Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams Dead at 63

Damn. One of my favorite actors of all time is dead at the age of 63 after committing suicide this morning in his home. The actor, who has spent decades battling depression and his various drug and alcohol addictions is suspected of dying from asphyxiation. One of my favorite movies of his was Dead Poets Society. I still remember seeing it a theater with my family. I also watch most of his Mork and Mindy episodes as a child. Really I consumed most of his work, be it comedy, drama, TV, movies, it didn't matter. Robin Williams was always entertaining and the best at what he did. I think his demons are really the only reason he isn't one of awarded actors in history as the skills were there and when allowed to be on display he simply had no equal. He was a four time Oscar nominee with nominations for Good Morning, Vietnam, The Fisher King and Dead Poets Society before finally winning Best Supporting Oscar for Good Will Hunting. He also one four Grammy Awards and three Emmy Awards. The actor is survived by his three children Zachary, Zelda and Cody along with current wife Susan Schneider and previous wives Valerie Velardi and Marsha Garces. His humor and gravitas will be missed and a true loss to entertainment.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court: Corporate Religious Rights Trump All

It continues to amaze me that in this day and age that birth control remains an issue. Not abortion (that will never go away), but the use of various medical means to avoid even needing to have an abortion. You would think encouraging people to not get pregnant and therefore not potentially want an abortion would be a good thing. So while abortion is bad, so is preventing the means that might lead to that decision. A contradiction and yet one that the Republican party is happy to live with. Why? Because the religious right thinks any form of birth control is bad. Not because of the bible (because that isn't in there) but because of religious tradition.

A tradition founded at a time when populations could easily be decimated by war and disease. Usually war. So it was to the best advantage of those in charge to encourage as much baby making as possible to not only keep the religious ranks (and thus Church coffers) full but also allow those in charge to go off and conquer as needed. Wars are expensive and costly in manpower and the only way to keep numbers up was more children. This constant need to have replenished populace was why the average age of marriage was 10 to 12, the average age of birth was around 13 to 14 and the average age of death was late 20s. This "tradition" is what is fueling the religious arguments of today.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Legend of Korra Book 3 Trailer

Below is the first official trailer for The Legend of Korra Book 3. In what is likely the final season of the show, the focus seems to be on how the world has changed now that the spirit world and human world are now merged. There is no voice overs or the like, just a whole lot of gorgeous images and scenes. While I hope this show gets more seasons, it doe seem the second golden age of cartoons will be concluded with the show's end as all the cartoon channels are once again drifting to childlike, simplified story telling that marked most of the late nineties and early oughts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

E3 2014

E3 was held this week in LA and once again it was gamer heaven as all the major players in the industry laid out their plans for the next year or so of games. As usually Sony dominated with announcement of Playstation TV (sling games to another TV and play Vita games), a white PS4 combo pack, Playstation Now (rent games) and usual slew of games. Microsoft played it safe by announcing only a bunch of games including a Halo collection. Nintendo, still trying to recover from very poor Wii U sales, also essentially played it safe that once again teased a bunch of potential great games but other than Super Smash Brothers doesn't have anything much left in the tank for this year. Below are links to a detailed summation with trailers for the major press conferences while what follows is really just my overview on things.

Sony | Microsoft | Nintendo | EA | Ubisoft

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Apple Announces iOS8 and OS X Yosemite

Monday Apple started their week long 2014 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). For the last few years the conference has not been used to announce new hardware but to announce new features, updates, and changes that will be made to the software that will be running on future hardware. Pundits will complain about the lack of hardware announcements...but the pundits are either morons or liars cause they knew there wasn't going to be any hardware announcements. So on the software front, the iPad and iPhone (aka iDevices) will get the iOS8 update in the fall, likely to come with the now traditional hardware refresh of the i-line sometime in October or so in time for Christmas. For their laptops, the next iteration of operating system will be OS X Yosemite. Both will bring a bunch of new features that have, to be blunt, been legally stolen from Android and other apps. They have the usual slight alteration in implementation to avoid law suits but almost none of it is original. Except maybe their new Apple only programming language to replace Objective C called Swift. Still if use Apple products (like me), the changes will be welcome. Highlights below or can watch the keynote here.