Monday, July 24, 2017

The painted rock craze has gone too far...

Painted rock I found on the roadside at the Viera Wetlands, a wildlife preserve

Some idiots vandalized Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. I'm sure the people who did it didn't think they were vandalizing anything. They probably imagine vandalism as an act of throwing rocks through store windows or keying someone's car.

These vandals wrote their names on rocks and stole charcoal from an archaeological site to do it. I'm sure they thought they were being cute. And frankly, I'm surprised they didn't draw penises.

Unfortunately, as reported in a post on the Mesa Verde park's Facebook page, park officials have seen an increase in graffiti, vandalization, and intentional littering.

Intentional littering, you say?

The pictures attached to the post show a rock painted with #918Rocks and the Facebook logo. (There is also a picture of rock stacking, but that's for another post.)

918Rocks appears to be where the whole painted rock craze started and it's spread across the US if not the world. People are painting rocks and leaving them lying around for others to find.

Oh, what fun! How creative! Right?

Another rock found at the Viera Wetlands. At least this one was at the entrance.


I didn't mind it so much when I found a painted rock at the mall. But when I started finding painted rocks along the roads at the Viera Wetlands, I became peeved. Now I'm rather pissed.

What is it about humans that they can't leave any spot free of their persistent self-absorption? How can a person stand in the quiet of nature, marvel (or probably not) at its beauty, find joy in the wild (apparently not enough) and think to himself, "What this place needs is a painted rock!"

You aren't supposed to take rocks from public parks and preserves. (Do people even know this?) What makes you think you can bring one in and leave it? Much less one you've defaced. (That's right. You've taken a perfectly nice rock and ruined it!)

Why can't humans leave nature natural? Why do you have to put your mark all over it? Why do you always have to be saying, "I was here! Look! See? There's my footprint!" You might as well pee on it.

Is there no place where we can let the earth be free of the human scourge?

So, paint rocks, if you must. Leave them lying around at the mall, bus stops, or by the dumpsters if you must. But stop and think about what you're doing and where you're doing it.

Our local and national parks and preserves aren't your art or social media project. If I find your rocks where they don't belong, I'm going to remove them and soak them in turpentine. (I feel like quite the curmudgeon just thinking about it.)

But seriously. Just stop.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why Spider-Man: Homecoming was not a great movie

Photo by tsackett via Flickr

Spider-Man: Homecoming was just okay. Two reasons.*

1. It didn't make sense from the start.

I'm supposed to believe that Iron Man gave this kid a suit and let him fight in this big battle at the end of the last Avengers movie and then blew him off for a few months. For no reason. Later, he even tells him he's just not ready to be an Avenger. More later, he takes the suit back. I'm just not buying it. This was just a plot device meant to get Spider-Man on his own. It could have been handled so much better and wouldn't have had me disappointed at the outset.

Stark could have told the kid that in a few months he'd be able to spend a lot of time with him training him on all the cool stuff the suit could do. He just can't at the moment. "For now," he'd say, "could you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? But be careful." He'd put that Happy dude on him, but Peter would keep bugging the guy about silly stuff like a teen girl swooning over the Avengers. "What's Thor really like? Does that archer guy have anything else going for him? Is Captain America mad at me?" Etc. Happy would get so peeved, he'd stop taking Peter's calls.

And there you'd have it. Spider-Man, on his own for a while. This, of course, would mean that Iron Man couldn't come to the rescue and say "screwed the pooch" over and over again. Oh, no! Spider-Man would have to learn to battle the bad guys on his own. Yeah. That's how hero stories work.

And sure, they tried to lead into the next film having Spidey blow off the Avengers at the end thus leaving him on his own once more. But it won't work. It can't work.

Spider. Nom nom nom.
Photo by Vicki S via flickr

Because of 2. The Avengers.

I get that the Avengers are a good thing for that woman played by Scarlett Johansson and that archer dude. They're never going to be able to carry their own films. Hulk should never get another solo deal either, so good for him. Even Captain America is played, if you ask me.

But the Avengers suck for the major players--Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man--because now, when they're fighting off some epic bad guy, everyone is wondering...where are the Avengers? Why aren't they helping?

And we'll be asked to believe that Tony Stark is in London or something, even though we already know he could at least send a suit or two. Or Thor is...what...on some other planet? It's not going to work. For two reasons.

A. As stated, where they heck are the Avengers? And
B. Spider-Man (Iron Man, Captain America, etc.) can't get through a film without some other Avenger showing up to try to explain to the audience why the Avengers aren't there when they need to be, but are there at just the right spots to remind us that they exist as a unit...except during solo films.

Nope. Not going to work.

The Avengers have ruined solo films and there are too many of them to make Avengers films any good. So, we're done here.

Unless we ruin the Avengers. Send Thor back to wherever he came from and close whatever portal brought him here. (This would mean, thank the gods, that the Guardians of the Galaxy won't have to be mixed up in the mess either.)

Just kill off Natasha and that archer guy. Keep the Black Panther in Africa for the most part. (Black Panther looks like it's going to be really good. If they can just pretend the Avengers never happened to him, it will be.) Have Tony Stark's ego make him go off on his own. Drop Captain America (he's so...wholesome. Keep the videos, though. Yeah, he can do videos for the real super heroes.) And let Spider-Man be Spider-Man again.

Remember when the super heroes had their own cities? Batman was in Gotham and Superman was in...the Emerald City? I don't know or care; Superman is cheap. I know, I know they're two completely different universes, but that's the point. Give them territories or something. If you have to bring them together once in a while, fine. Fine. Just effin fine. But make it clear that it's a very unusual thing and it's not gong to happen often. And it's only really happening to give that archer guy something to do.

And then they shake hands and return to where they belong to fight evil in their own neighborhoods.

Everything will be so much simpler. And before you call me a curmudgeon bemoaning the good ole days, know this: simple stores are the best stories.

So, that's it. That's why Spider-Man is ruined.

*No. I'm not going to say "spoiler alert." If you're idiotic enough read a blog post that says it's going to tell you why a movie sucked thinking it won't contain spoilers, you don't deserve spoilers.

PS. Here's another big spoiler. I knew Michelle was going to turn out to be M.J.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sure, but can you snort a s'more?

Photo by GlitterandFrills via Flickr

I feel a little sick. It's July 6, so I'm not surprised. July 4, in case you weren't aware, is S'mores Day. I look forward to S'mores Day all year. It's the only day on which I can eat s'mores without feeling like I'm being ridiculous. Seriously. It would be like baking a cake for no reason. You can't just bake a cake in the middle of the week and eat it! You bake cakes for special occasions. And you light the grill (or let's admit it, turn on the broiler in the oven because you're too lazy and it's too hot to go outside) to toast marshmallows and slide them onto graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate bars on special occasions, too. Actually, only one special occasion: Independence Day.

That's right. Americans celebrate fireworks, bbqs, s'mores, and rebellion on July 4.

Before I get into the meat of the thing, an aside. Did you know that there are people who only use 1/4 of a Hershey bar on their s'mores? That's just not right. It even says on the 6-pack of Hershey bars that you are supposed to use an entire half of a bar per s'more. And I am nothing if not a rule follower.

The proper cracker to chocolate ratio

And even worse, some people don't like chocolate at all! I know, I know, it's unfathomable. So much so that dear Hubs believes that anyone who says she doesn't like chocolate is lying, trying to get a hipster.

So, one such person asked on her Facebook page if it would be okay to have s'mores without the chocolate. Most responses were what you'd expect--of the 'are you out of your mind?' variety. But I said that I often have s'mores without the marshmallow. It's true, on July 5 and 6, when you've got a few Hershey bars and a pack of graham crackers leftover and you really don't want to heat up the broiler (it's not July 4 anymore, after all) why not just make a chocolate sandwich? Am I right?

Not only that, most days, when you think about it, I have s'mores without the marshmallow and the graham crackers! So, who's to say you can't have them without the chocolate?

This, unfortunately, put ideas into my head.

On July 4 I had two s'mores. (That's one whole Hershey bar.) Then, on July 5, yesterday, I had two s'mores again because...leftovers. And later in the day...I saw the big bag of marshmallows on the table, just going to waste. Marshmallows don't last long in Florida. They were already starting to stick together. Something had to be done. (Not that I'm afraid to throw food out. I do it all the time. Even the faintest hint of it being old and it's in the trash.) And there were leftover graham crackers there, too.

So, well, I didn't want to turn on the broiler...again. So, I just grabbed some grahams and some marshmallows and went to town.

Oh. My. Gawd.

So good. But why wouldn't it be? I basically sat down and ate sugar.

And now I feel sick.

What's my point? It's this: somebody has invented snortable chocolate.

That's right. You snort it. Like cocaine. Like the frickin' drug that it is.

So, you could get your chocolate without the nausea, right? But what's the point? Why would you want to do that? Smelling chocolate is great, sure, when you're about to eat it. But snorting it? Where's the ooey gooey part? Where's the part where your mouth is full of chocolate and you close your eyes and smile and know that if you eat that entire pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream* you'll wake up in the morning with a headache and upset stomach?

What's the point of chocolate if you can't make yourself sick with it? That's what I want to know.

*There are a laughable 4 servings in a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Ridiculous. It's at best 1 and 1/4 servings. I know, because I usually eat 3/4 of it, leaving the last 1/4 for the next day over which I have to scoop some extra ice cream to make another full serving. Anyway, there are 1,040 calories in a pint of B&JCFB ice cream.Snort that!