30 April 2010

This Week In BS: Commie Drives A Nova !! Wait, Barack Drives A Nova?

Please click the following vids for your listening pleasure while you read my awesome web log!



I also tried to find the video for "I Don't Want What You Got (Goin' On)" by the Ike Reilly Assasination but had no luck.  Get out there and get you some Ike Reilly!

Chelsea Chelsea Bangs Bangs!!  Wha whaa whaaat?!  I'm not sure what disappointed me more, that Chelsea Handler made a sex tape when she was twenty-three or that it's allegedly a gag.  Ok, it's the second one.  A few months ago Chelsea was contacted by someone who said they would sell the tape back to her for a million dollars.  She said simply "I'm not worth it!"  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Watching a Biography episode featuring Kylie Minogue.  I am such a whore.  "Can't Get You Outta My Head" is a pretty good tune but that's not why I can't change the channel.  I'm waiting to see this video

in Hi-Def.  Hubba hubba.

I was not disappointed there was no LOST this week.  I was up and somewhat ready for it but, being in the hospital, I was not really with it.  There is an alleged spoiler here but I don't believe it.  The producers have always been wily and something tells me this is a plant to throw us off.  Only three more episodes until the Series Finale!  It better be worth it.

I can't wait to see Get Low, a summer release with Robert Duvall playing an old hermit who comes out of hiding to plan his own funeral.  Something tells me he's got something up his sleeve.  I met Robert Duvall and was not disappointed.  Greatest Living Actor (maybe I think that because I met him).  Bill Murray plays the funeral director.  Sounds like a can't-miss.  Here is an interview with Bill talking about Ghostbusters 3 among other things.  I've liked (okay loved) Bill Murray ever since Stripes.  He's just got it.  I really liked The Razor's Edge, a film adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novel, about a man on a quest to solve the meaning of his life after serving in WWI.  I have to say that I always wanted to go to Paris and then around the world in search of the meaning of life.  I got as far as Erie, PA.  Unless you count a Dead show in Louisville.  Oh, and Buckeye Lake Ohio.  What the hell - I've definitely been out there and lived it now that I think about it.  My life has always lacked the major thresholds: prom, graduation, bar mitzvah, marriage, divorce, etc.  Why should my dream about solving life be any different?  I still have a ways to go before I'm done.  Or as Robert Frost would say, And miles to go before I sleep.

Think what you want of me but I love the show iCarly.  It's so damn funny and the girls are so goofy.  Who says there are no wholesome shows on tv anymore.

The Office was pretty darn funny last night.  Dwight:  "I have it on good authority that in twenty years we will all be speaking German.  Well, a Chinese-German hybrid."  I also liked the subtle tension between Pam and Jim and Daryl's take on the minority management program: "Minority management will always be there but my knees only have one more year of softball in them."  And I always enjoy Parks and Recreation except (again) for the character of Andy.  A show I absolutely do not get and am starting to dislike intensely is Community.  These people take a class together at a community college and are then joined at the hip.  No one works or has a life off campus apparently and half of them are over thirty.  The "romantic tension" between the two leads, will they or won't they, is beyond stale and the Asian Spanish teacher (the guy from the overrated The Hangover) is a running gag that has run out.

I totally blanked on pimping Jonah Hex in my last post about summertime and movies.  Based on the supernatural cowboy DC comic, it has the awesome Josh Brolin as the title character and Megan Fox as the t and a.  And I also forgot about the new Christopher Nolan/Leonardo DeCaprio film Inception. Looks pretty trippy.   Catch Me If You Can is one of my compulsively watchable movies, along the lines of The Silence of the Lambs, the Pirate movies, and some others I've mentioned.  DeCaprio makes the list twice with The Departed.  How did he not get an award for the role?  Now I'll watch him in anything except for that horror movie Titanic.

The Buffalo Sabres got bounced (no big surprise) from the NHL playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins have advanced (again - no big surprise) and the Washington Capitals (huge surprise!) are out.  I'd have to say the odds on the Penguins winning back-to-back titles just went up considerably.  I'd like to see the Pens win again even though I would've liked to have seen the Sabres, or any Buffalo team, finally win a cussing championship.  Speaking of which....

The Buffalo Bills draft.  I was in favor of taking Jimmy Clausen with the first pick because they need a quarterback so damn bad.  So they pick C.J.Spiller instead, a running back and the only position on the team where they don't have a need to fill.  So Clausen falls all the way to the second round but do they take him there?  Nope.  Defensive lineman.  So the two most glaring weaknesses on the team, QB and offensive line, don't get addressed and they have basically killed Marshawn Lynch's trade value.  I may sound like my six-year old nephew or Veruca Salt but I want a quarterback!

The 2010 NFL draft yielded this Q and A between Miami Dolphins GM and wide receiver prospect Dez Bryant:
     Ireland:  Is your mother a prostitute?
     Bryant:  No (followed perhaps by a long awkward silence).
How out of line was this question?  On the surface, at first glance, it seems inappropriate and worse.  But I was listening to Mike and Mike In The Morning on ESPN when Marcellus Wiley revealed that he was asked by Bill Parcell's point-blank "Do you use drugs?"  Marcellus was taken aback by the question.  Parcells, who was the GM of the Cowboys at the time, is currently acting as a mentor of sorts to Ireland.  According to Wiley, Parcells went on to tell him that he can teach men how to block and tackle and play football, just as he had Lawrence Taylor, but if he doesn't prepare his players for life after football then he has failed them.  He said that he had failed Lawrence Taylor as a person.  The bluntness of Ireland's question was harsh and insulting but Wiley's interaction with Parcells made me think twice about Ireland's intentions.

Before I go I just had to post the most hilarious pic of the week:  ten-year old Bruins fan getting the best of Lindy Ruff.

Ok that's it.

27 April 2010

Died Saving His Family From A Sinking Battleship

I'm having another surgery today. For the record that's three in five months.  I was new to hospital over-nights and surgeries and anasthesia before last December when I broke my leg (I fractured my tibial plateau - those two words go well together!  Where did you vacation last year?  We went to the South of France and stayed at the Tibial Plateau).  The surgery I'm having today is to fix my deviated septum (no, I never did coke, thanks for asking!) and clean out my nasal cavity.  The nurse asked me if I had any questions when I did my pre-op appointment, and I said "Yeah, I don't want to have this surgery."  She reassured me that my doctor is really amazing and he does these all the time.  My doctor is a nice guy (he's an ear-nose-throat specialist) but he's over 65 and he's absent-minded around the office.  The one day he was looking for his head-reflector and guess where it was: on his head!  Not the kind of thing that gives you alot of confidence for a surgeon (Nurse, have you seen my watch?)  As you might know if you read any of these posts, I pretty much think I am excused or immune to dying.  Today I'm having second thoughts about this.  I know how it's the little, stupid surgeries that do people in.  I'm in the hospital overnight tonight (LOST is on!) and then I'm staying at my parents' for at least a night when I get out.  So here are my final wishes and what I want done with my remains:

I want to be cremated and thrown into the wind near the woods at the end of the lane behind my dad's shop.  I want to have a party in my honor and I'd like nothing but cheeseburgers, guacamole and margaritas to be served.  If anyone wants to say anything, I'd like it to be followed by Lyle Lovett's great song "If I Had A Boat."  I'd like my friends to be able to go through all my stuff and take what they want.  The remaining books I want donated to the HF-L library.  There's alot of other stuff left.  My teddy bear.  My pick-up truck.  My Johnny Cash poster!  When I moved a few years ago I wanted to burn everything I own: it's just way too much stuff and it feels at times like it weighs me down.  Ok, the hell with this.  I guess I'll just come back.







POSTSCRIPT:  Well I'm back.  I look like a Dick Tracy character and I'm still trying to work the anasthesia out of my system.  My first stop when I left the hospital was Taco Bell.  I had visions of roast beef sandwiches but the doc says I gotta take it easy with the chewing.  I'm hoping I lose the ten pounds (ok - more) that I put on when I was recovering from my leg.  My all-time low was about 197, maybe 195, and I've peaked at 217 (fully clothed and sneakered).  That was fast food when I wasn't hungry, brownie milkshakes, and pizza.  Oh and cheeseburgers and steak sandwiches.  I may actually have inspired myself to take care of my post-life bidness after thinking about all the stuff I have.  Either way, I really hope I die with my student loans still owed.  Ok that's it.

26 April 2010

Why I Love Movies (And Summertime)



Yep, Iron Man 2.  It's why I love movies and summertime.  Ever since Jaws hit theaters in 1975 movies in the summertime have an event-like feel to them that doesn't happen the rest of the year.  Books have been written about how Steven Spielberg and then George Lucas killed the great early-70's film movement but, let's face it, what goes up must come down.  Except (most likely) the summer event movie. 

The early-70's film movement actually began in the late-60's when Easy Rider was made for peanuts and grossed millions.  Easy Rider placed the lid on the coffin of the Studio system, a system whereby the heads of the studios called the shots and actors and directors took what they were given.  The movement was really alot like the American Revolution.  The talented people overthrew the system and decided they could govern themselves.  Cassavettes, Rafaelson, Polanski, Coppola, Friedkin, Scorsese, Lucas, Forman, Altman, Penn, Bogdonavich, DePalma - these people made landmark, classic films in a span of ten years that, creatively, I will put up against anything from any other period in time (but let's face it - I Love Movies!).  The studios gave them money and free rein.  Eventually this free exchange ended, put to death by a little movie called Heaven's Gate.  Directed by the same guy who made the classic The Deer Hunter (c'mon: Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, the late-great John Cazale ("I was stepped over!  I'm smaaat!  Not like everybody says!  And I want respect!" - he played Fredo in The Godfather), Heaven's Gate effectively bankrupted a whole studio.  After this, and the success of the summer blockbuster, Hollywood studios went back to their old ways and closed the purse strings.

I was a youngster in the 1970's so I didn't mind so much the creation and marketing of movies that were supposed to be fun and be enjoyed.  Jaws was followed by the whole Star Wars thing (if you call it A New Hope and you're not tweleve I will kick you in the balls), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and on and on: King Kong, Smokey and the Bandit, Superman: The Movie (yeah, I know it's a movie - I'm sitting in a movie theater!), Ghostbusters, Animal House, Vacation, Grease, Caddyshack.  I actually skipped school to see the second Indiana Jones movie and the third Star Wars movie.  In 1989 my sister picked me up from work to go see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and then, guess what, we went last year, twenty years later (!) to watch Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  In the rest of my (alleged) adulthood there's been the Pirate movies, the Spider-Man movies, the X-Men, friggin' BatmanBourne and even Shrek to look forward to.  Heck, I looked forward to Speed Racer once I saw the eye-popping techinicolor how'd-they-do-that trailer.  I saw Spider-Man at the midnight screening, then I saw it the next day at a normal person's time, then I took my nephews and then my neighbor's kids.  I went to The DaVinci Code with a girl from school (I liked it better than the book), Transformers, The Island, the disappointing War of the Worlds, and on and on.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith was hilarious, Wanted was good and, speaking of Angelina Jolie, I'll be seeing Salt when it opens.  Yep, I have a problem.  I am a movie junkie.

Recently I wrote a post about the difference between films and movies, a fork in the road that makes me think of the insane philosopher Frederiech Nietchze and his book Beyond Good And Evil.  We should look to the whole and ignore the schism.  Embrace the yin and the yang.  I like films and I like blockbuster entertainment just as I like the light and the dark, the sun and the rain, or cats and dogs.  Why do I have to choose?  That being said, you should check out the following films if you haven't already.
Bonnie and Clyde.  The Graduate.  Easy Rider.  Midnight Cowboy.  M*A*S*H.  The French Connection.  The French Connection Two.  The Godfather.  The Godfather Part Two.  American Graffiti.  The Exorcist.  Dog Day Afternoon.  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.  Five Easy Pieces.  Chinatown.  The Last Detail.  Taxi Driver.  Mean Streets.  Ok enough of that.  Just IMDB the list of directors I gave you up top. 

I broke my leg recently but I have done enough rehab now where I can bend it enough to fit into the seats at the movies without too much pain.  I am unemployed and owe everyone I know at least one favor but, the first chance I get, I'm going to quietly slip away, on or after May 7th, and watch Iron Man do his thing.

25 April 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down


One of my fondest childhood memories is waking up on Sunday mornings to my dad playing his old country records.  My dad is that way about life: up and ready to go.  Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Eddy Arnold, Tex Ritter.  Some good stuff.  It's become a habit of mine to listen to tunes on Sunday mornings and on a rainy Sunday morning such as this I was thinking about my favorites.  Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks probably got the most plays in my Sunday rotation.  I listened to this alot in the summer of 1990, when I lived at home and cherished any moment I had the house to myself.  I was dating a girl with red hair who drove up from Erie to see me for the weekend.  She was with me when I bought it and it made me think of her for a long time whenever I played it ("wondering if she had changed at all, if her hair was still red").  I would put the speakers out the window of my bedroom and do laps in the pool.  I had to really crank it up to hear it. Nothing like starting a Sunday morning with "Tangled Up In Blue".  I always thought the lyrics were about me.  I had to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flewwww.  From the desperate wanderer of Blue to the man of lament in "If You See Her, Say Hello", this album is full of bitterness and melancholy that fits perfectly into a Sunday morning.  Maybe I'm just bitter and melancholy over losing my childhood, especially the Sunday mornings. 


And it wouldn't be Sunday morning without Neil Young singing "Don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning.  Find someone who's turning, and you will come around."  I love Neil and I love that he probably would tell you he has no idea what these lyrics mean.  This is from the album After The Gold Rush, which includes the terrific and apropos Sunday morning title song.  I love Neil because it's just feeling with him that matters.  This is the difference between the Polyanna bullshit in art that I hate and a from-the-gut artist like Neil Young.  My favorite Sunday morning music doesn't have the word "Sunday" in it because that would be as gay as a Nora Ephron film.  Neil just feels it, goes with it, and becomes the conduit for music that comes from somewhere else.  Look at a beautiful blue sky.  Is it perfect?  What about the sky the next day?  Is that one perfect?  Beauty takes all different forms, which reminds me of my favorite song lyric of all time and the philosophy of my life:  And the poets down here don't write nothin' at all, they just stand back and let it all be.  That's what Neil Young does.  I also like this record for the cover of the Don Gibson country classic "Oh Lonesome Me."  

Speaking of country music, there's something about Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash and Red-Headed Stranger and At Folsom Prison.  I grew up with a boy named Larry Torpey (Larry came from a very nice, loving family who were weird and didn't celebrate Halloween.  Larry was a geek who carried this huge bassoon or something like that on the bus every day, and the a-holes we rode the bus with would check the big instrument case into Larry's shoulder on their way by.  He went on to become a doctor with (I'm sure) a very nice family of his own.  I am being facetious when I call his family weird and Larry a geek, but that is how kids treated him.  His dad was maybe the nicest person ever, as was his mom.  If the meek inherit the Earth, then the Torpeys will be at the head of the line when the Ark launches) and when we were in elementary school Larry had a box of crayons and this thing, the thing he could do well, was draw Johnny Cash behind prison bars.  Johnny was on the side of Larry's crayon box, square jaw, hands gripping the bars.  Johnny Cash never spent time in prison unless you consider serious drug addiction a prison.  At Folsom Prison has the great "Cocaine Blues" on it, as well as "Jackson" (a duet with June) and the adrenaline-fueled "I Got Stripes".  You can hear Johnny's voice and music bounce off the concrete walls of the prison. 

I didn't fall in love with Red-Headed Stranger until I was in my thirties, but Willie's record of sin and salvation couldn't be more perfect for a Sunday morning.  If you get the remastered version it includes a song called "Bonaparte's Retreat", a stomping-quick musical number that I have compulsively played over and over.  I don't know how he did it but Willie took country standards, added his own songs ("Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight"  "Denver") and melded them into a moody, coherent, theme-filled album. 

If you can take it, Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue (almost too much emotion) is fantastic.  I'm not a big jazz guy but this music hits me in the gut.  I don't have the musical knowledge to analyze it, I just know that it seems like the music is washing over me.  There are some other songs that I like for melancholy moods.  The best of (don't judge me!) Carly Simon, if only for "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be", is good.  I also saved the best for last.  Otis Redding.  I love Otis.  I have since I was six or eight and I heard  "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay."  I've gone on to buy his other stuff which is just as good and maybe better.  I still haven't bought his performance from the Monterey Pop Festival (it's on dvd) but I attached Otis doing two of his classics below.  But if Sundays are made to be mellow then "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" is the most fitting.




Ok that's it.  Feel free to leave comments!

24 April 2010

Pop Culture, Thoughts And BS This Week

As you all know I love Whitney Matheson and her blog POP Candy which you can find here.  This week she wrote about Coal Miner's Daughter and revealed that she never knew Beverly D'Angelo sang all her own vocals as Patsy Cline, which is impressive.  I have to watch this movie whenever it comes on.  There is something about Sissy Spacek, especially in this role, that I can't take my eyes off of.  Maybe it's the voice - that accent gets me every time.  Sissy Spacek is always a little bit the coal miner's daughter in every role she plays.

Johnny Depp starts filming Pirates 4 in Hawaii this summer.  I already can't wait.  The first one blew me away and the second and third did not let up as comical, adventurous entertainment.  Sure, staring at Keira Knightley for two hours is nice (she and Orlando Bloom are skipping the fourth installment) but the movies were compulsively watchable.

Can I be for racial profiling and not be considered a racist?  The famous old-school Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is in trouble with the Obama administration (among others) for his racial profiling of illegal immigrants and subsequent enforcement of immigration law.  What is wrong with this?  Should he check the citizenship status of every driver regardless of their color when 99.8% of the Arizonan illegals are Mexicans?  It smacks common sense in the face. 

I watched American Beauty again last night.  Every time I watch this movie I am inspired to make changes in my life: hit the weights, drink protein shakes, quit my job, hit on my daughter's hot teen-age friend.  Okay, I don't have a daughter, but I was reminded of the great movie Office Space while I was thinking about this movie.  Like Peter says, "We weren't meant to spend our lives this way!"  Life is always right there waiting to be lived and sometimes we forget that, which reminds me of a girl named Vicky that I used to go out with.  Sure, she was gorgeous in an All-American cheerleader type way, and we were blessed with some beautiful April weather to start our relationship, but we had fun!  When you have a new love every day is an adventure.  Life should be lived like that all the time. 

Have you seen the amazing photos of an outer universe by the Hubble telescope? They're prettier than Keira Knightley.  I think we should spend more time in space.  Growing up shortly after the moon landing, when space was there to be explored, the stars and the universe still hold mystery for me.  Just as life should be lived as an adventure as often as possible, so should we lay on our backs and watch the stars when we get the chance.

Tell me that isn't the coolest thing you've ever seen.

Ok that's it for now.

21 April 2010

And That's What Really Grinds My Gears...

Time for another installment of
    
   And That's What Really Grinds My Gears


Ben Roethlisberger being a scumbag.  Anyone who feeds a girl shots then follows her to the bathroom to force himself on her is a lowlife dirtbag.  Actually I don't really have superlatives to describe this guy.  What is up with the greasy hair combed back during his first meet with the press?  He definitely looked the part.  I liked Terry Bradshaw's quote the best: "He doesn't like me and I'm learning not to like him."

Obama's value added tax.  Who is pulling the strings on this guy?  I'm gonna guess it's someone like Maurice Strong, former NATO director and current "environmentalist" who is a strong believer in world socialism.  I think he is a real-life James Bond villain.  The taxes are coming.   Now that we are all part of the governments health-care system we are going to be expected to adhere to diet restrictions because what we eat affects everyone.  No more choice because why should your neighbors pay for your unhealthy habits.  Soda tax.  Sodium tax.  Add up all the taxes we pay right now and when Obama is done we are going to be left with 40% of what we work for.

Rihanna.  I just don't like her or her upturned pug nose or her stupid hair in her face all the time.
Lady Gaga.  Gag gag.  She's so "outrageous"!  Uh, not really.
Kate Gosselein will you just go away already.  She says "Why can't moms have fun?" as if we're trying to deny her happiness.  I know lots of moms who have fun.  Some get a babysitter and go out for the night but not every night and they're not on tv and they don't have eight kids you self-centered, selfish, gimme-my-thirty-seconds wannabe-famous person.  Just stop already.
Larry King.  Ok, this doesn't really bother me.

People who complain about Saturday Night Live.  It's been funny, especially the recent episode with Ryan Phillipe, but critics are still bashing it.  I guess it becomes vogue after awhile.  I thought the skit with Tina Fey as a nine inch hooker was cute and good-hearted in a really weird way.  Can't you people go bash Rihanna, Lady Gaga or Kate Gosselein?  Plenty of material there.

Local car dealer who I would like to punch in the face.  You know who you are.  You give Italians a bad name.

The Buffalo Sabres play-by-play guy.  Fans fall all over this guy and his "signature" style.  He yells "Scores!" loudly until his voice trails off.  Really annoying and not unique.

Ok that's it for now.   Our salute this week comes from a real artist who dresses up, acts outrageous, owns her sexuality and kicks the shit out of what ever material she is putting her shoulder to.







                         Pimps of the Week

When did pimp become a positive superlative?  I pimped my ride.  That is so pimp!  Or, my personal favorite courtesy of Vicky LaVilla "I will totally pimp-slap you!"  The universe is full of negative and positive energy.  Here comes some positive.

Jimmy Kimmel.  He is like the anti-talk show host.  He's always just being himself and doesn't take himself seriously at all.  I don't think there is any difference between Jimmy when he gets up in the morning and Jimmy at night when he walks out onto the stage.  Last night he made me laugh more in the first ninety seconds than Jay Leno has since 1987.

Bob Matthews is a local sports guy with a radio show and a column in the Rochester newspaper Democrat and Chronicle.  A guy called his show last night and said Bob didn't know sports, or people, or horses (as in the track). The subject had turned to Ben Roethlisburger and Bob said he thought the Buffalo Bills should trade their #9 draft pick for Big Ben.   Bob tried to listen to the guy but cut him off when he said Bob was a fan of rapists.  I don't know how people like Bob handle people like this.  There are lots of jerks out there, especially when it comes to sports,  and I'm glad there are people like Bob to balance them out.

My hero Willie Nelson, just for being Willie.

My friends (you know who you are) and family who are nice enough to cart me around until I get medical clearance (and other bs) to drive.

Here is a big thumbs up to reconnecting with people I once knew pretty well.  I guess Facebook is good for something other than stealing time away from real life.

And let's give it up to the weather gods of Western New York.  People complain about the weather constantly but it's truly such a beautiful place to live.  Yesterday was sunny, windless, and 68 degrees.  Four more degrees and it's a textbook perfect day.  This is the type of weather I recall when I was seeing a young blonde girl with perfect white teeth and sparkling blue eyes and I had the world by the balls.  Lots more of those days on the way...

Oh, I almost forgot my dad's barber.  He lives and works in a little barbershop in Honeoye.  I like Honeoye.  There is a lake right there and its in the middle of all those little lakes that make Western New York such a great place to live.  I walked into his barbershop.  Two barber chairs, some deer heads on the wall, a New York Yankees clock, and the barber pole out front.  He wasn't there.  There was no one there except for a guy waiting to get his hair cut.  What kind of business proprietor just leaves their door open and goes and runs errands?  We waited half an hour.  We talked about hunting and I showed him a pic of the monster buck I shot last year.   The barber finally got back and I went outside to answer my phone and when I came back in I climbed into the chair.  He didn't ask me how I wanted my haircut, he just got to cutting, and then asked to see my deer.  After that he put shaving lotion around my ears and on my neck and used a straight razor to trim the hair.  What a great experience for eight bucks.  I'll never go to Supercuts again although I will miss the boobs being pressed against me while I'm getting my hair cut.

Ok that's it.






18 April 2010

The Dude Abides!

I love movies.  I remember cleaning out the station wagon when I was about seven, a chore my mom assigned us so we could go to the drive-in to see the Disney classic (?) Song of the South.  (I have since learned that the Song of the South was full of references to the social order of the Old South.  The old order went: white men, white women, poor white men and women, and then black men and women.   I had a Disney comic with Brer Rabbit in it and it's still one of my favorite childhood memories and it doesn't bother me too much that the whole story had racial overtones.  The old Uncle Remus tales actually warned the formerly enslaved and their progeny and really any black people who lived in the South to avoid interacting with white people when they could.  And that doesn't bother me too much either).

Anyway, I love movies and then one day I started loving film.  Movies are paperbacks you buy at the airport; film is literature.  That is not a fair analogy to the writers of paperbacks or "popular" writers but it is what it is.  Transformers 2 is a movie.   Citizen Kane is a film.  Or maybe film is just the study of movies.  I remember once my terrific friend Vicky was over and we were both film nuts and she asked me "When did you start to like movies?  And not just movies, but film?"  She is smart like that and the only other person I know who likes film as much as me.  I think The Dark Knight is a movie that transcended the genre to become a film with some serious Shakespearean overtones.  Maybe films have something teachable to them whereas movies are there simply to be enjoyed.  My point is that I love movies.

I've always had a weakness for detective fiction and today I began watching (again) the great detective movie L.A. Confidential.  Russell Crowe was intense enough to chew glass in that movie and it had just enough of a weirdness factor to be placed alongside the masterpiece Chinatown in the canon of classic films.  The three protagonists investigate separate parts of a criminal web and in the end they put personal grudges aside to unite and do the right thing.  That is a really lame description of the movie but it has some sex, lots of action and the best use of shotguns I've ever seen in a movie.  All the great film noir detective films are set in the 1940's or 50's and L.A. Confidential is no exception.  It has Lana Turner, her soon-to-be-killed-by-her-12-year-old-daughter boyfriend and mob muscle Johnny Stampanato, and references to Mickey Cohen's heroin business.  There is something about Hollywood and California in the Fifties that I really like and it really lends a great backdrop to the story here.  Its weirder and more glamourous at the same time.

The father of the complex, weird, webbed and labyrinth detective movie is The Big Sleep.  It lacked the kink and incest that marked L.A. Confidential and Chinatown as being modern, but only because it was actually filmed in the 1940's, when that sort of thing could barely be hinted at.  When VCRs came out and you could go to the video store (!) and rent any movie you wanted (!!!) I started watching alot of Bogart movies (haha, or films) and The Big Sleep was an especially good one.  It created the template (detective story set in L.A., labyrinth of a plot, corruption, a protagonist who navigates the morally bankrupt waters with nothing to guide him but his personal code) that defined the detective film.

Robert Altman used that template to make The Long Goodbye in 1973 (a post-modern hippified version) but nothing comes close to its implementation by the Coen Brothers in The Big Lebowski.  If you haven't seen Lebowski at least five times, you really haven't seen it at all.  Jeff Bridges' The Dude never completes a sentence and just rolls along with the storyline as he tries to find the kidnapped Bunny and regain compensation for a soiled rug.  When we first see him he is checking the freshness of the half-and-half which he proceeds to write a check for (69 cents!), giving us a sense of where The Dude stands on the socio-economic scale.  If you are a friend of the 4-20, get yourself some, make yourself a tall white russian ("Another Caucasian, Gary"), and sit back and watch The Dude.  He may be the classical anti-noir detective because, despite chronic unemployment (which doesn't seem to bother him too much) The Dude has not given in to cynicism.

So that's it - my four favorite film noir detective movies.  Or films.  The Dude Abides!

Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Kevin.

I stole the title of this post from the smart, funny and totally doable Chelsea Handler, who in turn stole it from Judy Blume's Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret.  Margaret turns to God for answers and I, obviously, turn to Vodka.  I am only sort of kidding.  Since I broke my leg on Pearl Harbor Day 2009 I thought I would have to go until May without a drink, which was fine.  I looked forward to getting myself as healthy as I could.  I had been prescribed painkillers that (allegedly) weren't supposed to be mixed with alcohol.   What they don't tell you, what you have to find out for yourself, is that they work so much better with alcohol (brainstorm - replace the pimentos in olives with vicodin).  I probably went for three weeks without a drink and this was during the holidays when drinking is so much more festive than it is the rest of the year.  I had one on New Year's Eve, then the following Monday, and after that I started to have one every night.  I looked forward to it.

I have always liked to drink and I have always liked to drink vodka.  It's tasteless, odorless (except for the fumes) and goes with anything.  Olives, cranberry, oranges, grapefruit - you name it, vodka makes a good companion for it, as it does me.  After my leg started to heal I used vodka to take the edge off my rehab.  The scar tissue in my knee binds it from bending freely and the rehab process is akin to bending your fingers back until they hurt and then bending them a little more.  I would sit on my rehab ball in the kitchen every day at four, make myself a martini, then watch Law and Order.  It was a good ritual.

Alcohol gets a bad rap because of all the things associated with it: alcoholism, divorce, insanity, DWI's, cirrhosis, teenage pregnancy, death, etc., but no one talks about the benefits.  Enhanced self-esteem, beer muscles, general fun, sex with teenagers.  Why else do we celebrate with alcohol?  Weddings, funerals, dinner on Friday nights, and reunions are all good occasions to drink.  Oh, I forgot Vegas, weekends at camp and hangovers.  And then there are the good shows to drink to.  For me its Arrested Development and Mad Men.  Movies - Casablanca and The Big Lebowski (just add kahlua).

Sometimes I think drinking is like watching tv.  Almost everyone does it but no one wants to admit just how often.    Everyone can spot the unstable unapologetic drinker; its the stable unapologetic drinkers that are hard to find.  I'm glad to say that my recent habits have pushed me into the latter category.  One martini is fine and good and I don't feel guilty about having it, even before four o'clock.  For those in the former category I am reminded of a quote from modern sage Homer Simpson.

   

15 April 2010

Kevin Bean Sells Out !! + Pop Culture This Week

I finally watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox this week. From Wes Anderson, the director of one of my personal favorites (The Royal Tenenbaums), The Fantastic Mr. F is a stop-motion animated action-adventure story about a cocky, mischievous fox voiced by a smooth-talking George Clooney. Mr. Fox has two weaknesses: his ego and his affinity for stealing chickens. I really liked the look of the animation. It was like a really sharp Gumby (for those who even know who Gumby is). I liked that Mr. Fox and the rest of the crew acted like humans until they ate or fought and then they snarled like the wild animals they are. Wes Anderson's work has the feel of a novel or picture book adapted to the screen. I liked that about Tenenbaums and it really works well here too.

If you copy and paste this link...
http://video.rottentomatoes.com/video/video/article/104/1042051/fantastic_mr_fox_1_110409_qthigh.mov
....you should be able to see Mr. Fox call role.



LOST has put up back-to-back jaw dropping episodes the last two weeks. About time. They were really starting to lose me. I like having Desmond back and (SPOILER ALERT) especially like him acting as a mover and shaker in the "alternative timeline" or whatever the hell they call it.

I watched Iron Man again this week and I know this is old news but RDJ really knocked it out of the park. And so did director Favreau. I really can't wait for number two (Coming Soon!!) I'm having surgery on April 27 and will be laid up for a week. My post-op appointment is May 3 and I am definitely finding a way to the theater on the 7th!

I listened to part of the Neil Young Archives this week and it's really something. Live At Massey Hall was recorded before Crazy Horse, CSNY and the rest of Neil's ridiculous career. I'm a traditionalist and I always like to listen to early stuff from an artist. Neil's voice sounds so young you can tell he's still almost just a kid. Crazy.

To anyone paying attention, I want Lyle Lovett's If I Had A Boat played at the memorial service when I die. No, I'm not suicidal and I'll probably outlive everyone reading this (no offense but if you follow me at all you'll know I believe I'm somehow exempt from death). Here is Lyle............. and the original video for the song. I think Lyle and my friend Sarah would have made a good couple.

And here is something that I've been thinking about for awhile. If you watch ESPN at all, you might know Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic from Mike And Mike In The Morning. It's a sports talk show that is simulcast every morning on radio and tv. No one entertains me or makes me laugh like Mike and Mike and I don't think there is a more decent (as in being a good person) pair of people on tv.

As you can see I have sold out my blog (I feel stupid even saying that because just about anyone would sell out - the trick is having something someone wants to buy) for advertising space. It's currently experimental and I don't know if I will expand it beyond my Friday pop culture blog. Here is another plug for the World War II reporting I posted last month. These books are the most fascinating thing I have read since Mary Karr's The Liar's Club. Haha, speaking of which here is a link to that. What a fantastic book!

Oh yeah.  I almost forgot about Heidi Somebody who is famous for some reason - I think because she gets lots of plastic surgery.  What the cuss is a "back scoop" anyway?  Sounds pretty gross.  Here is a pic of her and her fake boobs.  I've always liked my women real and with little make-up (I'll give fake eyelashes and fingernails a pass).  Good luck Heidi! I would wish you luck in aging gracefully but I think it's too late for that.

While I'm on the subject of real versus fake and what I find attractive, I loved Chelsea Handler (Chelsea! Chelsea! Bang! Bang!) taking on Sandra Bullocks' husbands side piece and Nazi paraphanalia model
in a war of words.  What a piece of trash this lady is.  Natural good looks, funny, smart versus a female Marilyn Manson look-alike (no offense to Manson - if that is your real name) who likes to attract white supremacists.  I'm sure her parents are very proud.
Ok that's it.

13 April 2010

Polyanna Bullshit

There is a lot that divides people: politics, religion, sports, veganism, and on and on. Those who go barefoot and those who don’t. It’s kinda like the great Todd Snider song Conservative Christian. Now I guess I have to tell you some of the lyrics are:
Conservative Christian, right-wing Republican, straight white American male,
gay-bashing, Black-fearing, war fighting, tree-killing, regional leaders of sales.
Frat-housing, keg-tapping, shirt-tucking, back-slapping haters of Hippies like me,
tree-hugging, peace-loving, pot-smoking, porn-watching lazy-ass hippies like me
.


I guess that what divides us really starts early. By the time we get to college you can tell fifty feet away who the SigPi’s are (steroid using muscle heads) and who the SigChi’s are (maybe Satan worshippers? They all wore black nail polish, but for sure they did alot of coke). As we move into adulthood it becomes a little more difficult to distinguish ourselves from one another and you really have to get to know someone before you learn their views on the all-dividing factor, the factor who defines what we truly value, and that factor is Jennifer Aniston.

It used to be Meg Ryan but, happily, she has moved on. My dear sister, who I love, said to me one day, “Oh poor Jen. I just wish she could find somebody.” I wanted to puke just to get it out of my system but couldn’t, and here I am two months later and I am still talking about it. Whether she can act or not is beside the point. She’s so nice all the time. And she’s got a great body but she looks like a golden retriever. I don’t mean she looks like a dog as in she is ugly, I just mean that she seems so eager to please. And I don’t think she has an original or creative idea in that pretty head of hers. She reminds me of a Nora Ephron film. When a character is hurt emotionally, we have to hear R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts. When a character is in drag, we have to hear Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like A Lady. People who like Jennifer Aniston need to be told what to think. There is no subtlety and no originality and anything outside the margins is taboo and weird. Which brings us to Jennifer Aniston’s doppleganger, Angelina Jolie.

Outside the margins, check. Taboo and weird, double check. A self-admitted wild child, Angelina used to bug me by constantly reminding us of how edgy she is. I would have to say, however, that she is real. Not any realer than Aniston, but I believe that that is who she really is. She is definitely not boring. If Aniston is an Ephron film, then Jolie is a Barbet Schroeder film, most notably, Barfly. I actually saw Barfly with my mom and my other sister. I knew what to expect from the movie but I never planned to see it with my mom. She was a tag-along, and I tried to back out but could tell I was hurting her feelings. So I went anyway and our evening hit its low when Mickey Rourke (portraying the alcoholic/slum-hotel-residing poet Charles Bukowski) told the bartender that his “mother’s cunt smells like ammonia.” Nice. Not exactly When Harry Met Sally. I liked Barfly. I liked its rawness, I liked Mickey Rourke, and I liked watching the once demure Faye Dunaway pull someone’s hair out by the roots. But what I liked most is Schroeder did not back the scene with R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts. My mom and my sister (the Aniston fan) hated this movie.

There is a bar in Rochester-New York called The Bug Jar. There isn't much to it and it doesn't open until seven at night. There is a giant fly hanging from the ceiling fan over the bar and, of course, when the fan it on is flies in one big circle. The place is dark and there are no tvs because the people who come here don't care about sports (I would say they don't watch tv but do those people really exist anymore?). But there is a monitor that is hooked up to catch the action on the stage in the backroom and that stage gets alot of action. It is The Bug Jar's reason for existence: music and live music. To give you a feel of the crowd, I can tell you that I once vowed never to go back after a dominatrix asked me if I wanted to see the old guy she had on a leash (who was my dad's age and wearing a white dress) get spanked (FYI - the going rate to witness said act is one dollar). The Bug Jar is like the CBGB's of Western New York and its regular crowd dresses accordingly. Across the street and down a little ways was a place called Oxford's. Like the name implies, Oxford's crowd was full of mostly young, wannabe upwardly mobile, hair-gelled and tricked out people. There were lots of tvs at Oxford's and some of the guys wore pink shirts. I remember an acquaintance from snooty suburb Mendon (who was a business major and wearing a pink shirt at the time) laugh at the idea of going to The Bug Jar. "No, not going to the freak show," or something like that. I'm not sure if he knew that the regular crowd at The Bug Jar probably thought the same thing of Oxford's.

I'm never going to like Beaches, or Meg Ryan, or care about the castaways from American Idol. I like raw fish and kind of admire people with purple hair. I would never go someplace crowded to spend six bucks on a drink when I can pay three and see some live music. I don't always go along with what's going on. I can even remember disliking Bruce Springsteen when Born In The U.S.A. played on the radio on an endless loop (I'm not always correct on this stuff). Everyone has their differences. Maybe I'm just anti-authoritarian by nature and it all comes down to that. I think that, had they lived in town, Jennifer Aniston could be found at Oxford's on the weekends and Angelina down the street at The Bug Jar.

10 April 2010

I Hate People


I wish I could come up with a better title for this post but nothing fits quite as well. Below is a link to an "article" that is in italics. You don't have to read it carefully. The racism is pretty apparent and the cowardice is even more apparent. I don't know if this is the opinion of the poster at this link or the poster is from the City Bright Blog at the San Francisco Chronicle, but one of them is alleging that the Eagles wanted to avoid the appearance of racism when they traded Donovan McNabb and that is why they signed Michael Vick a year ago. That is the second element of this article that irks me and makes me hate people. Who is writing this? Where is your name? The first element of the article that irks me is the racism, accusing the mayor of overreacting to an event that didn't even take place. The author assumes this is what the mayor would do, then adds that the "only" logic for the move was the Eagles attempts not to appear racist because it might spark a race riot in the city. Because people in Philly just love Donovan, don't they? Uh, not really. Does this author really think the Eagles' plan when they signed Vick a year ago was to have a token black quarterback on the staff? They knew a year ago they were going to trade McNabb? The author, whoever it is, goes on to say this is the only logical explanation to the trade. McNabb reportedly refused to go to Oakland or Buffalo but the writer never mentions that.. This is dumber than Rush Limbaugh's correlation between McNabb's slump and his being anointed a great quarterback by the 'liberal' media because they want to see a black quarterback do well.

You will have to cut and paste this line...

http://www.mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2010/04/10/main_line_times/sports/doc4bb9eab861aa8723758502.txt

....to access the original article.

Here are some of the things being written around the Internet about the Eagles trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins:

City Bright Blog, San Francisco Chronicle: The Philadelphia Eagles trading Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins is still a head-scratcher as he's in the same division.

But now that Donovan McNabb is gone so soon after the Eagles worked to get Quarterback Michael Vick on the field after Vick's release from prison after his illegal dog fighting work, this blogger has to ask the question:

Was the Philadelphia Eagles effort to get Michael Vick a plan to have a black quarterback on staff then trade Donovan McNabb, who's black, just so no one can say "The Eagles trade of Donovan McNabb was racist; they just didn't want a black star in Philadelphia?" If that was the case, here's betting Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who's also black, would stop going to the games, and Philadelphia would be a racially divided town.

As wild as the idea seems, the more I wrap my mind around how the Eagles think and the "cover-up" needed to cleanly pull off a dumb trade like sending Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, the more it is logical that this was their thinking.


I'm sure the author of this post could defend it by saying they were just asking if this was the reason for the trade. No offense intended. Just an innocent question. Like - is the author's mother a whore?

Just asking.

A Plug For Family Values

In the last twenty four hours I have heard stories about junkies, whores, adulterers, men who hit women, and people who steal. Maybe the guy who wrote the Ten Commandments knew what he was talking about. Sin, if you want to call it sin, can lead to a screwed-up life, and not just a little screwed up, but Jerry Springer-type screwed-up. Or as the French would say "Springer-esque!" I am a live-and-let-live person and I don't often pass judgment on people. I think that people who have been intimate with sin have empathy for sinners. And if you think it's crazy to have empathy with a sinner just remember it's what Jesus would have done. But then again, according to Glenn Beck, Jesus was a commie-pinko-socialist-progressive (another blog post for another day).
I was watching a documentary about Johnny Cash this week called Johnny Cash's America. Johnny Cash did alot of shit in his life; he had a dark side and a light side and they were both right there to see. He didn't hide anything. The filmmaker mentioned that Johnny Cash played the prison circuit because he could identify with the inmates. Johnny had sinned, had known sin intimately, and with that sin came a lack of judgment regarding other sinners. It was a blank spot in his make-up, like a limb that didn't work anymore, or a dead nerve that didn't respond. Judgmental people like to judge using their own pristine lives as the yardstick. Johnny Cash didn't. He had an ability to walk in the shoes of others.

But Johnny also abandoned his sinful ways. He broke his drug addiction and married June Carter whom, I think it is safe to say, he never cheated on. Johnny Cash's sins led him to a cave of despair, literally. He walked into Nickajack Cave near Chattanooga, Tennessee, with no intention of ever walking out. The cave had taken the lives of others who had gotten lost in its twists and turns. What could be worse than laying down in a cave to die? Thirty days in jail? Twenty years in jail? Every sin contains its own solution as sure as smoking causes cancer. Adultery will break up your family. Lying erodes trust, even in people who love the liar. Like Johnny Cash's light side and dark side, sin is right there for everyone to see, no matter how hard the sinner tries to hide it. Johnny Cash walked out of that cave and, literally, into the life and light of the day. What a blissful feeling that must have been.

08 April 2010

Random Thoughts For The Week


Here comes my Random Thoughts On Pop Culture for the week. Not really. I promised this post to be weekly but I have swung out this week with the pop culture viewing. Oh well. In its place comes my Random Thoughts For The Week....

Tiger Woods is four under par at the Masters today. Good for him. My friend DJ wanted to get a TW hat just to support the guy. Or give a hearty finger to the people and press who have pried into his personal life like it matters to them. If it does then they are some pathetic people. What do Bob Dylan, Hunter Thompson, Mary Karr and Willie Nelson have in common? I don't care about their personal lives, I just want them to do their thing. Now I want to see Tiger win another green jacket. Speaking of the Masters....

I love watching the shots of Augusta-Georgia and the lovely blooms and green grass. When I was in D.C. it was pretty cool looking at the blooming, flowering trees. D.C. isn't the heart of the South but it is still pretty. I feel like I really got my fix of Southern Spring weather this year....

Which leads me to the wonderful weather New York State has had this week. Today was supposed to be rainy and sixty degrees but it was warm and wonderful (except for my mood). And the Spring here is really in full gear. I should post some photos of the pond at my parents' house. Nothing like some weird pond life in the Spring to jumpstart the wonder of Nature we should feel every day.

Oh yeah - LOST! I did watch LOST this week and it may have saved the season for me. I've been arguing with my friend Ralph about the alternative timeline, or the sideways episodes as they are known, and they have been getting me bummed out about the whole series. Until now. I knew they were related to the timeline on the island but could not explain it to him in 160 characters or less (my texting limit). He kept telling me, "It's just a jerk-off alternate reality!" Then he asked me if I could read and if I knew what "if" meant. Now who's laughing? And Desmond and Charlie together was epic.

Hit the panic button! We are being pushed towards a European system of government that revolves around dependency and handouts. The governments of Europe and the European Union dictate what businesses are able to do, not the other way around, and I think this is what Obama wants. Business made this country, from Ford to Microsoft, and anyone who knows about the conversion of our industry during WWII knows what I'm talking about. No Guns, No Smoking, No Fatty Foods, Everyone UNITED! Like Tom Petty said, Let me up, I've had enough! We used to be a nation of rugged individualists and that is what made this country. Now everyone wants to sit inside, watch cable, and let the government handle their money for them.

OK enough of that. Here is R.E.M. doing their best song Fall On Me. This video shows the lyrics (which I never knew). I tried posting the original video (for everyone under 40 - videos were these things they showed on MTV) but there was a copyright issue. I always thought of SueAnn O'Brien when I heard this song. It always seemed like the girl was telling me to fall on her as if I was pressing my weight against her and I liked that. Now I find out, more than twenty years later, that it's about acid rain! Laugh-out-loud.

OK that's it.

07 April 2010

Annapolis

I went to Annapolis yesterday, probably best known as the home of the Naval Academy. More interestingly though (to me anyway), Annapolis is where George Washington addressed the Continental Congress and resigned his commission from the Army in 1783. He did so in this building......that currently sits on the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Washington realistically could have become a dictator and there were some who thought he should be the new King. And he probably could have. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Army at a time when the power of the Federal goverment was weak. The government could not establish an armed forces or levy taxes. Ah, the good old days. Washington's resignation is depicted in this famous painting......that was allegedly painted in Annapolis. I say allegedly because it for sure wasn't painted in Annapolis. James Madison was later added to the portrait (he was not actually at the event) which James Trumbull took two years to complete. If you don't know Trumbull you should look him up. He did lots of the Founding Father portraits.

Historians say that Washington's resignation of power is the moment our Republic was truly born. I had a history professor in college that related the story to us in a very emotional and dramatic way. I wish I could teach like that. This is the only time known that the stoic George Washington cried in public.

Washington did not become President until 1789, after Congress adopted the Constitution, restructuring our government yet again (up until that time the United States operated under the Articles of Confederation). The new form of government was borne out of a struggle between Liberals and Conservatives, between Federalists and Anti-Federaliists, and the polar ideals of the individual and the group. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution as assurance to the Anti-Federalists (like Thomas Jefferson) who feared a strong central government. It was not meant to be a laundry list of our rights, as it is referred to today, but rather the bare minimum of our protections from the Federal government.



This is a photo of the British flag flying in Annapolis. It's funny that a flag that once stood for tyranny flies outside the building where the founding father of our nation surrendered the powers coveted by would-be dictators. Only in America.

05 April 2010

Dylan And The Folkies

BREAKING NEWS....DYLAN GOES ELECTRIC.....Just kidding. I just got done watching I'm Not There, the loose Dylan portrait that used different actors, including Cate Blanchett, to portray Bob Dylan. There was a snippet of him at the Newport Folk Festival, when him and the Band rip into Highway 61 and the folk music fans start complaining. They called him Judas for crying out loud. I'm glad Dylan "went electric."

I've never thought that I owned an artist. I pay to see them and they play what they play and, if I'm lucky, they'll play some stuff that's special to me. When I saw Bruce Springsteen on his solo acoustic tour he dusted off some songs that I loved hearing, songs he normally didn't play. I know that Dylan moving on from folk music is different and I'm glad he pissed off the folkies.

"Exciting" Buffalo Bills Highlight Their Punter


This photo cracks me up. It was selected to represent the Bills' season last year and was mailed out to all the ticketholders. I guess it does but not in a good way. The Bills, in this photo, are punting from their own end zone. Against the Cleveland Browns, one of the worst tems in the league, in a game they lost 6-3. What could be more representative than punting from our own end zone in a losing effort against one of the worst teams in the league? I hope things change this year.

The Bills reportedly tried to sign Donovan McNabb, which is a good sign. Chan Gailey may be referred to as a joke around the league but I am willing to give him a chance. As does Buddy Nix, the new GM. Ralph Wilson fired Dick Jauron last year and vowed that things would be different. We'll see. Last year was the first time I was outright disgusted and skeptical of the team before the season started. Unfortunately it was well-placed. I am back to being optimistic this off-season. GO BILLS!

03 April 2010

Manassas And The Battle Of Bull Run


My trip to D.C. took me to the Bull Run Battlefield today. Although I am not especially passionate about military history, the battle of Bull Run is pretty interesting. Referred to as the First Battle of Manassas by the Confederates, Bull Run was the first land battle of the Civil War. Fought July 21, 1861, on what had to be a warm Virginia day.

This is where Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson got one of the coolest nicknames ever: Stonewall. I do remember that from 8th grade history class. The Confederate soldiers said that "he stood there like a stone wall" or something like that. The Confederate cemetary in the photo was on top of the hill that Jackson used to survey the landscape before the battle.

How many times do you get to visit a Confederate cemetary and see the Confederate flag flying? Well, not exactly flying, but planted.

I'm not sure how I stumbled across this Confederate cemetary.



Tune in soon to read this post when it's finished.

Kevin Bean Figures Out How To Embed Video


Yes! I figured out how to post video to my blog. Here is M.I.A. and her video for Paper Planes.

02 April 2010

Random Thoughts On Pop Culture



Movies on cable are so much better in HD. No pan-and-scan and the detail is crystal sharp. Too bad it took watching The Incredible Hulk to notice it. When is someone going to make an Incredible Hulk movie that's like the real Hulk? The comic book Hulk could clap his hands together to create a sonic boom, jump miles in a single leap, and rip up the turf of the Earth like a carpet (he always did this when the Army was attacking him). I wish they would do away with the Hulk as a character study.

I watched the beginning of W. although I swore I would never watch an Oliver Stone movie again (after Heaven And Earth/Natural Born Killers). Josh Brolin is an awesome actor and in this movie he is George Bush. I never liked Bush as a president but Brolin sells Bush's charm enough that you root for him. Couldn't say the same for the real-life G W.

After seeing Hot Tub Time Machine I had the Eighties on the brain. I watched The Breakfast Club, One Crazy Summer, and Back to the Future, all out of pure dumb luck. As I said before One Crazy Summer was not a terrible movie. Another Eighties icon, Bob Geldof, was in the news this week. In honor of the Eighties On The Brain Week, here are the Boomtown Rats with the anthem of my freshman year at Edinboro, I Don't Like Mondays.


LOST has lost me this season. I don't know what's going on. Is the flash sideways real or not? It feels like another build-up until the big fight, kind of like Rocky. The episode featuring Richard's backstory was good and it dispelled the notion of the island being Hell but that's been about it for hard answers in the last few episodes. Comments in the blogs are talking about who Jacob touched and I just stopped caring enough to take notes. I know it's not too late for the show's salvation, I just don't want to be left saying WTF!

Speaking of the Eighties, I watched HBO's Larry Bird/Magic Johnson special last night. I spent the Eighties rooting for Larry Bird and my college roommate D.J. rooted for Magic and the Lakers. D.J. is a first-class trash talker and although the Celtics were the champs when we were roommates, when I saw him next fall they weren't. The Lakers beat them that summer and the Celtics would not win another championship for more than twenty years. It was nice to see Bird and Magic talk about their legacy together. Magic retired in November 1991 and Bird only played half a season of games afterwards but I got to see them together on the Dream Team in 1992. It bored everyone else I knew but I liked watching the USA crush the competition.

I watched The House Bunny and the best part of the movie was looking at Anna Faris with almost nothing on. No, the best part was Emma Stone, the cute girl from Zombieland and Superbad. She has a natural guffawness aw shucks quality about her. And speaking of house bunnies....

When is someone going to make a good Hugh Hefner biopic. The guy practically copyrighted sex. Where would my childhood have been without the naked women of Playboy? Hugh is a Great American Success Story along the lines of Horation Alger.




Can't wait until Iron Man 2 is released. Five weeks away. What is the deal with Pepper Potts in partial armor in this pic? I'm so glad Mickey Rourke is back making movies....I've been wanting to get the Neil Young Archives but its getting really lousy customer reviews on Amazon....Good for Chelsea Handler for dissing Jesse James' tatooed Nazi stripper....Right now I'm watching Step Brothers. Pretty funny. I watched Semi-Pro this morning. Will Ferrell + the 70's = Funny!


I like the pic of Marilyn Monroe in shorts. Check her out in The Seven Year Itch if you get a chance, and I suggest you wait for a hot summer night to watch it. It will enhance the mood.

OK that's it.

Splendid Isolation

I wanna live all alone in the desert
I wanna be like Georgia O'Keefe
I wanna live on the Upper East side
And never go down in the street


Warren Zevon - Splendid Isolation


In the fall of 1989 I was going through one of those introspective what-am-I-gonna-do-with-my-life stages. I had spent the summer before on a mindless adventure, sleeping out every night by my neighbor's pond (some might call it a lake), drinking beer, listening to Springsteen, and generally acting a fool. This didn't quite curb or cure me from the dead calm in my life. In other words, I wasn't moving forward. I had started waiting tables at ChiChi's (a venture that was my boss's idea) after moving out from the kitchen, and I came and went however I could because I couldn't drive. I felt rudderless, just adrift on the sea of my life, and it was beginning to affect me.

One night, when I was over at my friend Robin's apartment, she insisted we watch Pink Floyd's The Wall. I had never seen The Wall before, despite its midnight showing at muliple theaters every Friday and Saturday night for years (I always thought it was a movie for stoners and I didn't want any part of that). I was struck by how isolated Pink was. To recap, Pink was a young boy in England when the war was going on. He suffered the air raid sirens and the shelling and, worse of all, the loss of his father. At school, the teacher mocks the young, self-conscious boy when he finds Pink's notebook of poems. "The boy fancies himself a poet!" At home, his mother becomes overprotective, leading Pink to break out when he becomes a rock star, indulging in drugs and sex. Pink marries but is pushed over the edge when his wife cheats on him. All of these episodes become bricks in the wall and soon no one can get through to him. He has become isolated from human contact.



A month after watching and thinking about Pink and his wall, I watched Taxi Driver. If you ever think you are screwed up, if you ever think you got things bad, watch Taxi Driver. Everyone is normal compared to Travis. Travis Bickle, the taxi driver (of course - Robert De Niro), becomes so far removed from reality that it becomes frightening. He could be anyone you pass on the street. If it's true that the only normal people are the ones you don't know well, then this is that movie. Travis doesn't know how to relate to people, despite living and working in New York City, despite his interaction every day with hundreds of people, and despite his desperate attempts. He tries to flirt with the girl at the candy counter at the X-rated movie theater. He goes on a date with a pretty secretary, only to be shut down when he takes her to the same theater to watch a movie. "This is what couples do," he tells her. When she refuses to see him again, we see the potential violence within him. Little by little, after repeated rejections, Travis becomes a guy who paces around his apartment swearing at no one, and blankly staring at his own reflection in the television. Like Pink, Travis breaks out from his repression, and finally takes action. Pink trashes a hotel room and (SPOILER ALERT!) Travis kills about four people.

I think these two films make good companion pieces to one another. They are both good character studies of human isolation and of feeling loneliness despite being surrounded by people. Or maybe I just like to be alone too much. My friend Dana teases me because I want to live in a fortified compound in the mountains. The last time she teased me we were in a crowded bar and I had to ask her, "Are you talking to me?"