Captain America: Civil War

#Spoilers #Spoilers #Spoilers

Cap 3: Civil War is another Marvel movie with all the quality writing, directing, and action we’ve come to expect.

Crossbones

My original worry: One villain too many.

Outcome: He was a throwaway villain to set up the plot.

Character Motivations

My original worry: I wouldn’t believe the motivation behind the ferocity of the Cap/Bucky/Tony conflict. Why are they so angry?

Outcome: The character motivations are established clearly and quickly in the movie immediately justifying each character’s position and the climactic fight had nothing to do with the accords. It is brilliantly written.

The Airport Scene

My original worry: The airport scene in Germany would make no sense. Vision, Spidey and Iron Man versus Falcon, Hawkeye, and Ant Man.

Outcome: They were all former team-mates. They’ve fought beside each other and saved the world together multiple times. No one had the desire to hurt any other. Tony’s instructions to Spidey were to web everything. Black Widow mentions Tony’s desire to go easy on them. Ant Man had no trouble holding his own.

How strong is Captain America anyway?

My original worry: It wouldn’t make sense that Captain American could go toe to toe with Iron Man.

Outcome: Cap’s durability is showcased in act 1 when he falls off a building and is unfazed (in case you forgot the 10 story drop he sustained in Winter Soldier) and his strength is showcased in act 2 when he’s holding down a helicopter well before he lays the beats down on Iron Man in act 3. Not to mention Tony was definitely pulling his gauntlet-clad punches and using his repulsers sparingly.

Complaints?

The only complaint I have is that Ant Man and Scarlet Witch were found/detained. Ant Man had a headache after becoming Giant Man, fine, but he couldn’t have a headache small/hiding in a crack in the ground? There’s no conceivable reason the Witch couldn’t have walked off the airport battlefield with little effort. This would have also helped me believe the break-in at the end of the movie was possible;

  • How did Cap force the prison out of the water?
  • How did Cap infiltrate the prison?

Both questions are answered with Ant Man and Scarlet Witch on his side. Plus the Ant Man suit would never have fallen into the government’s (Stark’s) hands…

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Sex Ed and organized ignorance.

Evie – Where do babies come from?
Me – Mommies and daddies.
Evie – But they come out of mommy’s belly?
Me – A special part in her belly just for making babies where daddies can plant a seed.
Evie – How do they plant a seed?
Me – They do a special love dance called sex.
Evie – Where is your seed daddy?
Me – I keep them in my private parts. Boy’s private parts are called penis and girl’s privates are called vaginas.

Later on in the garden.

Evie – Bee!
Me – Bees are good. They help deliver the seeds from the boy parts to the girl parts to make more plants.
Evie – Oh. Like mommy and daddy.
Me – Exactly.

I think most parents would agree that one of the first questions kids have is where did I come from? It’s a valid question that they really deserve an answer to. It helps them to understand so much more than their own origin but life itself. This isn’t the middle ages. We know where babies come from. We know why some have blue eyes and some have brown. Yet while some of our population is working on isolating genes that can increase a risk for cancer others are making sure their children don’t find out about penises and vaginas.

All across Ontario bands of ignorant people are organizing to put a stop to the public school system updating their sex education to the 21st century by teaching kids in grade 1 that men have a penis and women have a vagina, or by teaching that men can fall in love with other men and preform oral and anal sex by grade 8. I didn’t grow up with the internet and I can tell you kids knew about oral sex by grade 8 back then.

Culture, religion, family values. Bullshit. Abstinence doesn’t work. Ignorance doesn’t work. Science and knowledge has proven itself to be our best weapon for combatting STIs, people seeking consent, reducing rape and unreported rape, reducing sexual stigma, increasing sexual satisfaction, reducing teen/unwanted pregnancy, and limiting unreported sexual abuse.

I’m sorry but I’m not sorry. Sex education to me is the same as vaccines. We need to force the ignorant into conformity. Having a well educated youth regarding the dangers and delights of sex is better for our entire society.

I don’t have my head up my ass. I am fine with the fact that my daughters will grow up to have and love (I hope.) sex. It’s the most important part of relationships. It’s the square root of life. Fuck(,) people! Get with the program.

It’s about damn time. #Marijuana #Cdnpoli

The Canadian discussion of whether marijuana should be legal has been concluded. Now we must ask how.

I was the target generation of Reagan’s ‘Just Say No!’ campaign. The police had drug-demos in our school with things like V.I.P. (Values, Influences, and Peers). Fear tactics were in full swing. ‘Drugs will kill you’. ‘One hit and you’re hooked’. ‘Criminal’ this and ‘prison’ that. It was imposing. The commercial with the wire-brain, the “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, and the commercial with the frying pan were my personal favourites.

The problem was, at the same time as the anti-drug campaigns were in full swing other influences were at play. Every summer my family and I would drive down east to visit my grandparents. I am very thankful for these road trips because I received a first class music education in the back seat of an 1980s Crown Victoria. Songs like John Prine’s “Illegal Smile” and Johnny Cash’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” filled my impressionable ears. Later on I’d witness my parents and their friends howl with laughter at Up in Smoke. I was 12 when I saw ‘Dazed and Confused’, 17 when I saw ‘Half Baked’, and 18 when I saw ‘Clerks’.

These songs and movies did not make me do drugs. What they did was overpower the government message. They took away all the fear the government was trying to install into my young mind and made it look fun.

I did not say no to drugs. Like alcohol I went searching for weed before it was ever offered to me. I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I loved it. Right away I loved it. Alcohol makes you dumb, takes away your control, makes you do dumb things, makes you say dumb things. Weed makes you zone, takes away your anxiety, makes you eat, and makes you very careful in choosing your words.

Looking back on the “say no to drugs” childhood I had I could never believe it was legal in Amsterdam. I thought, “geez people must be dying all over the place!” Now I look at places like the Netherlands and Portugal and see a clear example of the model we should be following. They see drug abuse as a symptom of a larger problem. They know they can’t arrest their way out of drug abuse.

It’s also no surprise why a pre-science government would lump weed in with opiates. It makes you dopey, at least on the surface. We know now that’s not the case. Kevin Smith and Seth Rogan have made careers out of being baked all the time. But declassifying an illegal drug is more complicated than it may seem. There are international security agreements to consider. The USA is trying to fight a war on african americans… err… drugs you know!

The Trailer Park Boys summarized it clearly when they wrote and filmed the movie “Don’t Legalize It.” Criminals love prohibition of inelastic commodities. It’s the perfect business opportunity; a gap in a market that legal businesses aren’t allowed to fill.

So much money! 20% of Canadians smoked weed last year. That is 7,032,000 people! Let’s just say that each person smoked one $5 joint at a concert. I’d say that’s a ridiculously conservative estimate considering I have purchased a half ounce for personal use in the last year. That’s $35,160,000 that did not go to legit businesses. The entire population of Washington is 7,000,000. They’re anticipating, wait for it, $190,000,000 over 4 years. That’s a lot of zeros.

Speaking of Washington weed is already legal there and in Colorado. God bless America! State’s rights are fantastic. You have to respect an institution that can somehow have weed illegal on the federal level yet legal at the state level. It defies logic. Who cares?! They’re doing it anyway!

This mindless ramble can be summarized thusly.

  •  Weed is fun.
  • Millions of Canadians smoke it regularly.
  • No one cares that it’s illegal.
  • It hurts less people than alcohol or tobacco which are legal.
  • Millions of dollars are going to organized crime instead of farmers, distributors and dispensaries.
  • Thousands of farmers, drivers and dealers are not paying income taxes.
  • Our law enforcement, legal, and prison systems could use a break from this massive waste of time.
  • When it’s no longer stigmatized as a crime people who really need help might be able to get it.

This whole blog entry was pointless because by this time next year weed will be legal in Canada. Felt good to get it all out though.

Pineapple Express-Weed

What I want from the new Trek.

Star Trek is coming back! I’m very excited about this but I think they’re off to a bad start.

It’s going to follow the adventures of the Enterprise C. If you can’t feel my disappointment from wherever you are you’re lucky.

Star-Trek-Featured-05192016.jpg

I feel like this limits them as far as where they can go. No matter what happens they’ll have to wind up with the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Romulan Star Empire (and Neutral Zone). Planets like Bajor and Batazed on the fringes of Federation space during the TNG/DS9 timelines will not have been discovered yet. Prequels can be fun but only if there’s a good story to tell and I just don’t see it.

Star Trek has always been about expanding human understanding, exploration of the universe, science fiction and politics. At the end of DS9 the Klingons, Romulans and Humans were brought closer together by the dominion war. The Cardassians were defeated but the Dominion still posed a threat to the Federation if they ever hoped to expand into the Gamma Quadrant. At the end of Voyager we see technology like ablative hull armour and the Borg trans-warp network. The Borg still pose a massive threat to the federation although Capt. Janeway violated the temporal prime directive to give weaponry suitable to combat it. My point is there are a lot of loose ends and stories to be told moving forward from where we left off.

Going back in time where technology will be weaker. One of the most annoying things about Enterprise to me was their crappy technology. I watch science fiction to dream big. Enterprise was minor league.

Gene Roddenberry was a dreamer! He dreamt not only of the physics of faster than light travel and phaser guns but of social issues like equality and diversity. TNG took it further with technology dreaming of AI in Data, holographic technology, and food replication. TNG, DS9, and Voyager all dealt with diversity and equality in their time as well.

Here’s my vision for Star Trek’s new TV series. I know it’s too late for this to happen but here it is.

Enterprise X3, 100 years after TNG. The Klingons have joined the Federation because they could not compete with the Romulan and Human technological advancement and were facing defeat from the Romulan Star Empire. The Federation is extremely more technologically advanced from where we left off. Faster travel, long range transporters, phasing through solid objects, you name it. There could be artificial intelligences and androids fighting for equal rights, respect, equality. What if a disenfranchised AI joined forces with the Borg?! Geez! What about the singularity? Humans or Romulans who decided to digitize their consciousness? Entire groups of immortal humans in computer systems or droid bodies. With crazy technology comes crazy morality issues like citizen safety and exchanging privacy for safety. The size of the Federation could become an issue. It could suffer from expansion issues like security being stretched too thin and Starfleet starts to be asked to fill roles not in the realm of science and exploration. They could also potentially be expanding toward Borg territory and share a border with the dominion. Who knows there could be long range ships being constructed to travel to Andromeda. Or maybe ships have already been and come back. Anything is possible when you’re leading the way!

Dream big people! DREAM HUGE! The bigger the problem the better the story!

My point is TOS was a mirror for how Gene Roddenberry hoped our future would be. TNG, Voyager and DS9 each picked up that dream, expanded on it, and ran with it. They continued to push the envelope of the long-term human horizon. I get the feeling the executives at CBS are forgetting that this is Star Trek (!!!) and are putting us all in a safe-zone of familiarity. I think they are going to give us a new crew, some new ships, a couple new planets and species and then wonder why we’re not spellbound.

My ideas would seem weird and out of place 30 years before the events of TNG. You certainly couldn’t get crazy with Alpha Quadrant politics if you are at all concerned with continuity. I predict epic failure from the new TV show but I hope I’m wrong.

Intellectual Property v. Public Domain.

Since I wrote this I have not been able to stop rolling the implications around in my mind. I was determined to keep thinking about it until I could adequately express how I’m feeling about it.

Imagine a computer system that has a detailed record of every single piece of music ever written. I believe that we would be able to draw a line showing influence from a cave-person humming the first recognizable note all the way to Justin Bieber and beyond.

I took the following quote from the documentary Everything Is A Remix (24 minute, 27 second mark). Forgive my punctuation. I’m typing it from spoken word.

This is social evolution; copy, transform, and combine. It’s who we are, it’s how we live, and (of course) it’s how we create. Our new ideas evolve from the old ones. {…} our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the dirivitive nature of creativity. Instead, ideas are regarded as property; as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries. {…} Ideas aren’t so tidy. They’re layered. They’re interwoven. They’re tangled. When the system conflicts with the reality the system starts to fail.”

Copyright was intended to provide a brief and limited period of exclusivity so the creator could capitalize on their creation before it enters public domain for use by all. The original copyright act gave the creator 14 years with the ability to renew for another 14 if the creator was still alive at the end of the copyright period.

“Culture is impossible without a rich public domain.” – Alex Kozinski

The public domain has been halted. The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright protection to the life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years. The reality is that music created in the 1980s is under lock and key until the 22nd century (depending on the life spans of its original artists). So we can expect our public domain to start growing again (assuming no more extension acts pass) in the early 2100s.

Music moves fast. From experience I know a band can hear a riff from an old song and build an entirely new song on top of it in an afternoon. Change one piece of that song and the magic may be gone.

My contention with Tom Petty is that copyright protection is too long. That he can receive royalties for a song released 25 years after his song because the two share 13 consecutive intervals yet bear no other similarities else is nothing short of asinine.

Copyright on music should last 14 years (renewable to 28), the way it was originally intended.

Smith v. Petty.

{This one is dedicated to my closest brain-buddy, Emily.}

I’ve been carrying a hate on for Tom Petty for a while now.

In 2014 Tom Petty pointed out that Sam Smith’s Stay With Me sounded a lot like Won’t Back Down and and the media went crazy. Sam Smith apologized and said it was a coincidence. Tom Petty didn’t really seem to care and said his music is “out there so musical accidents happen”. Sam Smith gave Tom Petty a writing credit. Petty gets a cheque (12.5% for Petty, 12.5% for Jeff Lynn) every time a radio station plays Stay With Me.

Is that fair?

For a legitimate complaint you need to prove similarity and exposure. Did Smith hear Don’t Back Down and does Stay With Me sound like it?

Exposure. Petty released Won’t Back Down in 1989 it charted to number 12. Sam Smith was born in 1992. Stay With Me was released in 2014, 25 years after the aggrieved track was released. I was born in 1981. So it would be like me claiming I’d never heard Rich Girl by Daryl Hall and John Oates. Fuck. I love that song.

Similarity.

  • There are no lyrical similarities.
  • Stay With Me is a pop love song sung by a man falling apart with a choral backup.
    Won’t Back Down is an anti-establishment rock song sung solo by a confident frontman.)
  • Stay With Me is in the key of C.
    Won’t Back Down is in the key of G.
  • Stay With Me is 85 bpm.
    Won’t Back Down is 115 bpm.
  • Stay With Me has the chord progression Am7, F, C. (minor 6, 4, 1)
    Won’t Back Down has the chord progression Em, D, G. (minor 6, 5, 1)

To me these were totally different songs. I could hear the similarities but I could hear the differences too.

It’s all in the melody. That’s where I lose. Copyright protects melody of 8 notes or more. It does not care about context. It doesn’t care how many people are singing it. It doesn’t care if the 4 or 5 is being played over it.

I borrowed the following images from a blogger who transposed Stay With Me to G to compare it with Won’t Back Down.

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1-fW7Ux0iOSo8FFjJyN5aZhQ

Bars 2, 3 and 4, a.k.a. the smokin’ gun bars, show 13 identical intervals in sequence. Even if you take into account the 4/5 harmony notes it’s still 8 identical intervals in sequence which is more than enough for legal action. Fuck me.

I’m sorry Tom Petty. I was wrong.

I keep wanting to write something that redeems my original opinion but I have nothing.

Electric walls.

Still working on this one. Posting it to encourage myself to finish it.

Am                          G
too scared to play in front of crowds
       Am                   G
for you I turn my mic up loud
Am                                 Dm
I’ll bear my soul you bare your breasts
Am                                           F
We’ll put out friendship to the test

F G C G/B Am (rough)
I’ll let you under leather skin
F G C G/B Am G (rough)
Pinched pick in hand let us begin
Am                          F            Am        F
I start to play spit wicked lies
Am                          F            Am        F
sad words I sing sad tears you cry

 

Am                          F            Am        F
Electric walls keep us from touch
Am                          F            Am        F
you wouldn’t think I ask so much
Am                          F            Am        F
of you to know how shy I’ve been
Am                          F            Am        F
pillaged words sick songs of sin

 

hold fast to notes let my voice crack

singing songs to you I can’t relax

exposed to you my soul lay splayed

thoughts of moments unexplained

 

Electric walls keep us from touch

you wouldn’t think I ask so much

of you my secrets are meaningless

no one to tell my minds a mess

 

Am                          F            Am        F
Electric walls keep us from touch
Am                          F            Am        F
you wouldn’t think I ask so much
Am                          F            Am        F
Electric walls keep us from touch
Am                          F            Am        F
you wouldn’t think I ask so much

 

Gender neutral bathrooms.

I have no transgender friends that I know of. (I don’t inspect.) The issue of gender and bathrooms has puzzled me since I was a kid and learned that some women like women and some men like men. Now as an adult aware that gender identity haunts some people and their basic biological functions I’m even more perplexed.

I admit my experience is very limited.

As a father of twins I changed an inordinate amount of diapers. Unlike most my friends and other male counterparts I was not able to so easily duck out of the responsibility. My wife was quite busy enough with the other child she was invariably holding in her arms. I was shown by society many times that changing diapers is still “woman’s work” and often had a hard time finding change tables in men’s washrooms. Many times I was left changing a diaper in plain view or sneaking into the woman’s bathroom because it had the change table. I now truly appreciate family bathrooms.

5 years ago when my kids were in daycare before JK it used to bother me that they would go to the bathroom only shielded by a curtain. I was thinking to myself “what about their privacy? Their private parts?!” When I inquired I found out from the staff that it’s safer this way (no locking doors and no hard wood doors that open inward or outward) and kids don’t really think like that at their age.

7 years ago I threw a bachelor party for a friend in Toronto. We got loaded and wandered around… as you do. We ended up in this rooftop dance club with a sweet view of the CN tower. Felt out of this world. We were drinking and whatever so eventually I had to use the bathroom because science. I follow the signs and turn a corner. I’m looking at a row of 10-12 stalls, no urinals and women doing their makeup in the mirror. I thought I took a wrong turn. Then I saw men going into the stalls. Men washing their hands. Everyone was going about their bathroom business and not caring to make eye contact with anyone else. No one wants to say they met someone in a bar bathroom I guess. I went into a stall after a man came out expecting a piss covered seat. Nope. Clean. Yeah! I’m serious. I’m assuming his ape brain came to the same conclusion my ape brain did; a pretty girl could be waiting to use this stall after you. Don’t mess it up.

I’m at the Flying J off the 401 in Napanee once or twice a year. They’ve got an awesome breakfast buffet. In the mens room the toilet stalls are like little closets. Cinder blocks to the floor and a regular door with a locking knob. Talk about a brick shit house. My point here is it’s not impossible to create privacy inside a bathroom.

Ever notice there’s never any line at a men’s washroom in a stadium or bar but the women’s goes around the corner? That’s because stalls take up way more room that urinals. So men and women being allotted the same square footage for restrooms is also a little bit crazy.

I know I sound like I’m all over the place here but I’m thinking the answer is so simple.

  • One bathroom for boys, girls, men, women, elderly, youth, any skin colour, any religion, any eye and hair colour (looking at you Mr. Hitler.), homosexuals, lesbians, asexuals, women with penises, and men with vaginas… and their pets but only if they can read the sign.
  • Family facilities like change rooms and change tables.
  • Stall doors that go down to the floor.

Is that not enough? Where is the argument? I don’t get it. I am pretty sure people will behave themselves. This is reminiscent of the argument for why my daughter’s can’t wear spaghetti straps to school. “The boys…{insert your worst fear here.}”. My answer to that as well as gender neutral bathrooms is teach the boys some fucking respect.

Voting. I think we can do better.

A couple weeks ago Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democrats in Canada had been voted out by his party. The NDP had never booted out a leader before. Mulcair had the honour of being the first.

I feel like he was short changed by strategic voting. People didn’t want to take a chance that their ideological vote would yield their district to a conservative candidate. This hurts the green party as well, as it always has, but you don’t see Elizabeth May tossed out on her ear.

I know Mulcair made mistakes on the campaign trail. He got embroiled in the niqab debate. His promise to abolish the senate was realistically unattainable. He wanted to increase manufacturing and increase corporate tax… Wait. What?

I want our government to be more representative of the popular vote without compromising its functioning structure.

It bugs me, like so many things do, that an MP can be elected to the house of commons with around 35% of the votes in their district. What about the other 65%? It makes no sense that the majority of people can just be muted for four years.

My solution: I want to triple the number of potential MPs in the House of Commons while keeping the number of seats (divided by district population) exactly as they are right now.

Example time! In 2011, for Kingston and the Islands, Ted Hsu received 39% of the vote. He won. Yay! Off he goes to the House of Commons to govern. What about the 35% that voted for Alicia Gordon, the conservative candidate? What about the 22% that voted for Daniel Beals, the NDP candidate? In the current system they lost. They go home and two thirds of our district’s voices go unheard in Ottawa.

I propose that they not be done and those voices not go unheard. I propose they become MPs as well. Three MPs holding control over the one Kingston and the Islands vote in the House of Commons. It would be a beautiful thing. In every situation nearly the entire population’s representative would have a say. We would have to define anything under 10% as a ‘clear minority’ or something to that effect.

Would it be pointless to split a seat where the winner won by 50+%? Maybe. Maybe not. Who says 50% is the magic number. Why not 60%? We could define it as a ‘clear majority’ or something to that effect. Without the ‘clear majority’ it can be decided that two votes of three are required.

To those who would find this unfair for the 50-60% majority I say welcome to Canada. (The land of equal opportunity unless you’re white, speak french, have a penis, or rock a disability.)