures of the model Jayde Rossi who was the template used for the main female character Sara Ryder. Now the male model Steven Brewiss who is the template for the main character Scott Ryder looks just as much as the hunk in the game as he does in real life. However, it's obvious that modifications were done to make Jayde Rossi's face less attractive. Somebody gave her thicker lips, a more angular, larger nose and a puffy face. If I were Ms. Rossi, I would sue. I would agree that it looks like BioWare made the women uglier.

And what about the body design? Well, on both male and female characters, the arms seem too long. Character Cora Harper whose supposed to be a bad ass Biotic has a bizarre body. She's short, has way too thin waist but a large bottom with very wide hips. Here's the image. And to boot, you could stick her head on a man's body and it would not look out of place. Just change the hair. Okay, it's not that bad but there's something going on here. Update. I've been playing the game and Cora's bizarre body appears when she's on planets not in cutscenes or on the ship Tempest.

Is this the revenge for Miranda from Mass Effect 2 and 3? By the way Miranda looks like actress Yvonne Strahovski because that's who she was modeled after. But I digress. Look, the effect of ugly faces and weird body types is two fold. When Asari Peebee jumps ontop of you and sticks her mug in your face, you will literally yell. Their faces make you laugh when you shouldn't be. Second, I've noticed that Cora can walk bowlegged at times. The long arms are not animated and the whole effect makes her act like a string puppet rather than a human being.

This attempt by BioWare and EA to be politically correct will backfire. Look, I am a liberal but a politically incorrect one. Video games are art. And most of them are fantasy in that they let you become the hero. This is especially true in Mass Effect since you can make the lead character look like you. And the male gamer and female gamer who maybe is a lesbian gamer wants to woo the gorgeous woman. Yeah, I get the feminist view. In real life, women don't look like they do in most video games. This isn't real life. Actress Gal Gadot is beautiful. Should they have picked somebody uglier to play Wonder Woman? Don't get me wrong. Not every film or video game should be forced to cast a beautiful woman. But let the part dictate it.

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn't understand how the face and body works. I don't know if they used motion capture or not but it looks like BioWare didn't. I mean going back to Cora, she walks with her buttocks way out with those long arms. It's not natural. Sometimes the arms don't move as she walks.

However, it's the emotions on the faces that fail the game. I'm sure somebody at BioWare understands the art of acting and how it can be portrayed by computer animation. For this game, it seemed like that person at BioWare was on vacation.

Actors perform with not just their voices but their faces. And one's face moves in multiple ways to convey emotions. Just watch the great Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal. (2006) You don't even have to listen to her dialogue to figure out what she is feeling. And a lot of the reaction in her face is subtle. We don't see this in Mass Effect: Andromeda particularly in cutscenes. Faces look like mannequins. Frozen. Then there are times where eyes move back and forth for no reason. It's hilarious.

But can acting be caught or portrayed in a video game? Yes. Just check out L.A. Noire, a game that came out in 2011! Here's a trailer for that great game.

Yeah, L.A. Noire used 32 high definition cameras to motion capture facial emotions but the concept is still sound. I'm sure BioWare could have done some of this without breaking the bank or at least have an animator put more attention into the facial performances. . I don't know if BioWare was trying to save money but this is a AAA game. They certainly didn't spend it on big name stars. Maybe next time BioWare should have somebody objective look at the product before they put it out.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Conservative Republican Devin Nunes chooses Trump over America

Two days ago, conservative Republican Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee personally went to President Donald Trump to tell him that his campaign associates may have been inadvertently recorded by American intelligence. Note that the Trump associates were not the targets of the surveillance. Nor was there any indication of illegality. And according to Nunes, these communications had nothing to do with the Russia interference with the 2016 election investigation.

After I heard this, I said to myself, "What the ... ?" Trump's campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russians. This akin to the police investigating a mob murder and the chief of police going to the Mafia Don or Donald, and talking to him about criminal surveillance about him. We don't know where the information Nunes is talking about came from. Nunes won't say. Which makes it ironic if it is coming from a leaked source because the conservative Republicans were whining about leaks on Monday.

But what do I think Nunes was doing? I believe he was giving cover to Trump for making the false claim that former President Obama was wiretapping him at Trump tower. Nunes was part of the Trump transition team. If that wasn't bad enough, he does this. He is not impartial to be on the investigation. But from what I saw on Monday, none of conservative Republicans on the investigation should be.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wonder Woman trailer

Here is the latest trailer for the upcoming Wonder Woman film. It looks great. And unlike Batman v. Superman, there is the color of blue and sunshine in this film.

Conservative Republican Devin Nunes throws up smoke screen for Russians

Okay, I'm watching the Select House Intelligence Committee and listening to Congressman Deven Nunes (R-Ca.) opening questions to NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers and its become clear what the conservative Republican response to possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. It was all about leaking of information to the press not about Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. In fact, Nunes' main questions to Rogers was all about whether the Russians tampered with vote state tallies! That's never been the question. Everybody agrees that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and the information was released to Wikileaks.

Rather than investigating Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election, I've been listening to the conservative Republicans congressman and their whole goal is to make the case about leaks to the press. What a bunch of unpatriotic jerks. Former Trump National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn resigned because he talked to the Russians after the election and lied about it to the administration. We have also found out he was lobbying for the Turkish government while he was with the Trump campaign. What's amazing is that FBI Director James Comey just testified that there is an investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Huffington Post. Comey's statement is remarkable. It should be country first, not politics. Hey, we're talking about the President of the United States' campaign coordinating with the Russians, you right-wing conservatives. Stop trying to throw a smoke screen for the Russians, you conservative Republicans.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here are the Corrs and The Chieftains with "I Know My Love."

Trump administration insults our friend, Great Britain

Chalk this source to conservative President Trump's favorite news outlet, Fox News. On Tuesday's Fox & Friends, Fox News Analyst Andrew Napolitano accused the British of "wiretapping" Trump at behest of President Obama. Trump White House spokesman, Melissa McCarthy er... Sean Spicer repeated the allegation yesterday. Huffington Post.

Great Britain strenuously denied it. You see what's happening here. As Trump's wild accusation that Obama wiretapped Trump's phones at Trump tower unravels due to its baseless foundation, his administration is searching for anything to show that the Donald was not lying. Except now, conservative Trump is insulting our friend, Great Britain. And why doesn't Trump label Fox News as fake news?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kong: Skull Island review

Have I got a movie bargain for you. This film stars Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar winner Brie Larson and Mr. Taylor Swift. Er, ... make that Tom Hiddleston. It's a fusion of Moby Dick, None But the Brave, Apocalypse Now and Jurassic Park. But wait. There's more. It's got one of the most iconic, legendary characters in film. I mean Hollywood has made three movies about him. It's got the big guy himself. Mickey Mouse? No, it's got King Kong. The film is Kong:Skull Island.

The movie takes place in 1973. The United States is winding down its war with Viet Nam. Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) lead a scientific expedition to Skull Island which is somewhere in the South Pacific. They enlist the help of James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) a former SAS soldier whose role is basically your Great White Hunter. Providing protection is Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his Army company of helicopter borne infantry. Brie Larson plays Mason Weaver, a photojournalist. I have no idea why she is in this movie other than to provide a Fay Wray to King Kong. She does rock a tank top. Another thankless role for the other woman in the cast goes to Jing Tian as scientist San Lin. My guess is that her presence in the movie is for the Chinese audience.

Randa and Brooks decide it's a good idea to drop bombs on the island to map it. What?! Anyway, Conrad's choppers come upon King Kong who doesn't like the wake up call and is not a morning person. He destroys all of them. Obviously, that makes it hard to "get to the chopper" to escape. Anyway, Packard, Randa and others survive but are separated from Conrad and Weaver. The latter team finds a bloated Marlon Brando leading a savage, unauthorized war against the Viet Cong. Oops, sorry that's Apocalypse Now. Conrad's team really discovers a World War II American airman named Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) He's been living on the island with the help of a now deceased foe, a Japanese pilot, and some silent islanders. They're probably silent because it was cheaper not to write them any lines. But I digress. Marlow tells them of something worse than Kong. They're giant bony lizards called Skullcrawlers. Conrad's team then decides to work on escaping while Col. Packard has a different motive. He wants revenge.

For any movie to work, it's got to start with a competent screenplay, followed by good acting and direction. Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly wrote a cliched movie that needlessly crams Hiddleston and Larson's characters into a monster mash up of Moby Dick, Apocalypse Now and Jurassic Park. There is even a homage by Larson to Fay Wray, and Jessica Lange, the other blond damsel in distress in the 1976 King Kong movie. I won't say there is a beauty killed the beast moment so as to not spoil it but folks, there is a Samuel L. Jackson one and you can guess what his line is going to be. That being said, the movie sticks to the compelling story lines, that being Packard's desire for revenge and the monsters that like eating human snacks. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts keeps the action moving with clear action scenes and no wasted time.

When I was watching this, I initially thought they could have made this film without the big stars. I mean it could have been a glorified SyFy movie. However, they're are two performances that carry this film. Samuel L. Jackson as the revenge bent Col. Packard, gives an intense and riveting portrayal. I know he's like that in many of his movies. But here, you can't take your eyes off him. He's so good, you will believe in his need for vengeance. He's Captain Ahab wrapped up in Col. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. The other performance is actually the comic relief. John C. Reilly as the isolated Marlow steals the show. He clearly is having fun as a guy who has lived without verbal communication for decades. That leads to Marlow unable at times to control his expressions.

Kong: Skull Island is not going to win the Oscar for Best Picture. However, it's entertaining. If you see this movie, stay for the post credits end scene. Yes, the producers are confident for a sequel. Thankfully, this movie is not The Last Airbender. As for the future of this franchise, you'll ask yourself, Warner Brothers has the right to that monster? The grade is B.

New nick name for Trump: "Lying Donald"

Last fall, I was going to name Donald Trump by a derogatory nickname he likes to pin on his enemies. "Demagogue Donald." Nah. It's accurate but Trump's caveman supporters wouldn't get that. And before you Trump people get all mad, not all of you are cavemen.

But then over the course of President Trump's campaign and first one hundred days, I have come to the conclusion that the conservative Donald Trump is a huge (huuuuge) liar. There was the lie about seeing hundreds of American Muslims celebrating 9-11. Then there's the one where he keeps saying that he had the biggest electoral college victory since Reagan. That was literally fact checked to the right-winger in a news conference by NBC's Peter Alexander. Now that's literally "truth to power." There's more whoppers but I don't want to bore you.

Just recently, this conservative President accused preceding President Barack Obama of wiretapping him in Trump Tower. Now, we know he was making this wild and dangerous claim without evidence. Time to call Trump what he called Sen. Ted Cruz. Let's call this conservative, "Lying Donald."

Stephen Colbert skewers Rachel Maddow

I like Rachel Maddow and her show on MSNBC. But she has a shtick where she takes forever to get to the point of her opening segment. Well last night Stephen Colbert skewered her with a parody of her show and particularly her Tuesday show where she made a big deal out of getting two pages of President Donald Trump's 2005 tax return Memo to Rachel. The Donald is a master at getting back at people. Just ask Sen. Ted Cruz. As your guest David Cay Johnston pointed out, Trump may have leaked that crumb of a tax return himself. It was irrelevant and made him look good. Try to be, how do I say this, more diabolical when analyzing The Donald. You got played.

But I digress. Stephen Colbert had fun parodying Maddow's style and showed he could be "fair and balanced." Enjoy Maddow fans. Laugh at yourself a little.

Last night's Colbert monologue.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Logan review

I'm going to guess that Donald Trump will get the metaphor in the movie Logan all wrong. You see in the film, Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must escort a dangerous mutant from Mexico across the United States to a place called Eden. I can just hear Trump now. That's why we need a great wall to separate us from Mexico. A lot of "bad hombres." Well, Donald, the metaphor is actually pro-immigration.

Logan starts out sometime in the future of the X-Men film franchise. A ninety something, Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is suffering from a disease which cause him to lose control of his telepathic abilities and must use drugs to treat it. He's taken care of by Logan (Hugh Jackman) who is also ailing and dying. They've isolated themselves by living on the Texas-Mexican border. Logan earns a living by working as a limousine driver. He's approached by Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodriguez) who wants him to take a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a sanctuary place in North Dakota called Eden. You see she's a biologically bred mutant who's escaping a company in Mexico called Transigen that breeds mutants to be assassins. And Transigen wants their product, Laura back.

The acting by the cast was remarkable. Patrick Stewart delivers one of his best performances. He's frail but when he loses control, watch out. It's an essay on becoming older yet he's more sentimental. Dafne Keen delivers a feral performance. She is a girl who was raised in a lab with virtually no social skills but a set of "special skills" that won't surprise you as to who is her biological father. Hugh Jackman again delivers as a man who was made into something he didn't want to be. He's tortured and on a journey to find himself. If this is Jackman and Stewart's final performances as these characters, it's a wonderful send off.

Scott Frank, director James Mangold and Michel Green have constructed a screenplay that is more of an indie film character piece than a superhero epic. Don't get me wrong. There are still some awesome action set pieces and extremely violent ones. But the superhero stuff seemed real. Perhaps that is because of Mangold's direction. His film is lit naturally. Yeah, there is dramatic lighting but it doesn't depend on CGI. I'm talking to you, Batman v. Superman. Like Wolverine's adamantium bones, Logan is a contemporary road picture fused to a western, a film noir, and to finally to a superhero movie. And it works.

What makes Logan such a great film is that it's much more than a popcorn superhero movie. Like the original Star Trek TV series, it has something important to say. And one can only hope after the shallow Star Trek Beyond, that Paramount also makes a thoughtful Star Trek film. But I digress. As said before, Logan barely hides its pro-immigration theme. Yep, Laura is a Mexican, fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary in the United States. And isn't that one of the main reasons for people to come to America. Meanwhile, on Logan and Charles' excellent adventure, they will learn the meaning to their lives. It's warm and heartfelt.

Logan is beautifully filmed, written and performed. It is one of the best films of the year. The grade is A.

Some conservative Republicans are idiots

Now let me say this now. Not all conservative Republicans are idiots or act like idiots all of the time. Hey, I'm not a liberal version of Ann Coulter. But over the last week, two conservative Republicans have shown they can be idiots. They are Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Let's go over what they said.

1. Rep. Jason Chaffetz. He told CNN in regards to the conservative Republican plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something that may not cover the working poor this right-thought,

"Americans have choices, and they've got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care."


You sir are an idiot. Any average American will tell you that her monthly health insurance premium is ten times the monthly smartphone fee.

2. HUD Secretary Ben Carson. In speech before HUD employees, Secretary Ben Carson said this,

"That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less."

Huffington Post, with video of Carson.

You sir are an idiot. Dr. Carson, yes believe it or not he is a brain surgeon, slaves were not immigrants. They did not voluntarily come to the United States. They were kidnapped. Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, what do you say about this? Okay, not going to embed his response but let's just say it's a catchphrase. (Caution, cussing involved.) Oh, there . was other crazy stuff in his speech. We need Stephen Colbert's commentary on this.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump refuses to reach out to the majority of Americans

I'll admit if you are a right-wing conservative, you would love President Donald Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress. It wasn't the hateful stuff we've seen at his campaign events. However, if this was supposed to be some effort to bring the country together, then you can forget about it. Take away the platitudes, it was boiler plate Trump. Hard right. Nothing for moderates, or liberals. This is not reaching out to the majority of Americans who did not vote for him.

On healthcare, he promised to repeal and replace Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act. Yet, the day before he admitted how complicated national health care was. Folks, conservative Republicans really don't have a plan to replace it. They have nothing close that will cover the millions of citizens that Obamacare protects. That's because anything that looks like national health care to conservatives looks like socialized medicine. And let's face it. Insurance companies aren't going to keep costs down when they have to cover pre-existing conditions without an individual mandate. There won't be enough customers. So, there's no willingness by conservatives to improve Obamacare.

On immigration, Trump still rails against immigrants for bringing in crime. This broad stroke goes against statistics that immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than citizens. (The Atlantic.) He still wants to build that stupid great wall along the Mexico border. This goes against the majority of the people who oppose it. Yet he wants billions of dollars for the walls construction. And folks, he is not going to get Mexico to pay for it. So you the taxpayer will pay for it. In his speech he seemed to want only rich people coming to the United States. Hold on. Doesn't the Statue of Liberty say something about poor, huddled masses yearning to be free as the basis for immigration. I mean it's nice to have rich people come to America but that should not be the only criteria.

I will say he sounded like the Republican god, Ronald Reagan in his economic policies. Tax cuts for the rich. Massive defense spending. And guess where that's going to lead us? Gigantic deficits just like it did during Reagan's term. His policy that for every new governmental regulation there should be a reduction of two others is just too arbitrary. If you follow this illogical plan, you might end up getting rid of good government rules.

My fellow Americans, don't let Trump's flowery words fool you. It's like the movie Soylent Green (1973). The character Sol (Edward G. Robinson) is shown pretty pictures before he is euthanized. That empty stuff about renewing the American spirit is just pretty pictures. Trump's plans are still evil.

For you in the opposition, continue the fight. Keep the pressure on. Resist. Fight until we get justice.