Category Archives: Random

F*ck Mondays! Episode 42: Defenders Review and the Joker Too

Chris and Jon review Marvel’s The Defenders and discuss the Joker spinoff movies rumbling around Hollywood. Chris also goes off on a bad voiceover experience.

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My Experience at MDF 2017 – Part 3: Saturday

by Anthony Carioscia

Saturday was the most interesting day at this year’s Maryland Deathfest, not just because of the lineup, but because of the day leading up to it as well.

Matt’s friend Dave came into our room as well as his friends Chris and Ricky.  We went for dinner at a place called Dick’s Last Resort. It was a cool place where the staff would  – in addition to insult the customers – yell at them, throw stuff, give them all hats with insults on them. The waiter asked who was here for the DeathFest, then blasted Venom on his phone while headbanging and thrusting (not making this up). After we laughed and ate their great food, we headed to the venue and ran into Dave from Nucleus.

Uada

The first band I wanted to see for the day was Portland black metallers, Uada. The band is normally criticized for sounding too much like MGLA, but I think they are a fun little band and their performance was top-notch.

Goolagoon

I was very curious to see this Spongebob-themed punk band. Once you get past the gimmick, they are actually a pretty decent punk band and live they were loaded with energy.

Exhumed 

This was my fourth time seeing Exhumed, but they are never boring live. This was no different as they had a great set list and their over the top horror stage show was great like always.

Exumer

I am a fan of the band’s debut Possessed by Fire but nothing  after that. However, I was still curious to see Exumer. They played some songs of the first album but just seemed boring live.

Root

Along with Insect Warfare, Root were the band I was most excited to see. I had requested for Root to play since 2014, so it was nice to see them finally get added. They played a nice mix of their early black metal stuff and their later heavy metal stuff and sounded great. Big Boss’s voice was spot on and their stage setup was fun. They ended their set with the iconic “Pisen Pro Satana.”

Grave 

Next up were Swe-death masters Grave. I didn’t watch too much of their set due to not wanting to miss a second of Insect Warfare but they played a nice old-school set from what I saw and sounded great.

Insect Warfare

I went over to the Soundstage for the band that made me buy my ticket. Insect Warfare is one of my favorite grindcore bands and I was glad I finally got to see them. Their energy was unbeatable with an insane pit full of people crowd surfing, slipping on beer, and someone even threw a trash can into the pit. The singer had tons of over the top banter such as threatening those who bootleg his shirts. This was without a doubt the best set and best day of the fest. After them, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lone Star: Captivating and Surreal

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The year is 1972. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an unknown issue developing in Vietnam veterans. Upon his return from the war, Roy (Matt de Rogatis) discovers both he and his life have changed in Jame’s McLure’s Lone Star, an off-Broadway play that encompasses a man slowly going insane from the shock of the things he’s seen while clinging to his past.

The short play gets right to the point as Roy, drunk on his favorite beer (Lone Star) heads to the backyard of a Texas bar and immediately acknowledges the stars in the sky, one of the recurring motifs in the one-hour show. We are then introduced to his brother Ray (Chris Loupos) and for a brief moment, Cletis (Greg Pragel) –  a friend of Ray who Roy despises for seemingly no particular reason. As Ray and Roy chat and reminisce about Roy’s glory days, we quickly realize Roy is not nearly as stable as he claims to be while brother Ray is dealing with his own issues.

The acting is impeccable. De Rogatis’s portrayal of an alcoholic post-war victim really hits home as his energy translates well across the stage. His use of facial expressions and body language carry the character convincingly as you continue to feel worse for the mood-swinging Roy every minute. Loupos shares a unique chemistry with de Rogatis as you can immediately tell the two characters are brothers, as well as which is older. Loupos also makes you believe Ray’s concern for his brother and his attempts to make everything seem alright while holding back the truth. Together, they work very well. Pragel also provides a somber comic relief in Cletis, who simply wants to be accepted by the macho Roy.

The play also provides a simple, yet relatable premise while making fantastic use of what little time the actors have. From the mcguffin in Roy’s 1959 pink Thunderbird to his marital struggles to Ray and Cletis’ secrets, the elements are peppered in at the right moments where nothing feels forced. The dialogue feels real enough to suggest that similar conversations have happened many times in reality during this particular period, and even now with current war/military vets. Even the southern accents are done to a T (for Texas, that is).

Additionally, Lone Star also has a series of motifs sprinkled thoughout the presentation. Stars are a metaphor for Roy (indicated by his beverage of choice) and everyone he’s ever known and loved (the stars in the sky). Another is Hank William’s 1953 classic “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

The one issue with Lone Star is it’s ending. Despite all the turmoil and build, the play tries to end on a positive note. This is not only confusing as there is no real resolve to Roy’s growing problems, but not entirely believable unless Roy really is that drunk (which is plausible). However, the audience will be left with many questions and the desire to see the true aftermath of Roy and Ray’s night out.

At the end of the night, Lone Star is a quick, yet large dose of drama with a great cast and script. Despite a light hiccup of a finale, you have a solid show that makes a strong brew out of the limited hops, grains and barley it’s given.

Lone Star is moving off-Broadway to The Triad May 6th and 13th. Tickets can be purchased at DrinkBeerRaiseHell.com.

DNC Unable to Watch ‘Mania, Blames Russia

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The DNC was rather upset Sunday evening, but not for the reasons you may think.

The entire committee gathered at the Clinton estate to watch WrestleMania 33, but things went awry after the one hour WWE Kickoff special on the USA Network aired.

“Due to large amounts of delays, we were unable to watch WrestleMania,” said Hillary Clinton, an avid John Cena fan. “We believe the Russians hacked into our Xbox One console, sabotaging The Ultimate Thrill Ride for the Democratic Party.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment, but sources say he was very upset Rusev was unable to compete due to his shoulder injury and hopes he receives a proper main event push upon return.

“This is preposterous,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who had no issues watching the event on his 80-inch Smart TV from his Vermont home. “Everyone knows the WWE Network lags on the Xbox One, plus when you account for the amount of new subscribers and people watching this event, it’s very clear that Russia has nothing to do with this.”

Over in the White House, the Trump Administration thoroughly enjoyed The Show of Shows on their Playstation 4. However, Vice-President Mike Pence was reportedly unable to watch any matches involving women as his wife Karen was out running errands all day.

“Mother and I love Bayley,” said the Vice-President.

It was also reported that President Trump and his wife Melania were having marital issues over the main event as Melania is a huge fan of Roman Reigns – a Superstar her husband despises.

“He’s hot and has muscles,” said the First Lady before calming down her son Baron, who was upset his favorite Superstar Baron Corbin did not win the Intercontinental Championship from Dean Ambrose.

President Trump could not be reached for comment, but we were told by Secret Service Agents that he thought “very bigly” of this year’s event and popped huge for the returning Hardy’s.

Then. Now. Hoax.

The New Wave of Entrepreneurship

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by Matt Swanson

There is a multi-trillion dollar economy opening up to technology faster than ever. It has been driven by trends that have changed the nature of how entrepreneurs will be characterized going forward; specifically, industry executives will be the next wave of in-demand startup CEOs.

In April of 2007, Apple changed everything with the launch of the iPhone. It is hard to imagine that it has only been 8 years since the release of the first truly pervasive smartphone, but there is no denying its impact has been world-changing. Beyond the creation of a new dimension of industry-driven, by location-based, services (and with it, a myriad of billion dollar companies), an equally significant phenomenon emerged. By creating technology that was intuitive to the consumer masses, every person around the world started to embrace technology as more than just a work tool. Lawyers, doctors, car mechanics and people from every sector of the economy not only had a tool for productivity, but a piece of technology in their pocket they embraced as an intimate part of their lives.

Furthermore, these new consumers could now point to a standard for usable technology. Cumbersome, enterprise legal software that won’t allow a lawyer to search cases from outside the office is no longer acceptable. For those outside of the Silicon Valley silo, conversations can be heard from construction workers sitting on a lunch break saying “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an app to …”. Unfortunately, these conversations are often too far away from Silicon Valley’s ears, which are still dominated by the talk of what will be the next WhatsApp or Instagram. Even so, a new breed of entrepreneur is emerging who see firsthand the challenges in their industry, and with that the opportunity to make a world-changing impact, and these entrepreneurs do not fit the founder archetype that many Silicon Valley investors look for.

To continue reading, click here.

IWD Strike a Political Tool for Leftist Organizers?

Woman’s March on Washington D.C.

by Connor J. Frontera

Today is International Women’s Day, but instead of celebrating the achievements of women in America and around the world, many will use it to express themselves another way, participating in protest against the “injustices” that women face every day in the workplace, at home, and in society known as the “A Day Without a Woman” strike.

The marches set for today, similar to the marches against President Trump on January 21st, will be made up of not only people protesting the rights denied to women, but also rights denied to the members of the LBGTQ community, people with disabilities, and immigrants, a direct retaliation to the executive order signed by President Trump on Monday.

Although the march has a clear-cut mission, it lacks a strong base to the movement. Planned Parenthood, the top sponsor for the march, rigorously fights for women’s rights every day, but people who support this fail to realize that Planned Parenthood is also responsible for more than 300,000 abortions every year, according to liveaction.org. Considering many of these unborn children were potentially female, fighting for women’s rights suddenly becomes problematic when it’s realized that the top sponsor denies a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution: life.

Moreover, including members of groups that do not share that mission (groups fighting The Dakota Access Pipeline for example) clearly shows that the movement is not actually about women’s rights, but rather used as encouragement for other progressive agendas such as immigration and environmental policies. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the only platinum sponsor of the movement, just behind Planned Parenthood, is an organization aimed at fighting climate change, which has absolutely nothing to do with women’s rights.

Even the debated relevant topics being protested for by this movement are problematic. The common workplace discrimination arguments, brought up consistently by women’s rights organizations, too, lack a strong base on multiple fronts.

On the equal pay front, which lacks decisive evidence in general, paying women the same as men disintegrates the meaning of capitalism, a system that once made this country arguably the strongest in the world. Paying the same wage to people occupying the same job throws a wrench in the wheel of competition, lowering the standards of an employer who might see something past the actual resume of a candidate. In addition, it creates a ceiling on bargaining power for positions, which might actually force employers to pay someone who is more equipped for the job less money, including women. While there is still no real evidence that supports the claim that women are paid less, the true meaning of the movement becomes shaky.

In defense of these ideologies, women are taking the day off from work, unpaid labor, and shopping. In circumstances where striking is not possible, they will wear red in solidarity.

Fighting for women’s rights once sent a powerful message to lawmakers and society, but that message has now become diluted as recent events have seen the cause embody a new meaning closely tied with leftist politics. It is no longer about the rights of women, but rather a vehicle to break down the current Trump administration, and force an equal, socialist-leaning agenda on society. Real women should not march, take the day off from work, or simply do (or not do) things to divide on this day, but rather celebrate the accomplishments that so many great women such as Sally Ride and Nellie Bly have made throughout history, aiming to further accomplish great things for the world.

CPAC 2017 Arms Young Conservatives With Intellectual Ammo

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President Trump takes time to bask in the moment mid-speech.

by Connor J. Frontera

The Conservative Political Action Conference, held In the Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, Md. last week, attracted more than 10,000 conservatives (many of them college students) to share and gather knowledge about conservative values and contemplate the future of the United States of America. Speakers were invited from all over the globe, including Senator Ted Cruz, Judge Jeanine Pirro, and the even the President himself, Donald J. Trump.

The convention began last Wednesday and ran until the following Saturday afternoon. Each day, Speakers presented special seminars, talks, and panels to pass on their knowledge and experience to young and passionate conservatives to arm them with the proper arguments against their liberal opposition. These seminars included topics regarding very simple Constitutional rights, such as the meaning of the second and fourth amendments, as well as some very controversial topics which included sanctuary cities, illegal immigration, and radical Islamic terrorism.

President Trump, arrived Saturday morning via Marine One to address the convention. In the Gaylord National Resort ballroom, over five thousand patiently awaited his arrival, some students waking up at as early as 3 o’clock in the morning to get a front row seat. This was the first Presidential appearance at this convention since Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s.

In his speech, President Trump addressed all of the current issues that are facing the country today. He criticized the mainstream media for its “fake news,” exclaiming that the people of this great nation are no longer going to let the media report false stories. The President also addressed ISIS, stating that he will make sure they are “eradicated,” and that he will help build our military so strong that it will be completely unstoppable. In addition to these topics, the President covered immigration and the wall, helping businesses by cutting taxes, and that he indeed loves Campbell’s soup.

Minutes after his speech, a crowd joined outside to watch him head back to the White House on Marine One to get back to work and help deliver on the promises he has made as President.

 The overall convention was a success and most of its attendees went away happy and gracious from what they had learned. It supplied them with the intellectual ammunition for battle against their liberal opposition in future debates, cases, and biased college campus policies.

Spectacular Crowdfunding Fails And Their Impact On Entrepreneurship

by Nermin Hajdarbegovic

Before I proceed, let me make it absolutely clear that I have nothing against crowdfunding. I believe the basic principle behind crowdfunding is sound, and, in a perfect world, it would boost innovation and provide talented, creative people with an opportunity to turn their dreams into reality.

Unfortunately, we live in the real world, and therefore it’s time for a reality check:

Reality /rɪˈalɪti/

noun

  1. The state of things as they actually exist.
  2. The place where bad crowdfunded ideas come to die.

While most entrepreneurs may feel this mess does not concern them because they don’t dabble in crowdfunding, it could have a negative impact on countless people who are not directly exposed to it:

  1. We are allowing snake oil peddlers to wreck the reputation of crowdfunding and the startup scene.
  2. Reputational risks extend to parties with no direct involvement in crowdfunding.
  3. By failing to clean up the crowdfunding scene, we are indirectly depriving legitimate ideas of access to funding and support.
  4. When crowdfunded projects crash and burn, the crowd can quickly turn into a mob.

Click here to read more.

Is Staffing Software Really the Answer?

As technology advances in staffing by way of app, job sites, and software, more and more applicants are being selected based on their credentials. With the ability to apply from anywhere in the world, the right candidates are sometimes still a hard find. This begs the question: is technology the be-all end-all when it comes to hiring?

Staffing software can be a funny thing. On one hand, it chooses candidates based on a pre-programmed skill set that matches their resume. The software then notifies the employer almost immediately, transitioning the hiring process almost seamlessly. It also makes for applicants to apply en masse for a position – giving employers a plethora of job seekers to choose from to fill a role in the span of a few hours.

On the opposite end, software does not account for personality or any life experiences candidates may have that would better qualify them for a role. Technology also does not cater to older generations. Due to ease of access and buzzwords in job descriptions that the software picks up, it’s not only easier for job seekers to apply to many vacancies in a short time, it also allows them to manipulate their chances of landing an interview via copy and paste. When it comes time for said interview, they simply just have to be the best candidate that shows up to get the gig. Whether or not they are actually qualified will still be a crapshoot. The ease of applying for work in relation to how often they are deemed worthy by software also means that more applicants are simply applying for random positions algorithms on job sites such as Indeed have told them match their search. In addition, the right candidate for the company could slip through the cracks due to use of the wrong keywords.

Take Mel Blanc for example. For years he would journey to Warner Bros. Animation studios to ask for a voiceover job, only to be turned down by the front door. After years of persistence, Blanc got a break when a talent fell ill and the doors finally opened – albeit for a temporary moment as the studio had no replacement. As you know, Blanc would go on to voice some of the most iconic characters in the history of animation, including most of the Looney Tunes roster, Barney Rubble, and many more. By showing persistence, enthusiasm, and getting in front of the right people, Blanc was able to become the most legendary voice actor in history. If Blanc was constantly told to “apply online and never inquire in person or call about the job,” there’s no telling how many of these characters would not exist or be held in as high of a regard as they are now.

What can employers do to offset this factor? By merging traditional tactics with tech, staffers can get a clear vision of who their next hire is without relying too heavily on algorithms. Allow candidates to drop their resumes off at the front desk, let them call about a job, then check your online applicants. Try hosting open interviews on slow days, or scheduling more career fairs. This will create a more equal opportunity for all, bring effort back to job searches, and help employers find diamonds in the rough.

Spaceman Frank’s Survivor Series 2016 Predictions

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Much like Hell in A Cell, WWE is going all out by having three of Survivor Series’s gimmick matches on display. WWE is trying to hype up these matches at a big event to try and get bragging rights between the brands, which would work better if the brand split was less than six months old. That being said we do get an extreme case of “fantasy warfare” and cramming this much talent into one Pay-Per-View must make it good right? Right???? I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for Survivor Series 2016.

Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto (Cruiserweight Championship Match – If Kalisto wins, the Cruiserweight Division moves to SmackDown Live)

WWE pretty much shot themselves in the foot by announcing 205 Live before this match. I think Brian Kendrick could be a fine champ, but the way he was booked before and after being crowned is pretty pathetic. As saw in the CWC, he can still put on amazing matches, but WWE would rather have him fart around and beg his opponents to let him win.

Kalisto was always the odd man out as the cruiserweight on SmackDown, but maybe WWE was smart (or insane) enough to put him on SmackDown for this scenario. Seeing as Raw has epically botched the Cruiserweights, I’m ready for SmackDown to get their hands on the super talented division. Kalisto wins and becomes the first respectable champ the brand has had.

10 vs. 10 Tag Team Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series Elimination Match

This hodge-podge of a match has the teams fighting because…reasons. For all the segments featuring the teams trying to get me to care about this match, clearly this is the redheaded stepchild of the Raw vs. SmackDown matches (and no, I’m not just saying that because Heath Slater is involved). I realize now how many joke tag teams WWE has on the main roster.

Really, this breaks down (for me at least) as American Alpha vs. The New Day and Enzo & Cass, and I see American Alpha snagging a win for SmackDown because it’s about damn time Chad Gable becomes the megastar he could be.

The Miz ((c) with Maryse) vs. Sami Zayn (Intercontinental Championship Match)

I would love to see a proper feud between these two. Sadly, I feel as though this is going to be a one-off match for them, especially because it seemed like everyone expected the IC champ to still be Dolph Ziggler. With SmackDown almost certainly getting the Cruiserweight belt, I see Raw grabbing the IC belt to even things out. This gives SmackDown a unique flavor, while giving all the traditional titles a home on the flagship show. Obviously this means Sami Zayn will win, and since he did, you know, beat Kevin Owens in their last match of the “Fight Forever” feud, this gives him a better spot to launch from. Perhaps hey could even book The Likeable One semi-decent if he’s champ.

5 vs. 5 Raw vs. SmackDown Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match

Which team will pull it together after weeks of fighting? Who cares! I was kind of into this match until the go-home SmackDown where the Raw ladies beat down Becky Lynch. This included Sasha Banks and mega babyface Bayley doing a five-on-one beatdown (BAYLEY JOINED IN ON A GROUP MUGGING OF HER FRIEND!!! THAT IS VERY HEELISH!!!). Poor writing all around sucked me completely out of this match. SmackDown has more potential dissension moments between the teams, so I think Raw will win. Plus, they have Nia Jax who is due for a main roster statement match and eliminating most of SmackDown will do just that.

5 vs. 5 Raw vs. SmackDown Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match

This match has been heavily hyped, with Stephanie McMahon threatening to fire people if they lose on Raw and SmackDown’s men having The Undertaker threaten to bury people alive (sounds like Raw has the better deal since they, you know, don’t have somebody threatening to murder them). There are many interesting angles that can play out here, from champ Owens vs. champ Styles to Roman Reigns vs. the crowd to Braun Strowman versus everyone.

This can be the match of the night if booked properly, or it can be a disaster if they decide to push certain people (cough, Reigns, cough) over everyone else. Honestly, I think the biggest mystery is how Strowman will be booked, and how they preserve the new monster on the block. Raw wins, with Owens and Reigns being the last two standing so they can hype Roadblock in December.

Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. Goldberg

I really want to hate on this match but I won’t. There will be plenty of fine technical wrestling this weekend, but sometimes you need some sizzle and this match has sizzle in spades. I was at the go-home Raw for Survivor Series and it was palpable how badly people wanted to see these two fight. I’m not saying this will be a five-star classic or even a serviceable match, but this figures to be one hell of a moment. I think we’ll see a match similar to Lesnar’s match with Orton at Summerslam where it builds to Brock beating Goldberg until the bell is called. Or they both get themselves disqualified and they just bloody each other up. Either way Brock stays strong and Goldberg can have his superhero moment before getting the Hall of Fame nod.