CharlieV the Newsboy

Obama Has My Vote #2

Romney
Romney

Wait… what?

Yesterday, I posted a video in my post saying I would vote for Obama if I was American, just because the Chris Rock video was so damn funny!

Then I saw this video of interviews conducted with voters at a Romney rally in Defiance, Ohio.

In the video description is a scary bit of info:

Election observers believe that Ohio is the state most likely to decide who becomes our next President. These interviews were conducted with Ohio voters at a recent Romney rally in Defiance, OH.


Obama Has My Vote

Chris Rock

Chris RockI have never been the biggest Chris Rock fan, not that I don’t like him. But in the last couple of days, a video was released via the Jimmy Kimmel Show where Chris Rock pleads to the undecided white voters to vote for Obama.

I’m not American, so I can’t really vote for Obama, but damn it’s funny!


Pixar, Marvel & Now Lucasfilm. The Force Is Strong With Disney

Disney

DisneyYesterday it was announced that Disney are to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This is all “subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions.”

But everything has been approved by both Disney and Lucasfilm’s sole shareholder, George Lucas. So what does this mean for the fans?

Well, besides three new movies, with “Episode 7″ being released in 2015 and all sorts of merchandising/theme parks spin-offs, only time will tell.

Did anyone really notice the changes in Pixar and Marvel. I didn’t. Let’s look at this from the fan viewpoint and the easiest way is to look at the responses to films before and after. Comparing Pixar before and after is relatively easy, but Marvel is a bit more complex as they licensed their comics to various companies for production & distribution, some good and some not so much.

Have a look at the two tables below, which are split into 2 sections (post- and pre-Disney) which are split again into public opinion and critic’s opinion. The abbreviations are as follows:

Lets start with Pixar:

PRE-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) IMDB RT (F) MC
Toy Story 1995 81 8.3 100 92
A Bug’s Life 1998 61 7.2 92 77
Toy Story 2 1999 72 8 100 88
Monsters, Inc. 2001 84 8 95 78
Finding Nemo 2003 82 8.1 99 89
The Incredibles 2004 67 8 97 90
Cars 2006 80 7.3 74 73
AVERAGE 75.3 7.8 93.9 83.9
POST-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) IMDB RT (F) MC
Ratatouille 2007 84 8 96 96
WALL-E 2008 89 8.5 96 94
Up 2009 86 8.3 98 88
Toy Story 3 2010 91 8.5 99 92
Cars 2 2011 54 6.4 38 57
Brave 2012 80 7.5 78 69
AVERAGE 80.7 7.9 84.2 82.7

A quick look the average public ratings (RT(AR) and IMDB) show us that the public prefer the post-Disney Pixar, if only slightly. If you take a closer look, Cars 2 was a major let-down for post-Disney Pixar. If we take that one out, things are very different the averages go up to 86, 8.2, 93.4 & 87.8 respectively. If you look atthe critic’s opinions however, Rotten Tomatoes says that Disney is not doing a great job, while Metacritics says it’s pretty much the same, unless again, you take out Cars 2.

But the jump from Disney to Pixar is not that huge, not as much as it is for Marvel… So what is the verdict with regards to Marvel. Up until 1998, Marvel never really made the jump to the big screen, with only a four movies coming out, including two versions of Captain America. From 1998, they started licensing out more movies to various companies until Disney bought them out in 2009 for $4.24 billion.

PRE-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) RT (F) IMDB MC
Year Title
1944 Captain America - - 6.6 -
1986 Howard the Duck - - 4.3 -
1989 The Punisher 42 24 5.4 -
1990 Captain America 20 11 3 -
1998 Blade 78 55 7 45
2000 X-Men 83 82 7.4 64
2002 Blade II 72 59 6.6 52
Spider-Man 65 89 7.3 73
2003 Daredevil 46 45 5.4 42
X2 84 88 7.6 68
Hulk 34 62 5.7 54
2004 The Punisher 68 29 6.4 33
Spider-Man 2 81 93 7.5 83
Blade: Trinity 70 26 5.8 38
2005 Elektra 47 10 4.8 34
Man-Thing 18 20 4 -
Fantastic Four 57 27 5.7 40
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand 73 57 6.8 58
2007 Ghost Rider 56 26 5.2 35
Spider-Man 3 54 63 6.3 59
FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer 55 37 5.7 45
2008 Iron Man 91 94 7.9 79
The Incredible Hulk. 75 67 6.9 61
Punisher: War Zone 45 27 6 30
AVERAGE 59.7 49.6 6.1 52.3
POST-DISNEY
Title Year RT (AR) RT (F) IMDB MC
2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine 72 37 6.7 -
2010 Iron Man 2 80 75 7.1 57
2011 Thor 80 77 7 57
X-Men: First Class 88 87 7.8 65
CPT America: The First Avenger 75 79 6.8 66
2012 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 32 18 4.4 32
Marvel’s The Avengers 96 92 8.4 69
The Amazing Spider-Man 81 73 7.4 66
AVERAGE 75.5 67.3 7.0 58.9

No matter which way you look at it, Disney is doing a pretty damn good job, except when it comes to Ghost Rider 2, which was neither produced or distributed by them or Marvel, since talk of it’s production began in 2007 already.

Ultimately, as I said, time will tell, but I’m pretty sure they’ll do a good job


Eastern Cape Floods & Damage

Since last week, the Eastern Cape has been getting a lot of rain. In fact according to the Weather Guru (link below) up to this morning 389mm of rain fell in the Port Alfred area. Click here for details on all areas from last week to now.  He also shared this info:

With still 8 days left in October we have not only exceeded the record in Port Elizabeth as being the wettest NON FLOOD year on record and the second wettest year on record since 1955 (when records started at airport)

Reason for calling it a non flood year is that although we have had a lot of flooding, there is no ONE SINGLE EVEN/DATE that stands out like for example 1 September 1968

Comparative figures up until the end of October

1968 1032.6 mm
1974 966.5 mm
1981 923.5 mm
2012 985.4 mm up until 22 October

For the entire year the total for 1968 was 1068.4 mm. We thus need just over 83 mm before the end of the year to beat that record

Facebook has been buzzing about the heavy rains and people are posting photos like crazy, especially since Saturday.

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Where to get more info and updates:

Metro Newspaper: http://www.metronewspaper.co.za/

Follow the Weather Guru for up to date reports: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weather-Guru/192566374124112

Algoa FM Gallery: http://www.algoafm.co.za/galleryphotos.aspx?id=201#!prettyPhoto

Grahamstown Photos: http://penneyspix.co.za/gtown-rain.php

St Francis photos: http://stfrancischronicle.com/2012/10/21/the-sand-river-canyon-develops-as-bridge-washes-away-for-3rd-time-photo-gallery/#jp-carousel-8398

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Videos:

Boesmanriviermond:

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Some Images from Facebook:

1)

3rd Avenue, Walmer (Saturday night?)

3rd Avenue, Walmer (Saturday night?)

2)

3rd Avenue, Walmer (Sinkhole in road)

3rd Avenue, Walmer (Sinkhole in road)

3)

N2 between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth

The hole is 25m wide and 50m deep on the N2 between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth

4)

Assegai Bridge between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown

Assegai Bridge between Port Elizabeth & Grahamstown

5)

Boundary Lane, Mt Pleasant

Boundary Lane, Mt Pleasant (sorry about quality)

6)

Seaview Rd (Bushy Park)

Seaview Rd (Bushy Park)

7)

R72

R72

8)

Spar Despatch

Spar Despatch

9)

St Francis

St Francis

10)

Seaview Rd

Seaview Rd

11)

Grahamstown

Grahamstown

12)

3rd Avenue, Walmer

3rd Avenue, Walmer

13)

Star Bakery, Walmer

Star Bakery, Walmer

14)

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant

15)

Seaview Rd

Seaview Rd

16)

Little Walmer Golf Course

Little Walmer Golf Course

17)

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth

18)

Target Kloof

Target Kloof

19)

Sundays River

Sundays River

20)

Port Alfred

Port Alfred

 


Grow your own! Need some reasons?

GM foodThis year I decided that I wanted to start growing my own vegetables. There was no specific reason, I just wanted to have fresh, homegrown veggies that hadn’t been sitting in cold storage for weeks or months on end.

Since I’ve started, in about July/August, my little veggie patch has started to finally look like something. Being a bit of a geek as well, I spend a lot of time researching how to do it better, be it by reading articles, watching videos or whatever else.

Naturally, while reading articles and finding resources, you come across some related topics, one of which is GM, or genetically modified, foods. The scary part is that a lot of people wont even know what I am talking about. I just had to share some of the stuff that I’ve come across.

What  is GM food?

To understand what all the fuss is about, you first need to understand what GM food is.

For centuries man has been “genetically modifying” food by natural methods, such as selective breeding, where you grow a plot of corn and only take seeds from the ones that were resistant to things like fungus. You would do this year after year until you were left with a crop that was almost completely resistant. Even with chickens, you could find which eggs contained less cholesterol and breed only those chickens until you were left with a low cholesterol egg producing chicken.

With the advent of genetic engineering, scientist have been able to eliminate the trial and error method of selective breeding by simply injecting specific genes into the plant. For example Monsanto produce a herbicide called Roundup (glyphosate based) which kills any plant it comes into contact with. Monsanto then sell seeds that are resistant to Roundup. Farmers can then spray their crops with Roundup and be sure that only the crops themselves are left. These seeds are patented and you cannot reuse the seeds from these crops.

Another example is where BT toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis) are inserted into GM food crops to kill pests.

Since 1994, when Calgene (now owned by Monsanto) first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato, GM crops now include, but are not limited to soybean, maize, cotton, canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa & sugar beet. In 2010 and estimated 10% of crops worldwide were GM crops. In the US, by 2010, 93% of the planted area of soybeans, 93% of cotton, 86% of corn and 95% of the sugar beet were genetically modified varieties.

What does this have to do with me?

There has never been a long-term study of the effects of a diet including GM food on humans. I am also no expert on these matters, but there are more than a few articles on the possible effects of GM foods.

Genetically modified foods are not necessarily a bad thing (if correctly and openly regulated), but the way things are right now, people have a right to be concerned. Everyone out there should be able to make up their own mind up about GM foods. New Scientist have a rather informative article on the pros and cons of GM foods.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9921-introduction-gm-organisms.html?full=true

Also see the selection of articles on GM food from New Scientist:  http://www.newscientist.com/topic/gm-food

The article below describes possible dangers of GM foods to our digestive systems. It also has links to various other articles on other dangers:

http://www.anh-usa.org/genetically-engineered-food-alters-our-digestive-systems/

The Wikipedia article on the controversy surrounding GM food is rather detailed and a must read. As with any Wikipedia article use your own discretion and read the sources.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

The WHO has also released a FAQ of sorts regarding GM foods.

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

The Daily Mail in the UK has also reported that toxins which were meant to be destroyed by the gut have found their way into the bloodstream of pregnant women and even the umbilical cord.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1388888/GM-food-toxins-blood-93-unborn-babies.html

Even though GM crops are meant to be pest resistant, among other things, recently breeds of “super-insects” are now surfacing resistant to the toxins in the crops.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/12/superinsects-monsanto-corn-epa

Another problem with GM crops is what they go into from harvesting. How many products on our shelves use GM foods in their production?

There are so many articles, and resources out there, but these are some of the highlights

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/13908-new-gmo-wheat-may-silence-vital-human-genes

https://www.facebook.com/occupymonsanto

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/vandana-shiva-corporate-monopoly-seeds?newsfeed=true

The following video is a nice summary of the dangers

Who is behind this?

One of the largest companies behind GM foods is Monsanto, but other companies include Sygenta, Dupont and Bayer CropScience, all of which are, or were, primarily chemical companies.

Monsanto are no strangers to controversy, before they became a biotech firm as they are known today, they produced and had a virtual monopoly in the US for Polychlorinated bipyls (PCBs) which were used as coolant fluids in transformers, capacitors, and electric motors, and in a wide variety of other industrial applications. It has been banned since 1979 is the US and worldwide due to it being a persistent organic pollutant. Until it was banned in the US, Monsanto continued to defend it’s safety. Who is to say it is not the same case with their Roundup herbicide or engineered seeds?

Monsanto is also known for its involvement in high profile lawsuits, as both plaintiff and defendant. It has been involved in a number of class action suits, where fines and damages have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, usually over health issues related to its products.

Other controversial products include: rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) which is used to increase cow’s milk production and terminator seeds which ensure only one generation of seeds survive.

Monsanto are not alone, as the controversies between the other companies include: CFCs (Dupont were credited as one of the inventors and largest producer), neonicotinoid pesticide (Bayer pesticide that can kill off honeybees and other non-targeted insects) and countless more. For more details on the controversies surrounding the above companies, have a look at the Wikipedia articles under the relevant sections (links are above).

Unfortunately, these corporate giants have deep pockets and Monsanto especially influence those in power.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/09/romney-monsanto-bain

What can I do?

Simply grow your own and enjoy fresh from the garden veggies. It is very satisfying to pick your own veggies and enjoy the wonderful flavour and freshness. You don’t need a lot of space, there are lots of ways to use what little space you have.

Follow these facebook pages for some great ideas and info:

https://www.facebook.com/GrowFoodNotLawns?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-With-A-Story/153999687989457?fref=ts

Google is definitely your friend in this regard as well.

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But if you’re not the gardening type, then just make yourself more aware. See below:

Be more aware of what goes into the food you buy. Learn more here (available via web and mobile):

http://www.elabel.org/south-africa/about

Find out more about South Africa’s GMO labelling draft amendment to the Consumer Protection Act 68/2008

Article: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/334690

Goverment Gazette: http://www.acbio.org.za/ACB_35776_9-10_TradeIndustryCV01.pdf

California’s Proposition 37 (November 6 2012), Vote YES

Very detailed article about the proposition: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/why-californias-proposition-37-should-matter-to-anyone-who-cares-about-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Why to vote YES (must read): http://www.classwarfareexists.com/california-set-to-vote-on-whether-or-not-to-require-labels-for-genetically-modified-foods/#ixzz28rQcOm9v

The giants push millions into advertising campaign to vote against the proposition: http://www.carighttoknow.org/ad_blitz_pummels_support

Al-Jazeera article for a bit of non-US viewpoint: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/20129257471016420.html


The World Is F***ed #7: Woolworths: A Follow Up

Just over a month back, I blogged about the Woolworths racism saga and how I felt that we can’t blame Woolworths for the BEE policies they need to follow.

Yesterday a Facebook group, which I happen to follow, shared my blogpost on their page and I happened to come across it this morning. There were also some comments on the original post, which I replied to, but there are some comments from the facebook post that I wish to address.

Before I begin, let me just state three things:

  • I think Woolworths are wrong in what they are doing, still doing, but the “boycott of Woolies” has been pretty ineffective as far as I’m concerned. Not that it has been much of a boycott, people involved could have spent the energy on more relevant & important things, but it’s easy to basically do nothing else but avoid one particular shop and call it “taking action”
  • I don’t think BEE is an effective means of redressing the mistakes of the past. Any policy which is related to giving preference to one race over another will always be met with criticism and even fear. Almost 20 years on and BEE has done anything that wouldn’t have naturally happened anyway in my opinion. If anything BEE has only made a very small minority of the African population much richer and the majority even worse off.
  • At no stage did I say I like agree with Woolies, the ANC or BEE. But laying the blame on one company is never going to solve the problem. So Woolies close their doors, then what, do you think that is going to change things? If anything it’s just more ammunition for the ANC to use against white people.

Now as for the comments, Let me address each one individually:

Comment 1:

I don’t even know where to start with this comment. The grammar and punctuation alone get me tingling, and not in a good way.

Well Richard, I am definitely not saying you should sit back and eat it up, if it something you feel strongly about, by all means do what you feel that you need to do about something you feel strongly about.

We are not the only country in the world where discrimination occurs, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, yes racial discrimination is happening, but that isn’t the only type of discrimination. What about gender and caste discrimination in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries? What about religious discrimination all around the world. Even when it comes to race, I really doubt we are the worst.

You want to protest, fine, but a quiet boycott by maybe a few thousand white people is barely a start, it’s almost insignificant.

Comment 2:

Dear Melanie, thank you for your condolences, but they are however unnecessary and unwanted. From your comment I could assume that you are a narrow-minded fascist bigot, but I cannot know that, so I won’t call you that. The Moral? Don’t make assumptions, simple. In response: If I were brainless, I would not have an opinion, even if it is different to yours. Pinko? I am hardly sympathetic to our socialist government, apathetic maybe, but not sympathetic. My time is spent better on other things. As for Liberal, yes possibly, I consider myself very open minded, so I’ll give you that one…

Comment 3:

Hardly… From the end of August, after an initial drop of R400 which was at its lowest on the 10th of September, it has now gone R200 beyond what it was at the end of August (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/WHL:SJ)

Comment 4:

No-one ever said that life was easy. I don’t agree with what Woolworths did, and never will, but I do think peoples reactions and consequent reactions are misdirected.

Comment 5:

I agreed with you until your last sentence. “Whities” are definitely too lazy when it comes to standing up for what is right. And when they do something it is generally something insignificant. Like saying you’ll never shop at Woolies…

Comment 6:

Don’t hold you breathe…

Comment 7:

Oh Lord, again with grammar and punctuation… Asskissing, uncomfortable? Hardly, and as for liberal, like I said, possibly, because I do consider myself open minded.

Comment 8-10

I thought I’d group these together, since they’re the only comments I agree with.

The majority definitely love the victim mentality and until everyone stops blaming one another, there is no hope for us as a country.

Mockracy is definitely the right description.

Comment 11:

I have no comment…


The World Is F***ed #6: I Blame Woolworths, No Wait…

ww_logoAs a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a  few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?

If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:

Woolworth refutes accusations of racism, disables wall

Woolworths denies racism claim

Viva Woolworths! Viva!

Questions over Woolworths whistleblower

Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much?

There are probably many more but these should give you an idea

While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.

So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.

So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?

Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.

Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?

What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.

Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?

The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?

Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.


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