Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Things I read today

Fans of the Original 10 (RIP Tampa Bay Mutiny) know there's something else at stake Sunday. The rest of the band has its origins in the Philadelphia space rock scene of the early 90s. Knowledge is power ... France is Bacon. This is just the kind of thing that the British sporting press eats up like free bags of crisps, but there may be one avenue of escape for Bale: he’s Welsh. Robert Kraft once, controversially and perhaps not intentionally, gave one of his three Super Bowl rings to buff, Modigliani-headed Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin.

-various sources

edit: Too highbrow? Here (balls towel)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Economic codependence explained by dancing pandas

I have nothing of substance to add to that video, the mildly racist caricatures really put it well, in their rap battle.

New Girl Talk album dropped today, you may or may not be aware. Download it for the the novelty/partying if nothing else, if you have internet skills to do so. I mean ... ELO and GZA ... Radiohead and ODB ... and the rest.

I enjoyed this, about people in Olive Garden ads sharing their existential pain. The buzz generated by a story at work about an Olive Garden's pending existence made me as disgusted as I've ever been with my hometown/the human race. That day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beard eating

No one once said that it would impossible to write a newspaper column combining the McRib and moustaches. They were wrong.

If anyone has the Daft Punk Alive 2007 album on cassette tape or can make that somehow I will buy it off them for three dollars, maybe more.

It's nice that Conan O'Brien is back on the air, even if the show isn't called "One Night Closer to Death" as he joked during the show on Wednesday. That name is better.

True phrases that seemed unlikely 5 years ago: Pat Burrell two-time World Series champion.

And lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of writings from 2013, about the 2011 NFL lockout. Suddenly: Bedlam.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Cleaning out the queue: Dead songwriter edition

As always these are movies seen after they were sent to me through the mail. Looking at the rental history, I realize that I have been "slacking" on watching the Netflix, so much so that I am beginning to suspect that it is a waste of money. There are so many other ways to spend my time! Like watching movies on television, for example "Get Him to the Greek" on demand with my roommate and his awful girlfriend and noticing how Russell Brand basically rips off the whole choose life speech from Trainspotting. Or Avatar for the first time and then thinking for hours about the perfect joke to post on Facebook or Twitter or somewhere else and then not ever posting it. The joke was something like "Just watched Avatar for the first time, how did this cute little film slip below my radar?" I am so fucking clever or whatever.

Townes Van Zandt: Be Here to Love Me
"I'd like to write songs so good nobody understands them, including me."
-Townes Van Zandt
This is a documentary about a songwriter I'd never heard of until I saw the indie music video that was included in the World Series post from last month. That video was directed by the same person (Margaret Brown) as this movie, and there was link to it in the YouTube description. Which is a good example of the arbitrary methodology I use to find movies for the queue. Sometimes there is great success. Like this one -- a bit impressionistic maybe -- but a tender, unflinching look at a guy who had a messed up life what with the shock treatments and drugs and whatnot, when he wasn't writing great songs. As far as music documentaries go, you can't do much better than Steve Earle talking about Russian roulette.

Lawrence of Arabia
Here's me taking another step in a slow, agonizing attempt to see every film in the AFI top 100. Kind of like the crossing of the Nefud Desert in this film. I like to imagine some kid in 1962 getting his mind blown by seeing this for the first time. The most iconic score on this list, along with The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

A History of Violence
Stab him in the brain with his nosebone, Viggo! Later you can have rough sex with/rape Maria Bello on the stairs! The movie lives up to its title. Yet but, there is more subtlety than you might expect.

World's Greatest Dad
I still haven't watched this, indicative of my hatred of Robin Williams and what I was typing about earlier today before I had a gin fizz. Williams writes a fake suicide note for his son after said son dies in a terrible auto-erotic asphyxiation accident, is what I gather from the summary on the Netflix envelope.

Everything Is Illuminated
Ukrainians and Jews, together at last? The grandfather thinks he's blind and has a seeing-eye dog, yet he drives the car. You can't make this stuff up! (editors note: based on a true story)

The Searchers
John Wayne in the role he was born to play: Racist cowboy.

Ehhhhhhhnnnn, no. The trailer looked cool, but this is no Chopper. This movie kind of tries to be a combo of that and A Clockwork Orange, and fails terribly. Cash no. Robbo? No cash.

Run Lola Run
German techno. I probably would have liked this more if I'd seen it closer to when it came out, in 1998. Disjointed narratives and timelines were so much fresher then, you know? Still, she does run a lot.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Oh, here we go, this is one of the best films I've ever seen. It is based on a memoir of a stroke victim that he dictated entirely by blinking his left eye. This guy. At first I wanted to see it just because I was curious to how the hell he wrote a book. But also I've been thinking a lot about the mind-body problem, and this fits right in with that. A glimpse of what it would be like to exist as a brain trapped inside a body, a prisoner in one's own skin, learning to interact with world that is completely beyond your control. Note to self, an essay on this somehow? No.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Foxes love them some whatever they do in this movie. Steal things?

Hot Tub Time Machine
Hilarious? Increasingly it seems the answer may be yes. I enjoy the comic stylings of Rob Corddry. He's in your face. And the black guy from the Office is also funny. And the rest of course.

For a Few Dollars More
I have little to no recollection of what happens in this movie. But rest assured Clint Eastwood kills a bunch of people. I think I liked it more than Fistful of Dollars. I don't know, blame the booze.

The Believer
Jewish Nazis: A recipe for disaster? If this movie is to be "believed" that could well be the case. Sorry. What's his name, Ryan Gosling, is a good actor, between this and Lars and Real Girl and the other one where he's the crackhead teacher.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Speaking of Nazis! It's amazing how these things come together sometimes. Maybe you heard of these books? The movie is good, if Swedish.

A Fistful of Dollars
I will be sad when Clint Eastwood dies. YOU CAN NEVER DIE, CLINT! Until you inevitably do of course.

The Kid Stays in the Picture
Self-narrated autobiography of Robert Evans, Hollywood producer behind Rosemary's Baby, The Godfather and Chinatown. Later he did a bunch of coke and was disgraced somehow. Surprisingly, in this film he focuses more on his successes than his disgrace. Patton Oswalt says it's the greatest Hollywood memoir ever, because Evans is the devil.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Yeah. I was really into the spaghetti Westerns for a while, and not without cause. I blame that Arcade Fire-Once Upon A Time in the West mash-up. And of course this. Spoilers.
Is that the music from Kill Bill 2?

Hard Target
See here.

The Descent
Quality horror flick, with the all-female cast going crazy with the claustrophobia and killing cave mutants with pick-axes and the nihilism. Best horror movie ever I want to say. I don't like horror movies though.

North by Northwest
A cool thing about watching some classic film for the first time is the rush of recognition where every pop culture reference barely understood previously comes into sudden, sharp focus. This has two such moments, the finale on Mt. Rushmore and Cary Grant getting chased by a crop duster.

Morvern Callar
I don't remember this at all ... something about a vacationing in Spain? Covering up a suicide? Whatever.

That's all for now, I am going to spend the next several weeks summoning the internal fortitude and willpower to go see 127 Hours in the theater when it finally comes to Philadelphia.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Twenty minutes later they walked along the street, umbrellas up, it was raining lightly, a few panhandlers, a woman in a mohawk and white makeup punching a doomsday leaflet into the belt buckle of Marvin's raincoat. PEACE IS COMING--BE PREPARED. Most the shops were open despite the hour or because of the hour and they were almost all below street level so you peered over a guardrail to see what they are selling, Role-Reveral Rubber Goods, or Endangered Fashions--jackets made from the skin of disappearing species.
They went into a hole in the wall place, a lot of cracked plaster and roachy baseboards and a stock of rare recordings. But you're not talking about old jazz 45s. These were phone taps you could buy, recordings of organized crime figures discussing their girlfriends or their lawyers, he's a hard-on with a briefcase--you're talking about men on the eleven o'clock news in cashmere overcoats with enough material you could clothe a Little League team from Taiwan. And phone taps of ordinary anonymous men and women, even more repellent-addictive, your next-door neighbor maybe, and Marvin understood how such a purchase could lead to stupefied hours of listening, could take take over a person's life, all the more so for the utter sucked-dry boredom of the recordings and how they provided the lure of every addiction, which is losing yourself to time.

I almost excerpted the part about Marvin having progessively worse-smelling BMs while traveling across Soviet Eastern Europe, but you know. This is more foretelling, considering it was copyrighted in 1997.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

For all the anti-DC talk you hear from politicos, most of them can't get enough of the place. The diagonally slicing arterial avenues are just larded with dudes in khaki pants and gold-buttoned blue blazers who, pre-Pelosi ethics rules, couldn't cram down enough lobbyist-purchased steaks at the charmlessly wood-panelled wine n' dine joints for which the district is so famous. You know how, yesterday, Politico's honchos bemoaned the state of distraction-driven political culture? Yeah, it's like that with politicians who campaign against Washington. Most of these people are having fun there.

-RIP Russ Feingold