Good Watch: Four Masterpieces @JamesGunn @VancityReynolds #movie #cinema

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James Gunn was (as of the writing of this post) the latest in a long line of people tweeting the following meme (image at the bottom in case the tweet is deleted).

Well, it’s been a pathetic week (or so) of posts from me, so I’m doubling down on stupid with an obnoxious response.

I really do like Green Lantern.

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In case the tweet is deleted, here’s a screen shot of it.


A Weird Music Thingy @billyjoel @SpandauBallet #music

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Music has a way of evoking emotion, and I’m certainly no exception to that. I’m writing this after a trip to the gym. Like most people, I listen to music while I work out, and a particular song came up on my random music mix, inspiring this post.

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There are two songs that oddly fill me with dread when I hear them, and one of the artists is one of my favorites.

I love Billy Joel’s work as much as anyone’s.

And then there’s this one.

Horrifying, right? These two songs make me very uncomfortable, and I don’t know why. It’s certainly not the lyrics. Just the opening of the song starts the dread. I did find this fascinating though.

I should see a shrink.

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My Lifetime List of Concerts @PhilCollinsFeed @tonybanksmusic @officialmatm @genesis_band @billyjoel @jimmybuffett @davematthewsbnd @DavidLeeRoth @sammyhagar @IronMaiden @JWatsonRanger @pinkfloyd @GreatWhiteRocks @38SpecialMedia @Wolf_Trap #concert #music

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This post was inspired by this tweet.

I’m constantly listening to music, and yet I’ve never really enjoyed going to concerts. I love it when a bar has a live band, but I don’t buy tickets and go to concerts. It’s just never been my thing, except when it’s critical that I see a band live. I never saw my two favorite bands, Rush and Fleetwood Mac, in concert, and with Peart dead and Buckingham probably out for good, I never will. That’s a shame, but here are the concerts that I’ve seen. All of them were must-sees for me.

October 10, 1986: Billy Joel, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. The Bridge tour. My first concert was for what was at the time my favorite artist. I saw this with my sister (foreshadowing!).

August 9, 1987: Night Ranger/Great White, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD. I was there the night before for Howie Mandel, then I came back the next day for this concert, which was also my first date. I chose Night Ranger over Chicago because I really wanted to see the Outfield (though I did, and still, looooove Night Ranger). Unfortunately, the Outfield cancelled and were replaced by Frehley’s Comet, who also cancelled, leaving me with Great White. I didn’t appreciate Great White then as much as I do now. Still a great show.

December 13, 1987: Yes, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. This was the Big Generator tour. Earlier in the week, I was on the University of Maryland’s radio station (my cousin knew the DJ well) hyping the show.  

June 1, 1988: Pink Floyd, R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, DC. A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. A holographic dogfight? Yeah, I had to see that, and I had to see it outdoors. Surprisingly, this was only the second best visual concert I ever saw. The best was . . .

August 8, 1988: Iron Maiden, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. This was the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour. It was the most impressive visual show I’ve ever seen, and the music was fantastic, and I was on the floor (10th row, IIRC), but my strongest memory relates to the concert t-shirt I bought there. As I was leaving the show, someone told me that I was wearing it backwards. I wore that damn thing backwards the entire night. I’m such a dipshit.

August 7, 1989: Mike and the Mechanics/The Outfield, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD. Vindication! I finally saw the Outfield! Oh, and MatM was pretty good too. I especially remember how much better All I Need is a Miracle is live. Unfortunately, there’s a weird and tragic memory attached to this concert relating to the first time I had ever really experienced death. This gets a bit convoluted, but bear with me. I never liked the Outfield song, 61 Seconds. So, every time the cassette tape reached that song, I flipped it, and it placed the tape exactly at the start of All the Love, which was a huge hit for them. As a result, I never heard Mystery Man until the concert. I loved the song, but for whatever reason took notice of the repeated, stressed use of the word, “goodbye,” in the song. It turns out, a friend (18 years old) was killed in a car accident that morning. That messed me up for about a week.

August 26, 1992: Bruce Springsteen, Capital Centre, Landover, MD. Springsteen is really good, but for whatever reason, this concert was just meh to me. In fact, I’ve said elsewhere that, prior to Genesis the other day, I had seen only 11 concerts. This is one of the ones I forgot because it had little impact on me. The other was . . .

August 11, 1995: Jimmy Buffet, Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, Virginia. This should have been my answer to the “worst concert” question from the tweet, but I didn’t recall the memory quickly enough. Buffett thought he was in the deep south, and almost all his songs were country music. I wasn’t a fan of it. He also played his biggest hits — Fins, Margaritaville, etc. — in the middle of the set rather than as encores. It was a rather strange choice. I still enjoyed the show because, well, it’s Jimmy Fucking Buffett.

June 12, 1999: Guinness Fleadh (Chicago: Van Morrison, Hootie and the Blowfish, Steve Earle, Black 47, Elvis Costello et al.), Chicago Motor Speedway, Chicago, IL. This was amazing. There was a ton of variety in the music played. I went because my late cousin, Ann Marie, came down from Madison, WI for the show and asked me to go with her. Elvis Costello was a huge disappointment. He played every song by himself on an acoustic guitar and spent more time complaining about modern music than he did playing. He was a buzkill. Van Morrison and Black 47 (who I had seen in a bar about 5 years earlier) killed it.

June 30, 2000: Dave Matthews Band, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL. This was an incredible show. You have to like his music, of course, but they’re remarkable musicians. Also, Al Green showed up and sang with the band! For this one, I had a regular seat, but Alissa snuck me onto the field.

August 8, 2002: Sammy Hagar/David Lee Roth, Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, Virginia. The place was surprisingly empty, but that allowed me to enjoy the show more than otherwise. (I really don’t like going to concerts.) David Lee Roth spent most of his set hitting on a particular woman in the front row. Ummm . . . the years had not been kind to her, but she was giving him the pop he wanted, so he maintained focus on her the entire show. We were all hoping that Michael Anthony would join Sammy for his set. He had done that at a few shows, but we weren’t among the lucky ones.

August 14, 2006: Billy Joel, Verizon Center, Washington, DC. My only repeat concert, I saw this with my sister and her adult son. We were behind the stage, so we saw the TV screen that provided Joel the lyrics so he didn’t have to remember them. Look, the guy had a lot of material going back over three decades. I don’t blame him. He played everything everyone wanted to hear. I missed Allentown due to a bathroom break, but my sister had it worse. She missed her favorite Joel song, Pressure, during hers.

July 30, 2017: .38 Special, Wolftrap, Vienna, VA. .38 Special was actually the opening act, and I left after their set. I was more interested in seeing the new Game of Thrones episode than I was sticking around. I saw what I wanted to see. The parking at Wolftrap sucks. Otherwise, it’s a good venue.

November 18, 2021: Genesis, Capital One Arena, Washington, DC. I’ve said enough about this already.

But I really don’t like attending concerts. 🙂

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Concerts, Concerts, Concerts @LBuckingham @PhilCollinsFeed @tonybanksmusic @officialmatm @genesis_band @Tromboneshorty @VerticalHorizon @Wolf_Trap @thebirchmere @TallyHoTheater #concert #music #Genesis

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I’ve been to only 11 concerts in my life (as in buying a ticket to see a concert, as opposed to live music in bars, which I’ve done a lot). Why? Because I don’t like going, and I go only when going is really important. Needless to say, I’m pumped about seeing Genesis later this year. While not my favorite band, my favorite album of all time is their 1980 effort, Duke.

With the pandemic winding down, Wolf Trap and many other local venues have announced concerts again, and I’m so desperate to go out and do things with people (that isn’t work) that I may just double my entire concert-going experience this year alone. Among the local shows are Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbitch, Air Supply, Trombone Shorty, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ann Wilson, Harry Connick Jr., Abba, Joan Jett, Three Dog Night, Bog Bad Voodoo Daddy, Bob Mould, Indigo Girls, and Train (with Vertical Horizon). I doubt I’ll see all of these shows, but if I did, that would more than double my lifetime concerts. Lindsey Buckingham is touring, but I’ll be in Las Vegas while he’s here. We’ll see how the summer shakes out, but I’m bound to see some of these.

But I really don’t like attending concerts. 🙂

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The Next Jurassic Park Sequel Preview @prattprattpratt #JurassicPark #movie

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Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a preview for the next Jurassic Park sequel.

Admit it: this couldn’t be worse than the last movie.

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I’ve Still Got Nothing @Partynerdz #MCU

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Just like yesterday, I’ve still got nothing. Look, work’s been tough lately, so here are a couple more silly MCU memes.

Care of Party Nerdz

Is this one better?

Nebula’s hair makes no sense.

I’d be cool with Hemsworth doing this well into his 80s.

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I’ve Got Nothing #MCU

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I’ve been getting crushed at work recently. Today is the first weekday I’ve gotten to the gym since Wednesday of last week, and it’s also the first day since Monday of last week that I didn’t stay a couple extra hours. So with no time even to think of something to write, let alone actually put it to digital ink, here’s a silly meme for you.

It isn’t even that funny. Dammit.

As I said, I’ve got nothing.

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Art Is in the Eye of the Beholder @billyjoel @StarWars @kesseljunkie #movie #music #art #StarWars #BillyJoel

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I have a phrase I like to use. By now, you should know it, but I’ll repeat it anyway: Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. There’s a meme running around . . .  okay, going viral that completely misses this point. I’d like to trash the meme, but it goes all “sociopolitical,” and I’ve already done my annual sociopolitical post for the year. Instead, I’ll address another meme that reimagines the story told in Billy Joel’s fantastic song, Piano Man. The song is actually about Joel during his early days playing seedy bars filled with alcoholics and underachievers. The meme could be said to be sociopolitical too, but I don’t see it that way, so here it is.

Now, there’s a problem with the theory of this meme: Paul never had time for a wife. This means that if would have had a wife if his priorities are different. Also, not everyone who’s an alcoholic, failure, underachiever, or sailor is gay. That makes the statement at the end, “yep, it’s definitely a bar full of gay dudes,” to be rather arrogant, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t fairly infer that it’s at a “gay bar.” It still fits, and you just ignore the imperfections in the spirit of having fun with the lyrics.

Another Theory: They Still Live

Well then, it’s no less legitimate to instead imagine that Piano Man takes place in the They Live universe, but in a sequel called They Still Live in which a few surviving aliens have recovered their ability to hide their true selves. Joel is playing to bunch of extraterrestrials and doesn’t know it. Why can’t Billy tell they’re aliens?

Because those sunglasses are just ordinary ones. Instead of a bunch of homosexuals having a betting pool, it’s a bunch of aliens wondering when he’ll figure out that they’re aliens in hiding. They’re reluctant underachievers because they must remain in hiding until they reclaim control over the Earth. Is this a perfect inference? No, but remember, neither was the “gay bar” interpretation. This interpretation also has no clear contradictions within the lyrics, so it’s just as good. So would any interpretation in which people, extraterrestrial or otherwise, we’re in hiding. I’m sure the song could be put to use in a pretty good Al Qaeda recruitment video, and I doubt Joel would approve.

Revenge of the Sith

Let me give you another example. This one’s more on point with the meme I don’t want to discuss. In Revenge of the Sith, Mace Windu, et al. attack Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a., Darth Sidious. The others fall, so it’s just Mace and Sidious going at it, and Mace gets the upper hand. He starts to reflect Sidious’s force lighting back on him. According to the dialogue, as wells as a (long-lost) interview with George Lucas, the reflection disfigured Palpatine.

I never bought that, and I think Kessel Junkie and I have discussed it.

My interpretation from the moment I saw it was that Sidious was already disfigured from his long term use of the Dark Side. Within the movies – I don’t concern myself at all with the Expanded Universe – there’s nothing in canon to contradict that. With Mace Windu’s attack, Sidious’s power was being tasked, so his veil dropped. Everyone was seeing him for what he really was. He initially lied to Anakin to complete his turn to the Dark Side, then maintained the lie to convince others of the treachery of the Jedi. That in turn meant that he no longer had to use a portion of his power to maintain that veil. Win-win as far as he was concerned.

Am I wrong? Not according to me, so why do I care whether George agrees? Why would he care if I disagree with him?

The point is that you can interpret art, especially good art, in a way that suits you, even if it contradicts the intent of the creator. Unless you’re way off base, your interpretation is as legitimate an interpretation as anyone else’s. Whatever makes the art work for you is fine.

As long as you’re buying it, the creators won’t mind.

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