My ‘Interstellar’ Review

My ‘Interstellar’ Review

Interstellar — Review »

Unfortunately I do think this film suffers from that one thing I mentioned early in my review when speaking of Nolan’s previous films, and that is a trumped up sense of self importance. Many times throughout this film, Hans Zimmer’s score swells to unbelievable heights meant to communicate to us the importance of this entire trek and film for mankind. There were at least four recitations of Dylan Thomas’ poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” which borders on the point of tedium. The tone is somber and solemn indeed. In fact I would say this film suffers from it. I cannot remember a single joke that worked or was put forth in a way to lighten the mood or the tension. Not a single line of this film was uttered in triviality. But that doesn’t work very well because that’s not the way humans operate. In life we need something to break up the tension once in a while, and in films we do too. What makes a film tedious is often not so much its length (although that can obviously have a major impact), but its unrelenting solemnity. Throughout its 2hr 49m runtime, the film never gives us a break, and the result is tedium.

From my review of Interstellar, the latest offering from director Christopher Nolan which is now in theaters. I saw it last night in theaters with a good friend of mine in preparation for The MovieByte Podcast, and to write the review about it I’ve linked to here.

This marks me starting to try to use my personal blog to promote my other work. It may not work, it may fail utterly. And it may be weird to link to myself, but I’m trying something here.

The Myth of “Net Neutrality”

The Myth of “Net Neutrality”

I want net neutrality as much as the next tech enthusiast. I want an internet free and clear of restrictions. I don’t want Comcast throttling data that comes from Netflix, for instance. But the fact remains that Comcast owns the pipes that get Netflix to me (in other cases, AT&T owns the pipes, in some cases Time/Warner Cable, etc.). They have the right to do whatever they want with their privately owned network. This is the very foundation of free market capitalism. They own a thing, they charge for access to the thing, they can put whatever terms and conditions in place that they want.

I believe it would be wrong to say that we can now have the government come in and tell Comcast, Verizon, Time/Warner, AT&T, how they may operate their privately owned networks. As much as I want it I don’t think it’s right to impose my will on the company via the government. Let’s say the will of the people of U.S. was that power companies provide power to each of us for free. Shall we pass legislation saying that they must do so?

Let me bring it a little closer to home. Let’s say the people of the U.S. want to pass laws that would require Churches to marry same-sex couples. Is that legislation we should pass? Just because the people want a thing doesn’t make it right.

What the people want in this case is to regulate private companies into providing unrestricted access to the Internet. I say no deal.

What we are actually and ultimately doing is propping up something very much like a monopoly or a duopoly, only with just one or two more players. By regulating these guys to provide a slighter better service, we are making it hard for other players to enter the field and really compete because we’ve regulated a bad service provided by bad players on the field to be “just good enough” so that gives them an advantage because they are already established. If we leave it alone, and de-regulate what’s already in place, the free market will take care of itself.

A useful exercise is to ask ourselves how we got to this point in the first place. And the answer is regulation. So let’s stop doing the thing that doesn’t work. I don’t want the government more involved in this, I want the free market to be allowed to operate. If Comcast, Time/Warner, Verizon, AT&T, whatever, are not providing a good service or a service in a way people want, in a free market, someone will see an opportunity and provide competition.

Also remember, the Internet is not a right, it is a service and a privilege. As a service, you pay someone for it. And as such, you don’t have any right to force anyone to provide it to you, or to provide it to you on your terms. You can feel free to negotiate or do business however you want, but you cannot get the government henchmen to act like thugs and force your will upon them.

I Have a Car, You Need a Ride

I Have a Car, You Need a Ride

Stephen Dethrage — »

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The on-going strife between the city of Tuscaloosa and the app-based ride-sharing service Uber may come to a head this week after city officials said they’d begin Wednesday to arrest Uber drivers operating there. 

Billy Guernier, the general manager for Uber Tuscaloosa, said more than a dozen city employees met with an Uber policy specialist Friday and drew a clear line in the sand, promising begin on Wednesday to arrest any Uber driver in the city and charge them with violating city codes that govern taxi services in Tuscaloosa.

Oh yeah, this is the type of thing you would expect in a free society.

Guernier said the ultimatum comes after a month of failing negotiations between the two parties. He said he personally flew to Tuscaloosa to meet its mayor Walt Maddox last month, but the meeting never materialized. Guernier said Sunday morning that Uber has come to the table willing to compromise and ready to cooperate with the city, but has been met with continued resistance and a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude from city officials. 

In their defense, city employees said it’s Uber that is unwilling to compromise even after it was made clear that the city was willing to be flexible to make Uber work in the Druid City.

I don’t even understand what compromise would look like. Where does this end? I have a car, my friend needs a ride to the airport. Do I need to have background checks and a commercial taxi license? This is complete and utter non-sense. Well, any regulations on any services is non-sense to begin with, and maybe that’s the problem.

This is, by the way, not a failure of capitalism or free market. It is in fact a failure of our current society here in the U.S. to recognize the ridiculousness of some of these regulations and to adapt to changing economic conditions and innovations. Uber is an amazing service and an amazing idea. It saves money, takes advantage of modern technologies, and provides a service people want. And here’s the thing — make no mistake — people are using this and people want it.

Last night, me and several friends at a conference near Washington, D.C. used the Uber app to get a ride downtown for food and drinks and to have some fun. It was cheap and worked great. We received better service and rates than we would have from a cab. The man driving was happy because he made some money, and we were happy because we were in D.C. without our own car and needed to get from point A to point B. This is basic, free market capitalism 101. The fact that this is even happening — that Uber is even under threat anywhere for any reason, is a painful reminder that we are not in fact in a free market capitalist society.

It’s also a good reminder that the regulation that has been set up around transportation services lends itself to propping up old business models that need to naturally die out or evolve. When you allow the free market to work, all this is taken care of.

Some Questions About Worship

Some Questions About Worship

I am very busy with several projects that are all urgent and should not be writing on my personal blog right now. But I need to take five minutes and write about this anyway.

A video has been making the rounds by Victoria Osteen. Victoria is wife to the (in)famous Joel Osteen. She had some stuff to say. Here’s the video, and below some key quotes from what she said.

I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it — we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning

So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?

Well, well, well. Someone has not studied the Westminster Catechism. Not surprising of course — most modern “Christians” don’t have much use for something like that. But it sure would help with some general education here. The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” and answers it thusly: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Note that the answer is not to be happy or to do things for our own selves. It is not “be happy because that’s what makes God happy.” No, the key issue here is that God is to be glorified and that is our chief end. That is our created purpose.

The answer is not without its scriptural support. 1 Peter 4 has some things for us to look at. Let me quote a couple verses from the beginning of the chapter for context, then move to the key verse.

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

So the context here is that Christ suffered for us. We should no longer live in the flesh and the lusts of men, but we should live in the will of God.

Now verse 11:

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice what the purpose of all this is. That God may be glorified in all things. Our happiness is immaterial. God is concerned with His glory, not our happiness.

1 Corinthians 10:31 again reminds us to do all for the glory of God (not our own happiness):

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Chronicles 16:29 says:

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

We are to give the Lord glory because it is due to Him. We come before Him to worship and that is all. We do not come because God is happy when we are happy so we should come and be happy. We come and worship because it is due to Him.

Victoria Osteen would have us believe that worship is about us, about ourselves and God is secondary. But God must not be secondary in anything, ever. Let me ask these questions for you (and Victoria) to think about.

Who is worship for?

Here are three hints:

  • It’s not about you.
  • Think about what the word Worship means, and who is being worshiped.
  • What is the chief end of man?

What does worship do?

Here are three hints:

  • It’s not about you.
  • Think about what the word Worship means, and who is being worshiped.
  • What is the chief end of man?

What is the chief end of our Worship of God?

Here are three hints:

  • It’s not about you.
  • Think about what the word Worship means, and who is being worshiped.
  • What is the chief end of man?
Hobby Lobby, Rights, and Women

Hobby Lobby, Rights, and Women

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down their decision in the Hobby Lobby case. That decision was in favor of liberty. Hobby Lobby has been fighting for the right to not provide and pay for the type of “healthcare” that can cause an abortion of a tiny little baby in the womb. The Supreme Court has ruled that they do indeed have the right, as one would expect in a free country.

After that decision was handed down, my Twitter stream lit up in a blaze of righteous anger from those on the side of death. The general consensus from moderates to liberals is that Hobby Lobby is being allowed to flaunt the law of the land and, what’s next, someone refusing healthcare altogether? The shock and horror.

Let me be clear, I think it is immoral and repugnant that any entity is required by the laws of our land to provide anything for anyone. A corporation is run by people with convictions and morals. You would not require of me that I provide for the general welfare of my neighbor 1 so why do we require it of employers? We’ve made corporations this faceless entity that obviously has resources beyond our comprehension so they just need to buckle up, the CEO should sell a yacht or three, and provide whatever we the people want.

It occurs to me that if I had my way, and corporations were not these big legal entities that we see them as today, but were simply seen as individuals who formed a partnership together, perhaps a lot of this wrongheaded thinking would go away. But I digress.

The tack I wish to take here is this; I keep seeing this type of phrase tossed around negatively about the SCOTUS decision:

We live in a country where corporations have more rights than women.

This is at best a misleading statement, meant to stir up an emotional response 2. The very premise of the statement is based on a false assumption. The assumption is that a right was taken away from women in this decision to allow Hobby Lobby to not fund murder.

In fact, no rights were taken away from Women, and some were given back to Hobby Lobby. Women may still have an abortion in this country, as sick and sad as that may be. What has changed, however, is that Women may not expect Hobby Lobby to be forced to fund such a heinous act. Note that we can still expect Hobby Lobby to be forced to fund all manor of other healthcare needs. 3

But we have devolved in this country — in our modern society — to the point where we perceive that whatever our heart desires is a right. We desire that woman should be able to murder their unborn children and that this service should be rendered unto them for no cost out of their own pocket. Someone has to foot the bill, why not the employers? To us, freedom means free things for the masses. But this is not liberty, this is tyranny.

To illustrate, let us suppose that what I and everyone else in the country these days wants, is for employers to provide a Ferrari to all employees. One of the companies decides they can’t afford to do this and so they don’t provide it to me. Is my liberty now infringed upon because my employer would not provide me with what I want? Would I say that the employer has invaded my garage and denied me access to a Ferrari? No one in their right mind would answer this in the affirmative, and yet that’s exactly what’s going on. Only in this case the stakes are much higher. Those in charge at Hobby Lobby have a moral issue with the murder of babies (I mean, I can’t imagine why, right?) and so they do not want to be party to those murders. The loony leftists would like to require that Hobby Lobby provide this type of healthcare.

Look, I’m just going to come right out and say this. You can call me out over on Facebook or Twitter if you like. You can accuse me of making this an “us versus them” debate, and that’s fine because I am. I draw the line at murder, so sue me. Anyone who cannot see this issue for what it is is party to the evil that has been spreading over this country like a plague. God has sent a blindness upon us so that we no longer recognize good from evil. We cannot recognize the clarity of this situation and what is happening. We can no longer distinguish between freedom and liberty, and the will of a people whose hearts and minds want nothing but wickedness.

So yes, this is about liberty. It is about those who do not want liberty, but want to have their desires met without regard for others, and those who want liberty to be evenly applied to all.

  1. Well, at least not directly, but that’s another post.

  2. A more cynical view is that it is an outright attempt at guilt manipulation.

  3. Which I still find morally repugnant. Government should in no way be involved in a business negotiation, which is what is going on in an agreement between employer and employee.

The War On Drugs Leaves 2 Year Old Fighting for Life

The War On Drugs Leaves 2 Year Old Fighting for Life

Alecia Phonesavanh — Salon »

After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib.

Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.

There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.

Why was this disgusting atrocity committed?

My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.

Drugs. This is because of drugs.

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

This is outrageous — OUTRAGEOUS!

Every morning, I have to face the reality that my son is fighting for his life. It’s not clear whether he’ll live or die. All of this to find a small amount of drugs?

The “war” on drugs has never, ever been right, but this sort of thing shows just how crazy it actually is. This is tyranny, not freedom and it’s disgusting, immoral, and wholly reprehensible.

I really liked this sarcastic comment made down in the comments section on the linked article. I don’t often read the comments, but I happened to see this one and it was good:

Look people, we can’t have people putting plants into their bodies, your body is state property.  You don’t own yourself.  If a few babies have to be blown up to keep that evil plant out of people’s bodies than so be it.

This is what we’ve come to as a nation. May God help us.

Ads on the Wii U Gamepad Upsets Me

Ads on the Wii U Gamepad Upsets Me

Nintendo recently pushed out an update to the Wii U that gives it a new ability: it can now display advertisements to you. Yeah, you heard me, it displays ads… on the Wii U Gamepad.

Let’s start with the update though. One evening I had about 20 minutes to play some game or other before bed so I turned on the Wii U. I was greated with a screen that told me I needed to wait for an update to install, and under no circumstances should I turn off the power (I have often wondered what would happen if we experienced a power failure during such an update).

The update ended up taking almost 40 minutes. There was no way for me to cancel, no way for me to delay it, no options. I was simply forced to endure the update. I am (almost) sure there is a preference for me to disable auto updates, but I find Wii U’s preferences a little hard to navigate —  AND I’M A DEVELOPER. Settings should NEVER be that hard. And it’s not even the point. This is a REALLY bad default. My gaming console is for my fun and enjoyment. Nintendo should NEVER get in between the user and the game they want to play. It’s a really bad experience. I was not able to play the game that night because I ran out of time waiting for the update. It’s. a. GAMING CONSOLE. No update is so important that you should disrupt the user experience. Ideally what should have happened is there should have been a dialog for the update: “would you like to install now, or later when you’re sleeping?” Later would have been fine. A simple dialog would have been fine. But it seems Nintendo is not interested in user experience. They are apparently clueless.

This is actually not the first time this has happened to me with a Wii U update. It has happened at least twice before over the amount of time I have had the console.

So, getting back to the ads, I quickly discovered in the subsequent days that among some other new features that are fine, there was a new one that is decidedly not fine. The Gamepad will randomly display ads. Sure they’re for Nintendo’s own products (for now), but this is not okay with me. Once, the Gamepad even woke itself up (I’m not making this up) while I was in the room to display an ad.

Hear me well, this. is. not. okay! The Wii U is a premium product. Nintendo has always positioned themselves as makers of premium products and they charge a premium price. I paid a premium price for the console and the games that go with it. I did not buy a device that is ad supported. I have spent several hundred dollars for a premium experience. I don’t think it’s asking too much that my premium device not be plastered with ads, even ads only for products from the maker of the device.

Premium companies do not turn their premium devices into ad supported platforms. Period. This sort of behavior is way beneath Nintendo. Yes, Nintendo is not doing very well right now, but if they think turning their premium device into an ad business to try to sell more of their premium products is going to get them out of this hole, they are seriously deluded.

Can you imagine if Apple plastered an add on an iPhone or iPad screen that required you to click a button to acknowledge before you could use your device? No, the answer is you can not imagine it because Apple would never EVER do it. And if they did, the pundits would finally be right in declaring that Apple’s demise was near.

This is the first time that I’ve seriously doubted that Nintendo can recover from the mess they’ve gotten themselves in. Because instead of doing the right things to get out of the mess, they’re digging the grave deeper and it saddens me. I grew up with Nintendo and I’ve loved their products. I even, to a degree, love the Wii U. It’s a great product that is not doing well because of Nintendo’s continued, brazen stupidity. I’m on Nintendo’s side. Now I want them to be on my side.

Adrenal Fatigue or Starvation?

Adrenal Fatigue or Starvation?

Go Kaleo »

Adrenal Fatigue is a very trendy diagnosis in the alternative health industry right now, and I’m seeing more and more clients who come to me having previously been diagnosed with it. I’ve noticed a troubling pattern that deserves to get some air time, so I’m talking about it here.

It’s likely to make some health minded folks mad, but this is really good and you need to read this.