Category Archives: Music

New, Improved Version of Titanic

And it didn’t cost nearly as much as the original!

This is from Studio 188. From the I’ve found on the Net, I think they’re Russian, but beyond that I can’t find much information. They’re supported, in part, by Patreon contributions.

I’ll be posting more of their very clever “Low Cost Videos” soon.


Jojo Rabbit — The Most WTF Trailer of 2019

Jojo Rabbit is a black comedy about a 10-year-old boy and his imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler. And the thing is…it’s apparently really good!

Jojo Rabbit won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, which is significant because 10 of the last 11 People’s Choice winners went on to get Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, with four of them winning the big prize itself.* According to Vanity Fair, “No film in Hollywood is enjoying more Oscar buzz at this exact moment than Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit.”

Roman Griffin Davis plays the boy, and Taika Waititi himself plays the imaginary Hitler. Also in the cast:  Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson, and Stephen Merchant.

Jojo Rabbit is based on the book Caging Skies, by Christine Leunens. Leunens, whose grandfather spent years in a German labour camp during WWII, is an American-born New Zealand-Belgian novelist who has lived one of those amazing lives, jumping from country to country and from career to career, succeeding brilliantly in all of them.

Jojo Rabbit will be released on 18 October 2019.

And because there’s no such thing as too much David Bowie, here’s the full German-language version of Heroes. Bowie recorded the song in Berlin, in the summer of 1977, during his German phase.

Obligatory show-stopping scene from Springtime for Hitler


* Recent People’s Choice Award Winners at the Toronto Film Festival that Went on Receive Academy Award Best Picture Nominations

(Movies that won the Oscar are in boldface)

(2008) Slumdog Millionaire
(2009) Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
(2010) The King’s Speech
(2012) Silver Linings Playbook
(2013) 12 Years a Slave
(2014) The Imitation Game
(2015) Room
(2016) La La Land
(2017) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
(2018) Green Book

Geographer — “Summer of My Discontentment”

Geographer is a San Francisco synth-pop band that’s been doing dreamy stuff for more than a decade. The first single from Geographer’s most recent EP seemed like an appropriate song to post on this last day of summer, 2019.

This has certainly been the summer of my discontentment. The issues I wrote about in Going on Hiatus and After The Flood—An Update remain unresolved, which partially accounts for my lack of postings recently. Turns out that my earlier optimism that I was over the worst of things was mistaken, and that my life is basically on hold through (at least) the rest of the year.

Anyhow, I’m back, again, and will be posting more in the days to come.

The Cats Trailer We Need. The Cats Trailer We Deserve

When the grotesque trailer for the movie version of Cats was released a few weeks ago, the reaction was near-universal horror. Remember that scene in The Producers when the theatre audience responds to the first song from the musical Springtime for Hitler with stunned disbelief? It was like that.

For anyone who has (understandably) suppressed their, uh, memories of the disaster, here it is again:

YouTube to the rescue. A YouTuber mashed up shots from the trailer with clips from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, and has given us a trailer for Stephen King’s Cats:

Vast improvement, isn’t it?

King himself has tweeted his approval.

“One Thousand Miles Apart” and “A Million Miles Away”, with 34 Years between Them

My music streaming service of choice these days is SomaFM’s “Indie Pop Rocks!” playlist, which plays “new and classic favorite indie pop tracks”. Mainly new; I’ve rarely heard anything more than five years old on the channel.

It was SomaFM that introduced me to a Seattle power-pop band called A View of Earth from the Moon, and to the band’s 2017 release, “Closer to a Ghost”. Here’s an audio-only version of “One Thousand Miles Apart”, a song from the album that I’ve been playing repeatedly the past couple of weeks.

Play it loud.

The imaginary DJ who lives somewhere in the far recesses of my brain instantly knew the best possible segue to follow “One Thousand Miles Apart”. It had to be The Plimsouls’ 1983 classic, “A Million Miles Away”.

Play it louder.

Could that video have come from any era other than the 1980s, a decade famous for its superb music and its horrible, horrible hair? I think not.

Here’s a live acoustic performance of “One Thousand Miles Apart” by Seattle singer/songwriter Jonathan Fickes, the artist behind A View of Earth from the Moon:

After The Flood—An Update

It’s been a while. Anybody still out there?

Regular postings will resume in the next few days. What follows here is a brief rundown on why I’ve been hors de combat since Memorial Day. It isn’t very pretty, and you may just want to skip this entry and wait for the new posts.

Summer of 2019 has not been anything close to the most wonderful summer of my life. In fact, I’d probably rank it near the bottom three, only slightly higher than the summer I spent in a Bulgarian prison (mistaken identity), the summer I got lost on the Appalachian trail and had to survive on berries and mushrooms for six weeks, or the summer when that Abercrombie and Fitch model kept calling me and emailing me and stalking me until I finally got the restraining order. (Actually, that one was rather fun.)

The season had started with such high hopes and great expectations! In late May I returned to Washington from a couple of weeks in gloomy and glorious Budapest,* restored, revitalized, and ready to live a much richer and more, well, elegant life. Think Gerald and Sara Murphy in Paris and on the French Riviera in the 1920s.**

The first warning signs came during an otherwise delightful visit by my Nevada brother and sister-in-law, when my long-standing pulmonary problems started to act up. I knew from experience that this meant I was in the early stages of a two- to four-weeks of low-level morbidity, marked by fatigue, marathon coughing sessions, and general yuckiness. And then The Flood happened.

Here’s where things get serious.

I wasn’t aware of it until later, but the whole mess—illness and injury, loss of autonomy and privacy, property damage and disruption of plans, and general uncertainty—left me seriously depressed and effectively paralyzed, unable to do much more than sleep, play online games, and watch immediately forgettable junk TV.  I stopped returning phone calls and answering email. My big project for the year, improving my cooking skills? Abandoned. I had no desire to be in my post-Flood, chaotically disarranged kitchen, and no interest in exploring new restaurants. I survived on deli take-out and on great quantities of Diet Cherry Pepsi.

It was only just before Bastille Day, six weeks post-Flood, that I (metaphorically) slapped myself in the face and told myself that I couldn’t continue to live the way I’d been living, that the numbness began to diminish. I turned off the TV in the middle of an episode of Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away and made reservations at regular hang-out ARTECHOUSE and at a couple of good restaurants. Not only would I get out of bed and dressed before 2 PM, but I would also actually leave the apartment!

And I did.

So while things here are still ugly—restoration of my condo and of the ~30 other units damaged by The Flood may not even be completed before the end of 2019—it seems life is finally, slowly, back on the upswing.

I’ll be spending the rest of my Unwonderful Summer posting here, dining out, and re-reading Living Well Is the Best Revenge and Tender Is the Night.

*It was my fourth visit to that endlessly fascinating city, my third in 18 months. I’ve told people that entitles me to honourary citizenship, but I may have been misinformed.

**See Living Well Is the Best Revenge.

Happy birthday, Queen Victoria!

Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, was born on 24 May 1819, 200 years ago today.

That was “Victoria” by the Kinks, from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Queen Victoria had been dead for 68 years when the Kinks recorded the song in 1969. Another couple of decades, and “Victoria” will be closer in time to the Victorian Age than to our own brave new world. Boats against the current….

“Canada to India
Australia to Cornwall
Singapore to Hong Kong
From the West to the East
From to the rich to the poor
Victoria loved them all.”

If you pay close attention to the lyrics, you might catch hints of the band’s signature working-class rage peeking through all the exaltation, but we’ll ignore that for now. Victoria’s bicentennial gives good Anglophiles everywhere a reason to celebrate, from the West to the East.

Home Again

In lesser news, I’m back from beautifully gloomy Budapest, and ready to resume posting.

I dined well, and you’re gonna hear all about it.