Finally! She’s here! @theblackwidow @qstor2 @DisneyPlus #MCU #movie #BlackWidow

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It’s about fucking time!

Though I won’t be seeing it until tomorrow night.

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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 10 concerts in my life. 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 https://partynerdz.com/

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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Was Yondu a Child Abuser? @RookerOnline @KarenGillan @RobertDowneyJr @VancityReynolds @twhiddleston #MCU #Yondu #movie

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Recently, I’ve been posting some angry comments on Facebook about child abuse, which were in turn exacerbated by my viewing of Allen vs. Farrow on HBO. I’m not going to discuss any of that on a goofy blog like this. This shouldn’t be where you come for that sort of heavy conversation. (I won’t even discuss sports on this blog.) However, a Facebook friend made a related comment on a topic that’s very much a subject of this blog:

Stop celebrating MCU Yondu as an model father, he was a child abuser.

First, I don’t know of anyone that has celebrated him as a model father. Everyone whose comments I’ve heard or read is more than willing to acknowledge his faults, so that comment isn’t fair to any of us that discuss Yondu. However, it’s not even fair to the character of Yondu.

I’ve discussed in the context of Nebula why this is (sort of) an unfair criticism. TL;DR, in the real world, Nebula’s crimes shouldn’t and wouldn’t be swept away because she suddenly realized that she loved her sister. But this isn’t the real world; this is cinema. In cinema, sometimes the only way to get a story of redemption across to the average viewer is to do so through a kind of hyperbole. It won’t have the emotional impact intended unless you go from one extreme or the other. Tony Stark committed all sorts of computer crimes while testifying before Congress in Iron Man 2, and we all laughed about it because the corporate villain of the story was made to look like a fool. Darth Vader — the same guy that murdered younglings — was forgiven because he suddenly prioritized his repressed love for his son. Ryan Reynolds plays a pretty bad guy in Deadpool, but it’s okay because he’s funny and loves his wife. Loki tried to violently take over the Earth, then, against all odds, valiantly sacrificed his life to try to stop Thanos. There are countless examples of this, and not just in the fantasy genre, though I’m having trouble coming up with more meaningful, heartwarming stories of redemption than Vader, Yondu, and of course the best perhaps in cinematic history, Nebula. That’s probably because the fantasy genre allows you to go beyond the limits of logic with the horror and wonder it provides as the vehicle for that redemption.

Now, because we live in the real world, it’s certainly fair to use art to address these issues. I encourage it, especially with a topic like this that might otherwise be difficult to discuss (e.g., child abuse). Art is great for that sort of thing whether the filmmaker agrees with your point of view or not. Art is in the eye of the beholder.

My point is simply that context matters. The MCU is a fantasy world presented on film. The swing from villain to hero requires extreme circumstances in order for the audience to appreciate the redemption arc. That’s the context, and within that context, we can see that Yondu actually loved Peter and, in his own twisted way, tried to do right by him. We never saw him cause Peter physical harm, and in the end, he literally saved him from his irredeemable, biological father. So, maybe cut Yondu some slack. The real world needs more people that can shed their cognitive dissonance and admit when they’ve screwed up. In that (narrow) sense, Yondu is a role model.

Just don’t try this at home, parents.

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Nerd Limericks #StarTrek #MCU #StarWars #DCEU

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s my own work, but it’s work I’ve already done. I went a little nuts today, creating my own, ridiculous spin on a Facebook post. I posted a handful of nerdy limericks, referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, the MCU, the DCEU, and Lord of the Rings. Each one has a Twitter hashtag of #NerdLimericks, so you can just click here to see them all. If I, or anyone else, adds more, they show up using that same link. The complete URL is: https://twitter.com/hashtag/NerdLimerick?src=hashtag_click.

Just for good measure, here are direct links to just a few of them. Retweet them all and share your own!

A la ….
I love this movie.

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Re-envisioned Watch: Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island Remake @Fantasy_Island @blumhouse @lucyhale @MaggieQ @PortiaDd @HiRyanHansen @STARZ #GoodWatch #FantasyIsland #Blumhouse

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I generally hate horror movies, but I liked this one.

I’ve had a decent string of luck on horror movies lately (with one noticeable exception). It’s a genre I never particularly liked. The writing is lazy, having the plot moved along by enormously stupid actions of the characters, which to some extent lessens the impact of the villain. I also don’t like it when a character with no supernatural abilities exhibits unrealistic resilience. Tell me the bad guy is a vampire, and I’ll suspend disbelief and watch it, especially if you give me anything at all to help with that suspension. Tell me he’s just really crazy, and it’ll bug me when he’s stabbed in the neck and keeps going. It’s so easy to write around this nonsense, but horror writers simply don’t.

Fantasy Island is the kind of horror movie I liked. It doesn’t suffer from the above, and the script neatly ties everything competing story lines together. Besides, Michael Pena can do no wrong. Also, the last line in the movie is something we should have all seen coming, but I didn’t. 🙂

As always, YMMV.

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Sadly, Jimmy O. Yang recently deleted his Twitter account. I assume he’s another casualty of social media bullshit.