Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In Memoriam: Davy Jones (1946-2012)

I was very sad to hear of the death of Davy Jones today, from a heart attack at the far too young age of 66. Like most people, I was a fan of the Monkees, and of Davy Jones especially. Unapologetically. Without any irony. Just a fan, of his music and his acting. It is a little ironic to know that it was his heart that got him, since his voice and charm got the hearts of so many others.

In honor of a great showman, here's one of my favorites:

1970s Music Video of the Week

It takes him a while to get started, but that's part of his charm:

Monday, February 27, 2012

1950s Video of the Week: Peggy Sue

In Memoriam: The Crew of Apollo 1

Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee

On this day in 1967, a fire broke out during a routine test of the Apollo 1 space craft, resulting in the deaths of crew members Roger B. Chaffee, Edward H. White, and Virgil "Gus" Grissom. Chaffee was a newcomer to the space program, but it has been rumored that he was one of the pilots who took surveillance photos leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ed White was the first American to walk in space during the Gemini 4 mission. And Gus Grissom was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts who was widely considered the top pick to be the first man to walk on the moon, had the fire not taken his life and the lives of his crew.

So give a moment of silence and remembrance for three men who were great pilots, great astronauts, and great Americans.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jackie Gleason!

Happy birthday to the Great One, Jackie Gleason. Honor the man's life and career by watching any of his TV shows or films. It doesn't matter which one, since they're all great.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No, I'm Not Going to Read The Hunger Games...

The Hunger Lames
... just like I didn't read the Harry Potter novels. Thanks for asking, but I'm just not interested.

This post is for no one in particular (and certainly not for any of the dozens of people who have encouraged me to read these books, along with whatever other series happens to be popular at the time), but just something I wanted to share with the world.

I know of The Hunger Games. I've read the back of the books, looked at the wikipedia page for the series, and even sat down at a book store recently and read most of the first chapter of the first novel. They're not for me, and I'll tell you why: I've already these stories. I don't mean to say that I've read this particular series of novels by Suzanne Collins, just that as a life-long science fiction fan, I have read dozens of novels and short stories that have already dealt with the same tropes, plots, and ideas as these books. I'm pretty sure Issac Asimov covered everything that happened in all four of those novels in a single short story he wrote some time in the fifties or sixties. That isn't to say that The Hunger Games are derivative, poorly written, or lacking in substance or originality (how would I know?). I'm sure they are wonderful books that are very entertaining for people who haven't grown up reading these kinds of stories.

All I'm saying is that The Hunger Games are science fiction stories for people who don't like science fiction.

Just like the Harry Potter novels were fantasy for people who don't like fantasy.

Just like Twilight was horror for people who ... actually, I'm not sure who Twilight was for.

But anyway, no, I'm not going to read The Hunger Games. I like sci-fi and I like fantasy, so I've read stories that deal with the same ideas and themes, only better and written for adults. I'm glad that The Hunger Games and Harry Potter exist, of course, since they have given so many people so much enjoyment. And, I suppose, to a certain extent they have offered more opportunities for people to write and publish real science fiction and fantasy. I don't begrudge the success of these franchises, and I love the fact that they allow nongeeks a glimpse into what real geeks love about sci-fi and fantasy, even if they will never actually read anything else from either genre.

But, please, don't ask me to read them, because I'm just not interested. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

80s Music Video(s) of the Week: Der Kommissar

Here are two versions of the same song. Der Kommissar was originally recorded by Austrian artist Falco, but most Americans are probably more familiar with the translated version by After the Fire. It's funny how one is in German while the other is in English, but both are equally incomprehensible. So which is the superior version? Perhaps no man can say.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Real Steel

I liked this movie, I thought it was incredibly entertaining, and I recommend checking it out if all you want is a fun movie with heart, action, and great special effects.

Now, I told you that so I could tell you this: Real Steel is probably one of the dumbest movies ever made. This is ostensibly a science fiction film that posits a world ten years into our future that is virtually identical to our present, aside from the fact that robot boxing is now the most popular sport in the country. I don't doubt the appeal of robot boxing, since I rented this movie specifically because I wanted to watch robots boxing, but I don't understand why nothing else is different or changed. Human boxing has been pretty much unchanged for the past couple hundred years while other technologies have moved on, so it seems contrary to reason and logic and science to show a society where nothing but boxing has evolved. Computers seemed to be the same, cars look identical to ours, buildings and roads and even fashion seem the same that we have today. And yet there are robots, but they only seem to be used for boxing.

I think I've made my point and then some. This is a society that simply makes no sense. However, it's definitely a society I enjoyed watching, all though I'll admit the two hour plus running time had be fidgeting on my whenever the film wasn't focused on robots boxing.

So why are the robots boxing instead of humans? Well, according to a monologue given by Hugh Jackman during the midpoint of the film, humans had taken combat between two men as far as it could possibly go, so the only logical next step was to let machines start to kill each other. This is dumb for some many different reasons. First of all, robots don't bleed, so watching them punch each other will never be as satisfying for some people as watching humans destroy other humans. Nobody watches boxing for a logical reason or because they want to see a victor triumph over a competitor. People watch boxing because they want to see two people beat the crap out of one another, with the possibility that one might even die. Robots wouldn't really pack that kind of thrill, certainly not the radio controlled kind in this movie. They have eyes and hands but no real personality.

Here's another reason why I know robot boxing will never replace human boxing: There are six Rocky films. How much you want to be there will only be one Real Steel film?

But I will admit that robot boxing is certainly fun to watch, and this film has as lot of it. The computer effects are amazing and the designs of the robots are pretty cool. This is a neat movie with lots of robots hitting each other. I can't stress that point enough, and that's a good thing in case I'm being unclear.

There's also some nonsense about Hugh Jackman as a broken down ex fighter who's now controlling one of the robots, who also happens to be the only link that remains between him and his estranged son. And Evangeline Lily of Lost fame is also in there as Jackman's love interest. Both of them are very, very good looking, but neither is all that good of an actor. Then again, this script wasn't exactly Shakespearean in its depth or complexity. But Hugh did make a pretty convincing boxer.

Anyway... Real Steel. Check it out if you want to watch some really awesome robot fights, but just be aware that it's really dumb and about thirty minutes longer than it had to be.

Celebrity Endoresment from Rex Thunder

Just watch this video:

80s Music Video of the Week: In the Air Tonight (Miami Vice Version)

Here are two of the best things ever: Miami Vice and Phil Collins. They go together like bread and butter. Here's maybe the coolest song of the 80s in one of the best scenes from the best show of the 80s:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(Faux) 80s Music Video of the Week: Ready For Primetime

I received this email tonight from a gentleman who calls himself Rex Thunder:

Hi Donald,

I thought you might consider posting our new Glory Fist music video "Ready for Primetime."  We worked hard to capture the spirit of 80s inpso-rock and I was thinking it might make a nice tongue-in-cheek 80s video of the week!

Let me know what you think!


To be honest, I'll post or plug anything anybody sends me, since I'm just so excited to know that somebody accidentally stumbled upon my site, but I am more than happy to post this video, since it's pretty hilarious. I enjoyed it, and I think you will too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Glory Fist:

Before Watchmen

It's been churning through the rumor mill for the past couple years, but DC finally confirmed the launch of their new line of prequel books to Watchmen, perhaps the most praised and beloved comic of all time. I won't comment or speculate either way as to whether or not this is a good idea or if Watchmen needed any kind of prequel or sequel, but I will admit that the line up sounds pretty amazing. I'll certainly check out some of these books.

Check it out:

  • RORSCHACH (4 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
  • MINUTEMEN (6 issues) – Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
  • COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
  • DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
  • NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
  • OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
  • SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
Sounds like it's going to be some really good comic creators (hopefully) telling some really good stories about some really good characters. Anyway, I'm interested.

Read more here.