“I was just a kid they called his sidekick…”

When I asked my wife to marry me, one of this first things she said to me (after “yes,” thankfully) was to ask if the Gourds could play our wedding. It wasn’t really a question—she was telling me that we would hire the Gourds to play, and that our wedding budget would have to work around whatever it cost. As I happen to love the Gourds, too, I had no objection.

I mention the Gourds because they are part of a long, proud, twangy tradition of Texas country/folk/bluegrass/etc. musicians. The Gourds certainly had their own unique sound, distinct from just about any other band I know, but they also belong to a tradition pioneered by people like Guy Clark, who died a few days ago at the age of 74.

This has been a bad year for music. Guy Clark’s death has hit me much closer to home than others, and it’s not just because he’s from Texas, or because he is a legend of Texas music. I don’t even know all that many of his songs. He wasn’t a singularly unique artist like David Bowie or Prince. It’s doubtful that anyone could call him a “visionary” on the same scale as Bowie or Prince. Guy Clark was an old guy with a guitar, writing and singing what he knew. He did it very, very well. And a whole lot of people loved him for it. Continue reading

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Stay on target…

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will never be as good as it is in this moment, as I sit in the IMAX theater at the Bob Bullock State History Museum waiting for the movie to start.

Right now, the movie is pure anticipation.

Soon, it will be real. Whether it’s good, bad, or Phantom Menace, this moment will be lost forever.

Savor moments like this, my friends.

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Dear Hollywood: The Top Gun Sequel Must Include this Scene

After such a long, long, wait—during which time many of us didn’t even realize we were waiting for anything—it looks as though the Top Gun sequel might really be a thing, except maybe not. The latest news is that Val Kilmer is officially attached to the project, except that he’s not officially attached to the project. Maybe this is the vagaries of the movie biz, or maybe a bunch of old people are having some fun trolling the kiddos on the internet.

Regardless, I have a request/demand for whomever ultimately makes what is sure to do for Pete “Maverick” Mitchell what two recent sequels did for John McClane. (I find it unlikely that any Top Gun sequel would be as surprisingly good as another late franchise entry, 2006’s Rocky Balboa. At least there hasn’t been an Indiana Jones movie since 1989…..nope, no movies at all….)

Anyway, should a new Top Gun get made, I simply must insist that it include the following scene:

Download (PDF, 4KB)

Additionally, the following dialogue should take place at some point:

ICEMAN

What happened to you, Mitchell? You used to be dangerous.

MAVERICK

That’s right! Ice……man….. I was dangerous.

Via thatmomentin.com

Via thatmomentin.com

Finally, for no particular reason, here’s a Top Gun demotivator:

Via imggood.com

Via imggood.com

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The Hitler Number

Three things I learned recently:

  1. Adolph Hitler has an IMDB page (h/t William)
  2. I am only four degrees away from Adolph Hitler in terms of film appearances.
  3. Adolph Hitler and I are connected (in terms of film appearances) through the guy that played Lumbergh.

Continue reading

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Extra Innings

I’m not a baseball fan (at all), but my wife is quite fond of the Royals. Since we got our Apple TV up and running (after cutting the proverbial cord), and she signed up for MLB.tv, baseball has been a prominent feature of our home.

Since I am exceedingly good at finding ways to entertain myself while others are watching sports, I often spend the time researching baseball trivia based on random, oft-idiotic questions that occur to me. Most of what I have learned isn’t all that surprising (e.g. no Major League team has ever had an undefeated season, probably because it’s improbable to the point of impossibility to win 162 games in a row.)

During a Royals game the other night that ran into multiple extra innings, I began to wonder how long a baseball game could go before someone in a position of authority decided to put off further play until another time. I based this query partly on the HBO special “7 Days in Hell,” about a fictional 7-day tennis match that involved nightly breaks for sleep. How long would a baseball game have to go on before everyone goes home? To the interwebz!!! Continue reading

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What’s the Opposite of Curmudgeonly?

I was going through posts on my old law blog, and found a post from about 3½ years ago in which I tried out something called the AgeAnalyzer. Using what I’m sure are extremely advanced socio-dynamic algorithms, the site examines a website and guesstimates the age of the writer. Back in 2012, it estimated my age, based on my law blog posts, as 51-65 years of age. I was 37 at the time.

My last post to that blog was in 2012 sometime. Now that I have moved my erstwhile blogging activities to this site, and refocused my efforts much more towards animal GIFs and WTF moments, I thought I’d see how this site compares, in terms of computer-estimated age.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.55.07 PM

Yup, AgeAnalyzer thinks the author of this blog (who is the same person as the author of the other blog, plus three years) is 26-35 years old.

A 26 year-old would have been born in 1989. I was in high school in 1989. People born in 1989, based on a quick and lazy Google search that made me realize how little I know about anyone who became famous after roughly 1999, include:

I hadn’t heard of anyone else.

Meanwhile, famous people sharing my birth year include: Continue reading

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“My mother was Irish.” (UPDATED x 2)

I was not planning on seeing Aloha, Cameron Crowe‘s latest film, but it’s getting some interesting scrutiny in the media.

First off, let me just say that Crowe’s Almost Famous is a modern classic, and Say Anything… is, at a bare minimum, a classic of its era (and probably also a modern classic). Singles will always be one of my favorite films (“I read half of Exodus!”) I’m not as enamored of Jerry Maguire as some, but it remains highly quotable.

Vanilla Sky did something truly astounding, though. It was a remake of a Spanish film, Abre los Ojos, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Crowe’s remake managed to be very faithful to the original (including casting Penelope Cruz in the same role), while also completely failing to capture whatever it was that made that movie good. I should also note that I saw Vanilla Sky in the theater, thought it was pond scum, then rented Abre los Ojos and thought it was great. The order of viewing may have influenced my opinion of the Spanish film.

I have not seen Elizabethtown or We Bought a Zoo, nor do I foresee doing so in the future.

Much of the media coverage of Aloha seems to recognize the relative slump in Crowe’s career. His most recent films haven’t done all that well in theaters, and perhaps more importantly (if you look at the “art” side of things), they just haven’t been as good as his earlier works. (Maybe that’s why there are rumors that he’s trying to go back to the beginning.) Continue reading

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Revisiting Sansa and Ramsay on “Game of Thrones,” One Week Later

I wrote a post a few days ago about the instantly-infamous rape scene in the Game of Thrones episode “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” in which I basically said that I found the scene excruciating and unnecessary, but also that the incident itself served the larger narrative of the show. Having now seen the next episode, “The Gift,” I feel rather vindicated in two areas: (1) that the scene served a larger narrative, and (2) that the scene was needlessly brutal.

What “The Gift” managed to accomplish, and where “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” fell short, is in what one might call the fine art of “less is more” in filmmaking.

Via winteriscoming.net

Via winteriscoming.net

The titular alien in the original Alien, to give one example, was scary not only because it was an eight-foot-tall creature with a retractable jaw that bled acid, but also because we barely ever saw it. Continue reading

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About that Sansa/Ramsay “Game of Thrones” Scene

If you somehow haven’t heard about it yet (spoiler alerts and all that), last week’s Game of Thrones episode continued the general divergence from the books’ storyline by having Sansa Stark marry Ramsay Bolton (née Snow)—possibly in order to exact vengeance on Ramsay’s father, Roose Bolton, who murdered Sansa’s brother Robb and was directly involved in the murder of her mother, Catelyn. Sansa was apparently unaware of just what a bastard (pun intended) Ramsay is, as was Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who brokered the arrangement with Roose Bolton.

The overall storyline of having Sansa marry Ramsay is definitely a huge difference from the books, but it makes sense in the context of a TV show. In the books, Sansa is currently still at the Eyrie with her cousin, Robert Arryn (Robin Arryn on the show), and Ramsay is married to Jeyne Poole, a friend of Sansa’s from Winterfell who is being passed off as Arya Stark. Littlefinger has plans to one day send Sansa back to Winterfell and reveal “Arya Stark” as an impostor, giving Sansa the opportunity to reclaim Winterfell for the Starks. What’s happening on the show fits that same overall scheme, and it does it with fewer characters and less plotting-while-sitting-around.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about, and I think you know that. Continue reading

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The Man-Approved Feminism of the New “Mad Max” Film

(Adapted from a Facebook comment.)

I have not yet seen Mad Max: Fury Road, although I am very excited about seeing it sometime soon. I re-watched The Road Warrior over the weekend, and have thoroughly enjoyed the various retrospective pieces about the film series. Perhaps even more so, I have felt an extreme sense of Schadenfreude with regard to the way certain people of the MRA persuasion are reacting to the film, generally without even having seen it. Apparently a movie set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in which men are not the sole focus of attention is absolutely terrifying to some people (and not for any reason having to do with the “post-apocalyptic part.”)

A piece by Breitbart writer John Nolte, as quoted and summarized by bspencer at Lawyers, Guns & Money, offers praise to the film’s view of feminism, at least as Nolte perceives it, from a presumably conservative viewpoint (it is Breitbart, after all): Continue reading

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