Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 in Brief

My computer is under fire so I have to make this brief from another terminal:


Star Wars Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith. The movie, the DVD, it was all good. Star Wars is finally over on the big screen.

U2 at the HSBC.

Live 8. The show and the DVD. That we forced MTV to do a "do over" becuase they hosed us out of our music was a triumph of taste and judgement.

My Morning Jacket, Z. A magnificent album. The best American album of the year.

My Name is Earl and Office Space on NBC. The future of televised comedy.

Battlestar Galactica. The best cult TV show since Buffy, which was the best cult show since X-Files, which was the best show since Star Trek: TNG. It might even be better than Farscape.

Wilco, Kicking Television. The best live album of the year.

The Flaming Lips, VOID (Video Overview in De-eceleration). Fun music videos and music video home movies in delicious and delirious surround sound.

U2 Live in Chicago 2005. The best live DVD of the year.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling. Dark, heartbreaking.

John Fogerty and John Mellencamp at Darien Lake. Fogerty was mind boggling.

The Peoples History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. It done blew my mind.

Mercury Rev, The Secret Migration. Beautiful.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and FIFA 2006 on PS2. Bloody brilliant.

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run boxed set. Now I truly understand the power of the Boss.

And finally The Tragically Hip, Hipeponymous. The Hip in a nutshell, or a boxed set as it were.

And looking ahead to 2006, new Flaming Lips, new Hip and the Hip on tour, and maybe, just maybe Playstation 3. Eliot Spitzer being our next governor too wouldn't hurt either.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fast Food

There should be a law preventing fast food chains from advertising in regions where they are not available to back that ____ up. I mean, Breakfeast Bistro Sandwich?!? If that chiabatta bread bun is halfway decent and you put a pat of butter on top that egg and cheese and your choice of bacon, sausage or ham... damn that would be the best ____ing breakfast sandwich ever. Why just this past Christmas Sunday over brunch I said "why if you put some bacon on top of this chiabatta bread... that would be one fine breakfast sandwich" (there was a child present). I kid you not. But because Sonic ain't up this far north we get tormented with such heavenly visions (even their slushees look scrumptious) with no hope of pay off. That's BS.

Fast Food Alert! The Mc Donald's on Elmwood across from Channel 4 has the McRib. That processed pig... the sauce and onion and dill pickle... Goddamn I love the McRib. I haven't seen any commercials so I don't know if this is an isolated event, and to be honest their drive thru is dodgy business at best, but there it is. The McRib.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day Report

- Thank Jebus I had today off.

- The Springsteen Born to Run boxed set is unfreakingbelievable. The concert dvd from '75 is magnificent. I thought going to see U2 was like church, the Boss before he was the Boss was like a religious revival with straight up rock and insurgent soul music.

- Media Play has been picked clean. I did get the last of copy of The Art of Star Wars Episode III in paperback, completing my set from I to IV (Empire and Jedi are out of print I think), and like the prequels it is the best of the bunch. I also like the fact that when put on the shelf, I has a white cover, II light gray, III dark, dark gray, and IV's cover is pure black, along with V and VI if memory serves. Cool.

- My favorite character died today and I will miss him. I've seen Vincent Schiavelli on TV and in the movies since I was a kid: Barney Miller, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Star Trek TNG, The X-Files, Buffy, Batman Returns, one of the Bronson Bond movies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, God- everything. His humor, his class, his physical grace... he was great in everything he did, and he's been in a lot of good stuff. Adios amigo.

- Something is hilariously wrong with our nation when Monday Night Football is calling it quits on network TV. Terribly, hilariously, wrong.

- I sort of skipped the 2nd disc of the Live 8 DVD set last night so tonight I made up for it:

Razorlight - Eh.
Madonna - Great. I like her new fangled old school roller skating jams.
Will Smith - It was fun watching Phillie rapping the Fresh Prince theme for him.
Brian Wilson - I really, really like this second coming of Brian Wilson, boy genius. He was great at Darien Lake a few years back, and he's great here (and everywhere else he's turned up lately).
Snow Patrol - These guys are great.
Toby Keith - I skipped him totally.
The Killers - Fun. I like these guys.
Dave Matthews - The first time I ever liked him.
Joss Stone - She's got a great voice this one.
Scissor Sisters - A real hoot.
Alicia Keys - I really don't understand the fuss.
Velvet Revolver - Stone cold GNR rock.
Jet- Total AC / DC knock offs.

I refuse to watch Sting perform Police songs (until he reunites with that legendary band); and I watched all the hard rocking stuff from the 3rd disc again (Stevie, The Who, Pink Floyd), and Macca, who was good (thankfully he didn't do "Freedom" - yeesh).

Christmas Rock!

It's been a long, LONG time since I've run home to dig into a Christmas present; I couldn't even try to tell you when I've been all a-twitter late on a Christmas night, but tonight I was ALL about rocking to some Live 8 in DTS surround sound and when all was said and done that is what I did, my post Christmas dinner lethargy temporarily vanquished. A word about dinner: it was excellent. The wine, excellent. The port that I had with dessert, excellent. It was all good, and it filled me up (cocktails at the Buckley's helped- hot damn!).

What I watched before the post dinner lethargy came back squared for the night was:

Macca & U2 - "Sgt. Pepper's." Awesome.
U2 - Awesome, a triumphant return to the stage that launched them onto the world stage. God I love U2.
Richard Ashcroft & Coldplay - Ashcroft showed Coldplay up. "Bittersweet Symphony" is one of the best songs ever written (even if some of it was nicked).
R.E.M. - What is the blue face paint all about Michael? A declaration of blue state pride?
Keane - Does what Coldplay does only better.
Travis - The Scottish Tragically Hip. That is a compliment. "Sing" really is a wonderful song.
Green Day - Woke me back up.
Snoop Dogg - So huge.
Annie Lennox - I love her voice. The most soulful white female voice out there.
Roxy Music - Awesome. Cool. I would have been so much cooler in high school had I been listening to Roxy Music.
Neil Young - Not dead yet, and proud of it. Pegi looked good.
Stevie Wonder - It's a shame he had to perform with those punters (those dudes form Matchbox Five).
The Who - Going to see them on tour next year.
Pink Floyd - Magical. How it's supposed to sound, how it's supposed to be, and ultimately why I wanted this boxed set. Thanks Mom. That 97 Rock Bimbo (Anita West is not a bimbo) was totally talking out her ass when she badmouthed this performance. Something I'd wanted to see for a long time, and now it's mine.

I can't wait to rock to the rest of the dvd's, and to rock to this stuff again. Damn this was the best concert ever. Thank God I am off Boxing Day.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Sure it was a brown Christmas, and the roads clogged with Yuletide jackalopes, but the Christmas spirit was high and the swag was bountiful this year. Of note for this here blog:

- Live 8 DVD boxed set.

- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Born to Run 30th Anniversary Set.

- The Essential Johnny Cash.

- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix audiobook on cd.

- 2 copies of the new Al Franken! An honest mistake.

- A mini dartboard for my desk at work. One side a traditional cricket style, the back features my new work decision maker (ex. "No" "Take a Break" ).

A good Christmas indeed.

Midnight Mass Fun

- For my money the bittersweet but HILARIOUS Christmas Americana of A Christmas Story mops the floor with It's a Wonderful Life's fairy tale take on capitalism and small town America, and in honor of this I give you audio clips from this American masterpiece. For the babyboomers it apparently gets it right (according to reports), and for anybody who's ever been a kid it get's that right too: gawking at department store window toy displays, the kid-centric inner world where the kids saves the day in his dreams, having your innocence taken for the first time by corporate America, enduring bullies and their toadies, having to wear gifts you wouldn't be caught dead in, getting disciplined for foul language learnt from a parental figure, sticking yer tongue to a frozen metal pole... it captures all of it. God bless Jean Sheppard, and God bless this movie.

- That said Donna Reed is the bomb in It's a Wonderful Life... wholesome and alluring. Ha cha cha.

- Last night's midnight mass at Holy Spirit wasl most likely my last at that venerable parish as it's days are numbered and will soon be folded into another parish community, and that is sad. We've been going to midnight mass for over 10 years, and while the hymnal entertainment fluctuates in terms of quality the buzz I nurse and enjoy during the mass does not. Maybe it's a Buffalo thing, going to midnight mass after enjoying a Christmas Eve's worth of pops, or maybe it's a Parks thing, I don't know; I do know that midnight mass is better under the influence- the frankencense more powerful and my goodwill toward men crests, and it is good, and tonight's was no different. Alas, I will miss midnight mass at Holy Spirit.

- But that great parish will not go softly into that good night! Holy Spirit is opening a food pantry, convening their first parish council in 25 years, and organizing Kissing Bridge ski trips for the CYO and parish at large. Fight the power!

- It was exactly one year ago tonight that the TiVo taped the Austin City Limits with The Flaming Lips and I couldn't possibly delete it: the overabundance of joy in the studio that night... the confetti and balloons and people in cartoon animal costumes dancing and carrying on... the pluperfect rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"... it is the perfect Christmas Eve entertainment and I enjoyed it again before passing out.

Merry Christmas folks.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS. Furnace fighting... fudge... shooting your eye out... hallelujah!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lashing Out

- Man they are really putting the screws to those striking transit workers in NYC and I am beyond cheesed off. The mayor, Pataki, the courts, the goddamned media- everybody is crapping on those valiant folks and I have had enough. How dare Americans FIGHT for their rights and work benefits! Why if I can't have a pension- why should they? Shocking! Jebus, for a country that worships football (America rules) and war this skittishness about workers standing tall and fighting for theirs is frankly un-American p#@@%ness; ruddy wuss out central, and it disgusts me.

- This news story, "Growing Population Shifts Political Power," coupled with this news story, "Kilt Wearing Teen Seeks Dress Code Change" freaked me out. I mean, these ding dongs should not be getting more clout in our country, in the 21st Century. Banning bloody kilts for the prom?!? How damned backward is that authority figure? Are they so closeted out there that they haven't even seen Braveheart? I salute that kid for standing up to the backward dingleberries.

- Those sheltered fools are almost as out of the larger loop as the "intelligent design" crowd, who are apparently so consumed with simultaneously denying that it's all about God AND saying that of course it's all about God that they are blissfully unaware that the fundamental concept of a "higher power" being responsible for complex humans like us has been a trope of science fiction and comic books forever, whether it's benevolent pre-historic aliens on Star Trek, extradimensional mice in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, midichlorians in Star Wars, etc. Yeesh, these people need to either 1) get the hell out of the house or 2) turn on the bloody TV, and definately 3) LEAVE US AND SCIENCE ALONE.

- Oh yeah, this country is @#$%ed. Totally @#$%ed. If seeing that informercial late the other night selling quasi Holy Water that upon receipt blesses your mailbox with money from Heaven (so ludicrous, so profane that I thought it HAD to be a joke- until it went on for 10 minutes) didn't convince me of this then seeing that informercial at work yesterday (the nearby tv only gets Channel 29 lately) which basically featured women with big gazongas selling a scam that involves blissful boobs making LOADS OF MONEY selling "The Best Vitamin in the World" certainly did. Ye Gods! It was preposterous in the extreme, and a horrific portent for the future of our nation... I just can't get the voice of Cletus the Slackjawed Yokel saying "but the teevee sed I could ern tooo thousan' dollars in en hour!" out of my head....

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Good and Bad

It's good that Floyd's Dave Gilmour is hitting the road next year for 10 sure to sell out FAST shows in the US and Canada- heck, it's awesome. It is bad however, very very bad that he appears to be the lone holdout for a Floyd reunion, a disgrace considering that conventional wisdom held that it would be Roger Waters who'd be the spoiler. Shame on you Dave Gilmour.

Tickets for Dave go on sale 1/14 at noon. My computer will be ready.

Paperboy Memories

This blog post got me thinking back to my only remaining vivid memories of being a paperboy (the rest all run together). Both involve bodily pain; I was shot in the hand by a bb gun by the older paperboys busting my young onions rather cruelly- not particularly a fond memory. The other however is a keeper- when the distributor's dickweed son called my best pal Terry a racial slur and got piledrived on his head All American Wrestling style on the concrete for his trouble. Amazingly he wasn't crippled or rendered a retard, but his hash was settled permanently and he bothered us paperboys nevermore. It was bloody brilliant.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

- It is the job of every Western New Yorker to put their mojo behind the Buffalo Sabres for the remainder of this road trip. They are playing magnificent hockey, and it's our DUTY to stand behind them.

- I finally saw the last episode of Long Way Round, the only other reality show I've ever really wasted my time on (the other being Comedy Central's wonderful and hilarious Comediens of Comedy) and it was excellent. Profound. To hell with pitting humans against each other in the name of televised competition as entertainment- I want adventure! True human drama that speaks to our higher nature! Good Christian fellowship! This is what I like, and this is what I got from Ewan Obi-Wan McGregor and Charley Boorman's (some other guy, the son of some director I believe) global motorcycle journey, and I defy you to watch that series and not be moved by the final episode which features joyful reunions and the profound pleasure of fulfilling a glorious quest. I also liked the bleeped out British swearing (as always), and I also thought the Tuetel's were actually cool; riding and kicking it with the lads instead of incessantly hollering at each other as depicted on their own increasingly redundant reality show (what episodes I've seen all seem... the same, except for the bike). Indeed I've never wanted to ride a motorcycle until seeing this show.

- I am getting HELLA-tired of the union bashing going on regarding the NYC transit strike. Pissed even. ABC News did a total sob story piece about the people done wrong by the strike, and in an AP article I read at work I saw that one asshole New Yorker actually likened the strike to terrorism. Apparently the asshole in question was out of town on 9/11, when actual terrorism struck NYC; that or they are just a total asshole, talking out their ass. Sorry for the momentary profanity.

- The Simpsons Christmas episode was titanic: Homer J's version of the first Christmas was genius (Marge as Mary: "I think this non traditional household just might make it"); Grandpa Simpson's delirious Santa Claus / WW2 bit was irreverent and just plain swell, and the Simpsons Do The Nutcracker Suite has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. Way better than the Easter episode, and easily one of the best animated episodes ever.

- I'm not exactly sure what I think about the idea that Flavor Flav has his own reality show. I don't think that can be filed under "Clocking the Time..."

Monday, December 19, 2005


I saw this on Buzzmachine and it is awesome: an online slideshow of Fred's last day on terrestrial radio with Howard and all the attendent mass hysteria. Like Stern's show itself it's unexpurated (including out of focus shots and shots of man-ass), hilarious, and oddly touching.

Buzzmachine is a good blog, and not just because Jeff Jarvis is a total Stern fan; his is a keen wit with a long view on many important and unimportant subjects.

FIFA 2006 is a damn fine videogame: the gameplay is totally immersive and the surround sound totally places you on the pitch of those crazy, majestic soccer stadiums all over the world except here. And it's football people, not soccer, football. We play American rules football, They play football (except for Australia, where they also play Australian Rules Football), and that's just the way it is. Anyhoo, the commentating is by two genuine British football gurus for the authentic Sky Sports experience, and the truly global nature of the game is on full display as the choices of teams is mindboggling and fun to dig into. Also, the music used throughout is great: some Brit rock (Oasis, Bloc Party, The Doves), some weird world music, and some sexy French music that's jim dandy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Partisan Blogging

Liberals are just way cooler than conservatives; we're also much better looking. Example: the dowdy and dour conservative bird from the San Francisco Chronicle versus The Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel on CNN this morning. Example II: the people I run with- frankly I think we're a fine looking bunch of people.

Right wing blogging is just a complete waste of time. Watching the dingus from equivocate and stand behind nothing he was saying on Reliable Sources was just pathetic. True bloggers shoot from the hip... and live and die by what they say, they don't hide and dance like Republicans; Hell, this is essentially what the "new media" is all about: letting it ALL hang out, and when more often than not yer right wing bloggers are just ball-less parrots spouting the party line there's really just no point to it.

Bill Clinton is a SEX IDOL by all reliable reports, lusted after by so many excellent, intelligent women during his recent Buffalo visit that it's clear his mojo is riding at an all time high. El Presidente on the other hand is lusted after by nobody, his mojo utterly kaput.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Karma and Stuff

I have no idea how The West Wing is going to handle to passing of John Spencer. I was really hoping that Jimmy Smits would win and we'd get four more years (at least) of Leo McGarry, and while I cannot imagine Lawrence O'Donnell and co. would go with a Republican in these troubled times (troubled for the GOP), especially now that they've weathered the storm during the height of "The Dark Times," I'm stone cold perplexed as to how they're gonna swing a Santos victory without his sage. The loss of John Spencer is also heavy upon me: I've always been a fan, from his turn in Presumed Innocent to his run on LA Law as the grizzled but vulnerable Tommy Mulaney; and his Leo was the true emotional foundation rock of the show (especially considering they weren't originally going to show all that much of the President- until Martin Sheen turned Bartlett into the President of our dreams, and rightly took over) and he will be missed profoundly.

This is what I get for gleefully anticipating the third leg of the troika of death.

Also worthy of note: CNN's Jack Cafferty goes off on El Presidente. Bloody brilliant and all true. Thanks Crooks and Liars.

How awesome is it that the Sabres hot streak is a Top Story on Yahoo News. Martin Biron is a GOD.

And a new feature: Hollywood Types Who Are Too, Too Skinny (week ending 12/17):
Rachel McAdams
Molly Shannon

Friday, December 16, 2005

OK, I didn't build my entire day around it, but I did catch Howard's farewell speech this morning on his last terrestrial radio broadcast and it was some damn fine oratory- "the last of a dying breed" is right. America is a poorer place for having public airwaves that are now Howard-less; that said America will be a much better place when Howard is running wild and sticking it to the man on Eh- Eh- Eh.

Last night's holiday OC was shrugworthy. Simpsons Season 7 on DVD is not. SS7 is magnificent. Titanic. The best season so far compiled on DVD.

It's official, the consensus is forming and I hereby pronounce it "Correctomundo!": according to Jib Jab and Rolling Stone 2005 SUCKED MOOSENARDS (the new RS with Kong on the cover has a swell feature titled "2005: The Worst Year Ever"). To suggest that God is very, very angry with us is a profound understatement...

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Because I will be out of the office tomorrow today was the last day I'll be able to listen to Howard Stern at work, and it was tough. Even though I'll be making the move to satellite the fact that the increased bawdy factor will make listening to the unadulterated Howard in the office difficult if not impossible, and that makes me sad to be without my work lifeline until 10 AM every day. And today we got the return of Jackie the Jokeman- a beloved voice from the past, and Robin's FINAL news segment on terrestrial radio (tomorrow's Stern is slated to be a real blowout apparently).

A bittersweet morning indeed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Snap Judgements

- Showtime has renewed Weeds for a second season, and is allegedly in talks to pick up the cancelled classic Arrested Development. Awesome.

- Stern was godlike on the Daily Show last night. Maybe it was because he towered over Stewart, maybe it was the air of triumph in Stern's swagger- I don't know. Indeed a great interview, and I totally like Howard's new black power / gonzo Sirius logo. Godlike.

- Takk, the new album by Icelandic rock heroes Sigur Ros is the best album for driving on snowy evenings, ethereal and calming- especially if you are driving on the 190 or 90. Trust me.

- The movie preview review: the Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff coming out on X-Mas day looks like a TCM ripoff whose possible box office success on X-Mas day bodes poorly for our nation's collective mental state; the Vince Vaughn Jennifer Aniston comedy about breaking up holds no interest for me (because I've invested so much in their real life happiness! Not.); and X-Men 3 looks big and ludicrus and heavy on the explosions. Whether it will be any good without writer/director Bryan Singer (whose instead doing Superman Returns) cannot be divined from the preview.

- King Kong is awesome. Too long, and probably too much of a good thing, but awesome nonetheless.

Midnight Cine-a-rama Snap Judgements

Academy Award winner hubris struck Peter Jackson silly and by not subtracting anything from the 3 hour theatrical cut of King Kong he really sticks it to it himself. The film is beautiful. Naomi Watts is luminescent. Jack Black can really act, and Kong is awesome. After all of the dinosaur stuff in Kong- I can say that Hollywood should never do dinosaurs again, or monster movies too for that matter- Kong delivers those goods in spades. There is some truly awesome stuff in this movie, mind boggling stuff really... but by not cutting it down and giving the film some pace Jackson strangles the film and the audience so that any meaningful grace note (the Jackson touches that made LOTR so emotionally satisfying) comes across totally drawn out, almost ludicrus. King Kong is great, but way too frigging long, and that's all there is to it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The High Holy Altar of the Midnight Cine-a-rama

For some cinephiles there is nothing quite like the midnight show: the obsessive film worship of the gathered faithful guarantees no cellphone usage, no outright tomfoolery, and the only talking done after the lights go down is in the worthy service of appraising the previews. Indeed, in this era of going to the movies these niceties are like manna from heaven- it is worship, and it is good. Tonight will be my fourth midnight premiere, after the three Star Wars prequels (Return of the King was shown at 10 PM as part of the LOTR marathon back in 2003 so it doesn't count), and this honor will be going to Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, allegedly the movie of the year (the film of the year is apparently Brokeback Mountain, hoorah). A review will be forthcoming...

Also worthy of mention this week: Howard Stern on The Daily Show tonight, and an annual Chrismukkah episode on Thursday's OC. The 7th season of The Simpsons on DVD also landed today (I sold some DSL's at work so I had some extra cash-sue me) and it is excellent. Magnificent. The '95-96 season was vintage (on which I will expound later once I've digested the set)... vintage.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bantha Fodder

Last week while plotting our U2 concert doings my old roommate gave me the business over the phone for being one of those nuts who thinks well of the Star Wars prequels and accused me of being soft on them critically speaking, and my pal further declared himself as standing behind those beliefs before the show Friday night at City Grille over beers. I of course stand by my beliefs too, and will hereby defend myself and explain where I stand on matters where some Star Wars fans like myself and Steve O diverge dramatically:

Jar Jar Binks: Episode I was a kids movie and Jar Jar is George's Bullwinkle- get over it folks. Yes many wanted I to feature an already evil Darth Vader, and they too need to get over it. Lucas wanted IIII to be about how and why Darth Vader became evil, and to do that he needed to be super good to start with, and he totally accomplished that by going with Jar Jar, the teen queen heroine, primary colors, Darth Maul, and kid Vader the kid hero. And it all balances out in III.

Hayden Christiansen: Lucas went with another unknown for a pivotal role and in my opinion he worked- I have it on good authority that the ladies loved him in II (the romance that follows I the comedy), all dark and handsome and tempestuous and ludicrously in love, Romeo and James Dean (he also whines a lot like Luke in IV). In III he conveys the rage, passion and confusion that contribute to his tragic fall into darkness, and by the end his Anakin is ready to become the Darth Vader we remember from IV & V and redeemed in VI.

The acting in general: these movies are of a piece, and the originals weren’t necessarily Shakespeare or profound either dialogue or acting wise. These are Saturday popcorn movies (more specifically, the Saturday matinee serials) for the Planet Earth that also happens to be pop mythology for the world, and as this it works as a whole. And for the record, Natalie Portman totally channeled Carrie Fisher’s willfulness, Ewan McGregor was excellent in all three- the reincarnation of Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sam Jackson’s Mace Windu was serene and totally against type, Liam Neeson was awesome as the sage mentor in I, and Yoda was great in all three.

Darth Vader wasn’t evil enough: Personally I thought betraying the Jedi and slaughtering Jedi tots made Vader in III plenty evil, but hey, that’s just me. The key is that by Lucas’s thinking Vader is evil because of his decisions and actions, not because he’s EVIL; this is of course the moral fable component of the Star Wars saga, hell it’s the moral component of fables and myths period. Nobody is born evil. I guess you can be raised evil, but that doesn’t really happen a whole lot. Most times people become evil out of choice, as a result of their actions and how they choose to live their life; and through literature and art we measure ourselves against these mirrors and parables of the human condition. Come on now, the dude chooses power over justice and what is right, kills junior Jedi, attacks his pregnant wife out of jealousy, and tries to kill his mentor-brother-father- trust me, Darth Vader is a bad guy.

On digital vs analog technology (Steve and I didn’t disagree on this point- this is more for the haters in cyberspace): I like George Lucas unleashed and unfettered, and I like the fact that digital technology was there to meet his vision of the “more civilized” era that existed before the oppressive Empire, and I for one loved the fact that IIII was Star Wars on acid, or rather, jazz riffs in the Star Wars idiom that deconstructs (constructs) the Star Wars mythology we knew: the magnificent scale and grandeur of galaxy shaking events that set up IVVI the precise inverse of the scale of the original films we know and love, about fathers and kids and generations interacting forcefully with one another in the name of saving the galaxy.

Also, after watching I to VI on DVD they do match up with the 1997 special editions, and really that’s all that should matter anyway. The saga has finally been told, and I for one am glad.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The West Wing was good, a pleasant reminder of it’s glory days of high drama, pageantry, and multiple balls artfully juggled (there's also something to be said about seeing female series regulars in glitzy gowns and such); also, this week’s was not a Christmas episode- I was hoodwinked by the Christmas Nazis at NBC into thinking it was based on the promo from last week. Bastards. The logic and continuity of The West Wing is indeed intact. The Simpsons also passed muster (the return of Sideshow Bob, and Mister Teeny!). The real question is this: is America ready to truly embrace tv comedies not filmed before a live studio audience and without laugh tracks, or will NBC’s move to revive their Thursday night with the superlative My Name is Earl and The Office fail miserably? By publically pegging their once marquee Thursday night comedy cachet on these.… rather unorthodox programs we will indeed find out…

And what’s with that stoner Jesus from the promo for NBC’s upcoming midseason replacement comedy about Aidan Quinn the priest that seems to be part Father Dowling Mystery, part Weeds, and part The L Word? Criminy.

ADD, a West Wing Conundrum, and The U2 CD of the Day

TiVo is changing America, and not neccesarily for the better: it's never been easier to save miscellaneous stuff (the last Bill Moyers Now, The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show) forever, you can get more TV in than ever before- which could feasibly become a cocoon for people to retreat into, the ultimate reality retreat; and it allows us to indulge in mental foolishness. Example: in the old VHS days you'd watch something like Arrested Development immediately to prevent any tape accidents and or tape-overs; nowadays with the TiVO I was able to push it off- so bummed was I over the imminent end of this fine show and under the misapprehenshion that this was it's final show that I pushed it out until I plucked up the mojo to watch it. I also confess that I checked the "To Do List" and saw that there are a few more episodes left and that also made it easier to deal with. Boy I laughed my ass off to Cherlize Theron's finale on the show (along with Dave Thomas and Super Dave Osbourne!), the show is hilarious on every level and in every way, and I look forward to having the whole show on DVD so I can pass it on. America is just lucky that AD isn't making it into syndication or it would eventually feel really bad for cancelling so awesome a show before they actually watched it. As you can see I am taking this hard.

And can anybody tell me what's the deal with West Wing? Is this Sheen's last season? And if so why is Christmas happening after the live debate but before the Alan Alda / Jimmy Smits election? I just want to know the score so I can plan for the original cast send off (hopefully penned by drug fiend / WW series creator-mastermind Aaron Sorkin). Any help would be much appreciated.

The U2 CD of the day:
Yesterday - Zooropa
Today - Unforgettable Fire
Tomorrow - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and War

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Morbid Fascination, and TiVo Report

Richard Pryor (1940-2005), Senator Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005). You know what that means- the deathwatch is on. Stay tuned for our third contestant...

But seriously, Pryor was a genius who blazed the trail trod by so many other giants of comedy and culture, and Gene McCarthy was a true Minnesota maverick and hero to many long hairs like myself, and both will be missed.

A Quick TiVo Report:

Something happened and the TiVo failed to record Thursday's OC. If you have it taped or saved contact me. This is my first TiVo miss, and it better not happen again. I am very upset.

Smallville looks like a movie, feels like a movie, and frankly it's starting to get mythic. This week's It's a Wonderful Life / Star Trek: TNG "Tapestry" ripoff Christmas episode focusing on Lex Luthor was brilliant. Michael Rosenbaum's performance was magnificent- you feel Luthor's Wonderful Life happiness and joy, which makes his turn to darkside in the cruel cruel real world all the more cold and jarring. The evolution (de-evolution) of Lex Luthor from Clark Kent pal into Superman's future evil mastermind arch nemesis is in high gear. The secondary story with Clark and Chloe saving Christmas in Metropolis (or the Toys for Tots campaign as it were) was swell too. Unfortunately I suspect that John Schneider will be pulling a Glenn Ford as I hereby predict that Pa Kent will indeed be the significant death planned for February's 100th episode of Smallville...

More Random Thoughts on U2

- It's hard to believe that U2 has been on top of the rock music world for almost 20 years (18 since the '87 Joshua Tree breakthrough year), and still at the height of their powers: bestselling album, sold out world tour, succcesful celebrity lobbying efforts, continued relevancy- it's almost ludicrus.

- It's almost harder to believe that these guys have been together for 30 years: teen hooligans, chums, boon companions, brothers. At this point it is true: these guys will be together, and with us, forever.

- I love my customary tour merchandise: my t-shirt is the three symbol jobber (V symbol, peace sign, bomb) that they have for every tour with the tour itinerary on the back- striking and extremely soft to the touch (ooh that African cotton and non sweatshop craftsmanship), and the tour programme is of course swell. Honestly, I do love giving these guys my money.

- It's never been a better time to pick up U2 Vertigo 2005 Live in Chicago on DVD; if you went to the show or missed it, this is an excellent document / souvenir of their current world tour, and because the setlists are rather different you get a real taste of how great these shows are.

- I've said it before and I will say it again: boys please come back next year for some 2006 shows. Do stadiums- a fun summer fiesta circuit, cash in, I don't care. A summer U2 stadium tour would be awesome.

One Love, and The Group of Death

U2 delivered another killer show last night, not as killer as the "profound" 2001 Bflo show (according to the guy in the Bflo News and myself), but powerful nonetheless. The rock was solid ("Vertigo" kicked that show; "Bullet the Blue Sky" shredded), the preaching pitch perfect and inobtrusive (none of that "am I buuuggin' ya?" of yesteryear- Bono's got it down) and I agree of course with all of it, and the "show" was excellent- I am way glad I had a nice buzz going in. I am glad they've incorporated elements of their mad 90's stage shows ("strange and fanciful shit" according to Bono) into their current outting, and I am really glad to see the lads introducing that element of mystery back into their repertoire (ala The Hip and Radiohead) after doing rote setlists to accomodate the visual and technical requirements of ZooTV and Popmart, and to a lesser extent Elevation 2001. I mean, "Another Time, Another Place" sent me to dig out "Boy" to make sure I heard it right, "Miss Sarejevo" was awesome (Bono did Pavarotti proud in my book), and the full band rendition of "Instant Karma" was brilliant. Almost magical ("and we all shine on!"). It was the best of all possible worlds. Needless to say I screamed and sang myself hoarse (how beautiful was that "40"? God.) and am paying for it today, even though I could've still pulled it out and rocked out in Cleveland tonight if I only had tickets...

And why oh why did the USA have to land in the Group of Death in next year's Copa Mundial (World Cup)? The Czechs will be tough, and Italy... we've been Italy's beeyatch for ages, and Ghana is going to be a great unknown, a potential stealth spoiler for our boys. Man, our work is cut out for us next July, that is for sure. Our karma will have to be pure.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

If the first season of Veronica Mars was "The Black Dahlia"- all obsession laced whodunit, then the second is totally "LA Confidential" high school style- the twists and corners of James Ellroy's labrynthine ode to murder, mayhem, class warfare, and moral corruption indeed have found a mirror in this strange gem of a TV show. Veronica even features the heart, humor, and abstract beauty of Ellroy's fiction (except for his last one, that one wasn't beautiful in any way).

If Lost is the mainstream show to watch, mainstream TV's hot "experience," VM is where you go to get your intense on with the cult TV nuts who like their TV hot and heavy for the brain. Thank God for Tivo, that's all I gotta say...

Our Street Fighting Men

I like the classic rock bent during Sabres games, and I like watching the Sabres come from behind to dig it out after a semi-ugly game (that was fun nonetheless). I really like the "Braveheart" game intro that is more nostalgic and beautiful than outright testosterone-o-rama and the fact that I didn't have to endure one Backstreet Boys or cheese pop nonsense. The Sabres are our Street Fighting Men, rumbling and winning and I think the atmosphere at the games is GREAT. What I can't figure out is: what the fudge happened to the non hoi polloi demographic of WNY vis a vis the depressing number of empty seats in the tawny 100 and 200 levels? Are times that tough in suburbialand for the $100,000 - $499,999 crowd? Or is there something better to do in town than go to a Sabres game? Or is the upper crust that lame? I just don't know.

Tomorrow night is U2 at the HSBC. Finally, the tickets that I've owned for 9 months will do something. Yes.

And in the HOT TIP department: UPN is rerunning the legendary Victoria's Secret Fashion Show next Tuesday at 9. I don't think I will ever delete it. Dare I call it art? It's certainly spectacle to be sure, but I also suspect that it transcends mere commerce. Or maybe that's just the video pheromones talking. Who can be sure?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I wasn't crazy about a "Yankee Santa" gift exchange for the Franklin St. IBEW 2213 stewards before seeing The Office, and after- well, it ain't gonna happen. After viewing that hilarious ode to human misery and the subversion of holiday cheer I will say with 100% certainty that we are going straight up Secret Santa. Steve Carrell's utter absence of any shame makes him the most magnificent ass on television today, a glorious fool blissfully unaware of his foolishness. The best TV boss since Ricky Gervais.

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was a glorious "@#$% you" to the FCC and the Christian Right, and thus a real treat for hetersexuals across the globe. I am so mindboggled by the televised sexual healing, so confounded by visions beauty that I'm hitting the 'shine so I can get some sleep without hitting the (cold) shower.

The Circle is Complete

At last my Star Wars DVD collection is complete, my Star Wars DVD shelf whole after 4 years of waiting and compiling. Huzzah. Star Wars Clone Wars Volume 2 is awesome, essential SW: the show was good back in March when we were getting squirrely for Episode III, but the 5.1 sound mix on the DVD makes it excellent as the SW sound effects surround you as you enjoy the all out Cartoon Network SW lovefest. Those guys went nuts, honoring the original movies while adding to the prequel series, and it shows in every sequence,;and better yet it contributes significantly to SW canon: Anakin gets Jedi Knighted, gets jiggy with Padme to concieve Luke and Leia (tastefully done- and not another emmaculate conception thank God), has his vision of Darth Vader in a cave, and best of all it clearly underlines the friendship of Obi Wan and Anakin described by Alec Guiness in IV and VI, the friendship destroyed at the end of III. It is all good, and if you are a true SW fan, you're Star Wars DVD collection will be incomplete without it (and Volume 1 of course).

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Conspicuous Consumption Gone Wrong

I saw yesterday that at FAO Schwartz they've got spiffy toy cars for tots; one I saw came with a $30,000 price tag, and another for a tidy $50,000. That's right- cars for kids that cost more than my car. Indeed, times are great for some Americans.

But what happens when Trent Jr. (TJ) or Morgan inevitably drive their sporty toy cars onto actual roads- or highways even(like when Bart and Lisa Simpson accidentally drove Homer's RV onto the highway)? I mean, you know it has to happen eventually, and you know that it's not going to end well for anybody.

The Second Annual Lord of the Rings Extended Editions Marathon (11.5 hours)

While true Tolkien obsessives apparently make reading The Lord of the Rings an annual event, I am not there yet (although, that repeat reading did yield new truths and virtues...) so I will instead settle on an annual viewing of all 3 of Jackson's LOTR Extended Editions in one day, the next scheduled for February 11, 2006 (the Saturday after the Super Bowl), exactly one year after the first go around*. Yes it is an endurance test (in so many ways), but those movies were wonderful, magnificent, and just as much a complete mythological work as the original book taken as a whole; the 6.1 DTS sound is also mindboggling in it's super sensory overload (the REAL sound FX, the sweepingly lyrical and majestic Howard Shore score)- don't worry it's easy to stay awake.

Mark it on your calenders.

Also, the new documentary Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a pleasant hoot: a whimsical and thoroughly reverential look at the pop cultural history of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the fans who've been there for the ride (Including WH Auden! Zep! Geddy Lee! Clive Barker! That dude from Motorhead!). Literate, self effacing and fun.

* "First go around" on home video that is. I survived the wondrous LOTR Marathon Tuesday in Theater 3 of the Regal Cinemas on Transit Rd. on December 17, 2003- easily the greatest moviegoing experience I've ever had: getting hand stamped like for a bar on Chippewa for easy access, being able to bring your own (not noisy) food into the theater, "nesting" in your seats for the day and evening, the girls dressed as elves channeling their inner Galadriel, and the beautiful vibe that comes from being in a room of fans- this time however actually accomplishing something as a group. Yes it was a bit ripe by the end, but it was an awesome experience.

Video Game Update: I finished the Reign of the Empire feature of the SW:BF2 yesterday morning and the game is going away for a while. It will be back (destroying the galaxy is a nice pressure release indeed), but I want to savor my triumph over the Rebellion...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


The cardboard box for my Simpsons Season 6 DVD's that I sent away for came at last. It was an extra couple of bucks but I had to get it- that ridiculous Homer head plastic bubble the set came in originally was unstackable, and I want my Simpson's DVD Boxed Sets to be lined up all nice and tidy on the shelf, and going on forever...

The New Frontier in Sound

I have beheld the future of home entertainment, and home sound experiences, and it is 5.1 surround sound live music DVD's that put you there. Wrap you up in sound, knock you around a bit and give you the sensation that maybe you're there- at least aurally.


Roger Waters, The Wall Live in Berlin. Titanic.
Led Zeppelin, DVD. Described previously. Awesome- the closest we'll get to seeing and hearing them live.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Live Rust. "Cortez the Killer" transports me back to Bonnaroo 2003.
The Tragically Hip, That Night in Toronto (available separately or in the Hipeponymous boxed set). Hot, a great show that totally encapsulates the experience of a Hip show, and a great one at that.
U2, Vertigo Live in Chicago. The DTS mix is killer- you are there soundwise. U2 Go Home, Live at Slane Castle (2001) also has a boffo DTS mix as well.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots 5.1 and VOID (Video Overview in Decceleration), which while not live still manages to transport you somewhere else- thanks to the exciting and vibrant 5.1 mixes of local boy Dave Fridmann. Indeed, the next frontier of sound...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Did some house cleaning on my day off to the second disc of the 2003 Zeppelin DVD set- and anybody who champions the first disc (largely a show from 1970) over the second, which chronicles Zep's years of POWER, '72-79 obviously didn't watch them in DTS. The molar rattling potency of "The Ocean"... the wall of sound swagger on "Misty Mountain Hop"... the delicate beauty of "Going to California"... the death blues crunch of "In My Time of Dying" and sheer majesty of a powerful, urgent live "Stairway to Heaven"... this is what Zep's really about, and for a generation that MISSED OUT completely the DTS sound cranked up LOUD is the closest we'll ever get to truly and totally appreciating Zeppelin's rock of the ages.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Career as a Clone Trooper for the Galactic Republic / Stormtrooper of the Empire, So Far

I will try to make this my last SW:BF2 post, but that said, it is the greatest. In "Campaign" or story mode (otherwise known as Reign of the Empire), and as a member of the 501st Battalion I have:

- Trained on Geonosis at the start of the Clone Wars from Episode II. Way cooler than the first Battlefront game.

- After enjoying the classic Star Wars title crawl, captured a component for the future Death Star's laser beam on that cool eerie snow and roads over nothingness planet during the beginning of the end of the Clone Wars.

- Fought crazy Episode II beasties and got to fight as the foxy blue Jedi Master on the freaky flower planet.

- Gotten my ass handed to me trying to get past a crazy space battle sequence ala Episode III. Crazy.

- Fought alongside Yoda on Chewbacca's planet in that crazy Episode III battle.

- Done the whole "kill General Greivous" thing.

- Stormed and destroyed the Jedi Temple as the new Darth Vader, and a bunch of Jedi.

- Crushed Naboo and assasinated the Queen who's been harboring fugitive Jedi.

- Put down a Droid rebellion, the last droid rebellion, on that Volcano Planet.

- Put down a Clone Trooper rebellion in the rain engineered by the albino cloners from Episode II. This was cool because it explained why the Stormtroopers from the original movies don't sound like Jango Fett (the Emperor had to use different clone samples to mix up the homogenized clone ranks). Groovy and crazy.

- Been rechistened a Stormtrooper of the Empire after the fall of the Republic, still in the 501 st, now called Vader's Fist. So much fun...

- Pacified a Rebel prison break on the Death Star in a sequence that takes that awesome set and matte paintings from that original masterpiece and renders them in 360 degree PS2 clarity. It blew my mind. Hard.

- Tracked the Death Star plans to a Rebel base on the planet where Luke and Leia are born and where Padme dies (sad), and destroyed the base. Harder.

- Eventually captured Princess Leia's Blockade Runner, put down the Rebels and the Princess. Taking her down was hard, even as the ruthless Darth Vader (in the suit!). Crazy detail oriented in the missions required to finish the board, and crazy hard.

- And after taking down some of the Yavin 4 fleeing Rebel fleet (for Hoth?) now I'm slogging on Yavin 4's surface trying to exact revenge for the destruction of the Death Star. Nuts.

This game is the bomb, the Star Wars sensory overload even more maxed out than the fine first Battlefront. Crazy fun, and I know there is more to go. Indeed, the fellows do love getting their destruction on, especially considering in one mode you can fight as either a Hero (Jedi, Han Solo, Leia, etc.) or Villain (Sith, Fetts, Grievous) in a bloodless bodycount free-for- all set to a swell soundtrack that includes some Star Wars nuggets disregarded as a result of the Special Editions.

I cannot get enough of it.
- Right now I'd have to say that the second season of Lost is superior to the first half of the premier season; the OC -esque musical montages are almost ludicrous (considering The OC flirts with ludicrousness with said musical montages), and it hasn't been weird in a while- whereas this season it is crazy dense with "huh?" moments from the get go. Apparently it picks up tremendously eventually, we shall see...

- NBC deserves a big raspberry for not covering those people getting clocked by that streetlight at the Macy's Parade- that footage is priceless quite frankly, and it's not like their broadcast brimmed with excitment anyway. How could they pass up "TERROR AT THE MACY'S PARADE?" It's not like anybody was killed and like I said, that footage is magnificent.

- I can't believe I didn't catch glimpse of Mischa Barton's nipple on The OC last week, and I profoundly regret that I'd deleted it off the Tivo before reading that they joked about it on SNL in EW (like many Americans, my Saturday BM read). Even though she looks good this season (I love healthy eaters), I must have been engrossed (the Chino Kid and the Tragic Surfer battle the skinhead evil surfer! Sandy the bleeding heart Zen Jedi Master liberal trying to run his father in-law's company!). If you have it saved e-mail me and we'll talk.

- The Bills game was awesome loss notwithstanding. The people in Section 201, in the Rockpile, are the greatest: Bluto, our cheerleader and public flasher- with a crazy glint in his eyes, the surly drunk chick who called everybody "retard!", the crazy old dudes booted out and the families who enjoy the unique atmosphere- football fandom at it's purest, and the cool dudes everywhere to chat with chatted amiably. I will also say that everybody was profoundly courteous (except for the surly drunken chick). It was great. And the smell of burning stuff, animal flesh or otherwise is intoxicating on a cold, damp morning before battle... "to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming! On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore"... oh yes, it was like the visigoth camp that you can imagine but didn't see before the big battle at the beginning of Gladiator.

Football is America. America loves football. I love football. Therefore I love America.

But if we were buzzing Sunday vikings the security dudes were frigging Stormtroopers as everybody got weary, tightened up, and leaned away when they passed by. Between that and going to shows at Darien Lake I have to say- WTF? But like I said, the loss being a late buzzkill, on balance all was good. And then I went to Casa Parks for Thanksgiving left overs, AND ANOTHER BIRD! 13 lbs I believe, and again, perfectly cooked. My mother is the best turkey cooker in the Northeast, if not north of the Mason Dixon line, and I defy anybody to prove me otherwise.

- I must confess that I am intrigued by the mulligan apparently taken by the Wachowski Brothers for the ending they've put at the end of the new Matrix videogame to replace the total letdown that was the third movie's trilogy deflating conclusion. I think I'll rent that after I've burnt myself out with SW:BF2, which won't be for for a while. I'm a Stormtrooper General for God's sake!

- This week's Simpsons was one of their occasional classics, the ones that keep it fresh: hey, there's Diamond Joe Quimby's long suffering wife in a pillbox hat! A depressed Marge walking down Main St. to R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts!" That image of Milhouse's Italian Grandmother chasing him across a Tuscan hillside yelling "idiota!" And the frantic and sad Homer (and Homer in those pajamas curled up on the floor waiting for Marge, who's been out with her new friends from a social anarchist tea and social society), sad because Marge was sad... it was all sweet, hilarious, and all good.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Spanish Castle Magic

- Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" off of Axis Bold As Love is psychedelic heavy metal magic. Now listen to "War Pigs" off of Sabbath's Paranoid, which is heavy metal psychedelic death and destruction black magic. Awesome.

- There was no way I couldn't not buy Lost Season 1 on DVD yesterday at Target for $30, especially considering that I was planning on renting them from Blockbuster anyway. Of course I'm still working my way through the episodes (presented beautifully in 5.1 surround sound- which they actually had fun with in the mixing), but the bonus material looks boffo- a real plus for a season 1 DVD set (yeah I'm talking about the pithy X-Files and Buffy season 1 DVDs) where less is usually less. A full report will be forthcoming, but upon first glance this could be a winner.

If there is an upside to a sagging economy (at least for those of us who have to buy stuff to keep it afloat) it's this: cheap crap at the mall, or in this case Target: Lost and The OC on DVD for $30, Harry Potter DVDs for $6, Great Ceasar's Ghost- cheap stuff everywhere!

- I think I might have to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on the IMAX (IMAX... sweet IMAX, just to make sure I wasn't too hard on it the first go-around.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thangiving Wrap Up

1) my Mother is the queen of turkey; yesterday's bird was as succulent as it was huge, a masterpiece. She also killed with the gooey cinammon buns (with craisins and apples) we had earlier for breakfast, the cranberry sauce (with port- oooh), stuffing, and pecan pie. I killed when I made the whiskey sours and mashed the potatoes.

2) it looked like nobody was having fun in the booths on CBS or NBC for the Macy's parade. Next year get all of them loaded- please, or hit them with electric brownies.. something, anything.
It was way better with a Flaming Lips soundtrack.

3) I watched 15 minuts of Joey while people throughout the house dozed, and I didn't laugh once.

4) CSI is still an X-Files rip off in my book without the X, and frankly CSI flies in the face of everything I've learned from watching Law and Order- since when do CSI geeks apprehend and interrogate perps in the box?And what was the deal with that CSI dude's porno star mustache? Jeez. I can't believe there are 3 CSI shows on the air (and how many more clones like Cold Case)... I just can't.

5) Star Wars Battlefront 2 is really the best video game ever. I figured I'd try to finish off the board I'm stuck on before bed and whoops- I inadvertantly crushed bedtime. It's truly addictive, a Star Wars adrenaline rush that's just ridiculous.


While admiring my Star Wars DVD collection last night, flush with wine and turkey, a few truths presented themselves to me:

The Phantom Menace and The original Star Wars (A New Hope) are road movies of the Wizard of Oz / Hidden Fortress variety, in which boys named Skywalker begin their journeys towards destiny; one is a kids movie because the Skywalker is a kid, the other a coming of age fable because... well, Luke's coming of age. And apparently according to Joseph Campbell you have to be older for the coming of age fable.

Attack of the Clones and Empire Strikes Back have stories that begin together for the first third, get split and intercut throughout the second third, and reconnect over botched rescue attempts for the conclusion. Both have love stories.

Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi begin with rescue missions and both feature inexorable marches to a dramatic conclusion and a tidy wrapping up of the loose ends, both are also George Lucas / ILM FX orgies in which both generations of ILM geniuses go for broke for the boss); one begins with the rescue of the high and mighty High Chancellor of the Galaxy and ends with a friendship and the galaxy in tatters, the other begins with friends rescuing friends and ends with the galaxy being righted at last.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I had a Thanksgiving dream last night... the Flaming Lips had a float in the Macy's parade... with Wayne throwing confetti into the crowd and the dancers in the animal costumes... and the good music instead of the canned Broadway stuff they inflict on us annually. But it was just a dream.

That's why I watched some of the parade with some "Soft Bulletin" on the stereo. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Just watched the U2 segment on this week's "60 Minutes" and the fact of the matter is that U2 is the biggest band in the world, and the best too, hands down. And probably the best rock band since Led Zeppelin. While conveying positive messages and vibes to a worldwide audience that reaches into almost every corner of the world. It's just sick. Those were people in Milan Italy going apeshit during a U2 show and singing their brains out, and it sounded exactly like it did in the Skydome back in '97- another stadium full of people going apeshit, and having a shared religious experience (my dear brother Tim, a non U2 fan gushed that it was the best show he'd ever been too, until he corrected himself to give proper respect to his first love Clapton). Different continents, different languages but the sound, the vibe was the same, and 60 Minutes channeled that perfectly. Kudos to Ed Bradley, who also got it, and gave respect.

I cannot wait until 12/9 for the show at the HSBC. And judging from that awesome production they showed from Milan gig I really think it'd be cool if the lads did a summer stadium tour next year, even it means them cashing in (oh Hell, why not, they've earned it). A general admission stadium tour 2006 (the quality of the seat dictated by how fast you buy the ticket) ... whatya say U2? 2006: The Hip, The Flaming Lips, (hopefully) Rush, and U2 in a stadium? That would be a mighty fine concert season indeed...

The Simpsons this week is another throwaway classic, not a classic you'll quote from but a hilarious installment nonetheless, a fine parable about getting what you wish for with a recall election- I'm talking about you California!

And God did the Bills suck today. Yikes!
And the man himself Joe Vip came through with a hot tip that upon further investigation looks worthy of notice: Comfortably Numb: The Canadian Pink Floyd Show tribute band (considered "musically one of the best in the world"- Brain is playing The Opera House in Toronto January 20-22. Get this: they will be recreating the Animals tour May 9, 1977 show from the Oakland Colisseum, a show I happen to have a bootleg cdr copy of, and check out this setlist:

Set 1:
Pigs on the Wing (part one)
Pigs on the Wing (part two)
Pigs (Three Different Ones)

Set 2:
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1-5)
Welcome to the Machine
Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 6-9)

Us and Them
Careful With That Axe, Eugene

Yes, thats both Animals and Wish You Were Here in their entirety. I've always said that if I had a time machine this is the Pink Floyd show I'd go to (the NYC Radio City Music Hall show from 1973 is a close second), so yes, I definately think I'll be visiting Toronto in January.

And lo, according to Brain Damage Pulse is FINALLY coming to DVD in January 2006. Thank God, at last, a 5.1 surround sound version of Dark Side of the Moon live (from Floyd's last tour), for me, on DVD.
Relics is the best cover band in WNY. When they advertise "The Music of Pink Floyd" they mean it: clever setlist choices (ie following the first three cuts off side 1 of The Wall with "Childhood's End" from Obscured by Clouds), tremendous attention to Floyd detail, and some serious jamming (they crushed, crushed "Dogs" and "Pigs" from Animals, and they probably crushed "Sheep" but I lost my mojo before they closed their 2nd set- sorry). And the dense sound mix last night at the Four Aces in Blasdell made for a heavy, powerful show, with one of the big highlights being a shredding rendition of "The Nile Song" that conjured almost as much hardcore Sabbath as it did psychedlic Floyd. I love these guys (I even love the art on their posters and flyers- great visual design), and their shows are always a gas.

Upcoming Relics gigs include 11/25 at the Seneca Niagara Casino and 11/26 at Nietzche's.

"Lost" is the best show on TV, dense, raw, and very moving. It might also be something new on the TV scene, where art and craft meets visceral TV drama to create enthralling, spellbinding TV. The first 5 minutes of this week's "Lost" was preposterously enjoyable, some of the best TV I have ever seen: shattering visuals, seemless digital FX, followed by an example of sheer editing art. The folks who make Lost really flex their muscles every week, and clearly love what they are doing, and this of course makes for some damned fine TV. It's a shame it's up against the other "best show" on TV, the superlative "Veronica Mars,"which has replaced the "whodunnit" story arc of last season this year with a tale of political intrigue and class warfare that is unfolding at a deviously leisurely pace that tantalizes viewers with twists always just around the corner. Wow, the folks without a DVR they are in a real pickle indeed.

I also agree with Robin Quivers, who asked on Stern a few weeks back "why would people go to the movies when TV looks better than the movies?"- between "Lost," "Smallville," "The West Wing" and "24" TV has definately closed the gap in terms of production values and cinematic presentation.

Based on Wilco's new live set, "Kicking Television: Live in Chicago" I can say that Wilco is America's Radiohead, our band on the frontiers of our popular musical art delivering the goods.

At last I can say that the audiobook CD of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" as performed by Jim Dale is of course wonderful. How that man can juggle that expanding cast of characters and voices is extremely impressive, as is his ability to the tone precisely right. Hot tip: you can get the audiobooks on TAPE at the Superflea on Walden mas cheap from the bookselling lady smack dab in the middle of the flea, and on CD from the good booksellers across our nation in the marketplace at a good price. I really hope I get "The Order of the Phoenix" on CD for Christmas- boy howdy.

Maureen Dowd, sharp yet sweet, bold yet modest... is so hot, and her writing is priceless. I can't help it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oh Yeah

Whoops. Based on the "King Kong" trailer I can say that boy that movie looks awesome; another killer Peter Jackson flick after the mind boggling awesomeness of "Return of the King" (and the other two LOTR masterpieces). At three hours long it could be a bit much for a midnight show, but it definately will be an opening day-o-rama 12/14/05 (and who knows, if I work MTTTHF maybe...).

And the "Superman Returns" (Summer 2006) teaser trailer is magnificent on the big screen, almost emotionally overwhelming in fact. The voice of Marlon Brando as Jor-El from the first movie (note: a recording of Jor-El in fact, from the Fortress of Solitude sequence I think) backed by the John Williams "Krypton Theme," and that striking shot of the people of Metropolis looking up in the sky... wow, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Or maybe that was because my eyes opened wide and didn't blink for the duration of the preview. Either way that movie could be something to behold. We shall see.

That computer animated dancing Penguin movie- eh, probably not. And "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" looks terrible, there wasn't one honest laugh in the entire preview, a downright Steve Martin shame.

Spoiler Alert

Alas, the order in which I like the Harry Potter movies from "best" to "not as much"is:

4) The Goblet of Fire
3) The Chamber of Secrets
2) The Sorceror's Stone
1) The Prisoner of Azkaban

Why "alas" you ask? Because the order in which I like the Harry Potter books from "best" to "not as much" is:

6) The Philosopher's Stone
5) The Chamber of Secrets
4) The Prisoner of Azkaban
3) The Half Blood Prince
2) The Goblet of Fire
1) The Order of the Phoenix

And why does the fourth book, this "Goblet of Fire" rank so highly? Because it is the ludicrously imaginative and seriously pivotal hinge of the series, in which what has come before (including the another year, another adventure tone) in the first three gives way to the thrilling and inexorable inertia of the last three installments (trust me when I say if Rowling put out the seventh book tomorrow, on a Sunday less than five months after the release of the last Potter book it would sell as many copies as the sixth- the desire to read it as soon as possible that strong as a result of the potent conclusion of "Half Blood Prince," including the people who weren't a 100% into this installment), all a result of the pivotal fourth installment. Unfortunately like much of the second film, "Goblet of Fire" just sort of happens, with no flow from scene to scene or set piece to set piece until the last half hour, which is rousing and satisfying; unfortunately the fourth movie forgoes that too, apparently to cram as much in as possible in two and a half hours. Alas it does not work and the fourth Potter movie comes up short, not bad but certainly not great. It's got some great stuff, and some fine British humor and spirit, but it's all a tad jumbled and lacks the punch of the book, which features some of Rowling's best and emotionally satisfying writing.

Hopefully the makers of the fifth movie, "The Order of the Phoenix" (due I think in 2007) will get it right, or at least righter.

And for the record, I like the densely plotted, slyly written, and increasily sophisticated (prose wise) Potter books. It ain't majestic and overtly mythological like Tolkien's LOTR saga or refined (upper crusty, ableit enjoyably so) like Susanna Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell but Rowling is doing something interesting and satisfying nonetheless with her gentle yet increasingly dark popular fiction that has become modern pop culture myth.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Week End TiVO Report

"My Name is Earl" is dark, twisted, innocent and sweet. It also seems to be getting better.

"The Daily Show" Thursday crapped on Dick Cheney's head with their "Jackass Jackpot," in which all of Dick's dangerous and irresponsible Iraq war talk was showcased for all to see. And I had to LAUGH when I watched CNN debunk the White House talking points in detail on "The Situation Room." Apparently they ain't safe from Comedy Central or CNN. Oh well.

The obscene product placement on this week's "Smallville" was preposterous. The "Superman Returns" trailer aired during "Smallville" was swell, mythic and cool. Bryan Singer just might get it right.

South Park was brilliant, a magnificent debunking of Scientology so funny it hurt, especially when Tom Cruise went in Stan's closet and wouldn't come out no matter how many people asked him to "come out of the closet." There's also a possibility that South Park might bring down the Church of Scientology, which would be super cool too.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The existential search for connection in a world that seems to be against us. People reaching out to other people in their time of need. Enemies reaching out to each other out of basic compassion for their fellow man. The quest for inner hapiness in the eternal face of the temptation of basic human weakness. God the OC is so much fun.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Overdue TiVO Report

The elections are over and my brain is fried. That means it's TiVO night, and it was:

1) SWEET. My Name Is Earl is just sweet and good natured fun, with a nice dark sense of humor. Ethan Supplee deserves an Emmy for his work on this show.

2) BITTER. The Office was dark fun. The one night stand that goes wrong for Steve Carrell. The employee / cast reading of the Boss's secret screenplay starring himself. It's too funny, and probably not enjoyed at all by most Americans.

3) WEIRD. Lost was nuts. They killed the hot blonde chick, and it's got a little too much of the Twin Peaks thing going on (think dancing midget who talked backwards). But strangely it's still engrossing.

4) SPIZTERIFFIC. The Man of 2006 was jim dandy on Monday's Colbert Report. The "Enforcer" indeed.

The newest Arrested Development and Veronica Mars will have to wait. I love my TiVO.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I'd also be remiss if I didn't note:

1) that on Friday I finished "Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post 9/11 World" by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian, a fine collection of interviews with America's finest dissident thinker featuring all sorts of trenchant analysis on America's domestic and foreign policy. It's a real shame that Chomsky is banned from the MSM.

2) of course after starting his "Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order" I can see why he's banned from the MSM: his common sensical debunking of free market hocus pocus and thoughts on the nature of power and who's got it absolutely has to be forbidden from coming anywhere near accepted mainstream dogma about why things are the way they are.

3) and the Tragically Hip's "Hipeponymous" boxed set is great. I'm still working through all 4 discs (2 cd, 2 dvd), but the song selections are a perfect representation of the Hip's enduring art, and the music video collection on the fourth dvd is a real hoot, especially for us folks south of the border who almost NEVER get to see any of them. A full report will be forthcoming...

West Wing Debate Wrap Up, and a Confession

OK, it might have slightly lost it's focus towards the end but tonight's live debate on "The West Wing" between Democrat Senator Bail Organa and Republican Hawkeye Pierce was a treat- a real debate between liberal vitues and neoliberal free market hooey, and of course liberal virtues won out (blame writer / analyst Lawrence O'Donnell). Brad Whitford absolutely called it the other night on "The Colbert Report:" it absolutely was Lawrence O'Donnell's dream debate, literally and proverbially- such a free exchange of ideas would NEVER happen in a real world Presidential debate (I mean, could you imagine El Presidente... left to fend for himself... in a battle of ideas and ideology?!?), but gosh it was nice to see in any case. And when Jimmy Smits did his mantra about the virtues of liberalism... on American television no less... my mother and I almost wept (Dad was in the other room watching "Robocop" alas).* It was great stuff. Why anybody would watch that "Commander in Chief" hargle bargle is beyond me.

And the latest Simpsons Halloween episode was also mighty fine: a nice dig at the World Series which always pushes the Halloween episode to after Halloween, a thinly veiled shot at reality tv and our skewed entertainment mores (tv sex = bad, tv violence = awesome!), and I just had to laugh when Kang and Kodos accidentally sucked the universe and God, the big cheese, out of existance after trying to speed up a baseball game. "Smooth move Space-lax."

* No I don't live at home. I was there to mooch Sunday dinner. I also had a chance to read my mother's latest "New York" magazine with the nice big feature article about Times columnist Maureen Dowd- the total package: a brilliant writer into who happens to be into film noir with vintage movie star glamour and beauty. Ah... she can eviscerate me any day.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall Cock Up

There's something bittersweet about Fall in WNY: the stone cold reality that summer, glorious summer is gone, along with my being able to wear shorts and my Jerusalem cruisers- or women being able to wear the great stuff they wear during the summer months; the change of the leaves; and road work frigging everywhere and cocking up everything. The 33 is cocked up coming and going, as is Delaware, Main St., Union Rd., Walden- the list goes on and on.... traffic cock ups everywhere!

I hate traffic, and I really hate traffic cock ups.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stick It To The Man!

After inhaling dangerous printer fumes at Democratic HQ for 4 hours I was ready for the new OC and it didn't disappoint. Having been raised on "Ryan's Hope" during lunchtime I am not ashamed to admit being susceptible to the charms of the soap opera- but hey hey, The OC is cool. And way better than the ludicrous "Laguna Beach: The Real OC," which I TiVO'd a few weeks back for shits and giggles to my bitter disappointment. The OC is way better than that MTV crap, which like everything else on that damned channel worships the bling, and the empty and ultimately worthless endeavours of the shamelessly rich beautiful people. At least The OC, like the superlative Veronica Mars has those existential and class warfare thangs going on; and The OC has all that cool music that you don't get to watch on the music video channels that no longer show music videos but show the empty and worthless endeavours of- you get the idea, and... great Star Wars references that occasionally come out of the kids and adults mouths (an acknowledgment of the profound multigenerational impact of Star Wars dontchaknow). It's the best, and probably way more fun than that Desperate Housewives thing that I refuse to watch thanks to the echoing thunder of negative reviews for it's second season. God that Marc Cherry guy is a jackass, and obviously a Republican (which they make a big point of in every article written about this cultural phenomenon)- the jerk got greedy and divided his efforts between multiple shows to the obvious detriment of what should be his gravy train, at least for a few more years (Chris Carter waited years before subjecting us to that excessive Millenium). What a Jerk.

And this week featured the long awaited comeuppance of that Rovishly nasty Taylor Townsend and cruel Dean Bitterman who was oppressing all those good kids so badly just because he could- the hardcore Jedi Sandy Cohen reading that Dean the riot act bit was worth watching twice! A guilty but fun and socially edifying show.

Yes, I am a sucker for that stuff. Yeehaw.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Daily Show has been out of this world excellent this week: the Scalito vs. Scooter bit Monday, Sen. Barbara Boxer last night dropping some talking points last night, and Mike Wallace tonight. And tomorrow night historian David McCullough. This one show mops the floor with the entirety of the Fox News Channel's programming.

And O'Reilly? His schtick is so doomed it's just not funny- the Colbert Report has put an expiration date on his career and his time is up..... now.*

* Case in point" O'Reilly on the Daily Show whining and bitching about Colbert like a beeyatch THE DAY AFTER Colbert's first broadcast. The poor bastard was bitchslapped so hard he couldn't help but be desperate on national television.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Day Off

OK, I was a tad depressed after the "hiatus"-ing of the radio show, so today wasn't that productive:

Star Wars Episode III is out on DVD, and it is good. The Star Wars DVD collection is still not complete however (that happens next month when the second volume of the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoons come out on DVD- excellent stuff by the way, quintessential Star Wars), but as of today I am happier than a pig in slop.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 for PS2 is mind-boggling. Awesome. A vast improvement on the stellar original. It was hard leaving the house, that is for sure.

Tonight's "Office" was another tour de farce. Steve Carrell is a genius.

And actually, I did go to a union meeting tonight so I was sort of productive today. Gee whiz. Now back to Battlefront 2.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Was it me or was the trick or treat turnout significantly down from the last few years? What is that about?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Weekly Roundup

Because the Coalition scheduled a board meeting Wednesday (that was eventually cancelled- thanks) the Star Wars marathon got moved up a day, and went off swimingly. Started at 8:30 AM, finished at 10:15, pizza was delivered, feeling was maintained in my extremeties, and yes yes- the Star Wars saga holds up and holds together as a whole (kids movie, romance, tragedy, coming of age fairy tale, penultimate episode loaded with destiny dark and terrible, and climactic tale of redemption)- the story of the Skywalker family, of parents and kids, and of kids making right the wrongs of their parents (no wonder the conservatives got their britches all bound up). And for the record the CGI loaded prequels do match up with the analog originals- it was interesting watching the operatic scale of the prequels burn itself out both thematically and visually after the narrative climax on the lava planet and be replaced by the intimate scale of the originals (God John Williams is a genius), a scale focused squarely on the Skywalker kids and their pals, the technological limits of the analog era serving the story perfectly (although to ILM's credit the FX in Jedi do actually match up with the prequels rather well). On the whole it's a beautiful and ludicrusly ambitious work of (pop) art and pop mythology, and I'm sure more will be said on that in the future here...

It's also interesting to note that after Tuesday November 1 anybody who comes to Star Wars for the first time will be coming to it from the numerical start and not chronologically. Boy it'd be neat to talk to one of those poor souls to get their impressions of the series from I to VI; I tried during the marathon and frankly I am too messed up by growing up and growing older by these movies to pull that off.

November 1 also brings us (me) Star Wars Battlefront 2 for my PS2. Battlefront 1 was the best Star Wars game ever (which for me could make it the best videogame ever)- a guaranteed out of body experience everytime you went into sensory overloaded videogame battle in the Star Wars galaxy, and if the sequel matches or tops it I might not ever leave my house.

"Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is great. I didn't not smile through the entire movie, and frequently I laughed raucously loud; the entire production's obvious love of cinema, the dotty Britishness of the entire enterprise, and the film's profound craft combines to make something truly special for the entire family (yes, I occasionally like family films). God I love the British.

Smallville is too racy for it's 8 PM timeslot. Fun, but way too racy. This week Lana Lang in that black skintight Catwoman outfit, Chloe in the Japanese schoolgirl costume, all those skanky sorority girl vampires... and next week Lois Lane undercover at a strip club? At 8 PM... on a show about Superman as a young man.... clearly I am of two minds on this subject.

The audiobook of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is every bit as enjoyable as the first two as read by Jim Dale, who once again nails the simultaneously wry and whimsical tone of Rowling's prose and the nuanced tone of it's numerous characters. A textured piece that exemplifies perfectly the maturing tone of the Potter series. God I love the British.

And speaking of British whimsy (via Scotland) "Donovan's Greatest Hits" is just right (I suspect that new box set is too much). In addition to the standards "Mellow Yellow," "Jennifer Junniper" and "Sunshine Superman" you get Led Zeppelin (Jimmy, John and John Paul Jones) on "Hurdy Gurdy Man," Scorcese flashbacks courtesy of "Atlantis" and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven"- one of my all time favorite songs: trippy and sweet and beautiful, and chock full of timeless sentiments of peace and brotherhood. Everybody should have some Donovan on their shelf, and indeed this should be it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mass Hysteria

I have to say I thought it was pretty cool that DC's "Infinite Crisis" mini series got a "LOWBROW-BRILLIANT" rating in New York Magazine's HIGHBROW/LOWBROW-BRILLIANT/DISPICABLE matrix because yes, I do rate myself against those fancy people in NYC and to be honest, I think I do OK. But enough about me- "Infinite Crisis" is jim dandy, an insane pastiche about the armageddon of DC's mythical universe, when everything... everything is going to HELL: blue cyborgs are patrolling the world destroying superheroes and supervillains alike, all of the supervillains have banded together under Lex Luthor (they've already killed the Atom Bomb and the superhero called Uncle Sam- yikes!), all of the magic in the DC Universe is messed up and run amok (think the freaky parts of Constantine on super-crank), every interstellar race in the DC universe is at war (think Hitchhiker's Guide movie- on super-crank and a bad acid trip), and worse, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are taking a break.

Ya see, a few years back the JLA (Justice League of America) fiddled with Batman's memories to cover up a questionable tactic (the JLA mindwiped the Injustice Gang after they switched bodies- the supervillains naturally find out everybody's secret identities, badness ensues and a significant other ends up raped by a supervillain, resulting in the aforementioned super villain mind wipe) , Batman found out (naturally) and ends up building a satellite to spy on the super buddies that he can't trust anymore, a satellite which is subverted into creating the blue cyborgs that are menacing the superpowered community. Batman also finds out about said subversion and is almost killed by Superman, who is being mindcontrolled by a former friend turned mastermind who has planned to use Batman's satellite and blue androids to protect mankind from the superpowered community at all costs, a mastermind who ends up killed by Wonder Woman to save Batman and Superman, both of whom are shocked and chagrined by Wonder Woman's ultimate sanction tactics. Which brings us to the break, and why this books is so much fun, and pertinant: the emotions are universal, raw, and imminently identifiable, and like most of the best DC stuff in the last few years (including Brad Metzger's "Identity Crisis," which really applied adult tragedy and crisis to the stalwart DC Universe to tremendous effect- and started this whole story arc) I feel emotinally there in the thick of this psychedelic supercraziness, and that is groovy and intense, especially when it's all gone to the dogs, when the cornerstones of THE superhero pantheon- the ones that EVERYBODY knows, have gone their own ways (think Fleetwood Mac on super-crank), leaving everybody, everybody (superheroes, supervillains, regular people, hell... THE UNIVERSE) in a serious lurch.

Now that's what I call excitment, and yes, the world is going to hell; it does that occasionally. But in the end, like in the comics, you gotta pull together and persevere, and for the first time in a while I am intrigued to see how the DC Universe and it's holy trinity pulls it off (because... of course they will).

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The TiVO Report

I know some folks like new tv shows talked about immediately (the aintitcoolnews "First!" syndrome), but I am too damned busy, forcing me to rely on my TiVO way too much- usually late at night and days after the fact, so this is what you get (I'm sure you'll get over it):

Smallville is good again, thank God. Last year was rough and all over the place (and occasionally- corny as hell), but this year's all good: Clark and Lana finally get together, Lex is well along on the EVIL path (prediction: the series ends with Lex killing Chloe, sealing the deal), the corn factor is down, and this week they made Aquaman cool (apparently HBO's "Entourage" dissed him pretty good) even without having a harpoon for a hand (an attempt a few years back by DC to make him cool). It's got Spike (James Marsters without the bleach and the accent) for a bunch of episodes, and finally Clark Kent is starting to acknowledge his destiny as the guy who's going to save the world a lot.

Lost is the anti-reality show, where the virtues of the common good and community are exalted above the Darwinian human vs human cutthroatism of the standard "reality" show. It's genuinely suspenseful, occasionally poignant and possibly uplifting, and beautifully shot and presented. As somebody who sort of passed on the first season I hereby proclaim myself a convert, and will say that Lost is worth the hype; in fact it might even have artistic value. Whether it can keep it going is another story, but I will watch it until they stop (or maybe, conclude the series- wouldn't that be something?).

And better late than never: The PBS Independent Lens that featured Parliament Funkadelic was ass shakingly wonderful, a swell reminder of why I got seriously into the funk in college after becoming a Prince fan after the Batman soundtrack, a served a nice bop upside the head when I thought of my current rock pied piper / guru Wayne Coyne (from the Flaming Lips) that said "DUDE, YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN COSMIC AND WEIRD AND PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER IN THE NAME OF INDIVIDUAL LIBERATION*" and that's always nice, when art inspires insight while shaking your booty. Of course that's what the funk does. Selah, and booyah.

And I am definately getting a season pass forIndependent Lens, weekly documentary film art hosted by Edie Falco.

* Ex: Themes found in the work of Prince, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Pink Floyd 73-79, John Lennon, U2, solo Roger Waters, Neil Young, Flaming Lips.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quick Shots

The Earl /Office hour on NBC is classic, the start of a new era for television comedy.

Interpol is the best band of the new new wave, and the best dressed (not that that matters). Bloc Party is a close second, the band that is going to say something. Franz Ferdinand is just ludicrous.

Bob Dylan's "Chronicles Vol. 1" is preposterously good, although to be honest I would have preferred a straight narrative instead of the jumping around. His focus and language is hypnotic and perfect... until he jumps ahead a decade and has to get you hypnotized all over again. A minor quibble however

Buffalo Pundit Alan Bedenko is right, the American Girl controversy is perfectly ludicrous, and worthy of our contempt / mocking.

The Star Wars DVD marathon is scheduled for Wednesday October 26 at 9:00 AM (a copy from Blockbuster has legally entered my temporary possesion); after the coalition / radio show fundraiser and before my cousin's wedding (which looks to be blocking going to that damn Ratdog show) and election day madness. Election day madness will then subside in time for the radio show's possible (very likely if I have my way) Wal-Mart documentary showing event thingy, which happens to preceed the fourth Harry Potter movie in IMAX and then it's HOLIDAY MADNESS. It is a busy time, but damnit I am watching those damn movies in the fashion always dreamed by Uncle George, the father of our popular culture feast.

It's only been 28 years in the offing. The countdown has begun.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Tonight's "The Office" is profound; a tour de force of human honesty (and excesses thereof) and insight. As much as I loved the BBC original, I can honestly say I've laughed at the American version more; as much for it's familiar, native vernacular as it's portrait of human suffering and the spirit to prevail. Some purists might say that's a leftover from "Office Space," but who cares? It's funny, and it is savage, but it's got heart too.

Monday, October 10, 2005

For me, The Sopranos came early...

“How you can be so blindly pro Bush?”

“I like his wife Laura. Used to buy weed from her at SMU. Good shit. Good shit.”

"Weeds" was hilarious and I hope they renew it for another season.

And yes, the Yankees are out! Out!

In other news I have made peace with Arrested Development, and accept that it is doomed. While enjoying it's final episodes I will have to move on to "My Name Is Earl," featuring Jason Lee (from the classic Mallrats) in a non swearing TV star turn that is by turns hilariously off color and dark and an outright life affirming half hour. I particularly liked Earl putting himself and white trash Mrs. Lanningham through a non smoking program (God I love that actress, who seems to be great in anything), and any scene with Ethan Supplee (also from Mallrats) as Earl's lovable dimbulb brother Randy.

And a quick DVD Watch: "Kingdom of Heaven" did nothing for me. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" however did much for me, it's dry yet outrageous British humor perfectly complimented by the always creative music video pastiche visual style. Another type of sci-fi fantasy, whimsical and light while being about LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING, and a lovely entertainment in any case.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

If You Like To Laugh and You Don't Watch "Arrested Development" and "The Office" Than Honestly, You Don't Really Like To Laugh

Sorry but it's true: "Arrested Development" works on every level (visual comedy, irony, as post modern sitcom), and this year is even more gonzo than the first two put together (Super Dave Osbourne! Chachi replacing the Fonze!). Truly hilarious. "The Office" however is sublime; a life afirming half hour of comedy that is both wondrously observant and extraordinarily honest about people, the people we work with, and the people who boss us around (at work, or period). I've said it many times and I will say it again: if "The Office" gets cancelled it's because the office work boom of the 90's is over and not enough Americans work in offices anymore- the show's true audience, the folks who will probably recognize somebody they work with, and will laugh at them (truly cathartic).

Watch them both, repeatedly. Trust me on this folks.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


I just read an interesting tidbit in the new Rolling Stone's "Hot List 2005" section in which they slag off NYC as a "Hot Dead Zone" for a variety of reasons, including how "at night the cool kids used to flock to the Mudd Club, Area and Limelight- places with personality. Now New York nightlife is all about soulless, hanger sized enormo-domes like Marquis and Crobar, full of gelled up guidos and khaki clad tools." Hey now. Isn't that what happened to Chippewa... years ago? That is so awesome... the (former?) epicenter of universal cool borrowing a page from our humble Queen City, following in OUR tracks. Yes!

Of course that doesn't do anything about the guidos and tools, to say nothing of the sad homogenization of downtown bar scene afflicting both our great metropolises, but I'm sure the tide will turn eventually.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Enough is Enough

I just saw a commercial for the most ludicrus program on the National Georgraphic Channel- "The Science of the Bible" and now, now I say "ENOUGH!" Is this what they have to put on to appeal to the more Jesus-based parts of the country? "CSI"style flash without substance (to paraphrase Chief Wiggum) meets the 700 Club? God knows we can't talk about global warming (or as I call it, "The Painfully Slow Man-Made Apocalypse)... that would upset... God? no... Dubya... yes... and evolution, that's strictly taboo in 21st Century America... so they stick us with this tripe? On the National Geographic Channel?

God I feel like the pet boy Sherman- tripping in the waaaay back machine. Whoops- they might consider that science too in the Red States and take that away from me too... along with reason and logic.

"Serenity" = Pure Hargle Bargle

Boy I felt sorry for Joss Whedon when the 20th Century Fox drongos cancelled his "Firefly," to know that it was one of the best television shows ever, and to have it shitcanned by corporate dipsticks before it could even start, wow that had to hurt. And then of course being a neurotic artist, he couldn't let go of it, and then the legions of devoted spazes just had to run out and bought the DVD collection, giving another corporate dipstick the ludicrus idea that a canned tv show would be the basis for a movie, which brings me to "Serenity." God I wish I could recommend it to you but I just can't. It just doesn't work: the plot is a hodgepodge and thoroughly purfunctory mess, and unless you watched the show the characters are virtually impenitrable. Yes "Firefly" was groundbreaking tv; it's past / future /eastern /western /sci-fi pastiche was the perfect vehicle for getting down and dirty with the human condition- and the best fodder for dramatic tv ever (although it was also by turns hilarious, sexy, and profoundly observant too). And yes some of the story elements from "Serenity" would have made for a FINE second half of the first season (or second season, because Whedon works best with a large canvass), but in the end "Serenity" just doesn't cut it.

Now if it succeeds enough that they bring it back as a TV show... that would be OK.