Nov 28, 2009

Saturday Morning Jazz Sessions

Thought I'd post up some jazz music. Haven't done one of these posts in awhile.

Here's a smooth track by Mike Phillips, who I've actually had the privilege of speaking with recently. He's a real down to earth cat who can flat out play.

Here's Karen Briggs (Violins), Mike Phillips (Sax) and Peter Black on the Hidden Beach Unwrapped hip hop/jazz compilation performing their version of Nelly's Hot in Herre. Karen is just phenomenal on the violin. Truly amazing.

And here's one from the always amazing Norman Brown, "That's the Way Love Goes"

Nov 24, 2009

Adam Lambert detonates the Gay Bomb at the AMA Awards

Well, if people weren't sure about whether or not Adam Lambert was gay before the AMA awards, they sure as hell know now. He has not only come out of the closet, but to quote an old Henry Rollins line "he chopped down the closet and burned it as kindling".

I'm not really sure what to make of this dude. I mean I'm not someone who listens to his music, as that's not my demographic. I heard his version of Gary Jules' "Mad World" (which was itself a cover of Tears for Fears decidedly more upbeat version), and was pretty impressed. He can definitely sing his ass off.

And I'm firmly in the corner of gay rights. I'm all for gay marriage, and the full nine, so to speak. I'm against Don't Ask Don't Tell, which forces gay men and women to not only lie to everyone around them to preserve their job in the military, defending all of us, but it also forces them to lie to themselves, and to not be comfortable with themselves and their surroundings and they're place in the world.

I think if you're gay that's fine, and you should be able to be comfortable enough to admit who you are and what you like, and that's all great. I don't like laws set up to punish people because they're gay, which is what more than a couple laws on various state books do.

Having said that, Lambert needs to, for lack of a better phrase, tone the gay down.

I mean, as I said I'm all for individuality and free expression of said individuality. But seriously, what the hell was that at the Awards? I don't watch awards shows so I didn't see it live. And even if I had watched it, they apparantly edited out his actions, but I saw some pictures of what happened and I have to say I'm not sure what this is supposed to do for Lambert.

I think he's at a point where he's sort of carving out his own image. Before American Idol I think it was easy for him to kind of hide who he was except to those closest to him. He was surrounded by people who loved him and who protected him. Now he's in the public eye thanks to his great run on American Idol and now he's got to face the press and deal with the TMZ's and the Perez Hilton's and whatnot. Although thinking about it I think he'll have a lot less to worry about Hilton unless he sucker punches him or whatever.

Everything he does will be magnified. There's no more sneaking off with someone and not expecting it to be on the internet by the time he gets home. There's no more privacy, and I wonder if he's able to deal with that.

Because you contrast what he looked like on American Idol (at top of this article), and what he looks like now (below), and he looks like he got bumrushed by the Glam era of rock music. The heavy makeup, the shoving a guy's head in his crotch, making out with a keyboardist, and then flipping the crowd off are NOT good looks. I'm all for being who you wanna be, but there's a limit to what people will take, and like it or not there is a line that you have to not really cross unless you just flat out don't care.

And that's where I think Lambert has just royall screwed up. Think about his demographic, at least the ones who would run out and buy his album. Kids. Parents of kids who will buy the new album for their kids. Soccer moms who loved him on the show.

Essentially middle America.

How many of those Middle America soccer moms that saw the AMA awards and sat there shocked as their kid was watching him shoving some dude's face into his crotch, are going to let their daughters go out and buy that album now? How many of them are going to go and grab it for their kids when they are in Wal-Mart?

I think he's, as I said in the beginning, just destroyed the closet and is not going back. Perhaps he's going for the anti-Clay Aiken move where he doesn't want to be the clean cut white boy who happens to be Gay. I think he's just going all out (sorry) and just doesn't care..

This will hurt him in album sales, but he'll get a whole new following out of this, I'm sure. Will that following make up for the massive exodus of the Middle America fans? To be sure, there were those in Middle America that wouldn't have bought it anyway JUST because he's gay.

The in your face (again...sorry) flaunting his sexuality isn't going to help. And there IS a double standard here, I freely admit. Think about what he did and realize that EVERY. SINGLE. THING that he did has been done before to much acclaim, albeit with minor controversy.

The shoving someone's face in your crotch? Madonna has done that at numerous tours to a bit of controversy, but not much. Same with tonguing down a dancer/band member.

Grabbing his crotch? the AMA's just gave four awards to a guy who elevated grabbing your crotch to an artform.

Flipping the crowd off? Well, sportsfans have had plenty of examples of that going on just in this past week or so.

So the reason this is a problem is because he's gay. I think anyone that says otherwise is delusional. And that is completely 100% wrong to feel that way, but hey. It's America. And it's the world we live in.

Nov 21, 2009

Jon Stewart & Mick Foley protect 10 year old who refused to say the Pledge

This is truly great and very very funny. It was funny all by itself, but then Stewart rushing in as the hype man just pushed it over the top for me.

Great stuff!

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Nov 16, 2009

We Killed The Genius Artists!

One of my favorite musicians of all time is Jazz Trumpeter Chet Baker. This blog is named for him. While this blog isn't a jazz blog, I from time to time will post some Chet Baker related items. I just realized that next month would have been his 80th birthday. "Would have" because his personal demons got the best of him and in 1988 he committed suicide while under the influence of drugs.

It's always amazing to see people who are immensely talented and insanely gifted in their element. When you see someone who's in the zone and are seemingly on top of the world. There are few people who achieve that level of greatness, and it's sad when you see them fall. When it becomes clear that they are unable to control their demons and/or overcome them.

For some people it's fame, other people it's drugs or alcohol. Different people have different flaws, but one common thread among the super talented borderline genius people, be it musicians comedians or writers or whatever:

They're all completely damaged people.

Think about it. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny Bruce, Ernest Hemingway and so many more battled their own addictions and feelings of inadequacies. Dealt with their self-flagellations and struggled to hide them from their audience, often failing.

And we failed them. Because we accepted their shortcomings, we acknowledged their addictions, their demons, and we said "that's okay. We don't care because of your talents."

What if someone had said to River Phoenix that it didn't matter how much of a brilliant actor he was, that he needed to get his shit together? What if someone had slammed him against the wall and really tried to put the realization into his head that he was fucking up a once in a lifetime opportunity. To do something he loved, something he was great at, and that he was loved worldwide for. All because he couldn't overcome his addiction to drugs.

What if someone had gotten to Kurt Cobain and had him put somewhere to get off the drugs? Had gotten him help instead of kowtowing to his whim because he was a rock star? Would we still have him around today?

What about Jimi Hendrix? What about Lenny Bruce? What about John Belushi? What about the countless genius performers that went before their time because they couldn't control their addictive personalities and their personal demons?

Think of all the great music, all the great performances, all the jokes we'll never hear. All because we were too caught up in the moment to say " need help".

Instead of doing blogposts about the latest singer to get high and make a fool of themselves at a concert, there should be more people reaching out and trying to get those people help.

And you can read this and think "what 'liberal crap'" but be honest with yourself: You don't wish someone had done that with Jimi Hendrix? With Jim Morrison? That someone hadn't gotten to Big Pun and had him lose all that weight he had on him that did him in? That someone hadn't gotten to Tupac and Biggie and had that nonsense beef squashed before it led to two of the greatest rappers of all time being murdered senselessly?

Someone hadn't gotten to Eazy and warned him about AIDS before he fucked up his life and died?

It's not just Rockers and the such. It's all our favorite musicians, athletes, artists, etc.

We killed them through ambivalence to their problems. As long as we got a new album every now and again we were fine. Making bullshit excuses like "oh the drugs helped them create awesome music" and whatnot.

Those drugs also helped make sure you didn't get as much music. Thankfully my all time favorite singer, D'Angelo, has seemingly gotten back on track and is set to release an album in the next several months (hope hope hope). He was spiralling fast with drugs and alcohol.

Same with Whitney Houston and she managed to get her shit together, and get away from Bobby Brown.

Keep all that in mind the next time you read about your favorite artist spazzing out and you just chalking it up to "oh that's just them being them" or something like that.

Because when they die because we didn't make a point to express our concern, when we simply make youtube videos and blog posts about how funny so and so was, we encourage that.

Obviously a random person can't affect a famous musician all by themselves. But the internet has shown us that differences CAN be made by everyday people.

You just need to step up and do it.

10 Year old refuses to recite Pledge of Allegiance until Gays can marry

This is intriguing to me, for several reasons.

First off, you know the conservatives are going to attack the hell out of this kid. The Conservatives have proven time and time again that they have no problems attacking children when politics are involved.

Secondly, this is a pretty profound and ballsy move by this kid. If his motivations are pure, and he's not being used by his parents to put forth their opinion, then my hats off to him. It takes a lot of guts to stand up in the face of adversity for something you believe in. Especially when you're fighting for other people's rights.

And finally, as I alluded to in the previous paragraph, his motivations WILL be called into question. Part of that is just common sense. I think anytime a child is put in the public eye due to a political stand, people will naturally question that, because I think we all have this idea of children as innocents who aren't able to formulate complex thoughts about things of this nature.

But also, and I immediately zoned in on this, some of his language was not something that I would associate with a ten year old. Now, I'm not well versed on the language skills of today's ten year olds. I haven't been ten years old for twenty five years, and I don't recall my vocabulary back then.

But certain words he used I was thinking "really? a ten year old says those words in conversation?" However it could be that this kid is a bright kid and he says he wants to be a laywer so it's quite possible that it is normal for him to speak like that.

Courtesy of Raw Story:

Speaking to CNN's John Roberts on Monday, Will said he remained seated four straight days while his classmates repeated the words, "with liberty and justice for all."

"I was analyzing the meanings of it, because I want to be a lawyer," he said. "... There isn't really liberty and justice for all. There's ... Gays and lesbians can't marry. There's still a lot of racism and sexism in the world. Yeah."

Eventually, the substitute teacher started giving Will "grief" over his refusal to repeat the words. "What did you say to that teacher?" Roberts asked.

I eventually, very solemnly -- with a little bit of malice in my voice -- said, 'Mam, with all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge," Will explained.

And that last passage, "very solemnly -- with a little bit of malice in my voice" does sound a bit odd to come from a child, but like I said, it could be more my being out of touch with today's children.

Here's the video of the kid's interview:

Obama refuses to call White House Christmas Tree a "Christmas Tree"?

Wow. Already? It's not even Thanksgiving, and there's ALREADY a fake email going around saying that President Obama refuses to call the White House Christmas Tree a Christmas Tree. Instead he's supposedly calling it a "Holiday Tree" and that the White House told an artist not to paint religious themes on the ornaments.

Man. The hatred of Obama is just incredible. Will these people stop at NOTHING? that I think about it, when the first attacks against you are made up bullshit about you being a Muslim who was born in Kenya, then I suppose the bar has been set pretty high in the way of ludicrousness.

Here's the email going around. If you get this, rest assured it's bullshit, and has already pointed this out.

White House will not do Christmas

Thought you might be interested in this information from the White House. This isn’t a rumor; this is a fact.

We have a friend at church who is a very talented artist. For several years she, among many others, has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The WH usually sends out an invitation to send an ornament and informs the artists of the theme for the year.

She got her letter from the WH recently. It said that they would not be called Christmas trees this year. They will be called Holiday trees. And, to please not send any ornaments painted with a religious theme.

She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she only painted the ornaments for Christmas trees and would not be sending any for display that left Christ out of Christmas.

Just thought you should know what the new residents in the WH plan for the future of America . If you missed his statement that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian Nation" this should confirm that he plans to take us away from our religious foundation as quickly as possible. does their job and exposes the stupidity here:

This e-mailed accusation has all the hallmarks of a hoax. The author isn’t identified, making it impossible to trace the source or assess his or her credibility. At best it is double hearsay, passing on something supposedly said by a second unnamed source, who is identified as little more than "a friend at church." The church isn’t named, nor is the community or even the state in which it exists, if it does. It refers to a "letter from the WH [White House]" but doesn’t say who signed it, or when it was sent. This is just the sort of unsupported gossip that any sensible person should disregard and delete rather than spreading.

And yet it is spreading like wildfire. We have had scores of inquiries about it, and it’s now the most-asked-about item in our daily Ask FactCheck inbox.

And this is how it begins folks. Completely ridiculous allegations based not in one iota of truth, get spread out there by people who already don't like Obama, and they just assume that it's true. It reinforces the negative and false opinions they have of him, so they just figure "hey, it sounds about right" and forward it on to everyone in their email address book.

Is it too much to ask people to stop and think things through before doing that? Never mind. I know the answer to that already.

Read the rest of the link for a careful debunking of everything in that email from the "secular ornaments" to the "Christmas Tree labeling", plus the obvious note that the previous President often had secular ornaments on the tree. GASP!

In the Immortal words of Fred Tupper, WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Nov 15, 2009

Dr. Dre interview from "Rhyme & Reason"

Courtesy of Pipomixes:

Here is a very interesting interview originally recorded in 1997 for the Rhyme and Reason documentary. Only about 10 minutes of this 1 hour interview was included in the actual movie. 12 years later, it's fun to see whether Dre's thoughts on the future of hip hop actually came to fruition.

Nov 14, 2009

Microsoft proves it's "Gangster Status" with 360 Bans

This is an interesting story to me. Full disclosure: I'm a PS3 owner. Never really messed with Xbox and I tell anyone who will listen (and most who won't) that the PS3 is a far superior experience to spend your money on, when you factor in all the aspects such as Blu Ray player, free online gaming, wifi, and exclusives like Uncharted, God of War and Ratchet & Clank.

That said, I read with interest the story about how Microsoft has banned up to 1 million of it's customers, due to them having modded consoles. Most of the modded consoles are for simple reasons such as to run a different Operating System such as Linux or to make backups of the games the people own.

MANY people however are using it to illegally copy games, and play them for free without actually buying them.

And I realize that Microsoft HAS to do something about this, and banning them isn't really a problem in my eyes. The people who modded their consoles, KNEW it was against their terms of service, so if they're going to do it KNOWING that Microsoft could brick their console, then that's on them.

However the aspect that I found most interesting, and a bit odd, is Microsoft's reaction.

Microsoft has responded that the customer's consoles ban is "irreversible" and that they are free to go buy a brand new console.


That's crazy to me. If I got banned from online gaming, and they made many features of the 360 (which are selling points to many 360 fans) completely obsolete by doing so, am I going to go and rush out and give them MORE of my money? Hell no!

That's hilarious though, and you know the vast majority of 360 fans are going to do just that. It's the ultimate in "thank you may I have another". Is it a coincidence that this happens JUST in time for the Christmas Shopping Season?

I mean, even if I was 100% in the wrong, and I realized that I got what was coming to me, I would never put another dime in their pockets. I mean this is incredible, the balls of the company doing that.

To be clear, I don't have an issue with them banning the modded consoles, and bricking them. Them's the breaks. But I find the incredible ballsiness in telling them "we just made your console useless for online gaming, but feel free to go buy a brand new one and give us some more money" just astounding!

I almost expected them to add "oh and we encourage you to mod that one too, so we can gank you for even more money"

I think Microsoft should be forever dubbed Gangster #1 for this move. I have to say bravo. It's not enough to just come out and say something outrageous, but to actually do it and have it work is another thing altogether.

And that's not even the end of their Gangsterific behavior! They're now essentially putting everyone on notice about buying second-hand consoles! Because once banned, always banned. And since the ban is on the specific console, and NOT THE ACCOUNT, they can not only continue to milk money out of their fanbase, but also they're pointing out that if you buy a second hand 360 from Ebay or Craigslist or whatever, and it was banned (even if you don't know that) you'll FOREVER be banned.

You see what's happening here? Microsoft isn't making any money off of those second hand purchases.

Microsoft isn't getting paid off of Ebay purchases and Craigslist and Pawnshops and whatnot. So now they're pretty much laying down their rules and saying that there's a damn good chance that unless you buy from them and them alone, you can't get online.

Wow. That PS3 is looking mighty good right now. I can't say it with absolute certainty, but I don't recall anyone EVER being banned from the PSN for a modded PS3.

Have fun shelling out your money to Bill Gates. Because we know that's what you're going to do. Oh you'll bitch for awhile, and curse Microsoft. Might even post up using that oh so clever and hip "micro$oft".

But at the end of the day you know what you're gonna do. You're gonna go waste more money by buying something you already bought.

Cheers Mate!

Nov 12, 2009

Carrie Prejean: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

In the 1989 Christmas film "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) was anticipating his yearly Christmas bonus. He had already made a down payment on the swimming pool he was going to put in the back yard, and was anxiously awaiting the bonus to cover the check he wrote.

Well, to his surprise, the "bonus" turned out to be, not money, but a one year membership into the "Jelly of the Month Club", prompting his idiot brother Eddie (Randy Quaid) to utter the memorable phrase, "That's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year through."

That it is, Eddie. That it is.

And so is the gift of Carrie Prejean. The gift that keeps on giving whether we want it to or not. There are people that are bestowed upon us that we don't really deserve. People that are so incredibly bizarre or stupefying, that we don't have any earthly right to be able to bear witness.

And yet we're given them anyway. People such as Sarah Palin, and Rod Blagojevich. These people are spectacularly awesome in how entertaining they are, while simultaneously allowing us to keep the faith that "there but for the grace of God, go I".

Well, we can add another such gift. Carrie Prejean. Oh Carrie, what did we do to deserve someone such as yourself? Did I set up an orphanage in a previous life that helped nurture and raise future inventors of debilitating diseases? Did I save a basket of drowning kittens? I must have done something good in order to be able to see this train wreck known as Carrie Prejean.

I mean, let's just go through the timeline, shall we?

First she burst onto the national scene, when while running for Miss America, Prejean (Miss California) was asked her opinion on the idea of gay marriage, by all around scumbag Perez Hilton.

And she gave us our first gift. The birth of the phrase "opposite marriage". This is her response:

Now I didn't have a problem with what she said there. She gave her honest opinion, and while she was a bit doofy in referring to a man and woman getting married as "opposite marriage" but she was honest with what she felt, and that's cool. I don't have a problem with her speaking her mind.

Many other people did though, and unfortunately that lent to essentially making her a martyr, of sorts, and led to her being put up as this poster girl for Family Values and whatnot. This led to her, predictably, being on all the Fox News shows and being trumpeted as a sign of free speech being hindered.

There's nothing Fox News loves more than attractive blonde women who hate the gays. And she was batting three for three there.

So then came the news that she was being fired from the Miss California people. They accused her of not living up to her responsibilities which included making appearances for the pageant, and she claimed they did so because of her religious beliefs, and that she spoke her mind about gay marriage.

Then it REALLY got good.

Then it came out that the pageant had paid for breast implants which of course made everyone who didn't like Prejean just overcome with joy.

I think Prejean's problem stems from the fact that she put herself out there as this great bastian of morals and Christian family values. And we all know what happens when someone does that. IMMEDIATELY the non-Family Values type things you've done in the past comes flowing out.

Her big problem wasn't that she was anti-gay marriage. That's not the issue, and it was NEVER the issue, no matter what she wants to say, or what those on Fox News want to make it about. It was about her putting herself up on a pedestal and looking down on those who are FOR gay rights.

And sure enough all the dirt started spilling out about her. Turns out she had breast implants that were paid for by the pageant. Is that Christian values? Does that fall under the "defiling God's temple" thing that most people associate with tattoos and body piercings?

No mind. And then when she decided to sue the pageant for infringing on her religious freedoms and other such nonsense, they dropped the bomb. A sex tape that she had made for an ex boyfriend in which she was...ahem....getting in touch with her inner self.

She quickly retracted her lawsuit, and has called the tape a "mistake".

annnnnnnnnnnnd you know it's not over right? Now the boyfriend has come out and said that, while she's saying that she was underage at the time (supposedly 17), he says she was 18+ when she made the video(s). Yes, plural. Supposedly there's 20 videos or so that she sent him, via cellphone or whatever.

You know these are going to show up right? The guy, if history tells us anything, will no doubt be a scumbag who will sell them or release them to hurt her.

Now I don't care if she made these videos. They're stupid to do, and it shows ZERO foresight or logical thinking. That said, so what. It's not the worst thing she could have done.

However the problem is that she has put herself up as this big Christian values type person who was being persecuted because of her faith, and her dislike of gay marriage.

And now people will rightfully point out "were you exhibiting Christian family values when you made these sex videos for your boyfriend-not-husband?"

And then last night she went on Larry King's show and the circus got even crazier when Larry Freaking Kings was considered being too hard on her. What's the world coming to when Larry King is considered a tough interview? lol

I'm sure this will continue to go on and on and on. She's just too good. I mean ... I feel like asking what good things I did in a previous life to deserve this wonderful entertainment.

Oh well. I'll enjoy it while it lasts. I smell a VH1 Reality show soon. Put her and Flavor Flav in a reality show together. That oughta be fun.

Or better yet, her and Perez Hilton. That should be loads of entertainment.

The Distortion of our Perception of Beauty

Wow this is a really crazy video. Very cool and should be required viewing of teen girls everywhere. Too often these girls are tricked into starving themselves or undergoing drastic and dangerous measures to live up to these impossible standards set forth by so many of these magazines.

Great example of how this is all a sham!

The Stupidity of the "Stop Snitching" Movement

This is where we're at folks. Almost 2010, and we are at a point in society where a guy can see a teenage girl get raped and beaten by 10 people, and do nothing about it. He can stand there and watch for, by his own account, for 15-20 minutes, as these men savagely beat and raped this girl, and did nothing. And when asked why he didn't do anything, Salvador Rodriguez, of Richmond, California, said he didn't know.

He doesn't know why he didn't try to stop the heinous crime. And as truly horrifying as that is, it's not even the worst part.

Yes, there is something worse. And that's his reasoning behind why he didn't do anything.

Courtesy of ABC Local:

Rodriquez says he knew at least one of the attackers and tried to stop the group from taking pictures of the victim on their cell phone.

"I just see like everybody going crazy and messing with her and I was like, 'Hey man, calm down, leave her alone, that's a little girl,' you don't do nothing like that,' cuz I got two 15-year-old sisters myself," Rodriquez said.

He wishes he could have done more, but now he fears being labeled as a snitch. He is friends with one of the suspects in custody. 

"People say, 'Why didn't I call the cops,' but at the same time, I live in Richmond, a neighborhood like this, snitching is something you don't do, you know, I mean I have to walk down the streets now in fear of my life," Rodriquez said.

That's where we are folks! When it's considered "snitching" to help stop the brutal beating and rape of a 16 year old girl. When someone thinks they're life is going to be in danger for DARING to report something like this.

Oh, and what is going on in his mind where it's okay to sit and watch someone get beaten and raped for 20 minutes, but he steps in when they're going to take pictures of it afterwards? Cause THEN he's thinking about how he's got a couple 15 year old sisters? Get the fuck outta here with that.

What the hell is this? This whole "Stop snitching" bullshit is out of control. This isn't someone who was doing dirt, and he took a deal to get out of trouble, but sold his partners in crimes down the river. This isn't someone running to the cops to get people in trouble for stuff HE'S doing.

This is someone who witnesses something truly horrific, and should have the simple decency to intervene. The innocent people, the law abiding people of this world, has allowed the criminals and thugs to dictate what they do. They've allowed "stop snitching" to encompass any and everything when it comes to the police.

There are plenty of instances where you don't run to the cops, such as the examples I gave above. When you are watching someone get beaten and raped, and you have nothing to do with it, THAT ISN'T ONE OF THEM!

Salvador Rodriguez needs to be locked up for a long time. He needs to pay some price for his inaction. This isn't a simple joke along the lines of the Seinfeld finale, where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were locked up because they refused to help some guy who was getting his wallet stolen.

This is flat out disgusting and disturbing on any number of levels. But hey, if you live in an area in which if you call the police to report that a 16 year old girl is getting beaten and gang raped outside her high school prom, that your life might be in danger, perhaps you should look into moving to a more civilized area to live.

Nov 10, 2009

OldBoy Remake is Dead.

Best news I've had all day.

That was the reaction to Slash Film's article about the purported American version of OldBoy, a Korean masterpiece, starring Will Smith and to be directed by Steven Spielberg.

Latino Review is reporting that Steven Spielberg’s Old Boy starring Will Smith is dead in the water. Apparently Dreamworks and original Korean production studio Mandate were working together to get the rights to the manga, but the two couldn’t reach an agreement, and Dreamworks simply walked away. Spielberg’s film was to be an adaptation of the original manga by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, and not a direct remake of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy.

I have nothing against Will Smith, despite him being involved in two HORRIBLY advised remakes (Old Boy and Karate Kid) and to be honest he's one of my favorite actors out there. I've been a huge fan of Smith for YEARS, and most people consider me an apologist for him, able to put a positive spin on damn near anything that comes up negatively about him.

That said, I was dead set against this from the moment I heard about it. And not because of anyone involved, but more to the point that it was being discussed at all.

As Is aid, Oldboy is a MASTERPIECE! In every sense of the word. It's one of the very few films that I've seen that I would call an out and out perfect film. There's not a single false moment in this tale of revenge and heartbreak. Often times uncomfortable, and at other times exhilarating, this bonafide classic film is just an excellent piece of art.

And it does NOT need to be redone. By anyone. How can you improve on perfection? You can't. There's no way you can succeed with this, it will always be held to the original and come up lacking.

That's the issue I have with the Smith produced Karate Kid remake starring his son Jaden in the Daniel LaRusso role, and Jackie Chan in the Mr. Miyagi role. Why do another one? There was no need. The first movie is great, if a bit cheesy in areas. It's a defining film in many people's lives, who were growing up at that time.

The movie, when it comes out, will be savaged by critics comparing it to the original, and I anticipate many cruel comments being lobbed at young Jaden Smith.

So back to my original point. The OldBoy remake is dead. And while it wasn't a remake of the movie, but of the Manga that was the basis for the movie, was a bad idea, and one that I'm glad is done.

One final note, I remember hearing about this years ago when Nicolas Cage was attached. I actually thought it might be kinda cool then, just because of the love that Cage has for Korean culture. I knew that Cage was a huge fan of the film, and think that he would have at least tried to be as respectful as he could be in recreating the Korean original.

Here's the trailer for the original OldBoy. I highly recommend this to everyone who likes thought provoking and intelligent movies. You can find English dubbed version on the US RELEASE of this, if you don't like Subtitles, but I prefer the original Korean audio with English Subtitles myself. BE WARNED: The subject matter in the film (without wanting to give anything away) is VERY mature and adult. This isn't a film for kids.

Glenn Beck loses fight against satirical website

Breaking News: Glenn Beck did NOT Rape and murder a girl in 1990.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the heart of this matter. Fox News' Glenn Beck had filed suit to shut down a satire website with the URL Glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990. And I think anyone with any semblance of common sense could understand WHY he was angry at the site.

I can't stand Glenn Beck, and think he's extremely dangerous with his violent and unhinged rhetoric. That said, I can't imagine that I would have reacted differently in his shoes when it came to this. I mean, I get the whole 1st Amendment thing, and I realize it's satire, and I realize it's poking fun at Beck's tendency to act stupid in asking people to prove they're NOT something.

However, I think the website crossed the line when you begin to defame someone. Especially when it comes to something so vicious as involving rape. Whether you believe Beck defames people on a daily basis (and he does), two wrongs don't necessarily make a right. And I have long been irritated by those on hte left (of which I reside) taking that tack. To reciprocate behavior that we ourselves find abhorrent.

We tend to retaliate by the Republicans nitpicking at every minor thing that a Democrat does, by doing the exact same thing to them. It comes off as petty. And yet when you call them on it, they bring out the "we're just poking fun at what they're doing. Giving them a taste of their own medicine".

And that's all well and good, but it doesn't further the debate. It doesn't help the national discourse, it only keeps us mired into the depths of inanity.

I don't pretend to know the solution, but there has to be a better way to combat the ridiculousness that we see on the right, than to mirror the very things we find reprehensible. There HAS to be.

And that's the problem I had with the Glenn Beck satire site. Beck realized he didn't REALLY have a leg to stand on due to the already legal precedents on mocking public figures, so he went the "trademark" route in that they used his name, and that they were allegedly making money off the site.

Well, Beck was ruled against, and the defendant turned over the site ANYWAY to Beck.

So the saga is over (for now) and I have zero belief that this will force Beck to change his ways. He'll still throw out unsubstantiated gossip, asking people to prove it's not true, but that doesn't mean we have to get down into the gutter with him.

For clarification for those of you who don't know what this is originally from:

1. Glenn Beck asking Congressman Keith Ellison, the first openly Muslim man in Congress to "prove that you're not working with the Enemy".

And that was the basis of the website. Essentially turning that back on Glenn Beck and asking him to prove that he DIDN'T do something that is really completely ridiculous to even address.

And the joke that born the site out is originally from comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who while roasting Bob Saget, let loose the now famous insult.

The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget
Gilbert Gottfried Pt. 1
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Nov 5, 2009

My Thoughts on the Fort Hood tragedy

When I got online today I immediately saw the glaring headline signalling that 12 people were killed and 31 were wounded at Fort Hood Army base in Texas.

My first thoughts when to a friend of mine who resides on an Army base with his wife and son. I was relatively sure that they weren't at whatever base this was, although I wasn't 100% on where Fort Hood was off the top of my head. And fortunately for him and his family, they weren't there.

However I had that same feeling that I got when I first heard that 32 people had been killed and many others wounded at Virginia Tech back in 2007. My mother used to be a professor there, and she still knows many people there. My brothers both have been there and I believe they had friends there that they visit.

I was going crazy trying to get ahold of my family to make sure they weren't there. And fortunately they weren't.

Unfortunately not everyone can say that today in relation to Fort Hood. I don't know what made the man or men who did this snap. There are varying theories by people who don't really know what they're talking about. Whether it had anything to do with the Stop Loss program and someone just snapped because they didn't wanna go back, or that type of thing.

As I said I don't know and won't venture a guess. I can't imagine what it would take to make me want to kill people. I've gotten angry at people before, and I've wanted to put my hands on some people and just really let them know how I felt, but never with the thought of killing someone.

As tragic as this day was, I have a feeling that it's going to get a lot worse in one specific way. After 9/11 the instances of anti-Arab American violence skyrocketed. All over the country we saw instances of perfectly peaceful Arab Americans getting harrassed, beaten, and even killed due to the overwhelming anger and frustration that we as a nation felt that day.

And reviewing the information today, I have a feeling that there may be a bit of something like that in store, only not on as large a scale obviously. There was one man killed and two more or in custody. The man's name, who is the one who is the alleged shooter is Major Malik Nadal Hasan.

Can you imagine what's going to happen? And sure enough, it's already begun. I had to look up an article to find out the correct name of the soldier, and already Fox News is going forth with the expected comments.

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has a good post about that in which he writes the following:

The fact that the primary assailant has an Arabic name and is presumably, though we don't know this yet, of Muslim extraction if not a practicing Muslim, is going to be the focus of attention. That is an issue that speaks for itself. And I'm sure it will be the focus of much discussion over the coming days.

And that's exactly what I thought as soon as I saw his name. I thought, "oh shit, this isn't going to be pretty". We have a tendency to want to narrow things down to the smallest labels.

When people hear his name, the VERY FIRST thing that will pop into many of their minds is "that's not an American name" or "that's one of THOSE people". And not all of those people thinking that will be doing so out of a racist viewpoint, but more because that's sort of where our society is at this point.

And sure enough, Fox News has already started putting out that meme. Shepard Smith, who I actually LIKE, and is pretty much the only guy on Fox who has a backbone and will buck the GOP talking points that he's shoveled, unlike other people on that network, fired the first shot in this situation:

Via RawStory:

In an interview with US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Fox host Shepard Smith asked: "The names tells us a lot, does it not, senator?"

"It does," Hutchison replied. "It does, Shepard."

And that really disappoints me, because while I fully expected many on the fringe of the right wing to pick up that ball and run with it full steam ahead, and perhaps even some of the Fox News people such as Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, Shep was the very last person I would have expected that from.

Common - Live @ North Sea Jazz Festival - 2005


This here is a fantastic concert! Performed in Den Haag, Netherlands for the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2005 around the time that he dropped his classic album "Be".

Check this out folks, this show is not to be missed. The video and audio quality is excellent!

Sample Video Clip (tracks 14 & 15 on this dvd)

NEW MEDIAFIRE LINKS: March 12th 2012

Common - North Sea Jazz Festival (2005) *BE* Tour

1. Be
2. Real People
3. Common Talks/Introduces the Band & DJ
4. Nag Champa
5. The Invocation
6. Go
7. Faithful
8. Common Talks: Bogus women that do men wrong
9. Testify
10. Common talks to Talib & Mos Def on the phone
11. Respiration/Get em High (Just his verses)
12. Thelonious
13. Funky For You
14. Common invites woman onstage to dance to slow jams.
15. Come Close
16. Freestyling over Electric Relaxation
17. Common Talks: Love
18. Love Is...
19. Common Talks To The Audience
20. They Say
21. I Used To Love H.E.R.
22. Common does a medley of hip hop tracks
23. Common Talks: Foundations of Hip Hop & the DJ
24. DJ Dummy Scratches over "It Takes Two"
25. Common shouts out his band/freestyles a bit
26. The Light

Nov 4, 2009

Does Rihanna deserve "Woman of the Year" award?

Recently, you might have heard, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to much condemnation on both sides of the political aisle. Loud calls of "He doesn't deserve it" were lobbed by people who, no doubt, had the integrity of the Nobel Peace Prize in mind.

Now we have another "award" given out to someone who, in my mind, is absolutely wrong. I'm referring to singer Rihanna being awarded Glamour Magazine's "Woman of the Year". At risk of infuriating many of her fans, and probably every single woman who reads this (and some men), I have to say that getting beat up doesn't qualify a woman as "woman of the year".

Now, let me qualify what I just said. Let me explain why I used that sentence.

What was she named "Woman of the Year" for, exactly? Well, she was awarded it for her overcoming the abuse she took from her then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown.

Okay. And?

Not to make light of the situation, because I absolutely am against ANY man putting his hands on a woman.

I am vehemently against violence towards women. I'm a huge proponent of organizations like Home Alive, based in Seattle, set up after the murder of Mia Zapata to help women with self defense, and awareness and education about abuse.

A very good friend of mine was beaten to death by her piece of shit boyfriend, so trust me on this: I'm not making light of Rihanna's situation. Not at all. Not by a LONG shot.

But what makes Rihanna's situation any more harrowing than what millions of women go through every year? In fact, three weeks after Chris hit her, leaving bruises on her, they got back together.

That angered many people and it brings up a great point: How much of a role model can she be considered? Sure she's not with him now (I don't believe), but she gets abused by this man, and then she runs back. She's the stereotypical Lifetime Movie of the Week subject. Running back because "oh I'm sure he didn't mean it" or "he's really sorry for what he did" or some other bullshit.

I can't see how she could possibly be considered a role model, least of all Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year.

Oh wait. That's right. She gave Glamour the EXCLUSIVE interview for first time about the assault. Surely that didn't play into them giving her Woman of the Year, right?

This is an insult to every woman in the world that deals with physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or husband, and has the strength to walk away and not look back. Those who consider their children and themselves, and make that difficult decision to walk into an unknown situation because they flat out refuse to be a victim anymore.

I'm sure Rihanna will milk this situation for all she can. As bad as it is to say this, and as bad as I feel for saying it, this whole situation is probably the best thing that ever happened to her career.