Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gated hell

I wonder if the pro-gun fringe thinks that these children should have been armed in order to defend themselves?

Mom kills her 2 kids.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RIP Charlie Louvin

I've loved these guys all my life, they were my favorite band as a kid. My parents both loved music of the country variety and I soaked it in, both at home on my record player and on the honkytonk jukeboxes. The Louvins blazed a trail of “close harmony” that later inspired the Everly Brothers and many more, including my personal Goddess of the 1970s, Emmylou Harris.

This is the cover of their most famous album, it was designed by Ira Louvin (who died in a horrible car wreck in 1965), and leaves no doubt that those devils in your head can definitely take form. This album cover regularly shows up in “bad LP cover” listings, so, for better or worse, it became memorable.

I ran across a great little interview with Charlie Louvin here on Raised Country. Very colorful!

Louvin Brothers Wikipedia

NYT – RIP Charlie Louvin


I didn't watch either of the Republican State of the Union rebuttals. What did I miss?

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's a 3D world.

Someday, everything will be in 3-D! Um, yes, well... it already is, isn't it? I think that a lot of corporate eyeballs cha-ching with dollar signs at the thought of making 3D the standard for ALL movies and television, games, handheld devices, and what's next? Billboards? Spreadsheets? It's always been a gimmick, but for a decade or two there's been a huge push to move it over into that realm of things that society thinks of as necessities or needs.

It's really really great that certain movies are in 3D (and IMAX), and then others should not have gone there. {Two-bit movie reviews follow…}

The worst one I've seen was Superman Returns. I hated the movie, first of all, but to make the mention relevant, they only had parts of it in 3D and I thought they were poorly done (speaking of the 3D effects).

The best 3D I've seen is called Deep Sea, which is one of those short films that are perfect for the museum setting (41 minutes). Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet narrate - and the 3D effects were stunning! It was one big Wow. Another one with gorgeous 3D is, of course, Avatar. Visually it was everything it was cracked up to be... and then some. Toy Story 3 was great watching in 3D (although we saw it on a regular-sized screen instead of IMAX) as was Up.

Alice in Wonderland (seen in IMAX), in my opinion, was a disappointment not redeemed by 3D effects, costumes or Johhny Depp. The 3D was not well done, and disintegrated badly for me into double images at the edges (and sometimes in the center). Distracting! I think that all of them in IMAX will do that to some degree, because your eyes have to get some exercise in order to see the whole screen, and the edges are a considerable distance further than or closer to your eyes, depending on where you’re sitting. I guess the solution to that would be to not put important stuff at the sides of the screen! Tron: Legacy was pretty good when it came to 3D and effects. It lent itself well, especially in Hugh Jass IMAX. There was some problem at the edges, but the subject matter managed to excuse that for me. The other thing it excused (and this is OT) was the digitalizing of actors. Man! Is that creepy! Technology is getting it closer all the time, but the fact that it’s not there yet is too obvious to forgive – BUT – in this case the young Jeff Bridges is supposed to be that creepy digital guy in most instances, so it’s OK. It’s not a great movie but I thought it was OK, and if Jeff-Bridges-in-Anything is not enough enticement, Michael Sheen has a short but delicious part… plus substantial eye-candy (I just realized that Garrett Hedlund also played Patroclus, the beautiful cousin of Achilles in Troy.

Before Tron: Legacy they showed a trailer for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie which will be available in 3D IMAX. I have to say this: I will absolutely see this movie but I think I would really hate it in 3D IMAX. It was very disorienting and it seems like the whole thing is designed around those schlocky old 3D devices like jabbing or throwing things toward the viewer.

I keep a pair of cardboard red/cyan glasses (a lot like The Doctor is wearing there, which might be red/blue, it's hard to tell) on my desk, just in case I run across something fun on the web, like this flickr group, this guy who has anaglyph 3D videos and more, or just do a general search for 3D video. Those suckers really work!

Lots of them offer "no glasses required" which means that you will be required to relax and cross your eyes for 3D to emerge, as it was in the old, handheld stereoscopic devices. This video popped up recently about 3D with no glasses required. A lot of people seem to think it's fake, but whether it's fake or not, it's pretty funny - either a joke or just crazy as hell.
The *real* "3D without glasses" is hopefully going to be less painful, either with a viewer panel placed over the TV or someday with holograms. Sadly, though, we are just not there yet. The glasses you wear for 3D TV sets darken the picture significantly (like sunglasses), and if the picture is going to degrade, I would just as soon stick with the schlock, like this one*.

Alphabetical list of 3D movies

*somehow, I managed to see this movie a few times at the theater while I was still in high school, regardless of its so-called X-rating. It was a real cheezball.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some things ARE bigger in Texas

They are still calling this thing a pothole, even though it's still growing and could be 20ft wide by 9-12ft deep by now, and may possibly have the equivalent of a cave underneath it. Somebody messed up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does that make me crazy?

I will admit that I wouldn't mind tasting a beer made from a 2,550 year old Celtic recipe... even if it did smell like a billy goat. (But, hey... that was only Emperor Julian's opinion.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Etta James

Hootchie Cootchie Gal

Etta James is very ill, nearly gone. [Search "etta james"] Sad. The clip is from the Chuck Berry half-concert/half-documentary "Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll." Keith Richards had insisted on having her as part of the concert, and Chuck was against it. This is the scene where he changes his mind, and then some. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Delay awards Travis County a Badge of Honor

"I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas, and indeed in the United States." -- Tom Delay

Ah shucks, I am blushing with pride at his comments about the County where I live, although I don't know if that's true. Election results can be found here. Delay needs to realize, though, that if this was some kind of political partisan trumped-up thing that he would have fared a WHOLE lot worse. Yup.

DeLay: Conviction all about politics (MSNBC)
DeLay says he was victim of political prosecution (AP)
Delay: I was Tried in "Most Liberal County" in U.S. (CBS)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

El alma de Tucson

Crystal Frontier is reportedly Gabrielle Giffords' favorite song. On her Facebook page, she lists Calexico as the music she likes, and astronaut-husband Mark Kelly has listened to it as wake-up music while on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Rep. Giffords and Calexico's Joey Burns are mutual admirers, and he talks about their association here on NPR. He also talks about some of the local Tucson memorial/vigil events that took place after the shootings.

The song lyrics are deeply reflective of the issues of an Arizona border town, and things become more and more complex along with growing frustration, hatred, racism, desperation, and just enough hope to keep all those wheels turning... for better or worse... on all sides.

Marco's shadow falls on the door
to the 7 Lost Cities of Gold
finds a raven's head and rattler's tail
dead in his tracks, this Godforsaken soul's
unwanted here and his ghost lingers for years

Amalia's face hides behind the mask
sweating on the TV factory line
that smile on her face is starting to crack
while welding back the pieces of shattered heart
that's scattered out here, with the ghosts of her peers
searched for her lost child along the river of tears

At the end of the working week
when drunken worlds meet
both sides keeping a close eye
for a break in the line here... on the Crystal Frontier

Blood spills out on the streets
and bodies are missing for weeks
both sides keeping a close eye
watching the bullets fly here... on the Crystal Frontier

Ramon tightens up his leather belt
and slips through a hole in the fence
he can get you anything you want
might cost you a life, might cost you
the whole price of freedom here...on the Crystal Frontier

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Catblogging - Henry's day

This is Henry with his latest home improvement, his heated bed. A circle of foam with a heating element in the bottom that's as warm as another kitty. Life is a series of choices... choices of which bed to sleep in... and he prefers this one most of the time. He's a sweet old kitty and we want to keep him very comfortable. His long-term prednisone use has pushed him into the diabetic range, but the vet thinks it's temporary and can be managed with food change and lowered doses of steroids. After a week of doing that, his levels are still too high but MUCH improved. He goes back in a couple of weeks to get checked out again.

Feelin' good, feelin' good, all the money in the world spent on feelin' good. Levon Helm.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Pandora's Box of hate and violence

And Charles Manson didn't actually kill Sharon Tate and the others. Still got convicted of murder.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Cat City

Colbert does a feature on Caboodle Ranch!
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Enemy Within - Caboodle Ranch
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive

And I would never trust my purr-babies to that vet! She should stick to something without teeth, nails or poop... like plants!!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2010 in retrospect

I had only 233 posts this year - the lowest number yet for a year. I am blaming facebook, which will suck your time down like it's drinking your milkshake. First, a few things that stand out, and limiting these to those related to personal experiences. Links go to posts.

People we knew or met who are no longer with us, listed in descending order of familiarity:
  • Jax, our big sweet black cat, complications of diabetes and other issues. Yes, cats are people. Age 14.
  • Cousin *L*, the closest thing I had to a sister, cancer. Age 60.
  • Billy Maddox, drummer for Eric Johnson and others, shot to death during a home intrusion. Age 57.
  • Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird Johnson's Press Sec'y, author, and Texas progressive. Age 90.
Important and/or weird events that happened around here:
  • My mother and two aunts were featured on Awkward Family Photos.
  • We met Caplin Rous, the famous capybara, at Petco. Now MrB wants a capybara. I don't think we are ready for such a thing. [and now a sad addendum: Caplin has died of encephalitis on Jan 4. This charming animal will be missed. He had really worked his way into our hearts via facebook]
  • Joe Stack, angry with the IRS, flew his airplane right over the building where I work, and crashed it into the IRS office. Both the Republican and Democratic Representatives for this area declared it to be terrorism, and I thoroughly agreed - but it was never treated as such.
  • Got to see our young friend Sarah Jarosz at her Austin City Limits taping.
Let's see... these are the major trends going on with the Blueberries over the past year...

I continued the effort to rescue myself from the workaholic frenzy that has been driving me crazy for several years (damn that Virgo sun!). Some dreams which were already dead, were laid to rest with honors. I accomplished many things and did not fail. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Time to move on. This process was started in 2009, and now, at the end of 2010 I have finally gotten my work commitments down to just one 40-hour-per-week job... pretty much...

Part of the process was simply doing less. I have a lot of friends who go out and hit the clubs and venues almost every night. They are generally middle-aged with no kids or grown kids, no pets, in many cases retired, or otherwise not needing to work - at least not the full-time routine. When we first moved here, we were out there several nights a week, even with a bunch of cats at home (the cats were lower maintenance then). It's probably hard for some of them to understand why a live music fanatic like me would miss a "major" event in favor of a low-impact TV night where I attempt to get enough sleep. {sigh}

This was the year that I learned that sleep is not over-rated. If I go by that old saw "I'll sleep when I'm dead" it could lead to a "snooze" coming on way before I'm ready for it. My health has been falling victim to lack of sleep and over-stressing. You really can worry yourself to death, or into a place of deep distress.

I still listen to or watch Countdown, Rachel Maddow, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report pretty much every day. The political world is so flipped out right now that it has surpassed what I thought was possible for teh crazy. Most of the time, I'm too stunned for words. There is still some political content here at the Oasis, but that's why there's not more. Everything continues to be surreal.

Looking at my sidebar, I see that we watched 101 movies or boxed sets, and attended 43 live shows (as always, counting days at SXSW or other multi-act shows as "1," which hardly seems fair...). Not shabby at all. Happy to have been so enriched.

Roll with the punches, everybody. Hang in there, if possible. Get some rest once in awhile. Here's a beauty of a Paul McCartney song called "Goodbye"