we don't need no stinking badges

Having watched Marty and Gentleman's Agreement this past week, I have just 19 films remaining to see on the list of Oscar winners. I think I'm going to make a big push to finish them by the end of the year. I plan to watch The Best Years Of Our Lives, Going My Way, and The Greatest Show On Earth in the coming week. The last time I updated my master movie list was in December, so here's what I've been watching over the last 6 months.

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he probably waited this long just to see if the rapture was gonna happen

Joseph Brooks, the composer of "You Light Up My Life" was found dead of an apparent suicide. While there's a delicious irony in the story of the man who penned the line "you give me hope to carry on" offing himself, the suicide isn't really surprising or particularly sad. Brooks was in the midst of a trial which included 90+ counts of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual assault. Apparently, he lured a dozen women to his Upper East Side apartment in New York City through Craigslist ads to audition for non-existent film roles, paying for their travel and accommodations, roofied their wine and then had his way with them. As if that wasn't enough, his son Nicholas was awaiting a murder trial in the death of his girlfriend. At the age of 73, it's not surprising the elder Brooks couldn't find much value in the rest of his life.

Considering myself a sane man, his conduct puzzles me. Obviously it's an indication of some behavioral dysfunction, psychosis, hatred of women, need for power/control, or whatever you want to call it, because it simply makes no sense otherwise. Brooks was a wealthy man. The royalties from that one song had him set financially for the rest of his life. As emphasized above, he spent thousands of dollars on this enterprise. If this was merely a case of a lonely old man looking for a little nookie from much younger women, he clearly had the money to procure the higher echelon of upscale escorts. I mean, if you're going to undertake a criminal act ANYWAY to engage in sexual activity, wouldn't that make more sense? I'm sure he could have even arranged for a professional to role-play a bright-eyed bumpkin looking for fame on the casting couch if that's where he got his jollies. I say good riddance. It at least saves the taxpayers the cost of housing his sorry ass until he died of natural causes. Hopefully he'll be convicted in absentia and the women he attacked can successfully pursue a civil suit against his estate.
i'm ready for my close up mr demille

Writer's block

What's your favorite line from a song, and why?

I've never done a writer's block but I saw this in porcelain72's journal and lately I've been obsessed with the group Freakwater. They have some great lyrics, among other things. Here are a few of my favorites.

"Give her a cake, she's looking for a file. Give her a kiss, she'll suck the gold out of your mouth."

"Whiskey is not evil when it's sitting on the shelf."

"My baby's a swinger and he's hard to dodge, kicking up gravel by the motor lodge."

"I've been good and I've been good for nothing. I had it bad for something."

"I would trade everything I believe and keep no trick card up my sleeve just to know the angels hold you in their arms tonight."

"I won't have far to go when I go crazy."

And since it's the Rapture, here's an entire song:

Are you ready for your new home in the sky?
Think your luck will finally turn around the minute that you die?
And all your prophets who profit only from your fears
Will they stand by and hold your hand when the end is finally near?

Are you ready to claim your great reward?
To climb those shining stairs and shake hands with your Lord?
When you look down on those poor sinners such as I
Who missed our chance to be redeemed will your laughter drown our cries?

Are you ready to leave this sinful world?
Would you like to read your name when that great scroll is unfurled?
And if Jesus calls you home when that angel trumpet sounds
Won't you just leave me alone if I'm six feet under ground?

Are you ready for your new home in the sky?
Think your luck will finally turn around the minute that you die?
And all your prophets who profit only from your fears
Will they stand by and hold your hand when the end is finally near?

Are you ready?

..and finally, a video:


i've been good and i've been good for nothing

In the southern Chicagoland area, the Tri-State Tollway (I-80/I-294) crosses Thornton Quarry. You can see the highway in the upper quarter of the photo. It's the second largest quarry in the world at 1.5 miles long, a half mile wide and over 400 feet deep. The beginnings of the quarry date back as far as 1846, when several independent quarries began mining in the area. Over the years, the quarries were gobbled up and consolidated into the three massive quarries that exists today. The sections are connected by underground tunnels large enough to accomodate mining equipment and dump trucks and produces 7 million tons of mineral annually.

Since 2002, portions of the quarry have been used as a reservoir that's part of the Chicago Deep Tunnel, a public-works program commissioned in the 1970s and not scheduled to be completed until sometime later this decade. At its current depth, the quarry is revealing 450 million year old coral, yielding fossils of Silurian Age crustacean, squid, and octopus. In 1994, a 4.5 billion year old meteorite was uncovered that weighed nearly 1,000 lbs.

Truck drivers have a knack for giving clever names to the things they see on the road. These names are often colorful, and not always politically correct. For instance, a burning vehicle is a road-side barbecue. An ambulance is a meat wagon or a band-aid buggy. San Francisco is "Gay Bay" and some of the old timers still call Chicago "The Mistake on the Lake". That seems to be the protocol in trucker slang when it comes to naming geographical locations, usually it's something distinctive about the city. Chicago is famous for its Polish population, boasting the largest in the country.

Which is what lead to the Thornton Quarry receiving its trucker name, "The Polish Grand Canyon".

New York! New York! It's a helluva town. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down!

The load I had over the weekend had entirely too much time in it, leaving roughly 20 hours of downtime. The customer said they couldn't take me early and dispatch couldn't get me an earlier appointment time. I decided, then, that a side-trip to NYC was long over-due. The last time I was in New York was December of 2005, when me and a student I was training at the time, had dinner with evelynnash.

I parked in New Jersey and caught a bus for the city. I stepped out onto the corner of 8th Ave and 42nd street at about 7:30pm. I didn't have a lot of time to spend there, as the last bus out of the city departed at half past midnight, but it was nice just being back after so long.

I was planning on going down to Little Italy for dinner, but I decided to take a stroll up Broadway through Times Square. I'm a firm believer that no trip to NYC is complete unless you visit at least one pop music land mark of some sort, so I wanted to walk by The Brill Building.

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there's nothing cold as ashes after the fire is gone

So I've been obsessed with Loretta Lynn this week. She was a bad ass! Whereas a lot of her contemperaries, like Dolly Parton, pleaded with rivals, Loretta made it clear she'd slap a bitch before she let some tramp take her man on tracks like "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and especially on "Fist City".

If you don't wanna go to fist city you better detour around my town
'Cause I'll grab you by the hair o' the head and a'lift you off o' the ground
I'm not a'sayin' my baby's a saint 'cause he ain't, and that he won't cat around with a kitty
I'm here to tell you gal to lay off o' my man if you don't wanna go to fist city

It's both amusing and sad to watch her perform some of these songs for television, like in the video which follows. The song is defiant and laced with animosity, but because it is 1960s television she's bouncy, perky, and has a huge smile on her face. On top of that, country and western performers of the day wore all those rhinestones and sequins on gawdy outfits. It adds a thick sheen of artifice that makes the whole thing look ridiculous as opposed to hearing just the song. A lot of classic, Nashville country is insanely good music, but I think a combination of the downhome, hayseed nature of the lyrics and the way it was packaged for telelvision (especillay in the 60s and 70s, i.e. Hee-Haw, Grand Ole Opry, Barbara Mandrell Show, etc.) caused it to not be taken very seriously by urbanites who consider themselves much more sophisitcated.

I read somehwere once that when Buck Owens finally left Hee-Haw the reason he gave was that he was afraid the campy success of the show was going to overshadow his musical career which had preceded it, which was raw and rugged... and it's arguable that it did. It's safe to say that, more than any other genre of American music, that country & western was completely destroyed by telelvision. Its legacy is the largely down-tempo, bland modern country music which stands in its place to day.

You better close your face and stay outta my way!
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    Loretta Lynn - "Fist City"
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soopa@LJ 3.0

So it may be apparent that I'm trying to get back into the LJ swing of things. Obviously, it's a different place than it used to be in the days of yore. First MySpace, then Facebook and Twitter have resulted in a mass exodus. To that, I say GOOD! Most of the people who left for those other sites were the same people who posted 10 times a day about what their dog was doing or what they were having for lunch. I'd much rather have a few quality posts per month from someone than a bunch of shit filling up my f-list on a daily basis.

It's not like there aren't still a LOT of people around LiveJournal to get to know. You ever look at the stats page? Of LJ's 30+ million accounts, 2 million are considered "active". Half of those (almost a million) have been active in the last 30 days, and half of those (almost 500,000) have been active in the last 7 days.

I imagine that most of you are like me, who have become disenchanted with how many of your friends are no longer around here. So I suggest you join me in doing the following:

1) Take a look through your friends list and identify the active ones. See if there are any who you think would like each other, that aren't already friended, and suggest to them that they check each other out. I know I would love to hear from some of you about friends you might have that I'd enjoy. Feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments of this entry if you can think of any... especially if they're hot. ;-)

2) Make at least one, new, active friend this weekend, totally unrelated to ANY of your current friends. Look through commmunities you enjoy or totally new communities you've never been a part of.

3) Repeat as necessary until you have an f-list size which is right for you.

Good luck! I look forward to getting some friend recommendations from you. Now, I'm off to poach a friend from a community somehwere.

this is a man's world, but it would be nothing... nothing without a woman or a girl

Can anyone tell me why, in public restrooms, there is always one urinal which is lower than all the others? And I don't mean why as in, the REASON why: I've always assumed it's related to some ADA requirement or just a courtesy for children. My question is, why is it the ONLY one? Why not just make them all that height?

I recently watched the sequel to Boondock Saints. While it wasn't nearly as entertaining as the first one, there is a dream sequence near the end with a speech of sorts with which I completely and totally identify. I thought I'd share it, somewhat paraphrased since multiple characters speak the sentiment in the scene.

Men build things, then we die. It's in our fucking DNA! THAT'S WHAT WE DO! And when it all falls down? We build it right back up again. But this time bigger. BETTER! Look! Look what we can do. Look how fuckin' beautiful we are. You think the men that built all this had it easy? Hard men! Doing hard shit! And that gives me a hard on.

I am so sick of all of this self-help, twelve-step, leftover hippie generation bullshit! Now they don't want you to do anything, right? Just sit there. Don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't drive fast. Kiss my ass! Fuck it! Do it all I say! Do you think Duke Wayne spent all of his time talking about his feelings with a fuckin' therapist? There's no fucking way he did! John Wayne died with five pounds of undigested red meat in his ass. Now that's a man!

Real men hide their feelings. Why? Because it's none of your fuckin' business! Men do not cry. Men do not pout. Men jack you in the fuckin' jaw and say, "Thanks for comin' out."

I've always felt there was a disservice done to men by the second-wave feminist movement, that I'm not sure I can explain adequately without coming-off like some mysogynist pig. There always seemed to be an expectation that men had to change the very essence of what it meant to be a man. In a nutshell, we were expected to be more like women and the reverse of the scenario was just stupid and silly, because our way was wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for equality for all folk. The end result, a culture where women have infinitely more opportunity than they did 40 years ago, is remarkable and it might be that something this drastic was necessary to get the ball rolling. To be fair, in the "third-wave" of feminism, some of these trends which have irked me are being reversed. A large cross-section of women in our culture are discovering their masculine sides and becoming more understanding of what makes a man tick... and it's very sexy. I guess I just felt that for years, in the so-called battle of the sexes, it was incredibly lopsided. After millenia of inequality, it's not lost on me that a few decades of lopsidedness is a small price to pay. My hope is that when the dust finally settles that we meet somewhere in the middle.

RIP Poly Styrene

Poly Styrene passed away last night at the age of 53 after a battle with cancer. Coincidentally, she had a new solo album being released today. As a mixed-race, curly-haired, chubby-faced, big-eyed young woman with braces on her teeth and a knock-kneed stage presence, she was the most unlikely person to ever front a band. She embodied the sexual energy of a front-man while simulataneously flaunting all its conventions. I first heard X-ray Spex when I was maybe 19 and her vocals just blew me away. She belted her songs like a champ but couldn't hide the occasional squeal which belied her youthful exuberance. While they arguably had better songs, "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" became a staple of the punk rock canon. It was irreverent, loud, and just a bit naughty. Thankfully, the opening line of "Little girls should be seen and not heard" is ironic and defiant, and the world got the chance to hear her. You can go look her up on Wikipedia or the various obituaries that have been written online this morning at your own leisure, but for now, enjoy a bonafide punk rock classic. R.I.P. Poly.