(UPDATED) Might be time to hop off the sinking MoviePass ship

So, I went to the Grand to see a movie tonight.  I didn’t get to do so.  My plan was to use my MoviePass card; my buddy Dave Ramsey encouraged our family to get a budget on paper, and this month didn’t include any more movies.  Thanks to MoviePass, I went home while the other seven people in our party went in.

The cryptic message above leads me to believe that MoviePass has started to ration how many tickets it’ll allow at any given theater at any given time.  That isn’t the agreement I signed up for in Fall of 2017.  I’ve heard of them doing all kinds of funky stuff lately, from tracking a person’s movements before and after a movie to changing the number of movies a person can see with the subscription.  They’ve gone back and forth on some of these things, but they’re clearly messing with the terms of the service.

 

By the way, I decided to search by the movie (“Solo”, we’re nerds) instead of by theater to see if that would work.  Nope.  And, in fact, the app wouldn’t let me buy a ticket for that movie at the AMC theater across the way (as if I’d want to see a movie in a mall theater anyway, when we’ve got the awesome Grand Theaters).  So there’s clearly another game afoot.  I’d heard rumors that the service was going to selectively choose which movies it’d promote in some markets, presumably as a way to “encourage” the studios to buy-in to working with the service.  Now it’s affecting us here in Bismarck-Mandan.  It looks like I was mistaken on this part: the showings which were not supported were probably 3D, but I checked again the next morning to find that 2D showings were available.  I’d heard that MoviePass had blocked other movies in some markets, and jumped to conclusions.

I was an early adopter of MoviePass in its $9.99 iteration, and an evangelist to boot.  Now, I’m ready to cancel my subscription and advise against signing up for the service.  If you can arrive at a movie, MoviePass in hand, only to find out that it won’t allow you to purchase a ticket, you can end up like me with your evening plans dashed.  I can’t recommend a service like that.

Early on, company CEO Mitch Lowe said that they were targeting people like me, who only see a movie theater 1-3 times a year.  Even if we triple our movie consumption with a MoviePass card, seeing 3-9 movies a year, they come out ahead.  And let’s face it, 9 movies a year worth seeing is giving Hollywood way more credit than they deserve.   But hey, it looked like a decent way to see a movie even if I don’t have any cash in my pocket at the moment, and I could always make sure I see at least a movie a month so I can feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.

Well, that was conditional on the card and app working when I show up at the ticket counter.  Since that’s now a gamble, and our family has a bona fide budget that even Dave Ramsey will be proud of, why don’t I just budget for a movie or two each month and call it good?  Then I won’t have the uncertainty of MoviePass to contend with.

I’ve put in a support request with MoviePass to see if I can get an explanation.  Even so, I think I’m just going to cut out the uncertainty and set aside money for tickets to the movies I anticipate wanting to see.  I’ve looked ahead at the list of upcoming movie releases for 2018, and I can find maybe six movies that I’d rather see on a big screen instead of waiting for Redbox.  Even a couple of those are questionable…why not see them for a lot less money on the 60″ 4K TV in my home, with much more comfort and cheaper concessions?  And I won’t get turned away at the last minute; reserving a Redbox movie doesn’t have to be done within a geofenced area near the machine, and it guarantees I’ll be able to get the movie instead of sulking home empty-handed as I did tonight.

If you’ve been considering a MoviePass subscription, you might want to hold off until they get some more stability.  If you’ve already got one, I hope your experience has been better than mine.  I told every friend I knew about how great the service was when it worked, and even explained that I hadn’t experienced any weird issues that the Internet was buzzing about.  But now, with local proof that the service may not be what it promised, I’m one step away from walking away from it forever.

The big question is, why do these kids hate Jews?

Click the image for larger view

The mainstream media is talking about this brave uprising of kids who are fed up with violence in their schools, but nobody’s asking who is really pulling the strings on this deal.  The same is true for the Bismarck Tribune, who failed to ask the question: who’s behind all the walkouts?

 

The short answer is:a leftist activist group tied to a number of such events, part of that “community organizing” thing that our previous president was so active in doing.  One of the local students is even listed on that organization’s website, proving that this is no organic, spontaneous, local reaction to a Florida tragedy.  The Women’s March organization is the puppet master.

 

Click the image for larger view

So what do those people think about America?  Oh, it’s a litany of leftist screeds:

  • America is unfair to people of color;
  • The whole “militarized police” thing we heard during the NODAPL mess;
  • The USA is imperialist.

Yawn.  Name the event, name the issue, it’s like a broken record with these people.  But they’re the ones sending Bismarck High School students out to the sidewalk.  Did you read any of that in the Bismarck Tribune?

 

Click the image for larger view

So we know what the group behind the BHS students believes, but it gets worse: they’re spotted praising Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who recently told Chicago that Jews are “satanic”.  Yet he’s the GOAT (“greatest of all time”) according to the co-chair of the Women’s March.  Even the liberal WNYC has to point out that “Half of the board of the Women’s March organization is facing criticism for its alleged alliances with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who delivered a virulently anti-Semitic and bigoted speech in Chicago last month.”

Call me a cynic if you like, but if there was a bunch of pro-life kids that staged a walk-out to oppose the horrors of abortion killing way more children in the womb than guns ever will in the classroom, they’d be asked a lot of tough questions.  They’d be accused of being puppets of some right-wing organization.  If someone associated with someone associated with someone in a pro-life group made offensive or loony comments at a meeting somewhere, the entire group of kids and anyone near them would be associated with those comments.  If there was ANY way to call them Racist™ or connect them to anyone making Racist™ comments, there would be a blitzkrieg to do so. The last thing they’d be called is brave, and nobody would be clamoring for them to get the right to vote so they could overturn that sacred Roe v. Wade decision.

The fact of the matter is, these kids are voicing opinions with which the media agrees.  That makes everything OK, and pay no attention to the man (or in this case, women) behind the curtain. And whatever you do, don’t connect the dots to show the wicked ideologies at play here.

Which leads me back to my original question: why do these kids hate Jews?  If they don’t, maybe they should pick their allegiances more carefully.  If they didn’t know what kind of people they’re aligning with, perhaps they should get more informed before they march out into the streets.

(If you think it’s unfair to attach the anti-semitic comments of Farrakhan to these students, well…welcome to how conservatives are treated.  The media find some tinfoil-hat wacko out on the Internet somewhere, then call up prominent conservatives and demand that they respond to those comments as if they’re associated.  They try to always keep the people they oppose on the defensive.

But in this case, there’s a clear connection between the parties involved.  The kids organized with people who love a career bigot and hateful activist.  They need to be asked about this association.  If they don’t like it, they need to denounce it.  Publicly.)

For me it’s always been about one thing

some-still-call-him-pigThis poster hung on my dad’s garage wall for years.  It later hung on mine.  I haven’t decorated the garage at my new house yet, or even finished painting the drywall, but I may make a copy and hang it there, too.  I believe, while everybody’s human and there are a few exceptions, that law enforcement personnel are heroes.  Period.

The terrorism that overtook our state over the past year wasn’t a pipeline issue for me; it was a law enforcement issue, plain and simple.  The pipeline will be great for North Dakota, but that was none of my concern.  What I had a problem with was my friends having to change their online presence due to doxing and threats, their families being threatened, and residents of Morton County fearing for their safety while law enforcement tried to keep up with the influx of thousands of lawbreakers.

When protesters stood on Main Street in Mandan with a pig’s head on a stake, you bet that made my blood boil.  When they accuse my friends of atrocious crimes, yeah I take it personally.

That’s why it’s so cool to see our communities rally around our law enforcement officers.  Billboards, decals, rallies…we make it clear that we support and appreciate those who are sworn to protect and serve.  I hope we never have to endure another such event, but no matter what happens I think it’s pretty obvious that the residents of Bismarck-Mandan BACK THE BLUE.

Why North Dakota can’t afford to vote Democrat, not even for dog catcher

north_dakota_wayIt’s that time again, when Democrats don folksy apparel and adopt phrases like “The North Dakota Way” and “working with both parties”. Don’t fall for it. Don’t vote Democrat, not even for dog catcher.

Even Senators Conrad and Dorgan (now retired after decades of damage) started small. Decades later they were North Dakotans on paper only, maintaining shoebox apartments in Bismarck to stay eligible for reelection. Their final legacy: casting deciding votes for Obamacare, legislation wildly unpopular with North Dakota voters, then retiring to multimillion dollar East Coast homes near their lobbyist cronies. Was that the “North Dakota Way”?

Then we elected the “Independent Voice™” for North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp, who has since voted with her Democrat Party puppet masters 97% of the time according to Congressional Quarterly. We should have seen that one coming.

Democrats never actually campaign on what they stand for. Where are the campaign ads saying they support Obamacare, amnesty for illegals, the right to abortion, or gun control legislation? The ads promising to punish big corporations and advance the homosexual/transgender agenda? Conspicuously absent, but Democrats are beholden to people who want these things because their votes are guaranteed. Deception and feel-good rhetoric are required to get yours. Guess who they’ll serve.

The deal-breaker issue for me will always be religious liberty.  The candidates at the top of the Democrat ticket are hostile toward people of non-Muslim faith, no matter what they say.  At best, they claim to support your “right to worship”, which slyly confines religious liberty to your church building or (for now) your home.

Find an issue that’s popular in North Dakota, and Democrats are on the wrong side of it. Compare their campaign marketing to their behavior once elected. A Democrat elected to local office this year could cast the deciding vote for disastrous federal regulation in twenty years. We can’t afford to advance their dangerous ideology based on platitudes and deception.

North Dakota quietly continues banishing those pesky Indians

1804_01In 2009 I posted this example of the fact that Native American imagery is a matter of respecting someone’s heritage in North Dakota, not a “Hostile and Abusive” offense like the NCAA wants everyone to believe.  Native American imagery is on the side of the State Patrol’s vehicles, on our highway signs…it’s an honor, not a dishonor.

 

road_sign_40677That’s why I was surprised this week to find the same sign inconspicuously changed to just the shape of North Dakota.  No Hostile and Abuse™ silhouettes to get any pointy-headed liberals’ pantaloons firmly entwisted.  How was this decision reached, and who made it? I’d love to find out.

So, let’s see here…we’ve thrown the Fighting Sioux Logo back in the faces of those who gifted it to UND decades ago, we’ve quietly removed Native American imagery from the state highway signs…it’s almost as if North Dakota is ashamed of the culture and heritage of the indigenous peoples who reside here!

Political correctness is tyranny.  North Dakota has a long history of honoring the Native American people who live here.  It was remarked by a tribal elder that “We went to a hockey game, and they talked about the courage and integrity of the Sioux people. We looked at each other like, ‘Wow, we don’t even honor our Sioux warriors or veterans like this on the reservation.’ ”.  To banish all mention of these people for the sake of placating a bunch of liberal busybodies does more disrespect to the native people than any logo could ever do!

How long do you suppose it’ll be until the State Patrol is forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars hiring some out-of-state company to design them a new logo?

No free rides

decal_removal_36349I know you’ve seen them: those vinyl letters pasted on the back windows of almost any vehicle sold in Bismarck-Mandan, proclaiming the URL (website address) of the dealership which sold the vehicle.  Often they’re very large, almost always they use a rather unattractive font, and they’ve been a pet peeve of mine since they started popping up.

I’d figured that when I found myself in the position of buying a new vehicle, I’d propose that the dealership either remove said decals before I take the vehicle or give me a $300 payment or credit on the vehicle in exchange for leaving the decals on the car for one year.  After all, advertising has value.  Dealerships pay radio and TV stations to advertise for them.  But as a long time advocate of “if you want something done right, do it yourself” I decided not to do so when buying my wife a vehicle recently.  Also, the sales person is a friend and I didn’t want to dump that kind of conflict in his lap.

This reminds me of the occasional “offer” I receive – and others in the creative and technical fields receive as well – of doing something either for free or for a ridiculously low fee.  Invariably it comes with the promise that “you’ll get your name out there” (without actually saying where “out there” is) as a result of donating my time and work to said offer.

Right.  My name is “out there” plenty, and I have more than enough side work (mostly video, sometimes photo) to keep me busy – especially when juggling kids, a new house, and (from 2013-2015) serious health issues.  I think I’ll pass on such a promise.

In our photo club people who engage in photography and other pursuits for a living urge up-and-coming photographers to charge what they’re worth.  I like to hammer four little words into every such conversation: Your work has value.

So does someone driving around with your website emblazoned across their car window.  In fact, there are places that will pay you to put decals on your car and drive around with them. The car dealerships are well aware of what the product on their lots and in their showrooms is worth.  They’re not afraid to tell you and charge you accordingly.  Therefore they should not be offended if, no hard feelings, you take that new purchase home and promptly scrape off the uncompensated advertising as soon as is convenient.  That’s exactly what I did.  No hard feelings, but nobody rides for free.

Apparently we really could use around $35 million right now…

commish_thanksFeeling spunky from ramming through the FiveSouth project, the City Commission (with Commissioner Marquardt dissenting) is starting to talk about another sales tax. According to the Bismarck Tribune reported that the commission is examining the idea of taxing us even more to pay for road improvements.

If we need money for roads so badly, why were we throwing $35 million into a TIF district for the pet project of the Commission and their downtown cronies?

When that issue was brought up, Mayor Seminary (who I like personally, even though his policies drive me bat-scat crazy) simply said, “they were separate issues” (according to the Tribune).

Really?  If I tell my wife that I’m going to spend $1000 on a new big screen TV instead of replacing a leaky house roof or an ailing vehicle, do you think she’s going to consider them “separate issues” as the Mayor said?  Heck, no…and she’d be right (as usual).

Perhaps by “separate issues” Mayor Seminary means “we’ll just dip into the pockets of the citizens for the additional money”.  That’s something you and I can’t do; if we have financial responsibilities, we own up to them before recklessly spending money on foolish luxuries.  This is a concept that has completely eluded Mayor Seminary and the Commission.

If the City doesn’t have money to repair the roads it has, then it certainly doesn’t have the money to make some cronies’ pie-in-the-sky pet project a reality.

The lone voice of sanity, Commissioner Marquardt, can’t quell the stupidity on his own.  We need to get him some company on the City Commission.  Our city needs some responsible leadership from a Commission that will obey the will of the people and act in a fiscally responsible manner on our behalf.

An article the Bismarck Tribune probably doesn’t want you to see…but then again…

tribune_against_guns_2015-0415A couple of days ago the Bismarck Tribune ran an editorial against a bill restoring expanded rights for those of us who are licensed to carry concealed handguns – apparently without even reading the bill in question, by the way.  They make the dubious claim, “Don’t get us wrong, we are strong defenders of the Second Amendment.” while advocating against the rights of legal gun owners.

I’m not the least bit surprised that the birdcage liner newspaper of record here in Bismarck-Mandan would take such a position.  In fact, twenty-two years ago they pulled a stunt on par with the Fargo Forum’s recent attempt to use its front page to “shame” legislators who crossed the homofascists (oops, I did it again) by following the will of their constituents and voting against SB2279.

In this article from December 19th, 1993, the Tribune decided to “out” legally licensed concealed weapons permit holders just like the Forum decided to “out” those legislators.  The article actually listed the name of every concealed weapon permit holder in Burleigh and Morton Counties!

The article has not appeared online as far as I know, until now as I post it.  This is from the Tribune’s own computerized archive.  Sorry for the lack of formatting – apparently that’s a luxury the old computer system couldn’t afford.  I’ve stripped out the list of names.

Nearly 2,000 North Dakotans can legally carry a loaded, hidden handgun. But they're not law officers. These are the state's farmers, legislators, lawyers, service station attendants, salespeople and who, for protection and convenience, accessed the state's admittedly easy concealed weapon permit process. People like David O'Connell, a Democratic state senator from Lansford. ""I was threatened as a House member, a representative. I introduced a bill and I was told to withdraw it,'' he said. ""I had threats against me and my family.'' Since then, at the urging of law officers, a short-barreled .357 Magnum revolver travels with him on the 50,000 miles he logs yearly in District 6. Or Sen. Bob Stenehjem, R-Bismarck, who applied for convenience: His permit lets him take his Smith & Wesson .44 revolver to the field and range without attracting attention from law officers. ""I don't use it so I can walk around Kirkwood (Mall) with a pistol,'' he said. Or Todd Porter, who directs Metro-Area Ambulance Service and also carries a handgun in his vehicle for protection. Or 89-year-old Fred (last name redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog) of McClusky, who worked for years with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Department. Now, his permit is insurance. ""When I retired, the sheriff says, "Why don't you get a concealed weapon permit, in case sometime we might need you.' '' Or Paul (last name redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog), who said his license allows him to target shoot and keep a handgun in his work van without worrying about the sheriff. His wife and son also have a permit. Or 1,978 others: Men, women and families from Rhame to Pembina, Wahpeton to Williston. ""These people who have concealed weapons permits are law-abiding citizens,'' said Burleigh County Sheriff Bob Harvey. Generally, law officers don't worry about those who legally carry concealed weapons. ""I'm more concerned about the criminals who are carrying guns,'' said Morton County Chief Deputy Ken Helmer. ""It's the unknown out there that we worry about.'' Still, those responsible for issuing permits say requirements should be tightened. Now, 10 open-book test questions and seven shots from seven yards separate the legal from those who'd face a class A misdemeanor if caught hiding a handgun. ""It's not that hard. If you took your hunter safety test, I'm sure you took a tougher test,'' said Bismarck Police Chief Robert Matzke. ""The actual shooting should be more difficult.'' And Bill Broer, director of the state Bureau of Crimimal Investigation, would only say the test ""isn't that difficult.'' Only people convicted of felonies, some violent misdemeanors and those with confirmed mental problems are ineligible. In Bismarck, the sheriff and the police chief must clear the application - by conducting background checks - before it's forwarded to BCI. Local law officers, lacking discretionary powers, admit they've had to uncomfortably approve shady-looking applicants. ""I've had a few of them,'' Morton County Sheriff Leo Snider said. ""There's a lot of people I don't trust with a weapon.'' If they meet legal requirements, Matzke said, all he can do is ask hard questions. ""I question some reasons,'' he said. ""I ask if they really need it. But if they demand it, I really don't have the authority to deny it.'' The shooting test requires the applicant to fire 10 rounds in five minutes at a large target seven yards away, and hit a human silhouette at least seven times.But the test's aim, said a Bismarck firearms instructor, isn't to ensure marksmanship, just competence. ""If the state was looking for accuracy, it would be too easy,'' said Mike Stensrud. ''If the state was looking for proficiency - know how to load the gun, know how to shoot the gun - I think it's adequate.'' So far this year, 42 Bismarck residents have received concealed weapon permits. And recent changes in Washington affecting handguns have at least raised local interest in the permit process. ""There's been more questions,'' Matzke said. ""But nothing to show an increase.'' Applicants list their reason for applying on the application. ""Most people list self-protection, or they want to carry it out for target practice,'' Harvey said. ""And some people just feel better with it.'' But packing a gun for protection isn't always the safest course if a struggle erupts, Harvey said, because sometimes it's pointed in the wrong direction. ""Any person carrying a gun could cause their own harm, could cause their own death. A lot of people have been shot with their own gun.'' Gun owners and target shooters often apply for concealed weapons permits, Matzke said, even when they don't need it. In North Dakota, a handgun is usually legal as long as the handgun isn't tucked under a seat, shoved in a glove box or hidden from view under a coat.


The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993


Morton County residents permitted to carry concealed weapons:
(List of names redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog)


(Source: Bureau of Criminal Investigation.)


The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993


Burleigh County residents permitted to carry concealed weapons: 
(List of names redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog)


(Source: Bureau of Criminal Investigation)
The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993

I used to think that the Tribune would probably prefer that North Dakotans forget that they ever pulled this childish little stunt, basically publishing a shopping list for gun thieves and possibly putting people’s safety at risk (including mine)…but given another recent display of animosity toward North Dakotans lawfully carrying concealed weapons, after passing the required background checks, I’m inclined to believe that they aren’t ashamed of it at all.

So tell me again how the Tribune staff are “strong defenders” of the Second Amendment?

Fargo Forum group attempts to whitewash sexual activist ban

forum_whitewash1Boy, the sexual activists were angry once sanity prevailed and SB2279 was defeated in the House.  Their social media was replete with f-bombs and the like, and the Fargo Forum group was ready to hop into the action with its inflammatory front page attempting to “shame” legislators who did the right thing.  Well, it didn’t end there.

Apparently a coffee shop in Fargo decided to have its own tantrum and ban legislators who voted against SB2279.  The ironic part is that the same legislators who were banned totally agree with the shop’s right to deny service to whoever they want!  That kinda took the wind out of the sails of the movement and proved the point the opponents of SB2279 are trying to make, so the activists had to do a “we were just kidding” backpedal job.  The Forum was more than happy to oblige.  Too bad for them there’s that Internet.

forum_whitewash2Here’s the original article from April 3rd at 6:48pm.  The link is here.  If they remove it or rewrite it, the PDF is here.  Note that while the idea is referred to as absurd, only to make opposition to SB2279 seem similarly so, there is no mention that the ban is a joke or “mockingly declared”.  The article claims:

Effective immediately, if you’re among those who voted against Senate Bill 2279 you’ll be shut out completely from the Red Raven.

Apparently someone realized that this probably wasn’t going to go well, predictably so.  After the news story about the ban aired on the Forum’s TV stations, someone probably figured out that this wouldn’t bode well for the cause, and an article published online shortly thereafter by the Forum group paints the stunt in an entirely different light:

forum_whitewash3Here’s the article from later that evening at 7:31pm.  The link is here.  If they remove it or rewrite it, the PDF is here.  In it, the ban has now become a ‘ban’, and it is being portrayed as something totally different:

  • “mockingly declared”;
  • “satirical”;
  • “a joke”;
  • a “fake embargo”;
  • a “satirical, political statement”

Right.  Kinda of reminds me of that Seinfeld clip where George quits his job in a spectacular fashion, then realizes that he’s made a mistake. Mr. Costanza acts like nothing ever happened, he was “kidding”, and that he can’t believe that anyone would have thought he was being serious:

So, which was it – coordinated media effort to keep the agenda plodding forward, or simply sloppy reporting from a historically biased media source?  Either the Forum group got it wrong in the first report or they had to help whitewash the ban after that report hit the air.  The timeline leads me to believe that this was intentional.  The person interviewed at the coffee shop made no mention of it being anything other than a serious ban in the original article despite being quoted four times.  The attempt to walk it back came later.

The fact of the matter is that the tiny minority of sexually disoriented persons in North Dakota and their vocal activists do not reflect “North Dakota values” as they proclaim, and in fact want a one-way street of discrimination and intimidation of people who don’t think the way they do or condone their choice of behavior or lifestyle.  Too bad.  They can try to have these little temper tantrums and even get left-wing media to amplify their ranting, but that doesn’t change the fact that individual liberty prevailed this time.

Fargo Forum proves that SB2279 was about intimidation

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-originalThis is the “objective journalism” we get from the birdcage liner known as the Fargo Forum.  It proves what I’ve been saying all along: SB2279 is about intimidation.  Here they attempt to “shame” legislators who voted against this abomination for their vote to uphold religious liberty.

Rep. Boschee also made a veiled threat during the floor debate in the House chamber today, when he pointed toward the homofascist attacks on Indiana and Arkansas in the wake of religious liberty legislation being passed in those states.  He implied that the same sort of thing would befall North Dakota if they didn’t fall into lockstep with the other states currently being bullied and extorted into catering to 2.3% of the US population.

This is the “love” and “equality” you find from the sexually disoriented.  They talk a good game when they emote their way through committee hearings and even floor discussion, but what it comes down to is unparalleled vindictiveness.  That’s what SB2279 was all about.

So, I hopped into Photoshop to correct the cover of the Forum:

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-accurateSB2279 had so many problems simply in its mechanics or lack thereof, but the “big picture” really is that this legislation has a well-documented track record as a blunt instrument used to persecute persons of faith.  The proponents tried to make it about “housing and employment”, but this legislation is most prominently used to go after Grandma when the convictions of her faith lead her to decline providing flowers for a homosexual “wedding”.

Stay classy, Fargo Forum.  No wonder you’re a dying breed.