Monday, January 15, 2018

2018-01-15

And now Dolores O'Riordan is gone, way too soon at only 46 years old. I won't claim to be the biggest Cranberries fan, I never got to see them live, but I did enjoy their music, especially the more rockin' stuff. She had a terrific voice, as a songwriter and as a singer. "Linger" is OK, but I'm much more fond of the fact that they named their debut album Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? "Zombie," "I Just Shot John Lennon," "New New York," and "Salvation" are better songs to me.

Tonight, though, it's "Will You Remember?" and "Everything I Said" to which I'm listening, and upon which I'm reflecting. I know Dolores had been dealing with health issues last year, but she was younger than me. It's just disturbing, and sad.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

2018-01-14

Not really anything to say tonight. Not sure anyone's really listening anyway. Oh, these daily 'blog posts are being viewed, I can see that, but the interaction is next to nil. Doesn't really matter; if I only wrote or recorded things because I wanted other people's opinions on them, I would've shut up a long time ago. Still, the occasional reaction or feedback is nice.

We'll try again tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have something to say then, and who knows? Maybe you will, too.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

2018-01-13

Unlike a vocal minority on the Internet, I liked "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi." (Spoilers ahead.) I liked it a lot. In fact, I saw it a second time (in good old-fashioned 2D this time) in the theater today.

Yes, the porgs are cute but unnecessary. So what? I'll take a dozen porgs over one Ewok or Gungan. Not that I dislike the Ewoks either, but somehow having them be both cuddly and important warriors in the Battle of Endor just didn't feel right.

Yes, too much time is spent on Canto Bight, but no, I don't think it was a throwaway "side quest that added nothing to the overall plot. We learned a little about the people who are profiting from the misery of the victims of the war, and we saw Finn and Rose forge a relationship. OK, the destruction of the casino and the chase scene could've been trimmed a bit...

Yes, Leia's use of the Force to save herself from dying in the vacuum of space was unexpected and, well, unprecedented. Just because we've never seen her use the Force doesn't mean she hasn't done so, however. There's thirty years between Episodes VI and VII, and we don't know what she might have done in that period. No, she's clearly not a Jedi, but we're already aware that the family's pretty strong. This scene doesn't require too much more suspension of disbelief than the rest of the series.

Yes, it was slightly disappointing to learn that Rey (supposedly) wasn't the daughter of Luke Skywalker or Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi or... anyone of any importance whatsoever. In the end, though, it makes her that much more important that she doesn't (seem to) owe her power to any bloodline. (Parenthetical remarks included because this could of course turn out to be a lie on Kylo Ren's part and something different may be revealed in the next movie, though personally I'm not anticipating that.)

Yes, I was expecting to learn more about Supreme Leader Snoke in this movie, not see him die in it with his origins left shrouded in mystery. If more is revealed in Episode IV, then great. If not, and we're never told who/what he was and how he learned to control the Force, I'll still be able to sleep at night. Either way, it was quite satisfying to see his face as he mocked Rey, telling her that Ren was going to ignite his lightsaber and kill his true enemy.

And yes, it would've been cool to have seen a fired-up Jedi Master Skywalker raising a lightsaber to battle Kylo Ren or First Order troops, to have seen him rally the Resistance fighters into battle, but this Luke Skywalker felt believable. Weary, withdrawn, gruff but still humorous... there were echoes of those other two Jedi masters in self-imposed exile, Obi-Wan and Yoda, in Luke's behavior. He may have started out reluctant to train Rey or get involved in the Resistance's fight, and ready to let the Jedi Order end, but he changed his mind on all three positions, and died with purpose.

There are points to quibble over in this movie, just as in every other movie, and you're free to like or dislike it, just as with every other movie. I wouldn't rank it the best "Star Wars" film, but then I wouldn't rank it anywhere just yet. It needs a little more time. The people who are calling for it to be removed from the canon, or accuse Disney of bending to the will of so-called "social justice warriors," need to lay off the caffeine and maybe go read some Heinlein for a bit.

See you around, kid.


Friday, January 12, 2018

2018-01-12

It's horrible enough when someone chooses to commit suicide by getting in front of a moving train, or deliberately trespasses on railroad tracks without expecting a train to come. This evening, someone was hit by a New Jersey Transit train at my regular train station, Kingsland in Lyndhurst, because he was standing too close, with his back to the tracks, and his headphones on.

The articles I've found (here's a second, and here's the other) say he was critically injured, so I don't know if he's still alive as I'm writing this, but it's a tragedy. For him, for the engineer and conductors and passengers aboard the train that struck him, and to a lesser extent for the commuters who were delayed during rush hour by the incident and its police investigation. I like to listen to music on my iPhone, too, but I don't drown out the rest of the world and ignore my surroundings. I'm sorry for the victim, but this accident could've, should've been avoided. I've taken the train to and from Kingsland Station thousands of times, with earbuds in and without, in rain and snow as well as sun, distracted by my phone and as alert as a lert, alone and with others, but never once have I come close to being struck.

I hope he will be OK. And I hope this obsession with distraction lessens soon.



Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018-01-11

Maybe we need to implement some kind of "national leaders exchange program." Trump presides in Zimbabwe for six months, Angela Merkel comes to the U.S., Theresa May goes to North Korea, Kim Jong-un ends up in Iran, Michel Temer stinks up Denmark instead of Brazil, et cetera. Force them to deal with different constitutions, different constituents, and media and political bases keen to scrutinize them, and see how things turn out. Six months away, six months home, then it's off to another country altogether. Could be refreshing for everybody.

Or maybe I just think that almost any current world leader would be an improvement over the one we've got. At least Congress and the cabinet would be more likely to hold someone else to account. It'd also be fun to hear about Trump's failings in what he would refer to as a "shithole country."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018-01-10

OK, Donald Trump is calling for tougher libel laws? The guy who doesn't think twice (probably not even once) about accusing the President of the United States of America of not being American-born, or alleging that a senator's Cuban father was with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the JFK assassination, or libelinglabeling several investigations into potential collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives as a "witch hunt?" This guy wants it to be harder to say things about someone that aren't true and get away with it? 😂

I guess maybe he doesn't know how else to react to the double-whammy releases of the "Fire and Fury" book and the Fusion GPS testimony transcript. (The Senate report on Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe probably doesn't sit well, either.) Well, yeah, he's throwing in some of his usual moves, too: threatening lawsuits, fuming petulantly on Twitter... The thing about libel, though, is that you have to have some character before it can be assassinated. The genius doth protest too much, methinks.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018-01-09

I love live music, and I saw a lot of shows in 2017. 2018 is starting slow; I've only got one concert lined up so far, Ministry in April. Well, I may go catch an act in New York this Thursday night, but I'm not committed yet. And maybe, just maybe, the Breeders, also in April.

I've not seen Ministry yet, and I think it'd be great fun to catch them live, especially as I have been to shows by Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. While I'm probably not going to as many shows this year as I did last, I think I'd like to try to stick to seeing bands I haven't seen before. There are a few artists I've seen multiple times (the Who, Tori Amos, Living Colour, Regina Spektor, the aforementioned NIN) and they never disappoint, but I do enjoy the experience of a live act I've never seen. Last year, it was terrific to finally see Nick Cave, and Billy Joel, and Adam Ant, and the Revolution, and... Rebelution... hmmm. It's also a blast to catch an opening act with whom you're not familiar and get so blown away that you need to track down the band's tunes.

Of course, I may have to make an exception and see Aimee Mann again if the opportunity arises. I've seen her several times, too, but not in several years now.

So take this down,
  I just feel so beat,
And I think it's time
  To admit defeat.
I thought I got mine,
  But that uphill climbing
Is never through...