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Saturday, December 31, 2016

50 Postings for 2016

Here's a nice little achievement for this blog. Fifty blog postings in 2016. I've never written so much for this blog, and I feel good about it. I hope to continue this trend throughout 2017.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My 20 Favorite Albums of 2016 Part 2

It's finally come to this. My top 10 favorite albums of 2016. Without further ado....

10. We/or/Me: Everything Behind Us is a Dream
I first heard of local Chicago artist We/Or/Me aka Bahhaj Tahezadeh in an article on the Chicagoist website back in January. The article described We/Or/Me as: "a local singer/songwriter who has been self-producing gorgeous albums in the traditions of 1960s British folk music." Boy were they correct. Everything Behind Us is a Dream is an album that demands the listeners attention, and is a perfect example of the incredible folk scene in the Chicago land area. If you are looking to get into folk music, We/Or/Me is a great place to begin.



9. The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monolith of Phobos
I cannot explain to you how excited I was when I first found out that Les Claypool from Primus and Sean Lennon had formed a band. I knew immediately that their album would be one of the most unique sounding records I have ever heard. Monolith of Phobos is proof that my assumption was correct. This is a great prog-rock record, that explores some pretty far out topics. From prescription drug addiction to 'Head', the feature film produced my The Monkees. This record is truly a treasure.




8. Rogue Wave: Delusions of Grand Fur
Delusions of Grand Fur is Rogue Wave's best album is 2007's Asleep at Heaven's Gate. The album finds Rogue Wave expanding their sound, but staying true to what makes them a band with staying power. It features some catchy indie-pop songs, and that showcase meaningful lyrics. It's almost like a sequel to Asleep at Heaven's Gate.




7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree
I was scared to listen to this record at first. It was almost as if the emotional impact this record promised would be too great for me to handle. Skeleton Tree focuses on the tragic death of Cave's son. This is Nick Cave at his most rare and hurt. After listening to this album numerous times, all I can say is that Nick Cave is one strongest individuals in the world. This record sees him at his lowest, and he brings the listener right there with him. And yet, there is a sense of hope throughout the album, that is truly inspirational.




6. Yeasayer: Amen and Goodbye
Yeasayer's latest release utterly blew me away with how intellectual it was.This record is unreal in the very best way possible!! From religion and philosophy to social media and life in the 21st century it has it all. And the actual music written shows a band hitting on all cylinders. With Amen and Goodbye, Yeasayer may have just re-defined what it means to be an indie rock alternative band.



5. Norah Jones: Day Breaks
This record is so good!!! Day Breaks sees Norah Jones returning to her jazz roots. If you were a fan of her first album, Come Away with Me, you will absolutely love this record. Day Breaks sort of feels like a proper sequel to Come Away with Me. Personally, the last track, Fleurette Africaine (African Flower), is the highlight of the record, that is well worth your time to listen to.




4. David Bowie: Blackstar
What can I saw about the late great David Bowie that hasn't already been said? Same goes for his 2016 and last ever release Blackstar? Upon its release, critics called the album spectacular. After Bowie's death of cancer, it became his magnum opus. Any music fan NEEDS to listen to it at some point in their life. It lives up to the hype.




3. Moby and the Void Pacific Choir: These Systems are Failing
For any person who says that Moby's music is too blah, I present to you These Systems are Failing. These Systems are Failing sees Moby at his heaviest ever. I think I can best described the sound of this record as a mixture of punk and EDM. It also features very heavy politically relevant lyrics. I've had fun with this album too. I would play it for people, who I knew didn't like Moby's music. I wouldn't tell them who it was till after I saw their initial reaction. All parties came away with a different perspective of who Moby is as an artist.




2. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
I love A Moon Shaped Pool. It is a beautiful record. For me, it is on par with their 2007 release In Rainbows. And it is sort of a return to form for Radiohead. In 2011, Radiohead released King of Limbs which I found to be very robotic in sound. Where King of Limbs was abrasive, A Moon Shaped Pool is melodic. And with the untimely death of Thom Yorke's partner Dr. Rachel Owen, it takes on a whole new meaning.




1. Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+ Evolution
The word masterpiece is thrown around a lot. And I am just as guilty of throwing that word around as anyone else. With that being said, please believe me when I tell you, Emily's D+ Evolution is a masterpiece. What Spalding does on this album is absolutely incredible. She creates a fusion of jazz, classic rock, RnB, and pop. It is unlike anything I have ever heard. It's an album that ten years from now, I'll be able to listen to, and hear something new that I had never heard before. Because I am a music nerd, I have a list of my all-time favorite albums written down. It's time for me to add to the list.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My 20 Favorite Albums of 2016 Part 1

2016. It will be a year to remember. From the numerous deaths in the music community, which included David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Prince, to the Presidential election, and finally the death of icons Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fischer.

But even in the sadness that has accompanied this past year, we have also seen some absolutely incredible musical releases. In fact, putting together my top 10 list was a challenging task. Limiting myself to just 10 albums seemed to be very unfair. So instead of my usually top 10 list, with a few honorable mentions, I've decided that for 2016 I'll have a top 20 listing of favorite albums.

Now without further ado, here is part 1.

20. Frightened Rabbit: Painting of a Panic Attack
Frightened Rabbit's latest release sees the band changing their sound slightly. The band is still producing "big sounding" music, but it's much more personal. This albums sees them going deeper in their exploration of relationships, all the while producing incredible pop songs. Finally, the band continues their tradition of coming up with great titles for their records.




19. Regina Spektor: Remember Us to Life
Full disclosure. This is the first Regina Spektor album I've listened to in its entirety. The entire time I was listening, I kept thinking to myself, why haven't I checked her out soon? It's so good, and is a great showcase of Skeptor's pop charm, and fantastic piano work. I find this to be a great beginners record to Regina Spektor's discography.




18. The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Yes The Beatles made this list. It is true that this album contains no new music from the band. But what it does contain is a taste of what it was like to see the greatest rock band in history live. It's utterly magically. At their heart, The Beatles were just a rock n' roll band, and that is what you hear on this release. It's the closest someone my age will ever get to seeing the group live.




17. The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome 
If at any point you are looking at getting into the blues, this is a great beginners blues album. The magic of this album is that the Rolling Stones make the blues accessible to individuals who may not go and check that genre out. But after hearing the Stones' covers, they might do so. Additionally, The Stones sound like they are having fun on this album. The passion they have for the blues is apparent, and it will bleed through your speakers, and hit you square in the face.




16. The Lumineers: Cleopatra
Early in 2016 The Lumineers delivered in my opinion a perfect folk pop record. The songs are beyond catching, and the album showcases the bands strengths of melody and lyrics. It is not very hard to picture all of these new songs being sung to in a large stadium setting. Cleopatra has made the Lumineers a very big band.




15. Bob Mould: Patch the Sky
It's always weird for me to read an article that argues that guitar based rock is dead. To refute this claim, I would simply play this new album by Bob Mould. It is heavy on the guitar, and old school garage rock. Mould is beyond confident in his craft, and the we the listener reap all of the benefits. This is a must have for anyone looking for a guitar centered album.




14. Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge
About a year ago I got into a TV show on Amazon Prime called Mozart in the Jungle. The show is centered around the "New York Symphony", and classical music in the modern world. Because of it, I have been searching for some great classically inspired music, and I didn't need to look very far. Violinist Sarah Neufeld, from indie giants Arcade Fire, delivers a very modern sounding classical music album. The melodies are haunting, and the star of the show is her violin. I cannot suggest this album enough.



13. Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death
Tegan and Sara continue their string of making fantastic pop songs. If you are a fan of 80s synth pop music, along with heartfelt lyrics, Love You to Death is a MUST have. Tegan and Sara have this way of making you feeling every emotions that they are feeling. It's pretty captivating.




12. The Last Shadow Puppets: Everything You've Come to Expect
Alex Turner, frontman of the Arctic Monkeys, continues to prove himself as one of the best frontmen in the indie rock scene. He continues to prove that with the latest effort from his side project, the Last Shadow Puppets. As I'm thinking about it, has Alex Turner made a bad record yet?



11. Moon Hooch: Red Sky
If you are looking for modern jazz music that will get you on the dance floor, Moon Hooch is the band for you. Every song is catchy, upbeat, and makes you want to shack your booty. I dare the staunchest music snob not to dance to this music. It is physically impossible.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Final Thoughts on Sickness

It's weird. I was sick for so long that it feels weird to be feeling better. I must of been sick longer than I thought. But thankfully, I am feeling better.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Stream of Random Thoughts for December 18th, 2016

1. I'm still recovering from the illness that first developed almost two weeks ago. It's remnant, a pretty substantial cough. But for me, the most upsetting part of this illness is the melancholy that accompanied it. Maybe it was the coldness that came or the disappointing news that hit me at work recently, but whatever it was, I was very melancholy throughout this illness. Luckily I have recovered, but it was rather surprising. One item that did help lift my spirits is when I reflected on all of the positive aspects and people in my life. Hence why I have made a note to myself to do more reflecting on a regular basis.

2. For my birthday I received a fantastic book entitled: "The Opposite of Loneliness" by Marina Keegan. Keegan was an aspiring writer who was killed in a car accident in 2012. This book is a collect that her writing teachers and family put together of some of her best work. It includes short stories, and essays on life.

There is a particular essay in the beginning portion of the book, also titled "The Opposite of Loneliness" in which Keegan discusses the fear she is experiencing with the thought of graduation from college. As she progresses in the essay, she wrote something that grabbed my attention big time. Towards the end of the essay, Keegan essential says, don't live in fear of not doing. Do! If you want to write, write.

I didn't realize until I read that sentence that I really needed to read it. It gave me a sense of encouragement that again I didn't know that I needed it until I read it, to continue with my storytelling and artistic pursuits. Sometimes that act of doing is far more important than the finished product. Again something I will remember for when I work on my podcast series.

3. This entry is very much like a journal. I wonder if that means I should get an actual journal. I love the idea of having one, but the thought of others seeing me writing in it, would probably cause me to be embarrassed. Which I shouldn't be, but I'm weird like that.

4. It had been over two weeks since I've read a book, and damn did it feel good pick one up. Can't allow for that amount of time to elapse like that again.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sick In Bed

I've begun my week long vacation in bed sick. It started on Wednesday night with a mild cough, that morphed into a full blown hacking storm. I've placed myself on house arrested, and decided to watch season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle. It was a terrific choice on my part. Season 3 is so good!!!

What I most admire about the show is the humor and lightheartedness. It's not a heavy show, and it doesn't try to be. It is what it is, and that is all. With the current status of our societal environment, this for a welcome change.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Fun Radio Show Theme

Have you ever heard of: "The Black Album"? No I am not referring to the albums created by Metallica in the early 1990s or by Jay-Z in early 2000s. I'm referring to the incredibly mix cd collection that Ethan Hawk's character in the movie Boyhood gives to his son as a birthday present. First off, I'm a sucker for mix cds. The creativity that is put into making them is limitless. It really is one of the most thoughtful gifts that can be given to any hardcore music fan. Add to that The Beatles, and you've hooked me.

So my co-host on my radio show that airs on WXAV came up with an idea for us to do a "Black Album" themed show. She will be showcasing the hidden gems of John Lennon and Ringo Starr's solo catalogs, while I will feature Paul McCartney and George Harrison. I LOVE this idea. Anytime I get a reason to listen to any type of Beatles music is a good thing, but to showcase their hidden gems from their solo catalogs is a real treat.

I've made some ground rules for myself as I've begun preparing for this program.
1. No songs featured on any of their "classic solo records". So that means I will not be playing any music from such records such as: "All Things Must Pass, Band on the Run, Ram, Living in the Material World, McCartney, Traveling Wilbury's Vol. 1, etc.

2. Pick 5 lesser known albums from each, and listen to each of them in their entitreity leading up to the show. Find the underappreciated hidden gems from those records and then showcase them. It's very easy to always go back to All Things Must Pass because it is an amazing record, but how many of us truly appreciate the greatness that is 33 & 1/3?

3. Research the recording of each, and get as much information as possible. What's the stories behind each of these records? What was happening in George's life during the recording of Dark Horse? Why is Paul's Run Devil Run record so important? Each of these albums has a fascinating history, that should be explored more.

After careful consideration, I've made my five selections, which you can see below. If you want to hear these albums hidden gems, the stories behind their makings, and why I've selected these particular albums tune into 88.3FM if you on the south side of Chicago or www.wxav.com on Thursday December 1st from 8pm-10pmCST to hear all about it.

Paul McCartney
Press Play
Give My Regards to Broadway
Off the Ground
Run Devil Run
Memory Almost Full

George Harrison
33 & 1/3
George Harrison
Dark Horse
Brainwashed
Wonderwall Music

Monday, November 21, 2016

I Started Watching The Office

So for years I've been told to watch The Office. And I've listened to that advice, and have begun to do so. I must say, I've been enjoying it very much. But Michael Scott. I'm not sure if I am a fan of the character.

There are times that you feel an emotional connection to his character. Then there are other times you want to shake him for doing something completely idiotic. Maybe that's the appeal of the character.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Radio Dramas Making a Comeback?

It appears that radio dramas are making a little bit of a comeback. Gimlet Media has produced a new series entitled: "Homecoming". Below is the description of the new series:

A new psychological thriller from Gimlet Media, starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer."

That's some pretty big names. I mean, Oscar Isaac has appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Inside Llewyn Davis. David Schwimmer is of course one of the stars of Friends, and Catherine Keener is from Capote and Inside John Malkovich.

I'm excited about this. In my opinion the podcasting side of the media is the must exciting branch today. It's taking chances and trying new things. This could help introduce a whole new generation to the theater of the mind. Who knows, maybe we will see a resurgence of the old shows such as: Suspense, X Minus One, or even any of the other countless classic radio dramas.

If you want to check out Homecoming, episode 1 is embedded below.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Assembling My Favorite Albums of 2016 List

We are nearing the end of 2016, and it has been a year to remember to say the least. Some very good. Some very bad. But as my tradition goes, I'm beginning to put together my favorite records of the year list. I'm looking for my 10 favorites out a list of 25. What will make the list....

Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+ Evolution 
Radiohead: A Pool Shaped Moon
Green Day: Revolution Radio
David Bowie: Blackstar
Norah Jones: Day Breaks
Bloc Party: Hymns
Rogue Wave: Delusions of Grand Fur
Moby and the Void Pacific Choir: These Systems are Failing 
Frightened Rabbit: Painting of a Panic Attack
The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monolith of Phobos
Elton John: Wonderful Crazy Night
Kayne West: The Life of Pablo
Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression
Bob Mould: Patch the Sky
The Last Shadow Puppets: Everything You've Come to Expect
Yeasayer: Amen & Goodbye
The Lumineers: Cleopatra
Modern Baseball: Holy Ghost
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree
Regina Spektor: Remember Us To Life
Jimmy Eat World: Integrity Blues
Leonard Cohen: You Want it Darker
Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death
Weezer: Weezer
Bon Iver: 22, A Million

Update**
It dawned on my during the week that I left out two very important records from this list. So I am adding them now.

Moon Hooch: Red Sky
We/or/Me: Everything Behind Us is a Dream
Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge

The challenge of narrowing this list of albums down to ten has just become even more daunting.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Untitlted

I've found it difficult to be creative over the past few weeks. I need to work to resolve this issue.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Ghost/Horror Stories on the Radio

I wasn't really sure what I was going to write about for this posting. It's been about a week and a half since I last wrote anything, and I wanted to get one last posting in before the end of October.  And then I turned my radio on. It was set to WBEZ 91.5FM, Chicago's NPR affiliate, and heard Snap Judgment's Halloween special.

Horror stories done on the radio are amazing!!! They are able to create such a sense of fear and unease. It's really unbelievable. I'm actually going to stop writing so that I can hear the end of this episode. Here's the episode below.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Whole New Appreciation for Arcade Fire's Reflektor

www.wikipedia.org
When it was released back in October of 2013, Arcade Fire's fourth LP Reflektor left me feeling a little lost. You see, it didn't sound like a typical Arcade Fire album. Being produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Reflektor had a techno/dance element that, at the time, I thought didn't match who Arcade Fire was as a band. Because of this, whenever I went to listen to Arcade Fire, Reflektor always was at the bottom. Until today.

I had a great conversation with a current student of mine who just started listening to Arcade Fire's catalog, and as we were talking he told me about how much he enjoyed Reflektor. It got me thinking that I haven't listen to the album in awhile, so I figured I would throw it on and give it a listen to. Within 30 seconds of listening to the first song, I was immediately hooked! There are some absolutely fantastic songs on this album. Reflektor, We Still Exist, Here Comes the Night, and Afterlife are some great examples that stand out in my minds eye.

But as I was listening, I think it dawned on me why I'm beginning to appreciate this record now. It's David Bowie. Up until this year, I wasn't the biggest David Bowie fan in the world. I appreciated his music, but wouldn't describe myself as a fan. After his untimely death, I went and begin exploring his catalog, and began to understand his greatness. Reflektor is a "David Bowie" style record. It has a distinct dance, art, indie pop sound that Bowie perfected over the course of his 40 plus year career.

I think it is safe to say that it is because of David Bowie's music that I now appreciate Arcade Fire's Reflektor. And a nice hidden surprise, Bowie is a guest vocalist on the album's title track. I've included it below.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

John Lennon's 76 Birthday

Today would of been John Lennon's 76 birthday. To celebrate, I've decided to go back and listen to a few of his solo records. My first selection was 1974's Walls and Bridges. Now I must admit, this is not my favorite offering by Lennon. In fact, I've probably only listened to it a hand full of times.

However, it's a pretty interesting record. If you can get past the very mid-1970s sound, there's like a funky sax on every other song, you are in store for a very surprising and very good record, and is home to a few hidden gems such as: "Steel and Glass", "Whatever Gets You Through the Night". But the one song that particularly caught my ear is "Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)". What a heartbreaking song!! I'm really surprised this song doesn't get more airplay, or isn't mentioned in the same breathe as songs like "Woman", "Well, Well, Well", or "Borrowed Time". You can check it out here. (For some reason, blogger won't let me embed two videos.)

The second Lennon record that I listened to is his debut 1970 release: John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band. To this day, this is the angriest record I have ever heard in my entire life. In my opinion, the only solo Beatles record that is better than this offering by Lennon is: "All Things Must Pass" by George Harrison. The perfect song that showcases the angry that Lennon was going through during this time period is his song "God". If you have never heard it, you must. It's unreal.


 

The Two Newest Episodes of the Looking Glass

So I've just finished production on two new episodes of my monthly podcast series: "The Looking Glass". Thus far, writing, editing, researching, and producing this program has been an incredible challenge for me, but overall I've really enjoyed the experience. It's tested my limits as a storyteller, which at the end of the day is what I wanted it to do.

In fact, the episode I released in September is in my top 10 favorite audio pieces I've ever created. It's entitled: "Figures with Real Wrestling Action" At first you may think that it is just a story about toys, but it is so much more. It's a very thoughtful and humanizing listen. Which you can do below.



The episode I released in early October is clips from some of my various interviews I've conducted over the past year. The overall theme of this episode is to encourages individuals to take that first step, and begin crafting their own creations. Working on it for the past few weeks really reinvigorated me. You too, can listen to it below. And please, share it with your friends.

Delay in Postings

Life as certainly gotten busy the past few weeks. Between work, getting sick, producing two new episodes of my podcast: "The Looking Glass", I feel like I have neglected this blog.

I hope to remedy this with two additional post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Podcast Just For Me

Photo Credit:
www.gimletmedia.com
My favorite podcast of all time is a show called WireTap. Produced by the CBC it featured host Jonathan Goldstein exploring the big issues of life, all while dealing with an "unique" group of friends, family, and their constant issues and/or interference. The show ran for about 10 years, and came to an end about a year ago. I was incredibly sad when it came to an end, since for 5 straight years my Monday mornings were devoted to listening to the latest episode of this outstanding series.

Around the same time I got into WireTap (2009ish) I became a big fan of the musical artist Moby. His new album at the time entitled: 'Wait For Me' had just been released, and it grabbed my attention the first time I listened to it, and wouldn't let go. I was really intrigued by how Moby was able to craft an almost joyous sad song. It's like he embraces the melancholy/quietness of life, and showcases the beauty found within. He is truly a remarkable artist. I highly recommend checking out his catalog. I think it's safe to say that Moby has become one of my top ten favorite artists of all time.

Earlier this week, I was beyond ecstatic to discover that former WireTap host Jonathan Goldstein has a new series he that he was releasing. The name of his new podcast series is Heavyweight, and it features Goldstein trying to resolve long-term issues between family members or friends. Here's the official on the show's official website:

"Maybe you’ve laid awake imagining how it could have been, how it might yet be, but the moment to act was never right. Well, the moment is here and the podcast making it happen is Heavyweight. Join Jonathan Goldstein for road trips, thorny reunions, and difficult conversations as he backpedals his way into the past like a therapist with a time machine. From Gimlet Media. "

The show released it's first two episodes on Monday. The first episode features Goldstein assisting his father resolve his decades long conflict with his older brother. But the second episode is the one that had me jumping up and down when I heard it. Entitled "Gregor", the episode features recurring WireTap "character" Gregor Ehrlich try and come to terms with a famous musician friend of his, who he lent a box set of CDs to about 20 years ago. That famous musician friend is none other than MOBY!!!!

One of my favorite musical artists of all time has a connection to my favorite podcast of all time. The show that taught me how modern audio storytelling is so compelling has a connection to the artist that showed me the beauty of melodic music. The show that inspired me to start my own podcast is connected to one my favorite artist interviews I ever conducted. It's like we are all connected!!!!!

I cannot recommend enough that you listen to this podcast. Not only is it an engaging piece of storytelling, but it combines two of my favorite things into a single entity.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fall Playlist

So I'm a music nerd. This is fairly common knowledge amongst my inner circle. But little do they know the full extend of my nerdom. For example, I have a playlist of albums that I try to listen to only during the season of fall. I mainly do this because I feel that these albums perfect capture the feeling of the season. The weather is beginning to cool off, the leaves are changing color, and we inch closer to another winter.

Most of this music is a tad quieter than my usual summer selection. Below are my top 10 albums that I love listening to in the fall because of how they remind me of the season.

1. George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
2. Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head
3. Radiohead: Kid A
4. Norah Jones: Come Away with Me
5. Moby: Wait For Me
6. John Lennon: Double Fantasy
7. Paul McCartney: Flaming Pie
8. Coldplay: Parachutes
9. Arcade Fire: Funeral
10. The Shins: Oh, Inverted World

Sunday, September 11, 2016

50 Years of Star Trek


This past Thursday was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek making its television debut. It's really hard to believe that Star Trek is that old. Growing up, I was a HUGE Star Trek fan. I would watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on an almost continuous loop. In fact, if I remember correctly, Star Trek IV was the first VHS tape I ever owned. Anyways, to celebrate this milestone, I've gone back and re-watched a lot of the movies, and some of the old TV series. (I'll take any excuse to re-watch Deep Space Nine. It's so good!)

So I thought it would be fun to compile my list of my favorite Star Trek movies. I'll probably go more in-depth on my reasonings in a future posting. I won't be doing it here in this post mainly because I'm currently battling a nasty head cold, and am ready to go to sleep. Until then, this will have to do.

1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
3. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
4. Star Trek: First Contact (VIII)
5. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
6. Star Trek Beyond (XIII)
7. Star Trek (XI)
8. Star Trek: Insurrection (IX)
9. Star Trek: Generations (VII)
10. Star Trek Into Darkness (XII)
11. Start Trek: Nemesis (X)
12. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
13. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Podcasts on History/The 250th Posting

So this is my 250th posting on this blog. I must admit, when I started this about 5 years ago, I never thought I would of have made it this far. What started out as a simple exercise to help me shake the rust off my writing to better prepare me for grad school, has turned into a fun and enjoyable exercise for myself. This blog has actually helped me better development some of my ideas in audio and podcasting.

Which leads me to what my main focus of this posting. About two weeks ago I came across a very interesting article about the 'The Ten Best History Podcasts'. It was posted on a website I frequent on a regular basis.

What I really liked about this posting is 1) It doesn't say this is the best, or that is a best, because at the end of the day it is all subjective. And 2) the author does a great job of describing what each show is about. I actually went out and started listening to a few of the aforementioned shows. Overall not bad. I have to really give them a proper listen, but overall I think I found a few new programs to go to for inspiration.

Here's a link to the article: http://uproxx.com/life/best-history-podcasts-right-now-to-listen-to/


Thursday, August 18, 2016

One Final Post on My Podcast

The past few posts I've written have primarily focused on my brand new podcast that I've created called "The Looking Glass". I'm really pleased with how the first few episodes have turned out. I feel that I've been able to capture the true feelings my guests have towards their particular hobby/interest.

I'm currently finishing up the next episode which will focus on the old WWF Hasbro action figures. Just like the guest, these action figures have a special place in my heart too. Putting this episode together, memories of me playing with these old figures continually pop into my head.

I'm remembering how I used to book my own storylines with these figures, and create elaborate wrestling shows. It's been a very pleasant experience remembering what these action figures meant to me growing up, and I really hope those feelings come forth in the latest episode.

To many people these action figures are more than just toys, they are connections to their childhood. And that's a really cool thing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In The Zone on my Podcast

Lately I've been in the zone in regards to my podcast. Last week I finally released my third episode, and this week I've begun post-production on my 4th episode. It's going to follow the story of independent pro-wrestling manager Joey Eastman, and how he developed the hobby of collecting old WWF Hasbro action figures.

Listening back to the interview tape last night as I was pulling clips really blew me away. I currently believe this may be the strongest episode in my series thus far. Joey really opens up, and shares some incredible stories. There is a real sense of emotional connectedness when Joey talks about why this collection means so much to him.

I can't wait to see how the final project sounds. It should actually come together fairly easily. I'm also hoping to begin production on the fifth episode no later than the end of August. It's never to early to begin planning ahead with the start of a new school year just over the horizon.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Latest Episode of My Podcast

I'm very pleased. This past Wednesday, I released the latest episode of my podcast entitled: "The South Side Film Buff". If you haven't had a chance to listen, give it a shot. I think it turned out really well.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Seeing Coldplay Live

Coldplay performing at Solider Field in Chicago.
Photo Credit: Me
On Saturday July 23rd, I was able to see for the first time ever, British rock mega-stars Coldplay. It's a common joke amongst my friends is that whatever recent concert Peter has been it, it's the greatest concert he has ever seen. Well it some come as no surprise that I will say the same thing about this most recent concert.

However, this concert was different. The more I revisit it in my mind, the more I believe that it truly might be the greatest concert I have ever seen. There were so many factors that cause me to think this, but I would like to focus on three.

1. Coldplay sounded incredibly. They brought such a high energy to their performance that I quite frankly did not expect. They had 45,000+ people dancing and singing along with every song. Additionally, the band sounded like a band that has played together for 20 years. They are very comfortable in their abilities, and know they are good. I own four live records by Coldplay, and they always knew they sounded great, but the recordings never catch the energy that you experience when you see them in person. The energy added so much to the performance.

2. The visuals. Everyone in attendance was given a wristband. If you are familiar with the old comic strip Dick Tracy, and his two way communication radio wrist watch, that is exactly what these wristbands looked like. When it came time for Coldplay to hit the stage, all of the lights were turned off in Solider Field. Then the wristbands switched on, and began to flash in sync with Coldplay as they performed. For a few minutes, the wristbands were the only light in the stadium. I'ver never seen anything like it. You would of thought that wristbands may of been a distraction to the performance, but they were not. They added an element of visual stimulation that made each song a truly unique performance.

3. The weather was unreal. Before the show, there was a severe thunderstorm that caused the two opening acts to be canceled and the show almost delayed. Then about two thirds through Coldplay's set, the heavens opened up again, and poured non-stop for the next few hours. This caused the set to be cut short, but not before Coldplay was able to play one more song.

To end their set, in the pouring rain, Coldplay performed A Sky Full of Stars, which is one of their more upbeat anthems from 2014's Ghost Stories. The crowd went insane. People were dancing in the rain, as I was. I've never experienced anything like it. I feel like it may be on of the closest things I will ever come to to a perfect moment. As Coldplay played, I looked up to the heavens and watched the rain come down. I then looked around and saw nothing but smiles and pure joy for anyone who stayed to the very wet end. It's something I will never forget.

I highly recommend if you are ever interested in seeing Coldplay live to do it. It is a wonderful experience.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Album a Night in Its Entirety Part 2

Over the course of 1 week, I listened to all of these records
Two weeks ago I wrote about an experiment I was conducting where I would listen to one album a night in its entirety. The list of the records I was going to listen to were:

Moby: Animal Rights
Green Day: Dookie
Rogue Wave: Out of the Shadow
Zaz: Self-Titled
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Streetcore
Beck: Mutations

I completed my task within a week, and then I began to process what the experience was like, and what I took away from the experiment. Here are my findings.

The Music

  • I really liked the selection of albums I chose. They were all albums I haven't listened to in a very long time. In the case of a few of them, it had been years. 
  • Dookie is ridiculously good album. 
  • Joe Strummer's Streetcore has a very interesting sound to it. The best way to describe it, is a mix between punk and reggae.  

Attention Span

  • There were times that I was able to soley focus on the music, and then there were times where I surfed online while I listened to the music. I don't feel either one was better or worse. Although I like the idea that I was able to listen to an entire record not being distracted. BTW the record I was able to do that with was Animal Rights by Moby. I feel that part of that reason was because I am currently reading Moby's Memoir Porcelain. 
  • To expand on the whole not being distracted piece. That's currently a big deal for me because I feel like my attention span is getting smaller and smaller. So I am making a concentrated effort to focus more. 

Mood 

  • I felt like I was in a better mood all last week when I conducted this little exercise. I find that if I watch too much TV or Netflix that I more easily become melancholy. Plus I felt like I accomplished something, and surprisingly it gave me some good musical ideas that I'm going to try and incorporate into my podcast the Looking Glass.
  • It was a really nice reminder of variety of music I have in my collection. Going from electronic to gypsy jazz to pop punk to punk to alternative to indie rock was a really cool experience. 
Overall, I liked this so much that I am going to try and keep it up. I have Coldplay's concert this upcoming Saturday, and to prepare for that, I've been listening to a record a night by them. Tonight's is Myolo Xyloto (I'm working backwards). It's not that bad of a record as I remember it to be. 



Monday, July 18, 2016

Prophets of Rage

The Prophets of Rage, which is Rage Against the Machine minus Zach da la Roche, Chuck D from Public Enemy, and B-Real and DJ Lord, released their first official single earlier today! The vibe of this song is fantastic. While it would still be beyond amazing to have Rage Against the Machine properly reunite, this is the next best thing. With the state of politics today, Prophets of Rage is on its way to become a very important band.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

An Album a Night in Its Entirety

Photo Credit: Me
Working at an university has taught me one that, and that is to always expect some interesting surprises or ideas. While talking with a few of my students recently, I was surprised to discover how few of them listen to whole albums in their entirety. Now this really shouldn't surprise me so much. After all we live in the age of Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, and so on. Young people don't just put a CD on. Most listen via their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. So this fact of non-album listening really shouldn't surprise me so much. Yet it does.

I guess it comes down to the choice we consumer make when we listen to music. Purchasing single tracks we like from say an iTunes. Another is enter genres we enjoy, and let algorithms select our sounds. Or we can put a record on a turntable, and listen to an entire piece. Now I'm not saying there is a right way or a wrong way to listen to music. Each has its own merits. And I for one have done all on a consistent basis. Plus each offer their own unique experiences.

However in reviewing my recent trends in how I listen to music, I feel like that I am becoming more of a "putting my iTunes on shuffle" kind of a guy. I almost feel like I'm being a little lazy, and that my attention span is becoming shorter and shorter. So I've decided to change it up a little bit. So beginning two nights ago, and for the foreseeable future, I'll be listening to one album a night, in its entirety. And I'm going even more old fashion, and listening on a CD player or on vinyl.

Thus far, I have really enjoyed the experience, and I feel that by focusing on the entirety of the piece, I begin to remember the original reasons why I've enjoyed a particular artist. I've also selected albums that I have not listened to in a very long time, or ones that I do not have imported onto my computer. Below are the selections I have chosen thus far.

Moby: Animal Rights
Green Day: Dookie
Rogue Wave: Out of the Shadow
Zaz: Self-Titled
Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Streetcore
Beck: Mutations

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Re-reading Sherlock Holmes

I've gotten in touch with an old friend this week. As I am patiently waiting for my book from the library to arrive, I decided to re-read some of my favorite Sherlock Holmes stories. This has been one of the best reading decisions I've made in a very long time.

There's something about these stories...I feel like I've been transported back to 19th century England, and I'm running along with Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes on their many adventures. It's the magic of reading. It really can take you to another place, another time. When I was younger, I wasn't a very big reader, but now that I am older, I try to read as much as possible. It's such enriching. And I know this isn't information that we humans haven't known since time began regarding the powers of the written word.

It's just so encouraging and uplifting when you can experience it first hand. Thus far I have re-read: "The Five Orange Pips, The Beryl Coronet, and The Yellow Face".

Monday, June 20, 2016

Blog Ideas

I've been running low on ideas to write about for this blog. I really enjoy the challenge of writing, as I feel that it keeps me sharp, however over the past few weeks, ideas have been hard to come by. A few ideas that I have come up with involves the following:

1) Listening to a band/artists catalog within a set period of time, and explore impressions I get.

2) Further explore podcasting ideas. I'm currently working on a series called the Looking Glass, and I have some great ideas for episodes, but I feel like I need to expound on them. Dig further into the details of what each episode could be.

3) Maybe even a series of postings of why I found podcasts to be the most exciting media format out there?.

These are just some random ideas. I actually like each of them, and I feel like I should further explore them. Don't be afraid of longer written pieces.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Resurrection of Jake the Snake

If you were a fan of the WWF from the mid 1980s through the mid 1990s there is a documentary currently on Netflix that is a can't miss. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake follows the WWE Hall of Famer as he embarks on a path to clean up his life, and defeat his addictions to alcohol and drugs.

I was near tears watching this documentary. It was amazing seeing this man, who was so dangerous, so invincible to me when I was a little kid, quite literally fight for his life. It is so worth the hour and a half to watch.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

To Do List for 2016

1. See the Terracotta Warriors at the Field Museum
2. Got to jazz club
3. See a performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
4. Finished 6 episodes of my podcast series
5. Get logo created for podcast series
6. Do something unusually.
7. Be bored for a day
8. Continue work on a few short story ideas
9. Draw
10. See friends on a more regular basis.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

This is so wonderfully refreshing. Les Claypool from Primus and Sean Lennon have created a new project entitled: "The Claypool Lennon Delirium". These two have created a truly unique sound. Claypool's bass playing along with Lennon's soulful singing surprisingly blend very well together. I love musical projects like this. It's different, unique, and catchy.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Radiohead: 01 and 10 Playlist

Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org
Keeping up with my theme of music for the month of May, I would like to share a recent revelation a current student of mine shared with me. It's called Radiohead: The 01 and 10 playlist. (Think binary code. )

If you take Radiohead's Ok Computer album and combine it with their In Rainbows album, alternating every other track, you get a "super album". In fact it is really freaking how well these two albums blend together. It's almost like they are apart of a type of double record. I found very helpful information regarding the play list, along with some very fun fan theories here.

I recommend you give it a try. Its a really cool listening experience. Different, yet familiar. I feel like it almost gives you a new interpretation of the music. I've also included the the track listing below.

The 01 and 10 playlist 

1. Airbag (Ok Computer)
2. 15 Step (In Rainbows)
3. Paranoid Android (Ok Computer)
4. Bodysnatchers (In Rainbows)
5. Subterranean Homesick Alien (Ok Computer)
6. Nude (In Rainbows)
7. Exit Music (For a Film) (Ok Computer)
8. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (In Rainbows)
9. Let Down (Ok Computer)
10. All I Need (In Rainbows)
11. Karma Police (Ok Computer)
12. Fitter Happier (Ok Computer)
13. Faust Arp (In Rainbows)
14. Electioneering (Ok Computer)
15. Reckoner (In Rainbows)
16. Climbing Up The Walls (Ok Computer)
17. House of Cards (In Rainbows)
18. No Surprises (Ok Computer)
19. Jigsaw Falling Into Place (In Rainbows)
20. Lucky (Ok Computer)
21. Videotape (In Rainbows)
22. The Tourist (Ok Computer)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Living in my Music Memory

Photo Credit: Me
I was transported back in time the other day. I was on a week long vacation, and thus decided to indulge myself in a little record shopping. A favorite pastime of mine. So on Saturday of my vacation I traveled up to Reckless Records on North Broadway here in Chicago. What I found on this extraordinary day absolutely shocked me. Before I explain what I found, it is crucial that I explain a habit of mine that I do whenever I enter a record shop. Whenever I go into any record shop, the first thing I look for is the Beatles collection. Even though I have every piece of Beatles vinyl, I still go through the selections just as an "in case". Because you never know what you will find.

So here I am, doing my thing,  looking through the Beatles selection when something grabbed my eye. It was a copy of Volume 1 of The Beatles Anthology. I couldn't believe it! I knew that there were vinyl pressing made of them in the United Kingdom, but never thought I would see a copy of one again in the United States. You read that right.  Again. But Pete you say, you've never been outside the country. How could you have seen a copy of this wonderful album on vinyl if it were only on printed/available in the United Kingdom?

Well, let me transport you to a simpler time.  1997. A very important year for me. Looking back at it, I feel like this was the year were I finally "got" music. My journey began by watching The Beatles documentary series The Anthology  with my older sister. Seeing the story of The Beatles unfold in front of me on television captured my imagination. With this in mind, I began my journey into buying the music of the Beatles.

One day I don't remember when, my family was out in the Orland Park/Tinley Park area. While traveling on 159th street, my dad stopped off at a local record shop called "Threshold Records". It was my first time being in a legit record shop. To this day, I still remember what that experience was like. The room had character. It felt like what a record shop would look like in the movies. There was vinyl everywhere. Posters of bands I had never heard of everywhere. There was even a section for bootleg CDs. (I had no idea what that even meant at the time.) But there were two items that caught my eye. Hanging up on the wall was a promotional poster for Paul McCartney's new album called "Flaming Pie", along with a vinyl copy of The Beatles Anthology Volume 2.

I stared at the vinyl copy of Volume 2. Unsure of what to do. I held it in my hand, and was blown away by it's shear presence. I remember then seeing the price, and realizing that it was far outside of my price range. Remember I was in 7th/8th grade at the time, so $25.00 seemed like a sumptuous amount of money. My parents agreed, and recommend that I get something else, which I agreed to do. What I got instead was a CD copy of Flaming Pie, and my first ever vinyl. It was the Ghostbusters' movie soundtrack. But I never forgot about the anthology series on vinyl. As I got more into music, and began purchasing The Beatles' catalog on vinyl, I always kept my eye out for the anthology series, but I never found any copies. Until Saturday.

I felt an unabated excitement that adults often get mocked for. It sounds stupid, but seeing volume 1 on Saturday took me back to that day in 1997. I was that kid again, discovering the power of music. The memory was incredibly vivid, and I loved every moment that I was in it. And that's what made it so special. Not buying the record (which I did) because, ultimately it is just a piece of plastic. But the fact that a piece of plastic can jar a long forgotten memory from my subconscious my conscious was really great.

With that being said one down, two to go. :) I should also add Flaming Pie to the list.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Radiohead Does It Again

For my 235 blog posting, I would like to focus on the awesomeness that is Radiohead. It's hard to believe but Radiohead has been together as a band for a little bit over 30 years. (Having formed in 1985.) And like a fine wine, they have simply gotten better with age. With masterpieces such as: "The Bends, Ok Computer, Kid A, and In Rainbows, in their discography, Radiohead continues to push the limits as a band.

Earlier today, Tuesday May 3rd, 2016, Radiohead released their first new single in a little over five years. Burn the Witch sees the band returning to a more alternative rock sound. For fans of In Rainbow and The Bends, such as myself, this is a very welcome return to form. (I'm sorry King of Limbs is a bad record. There I've said it.) One person on social media described Burn the Witch as "horror" music due to its sinister sounding string section, and captivating stop motion music video. I found that a rather interesting description.

One element you can never take away from Radiohead is that no matter what they do, they always get their audience thinking and talking. The video for Burn the Witch is captivating. The music is breathtaking. If the rest of the album sounds anything like this single, I seriously believe we have a new contender for Record of the Year. Having seen David Bowie release his last ever record to Esperanza Spalding's breakout Emily's D+ Evolution, 2016 is shaping up to be a pretty great year in music releases.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Moby Giving Free Music Away

One of my favorite musical artists Moby announced in March he would be giving away a free copy of ambient sleeping music. I just had the chance to download it today, and boy is it relaxing.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wrigley Field's New Look

About two weeks ago, I went with a few friends of mine to see Chicago alternative rock legends Local H play at the Metro. (It was the twentieth anniversary shows of their pivotal record As Good As Dead.) The show was terrific.

But one of the more surprising treats was seeing some of the new renovations at Wrigley Field. I absolutely love what they have done to the outside facade. It looks like they are really going through their history books, and making Wrigley look like what it did in the 19 teens. Below are some pics I took.



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Podcasting Idea

About a year ago my friend Steve Anderson and I developed an idea for a podcast. The name of this idea is: "The Looking Glass". This potential program would examine how people became interested in their hobbies. We even came up with a tagline. "The Stories Behind Personal Interests". I really like this idea. It's a way to explore a person's story through a very personal mechanism. We all have hobbies, and we all can talk about them. But how we got into them is a much deeper story. Usually a parent, friend, or teacher introduced us to them. And this is the avenue of story-telling that I really want to explore.

Thus far I've been able to produce two episodes. The pilot episodes explores how a man, William Kalush, became interested in magic and Harry Houdini. It's one of my all-time favorite audio pieces I've created. You can hear it hear because Blogger won't let me embed two SoundCloud players in a single post.

The second episode features a person by the name of Nick Soulsby and it tells the story of how he became a fan of Nirvana. This too is an episode full of fascinating stories, and it tells the Nirvana story from a unique perspective. You can hear it below.



One of the top podcasting networks in the work is a network called Radiotopia. It is the home to such great podcasts as 99% Invisible, Love+Radio, and Fugitive Waves by the Kitchen Sisters. About a month ago, Radiotopia announced a contest where you could submit you idea for a podcast, and if you won, you could potential have your podcast join the Radiotopia network. So I decided to do something outside my comfort zone, and earlier tonight (Tuesday, April 12th, 2016) I have submitted the Looking Glass to Radiotopia for consideration.

I don't know what will happen. But I am just really happy that I did it. Of course it would be great if I advanced in the process, but in the end it really doesn't matter. I'm still going to produce this program no matter what. I'm still going to uncover really exciting stories, and share them with the world. That's a real joy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Arrow 11:59

www.cwtv.com
I literally just finished watching the latest episode of Arrow entitled 11:59. HOLY CRAP!!! What an episode!! This season of Arrow has been outstanding, and the primary reason has to be this season's villain Damien Darhk. He is a dastardly, file character.

This may sound weird, but this season of Arrow reminds me of a wrestling angle. The good guys just keep coming up short in defeating the bad guy every week. The bad guy is charismatic and down right evil. It is captivating and leaves on the edge of your seat every week. I cannot wait for Darhk to get his comeuppance. Such wonderfully done television entertainment. What an enjoyable journey it has been thus far.

If you haven't watched Arrow this season due to the lack lust third season, find it on Hulu immediately and start binge watching. You will not be disappointed.  It is a prime example of superhero storytelling at its finest.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Music That Puts a Smile on Your Face

This past week has been a pretty stressful week. Luckily the week has ended on a positive, and what was a stressful situation can now fade away into a memory. To help myself celebrate I put a Fats Domino record on my turntable. Domino's music... I can't say enough about it. It is almost impossible for me to listen to him without a big smile on my face. It's just happy music, and puts me in a happy place.

To help everyone get into a happy place, I present Fats Domino.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Single from Yeasayer

Over the weekend I was listening to SiriusXMU. While I was going about my business, a song came on the air that stopped me dead in my tracks. (I love when a song is that powerful to do that to you.) The new single from Brooklyn band Yeasayer called: "Silly Me".

The best way I can describe this song is old school 1980s New Wave meets LCD Soundsystem. It's dance-able, hip, and catchy as all hell. I'm making a bold prediction that this could be the song of the summer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Do We Over Use Ideas?

Photo Credit: Amazon.com
I'm currently reading a wonderful collection of essays written by Christy Wampole entitled: "The Other Serious". The essays primarily focus on "big picture" ideas. Thus far, it has been a fascinating read, and I encourage everyone to check it out. One essay I would particularly like to focus on is entitled: "The Great American Irony Binge" Wampole explores whether or not American culture is over using irony. (Spoiler Alert: we are.)

According to Wampole the primary culprit for this over use of irony is social media and the Internet. I don't want to go too much more detail pertaining to her reasoning for this hypothesis because I think you should read the essay. But I will say that Wampole does an absolutely elegant job supporting her hypothesis. It's truly a captivating essay.

I read this essay two days ago, but I'm still thinking about it. A single idea keeps popping into my head, and that is if people read more, particular books, would this problem even exist? With digital media, anyone can have a blog, podcast, or video series. Which is great. It's democratizing the media. But with all of the positives, there is a drawback that society didn't take into account. Creating truly good media is hard. It takes years of training and practicing to understand how to organize thoughts, the acts of stories, and which is the best way to present said story/idea. Just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should do. That's one of the benefits of the "professional" media. Not everyone is published, or broadcasted. Theoretically this portion of the media should be the best of the best. (This previous statement is always up for debate.) 

So how does all of this tie back into people reading more. Well, since we now have limitless creators, we tend to spend more time on the Internet. We as a society are always looking for new ideas, forms of entertainment, and what have you. The Internet is home to the aforementioned, unfortunately however, it is also home to complete chaos and negativity. Thoughts aren't always completely organized or thought out. There's also a general nastiness that exists online that unfortunately can be contagious for a few. And quite frankly, the Internet is home to information overload. An individual can't always process everything that is being thrown at them.

A printed book is different though. It is only home to a select amount of information. And yes some of that information can and is negativity, just like the Internet, but I feel that it's a little more self-contained. Ultimately I think that the knowledge you obtain from a traditional book is so much more long lasting than information that can be changed at the drop of a hat. Case in point, I'm still thinking about the ideas Wampole presented in her essay. I cannot remember the last time this has happened to me with Internet content.

I don't think that we should completely abandoned the Internet, or that everything on here is bad. But it may be a good idea that every once in awhile we diversify how we get our content. It doesn't always have to come from the Internet.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

I think we are seeing journalism beginning a transformation. Maybe the era of "non-opinion" based news journalism is gone. I hope it isn't because I am a firm believer that the news needs to be reported in a neutral way. However, the news commentary of a few comedians is becoming just as vital as the investigative journalism produced by Frontline, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the first. Then it was followed by The Colbert Report hosted by Stephen Colbert. And finally we have Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. (It's funny how all of these shows are interconnected too. Spin offs from the Daily Show)This past Sunday, Oliver delivered a program that meticulously dissects the "Trump White House" run. It's brilliant, and should be shown to everyone. It should be talked about in every journalism and communication class. It should be shown to anyone who will be voting in 2016.

Oliver perfectly showcases how to research a topic, base your reasoning on said research, and then presenting your findings in an incredibly entertaining manner. Simply put, it's brilliant. I wish I could be this good at my job, as Oliver is at doing his.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Another Post on Superman

Photo Credit: ComingSoon.Net
Over the past week, I've read two absolutely intriguing articles about Superman. The first is entitled: "The Trouble with Superman", and comes from The Atlantic magazine. The article mainly focuses on how writers have misinterpreted the character over the years, and author Esher Albein does his best to describe what he feels the "true" Superman character is. Albein writes a fascinating article, and brings up some very interesting points. I agree with him that Superman is at his best when you return the character to his Siegel and Shuster roots.

For me, the Superman character is the most unique superhero character, not because he is the first, but ultimately because that is who he is. Nothing tragic happens to him. (Yes I know his planet explodes, but he doesn't remember that, since he was a baby when it happened. Additionally he is adopted by the loving Kents, who encourage him to help others.) It's really the story of an individual fulfilling their own potential. By accepting who they are. For me at least, that is a vastly interesting field to tell engaging stories. It's not just a simple revenge narrative.

The second article I read is entitled: Relax, Fans: 'Batman v Superman' Won't Flop, Despite Rumors. Mark Hughes wrote the article for Forbes magazine. In his article, Hughes discusses the rumors that have been running rampant on the online for the past few weeks, and which I slightly addressed in my posting from last week. His article is very in-depth, and focuses on the "fine print" of film making.

I found his article so refreshing. It seems like Man of Steel and now Batman v Superman receive an extra "layer" of criticism from comic book fans, which quite frankly I found unfair. These films are flawed, but find me any film that doesn't have it's own flaws. Just because it has flaws, doesn't necessarily make it a terrible film. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if you don't enjoy the films that is perfectly within your right. However, at the end of the day, it is your opinion, and your opinion only. Others are allowed to disagree.

I sincerely wish fans would give it a shot, and go in with an open mind. Remember it is the first time we are getting Batman and Superman on the big screen together. This is pretty freakin' cool.And if it's a bad movie, then it's a bad movie.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Superman, Batman, and Controversy

The Internet is having a field day. We are inching closer to the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and there is news that Batman v Superman has some problems. It started when Hitfix posted an article/video with Drew McWeeny, where he stated that Warner Brothers is very worried about Batman v Superman. That it could jeopardize the entire upcoming DC film slate. Since that article was posted, other outlets and blogs have picked up the story. Hell, I'm even writing a blog about it.

I'm not going to critique the article or the rumors that the movie is bad, because at the end of the day, who am I? I'm just a fan that writes a random blog on a semi-regular basis. I have no ins with the film industry. I'm not a film writer or maker.  Really at the end of the day my opinion doesn't matter about a film that I haven't seen yet. My opinion only matters to me, and my close set of friends.

I must say, I feel really bad for the filmmakers of Batman v Superman. Their movie isn't even out yet, and we have people already saying that it's a bad movie. How do we know it's a bad movie? I haven't seen it. Most of the film going public haven't seen it. So how do we know it's bad?

I really miss the days where a movie was a movie. It was announced. There was general excitement. You saw it. You either liked it or you didn't, and that was the end of it. Now a days, every film, especially superhero films, are completely micromanaged to death. "This is why it's great. This is why it isn't. The writer is an idiot, they should of done this. The writer is brilliant, they did that." Why should we worry. For the first time in film history, we are going to see Batman and Superman on the big screen together. That is pretty damn cool. And you know what, it may be a bad movie. And that's okay. It's just a movie. The earth will still spin, the sun will still rise the next day. It is not the end of the world if Batman v. Superman is bad.

But I say, let's not rush to judgments before we've seen it. Let's just enjoy the movie for it's own sake. Let's not micromanage because we can. If there is legitimate beef, it will come out in due time. Until then, let us at least wait until the film is released.

In the meant time, I have an interesting article to read about Superman. You can check it out here


Sunday, February 7, 2016

I'm Finally Going to See Coldplay

A couple of days ago, I was finally able to purchase Coldplay tickets. For the longest time, Coldplay was one of those bands that I thought I was cursed never to see. I've had so many missed opportunities to see them, due to various reasons, that I was beginning to believe that it wouldn't happen.

Luckily it appears that my luck is about to change. I have my tickets in hand, now I just have to get to July, and I will finally be able to see one of my favorite bands ever.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Batman v Superman

We are inching closer to the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The hype machine is in full throttle, and smack talking has begun. At work, I've a quite a number of people inform me that Batman is by far the superior superhero, and would defeat Superman in a fight.

I respectful disagree, and I think it is time for me to put my thoughts onto paper. Be prepared for a posting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mozart in the Jungle

Photo Credit: www.amazon.com
For the past few months I've been looking for a new show to binge watch. Since I got Netflix about 5 years ago, I've discovered some of my favorite shows (Fringe, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Chuck, Downton Abbey, and Grantchester just to name a few) through this activity of binge watching. But lately I haven't found anything that has really grabbed my attention. I was starting to worry that I had run out of great TV shows to binge on. That is until I found a show on Amazon Prime called: "Mozart in the Jungle".

The show follows aspiring oboist Hailey as she tries to join the New York City symphony, which is now under the direction of the genius conductor Rodrigo. Here's a more in-depth description of the program from IMDB.com. I really like this show. It does a terrific job of exploring individuals chasing their dream, whether it is becoming an oboist in the New York symphony, or just enjoying the smaller moments in life that music can enhance. But what I think I enjoy most about the show is the fact that Mozart in the Jungle isn't a dark depressing show.

I would say that's my biggest problem with most new television shows. They are incredibly depressing. (Breaking Bad and Walking Dead I'm looking at you.) While Mozart in the Jungle does have its depressing moments, as any drama would, it is however a breathe of fresh-air in how it is a hopeful, artful show. The actors are terrific, but what really steals the show for me is the music. As someone who isn't too familiar with the genre of classical music, the way the program showcases the music in a way that gets me excited to hear it. It's really introducing the genius of classical music to a younger audience which may not have a complete appreciation of it.

Not too many people have Amazon Prime, but I highly recommend you go and check it out. It's a quick watch too. There is only 10 episodes a season, and each episode is about 30 minutes. I've included the trailer to season 1 below.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Suicide Squad Trailer

The new trailer for the Suicide Squad was released yesterday (1.19.16). Its wonderful!!! I cannot be more excited for this movie. I love how it uses Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in the background. I love how colorful the film looks. It just looks like a fun movie. Cannot wait to see it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie R.I.P.

I awoke this morning to the news that the one and only David Bowie had passed away over the weekend. Bowie was 69 years old, and had been battling cancer for about 18 months. Now I can't claim that I am the biggest David Bowie fan of all time, however I still appreciated his music. Bowie is one of those rare music figures that transcends genre, music style, and time. He belongs in the same breathe of John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Bach, Mozart, and Kurt Cobain.

Hearing the news of his death hit me particularly hard. Its like subconsciously I knew that music would never be the same, and this would be a moment I would remember for a long time. So throughout the day today, I've been listening to a TON of his music. And boy, was I missing out. It is brilliant. His new record Blackstar is this incredible fusion of jazz and hip-hop. He has all of these different styles that he incorporated through different stages of his career, that a music fan can be introduced to some many different styles of music by simply listening to David Bowie.

If you really haven't checked out his catalog, please do so.