What did the optimist say as he jumped off the building?
So far, so good.
Things That Still Bug Me About Aladdin
5. The Genie's past sounds really messed up
Based on the clues we get in the movie, it's safe to say that Genie is incredibly old and served plenty of masters before Aladdin. One can only imagine how many proposterous and/or disastrous wishes Genie must have granted over the years previous. When we first meet him, we learn the rules of Genie's wishes: 1) He won't kill anyone 2) He won't make anyone fall in love and 3) He won't bring anyone back from the dead. While you might reasonably guess that these rules have been in place from Day One, remember what Genie says about Rule #3:
The first half of that sentence implies that, at the very least, Genie witnessed a reanimated corpse in action, and didn't like what he saw. But the second half implies that he did the deed himself, at least once, and the result was so horrible that a rule had to be introduced to make sure it can never happen again. That basically confirms the idea that the rules weren't always in place, and had to be introduced after the fact. Meaning that at some point, Genie probably killed a guy at his master's behest.
That a lampholder wanted to eradicate an enemy or brainwash a lover isn't especially surprising, though it is disconcerting to think that this lovable character once used his phenomenal cosmic power to murder someone. Really though, it's Rule #3 that has the most disturbing implications.
Given Genie's distaste for the practice, a ressurection probably went wrong in one of two ways. Best case scenario: Genie zapped a dead body what came back was an evil entity, a la Pet Sematary. Worst case scenario: Genie accidentally unleashed a zombie apocalypse. It might seem like a stretch, but it gels with a prevailing theory that places Aladdin's time period in the far-flung future -- admit it, that definitely explains why Genie has such a good Jack Nicholson impression. Bearing that in mind, it could be that one of Genie's wishes kicked off an undead plague that took over the world, and it took humanity 10,000 years to get back to the Middle Ages. Man, the phrase "prequel trilogy" never sounded so good.
4. The Sultan's adorable ignorance is killing Agrabah
Agrabah's unnamed Sultan is the classic doddering cartoon daddy. He's more or less a mix of Homer Simpson and Maurice from Beauty and the Beast. He seems like a sweet man and a kind father -- until you realize that this buffoon lives in luxury while his city festers in squalor. Seriously, look at how the palace towers over the slums of Agrabah (aka every part of Agrabah that is not the palace).
This is a city that contains hundreds, if not thousands of impoverished people. Aladdin is so poor that he has to steal bread, and gives the bread away when he realizes there are children that are even poorer than him. Everything we see in the movie makes it look like a pretty shitty place to live. But hey, at least the Sultan gets to live it up with his toys...
...even though it's at the cost of children longingly looking at rotten fish bones.
The movie never acknowledges this. Aladdin is about a hero's journey to defeat a villain with the help of a friend, and also a princess' fight to marry whoever she wants. The "good guys" do manage to get a happy ending, but the rest of Agrabah still suffers. Al agonizes over whether he should free Genie, when but never considers the idea that the children he just fed are, at that very moment, still trapped in poverty. But hey, maybe they'll have their own magical adventures and go on to ignore the plight of their contemporaries. If we're really lucky, they'll also sing some catchy songs.
3. Is Jafar some kind of technological genius?
Fan theories aside, let's assume Aladdin takes place in the distant past. What would that say about the villain, Jafar? He would seem to have a leg-up on the competition because of the limited magic he can perform, but the supernatural is the least of Jafar's areas of expertise. The evil royal vizier we see in the movie is one that wears cunning disguises, throws smoke bombs and uses secret passageways. Jafar is a strategist, a scientist, an escape artist and a chameleon, but he's not really a wizard until he makes that wish.
The most impressive part of Jafar's arsenal is the machine he uses to find Aladdin. This thing is powered by electricity, hundreds of years before Ben Franklin macked on his first French lady. And he's not just waiting for an electrical storm to power the device, but instead gets Iago to generate the power.
That's basically a lightning strike up to 1.21 gigawatts, all produced by what's essentially a parrot running on a treadmill. It's an incredible feat of technology that's not even possible today, and it's in the hands of the villain. What does Jafar need with a magic lamp when he's obviously so technologically talented that he could rule the world anyway? Dude is clearly an evil goateed version of Batman.
2. The whole thing with Prince Ali
It's really difficult to get mad at Jafar for abusing his wishes when Aladdin does the exact same thing. His grand entrance involved hundreds (if not thousands) of loyal subjects singing about how much of a hardcore G Prince Ali is. But that brings up all sorts of questions, like uh, where did all those people come from? Was Genie "borrowing" some of Agrabah's people, temporarily brainwashing them to serve Aladdin's needs? That would mean thousands of Agrabanians woke up later with no memory of what they did, embarrassed and ashamed that they magically forgot to pick their kid up from school. Or worse, is Genie creating those people out of thin air? Is there an entire nation of adult babies wandering around, afraid and oblivious as to what they should do with their newfound existence?
Even if we assume the people are holograms or at least well-paid extras, there's also another problem: The part where Aladdin stops being a Prince for a while:
Apparently all it takes to be de-Princeified is to have your identity exposed and your clothes zapped off of you. All of the royal credentials that Genie presumably whipped up for Aladdin are somehow gone in an instant, and just like that he's once again a street rat that is ineligible to marry Princess Jasmine.
The whole thing is made more baffling by the ending, in which Aladdin considers using his final wish to make himself a prince again. What exactly is that supposed to change? Everyone already knows he's Aladdin. Is it just about the clothes? There's gotta be a nice tailor in the marketplace in between the sugardates and pistachio salesmen; Jas could probably spot him a few bucks for at least a suit rental. All the hand-wringing is moot anyway when you consider the idea that Aladdin could easily just hand the lamp to Jasmine or the Sultan and have them make the proper wishes.
That might be too much to ask of these people, though. After all, they're the ones who couldn't tell Aladdin was Prince Ali while he was wearing no disguise whatsoever.
1. The movie should have ended 15 minutes sooner
The monkey-flung shit hits the fan when Jafar gets a hold of the lamp and starts making wishes. Despite Aladdin having one more wish on the docket, Genie claimed he couldn't help him anymore. Al had to fight and defeat an all-powerful Jafar with his wits alone, for what seems like no reason at all.
Sure, Jafar held the lamp, but that was never a requirement before. Aladdin only held the lamp when he freed Genie. Both other times, Aladdin's hands were empty; for the second wish, Al was unconscious and underwater, and Genie took great liberties with "wish consent" in order to save his pal's life.
And that's not including the time that Aladdin tricked Genie into getting out of the Cave of Wonders without using a wish. Heck, at the end of the movie, Genie boots Jafar's black lamp into a distant sand dune for no other reason than he wanted to -- no wish needed. It's clear that Genie isn't bound by any iron-clad magic laws, and he really is capable of almost anything. All of these so-called rules that Genie is following, including the ones he has against murder and ressurection, are self-made. Nothing should stop him from granting Aladdin's wish to "wreck Jafar's shit" right here.
That might mean Genie would be still a slave at the end of the movie, but as we already covered, Aladdin could easily just hand the lamp to Jasmine and use those new wishes to solve all of their problems. Maybe she could even wish for Agrabah not to be such an oppressive dictatorship!
In the 1980s, a Soviet citizen was given the rare opportunity to go to the west. He visits some distant relatives now living in the United States, then returns to Mother Russia.
His friends ask him, "Comrade, what is it like in America?"
"Wonderful. But they have some very strange customs there," the Soviet admits.
"They opened a bottle of vodka and poured me a glass."
"And then," the man says with an incredulous look, "they put the cap back on the bottle!"
National Guard General Resigns After ‘Hurtful’ Pranks By Other Joint Chiefs
ARLINGTON, Va. — Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB), abruptly announced his resignation this week amidst claims of hazing and abuse from his fellow Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to sources.
Guardsmen at all levels report they are often bullied by their slimmer, active-duty counterparts, but sources say this is the first time the bullying has occurred at such a high level, with the situation worsening in 2012, when Grass was given a seat at the table with the Joint Chiefs.
Grass went on the record following his resignation, speaking to reporters outside the Pentagon, flanked by his attorney Gloria Allred and his wife, Sally.
“At first the vibe was just weird,” Grass said. “Odierno would always walk around naked in the locker room so that I would ‘know who the bigger man was.'”
“But like the Stanford Prison Experiment, shit got real in a hurry,” he recalled. “In 2013 they made me teleconference into a meeting from a kiddie table at a local Chuck E. Cheese.”
Other Joint Chiefs, including recently retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey, have confirmed some of the allegations.
“I had to preserve my independence, since he was Army too,” said Dempsey. “So his first year on the job I made a rule that he was only allowed to speak in meetings one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.”
The Department of Defense Inspector General opened an investigation into the worst claim of misconduct, which occurred in 2012 on a business trip to Las Vegas. The other Chiefs allegedly made Grass pound shot after shot of vodka while “repeatedly calling him ‘Pledge’ and ‘Boot.’”
At some point, Grass allegedly drunk-dialed NGB’s advertising agency and ordered them to spend millions of dollars on NASCAR sponsorships. The Inspector General confirmed that Grass must have been “miles beyond black-out drunk,” reasoning that “no jackass in their right mind would blow half of his ad budget’ on a ‘sport’ that is just cars making left turns for two hours.”
New Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford declined to comment through a spokesman, who noted, “The Chairman has no idea who or what a Gen. Grass is.”
Immediately, he sees the eggs and gasps in horror.
"Be careful! CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh, my GOSH!"
The wife, startled at her husband's violent reaction, dashes to the fridge to get some butter.
"You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW!"
The wife, concerned by the status of her husband's mental state, forgets about the butter and goes running to the eggs.
"WE NEED BUTTER! Are you CRAZY??? Where are we going to get the butter? They're going to stick! HURRY!"
The wife runs to the fri-
"CAREFUL about the eggs! CAREFUL. You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them quickly! Oh not that quickly, don't you know how to cook? Are you insane? Turn the DAMN EGGS!"
At this point, the wife starts crying, since she has no idea what to do.
She gasps "What is WRONG with you? I know how to cook eggs."
The husband simply smiles, remarks "I just wanted to show you what it feels like while I'm driving with you in the car", and leaves.
Issue of the Times;
Screw Finding Your Passion by Mark Manson
Remember back when you were a kid? You would just do things. You never thought to yourself, “What are the relative merits of learning baseball versus football?” You just ran around the playground and played baseball and football. You built sand castles and played tag and asked silly questions and looked for bugs and dug up grass and pretended you were a sewer monster.
Nobody told you to do it, you just did it. You were led merely by your curiosity and excitement.
And the beautiful thing was, if you hated baseball, you just stopped playing it. There was no guilt involved. There was no arguing or debate. You either liked it, or you didn’t.
And if you loved looking for bugs, you just did that. There was no second-level analysis of, “Well, is looking for bugs really what I should be doing with my time as a child? Nobody else wants to look for bugs, does that mean there’s something wrong with me? How will looking for bugs affect my future prospects?”
There was no bullshit. If you liked something, you just did it.
Today I received approximately the 11,504th email this year from a person telling me that they don’t know what to do with their life. And like all of the others, this person asked me if I had any ideas of what they could do, where they could start, where to “find their passion.”
And of course, I didn’t respond. Why? Because I have no fucking clue. If you don’t have any idea what to do with yourself, what makes you think some jackass with a website would? I’m a writer, not a fortune teller.
But more importantly, what I want to say to these people is this: that’s the whole point — “not knowing” is the whole fucking point. Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. All of it. And it’s not going to get any easier just because you found out you love your job cleaning septic tanks or you scored a dream gig writing indie movies.
The common complaint among a lot of these people is that they need to ‘find their passion.’
I call bullshit. You already found your passion, you’re just ignoring it. Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what the fuck do you do with your time? You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing, and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.
It’s right there in front of you, you’re just avoiding it. For whatever reason, you’re avoiding it. You’re telling yourself, “Oh well, yeah, I love comic books but that doesn’t count. You can’t make money with comic books.”
Fuck you, have you even tried?
The problem is not a lack of passion for something. The problem is productivity. The problem is perception. The problem is acceptance.
The problem is the, “Oh, well that’s just not a realistic option,” or “Mom and Dad would kill me if I tried to do that, they say I should be a doctor” or “That’s crazy, you can’t buy a BMW with the money you make doing that.”
The problem isn’t passion. It’s never passion.
And even then, who says you need to make money doing what you love? Since when does everyone feel entitled to love every fucking second of their job? Really, what is so wrong with working an OK normal job with some cool people you like, and then pursuing your passion in your free time on the side? Has the world turned upside-down or is this not suddenly a novel idea to people?
Look, here’s another slap in the face for you: every job sucks sometimes. There’s no such thing as some passionate activity that you will never get tired of, never get stressed over, never complain about. It doesn’t exist. I am living my dream job (which happened by accident, by the way. I never in a million years planned on this happening; like a kid on a playground I just went and tried it), and I still hate about 30% of it. Some days more.
Again, that’s just life.
The issue here is, once again, expectations. If you think you’re supposed to be working 70-hour work weeks and sleeping in your office like Steve Jobs and loving every second of it, you’ve been watching too many shitty movies. If you think you’re supposed to wake up every single day dancing out of your pajamas because you get to go to work, then you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s just unrealistic. There’s a thing most of us need called balance.
I have a friend who, for the last three years, has been trying to build an online businessselling whatever. It hasn’t been working. And by not working, I mean he’s not even launching anything. Despite years of “work” and saying he’s going to do this or that, nothing actually ever gets done.
What does get done is when one of his former co-workers comes to him with a design job to create a logo or design some promotional material for an event. Holy shit, he’s all over that like flies on fresh cow shit.
And he does a great job! He stays up to 4:00 AM losing himself working on it and loving every second of it.
But then two days later it’s back to, “Man, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
I meet so many people like him. He doesn’t need to find his passion. His passion already found him. He’s just ignoring it. He just refuses to believe it’s viable. He is just afraid of giving it an honest-to-god try.
It’s like a nerdy kid walking onto a playground and saying, “Well, bugs are really cool, but NFL players make more money, so I should force myself to play football every day,” and then coming home and complaining that he doesn’t like recess.
And that’s bullshit. Everybody likes recess. The problem is that he’s arbitrarily choosing to limit himself based on some bullshitty ideas he got into his head about success and what he’s supposed to do.
Another email I get all the time is from people wanting advice on how to become a writer.
And my answer is the same: I have no fucking idea.
As a kid, I would write short stories in my room for fun. As a teenager, I would write music reviews and essays about bands I loved and then show them to nobody. Once the internet came around, I spent hours upon hours on forums writing multi-page posts about inane topics – everything from guitar pickups to the causes of the Iraq War.
I never considered writing as a potential career. I never even considered it a hobby or passion. To me, the things I wrote about were my passion: music, politics, philosophy. Writing was just something I did because I felt like it.
And when I had to go looking for a career I could fall in love with, I didn’t have to look far. In fact, I didn’t have to look at all. It chose me, in a way. It was already there. Already something I was doing every day, since I was a kid, without even thinking about it.
Because here’s another point that might make a few people salty: If you have to look for what you’re passionate about, then you’re probably not passionate about it at all.
If you’re passionate about something, it will already feel like such an ingrained part of your life that you will have to be reminded by people that it’s not normal, that other people aren’t like that.
It didn’t occur to me that writing 2,000 word posts on forums was something nobody else considered fun. It never occurred to my friend that designing a logo is something that most people don’t find easy or fun. To him, it’s so natural that he can’t even imagine it being otherwise. And that’s why it’s probably what he really should be doing.
A child does not walk onto a playground and say to herself, “How do I find fun?” She just goes and has fun.
If you have to look for what you enjoy in life, then you’re not going to enjoy anything.
And the real truth is that you already enjoy something. You already enjoy many things. You’re just choosing to ignore them.
Quote of the Times;
“To penetrate one’s being, one must go armed to the teeth.” - Valery
Link of the Times;