Archive for January 6th, 2009

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Say Hi To Your Mother For Me

January 6, 2009

I shot this with my phone, in the cold, at the zoo, but it highlights the unrelenting presence of Mark Wahlberg in my children’s lives. They think he’s really, really cool (because of Planet of the Apes), and they love the SNL sketch.

I do not agree, as I mention in the new Weather Station 3.

Anyway, somehow, a turkey got loose. Roll the clip:

After this, the kids went and found a zookeeper, and Mr. Turkey was returned to his enclosure. All’s well that ends well …

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Public Domain Horror: Carnival of Souls

January 6, 2009

I’ve mentioned this film before, but I was reminded of it today while listening to the latest episode of the Horror Etc. podcast. Carnival of Souls is a horror classic, a very strange black and white creeper that’s now in the public domain. And it’s on Google Video, and now here at the Weather Station.

Lots of great old horror flicks are in the public domain and floating around the web. I’ll suggest more in the future.

If you don’t listen to Horror Etc., you should. Don’t be fooled by the title. While the bulk of this Canadian duo’s excellent catalogue focuses on horror, they do veer off into other discussions and even have full episodes devoted to things like James Bond, superhero movies and more. Have a listen.

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RIP Ron Asheton

January 6, 2009

He spit the first howls of punk from a banged-up electric six-string, and shaped the music that helped change rock forever. Now he’s gone. Ron Asheton, the guitarist and bassist for The Stooges, apparently died sometime over the past few days, of natural causes, officials say.

Asheton, who formed The Stooges with his drumming brother Scott and a wild-eyed shrimp named Jim Osterberg in Michigan in the late 60s, is often credited with pretty much inventing the sound that would later be called punk. I’ve never quite agreed with that. Asheton was too good a musician to fall under that early punk umbrella; his was not music of fast, angry two-chord slams, but detailed and intelligent guitar rock … just a little faster than most, and a lot noisier.

Osterberg, who changed his name to Iggy Pop, was a big part of that, with his outlandish performance-art antics. But the music was what anchored his lunacy, and Ron Asheton was that music. Here they are in Cincinnati in 1970; just listen to Asheton’s guitar lines.

People often forget that Asheton played guitar on just the first two Stooges records, and that a new set of fingers, James Williamson, took over for the breakthrough Raw Power record, which saw David Bowie take Iggy under his velvet-covered wing. Raw Power is a lynchpin of 70s rock, a building block in the rise of alternative rock, and an overall solid recording.

But it was the end of The Stooges. Iggy went on to more than two decades of hit-or-miss solo work, but reformed The Stooges a couple of years ago, again with the Asheton brothers, with Ron back on guitar.

Just reading through some websites here, I’m learning that Ron Asheton’s guitar style grew and changed over those decades, and up until his death, his playing continued to garner respect and win new listeners. For a musician, that’s the best legacy.

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Lost: Sayid Jarrah

January 6, 2009

(Indulge me. As we near the Season 5 premiere of Lost, I’m going to run through the current crop of main characters. There are spoilers.)

Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) is the Rambo of the Lost castaways. He’s a former Iraqi soldier who became a torturer and interrogator (under the guidance of the mysterious Calvin Inman, who may have been CIA, may have been Dharma, but was definitely Clancy Brown). After the first Gulf war, he ended up living in France under an assumed name, but was recognized by a former victim. He eventually ended up in Australia, working for the CIA to infiltrate a terror cell in return for finding his long-lost love, Nadia. Over the course of Lost‘s first four seasons, we saw Sayid taking on a secondary leadership role on the island, using his technical skills and military training to help the castaways.

Highlights:

  • Discovering the French woman’s hideout in Season 1 …
  • Falling in love with Shannon, who had famously reported him to Sydney airport security …
  • Losing Shannon to Anna Lucia’s bullet …
  • Killing that Other with his feet while his hands were tied behind his back at the end of Season 3 …
  • His super-jungle-fighter routine at the end of Season 4 …
  • His new role as Ben’s assassin (and his slick tuxedo look) …

Problems:

  • What’s with the little tank tops? Did he find an unlimited supply in a suitcase?
  • Why does every woman he falls for end up dying violently?
  • Why, if getting back to Nadia is his primary goal, does he get down with Shannon in the first place?
  • Why does his accent sound not even remotely Iraqi?
  • For that matter, why was Naveen Andrews even cast in this role? He is a fine actor, and plays the part well, but he is very, very clearly not an Arab.
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