2010
02.14

Greetings,

Two films I just finished:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKC-FKGMeCY

Bronson

Bronson is not a date movie, though I’d love to hear from someone that gives that a shot. It is, however, a great film exploring the life and legend of one of Britain’s most famous inmates. This is one that stuck with me, as most things that can simultaneously pull off being strange, well-written, violent, and hysterical often do. Stars Tom Hardy and Matt King, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Tom Hardy’s performance is a truly great one, and the soundtrack is top-notch. This has been out for some time overseas and just snuck into video stores in the Bible Belt recently. That’s a shame, really, because British flicks are quite good.
If you take the time to watch the trailer I lovingly added above, you will no doubt notice the critical comparison to A ClockWork Orange, the Anthony Burgess novel/Stanley Kubrick film that everyone should read/see several times in their lifetime. While that comparison is a blatantly obvious one, and Refn does nod to Kubrick several times in his film, these are different films with different purposes. I think. The film does not ebb and flow evenly in terms of pace, but I liked that. It almost explodes at you at times, then disappears into a fucked-up kabuki theatre format for a bit. Made the narrative as a whole more unique. And it didn’t remind me of a Guy Ritchie flick. Good stuff, worth checking out.

Gommora

Directed by Matteo Garrone
In Italian, with subtitles

This is a remarkable film. Let me begin by stating that I am a fan of the mafioso genre. The Godfather Saga, Goodfellas, Casino, Once Upon a Time in America, Road to Perdition (sort of), The Sopranos…all exceptional. I can’t stand Scarface though. Anyway, the genre always makes for good story-telling. For those of us that choose to never act on those thoughts of being a gangster or criminal mastermind, a nice mafia flick is the ultimate in escapism. But should the traits that permeate the genre and give the Michael Corleones and Tony Sopranos their clout be seen as admirable? That question and countless others have been asked about films forever; the idealizing of the out-cast, the criminal, the sympathetic sociopath. And several US films have looked at the brutal side of the life, no doubt. Who can forget Layla playing softly in the background for the executions in Goodfellas, or Scorcese’s The Departed? Hell, the entire film Road to Perdition looks at classic gangster flick notions of violence/revenge/and attitudes towards manliness under a microscope.
But Gommora strips everything back. All the glitz and glamour are gone from the gangster story here. Instead, Gommora shows the brutality, corruption, and utter disregard for human life that drives members of the Italian Cammora. This is a shocking film, though not for the same reasons Scorcese’s films are (Martin Scorcese did produce this, by the way). Violence is everywhere, but it fits into the landscape. The violence did stick with me, but it was because of the nonchalance with which the acts were carried out. Nothing was over-the-top, but simply calculated and brutal. And the director did a great job insinuating things here: costumes, sets, actors. All the parts go in to creating a world that is crumbling under the weight of crime, and nothing is flashy. The set-up reminded me of the Spanish-language flick Amores Perros; several parallel stories wound around a single idea. Great performances by relative unknowns. Can’t recommend this enough.

Hope everyone enjoys his or her week.

Regards,

C.W.H.

2010
02.10

Google released this video out on youtube a couple of days ago and I ran across it today.  I am generally NOT a Suze Orman fan but I do think that she gives some solid advice about investments, finaces, budgeting, and real estate in 90% this vid.  If you are like me and can listen to head phones while you work I’d just let it play in the back ground while you work.  No one wants to look at her surgically enhanced leathery face for that long.  Also, just a heads up her accent makes me want to let a raccoon scratch out my ear drums.


2010
02.05

I traveled to Illinois recently. Driving through Kentucky, I began thinking about which states I’ve visited in the past and those I hope to see soon. Somewhere outside of Paducah, Kentucky I realized that I don’t know a damn thing about Delaware.

Delaware Fun Facts and Trivia

-Delaware has a state bug – the ladybug!
-On December 7, 1787, Delaware, became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
-The most historic site in Frederica is Barratt’s Chapel east of town. The chapel is where the Methodist Church of America was organized in 1784. Barratt’s Chapel is known as the Cradle of Methodism. It was built in 1780 and is the oldest surviving church built by and for Methodists in the United States.
-Delaware is the only state in the US without any national parks.
-At its widest point, Delaware is 35 miles across.
-Of the 50 US states that have counties, Delaware has the fewest number of counties – only 3. (Alaska is the only state without counties.)
-According to a survey by the National Science Foundation, Delaware has more doctoral-level (Ph.D.) scientists and engineers, as a percentage of the population, than any other state. Delaware also has a higher rate of patent awards, per person, than any other state.
-Tradition holds that the new 13-star flag created by Betsy Ross, the Stars and Stripes, was first unfurled in the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, September 3, 1777.
-The first tractor John Deere made is in the Messick Agricultural Museum, Inc. in Harrington, Delaware.
-The Delaware Museum of Natural History houses one of the hemisphere’s largest shell collections.
-In 1880, the first beauty contest in the United States was held in Rehoboth Beach. Thomas Edison was one of the three judges in this contest, called the “Miss United States” contest. This contest is considered to be the foreunner of the Miss America pageant.

Now you know, and knowing doesn’t mean shit in the battle.
G.I. Joe lied.

Best,
C.W.H.

2010
02.02

Television.  You’ve heard of it.  It’s similar to crack and just might be the death of America’s youth.  I tried to quit T.V. once.  I wanted to be like the hip kids and everytime someone said “hey man, did you see such-and-such last night on T.V.?” Then I could be a freakin’ badass like this hip cat replied to me once with “I don’t watch T.V.” Because let’s be honest, that kid puts on a silk robe, sits in his leather recliner, smokes a pipe, and reads the works of literary masters in his study while  Natalie Portman sits nude in his lap nightly, right? A-hem.

I digress. So, I went a year without the boob tube and things were fine. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I had just moved in together and it gave us time to really get to know each other. I think we made it almost a complete year without the cursed box. Then before I knew it, college football season reared its ugly head and I had to have my fix again. Once again I became a cable slave. There is nothing like watching football in HD when you can’t be there yourself. Once you go HD you can’t go back. But once football season was over I was left with the stinking pile of crap that is today’s cable package

The problem with cable is that the programming is so horrible that I with over 1000 channels, I MAYBE watch 6 of them on the reg. I refuse to watch any reality programs, any drama that deals with police work, law, medical, or cheating house whores (that about covers all dramas). So, that leaves me with about 2 shows in syndication. Other than The Office, The Big Bang Theory, and re-runs of My Name is Earl, That 70’s show, MASH, and Three’s Company (which is rarely on), and a few other old shows, occasionally I will watch something informative like the History Channel, A&E, or something on Nat Geo (some crazy shit about snipers last night). That about covers it. If none of these show’s are on then what am I to do? We’ll that leads me to my newest discoveries in syndicated entertainment.

The future of programming is bright my friends. There is an end in sight to the horridness and the networks are squirming like little roaches trying to find a way to keep their finger on the button. There are options and my current favorite one is free! You can subscribe to netflix, or Tivo, or many other types of DVR’s or even Apple TV or Window’s Media Center. But, the one that has really caught my fancy for now is Boxee.

Boxee is now in the beta phase which is a major improvement over the alpha phase. But, here’s the deal…the alpha release was amazing as well. It’s just more user friendly now. I can’t say enough about how much I love it. The coolest thing in the world is that there is also, an “app for that”. You can download a free Boxee app that turns your iphone into a remote! Freakin’ A! Basically, my setup is really simple. I have my Macbook Pro hooked up to my HD TV with a DVI to HMDI cable that plugs right into the TV. I use the audio out on my Macbook and hook it into my TV to the surround sound. I hook up the power supply and wa-la…I have an amazing media center setup. Boxee will pull down RSS feeds for you and it works amazing with Hulu.com. If you are a fan of old and new shows Hulu.com is amazing. They have the first 3 complete seasons of The Twilight Zone on there. Not to mention TONS of Hitchcock and just about anything you could imagine. Did you miss the latest episode of The Office? If it’s been 24hrs since it aired you can watch it with only four 30 second commercials in-between. The best part about all of this is that you don’t have to sit through a shit-ton of commercials that make you forget what you were watching. Some of the programs even let you select if you would like to watch the 2 mins of commercials before the program starts and then watch it with no interruptions or if you would prefer to watch them in the four 30 second intervals. There is so much more I love about Boxee that I could write pages on it, but for now I’ll just say that you should go and try it out for yourself. Here is the demo video:

Boxee Beta from boxee on Vimeo.

The next revolution that I recently discovered is basically internet television. By using Boxee I realized that there are good number of sites out there with their own internet syndicated shows. Youtube has allowed any ya-hoo in the world with a video camera and a connection to post any type of “show” that they want. There are definitely more than a few shows that are entertaining and failblog.org’s Youtube channel is one of my personal fave’s. I love to check them out when I need a quick laugh. One channel has recently caught my eye and they have been around for a bit. Their website could use a re-skin but, hey the concept and content is pretty interesting

www.channel101.com has a unique concept in that anyone can submit a pilot show to the creator. The creator then screen the pilots at a theater in L.A. for an audience, once a month I believe. The pilots are then voted on and the top ones get syndicated on the site. People have really come up with some great creative shows for this site. I was amazed at some of the entries. I know how much time it takes to make even a shitty video and these people have invested plenty of time and money just for the love of the craft. The first show that lead me over to discover the Channel101.com site was called “Yacht Rock”. I am a fan of Jason Lee (the actor from My Name is Earl fame and early 80’s – 90’s skateboard star) and I had somehow discovered that he was in the final episode of some underground internet show called “Yacht Rock”. So, It was during one of those wild induced internet binge trips though the looking glass and down the rabbit whole that I ran across this show. Yacht Rock is described by Wikipedia as “an online video series following the fictionalized lives and careers of American soft rock stars of the late 1970s and early 1980s.” It’s a pretty hilarious show that made it to 11 episodes on Channel101.com before being canceled/retired. Here is the first episode that I also found on Youtube:

Another amazing show that I found on Channel101.com is this sick twisted animated show in the vein of Adult Swim called “House of Cosbys”. This show had it’s initial run in January – June of 2005 before the creator was promptly sent a cease and desist letter from none other than the Cos’s personal lawyer. The theme song itself is really cool. It sounds like something the Butthole Surfers laid down. The lyrics explain the premise of the show with greatness.

“He was a Cosby fan at heart it’s clear.

He searched and found a Cosby hair.

He spent 10 long years and built a cloning machine.

And now he’s accomplished his wonderful dreams.

To make a house of Cosby’s.

It’s a house of Cosby’s”.

All of the episodes are still here on http://www.channel101.com/shows/show.php?show_id=121. You can view the episodes on Youtube as well, here is the first episode:

So, my friends due to our human creativity and ingenious ways to still get our voices heard, the future of entertainment is in good hands. That’s basically why I started this blog. I want people to know that there are infinite talented and creative artists out there for every medium. You just have to get off your lazy ass and search for them. Remember don’t drink the cool aide that they throw in your face. Bad advertising, pointless music, and shows with no substance are abundant and it could just be a “test run” for the media monopolies to control your every move. Let’s fight the “Manchurian candidate” syndrome and make an effort to support these artists that are doing it for the love they have of the craft. Like Chuck D. said, “Fight the Power”!

2010
01.27

2010
01.21

Greetings,

Ahhh political discourse in America today. Parties have become similar to sports teams, and the ‘Yankees-Red Sox fan’ brand of hatred is quite visible these days.  We’ve all seen the signs, listened to the interviews, and heard the debates. People are all over television screaming at me these days; I feel as though I am watching the overly descriptive post-tornado interviews on the evening news with new subject matter. I do not own “the moral high ground”, and my logic is flawed from time to time. I thoroughly enjoy politics, political philosophy, and history. Spirited conversation is neat and fun. However, I do not enjoy being called anti-American, and I resent being sniped at from the perch of religion.

 M. Brendan Dougherty, Associate Editor of The American Conservative, wrote this piece. He is a gifted writer with a sharp mind, though I disagree with him from time to time. That being said, I think this article speaks to the problems of one party overtly, while hinting at shortcomings of the other.

Enjoy:

http://www.theawl.com/2010/01/dear-conservative-movement-stop-ruining-my-life-by-michael-brendan-dougherty

Good Luck,

C.W.H.

2010
01.13

Time moves too quick. Gotta smell the dad gum roses or the world slips by way too fast. Cleaver quips and broken sentences seems to be the norm in American culture in the year 2010. Okay, so where is ol’ Throck going with this? I have been a quiet observer of people’s behavior for as long as I can remember. People watching is somewhat a pastime often underappreciated and overlooked. The trick to good people watching is to absorb the setting and the characters within the scene, without direct contact (glare of eyes, talking or drawing any attention to yourself or your party). Try to think like your watching a T.V. show, and be sure to discover all the hidden things you may have missed had you not paid attention closely. Anyway this past week here in the “Classic City” of Athens, Ga I have some things I have to share. I was pumping gas the other day and went inside for a can of Copenhagen. (I know it’s gross so shut your mouth) I’m standing beside a glass display full of knives with dragons and half covered ladies on the knife, just waiting in line behind the two scratch off lottery players. The guys turn around and I step forward revealing the glass fantasy knife case and this is what I hear, “There that go, Oooh, tha one wit the blade like that, damn cuu I needs me that.” Now I know it doesn’t sound like that is that big of a deal but when you break it down its entirely different. First off, who sells a knife at a gas station? Let alone knives with dragons and naked women on them? Secondly, who purchases knives from gas stations? More importantly who enthusiastically wants a knife from a gas station, like they have searched the world over and found dad gum excaliber in a Chevron off Atlanta Hwy in Athens, Ga? Far be it from me to judge where and when a knife may be purchased, but I know that my good ol boy upbringing tells me two things 1) Knives from gas stations are cheap and will break easy gutting a deer, cutting boxes whatever. 2) I don’t believe a knife sold at a gas station is sold for collectors it has more cynical motives. Which brings me to the dialect used when describing said gas station weapon. I will not judge these gentleman for being of a certain class or background, I will however say that I believe the English language is falling apart so fast, that one day we will all speak a morphed language full of grunts, quips and broken incomplete sentences. Now before everyone gets all enraged and say, “Throck, I know you and your full of redneck-isms, country slang and broken Southern English.” I know, I know, but here’s the difference-I can still turn that off when I need to.(i.e. business, school, out at a resturant, etc) I long for the days where manners and correct grammer are the norm.

(Stepping down from soap box)

Okay so I bought the new Vampire Weekend album Contra. I respect the fact that they didn’t try to sound like the last album and that’s refreshing. VW’s sophmore album is good and it’s growing on me but I’m not gushing over it. The song, “Diplomat’s Son” creeps me out for some reason, but all in all its not a bad album give it a listen.
I think there was maybe too much hype regarding ‘Contra’, and that may play a factor. If you think it’s chock full of songs like “One” and “A-Punk” from the debut album you and I may not have heard the same album. Anyway at least check it out.
In other “New to me” music- Monsters of Folk
Holy spaceballs! This supergroup made up of front man Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberest and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes and M. Ward is a phenomal group. The self titled album-Monsters of Folk, is a splendid album full of catchy jingles, echoing vocals and solid steady rifts and falls. They blend folk music with jazz and rock and throw a dash of twang in it and it comes through the speakers like vintage homemade wine. The lyrics also showcase a storytelling ability that so many other artists lack. I don’t know what else I could say other than they are really good. Here’s some samples from this album-

and…

Final thoughts- 1) Lane Kiffin is a tool bag while I have no soft spot for Tennessee football, they got hosed and have every right to be upset in the Vol Nation. So it is in the College Football world that the dollar has finally overtaken loyalty and pride in the schools of your choosing. I know it’s been like that for some time I just hate to see it because I am a SEC football purist. Give me Vince Dooley, Larry Munson, Johnny Majors, Shug Jordan, Johnny Vaught,Bear Bryant, Jackie Sherill, Wally Butts and some Buck Belue to Lindsey Scott any day! And shame on the national media and message boards for blasting Tennessee fans who are upset, talk about the story and what not but do we really have to degrade and name call East Tennesseeans- hillbillies, rednecks and so forth? I mean I know for a fact that is what the national media wants to portray but it’s offensive and gets my dander up faster than this guy

Till next time-
Go Dawgs
Deo Vindice

2010
01.07

There is no such thing as nothingness, and zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing.-V. Hugo

This world is a fiery conglomerate of  fuck-ups, reality television, decent people, bad pizza, shiny plastic, good bourbon, ideologues, bedazzled t-shirts, and Christmas gift cards. Strange times to be walking around, processing it all. But filling my lungs with cold air, I am happy to be alive in 2010 and wish approx. 22% of the people I come across the best. I am also happy to have an outlet through which I may air my dirty laundry, agitate, massage, placate, and skewer. I got a thesaurus and a garbage disposal for Christmas. So read on for tidbits from my worried mind, and always do what the blog says. Also, for God’s sake read a book or seven this year…and talk with an old person for an hour or so….and don’t be a dick too terribly often.                                VIVA El Trash

Listen:

Relevant, I believe. Disasters took place in 2009, and who doesn’t want to murder every now and again? Tom Waits did the intro, great collection of songs

Book Cover

http://peopletakewarning.com/index2.html

Listen/Videos:

-I recently discovered Deer Tick. I am impressed.

-And John Prine….grew up on this guy. He wrote a song about Jesus, specifically the years in which he was MIA in the Bible.

And avoid Red Lobster…that isn’t seafood I don’t think.

Happy New Year, good luck


2010
01.04

Happy New Year to everybody! Hope all is well with you and yours!
First off, we had a very busy Christmas and New Year so sorry for the delay in gettin’ the show on the road. Speaking of the road I envy those who don’t have divorced families for the Holidays, my wife and I both come from divorced families so when we ease into town around Christmas time it usually is a marathon with everyone vying for our attention. But I digress.
I usually cave troll on the web for new music. I spend time on Itunes, other music sites and local music mags (Flagpole and Blur) in Athens, Ga for their suggestions and opinions. I generally find that other peoples thoughts on music can be real preachy and with all do respect, wordy and full of themselves. This will be my New Year resolution- Honest opinion, no holier than thou attitude concerning anything contained in my dribble I call writing. So here’s what’s been playing in the rotatation: Maps and Atlases- These dudes are awesome. I read a music revue on these guys that called it “Math rock” (Whatever in the Hell that is), I hate math and don’t think it has any business in music so leave it the Hell alone!
The band however is great, it didn’t take me long to accept the diffrent style of bass and drums, more like electronic, but not, if that makes any sense. I first got the album ‘Tree,Swallows,Houses’ (2007)-which floored me. The spastic guitar rifts and slow interludes takes you on a voyage into the unknown and then they bring you back again. The follow-up album ‘You and Me and the Mountain’ (2008)- also delivers a steady stream of awesome. I really don’t know how in the hell I missed them Chicago boys when they first arrived in ’07.For the money-they are catchy-very talented and I can’t stop listening to them.

Maps & Atlases – Ted Zancha (Live @ AEMMP Records Industry Night 2009) from The Belmont Sessions on Vimeo.

Another band at the moment I can’t stop listening to is the new release from Dr.Dog- Fate. Solid record. Good melody, catchy lyrics, and add the piano undertones and you have one healthy ass album. Dr. Dog is growing a lot of buzz right now so I would be on the lookout for them in your area because they are really good. I would label them as rock/bluesy/folk, kind of like listening to a classic rock blended with sophisticated folky ballads.Like I said just really good music to listen to.

Alright can I just say I’m also looking forward to the new Vampire Weekend coming out January 12th? Pretty sure everybody has heard of them, so I won’t get all up in that but from what I’ve heard of ‘Contra’ it sounds like awesome music to listen to whilst drinking a cold Lone Star and grilling jalepeno poppers by a lake. Damn that was an awesome day! Here’s one of the tracks from ‘Contra’

And finally, here’s some friendly advice-If your gonna trim your beard, make sure your clippers are sound because otherwise you can go overboard and not be able to fix your mistakes and wind up cutting the whole damn thing off. R.I.P. 2009 Beard- Your 2010 counterpart is growing as fast as he can.
Random thoughts-1) Why do cats have to use a litter box? I mean all other domisticated animals can pee outside. I hate cats.
Random thought-2) Why isn’t there more taxidermy for sale on ebay? I was looking for a stuffed rattlesnake to put by our pond to keep people from fishing close to our house, I only found one and it was old and the mouth was closed. C’mon people sell me a stuffed rattlesnake!
I’m out-
Georgia Tech Sucks! Go Dawgs!
Deo Vindice

2010
01.03

I think I missed the boat earlier in 2009 when HBO came out with the series Eastbound and Down.  I briefly remember last year when the first season came out that my brother and a few other people were telling me it was bad ass.  I don’t have HBO with my cable plan so maybe that might be a decent excuse, but after all I do have a computer.  I just got the complete series 2 weeks ago (you can even get it on iTunes for $9.99 right now) and I have watched it at least 3 times.

Eastbound and Down is centered around Kenny Powers a slightly overweight, alcohol and drug abusing, washed up 34 year old Major League relief pitcher from a small southern town.  As the story progresses you see that he is THE  biggest thing to ever come out of this fictional North Carolina town.  Kenny believes  he is the baddest mother-fucker alive.  He will even convince you if you let him (He’s got me convinced, as far as, fro-mullets and Oakley Blades are concerned anyway).  He went straight from high school to the majors and even pitched in the World Series.  As his pitch speed starts to fall, and his attitude becomes a problem, he is cut from the majors, loses his poorly financed small fortune, and is forced to go back to his home town and live with his brother, his brother’s wife, and 2 kids.  Left only with his 1986 tricked out Bronco and a hilariously upgraded jet ski, he is forced to get a job at the local Jefferson Davis High School as a substitute gym coach.  The antics that follow are nothing short of side splitting laughs.

Here is a “Best of” clip that someone put together on YouTube:

The funny/scary thing about this series is that I can really relate to it.  It’s all in the details.  The small town setting, the accents, the small mindedness of the people living there and the home town hero coming back after his reign.  These are all things that remind me of my hometown.  Even the way that Kenny Powers acts towards his hometown sweet heart that he hasn’t seen since he left.  He approaches her with the most juvenile, high school pickup lines and actions.  Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are the executive producers so you know what type of comedy to expect.  Kenny Powers is played by Danny McBride (The Foot Fist Way, Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express, Land of the Lost) and just “nails” the part.  It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long damn time in this TV world soaked with shitty talk shows and lame-ass reality shows. The series is filled with one-liners that will keep you and your friends firing them off at each other. From what I have seen on the internet HBO has signed these guys up for a season 2 so it should be right around the corner.

This is a clip that I found on YouTube of the second episode.  Kenny ends up on ecstasy after a humiliating personal appearance at Ashley Shaffer BMW (played by Will Ferrell).  He decides to go to a High School dance where he is now the interim gym coach while he is waiting to “get back in shape” for the majors.  He is supposed to be chaperoning this dance with his ex high school lover.  He decides to perform this amazing mating dance to win over her heart.

I highly recommend checking out Eastbound and Down sooner than later.  Some of the camera shots and situations are Napoleon Dynamite esque while, some of the sound track gives me a Dazed and Confused feeling at times with southern rock anthems.   If you are a fan of Will Ferrell’s wilder and edgier comedy then this is a must see.