Showing posts from 2022

Random Song: The Motown Song

 So, I'm putting together a playlist on Spotify at the moment and I've been fiddling with it over the course of the past few days. In general, there's no overall theme, just- and I say this reluctantly because I'm old and don't want to seem overly cringe about this- real, solid bangers (as the youth say, or so I'm told.) I just wanted songs from all over my personal timeline of music that just rocked my face off and you could get a good groove onto. When it comes to playlist construction, I am criminally guilty of using some of the same songs multiple times over and over again- it's partially why I try, now and again, to do deep dives into random things on Spotify just to futz with my algorithm a bit. (Given this lengthy Stereogum article on Paul McCartney , I think a deep dive on Macca might be in order, but that's another post.) So this playlist (the current year playlist, helpfully titled 2022 Jams) features some songs I've been grooving to a lot

Black Dog

It's been hard lately.  I can't quite put my finger on why. Churchill liked to call such periods of melancholy and depression his 'black dog' but I'm not sure I'd call this melancholy or depression. Maybe some people can still stay in bed for days on end and do nothing and embrace the blackness for a while- Lord knows, that sounds tempting enough some days- just a day to sit and do nothing. Whether it's binge a television show that's not a cartoon or just staring at a blank wall for hours on end and being in your own head for a little bit, that sounds nice right now. It sounds very nice indeed. The world doesn't help. We're cracking down- I'm sure everyone is- belts are tightening, but the margins these days are fucking thin. One random Black Swan event and I don't know what we'd do. I'm sure we would do what people do in such times, which is 'figure it out and survive and scrape' somehow, but I feel like it should be jus

Bookshot #154: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

Like most bibliophiles, I am guilty of accumulating books that sit on my bookshelves for years before I actually get around to picking up and reading them. Sadly, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee was one of those books. I had taken a run at it once before but didn't get very far- whether because it was frankly too damn depressing (it is) or because I had gotten bored, I can't remember- but I sat down and actually read the thing cover to cover this time. For all the current shouting about CRT and things like the 1619 Project (which I haven't read), no one wants to talk about the inescapable fact of life in contemporary America: many of us (a lot of us white, yes, but many of us in general) are profoundly ignorant about our own history. Too many Americans found out about the Tulsa Race Massacre from a superhero show on HBO. Personally, I had no idea about the Great Sioux Uprising or the 38 Lakota, or the expulsion of the Lakota from Minnesota until I moved to Mankato. We do to

Squawk Box: Moon Knight/Reacher

I'll be honest: I think the next couple of years in both the Marvel Universe and the Star Wars Universe are going to be interesting to watch because I think both studios risk running into a hitherto unknown phenomenon in the world of entertainment: content overload. I am woefully behind on my Marvel movies and shows and you know, at this point, there are so many of them I don't know if I'll ever catch up, and more to the point, they're starting to feel like a chore , you know? So I approached Moon Knight with something approaching a mixture of outright indifference and mild curiosity. I like Oscar Isaac. It looked interesting. It was only six episodes long- so, why not check it out? Moon Knight opens with Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) going to his job at the British Museum in London- he's hoping to be a tour guide eventually, given his extensive knowledge of Ancient Egypt, but after going to sleep one night, he wakes up in the Austrian Alps, at a cult meeting led by Ar

The Future of Star Trek (Also, Why I Hate Fan Gatekeeping)

I love Star Trek. I've always loved Star Trek-- I got into it a bit too late for The Next Generation (but I do remember watching 'Rascals' on television one Saturday night when it was actually airing)- but DS9, Voyager, everything that came after? I grew up with all of it. Eventually, I went back and watched every bit of Star Trek I could get my hands on and I am loving Discovery, Lower Decks, Picard, Prodigy, and now Strange New Worlds. I love the shows. I love the franchise. I love the characters. I love the struggles and fighting to keep an optimistic future. I love it when creators and writers take risks with the franchise- because sometimes the results are uneven, but (and granted I may be a wee bit biased because I love the franchise so much) rarely are the results genuinely bad. But what I can't stand? Less charitable people would call it: "Terminally online people who do nothing but complain, complain, complain," but a better and more charitable descri

Bookshot #153: The Son

Westerns aren't usually my thing, but this one was recommended by a co-worker, and what a recommendation it turned out to be. The Son is an amazing novel and although I went the audiobook route for this one, the audiobook was even more brilliant, because they've got Will Patton, Clifton Collins, and Kate Mulgrew to do the narration for it.  The story begins with Eli McCullough at the end of his life, beginning narration of his last testament before flashing us back to the Texas frontier of 1849. Eli is 13 years old when his family is attacked by the Comanches which results in the rape and murder of his sister and mother. Eli and his older brother are kidnapped and eventually, Martin, his brother dies as well. Eli is eventually welcomed into the band- first as a slave and then gradually as a full member of the tribe. He's eventually adopted by Toshaway, the man who kidnapped him. A series of misfortunes eventually it the tribe, including an outbreak of disease that eventual

Kids Bookbox #1: Dr. Seuss Has A Lot To Answer For

Look, I read a lot of books on my own but I've also got a healthy posse of crotchgoblins, so it occurred to me that poking into the weird and wonderful world of Children's Books or more precisely, the books my children sometimes charm me into reading (when they pick good ones) or force me into reading (when they pick the bad or interminable ones) and so because Kids should do shots (like Bookshot) but they do drink plenty of juice boxes, when given the opportunity, Kids Bookbox was born and for this inaugural edition of what I'm sure will be an intermittent feature on the blog, we're going to look at an interminable book and a charming book. So, first up: the interminable book. Let's leave aside the tiresome Culture War Brain Worms that had the internet all in a tizzy about Dr. Seuss being canceled sometime last year. The fact is that every parent should probably realize by now that Dr. Seuss has a lot to answer for and not necessarily in a good way. Yes, they'r

New Dog Photo Dump

We are clinically insane. But we loved our first Great Dane so much that after my parents' dog got sick and couldn't play as much we wanted to get her a friend and so what's better than one Great Dane? Two of them.  Yes, we know we're crazy. Four kids, three cats, two dogs... and Penelope Joy (Poppy for short) is finally home and settling in. 

Where's The Lorax When You Really Need Him?

Development doesn't usually bother me. The great economic engine that powers the city, county, state, and our nation I think makes it more or less inevitable. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the multiple steel-and-glass apartment complexes that seem to be springing up all over downtown, but I'm not going to join protest groups like The Coalition Against The Shadow to protest Mordor's plans to build a tower on the edge of downtown. While Wal-Mart isn't my favorite corporation on the planet, I laughed at the whole STOP IOWA CITY WAL-MART thing. (Not because Wal-Mart wasn't shitty at the time- my impression is that it treats its workers marginally better now, but because Champagne Socialists and White Liberals always, without fail, come down on the side of performative activism instead of wanting non-rich people to have an affordable place to buy food.)  And if you really want to throw it all the way back to way back in the day, it still amuses me that the Firs

Bookshot #152: The Storm Before The Storm

I stumbled across the Revolutions podcast a few years back and ate that up like nobody's business. Not wanting to stop consuming quality history content, I went ahead and took the plunge into The History of Rome- though I'll freely admit that Roman history is not something I've ever been particularly interested. Having consumed all that content and appreciating the level of work that Mike Duncan put into creating his respective podcasts, I figured the least I could do was buy his book, The Storm Before the Storm . As I mentioned, Roman history just isn't my thing. That's not because I dislike it- I grew up eating up Greek mythology and loved the epics of Homer, but I just never got into it for whatever reason. Other than the basic outline of Roman history (first a city-state, then a Republic, then Ceasar comes along, crosses the Rubicon and they become an Empire which eventually splits in two while Byzantium continued and the west collapsed) I didn't get into t

The Greatest Philosophical Question In The Galaxy

  …loading …loading TERRAN UNION ARCHIVES//02102571//THE SUMMIT AT EL AUIUN …buffering ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE WILL BEGIN IN THREE, TWO, ONE- The Great Hall in El-Aaiun was starting to fill up as the delegates began to file in. From his place on the podium, the Commandant General of the Polisario Front, head of State of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic watched in satisfaction. They had been waiting a long time for this meeting. There were a ridiculous number of nations on Earth now and when the Terran Union had agreed to a rotating Presidency their fight for freedom from the Moroccan oppressors had not yet been won.  Two centuries later, they were free and the Presidency of the Terran Union had finally rotated to them and the Commandant could not be more pleased. Most nations had spent their Presidencies on mundane things like economic development or mining the asteroid fields or repairing relations with humanities now far-flung colonies across the local spiral arm of the Milky Way. Those