Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp

I went into Ant-Man and the Wasp with the expectation that Marvel would take a more lighthearted, comical turn to balance out the ground-shaking events of Infinity War, with exception to the post-credits scene which would be ominous and terrible and such. I was exactly right about that much, but that still leaves plenty of room for (hilarious) surprises. Skating around said surprises, I will say:

Ant-Man’s corner of the MCU continues to be the comedic one, his second one even more so than the first.

The first round of kudos goes to the actors. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily obviously take center stage, and they play perfectly together, both in terms of levity and the more sober moments. Their characters have such great chemistry, and the connection between the two feels more genuine than they were afforded in Ant-Man, which makes perfect sense. The first movie was primarily about the old and new Ant-Man, Scott Lang and Hank Pym, while this one was about Scott and Hope Van Dyne.

Of course, as great as they are, they’d never be able to carry the entire movie alone. Most of the original cast returns and reprises their roles as their characters move forward with their lives. Michael Peña is not only comic relief, but also leads his fellow ex-cons from the first movie now as they run a security company. Abby Ryder Fortson is brilliant for her age as Cassie, Scott’s daughter, a surprisingly strong support, and whose parents are much nicer to Scott now. Michael Douglass naturally returns as Hank Pym, perhaps even more crotchety than he was before, but he’s also a man hoping to put his family back together.

And there are some new additions! Laurence Fishburne debuts in the MCU as Bill Foster, a previous peer of Pym, capable of standing toe-to-toe with Douglass and (REDACTED TO AVOID SPOILERS). Then there’s Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, one of the most sympathetic and human villains to grace the screen, being ferocious and powerful but also vulnerable and in desperate need of help. Finally, there are the feds and the criminals who manage to complicate things at every turn, often to hilarious effect.

Basically: wow, these people are good at casting! Really good!

Of course, the actors can only work with what they’ve been given, and they were given some pretty good material. In a series of movies that has often been about saving the world, Ant-Man has mostly been trying to save something a good deal smaller. In this case, he’s just trying to hold his life together while doing right by his family and friends, who are very much trying to do the same thing. Even their most powerful and dangerous enemies are fighting to preserve a life. It merely happens that their agendas collide with each other, and the local thugs and feds, as I said, keep complicating things.

The cinematography, the visual effects, the music, the unending humor, the emotional stakes, the growth of the characters, the directing, the acting, the themes, everything about this movie was superbly done. If I had the leeway, I would go see it again. 🙂

In short, Ant-Man and the Wasp is a hilarious, heartwarming, and family friendly superhero romp with excellent acting, writing, plot, characters, theme, stagecraft, and a whole lot of laughter.

Rating: 10 stars out of 10.

Grade: A-Plus.

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Posted in Movies, Tuesday Review | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Sunday’s Wisdom 191: The Meaning of Crew

“Captain, why did you come back for us?”

“You’re on my crew.”

“Yeah, but you don’t even like me. Why’d you come back?”

You’re on my crew. Why we still talking about this?”

– Simon Tam & Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly
Episode 5, “Safe”

Simon and his sister River are the children of an illustrious, well-to-do family, one that had a luxurious mansion with state of the art security. They easily paid for Simon’s studies to become a brilliant doctor, a path he was set on even as a boy. They certainly lacked for nothing material. Yet, when their daughter disappeared into the bowels of a government facility disguised as a school, Simon was left to fight for her alone, without the help of their parents. It took him – him, the heir of a high-class family and a successful young doctor – a full two years of trying to see his sister without any success for anything to come of it, and that was only when he attracted the attention of an underground resistance movement which agreed to help him liberate River in exchange for all the funding he could give them. There was a moment where he was detained by government authorities, and his own father stormed down there to berate him for risking their reputation, with the promise that the next time Simon was in trouble, “I will not come for you.”

So, Simon and River’s own parents betrayed and abandoned them. Certainly they couldn’t expect anything better from anyone else.

Then they became part of Serenity‘s crew, under Captain Mal Reyolds. It was nothing luxurious at all, in fact it was a pretty hard life, and they weren’t blood-kin with anyone else on the ship. Heck, at least one other crew member would have happily been rid of the both of them. Then came a moment where it seemed like they were being abandoned yet again, and into a situation which quickly spiraled into something where their deaths seemed imminent. But just in the nick of time, Serenity managed to return. It’s afterward that Simon and Mal have this conversation.

Simon, who has been abandoned by the people he trusted most, and who supposedly loved him, isn’t sure why a man who doesn’t actually like him came back for them. For Mal, it’s simply what one does. Though no one on the ship is related to them, the Tam siblings have become part of a family, which Mal refers to as his crew. For Mal, it’s simply inconceivable to abandon any one of them.

I like that a lot. While I was blessed with a family who loves me, I have also been blessed with friends who have become my family. I am thankful for each of them, from the bottom of my heart. It has always been part of my creed, to be loyal to my loved ones, never betraying or abandoning them. Why? Because they are “my crew.” It is through them that I am not left alone in my life, and so, as long as it is within my power, I will never leave them alone.

My family, my friends, my crew, you would come for me if I were in trouble, and so I will come for you.

Posted in Sunday's Wisdom, TV Shows | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Sunday’s Wisdom #190: You Are What You Are

“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
– Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones
Season 1, Episode 1, “”

Several seasons in, and nearing the end of the series, and still this moment from the very beginning is one of my favorite scenes of the show, and the moment where I saw the first glimpse of Tyrion’s depth.

Tyrion is a dwarf. He was born a dwarf, he has always lived a dwarf, he will die a dwarf. In any society, modern or medieval, that is not the easiest fate to bear. They automatically face challenges which others never will, and they’re often the victims of less-than-decent treatment, solely because of their physical uniqueness.

Tyrion’s had to live with that mockery all his life, but here’s what he’s realized: he’s a dwarf, so what? He can’t change what he is. It’s simply what he is. So instead of letting it be his weakness, he turns it into a strength. Others may laugh at him, and underestimate him, but they have no power over him.

That’s what Tyrion means when he says this to Jon Snow, a young man who has been forced to bear the stigma of being a bastard. A literal one, not a figurative expression about his character. In a culture where rank, importance, trust, even the love of others is heavily influenced by birth and legitimacy, Jon has worn a label that automatically invites ridicule and mistrust. He is keenly in need of this advice from Tyrion.

Interestingly, one of the worst and most hated villains in the show is also a bastard. In the books, this villainous figure is legitimized, and proceeds to do horrible things to anyone who still calls him a bastard. Then, when he comes at direct odds with Jon Snow, he sends a letter, repeatedly calling him a bastard, throwing Jon’s continuing status in his face while simultaneously gloating about how he rose above the label. But by that point, it doesn’t hurt Jon at all. He’s embraced it in the face of more important things, left the hurt of it behind him, while his nemesis is still consumed by it even while trying to make the world forget it.

There are things about ourselves which we can change, and there are things which we cannot. White, black, male, female, disabled, short, tall, Gentile, Jew, autistic… the list is endless. But we can’t change them. We are what we are. There will always be someone who will use that against us, but it doesn’t have to be a weakness. It can be, and should be, our strength.

I remember, I was sometimes a victim of bullying in school because I was the skinny redhead bookworm with a weird voice, a weirder brain, and part of a weird religion. 😉 I was unique. I stood out. But while I often felt hurt by the ridicule, I don’t know if I ever wanted to change what I was. I liked being weird. I liked being me. If I’d really been ashamed, I’d probably have gotten into a lot of fights. Instead, I lived with it and eventually it was just left behind.

I am what I am, and I am not ashamed, so will not be shamed.

Heh, I supposed I was just thinking a lot about that in the wake of my part of the Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge. 🙂

Posted in Books, Sunday's Wisdom, TV Shows | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

I Picked My Harem Favorites

Recently, Cactus Matt over on Anime Q and A created the Build a Harem tag, which I participated in and very much enjoyed. But I got thinking, as I tend to, and I noticed something. For being a tag about harems, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone choose any actual harem characters. As in, no characters from the harem anime titles which inspired the tag in the first place.

Hmm, interesting!

As I myself was selecting my personal harem, I ended up dismissing all the harem girls simply to cut down on the competition a bit, but I found myself with an idea.

Most anime fans know at least a few harem and/or reverse-harem titles, and I know I have girls in these harems which, were I the lead character, I would pick them over the others. Of course, they usually don’t have said lead character make any such choice at all, because that would end the harem, but we, the audience, are not limited by that, are we? We all have our favorites, I think.

So, my little tag, in echo of Build a Harem, is:

Pick Your Harem Favorites.

The idea, and the rules, are simple:

1) Thank whoever tags you.

2) Pick 3 – 5 anime with existing harems, or reverse-harems, in them.

3) Choose your favorite, the one you would choose if you were the lead character. Explain why, as much as you want to.

4) Tag around 5 friends.

Obviously, I’m starting things off, so I’ll just thank Cactus Matt for the inspiration. 🙂

And as for my five picks from anime harems:

Tenchi Muyo: Ryoko Hakubi

This was my very first introduction to the idea of harems in anime. It was thankfully much more subtle about it than most of today’s anime, mostly being a love triangle between Tenchi, Ayeka, and Ryoko, but it definitely indicated that most of the other girls in the show were also interested in Tenchi at one point or another. Out of them all, Ryoko was easily my favorite, and certainly my preferred choice over Princess Ayeka.

Where her chief competition was a spoiled, shallow, vain, selfish princess, Ryoko the space pirate was a truly strong woman, with an emotional depth that belied her tough exterior. She was truly sincere in her words and actions and especially her feelings for Tenchi. She may have caused quite a bit of mischief, but she also protected the others, even going so far as to help Tenchi rescue Ayeka, fighting ferociously despite her own grievous injuries.

Hands down, Ryoko is my favorite among Tenchi’s girls.

Haganai: Sena Kashiwazaki

Pretty much all the characters in Haganai have serious psychological problems. Sena is no exception. Though she’s popular and vain, she’s still very insecure and naïve about the world, and she doesn’t really have any friends – the girls envy her and the guys relentlessly ogle her – until she joins the club that becomes the central harem of the show. So, yes, she has issues.

She is still heads-and-shoulders above the rest. While she may put on airs, she is still quite genuine and sincere in her behavior and opinions. She may be a bit ditzy and trusting, but that’s because she doesn’t have a malignant or manipulative bone in her curvaceous body. Contrast that with the other female lead, Yozora, who routinely insults others, lies, deceives, sabotages, and cruelly manipulates (or tries to), not to mention frequently creating scenarios in her head where Sena is getting raped – which I really don’t find amusing at all.

Oh, yeah, Kodaka. Easy choice here. Sena can grow, mature, become a bit more grounded through life, but that arranged engagement your parents did with hers is probably the best thing ever to happen to you. Get over your friendship issues and get with this girl!

Campione: Ena Seishuuin

Out of four girls (I am not counting Athena) in Godou’s harem, Ena is the one we meet last, and don’t know her for very long before the show ends. (I hate unfinished stories…) She’s also easily my favorite.

Erica Blandelli of the “celestial figure” and yada-yada-yada is far too manipulative for my tastes. The other two girls, Yuri and Liliana, are firmly under Erica’s sway, easily manipulated or dominated, so I’ve no real interest in them either, whatever their pros vs cons are. But Ena – who, I note, is the only one with a figure to match or exceed Erica’s – is easily Erica’s equal, if not her superior in certain ways, and not a girl to be cowed by the queen bee. That is easily what I like most about her: she doesn’t just take Erica’s crap. This curvy girl can fight on par with the strongest people in the world. What does she care what little barbs Blondie might throw her way? She lacks subtlety, but she’s forthright and honest, and she genuinely cares about her relationship with Godou.

So, sincere, trustworthy, powerful, and curvy? Ena would definitely be my choice.

To Love-Ru: Momo Belia Deviluke

This is one of those titles where pretty much every girl just kind of falls for the male lead, Rito, mostly just because. I counted them once, and I think I got to a dozen or more females who’d be in his harem. While their interest in him was pretty much the same across the board, I did like how diverse the girls themselves were without just being a collection of polar opposites and tropes, ya know? Which is strange to say, considering how stereotypical and… ah, overtly sexualized this anime is.

Still, easily my personal favorite was Momo, the younger sister of the alien Princess Lala. After her big sister meets and falls for Rito, Momo and her twin, Nana, descend on Earth, and on Rito’s head, in the show’s second season, as I recall. Momo has a clear interest in Rito from the start, and it’s her brain that hatches the harem plan, so she can have Rito without any hearts, like both of her sisters’ (or hers), getting broken in the process. They can all be happy together.

Momo is certainly the most mischievous of the entire bunch, with one or two arguable exceptions, but she’s really quite honest about what she wants, and she actually has the spine to go for it. She’s ruthless and clever, both in a fight and in everyday life, but she cares about what everyone wants, and she wants everyone to be happy. And while she, quite bluntly, wants to have sex with Rito, she wants to do it right, with the proper consent of all parties involved.

There’s something endearing about that duality of traits. She’s bold and pushes things, but doesn’t resort to extremes.

Rito may have over a dozen hotties wanting him, but Momo is clearly the best, in my opinion.

The Familiar of Zero: Kirche von Anhalt Zerbst

Full name: Kirche Augusta Frederica von Anhalt Zerbst.

Nickname: Kirche the Fever (and small wonder how she got that nickname).

If there is one chief complaint I have about this anime, it’s how the pairing between Saito and Louise 1) came out of nowhere and 2) make no sense whatsoever! I mean, this bratty, shallow, entitled girl treats Saito so horribly, as if he were less than an actual person and her favorite punching bag. It’s a seriously abusive relationship. Louise would not get the time of day from me.

Kirche, on the other hand… while others among Saito’s harem are variously flawed and variously better than Louise, Kirche stands as the obvious choice. True, she’s flirty and teasing and rather insistent in her sexual desires, but she’s far more genuine and caring than Louise. She’s also the only one to move on from her fascination with Saito (to an older man, a professor at the university she attends), which speaks volumes about how strong and stable she is. She knows what she wants and she goes after it, and sometimes she’s a bit overbearing about it, but she’s a true friend and comes to treat others far more respectfully than Louise does.

Seriously, Saito, what were you thinking in refusing this voluptuous vixen who would have treated you better?!

Are you noticing a pattern about sincerity, here? 😉

So, that’s five favorite harem picks from me. How about you? Who are your favorites among all those harems out there? I’m asking everyone generally, but, as this is a tag, I am specifically asking:

Cactus Matt (I hope I did not disappoint 😉 )
Irina
Scott
Moya
Lina
(since y’all managed to get tagged with the last tag before I could tag you, mwahahah! 😉 )

Pick Your Harem Favorites!

I look forward to your answers! 🙂

Posted in Anime and Cartoons, Challenge Accepted | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Sunday’s Wisdom #189: The Greatest Treasure

“To be my own master… such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world.”
– The Genie, Aladdin

The Genie, portrayed by Robin Williams, is easily one of the most beloved characters in Disney history. He’s funny, useful, almost always right, and there’s an emotional depth and sincerity to him one can’t help but love. He also has a most human desire, a longing to be free of all servitude. In all the thousands of years he’s lived, with all the masters he’s had, he had been a slave for all of it, and not one person ever considered him equal enough to ask, “What would you wish for?” Not until Aladdin, that is, the street rat who became his final master.

Aladdin himself has known poverty and struggle, while Jasmine has had every aspect of her life governed for her, but neither has ever been a slave. Neither has ever been completely without freedom of his or her own. Small wonder the Genie is so funny, because slavery is the crucifixion of the soul, and laughter is often the best medicine.

The joy the Genie feels when he is finally free is understandably overwhelming. However long the Genie lives, he will never forget the man who freed him. Heh, I have heard that the original plan for the movie’s ending was to reveal the peddler telling the story at the beginning to be the Genie in disguise. That would certainly fit, him telling Aladdin’s story for the rest of his life, so people remember him forever.

Freedom is the greatest treasure we can ever know, and to be free is to be one’s own master. It does necessitate mastering oneself, of course, but, even more, it demands a highg price to obtain it and to keep it. That’s why I’m sharing this quote right before July 4th, the anniversary of my nation’s birth. The Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the United States of America… it all has its root in this simple desire, no, the simple right that each human has to be his or her own master. All the more tragic that I find my nation having strayed so far from this, but that goes into politics, which I prefer to keep off my blog.

For now, I just want to say Happy Birthday to America, Land of the Free.

Posted in Movies, Sunday's Wisdom | Tagged , | 6 Comments

My Anime Harem

This is a very new tag idea, and it’s been making the rounds quickly. Small wonder why. I mean, the e̶x̶c̶u̶s̶e̶ chance to not only talk about all those hot anime girls (and boys) we have crushes on, but to pick some out for a harem, all our own? Heck, yes! 😉

I have my friend Kimchi to thank for this chance to Build a Harem. Thanks for tagging me! 🙂

So, basic idea:

You are the central protagonist in a harem-themed anime. To build your harem, pick five characters (of either gender) from anywhere in anime. If they fit into the stereotypical anime tropes (more on that in a moment), so much the better, but if not, that’s good too. So, who do you pick, and why?

That’s the idea, anyway. The rules are, or were:

1. Thanks for the nomination.

2. Use the ‘build a harem’ logo in your post.

3. Pick 5 anime characters (any show and any gender) that would be in your harem if you were in a harem anime. Explain (if you want) why you chose them.

4. Make sure each character you pick falls into some of the following harem character types: Childhood friend, tom boy/girl, genki girl/boy, loli/shota, trap, tsundere, yandere, kuudere, dandere, etc. (If there’s a character you’ve picked that doesn’t specifically fall into one of these types or falls into multiple types that’s fine too!)

5. Nominate 5 people to continue the tag

“Think you can limit us like that, huh?”

Now, I say those were the rules because the tag was created by Cactus Matt at Anime Q and A, and it didn’t even make it past the first people they tagged before said rules started to change. I especially like how Karandi put it. The labels, types, and tropes and such really are quite limiting. A huge part, I think, of why so many new anime fail to catch our attention is because they use and conform to the tropes. I remember when Asterisk War and Chivalry of a Failed Knight came out, I could scarcely remember which was which because they’re so similar. Oh, and they both had harem themes, if I recall correctly? (I didn’t watch either one very far, but they were going in that direction already)

So, really, the categories that these characters fill have become limiting to the point where anime in general is suffering for the use of them. That’s one reason I ignored them.

Another reason is… well, there’s really so many “types” of girls out there! There’s the Good Girl, the Bad Girl, the Smart Girl, the Quiet Girl, the Shy Girl, the Ditzy Girl, the Plucky Girl, the Icy Girl, the Invisible Girl, the Bookworm Girl, the Tough Girl, the Sexy Girl, the Overly Sexy Girl, the Gratuitous Boobs Girl, the Oh-My-Goodness-Stop-With-The-Oversized-Boobs Girl, the Crazy Girl (no jokes about all girls being crazy, now!), the Really Crazy Girl, the Run-Away-And-Don’t-Look-Back Homicidal Insane Girl, the Strong Girl, the Powerful Girl, the Truly Deadly Girl, the Princess, the Delicate Princess, the Warrior Princess, the Crass Girl, the Slob Girl, the Scheming Girl, the Mischievous Girl, the Villain Girl, the Little Girl, the Why-Is-A-Girl-This-Young-In-A-Harem Girl, and infinitely more. And that’s even if they conform to a “type” at all!

Are we going to just ignore all of them because they aren’t a specific “dere” type? Um, no! 🙂

As such, I hope the creators of this tag and you, my audience, will forgive me for putting a little of my own twist to this. Instead of conforming to types, this is turning out more like the Flaming Hotties tag I did, but exclusively anime. 🙂

So, who do I pick to be in my anime harem?

…and that is problem number two. Problem One was the rules. Problem Two: there are so many anime girls to choose from! I swear, I’ve gone through a hundred different combinations in my head, and I’ll probably want to change this one up too, like two seconds after posting, but even so, here goes!

Basic guidelines: one girl per franchise, I must be able to explain my choice, and said explanation must go beyond drooling over their hotness (because they’re all hot, so, with several dozen strong candidates, I needed to look at something besides physical attraction if I was ever to narrow it down to five).

I also ended up having to dismiss a number of girls from the running simply because… well, honestly, they were just my favorite picks out of other harems. That’s still a lot of girls crowding things, ya know? I may devote another post exclusively to them, but, for now, I’m looking at non-harem girls. Love triangles are fair game, but not harems.

Oh, and I have decided that the one girl, who was easily my first pick, actually won’t be in this harem. I’ve made no secret of having a mad crush on Nami, from One Piece, so I’m putting her squarely in her own space, without any little annoyances from would-be romantic rivals. My harem is Tier One. Nami is Tier Zero, impossible to challenge, so where would the surprise be to include her at all, eh?

(is off stealing gold and hearts elsewhere anyway!)

So, after much debate and deliberation and jockeying among the candidates (and further introspection to the effect of “I am bloody nuts, aren’t I?”) …well, here’s my anime harem!

Deedlit: Perfect, Enchanting Beauty

Probably the most classic and famous figure in my harem. Deedlit, of Record of Lodoss War fame, is the perfect image of a high elf: calm, refined, poised, elegant, majestic, powerful, etc. She is, quite simply, the very definition of “enchanting.”

Nice Holystone: Tough and Capable and Just a Little Bit Crazy

Hailing from Baccano, Nice is a smart, vivacious tough girl. She’s sleek and sexy in both her appearance (she makes burn scars look cool) and her attitude. Her interest in bombs might be a little crazy, but she’s skilled with explosives (we men love explosions). She’s a loyal friend and a capable leader. What’s not to love about that, eh? And hey, one even gets lots of exercise, running away from her bombs and dragging her along! 🙂

Princess Luna: Clever, Sexy Schemer

Princess Luna of Magura may have only appeared in that last couple of episodes on Level E, making her the least publicized girl in my harem, but she impressed me. She’s quite the attractive beauty, but, even more, she out-thought the nefarious prince she wanted to marry. She actually tricked the trickster! The girl who can do that is even sexier than she looks. 🙂

Akatsuki: Adorable Warrior

If Shiroe does not ever officially pair off with her, then he is an absolute fool. She may be short and petite, but this ninja assassin of Log Horizon is formidable indeed, and loyal to a fault. I rather love watching her nip her friend’s more perverted words in the bud, and her devotion to those she cares about is most endearing. I also love watching her grow into a more independent person over the course of the series. Oh, and I definitely get Henrietta’s urge to hug her! 🙂

Hild: the Lady and the Baddest Girl of All

The ruler of demonkind in Ah My Goddess is not a “girl,” she is a Lady, with a capital L. Hild has what might arguably be the most killer figure I’ve ever seen in anime, and she knows how to work it without even trying. And how much more of a bad “girl” can you get than the demon queen? She apparently even slept with the ruler of heaven, as evidenced by their daughter, and I can see what the man was thinking when he did that! 😉 Now if only I could be just a little less terrified of her… but what fun would that be?

So, there it is… my harem! Whatcha think?

Finally, as for my nominees… heh, Problem Three, this tag has spread so fast through my blogging friends that there aren’t many left to choose from who haven’t already been tagged! So, if you’ve already been tagged, my apologies! 😉

Shaddowcat
Jiraiyan
Spooky Redhead
Raistlin
Krystallina

I look forward to your responses! 😀

Posted in Anime and Cartoons, Challenge Accepted | Tagged , , , , | 22 Comments

Three Days, Three Quotes: Day Three

Hello again, and welcome back!

Welcome to the final day and the final quote!

This is the one I’m excited about! 😀

Thank you, one final time, Shaddowcat! 🙂

The Rules, as always:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post three quotes on three consecutive days
  3. Nominate three bloggers to do the same

For the third and final quote, I choose:

“Rich manure can fertilize fields and feed millions.”
– The Monk, Bulletproof Monk

This is one my favorite lines ever.

Two characters, the mentor and the female lead, are talking about the main protagonist. Right in front of him. In Tibetan (or whatever the language is). Having seen through an attempt to puff himself up, the girl asks the mentor, “Why are you really with him?” He answers, “I sense he is full of potential.” She laughs, “REALLY?!” she says, “I sense he’s mostly full of bulls***.” And the monk looks the hero over and answers, “But rich manure can fertilize fields and feed millions.”

Hm, never thought of it that way, eh?

Even the lowest, filthiest, stinkiest, messiest, least desirable crap… can be used for something amazing and vital, if you can just see the possibilities.

And now the part I’m most excited about, where I get to grin all smug and impish, and say, “Read all three quotes one right after another. What do all three of them say together? 😉

“All joking aside, you really ought to just be yourself.”
“Polish a turd, it’s still a turd!”
“Rich manure can fertilize vast fields and feed millions.”

😀

And for today’s nominee:

Someone I’ve never nominated before: Lina! Let’s see what you’ve got! 🙂

Posted in Challenge Accepted, Movies, Sunday's Wisdom | Tagged | 4 Comments

Three Days, Three Quotes: Day Two

Hello again, and welcome back!

Today we have our second day, and our second quote!

Thank you again, Shaddowcat! 🙂

The Rules, as always:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post three quotes on three consecutive days
  3. Nominate three bloggers to do the same

For the second of three quotes, I choose:

“Polish a turd, it’s still a turd.”
– Peanut/Jeff Dunham, Jeff Dunham: Arguing With Myself

This is just a quick joke in a ventriloquist’s routine one time. He’s talking to his puppet, Peanut, about where they are, Santa Anna. He compliments them, Peanut snorts at that, not at all appreciating the town, and they have a little back-and-forth. “There’s a lot of history,” says Jeff, and Peanut says, “Translated: Old. As. S***.” Jeff says, “They’ve been rejuvenating, refurbishing,” and Peanut instantly responds, “Polish a turd, it’s still a turd!”

It’s hilarious when you watch it, and the audience got a good laugh about it.

Still, there’s a certain truth to it, isn’t there? Not to be all pessimistic or anything like that, but what good does it do to try and polish a crappy situation? There’s looking on the bright side and there’s being an optimistic idiot, not the same thing. All things in balance, after all, and sometimes that means accepting that things are bad. It is what it is. The sooner one accepts it, calls it by its name, the sooner one moves on. Preferably to a bath, to clean the crap off, instead of further into the delusion that a certain stench is actually rose petals. 😉

And for today’s nominee:

Kimchi, I choose you! 🙂

And don’t worry, I’ll be responding to the tag you gave me much sooner than I got to this one from Shaddowcat! 😉

Posted in Challenge Accepted, Sunday's Wisdom | Tagged | 2 Comments

Three Days, Three Quotes: Day One

Wow, time flies.

Shaddowcat tagged me with this waaaay back at the beginning of April. Because, clearly, I don’t do enough quotes on my blog. 😉

Sorry for the delay, my friend, life is crazy, but I am finally getting to it! Thank you for the nomination, and for your patience. 🙂

So, the Rules are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post three quotes on three consecutive days
  3. Nominate three bloggers to do the same

On the bright side, I have had plenty of time to consider what quotes to use, so obviously I’ve selected something deep and poignant and absolutely meaningful, and hilarious too, right?

…well, sort of. 😉

For the first of three quotes, I choose:

“All joking aside, you really ought to be yourself.”
– The Genie, Aladdin

Who doesn’t love the Genie? He’s hilarious from start to finish, yet so emotionally deep as well. In this scene, when Aladdin is fretting about what Princess Jasmine will think of him, the Genie tries to cheer him on with a little humor. When that doesn’t work, he tells Aladdin this. The boy from the streets hasn’t learned his own value yet, still believing, deep in his heart, that he really is just a worthless street rat. He tries to pose and posture his way into Jasmine’s heart, but it’s when he lets his guard down and stops with the pretense that she falls for him. The Genie was right.

And that’s just the scene-specific meaning. More generally, I think there is a profound lack of happiness to be found in trying to be someone we’re not. If I were not true to myself, I know I would be forever miserable.

What do you think?

And for today’s nominee:

Moya, I choose you! 🙂

Posted in Challenge Accepted, Sunday's Wisdom | Tagged | 5 Comments

Sunday’s Wisdom #188: For Free?

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”
– The Joker, The Dark Knight

On the one hand, this is actually a pretty smart piece of advice, and one which we bloggers, who pour countless amounts of time and effort into our most excellent writing, largely ignore. 😛 But, on the other hand, it’s the advice of one of the most famous and infamous madmen in superhero history, so I suppose we don’t need to feel too badly about that, eh? 😉

I absolutely love Dark Knight, in no small part due to Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as the Joker. Pitted against Christian Bale’s Batman, the two represented what may be the oldest and most elemental conflict in history: one force tries to make people worse by convincing them to succumb to their most base selfishness, and anther force tries to inspire people to become better with an example of ultimate selflessness. It was fantastic and nuanced on so many levels.

This quote is really just there and gone in an instant, but I’m sure essays could be written on its significance to the theme, plot, and texture of the movie. On the surface, it’s just something the Joker says to get the mob to pay him for killing Batman, but there’s always more to what the Joker says and does and wants. He appeals to financial greed because the lords of the criminal underground will believe it, because it’s what drives them. That’s how he suckers them into a position where they’re all destroyed and he can take over to rain more madness down on the city. The selfishness they thrive on consumes them all. And you know what none of them probably ever did? Anything for free.

In contrast, I note that kindness is always something done without regard for reward, and there is no real happiness without kindness. I mean, I’m sure Ebeneezer Scrooge (very different story, I know) never failed to charge people for his services, but he spent most of his life in misery. Then he learned about love and kindness and all that stuff, and he was happy for the rest of his life.

In this movie, Harvey Dent was happiest when he was in service to others, and at his worst when he was out for only what he wanted for himself.

So, while Joker’s quote is sound financial advice, to charge people for your services when you perform that service better than others (and there is nothing wrong with making an honest dollar for yourself), it’s obviously not universally applicable. 😉

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