Reviews of some excellent music. Best experienced with a cannabis infusion.
Last night sent an already historic presidential race careening into the primaries amid an unprecedented amount of turmoil. Trump took a major lead for the Republican’s, but Cruz refuses to respond to the bug spray and go back into his hole in Texas. Clinton took home seven states to Sanders’ four, but the progressive still had impressive turns at the polls. In the seven states that he lost, Sanders won around a third of the vote or more, sometimes nearly half, with the two exceptions being Alaska and Georgia with 19% and 28% respectively. Still a considerable pull for someone who never stood a chance…
With the most populous states yet to vote (Texas being the exception), the race is far from over. Trump and Clinton both gave their speeches from Florida amid their continued campaign. Clinton’s message changed somewhat from earlier in her campaign. Her speech attempted to unite her party’s foundation against Trump and win over some of Sanders’ base with some progressive lingo borrowed directly from Sanders’ talking points. Seeing her attitude change towards the progressive policies is encouraging, but the American people have been fooled by this before. It’s old politics and her rhetoric is only masking the nebulous possibilities of what a Clinton presidency could hold.
Elsewhere in Florida, Trump gave his Super Tuesday victory speech. First introduced by Chris Christie, the fat bully and bigot from New Jersey, there was great pleasure to take in watching Christie share the airwaves while Trump expelled his signature gaseous eruptions. Christie, standing over Trump’s right shoulder in prominent view as he attempts to sidle up to the GOP’s wrecking ball, offered us insight into his lost soul. His brow constantly furrowed as his eyes darted around the room, unable to remain focused for long. We see him frequently getting lost in thought, not paying particular attention to Trump. Christie is clearly on another planet, praying for Trump’s speech to end so he can engulf more of the buffet. I encourage anyone to – just once – fast forward or rewind through Trump’s speech and focus on Christie the whole time. His performance was that of a brilliant sad clown.
Drumpf’s speech was entertaining as usual. Covering familiar points, the fatuous fuck praised his voters – CNN isn’t shy about calling them dumb, poor, and white – for giving him his lead. Offering little in the way of policy, and shutting down a reporter or two trying to ask real questions, Drumpf provided us with the familiar canon that has pulled him to lead in this race.
As his neck folds attempted to engulf his shirt collar, Drumpf continued to sell his base on his negotiating skills while taking ample opportunities to inhale his own stench with long, audible sniffs. The questions that have been left unanswered, and I’m sure Drumpf would call me a loser and refuse to answer them, is how in God’s name does a trade deficit equate to A) Mexico paying for a wall? and B) the Gulf States taking in refugees? There is no answer because it won’t happen. Drumpf is great at selling himself and negotiating from a position where he holds the power, but what happens when he gets into a mess and has little or no power left to negotiate with? He is a bully, like the sniveling barnacle suckling at his jowls, Chris Christie, and when their power dries up, or the tables turn against them, there is no doubt that this type of megalomaniac will sell us all down the river, or scorch the earth trying. Make no mistake, the sots parading before us are not there to help make America great again; they’re there only to make themselves great.
But credit must be given where it’s due. Both Drumpf and Sanders are galvanizing a population dissatisfied with establishment politics and corporate interests buying up Washington. Both party establishments have taken years to painstakingly usher in this current wave of political revolution and creative destruction. Granted, that certainly wasn’t their intention. No, they were vying for complete control; constricting the movements of government to a two party system that serves as a profitable charade for private institutions. Politics is the entertainment division of the political industrial complex, we are told.
The GOP, for years, has worked diligently night and day to keep large swaths of America poor, dumb, and fearful. They’ve been grooming that vein and tapping into it regularly for the last 50 years. What they didn’t anticipate was that it was open for others to tap into as well.
Both parties, by creating such impossible barriers for a third party after the ‘96 elections, have limited America to a two party system – which is why we have Drumpf running as a Republican and Sanders running on a Democratic ticket. This circus has now created a schism of divide within each party. Unless each party addresses the progressive, anti-establishment contingents by catering to them, the parties are doomed to splinter or ruin, with the GOP falling first. The larger thought is that America needs more than two parties. The idea of a two party system representing the vastly different regions of America is as absurd as saying that Texas, New York, Chicago, California, and Florida are all pretty much the same; one you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
On the democratic side, it would seem that by moving towards the center right since the 80’s, they’ve alienated a certain – and sizable – chunk of their base. And there is really no telling how the Sanders supporters are going to vote come November if it’s a Clinton/Drumpf race, which it will almost certainly be. More than a few people see any alternative to Clinton as a ‘fuck you’ to the powers that be… At this point in the race, Clinton is not the unifying candidate Obama was in 2008 and she lacks the charisma and charm of her husband. She has begun changing her message, but with a campaign entrenched in scandal and a current of distrust rippling through potential voters, Drumpf has a shot of winning some of the democratic anti-establishment over to his side. He will have no trouble pouncing on her weaknesses and ripping them open like a rabid hyena in front of all the world. (What’s the over under for how many times he calls Hillary a loser? Anyone want some of that action?)
The irony of Drumpf parading as the anti-establishment Republican candidate is that he is the very type of businessman that makes his fortune swindling the middle class, the poor, and the ignorant. His rhetoric last night about forcing Apple to bring their iPhone production back to America, bringing jobs back from elsewhere in the world, sounds great, but has no founding in actual economic or political principal. For any of this to work and be profitable for the company, the American worker would need to acquiesce to a life of indentured servitude – which is what the poultry industry has done to its farmers.
Drumpf is seducing the fat, dumb, American country girl with his glamorous, big money, big city ways. When the lights come on next January, there’s going to be a lot of shame, self-loathing, and regret. But that’s not to say that there isn’t joy to be had watching the establishments of both parties scramble and the two party system teeter on the verge of crumbling. For many of us, myself included, there is a bit of glee watching party politics fail and a joke candidate transform into a sobering reality as we careen forward, almost certainly to our doom.
In March, a little opensource software program hit the web for one week and was taken down by it’s creators. In just one week, Popcorn Time changed the face of movie piracy. It challenged the very nature of the movie industry and the existing form of piracy on the web. What Popcorn Time does is allow users to search and stream torrents. It is Netflix for pirated material. The user does not have to download the illegal copy of the movie they want to see to their computer, they can simply view it at their leisure and be done with it. This allows for only a handful of people to actually ‘host’ the content, but many users to have access to the content. If the movie industry wanted to bust you for downloading illegal movies, the authorities would have to prove that you have a bunch of illegal movies on your hard-drive. Popcorn Time avoids the step of actual possession of the illegal content and restricts it to people who are comfortable sharing the content (likely because they are over seas).
After being taken down one week after it went live, Popcorn Time got a new home. Popcorn Time’s original incarnation was never intended to stay up for an extended period of time. It was created as more of a statement that something was broken with Hollywood. Take a moment and read what the guys have to say here. They eloquently articulate their grievances with the movie industry. And they hit the nail on the head.
“…the movie industry has way too many ridiculous restrictions on way too many markets. Take Argentina for example: streaming providers seem to believe that “There’s Something About Mary” is a recent movie. That movie would be old enough to vote here.”
They go on to say:
“Piracy is not a people problem. It’s a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don’t care.”
As stated previously, Popcorn Time now has new home. Due to the nature of the opensource software, it is likely here to stay.
This ushers in a new section for the debate. For years Hollywood has claimed that it was being hurt by piracy, yet they posted record profits in 2011, 2012, and 2013. As it turns out, 2013 was a record breaking year for the movie industry – in spite of prolific piracy of top films. Over the past couple of years multiple studies have shown that piracy has not hurt Hollywood. Yet most of the people inside Hollywood cling to the notion that they are being hurt by Piracy*, despite evidence to the contrary. They carry with them this ‘us versus them‘ worldview that represents a distance between the people producing the art and the audience that consumes it. This is the same audience that drives the innovation of consumption. As pointed out by Popcorn Time, Hollywood’s negative view of innovation actually hurts them (and is more harmful in general). It robs Hollywood of creative opportunities to capitalize on their content in a productive and lucrative way. Without Napster exposing the music industry’s lack of innovation, you don’t get iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify. Popcorn Time, much like Napster, has just exposed a way to make a major avenue of content consumption more easily and readily available.
In reality, copying doesn’t hurt anybody.
The major problem that I have with the entire visual media industry is their desire to cling to antiquated notions of the industry’s business model. It’s great that HBO was among the first networks to offer their content online within their control (HBO GO), but why remain tethered to the cable netwoks? Cut the cable out of the equation and offer it like Hulu or Netflix. (It seems logical that this is tied to contracts and relationships with TimeWarner, etc.) If HBO offered GO as a stand alone service for, say $20 a month, but only $15 through cable, their subscription base would increase greatly. They could take advantage of the millions of people downloading Game of Thrones and other shows. According to that article, GoT is downloaded nearly twice as much as the other top pirated shows. That is a major market from which HBO could make tons of money (for new awesome shows!) if they open up HBO GO as an a la carte option. To be fair, I’m sure they have their financial reasons for only going through cable, but as the internet climate changes, we can hope that maybe HBO will adjust their business model as well.
On a larger scale (and a tangent), it would be ideal if you could pick and choose your cable channels (I want AMC, HBO, Comedy Central, but no Bravo!, no O!, no MTV, etc.) and pay for only those channels. That’s another derivative of the industry that is holding on to an outdated business model instead of giving people what they want. But that’s where the web is trending anyway with this concept of digital piracy. Effectively, people are saying, ‘Why pay for all this crap that I don’t watch when I only want these 11 shows?’ Now people can and are cutting out Cable. The problem is that both Cable and the Movie Industry want to control what you – the paying consumer – get. The democratization of the internet is gradually putting a stop to this. People know what they want and want control over what they get. If Hollywood relaxes their bogus restrictions on what gets released where and when and what people in other countries can and cannot watch, piracy drops some. If cable provides more legal ways for people to get to the content that they want, (like iTunes did with music), piracy drops again. We – the consumers – want to support our shows and movies and musicians. We are ferociously passionate about our culture because we use it to identify ourselves. This passion of culture is deeply human, and the passion of our individual identity is embedded within our American beliefs and individualistic way of life. Restricting it will only result in people finding ‘nefarious’ ways of obtaining it, and it’s the industry that looses the potential money and, as a reaction, creates enemies out of it’s lifeblood.
To date, one of the best arguments for copying being used to to create new things is the little well done movie below. It clearly illustrates the hypocrisy of some major copyright holders and shows how copyrights can sometimes hurt our culture as a whole. Sit back and enjoy.
The dynamic duo also introduces a new segment discussing 100% True Origin Stories of Famous Phrases. They then finish it all off with a random rant where Ryan’s gushes about his man-crush on Pope Francis.
With everyone’s favorite green themed holiday right around the corner, it’s time to review the proper food and drinks in which you must indulge on this most festive intro to spring. Certain beers and Irish Whiskeys will be on sale at your local supermarket, so use this guide to plan accordingly, shop smart, and take confidence that you have the power to be a better bartender this year than that dude who kept skipping over you last year.
Your shopping list:
- Guinness. LOTS and LOTS of delicious, smooth, rich & creamy Guinness. Not only will you use it for cooking, but there are a myriad of ways to enjoy the quintessential Irish Stout. And it’s usually on sale prior to St. Paddy’s day. (Jewel in Chicago has 8 pack pint cans for $11.99)
- Two Gingers. Usually about this time college kids and the odd high school student will start jumping up and down on the Jameson bandwagon causing you to spill your drink and get irate. This is where you’re maturity sets you apart from the novices. Two Gingers is a smooth and refined Irish Whiskey imported from Ireland. It’s not as sweet as Jameson and usually a dollar or two cheaper, but this does not mean that it is of a lessor quality. I find it to be much better. And it’s a great whiskey to use in an Irish coffee. (Bushmill’s if you have some extra spending cash is also on the preferred list.)
- Harp Lager. You need this to pair with your Guinness for a proper Black and Tan. And to drink in case your guests drink you out of Guinness. But they shouldn’t because you paid attention to the first point on the list and got A LOT.
- Baileys Irish Cream. Or something similar. Just for a good Irish coffee and the different brands taste pretty much the same. Just stick with the original flavor. Going into the weeds might leave you wishing you didn’t.
- Ginger ale or ginger beer. LIMES.
- Corned beef. The leaner the better.
- Cabbage. One head should be plenty, but cutting it is going to be a bitch. Find a good YouTube video that shows you how and watch that first.
- Red potatoes. Carrots. Onions. 1,000 island. Rye bread.
- Anything else that good recipe you found on google calls for. Every year we do one corned beef in the crock pot and one in the oven. We add about a can or two of Guinness to each and it turns out awesome. I’ll be eating corned beef sandwiches for a week and it’s the greatest thing ever. I love it and I never look back. I’m getting hungry now just thinking about it.
The big thing is to start the food prep early. I’d even go so far as to suggest peeling the carrots and cutting up the red potatoes the night before and putting them in the fridge. It takes work and time (oh no!!), but the pay off is absolutely worth it and the way your house smells is awesome. It adds a something extra to the holiday that you really can’t buy or recreate in any other way. And never, ever drink on an empty stomach.
Get the food ready and throw it into the oven and/or slow cooker.
Then have breakfast. Corned beef hash is usually a good way to go. Of course you need an Irish coffee to go with it. It’s going to be a big day, but not without your coffee.
Once you get home (I didn’t expect you to spend the entire day in the kitchen. If your brunch place doesn’t serve drinks, bring your own, just don’t mix the Baileys and Two Gingers in the same container. And don’t be an idiot about it. It’s far to early in the day to be ejected from an establishment.) mix yourself a Black and Tan. Put on your favorite Irish movie (my list below). Or put on some good Irish music (Dropkick Murphy’s, Three Irish Tenors, Riverdance whatever floats your boat; there’s plenty to pick from.) Put up the decorations and maybe do an Irish car bomb before everyone arrives. That’s the extra kick in the pants to get the party started.
After that? Well, I’m from Chicago where St. Patrick’s day is held in more reverence than Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl combined (doesn’t help that Da Bears are rarely, if ever, involved in either one). We have big parades, dye the river green, and general insanity erupts from every tavern and bar in a 30 mile radius. So, go out, have fun, be safe, dress in green, throw beads, and hope that the weather cooperates. If you’re at home, use this link to one up that bartender from last year and make some amazing cocktails. If you stick with the shopping list above you can make a good assortment of drinks. One of my favorite non-beer drinks is Two Gingers, ginger beer, and lime over ice in a copper mug.
Keep in mind, on this celebration of the end of winter, that St. Patrick’s day isn’t about getting obliterated and spewing green. It’s about getting together with friends and celebrating the many great gifts the Irish immigrants imparted on American culture, and their legacy of hard work and family values. So drink responsibly, enjoy some great food, and be a good friend to all of those you choose to celebrate this day with and the luck of the Irish will shine upon you. Sláinte! (Pronounced – se-laan-che. Today’s the day to say it!)
Rob’s Irish Movie Short List:
The Departed, Boondock Saints, Waking Ned Devine, Grabbers, Gangs of New York, The Quiet Man.
Rob’s Irish Music Short List:
Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly (fav album: Behind the Green Door), The Three Irish Tenors, Thin Lizzy, The Tossers (they’re from Chicago!), The Dubliners.
I really did. The first few times I heard it, I recall thinking that the beginning sounded similar to “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. The chorus sounds like “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel. Both songs are classics in their own right and it’s annoying to have audible expectations only to be disappointed. Furthermore, I thought the band performing the song was One Direction. With all of this going through my head, my disgust rose with each time I heard the new mishmash of this song.
One day the song was stuck in my head so I began searching Google for the lyrics to find the song and then play it on youtube in an effort to get it out of my head. Google. “but i still wake up” lyrics. Enter. Ok, here we go. Let’s try this one. I get to this video (below) and I watch it. (con’t after video).
A few things happened the first time that I viewed this: I realized that it wasn’t by One Direction; The video has totally decent production value; and it’s telling a story – a good one.
Confronted with these self evident facts, I was forced to re-evaluate my perception of this song. I liked it. After watching the video for a second time, I found that it tells a timeless story in a meaningful way and maybe the homage to the two classic songs is part of the whole theme of the song and video.
Let me explain: The video opens following two men. One young and one old. The younger guy is spending time with his presumed girlfriend and the older guy is doing chores and tending to his homestead. This bit is filmed in a way that shows the older guy’s enjoyment and respect for the land. We see the older man also cleaning his rifle and bayonet. Both men go off to fight in the American Civil War, but on different sides; young guy on the Union, the older guy on the Confederacy.
Here’s where this gets interesting. This song was written in 2010 – 2011 and the video was filmed probably in late 2011/early 2012 (the official video was released on YouTube in June of 2012 and the album dropped in February 2012, so I am making an educated guess here). The time around when the song was written was the height of the Occupy movement. In addition to humanizing the ‘other side’, the lyrics repeatedly ask “What do I stand for? What do I stand for?” The chumbolones of the Occupy movement avoided any central leadership and failed to answer the question of what they stood for in a unifying and meaningful way and the movement fizzled out.
That is the understated theme that I picked up from this video. More overtly the song and video are about losing oneself and compromising one’s values in the face of war, but I took away from it an equally enduring conflict of young vs. old and the two different ideologies as it related to the Occupy movement. When the veneer of war and overt conflict is stripped away from the rift between the 99% and the 1%, the Occupiers and whomever it is they were occupying against, it’s just about people fighting for their way of life, just like the two men in the video (and the Civil War itself).
It would seem that this song is a call to action for young people in general to make a definitive stance on what they stand for, and to fight for it. In the video the older guy knew what he was fighting for. He was fighting for his farm, his horse, his land, his way of life. It seemed that the younger guy was going off to war as part of his duty. He was with his girlfriend and didn’t want to leave her, but had to. As it turns out, he was just a slightly better fighter and was able to win the struggle, but he didn’t have the motivations for fighting that his opponent did, thus leaving him lost and conflicted and asking the question over and over again, “What do I stand for? What do I stand for?”
“But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh, Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights I don’t know anymore…”
Read more: Fun. – Some Nights Lyrics | MetroLyrics
An aimless struggle, a directionless movement will not result in any meaningful change, as was evidenced by the whole Occupy movement. This calls to mind the old adage, “Stand for something or you will fall for anything.” As young people, it is important to make a thought out and intelligent decision on what you stand for and why, and then defend that with everything you have. Also, if there is another sort of movement, it must be united by a common cause or ideal. If the Occupy movement focused on the issue of income inequality and only focused on that issue, the the potential to achieve success in reform was well within their grasp. Without clear issues, without clear direction, without knowing what you stand for, all the ‘victories’ will be hollow.
I’m interested in hearing about your interpretations on this little movie. It’s pretty awesome and I’ve enjoyed watching it something like 15 – 20 times. Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.
If you haven’t listened to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series on the Mongols called Wrath of the Khans, do so immediately. The Mongols shaped the world into a completely different place through astonishing, brutal violence and cunning. Nothing was able to stop them as they conquered the Muslims, the Chinese, the Russians, and the Eastern Europeans. The way that Dan Carlin tells this tale of force and destruction is fascinating. His narration parallels an audio book. I must confess that I’ve listened to the entire series twice – from start to finish.
Without the background in history provided by the Wrath of the Khans, I would have brushed this BBC article aside without a second thought. However, with the wealth of knowledge as related to me by the Hardcore History podcast, this article takes on an entirely different perspective. My love to travel aside, the thought of experiencing Mongolia in a similar way to the traditional, nomadic Mongolians, and seeing the very steppe that gave rise to the most deadly conquerer the world has ever known with my own two eyes would be a dream come true. To further entice me, it would seem that the current inhabitants of Mongolia are welcoming and very hospitable. A trip through Mongolia, once something that would seem completely absurd (why bother?), has now earned its way to slot number 2 on my bucket list.
Footnote: To this day Genghis Khan’s burial tomb has never been found. As the story goes, all who built it were killed by soldiers, then those soldiers were killed. After his lifetime of spreading his empire from the East to the West, I just can’t imagine what the inside of his tomb would look like. Mongols were notorious for coveting ‘loot’ and treasures and for having many, many ‘wives’. What a fantastic sight it would be to see what secrets and treasures his tomb holds. I’d even be content with seeing pictures and the Nat-Geo issue.
This one here is all about inspiration and motivation. Right now, in Chicago and most of the country (east of the Rockies), it’s freaking cold. High 7F, low -15F. It’s almost March and the 10 day forecast doesn’t show a single day above freezing. We are also due to get a ton of snow this weekend. But summer is coming and you want to look good. The mantra is “I will do today what others won’t, so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” Yes, that means taking off your shirt when it’s warm out and feeling really good about it. We have a vein, materialistic culture and that’s a rant for another post, another time. Right now it’s about feeling good that you went to the gym when it was cold out. And feeling good that you got a good workout in while others stayed home and ordered in some junk food. Today is about you feeling good that you stuck to your commitment or resolution and the pride that comes with it. Don’t say, “f*** it, it’s cold” instead say, “f*** it, summer is around the corner and this will pay off.”
My workout today consisted of:
- 10 deadlifts
- 10 squats
- 20 kettlebell swings (28kg)
- 20 kettlebell shoulder swings (18kg) – 10 forward/10 side to side
- 15 box jumps (box slightly higher than the tops of my knees)
- 2 elbow/toe army crawl with kettlebell advancement (18kg – crawl over a kettlebell on your elbows and toes, rise to your hands, lift kettlebell forward with one hand, get back down to your elbows, crawl over it again, lift it with the other hand)
- Do this set 3 times with minimal rests in between exercises and sets.
Why this workout important:
- Most of your power and strength comes from your lower body.
- The largest muscles are in your lower body. Just by having muscle burns calories. Working these muscle groups out means that your are burning way more energy in your off time.
- Deadlifts are among the top/best exercises you can do for all around health.
- This workout will increase your heart-rate and burn more calories both during and after.
- You are hitting the slow and fast twitch muscle groups.
- Your ‘rest’ sets (army crawl/shoulder swings) are hitting your core, shoulders and back, but not to a point where you can’t work them in on your upper body day (tomorrow : ).
- and maybe the most important reason to do this: You don’t want to be these guys.
This winter has been long and painful. Nothing like a nice Polar Vortex to start things off, followed by some really friggin’ cold weather and a whole bunch of snow… that began melting and has now turned into solid ice. The upside of all this cold it that it has afforded me the opportunity to capture some really amazing sunrise photos for you to enjoy. I live in Chicago and the body of ice in the photo is Lake Michigan. The beauty of this image takes the icy edge off the frigid air. Just a note, the lines in the lake are not waves; rather it is all ice and snow. Enjoy!
On this episode of R&R with Rob and Ryan, our heroes confront the specter of a demon-possessed home in Gary, Indiana. Rob talks about the mankind’s long obsession with ghosts, spirits, and supernatural phenomena and Ryan admits that he ain’t afraid of no ghosts since he doesn’t believe in them. Our dynamic duo walks the audience through this creepy story that hit the news recently (link here) and asks the hard-hitting questions like “Is levitating a body a demon’s most annoying trick?” and “Why did this happen in Gary, Indiana of all places?”
At the end, Rob surprises Ryan with a spooky challenge. Does Ryan accept? Stay tuned to find out!