Opinions and Facts

“Weird Al” in concert

“weird Al” Yankovic has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember lip syncing to “Eat It” in my 8th grade drama class while Shannon Capps played a baby who wouldn’t eat his food (and also performed a mean guitar solo on a toy ukelele). I remember laying in bed on Sunday nights, staying up until midnight listening to Dr. Demento in the dark even though I had school the next day. I remember my best friend, Andy, spending the night on the weekends, and we’d play “Weird Al” tapes on one jam box while recording on another jam box as we sang along, thus making our own albums along with original songs of our own when I’d learned to play guitar. He’s like an old friend who has been with me as long as I can remember, and continues on through today. Our history together came flooding back to me tonight.
Now I will remember “Weird Al” in concert. I’ve spoken before about how I don’t think Al gets the attention he actually deserves, and seeing him in concert solidifies this fact. Most people merely know him as “That guy who does funny song parodies about Star Wars and food, mostly”, but his originals often outshine his mostly brilliant but sometimes only mediocre parodies in my opinion. He has a tremendously talented band, and is actually a very gifted songwriter with a knack for great music and melodies in addition to razor-edged rapier wit and intelligence.
Before this show, I already knew what a great show he puts on from much Internet reading, and a lovely DVD given to me by the lovely Beth. He was performing at The Paramount here in Austin which is a really nice, and intimate venue, which probably doesn’t have a bad seat. He managed to cram in an amazing number of songs by only playing abridged versions of a lot of them, which actually worked quite well. You get enough to enjoy the song and get the joke, but end up getting to hear a lot more songs than if they were all performed in their entirety. Between many songs there were funny video clips, mostly taken from his various “Al TV” specials that used to air on MTV, and various other clips. These were used not only to entertain, but to fill time while Al and the band changed into costumes for various showpiece songs, such as his fat suit for “Fat”, Jedi robes, P-diddy suits, Nelly gear, and many others. He ventured into the audience several times also much to the crowd’s delight. The show was completely amazing, and one of the most fun entertaining things you’ll ever see. He also performed at least one song (a parody of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”) that is only performed live, and has never been issued.
I highly encourage anyone to go and catch this show if you can. Now I’m going to add all his older albums to my Amazon Wish List, since I have been remiss over the years in replacing the old cassettes I used to have.

My anim� deficiency

For some reason, I have never been able to get into anim�. I find this odd, since there are so many people I know who absolutely love it. People who I generally have a lot in common with, and like a lot of the same things. Somehow it’s just never hooked me. I’ve tried half-heartedly a few times and always found my inteerest wandering and thinking about going and surfing the net or something. I really feel like I should love anim�. I will give it another go (in fact Jess has “Spirited Away” for me to watch), but I just feel weird. It’s like if everyone you knew, respected, hung out with, loved Krispy Kreme donuts, but you just found them bland. Of course that scenario is just ridiculous, for Krispy Kremes are the krack of the food world. I think my anim� gene is broken.

I, Robot

Actually a very good movie. Now to be clear, don’t go expecting Asimov. As the end credits say, “Suggested by Isaac Asimov”. However, don’t let that stop you. Also don’t let the misleading trailer (as the majority seem to be these days) stop you. It’s not a mindless action flick. Jess was expecting something just above crap, and ended up liking it quite a bit. There is plot, and mystery, and actual story!
On a side note, while this movie aims to an anti-prejudice message (don’t worry, it’s not preachy or heavy-handed), it spreads it’s own prejudice; prejudice against red lights in technology. Don’t worry, no spoilers ahead, just generalizations. No specifics.
Anytime someone wants to show and “evil” robot or computer, or toaster or coffee maker in a movie, it always has some ominous glowing red light somewhere. Someday when robots rule the earth…er…serve mankind in useful ways, there may be some dapper robot who likes the color red and decides to have a red light put in his head. Maybe his creators put red lights in him because it matched the new ad campaign colors in their new campaign, “Robots! They don’t eat old people’s medication for fuel!” Now this robot would be oppressed, feared, and probably attacked by mindless mobs everywhere he went because of the years of conditioning teaching us that red lights in technology=EVIL!
However, there is an upside to this issue. There is an easy way that we can keep all technology and future robots safe and subservient. Simply never install any red illumination anywhere in them. No red light, no evil. I’ll await my Nobel prize in the mail, thank you.

Velvet Revolver

Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum from GnR plus Scott Weiland from STP, add Dave Kushner on guitar (sorry Dave, never heard of you previously) and you get the album “Contraband”. Very rockin’. I’m a fan. I recommend it highly.

Tim Burton

Johnny Depp. Stop motion animation. Great cast. The Corpse Bride.
Skin on*.
*”skin on” is one of the many catch phrases that have cropped up between my cousin and me (we seem to be catch phrase machines when we’re together). It came from a restaurant menu who served their potatoes “skin on”. We decided that this sounded like an affirmative reaction. Later, due to another restaurant menu, we decided that a good response to “Skin on!” was “Bone in for flavor!”

Dodgeball

Go see this movie. Now. Freakin’ hilarious. Incredible cast. Whoever found this script deserves a HUGE bonus.

StopFCC.com

If you hate seeing this country slowly turning into George Orwell’s “Big Brother”, I highly encourage you to go to www.StopFCC.com and register. At the bottom of the page they now have a link to an ACLU page where you can fill in a form to send a fax to your senators. It even has pre-filled in text if you can’t be bothered to work up your own. I added the following paragraph just to add my own personal input.

People have a choice. A choice to change the channel, or turn off the radio or TV. People should continue to have the choice of whether or not they watch or listen. Don’t take this choice away from those who want it, merely to please those who do not want it. Just as forcing people to watch something they find offensive is wrong, so is eliminating the choice so as to please those people. If I find chocolate ice cream offensive, I can choose not to eat it. I do not think that the correct course of action is to ban chocolate ice cream across the world.

It’s so easy, that there’s really no excuse. Believe me, I’m one of the laziest people around, and I found it effortless. Support free speech and all that. Don’t let the government make your choices for you. Grrr.

Could I be any happier with the Academy Awards?

Only if Johnny Depp had won best actor. Aside from that, I’m as happy as a hobbit in a hole with table full of food and a bag of Longbottom leaf!

Dude. The Darkness.

One of my lovely Valentines gifts was “Permission To Land” by The Darkness, which I had listened to, and wanted ever since.
The Darkness so totally rocks. You’ll simultaneously be laughing your arse off and wondering if this band is a joke, but at the same time you’ll be rocking out to some kick ass songs. You’ll also start saying “arse” if you don’t already. They’re like a mystery in an enigma, in a paradox, wrapped in a tasty tortilla.
We’re going to see them here in Austin in April.

I like you Arnie!

This is a rare occasion. Heath gets political. Very rare, and something I usually don’t really care to do and in fact probably avoid, but I vast tidal wave of anti-Arnoldness is drowning me.
I’m quite puzzled by all the Ah-nuld hating going around. I just don’t get it. Everywhere I look it’s someone dissing Arnold and expressing indignation or disgust at his election as governor. I just don’t get this. He seems quite intelligent, personable, and politically knowledgeable. More so he seems like something that I, personally, have found very rare; an open minded republican. Most republican’s I’ve met in my life have been very closed minded, biased individuals who wallow in self-righteousness and take great joy in dismissing liberals as some lower form of extremely stupid life. They seem to just blanketly agree with the republican side of all issues, which I find hard to believe. While I may be fairly liberal, I don’t just automatically agree with all democrat opinions, and disagree with all republican opinions. Well, this is a whole other rant I don’t really care to get into, but the point is that Arnold actually seems to have some liberal friendly views instead of just voting like an automaton who must be 100% absolutely on one party’s side or the other.
I do understand the surface entertainment value of the fact that The Terminator is now governor of California, but past that, I don’t really think he’s getting a fair shake. It reminds me of when an actor tries to put out a music album or a musician tries their hand at acting. Many times people automatically put this stigma on them and just assume that they’re going to be incompetent and laughable in their new role. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that Arnold is already stigmatized by many in his role as an actor. People jump on the “Arnold is just a stupid action buffoon who can’t act” band wagon, which is a whole other argument that I disagree with. You may not like “action” movies or whatever, but to boil that down to “he’s stupid and can’t act” is just unfair. Has he put out some crap? Sure, most actors have. However he’s also put out many movies that define the genre itself (which also suffers from unfair stigmatizing by intellectual movie snobs everywhere). As I said, it’s fine if you simply don’t like those kinds of movies, but just because you personally may not like them doesn’t mean that they’re crap, stupid, or just for dumb testosterone filled flesh bags either.
I don’t think there’s anything ridiculous or worthy of eye rolling about his being governor. Is it amusing? Yes. Are there many jokes to be made? Absolutely. Is it some kind of ridiculous travesty? I don’t think so at all. I just find it kinda sad, that he’s got some very promising characteristics, but most people have already put him on trial, found him guilty, and thrown a rope over the highest tree limb not based on anything other than “but he’s AH-nuld! The Terminator! Come on!”