Good Ol’ Satchmo

Re-watched the Ken Burns doc on jazz last week. Interesting detail I had forgotten: for all his success and influence Louis Armstrong did not own a home or have a really fruitful romance until he was forty. That makes me feel better about being a single thirty-something with no property in his name. If Satchmo could wait then so can I. Good ol’ Satchmo. Truly the man.

Throwback Thursday

I used to have this killer “NBA Jam” shirt. Found it at Goodwill for a few bucks. At some point greed got the best of me and I flipped it on eBay for double digits. Yes, I have great taste and amazing business acumen.

Happy Birthday, Deborah Harry

One of our most vibrant and fearless musicians, an absolute living legend. “X Offender” has always been my favorite Blondie song but the margin is slim, and nearly everything else she’s sang comes in second.

Have your cake and eat it too, Deb. You deserve it.

Q: Ever Seen The Wienermobile?

A: Once, in the parking lot of an Albany area Chipotle. I was driving by, on my way to an event or meeting of some apparent importance, because I convinced myself not to stop. I’ll check it out on the way back, I reasoned.

Well guess what? That Wienermobile ghosted me. ‘Twas nowhere in sight upon my return. Just one of many defeats I suffered in the hands of New York’s capital city. Albany, I got a war with you.

They don’t serve wieners at Chipotle, do they? Seems like a ballsy move for the Wienermobile. Just showing up in some unaffiliated restaurant’s parking lot. Maybe the driver was simply picking up his lunch. A little south o’ the border nosh. Hey, I’ll never know. I thought I had to be somewhere.

#regret

Unsolicited Charles Xaviering On X-Men: Days Of Future Past

This is the most intense game of “Hollywood Squares” I’ve ever seen.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, M. Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by Bryan Singer
2014

2011’s X-Men: First Class is that rarest of things: a prequel that works. Full of snap crackle pop, First Class breathed new life into Marvel’s soggy mutant movie franchise (now fifteen years old) and emboldened 20th Century Fox to put together a sequel wherein an X-Man goes back in time and tries to erase the stuff from the original movies nobody liked. Actually, the heroes in Days Of Future Past seem to want to snuff out the first three X-Men films entirely, and who can blame them? Wouldn’t you rather live peacefully in an upstate New York mansion, teaching little childrens and apple picking in your spare time, instead of living on the run out of some military grade jet while humanity and other evil mutants are constantly nipping at your heels?

The line between good and evil is in truth a tad blurry in Days Of Future Past; yes, Wolverine (Jackman) travels to 1973 to prevent the assassination that kicks off humankind’s war on the mostly benign mutant species, but he also enlists a minor to help him break an incarcerated Magneto (Fassbender) out of his Pentagon jail cell. You see, in the future, Professor X (McAvoy) and Magneto have buried their hatchet, and they convince Wolv that he needs to get them together in ’73 to make sure everything’s on lock. It should come as no surprise that young Magneto, whose personal allegiances similarly blow around like a windsock, decides at a critical juncture to take matters into his own hands, gumming up the entire ballgame.

And then there’s shape-shifter Mystique (Lawrence), the assassinator, convinced she has to kill her target (a gov’t contractor who builds giant mutant-hunting robots) no matter how many people from her past or her future show up. Nobody can convince her this shooting kicks off a major human/mutant conflict. They should have just cracked open a history book for her. Hey dumb dumb, ever hear of Archduke Ferdinand? Pearl Harbor? Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Yoda? You know, I won’t fault you for missing that quote, you were busy with infinitely better movies when the Jedi master dropped that one.

Though clumsy in places, Days Of Future Past serves up a pretty fun slip through time and delivers everything you want in an X-Men movie: Wolverine whuppin’ up on dudes, Mystique whuppin’ up on dudes, political intrigue, a few yuks, a take on Richard Nixon that would be at home on “MADtv,” and tender bromance moments between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as the aged Xavier and Magneto (respectively). If you don’t like it, don’t worry: at some point Days Of Future Past will be retconned out of existence just like every other comic property, because that’s the way this business works.

FINAL SCORE: Three and a half funky ’70s duds (out of four).

Get E-xcited For My E-book

A decade ago I wrote a book about Star Wars fandom. It didn’t get published. Now, a thrilling e-book will recount that non-publishing, with large portions of the original manuscript, plus brand new essays reflecting on where you and I and Chewbacca are in this frightening day and age. If you’ve ever wondered about the mechanics of the literary world and what it feels like when you get trapped in the gears, this is the e-book for you. Also, if you’re super into lightsaber construction and ewok mating rituals and junk like that.

Arriving Hanukkah 2015.

Got No Time For Front Porchin’

Previously I speculated that Henry Rollins did not view the Mother Superior years of Rollins Band to be canonical because he did not discuss them during the Rollins Band episode of his podcast, “Henry & Heidi.” Boy, was I wrong: in April Henry and his bubbly co-host recorded a follow-up specifically to talk about the Mother Superior stretch of RB and how that time span was actually his favorite writing and performing experience (ever).

I listened to this ep last night and of course it spurred me to revisit Get Some Go Again, the 2000 debut from Rollins and Mother Superior (released under the Rollins Band moniker at the behest of Dreamworks executives, according to Hank). They sure sound like they’re having a blast. Still too derivative and underwhelming for me to put it in regular rotation, but it has its moments. The title track, specifically, and the bit in “Hotter & Hotter” where Hank says he “got no time for front porchin'” (my new catchphrase).

Further down the rabbit hole: the video for “Love’s So Heavy.” Is this Rollins being tongue in cheek or is he living out his David Lee Roth fantasies? Or both? Either way, have mercy, Rollins. Have mercy!

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