Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I did not do this on purpose:

The last three books I read/am currently reading were "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore, "IV" by Chuck Klosterman and "V" by Thomas Pynchon.

Is my brain broken or sending me secret messages with answers I'm not allowed to know?

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's crap

The moment I totally lost all respect for CNN was when they covered a news story I also covered and the reporter blatantly misrepresented factual items to further dramatic aspects of the story. If it's TV news, it's entertainment. When it's entertainment, it's not to be taken seriously. Read a newspaper.

Here's another typically inane and clueless CNN report (actually this one was interesting, if not totally promoting the interests of the Federal government):
  • "The marijuana coming across the southwest border, traditionally a source of low-potency drugs, has increased in strength from a median potency of 4.8 percent in 2003 to 7.3 percent in 2007."
OK, so far, so accurate
  • "As a consequence, inexperienced or young marijuana users may be more prone to overdose, federal officials say.
And then they have to go and fuck it all up. It's probably a good idea not to quote government officials when they are saying things even they know are not true to further an agenda.
It's pretty much universally accepted by everyone that's ever performed a study that it's impossible to "overdose" on marijuana, unless the person ate their body weight in weed several times over in a short time span.

When you work for ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc, it's pretty hard to avoid systematic propaganda when your corporate parent is as dependent on the status quo as your big brother federal agencies, dammit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WILCO (THE STREAM)

STREAM THE ENTIRE NEW WILCO ALBUM HERE, TODAY:

http://wilcoworld.net/discs/thealbum/

Out on your favorite format June 30.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2009: The first half in music


Heyo! The year's almost half over, and it's looking to be twice as bad as 2008(!) —crumbling financial structure, overblown epidemics, escalating situation in Afghanistan — even Hulk Hogan is depressing, brotha!

The year in music has been OK, here's the play list (in no particular order):

Animal Collective - My Girls



Dan Deacon - Woof Woof



M. Ward - Rave On




Japandroids - Heart Sweats



Heart Sweats - Japandroids

The Decemberists - The Wanting Comes in Waves



Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Inspiration Information (from the "Dark Was the Night" charity album)



Black Lips - Trapped in the basement

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wilco (the album cover)


The cover art to Wilco's upcoming album "Wilco (The Album)" is a lot better than the record's name.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dane Cook. Ugh.

Laughing at others' misfortune will probably come around to bite me in the ass, but apparently Dane Cook is not only an unfunny comedian whose popularity is baffling at best— he's an idiot. Not only is he a grating, unfunny comedian idiot, he's a overly-loud, prancing-and-dancing douche bag joke-stealing punch-in-the-face smirk-wearing moron. But not only is he a grating, unfunny idiotic overly-loud, prancing-and-dancing, joke-stealing punch-in-the-face-smile wearing moronic comedian — he's a success. Dammit. With enough millions to have stolen in the first place. My life is a waste.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wasted Postage - New reports from the Netflix theater

The Killing (1956) - Stanley Kubrick directed and co-wrote this film noir caper classic. A band of career criminals and squares are gathered to execute a flawless racetrack heist, of course everything unravels, but not in the exact way the audience would expect. Filmed in stunning black and white, this is one of Kubrick's earliest films, before he had complete control and autonomy from the studio system. The technical aspects and camera work is flawless, and glimpses of Kubrick's later misanthropy and hopelessness filter through, especially in the devastating finale. My one complaint: If I had to see that shot of the loudspeaker at the racetrack one more time I was going to kill myself and every horse in central Illinois. Kubrick felt the need to begin everypart of the "see the hiest from everyone's perspective" with a shot of that damned speaker. B+

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) — Children are monsters, but like the best coming of age stories, the adults can be the biggest and most clueless monsters. So goes the middle school experience for painfully-awkward Dawn. Her life is hell. She's under-appreciated by her parents and teachers, not exactly wealthy in the friends department, her last name is Wiener and she's regularly called ugly by her classmates. Welcome to the Dollhouse alternates between extremely sad and bleakly funny, but hits the kind of honest softspots Hollywood doesn't even bother with. At times the depictions of '90s middle school were too close for comfort. This was my first Tod Solondz film, I've heard they all hit similar uneasy notes and I'm definitely bumping them up in my que. He finds humor in situations I won't spoil, but lets just say they wouldn't be funny outside of the context of this film. There's no nudity, little cussing and no violence, but you still don't want to watch this with parents — that's the marking of true edge. It took away prizes at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. A-

Shoot the Piano Player (1962) — This is the first film I've seen from the French New Wave — a movement of young French filmmakers that challenged and deconstructed conventional '50s French cinema. Highly influenced by Hitchcock and American film noir, French New Wave came around to also influence American film by the late '60s, evident in 1967s Bonnie and Clyde's loose and carefree style, jump cuts and violence. Shoot the Piano Player features all the new wave trademarks, shots out-of-sequence, flashbacks, jump cuts, voice-overs and a willingness to toy with the audience and film conventions itself. The style and pacing is brisk, and because of it's influence on later films, it feels much less dated than many American movies from the early '60s. Characters will suddenly disappear from shots, an extended flashback overtakes about half of the film's second half, and hand-held cameras race along with characters during foot chases and fight scenes. The story telling is fairly straight-forward, mixing elements of crime, comedy, romance and suspense in its lean 82 minutes. The plot involves a timid barroom piano player who is drawn into trouble with gangsters when his two brothers botch a robbery. But, director Fran├žois Truffaut flips many of the traditional gangster archetypes, something I didn't completely realize until I read an AV Club review afterwards. Ex., The gangsters are jokesters instead of actual tough guys who are most dangerous because of their ineptitude, etc, as the AV Club review stated. This is Truffaut's second film, his first, 'The 400 Blows', is known as the movie that jump started the French New Wave. I'm watchin' that soon. A

The Wrestler - (2008) Mickey Rourke's performance lives up to the hype. This is the first time I've had to repeatedly remind myself "it's only movie, relax" since I was nine. It's depressing as shit, though. A-

The Salton Sea (2002) - Val Kilmer stars in this neo-noir about a tweaker out for a finale score and revenge. It borrows from several movies that did it better, namely Memento and Payback, but it's still got a sweet plot and plenty of over-the-top, extreme scenes. The serious and melodramatic scenes also don't work at all, and drag down well executed suspense. Vincent D'Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket) steals every scene he's in as Pooh-Bear, the redneck meth cook and dealer who had his nose amputated after snorting so much gack. B-

Broadcast News (1987) - Meh, didn't finish it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Smoke 'em if you got 'em (our country depends on you)

When the US and China finally find a reason for a good old Super Power v. Super Power slaughterfest, at least we can take comfort in the fact that Chinese foot soldiers will be out of breath shortly after the first shots are fired. (Assuming we still have infantry and the whole war isn't a pointless pissing contest between robotic gun ships — i.e. who can build more expensive, plastic crap to blow up the other side's expensive, plastic crap.)

Either the Chinese actually are concerned with raising more money through its cigarette tax and want to support domestic cig makers, or this is the most ingenious population control method ever — encourage people to do something addictive and incredibly pleasurable and voila! No more over overcrowding (in about 30 years).

The conventional wisdom about smoking in American is that it's a huge drain on both the health care system and tax money by way of Medicare-dependant geezers breathing though a hole in their neck, stuck in a wheel chair with a heart replaced by an Energizer battery taped to a toaster oven. But, I like this theory much more.

According to some smart people, non-smokers live on average ten years longer — meaning they need ten more years of gov-financed Medicare, social security, etc — a much bigger and longer tax burden than the smokers who burn out rather than fade away. According to the Vanderbilt University economist, for every pack of cigarettes smoked the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents.

Back to the Chinese — its tax-and-encourage-smoking strategy actually makes a lot more sense that our tax-and-discourage plan. Taxes such as Obama's new $1-per-pack tax are used to fund increasingly important policies, such as his expanded children's health care program. Yet as we depend more and more on cigarettes to finance these projects we, at the same time, discourage and demonize smoking, cutting down the very tax we just raised to fund a program. Does that make any sense? It's a tax strategy that accepts failure either way - either people keep smoking (despite the gov saying its bad) and the program gets funded, or poeple quit smoking and the government program fails. If we are going to tax smokers (because it's easy and no one wants to be the heel that says anything against taxing selfish, unhealthy, heavy-breathing, tax-burden smokers) then lets actually follow through and grow some balls like the Chinese, who do what's necessary to get the job done. And we wonder why America's roar sounds more like a fat and bald accountant who just lost his favorite Members Only jacket.

Then again, maybe we should stop relying on an addictive substance to finance shit we should we should be able to take care of with more honest and clever means.