Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Greatest Movie Poster of All-Time! (2019)

[WARNING: There is a spoiler or two if you keep scrolling & reading this post]

As everyone knows from the second trailer that was released, the REAL star of Marvel Studio's Captain Marvel film is Carol Danvers' orange tabby cat - Goose. This was confirmed when one of the 10 main character posters from the upcoming film revealed this week was of Goose:


It goes without saying (but I shall say it) that this is the greatest film poster of all time. The feline-dominated and controlled internet has spoken!

The Mighty Goose is a victim of a gender-switch and a name-switch.  While the cat is a female named Chewie in the comics, the feline swapped genders to male and is named Goose in the movie, trading a Star Wars reference for a nod to Top Gun.

Of course, Chewie in the comics is not your run-of-the-mill house cat.  She is eventually revealed to be a dangerous being from an alien race known as Flerken.  

From the Marvel Wiki:
"Flerken resemble Earth cats in appearance and behavior. They could lay up to 117 eggs and possessed a myriad of tentacles that could extend from their mouths. Their bodies also held pocket realities, bubbles of space and time that existed in other worlds."
On the one hand, we don't know if Goose is a Flerken in the Captain Marvel film - or if Goose is an ally or dangerous.  On the other hand, since Flerkens have longer lifespans than earth cats, Goose may likely still around in the modern-day Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That said, some images from the Hasbro Captain Marvel toy line have leaked, and the image of the Nick Fury Marvel Legends figure comes with a spoiler:

Well...even muzzled and in tiny cat-shackles, Goose looks Flerken AWESOME!

Captain Marvel will be released March 8, 2019. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The #SongToStartTheDay

It's been a year since I started to post a picture of the last song of my commute to work from my iPod Classic on my Instagram account.

Here's the first one, from January 3, 2018:

 Here's today's song:

I started to do it because I don't take many pictures so my Instagram account was looking weak. I started to just post whatever came up and keep it random, but after a while, I decided to make sure there were no duplicates, so I usually curate the last song in advance.

I use the hashtag #SongToStartTheDay to keep track of them. Anyone on Instagram can check it out as well as my Facebook friends, since I cross-post to my personal FB timeline.  On Instagram I post a YouTube link in the comments.  On Facebook I post the YouTube link as well as any other links about the song I can find.

Maybe I give people morning ear-worms, maybe I inspire someone to seek out the track. That would be cool. It's fun anyway. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

R. Kelly - WTF?

Lifetime's 6-part Surviving R Kelly documentary is getting the response one might expect to the charges:
- Various law-enforcement agencies announcing investigations
- Various politicians demanding action
- Every local & national news outlet is reporting the story

Surprising?  Yes. 
Not Surprising?  Not if you've been paying attention
Fucked up?  For sure.

What is known for sure is that R. Kelly has been accused of sexual relationships with minors going back to 1994, which leads me to the BIG question...

- Why has it taken law enforcement 25 years to respond?
- Why has it taken politicians 25 years to respond?
- Why has it taken news outlets 25 years to pick up the story?

First, let's acknowledge that Jim DeRogatis broke the R Kelly story and has stuck with the story ever since.  The initial story by DeRo and Abdon Pallash was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times in December 2000.  Eighteen years ago.

Eighteen years ago!
That's how many years it takes to age out of R. Kelly's dating preference!

...and NOW some stuff seems to be getting done, though even DeRo - rightly so - has his doubts much will happen:

Unsurprising to me is how the Chicago news media ignores a major story that a competitor broke / has an exclusive.  From 1999-2004 I published a weekly online column on the Chicago news media.  I started it because after being away from Chicago for 5 years, I was stunned at how the local news media had deteriorated.  Others have suggested that I didn't know how bad it was before I left, but regardless, I was a voracious news consumer sad that Chicago news was getting bad.  By the time I ended the column in 2004, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Chicago journalism was weak (Overall - there were/are still some bright spots).

When the Sun-Times broke the R. Kelly story, EVERY Chicago news org, should have pounced and reported and kept the story going until the story ended.  But no.  It's much easier to use wire stories, PR releases and man-on-the-street opinions to fill the newshole.  It still happens today.  The TIF scam created by Richie Daley should have been killed years ago, but Ben Joravsky is apparently the only good journalist in town and the only one who can report the story in a clear and concise manner. Meantime, the R. Kelly story was here all along for the picking, but a cable TV channel known primarily for women-in-distress B-movies out scooped, out-reported and out-journo'd the Chicago news media.  Weak.

Here's a good summation of the story on Vox - a non-Chicago news site.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Today in RUSH History: Permanent Waves was released

39 years ago - On January 14, 1980, Rush released their seventh studio album, Permanent Waves.

The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 Charts and was certified gold (500k+ units) by the RIAA on March 17, 1980 and then Platinum (1mil+ units) on November 9, 1987. It was the 7th album released by the band in 7 years, and at 35:35 it clocks in as their shortest original album.

This was the album where the band started to move into a tighter direction - away from the single-side epics.  Geddy's use of synthesizers continued to slowly build, but the two hit songs from this album are hard rocking guitar anthems - The Spirit of Radio and Freewill
While a 6-song / 35 minute album these days would be considered an EP, keep in mind this album followed up the 4-song Hemispheres!

This was probably the 4th Rush album I got.  For a while I had The Spirit of Radio as my alarm in the morning - what an awesome song to wake up to!  The chorus to Freewill is damn good (Peart was definitely hitting his stride), I especially love  the suggestion that not making a choice is still making a choice:

"You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose freewill"

Excerpt from
Permanent Waves was recorded at Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, and mixed at Trident Studios in London. The tracks were laid down just shy of four weeks, in part attributed to the idyllic working conditions of Morin Heights.

The album marks a transition from long, conceptual pieces, into a more accessible, radio-friendly style. “The Spirit Of Radio” is one of the most commercial songs Rush has ever produced, containing several different musical elements, even a touch of reggae. At the time, Alex recalled:
“We’ve always played around with reggae in the studio and we used to do a reggae intro to Working Man onstage, so when it came to doing Spirit Of Radio we just thought we’d do the reggae bit to make us smile and have a little fun.”
The waving man in the background of the album cover is actually Hugh Syme, the band’s long time design collaborator.

Merch at Rush Backstage Club
Rush Vault
Wikipedia entry
Prog Archives reviews
Ultimate Classic Rock
Metal Archives
Surprising good Rolling Stone review
Pop Matters review
The story behind the album cover
The story behind The Spirit of Radio
Rush Wiki
Apple Music

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Today in RUSH History: A Show Of Hands was released

30 years ago - On January 9, 1989, Rush released their third live album, A Show Of Hands.

The album peaked at #21 on the Billboard 200 Charts and was certified gold (500k+ units) by the RIAA on March 9, 1989.  It followed the usual Rush pattern of releasing a live album after 4 studio albums.  The majority of the performances on this album were from 1988's Hold Your Fire tour except for Witch Hunt, which was taken from a 1986 Power Windows tour show.

I love this live album. I thought All The World's A Stage was a bit too raw with some sound issues and Exit Stage Left was way too polished with the crowd barely audible. Rush did it right with A Show Of Hands.

Track Listing
The Big Money (Birmingham, England)
Subdivisions (Birmingham, England)
Marathon (Birmingham, England)
Turn the Page (New Orleans, LA)
Manhattan Project (Phoenix, AZ)
Mission (San Diego, CA)
Distant Early Warning (Birmingham, England)
Mystic Rhythms (Meadowlands, NJ)
Witch Hunt
Rhythm Method (drum solo)
Force Ten (Phoenix, AZ)
Time Stand Still (Birmingham, England)
Red Sector A (Birmingham, England)
Closer to the Heart (Birmingham, England)

Watch the concert video here:

Excerpt from
The band released a video of the same name, originally released on VHS and laserdisc, the same year. DVD versions were later released in 2006 and 2007.

It was during this era that Jim Burgess of Saved By Technology convinced Geddy that the complexities of a Rush studio recording could be recreated live. Offstage, someone set up the samples for the songs, but Geddy would trigger them himself:
“It’s very important for me to do that, and not someone else. It’s a fine line, but I still have to be in the right place at the right time. If I hit a sequencer late, it’s my fault. That way, I’m still in control, and my organization and rhythm have to be impeccable.” – Geddy Lee, 1989
CD technology was also front-of-mind for the band during the time of this release. The double LP fit on a single CD, filling all but 12 seconds of the 74-minute physical restriction.

Merch at Rush Backstage Club
Rush Vault
Wikipedia entry
Prog Archives reviews
Ultimate Classic Rock
Metal Archives
Unsurprising shitty Rolling Stone review
Apple Music