Friday, January 10, 2014

GIVE IT AWAY NOW:  Joining Bruno Mars as performers at the Super Bowl halftime show?  The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  For all the marketing they've put into "this time the game's in New York!" (even though it's in New Jersey), kind of odd that they have opted for two resolutely West Coast acts to entertain at halftime (and two West Coast acts who don't seem like the most natural of fits together).
CLASSICAL GAS?  Our good friend Adam C. wants to know:
I am 43 and interested in learning guitar.  Not particularly well, and not particularly expensively.  I have no known musical aptitude other than singing along respectably in the car and the ability to play some harmonica without causing others to flee.  I have never taken instrument lessons of any kind and haven't read music since middle school music class.  Essentially, I am interested (a) in training my brain to do something new, (b) playing along at a reasonable level with my kids, who do seem to have some musical aptitude (clarinet and drums/vocals, respectively), and (c) learning to play some of my favorite rock songs just for funsies. I do not aspire to membership in a band, weekend busking, a recording contract, session gigs, collecting a variety of cool axes, or other things that well-trained and talented guitar players might aspire to.

So I'd be very appreciative of any advice any of you guitar heroes can throw my way.  Should I start with acoustic, electric, or acoustic/electric?  Whatever I should start with, what make/model/accessories do you recommend for the beginner? Should I take lessons (live or online) or try to teach myself?  What is a humbucker pickup and should I want it?  You get the idea.  Thanks in advance for your wisdom.
STALLONE GUNNED DOWN DURING DEER HUNT? The top-rated movie (based on IMDb) set in each of the fifty states.

[Quick criticisms: Indiana should get Hoosiers or Breaking Away, not Christmas Story. Give Primary Colors to Arkansas over Sling Blade; for Florida, I prefer Out of Sight to Scarface.]

Thursday, January 9, 2014

STEEL CURTAIN OF LITIGATION:  A Pittsburgh Steelers fan is seeking an injunction against the NFL conducting further playoff games due to a missed call in the Chiefs/Chargers game, claiming that the missed call led to the Steelers' elimination from the playoffs, and that the Steelers should be admitted to the playoffs.

(HT: My Father, who monitors officiating news of all stripes.)
I'M SURE THIS WILL RESOLVE ALL CONTROVERSIES CONCLUSIVELY:  "Disney has created a special committee whose job it will be to figure out what is and isn't part of a complete Star Wars canon — meaning all the [Expanded Universe] material created over the years will be judged, and either become official or deemed invalid."
WHY BE A SERVANT TO THE LAW, WHEN YOU CAN BE ITS MASTER?  Updating an earlier story ("100% PURE UNNECESSARY!"), Gerard "yes, I count as a movie star in this diminished age" Butler is set to play the Bodhi role in the upcoming, unnecessary Point Break remake set in the extreme sports world.
DOCTOR ROSENROSEN:  A guide to the etymology of many Ashkenazi Jewish surnames.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MAD DOG HURT:  Congratulations to Greg Maddux (97.2%), Tom Glavine (91.9%), and Frank Thomas (83.7%)for being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on their first ballots. However, defying the Gizmo as well as your own preferences, Craig Biggio fell a painful two votes short, with Mike Piazza and Jack Morris (in his final year) next in line. Rafael Palmeiro wags his finger off the ballot with 4.4%, but Sammy Sosa remains on.

Full results below:

SO I DISCOVERED THAT 'SHREK THE MUSICAL' IS NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX:  And, again, I want to know why every Broadway production isn't at some point filmed with its original cast for subsequent streaming/VOD/DVD release, at a later point when self-cannibalization of potential Broadway (and touring) revenue isn't an issue.  Yes, you may have to forfeit some box office for the filming, and there are contractual issues to work out in terms of royalties sharing, but there's such a market for being able to see Patti LuPone's Gypsy, the Hugh Jackman Oklahoma (which is available on DVD and occasional PBS) and The Boy from Oz (which isn't), the original Wicked  production (after the film adaptation, of course), etc., that they ought to find a way to work this out.
SO I DISCOVERED THAT 'SHREK THE MUSICAL' IS NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX:  And can someone suggest the best means to satiate my daughters' new Sutton Foster fixation? Yes, I've shown them the "Anything Goes" performance from the Tony Awards.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BREAK UP THE PRINTING PRESS AND YOU BREAK UP THE REBELLION:  In fun Christmastime news, I found out that my cousin sold her first novel -- Gutenberg's Apprentice -- to HarperCollins.  It's an historical novel set against the creation of moveable type, the financier who bankrolled the effort, and the financier's son who went to work for Gutenberg.  They're supposedly going to make a big push with this one, so hopefully you'll be hearing more about it.

It's doubly fun for me because my cousin learned printing from our grandfather, who worked as a printer in San Francisco for fifty years.

DON'T FORGET YOUR BOOTIES: It's a few weeks early for the movie clip (but I'll link to it anyway, since it's appropriate), but we still need an open thread to tell of how ThingThrowers are coping with the Polar Vortex.  Stay warm, people!

Monday, January 6, 2014

FARE THEE NOT SO WELL:  You might have noticed an odd ad for Inside Llewyn Davis in Saturday's New York Times, appearing to reprint a tweet from Times critic A.O. Scott, who named the film the year's best.  However, not only was the tweet modified from its original context (which included references to American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street), but Scott didn't consent to its use--the Times has the story, which raises interesting questions about use, attribution, and modification.
LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S A WOMAN OF COLOR!  Sasheer Zamata, just like Paul Tabachneck predicted.
LLAMA (✓), LINCOLN (✓), AND SHOWGIRLS (✓):  Seth Meyers has his first backstage promo for his new late night program.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

CLUB HOPPIN', BOOTY POPPIN': I'm sure folks will want to talk about tonight's Good Wife, and at a bare minimum, we must link to the music video of the entire cast and crew getting down to "Thicky Trick." (Which ought to seal an Emmy nod for original music and lyrics, alongside the two eligible numbers from the Tonys.)
HER EYE, THUS FAR, REMAINS INTACT: In East Kingston, New Hampshire, "Local girl gets tongue stuck to flag pole":
"It just kind of popped into my head, 'Hey what would happen if I stuck my tongue to a flag pole?'" Maddie Gilmartin said. "At the moment, I was like, it will come right off."

But it didn't. "I'm stuck here in the middle of our yard just trying to get help," she said.