Harry Truman on His Predecessors

If you read my other blog, you know that I have a great interest in studying the American presidents. Apparently one of these men, Harry S. Truman, was either asked or chose to talk about his opinions on his predecessors.

I make this assumption based on a site I found via another blog. As you look through each of the presidents on this page, all of them who preceded Truman (except for Garfield), as well as Truman’s successor Eisenhower, have a quote about them by Truman.

His favorites were Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. He disliked almost everybody else, and most of his dislike was put on William Harrison, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Grant, Coolidge, and Eisenhower.

I find this tidbit appropriate in light of my study to analyze the presidents.

Song in Advertising

It needs to stop.

You’ve probably seen the ad for Applebee’s with the “Gilligan’s Island” ripoff. You’ve probably seen the ad for Doublemint.

Don’t they just piss you off? They piss me off.

When’s the last time you’ve seen a good commercial that focused on singing a song? I can’t point to one. Good commercials are funny; songs are not funny. They are annoying.

Advertisers need to learn from Geico’s old routine in which the punch line was always “I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico.” They need to learn from Burger King’s trick of randomly showing the King make a play in the NFL.

The best ads are unexpected jokes. The worst are songs…. and McDonald’s.

Mr. Rogers in a Blood Stained Sweater

Internet Phenomena: Chances are damn good you know of at least one.

You know the name Gary Brolsma? He’s the guy who made the crappy lip sync of the Romanian pop song “Dragostea Din Tei.”

How about Ghyslain Raza? You know, the Star Wars kid.

Homestar Runner. Badger Badger Badger.

They’re everywhere.

One of them caught my mind recently, and it’s where you will hear the line in the title: “The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny,” in which countless popular figures, from the historical (Abraham Lincoln) to the current (Jackie Chan) to the fictional (Batman) to the non-human (Godzilla), appear. As you might have guessed, Mr. Rogers wins.

Why do I write about this? Well, it just might be the most original of these phenomena. Look at the Wikipedia article at the top of the page, you’ll find categorizations of such phenomena. Obviously jokes about celebrities are none too original – Chuck Norris jokes in particular get quite tiresome. (And in a related note, Chuck Norris appears but does not win in “Ultimate Showdown.”) The list of non celebrities rely on other people’s work.

Well, I won’t actually go through it. You can read it yourself. But the ability exhibited by Lemon Demon and AltF4 to create a song, incorporate tons of popular figures in a catchy tune, and make it funny is quite an accomplishment.

At least, it’s more of an accomplishment than dancing wildly to a song you didn’t even write.

V for Vendetta

Spoiler Warning: Some events in the film are given away here.

On its opening night, I viewed the blockbuster film “V for Vendetta” starring Hugo Weaving (insomuch as you can have a star whose face is never seen) and Natalie Portman.

It’s plot was good. It’s acting was pretty good. It’s message was . . .

That depends. Those who criticized the film cried out that it could lead to another McVeigh by promoting terrorism. And surely seeing Big Ben blow up while Tchaikovsky is blasting might seem like a promotion of terrorism. Many of these critics seemed to believe that the movie overplayed the foul deeds of the facist British government in order to create sentiment for Weaving and his cause.

I personally liked the movie, for its developed plot and solid acting. And, in a not so small detail, I disagreed with the critics who saw the film as portraying Weaving’s character, V, as a good guy. There are no good guys in this film. You could argue that V is more evil than High Chancellor Sutler, the facist dictator of Britain. V has no problem whatsoever in the murder of people, a characteristic we assume (but are never directly shown) he shares with the British government. There’s a kicker. The part of the movie that leads me to my conclusion about the nature of V. Evil.

Natalie Portman plays V’s ally, Evey. As a fugitive, she hangs out in her Uncle Gordon’s home. The government comes to kill Gordon, who had mocked Sutler on his TV show. Evey is captured. She is tortured. They ask her for information about V. She won’t give it. She is tortured some more. Finally, they give her one last chance to give information and get off free. She doesn’t.

And she gets off anyway.

It wasn’t the government who captured her. It wasn’t the government who tortured her.

It was V.

V is a bad guy.

V decides it’s up to him to kill the top government officials before he blows up Parliament with a train filled with explosives. In a gruesomely violent scene, he kills the guys, but in the process, is fatally wounded himself. He allows Evey to make the decision whether or not to blow up Parliament. She does.

Evey is a bad guy. (Or naive, as she buys rather easily into the opinion of a person who tortured her.)

Chief Investigator Finch (portrayed very well by Irishman Stephen Rea) allows Evey to blow up Parliament instead of arresting her.

His nature is more ambiguous, as he never completely trusts another major character in the story.

The government is filled with bad guys.

Damn it, everybody’s a bad guy.

And maybe that’s the message.

What do politics and football have in common?

Not Condoleeza Rice. Maybe soon, but not now.

Oddly enough, the most popular topic on certain sports Internet forums may be politics. This is certainly true in a certain board in this forum, specifically, the Arena Football board.

Arena Football? It’s not NFL in a dome, it’s its own kind of game. Too bad no one cares. The only posts on this ESPN forum that deal with Arena Football are questions. “Where’s the Arena Football talk? Does anybody care about Arena Football?” The answers are: there is none, and no. Any topic found here will be political. As I’m looking at it now, topics on the front page include “Any news on the “so called” wire tapping investigation?” and “My Holocaust Problems.” You can very often find politics on the NFL Board as well, although currently activity on politics is lacking.

What does it say about people that some have turned a sports forum into a political forum? They are idiots who think they are cool for posting on a sports board, even when their real motive is political argument? Forums designed for politics just aren’t popular, or well known, enough? There are no politics forums? ESPN is just that popular? There is a conspiracy to make me waste my time talking about pointless things that nobody cares about? You tell me.