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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 D-Bag Awards Round Two: The Fellowship of the D-Bags

  • Mother Nature
  • Humanity
  • Congress
  • Hollywood
  • The Brothers Tsarnaev
  • George Zimmerman
  • Aaron Hernandez
  • Black Friday
  • Phone Companies

There are your nominees for the biggest douche bag in 2013.   Look at them.  Each one deserving of the title, but only one will walk away with the right to be called as such. 

It’s been a long year for us.  We’ve survived natural disasters and possibly being shot by George Zimmerman or Aaron Hernandez.  The Boston Marathon bombing taught us not only that we are strong as a society but severely flawed in our hatred and stupidity towards those people and things we think are different.   We elevate stupidity to lofty heights and reward companies for being douches by raking honest working people for a buck.  We’d call our congressman and tell them what’s up, but they already know what we’re talking about anyway and they’re probably on recess anyway and not going to listen.  I guess you could say it sounds just like a really bad movie involving sharks and tornadoes, but that would never get made, RIGHT?

So, looking at that list of nine entries, it’s hard to narrow down one particular contestant and say that THEY are the biggest douche bag.

Then again, maybe it isn’t that hard.  Maybe the answer is pretty easy.  Look at that list.  Everything boils down into two columns; Nature and People.  Mother Nature tore Death a new one in the last round, but it’s still nothing compared to the sheer force of hate and stupidity that is humanity.  This year, with all of the issues: same sex marriage, racism, bullying, rewarding stupid famous people, and sharing it all on the Internet, we have sunk to new lows.   We hate with more vitriol than I think we have ever done so, before.  We have gone to greater lengths to screw one another over, keep each other down, and simply just hate.   And it’s not that there isn’t a bright and shining center in all of this, but it’s so clouded over with the general blech of people being spiteful and entitled and bratty.   The entire human race needs a good spanking and for that the 2013 D-Bag Of the Year Award goes to us.

We deserve it.   Next year, let’s try harder to not be such assholes.

2013 D-Bag Awards Round One: Death vs. Mother Nature

Death – (2012 winner) vs Mother Nature

This is the match.  This is always the biggie for me here at M.A.M.S.  Death has won the award the most times and last year’s hands down victory was a given in that I had neither the time nor the energy to even consider counting down the biggest d-bags of the year.   Newtown and a host of other events last year drained my will to want to remember what all happened and I simply gave Death the win.  In all seriousness, he probably would have won, regardless.  So, back again for another try, he takes on the only force he can evenly be matched with, Mother Nature.

Death did not take a holiday in 2013. 
We give famous people their due on Social Media with posting that they died.  2013 was no different.  Paul Walker, Nelson Mandela, Ray Price, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin, Eleanor Parker, Frederick Sanger, Syd Field, Doris Lessing, Mike McCormack, Lou Reed, Marcia Wallace, Noel Harrison, Ed Lauter, Tom Clancy, Hiroshi Yamauchi, Ray Dolby, Sid Bernstein, Elmore Leonard, Eydie Gorme, Karen Black, Harry Byrd, Eileen Brennan, J.J. Cale, Ray Manzarek, Dennis Farina, Helen Thomas, Cory Monteith, Jim Kelly, Alan Myers, Gary David Goldberg, James Gandolfini, and Slim Whitman are just a few.  But then you just have to realize that normal, everyday, wonderful and amazing people die, like Talia Castellano, the teenager who faced down cancer and became a Cover Girl model while undergoing chemotherapy also died.  And several people died at the hands of gun violence over the past year.   Death truly is a douche bag.

But Mother Nature.. she’s a real bitch.

An earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Typhoon Phailin in India, Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid, and tornadoes across the United States claimed the lives of over 6000 people alone this year.  And while those deaths could be chalked up in… um, Death’s column, these were due to natural disasters.  The Earth renewed its vow to kill us without even blinking and that is enough to make Mother Nature eek by with a win in this round.  

Congratulations, Mother Nature, you took down our reigning champ.  Now, don’t so much as breathe in 2014.

2013 D-Bag Awards Round One: The Internet Vs. Humanity

The Internet Vs. Us

It has gone online.  It has become aware.  We are screwed.   Why?

In 2013, the Internet gave us such wonderful things like “What The Fox Says” and Doge and a host of others, but with great fame comes great fail.  The Internet has proven, like so many other things that technology only serves to make us dumber.   And in that space between our ears we have heard a pin drop and the ocean roar.     We now have given fame to a group of people who were made famous by their picture being captioned by other people.  So much so, that they get to attend conventions and other events.   Twitter has made it easier for people to say stupid things and then try to erase them but you can’t erase cyberspace.  (We’re looking at all you idiots that don’t know who so and so hosting an awards show is and think that Kurt Cobain was a failure because he didn’t amass as huge of a following online as Justin Bieber). 

Then, there’s the whole, “X wants Y removed from the Internet.  Share it with everyone.”  Pictures of unflattering poses by superstars and Presidential skeet shooters got passed around everywhere.   Facebook became a ridiculous mess of Paul is Dead posts (Walker) and then when Nelson Madela died, no one cared.   "Let's see if this potato can get more likes than X".  We hashtagged everything that wasn’t anchored down.  Phil Robertson spoke out in a GQ piece about Gays and African Americans and got suspended from his television show job and all the Internet could say was that his freedom of speech was being violated.  (It wasn’t just so you know.  You people really are idiots… Yes, you too, Sarah Palin.  Someone who was the governor of a state and possibly a heartbeat away from the Presidency should know what the Bill of Rights covers.)  And with all that going on, we just know that the mainstream media is going to cover it, RIGHT?!?!?

Truly the Internet is a giant douche bag, allowing all of this failure to occur.   But wait…  It wasn’t the Internet, was it?

No, it was us. 

We did all of those things USING the Internet.  We gave all the twerkers and Harlem shakers fame via views.  We retweeted and favorited all of the hate speech and fail to a hilt.  We defended Phil and cherished an actor who died in an accident that had some irony as to his claim to fame.  

We did all that. 

We let Justin and Miley and all of them be even more famous because of social media.   We were unfriended by countless numbers of people on Facebook because they didn’t share our same outlook, flawed or right as it may be, and we got into flame wars on Twitter over stupid things.  We sat back, and watched the world burn and loved every minute of it.

I think we know the real winner of this, it’s us.  We are the bigger douche bag.   Look, as much as I hate what the Internet has become, it is an inanimate object.  For every picture of a drone or GMO plant or Illuminati conspiracy, there are people out there like John and Hank Green,  Hannah Hart and Talia Castellano.  We are making the hate and fail the bigger stories.  That’s why we are the bigger douche bags.   There are people out there using the Internet to try and make the world a better place but we can’t have nice things.  We ruin it like everything else in this world.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 D-Bag Awards Round One: Congress vs. Healthcare Companies

Oh, boy, the hot button issue.  Here we go!

Healthcare Companies vs. Congress

I’ve been dreading this match up simply because of the nature of the topic.   This country has been so divided by this debate that it has become a huge rift in a lot of lives.

Here’s what we have.

The Affordable Care Act has been put into law.  It was signed after being approved by whatever votes were needed in both parts of congress.  It was tried and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  It has had numerous issues in taking effect.  Yet, it is no different than anything else we’ve talked about.   EA, which is in the business of being ready to launch video games did not have enough servers ready to handled the demand of Sim City’s launch.   Sony, who has had three iterations of their console, the Playstation, come out over the last 20 years still had broken units shipped and numerous flaws.   So, the fact that a website for did not work as perfectly as intended on day one of the availability for signing up should be of no surprise.  The bigger problem is if it doesn’t work when the last day of signing up comes and goes.  And to that we have seen numerous successes of the law taking place.  But, we love to hate more than we love to change.   We also love to bash more than we love to fix.   We would rather complain about it.

But here’s what people don’t realize:
Yes, the promises that we could keep our insurance if we wanted it were a little bit much.  Then again, the government shouldn’t promise something that the healthcare companies would ultimately destroy because they are the ones losing money on this deal.  So, it stands to reason they will do everything in their power to retain their profits vs. actually helping people.  Oh, you can’t keep your doctor?  Why?  Because Obama said you can’t?   The healthcare companies have been passive aggressive in their placing of blame.  Of course, they are the victim in all of this.  Why, the biggest healthcare company in the state of PA is claiming it should be tax exempt because it has no employees?  The same company that said its employees could not smoke during at all during their work day, even on their lunches or breaks.  So, either they have employees or they just have people milling about.  Which is it?

You cannot possibly please all of the people all of the time.  It’s the production triangle.  You have tree sides, Quality, Time, and Cost.  You are only allowed to pick two.   If these things could have please every single person, then someone would have found something to bitch about, just because they don’t like it.  And that leads me into the next candidate, Congress.

This year, more than any other we have seen a divided country, not just in constituency, but in leadership.  We went into the year with the looming debt ceiling and sequester.   Instead of fixing problems, they blamed each other.  As the deadline for the ACA and the budgetary crisis loomed, both sides became so pissy with each other that it looked more like a bad case of we don’t like who we picked for kickball than anything else.  Eventually, we had a government shutdown that lasted about two weeks.  In all, the country hemorrhaged more than it saved and cause more discourse among a society, already easily influenced by fear mongering at the hands of those supposed to help us.  The wire tapping scandals continued under their blessing and still there was issues.   Republican vs. Democrat  and Libertarian vs. everybody.  What really makes me nuts is that if Libertarians were so sure their way was best, they’d understand why it isn’t.  You cannot expect a country to simply stop hating one another because you think it’s the best choice.  Yeah, we understand that it’s not, but you cannot cork the bottle of stupidity with more stupidity.   You’re going to have to look at the entire field and figure out how to make what we already have work before you can change it into something better.   You cannot ask for a different hand in this card game no matter how much you think you can win with your own ideas.   If everyone adopted a more broad solution culled from the best parts of everybody’s ideology we could probably get something done.

So, to that the winner of this match is: Congress.   
I would give you all the reasons why, but I have to go on recess for a million months instead of actually doing my job.

2013 D-Bag Awards Round One: Hollywood vs. Video Game Companies

Hollywood vs. Video Game Companies

2013 became a colossal year for Entertainment Industry screw ups.   Some of the most anticipated events turned out to be colossal fails and in both camps.  2013 simple became a challenge of who wanted it more, the video game industry or Hollywood.

Hollywood had a lot riding on 2013.  They went into the year still smarting from the fail that was John Carter, with a new plan.   Let’s rely on those that have brought us big wins in the past.

The Lone Ranger was supposed to be the Cowboys and Indians equivalent to audience’s love of Pirates.  After all, you have Johnny Depp playing Tonto.  The problem was that audiences were beginning to suffer from Depp-ression after Pirates 4 failed to wow them.  Yeah, it grossed over a billion worldwide but the loss of three key components to the series, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, and director Gore Verbinski, made for a rather anemic plot and quite frankly, continuing the series after the confusing At Worlds End was a bit of rum soaked head scratcher.    One would think it would make perfect sense to shift the action to dry land and dig up an American icon, The Lone Ranger.   But in the overly sensitive world of being, um, sensitive, folks were angered at Depp’s portrayal of Tonto, of course they were mostly white.  Native American’s fell on both sides of the fence, giving some concern over Depp’s possibly stereotypical “Injun” portrayal, but others commending him for at least attempting to speak Comanche and not seem like an Indian and more like a Comanche American.   Yet, the film failed.  Too much action, not enough Western nostalgia.  It was simply Pirates of the Old West.

Other flagrant d-bag moves by Hollywood?  How about we look at the remakes like Carrie, Evil Dead, and Oldboy?  Each one did not need to be remade.  Carrie was ridiculous, Evil Dead was Cabin in the Woods played straight, and Spike Lee whitewashing Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film just to make a buck made for a stupid moves on an industry that is already losing out to home viewing.  Case in point,  I took my kid to see Frozen over the holiday and the cost of the tickets were less than the concessions.   Granted, the prices were a bargain price during a matinee, but still, theaters don’t make any money off of the films anymore, just concessions.   Hollywood needs to start putting a better product out and stop being idiots if they want to bring people back for the prices they charge.

Not to be outdone, the video game industry had its share of moments.  Let’s see…
Microsoft reveals Xbox One and says, “YOU HAVE TO BE ONLINE TO PLAY!”  Oh, wait, they took that back.
EA launches Sim City 5 and they insist that you have to be hooked into the Internet to play it. On top of that, it crashes because they didn’t anticipate the server demand.    What part of a single player game, do they not get?  We play Sim City because we want to control the world, not share it.  That’s like giving someone a solitaire game and making it multiplayer only.

Last of Us debuts and it’s really good and frustrating and then Ellen Page gets all huffy because she thinks the main character is too much like her.  Maybe because she’s going to be in her own game called Beyond: Two Souls and doesn’t want there to be a conflict between the two when people buy it?  Who knows?    Then there’s Battlefield 4 and Devil May Cry and a slew of other idiocies that make you scratch your head.  Add in a bunch of broken consoles for PS4, the “Don’t install the GTA V disc while playing” for Xbox One, and the debate over DRM in the gaming this year and you rack up a lot of points in the win column for the gaming industry.

So who won? HOLLYWOOD!
This one is basically a tossup, but I’m going to go with Hollywood.   For all their faults, the video game industry is still heading in the right direction with things, but Hollywood has just become so out of touch with the audience that I don’t ever see them regaining their credibility.  After all, Justin Bieber had a movie open on Christmas called Believe.   That says all you need to know. 

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