Vertical Forest

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Well, I went to see Pirates 3 last night at the 8 o’clock showing, and unfortunately I have to say I’m not terribly impressed. I think it was better than the second one, but that’s not saying much.

I shall begin my review with a simple syllogism:

Completely unnecessary perverted parts = sick

Muddled and excessively convoluted plot lines = lame

Riddled with complex mythology = confusing

Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End = All of the above

Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End = Sick, lame, and confusing

(Please note that the movie doesn’t really contain anything sexually explicit, I just hate it when they throw stuff in to titilate the audience)

I’ll try not to spoil the plot for anyone that hasn’t seen it, but in a nutshell POTC3 is about, well, hmm, lets see, I’m not exactly certain what what it was about… Every character is either dead, mostly dead, undead, dying, intending to become dead, resurrected, in Davy Jones’ locker, intending to become Davy Jones, or immortal. They go cavorting all across the high seas engaging in all sorts of tom-foolery (I like that word) without much of an end goal in mind. Nearly every character switches sides about four or five times, and sometimes they double cross each other multiple times in the same scene. For instance:

Jack Sparrow: “The Black Pearl is mine!”

Will Turner: “No its not, its mine because I betrayed you to the Japanese guy!”

Japanese guy: “No, actually you both are wrong because I betrayed you all to the British, so now its mine!”

British Admiral: “That’s what you think, sucker! Mwahaha!” opens fire

Neither the audience or the characters have any idea what is going on, and most of the movie is taken up by intense (and nearly ludicrous) battle sequences consisting of Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom swinging madly through the rigging while performing nearly matrix style moves and sword battles. At certain points, it almost seems as if the director is just trying to see how much he can get away with. To give you a taste of this, consider the last scene of the movie wherein Jack says, “I have actually never met Bizarro, but I absolutely love his pies.”

The only redeeming qualities of the movie are its humor, CG, and soundtrack, which are all incredible. In fact, the beginning of the movie is nearly a comedy at points.

Perhaps the best summary of the movie comes from a sarcastic comment Patrick (my brother) heard one of the theater employees make as we exited the movie, “They all just look thrilled don’t they?”

I would say that if you go to this movie hoping it will be be anywhere near as good as the first one, forget it, you’ll be terribly disappointed. But if you expect to see just another action flick heavy on visual effects and light on plot, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’ve only seen the first one, save yourself the agony and never see the 2nd and 3rd, but if you’ve already seen the 2nd, you might as well go see the 3rd as well. It is at least slightly better.

But in my book, there is really one one Pirates of the Caribbean.

Feudalism vs Capitalism

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

This is a rather random concept that I actually just thought up today. It is a reference in part to the common socialist obsession with the evils of big business, rich people, and capitalism in general. A few months ago I read some article in the paper where some person was ranting against how evil large corporations (like Walmart) are, and how workers must form unions to fight against their oppressors. Conveniently, this author forgot that large businesses produce the jobs that allow the workers to be employed at all, and that riches (capital in general) are needed to grow businesses and increase productivity. Unions should not fight against corporations as if they are an enemy, but simply work with them to improve working conditions etc.

Of course, these concepts shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people, but I simply needed to put some background in place before I explained the rest.

As far as I can tell, the socialist attack on capitalism is actually caused by a misplace hatred of feudalism. After all, much of the socialist/communist movement could be tied to the overthrow of the aristocracy in countries such as France and Russia. The working classes were sick of the tyranny of the ruling class, who also happened to be rich, and henceforth socialists have associated being “rich” with being part of the “aristocracy”.

However, this ruling class consisting entirely of the rich and powerful – what I call “feudalism” for lack of a better term – is diametrically opposed to capitalism. While feudalism could be referred to as a government enforced monopoly of the rich, which destroys the free market, commerce, and the middle class, capitalism is the exact opposite. Although certain individuals and corporations inevitably rise to the top due to superior management, situation, or available resources, their superiority is not guaranteed, and they must continually work to maintain a competitive edge. This reveals the fundamental difference between these two competing ideologies. Under feudalism, the rich are permanently ensconced in positions of power, while under capitalism they are free to rise and fall with their own fortunes.

Unfortunately, the socialist misconception that capitalism is the same as feudalism produces a chain of very undesirable side-effects. The series proceeds something like this:

  1. Socialists mistake the temporary capitalist rich for permanent feudal lords
  2. Socialists attempt to destroy this ruling class by regulating capitalist enterprise into government-controlled services, such as socialized medicine, communications, utilities, transportation, etc.
  3. Because of regulations, competition becomes impossible, and permanent monopolies form
  4. Back to feudalism again!

Essentially, socialist attempts to destroy the rich capitalists – the “aristocracy” – actually creates a new and even more entrenched ruling class. Those that learn to control government policy in order to give all the business to certain corporations and crush others are actually furthering feudalism under the guise of destroying it! In actuality, capitalism actually does a far better job of preventing ingrown, despotic governments than socialism does, because the free-market and competition constantly rotate out the wealthy and inhibit any attempts to permanently seize economic superiority.

Well, that’s it for my first attempt at an economics related blog post. Hope you like it!

Also, if anyone can think up better terms than “feudalism” and “socialism”, I’d be glad to use them instead. I can’t help but think I’m using them wrong…

The New Blog

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I have now taken a cue from Mark and created a new blog (this one) for somewhat more random, personal, and less technical posts. As much as I know everyone enjoys reading information about obscure parts of Ruby on Rails, I think this will be for the best 😉

Also, due to the rather odd name of this blog, I feel it is probably due a bit of explanation. I have always suffered from what I will call “impossible to remember blog name syndrome”, and I wanted something short, memorable, and somehow related to trees. However, everything I thought up was already taken (doggone domain speculators). Then along comes this adorable little video:

The rest is history.