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Music Log 2016


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Okay let’s try this again. And I’m not bothering with months or anything. Just a straight list. Out of 10 score for all discs.

1. The Hurting, Tears For Fears-9.0
2. Secret Diary, College-9.5
3. The Cars, The Cars-9.0
4. Elvis Costello: The First Ten Years, Elvis Costello-9.5
5. Four, Bloc Party-5.5
6. El Pintor, Interpol-8.5
7. Vitalogy, Pearl Jam-8.0
8.  Emotional Rescue , The Rolling Stones-7.0
9. Neck of the Woods, Silversun Pickups-8.0
10. Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band-9.0
11. Next Day, David Bowie-8.5
12. Boxer, The National-9.5
13. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel-10.0
14. The Voyager, Jenny Lewis-9.0
15. Sandinista!, The Clash-10.0

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16. Beggar’s Banquet, The Rolling Stones-9.0
17. Aladdin Sane, David Bowie-9.0
18. Young Americans, David Bowie-7.5
19. “Heroes”, David Bowie-9.5
20. Lodger, David Bowie-9.0
21. Kintsugi, Death Cab For Cutie-7.5
22. Centipede Hz, Animal Collective-4.0
23. Underneath the Rainbow, Black Lips-7.5
24. Low, David Bowie-9.0
25. Tusk, Fleetwood Mac-10.0
26. Especially For You, The Smithereens-9.5
27. Tell Me I’m Pretty, Cage The Elephant-7.5
28. Lungs, Florence + The Machine-8.0
29. Pablo Honey, Radiohead –7.0
30. Apartment Life, Ivy –9.0

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31. Young & Old, Tennis –7.5
32. Human Performance, Parquet Courts –9.0
33. Abacab, Genesis –8.5
34. Brothers In Arms, Dire Straights –9.0
35. Yours, Dreamily,, The Arcs –8.0
36. Pioneers Who Got Scalped , Devo –9.5
37. Yeezus, Kayne West-9.0
38. Outlandos d’Amour, The Police-9.5
39. The Sound of The Smiths, The Smiths-9.0
40. The Mouse and the Mask, Danger Doom-9.5
41. Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara-8.0
42. Thank Your Lucky Stars , Beach House-9.0
43. Quadrophenia, The Who-10.0
44. This Is All Yours, Alt-J-8.5
45. Nashville Skyline, Bob Dylan-9.5

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46. Human After All, Daft Punk-9.0
47. Untitled Unmastered, Kendrick Lamar-9.0
48. Fear Of A Black Planet, Public Enemy-10.0
49. Education, Education, Education & War, Kaiser Chiefs-6.5
50. Let England Shake, PJ Harvey-7.0
51. Random Access Memories, Daft Punk-8.0
52. Gossamer, Passion Pit-8.0
53. Midnight Sun, Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger-8.0
54. Sunbathing Animal, Parquet Courts-8.5
55. Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins-9.5
56. Toys In The Attic, Aerosmith-9.5

Featured post

Netflix TV List


Sure I have made a bunch of these over the years but this one is Netflix only.

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1. Burn List Season 2 Episode 10: Do No Harm
2. Longmire Season 3 Episode 2: Of Children and Travelers
3. 30 Rock Season 3 Episode 5: Reunion
4. Angel Season 2 Episode 18: Dead End
5. House of Cards Season 3 Episode 8: Chapter 34
6. Luther Series 3 Episode 2: Episode 2
7. New Girl Season 3 Episode 11: Clavado En Un Bar
8.  Sliders Season 4 Episode 3: Common Ground

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9. The West Wing Season 3 Episode 2: Manchester Part 1
10. Life Season 1 Episode 6: Powerless
11. Portlandia Season 1 Episode 4: Mayor Is Missing
12. The IT Crowd Season 3 Episode 5: Friendface
13. Archer Vice Season 5 Episode 5: Southbound and Down
14. Leverage Season 4 Episode 2: The 10 Li’l Grifters Job
15. Daredevil Season 2 Episode 8: Guilty As Sin
16. Death In Paradise Series 4 Episode 7: She Was Murdered Twice
17. Penny Dreadful Season 2 Episode 2: Verbis Diablo

Politics, Politics


Over my short time voting I’ve been all over the map politically. I’ve gone third party (Libertarian), Republican, Democrat  (current party) and I’ve even considered voting Green Party. Too bad the GOP has completely gone off the rails by nominating Donald Trump, as in the past I’ve leaned right at times. Lately I’ve turned to more progressive causes, going with Bernie Sanders in a desperate attempt to find a decent candidate. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, he lost and choose to endorse someone based on research and recent Internet quizzes I’ve come to support: Hillary Clinton. 

Look she is not the best choice, and I can’t blame people for voting third party. I wonder why people vote Trump but it’s not much of a mystery: it’s based around fear. However those of us who don’t buy into his bullshit have to go with the lesser of two evils. It’s not great yet I’ll take it over the person who thinks building a wall or killing terrorists families is a good idea. Still we have the problem of Hillary being a hawk on foreign issues, albeit someone who maybe can be persuaded to not embark on too many crazy wars. Anyways the sad fact is that both parties are too close to each on foreign policy issues anyways. 

No its domestic that makes the decision easy. While I want to continue mocking Hillary’s pivoting on certain keys issues such as gay marriage, the truth is that even myself and President Obama took a while to decide to back rights for the LGBQ community. We all can’t be Joe Biden. At this point I favor gun control of some kind or another, am pro-choice, and pro-enviromment. Regardless of what you think of Hillary she either supports these issues or at least pays them lip service. And we all know that she backs the ACA and the idea of universal health care, which is a good thing. Look I may have insurance with my job but there are people who are not so lucky. 

So let’s get to the emails. She lied plenty, yet there was no indictment and therefore the matter is closed in my mind. I’m more worried about her support for the Iraq War and the disastrous Libya conflict. The last one was at least an international effort, while the Iraq War got the support and vote of way too many in Congress. As for Benghazi I’m sick to death of hearing about that, too. Guess what: more people died during the presidency of George W. Bush. Yet you don’t hear about that from Republicans. 

Oh yeah anyone who gets this much hate from many hypocritical and witch hunting Republicans can’t be all bad. I know what I am getting with Clinton Presidency Part II: Hillary Takes Over. I have no idea what Trump will do as president. He’s a loose cannon who cannot be trusted to do the right thing. I would love to vote third party again, or write in Bernie in anger, yet that is irresponsible in my opinion. I live in a swing state and don’t have the luxury of others. I also don’t want minorities who will suffer under a Trump presidency to be let down because I didn’t do everything possible to prevent “Cheeto Jesus” from taking power. We can’t survive another George W. Bush style presidency. I don’t want to live through that again, and oh yeah Jon Stewart retired so we won’t have him around this time. I’m with her. 

Bullets Are No One’s Friend


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Apparently not even cops getting shot over the past week is enough to move gun control legislation forward. Not even watered down bills, one sponsored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, passed in Congress. It’s just as ridiculous as the NRA ignoring the police killings of two black men who owned guns legally by the laws of their respective states. The shit hasn’t just hit the fan, it’s traveled into the stratosphere. Things might only get worse from here, unfortunately. It also doesn’t help that Congress is literally owned by the NRA, an organization dedicated to serving the gun lobby. Sales are important than saving lives, I guess.

Going back a decade or so I was very pro gun. What’s changed isn’t just the amount of violence that has occurred in America over that period. It’s also my feeling that things need to change, that banning assault weapons and enacting strong background checks everywhere is a must. Plus gun and even hunter safety courses (I’ve successfully completed the last one). I’m not a fan of handguns, either, or concealed carry. In fact the mayor of Dallas said that during the mayhem those open carrying made it harder to tell who was a friend or foe.

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Look I get that new measures or even just stringently enforcing current laws might not be enough. Yet we have to do something, and it needed to be done yesterday. It’s not enough to simply change police culture to the point where racist officers are drummed out, or make it harder for criminals and terrorists to obtain weapons (a bill addressing that last one also failed). Black Lives Matter is a start, too, but this is only the beginning. Maybe one day the body count won’t be so high. Hopefully.

ROAD TRIPPIN’


Road Trip Movies I love in no particular order:

Bottle Rocket

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Dumb and Dumber

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Tommy Boy

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Midnight Run

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Easy Rider

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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The Darjeeling Limited

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Rain Man

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Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

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Sex Drive

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The Hit

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Paris, Texas

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Something Wild

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Smokey and the Bandit

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Badlands

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National Lampoon’s Vacation

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Horrorfest 2015/It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Vampire Lovers (1970, Roy Ward Baker)


Opening upon a man killing what is supposedly a woman with a sword in brutal fashion, The Vampire Lovers is another entertaining entry in the Hammer Films catalogue. Naturally featuring Peter Cushing, the movie also has Ingrid Pitt as a mysterious woman plaguing a family. For she is in fact a a vampire, a creature of the night. The vampire attacks are good, sure, yet the notable element of this movie is how Hammer once again pushed the boundaries of what was allowed onscreen.

There are strong lesbian aspects to this film that probably got this film a high rating, coupled with more violence and gore. Even though Hammer did feature these elements in a desperate attempt to remain ahead of increasing changes to horror cinema, they still add something to their later films. It’s too bad that eventually cinema left Hammer behind, as the studio revived horror and their films had a unique sense of atmosphere and style.

Where’s The Wi-Fi?


Unfortunately for us all the modern world has dictated that we all need to be connected to the Internet at one point or another. Many, if not most, jobs have online applications instead of paper ones these days, or at least encourage people to apply via a computer instead of filling out paper apps with poor hand writing. Social media, fantasy sports, the need to know more and be kept up to date about current events, all require Internet. So having wi-fi is important, since it enables us to not have to use expensive mobile data to post something we find pithy on Twitter, or upload pictures to Instagram. Young people are more likely to abuse mobile data due to Snapchat and listening to music on YouTube, so wi-fi is critical to have. Yet it seems that many places do not have wi-fi, or they require you to obtain a password just to log into their often crappy guest wi-fi. The struggle is real, that is if you are focused on first world problems. I’m sure there are people without drinking water or food, and yet here I am complaining about not having Internet. Our priorities are out of wack.

Still being able to sit on my phone when faced with boring people at a bar where I cannot get drunk at because I’m the designated driver is useful. I’m sorry but I’m often anti-social due to either annoying people or people who have less interesting things to say than I do on a regular basis. Also I have no shame in asking for the wi-fi password wherever I go, and then give it to those who think that they are bad people for requesting something that they need. The people who have unlimited data are lucky people, but for the rest of us we need that wi-fi, and we need it yesterday or an hour ago. Oh and we do sometimes use the Internet for good things, such as finding out the name of a song or checking our banking to make sure we can afford the pricey beverages and food at that overrated bar and grill friends dragged us to because they make more than we do. Things could be worse, I suppose…

Let’s Get Criterion


Recently I decided to go through my collection of Criterion films, which I think number roughly 60 something total. I haven’t viewed all of them yet either, and some of them have already been reviewed so a fresh perspective would be nice. I’ve also decided to do this after viewing several ones I purchased during Barnes & Noble’s 50% Criterion Sale. I hope they hold another one again, and I am registered as a member of the Criterion website and follow them on Twitter. Here’s the list so far:

1. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, horror/fantasy)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/lets-get-criterion-presents-valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-jaromil-jires/

Horrorfest 2015/Let’s Get Criterion Presents: Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, Jaromil Jireš)


Made before Buffy and many other female heroines, Jaromil Jireš’ strange and whimsical film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is an exercise in magical realism. It is also a horror movie, a coming of age story, a realization of innocence ending and a journey into fantasy. Despite its flaws Jireš manages to keep things together, molding elements into a unique whole. It also helps that the film has a strong performance from Jaroslava Schallerová as Valerie, a young girl trying to understand her place in the world and figure out where she came from. Her search for her parents is a trip down the rabbit hole into a world that may be mostly in her imagination. I prefer to read the film as literal just because its more fun, but also since doing so helps me further grasp what Jireš is trying to accomplish. I also viewed this film during my Horrorfest and was able to purchase it from Barnes and Noble thanks to their 50% off Criterion sale.

In fact this movie requires multiple viewings, something I have not yet accomplished despite owning the movie. Schallerová is sweet and kind as Valerie, never despairing even when she is handed over to be burned alive at the stake! There are other characters in this film that are either nice or creepy, and Valerie’s interactions with them determines the course of her journey. The movie does operate in the guise of a carnival, and there are hints that some of the people involved are actors or magical characters. Not to mention its strong fairy tale elements, as this movie can be classified as such and is also shot and scripted that way. One thing I was uncomfortable with is that the movie does have a young girl experiencing a sexual awakening, although I’m guessing that 1970s Europe had a less prudish reaction. Regardless this is a strong aspect of the film and cannot be ignored.

I’m not sure I got the ending, and I don’t know if I fully understood all that happened. Yet for some of its flaws (not all of the acting is well done, and I feel that some parts don’t work or fit) that this is a near great film from a director I want to see more from. As for the film’s extras I did not bother to explore them further, however the movie has a decent amount for a relatively obscure (at least to me and other Americans) 1970s Czechoslovakian film. Considering that I do not own enough foreign movies I’m glad that I added this one to my collection. One last thing: this movie is gloriously shot and has some amazing visuals. One cannot help but admire old school cinema, crafted before the days of digital.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)


A good way to tell if you are in a horror movie is that David Cronenberg is your psychologist. Plus you are having recurring nightmares of murders and a place that is not found on any map. If you also encounter a strange man who ends up carving off his own flesh and speaks of a mystical place known as Midian, the very place you have been searching for, well you are most likely in a horror movie. Clive Barker created a cult film in Nightbreed, a twisted yet oddly captivating and moving fantasy horror movie about a man’s search for a place to call home.

Boone is the name of that young man, troubled because he is being framed for crimes he has never committed. Midian happens to be something truly else, a community that is almost out of this world. Only Barker, the creator of so many gruesome and yet intriguing films and books could give birth to something as inspired and fascinating as this film. Lucky for me Netflix had the director’s cut which was released by Scream Factory, and thus I was able to witness Barker’s vision as intended. Studios never care about the artist and what they are trying to accomplish.

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Even after I saw this film I still was not sure what the creatures of Midian were, and I’m not sure if they were really good or not. Compared to a twisted mask wearing serial killer, rednecks and corrupt local law enforcement the beings of Midian are saints. Also its too bad that Craig Sheffer never became a big star, as he’s great in this movie as Boone. Matching him rather well is Anne Bobby as Lori Winston, his girlfriend, who does not understand what is going on with Boone and searches for him despite it clearly not being a good idea. Cronenberg manages to be rather creepy as Boone’s psychologist, Dr. Decker-although I cannot say more about what occurs-and he really should have been in more movies, as he is that rare director who can act.

I also liked how the film uses so many different creature effects, and of course Doug Bradley, who famously played Pinhead, makes an appearance in this movie. I also prefer the alternative ending, which is the one that is used for the Netflix copy of this film since it is the director’s cut. I know of the original ending and it sounds weaker by comparison. Although just like Hellraiser this film falls short of greatness, I still think of both films rather highly and I have so far enjoyed Barker as a director. Its worth noting that both Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions were both meant to be franchises, and yet it was Hellraiser that ended up being the series, for better or for worse.

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