So I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy of Jonathan Sakas‘ (pronounced like “say kuss”) debut album, Albatross. He had previously released an EP Death of the Iceman. Jonathan has been around in the Phoenix music scene for years, and I recall seeing one of his bands play at Plaid in late 2006 era. He has only recently began to break out and make a name for himself.
Being somewhat of a minimalist, I knew immediately that I would like Jonathan Sakas’ Albatross when I saw that he used “one word” song titles for each track (Grapes, Oysters, Striker, etc) The songs themselves are not minimalist but rather extremely well polished, proficiently performed, professionally produced quasi-masterpieces.
A variety of synthesizers and other electronic instruments are made use of, with some guitar sounds thrown in here and there. My favorite track on the album is the first song “Striker,” which is peppy and catchy, as in will be sure to catch your attention. The other potential hits are “Porridge,” the third song and also “Marie” which has an excellent keyboard intro that seems to scream “instant pop phenomenon.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so, as “Marie” was selected to be on the new Zia Records Compilation CD slated to come out in the near future. That’s quite a testament to the quality of the jam, given that there are a zillion established Phoenix bands and Albatross hasn’t even been released yet.
There tends to be a stigma in Phoenix against acts that appear to take their music seriously. People look at you as if to say “Who does this guy think he is? Why doesn’t he have his shirt off and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand like the rest of us?” It’s part of the ‘white trash chic’ mentality that plagues much of the Southwest. The reality is that Phoenix as a whole probably doesn’t take itself seriously enough. Jonathan Sakas represents just the kind of 21st century artistry this town desperately needs.
If Jonathan keeps at it and doesn’t get distracted by ordinary life prospects or seduced by constraining relationships, I foresee a future of national tours, sold out amphitheaters, New Times music awards, indie label deals and all around success. When Jonathan Sakas starts to hit the big time, remember you heard it here first.
Flight From The Senses by Brandon Adamson
Putting on the invisible disguise
in an effort to evade untimely demise
it’s off to navigate the maze of the skies
without a wingman, minus a stewardess,
and the crash lessons of the last
as the only guide,
such is the flight experience on the airline of the times.
turbulence from the moment you lift off the ground
from the up up uppity ups to the dipstick dippity downs-
could someone please turn this plane around?
and head back toward those now distant,
but you fear that they no longer exist.
Consulting once again the trusty oracle,
peering into your past, going back even one minute!
always reveals an inexperienced pilot..
talking to yourself on the captain’s radio
from the cockpit of despair “away we go!”
with the empty air of being alone,
the fare you pay to fly on your own.
“That’ll be 8.02″
(I hand the girl at the counter a $10 bill
and she starts to count out 1.98 in change)
“You’re not really going to give me 98 cents change are you?”
Normally I pay for everything with my debit card, but at certain places I only pay cash because I don’t necessarily want them to know who I am. I’ve had people look for me online before after seeing me somewhere…and that’s cool I do that sort of thing too, but I also write about all sorts of nutty exchanges I have with people so you just really never know who reads this stuff and how they’d react. Maintaining anonymity in certain circles(like where I eat) is important to me.
Back in the days when I was a “broke ass ” coins were a hot commodity (even mangled pennies that had been run over to the point of near-unrecognizability were highly sought after.) Anything to get me closer to the short term goal of either a single bag of microwave popcorn or a stick of processed string cheese from 7-eleven.
The only time in recent memory that I made any serious effort to scrounge around for change buried within the meager crevasses of my room was about a month ago, and I was able to muster about $35 worth… which I brought to the Coinstar machine and converted it into cash that I then took to Vegas where it swiftly evaporated into a “Money Mad Martians” slot machine and was completely vaporized within about 20 minutes.
I hate coins. They should just get rid of them altogether. When your skinny jean pockets get too filled with change, it just makes it look like you have a displaced scrotum. Not to mention it sags your pants and causes you to make constant belt notching adjustments to account for the periodic increases and decreases in coin levels throughout the day.
Years ago people saved every penny. Nowadays you find a quarter in your pocket(not a roll of quarters mind you) and it’s “how the the heck did that get in there?” just before you toss it somewhere harmlessly without even bothering to make a wish.
Why did they have to remake “V”? Is nothing sacred? I hate remakes…. Can’t they come up with any new ideas? Apparently, exploitation is the new imagination.
I can remember vividly being in the living room at 1320 s. elm grove rd when “V” the original miniseries premiered in 1983. In those days, unless you happened to videotape something on beta, you would never be able to see it again. For much of my childhood I would think about “V” nostalgically and it was only in my memories that I could watch re-runs of tiny memorable highlights of it. You can imagine then how ecstatic I was when out of nowhere in the Summer of 1991, the cable channel WGN decided to re-run “V The Original Miniseries” as well as “V The Final Battle”. My 1991 self was sporting the Edward Furlong “Terminator 2″ sidepart haircut that was popular at the time, and I watched every episode with euphoric amazement. Of course, watching old stuff makes you sad too because it makes you think of things from that time period that are gone, and can only be gotten back artificially. So it’s like you can only bring 75% of the magical feeling back, which is good, but comes with a “glass 25% empty” sensation.
In a side note, The alien lady “Diana” from the original 80s version was one of my first childhood sexual fantasies:
p.s. During my Summer of 1991 viewing, I developed a crush on Faye Grant, who became an early adolescent sexual fantasy.
I need not say anymore than that.
So I went to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and let me just say that I want to move to Las Vegas. I love it so much, it has surpassed Los Angeles as my all time favorite city. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s a crummy place. The truth is that it’s magical and dreamlike.
Once my business was done at the show, I walked up and down the Las Vegas strip over and over and over. I went in every single casino, not to gamble but just to gaze around and explore. The first chance I got I walked really far to get to Circus Circus(a circus themed casino). I had always wanted to see it since it was in “Diamonds Are Forever,” one of my all time favorite movies. People had warned me that it’s part of the old strip, and sort of a seedy area now, but I didn’t care. I stubbornly walked really far to get to it, and I was not disappointed one bit. Circus Circus is an awesome place. People have to learn to love the idea of something, the feeling of it.
Circus Circus is like a gigantic 60′s carnival with slot machines. I would say that it’s like Chuck E Cheese with slot machines, but that would not be doing the place justice. And their slot machines are good too. I played for a really loooong time with only 5 bucks, and I left with 10. Oh and the game that the kid plays in “Diamonds Are Forever”(1971) where they shoot water and it blows up the balloons…it’s still there! I’ve also started getting into the habit of writing the year of the movie next to the title, as there are so many crappy remakes of my favorite movies, I can’t even keep track anymore and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea and start thinking I’m talking about some modern film godforbid. seriously..barf
Getting back to why Las Vegas is wonderful, it is a sort of fantasy land. Like you can live in alternate realities there and dream worlds. Say you’re in the mood to be in a pirate atmosphere, you just head on over to Treasure Island. Say you feel like going to the Circus, you tumble on down to Circus Circus. What’s that? In the mood for some Springtime in Paris? Just travel a few blocks to Paris casino! Oh, you’d rather visit the old west? Well no need to bust out a delorean time machine ala “Back to the Future 3″(1990), just come on down to Bills Gamblin Saloon! You get the idea. Las Vegas is the escapist’s paradise. Get it? It’s really, really neat.
One thing I always remember about Los Angeles was that it’s often difficult to get into places. The vibe is one where everybody always says “no”. Whether you’re at the bank trying to cash a check, looking to go into a bar, or just asking a friend for a ride…the word “no” is something you get used to hearing. In fact, part of coming of age in Los Angeles is learning the wisdom to not ask for anything, as the moment you stop asking is when you finally start getting somewhere. While wandering though Las Vegas, I didn’t experience any of the cold shoulder you typically get in LA. I had no problem getting in anywhere. No one ever treated me as if I wasn’t supposed to be there.
There were no annoyingly pompous doormen, guest lists, etc. I could walk into the biggest hotels and restaurants, without any hassle. It was a completely friendly and totally welcoming atmosphere. Everyone is in a good mood and eager to help.
I had an amazing burger at this place called the Stripburger(strip as in Las Vegas Strip, not strip clothes) It was really juicy, even better than Johnny Rockets or the ostritch burger from Astro Burger. Also, while at the airport waiting for my plane back I won $250 in an Airport slot machine called “White Ice.” I had only put a buck in.
Remakes for the most part are a disappointing phenomenon. Why do
people feel the need to remake classics, and redo masterpieces, thus
leaving our culture’s sacred artistic ruins in ruin. Some are simply eager
to cash in on regurgitating old ideas, as the tried and true is a proven
moneymaker, and as the antithesis of artistic integrity and fond
memories, the market hates uncertainty. Others favor remakes as an
homage to the original work, but this is merely empty and ironically,
usually the end result tends instead to be rather insulting, missing
everything, including the meaning that may have made the original
groundbreaking, or interesting, something instrumental if not
monumental in leading to its succeeding. Support for remakes also
derives from people who claim that something, whether it be a video
game, a movie, a song, needs “updating” for the new generation, so that
they may appreciate it, believing the current crop of flat screen tweens
would not have the attention span, the patience or the capacity to accept
it in it’s current antiquated state. In other words, it should be remade in
their image; fast pace, action packed, with concepts easily “graspable”,
more controversial, superficial, and basically something that’s able to
hold the attention of your average undereducated, uninterested text
Under the guise of remaking, people are in effect rewriting, even
obscuring history, as the new “appreciators” most often are not even
made aware, and may in fact never discover that a prior(superior)
version exists. Many of the things that are being remade for today’s
society are in fact things which some of us nostalgically hold near and
dear as an illustration of everything that’s wrong with (and as a form of
escapism from) today’s society. Instead of teaching people how to
appreciate old things, how to increase their attention span, and how to
grasp the concept an original masterpiece was trying to convey, they
would rather make it more “accessible” to accommodate those who
could not appreciate it, would be unable to grasp it etc, thus discarding
much of the underlying theme which they thought made it such a great
idea to remake in the first place! It’s like if someone said the Mona Lisa
should be redone, because it is too plain and young people would find it
boring or unattractive to look at. But would this be anything other than a
sad irony, a missing of the boat? Should something simply be remade
to accommodate the ignorant masses, or should people be forced to
learn to appreciate it if they are to deserve to?
Tomorrow, will people remake the remade films of today, in their own
image? so that they will be interesting to themselves?
Or wouldn’t we prefer for them to understand us, the lessons we learned,
who we really were, what we believed, what we said, what we really
meant, in our own carefully chosen words?
It’s always a struggle to get to the core
of what’s eating at the heart of the manticore
Who are we?
Why are we here and what does it mean?
another day, another dream.
That’s merely the difference
between the mice and the manticores
those who are, or
at least from afar appear as worker bees,
who don’t think to know,
don’t look and just don’t care to see.
Like the martians chronicled,
their secret of life is just to be.
Then there are,
the ones who differ
meaning those who prefer
to defer to dreams,
the manticores who would be queen
part men, part lions,
alert and aware
they must beware of the three blind mice
looking for the cat.
they are increasing everywhere.
In the future, as in the past,
like the spirit of the pioneers,
have such creatures all but disappeared?
This poem originally was written in 2005
and appeared in my 2008 Book, SideQuests
Starring: Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Ben Piazza, Vic Morrow, Chris Barnes, Erin Blunt, Jackie Earle Haley, Joyce Van Patten, Brandon Cruz, Howard Culver
The success of this underdog comedy from director Michael Ritchie almost single-handedly spawned the kids’ sports film boom of the 1980s and 90′s. When beer-breathed ex-minor-league ball player and professional pool cleaner Walter Matthau agrees to coach a Los Angeles little league team, he soon finds he’s in over his head, having inherited an assortment of pint-sized peons and talentless losers. They play well-organized teams and lose by tremendous margins, and the parents threaten to disband the Bears to save the kids (and themselves) any further embarrassment. Matthau refuses, though, and brings in a pair of ringers: Amanda (Tatum O’Neal), his ex-girlfriend’s tomboy daughter, and Kelly (Jackie Earle Haley), a cigarette-smoking delinquent who happens to be a gifted athlete. With their help, the Bears manage to change their losing ways and qualify for the championship, where they face their arch-rivals.
I played a lot of youth sports as a kid: basketball, little league, tennis, softball, etc. From 1985-1992 i played in thousands of games, tournaments, matches, scrimmages, practices etc. I was never the star player on the team, but never the worst either. Always, i was the mediocre athlete, fiercely competitive and who played his heart out. I remember in 4th grade i was in the unique position of attending a school where there were no 5th grade boys. In order for the school to field a 5th grade basketball team they had to use us, the 4th graders. So basically we were 4th graders playing in the 5th grade basketball league. Well we were all excited when we finally got to play our first game, and i’ll never forget what happened when we showed up. The other team was older and twice our size and once they saw us outside the locker room, they started celebrating, screaming and high fiving each other, taunting us, as they knew we would obviously be no match for them. It was depressing and humiliating, but it was infuriating as well. We wanted badly to win and we played with everything we had and we beat them 18-16. The looks on the other teams’ faces after the game was a mix of shame and utter disbelief. As 4th grade kids in a 5th grade league, we went on that year to take 2nd place in the division(the team that took first really did deserve it as they were the best team and simply unbeatable).
All of my experiences in youth sports over the years led me to appreciate what an amazing film “The Bad News Bears” is. It captures so perfectly the essence of the politics, competition and emotions that go along with childhood athletics. A movie like “The Bad News Bears” could never be made in today’s politically correct society. Unlike the watered down, “Zoog Disney” kids culture of today, “Bad News Bears” shows kids as they really are. Awkward, self conscious, cruel and nasty. Do you think quotes like the following would have made the cut in modern kids films?
“What do you expect? All we got on this team are a bunch of j**s, sp**ks, n***ers, pansies, and a booger eating moron.”
In fact, the honesty of this film and the lessons it teaches is what appeals to me so deeply. If trying your best, playing fair, and just having fun is more important than winning at any cost, then you may in fact have to accept defeat. And perhaps life’s most important lesson, one I wish that I had learned long ago:
that by doing everything right, by putting your heart and soul into something that means so much to you and giving it your all, you still may not get the girl, you still are not guaranteed victory just by virtue of hopeful romanticism and having a heart of gold. So many modern films sellout on this point in order to score a cheap fairy tale ending. That’s precisely what makes “Bad News Bears” such a moving story of redemption, because it brings out the feeling of success against overwhelming odds, but also captures the heartbreak of working so hard and coming so close only to come up short with a lousy second place trophy in the end. Yet we remain hopeful romantics in spite of knowing the eventual outcome of all our efforts will probably just be a huge disappointment. “Just wait ’til next year”.
Starring: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Tina Louise
Directed by: Bryan Forbes
“Ira Levin’s scary novel about forced conformity in a small Connecticut town made for this compelling 1975 thriller. Katharine Ross stars as a city woman who moves with her husband to Stepford and is startled by how perpetually happy many of the local women seem to be. Her search for an answer reveals a plot to replace troublesome real wives with more accommodating fake ones (not unlike the alien takeover in Invasion of the Body Snatchers). The closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she faces–not to mention the likelihood that the men in town intend to replace her as well. Screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and director Bryan Forbes (King Rat) made this a taut, tense semiclassic with a healthy dose of satiric wit.”
This film is an absolute masterpiece. There’s no need to even bother going to see the awful remake.
It’s very easy for one to identify with the men in this movie. Early on we see as Katharine Ross’s husband works hard to provide for her and loves her deeply. Her character comes off as nagging, nitpicking, and unreasonable and though she loves him she complains constantly and is obsessed with her “goddamned picture taking”. She resents him for leaving the big city and wanting to settle down in a mansion in stepford. He gets invited to join the town’s “mens association” where it’s revealed to him that all the wives in the town have been killed and replaced by robots and he must do the same to his. He agrees reluctantly though none of this is shown in the film as everything is seen through the wife’s eyes. The rest of the film consists of Ross’s character trying to figure out what is going on in stepford, and even as she slowly puts together the clues of what happend to the wives she is ultimately unable to avoid sharing their fate.
I’ve often fantasized that I could have cloned versions of the girls I like only i’d “make them reasonable”. Yet what makes this film so poignant is how it illustrates that the annoying qualities of girls, that can make them so difficult and unaccommodating, are precisely what gives them their appeal. I may roll my eyes at a girl’s constant indecisiveness, or get aggravated when they don’t do what i want. I might think the things they’re into are lame, their hobbies pointless, their coldness heartbreaking….but in the end i just grin and bear it because the truth is that deep down I love them so fucking much for being human.
I’m pretty sure this movie is what created my affinity for girls who wear head scarves.
The opinionated Teresa from oish.com it turns out isn’t dead after all. She’s back, and she’s got some things to say about the Catholic Church.
I had a teacher for my Freshman year Religion class, he was a priest, and well I remember him handing us out these papers where it had a little graph. And basically, kissing with tongue was rated in the middle of the graph. And anything after that was all the way over into the ‘NO NO’ area. God, what a pain in the ass. I mean, why the hell do you think this big priest scandal is coming out? WE ARE HUMAN, WE HAVE NEEDS AND URGES and it just seems SO unrealistic to tell someone to just cut off this normal human urge FOR LIFE. It seems like it would only lead to that! And it also seems like priesthood would only attract men who had some sort of problems – hence the whole messing around with young children. Ugh. I know thats stereotyping – and I’m just talking IN GENERAL. I realize there are SOME people who will be able to sacrifice hugely like that because they have this fire for God and their religion. And you know, that’s great! But really, it’s so unnatural and it would be very rare in my mind.
Did you know that it’s also ‘wrong’ to masturbate under the Catholic Religion? At least that’s what I was taught. I remember when this kid in my class asked our teacher, Father S, if he ever masturbated and if not, how he was able not to. I kid you not, he turned like 20 shades of red. It was funny. We knew he did it.
Well it appears Teresa has a little bit too much machismo for my tastes, but she makes some excellent points. I went to a Catholic grade school myself, but I have never been religious. I was always a little partial to greek mythology, (seriously).
You realize stds are MORE likely through anal sex, and you can even get stds through oral? I understand girls who don’t have “sex” because they don’t want to get pregnant (and of course I understand truly religious people or those with really strong moral beliefs who decide not to have sex), but if you’re claiming to have all these morals and/or be religious … yet you go out having oral and whatever else with your boyfriend or various people – DOOD – you’re seriously confused.
I guess this is another pet peeve of mine. I understand it – i mean, as humans we tend to be hypocritical at some point or another. Hell I know I am at times! I try as much as possible NOT to be, but no one knows everything and we’re bound to change our minds as we learn new things. And especially being young, we’re thrown so many different messages from everyone so it’s just plain out hard. But really, if you’re going to call yourself religious, AT LEAST MAKE A REAL EFFORT, or just don’t call yourself religious!
As I said I’m not religious, and its been awhile since I’ve been with a girl “completely”. I’ve eaten neck with a couple girls but even that isn’t recent memory. I don’t exactly get out much since i started working 50 hours a week. Not too mention I had a violent breakup with my last girlfriend and have decided to keep things on a superficial level with girls and treat them as objects to keep the relationship on solid ground.