serving brain food since 1998


Comments Off on Tell It To The Shrapnel In My Ass

Tell It To The Shrapnel In My Ass

I find it bizarre that President Bush, or should I say some silly scallywags fighting on his behalf, can find any kind of fault with John Kerry’s behavior before, after, or during Vietnam. Bush has records supporting the fact that he’s spent at least a few days on an Air National Guard base getting some cavities filled while war waged on. Kerry, on the other hand, has pages and pages of documentation to back up an admirable bravery and courage in real battle. Read them. They are nothing short of an 80’s Stephen J. Cannel TV action drama.

And while we’re on the subject of soldiers sacrificing life and limb for their country when they really don’t have to, it’d be remiss not to mention Pat Tillman. For me, his death underscores the severity of our situation on both war fronts. Chickenhawks take note. If Woodward’s right and money really was diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq, the president has a hell of a lot of explaining to do. Not that he or anyone in his administration is capable of doing that.

Because he’s been forced to, and only because he’s been forced to, Kerry is calling Bush out on the military issue. And I hope he goes hardcore. The long-faced man is revealing more positive attributes and character as each pathetic attempt to put him down backfires right back at Bush.


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Cows on Parade

If you live in the Harrisburg area and haven’t been out to downtown Harrisburg, Carlisle, or Camp Hill to see the cow parade, you really should mosey on over before their done grazing. This weekend, in particular, proved to be a perfect blend of weather, people, and natural curiousity. Personally, I liked the painted realism of Balanced Diet, but many of the sculptures were just as well executed. Actually, my pick seems rather dull in comparison to the one Ollie’s Outlet sponsored but to each their own.

What’s it all about? Well, charity for one. The part I like best, though, is that it gets people out and about, even excited, to see art. As Peter Hanig, the event coordinator puts it:

Art is about breaking down barriers. It gets people to feel, to think, to react. So when you come across life-sized cow sculptures that have been covered in mirrors or gumdrops, cows that have been painted with elaborate themes or transformed into something else entirely, you can’t help but stop and think about what it means. All your preconceived ideas go out the window. Suddenly people see that art can be fun and that art can be interesting to everyone, not just people who frequent museums.


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The Real Survivors

I haven’t been watching Survivor this season, but I did catch it this evening. (Reality TV is one of my unfortunate guilty pleasures, along with Halo.) The reward for this particular episode had to do with the contestants viewing a short video-taped message from some family members. Having been stranded on an island for a number of weeks (the entire season is taped in 39 days), many of them were moved to tears just at the thought of a virtual connection to their loved ones.

Then it dawned on me that thousands of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, whose lives are in danger every day and have been under far more stress for far much longer, have had to endure a similar separation, only they have no choice in the matter.

Their orders come from a government they have absolutely no choice but to obey, nor do they get a chance to wrap it up with a million dollar jackpot (far from it, actually). So as the war continues down its unpredictable path, they and their families will be coming to terms with Donald Rumsfeld’s announcement today—and finding within themselves the strength to wait another 90 days until they can be reunited with their families.

It must be a lot tougher to survive that.

culture, music

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Animal Serenade

Lou Reed - Animal Nobody covers Lou Reed’s material more often than Lou Reed. It’s either a constant strive
for perfection or a contractual obligation which makes this so. In either case, the live double album,
Animal, remains a thing of mystery.
This performance, despite the title, is not to be confused with 1974’s Rock
‘N’ Roll Animal
, nor 1998’s Perfect Night – Live in London.
My guess is that Reed’s seldom happy with his last achievement, leaving a constant
desire for him to make something better.

A lot can be said about the song selection alone. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Men of Good Fortune has been pulled out of the Berlin sound book during a Bush election year. The Day John Kennedy Died as well rings with a somber reverence for an America that could one day be—post 9/11. But politics aren’t really on the agenda. There’s emotion to be made. He gives a forceful reading to a rewrite of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, doing it more justice in one evening, I think, than the entire concept album of the same name released a year prior.

Despite the usual downer overtone, Reed’s not without hope and not without humor. He even jokes to the would-be guitar players in the audience during the opening number, giving advice on how to “make a career out of three chords.” Of course, it’s more complicated than that. There’s the whole legacy of songwriting that still retains its lyrical power after several decades of listening, covers, and repeat performances. Volumes could be written about the simple genius contained in the vacillating, fast and slow rhythms of Heroin. And then there’s his stellar band, a gaggle of Reed music veterans as stripped down and bare as the Velvets once were. They back him up with an oomph nonetheless.

Two surprise performances include Mike Rathke’s Revien Cherie, the only non-Reed song on the set, and an angelic incantation of Candy Says sung by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons.

While this isn’t a collection of Lou Reed hits for the casual fan, it may act as a suitable windowseat for anyone wanting know more about the past and present of New York’s premiere poet laureate.


Comments Off on The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next DoorThe only way The Girl Next Door won’t remind you of Risky Business is if you’ve somehow never seen Risky Business. While there are some genuinely funny parts, the envelope pushing seems reserved only to outdo the more outrageous teen comedies of late, not the movie it mimics. And I’m not sure it even achieves that.

In fact, I can’t think of another movie that steals a concept so blatantly, without giving it some kind of credit. Risky Business was an obvious paradigm, not just for plot, but for style and substance as well. There’s a musical narrative that’s noticable, sexual fantasy and comic innuendo abound, and there’s an existential reliance on upper-middle class coming of age to provide depth. But make no mistake about it, scene for scene, character for character; they’re all unchanged from the original movie starring Tom Cruise. It’s as if the two movies co-exist in the exact same neighborhood, only the clothes are a little different a few houses down the block.

With all that to consider, I still thought there was some good production and casting value to this movie. I was happy to see Elisha Cuthbert (the girl from 24) not playing Jack Bauer’s vulnerable daughter for once. And at times, the characters did stand out from their 80’s evil twins. It was only a few days after the movie that I really started to notice the similarities as an annoyance, but maybe that’s because I, myself, am an incurable child of that era— still waiting for Rebecca De Mornay to make her fabulous entrance.

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