Best Movie of 2022
It wasn't even close. Incredible film.
Roe v. Wade
"My body... my choice." Oh, god... the hypocrisy (and ignorance). It was their body (and their choice) when it was a tiny cloth mask and having them get a vaccine during a highly infectious pandemic that has killed over a million Americans, but when it comes to abortion... not the same thing, huh. A woman shouldn't have the right to decide what's best for her body? No personal choice, eh? Gotcha.
Fuck you. As I've said, I was once moderate... but oh... I'm so angry these days, friends. Today's GOP is guiding this country back to the 1950s, ruled by "God" and hatred toward anything that is different (sex, politics, religion, etc.). A woman's place is in the kitchen. She exists to spread her legs and breed (and cheer on her breadwinner hubby). Gay marriage? Trans rights? Don't speak of such abominations. If you're with them, you're a patriot. If you're not... you're a communist.
Seriously... fuck these people. I want all of them voted out.
What a Not-So-Wonderful World
From 4 years of Donald Trump (and what it's ushered in) to the Covid apocalypse that has ripped through (and divided) communities, I've been thinking about what saddens me most... in this "new normal" we find ourselves in.
Donald Trump didn't invent racism, misogyny or nationalism (hell... I'm not even sure he believes that stuff; I think it's more likely that he's just a con man at heart). Hatred and prejudice were always there. He and his MAGA cult just gave it a voice... and gave permission to ditch the filter and say what was always on their mind. I'm just shocked to look around and see so many human cockroaches emerge from the shadows. Friends. Co-workers. Family members, even. Artists we once admired. To see some Facebook post (or retweet) that is just... awful. To know they think that way. I just can't fathom how something as simple and common sense as wearing a mask during a global pandemic became so partisan and fueled by ignorance.
Love is Madness
I've come to realize one thing during this pandemic... god I hate politics. I used to consider myself a moderate. Fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I've voted for both parties. Friends used to say that was a cop out ["Choose a side"], but I really believed that each side had some good arguments, policy wise. That said, I usually vote for the candidate in the end. Meaning who they are as a person. I don't really care if I agree with them on all issues, but god... I need to respect the individual.
I will never vote for another Republican, if only because I can't support that madness. There are decent people like Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger, but no... can't do it. It's not that I think Democrats are all that (I don't). It's because the GOP is now ruled by ignorant, hateful Trumpers who care more about defeating Democrats (and ignoring our common enemies... Covid, Russian interference, gun violence, etc.; take your pick) than protecting American democracy (and lives). Party means more to them than country. All they can do is blame Democrats. They can't own up to their own shit. They spin everything to fit their lies. It all comes down to owning the libs.
Ever since Trump became President (wish we could all forget), the GOP has inched closer and closer to fascism (and an incredibly laughable hypocrisy). So many conspiracy freaks, my lord. The Republican Party has become so hyper-partisan. It's disgusting, really. People like Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ron DeSantis, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and (the devil incarnate) Marjorie Taylor Greene deserve a punch to the face... and to be knocked the fuck out (but especially... voted out).
To keep my stress level down, I try to avoid any mention of them.
Best Wireless Headphones
I'm definitely a gadget freak... especially when it comes to headphones. As you know, I love my music. I'm also a bit noise sensitive (landscapers, screaming kids), so noise cancellation is an extremely important feature to me. Over the past few years, I've purchased a number of headphones... both wired and wireless (mainly wireless). In most cases, I used bonus money from work to buy them... so I didn't pay much.
This post is going to tell you which ones to buy (and why).... under $300. If you're paying more than $300, you're an idiot. First, let's get this out of the way. Unless you're a serious audiophile, skip wired headphones/earbuds. Wireless has come a long way... so there's no reason to deal with wires anymore. Also, you probably won't notice the difference. I've tried most of the over-ear headphones (Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, etc.), as well as all of the earbuds that are out there (kind of a little hobby of mine). Wired headphones lead to fatigue. They're also a pain in the ass.
I'm an Apple guy all the way, but I'm sorry... I hate AirPods Pro. Yes, I know... the Spatial Audio thing is interesting (not a fan, though it is an improvement). They're also the best when it comes to call quality (when making phone calls; hands down)... and they're very light. Oh, and... they easily switch between Apple devices. They suck, though, when it comes to listening to music and the noise cancellation? Please.
They also look like tampons. Come on... you know they do.
I used to say Bose was in a league of their own when it comes to noise cancellation, but... that's no longer the case (although, spoiler... I still prefer Bose; more on that in a minute). Sony has upped their game. While I don't like the fit of their over-ear cans, I love the new WF-1000XM4 earbuds (come on, Sony... get more creative with your names). Your music will sound incredible. The noise cancellation is right up there with the Bose QC Earbuds. Great battery life. Smaller case. That said, they're not as easy to get in your ear (whereas the Bose are super silky with their silicone tips).
Which sounds best? The Sony's... hands down. Richer. More bass-heavy.
Which look best? Again... the Sony's. Smaller footprint. The Bose are big.
Which fit best? AirPods, though the Bose are easier to get in than the Sony's.
Which has the best noise cancellation? Bose, but the Sony's are close.
Sony & Bose only sync with one device at a time... which is a pain, but oh well. Just means that if I want to use them on my phone, I have to unsync from my MacBook. Still, all devices immediately find them. The Sony's allow for more customization.
At the end of the day... I prefer the Bose.
So... if Sony sounds (and looks) best and I said the noise cancellation is about the same, why do I recommend the Bose? Don't know. On paper, the Sony's win. I just know that when I want to listen to something, I gravitate to the Bose. They're easier to fit in my ears (and feel better). The audio quality is good. The noise cancellation is, of course, the best in the industry. Yeah, the case is bulky (and they look bigger than the Sony's)... but there are two final things that settled it for me.
First... the Bose allow for volume control (swipe up on the right earbud to turn your music up and swipe down to, well... turn it down). Second... when I want to turn off noise cancellation and listen to someone, it's much quicker with Bose. Not sure why, but the Sony's take a few seconds before it switches from NC to Ambient (meaning you can hear your surroundings). It's only a few seconds, but it can be frustrating.
To be fair, I still use them both (Bose most of the time, but Sony's on the road).
Regardless, you should buy one of these two... not the AirPods Pro. If you don't want to spend this much, go with the Jabra Elite Active 75-t. A much better value.
Pale Blue Dot
Deep. I’ve always loved this video.
Heading into the election, this scene resonates with me. I feel like Captain von Trapp. Over the last 4 years, I've watched (in shock and horror) as America went from being Reagan's "shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere" to a nation that is pitied around the globe. We've turned our back on our allies and embraced dictators. We ignored a pandemic that has killed 231K of our citizens. Time and again, Republican sycophants (led by the disgusting Mitch McConnell) turned a blind eye to this racist, misogynistic (and astoundingly illiterate) President. Their blatant hypocrisy would be comical if it weren't so traitorous.
I'm a moderate. Been so all my life. I've voted for candidates from both parties in the past. There used to be good people on both sides. I still believe there are many conservatives with a conscience. I, myself, am not crazy about Biden (or AOC, for that matter)... but I'm voting blue across the board this year. It's clear to me that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of history. There's a right-wing populist movement getting stronger every day, spreading hatred and fear. In 2016, many of us sat it out. We didn't like Hillary, so we didn't show up to vote... figuring there was no way America was going to vote for a clown. We were wrong... just as many Germans and Italians were wrong about Hitler and Mussolini. Those two "clowns" were lampooned at the time, but they spoke to the masses in their own language (nationalism).
America is spiraling toward fascism... and it's painful to watch. No more turning a blind eye. Regardless of who wins, though... I just hope we can heal from it.
I'm reminded of a favorite quote...
"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
I love concepts likes string theory... or this.
Immigration and Gumballs
One of the best explanations of why large-scale immigration doesn't work. Now, I've said this before... but if you do make your way here (legally or... a border crossing or ... a raft from Cuba), I'm on your side if you're willing to bust your ass. That said, it doesn't make sense for any country (America or otherwise) to support a mass exodus. It's only going to strain resources and infrastructure. The answer is to help people where they live. Again, being global citizens. We need to help one another.
Just some musings from an old guy...