World Chaos Roundup #2

This week in my World Chaos News Roundup, I discuss the exit of a dancing scream queen, the unnecessary plan to provide adults with more “free” education, and the omissions of both a beloved film from the biggest award show and a politician from the biggest march in French history.

FREE College Education for everyone
President Obama has recently announced a plan to give millions of young people a chance at an education after high school by paying for community college. Good for him. It’s always nice to see someone who has found great success give back to the community… wait… what was that? The tax payers will be footing the bill? Oh, I see. I didn’t know we the people had a couple extra billion dollars lying around with nowhere to go. And why exactly does the President feel the country is obligated to support two extra years of education? The k-12 system is where kids are supposed to learn everything they will need to navigate life as an adult. College, therefore is meant to teach them extra skills that will help them grow as individuals and excel in an area they have chosen. Community colleges are set-up to be a bridge for those who aren’t ready to tackle the academics of a University, can’t afford said University or are simply looking to learn a trade that makes them happy and put food on the table. Community colleges aren’t even that expensive. Yeah, it may save someone some three to five thousand a year in tuition costs, but is that really all that much. A student with a decent job can afford to pay that. The bottom line is, if an adult really wants to better themselves and move up the ladder of success, they will find a way. The government should not be helping anyone that doesn’t have the wherewithal and tenacity to help themselves first, and that includes getting an education. And if the reason for wanting to give these young adults two extra years of education is because there’s a lack of skilled middle ground workers in the U.S., there are other ways to change this than spending money the country doesn’t have. How about we stop incentivising kids with “free” stuff and start encouraging them to work hard? What if we got rid of “No Child Left Behind” so that we no longer have to lower our standards because one or two students can’t or aren’t willing to learn at the pace of others? How about we encourage junior high and high schools to reinstate courses like wood shop and metal shop, or home economics and computer IT classes that will give these kids a chance to earn a trade while still under the age of eighteen? Heck, these classes could even be set up to generate certificates so that when a child completes a certain amount of courses, they will already be certified to begin work in technical jobs when they leave school, thus capable of working while going to college, if they so choose. Besides, the best education a man can receive is the one that isn’t in the classroom. Continuing to encourage people with handouts will only drive further laziness and entitlements, and do exactly the opposite of what this idea is supposed to do. If the President really wants to help our youth, it’s time we return to being the hard-knock parent and make our kids respect personal accountability, hard work and pride in a job well done

CW went crazy for renewals
Giving good news to a lot of fans this Monday was the CW, who unprecedentedly decided to give out early renewals to pretty much their entire lineup. I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Of the eight (8!) shows the fledgling network renewed, I watch six of them. Supernatural has been in my viewing lineup since it debuted on the WB (remember that network!); The Vampire Diaries and its sister show, The Originals (my choice for the new best show last year), are still holding strong in the ratings while Arrow and its new counterpart, The Flash, continue to give DC something to hold over Marvel. The only show I watch that I could have gone either way on is The 100, which has held my interest over the past two seasons, but has never been one that felt like must-see TV. In fact, I was ready to give up on it after the first few episodes, but hung in there and am now hooked enough to keep watching til the end (even though it does keep Paige Turco from possibly returning to Person of Interest where she belongs). The two shows coming back that I don’t watch are Jane the Virgin and Reign, neither of which held my interest after a couple of episodes. Not to be outdone, CBS sent renewal notices to three of its freshman dramas — Madam Secretary, Scorpion and NCIS: New Orleans, all of which I watch and all of which I’m happy to see returning.

America MIA from rally march in France
This week has seen a myriad of complaints over America’s absence from the rally to unite behind free speech after terrorists attacked the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo a couple of weeks ago. Both high-ranking democrats and republicans have berated the White House’s decision to refrain from joining several world leaders (and allies) in unity, most of them arguing that at the very least Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry should have been there (or at the very, very least, Attorney General Holder, who was in France when the march was happening). But even if one of these high-ranking officials had gone, it still wouldn’t have had the same effect had President Obama attended, proving his words about free speech and efforts against terrorism (in whatever form he wants to call them) aren’t hollow. One of the major factors being reported for this blatant absence was the concern over security risks the rally may have imposed. That, or there wasn’t enough time to reschedule everything. (Then again, there’s President Carter’s excuse that the President was too tired from his vacation… really?) I have to call foul on all of it. No other world leader had issues with security or felt they had no time to show their solidarity over the issue. Just as I said in the college post, when it comes down to it, if President Obama really wanted to be there, he would have been there. All this absence (and the excuses for it) does is prove, to both people of the U.S. and around the world, that our President — and in connection with him, our country — is either a coward or is sympathetic to the Islamic State. By retreating from such an event, President Obama has given more power to the terrorist threat, as they now know we aren’t willing to do anything to stop them. He’s already done plenty to show his sympathy, including the refusal to call out the militant groups for what they are — Islamic terrorists. It doesn’t matter if it’s a warped idea of Islam as a whole, they still attacked under the name of Allah and the guise of Islam, which means it was Islamic related. If he was serious about winning this war on terror, President Obama, as well as his entire White House staff, would be emulating Charlie Hebdo, whose first issue after the attacks included a cover of an illustrated Muhammad holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign and basically forgiving the terrorists for their cowardly act. Sadly, our President showing that type of heroism isn’t something I see happening anytime soon, and to know that is the real terror.

Mary Murphy exits SO You Think You Can Dance
That’s right, So You Think You Can Dance fans — the “Hot Tamale Train” has been put out of commission. Mary Murphy, the centerpiece of the judges panel since the very beginning, confirmed this week that she will not be returning to the show because FOX didn’t pick up her option. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, the dance competition (still one of the best on television) won’t feel the same without her. She has doled out some incredible and thoughtful criticism when it comes to ballroom technique and what dancers need to watch out for, especially in the earlier seasons when she hardly ever pulled her punches. Which brings me to my other hand, which is it seems over the last couple of seasons, Mary has felt a bit tired of the whole charade, feigning interest and giving criticism without much interest on whether the dancers would or should care. I don’t need her to give bad reviews to everyone all the time, but I also don’t want to see a love fest for all dancers at all times either (leave that to the coaches on The Voice), which it seems was all Mary had left in the tank. So, although it might not feel right to be without her, it might just be the right time to say farewell.

The LEGO Movie shut out at Oscars
Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday, and though most of the choices fell in line with expectations, one major film, The LEGO Movie, was all but left out in the cold. As an outcry toward the lack of diversity in this year’s crop of nominations continues to grow louder and stronger, the stunned anger over The LEGO Movie‘s omission from the Best Animated Feature race is just as heated. Now, I can’t speak for the validity for the inclusion of Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya because I haven’t even heard of these films, much less seen them (however I do admire them both for being traditionally hand-drawn efforts), but I have seen the other three nominations, and though I agree How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Big Hero 6 deserve their places in the coveted lineup, I can’t understand how the Boxtrolls found its way in. The film was mildly humorous, in a madcap sort of way, and had some good moments with some decent animation, but as far as performance, characterization and plot, the film was a bit stagnant, never capturing the wonder The LEGO Movie was able to generate. In the latter, you can tell the filmmakers were having a blast constructing this extremely detailed, elaborately layered and frenetically jubilant trip with a strong underlying message. I count three other films (other than the aforementioned nominees) that were better than the Boxtrolls this year, so what the Academy saw in the film, I’m not sure. At least The LEGO Movie wasn’t completely shut out of the awards altogether, as the catchy ear worm, “Everything is Awesome”, was nominated for Best Original Song. If there is any humanity in the world, the song will take home the prize just for the sheer joy that emanates from the beat alone.

2015 Kiss the Brides Expo
Earlier last year, I attended the Kiss the Brides Bridal Expo as a vendor. My company was only a couple of months old, and it was a great opportunity to try to gain a foot in the door of wedding videography. It was fun and I got a few leads, but nothing ever became of it, so when the next expo came around in the area, I wasn’t much keen on spending the money to attend again — not until I could justify spending the time and money to do so. Then last Thursday, I got a call from the director of the expo asking if I would be willing to film the event and edit a 2-3 minute promo video for their website in exchange for a booth. My first reaction was negative, but within minutes of the call, I was on board. After all, the price of the booth was equivalent to what I would have asked for to create the promotional video, and it would give me a chance to seek more leads that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Me at the 2015 Kiss the Brides Expo at Pala Casino.
Me at the 2015 Kiss the Brides Expo at Pala Casino. Picture by Selina Rose from Selina Rose Weddings and Events. (Thanks for all of your help, Selina!)

I can’t say I had a good day as far as being a vendor is concerned — even with having a booth right in front of the main stage, I still didn’t come away with a lot of leads — but I did have a great time filming the event and came away with over two hours of footage that I feel will make a great promotional video, and at the very least, a terrific piece to add to my portfolio.

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