I’m In

Tim, it looks like you’re off to a great start achieving your 2018 writing goals. (Or at least you were until about ten days ago.) Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your Buzzfeed and Wikipedia contributions throughout the year.

My last post here was way back in September. I wrote what I considered a fairly decent piece in October and submitted it to a conservative website with a wide readership. Don’t go looking for it, however. It didn’t make the cut. Although the rationale for rejection appeared to be a flimsy pretext, I hold no grudge and will probably submit more articles for their consideration in the future. I had planned on posting that article here, but it was time-sensitive and the moment has now passed. Who knows, maybe I’ll post the piece later this year as we commemorate the 501st anniversary of the Reformation.

I accept your challenge, Tim. Henceforth, I will be posting here no less than twice per week. That will give you, dear reader (readers?) a total of two thousand words of the highest quality, most insightful and compelling r̶a̶m̶b̶l̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ commentary on politics, religion, and entertainment found anywhere on the internet. Truly wonderful stuff. Extraordinary content. Don’t miss it.

In all seriousness, we look forward to sharing new content with you here (and hopefully elsewhere) throughout 2018 and beyond.

My Favorite Movie Endings

I love a movie with a great ending.  How a movie ends can make or break it. For me, the best endings are those that send me out of the theater on a triumphant note or resonant with me long after the movie is over.

With that being said, I wanted to come up with a list of my favorite movie endings and why I think they are great. ­These are endings I believe provide a superb capstone to their respective stories and that left a lasting impression on me beyond the final credits.  

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Why I Think Some Fans Hate The Last Jedi

The fan reaction to The Last Jedi has been divisive, to say the least. Some fans believe it is one of the best—if not the best—in the franchise. Others insist it has killed their love for Star Wars.

I’ll admit, after my first viewing I fell somewhere in between these two extremes—I did not like it as much as I wanted to. 

Only after my second viewing did I truly begin to appreciate what The Last Jedi brought to the Star Wars saga. Yes, it has some plot and character problems, but those problems were smaller on my second viewing.  

But, why do so many Star Wars fans hate this movie? In trying to find answers, I’ve come up with a few possible culprits.

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!

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Tim's Top Ten* Films of 2017

As a film buff, I frequent a lot of movie-related websites.  With 2017 behind us, most of these sites are releasing lists announcing their “Top 10 Movies of 2017.” After reading several of these I thought to myself, “I should do one of those!”

Here’s the rub, though: As much as I love movies, I don’t actually see many new movies during the year.  In fact, I could only count twelve new movies I saw in 2017.  So, my top ten list is instead more of a “Movies I Saw in 2017 and What I Thought of Them” list.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the movies I saw this year.  

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This Tax Bill Sucks

Republicans took their first step last week toward reforming the tax code when the House passed its tax reform bill. Now it is up to the Senate GOP to pass its own version. Assuming the Senate can do so, the two tax reform bills will move to conference committee and (hopefully for the GOP) be reconciled into a final bill.

While both the House and Senate tax reform bills are steps in the right direction, the truth is that they suck. Both bills fail to enact the kind of simplicity, permanence, and economic growth we need from a tax reform.

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I Am Going to Die

There is really no way around it.

A little over two years ago, I was taking in a game at Dodger Stadium when my heart began to flutter and race. I had, at times, felt it skip a beat, but on that night it kept going and going. I alerted the ballpark staff and was quickly taken to the first aid station. Not long after that, I was whisked away to the hospital by ambulance. Thankfully, the doctors were able to stabilize my heart rhythm and I went home the next day. I have been more or less fine since that night, but it was a startling wake-up call.

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Monday Hot Takes

Is the AHCA back?

Just last week I was bemoaning the GOP’s failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. I was concerned that House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leadership weren’t really committed to improving healthcare in this country. No, I cynically believed the failed healthcare bill was merely a way to make revenue-neutral tax reform easier.

I may have been a bit too cynical. I emphasize the word “may.”

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Does the GOP Really Care About Healthcare?

After the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) fiasco of the past month, put me down for a firm “no.” The GOP had seven years to come up with a viable Obamacare replacement plan. If the AHCA is the best they could do, that is pathetic. Especially because well-thought out conservative plans are out there.

The AHCA was so poorly designed, I have to think it was not a serious attempt to produce a viable—and superior—alternative to Obamacare. No, my cynical side sees the intentions behind the AHCA differently. I believe the AHCA was merely meant as a way for Paul Ryan and leadership to pass their tax reform plan.

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Maybe Republicans Need Some Safe Spaces

Politically correct (PC ) culture has gotten out of hand. At least that seems to be the consensus in our society, especially among those of us on the right (and South Park). So many students on college campuses need “safe spaces” and fear “microaggressions,” i.e., hearing speech that offends them.

Trump and his supporters have been especially antagonistic toward the PC warriors in our culture. But now I’m starting to wonder if Trump and many Republicans need some safe spaces of their own.

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Sure, Let’s Just Welcome the AI Apocalypse!

The Super Bowl was this past Sunday. Many viewers tuned in not just to watch the big game, but also to watch the commercials, which tend to be some of the most interesting and funny ads of the year.

Super Bowl LI (51 for those not fluent in Roman numerals) had its share of buzz-stirring commercials this year. Unlike previous years, though, many of this year’s commercials were noteworthy for all the wrong reasons. One commercial that (thankfully) wasn’t, was the ad for Google Home.

Google Home is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo: a “smart” speaker that incorporates an intelligent personal assistant. With the Home and Echo, you can have your artificially intelligent buddy play music, adjust the thermostat, or set the alarm. Sounds pretty great, right?

Well I say this: Have we learned nothing from movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, The Matrix, and countless other “beware artificial intelligence!” tales? Are we going to willingly let ourselves be enslaved?

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My Faith Journey

I have tried to write this story several times. Every time I start, I get distracted. Something comes up. I can never quite put it down on paper. Maybe that’s just life with two kids, living with in-laws and working at a fairly new job. Nevertheless, it is a story that needs to be told . . . eventually. I’ve told some people directly and I’m sure many others have heard it through the grapevine.

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Why Ghostbusters Was a Bust

The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Sony is looking at a $70 million loss for Ghostbusters, their reboot of the 1984 horror-comedy classic. The reboot has been steeped in controversy ever since it was announced. To many fans, the choice to go with an all-female cast came across as a gimmick with little to justify it. After the backlash to the movie’s first trailer, Sony and its media allies decided to turn Ghostbusters into a political event film, claiming that its all-female cast was empowering to women. Basically, those who did not support the movie were misogynists. 

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The Difficult Road Ahead

Even the mighty Roman Empire fell. The people became complacent. They enjoyed their comfort. They assumed they would stay on top forever. Many times have I heard comparisons between ancient Rome and 21st Century America. Many times have I pondered where our nation is in its life cycle. By all appearances, we are on the downward slope. 

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DiCaprio's Oscar and Life's Purpose

This past Sunday history occurred: Leonardo DiCaprio—Titanic heart throb of the late ‘90’s and critically acclaimed actor—won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Leo had previously been nominated four other times, but had yet to win. With The Revenant, he was practically begging the Academy to give him the Oscar. I mean, all the interviews he and his co-stars gave were about how hard it was for him to film the movie. The movie was filmed on location, in winter, and it was really cold, you know?

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