June 19, 2008

There Has Been Blood

Whenever I've been watching one of the billions of presidential debates over the last few months, my roommate has occasionally asked me "what are they going to do to bring these gas prices down?" And my answer has been pretty pathetic: "uhm, there's not enough refineries, and China's increasing the demand, so it's out of their control until we switch to renewable fuels.... I think".

But the more I really thought about it, the more that simply didn't make sense. If Exxon is making a BILLION dollars in profit for the first three months of this year, that means that their revenues have vastly outpaced their expenditures. So, even if the processing of crude oil had become so much more expensive because of bottlenecks in the pipeline, which would, presumably, drive up the price of a barrel of oil, it still doesn't account for the huge profit disparity.

And then I saw this segment on "Countdown with Keith Olberman" last night.

In short, it's all Enron's fault. Enron and Phil Graham.

So, the question is, if the so-called "Enron Loophole", that allows energy speculators to simultaneously drive up the price of oil while hording it as an investment and then reaping insane profits, has single-handedly caused the price of oil to double since it's inception, why haven't ANY of the Presidential candidates talked about it this year? After all, you would think that Enron is a pretty easy boogeyman to present for further public flogging.

And, yes, I'm talking to YOU, Senator Obama.

Some legislation has been passed to address this, but there's much more work to be done. If you want to help do something about it, check out StopOilSpeculators.com.

The other thing that concerns me is that, near the end of Keith's report, he mentioned the term "oil bubble".

Having lived through both the 1st internet bubble and now a real estate bubble, the thought of an oil bubble makes me extremely nervous. I mean, sure, if the bubble burst, the oil prices should collapse, which would be easier on my petrol budget. But, if all of these financial institutions are acting as major oil speculators, would the crash of the oil market make some collapse like Bear Sterns, pouring even more salt in the wounds of the credit crisis?

June 16, 2008

Robotech inches closer to big screen reality

OK, so, it's not quite a nerd-gasm yet. (Does that, then, make it nerd-play?)

Lawrence Kasdan to pen 'Robotech'

But it's still pretty tasty - because the minute somebody is paying an A-list writer for a script, you can at least know that somebody, somewhere, is serious enough about actually making the film to put some real skin in the game.

My only concern is that Robotech is a MASSIVE story. I mean, originally, they were three separate and totally unrelated anime cartoons that the producers redubbed and smooshed together to make one big, epic story spanning three generations of heroes fighting successive waves of mecha-enabled alien invaders (namely, the Zentraedi, The Robotech Masters, and, my personal favorites, The Invid). To do it even sort of right, you really ought to do three separate trilogies, one for each generation.

And, perhaps that's the point. If I was a studio head, I would be salivating at the chance to launch a property with a massive built-in audience and 8 potential sequels. Especially since you only need three-film commitments from any one actor (so the costs are fairly fixed, as opposed to other franchises that become increasingly expensive from actors' salaries).

And, unlike most 80's cartoons, Robotech already had fairly sophisticated dramatic elements - real death and cross-racial romance and the cost of war. It doesn't need to be upgraded to adulthood like, say, Transformers. In fact, my other concern is that the studio might try to soften some of the hardcore storytelling at the end of each saga in hopes of "sending people home happy".

Just tell a good story, man. That'll make people happy enough.

Then again, Kasdan did write "Empire Strikes Back". Maybe I shouldn't be concerned.

And I do think Tobey Maguire would make a pretty good Rick Hunter. And Katee Sackhoff is the obvious choice for Dana Sterling. Dare I suggest Grace Park is Lin Minmei?

Actually, the more I think of it, the more I realize Ron Moore is totally jacking Robotech tropes for Battlestar Galactica. Edward James Olmos is a total shout-out to Captain Gloval. The tone and lessons about war are also very similar, as well as the effect humanity has on alien cultures.

In short, I'm still anticipating the nerd-gasm. But, done right, this could be the "Lord of The Rings" for giant robot sci-fi summer action movies. I have renewed hope.

June 03, 2008

The Leader of the Free World

Damn that Obama!!!! I was supposed to be the first Black president!


MSNBC & CNN are 4 years late.

I called this back in 2004, in a blog post I called "The Future".

Barack Hussein Obama is the presumptive nominee from the Democratic Party for President of the United States of America.

Think about that for a minute.

As we sit, a Black man has a 50/50 shot at becoming the leader of the free world.

And, if I can get all Marcus Garvey-ish on it for a moment, we're basically a coin toss away from having a man who looks like, frankly, the majority of the population of this planet, become the de-facto leader of said planet.

A bi-racial man of African descent who was raised by Americans of European descent, who worships with the majority religion on Earth (namely, Christianity), but wears a name with deep cultural resonance with the 2nd largest religion on Earth (namely Islam).