Category Archives: music

Three Things That Brought the Hammer Down Last Week

1. Thor smashed me pleasantly in the face with the mighty hammer of its polished superhero/mythological/space fantasy mashup. Thor has never been my favorite character, either in comics or in Norse mythology, but this movie was the real deal. My biggest concern going in was that the Asgardian fantasy trappings would look inherently goofy captured in the real world. Thor works pretty well for me when he’s running around punching frost giants and cracking trolls in the jaw with his hammer. Walking down the streets of NYC, the whole thing can fall on the wrong side of goofy. Kenneth Branagh largely avoids this problem by keeping the Godly sections of the movie distinct from the mortal, except for a few scenes where the Warriors Three strut down the street in full-on medieval garb, but that’s mostly played for laughs. I also loved how much of a Bro they made Thor as he learned his humility. The S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff took up a good chunk of time, but didn’t feel too shoe-horned in. I am salivating for Captain America and the Avengers will be awesome.

album cover

2. The Hot Sauce Committee (Part Two) by the Beastie Boys has been at the top of my most anticipated albums list. It rocks. I had kind of forgotten how many sucka MCs are out there, so I’m glad the Firm of Horovitz, Yauch, and Diamond is back to school them all with their blistering similes.

3. Archer is the funniest show on television. I’ve been catching up with the last season on Hulu, and the show is really coming into it’s own. What started as a take on the more self-centered and misogynistic aspects of a James Bond-style superspy has developed into a workplace comedy with just a hint of surrealism. The episode “Placebo Effect” had the eponymous secret agent search out the criminal mastermind who had been selling counterfeit cancer medication (sugar pills and Zima). He insists on a “rampage” of revenge, and ends up interrogating the Irish mobsters behind the scheme while physically falling apart from the real meds he finds and engaging in an elaborate Family Feud homage. Hilarious.

Three Things That Rocked My World This Week

1. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is probably my all-time favorite beer. I’ve been on a serious IPA kick for the last four years or so, and the hoppy goodness (90 IBU) that the fine folks at Dogfish Head consistently deliver in every bottle tickles my nose most pleasantly. The high alcohol content (9%) means that I can’t drink as many as I would like in any one sitting without starting to talk kinda loud and possibly riding the wrong bus about five miles in the wrong direction. Still, it’s a wonderful beer. I continually monitor their website in case they post a job opening for in-house counsel, but until they do I’ll keep drinking it.

2. The Strokes are a band that I’ve followed since they first broke onto the scene during my first year in undergrad.

Julian Casablancas and company have delivered album after album of kick-ass songs. Maybe the didn’t turn out to be the Indie Messiahs who would change the Face of Modern Rock; as some of the more ardent critics proclaimed them after Is This It? but I have enjoyed the slow progression of their sound all the way down to Angles It’s been on daily rotation since I downloaded it from Amazon for $3.99 in one of the best daily deals Amazon has yet put out there. This album has a slightly 80s vibe to it, but in a good way.

3. Dragon Age II is my first real exposure to the series.

I did try to get into Origins but I was stymied by the difficulty level. I ended up not having fun because even when I micromanaged my party to within an inch of their lives, I still got schooled by nearly every Darkspawn we ran across. I was a big fan of Mass Effect games, so getting reacquainted with the BioWare approach to role playing wasn’t that hard. Dragon Age 2 is easier than its predecessor, in that it is actually possible for your followers to make rational decisions for themselves, such as drinking a health potion after they get knocked on their ass by orc-blades or not jumping in front of the toughest bad guy in the room when they are out of stamina. I also like the self-contained nature of the smaller scale adventure. Your hero basically just hangs out in the city and the setting changes temporally instead of spatially. That being said, I do wish that the you could check out more areas in the city and run through the same damn dungeon ten times. Nothing is more fun than setting up a cross class combo and having your rogue disorient an enemy just long enough for your spellcaster to bring the mystical pain. I also enjoy the way you go into conversational cut-scenes covered head to to in the gory ichor of your foes and just start chuckling with your buddies like it’s the end of Scooby Doo.

 

Oh, that’s why he’s hot.

If you’re like me, you like to construct elaborate models and similes to explain things that you really shouldn’t waste your time thinking about. Sites like indexed do this sort of thing all the time, and I can never get enough of it. I find this sort of thinking to be a useful hermeneutic tool for understanding the complex wordplay of Mims, and the syllogistic reasoning of explanations for his own hotness. The Village Voice does it for me.

“The most amazing line in “This Is Why I’m Hot”—and, even at
this early a juncture, quite possibly the most amazing line of any song
to see release in 2007—is “I’m hot ’cause I’m fly/You ain’t
’cause you not.” Brutal and unassailable in its simplicity. Consider
the reasoning, first, of just “I’m hot ’cause I’m fly”:

Mims is hot because he’s fly. But it raises the question: Does
being hot guarantee one’s being fly? “You ain’t ’cause you not” would seem to clear that up:

It would appear that fly and hot are interchangable. If you are one, you are both; if you aren’t at least one, you are neither.”

The Cranky Old Man’s TV Nitpicking Corner

I’ll tell you something. Back in my day, commercials made sense. Unlike the moronic horseshit that passes for television advertisements these days. Case in point:

YouTube Preview Image

This commercial is not only irritating and contrived, but fails to make any kind of logical sense and every time it comes on I am filled with vile, venomous rage that I must release. Okay. The commercial starts with the two idiots downloading the song “Rock the Casbah” by the Clash and transferring it to their Cingular phone. Then they proceed to hilariously mispronounce the lyrics. Now I will grant you that the song is difficult to understand. The combination of Joe Strummer’s British accent and occasional punk screaming make certain lyrical passages nearly incomprehensible. But the chorus of “Rock the Casbah,” which these knuckleheads mangle into “Stop the Catbox” is also the title of the song. Which means that they must have seen it during the process of ripping/downloading the song or transferring it to their phones. If nothing else, I contend that unless their parents were brother and sister, they should have gotten the chorus right.

Now if only advertisers would check with me before putting something on the air, I think the level of sophomoric crap that choke our airwaves would greatly reduce.

The Time Has Come

The reason why I posted the greatest Survivor song of all time in prose form earlier this week is this. I have recently signed up for a boxing bootcamp, and am rising way earlier than a normal person should to train for an hour-and-a-half before work. My body is adjusting to the shock of exercise. I haven’t really exerted myself since relocating to the West Coast, and a serious workout is long over due. The time has come for me to cast off the oh-so-comfortable lethargy of the last few months and once again become a pugilist. Sedentary no more! Despite my fighting career, I am a horrible striker and know very little about the sweet science. As a grappler, my strategy was usually to get punched in the face repeatedly until I could take down my opponent and ground and pound. It worked, but tended to mar my movie-star good looks for a few days.

This bootcamp is ideal for me, because it assumes a very basic level of boxing knowledge and focuses more on fundamentals and fitness. The workouts are good, but not too intense. I’m no Jack Dempsey, but I’m getting better. If only I could find a way to lengthen my arms and improve my reach, I would be unstoppable. As it is, I’ve been compared to everything from a Tyranasaurus Rex to a bulldog. Fierce and mighty creatures, to be sure, but hampered by a lack of arm length. Imagine the sheer lethal carnage that a T-Rex with long arms could cause. But I digress.

I admit the running is the hardest part for me. Even in the best of shape, I was a horrible runner. Slow and labored. And now when I do I can’t get “Eye of the Tiger” out of my head.

Dun. Dun Dun Dun. Dun Dun Dun. Dun Dun DUN…

The Lamest Thing I Said Last Week: Making Music

For reasons too bizarre and shameful to get into here, I found myself listening to the most recent album from that falsetto wunderkind and ex-Boy Bander Justin Timberlake. It’s called Future Sex /Love Sounds, and most of the songs are produced by Justin’s longtime collaborator, a rotund fellow with an undeniable talent for laying down hot beats and dope hooks who goes by the sobriquet of Timbaland. You probably know him. He frequently guests on other pop songs, and was more often than not the architect of the beat. In any case, his presence is all over Justin’s new album, to the point where he pops up on virtually every track. This lead me to make the remark that perhaps the former N’Sync-er should start calling himself “Justin Timb-aland.” The groans could be heard throughout the car.

2006071423004716.jpg