Nov 262015

Powers is one of my favorite comics – one of those ones you read again and again over the years until the damn things fall-apart. It’s the crowning achievement of the now-ubiquitous Brian Michael Bendis, with artwork to match by Michel Avon Oeming. Forget the television series, pretend it never happened: it bares hardly any semblance to the source material.

Detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim work the “Powers” division, handling crimes by (and against) persons with super-human abilities. Their cases take them from the highest pinnacles of wealth and celebrity to the most squalid places imaginable. They deal with the best and worst humanity has to offer, though most everyone they encounter falls somewhere in-between. Walker and Pilgrim have the best buddy-cop relationship in the history of fiction, hands-down, and their banter alone is worth the price of admission. Powers is by turns subtle and garish, quiet and brash – but always classy, fun, and smart as hell.

Powers (Wikipedia)

Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane

 Art  Comments Off on Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane
Nov 152015

Living in Nashville is pretty-much the pits. I mean, it could be worse: Detroit still exists (at least on paper anyway). At least there’s plenty of bars.
But occasionally we do get a brief glimpse of civilization. There’s a lovely art museum downtown, the Frist Center, a beautiful building that once housed the post office (which now occupies a smaller space downstairs). Through January 6th they’re exhibiting a collection of drawings by Michelangelo. A majority of them are architectural sketches – not my bailiwick but nonetheless interesting. However the few preparatory drawings for things like “Madonna and Child” are well-worth your 12 bucks. If nothing else, how often do you get to eyeball 500-year-old drawings by possibly the greatest artist that ever lived from 10 inches away? Officially you’re supposed to keep an 18-inch distance, but in my limited experience at different galleries around the country, I’ve found if you clasp your hands behind your back and lean-in with a studious look on your face, nobody really gives you any shit.

I don’t know anything about art, but even for a hopeless philistine such as myself, there’s a definite “Holy Shit” factor when you take a close look at this stuff.

Ben Folds – Phone In a Pool

 Music  Comments Off on Ben Folds – Phone In a Pool
Nov 152015

Basically an anthem for the touring life. And it’s not as if I’ve ever been on tour, but one line from it really hits me in the gut though: it applies to anyone who’s ever given a shit about what they do professionally:

Seems what’s been good for music
Hasn’t always been so good for the life

Also, you don’t hear “proffer” used in a pop song very often, so bonus props there Ben.

Dead Ghosts – Roky Said

 Music  Comments Off on Dead Ghosts – Roky Said
Nov 112015

A tribute of sorts to Roky Erickson of “The 13th Floor Elevators”.

It’s so easy to lead when there’s no one in line
don’t forget Roky said to leave your body behind

Believe me I’ll be down on the floor
you won’t think about me anymore
You leave me low, no hope, alone forever

But don’t close your eyes
just come over, that way you’ll find
that there’s no one else

When the sun goes down
it gets colder in this town

and still there’s no one else

The sun scrapes over the sky as your friends move along
and don’t forget Roky said you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

Girl I’m six feet in the ground
there’s no pick me up for me in this town
just leave me low
no hope, alone forever


Infiltration (or “Small Unit”) Tactics

 History  Comments Off on Infiltration (or “Small Unit”) Tactics
Nov 042015

Still wrapping my head around this one. Pioneered in WWI by elements from various countries, including Germany’s famous “Stormtroopers”, Infiltration Tactics (Wikipedia) are now standard doctrine for every military force in the world. Seems like it’s basically an alternative to the traditional pre-1900’s European-style set-piece battle where you line-up all your guys and tell them to march forward and shoot the other guys (or in the case of WWI, blindly charge the enemy’s fortified line in mass numbers in hopes of somehow “breaking through”). These tactics instead focus on smaller, more autonomous units tasked with seeking-out and penetrating the weak-points in an enemy’s line, while leaving more heavily-fortified positions to be dealt with by artillery and whatnot. What I really wanted to share was this nifty list of the standing-orders for Rogers’ Rangers (from the Armchair General article “Tactics 101 082 – Infiltraton in History and Practice“).

Operation Desert Storm: “Winds of the Storm” (1993)

 Books, History, Video  Comments Off on Operation Desert Storm: “Winds of the Storm” (1993)
Nov 032015

A public domain film from the National Archives, with some audio/video cleanup by Jeff Quitney. Explains the 1991 Gulf War air campaign with numerous interview clips from General Chuck Horner, USAF (commander of all the air forces) as well as his 4 divisional commanders.
Desert Shield and Desert Storm are generally under-appreciated by most Americans. The only downside to planning and implementing a massive operation near-flawlessly and with minimal casualties is that you make it look easy; afterwards there’s an understandable tendency for those without in-depth knowledge of the events to say, “What was the big deal?” But if you have even a layman’s appreciation for what went into that effort, and some knowledge of history, it’s clear it could easily have been a very big deal. We were lucky to have a military that had learned the hard lessons of Vietnam led by some excellent people.
If you want to learn more, I highly recommend Tom Clancy’s “Every Man a Tiger,” a non-fiction book written with Chuck Horner that covers the affair in great detail yet is imminently readable even for civilian pukes such as myself.

The Brink

 TV  Comments Off on The Brink
Oct 292015

Just started this. A “geopolitical dark comedy” ( – I would lean more towards “raucous political farce” – starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins. Can’t say for sure at this point but seems promising; unfortunately HBO just got cancelled after its initial 10-episode season.

Update, during ep3: Still digging it. Critics’ score on Metacritic is 52, but the negative reviews all complain about lack of comic timing (and congratulate themselves for getting the obvious “Dr. Strangelove” references, gj guys). I dunno – it definitely doesn’t telegraph its jokes like a sitcom; rather it simply jettisons them in the midst of otherwise straight-faced tense-blockbuster-thriller-moments, with nary a pause in the tense-blockbuster-thriller-score. Works for me so-far.

The Muppets

 TV  Comments Off on The Muppets
Oct 282015

“The Muppets” ( seems pretty great so far. Like the original, its focus is behind-the-scenes, but I would never have thought to shoot the whole thing like “The Office” – it works astonishingly well.
My life is a bacon-wrapped Hell on earth

Into The Storm

 History, Video  Comments Off on Into The Storm
Oct 272015

There are two schools of thought regarding Winston Churchill. One says he’s the greatest leader of the twentieth century, who stepped-forward to lead Britain through her darkest hour and through sheer will-power roused the free world to overthrow the tyranny of fascism. The other is wrong.

This HBO biopic pretty-much nails him down to the smallest detail. If you don’t know Churchill, this is as good a place to start as any: you’re next stop would be volume 3 of William Manchester’s biography “The Last Lion“.

Available for free on Amazon Prime


Yoko Kanno live footage

 Music, TV, Video  Comments Off on Yoko Kanno live footage
Oct 162015

Truly a national treasure of Japan: the brilliant composer behind the “Cowboy Bebop” soundtrack (and various other stuff). The show’s title track “Tank” (Youtube), is a undeniable masterpiece. Used to have all her albums back in college – never occurred to me to youtube her until now. She’s the geeky gal in red early-on. Jump to 18:17 for her piano solo.

Charles Mingus – Fable of Faubus

 Music  Comments Off on Charles Mingus – Fable of Faubus
Oct 142015

Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!
Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie.
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won’t permit integrated schools.

Then he’s a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

Name me a handful that’s ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
H-E-L-L-O, Hello.
from lyricsmania

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’

 Music  Comments Off on Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’
Oct 142015

If you don’t wear good headphones for this, you’re doing a disservice to humanity. Only recently realized how bullshit my cheap PC speakers are. “The Drum Thunder” in particular caves my skull in with its awesomeness.

RJD2 – A Beautiful Mine

 Music  Comments Off on RJD2 – A Beautiful Mine
Oct 142015

Been rewatching Mad Men lately, damn it’s good. Just learned the opening theme is by an old favorite of mine, RJD2. It’s originally a vocal track from his album “Magnificent City (Wikipedia)“. The instrumental version was released separately on the aptly-named “Magnificent City Instrumentals.”