Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Stuck in My Head 11.25.2014 - The Promised Land


The Promised Land
by Bruce Springsteen

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert
I pick up my money and head back into town
Driving cross the Waynesboro county line
I got the radio on and I'm just killing time
Working all day in my daddy's garage
Driving all night, chasing some mirage
Pretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge.

The dogs on main street howl,
'cause they understand,
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,
And I believe in a promised land.

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start

The dogs on main street howl,
'cause they understand,
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,
And I believe in a promised land.

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

The dogs on main street howl,
'cause they understand,
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man,
And I believe in a promised land
I believe in a promised land...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top Ten Films So Far in 2014

We still have a good month and a half of award-bait films coming, but...I was sitting here thinking about what I've seen so far this year. I've grown weary of continual negativity. I feel as if no one wants to talk about what they loved, but only harp, over and over again, upon what they didn't like.

Here, in not particular order (except for Calvary, which is utterly brilliant, and I have no doubt will top my end-of-year list), are the ones that immediately jump to mind. The ones that moved me the most, that made me laugh the most, thrilled me the most, and made me think the most:





Calvary
Life Itself
Locke
The Trip to Italy
Birdman
Interstellar
Alan Partridge: Alpha Pappa
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Gone Girl

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Few Things That I Have to Say

I hate politics, and I hate dipping my toe into the political. I have things I believe are right, and things I believe are wrong, and I tend not to talk about them, because I have friends on both sides of the line. I feel like a moderate, and that seems to piss everyone off.

Which, to me, just points out how damaged our country is. How obtuse and unwavering, how ignorant of any experience outside our own.

But, this MotherJones article brought up a lot of feelings in me. Conflicted feelings.

This picture has nothing to actually do with MotherJones' story
My grandmother lived in Broken Bow.
Two of my grandmothers died there.
My father is from there.
My parents lived there for a while.
I have a brother who lives there.
I have a sister who lives there.
I have many friends from there.
I lived there for a few years.

I understand this town, this area, to some extent. When I see people sharing this article, and venting their outrage, I cannot help but have some of the same feelings that I have when some people from the deep south (or, yes, Nebraska) talk about the "evils" of homosexuality. In essence, it's people with no actual frame of reference passing judgement on each other. Which really shouldn't surprise me.

First off, let's makes this clear...

I think this was a wrong policy move by the school board. In the light of recent events, I feel like connecting firearms with school is....foolish. I find it kind of unbelievable that no one in the community or on the school board questioned this. In a world where kids are shooting each other in schools, can't you see how bad this would look to the world? Even five minutes of reflection, or one person playing devil's advocate, might've shed some light in the cracks of judgement here. Especially in light of recent events.

But, here's the thing, the MotherJones article is inflammatory, inaccurate, and has no interest in actually investigating what is going on here. Only in getting people who would already be outraged more outraged. There are lapses of basic reporting that make it clear that not a single person at MotherJones was interested in actual journalism.

First example, knowing that people would just look at the picture, and not really read the article, they find the most inflammatory, and offensive in context picture from Shutterstock - a stock image website. It is false, it is a lie designed to manipulate you. Couple that, with the "article" that consists of reading the World-Herald article (which, for accuracy's sake is NOT the "local paper." Omaha is 230 miles from Broken Bow, and a simple Mapquest search would've cleared that up), and copy and pasting the most damning quotes. Inae Oh has no earthly idea what she is writing about, only that she is OUTRAGED, and wants to make the hillbillies in Nebraska look like Militia nutballs.

Many people I know, good and decent people with very real and very rational fears and problems with firearms, share this article without going any deeper. Many more are just seeing the picture and drawing a conclusion. Which is exactly what they want. MotherJones, Ms. Oh, you are not making the world better, you are not offering solutions, you are political muckrakers, you are Drudge, you are O'Riley, you are Limbaugh, and your only goal is to increase strife, argument and discord. To block understanding and mediation....because it makes you money.

Let's take a look at the World-Herald article.

Oh, look an ACTUAL example of the pictures in question
I'm immediately struck by this: "Amanda Gailey, director of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, said that as long as the photographs are being taken off campus and the photo sessions are supervised, it’s not a big concern for the group." Why? Because here we have a gun-control advocate who can actually relate to the community, and has some understanding of what is going on.

Guns are NOT being brought to school. Photos are NOT being taken on campus with firearms. It's a decision to allow privately-purchased senior photos, which are being taken anyway, to be published in the yearbook. Hunters and sports shooters pose with the tools of their chosen hobby, much in the way a football or basketball player might pose with a jersey or ball, or how I posed with movie posters and piles of my comics. Senior photos are an expression of who you are, and for a lot of kids in Broken Bow, hunting and shooting are big parts of their life.

Again, quoting the World-Herald; "Hunting, skeet and trap are popular in the community and firearms are common, (Broken Bow Schools Superintendent Mark) Sievering said. Broken Bow’s annual Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt draws hunters and celebrities from all over the country, he said." Yes, one of the major cultural events in Broken Bow is the One-Box Pheasant Hunt, which has drawn celebrities, politicians, even a significant number of astronauts to this tiny town of 3,500 people.

You do not have to agree with those community standards, but you also probably don't live there. I would posit that 99% of kids who would want a picture like this treat their guns with extreme respect and care. They've taken safety training, they've grown up using them, and they understand their deadly implications as much as any gun control advocate.

I do not feel this was a particularly good policy decision, and I strongly hope it will be reconsidered. There are so many questions and incredibly valid concerns about the proliferation of firearms in our society, and those questions need to be grappled with. That said, I am fundamentally for the idea of some kind of understanding of the context  before one makes judgements. I have been in Broken Bow, I have walked its streets, I know people who live there, I know hunters, I have hunted (granted, very, very little), and I feel I personally understand the difference between the reality, which is a kid who hunts wanting a picture with his 30-06 hunting rifle, and the fantasy narrative that MotherJones is trying to write, of hillbilly gangbangers being welcomed into the school packing heat.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stuck In My Head - 10.24.2014 - Tumbling Dice/Bitch

Always...hands down...my favorite Stones song.


Tumbling Dice
by The Rolling Stones

Women think I'm tasty, but they're always tryin' to waste me
And make me burn the candle right down,
But baby, baby, I don't need no jewels in my crown.
'Cause all you women is low down gamblers,
Cheatin' like I don't know how,
But baby, baby, there's fever in the funk house now. 

This low down bitchin' got my poor feet a itchin',
You know you know the duece is still wild.
 

Baby, I can't stay, you got to roll me
And call me the tumblin' dice.
 

Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry,
Don't you see the time flashin' by.
Honey, got no money,
I'm all sixes and sevens and nines.
Say now, baby, I'm the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
 

But baby, I can't stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin',
Roll me and call me the tumblin' dice.
 

Oh, my, my, my, I'm the lone crap shooter,
Playin' the field ev'ry night.
 

Baby, can't stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin' (dice),
Roll me and call me the tumblin' (Got to roll me.) dice.
Got to roll me. Got to roll me. 


But, I'll admit...this one is a very close second


Bitch
by The Rolling Stones

Feeling so tired, can't understand it
Just had a fortnight's sleep
I'm feeling so tired, Ow! so distracted
Ain't touched a thing all week
I'm feeling drunk, juiced up and sloppy
Ain't touched a drink all night
I'm feeling hungry, can't see the reason
Just ate a horse meat pie
Yeah when you call my name
I salivate like a Pavlov dog
Yeah when you lay me out
My heart is beating louder than a big bass drum, alright
Yeah, you got to mix it child
You got to fix it must be love
It's a bitch
You got to mix it child
You got to fix it but love
It's a bitch, alright
 

Sometimes I'm sexy, move like a stud
Kicking the stall all night
Sometimes I'm so shy, got to be worked on
Don't have no bark or bite, alright
Yeah when you call my name
I salivate like a Pavlov dog
Yeah when you lay me out
My heart is bumpin' louder than a big bass drum, alright
I said hey, yeah I feel alright now
Got to be a...
Hey, I feel alright now
Hey hey hey
Hey hey yeah...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marvel Films to Date

SO the first Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer hit today. The unreasonable praise has started.

It is a good trailer. I want to see this movie. Of course, I wanted to see this movie 6 months ago.

It is not "a game changer," or "brilliant." It's an effective summer blockbuster trailer. Put this in perspective...I think the Secret Life of Walter Mitty trailer was brilliant, and felt like a game changer. The film was pretty much universally panned. That trailer was all kinds of "outside the box" thinking, and, unfortunately, the film couldn't support it. The Age of Ultron trailer is so far inside the box that some of it feels interchangeable with a dozen other trailers (the Hulkbuster armor will be cool to see, but, lets be rational, the introduction shot in this trailer looks like about 40 shots from the Transformers movies). Which is actually a good thing. I am not expecting a reinvention, just another episode.

I also refuse to name James Spader (who I like very much, and will readily admit has a voice that sounds very disturbing coming out of a robot) is "the greatest comic book villain, ever" based on less than two minutes of performance.

I do like the use of "got no strings." It's very creepy and atmospheric.


But it inspired a list:

The Best Marvel Films, to Date, In My Humble Opinion, from worst to best:

10 - Thor: The Dark World
9 - Iron Man 3
8 - Thor
7 - Iron Man 2
6 - The Incredible Hulk
5 - Guardians of the Galaxy
4 - The Avengers 
3 - Captain America: The First Avenger
2 - Iron Man

1 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Joe Walsh: Goddamn National Treasure

Rough times in my head these days.

Made some bad decisions (nothing dangerous, or anything, just...depressing), and I am in a pretty deep funk. Kind of thrashing around trying to find an way to chart a course that makes sense, in the face of being...well...stuck with something I am not happy about.

In. A. Funk.

It's at a time like this, I remember that Joe Walsh is still out there, making music.



Sometimes, people ask me why I like "old music."

It's pretty simple. These guys are real. Even if they cultivated a persona that was a false face at one point, or another, they have grown to a point where they realize there's no point to it anymore.

Usually, these same people are stroking themselves over the David Bowie exhibit at the MCA, too...so, take that as you will.


Hell, I think he sings that better than Henley.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Place on Thorndale Recommends - Grinder Blues

dUg Pinnick has a new side project. Which in and of itself isn't terribly big news, he seems to release a new side project every six months. I have liked most of these, but I really long for more King's X. Of course, with drummer Jerry Gaskill's current heath situation...that may be a long time coming.

Grinder Blues is Pinnick's latest jam, and I am quite impressed. As the title alludes, the emphasis in on blues forms, progressions, and lyrical tropes. Lest anybody think this is some sort of throwback, nostalgia trip, the project does re-evaluate the form through a hard rock, even metallic, lens. It's good stuff, and Pinnick has found good collaborators in drummer Scot Little Bihlman and guitarist Jabo Bihlman, a brother act known for TV work, as I understand it. The trio plays well together, and the spirit is loose, with a solid groove.

Of course, as with most of Pinnick's side projects, I do hear more than a little King's X in it. However, I don't think it's quite as direct and obvious a comparison as from the KXM material earlier this year that paired him with George Lynch (Lynch Mob, ex-Dokken) and Ray Luzier (Korn). Yet, it's not as distinctive as the Pinnick Gales Prigden records with Eric Gales and Thomas Pridgen.

I think , however, that we can be clear that Pinnick enjoys the trio format.

as to if you will like it, the first single, Burn the Bridge  (see the video below), is pretty indicative of the project and the direction. Although my favorite track is probably the last on the album, TX to CA. I'm loving it with only a couple of plays, you might too.