Monthly ArchiveNovember 2008
Rolling Stone has a new article about Wal-Mart being the exclusive U.S. distributor of AC/DC’s new album, Black Ice. I haven’t heard the album, but reviews have been solid, with RS calling it the band’s best effort since the ’90s. I wonder, though, because Wal-Mart is so family friendly, if it ever dictates what content is acceptable. AC/DC, for example, has a classic tune called “Big Balls,” with a lot of double entendre about charity balls and male genitals. Call me a cynic, but I bet such a song wouldn’t make the cut (no pun intended) on an album designed with a Wal-Mart exclusive in mind.
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Commentary 07 Nov 2008 06:41 am
Here is my print column from Nov. 6, 2008.
Got the post-election blahs?
If you complain out loud or in writing, know that people tune you out after ten words. In their minds, they replace complaints (about presidents-elect or anything else — work, significant others, how stupid “Heroes” is this season) with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
As in, “I can’t believe so-and-so won/lost the election. Why, he blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Or,
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Movies 07 Nov 2008 05:46 am
We watched Prom NIght this weekend. It’s the one that came out in 2008, not the earlier one (from the ’70s, I believe), which I’ve never seen. I wish I hadn’t seen this one, instead. The main character, played by Brittany Snow (above) is stalked by a psychotic ex-teacher who has escaped from prison, where he’s serving a life sentence after killing her entire family. Yep, and it gets more implausible from there.
I’m certainly not part of the target demographic, which is probably kids aged 16-19 who have attended or soon will attend their high school prom. Maybe if I fell into that category, I would have enjoyed this more. But probably not. In all ways, this was a paint-by-numbers horror movie, which depended on all the main characters making excessively stupid decisions to propel the plot to its (predictable) end. Grade: D-.
Commentary 05 Nov 2008 07:08 am
It was an Electoral College rout by Barack Obama over John McCain in Tuesday’s election. Not even a last-minute appearance on Saturday Night Live by McCain (and a damn funny one, at that) was enough to humanize the candidate to a nation sick and tired of the George W. Bush brand of politics. Now the big question is whether Obama can transfer the energy he built up during his campaign to the infinitely more complex task of governing a nation.
It is also the first time in 12 years that I haven’t backed a losing horse in the presidential race. I was torn between McCain’s experience and Obama’s intelligence for many weeks, but ultimately decided to cast my vote for new blood. As Time magazine pointed out this week, the president elect will now wake up to a world where fulfilling campaign promises butts up against reality; Congress makes the laws, and even with a Democratic majority there, the president elect may find what seemed so breezy-easy in theory becomes much more difficult in reality.
Commentary 04 Nov 2008 06:50 am
At long last, Election Day, significant because candidates will stop shouting at one another through the medium of advertising.
Television news reports made a big deal about today’s weather forecast, calling it the perfect day for large numbers of voters to cast ballots. I’ve always considered it shameful that voter turnout is significantly less on rainy days, as if we’re all hothouse flowers who must be kept in perfect environments lest we wilt.
But that doesn’t appear to be a factor today. If you’re a registered voter reading this and you haven’t yet taken the time to vote, step away from the computer and go do something more productive: Cast a ballot. Then wait for the armies of lawyers who will descend on polling places like vultures and tie up results (at least for the presidential race) until sometime in December.
Television 03 Nov 2008 05:37 am
The Fox network has canceled King of the Hill, part of its successful Sunday night of animation. New episodes will continue to air throughout the 2009-2010 season, but then the sun will set on straight-laced Hank Hill and his oddly endearing family.
I’m not a regular watcher, but whenever I do tune in, the show reliably makes me laugh. It’s not as mean-spirited as Family Guy, or as manic as The Simpsons, but it did carve out a niche of its own as a realistic animated cartoon about topical issues. Series creator Mike Judge is also the brains behind Beevis and Butthead, two characters who struck a cultural nerve on MTV in the ’90s.
I’ll miss King of the Hill, but it’s not really going anywhere. Reruns and DVD collections will keep the venerable series alive, and if it follows the trajectory of other recent cartoons (Futurama and Family Guy), maybe the cancellation won’t be all that permanent, anyway.
Comic books 02 Nov 2008 07:30 am
I picked up two new titles at the comics shop this weekend. The first is the final issue of Marvel: 1985, the mini-series by Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards where Marvel heroes and villains break through into our “real” world. The conclusion was fun to read, but slightly unsatisfying. Millar tries to say something profound about the nature of reality, fantasy and heroes, but misses the mark slightly. The reason behind all the strange occurrences is no big surprise, either, and that sense of inevitability detracts from the conclusion, which is actually quite original. I liked the series, but not as much as I enjoyed the first two issues, which were spectacular.
Faring much better is Fantagraphics Books’ A Peanuts Halloween, which reprints some of Charles Schulz’s Great Pumpkin bits from his classic strip. Best of all, the 12-page pamphlet is free, designed as a trick-or-treat giveaway. My comics shop (Land of Cran, on Whipple Avenue in Canton) still had a small supply; the clerk told me to take as many as I wanted because customers weren’t too interested. That’s a shame — this is great stuff.