- I got to see Iron Man. Awesome summer-time comic book hero movie. And as pitch perfect Morton Downey Jr. is cast as billionaire, alcoholic, sexist, fascist Tony Stark, my favorite part is Gwyneth Paltrow. Sure, her character Pepper Pott’s constant pining for her boss is a little tired. But in the end, she saves his ass. Twice, technically. Plus, there’s loads of gadget geek stuff for me to, um, admire, and a great subplot/running joke involving S.H.I.E.L.D. that, in the (very, very) end makes me really anticipate (rather than merely expect) the eventual sequel (already booked into theaters for May 2008. Also, I’m not a man given to military fantasies. But I definitely could be if Terrence Howard continues to wear them.
- I got T Bone Burnett’s new cd, Tooth Of Crime, a project based up on Sam Shepard’s play of the same name, and made with his collaboration, as well as that of Burnett’s ex, Sam Phillips (with whom he duets on “Dope Island” and turns over vocals completely to on "Blind Man”, and the late Roy Orbison. It is a truly great record. Dark and mysterious, this record has allegedly been in gestation for roughly 20 years. And a few shades, especially Burnett’s speak/sing vocal delivery in the opening track, “Anything I Say Can And Will Be Used Against You,” is highly reminiscent of his mid 80’s output, especially The Talking Animals. But it’s suffused though the voodoo swamp twang Burnett deployed so effectively on his previous full-length, 2006’s The True False Identity, and coupled with the industrial ambience he’s been juxtaposing with musical anachronisms almost as long as this record has been in production. What is not an anachronism, however, is the cd’s devastating critique of the politicization of fear, the commercialization of religion, and those who use such tactics to amass power. Nowhere else is this seduction into slavery so artfully rendered as in “Kill Zone” where in Burnett sweetly croons in a sweeping Roy Orbison penned melody:
For I will steal your dreams while you are sleepingIt is chilling, seductive, and strangely entertaining without an ounce of pandering to its audience. Look for Tooth Of Crime to be on many year-end “Best-Record-You-Haven’t-Heard” lists.
and sell them for dust and cheap lust.
And I’ll slit your hope while you are weeping
and wipe the blade clean with morphine.
Be my queen.
- In a speech before the Knesset, the Israeli legislative body, W. compared Obama to a Nazi appeaser (as opposed to W.’s grandfather Prescott Bush who [a] was a Nazi sympathizer, [b] a Nazi war profiteer, and [c] even allegedly plotted to roust FDR in a coup) because Obama would prefer to talk all diplomatic like to nations with recognized governments with whom the US has adversarial relations (Iran, for instance) instead of, say, invading them for made-up reasons. Or it could have been W. was talking about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, two of W’s cabinet members who have, um, advocated the same thing as Obama.Now, US politicians have a long-standing tradition by which politics ends at the nation’s border. When the Republican President or the Democratic Speaker of The House goes overseas, they are just American. That means no petty sniping over differences about domestic policy or campaigning for or against any one candidate. Unite. Don’t divide. Well, W. pretty much pissed all over that tradition. Joe Biden rightly calls “Bullshit.”
Secondly, W. loses the argument by invocation of Godwin’s Law.
Thirdly, and why this adds to my good day (other than just giving me a reason to rail against W.), the bipartisan swell of support behind Obama (excepting for John McCain and Joe Lieberman who only support W. and each other) helps cement him as the Democratic nominee in the fall. And it brings into the discussion the clear contrast between Obama’s foreign policy and the W./McCain policy, not too mention the broad bipartisan support for for Obama’s foreign policy and the international embarrassment for W.’s.
- The California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the same standing before the law as opposite-sex couples. Gays and lesbians in the State of California are now entitled to the same rights and privileges and obligations of marriage as heterosexuals. I sometimes think that we obsess over marriage rights to our own peril. Not for the feared political backlash (the worst of which I think we suffered four years ago and have since rebounded from), but for the kids for whom identifying as gay or lesbian means getting kicked out of their home, or beat up (or shot) at school, or ostracized from their faith community, or a million other ways that these kids face discrimination each day. But in the long run, the former helps the latter.
Marriage and family is now something gay kids can realistically aspire to. That is an enormous cultural shift in less than a generation. Secondly, as marriage rights for gays and lesbians progress across the country, the panic will hopefully subside as more and more normal, happy gay neighbors reside next to families and parents realize that their gay children won’t necessarily grow up to be unhappy degenerates. My money and my work and my advocacy will be aimed more towards gay youth and the organizations that exist to support them (The Point Foundation, The True Colors Residence), but I’ll celebrate this victory and every one like it that helps to make a future for them.
Here’s to tomorrow!
P.S. #5 (Bonus!) My dear friend Adrian called me out and told me to come see a new band he'd found in Conway, Sleep Today. They were not bad, shoegazery pop. But the headlining band failed to show so 5/6 of Sleep Today took to the stage again as Ginsu Wives, a disco/punk hybrid of !!! and Scissor Sistors with a heaping helping of screamo and WTF? Very Enjoyable. I may have to find a way to spin them into my next mix cd.