Saturday, June 18, 2016

Steven Spielberg and the Hispanics (A Very Short Story)

I read an article earlier today that said Steven Spielberg could be remaking West Side Story, the musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set in the clash between gangs in New York City in the 1950s. Notable to the story and music is the Puerto Rican heritage of the Sharks (one of the gangs, if this is your first time here on Earth). 

This was my initial reaction, which I shared on Factbook (now with anotations):
This seems a bit far-fetched to me. Where would Spielberg ever find a(n) Hispanic actor? He's been making movies over 40 years and hasn't found one yet (actually there may have been a Mexican in Jurassic Park--probably someone who died in the first 20 minutes).1
But I figure he will just adapt the story to make it about a group of white teens from Earth and a rival group of white teens from planet Abercrombius 7 (can you identify one of the movie's marketing partners?). Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning2 will play the parents of the main white teen (the one from Earth, that is).
Djimon Honsou will play Agent Krup'k. On the Golden Globes red carpet Melissa Rivers will ask him how he and Heidi have managed to have such a successful marriage.3
1 Five Hispanic actors (note: I am using "actor" in a non-gendered form here) have appeared in a featured or leading role in a Steven Spielberg movie: Rick Gonzalez and Yul Vazquez in War of the Worlds; Diego Luna in The Terminal; Martin Sheen in Catch Me If You Can (yes, Sheen counts);
Miguel Sandoval in Jurassic Park (I don't think he dies in the first 20 minutes). While he has 56 directing credits on IMDB, I decided to focus only on theatrical releases for which he was the sole director, to give him a pass on films based on historical events, and thought it fair not to include The Color PurpleThe Adventures of Tin Tin and War Horse. The leaves 19 films.

There is at least one Hispanic actor in 4 of 19 movies (21%), while Hispanics are only 17% of the US population. Ergo Spielberg is a friend to the Hispanics! Viva Spielberg!

2 Because Spielberg often takes more than a decade to get around to a project. At 22 years old today, this allows a reasonable amount of time to pair Fanning with Tom Cruise (53) before she disappears off the face of the earth (age 40). As a white male, Cruise will be eternally eligible to play someone's dad. Viva Hollywood!

3 Djimon Honsou, who has worked with Spielberg in the past, has been confused with singer Seal in the past, most notably by Joan Rivers on the red carpet for the Oscars the year of Amistad's nominations. Seal is no longer married to Heidi Klum. Melissa Rivers is no more observant than her mother.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Is (The) Ladders (The) Worst?


The site is which I am intentionally intentionally NOT linking to (I'm linking to my blog instead because, fuck them). But they refer to themselves as Ladders with no article. That violates one of the fundamental laws of branding (something about how energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system). But that's not actually important.

Here's what is important: they charge for use of their services. They charge both hiring companies and prospective candidates. They initially only charged prospective candidates, rationalizing that their vetting of the listings, all with salaries of at least $100,000, was worth the fee.

I assume.

I mean, fuck, who has time to figure out what bullshit someone said years ago.

I'm in the middle of a job search and I am disgusted with what's available in terms of search tools, with how much fucking SPAM I've been getting after signing up on the state's job search board (or a job search board that appears to be endorsed by the state of Oregon) and how little regard I'm given as a candidate. For fuck's sake if I upload a resume AND THEN paste everything that's in the resume into each of the specific boxes in the fucking web form only to discover that.... well... nothing, really. If you're lucky you get an acknowledgement that you've uploaded a resume and applied for a position. And maybe in 6 months you'll get notification that you have not been hired.

So it's awesome that (The) Ladders are so value-additive that they charge both hiring companies and applicants.

And you know it's money well spent when you look at articles like "Where To Post Your Resume Online" (no link because, again, fuck them).

Despite the fact that they're able to justify a subscription model because they curate the listings displayed at their site, and, I presume because the subscription model yields a "higher class" of idiot applicants. Yet they seem to advocate for just posting the fuck out of your resume (an anti-curation approach).
Burdan believes distributing your resume is a numbers game : The more people who see your resume, the better your chances of connecting with the right opportunity. 
“There is no bad place to post,” he said, and job seekers shouldn’t restrict themselves (unless you need to keep your job search quiet ).
There are plenty of bad places to post your resume: your xtube user profile; the comments section of John Ashcroft singing "Let the Eagle Soar" on youtube; the middle of a Wikileaks dump; MY xtube user profile; the virtual guest book for your uncle's funeral. I'm not going to recommend where you should post your resume, but since I'm not charging you, that seems fair.

They have a resume reviewer on staff (below). I wonder if that reviewer knows the difference between discrete and discreet.
Click to embiggen

Ugly Betty=awesome, just not current
The article mentions the Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters as a resource but cites the 2009-2010 edition which is totally LOL because that's when Ugly Betty went off the air. 

Remember that, Ugly Betty? Those ponchos; those hijinks.

Oh and the resource changed its name to Select Recruiters.

And also the resource went out of business.

But aside from that, really useful advice.

The rest of the comments are sweet and probably a good indication of how well Ladders curates its job listings. In short, they're the worst.

"... they once said the same to me"

Baby the Stars Shine Bright turns 30 this summer. It's a long-time favorite of mine, but I'll admit it shows its age. I'm happy that I was there early enough to experience their maturation in real time because discovering this after Amplified Heart would have made it tough to appreciate.

For People Expressing Concern

About me: you probably should be.


Quote via Robyn Hitchcock (allegedly)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Repressed Sexuality To The Rescue

49 people were killed; another 50+ were injured; and hundreds of customers, employees, their families and neighbors of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in what is, to date, the largest mass shooting in US history.

The perpetrator might be a terrorist, an Islamic extremist, an acolyte of Daesh, but really he's not. He's a man who struggled so hard to fight feelings for other men (sexual feelings, to be clear) that he blocked them with hate. His discomfort with his true nature seemed to manifest itself in a myriad of ways in his life but I'm not going to bother with the details.

This could have happened in a gay bar anywhere in the country: Allure in Cedar Rapids; Mirabar in Providence; Club Icon in Kenosha; or Wrangler in Denver.

I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.

And that it doesn't happen more often.

It didn't have to be an Islamic extremist. It could just as easily have been a Southern Baptist or a Mormon or a reformed Jew (although probably not that). Or a Marine, a member of a football team or, you know, a Republican.

Actually, Marines are probably pretty easy going about it at this point. And I have hope for football players.

Is there a difference between the shooter and Rick Santorum or Larry Craig? Probably. But it's a difference of degrees, not of situation.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Long Drive, 20 Years Ago

As we were coordinating his trip to Dallas for the summer, I pointed out to Clark that it was 20 years ago this month we had our first big emotional goodbye: my move from Dallas to Portland. Despite all the emotion and angst in saying goodbye to him a few weeks ago, it seemed appropriately optimistic to talk about how really awful the next big emotional goodbye will be, in June 2036.

Those of you who know how my life choices contribute to sometimes tenuous health might find the idea of me surviving 20 years to be laughable. But consider this: how else will I truly regret the poor planning I made for "retirement"? Exactly.

The drive from Dallas to Portland is 2112 miles if you go to Denver via Oklahoma City. Normally I would write this as "about 2100 miles" except palindrome seems to be a thing today (what with it being 6/11/16 [using an American date format] and a friend's email announcing the birth of his son, Otto), so it's 2112.

Why Oklahoma City? Who can say. No, wait, that's not (entirely) correct! I remember now that I used this route to maximize the number of new states I would check off my list. In addition to Kansas I took a detour a bit north through a sliver of Nebraska, checking that off my list. That 2112 number is totally wrong. Whatev.

I stayed with Sonya (and Barry) in Denver. Sonya has been a recurring part of my hijinks for nearly 30 years. From the 3 a.m. collect call to gloat about West Virginia to my first Paul Weller concert; a cryptic map, a bad birthday, a vague sense of dread about boomeranging back not by choice.

When I saw her last month she was worried that Archie's barking would wake up the neighborhood. He didn't even get off the couch when I came through the front door.

Four pieces of music map to my trek. I listened to a whole lot more during the drive, 4 songs over 30+ hours of driving would suck. And I definitely hit long stretches where the FM spectrum offered up 2 or 3 signals at most. I had some tapes.

The first is associated with my decision to leave Dallas. In retrospect, this seems like such a no-brainer, but at the time, I struggled a bit. My trepidation about moving farther from Atlanta, "home" at the time, was assuaged a bit when Randall died. I got to spend a week with him near the end. It felt necessary at the time, but I'm not sure I accomplished anything by being there; hopefully it brought a bit of peace to Gracie.

I'd actually embraced living in the hotness of Dallas after spending 3 days of successive 24-hour record-setting snowfall during my long weekend at the Sundance Film Festival (another hijink with Sonya!). Up at some insanely early hour to walk to a 7:30 a.m. screening and dressed in non-winter weather attire (blue jeans, a cotton sweater), I fell in a deep snowdrift and trugged to the movie with snow up the legs of my jeans and the arms of my sweater and coat. When back in Dallas I saw White Squall and the court scenes, set in the south with moss hanging from big old oak trees made me appreciate the mild afternoon drive back to my apartment. It was probably in the 50s. It was February. So long as I had air conditioning and remembered to park in the shade from March through November, Dallas wasn't such a bad place.

Rosanne Cash released 10 Song Demo in April, around the time I was juggling time with Randall and interviews for the job that would move me to Portland. The album continued many of the themes and musical style of Interiors and The Wheel. Her collection of essays, Bodies of Water, falls into this period as well. In addition to her divorce, a new husband and son, a move from Nashville to New York City, and a move away from mainstream country music, Cash also left the music label she called home for her entire career up to that point.
That was the summer that followed the spring
The sad anniversary of a thousand old things
I was letting them go
When I read the lyric "that was the summer that followed the spring" I hear Chris Wilson's voice saying "oh, it was THAT summer was it" (since all summers follow springs, she hasn't really narrowed things down at all). Chris is not really that petty when it comes to analyzing lyrics, but his is the voice I hear when any sort of clumsy writing or rhetorical misfire presents itself. He's lucky that way.

Hopefully this video will endure any sweeps for intellectual property. I paired the song with an image of the St. John's bridge, feeling the bridge's aesthetic would pair with the Eiffel Towers. And you can't see much of the bridge here. Oh well. Also Colette, who wrote Gigi, spelled her name with one L.

It's decision time again
The next 2 songs are from albums that are companions, of sorts. Both bands released their debut albums within weeks of each other in 1984, and both have been among my very favorite acts since I first heard them. 
Everything but the Girl released their ninth album, Walking Wounded, in May of 96: less than 2 years after Amplified Heart. It continued a fairly prolific output; with rarely 2 years between albums (despite Ben Watt's considerable health issues in the early 90s). The album fully embraced an electronic musical style introduced with Amplified Heart, a bit of a journey from their early years working with horns and acoustic guitars. 

The Blue Nile released Peace at Last in June of 96, only their third album (their first 2 albums contained a mere 14 songs in total). I think I lucked into getting a copy early, but it's possible that making a tape of their CD was literally one of the last things I did in my Dallas apartment. The album eschewed the heavy synthesizer sound of the first two albums, focusing heavily on acoustic guitar.  Yang to EBTG's yin. 

While they're not technically symmetrical, I love how these shifts balance (Libra!) each other, at least in my musical ledger. Had these albums not been in super heavy rotation together during my drive, the shifts might have gone unnoticed. Hell, you hadn't even considered it, I bet.
And love alone won't be your saviour
And pretty soon you'll find it's over
And time has left you there
We could be singing
Could be together
Tomorrow morning
I wanted everything for a little while
Why shouldn't I?
I wanted to know what it was like

That Everything but the Girl would be the first concert I saw in Portland—the opening night of their North American tour—was a good omen. That the concert was outdoors, putting Mark Eitzel on in the daylight, singing love songs about heroin addicts with sun-starved Oregonians playing hacky sack despite his gloom, makes it one of my favorite things of ever, EVER.

The last of these songs may not even have been relevant during my actual drive. But it's the first song I associate with arriving in Portland on that sunny Father's Day afternoon. My gas cap lost in eastern Oregon, making me cynical about the whole "can't pump your own gas" thing, and the hot afternoon making me concerned that the "rains all the time" reputation of the city was a myth. While I got some cool and overcast weather between my arrival and the 4th of July, I didn't know there would be 4 months of sunshine before the rains came back.

It's also a great reminder of how much can change in a short time.

I'm pretty sure I called my dad from a phone booth at some point that afternoon, letting him know I arrived safely and wishing him a happy Father's Day, but I can't recall if I was in Portland yet. I may have been in the gorge, taking a break from the drive. I'm pretty sure I used a calling card. 
We sit outside and argue all night long
About a god we've never seen
But never fails to side with me

Song of the Day: "Map of My Heart"

Because I'm totally ADD, I can't just focus on writing a single blog post when I can also write other blog posts and do some songs of the day for later days.

I'm efficient like that.

Song: "Map of My Heart"
Artist: Mary Chapin Carpenter