26 October 2009

Her Heart Was Like A Tomb

I just read a great article on Politico. It very simply outlines how a mandatory health plan is simply unconstitutional. I found it very easy to read; much more cut and dry than the plan on whitehouse.gov.

Now, I'm not here to say, "down with Obama" or "screw the democrats," but I do believe that there's a right way to handle universal health care and do think that it would be a good thing for this country. But universal health care is much different than government mandated health care. I strongly feel that what the administration is presenting and what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are so avidly fighting for is the wrong route for this country.

The current system (like so many other things in the country) is mostly flawed and in need of some change. But I feel like the "change we can believe in" is heavily flawed at least as far as the health care bill goes (oh, and that whole Iraq / Afghanistan thing).

I do digress, but form your own opinions. Read, research and make sure you know exactly what's going on.


I recently got to see The Gaslight Anthem live in Nashville and was thoroughly impressed. Great band and great tunes all around.

24 October 2009

Throwing Caution to the Wind*

Last week I checked out Spike Jonze's adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are. I'd read several great reviews and a handful of not so favorable reviews prior to seeing it, but I went in with an open mind and an understanding that Jonze is quite the artistic perfectionist.

Despite the few distractions from anxious children in the audience, I was completely enthralled. Visually and emotionally. The lead, Max (played by Max Records), was a fantastic choice for the role. His ability to balance strength and valor with a youthful vulnerability and emotional fragility was nearly perfect. And his relationship and interaction with the wild things was - I feel - the way author, Maurice Sendak, intended it to be.

In conjunction with a great story and great acting was the visual awesomeness of the film. The wild things were created with such care and perfection that it becomes easy to imagine them as completely real. Their bodies move with such grace and their eyes perfectly express every emotion that they're feeling in a given moment. And the sets used on Max's magical island were outstanding. The fort, the wild things' "homes" and the miniature fort built by Carol were all created with such care and attention to detail. And with a realness that kept me engaged.

All of those things paired with Karen O's contribution to the score and soundtrack made for a film that I'd say was pretty stinkin' great. This is one not to be missed in the theater. And if you've seen it and have thoughts, let's hear 'em.

* A new thing I'll be doing is citing my post titles and hopefully connecting you to good tunes. This post title comes from Come & Live Artists, Sons of God

20 October 2009

While I Decide

I recently finished Michael Lewis' biography, The Blind Side. The book covers the life and transition of physical freak of nature and perfect potential left tackle, Michale Oher (that was a mouthful).

Simply put, this is the true story of a humble, yet misguided, West Memphis youth who - through a serendipitous serious of events and connections - found his way into the home of an affluent, East Memphis, white family. Lewis does a great job unfolding the story in a way that helps the reader understand the human spirit a little better and in a way that helps you understand why a person of Oher's physical stature is such a valuable asset in the game of football.

Lewis intertwines the history of professional football and its transition from a rushing game to Bill Walsh's west coast offense-style passing game with Joe Montana. This ties everything together to explain why the left tackle is so important. He protects the quarterback's blind side, allowing the passing game to succeed and leads teams to championships.

Through Oher's story, you learn that not only his size, but his (lack of) upbringing attributed to him developing quick feet on the basketball court of the ghetto which help make him one of the more well-rounded linemen in the country.

Lewis makes the book an easy ready and makes a sports history lesson very digestible and pretty fun as well. It's a great college football season read. And now I'm on to reading Life, Inc.

15 October 2009

Our bruises are coming, but we will never fold

So, this is a little creepy. I thought the Patriot Act was bad enough, but this really takes it up a notch. And to preface...this is not a speculative post. This is actually a bill that is working it's way through congress.

Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) has started silently pushing for S.773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009 to work it's way through congress to the president. You may read more about the bill HERE, but essentially, this bill - if passed - would give the president full authority to permit a full government takeover for all online activities deemed "critical."

According to opencongress.org, 'The bill would also give the President new authority to "declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network."' and "work with representatives of foreign governments to develop norms, organizations, and other cooperative activities for international engagement to improve cybersecurity."

Basically, this bill would allow Obama to order a federal takeover for all US citizen's online activity. The government would be able to monitor it or shut it down. And while this sounds all nice and fuzzy and protective like the Patriot Act did, this is really not cool.

Many will argue that, like the Patriot Act, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about right? Well, no. In this case the government - in order to "protect us" - could fully shut down everyone's access to any inter or intranet.

It's not worth me building up a lot of worry or hype, but it is definitely worth me bringing it to your attention. This bill was introduced in April and has not really been discussed by any media outlets. Please go check out that link and simply be aware of what's going on on Capitol Hill. Also, share your thoughts. Private or public. Either way, let's discuss.

14 October 2009

Oh God, what have we done? We've created a monster.

I feel badly. There's not really a lot of interesting stuff to report as of late. Sure, I can bring up the health care battle, but there's not a lot to say that hasn't been said by every Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or NeoCon. I could talk about how the Tennessee Titans have started the season off with a five-game losing streak (even the Lions have won a game already. Ouch). I could talk about the weeks on end with no good, new music released (aside from the new Mew record, mind you). Heck, I could even talk about the fact Jon Stewart invited Ron Paul on his show to talk about his book End The Fed and even - in a weird kind of way - applauded him for his efforts.

But honestly, all of that stuff is a little boring. I even thought Ron Paul and Jon Stewart would provide a little bit of fair-game fireworks. But no. It's just lacking interest.

So, I bring you to an awkward dramatic-comedy, Lymelife. It's a film I missed in the theaters and one I was anxious to see after reading mixed reviews (I've come to trust mixed reviews more so than even wholly bad or very good reviews. Maybe it adds a bit of honesty. I'm not really sure).

It stars Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, Keiran and Rory Culkin and Emma Roberts. And it's fantastic. Honestly, I wish I could suffer through a few bad films for a bit, because I feel very lucky having seen so many great ones recently. I wish I had some bad news to report on the film front, but I don't. I'll say that's a good thing I guess.

Anyway, the film takes you through the broken lives of two Long Island families in the early 80's. One patriarch, Timothy Hutton, is suffering from Lyme Disease, lying to his family about going on job interviews and watching idly as his wife cheats on him with family #2's father/husband (Baldwin).

It doesn't sound so comic, but the humor shines through in really brilliant and unexpected ways. The Culkin brothers - who actually play brothers in the film....duh - have such a wonderful big brother / little brother dynamic (naturally) and Emma Roberts is a perfect fit for a thick-skinned Long Island high school girl. And while the film doesn't really come to an intense climax, the elements all together simply work and work well. And (as if he's not great enough) Alec Baldwin really does shine as a dramatic actor in this one.

It's worth the 90 minutes of your life to check out. And you can catch a quick preview from the link above.

01 October 2009

I Come Alive

I had the amazing privilege to watch It Might Get Loud this week. The film re-traces the steps of The Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page as they tell their stories how how fate, environment or circumstance led them to the guitar. And how each - in their own obsessive and awesome way - came to dominate the guitar and become true legends of Rock n Roll.

The culmination comes when Jack, Jimmy and Edge all sit down to discuss their tales and have a few jam sessions with each other. And it was - for lack of a better term - epic.

If you're in Nashville, definitely check this one out, but if not, go ahead and keep an eye on its DVD release. This is one you should see and if you have any connection to the guitar or music in general, you'll love every minute of it.