Saturday, March 4, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: The Runaways and Sacagawea

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

The Runaways were the first female punk rockers and its members are, not rock royalty, but definitely rock middle management: Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Michael (The Bangles) Steele all established rock careers (Joan's induction in the Hall of Fame, the same year as Heart, was a great step forward for recognizing rocker chicks).


What can be said about Sacagawea that hasn't already been said? MOST THINGS. When it comes to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, she did most of the work, gets almost none of the credit, and, while it was in progress, they called her Janey. 

She was purchased as a wife by Toussaint Charbonneau when she was 13. When she joined the expedition she was pregnant. And they didn't pay her, they paid Charbonneau. Other than that it was a great gig for Janey.



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "High Ticket Attraction"

NEW New Pornographers (as opposed to old New Pornographers)...



Song: "High Ticket Attraction"
Artist: New Pornographers

Song of the Day: "Feel It Still"

New music from from Alaskans Portugal. The Man.



Song: "Feel It Still"
Artist: Portugal. The Man.

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Kate Bush and Ann Richards

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

Our next rocker is from the art rock milieu. Kate Bush might be the female equivalent to some hybrid of Peter Gabriel and David Gilmour. She might be the most literary songwriter around (as opposed to Vampire Weekend and of Montreal who are all about flexing their SAT vocabulary skills). Based on the audiences (artists like Bjork, Marc Almond, Lily Allen, Gemma Atterton, Boy George, Tracey Thorn and more, possibly Bowie and Madonna) at her Before the Dawn shows in 2014, she's clearly one of the most influential musicians of the last 30 years. Just ask the celebs, they'll tell you

Her albums have all been acclaimed and her songs have been covered by a variety of artists including Pat Benatar, Sinead O'Connor, Maxwell and Willie Nelson. 



Ann Richards is the second woman to be Governor of Texas (the first considered elected outright [the prior female being a proxy for her husband]), a feisty progressive woman leading, well, Texas.

She began her career as a junior high school teacher, later elected to the Travis county Commissioners' Court, then State Treasurer and ultimately Governor.
"…two women in 160 years is about par for the course. But if you give us a chance, we can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels." 
She's probably best known for giving the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention (or possibly for dating Bill Dauterieve on King of the Hill).



* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: Pat Benatar and Hedy Lamarr

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

First stop, the person who absence from the R&R HoF first made me aware of the bullshit: Pat Benatar. She has 4 Grammy awards (all for Rock Female Vocalist [see, "rock"]), 6 platinum albums, 2 gold albums, and 17 Hot 100 singles. She is the female rocker of the early 80s (first runner up: Stevie Nicks; mid 80s is Tina Turner and the late 80s is Bonnie Raitt).



Hedley Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was born in Austria to a Jewish father and a Hungarian mother. The family emigrated to the US on account of the whole Nazi thing.

She was so beautiful that Louis B. Mayer signed her on sight to make movies for his studio.

She was so beautiful that people would literally die when they saw her**.

She was so beautiful that she married and divorced 6 times.

She was so beautiful that she was put in roles playing a beautiful woman and that left her bored... so bored that she designed a guidance system for torpedoes that couldn't be jammed (patented in 1942, take that Nazis).

The guidance system used frequency-hopping, spread spectrum technology (obviously), which is the basis for Bluetooth and WiFi. Hedy Lamarr helped bring cat videos (porn) into your living room wirelessly!!!

She received the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1997. On learning of the award, she said "well, it's about time."

* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

** That might be a bit much, but every biography of her goes to great lengths to extol about her beauty:  "everyone gasped...Lamarr's beauty literally took one's breath away" said someone who saw one of her movies.

Song of the Day: "Green Light"

Fiona Apple Lorde will attempt to avoid an sophomore slump with Melodrama. This track is a great way to start...



Song: "Green Light"
Artist: Lorde

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Song of the Day: "Midnight. Hallelujah."

I hadn't thought of Jonatha Brooke in at least 10 years.



Song: "Midnight. Hallelujah."
Artist: Jonatha Brooke

Monday, February 27, 2017

Song of the Day: "Kid on a Ladder"

It's better than Kid A on a ladder, I think.



Song: "Kid on a Ladder"
Artist: Guided by Voices

First They Came For Nerd Prom

President Donald Trump (he wasn't a billionaire last year at this time but he probably is now) announced that he is not planning to attend the annual White House Correspondents Dinner1. Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders2 explains...

"If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?"
Okay, having grown up in Florida (Miami, so not the South) and Georgia (the South), and spending time in South Carolina (the South), becoming good friends with peeps from Louisiana (the South), living in Texas (not the South3, but lots of people from the South live there), and having former coworkers/friends from Arkansas (the South), I would like to call a foul (or is it a fowl?). I do not believe this is a saying in the South.

I watched 8 or 9 episodes of Nashville, most episodes of Designing Women and several of Evening Shade and that one with Billy Bob Thornton (my hope is that your first thought was that they made a 30 minute sitcom of Sling Blade and that at the end of every hilarious episode, someone had to die [spoiler alert for those who haven't seen Sling Blade the movie] but no, Hearts Afire is what I meant). Oh and Mayberry RFD/Andy Griffith, watched those. And I saw Deliverance and Midnight in the Garden of Good and AWFUL.

That phrase never once came up on Hee-Haw (I checked using the LexisNexis service for country music, LexyNexy™.

This is probably another slip of the tongue like the Bowling Green Massacre or the events in Sweden. That the administration alleging consistent falsification of information or biased coverage by the mainstream media/lamestream media (fake news and also fake news) continues to make shit up slips of the tongue like this is a clear sign that they need to Make America Great Again.

But I keep coming back to the alleged saying from the alleged South: "If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?" I'm gonna say "it depends":
  • Was I going to buy Girl Scout cookies from someone? Do you know how many Glutens are in one box? (So many.) This is a table stakes question: if I wasn't going to ever buy Girl Scout cookies, the egging is meaningless.
  • What is the chronology of the egging and the cooking sale? Is the Girl Scout selling me cookies seconds after egging the house and, thanks to her Stealth and Misdirection badges, she was able to make the sale before I was even aware of the egging? There was no way to use the information about the egging when considering the cookie purchase. They don't just give out badges people.
  • Between the time of the egging and the sale, did the Girl Scout do something like mature, apologize, clean up the mess or otherwise atone for the egging? There are Girl Scout programs for students ranging from Kindergarten to 12th Grade so it's possible this egging villain was aged 5 to 18 years old. Did you know that not everyone aged 5 to 18 years is well-behaved? And not everyone that does something stupid during those years (just the one stupid thing, that's all anyone in that age range ever does) remains not worthy of a cookie purchase. Sometimes you can have a "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" mind set, but in things like cookie sales, nuance is important. 
  • Was the egging actually the Girl Scout putting out a very small house fire, earning her a Fire Safety badge and her Fastball badge? Because this Girl Scout probably saved you a hassle with your home owner's insurance, plus you didn't have to pay your deductible and have your rates jacked up4. If this scenario is true, you better damn well buy a lot of cookies.
Here's an actual saying from the South that I'd like to say to Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "bless your heart." It can't be easy try to figure out all them words and ideas and such. If you like your contempt for the mainstream media, you get to keep your contempt for the mainstream media. But don't go bringing the Girl Scouts or the Egg Council into this.
  1. The White House Correspondents Dinner is colloquially called Nerd Prom. San Diego Comic-Con International is also sometimes called Nerd Prom.
  2. The daughter of Governor Mike Huckabee married the son of Colonel Sanders and, thanks to the power of nepotism ("a little goes a long way"), she is now a part of the well-oiled machinery of the Trump White House. Once there was Take Your Daughter to Work Day; now they have Send Your Daughter to Work Day,
  3. Texas is Texas.
  4. Home owner's insurance is a racket created by the man. All insurance is awful, except for Health insurance which was a perfect system before Obamacare.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

R.I.P. Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton is one of the most respected actors working today. Following a long string of successful performances, Bill has stepped behind the camera and proven his skill as a director. His directorial debut, Frailty (2001), showed a keen sense of style and a powerful grasp of storytelling which puts him in the ranks of top directors working today. We feel compelled to acknowledge this masterful work.--Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA (2003)
I can tell Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman apart. I'm not bragging, just getting that trite joke out of the way (they're not Black for fuck's sake...  or name Corey).

Both Bills are talented and handsome, but Pullman hasn't knocked it out of the park since Ruthless People and Spaceballs, while Paxton has some really amazing performances through his 40+ years acting.

He's fantastic in a thankless role in The Lords of Discipline (I've decided not to embed a clip, but it's here if you're up for some in-your-face racism) and he's memorable in Weird Science.



His collaborations with James Cameron put him in some of the biggest blockbusters of the last 30+ years: The Terminator; Aliens; True Lies; Titanic. He's wasted in everything but Aliens (okay, not wasted, but compare him with Tom Arnold and tell me he didn't deserve a bigger role in True Lies).



He was awesome in 1992's One False Move and 1998's A Simple Plan, movies that have no real connection aside from roles for both Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton. Paxton got to chew the scenery a bit in Carl Franklin's One False Move, but it's his work in Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan (a movie I think is criminally neglected, written off as a Fargo knock-off) that is his best acting, period. He's the conscience of A Simple Plan, with none of the "for your consideration" scenes provided to Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda; as the story's urgency becomes tragedy, it's as though, scene after scene, Paxton is experiencing all of it, at that magnitude. If you don't believe me, ask Roger Ebert.



In the interest of full disclosure, he was in Boxing Helena and Mighty Joe Young. You never expected to think about Boxing Helena again, did you?

I'm sure others will enthuse about his work in Tombstone or Big Love or Hatfields & McCoys. His directorial debut, Frailty, was a gripping Southern Gothic thriller, but his follow-up was tepid and he didn't helm anything after that.

I feel like Paxton deserved a better career than he got, but he did have a really solid career. He's one of those actors doing solid, inspired work, over and over, but who never quite is "the guy" (meant in a non-gendered manner). Scott Glenn, David Morse, Veronica Cartright and Alfre Woodard are like this (although Woodard at least has 5 Emmy wins out of her 19 Emmy nominations [seriously, Alfre Woodard has more Emmys than Donald Trump has wives, so far]).

Oh, and he was in the movie Twister with Helen Hunt or Holly Hunter, but we don't speak of that.

Rest in peace dude.

Song of the Day: "Nimble Bastard"

Incubus, they were a band, and they still are (or so it seems).



Song: "Nimble Bastard"
Artist: Incubus