Monday, June 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Gotta Praise"

What's PD Heaton of the Beautiful South and the Housemartins up to these days? Glad you asked...



Song: "I Gotta Praise"
Artost: Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Sunrise, Sunset"

From Fiddler on the Roof.

Song of the Day: "Fire"

When last we heard from Beth Ditto she was saying "Google me bitches" while Portland police officers were arresting her for drunk and disorderly conduct. Since then her band (or the band with whom she was affiliated), The Gossip, broke up and she created a fashion line for plus-sized women (and drag queens) who want that morning-after look the night before.

Frankly it's weird that she and I aren't besties...



Song: "Fire"
Artist: Beth Ditto

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Nothing"

From A Chorus Line.

Song of the Day: "White Man's World"

Holy shit, Jason Isbell! This, exactly this, instead of Lee Greenwood or Toby Keith. Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson.



Song: "White Man's World"
Artist: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Few Things About Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Electric Boogaloo

I often enthuse wildly about Marvel's casting when I write about the MCU movies. Kurt Russell as Ego, yes. We also see Karen Gillan shine. And Michael Rooker really shine. And Chris Platt with his shirt off.

I give the movie a B because giving it a B- seems really negative of me. There's a lot of fun to be had in the movie, but there is a whole boatload of stupid in there too.  So a B seems fair.

Seeing Sean Gunn in GotG movies is as consistently amusing/confusing to me as seeing Cobie Smulders in Avengers movies. At some point Ego was explaining his time on Earth to Peter Quill and said something about "that's how I met your mother" which, I'm sorry, that had to be intentional. Good for them.

Oh, Sean Gunn's brother is the writer/director of GotG.

Stan Lee and the Watchers: yes!

The wacky jump special effects, no.

Once upon a time, like 25+ years ago, Becky, Chris and I were discussing the term a ghey/homersexual/lezbean should call his/her significant other. It was a time when husband/wife weren't appropriate because they weren't that then. And boyfriend/girlfriend, it was decided, were too juvenile to use for a significant, life-partner-y person. And I don't think we had the term life partner in our vocabulary back then. It was one a classic Chris Wilson moment when he decided that a committed life-long partner should be a Hasselhoff. Which makes the fact that someone says something about someone else being a third person's Hasselhoff that much more profound and/or funny. James Gunn had been listening in on our decades old conversation.

The soundtrack to the first GotG was fantastic and won a Grammy. The soundtrack to this movie is fantastic and may win another Grammy. However... 2 songs that are used exceptionally well in the movie are undermined by other pop culture entities getting to them first: Cat Stevens's "Father and Son" and Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain". I'm struggling to recall where "Father and Son" recently crossed my path and made me sad as hell; "The Chain" was used beautifully in the "Walter Taffet" episode of The Americans (which is a current TV show that I am actually current on).

I'm glad they include Mantis and will have Adam Warlock in future films. I really really really think Moondragon needs to be in the mix. For fuck's sake, she's fought Thanos a bunch. Ugh.

Marvel must atone for that costume
Also, if you're immortal, but you can be killed, you're not actually immortal. Just saying. That a Celestial is taken down, in part, via sidearms really undermines the power he has (or should have based on established mythology). This was a minor annoyance in Wonder Woman as well (and will be especially annoying is Ares comes back in a future movie). It's possible to rationalize Quill vs. Ego as a battle between 2 equals with the assistance from the rest of the Guardians tipping the battle in his favor, but I've come up with that retroactively.

Also also, for fuck's sake, can we please significantly reduce the amount of shooting portrayed on film since no one seems to be able to hit anyone with their various weapons. Nebula strafing Gamora... it's like she went to Stormtrooper shooting school.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: movies can imagine a myriad of creatures and atmospheres, but a tree is a tree is a tree in every movie. Their leaves are always green and they have brown bark. Movie tress are actually less diverse than actual trees.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Close Every Door"

From Dreamcoat (which is short for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat).

Song of the Day: "Just for Tonight"

Phoebe Hunt manages to sound both innocent and world-wise at the same time. Not an easy feat.



Song: "Just for Tonight"
Artist: Phoebe Hunt

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Song of the Day: "Forces of Decay"

This morning I thought to look for some new country artists and the results of that thought lead to the following observations:
  • White people: people decry contemporary country music as lacking authenticity or quality or charm or whatever. "Why is this considered country music?" It's not the first time a generation's music has been regarded poorly by older people. But what's been clear to me for a while is that country music is more than just a radio format, it's a way of life that marketers need to exploit and also only country music fans love their mamas. That's just a fact. "Hispanics and Blacks don't have faith or care about their families or even cook meals at home. Only white Real Americans value those things."
  • "Why is this considered country music?" very often has this answer: "because there are no black people involved with this song." I know, typical Jew York City elite liberal seeing racism where obviously none exists. "Note Charley Pride. Note Mickey Guyton. Note Darius Rucker. There has always been a black person in country music."--Bristol Herald Courier  Look closely at that sentence. There has always been a black person (singular) in country music. Just the one. "Try as we might we can't keep all of them out."
  • The clearest example of this not particularly veiled racism comes via the reception of these 2 performances: Sugarland covering "Irreplaceable" with Beyonce at the American Music Awards and the Dixie Chicks covering "Daddy Lessons" with Beyonce at the Country Music Awards. "You're confusing our continued pattern of finding everything black people do as objectionable even when we have no problem when white people do it, with racism. It's not racist, it's just a coincidence."
Which is a super circuitous way of getting to the band Rogue + Jaye (note the stylized use of "+" in the name) who Rolling Stone describes as sounding like "Belle and Sebastian's 'Sleep the Clock Around' recorded not in Glasgow but Laurel Canyon; if Sara Watkins made a duets album with Ben Gibbard, produced by Josh Ritter" to which I will also add "and they're both white*."



Song: "Forces of Decay"
Artist: Rogue + Jaye

* Note: while both Rogue and Jaye of Rogue + Jaye are white, I do not mean to suggest that they are in any way part of the subtle and not-so subtle racism that permeates every aspect of the country music lifestyle.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Nobody"

From Bandstand.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Song of the Day: "Swish Swish"

I'm really late on this Katy Perry/Nicki Minaj single. It's apparently a whole thing between someone I kinda like, songwriting-wise, and Perry. Minaj continues her zig-zagging between favorable and unfavorable points of esteem with me. This is not one of her high points.

I'm only sharing the song because the proto-90s club beat that kicks in at 1:00 is the fucking bomb!



Song: "Swish Swish"
Artist: Katy Perry/Nicki Minaj

Musical Theater Therapy: "Face to Face"

From War Paint; regularly therapy here.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Song of the Day: "Drawn"

De La Soul's And the Anonymous Nobody album was borne of improv sessions, many of which included collaborators like this track featuring Swedish EDM band Little Dragon. It's rich and lovely, just like me.



Song: "Drawn"
Artist: De La Soul/Little Dragon

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For Your Consideration: Master of None


Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Aziz Ansari
Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Angela Bassett, "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series: "The Thief"
Outstanding Editing for a Single-Camera Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"

The first season of Master of None impressed me with its unabashedly romantic nature. I'd mistakenly assumed Ansari would provide a snarky or cynical voice. I was unprepared for how much more the show embraces and accomplishes in its second season.

Season 2 brings the sentimentality again, adds in an array of homages to indie and art films, tells stories of and champions people rarely represented by mainstream media, and showcases Ansari's genuine talent as an actor.

There is a confidence that permeates the season, and there's richness to be found in silence, in dialogue in Italian or sign language, and in the performances by actors who are rarely seen in network shows and would be lucky to have a single line of dialogue (I think you can watch any 8 episodes of Sex and the City, Friends, Will and Grace, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier without being distracted by a person of color saying too much).

And as with the first season, actors over the age of 60 get to do and say things that go beyond rapping granny (although the grandmother in "Thanksgiving" did play in the "granny who swears" trope).

The season eschews a consistent formula/format and that free form nature makes every episode more, I'm not sure what word I want here: vibrant, special, unique... any of those.

With last year's Emmy awards, the show's 4 nominations (including Outstanding Comedy Series) were rewarding. That it won for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series was a delight. I'm expecting more from ATAS this year, and I think the show's critical acclaim supports that expectation. Don't let me down...

Musical Theater Therapy: "Drive It Like You Stole It"

from the movie Sing Street.

Song of the Day: "Heart Break"

The title track from Lady Antebellum's forthcoming album.



Song: "Heart Break"
Artist: Lady Antebellum

Friday, June 9, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Ring of Keys"

From the musical Fun Home.

Disappointing David Brooks, Part 408

David is disappointed

How are we disappointing David Brooks this week?

So many ways... but mostly he has to put on his "I told you so" rimless glasses so he can point out that, duh, nothing that came out during Comey's testimony represents an impeachable offense (no lying under oath in a civil lawsuit here) which may seem obvious to you since, if there was a smoking gun, things probably would be much further along. And if the smoking gun don't fit (or isn't present at that particular hearing), it probably doesn't even exist, which is fine because Trump himself is such a disappointment to Brooks that his future implosion will probably incur something like an exasperated orgasm.

Also Donald Trump lies. You probably didn't know that which is why Brooks is reduced to saying it so many times. Please pay more attention.

Also also, Donald Trump has this weird need for validation and attention (which may or may not be the same thing). You probably haven't noticed that yet either, so really, pay at least a modicum of attention please.

We live in an dignified society with an orderly, organized government so please be more like that polite, professional James Comey.

Summary of the David Brooks Hierarchy of Allegiance

Song of the Day: "The One 2"

!!! (pronounced "chk chk chk" and otherwise nearly impossible to do traditional database searches on) are back with a sweet track and video. Also they moved to Portland to be closer to me. Sigh.



Song: "The One 2"
Artist: !!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Song of the Day: "Blood Under My Belt"

The Drums are coming in concert. If I go will it live up to the homoerotic promise that I imagine based on their videos?



Song: "Blood Under My Belt"
Artist: The Drums

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Song of the Day: "Trick"

Matthew Sweet returns with a kickstarted album.



Song: "Trick"
Artist: Matthew Sweet

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Venn Screams U-S-A U-S-A

Those screams are a cry for help.

Wonderful Woman Is More Like It

I am very pleased with Wonder Woman, the long-awaited theatrical release bringing a bit of equity to the DC trinity. It's 1 out of 15 movies (since the 1978 Superman), but 1 out of 7 if you only go back to 2005 (14%). Not bad when you consider that the in-theater audience for superhero movies is usually only 40% female, because girls, amirite?

Wonder Woman is a character that suffers from weak editorial vision at DC (see also: Superman). DC tried rebooting her many times. They tried her as a blonde. They tried her in flats.


But they always stay true to her core character traits: bullet-stopping bracelets, a golden lariat that compels truth, and attire inappropriate for someone who intends to fight in any capacity. It's strange that girls don't embrace a culture that treats them with such dignity. I'm sure men wouldn't mention it if the situation was reversed.


Wow, this picture is straight out of a dream I had in 1982. And 1983 through 2005 and a few more times since then. This one is also pretty good.

Where was I? Oh, right, good movie. I am impressed with the direction from Patty Jenkins, whose other feature, Monster, I did not see. I compared a few scenes favorably with some scenes from Steven Spielberg (granted, I don't really like his movies) and wondered why she's been hiding her light under a bushel for the last 13 or 14 years. When I mentioned that to my mom she replied that it likely wasn't by choice. She made an Oscar-winning indie film that earned $60 million on a budget of $8 million, let's not do anything crazy. Who does she think she is?

And it's not like Patty did nothing between 2003 and 2017. She had a kid. And she directed the episode of Arrested Development with the show's second highest ratings of ever, ever; and two episodes of Entourage, so let's stop talking about her.

Gal Gadot, who was in some of the $1.5 billion (with a b) Fast and Furious franchise movies (or so I am told), is great in the role. She beat out Chippy Chapman, Toots Magee and Bimbo Billingsley for the coveted part of third fiddle in the Justice League movies movie. Chris Pine is perfectly adequate as Lionel Waggoner. Other people are in the cast and are pretty solid.

The story is solid with a slightly predictable plot twist (imagine if they'd gone a different way). I'm happy they used Ares and not Cheetah or Giganta. I'm sure Cheetah is coming.

If the movie has a flaw, it's that the urgency of the mission wasn't SO urgent that there couldn't be a shopping montage (chick flicks, amirite). If the movie has 2 flaws it's that and the score which seems to vary between combat, pensively combative and combatitively pensive.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was worth the effort to leave the house and deal with others. If Chris Pine appears in any future Wonder Woman or Wonder Woman-related movies, I will rescind this enthusiasm.

Song of the Day: "Dive"

In looking for a video I could embed, Google refused to believe I wanted "St. Etienne Dive" and kept returning links related to their live concert schedule.



Song: "Dive"
Artist: St. Etienne

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Tour De France"

From the musical Amélie.

When You Gotta Go...

CASH Music is a non-profit that's working to create and provide open source tools and information for musicians, along with advocacy on behalf of musicians with respect to issues that affect them in the digital era, like net neutrality and covfefe. Sorry, it's late here; I'm punchy.

Years ago I donated money, a Kickstarter-type thing, to help CASH Music get going. I reached out to them, intending to volunteer writing documentation for their tools. Or I meant to but didn't. Either way I never heard back from them, so it's entirely on them that I didn't do that.

An occasional email from CM would show up reminding me of their existence which would last a few hours, probably.

I think I got to pick a thank you from the whatever level I donated at. Let's say the Marvin Gaye level. It's very possible there was a t-shirt and that the size options meant that Clark got that shirt. Which is fine.

At some point I started following a dude on Twitter with the too cool to be real name of Jesse Von Doom PhD. Dr. Von Doom. I know there were a few times over the course of Twitter life when I'd remember that he was with CM and different times when I'd remember that he is in Portland. So he's a neighbor.

Blah blah blah, he's leaving his role as Executive Director of CM (remaining on its board) and the whole reason I'm even writing this post is that I love his post announcing his departure and I want to have it available to shamelessly steal aspects of it for my later use.

The full post is here. I'm copying the content without formatting below.

Well… gotta go.
The shortest possible version: I resigned my role as Executive Director of CASH Music, Maggie’s in charge, and I plan to vigorously support her from the board of the organization.
It was October 2007. The Red Sox were playing Cleveland in the ALCS. Joe Castiglione was telling me all about it from the shitty AM radio in my friend Jack’s car. We were driving back home to Rhode Island from New York where CMJ had just wrapped. I saw the best Xiu Xiu show I’ve ever seen and sang the worst karaoke you could imagine. I also met Maggie Vail for the first time in person on that trip, but it’s not time for that part of the story yet.
Jack had this story about a friend who would drive up to a toll booth, pay the fare, then say “well…gotta go” as he drove off.
It’s funnier when he tells it.
But here we are at a toll booth so we decide it’s time for us to be cool. Neither of us had ever really been cool so we thought we’d give it a try. Jack pays and says “well…” I finish it with “gotta go.”
Jack missed the gear. The engine revved. We didn’t go anywhere. Makes a better story in retrospect, and it’s a good reminder that sometimes shit just doesn’t go the way you had hoped.
That trip was the first I made as part of CASH Music, only a few months into a ten year journey. This is my last post as Executive Director of CASH. This isn’t the ending I had hoped for, but it’s been a great fucking story.
Here’s the real talk part: it’s a bad time to be a small nonprofit. Revenue is down. Giving is gone. Focus is nonexistent. CASH doesn’t have the budget to support a full staff and I’ve taken on a lot of personal debt to subsidize my work on CASH Music. I’m not in a position to continue, and to be blunt: I carry a lot of intellectual baggage after ten years. A change in leadership is for the best of the organization.
Leaving CASH Music is bittersweet but I’m nothing but thrilled to say that Maggie will take the Executive Director position and make this organization I love so dearly her own. She has a vision for where CASH needs to go, a plan to revitalize the organization, and my full support.
I’ll still work as a volunteer to help guide the CASH Music platform development and I’ve taken a seat on the board. I’m not gone, but it’s time for me to play a support role for Maggie and I ask that you do the same. The mission of finding open and sustainable career options for artists is vital now more than ever. It’s getting dark here in America, and artists hold the light that can lead us to better times. The idea of CASH Music more important than you realize.
A few things before I go:
  • If you work in the music industry: stop being so fucking stupid. Stop letting startups fool you over and over again, building the longest daisy chain of middlemen the world has ever seen. Collaborate on open technology and use your shared strength to compete.
  • I mean I get it: fuck this president. But while you’re out there working to #resist you need to work for a world you want to live in. Don’t just look to fight against the things that make you sad. Look to support the things that bring you joy.
  • Buy music.
  • Buy music from musicians.
  • Buy music from musicians at their shows.
  • Buy music from musicians at their shows and on their websites.
  • Thank the people who inspire you. They don’t hear it as much as you’d think and there’s no shortage of assholes tearing them down.
  • Fight for a fair, free, neutral, and inclusive Internet.
  • Eat more vegetables.
I’m not sure how to end this other than to say, simply, thank you.


Dolly is how he ended the post. And Carly Simon is how I'm ending this post about his post.

Song of the Day: "Still Summer"

Matt Pond says that after the tour for Matt Pond PA's 12th album, Still Summer, concludes, Matt Pond PA will be no more.

It's weird when the dude's name is the band's name, right?

Still, sounds like he/they're going out on a high note based on this track.



Song: "Still Summer"
Artist: Matt Pond PA

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Recit de Cassard"

From The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, part of Musical Theater Therapy's Paris in Spring Thing.

A Quick Guide to Mento*

I've been watching Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law on Hulu for the last few hours. If I haven't enthused about the show directly to you I will do so now: the show is a brilliantly imagined look at the post-superhero life of Birdman (no relation to this), now an attorney in the Hanna-Barbera shared continuity, wherein Birdman (Harvey to friends) represents many characters in a variety of exploits.


By the way, Harvey Birdman, HB; Hanna-Barbera, HB... thoughts?

The show features great voice work from Gary Cole, Steven Colbert, Peter MacNichol and John Michael Higgins as Mentok. I love Higgins as Mentok, especially the character-supplied sound effects. It inspires me to add my own sound effects to everyday tasks, a thing I need to avoid doing if I ever hope to gain real employment ever again.



* The asterisk in this post's title is meant to indicate a wildcard character and not a footnote, even though I'm posting a footnote for it.

The Unimaginable Fuck Revisited

A few days later and the events from last Friday that began with an Islamophobic and anti-immigrant rant directed at 2 teenage girls (TEENAGE GIRLS for fuck's sake) by a white supremacist twice their age, and which ended with 2 men dead, one critically injured, and (thankfully) the attacker arrested are now more frustrating than confusing.

This article breaks down the events.
Passengers Best, Namkai-Mache and a third man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, were trying to deescalate the tense situation, intervene and get Christian off the train, she said. Macy said she didn't know where the two teenage girls who were the target of his racist rants were seated. She said it appeared as if the men who were stabbed "were trying to be a barrier'' between Christian and the girls.
I take solace knowing that the headline might have read "commuters watch in horror as 2 girls killed."

The more I learn about the 3 men who stood between the attacker and the girls, the more my heart beams at their deed and their character. It's as though their backstories, each with Portland flair, had been written after the attack: an award winning poet with a history of addressing Islamophobia, a city employee who was a coworker to friends of mine, and a Reed College graduate with an inexplicable name whose last words bring tears to my eyes when I consider them.
"Tell everyone on this train I love them."--Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche
I can imagine my last words as a variation: "tell everyone on this train to go fuck themselves."

He was 23 years old and his final words are those of a man at one with serenity.

In the chaos of the attack, several people stepped up to help the victims heroes or to ensure that the attacker wouldn't get away. Giving comfort to the dying is such a considerate thoughtful magnanimous act. First aid, yes, I would have had the presence of mind to do what I could with first aid, and/or pursuing the attacker (not capturing him, mind you, and likely to be too winded after 1/4 of a block to keep up). I am considerate, but I tend toward the... not sure if pragmatic or utilitarian is the right word... I'll go with utilitarian because that means practical but not necessarily attractive.

Adding to my to-do list: be more mindful about being more mindful.

Also: figure out some last words that will make everyone think I'm great.

Mayor Ted Wheeler continues a string of bad decisions by requesting that the Feds rescind permits for an alt-right a white supremacist rally scheduled for this weekend. Why he couldn't just ask Portland Police to handle that rally the same way they handle peaceful liberal gatherings is beyond me.

The Oregon ACLU now gets to fight for the alt-right's right to party. They have so much other shit to deal with right now that they shouldn't have to address this too.


Song of the Day: "The Ultimate Jedi Who Wastes All the Other Jedi and Eats Their Bones"

When you're a Jedi you're a Jedi all the way, from your first light saber to that time you're cut in half after vowing to come back more powerful than ever only that never really happened, did it.



Song: "The Ultimate Jedi Who Wastes All the Other Jedi and Eats Their Bones"
Artist: Mountain Goats

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Song of the Day: "LIFE, LIFE"

Ryuichi Sakamoto released his first solo album in 8 years recently. One of the few tracks with vocals reunites him with David Sylvian. It lacks the ethereal brilliance of their earlier collaborations, possibly because the lyrics are a poem by Russian poet Arseny Tarkovsky (although it stands to reason that if it's a poem, it's by a poet; that he's Russian might have been clear from the name).

I was hoping for more of a "Madonna when she's produced by William Orbit" kind of thing.



Song: "LIFE, LIFE"
Artist: Ryuichi Sakamoto/David Sylvian

Monday, May 29, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "New York, New York"

From On the Town...

Song of the Day: "Anymore"

I know I should appreciate Goldfrapp more than I do, but she/they are burdened by this vague association of the moody electronic sound with some European auto racing video game that I hallucinate.



Song: "Anymore"
Artist: Goldfrapp

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Maria"

A song I'd always thought was called "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" but it's not... from The Sound of Music
.


Bonus: peer feedback for Maria K

Song of the Day: "Tired as Fuck"

Who can say why YouTube recommended this track by The Staves to me: probably my eager ear. 

The band is composed of 3 sisters who "are vocal in challenging tropes about sensitive wilderness-bound artists that dominate modern folk music culture." 

Obviously.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

What the Unimaginable Fuck

Today is the one-year anniversary of the day I took Clark to the airport to move back to Dallas ("temporarily"--that was the euphemism we used, to make it easier to manage; I planned to pick him up Labor Day weekend, which would have been the 11-year anniversary of his first visit to Portland). At 8:30 p.m. he collapsed in the kitchen. I almost cancelled his flight.

At 5 a.m. Sunday morning I got a message from his sister-in-law that he was in worse shape than they expected. The message seemed vaguely accusatory but whatever. I've been treated far worse by some of his family. If you don't listen to someone when they explain how shitty things are, you're likely to be really surprised.

I went through something similar, talking to him during a drive between my mom's and my dad's earlier that spring. Some pretty frank talk about how the cancer was expected to play out for him. I knew it, or at least I suspected most of it. But unadorned with optimism or hope, it had a weight to it.

Despite our plans, we were rushing when we got to the airport. Portland closes one of its 2 security checkpoints around 10 p.m. They close the one close to the gate for the PDX to DFW red eye, so we'd get a wheel chair (sometimes with an official person, but in my time of impatience I just grabbed one and pushed him). The airline would issue me a pass to accompany him to the gate, but my TSA Pre didn't help me or him.

The last time through they acted like no one had ever traveled with a catheter before. Fuckers.

Once through we had to hurry back the width of the airport and then head down to the A terminals. He was concerned I was going to have a coronary as we rushed. They were boarding when we got to the gate. Early boarding for people who need extra time, and he needed extra time.

There was no time to dwell on goodbye. That may have saved us both from a big scene. Plus it was only temporary.

So I'm wistful today, considering Portland as this place of myth. A place that made me so happy and then made Clark so happy, but that now feels like a place that's tainted. Within the liberal mecca of Portland in the Bizarro universe of President Trump, 3 men were stabbed, 2 fatally, on their Friday afternoon commute home. They were coming to the defense of 2 women, assumed to be of Middle Eastern descent, whom the (alleged) attacker was verbally attacking.
"Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here!" 
He said he doesn’t like Muslims because they’re criminals.

Okay, first, they weren't even on the bus. Dumbass mother fucker.

Second, yeah, they probably do pay taxes here. Not that they need to pay taxes to avoid being attacked on the bus train.

And finally, to prove how much they are criminals, he killed 2 and wounded a third. Well done dude.

Fuck.

I don't even know what to do with this shit. I'm not helping with this, but I wanted to remember Clark's departure while I think of it. The attack thing, fuck, I don't know how to deal with this shit.

Here's something that always made me and Clark laugh. Let's laugh for a minute...

Musical Theater Therapy Redux: "Belle"

The song being parodied by "Bonjour Girl" from Beauty and the Beast...

Musical Theater Therapy: "Bonjour Girl"

A parody from Beauty and the Beast...

Song of the Day: "Pay the Man"


F the Peeps (Foster the People) take us into the season of "summer music."



Song: "Pay the Man'
Artist: Foster the People

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Song of the Day: "Fool's Errand"

I'm not sure I can identify the presence (or absence) of Josh "Father John Misty" Tillman in/out of Fleet Foxes. Can you?



Song: "Fool's Errand"
Artist: Fleet Foxes

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Song of the Day: "Mourning Sound"

Grizzly Bear return with Painted Ruins, their first album in 5 years. This track has a rewarding bass and percussion which may or may not be true for other songs on the album. I guess I'll have to listen to the whole thing to know...



Song: "Mourning Sound"
Artist: Grizzly Bear

Monday, May 22, 2017

Song of the Day: "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness"

Something from The Nationals' next album, which isn't due until September. Today, in May, that seems like forever from now. But in September I bet those months will have flown by (jk, I won't be alive then).

I'm digging this sound for them. It's not as morose (I like the morose from them) but still feels weighty.



Song: "The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness"
Artist: The National

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Meanwhile Back at Orb Headquarters

Pepsi: Change the game.


Revisiting the Inauguration

As you well know, the media are nothing but scurrilous liars hell bent on turning President Donald J. Trump's perfectly reasonable words and actions into artificially induced insanity. And also "fake news"-ing it all over the fucking place like a bunch of fake newsers. No, fake newsies. Trademark pending.

So I revisited the photographic so-called evidence of attendance for both Barack HUSSEIN Obama's 2009 inauguration (the day before they came for all the guns and non-collectible gold) and National Day of Patriotic Devotion 2017 aka the day Donald Trump had no rain and began making America great (again).

The media, in one of those coordinated moves that really defy explanation, all suggested that perhaps attendance in 2017 was but a small fraction of that in 2009 (most of whom were paid to attend by George Soros). Poppycock.
"This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong."--White House Press Secretary at the time, Sean Spicer, providing the first of what we all must agree were serious warning signs
And that's true: most people were only considering visible humans in attendance in Washington DC. The tens of thousands of invisible people cheering in New Jersey (and elsewhere, probably) were never even included in the tally.

I realized there's also an issue where people are naively comparing a human circa 2009 with a human circa 2017, and failing to account for Moore's Law and whatever axiom or postulate covers storage capacity instead of processor speed.


In 2009 the maximum capacity for a microSD card was 256 GB. In 2017 it's 2 TB (hypothetically). Each person in 2017 is the equivalent of 7.812 people in 2009. 

Once you factor that in, it totally makes sense.

Musical Theater Therapy: "You Will Be Found"

From Dear Evan Hansen. More therapy here every day.

Song of the Day: "Bad Liar"

Selena Gomez, who is not Demi Lovato, seems to be going for a Regina Spektor sound on this new single. I'm cool with that.



Song; "Bad Liar"
Artist: Selena Gomez

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Therapy"

Taking its name from our daily sessions, a song from Tick, Tick... Boom!

Song of the Day: "Painting"



I'm always on the lookout for new musical talent. Who can say what compelled me to listen to Lewis Del Mar, but here we are...



Song: "Painting"
Artist: Lewis Del Mar

Friday, May 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "Answer My Text"

Answer my text, you dick.

Finally someone's saying what I'm really thinking.



Song: "Answer My Text"
Artist: PWR BTTM

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "The Museum Song"

From Barnum.

Song of the Day: "Each Time You Fall in Love"

Cigarettes After Sex comes to my attention via a friend from the great white north. Their ethereal pop sound is delighting the fuck out of me.



Song: "Each Time You Fall in Love"
Artist: Cigarettes After Sex

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "I'd Give My Life For You"

From Miss Saigon. Regular therapy sessions here.

Song of the Day: "Cross the Street"

Mark Mulcahy, of The Miracle Legion and Polaris, had to contend with a studio fire, an auto accident, and the measles while making this album.

Well played 2016.



Song: "Cross the Street"
Artist: Mark Mulcahy

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nothing Succeeds Like Success Metrics

"Nothing succeeds like success"--Sir Arthur Helps, 1868

"No, fuck you, nothing succeeds like Success Metrics(TM)"--me, 2017

Portland. As you well know, I think this place is awesome. But there are many ways it is also not awesome. Many of those ways are related to local governance. The city's use of neighborhood associations, based on San Francisco's structure, adopted back in the 1970s and meant to provide a touch point between the city and its residents might be outdated*.

The city's public school system, Portland Public Schools, has a board elected at large but serving as a representative from one of 7 districts across the city. Each board member represents the city at large; this design is meant to ensure that the board includes white people from a variety of upscale neighborhoods.

It's laudable to want this geographic distribution, but it's aggravating that people from outside my district (district 4) get to pick the white person (it's not just white guys) from my district who sits on the board. Yes, I get to do the same for theirs but still, it feels wrong (and feelings trump thinking when they're my feelings).

Which is a long way of discussing the campaign mailer I received on behalf of a candidate (my ballot was returned a week ago and I've already gotten a text message confirming that it's been received). Among the ideas espoused by the candidate is something called "success metrics."

Finally someone is talking about metrics. Schools have long ignored the importance of metrics and, even worse, they typically don't care about success. By embracing success and metrics in the form of success metrics, they would be bringing Portland Public Schools into the 19th century.

I'm really sad that they never adopted my patented (patent pending) G.R.A.D.E. system of success metrics:

    G: Gradated
    R: Representation of
    A: Academic
    D: Development
    E: Experienced

By issuing G.R.A.D.E., schools will be able to monitor a student's success and communicate that to his/her parents. The system costs a mere $1.77 per student per year, with a $1,200 per school set-up charge. Please make checks payable to me.

* It uses a pre-internet approach where geographic proximity makes communication faster and easier. The city could do more with existing resources if a single office used social and traditional media to communicate and enhanced that with resources to ensure that minority groups, like the city's Cambodian or Russian communities, were being served. But I'm not going to say anything about that since, as a former Chair of a neighborhood association, I don't want it to become a whole thing.

For Your Consideration: Ted Danson

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy, The Good Place

Just when you think you've seen Ted Danson's range (from A to B*), BOOM, here comes Ted in a brilliant and unexpected performance. He warmly rounds out the thankless straight man aspect with a kooky ebullience that I, well, did not expect. (Editorially speaking I am saying that I did not expect him to give an unexpected performance... I really should change one of those to "surprise" but instead I'm pointing out this flaw to y'all... welcome to my head.)

I am a bit torn between pushing Danson as lead vs. supporting (as I know most Emmy voters read my blog, such influence can be daunting) but ultimately I decided on lead. There are other aspects of the show that are also Emmy worthy (art direction and costumes, for example) but those are secure in their own merits and the other performers are on their own for securing their nominations. Sorry Kristen. But it would be a shame if Danson was overlooked in a sea of Donald Glover, Jeffrey Tambor, Anthony Anderson, William H. Macy types. You know the ones.







* He also did The Onion Field and CSI: Somewhere.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Find Your Grail"

From Spamalot

Song of the Day: "Second One to Know"

Chris Stapleton rocking out on his follow up to whatever the name of that last album was called.



Song: "Second One to Know"
Artist: Chris Stapleton

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Could I Leave You?"

Sondheim from Follies via Putting it Together and the iconic Carol Burnett.

Song of the Day: "The Spell"

I'm not going to say anything about Afghan Whigs so I don't piss Becky off...



Song: "The Spell"
Artist: Afghan Whigs

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Song of the Day: "Love Yourself"

Mary J. Blige tells me to love myself.

Done and done.

Also Kanye was there. (True story.)

Oh and the New York Times has my back on the awesomeness of The London Sessions.



Song: "Love Yourself"
Artist: Mary J. Blige/Kanye West

Monday, May 8, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "I Am Changing"

Featuring Amber Riley from her award-winning performance in Dreamgirls.

Mine's The White One: The Least You Can Do

As a white guy, I sleep soundly every night knowing that I am always in the right. I don't get followed around in stores, except by salespeople on commission, or pulled over by cops for no reason.

Nor do I wonder whether someone might have drugged my cocktail or could be following me to my car like some girls do. Certainly not at my current weight.

But it's possible that as a white guy I don't perceive the amount of privilege that helps keep white guys in power despite, you know, our clear history of fucking shit up. Or maybe it's true that every other type of person is just worse. Maybe both are true. Regardless, this article about a potential blind spot for the whites when they are friends with people of color, is worth reading if only to be dismissive of afterward. (Pfff, who would ever do such a thing?!!!)
"I can hear your responses in my head, because they’re what I think too: but doesn’t that mean I’ll feel nervous to talk to my friend because I’ll be nervous of fucking it up? Yes. Your friend of color is already doing that because fucking up in a racist society means they could literally be killed. You can be a little nervous and uncomfortable and think before you speak more for your friend, it’s literally the least you can do."--One Strike, You're Out: Fucking It Up With Your Friend Of Color
Of course, most White Christian Americans, which is to say most Christian Americans, which is to say most Americans, feel that Christians suffer discrimination more than any other religion. So where's the warnings to all them liberal elite Muslim-loving Jew-loving liberals about not making real Americans sad?

Didn't think so.

Thanks Obama.

The clear lesson is don't be friends with people who aren't of the same race as you. Problem solved.

Song of the Day: "Want You Back"

I feel like this counts as Haim's sophomore outing, but I've been wrong in the past. Fingers crossed they avoid a disappointing release.



Song: "Want You Back"
Artist: Haim

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Turn It Off"

From the smash hit Book of Mormon.

For Your Consideration: Dr. Ken

Suzy Nakamura, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy "Allison Finds a Lump"
Jonathon Slavin, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy "Ken Learns Korean" & "Allison's Thanksgiving Meltdown"
Mike Sikowitz Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series "Allison's Thanksgiving Meltdown"

In its first season, Dr. Ken was an unlikely comfort show for me. It was generally panned by critics, but I always enjoyed its family-friendly humor the same way I enjoy Reba or The Nanny. I was a bit surprised it was renewed for a second season, but I was more surprised by the quality of the second season. The show's managed to touch on topics ranging from breast cancer and homelessness to depression, Marfan Syndrome and cultural identity.

It's like a modern day Kate & Allie except, you know, funny.

It's also one of a few sitcoms on ABC that doesn't use a narrator or the mockumentary format as a storytelling crutch. Fresh Off the Boat dropped its narrator after season 1, but The Real O'Neals, Blackish, The Middle, Modern Family, these are some of ABC's mainstay shows (and The Real O'Neals). And when I look across some of the highest profile sitcoms on the other networks (Big Bang Theory, The Great Indoors, Making History, Two Broke Girls, Superstore... fucking Superstore and The Great Indoors, these are shit shows... Mom, fucking Mom is horrible) I believe that the best 6 episodes of Dr. Ken are as good as the best 6 episodes from any other network comedy from this season.

The decision to increase Nakamura's presence in the show was smart and unfolds nicely with her joining the team at Ken's work place. She effectively replaces Kim Simes, a ditzy nurse or something, who I swear came directly from an episode of Becker. Nakamura's got fine comic timing and delivery, and she would have been wasted otherwise. Whether she was given more screen time with a plan to feature her in some great episodes, or if the great episodes emerged after giving her more screen time probably shouldn't matter. The end result is great.

In this era of peak television, I doubt Emmy voters will give the show a fair shake, but I am confident that an objective viewer would find more merit in Dr. Ken than in Mom. Fucking Mom.

Sadly, stupidly, ABC doesn't have a lot of clips for me to embed here, but I've made one for myself of Jonathan Slavin's work from "Allison's Thanksgiving Meltdown" (Nakamura is excellent in this episode, but her breast cancer scare episode has Emmy bait written all over it, so I'm recommending the more orthodox selection between the 2 episodes).

video

Song of the Day: "Fun"

Blondie are still rocking 40 years into their career. At first blush this is too over produced (note: "too over produced" is redundant, but "over produced" doesn't seem to work on its own) for them.

Hopefully I'll warm to it.

Or I'll dismiss with the idea that I have to like it.



Song: "Fun"
Artist: Blondie

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Disasters, Protections and the Perceived Superiority of Simplicity

Yesterday the House of Representatives took the first substantial step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare. They did this after 7 years of the masturbatory act of voting more than 60 times (as of Groundhog Day of 2016) to repeal it. They did this after complaining that the vote in favor of Obamacare didn't allow ample time to read the 2,000 page bill yet voted without ample time to read the 700 page bill that repeals and replaces the plan.

Song of the Day: "My Soul's Got Wings"

Imagine my reaction when I learned that Carlene Carter is a collaborator on the new John Mellencamp album.

What did you come up with? Was it delight?



Song: "My Soul's Got Wings"
Artist: John Mellencamp/Carlene Carter

Song of the Day: "I'm A Lady"

Meghan Trainor with an original song from Smurfs: The Lost Village in which all the lady Smurfs (but one) have been hiding, probably from Rapey Smurf.



Song: "I'm A Lady"
Artist: Meghan Trainor

For Your Consideration: BoJack Horseman

"Stop The Presses" Outstanding Animated Program

The show has been a surprising source of, hmm, not inspiration, not serenity, maybe it's just a version of depression and darkness I can relate to. Or maybe it's just a funny cartoon with talking animals. Regardless, it's teh aweSUM.

For the show's second and third seasons, it's used season-long story arcs (although as completely as season 3 builds on season 2, a case could be made for those being a single story which I doubt is finished; there's a strong editorial vision for the show and that pays off considerably) but used a variety of narrative formats, which commands attention (or at least it commands more of my attention). The show also edges us along, humor-wise, for some jokes, recognizing that the pay-off is that much more intense the longer you wait. They've demonstrated this in the past and as much point it out this episode.

"Stop the Presses" aligns everything for the season's payoffs that begin with episode 9, Todd & Emily, Todd & Mr. Peanut Butter, Mr. Peanut Butter & Diane, Character Actress Margot Martindale, others. Everybody's invited and Candace Bergin as "The Closer" provides a foil to BoJack's angst and ire, teasing out BoJack's take on the various moving parts of the season.

While "Fish Out Of Water" has earned more critical acclaim (here and here as examples), it was "Stop the Presses" that won the Writers Guild Award for Animation (beating "Fish" and episodes of The Simpsons, Elena of Avalon and Star Wars Rebels). Clearly the Writers Guild votes are teh smartz.

Quote of the Day: Nobody

“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”--Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R, ID)
Congressman Labrador made this statement at a town hall meeting he took with constituents in Lewiston, Idaho. Apropos of nothing he is a member of the Freedom Caucus.

According to the Washington Post, the audience's boos drowned him out.

Am I confounding access to health care with health insurance? No, fuck you, that's what this is about contextually. Got a different perspective? Post it on your blog and link to that in comments.

Fun fact: according to a 2009 Harvard University study, an estimated 45,000 people die every year due to lack of health insurance. It was 44,789; I rounded up.

Guns don't kill people, but lack of insurance sure does.

Musical Theater Therapy: "The McHugh Medley"

From Sugar Babies.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Put the Blame on Me"

Today's Musical Theater Therapy recalls a time, nearly 30 years ago, when life was simpler. When all it took to have a rapturous evening out was to have the 24-hour alternative/gay nightclub (as opposed to the 24-hour mainstream gay dance club or the 24-hour hook-up dance club and tambourine emporium) nearly to yourselves (you and your peeps, things were simpler and social), with a DJ who either read the room perfectly, or was being incredibly self-indulgent but in a way that happened to be perfect for you.
Just found this summary of Weekends: Weekends Atlanta, GA 1982-198?. Atlanta's most happening club of the 80s. Gave birth to RuPaul, Now Explosion (Larry Tee, Lahoma VanZandt), Lady Bunny. Great mix of people. On a strip on Peachtree Street that included TV Dinners.
It's universal rite of passage even today.
Savage is not a musical; it's a song cycle/video album from Eurythmics and director Sophie Muller. Eurythmics had a rich legacy of creating visual dimensions for their work, but Savage was the first long-form effort. Muller cut her teeth with this project and would go on to direct iconic videos from Annie Lennox as a solo artist, No Doubt, Garbage, Maroon 5, PJ Harvey, and Blur (among many others). It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Long Form Video but lost to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation: 1814.
Savage is a personal favorite of mine but hard to evangelize (see also: Counting Crows' Recovering the Satellites*). It's a precursor to Annie Lennox's Diva video album (which won Lennox and Muller a Grammy). And it's the soundtrack to one of my favorite nights ever, largely because I had no idea it was going to be so perfect.
That DJ played at least 2/3 of the songs from Savage that night... at least while we were there. Maybe he got through all of it.
Today's song "Put the Blame on Me"; today's lesson: don't expect things, you might end up delighted.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Song of the Day: "Kill for Candy"

First, there's a twinge of DEVO in the song... cool.

Second, I'd like to believe that Candy is someone's name. It probably is.

Oh, this is No Doubt minus Gwen plus dude from AFI (and not DEVO).



Song: "Kill for Candy"
Artist: Dreamcar

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Song of the Day: "I'm Not Very Nice"

It's possible that this song won a (Daytime) Emmy this weekend. The list of winners includes a song called "She's Not Very Nice" from 7D, the show this song is from (7D=7 dwarfs, from what I gather).

Either way, this song is suitably tween-friendly punk, so here we go.



Song: "I'm Not Very Nice"
Artist: The 7D

Musical Theater Therapy: "Santa Fe"

From Newsies. Daily therapy sessions here.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Surrender"

From Tomorrow Never Dies... it's not a musical, but the songs of the James Bond films are a pretty solid bunch. More therapy here.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flashback Song: "Some Jingle Jangle Morning (When I'm Straight)"

I was too freaked out to deal with it all
And too fucked up to care
I stood right there and watched it fall apart
This song is almost old enough to rent a car from all the major car rental places.

Fuck.

Musical Theater Therapy: "Music of the Night"

From Phantom (of the Opera)... more therapy here.

IGTOFTS: Mixed Messages

While I am super ready to start working regularly somewhere, the job I have lined up is not a job I want (aside from it being a job).

Also, fuck, read your goddamn user prompts.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Song of the Day: "Lust for Life"

Lana Del Taco Rey getting awfully close to Cocteau Twins-ish-ness.



Song: "Lust for Life"
Artist: Lana Del Rey/The Weeknd

Musical Theater Therapy: "Me and the Sky"

From the new Broadway musical Come From Away. Regular therapy sessions here.