Star Wars: A Review of Wilco’s New Album

Star_Wars_WilcoI know. I know. I know.  I’m late to the Wilco party.  But, their new album, Star Wars, is a rockin’ masterpiece.  Known as audio chameleons, Wilco’s offering is punchy and surprisingly straight forward.  That’s not to say it is without its lovable quirks that place the album firmly in the alt rock category.

Perhaps my favorite thing about Star Wars is the mixing.  No muddled instruments, a common theme in recent pop music.  I know, I’m a snob.  Here, each guitar seems to occupy its own edge of the spectrum, resulting in a recording that actually sounds like a band.  Well done, Wilco.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE on iTunes and on the band’s website, Wilcoworld.net?  What are you waiting for?  Go get your light saber.

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than SciFi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

What is at Stake with Potential Iran Nuclear Deal

1. Is it a potential increase in stability for the Middle East or will it have a major destabilizing effect?

2. The deal proclaims an increase in international access and inspection of the Iran nuclear program will derail any potential weapons program.  How can they be certain?

3. It will end the major economic sanctions for the Iranian people, who by accounts, have been subjected to poverty.

4. May lead to a push for western democracy in Iran.

5. President Obama’s legacy:  finding a way to end harsh economic sanctions that were politically motivated.  Compare to Cuba situation.  These actions may be what he is remembered for long term, not universal healthcare in the United States.

6.  Will the United States alienate its chief allies in the region (Israel, Saudi Arabia)?

7.  The restoration of good relations with Russia / Putin after disagreements over Ukraine.

8. What will Israel do in response?  Operation Opera / Operation Babylon in June 1981 wasn’t that long ago.  Israel is the most threatened by Iran.  Why doesn’t Israel have a United Nations Security Council vote?

9.  The agreement has a “snap back” provision that would reintroduce the harsh sanctions in the event of noncompliance.

10.  Military intervention has not been taken off the table with the agreement.

11.  U.S. congress votes to ratify (or not) in September.

12.  Will this spark a new arms race in the region (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq)?

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than SciFi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

Ant-Man: A Tiny Review

Marvel did it again.  Just when you think they may have a flop on their hands, they produce a giant winner in Ant-Man.  This is no small feat with their 12th consecutive #1 opening.  The movie was hilarious, much funnier than the forgettable Avengers:  Age of Ultron.  More laugh out loud moments than The Guardians of the Galaxy, in my humble opinion (hold my tongue, I know).  The dialogue was snappy, and the heist approach was fresh for a superhero flick.

The only bug spray I have to unload is the hero-villain setup.  Haven’t we been there done that in Iron Man 1 when Tony Stark had to defeat the crazed CEO of his company who had developed his own super suit?  Just saying…

Am I stomping on the ant hill or maybe just making a big deal over a tiny detail?

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

The Difference Between Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys

Two major franchise reboots, one prehistoric, one futuristic.  One roared out of the gate, knocking down the turnstiles, the other tripped over its own cybernetic feet.  While I enjoyed Terminator Genisys, I loved Jurassic World.  Why did JW break records while TG largely disappointed nostalgia seeking nerds like me?  Here are some thoughts:

1.  JW is dinosaurs attacking people on an isolated island based amusement park.  A visceral fight to survive.  It’s a simple concept executed again to perfection.  (The idea was genius thirty years ago when produced by the late, Michael Crichton.)  It sticks closely to the formula:  children in peril, park administrator doesn’t appreciate the dangers, everyone must be saved by a brilliant scientist, if at all.  It had the same tone, but introduced new characters that were fun and likable.

2. The Terminator franchise is at its best when it is both SciFi and horror.  TG was not scary, not even for a moment.  By utilizing the same characters from previous movies, the producers’ hands were tied, more so since the movie is a very technical time travel franchise.  In my opinion, this is where the story stalls.  Why not tell a new Terminator story in the same in the same cinematic universe with new characters?  That was sort of tried in Terminator Salvation and Sam Worthington’s character is the best part, but the story felt halfhearted.  My suggestion:  different terminator, different time period, different target, different objective.  What if Professor Charles Xavier was replaced by a T-1000?  Would the X-Men ever unite?  Wait, did I mess something up?

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

Why I’m Excited About the New Batman vs. Superman Trailer

1. Visually Interesting.  Zach Snyder gets comic books.  The hallmark of the medium is images that won’t leave your mind–movement while being a 2D still.  Energy while leveraging tension (see 300 if you are confused).

2. Motiff:  Super vs. Super.  While many consider the comic book movie genre to be a well too often visited, DC is trying something different.  While it is well worn on paper pages, it has not been explored on screen yet.  Give DC some credit here.  They may be late to the party, but they are bringing the host a new, cool gift.

3. Role Reversal / New Ideas.  On screen, we are used to seeing Superman as a flawless, almost messianic like character, a public relations / propaganda piece for the idealized America (see Captain America for a good comparison).  In this trailer, we see that Superman has blood on his hands, collateral damage from his defeat of General Zod. When to go to war is just as important as how you conduct it.  Batman, on the other hand, has most recently been portrayed on screen as the anti-hero, the “villan Gotham needs,” our Dark Knight.  Batman will either shine as bright as the sun or fade further into a black hole.  When is revenge okay?

If I have to sit through another superhero movie, give me a front row seat and some popcorn.  Just don’t tell me how long I have to wait for this one to hit theaters!

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

 

 

 

 

Commander William Riker’s Haiku

Riker 38Commander Riker is the jack of all trades on the Enterprise-D.  Rocking the hipster beard in the 24th century, he was before (after) his time.  My mom still loves him and will always love him.  Counsel Troi better stay out of her way.

 

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

 

Captain Picard’s Haiku

Picard 37Captain Picard vs. Captain Kirk.  Cerebral vs. cavalier.  French (English) vs. American (Canadian).  Comb-less vs. Comb-over.  Who ya got?  Seriously though, I’d want both of them on my side.  Picard as my Godfather and Kirk as my consigliere (war time, of course).

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

For the Love of Grunge

From the first distorted chord, I was hooked.  I had never heard anything like grunge before.  Raised on a steady diet of oldies, gospel, Motown, and The Beatles, my musical appetite was starved, emaciated even, but I didn’t know it.  Don’t get me wrong, I still consider many of the hits from the 50s and 60s among my favorites, but Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” awakened a hunger within me that I’d never felt before.  Angst.  The tension of teenaged years combined with sonic moxie equaled empowerment for my generation.  For me, it opened the door to new emotions and undiscovered creativity.  I still visit the halls of grunge daily.  There is no escape for me; it is in my latent DNA, and it is a prison I’m glad to dwell in.

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

 

Terminator Genesys: Movie Review

Back again.   Terminator Genesys lumbers onto the screen, this time with more life on his exoskeleton.  Barely.  But enough to provide for a tasty meal snack.  I went in with low expectations and was rewarded.  This fifth installment was preceded by two largely lifeless sequels.  Terminator Salvation could have been special but for a marketing campaign, which sabotaged any potential “ah-ha” moments.  It was a shame.  At least Salvation had potential.  Terminator:  Rise of the Machines is so bad, it will be on Mystery Science Theater 3000 one day.

The current film uses the considerable acting chops of Emelia Clarke, Jason Clarke (not related, but her son), JK Simmons (have you seen Whiplash yet???), and the surprising Jai Courtney to its advantage.  Schwarzenegger hasn’t been this funny in years.  Among the film’s strengths is director, Alan Taylor’s scene for scene recreation of the 1984 classic’s opening in the streets of LA.  There were lots of giggles of delight in my theater.

While the many time travel plot problems stick out–way out–it is the lack of plot creativity that nearly dooms this installment.  Can we break new ground or is there only one way to defeat SkyNet?   It is also a lack of understanding of what made the original and the first sequel timeless:  they were horror movies as much as they were SciFi flicks.  While some might blame the film’s PG-13 rating for this miss, I believe it is possible to be scary, frightening even, without piles of graphic violence.

Despite all of this, I was entertained.  It could have been my low expectations buoyed by a lifetime supply of Coca Cola or the good acting and well timed humor.  I know it wasn’t the story.  Yet, I am hoping for a Terminator Six in the near future.

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

Independence Day

July 4thI may get in trouble for this.  My conservative friends may skewer me.  But I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to let all people legally marry.  Give me a chance to explain.

First, I hear you.  “Constitutional Law” is a joke.  The 200+ year old document doesn’t address the issue.  Nine judges sitting in a room can’t divine what the Founding Fathers intended.  They are long dead and gone.  Does it even matter?

Second, the rallying cry, “America was found on Christian principles” as an anchor for pseudo religious-state beliefs is nonsense, too.  Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but give to God what is God’s.”   Not “no taxation without representation.”  The Bible preaches being a good citizen, not inciting a violent revolution.  These are hard lessons, no doubt.  But don’t even get me started on slavery.  “God is love.” And Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Treating fellow humans like cattle doesn’t resolve with this core teaching.  Are you still reading?  Am I making sense?  The argument that the United States was founded on Christian principles as justification against the recent court decision isn’t logical to a Bible loving Christian when taken as more than a slogan.  Aren’t we all too smart for this now?

Third, Christians believe that Jesus is the greatest gift God has given us.  Second best?  I’d argue free choice.  To create intelligent beings then to allow them autonomy is awesome.  It takes guts.  It takes risk.  The creation can reject the creator’s way of living in favor of his/her own path.  This is true love.  It doesn’t make is less so just because it hurts sometimes.  Every parent knows what it feels like when his/her offspring rejects good parental wisdom.  If we can agree that free choice is a God-given gift of love, then we ought to agree that taking away such freedom is dehumanizing, even if we disagree with the choices that might be made as a result of such a gift.  After all, free choice is the one Biblical principle this great country was actually founded upon.

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com