Friday, January 7, 2022
Monday, December 27, 2021
A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the worldIf you subscribe to the NYT, this is worth a read. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/world/africa/tutu-death.html
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Sunday, July 4, 2021
July 4, 1776 is the date that the Second Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence. A vote had been held on July 2, 1776 to agree to seek independence from Britain in the form of the Lee Resolution. However, a formal Declaration of Independence did not appear until July 4th.
Perhaps the date we observe has as much to do with the stirring text of the Declaration as anything - and it is the formal document eventually signed by most of the delegates to the Congress.
While not a document which laid down the manner in which the government would be run, which would not arrive for over a decade in the form of the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence does lay down the moral reasoning for our separation from England. The Preamble, often memorized by school children over the years, and familiar to most Americans, formed the ethos of America as a state which required the consent of the governed, and that the government would serve the needs of the people. But also that government not be changed on a whim - but when the government no longer responded to the needs of the governed.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Friday, March 12, 2021
29.3 million cases of COVID. Now over 530,000 dead as of 11:37 PM on 03/11/2021.
Since I quit writing posts we had an election, and Trump was shown the door. But then we had an attempt at a violent overthrow of the US Congress as they moved to certify the electoral college on January 6th of this year. You can look it up - it was very bad. In the wake of the election loss, the GOP has more or less dropped the final bits of illusion suggesting they give a shit about democracy or decency. Meanwhile, the Democrats remain the same spineless twits they've always been.
Vaccines started appearing at the beginning of the year, and as of this writing, Jamie has her first shot, my parents and my brother have both of theirs, as well as my father-in-law and cousin. The way they've rolled it out is intended to first serve the most vulnerable as the disease tends to hit, so first take care of older people and people with medical conditions. But even as I write this, the picture is changing on a daily basis. The White House is working on its plan to get vaccines available, and it seems to be actually working. Meanwhile, the governor of Texas decided he's done with COVID and we're opening everything back up. So, look for our numbers to spike uncontrollably for a while.
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Monday, December 7, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
PODCAST: "The Straight Story" (1999) - featuring an interview with screenwriter John Roach! Disney History w/ NathanC and Ryan!
Director: David Lynch
For more ways to listen
NathanC returns for more Disney History - and this time he brings an interview with screenwriter John Roach! We're discussing the only G-Rated entry in the filmography of David Lynch, bringing his brilliance to a completely different kind of story. And - we have an interview with one of the key storytellers! Get some insight into this remarkable film courtesy a screenwriter who was there from start to finish! It's a very different (and special!) episode of The Signal Watch.
Laurens Walking - Angelo Badalamenti, The Straight Story OST
Country Theme - Angelo Badalamenti, The Straight Story OST
Playlist - Disney History w/ NathanC:
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Director: Don Hahn
Let me start by saying: in a lot of ways Disney+ is much better than I ever expected. I've enjoyed the Disney "from the vaults" content, catching new material, behind the scenes at parks, movies, etc... with One Day at Disney and two series - one on the making of The Mandalorian and an exceptional doc series on the making of Frozen 2.
And, of course, then the release of Hamilton. I haven't watched Black is King yet, but that's a pretty big line in the sand for the Disney brand to put out on their flagship, no-doubt-this-is-Disney streaming service when Disney has usually just avoided anything that invites cultural critique.*
But Disney+ putting a doc about Howard Ashman, a gay man who died of complications from AIDs at the height of the epidemic, and being honest and open about his sexuality and struggle with the disease, is... kind of mind-blowing. There's something about the platform of their own streaming service and that you've already paid your money to have it that seems to have freed up the Disney Corp to tell some stories well worth telling I don't know we'd see if they didn't have this avenue.
The doc, itself, is the life story of Howard Ashman who - paired with Alan Menken - wrote the musical numbers for Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. He also wrote and originally produced Little Shop of Horrors - which was his big breakout hit off-Broadway.
It's really a pretty great story, well told, and has the heart-breaking knowledge of what happened to Ashman in the back of your head. And, sadly, the fact he was the musical partner of Menken and that he died of AIDS was all I'd known about him until watching the doc.
I don't want to get into details too much, but as loving as it is, it isn't shy about who Howard Ashman was and doesn't make him into a saint - while illustrating pretty clearly what sort of mind he had that helped push the Disney cartoon back into prestige territory (and why Disney was flailing at the time he showed up).
For fans of animation, musical theater, or Disney-history - well worth the viewing.
*Disney tends to get lambasted no matter what they do, and I've stood there and listened to lines of people parrot back the criticisms of Aladdin, Lion King and Little Mermaid during 3 summers at The Disney Store. I would invariably listen and then say "well, I make $4.50 an hour working here and while I'll tell my manager... really, your best bet is writing the studio in California."
Monday, July 20, 2020
Watched: July 3, 2020
Decade: 2020/ 2010
Director: Thomas Kail
Certainly the most discussed musical in decades - and with far better reason than most (whether you like it or not) - Hamilton had become a cultural event well before Disney+ released a recorded version of the show on the platform on July 3rd. This was not a film adaptation like we've seen in the last few years - like Les Miserables or even Cats. Movie stars who can carry a tune were not swapped out for the Broadway cast, and we're not decades away from shows debuting, making a splash, touring and becoming so ubiquitous, you might as well make a movie because why not?
Instead, Hamilton (2020) as released is the version shot on stage roughly four years ago, starring mostly the original cast, which - since 2016 - has since scattered to the four winds, seeking their Hamilton-derived fortunes (I actually like Leslie Odom Jr's new record, Mr., for whatever that is worth to you). The film existing is a wonderful change for Broadway, who has told themselves lots of stories about the need for the immediacy of theater's live experience and has usually only dropped original cast recordings as documents of how a show was conceived and presented. Directed by the show's actual director, Thomas Kail, the "film" of Hamilton is thoughtfully, and, indeed, artfully shot. Heck, last week "One Perfect Shot", a twitter account with the best in cinematography, included a shot from Hamilton.
Friday, July 17, 2020
I can't begin to sum up the importance and achievements of John Lewis, and what he has meant to this country. He has passed at the age of 80, still calling for a better way, every day, to the end.
From the New York Times
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Director: Nadia Hallgren
I'm aware Michelle Obama is a polarizing figure, what with encouraging kids to eat healthy and being an interesting, intelligent counterpart to her husband. But, hoo boy, in a period of American journalism which seems distant and we can hope is on the ash-heap, the press sure tried to find ways to make her a villain.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
It started with protests in several cities in the wake of the George Floyd murder. George Floyd was a Black man apprehended by police under suspicion he'd floated a bogus $20 bill. For this, he was pinned to the ground by his throat beneath the knee of a man with a gun, who was supported by three of his fellow officers, as the suspect begged for air. This went on for almost 9 minutes.
The murder, and it was murder, occurred in broad daylight and on camera, carried out by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A lot of people will try to call what occurred as a police officer pinned a man's neck to the ground with his knee for 9 minutes something else. Maybe they'll say it was unintentional (the video suggests otherwise), or just breaking some eggs to make an omelet. But in the era of cameras everywhere, the past fifteen years taught us how to pay attention to how people are policed and how police do their work. And how police officers do not police each other.
Monday, May 18, 2020
I don't really know how else to interpret the furious wrath of church ladies in JC Penny tops screaming about wearing life-saving facemasks. People told their lives depend on distance and patience rushed to state capitols with rifles to stand elbow to elbow with strangers, their faces bared to cameras and virus particles, screaming hysterically about their right to... expose themselves and others to illness and death, I guess.
It's now been going on long enough that we're getting reports of these people catching COVID-19, the occasional ironic/ cautionary tale of people's last facebook posts rants about the "hoax" of the virus before the person winds up dead. 70-odd people who went to an "open" rally in Wisconsin are believed to have contracted the virus at the event. And today I saw something about a church in California that held Mother's Day services exposed over 180 people.