Angelina Jolie has chickenpox

Angelina Jolie has chickenpox - Bent CornerAngelina Jolie announced on a video that she will not be able to attend the Hollywood premiere of her film Unbroken because she has chickenpox.

Unbroken is based on the book by Laura Hildebrand and tells the true-life story of Louis Zamperini, former Olympic athlete and World War Two Army Air Force bomber airman. Zamperini’s plane went down in the Pacific and Zamperini survived, only to end up in a Japanese prison camp.

Jolie directed Unbroken.

It’s kind of a big deal with the director of a major motion picture doesn’t attend the Hollywood premiere, especially when said director is a well-known celebrity. Then again, chickenpox is a very serious matter, especially when it happens to someone as old as Jolie. The older you are, the worst the symptoms are.

Chickenpox is highly contagious. I didn’t get chickenpox until I was 19 years old. My symptoms didn’t appear until the morning I left for Air Force basic training. I showed up at Lackland Air Force Base at three in the morning covered with spots, and running a high fever. I spent my first week in the Air Force in an isolation room at the base hospital. I have no idea how many people I gave chickenpox to before that. I flew on two commercial airplanes and was in close proximity to literally hundreds of people.

Chickenpox is awful and if Angelina Jolie has it, I feel really bad for her.

Hulu Plus, more like Hulu Suck

Hulu Plus, more like Hulu Suck - Bent CornerHulu Plus, the streaming service created in a joint venture between NBC Universal, Fox Broadcasting, Disney-ABC Television, is the worst streaming service out of all the paid streaming services. Not only do they charge subscribers $7.99 per month for the service, they pepper content with annoying ads, many of which are for Hulu Plus. It’s obnoxious and I hate it.

I subscribed to Hulu Plus over the weekend because I couldn’t find anything to watch on Netflix. I felt like I had already watched everything I wanted to watch on Netflix. Unlike Netflix which offers a wide assortment of movies and TV shows, Hulu Plus is all about the TV shows. Considering who created it and who owns it, that comes to no surprise. The problem is it’s extremely hit or miss what shows can be found on Hulu Plus. For instance, take the massive Law & Order franchise. Even though it’s distributed by NBC Universal, one of the owners of Hulu Plus, only one of the three Law & Order shows, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is on Hulu Plus.

Why? Hulu Plus should offer all the shows in the Law & Order franchise.

Before giving Hulu Plus a try, I didn’t understand why every other paid streaming service boasts to offer commercial-free programming. Since you pay for the service, of course there are no commercials. Now I know that Hulu Plus is the reason every other paid streaming service points out that their content is commercial-free. Hulu Plus is double-dipping. They make you pay for the service, then they try to make more money from advertisements.

It’s annoying and I hate it. Take my advise and stay away from Hulu Plus.

What is Patreon?

What is Patreon? • Bent CornerPatreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows “artists” to receive a fixed amount of money on a regular, monthly basis, directly from the people, the patrons, who consume their work. There’s also an alternate method that collects money every time the artist creates a new piece of work, for instance, a new podcast episode or a new YouTube video.

Patrons who give to people on Patreon show up on the recipient’s Patreon page with a link to the other people they’ve given to.

Patreon was created by Jack Conte and Sam Yam. Conte is a musician who wanted an alternate method of generating revenue from his YouTube videos. The normal method of revenue from YouTube is Google Adsense.

Patreon sounds great!

In theory, Patron is a good idea. I listen to a lot of free podcasts. Though I wouldn’t mind the idea of contributing a few bucks a month through Patreon to each podcast I listen to, none of the podcasts I listen to take part in Patreon. They generate revenue in more traditional ways. By that, I mean advertisements.

If there’s a problem with Patreon, it’s that it allows people to receive money from strangers without really doing anything for it in return. Some e-celebrities use Patreon as their primary source of income.

What’s wrong with free money?

What is Patreon? • Bent CornerThe problem with people getting handouts, is that sometimes they grow too accustomed to it.

The way things normally work in our society, is that if you want to be a professional artist, yet you’re creating art that people don’t want to pay for, you need to learn to create art that people are willing to pay for. With Patreon, that natural dynamic no longer exists. Artists don’t have to evolve or adapt to the marketplace, as long as people are willing to just give them free money. They can just plow along creating art that holds no value in the marketplace.

Personally, I’d rather snort liquid drain cleaner than set up a Patreon page and ask strangers for monthly donations, but to each his own. When I look at what I have to go through to earn a paycheck, I’m clearly in no place to judge how someone else makes a living.

ComicsPRO board member accused of embezzlement

ComicsPRO, a non-profit trade association for comic book retailers, announced on Facebook that it was investigating one of its former board members for misuse or misappropriation of corporate funds. The Facebook post didn’t identify the former board member by name, but in a statement emailed to members of ComicsPRO, the person was identified as Gary Dills, former Director and Treasurer.

The statement sent to ComicsPRO members, via Bleeding Cool:

Yesterday Gary Dills resigned as a Director and Treasurer of the ComicsPRO retail trade organization. Gary did so after admitting to the President, Thomas Gaul, to certain financial improprieties. The board has accepted his resignation and is investigating the extent and degree of any misappropriation of organization funds, the effects it has had on the organization, and what the organization can do to recover the funds, if anything.

The Board of Directors is fully committed to investigating the circumstances surrounding these events and will make every effort to keep the membership informed as more information develops.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, this is not expected to affect the organization’s current staffing, programs, or the upcoming annual meeting.

A more general public statement will be issued via the organization’s web communication portals shortly. It is recommended that members utilize discretion with regards to this situation, especially this early into the process.

I think it’s kind of funny that the message to ComicsPRO members asked them to “utilize desecration”, yet at least one member forwarded the email to Bleeding Cool.

Who is Gary Dills?

Gary Dills was one of the founding members of ComicsPRO. He’s also co-owner of Laughing Ogre Comics, a chain of three comic book shops, two in nearby Northern Virginia and one in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s a photo from 2013 showing the board of directors of ComicsPRO. Gary Dills is the man in the red shirt, on the far right.

r960-240ca1e24d3130d9b9d732bc2ba6473a

What does this now mean for ComicsPRO?

Whether or not ComicsPRO can rebound from this depends on a lot of factors. How much money did Gary Dills steal? How long did the embezzling take place? Did the organization ever have a third-party conduct regular audits of the finances? Were there any safeguards in place that should have prevented this? ComicsPRO members are business people. You have to own a physical comic book shop to pay $299 a year for the privilege of belonging to the organization. Most of the members know a thing or two about the proper management of money, or they wouldn’t be operating a comic book shop in 2014. If the remaining board members don’t address these and other questions that undoubtedly come up, I wouldn’t be surprised if most members didn’t renew their yearly membership when the time comes up.

Business people don’t like to give their money to organizations that don’t handle it responsibly.

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ removed from stores in Australia

Grand Theft Auto V, known simply as GTAV by its fans, has been yanked from Target and Kmart shelves in Australia. This was in response to an online petition signed by over 45,000 supporters who object to the game’s graphic violence and its portrayal of women. People in Australia can still buy GTAV, they just can’t buy it at Target or Kmart, stores owned by the retail group Wesfarmers.

I have to admit, I didn’t even know Australia had Target or Kmart.

The Grand Theft Auto series of games has long been criticized by some for being too violent and for the way it portrays women. Players in The Grand Theft Auto can have sex with prostitutes, kill them, and then steal their money. At least that’s what I’m told. I’ve never played the game, nor do I want to play the game. It’s not a game for me. When I play a game, the only thing I like to kill are Orcs, candies, or Soviet tanks.

That’s not to say that game isn’t for a lot of other people. The The Grand Theft Auto series is very popular. It’s one of the top-selling games in history. Grand Theft Auto V, the release pulled from the shelves in the land down under, where women glow and men thunder, has already sold $1.98 billion worldwide. Say what you will about The Grand Theft Auto and its extreme content, a lot of people love to play it.

If you don’t like Grand Theft Auto, don’t buy it

Although I have no interest in playing Grand Theft Auto, I wouldn’t want to stop anyone else from playing it. I would no sooner want to stop someone from playing a game I don’t like then I would want to stop someone from reading a book I don’t like or watching a movie I don’t like.

That seems too much like censorship to me.

I don’t have much respect for Wesfarmers. If they didn’t want to sell Grand Theft Auto V on their store shelves, then they should have never sold it to begin with. The fact that they removed it from their shelves in reaction to 45,000 supporters on an online petition seems pathetic. Are they going to allow online petition signers to dictate other aspects of their business?

It sounds like a really stupid way to run a business.