Monday, November 23, 2009

Rock This Boat!

YouTube - "Pirate Radio" - Official Trailer [HD]

If you like classic '60's rock and dandy British comedies, you'll dig Pirate Radio. This retro ride from director Richard Curtis, who's best known for his sweet and light touch in the classic Brit coms Four Wedding and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love, Actually,spreads happy dust over an interesting footnote in British history.

Back in 1966--at the height of the British rock revolution-- the famously stuffy and staid BBC shockingly restricted its home grown ground-breaking music from pulsating over its own venerable airwaves. But Brits still got their ears rockin' courtesy of pirate radio stations broadcasting rock 'n' roll beyond U.K. territorial waters.Thanks to radio pirates, Brits were singing and dancing along to the likes of the Beatles ( noticeably absent from the soundtrack), The Stones, The Kinks, The Who etc.

Curtis' fictional ship, Radio Rock, is populated with the usual quirky misfits. All risk easy caricature, but the actors add likable dimension. Philip Seymour Hoffman infuses the lone American renegade DJ called The Count with a defiant pathos that only an actor of such range and natural appeal could pull off in such choppy and sentimental waters. The Count's star status is in jeopardy when the more celebrated enigmatic British DJ,Gavin-- played with suave comic appeal by Rhys Ifans-- hits the deck to storm the airwaves.

Bill Nighy is terrific, too as Quentin the station owner and cool captain. And Kenneth Branagh makes a comically menacing star turn as a government meanie hellbent on shutting down the pirate radio stations through a series of loopholes and gotcha maneuvers. Emma Thompson has a brief, but captivating go as an aging floozy whose son was sent aboard to bond with his father. Just who the lucky sperm donor turns out to be a surprise all. January Jones, best known as the oft put-upon Betty Draper on Mad Men gets to push the buttons here as a heartless American tart, playing fast and loose with a couple of DJs' hearts.

You'll likely find yourself as immersed in the characters' personal relationships and longings as the quest to claim the airwaves for the evolution of the pop cultural revolution. This is a Richrad Curtis comedy, after all, and there's never really any danger; there are no real renegades on this ride.

But it is the beat-- that great music--that will keep you bobbing along, through what is a rather long and sometimes wayward journey. If you like this music, you'll be happy to hang on to the sweet end. And if you're a nostalgic radio head like me, you'll groove too, to the old-fashioned broadcasting equipment, cramped studio and vinyl records.

But if you're a casual listener, along say, to appease a date, you might find yourself grabbing for a life boat. But don't go cruising the concession stand. That popcorn will kill you.

Pirate Radio will just make you tap your feet uncontrollably, hum along, sing a long, maybe break out into a giddy sense of joy. Hey, it's only rock 'n' roll but I like it. Yes, I do!

Drive safe. Play nice. Dance fast.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Living in "Unfriending" Times

"Teabagger" came close. "Sexting" was in the running. Even "Birther" got a nomination. But when all the votes were counted, "Unfriend" proved the victor. The New American Oxford Dictionary unveiled its 2009 Word of the Year earlier this week and the newly coined word associated with social networking is the one that has the most"currency and potential longevity," according to Christine Lindberg, Oxford's senior lexicographer.

Listed as a verb, "Unfriend" is described as "To remove someone as a friend on a social networking site like facebook or MySpace. ex: I decided to unfriend my boss right after he fired me.

Other nominees included: "Funemployed": taking time to pursue other interests after losing a job.

"Freemium": Business model in which basic services are free with the aim of luring folks to pay for premium goods and services.

"Zombie Banks": financial institutions with debts outweighing assets, but kept afloat thanks to government bail-outs.

"Paywall": A way of blocking access to part of website, Another way to entice paying subscribers, Funny, I always thought a paywall was where all my virtual payments for my online wit and wisdom was sent. Guess, I don't have access to it. That explains a lot.

A couple of my favs:

"Tramp Stamp": this one's been around a few years. So I guess it's this year's honorary country music nominee ( you know they always seem to nominate someone who's been around for years as the "new voice". Like Darius Ruker... love him and that was a great album, but c'mon, after fronting Hootie for close to two decades, how can he be new?) Sorry for the digression. The tramp stamp, you know, right, is that fetching tattoo, usually on the lower back, and usually sported by women.

"Deleb": Dead celebrity. Think a dead celeb who makes big bucks should be called a "Red Deleb".... as in the red....

Oh, well, it's all word salad anyway. Indulge in the ones you find funny or useful. Toss the rest in the snail mail pail. Wasn't that term for a traditional garbage bin, a nominee in 2000? Maybe I just made it up. Go ahead, look it up.

Drive safe. Play nice. Think peace


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holly Jolly Flu Shots?

Move over Wall Street warriors and Gitmo detainees. Someone else is angling to cut in the H1N1 vaccination line. Santa. That's right the Jolly One himself--or rather his emissaries -- want their flu shots before all those cute, germ-infested tykes hit red velvet laps at malls across America. I kid you not. The Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas (yeah, they're for real), says their guys are more susceptible to the dreaded swine flu-- and not only because of their proximity to all those sweet germ carriers. Most Santas tote their own girth and obesity may increase your risk of getting the disease and its severity. The CDC and other health honchos are "looking into the request." In the meantime, Santas are advised to use massive amounts of hand sanitizer and take extra vitamins.

So forget the milk and cookies. This year, put out orange juice and a plate of assorted vitamins. And just to be on the safe side, you might want to leave out a box of Kleenex, too. Wouldn't want to find any unexpected "goodies" under the tree.

Drive safe. Play nice. Sneeze into your sleeve.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Viva Live TV:"Chicken Hawk" Storms off Set

Chickenhawk Tancredo storms off set after Markos confronts him on veterans health care - Daily Kos TV (beta)

Meet me at the corner of Hypocrisy and Cowardice. First former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo spewed the tired GOP party line deriding so-called "socialized government-run health care." Then when pressed to reveal the names of veterans who were unhappy with their single-payer government run care, he dodged and weaved. Dodged being the operative word. When Daily Kos founder Marcos --a military veteran--outed Tancredo's avoidance of Vietnam service due to "depression," the irate former draft dodger stormed off the set.

Ah, you can't beat live TV!

Drive safe. Play nice. Think peace.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Fright Wing Jumps the Shark

YouTube - Don't Kill Grandma - Obamacare Video

Can you believe Dick Armey and his fear mongers at Freedom Works have reached yet another low? These crazy makers just keep digging deeper into the abyss of misinformation. This time they've created an obnoxiously named website--Don't Kill Grandma-kill the bill.

Stop scaring seniors and all the people who love them with your irresponsible chatter. If you'e so worried about people not getting the health care they need, how about the 45-50 million uninsured folks under 65? Once again, the fright wing's logic continues to confound me. Time to pull the plug on all these hateful, scare tactics.

You should be ashamed, Dick.

Drive safe. Play nice. Think peace.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fighting Health Scare Tactics

YouTube - IS THIS THE BEST WE CAN DO! Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Dennis Kucinich is one of the courageous heroes in the fight for true health reform. He's proposed bill--which fetched a meager 85 votes--all Democrats--proposed a simple Medicare for all health reform option.

"Is that the best we can do?" the Ohio firebrand admoished his colleagues, labeling the proposed House reform bill little more than mandates that basically benefit the insurance companies. Despite his best efforts, it looks like Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 1900 page watered down,tree killer of a bill may be as good as it gets. For now. To be fair, while it does require mandates, it also features a limited public option and puts the kibosh on pre-existing conditions.

And it sure beats House minority Grinch John Beohner's non-reform reform bill which--in case your keeping score--maintains pre-existing conditions as barriers to insurance, but limits malpractice claims. Yeah, that's going in the right direction. Out the door, Mr.Scrooge. Time to go home and hit the pavement. Go look for another gig. And your own health insurance on the open market. If a lack of compassion is a pre-existing condition a whole lotta soon to be ex-pols are in big trouble. Oh, but, wait, don't they get Cadillac coverage for life? Think they do.

Something's wrong, America. Very wrong.

Drive safe. Play nice. think peace.