Saturday, December 16, 2006
Hence, from luminous we go to... lunatic, today...!?
The Lunacy Blog presents:
Peeps Need To Be Told How To Buy A Piece Of Crap Still...?!?
How to Buy a Computer
Whether you need a computer for your home-based business, to keep in touch with family and friends or just to surf the Internet, the PC has quickly become one of the most important devices in our homes
HA! They have got to be kidding - right?
As all-indispensable as the PCs may have become, they remain only a tool still and, for a great many numbskulls out there, only a very expensive TOY too!
Many are those who haven't got a clue as to how to make an efficient and truly proactive use of their PC - they use it as either a game station or a stereo or as means to send cheap greeting cards (paying the ISP, the portion of your electricity bill that stems directly from PC use, overuse or abuse and paying for the PC itself runs the total cost considerably higher though than it would have cost you to send a few of the pricier Hallmark offerings via traditional mail a.k.a. snail mail... But I digress...)
Few are those among the newer PC acquirers who figure out quickly that making money with the PC is a possibility - that the PC is NOT a money pit - that the PC can in fact be a working tool as well as being an entertainment center...
The PC at work and the PC at home are two different things for most of those who do know so much and practice hard labor in an office - but really, with so much at one's disposal, there should be no dichotomy about this anymore, by now! A PC should be both a working aid and a home device - always! It would make work much more pleasant and entertainment and leisure time activities that much more well-structured too... Then again, maybe dropouts and slackers who fancy themselves as champion computer "wizzes" and virus-sprouters do not seek structure - only chaos...
But that is another story...
For more virulent posts such as this one - always inspired by "what's happening" - check out The Lunacy Blog's archives...! ;)
Friday, December 15, 2006
Aye, I admit it - I am clueless as to "how to save a life"...
Not talking about CPR or anything of the sort here though...
I am talking about a far more important perspective of things here, quite evidently... One that leads the most wide-eyed among us to ponder another question altogether, one that could be formulated in these terms: "why retain someone in this life"...?
Indeed, since March, I have pondered these questions - and the answer was clear all along, but, as it is the case oftentimes with these higher things, one refuses to see the answer...
Why retain someone in this crummy world, if he or she is begging to be released from his/her mortal coil?
I do not advocate "assisted suicide" or anything of the sort - but when most every one of you and -mostly- those who do not read me (simply because they are more numerous than those that do - simple mathematical chances here!) will be faced with the situation that I was thrusted into, last March, you will then see that the best course is to let go indeed...
It is the hardest part of love - letting go.
(Direct reference to a hit from yesteryear that I am still looking for - it would be, then, on my Christmas wish list! Not that I even want to celebrate Christmas this year though...)
The song on the video today admonishes many tidbits of perennial good advice - luminous advice, I would say!
None is better than the following two:
"talk to someone" and "don't fear death".
Just make damn sure that you choose well who you talk to - no hypocrites or false friends now! And select well your time of departure - do not hasten towards it! It comes towards you soon enough - on an idle weekday afternoon where no evil foreboding whatsoever could possibly creep up on you, when nothing of the sort even dawns on you - BAM! Do nothing - let it come to you. It will hit you with the full impact of a bulldozer propelled by a frost giant's slingshot!
Hmm... Ok - that allegorical image reeks too much of my "winterphobia" I suppose...
In the meantime, live life to the fullest and cause no harm to thy fellow man.
I bid thee farewell now - I must re-enter *the fray* once again...
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Doing the right thing at the right time does, yes...! ;)
Hmm... There's that word *time* yet again...! ;)
Natacha Atlas has acquired some of that wisdom, by proxy, especially when she covered a certain song - click on her picture and hear it again too! ;)
QuickTime required in both cases - yes, *time* - yet again!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
One had to expect only the most memorable results from an association between Taurus Films and Warner Bros. - and as much as I disagree with many elements of the end product, 1997's The Devil's Advocate certainly is that; memorable...
I lament the fact though that, like quite a few other similar offerings, it offered only the most violent and repulsive resolution as a possible means of triumph over evil. I guess that they catered to the most obvious common denominator in doing so, and since almost everyone out there would take the easy way out if they were faced with the Adversary himself, they thought that it was the way "to go" - literally... Also, quite obviously, almost everyone else out there is self-loathing to the extreme, so double the reason right there to go this route, I suppose.
Neiderman's novel, which served as the basis for this one, was itself inspired by various other opuses, it is evident, as the movie itself is reminiscent of previous fare in the same genre as well...
I also lamented the choice of name for the alleged son of the devil. I mean, in other similarly-themed films, the names were much more inspired, I always thought... Rosemary's Baby was named Adrian. The Omen films had, of course, Damien. Here, the Devil's Advocate is named... Kevin?!? How pathetically mundane and down to the lowest-common denominator have we gotten! And this be the first family of Gehenna? Sheesh... I wouldn't name my DOG "Kevin" - the worst pro-wrestler name EVER remains "Kevin Nash", once he was stuck to wear it as the WWE would not allow him to use the copyrighted name with which he shot to fame there when he returned to WCW around... that same year of 1997 incidentally! Hmm - synchronicity! Anyway... Nash had used a plethora of fake names, such as "Vinnie Vegas", "Big Daddy Cool", "Diesel" and even "Oz", instead of using his true name for a very good reason - and that reason was that he knew his real name was lame, extremely common (to the point of being boring) and that it would assuredly suck on a marquee! And here, the Devil's Advocate, meant to be this huge "winner" whose vanity procludes him from ever losing a court case, this guy is a "Kevin"?!? Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeze... The mere fact that Kevin rhymes with Adrian and Damien (while being more than "innocuous" - it is downright anonymous and verily a "no-name"!) is simply not enough at all here; for, the devil is not a rhymer! That is another silly bit of fluff, indeed, that silly notion that has some believe that the devil must be a poet...! The devil is the prince of lies - not the prince of poetry! But I've digressed enough, I think...
Having exposed all that, I knew not, back then, all that many Kevins - as well as I do now! Another pro-wrestler (Kevin Sullivan, namely) and a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Kevin T.) among others have indeed convinced me that a son of the devil could surely be named "Kevin" after all - as unglamourous as it might be and all...! The latter Kevin especially is a major a-hole, a hypocrite, a heartless bastard and a son of a b!tch - all basic qualities any son of the devil has to have, I am certain of it!
The character portrayed by Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate though is nothing like that, of course. He has a conscience, at least. He is redeemable. He has major flaws, but the fact remains that he is basically "sympatico" - and the moviegoer, back in 1997 as the film buff today seeing this for the first time, will be rooting for him. All the more reason to find the resolution of all this deplorable. Just as was the case for "Fallen", with Denzel Washington. Is there no other way to vanquish the devil than through SUICIDE?!? That makes no sense at all, if you ask me! To be fair, it is not exclusively a movie maker's sin of recent times - it goes all the way back to the silent film version of Faust, of course, where the title character apparently "redeems himself" by throwing himself into a bonfire basically! His beloved had been falsely accused of witchcraft and was, as it was customary in those golden days of old, condemned to burn at the stake. Faust, in a fit of unconditional love that boggles the mind, throws himself into the fire to save her - and, really, die with her. An angel informs the devil then that he lost - for the noblest of sentiments spurred Faust to the extreme sacrifice... LOVE! And the devil plies in two, in obvious agony over having lost a soul he had in ITS grasp... and THE END! What is seriously wrong with this picture is that I see not how suicide could break a pact made with the devil, even if said act of auto-termination is motivated by LOVE! In "Fallen", Denzel is trying to stop an evil entity by killing himself - that would be a "borderline case of acceptable suicide", which means "forgiveable by God"... And still, it is not 100% sure at all! We didn't see Barbara Hershey -back in 1981- deal with her molesting Entity by killing herself, mercifully... Maybe it has to do with the fact that her movie's story was based on a *real-life story*... But I digress once more...
Not one but TWO suicides mar "The Devil's Advocate" - first, the poor MaryAnn, portrayed magnificently by Charlize Theron (between this and being "The Astronaut's Wife", she really doesn't know how to pick'em! May have been why she turned into a Monster afterwards...?)
And then the title character himself (it still feels awful to call any lead character "Kevin" - let's say Keanu instead! Darn - that sounds odd too... Not as much though! At least, this isn't a Bill & Ted feature... *Whew*!).
And it is not quite acceptable to wipe everything off at the end and still have the mandatory "happy ending" - complete with EVIL STILL LURKS AND IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT DEFEATED AT ALL after taste - after TWO GRUESOME SUICIDE SCENES! At least, "Fallen" was not so hypocritical and stuck with its "very unhappy ending" - for pure logic's sake! Both films err in the same manner anyway though - to pretend that the only way to elude an opponent such as the ultimate Adversary (no, it isn't Death! Death is, in many ways, either but a tool or even a friend...!) is through auto-destruction and nothing else is simply the WRONG MESSAGE TO SEND... There's no either way to battle the devil in Tinseltown? In real life there are plenty: crucifixes, holy water, prayer! Alas, none of these are regular props in these flicks... Lots of kiddies watch these films, you know! Hollywood has to be more careful with this sort of thing... They want not to spread such things as "piousness" and "faith" now...! We dare not offend nor alienate all the other beliefs now...! As it already the case, only the sun will destroy vampires - lest we make them vulnerable to ALL symbols of ALL religions, we make them invulnerable to all and do not even broach the subject anymore! Alas, the first bloodsucker, Dracula (or Polidori's character that prefigured Drac...) were NOT vulnerable to the sunlight but were vulnerable to other things... Guess what it was now!
No heroes should simply escape the conflict by blowing themselves up... Hopefully, Jack Sparrow never considered eluding Davy Jones' Locker Room by offing himself too now! Surely not; it is a Disney movie and they want another sequel anyway!
I know that I lauded Al Pacino's performance in Carlito's Way - but, here, I shall remain silent about his histrionics as "the devil"...
It is amusing though to note that both "Fallen" and "The Devil's Advocate" (as also "Interview With A Vampire", of course) had a Rolling Stones song playing as they finally rolled the end credits... Sexagenarian, sex-obsessed rock'n'rollers who are STILL going strong; they must have indeed struck a deal with the devil (but they're not vampires - no) - hence the music fits on more than one level here!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Real estate though is a vulnerable industry, prone to dip down at any given time for any number of reasons, chief among those if there were tons of offer and no demand whatsoever - even the most self-assured, devilish/rakish realtor could not do squat with conditions like that! For these parasites to feed off innocent people's dreams properly, there has to be some sort of equilibruum out there... And the setting must be "just right" too! A realtor's dream is to nab a few properties on land that is in close proximity to "something big" that is about to "come to town"... Opening soon: a casino! Or - the subway, finally coming to your locality! (Why be a pedestrian when you can be a subterranean - right? But I digress...)
Hence, virtually any conceivable reason on God's green earth can serve as ammo to a realtor to boost both the price *and* his commission - of course! Homes that were worth 20,000$ in the sixties are now worth 200,000$ - which can make sense... However, homes that went for 200,000$ just a few years ago now being appraised as being worth 500,000$ - now THAT is a tad too much, don't you think? And let's just not delve into the soaring prices of "brand sparkling new" condominiums that go for 500,000$ as well -or more- if they are to be found "near everything" in some relatively big town somewhere... A condo costs more than a bungalow - that, in itself, is an aberration. Just think about it; condos do *not* come with backyards or front lawns, you know...! But, yet again, I digress...
Which all brings me today to the featured article, which, in turn, generated my long-winded luminous commentary that preceded...! ;)
Real Estate Vulnerability Index (Sara Clemence)
Housing prices have risen so far and so fast, who can afford to buy anymore?
Plenty of people. Of course, those people don't live in New York. Or San Francisco. Or Miami.
As everyone knows (or should know by now), home prices have increased around the country over the last few years. In some places, they have shot up like wayward bottle rockets--and many people expect them to eventually come dropping down.
But prices alone can't tell the whole story. To get a better picture of which cities are likely to be vulnerable to a real estate decline, with the help of Economy.com, we compared incomes to home prices, factoring in interest rates.
We were surprised at the results: While it has become much more difficult to buy the median house with the median income in many cities, in others it has actually become easier, pointing to a boom taking place in pockets, rather than the nation as a whole.
That backs up what many economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, have opined--that some areas appear more "frothy" than others and could be primed for a bust--or, more likely, a slow decline, as real estate prices tend to stagnate rather than crash.
"I think low affordability does present a risk for markets," says Celia Chen, director of housing economics at Economy.com, a research company based in West Chester, Pa. The firm supplied income, home price and affordability data going back to 1980 for 12 major metropolitan areas. "It's a condition that can't persist forever. If income streams are not sufficient to cover your housing costs, eventually demand is going to slow."
Economy.com calculates affordability using incomes, sale prices for single-family homes and composite interest rates for a 30-year mortgage. (See sidebar: "Inside Interest Only.") The resulting index shows what percentage of a median home (the one for which half the sale prices were above and half below) a family can afford with the median income. A low number means that home owners can't afford the standard home or that they must pay much more of their income toward it. A high number means the average house is easily within reach.
Five of our 12 cities had affordability indexes below 100: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Boston. Some of these cities--including Boston and Los Angeles--are slightly more affordable now than they were in 1980. But in nearly every metro area, affordability has declined in the past few years.
But it's all relative. In Dallas, the median income can get you more than 200% of the median home. In Los Angeles, you can still get only 57%. In Philadelphia, the median home price more than tripled between 1980 and 2004, rising 220% from $57,570 to $184,190, which would suggest that houses would be harder to afford. But incomes rose, too, albeit not as dramatically, increasing 195% from just under $19,000 to more than $56,000.
In Miami, the affordability index hit a high of 124 in 1993, but now is down to just 75. Robert J. Shiller, a Yale University economics professor whose book Irrational Exuberance predicted the dot-com bubble, pegs Miami as a "glamour city," where people are buying because it's glitzy and trendy, making the city more vulnerable to a bust. In March, Florida-based investment firm Raymond James & Associates said that 85% of condo sales in downtown Miami might be due to investment and speculation.
"Speculation changes the normal market," says John H. Vogel, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. "People are buying a half-million-dollar house not because they have the salaries to support it, but because they think next year it's going to be worth $600,000."
So does this mean we're headed for a crash? That's difficult to predict. In 2002, we dubbed the housing market a bubble and predicted its fall. Since then, home prices have gone up about 32%, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But that doesn't mean a bust is not on the horizon--at least in some places. Greenspan used the phrase "irrational exuberance" to refer to tech stocks in 1996; it took another three years for the market to tank. And when it did, it hurt.
Of the major U.S. cities, it comes as no surprise that Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are most vulnerable to a real estate bubble. Homes are priced ten times what the median income is...! Ludicrous, really...
Pleasant surprises are actually found in Texas, where both Dallas and Houston are truly reasonable... Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington D.C. are more than ok - and Boston is in the middle of the pack...
In Canada, I'd say that it is worse!
I do not want to get into the messy situation down in Mexico...!
Realtors, wherever they are, think not ahead and only focus on the "now" and the "sale that has to be made" - seldom through tactics such as, ah, "lowering the price"...? Going in that direction is often anathema to them, see? Almost as if they were betraying their profession or calling... It is a vocation to be these things: loan shark, taxman, attorney, doctor (especially in the private sector - but I can find similar hypocrites in the alleged goodie-two-shoes public healthcare system too, I assure you...), notary, realtor - it really is!
They love only the highest bidder, these chaps and dames!
These boys and gals truly are living in a bubble - one that is about to burst.
Monday, December 11, 2006
ODE TO AN UNFORGIVING AND, STRANGELY ENOUGH, UNFORGETTABLE SITE...
(WELL, THEY DON'T LET YOU FORGET ABOUT THEM - EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T COME BACK OR THEY "LET YOU GO" - THEY STILL E-MAIL YOU, IMPORT YOUR MATERIAL, SOLICIT YOUR PARTICIPATION, COMPLIMENT YOU -THE HYPOCRITES- AND SO ON...! BUT I DIGRESS...)
CARE2CONNECT - IT SEEMS TO ASK
MISUSING THE WORD CARE
AND ACTING MORE LIKE AN ASP
VERILY NO SITE ON EARTH CAN BE MORE CUTTHROAT
THAN, PARADOXICALLY, AN EARTH-PRESERVATION CYBER-RIOT
HERE IS THE EVIDENCE OF THIS TOO
ALL OF THOSE WILLING TO JOIN AMONG YOU...
More Care2 Stickies Here!
More Care2 Stickies Here!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Click on any and all of the pics here to be transported to the OTHER WORLD...!!! ;)