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ABOUT RAR: For those of
you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher
of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites.
Use this link to visit the
RAR music page, which features original music
compositions and other.
ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance"-AVAILABLE
NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM
CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects
the building of America in a trilogy of novels
collectively called ATWOOD. Book One explores
the development of the American West through the
lens of public policy, land planning, municipal
development, and governance as it played out in one
of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of
the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious
and cultural traditions that imbued the American
Midwest with a special character that continues to
have a profound effect on American politics to this
day. Book One creates an understanding about
America's cultural foundations that is further
explored in books two and three that further trace
the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one
isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as
an icon in the development of a certain brand of
American character. That's the serious stuff viewed
from high altitude. The story itself gets down and
dirty with the supernatural, which inATWOOD
- A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance is the
outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the
monumental to the sublime.The
book features the epic poem"The
well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard
Meets Larry McMurtry
I am offering another
novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service.
Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its
sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado,
1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm
equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of
individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and
distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.
It is a ripping good yarn, filled
with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to
pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950,
when the story is set. Richard Padilla
has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of
a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The
whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on
Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little
of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns.
Use this link.
EXPLORE THE KINDLE
If you have not explored the books
available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing
division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You
will find classic literature there, as well as tons
of privately published books of every kind. A lot of
it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published
books are awful, but some are truly classics. You
can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works
for two bucks.
You want your Creative Culture, I give you Sal Castenada.
I love this guy. He has been a figure in the elite San
Francisco media market for decades, even longer than I have lived in the
area, which has been since early 1984.
I knew him on the radio as a traffic guy back then, but
then he got a midnight shift on The Quake (as I remember), which was a
predecessor to today's less interesting Live 105 Alternative Rock radio
channel. That struck me, at the time, as the most amazing bit of
miscasting I had ever heard of, because that station was the epitome of
cool, and Sal was so apparently its opposite.
Somehow I was wrong about Sal's cool quotient, and over
the years this has become more and more apparent.
I love this guy for a hundred reasons, not the least of
which is that he seems to be of some ethnic group that I can't place. He
reads, in terms of physiognomy, as an international man of mystery.
Certainly he is Hispanic, and has a Hispanic surname, and yet it seems
like there is some other tricky ethnicity in there. He has a subtle,
undefined quality that makes quietly exotic.
Sal has this underdog thing about him. One perceives him
as a nerd or geek who is utterly over-matched by the shiny alpha types
that rule the City by the Bay - and yet Sal prevails. Others come and
go, but somehow Sal Castenada is still there, every morning, doing the
traffic report as part of the extremely unpretentious KVTU Channel 2
morning team. I love all those people, and I usually hate TV news teams.
Finally, I love Sal because over the years he has
developed this sneaky wit that confirms for me something I had always
suspected about him. While we may have been snickering at what might be
seen as his humble assets, Sal has been enjoying a fantastic ongoing
victory, executing a quiet success story that now seems to have
presented itself in his quiet personality as an inner calm, a sense of
perspective, and a positive bearing. He seems a little above all the
fray now. It's as if Sal doesn't have to act cool, because whatever he's
got he owned it ages ago.
My hat is off to you, Mr. Castenada. - RAR
Have you been watching Stranger Things on Netflix? If not, and if
you have been looking for a binge-watch opportunity, this is well worth
your time. It is imaginatively conceived, cleverly written, full of
surprises, and it has a tremendous cast of actors, young and old. It is
doing for Winona Ryder what Breaking Bad did for Bryan
Cranston. She delivers one stellar performance.
Chrissie, Accursed Cell Phones, and Being Herself
are posted everywhere. Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders are not
welcoming to people using cell phones to record video of their
performances. But all one can do is ask.
In Dubai a few weeks ago, Chrissie
threw a fit over that cell phone etiquette, responding with her own
breaches of etiquette that make unauthorized cell phone video seem like
According to The
Sun, the Pretenders had
only just started their show at Dubai’s Irish Village venue when she saw
people openly ignoring her request that they not use cell phones during
her performance, and she went nuts!
The Sun reports that Hynde got
angry and vulgar, calling people in the audience “cunts” for recording
her. She reportedly taunted them by saying she "didn’t give a fuck"
because she already had their money. She also reportedly flipped off
phone users and, as she was leaving the stage, “cocked her leg” and told
the crowd to “take a picture of that.”
The National reports that,
according to people who were in the crowd on Thursday night, Hynde also
told people in the crowd to stick their phones up their ass and informed
them that the Pretenders “ain’t Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, so if you wanna
use your fucking phones, go and see them.”
Fantastic! Chrissie managed to get a lick in at rude
concert goers while also getting a lick in at younger celebrities who
grew up in this modern age of copyright infringement and extreme bad
post on Facebook earlier
this month, Hynde apologized for cussing out fans with phones on a
recent UK tour: “I do want to apologise for being a bit of a bitch when
it came to camera phones and just being myself in general. As you
probably know by now, when i’m not on the stage, i like to retain a very
ordinary profile and get embarrassed by uninvited attentions. So if I
told anyone to ‘get lost’ – it’s just me being the citizen God intended
me to be.”
Even more spectacular, God made her do it! Though is it
also possible that God also made those citizens who use their cell
phones to record any damned thing they want? That's the thing about
entitlement: it feels like God meant for it to be.
Hip-Hop Most Streamed
to Forbes, R&B and hip-hop—which are technically considered two
separate genres—have been responsible for 25.1 percent of the music
consumed in the U.S. Rock checks in at 23 percent.
Forbes says this shift
in consumption has something to do with the surging popularity of
streaming services. Rock is still "far and away" the most popular
genre when it comes to the sale of albums, earning 40 percent of all
sales in the U.S. But album sales have sunken little by little, year
by year for a while now as streaming services become more
ubiquitous. Hip-hop/R&B are
reportedly responsible for 29 percent of all on-demand streams
across the country. In 2017, streaming services are the only
platforms still growing at a steady rate.
Big Bang Effect
Kids Don't Want to be Musicians
Do you suppose it could be called The Big Ban Effect? Do
they even get that show in Britain? You cannot turn on the TV in the
U.S. without finding it on some channel.
The Big Bang Theory makes leading characters of a group
of young physicists and scientists, and their blonde friend, not because
they do anything special, but rather because they are so socially
awkward. They are us, you get it? Their saving grace is their STEM
educations, which make them valuable in a society that might otherwise
shun them, except for their blonde friend.
It could be that a nexus of social reconditioning is
coming to fruition in the form of a new generation of young people who
are focused in ways different from their predecessors.
A recent survey of British youngsters revealed that 12%
of the survey respondents selecting becoming a business leader and
entrepreneur over any other career aspiration.
Of 1,534 kids, just 8% are set on being a teacher, while
only 7% want to be an actor and a further 7% are intent on becoming a
musician. Just 2% of children want to be an athlete when they grow up.
That adds up to only 36%, I believe, so if there is
anything to my Big Bang Theory then 64% of all young people yearn to
become either an awkward science nerd, or a blonde friend.
The Exploitation Game
that story above, about how young people are losing interest in what
have previously been considered glamour careers, maybe it has something
to do with the Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, and other
scandals rocking the creative side of the entertainment community, and
what has been happening at Hollywood's top talent agencies.
Over the past six months, ICM and CAA have
forced out male agents accused of sexual harassment of co-workers. Last
month, APA talent agent Tyler Grasham (pictured) was fired for alleged
sexual misconduct that has expanded into a criminal investigation by the
It seems that in the entertainment industry, people are
predator material all along their career development paths. An agent might
exploit you when you sign, an actor may molest you at rehearsal, a
producer may assault you at dinner, and when you go to out them all to
the media you find Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly waiting for you.
If you are like most folks, you are having a hard time
keeping up with all the reports of aberrant behavior in the media these
days. Here is a brief overview of the depravity that is responsible for
so much of American culture.
Comedian Louis C.K. gets his kicks by masturbating
in front of people. He did that for
Dana Min Goodman
and other female comedians, and he admits all that, but his defense is
that he always asked first (the vampire defense), before taking off all
his clothes and jerking off all over himself.
Victims of these sorts of behaviors routinely describe themselves as
"frozen" by the events taking place before their eyes, and unable to
extricate themselves from perversion's way. So Louis announced his
intentions, asked if it was okay, and like deer frozen by the blinding
light of Louis C.K.'s testicles, they saw something that cannot be
unseen, which they then talked about to all kinds of people, but somehow
Louis' life of weird went on.
laughed off the notion that his friend Louis C.K. was a pervert. He knew
was a predator, but he wasn't watching the social networks so didn't
know anything about this guy he had known for 30 years. Stewart teams
in that "Hear No Evil", "See No Evil", and whatever it was that other
monkey didn't do to evil, in that monkey triad.
has employed former Mossad agents as spies to befriend people he
allegedly raped, like
to figure out how to shut them up about his predilections. Harvey
apparently starts to physically shake at the sight of an attractive
woman, which should probably be one of those things your doctor checks
for during annual physicals. He should show you a photo of an attractive
person, and make some sort of a note if the patient begins to have a
seizure, in case it might mean something. I'm not sure if Harvey's
is just a seriously inadequate predator, or just a normal guy, but he is
accused of asking a woman to dinner, to his hotel room, and to his home
over a three-month period. In our present period of witch hunting, that
counts as evil.
Spacey apparently does not get the shakes when he sees fresh young
men; in fact, he goes into overdrive, plying them with drinks, and
carrying them around like new brides. He offers no excuses, just makes
announcements. He has finally come out as gay, and so these accounts of
past digressions were just part of his hero's journey to be himself.
He's in a rehab clinic in Europe now, with Harvey Weinstein, except that
Harvey isn't really contrite or trying to resolve his issues, but just
checking in to rehab should be enough. He took steps, right?
Back when he was at ABC, Mark
Halperin also used to like to masturbate in front of co-workers,
though as an important political reporter he liked to keep a desk
between he and the objects of his weird compulsions. It probably looks
more professional that way. Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner
hired writers who would have gay sex with him, according to writer
Ben Ryan, for whom time stood still when the publisher stuck his
tongue in his mouth.
Page says director Brett Ratner is a rat, which sort of
follows. Six women have brought sexual assault allegations against him,
and he grossed Ellen out on the set of X-Men. Along those same lines,
Andy Dick is a dick, of course, as are the gropers Ben and
Casey Affleck. Jeremy Piven is in there, too, groping women.
Feldman says Charlie Sheen molested a way-under-aged Corey
Haim (not that one comes of molestable age), and he has launched a
Kickstarter campaign to raise a bunch of money to out a bunch of
Dreyfus was once a penis exposer, and George Takei drugged a
young waiter/actor and tried to pull off his pants. Really.
David Guillod may be the most creative of
drug-and-orgy crowd, somehow mixing mystery blood into his partying
But never forget the great James Toback, who has
300 women accusing him of sexual assault. It's like Thermopylae with
female Spartans, standing firm against the philistine Persian demigod
Toback. Julianne Moore, Selma Blair and Rachel McAdams all
have Toback stories. In fact, it seems like every famous actress or
actor has tons of these Hollywood experiences and now feel liberated to
talk about them, all because of the great Harvey Weinstein, who
recognized the perversion within, popped a bunch of pills, and erected
his defense. And so issued forth a sheet of cleansing revelation.
One assumes Hollywood will be reset to normal after these
flood waters reside and all the entertainment industry Nephilim have
been exposed (pardon the expression) and jerked off the gravy train of
power, money and fame.
Breaking Acts Big
Have you ever heard of
Engadget? That is a website that you can visit by clicking the
Saqib Shah has a piece there about the competition
between Apple, Spotify, and SoundCloud to have popular acts streaming
from their sites. Shah if focused on SoundCloud's introduction of a new
data displays that reveal "the
power of its algorithm in helping creators nab more plays. The update
follows the insights SoundCloud added to its SoundCloud Pulse app and
the web, including playlist streams and top listeners, cities and
countries. This time, the stats are even more granular. Creators will be
able to see how often their tracks are receiving plays through
algorithmic discovery features, such as 'related tracks,' artist
stations, and The Upload: SoundCloud's personalized new music feed."
The business of selling music has become a software
Entitlement - I, Me, Mine
Apparently the last great recession wasn't sufficiently devastating
to reset the native expectations of those young people we call "Millenials".
Research has discovered that large amounts of young
people are developing an entitlement complex, this according to
Psychology Today. Numerous websites have picked up on this press
release and reprinted it verbatim, which is the source for this piece.
According to the article, the psychological trend comes from the belief that you
are superior to others and are more deserving of certain things.
This form of narcissism has some significant consequences
such as disappointment and a tendency to lash out.
Psychology Today reports
that some examples of entitlement range from the disregard of rules,
freeloading, causing inconveniences and like to assume the role of
leader when working in groups.
So called "Millennials", who were born roughly between 1988
and 1994, tend to have this characteristic as a 2016 study found.
The University of Hampshire found
that youngsters who were studied on issues of entitlement scored 25 per
cent higher than people aged 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those
over that age bracket.
Dr Joshua Grubbs, who conducted the research, which was
published in the Psychological Bulletin is quoted by Springas
saying: "At extreme levels, entitlement is a toxic narcissistic trait,
repeatedly exposing people to the risk of feeling frustrated, unhappy
and disappointed with life."
Often times, life, health, ageing and the social
world don’t treat us as well as we’d like.
Confronting these limitations is especially
threatening to an entitled person because it violates their
worldview of self-superiority.
The study looked at 170 cases and determined that
entitlement leads to a cycle of disappointment, anger, negativity and a
constant need for that person to tell themselves that they are special.
is Dead Industry
Paul McCartney Lives!
as a person who loves The Beatles and feels that theirs has
been the only band who has ever really meant anything, I must
confess to loving the "Paul is Dead" story.
It won't go away - in
fact, has been with us for 50 years. The whole world knows the
story, that in 1966 Beatle Paul McCartney died in an
automobile accident and was replaced by a look-alike, who is the guy
the world has known ever since as Paul McCartney.
The story is so absurd
as to seem implausible. It asks the reader to believe that the
biggest, most well-known band in the world could be reconstituted
with a replacement who looked and sounded like the original cast
member, and who could perform the role to such perfection that the
band's legion of fans would not notice the change. It reduces the
reality of The Beatles to the surreality of Beatlemania -
just a work of performance art so well executed as to seem
authentic. That, of course, would be an enormous breach of trust
between the band and the fans who love them.
Over the last few years,
and since the web became omnipresent in our lives, the Paul is Dead
story has been recast as a conspiracy theory. The Beatles, some very
serious researchers would have you believe, were a thought control
tool of the Tavistock Institute, and a tool of Britain's
intelligence services MI-5 and MI-6. Other suggest
that the story was a Brian Epstein marketing ploy to try to
keep his boys interesting to the public as they changed from being a
pop act to being something more like an art project.
The Beatles' arty change
started in 1965 with Rubber Soul, but could really be heard
in Revolver, released in August 1966. The car crash
supposedly happened in January 1967, which in The Beatles carefully
documented time line occurred during a period when Paul had dropped
off the radar, gone missing. He later explained, in an interview,
that he felt like he had done enough press and public appearances to
last a lifetime and had just taken some time off. But to conspiracy
theorists, who have turned the Paul is Dead story into a publishing
industry, the Paul who came back from that period of self-imposed
exile was a different guy, literally.
The Beatles released
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, after having
earlier released Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane
as the A and B sides of a single. With Strawberry Fields
Forever you start to get these weird, embedded mystery clues,
that were liberally sprinkled throughout Beatles material for the
rest of their days, until they disbanded in 1970.
It is never clear why
The Beatles, including the replacement Paul, would have felt
compelled to go to great lengths to rat themselves out. It would
have taken engineering help, and it would have taken the complicity
of the artists who worked on their album covers. The media is now
littered with late-life confessions of the surviving band members,
admitting to the whole thing, their explanation being that The
Beatles were a giant corporation under the control of directors, and
so it made sense to keep the enterprise alive by integrating this
replacement band member. None of those confessions are viewed as
legitimate by the mainstream press, though that raises another
interesting aspect of this story.
As a marketing scheme,
this has to be the most successful campaigns of all time. Fifty years
after its launch, people are more obsessed with this than ever, so
why don't you hear advertising agency gurus talking about it with
extraordinary reverence? But you don't. In fact, what you get is
derision. Serious academics and media people treat this story as if
it is a joke.
Forensic analysts have
noted many anomalies in photographs of young Paul and photographs of
his alleged replacement. The Paul after 1966 is taller, has green
rather than brown eyes, has a different shaped head, different ears
and teeth, and a different arch to his eyebrows, some of which gets
explained away by cosmetic surgery. Paul McCartney, as we know him
today, looks pretty great at 74 years of age, and his rumored
replacement was 5 years older, so the guy we are seeing could be
Most interesting to me
is an analysis of a professional bass player who noted differences
in the way pre-66 McCartney played live versus what he sees in the
post-66 version. He points to old film of The Beatles playing live
in which McCartney, playing bass, demonstrates extraordinary casual
virtuosity. He sings, twirls around at one point, and never once
looks at his hands on the neck of his guitar, even has he plays
sophisticated lines up and down the fretboard. The later McCartney
watches his hands constantly, prompting the analyst to ask an
interesting question: What musician masters his instrument and then
begins to change his behaviors to pay close attention to his
fingering? People who believe there was a replacement Paul answer
that question by saying that the replacement had to be taught to
play left handed, and he never demonstrated the casual virtuosity of
the real Paul.
is Dead people point out that Britain, and even Germany, had a few
Beatles-like acts who were playing that Mersey Beat sound that
brought The Beatles fame. Those band members could have been viewed
as under-studies, and the notion is that the Paul replacement came
from one of these sound-alike bands.
The name that often
comes up is William Campbell, and there is a Scottish
musician named William Campbell, Jr., who goes by Junior
Campbell. (Remember "Junior's Farm" from the 1975 Venus and
Mars album, which was a reference to McCartney's rural Scottish
getaway?) He is a left-handed musician who plays guitar, bass and
piano, and in the 1960s he wrote numerous hit songs for his band
Marmalade. That is him, pictured right in 2016.
Campbell co-wrote the
music and lyrics for the internationally successful children's TV
series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. The first series of 26
stories premiered in October 1984 on the ITV Network in the UK, with
Ringo Starr as storyteller.
Crikeys! Do you suppose
Thomas the Tank Engine was a Tavistock mind control project, a
manipulation by the British government? I joke, of course, or at
least I think I do.-RAR
Lee Aronsohn Documentary Wins at Napa Film Festival
IMDB: TV writer/producer LEE ARONSOHN tracks down the
scattered members of a beloved early 1970's band with the hope that, 40
years after they broke up, he can get them to play ONE LAST SHOW.
Congratulations to Lee Aronsohn
on his award in the Special Presentation category at the Napa
Valley Film Festival. His film "40 Years in the Making, the Magic
Music Story" received an Honorable Mention award at the annual
festival, November 7-11, 2017.
This documentary, about 1970s Boulder, Colorado band
Magic Music, is Arohsohn's first film festival entry, though he is well connected in the television community.
His Wikipedia entry reads as follows: "He has written for many sitcoms,
such as The Love Boat, Who's the Boss?, Murphy Brown, Grace Under
Fire, The Big Bang Theory, and Cybill. In 1997, he co-created
the sitcom starring Rick Reynolds and Pam Dawber, Life... and Stuff.
In 2003, he co-created the sitcom Two and a Half Men and wrote
the original music for the series as well. Besides writing scripts,
Aronsohn has also worked as executive producer and directs one show per
season. He is also executive producer and writer for The Big Bang
Magic Music was around for a brief time in the early
1970s, when Aronsohn was a student in Boulder, and they obviously left
an implression on him. Aronsohn showed this film earlier this year at the
Woodstock Film Festival, and here is a video of him talking about what
was behind him making this film.
Magic Music band member Chris Daniels posted this
on Facebook: "Kurt Vonnegut: 'Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons
from God.' This weekend Magic Music had the experience of a lifetime.
"40 Years In the Making, The Magic Music Story" won an award at the Napa
Valley Film Festival, we performed there in the Uptown Theater for 400
brand new fans and went to some of the most amazing parties and dinners
- right out of a Fellini film - and some of the nicest and most creative
people you could ever meet."
Legendary San Francisco Singer
Johnny Mathis Drops a Big Box
When I was growing up, Johnny Mathis seemed
omnipresent. He was on my parent's record player at home, and it seemed
like he was on TV all the time. My mother adored him, and was really
surprised to learn much later in life that he was gay. It wasn't that
Johnny was hiding anything so much as America just wasn't paying that
much attention to such personal attributes for years, with gay people
often living closeted, private lives, and the general public not having
a great awareness of all that.
Johnny grew up in San Francisco in a musical family, one
of seven children, with a father who had experience in Vaudeville. He
recognized and supported his son's natural talents, and it was arranged
for young Johnny to take six years of formal voice training from a
teacher who educated him in all of the musical genres, including opera.
By 1965, the 19-year old boy wonder, who was gifted with a
preternaturally smooth, sweet tenor voice, was ready for the big time.
Johnny Mathis went from one mother figure, in voice
teacher Connie Cox, to another in club manager Helen Noga.
She saw Johnny singing at a Black Hawk Club Sunday afternoon jam
session, became his manager, got him a weekend gig at Ann Dee's 440
Club, and got him signed to Columbia Records. He went on to
become one of the most respected and successful singers in music
history, with 62 albums to his credit, including classic singles such as
The Voice of Romance:
The Columbia Original Album Collection, due
out December 8th on Legacy Recordings, features the entirety of Mathis'
recordings for Columbia Records, beginning with his self-titled 1956
Among the 62 remastered albums – including 25 albums that
have never been released on CD in the U.S. – are the unreleased
1981 LP I Love My Lady, which
Mathis recorded with Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, and
1989's The Island, a
collaboration with Sergio Mendes.
The box set also features Mathis' recently released Johnny
Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook, featuring covers of
songs by Bruno Mars, R. Kelly and more. Additionally, the box set
includes two discs containing 40 unreleased recordings.
Knave New World
A Thousand Dollar Emoji
first new iPhone X owners emerged from the iPhone store in San Francisco
on debut day, a reporter asked a buyer if he could see his new phone.
The young man told the reporter he wanted to open it in the privacy of
his home, that it was sort of personal. The reporter asked why he felt
it was worth putting down a thousand dollars for this new product. What
feature did he really yearn to use?
It was the new emoji. This kid was
thrilled to have emoji that he could personalize with his own face. One
In the United States, some reportedly
fought outside the San Francisco Apple Store to figure out who was first
in line. Others used the hype around the iPhone X to make some fast cash
by offering to stand in line for enthusiasts.
The iPhone X, Apple's 10th anniversary
offering, is loaded with plenty of high-end hardware and new features,
including Face ID that unlocks the phone when users look at it. It is
also pricey, starting at $999 for the entry-level model.
Apple CEO for President?
"Draft Tim Cook 2020" website was launched on Friday as an apparent
effort to convince Apple's CEO to launch a presidential campaign. The
website, which provides no information on who is behind the effort,
features a modified red, white, and blue Apple logo and highlights
speeches Cook has delivered in place of a campaign platform.
The website also highlights tweets
Cook has sent that indicate he is part of the movement to "#Resist"
Republican President Donald Trump. Other tweets are shown to illustrate
that Cook has taken a position on DACA, the Charlottesville protests,
the transgender military ban, and the Paris Climate Accords.
The End of the Movie Theater
going was once a wonderful, soul-refreshing experience. That ended long,
long ago, when movie going became a multi-plex experience, and after
that things started to go really wrong. As the chart below shows, ticket
sales have been declining over the last 20 years, and as those total
numbers do not adjust for inflation you can see that the cost of
distributing films is outweighing overall receipts.
There are plenty of old movie fans who
would tell you that they just don't make any movies worth seeing
anymore. I suspect that is true, but with the additional note that there
are few movies worth going to see in a movie theater given the public
that you will experience in those places.
With Hollywood staking most of its
chips on big budget movies targeted to young comic book fans, the
cineplex attracts a lot of traffic that doesn't know anything about the
etiquette required for the appreciation of mature cinema. Quiet movies
rarely are made. Better to stay home and watch PBS, or maybe Netflix if
you really feel a need to get beyond your comfort zone, or maybe Amazon.
"XM Radio has been through many
changes in the past couple of years. After merging with Sirius Radio,
all who listened hoped for the best of both worlds. Unfortunately,
Madison is still on Sirius/XM radio. She is on 2 channels: Alt Nation
and 1st Wave. Since this is the case, we lose two stations that we
cannot listen to because she is annoying, rude, crude, doesn’t talk
about current music, unprofessional, and is very disrespectful to her
listeners." - Courtney White
Wendi "Madison" Rickman
got a bachelor's in communication, and another
in theater arts and broadcasting from the University of Miami, before
becoming a deejay on Q101 in Chicago for a year. Then, in 2002 she
landed a job with Sirius XM radio, where she has arguably become one of
the biggest personalities in the business. She is currently hosting a
daily show on the Alt-Nation channel (34), and has previously hosted the
80s First Wave channel (33). In a world in which radio deejays are like
historical artifacts, Madison has an extraordinary presence in our
Her personal style is pretty much free of artifice,
and perhaps it is her vanilla nature that accounts for her extraordinary
longevity at this level of a cut-throat business. Madison's naif
qualities - her nonchalance at being her uncool self - drives some
people crazy. She likes to sing and does so all the time, even in
acknowledging that she gets complaints. There are petitions online (see
the text above) to pressure Sirius XM management to take her off the air
because, to the petitioner's mind, she is just so annoying.
I like her, for some reason, and I hate deejays
generally. Most can add nothing to their time on the air beyond a
personality that half will like, and half won't. Madison's is right at
the Golden Mean, not too cool and not too hot. She is just sort of goofy
and friendly, which in the current radio world is about as good as one
could hope to be.
Is Anyone Aware of AXS TV?
Not me, not until recently, that is. Doug Strobel told
me about it, so I checked it out.
It turns out that AXS TV (pronounced "access") is an
American cable and satellite television network that is managed by film
company 2929 Entertainment (through AXS TV, LLC)—which they founded as HDNet (through
HDNet, LLC) in 2001 before it was rebranded as AXS TV in 2012.
Partners include Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), Ryan
Seacrest (through Ryan Seacrest Media), Creative Artists Agency, and CBS
Corporation. The network's programming specializes in live music events,
as well as comedy, movies, and mixed martial arts, among others.The AXS TV company includes the channel HDNet Movies.
What caught our attention was a show called "The Big
Interview", in which legendary journalist Dan Rather interviews leading
entertainment figures. You can use this link:
http://www.axs.tv/programs/the-big-interview/ to vist the website to
see the schedule for upcoming shows. It is an interesting business
model, in which you can buy viewing rights to these interviews.
Lost in the Brambles
Bigfoot and Losing Ourselves?
For some reason, we human
beings have a strong need to believe in things that frighten us, and so
there has long been a publishing industry exploiting our lust for horror
in story form. Our many cultures are fecund with weird tales of ghosts,
vampires, werewolves, banshees, snakes, dragons, giants, and the wide
range of other supernatural manifestations. That those creatures are all
pulled from our own cultural foundations gives all of those stories a
visceral power, which we respond to with increased heart rates and a
base desire to get more of what we hear, see, and read. Danger that
isn't really going to get to you is intoxicating, a Peeping Tom's view
of extreme weirdness that feeds on itself.
One of the universal fascinations is the
search for the forest creature known as "Bigfoot" in the Pacific
Northwest, which personalizes the more generic term "Sasquatch". Bigfoot
aren't really in the same class as all of those ethereal creatures (other
than ghosts) because people keep running into them, with reports going
back at least as far as 986 A.D. Leif Ericson, the Viking who visited
North America, reported an encounter with hairy men who towered over he
and his men, and scared them mightily - and it's worth noting that the
Vikings were unusually large themselves, for people of the time, and
rather well known for scaring others.
Teddy Roosevelt had a Bigfoot story. In
fact, they are common as fleas! Just a few weeks ago, local media
reported that three Sacramento families, none of which knew each other,
all reported a group of five such creatures moving through an orchard
near their homes.
However common sightings may be,
believing that there are nine foot tall human-like apes walking around
in the woods all around us usually gets you odd looks. It is
professional suicide to take these accounts seriously, which makes the
work of Utah State professor Dr. Jeff Meldrum seem somewhat heroic,
for he has drawers of plaster casts made of these creatures' footprints.
It is pretty difficult to fake the imprint of an 800 pound creature, and Meldrum is expert at spotting frauds. He believes that Sasquatch are out
there. There are not many of them, they are elusive, reclusive, and they
migrate in family units. And like great apes, they exhibit certain
behaviors, including territoriality. They are the apex predators of the
forest, and that's a lot of what makes them so fascinating to us. On the
one hand, people want to think of them as something to be understood and
protected - they have been here a lot longer than we have. And on the other
hand, they disable prey by snapping its legs, and they eat animals
YouTube has many videos
related to Bigfoot, but only recently have I noted films like that
above. I am not sure who made it, or how long it will be available, but
it does an interesting job of depicting the weird hold that Bigfoot has
on those who dare to research it. This film is like any of those "lost
video" types of movies, so it's no Citizen Kane, but it explores
the strange psychology in this quest that overtakes so many enthusiasts.
In the case of the characters in this film, it does so with disastrous
don't let that dissuade you from watching it. There are no really great
Bigfoot movies out there, so this one is kind of different and fun. A
little gory. - RAR
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