January 31, 2009

Counting down

This warms my heart. Joan Jett? Bob Weir (see you in April, Bob, though you probably won't see me)? Ted McGinley?

I hope they're right!

January 28, 2009

Radio Days

I was driving home from work yesterday and flipping through stations on the Sirius tuner. Even with all the variety available there, it's not unusual for me to get home without hearing anything I particularly like, because the drive home is only ten or fifteen minutes long.

I happened to catch a Simon and Garfunkel song on the radio and I remembered an afternoon I haven't thought about in many years: late along in grad school, I took my guitar over to Paula's house, and she taught me how to play the song on the guitar. It was a pleasant afternoon, but by no means a remarkable one, and there's no story there I'm afraid ...

... but I realized then that I think so fondly of that period of my life at least in part because I had so little to offer the rest of the world during that time aside from my charm and good looks, and still, people were by and large nice to me for no tangible reason. So, that was nice.

January 25, 2009

I'm secure

If we accept the pop psychology theory that insecure men drive big trucks to compensate for some kind of gender insecurity, what do we do with the current truck ad that talks about "tranny fluid"?

January 24, 2009

All blogged out for today

I just reviewed a movie over at Whiskey Fire ... kind of working a different persona there, but if you're interested, check it out. I'll probably do a movie review over there once a week or so ... but I probably won't always be as cutting-edgy as today.

January 20, 2009

The box says, "Shut up Steve."

Thin-skinned woman vs. doofus: who ya got?

This commercial--what cereal is it even for?--irritates the crap out of me. Because it's clearly supposed to be obvious to the viewer that the guy is a dumbass, even though a fairminded viewer must admit that the woman is a cup of coffee or two past rational thought.

The original commercial is apparently British:

Ah, hell. All I really have is that I hate this damned commercial. His face, her face. Ugh.

January 17, 2009

The real Road Warrior prequel

Today I watched--sort of watched--The Cars that Ate Paris, directed by Peter Weir. I'd heard about this film and tried to like it, but I found it to be too little, too slow. Motel Hell without the fun. The Wicker Man without the Equalizer. Or Captain Corelli for that matter. Peter Jackson might have been able to make something of it, but then I really wouldn't have wanted to watch it.

Now I'm trying to watch The Terror of Tiny Town. The IMDB plot summary suggests that I might reasonably expect some "zany antics" at some point to "ensue." Hmm. A barbershop ("tonsorial parlor") with a barbershop quartet--zany? Perhaps, since there's also a penguin in there. Eighteen minutes in, and no antics to speak of, however. And I'm thinking that some of these actors were hired for reasons other than their acting ability.

Tomorrow, or soon, I will write about why Psych is the best show on TV. Dulé Hill visited our campus a while back to talk about Obama and was smarter than one might reasonably expect an actor to be, but at that point I hadn't seen the show, so I didn't go up and say something stupid to him. And I never watched West Wing (gasp!).

January 15, 2009

Branford Marsalis on students

Well, I guess I was hoping for something a little more inspirational, but at least I'm not the only grumpy old fart harrumphing about kids these days.

But, uh, when he's talking about "the generation before them" ... he's not talking about me, is he?

January 12, 2009

Freakin', frickin', friggin' ...

Dang I'm tired of hearing these wienified variations from commercials, television shows, and the mouths of my children. Shoot, people: It's the F word. If you mean it, say it. And if for some reason you must instead use a diluted euphemism, find one that doesn't sound exactly like the word you're trying to not quite say. Go for one that's really silly, the way they dub R movies for broadcast. Get what I'm saying, motherfooler? If not, forget you!

Since we kick it PG-13 here at the Wordshed, I prefer "emmereffin'," which I stole from Maureen.

In a separate but related rant, I also like it when people say "bugger" as a way of avoiding "bastard" or something. Like, if you call my nephew a "cute little bugger," I might look at you askance. "Yes, he's quite the little sodomite." Is that really the response you're looking for?

For the record, I don't have a nephew. I'm just saying.

January 10, 2009

The flower fades to make fruit

Among the many other things today undoubtedly is, it's also Robinson Jeffers's (Jeffers'? hmm.) birthday. So, happy birthday Robinson Jeffers. According to my sources, Jeffers was born in Pittsburgh, though it doesn't seem to have held him back none.

I remember going over "Shine, Perishing Republic," which is one of my favorite poems, in class a while back, and the footnote in the text mentioned bread baking or candle making or something like that, and it surprised me, because it seemed obvious to me that the metaphor in the first stanza was about a foundry.

What a good poem. When I finish reading it, I want to read it again. I find it perversely affirmative, and that's just plain fun to say.

January 05, 2009

Sometimes things hit you funny

On the right day, in the right mood, it's weird how things hit you. I know a guy who saw The Break-Up with a group of people and found it devastating. He was weeping. I haven't seen the movie, I must confess, but my impression is that the movie was supposed to be funny. Am I wrong about that?

It happens to me too. I have to confess that I frequently find episodes of the British situation comedy As Time Goes By to be unspeakably affecting. Field of Dreams doesn't do it for me because I can see that it's trying to manipulate me, but I have a blind spot where ATGB is concerned. Why is that?

Incidentally, and this may be a digression, I can live with it when the dog dies in a movie, but I won't see a movie where the whole point of the damned movie is apparently that the dog dies ... even though the parent in me understands that death is a big part of why pets are important.

I used to show the film Grapes of Wrath when I taught film, but I wouldn't watch the film with the students ... from when Tom finds his family's home abandoned ("It's just an old shoe") onward, I'm pretty much a wreck.

Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" is here. Rage Against the Machine version here.