Saturday, May 7, 2016

Song of the Day: "Ain't That Something"

I don't think I've shared any of the new music from Trashcan Sinatras that I've gotten by supporting them via PledgeMusic (at some point I got the music before it was generally available for download, but I'm late to posting this so, whatevs). 

Wild Pendulum, their sixth album, is marvelous and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes good, lyrical pop music with wry lyrics. Or for anyone who dislikes bad music. They're on tour so go to a house party or settle for seeing them in concert. If I'm still alive and happen to be in Portland on June 1 you might see me at the show. Or standing outside the venue complaining about how I let a service charge keep me from getting a ticket in a timely manner.

As the song says, "we are definitely doomed."

Song: "Ain't That Something"
Artist: Trashcan Sinatras

Friday, May 6, 2016

Notes on Captain America: Civil War

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG this is a great movie. It's a great comic book movie (possibly one of the best). It's a great action movie. It's a great movie.

Marvel has done a really awesome job of casting its characters. I was a bit dismissive of their decision to cast Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Michael Douglas (who is not in this movie) as Captain America, Black Widow and Henry Pym, respectively. And I was wrong, and wrong, and wrong. Evans not only fits the suit, he fills the suit, bringing real earnestness, and something akin to gravitas, to the role. I thought Johansson was too young for the role (considering she was a double agent with at least a decade of espionage experience and was 26 in her first appearance) and Douglas too old (I didn't realize they modified the character to be a peer of Howard Stark, so in that sense having someone who is nearly 108 play the part makes sense).

But while I was wrong about doubting those three, I was giddy when they cast Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner and Paul Rudd as Falcon, Hawkeye and Ant-Man, respectively. James Spader as Ultron possibly elicited an audible "YES!" from my desk in an otherwise pretty quiet work environment. Paul Bettany as Vision got an affirmative nod.

Since I didn't know Elizabeth Olsen (I'm only now realizing she's sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley), Sebastian Stan or the character of Winter Solider; and since I dislike Scarlet Witch (editorially the character is a mess, being portrayed inconsistently as a mutant, a witch under the tutelage of Agatha Harkness and ??? (a purveyor of something called "chaos magic" which seems to be less about magic and more about probabilities but none of the things typically displayed in the comics or on screen here map to any kind of altered probabilities...  I mean, I get that she's supposed to be this latently omnipowerful character, but for fuck's sake write out what that means in specific terms and give that memo to every Avengers writer moving forward).

Robert Downey Jr. is not someone I would have thought of to play Tony Stark, but that was obviously brilliant and he's still great for the character. Ditto Don Cheadle for Rhodey, in part because Terrance Howard seemed great but then Cheadle is at least as good an actor as Howard (but, and I can't stress this enough, they do not look anything alike--Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhaal look more alike than Howard and Cheadle).

Holy shit, why is this about casting? [Note: One of the trailers preceding the movie was for Doctor Strange featuring a decidedly non-Asian Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One who, whether actually Asian or not (Marvel's position is the Ancient One is a moniker, like the Pope or World's Greatest Dad), has long been portrayed as an Asian male. So it's definitely whitewashing a role (although kudos to Marvel for trying to see if girls know how to act). But dammit, it's Tilda ducking Swinton, and she seems fucking perfect in her scenes of the trailer. Marvel really needs to step up and cast an Asian as Iron Fist. Unless they can get Emma Stone for the role (she is super versatile, for a girl).]

Oh, right, because throughout the movie there's some actual acting going on, and it's really good. Alfre Woodard, Anthony Mackie, Terrance Don Cheadle, Chris Evans and very possibly Scarlett Johansson do great work (it's also possible that I'm just smitten by the smokey voice and the way she... stands). Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Emily VanCamp, Hope Davis, Gene Farber and Frank Grillo do great work.

And OMG Paul Rudd does great work. Everyone gets a laugh at some point, Downey Jr. gets plenty, Mackie too, but Rudd is the winner. Rudd makes the humor seem so effortless, and it's such an important aspect of the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man. As no one in particular once said "Dying is easy. Playing a super hero is easy. Comedy is hard."

There are a lot of other folks in the movie and any omission of a name shouldn't be inferred as them doing bad work. Only Elizabeth Olsen nears those waters, one "moose and squirrel" mention away from sounding like a caricature. Okay, maybe Sebastian Stan, I'm not sure where the character's stoicism ends and limited range begins (again, neither of them was bad and William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Jeremy Renner, Marisa Tomei, probably a few others, were fine).

The movie efficiently updates a "civil war" playing out with hundreds of heroes on each side to use most of the established MCU heroes (Thor and Hulk sit this one out, as do a myriad of female characters never introduced; and strangely the dead guy is not yet undead). The direction is taught and co-directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo (they are brothers, what a coincidence!) continue to delight me (as they did with Winter Solider and, if I haven't mentioned it yet in this point OMFG Winter Solider is an awful superhero name... I'm not sure if it's worse than Hour Man, still considering). The pacing is pretty rigorous with little time wasted on seemingly endless origin scenes, leaving lots of time for serious ass kicking.



And when I reached a point of satiety yet it seemed I was heading for another big course, it was a different finale than I expected. The McGuffin Foie Gras served perfectly.

Crap, spoilers?

The visual effects are top notch, especially a young Tony Stark and fight choreography and acrobatics that are dizzying and amazing.

So, yeah, a pretty good movie.

Song of the Day: "Dark Necessities"

The Getaway will be the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 11th studio album. I couldn't remember if I heard I'm With You, their 2011 album and then I remembered that yeah, I had ("Brendan's Death Song" from that album was my #1 single of 2011).

Song: "Dark Necessities"
Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Song of the Day: "Bored to Death"

Happy to see Blink 182 reunited and releasing California, their seventh studio* album. Also surprised to see that they reunited back in 2009 so apparently there's some recent-ish stuff I should look for at the library.

Song: "Bored to Death"
Artist: Blink 182

* The distinction of a studio album is meant to differentiate it from a live album, a greatest hits collection or other amalgam of material not recorded with the intention of releasing it together. That's not even a good distinction. Basically it's not a live album or singles collection/greatest hits both of which typically pad out the traditional 7 album contract that record labels issue.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seven Simple Rules For Being A Decent Human

  • One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  • The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  • One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  • The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forego your own.
  • Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  • People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  • Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.
Consider these statements. I did not write them. Neither did you (probably). They were written by a religion (which in a pre-Pope Francis era I didn't think possible). Which religion? Not the Quakers.

Reaching Back To The Oaths

Jon Ritzheimer, Taking Oaths and Kicking Ass
Remember back last winter, when we were all oath crazy and freedom-loving patriots were loving freedom while doing an armed siege of a Federal building in southeastern Oregon? Of course you do. Well I wrote a thing then but I wrote it on the Factbook and didn't put it here which is what I should have done on account of I hate Factbook.

So I'm posting it here now. Ritzheimer was deemed a flight risk and denied bail after returning home.

  • Step 1: take an oath
  • Step 2: take a few minutes to make a video telling everybody how you took that oath and how that oath stands for something, compelling you to...
  • Step 3: take a 2-day drive to another state where you, armed but snack-less, and dozens of other oath takeners illegally but patriotically occupy a Federal building
  • Step 4: take a moment to ask for snacks and complain about the dildos while reminding the rest of the world that you were forced to do this because of all the tyranny--hope no one pays attention to any of the details--then, when you sense the tyrants might be growing tired of your seiging the federal building...
  • Step 5: take a trip home--you said you were willing to die for this cause, not that you were willing to get arrested (that's for losers)
  • Step 6: take a break from being a total patriot when you ask to be released on bail--so what if some are calling you a "potentially murderous flight risk"... you have kids... won't somebody think of the children?

Song of the Day: "Burn the Witch"

Radiohead has released new music.

And there was much rejoicing.

Song: "Burn the Witch"
Artist: Radiohead

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Song of the Day: "Fisher King"

Even though I haven't fully processed the song, either musically or lyrically, the dude picked a movie sufficiently well loved by me to get an automatic SotD posting from me. Other movies he might have chosen (list not exhaustive): Field of Dreams; White Squall; Sailor in the Wild; Network; Star Booty.

The album, by Matt Bennett (although he totally looks like he should be an Ethan or Seth or Zach) is “a concept record about divorce, inspired by the films of Robin Williams", which, let's be honest, could be as much fun as "let me read you my poems Robbie and the 11th grade pregnancy scare" but is probably better than "watch this Shelley Winters movie with me."

He also cites Lou Reed's Berlin as an influence which totally opens the door for me to include a gratuitous beefcake picture of Joe Dallesandro, but I'm just going to link to one instead.


Song: "Fisher King"
Artist: Matt Bennett

Monday, May 2, 2016

Song of the Day: "It Ain't My Fault"

When entering the competitive milieu known as Bro Country one needs to remember a few basic rules:

  • Don't talk about Fight Club
  • Do sing about drinking beer
  • Do sing about imbibbing at least one other intoxicant
  • Sing about being up and/or out all night
    • A night you can't fully remember
    • A night where people, possibly you, were being rowdy and/or cutting loose, you know, in a way "the man" (Obama) won't let you anymore because of all the Obama-ing he does over your life
  • Was there a sads? Sing about it! (Broken heart; fisticuffs; federal agents invade your compound; they took your job; they took your guns Buns of Steel DVD; Chris Stapleton didn't win Album of the Year at the Grammys; they want to put some black chick on the $20 bill instead of just making a $12 bill for her; OMG DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO YOUR TRUCK?!!!!!!!!)
  • Devote at least 2 lines in the song to your truck (it's how you got to the party or why you need to drink or where you're keeping the keg and/or ice chest)
  • UPDATE: Where are you? Whether it's the farm, the honkytonk, the parking lot before or after the game and/or concert, the lake, the Donald Trump rally, the river, the holler, the Walmart, your baby momma's mom's backyard, the documentary film festival, the weekly all-hands staff meeting for the marketing group, Family Law court, the woods by the parking lot at the river where lonely men sometimes wander, or the symposium on renewable energy options and how to keep them down, set the stage for us. Which trailer park? Be specific!  

Obviously with a name like Brothers Osborne (or Bro Oz) and a song like this, you've got a band that wants to live in the Bro Country space; but their failure to mention their truck is a huge fail.

How do we know you didn't just take an Uber to the party bro?

We don't. 

I thought I knew you.

Hey, do you have any more of that Adderall?

And since there's a sequel coming out, feel free to talk about Fight Club all you want.

Song: "It Ain't My Fault" (Blame Obama)
Artist: Brothers Osborne