Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rogue One Review

Remember long ago, when Star Wars never came to the theater?  We would wait years for the possibility of a sequel or prequel.  Then eventually we gave up hope ever seeing another big screen version again.

But things have changed.  Disney gave us a new hope.  Last year they released The Force Awakens, and now this year we have Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Way back in 1977, Star Wars (aka A New Hope, aka Episode IV) was released in theaters.  This is where the franchise first began, telling the epic story of a boy, a girl and a Death Star.  One of the important elements of this movie was the plans to destroy said Death Star.

But where did those plans come from?  I'm glad you ask!  Because even if you didn't want to know, Disney is going to tell you about it anyway.  Rogue One is essentially Star Wars Episode 3.9, giving creators plenty of room to write episode 3.1 - 3. 8.  And realistically, I'm sure as you read this, someone is working on a novelization of Episode 3.95.

If you recall this time last year, I was not a huge fan of The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII).  As the kids say, it was "aight".  Visually it was nice with some cool moments, but for the most part, the story felt like an elaborate re-hash of A New Hope with some fairly shallow characters.  And, if you know anything about me, my opinion of the movie's director, (J.J. Abrams) is fairly low *COUGH*overrated*COUGH* (read all about it here).

So you can imagine my curious anticipation to see director Gareth Edwards involved.  For the most part, I was not disappointed with his efforts!  Some scenes were a bit muddy and dark, but he also included many visually amazing moments with action you could follow, without resorting to a shaky cam or lens flare! *gasp*  I also loved getting to see some new worlds in this universe like Jedha and the tropical Scarif.  And just watching ships launch and dogfight in space was very cool.  Even the ground fights were fun to watch.

My biggest concern going in, was this would be a very dark, uncomfortable war story.  At it's core it is, but they remind us, it takes place in the Star Wars universe, so they know how to make it exciting as well.  There were definitely a few clap and cheer moments to appreciate.

The story presents us with a lot of new characters although, some of them are a bit forgettable.  For myself, I mostly appreciated K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk), Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), and of course Chirrut (Donnie Yen).  However, this is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor's (Diego Luna) movie, and they did pretty decent too.

But other than a few dark, murky scenes and some extraneous characters, I can't find much wrong.  If I'm nitpicking, I would complain about Vader's appearance.  He didn't seem as tall and narrow as he should.  But I'll just imagine he did some binge eating before the movie, then a quick Force workout before the events in Episode IV. 

Did this story need to be told?  Was all the fan service really necessary?  Of course not!  But it really looked cool, especially for fans.  Trust me, you'll be very happy.

And if you've never seen a Star Wars movie before, what rock have you lived under??  But this is a very good place to begin before seeing Episode IV. 

What about Episode I - III you ask?
Those are not the movies you're looking for...


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Writer

Once upon a time, there was a writer...

Well, he wanted to be a writer, but he was never very good at it.  He'd just stare at a blank page all day, waiting for something to happen.  He continued to stare and kept hoping the words would spontaneously appear.  But sadly, they never did. 

The more he stared, the more frustrated he became.  There were so many wonderful, imaginative things he wanted to share with the world!  But no matter how much he concentrated, all those interesting things just cluttered up his mind.

So, he just sat there, staring...

Then one day, The Writer had a revelation. 

"What if I use my hands and fingers, in some way, to convert those thoughts into words..."

He was surprised he'd never thought of this before.  Of course the words won't magically appear.  You have to make some kind of effort!

The Writer was filled with optimism for this new idea.  This had to work!  Getting those things out that constantly swirled around in his brain was becoming a necessity.  An obsession. 

So The Writer took a deep breath, trying to determine the best way to begin.  He started gently at first, slowly gliding his hand across the page. 

Nothing happened.  He began swaying them back and forth, a bit faster.  He added some flourishes to the movements, trying to wave them around.  Nothing happened. 

"Maybe I'm not using my fingers enough", he thought.  So he started pointing and gesturing.  He began casually, but seeing the page was still blank, he became more frantic.  He started acting like a caged animal in his attempt to put something on the page, hitting and punching the emptiness pleading for freedom. 

But his efforts were in vain.  No matter how desperately he moved his hands and fingers across the blank page, nothing happened.  Covered in sweat, mixed with tears, he shouted in exhaustion.

Then suddenly, through his wild behavior, The Writer noticed he had cut his finger.  He cringed in pain, but froze when he saw something new: Blood.  He held his breath as he looked at the light streak of red across the previously empty page.

He turned to look at his finger, still in pain, and then back to the page that now clearly displayed all the emotions he was feeling.

"Is this the only way?!?" he shouted to the sky.

The deafening silent reply gave him the answer.

So through tear stained eyes, The Writer finally started to write...


Monday, September 12, 2016

Gotham Season 1 Review

It seems like just yesterday when I first heard about this new Fox series called Gotham.  Everyone was all giddy with anticipation to watch the origin of Batman and the rise of Jim Gordon through the corruption of the Gotham City Police Department.

And it seems like it was just the day after yesterday, when myself and all my nerdly friends were so disgusted and frustrated with the horrendous writing, after seeing the first few episodes, we vowed never to watch it again.  We just hoped this type of abomination would be cancelled quickly, and the creators brought up on charges of hate crimes for destroying such iconic characters.

But something weird happened... Gotham wasn't cancelled.  As I write this, they are about to begin season three.  How is this possible, when everyone hated it???  Well, actually... it seems some people really enjoy it.  I can hear your collective scoffs at the idea, but I have met some of these people.  They really like the show!  How is this possible???

I needed to find out what exactly was going on.  I knew none of my friends would ever watch again, so like meeting a mugger in an alleyway behind a theater, I took a bullet for you and watched all of season one.

The trick to watching and, (dare I say?), enjoying, this series is, you have to look at everything very objectively.  Pretend you know nothing about Batman, or any of the characters in the entire mythos.  For some of you, this is impossible.  You have seen every incarnation of the Bat imaginable, and you can't accept that someone might have a version askew of your deeply ingrained concepts. 

However, others (some of us?), are open minded enough to understand and respect that occasionally origin stories are altered.  Even in comic books, the history of some characters have been tweaked over the years to change with the times.  The fundamental basics are usually still intact, but there is always some idiot that thinks he can do it better than it's been done before.  Sometimes they actually improve on those original ideas.  Sometimes they don't.

Therein lies the conundrum that is GothamSome things they did very well!  And other things really suck.

In my humble opinion, one thing I found particularly sucky, was how much fan service they try to shove down our throats.  It feels like they don't have the confidence in their own writing to focus on the core characters of the show.  They seem obsessed with putting as much Bat-history into each episode that they can find.  Whether it's someone obscure, or common, if you liked a particular Bat-villain, Gotham will figure out a way to slip that character into an episode.  And unfortunately, some of those random diversions in the main story arc just didn't work.  They tried to do so much in season one, it's easy to overlook some of the impressive elements of the series.

So like Peter Quill in a dance-off, let's break it down.


I'm referring to the actual city.  It looks and feels right.  There is quite literally a dark cloud hanging over everything.  The buildings look perfectly big, industrial, and just waiting for some masked vigilante to shoot a grappling hook into the top of them  Even Arkham Asylum was very well crafted.  Gotham feels like a character itself, and that's kind of cool.

All hail actor Robin Lord Taylor.  He created a fantastic, but unique version of Oswald Cobblepot that I can respect.  His appearance and acting helps you accept that this sneaky, odd little man, can eventually become a powerful crime lord in Gotham.  I was eager to see him more and more.  He alone is the reason to watch this series.

Ed Nygma
When he first appeared, I rolled my eyes a bit.  With Penguin already an important character, it seemed like overkill to wedge the future Riddler in as a secondary character.  But honestly, I started to appreciate actor Cory Michael Smith more as the series went on.  He stands out and feels like a modern comic book adaptation.  Occasionally he borders on annoying, but if they can reign him in, he'll be one to watch in later seasons.

Harvey Bullock
Actor Donal Logue was the first thing that I liked when I originally started watching the show. He felt comic book accurate.  Occasionally he was too cliché, but maybe that's why he was enjoyable too.

Harvey Dent
Appearing in only a few episodes in season one, they developed him properly.  I do appreciate the lighting on him, showing half his face in shadows.  Bonus points for foreshadowing.  Well, I want to think it was intentional anyway.

Bruce Wayne and Alfred
Child actors can be fairly annoying.  But this kid gets it (David Mazouz).  It's nice to watch him become a detective and figure out right and wrong.  It helps that he has Alfred (Sean Pertwee), who is also that perfect balance of mentor, guardian, and obviously Butler too. 

Victor Zsasz
I felt annoyed at the producers for adding yet another Batman villain into an already convoluted mix.  But actor Anthony Carrigan made this character enjoyably creepy.  

Luscious Fox
Shown very briefly for one episode, actor Chris Chalk seems like he will be a good fit as well.   


Jim Gordon
At it's core, Gotham should be about Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie).  More often than not, he is secondary to whatever else is going on around him.  I don't dislike him.  But I can't love him either.  He just shows up, and occasionally stops criminals. 

Selina Kyle
Producers seem very eager to showcase a young Catwoman (Camren Bicondova).  At times, she seemed too ridiculous to take seriously.  But other times, there is a decent origin story for who she is destined to become when she's older.  It's nice to see her and young Bruce together.  But is she necessary to the story?  Maybe not...

Mob Bosses
On the one hand, they seem very cliche.  On the other hand... I've known some very cliche older Italian people in my life, who may, or may not have been involved in the Mafia.  So is it accurate, or just a bad 1920's version of what producers think the Mob is like?  I will say, I did see some very well crafted story elements involving them though.  I say that seriously, and also to make sure my kneecaps aren't spontaneously broken tomorrow.


Fish Mooney
From the ridiculous cartoon name, to the pointless over the top acting, to the eye rolling outfits, THIS is the main reason to never watch this show again.  Producers wanted to create a new character to make their mark in the Batman archive.  This was not the way to do it.  It seems as if writers, or producers or actress Jada Pinkett Smith watched too much Adam West Batman.  This character is so wrong for this show.  And honestly, I don't think she would work well on Adam West's Batman either.  After a while, I was very eager to just fast forward through every one of her scenes.  

The Mayor
When you hire an actor to play the Mayor of such a dark, corrupt city, would you consider hiring someone best known for their comedy roles?  Apparently the producers of Gotham thought that was a good idea when they hired Richard Kind.  And yes, he plays him as foolishly as you can imagine.  He overreacts, he gets overly emotional and just feels out of place as mayor.  I don't care if he's corrupt, he should at least have some semblance of being an adult in a position of power. 

Stop.  Just stop.  I can't think of any reason to include this character.  She's pointless and adding her just feels forced and unnecessary.   

Kristen Kringle
Again the show tries to appear too cartoon-ish.  The object of Ed Nygma's affection (Chelsea Spack), seems too exaggerated and poorly written.  To make Nygma stand out more, in such a dark story, she should be 'normal'

And here we have another reason to turn off this show.  Fortunately she only appears in a few episodes, but actress Carol Kane plays the same foreign character she's been doing since it was first conceived in the series Taxi in 1979.  Stop.  Please.  This is not the place for it.

Most Secondary Criminals
Gotham seems eager to interweave a criminal of the week throughout their main story.  And more often than not, that criminal of the week is very poorly written.  There are some exceptions, but many of them  are forgettable.  If you haven't already forgotten them by the end of the episode, you will be eager to try to forget them soon enough.  

So having seen all of season one, I can't say I hated it.  It was like a roller coaster.  I guess you could call it a Bat-coaster.  I think there are many missed opportunities in the show.  I really wish Thomas and Martha Wayne would have stayed alive for one full season, so we could appreciate all they did for the city.  Then when they are tragically killed, we would feel something.  I wish they would focus strictly on Penguin, Jim Gordon/Harvey Bullock, and the Mobs.  I think there is enough with those characters alone to create a very enjoyable series.  I wish they could decide if they want to be a serious show or just outright goofy.

And to be clear, the Adam West version of Batman is the only one allowed to be a bit silly.

But for serious stories, you should watch nearly every incarnation of Warner Bros. Batman animated from 1992 with Kevin Conroy's voice.  That series, and many of the movies spawned after, are more intelligent and better crafted than most shows on television today.

You can also play the Batman video games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.  But if you're not a gamer, you can always just watch the cut scenes on Youtube.  Totally worth it.

Or I guess you could read a comic book.  I hear they know a little something about Batman.  And the artwork is usually fairly impressive as well.

Although, the Arkham games did have some decent character designs too.  Case in point:

Holy Blog Batman!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dark Streets

I had an interesting experience on my drive home tonight, and I wanted to share it with the world.  And this has nothing to do with aliens or chupacabra  or drugs or alcohol, which is very surprising for Florida traffic!  It's just about me... and another driver. 

The last couple miles to my apartment complex goes down a very dark four lane highway.  During the day, it's very peaceful with lots of big trees and it all looks very green.  But at night, it's just dark.  Even with my headlights switched to brights, you can just barely see what's right in front of you.  

Tonight, as I started down this home stretch, there was another car directly behind me.  I had my brights on, and with their lights in my rear view mirror, it was a very uncomfortable moment for me visually with the contrasts. 

Thankfully, the other driver seemed in a hurry and moved a lane over to pass me.  That's when something interesting happened...

Instead of passing me, this driver moved along side me, matching my speed, and flipped on their brights.

With the combined power of our headlights, I could easily see the entire road! 

For the next few minutes, I bonded with this stranger.  I have no idea who they were.  I don't know if it was a man or woman, (although in my mind, it was most likely a very attractive woman... who likes nerdy guys).  It was a simple, yet very meaningful relationship.  Even if it was temporary... we were one.

Sadly, it all came to an end when I had to turn for my apartment complex.  I watched them go alone without me, and I hoped they would be safe.  Perhaps they would find another partner.  I know they couldn't see me, but I waved goodbye as I made my left turn.  And so you understand, it was just something in my eye causing it to water... just a bit. 

As I parked my car, I realized, maybe this was a metaphor for life.  Maybe alone, the road is difficult to see, despite our efforts.  Maybe we think the people behind us are trying to annoy us.  But when you least expect it, maybe they will surprise you and pull up beside you to help.  Maybe with others, we can clearly see what lies ahead.  Even a passing stranger can make our journey into the unknown feel a bit safer.  Maybe we all need someone. 

Then again... maybe I was just hot, tired and a bit delusional.

Safe travels everyone,

Friday, August 12, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Review

Oh Star Trek, we've had such a convoluted history together.  You might say my relationship with you mirror's my feelings for Star Wars... or even Battlestar Galactica.  But let's not say that for now.  Instead, let's just say... it shouldn't be this way. If all these great franchises would just listen to me and stay reasonably close to their source material, they would still be awesome!  

But sadly, we have idiots that either don't respect the original concepts, or they're arrogant to think they can improve on what came before *COUGH*robert.orci*COUGH*jj.abrams*COUGH*
Now before you think I'm stuck in the past, I DO understand that things need to be updated for the times, and really I have no problem with some gentle tweaks. It just makes sense.  Case in point, Marvel movies have proven repeatedly that you can take heroes that are decades old, and make them fun and relevant today, but stay true to who they are and consistent with why they've been popular for so long.

So with that in mind, I'd like to present to you my three different reviews for Star Trek Beyond.  Three reviews because it seems everything today has to come in threes, and depending on your/my mindset, maybe you can agree with me in some capacity on at least one of them.  Oh stop complaining, I promise I'll be brief... ish.  Trust me, it'll all make sense in the end.

First off, let's do a basic surface review:
I'm very happy to report the third incarnation of this Trek, was NOT written by Robert Orci (aka clueless hack), and not directed by JJ Abrams (aka lens flare/shaky cam fetishist).  It was directed by Justin Lin, best known for directing the Fast and the Furious franchise... because really, at their core, that series is also sci-fi... apparently.

And visually Star Trek Beyond actually works.  It was well lit, with very little lens flare, and I could follow the action and story.  Although there was no groundbreaking directorial moments, it did the job successfully.

The story was written by Doug Jung (aka ???), and Simon Pegg, (aka Scotty in this Trek, and of course Shaun from Shaun of the Dead).  I know nothing about the other guy, but Simon Pegg has enough nerd cred, he could make it work.  And honestly he did okay!  I can easily say it is MUCH better than the previous Abrams Trek movies.  

But having said that... it's not going to win any awards either.  It felt more like a day in the life of the Enterprise crew, than a particularly epic theatrical release.  It also felt like they really wanted to jump on the Force Awakens bandwagon, because some aspects felt very Ep. VII-ish, and maybe even a bit Guardians of the Galaxy-ish too.  The story was decent, but not powerful.  The action was fun, but not spectacular.  The characters were good but not great.  And just to clarify, as much as I like most of the cast, I really, really still don't think Chris Pine is a good choice for Kirk.  There must be a million better charismatic actors that could have sat in that seat. 

The biggest problem I had is... the title. Star Trek Beyond.  Seriously???  What does that even mean???

So for a surface review, if you want a fun sci-fi action movie and really don't give a crap about previous versions of the series and you're not overly nerdy, but just sort of casually nerdy (aka geeky)... I give this 7.5 green skinned alien women out of 10. 

Review 2.0 - for the discriminating nerd:

Star Trek is a very unique franchise.  It's not about 'pew pew pew' Star Trek is supposed to make you think.  As much as I love Zachary Quinto, I was a bit offended by his comments recently about the original series.  Essentially, he said it was boring.  Oh Zach, you just don't get it, do you?  Don't worry though... You'll always be Sylar to me.

  The original series was written by actual science fiction novelists, (although generally fine tuned by DC Fontanta and/or Gene Roddenberry... and perhaps even Shatner).  The original series consisted of episodes like, a creature that can camouflage itself as someone you like, so it can get close enough to suck all the salt from your body.  Or a transporter malfunction splitting the captain into good and evil versions of himself.  Or getting trapped in the past and Kirk falling in love with a woman that has to die, or risk altering the timeline.  

Of course the series had some action, and heavy tension, but fundamentally, it was about exploration, and discovery. It had thought provoking, and unique situations to resolve. Many of the cool toys we have in the world today were inspired by the originality of Star Trek, because young nerds at the time said, "I want that for real!", so they figured out how to make it.  And with the invention Star Wars, you had a balance.  One franchise to fill the action/fantasy part of your brain, and the other could fill the intellectual/curiosity part of your brain.  So on that level, Star Trek Beyond fails.  

But let's look a bit deeper...

Someone tell me again WHY are Spock and Uhura a couple???  Do any of these people know anything about Pon Farr??  Okay, sure Sarek (Spock's father) hooked up with a human woman, and I'm sure there is a great reason/story behind it all.  But I would like some type of justification for Spock and Uhura to be together, because it never happened before.  You can't drop a bomb like that and have people just blindly accept it.  And don't give me this 'alternate timeline' crap either!  Just thirty seconds of explanation would help my tiny brain accept.  

And as much as I love Karl Urban as McCoy, there were things he was required to do in this movie that felt very out of character for him.  I understand why it was done, because he would have been useless otherwise.  But it felt very forced.  

And THIS is a phaser!

Phasers go 'pzzzzzzzzzzt', not 'pew pew' as Star Trek Beyond will have you believe!

And for the third time, no matter how you justify it... 20th and 21st century music does not belong in the 23rd century!!

Finally, were the nacelles a LOT closer together than they should have been?  Did someone bodyshame the Enterprise to look thinner?

So in the end, is this really Star Trek?  There were some nice homages and easter eggs for fans, but was it enough?  After Spock did some calculating, he determined there is actually only 34.639% Star Trek content in this movie.  So based on that, I give it 4 arched Vulcan eyebrows out of 10.
My third review will contain a big spoiler for the movie.  But I want to discuss it.  So if you'd like to stop reading here, let me leave Zoe Saldana (Uhura) pics here to leave enough space before moving on...

And now, review #3 - SPOILER ALERT!!

They blew it up!  Damn you!!  Damn you all to hell!

Well, in their insane desperation to follow the trajectory of the original films, they were apparently required by law to blow up the Enterprise.  To be absolutely honest, I have no problem with them sinking another ship.  But it was how they did it that really bothered me. The entire incident felt too casual.

The Enterprise is an integral member of the crew.  So it's 'death' should have a powerful meaning.  There should be a purpose, just like in Search for Spock.  The moment had an impact.  In Star Trek Beyond, it consisted of, "What's that coming at us?  Shields aren't holding!  Abandon ship!"  All within the first 30 minutes, followed by some shrugs and rummaging for survivors.  "Well, this sucks.  Let's try to get out of here!"  I felt no emotions for this loss whatsoever.  But I should have... shouldn't I?  For such an iconic vessel.

To me, this was a very poorly written moment for fans.

I'll go one more for you:
Spock has a first name. And no, It's not Mister.  In the episode, This Side of Paradise, someone asked Spock his name, and he said, "You couldn't pronounce it".  So seeing the items Spock left Quinto Spock, wouldn't it display his full name, not just "Ambassador Spock"?  Officially, it should perhaps say Ambassador S'chn T'gai Spock, (according to research).

And seriously, with as many things as they changed, couldn't SOMEONE have updated the NX uniforms to not look like space mechanics??  

So for all that, I give it a Next Gen double facepalm.

Sorry you had to hear all that.  Let me reward your patience with one more Zoe Saldana because....

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

About Trump

I write about things that bother me.  During the course of the day, if I hear my brain repeating the same comments over and over, I know it's time to type it out so it doesn't eat me alive.  Many of the things I'm about to say here, I've had spinning around my brain for a few months now, but this past weekend has encouraged me to finally get it all out in the open... I'm just not sure if that's good or bad.

Last week, I visited my home state of Indiana.  Most of the state is quiet, comfortable, friendly, and generally very courteous to everyone.  This could be due to many small towns focusing on family, and helping/loving your neighbor... which is fundamentally very Christian. 

I don't want to get into whether Christianity is good or bad, because I've spoken to many people who dislike the idea of religion.  So if you are against religion, that's fine.  Really.  Personally, I think religion can be a very beneficial for some people, no matter which you choose.  And at it's core, the Christian Golden Rule is a great idea.  Sadly, some religious leaders make Christianity bad (Spanish Inquisition, Westboro Baptists, Jim Jones, etc). 

But honestly, you can say that about every religion.  If your religious leader interprets your holy book in a way to suggest that you kill, torture, or hate someone, that's a clear indication that something is wrong with your religion.  Take time out of your busy schedule to research various religions online.  We have the internet, so please educate yourself.  Whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or any of the 4,200 other religions in the world, there are plenty of examples of good and bad ways to worship in each one.   

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, come with me now to my small hometown of very conservative Christians that hate Obama.  Yes, hate.  The small loving community that is all about forgiveness, loving and supporting others, and prayer is proudly talking about how much they hate Obama

To me, this never seemed very Christian... but fine.  You hate our President, and want to put him in jail for the rest of his life. 

And again, like religion, I'm not going to debate whether that's right or wrong.  But, there is no such thing as a perfect President.  Nobody will ever agree on everything any leader does 100% of the time.  Obama has made mistakes, but remember... half the country loves him and thinks he's one of the greatest Presidents we've ever had.  So why are we so divided on this issue?  Are we becoming such a stubborn nation, we refuse to do some research and listen with an open mind to what each side says?  In everyone's defense, sadly, your views/opinions could easily be swayed, depending on which media coverage is your favorite.  Each side might have some very good reasons for their love or hate.  But the most important thing is, we need to listen to each other and stop fighting about it.  Nothing makes us look more pathetic and weak as a country than when we are fighting amongst ourselves.  America starts to look like it's falling apart, and turning into a pathetic disorganized joke.  

So with all this in mind, let me tell you about an 'incident' I had over the weekend.

For the most part, my time in Indiana was very relaxing and peaceful, as you can expect.  Well, okay, it was cold and rainy, but still nice to relax for a while.  I could spend time with family, and friends and talk about what I've been doing in my life, as well as what's been happening in their lives. 

And discussing politics is something I deeply wanted to avoid.    

I wanted to steer clear of politics because it is such a personal and passionate topic for everyone, especially in 2016.  I doubt there is anything I could do or say to change someone's opinion, and I don't think they could change mine as well.  Maybe we could discuss the election peacefully, but there is always an uncomfortable stigma if you disagree.  It feels like you're creating a rift.  Everyone wants to save the country from ruin.  "So, why are you voting for someone who will destroy the America...???"    

Nobody can predict the future.  But fortunately we have three branches of government and not a dictatorship.  So even if we have a horrible President, making horrible decisions, he (or she) needs approval from the other two branches to make any successful changes.  Which is why Obama has not been able to do many things he's wanted to do in office... again, whether that's good or bad, I leave for you to decide.  But it does slow down forward progress in our country when none of the politicians can agree on anything.

Anywaaaaaaaay... there I was, relaxing quietly with some decent Indiana citizens (or folk, as we like to call them), when someone suddenly announced they learned the Russians have a plan to go to the moon and start mining operations and the first thing they'll do is take down the American flag.

My initial reaction was to laugh at the ludicrous notion.  Yes, I actually 'face-palmed', feeling my brain cells melting from the comment.  Maybe they felt my reaction was in frustration to those darn evil Russians, but in my heart, I knew I was surrounded by a group of people that believed everything they read.  Which was particularly frustrating, because it was in my home state, so I want to feel proud of them.  And of course, if you read this in 2018, maybe you will say, "Ha!  He was right, Comrade Deeesher!".  But seriously... for many reasons, it was an eye-rolling moment for me. 

But this mountainous molehill was just beginning...

Someone else suddenly said, "Maybe Obama would let them take down the American flag, but Trump won't!  Are you voting for Trump??"

I can clearly say that's exactly when the aneurysm in my brain began.  I'd been mentally wounded, but was desperately searching for a new topic to completely maneuver around this horrible conversation!  How could I clearly, diplomatically, and respectfully answer that kind of question??

I think I shook my aching head slowly and mumbled something like, "I can't...".  But maybe they could see the blood coming out of my ears by then.  Everything after that was a blur, but I think I heard them talk about what a criminal Hillary Clinton is as well.  For the most part, I just blacked out at this point.

And days later, I still feel the scars in my head from that experience.   

How can I easily explain the sheer volumes of  reasons not to vote for Trump???  Do I mention that 42% of the time his statements have been outright lies (fact checked here), so he's worse than most politicians?  Do I mention the multiple failed businesses he's been involved in, or the lawsuits against him (here)?  Should I talk about how his speeches are equivalent to a fifth grade level and how he isn't giving anyone any real information about what he plans to do (here)?  

Let me say this, I do have a basic understanding of Trump supporters.  They are eager (desperate) for a change.  They want someone who speaks their mind.  They want someone who isn't a career politician.  All those ideas are very respectable, and if there was a candidate who did all those things, who spoke truthfully, and gave clear detailed plans of what he wanted to do while in office, I could completely respect that.  But this isn't Trump at all. 

But the most painful part of Trump supporters in Indiana, is how hateful he is.  How can conservative, gentle, peaceful, neighbor-loving people of Indiana truly support someone who has clearly said in videos:

"I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding.  I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding..."

"you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families..."

"It's about 10 degrees below zero outside. ... You can keep his coat; tell him we'll send it to him in a couple of weeks..." 

"I'd like to punch him in the face..."

"You know, it really doesn't matter what they write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass. But she's got to be young and beautiful..."

This is just a tip of the insult iceberg.  The videos are clear, and I don't understand why any civilized human beings would support this type of hatred, especially Christians, who I thought were supposed to be promoting loving your neighbor.  I don't recall the Bible promoting punching someone for disturbing your speech.  I'm pretty sure Jesus never suggested you torture your prisoners and kill their families.

In the end, the President of the United States has a huge spotlight on him, and he represents each of us.  I do not want the rest of the world thinking that we are a nation of hate-filled, unintelligent, attention whores.

I sincerely weep for anyone who feels Trump is the best solution to represent America, and even more so, I am very concerned about the common sense morality that has been completely lost in this country.