Showing posts with label actual history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label actual history. Show all posts

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A TL;DR SPECIAL - Mind-Blown Watch: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)



Watched:  09/26/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's

People, for oh so many reasons, I am absolutely baffled and stunned by this movie.

Where to start...

Begin at the beginning, I suppose

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Audrey Watch: The Beginning or The End (1947)



Watched :  08/28/2018
Format:  DVR/ TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's
Audrey Quotient:  Nowhere near enough Audrey!

This isn't a noir film!  Nope.  This one is an historical drama about the creation of the atomic bomb.  So, you know, fun stuff.

Friday, August 24, 2018

PODCAST! RECOMMENDATION WATCH: Southland Tales (2006)


Watched:  08/19/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2000's

You guys, I @#$%ing loved this movie.  Get a look inside my wheelhouse and what works for me in a movie with Southland Tales (2006).  And, man, we really missed so much of what there was to say - enough so that I'm ready to make covering this movie an annual event.

Official description:

AmyC returns with this overlooked, underseen sci-fi satire of a post 9/11 America. We struggle to convey the plot and all of the amazing things packed into this film - from one of the most astounding casts ever assembled, to musical choices, to transdimensional travel, to porn stars with rock solid business plans. Truly an unusual film that was never given a real shot at finding an audience - Ryan watches the film for the first time and is absolutely ready to push it to his list of recommendations.

 


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wedded Bliss in New Orleans - Congrats Lauren and Steven



This weekend Jamie and I flew to New Orleans for the wedding of two folks I met via blogging and have become good pals with as we all lived in Austin for a few years before they departed for San Francisco and then NYC.  On Saturday Steven H and Lauren R tied the knot in City Park with yours truly officiating.

The Peristyle in City Park.  This is from the internet, but it is where the wedding occurred.


This was the third time I've officiated and every time it's no less nerve-wracking, and it is no less special as I've known all the couples well and know their stories.  It's truly an honor and privilege to be asked, and to get to play that role is a truly memorable experience.

It's also the best seat in the house, if you're going to show up for a wedding, anyway.  You want to see people having a moment as up close as it gets?  That's where you want to be.  You'll also see your friends looking as dashing and beautiful as they will ever be from, like, three feet away.

In short - I hope I didn't mess up the ceremony too much.

Monday, April 23, 2018

I think March 30th was the 15th Anniversary of the Start of my Blogging


So, I guess I missed my own 15th Anniversary of blogging.  We were over at League of Melbotis back then.  Here's a link to the first batch of posts.

Back then, kids, we had no facebook, no twitter, barely had iTunes and it took me forever to figure out how to upload photos and have a comment section.  I was a lad of about 27 and living as a Texas ex-pat in Arizona at the time.  I was busily learning about Superman and comics, and I was oh, so, sweetly naive.  Reading those early posts is sometimes a teeth-gnashing experience but also a journal of what was going on in my head in the blogging salad days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Epic Watch: Lawrence of Arabia (1962)



Watched:  04/15/2018
Format:  Alamo Ritz
Viewing:  6th of 7th
Decade:  1960's

Barbara Bush, First Lady and First Mother, Merges With The Infinite



Former First Lady Barbara Bush has passed at the age of 92.   

Mrs. Bush was the wife of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President, Vice-President under Ronald Reagan and former CIA Director. 

She was also the mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd President and grandmother to Jenna and Barbara Bush. 

My politics don't always run in line with the Bush clan, but I liked Mrs. Bush.  You knew where she stood, you knew she had a sense of humor of sorts but didn't suffer fools.  She seemed to know her own mind and while she was a presence in the White House, she didn't rub me the wrong way that Nancy Reagan always did. 

And when Jenna was getting trashed at parties during her tenure at UT Austin and she and Barbara got busted for fake ID's at Chuy's... Mrs. Bush summoned those two miscreants, had a talk with them and got them permanently straightened out. 

Mrs. Bush used her platform as First Lady to support literacy programs and for civil rights, and in her later years didn't hold her tongue when it came to the national scene.   In retirement the Bush's called Houston home and could be seen at the Symphony, Astros games and around town.  She was reportedly gracious and kind.

I heard she once slipped her security detail and made her way to the George HW Bush Library in College Station where the couple have an apartment built right into the library (man, no I don't know why.  There's a nice few hotels in that town.).  What Mrs. Bush didn't know was that she needed to tell someone she was there, and she didn't, so she got locked in the library over night and surprised the heck out of everyone the next morning when they opened up.

I really hope that story is true. 

We'll miss you Mrs. Bush.  You were good people.  Even if your one very public feud was with Marge Simpson

I hope Millie is waiting for you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Action Comics Hits #1000 and 80 Years of Superman



April 18 marks both the 80th Anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1 and the release of Action Comics #1000.

Short a few documents written by fellows in wigs and waistcoats, there are few things in Western culture, Pop or otherwise, with so profound an impact or as wide a legacy as this simple, brief story by a couple of young men from Cleveland.

Superman's first appearance was just one of several of different genres appearing in Action Comics #1 (this link is currently good and includes the first Superman story)   To revisit the story, every time I read it I find it shocking how much of Superman springs to life there in those first few pages - an assemblage of parts of other characters and science fiction concepts forged into something entirely new and its own.

Doomed planet.  Locomotives and bullets.  Lois Lane as a tough girl reporter.  The cape, the boots, the forelock.   A newspaper setting.  The dual-identities of Clark Kent and Superman, Lois' failure to recognize her co-worker.  Superman/ Clark's immediate attraction to Lois.  Righting wrongs.

Superman.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Stephen Hawking Has Merged With the Infinite



Physicist Stephen Hawking has passed

Hawking was not just one of the finest minds of our era, but a brilliant communicator for science with a dry sense of humor.  I don't need to remind you that Hawking suffered from motor neuron disease, but he served as an example of overcoming those challenges and how a mind perseveres. 




Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bat Watch: Gotham By Gaslight (2018)


Watched: 02/23/2018
Viewing: First
Format: Amazon Streaming
Decade: 2010's


Way, way back in - I think - early high school, the slim, prestige format comic Gotham By Gaslight arrived in comic shops, and as a good little comics-kid, I picked up my copy, read it, loved it, and it was probably in a longbox until the great purge a few years ago.  I am 95% certain I have it in a collection somewhere amongst the Batbooks, but its been two decades since I've read the thing.

Like everyone else, I was batty for Gotham by Gaslight upon arrival.  It featured art by Mike Mignola and a pretty decent story by Brian Augustyn, and I think it took off much better than DC figured.  This put the idea of Elseworlds into DC's head, and for the next two decades we got endless versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and sometimes others, in various periods, geographies and genres.  It took a concept like "but what if Superman emerged in conjunction with, say, War of the Worlds!?" or "Batman, but a pirate" and sold a couple of prestige-formatted issues.  Or, you got some "what if?" sort of story, like "what if Krypton never exploded?"

Some of it was great, some of it serviceable or bad.  Some of it got way overhyped (everyone needs to relax about @#$%ing Red Son.  It's not that good.).  But Gotham By Gaslight started it all, and - for my money - though I haven't actually re-read it in two decades - was among the very best.

The movie is okay.

Monday, February 19, 2018

President's Day: Lucky #14, Franklin Pierce



editor's note:  So, what's weird is that every President's Day I do one of these posts on a president I've not read too much about.  Sure, it's a bare amount of research, but it's more than you've done, you ingrates.  I got my draft together last night, and today I've had, like, three different sources either joking or bitching about Franklin Pierce across my social media.  So I tapped into something.  We all hate this guy.  Happy President's Day!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

That Took Longer and Way More Failed Attempts Than I Figured, But The Red Trunks Are Back in Action 1000


I always thought the teeth-gnashing over Superman's red trunks was a sign of some deep and unwarranted insecurities at DC Comics.  But it looks like DC has decided, at very long last, to restore Superman to trunks-status with Action Comics #1000.

Yeah, yeah... I know Superman's red trunks were inspired by pre-WWII-era America acrobats, who were more or less covering up their junk.  (Look, if you've been to the ballet... you can most absolutely see what grapes those guys are smuggling under their danskins.) 

I'll always argue that the red of the trunks balanced the outfit, allowing it to remain sleek, but keep the solid blue from a certain visual dullness between the cape and boots.  From a design and visual appeal, and at least on the comics page, red trunks just work better to balance the complete outfit.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Today is the 89th Birthday of Mickey Mouse

Today is the 89th anniversary of the debut of Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey cartoon to be released. We'll celebrate that next year on the 90th, but this year let's watch Plane Crazy, the first Mickey cartoon worked on by Walt and Ub Iwerks, but held off on release until they could add sound, after Steamboat Willie.



I may have an affection for all eras of Mickey cartoons, but the early, chaotic rubber-hose-armed early era holds a special place in my heart. The ingenuity of story, art, ideas and character is all there from the beginning, just popping off the screen. Yeah, there's influence from contemporaries like Felix and Koko, but Mickey and Minnie are a force unto themselves.  And these cartoons are as funny today as they ever were.  Just great stuff.

Happy B-Day, Mouse!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering 9/11




Remembering the victims and heroes of September 11, 2001 and all that came after.

May America remember how to live without fear.  May the world learn to live without war and terror.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy 99th Birthday to Katherine Johnson, NASA's "Human Calculator"


Saturday the 26th of August marks the 99th birthday of Katherine Johnson, "The Human Calculator" who was key to the early success of NASA.

I'd spend time telling you about Johnson, but suffice it to say she overcame the gender and racial discrimination of her time to become a key player in America's space race.  A physicist and mathematician, her natural ability to rapidly and accurately calculate complex equations necessary for figuring trajectories, etc... in the days when we were still doing this by hand instead of super-computer, made her an invaluable asset.

It would be only in recent years that her contributions, and those of other calculators, were made part of the bigger story of NASA.  But today, she has a really terrific movie roughly telling the story of her role in the Apollo missions in Hidden Figures starring the terrific Taraji P. Henson as Mr. Johnson.  There's building named after her at NASA.  And this happened:


So if you still don't know who she is, get thee to Wikipedia.  And take two hours to watch Hidden Figures.  It's a good movie.

Friday, August 18, 2017

In the Wake of Charlottesville



I don't know what to tell you.

Normally we use this space to talk about movies and comics, maybe a book we read.  But, at the moment, we're way past normal.  Or, at least, the past year has stripped away the veneer of how we thought things worked and we're now dealing with what we always kind of knew was out there, but just didn't show it's face.

That's wrong, too.  It did.  It's all over twitter and has been boiling over in the comments on legitimate news sites and in our facebook feed from people we used to know in high school.

It's always there, from our complacence in the face of the social inequities we see (and tell ourselves nice creation myths rather than grappling with multi-generational issues), to legislation intended to discriminate, to how we think about perpetually skewed law-enforcement records to how we whisper certain words.  I'm as white a cracker as you're going to find.  I might as well have "privilege" stamped across my forehead, and I see this stuff everywhere, and I've seen it defended and warped and refracted through appropriated slogans and an unending sea of false equivalencies that don't hold up to the slightest examination.  And, because I'm coming from a place of privilege, I have to accept that I'm only seeing a fraction of it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Nolan Watch: Dunkirk (2017)


These days, I'm not writing up every movie I've seen.  And I'm not going to write up this one.  But I'm suggesting you catch this one while it's still in theaters.

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day: What's the Deal with Grover Cleveland?

This is Grover Cleveland.  It is not a picture of me taken from the year 2045.


So, every President's Day (here in the U.S.) I try to write up a President of the United States, and some years I base my post on having had read a book or two.  But years like this year - I do some Googling and try to quickly educate myself about a President I don't know much about.

Grover Cleveland is one of those Presidents you could probably pick out of a line-up thanks to the mustache and glaring eyes, but other than that - you may not have the slightest inkling of what he was about.  I know I didn't.

Interesting factoid:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Signal Watch Reads: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (2004, audiobook)



Like everyone else, I didn't think about Alexander Hamilton a whole lot other than knowing he was on my money, invented the Fed, and somehow got into a duel (and lost) with a more obscure Founding Father, Aaron Burr.  The Revolutionary War era and the founding of the United States is such a deeply complex time in history, I've never really had my head around it, and as that history in broad scope tends to work best for me when woven into biographies, I'd long intended to read biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and a George Washington bio written by Ron Chernow that was given to me by NathanC that's been collecting dust for way too long.

Part of my issue is that most of those books are the "why is this 900 pages long?" variety, and I've been so buried in Roosevelt biographies, I've not really made enough time or room in my head for much else, but I've been working to change that.

Of course, along came the Grammy performance of the opening number to Hamilton, a fact-laden number intended to get us to the start of the action but laying out Hamilton's childhood story (which is enough to fill a book itself), and - like for so many of the rest of the people who saw this or listened to the soundtrack recording (or the lucky few who've seen the show), I was compelled to know more.  Maxwell suggested the Chernow bio, so I burned an Audible credit and picked up Alexander Hamilton (2004).  And, 37 hours of audiobook later, here we are.