Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2021
The weather may be hitting hard here in these United States of America, but I will not be deterred... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Ingenuity! I am still in awe of NASA's latest mission to Mars. I have spent hours upon hours pouring over the NASA documentation, briefs, reports, and news about it. One of the things that blows my mind even more than the fact that we can land something on the surface of Mars is how they actually do it. It's actually a sky crane which gently lowers the Perseverance rover to the surface like so...
Artist rendering from NASA/JPL - Caltech
The landing modules that did the heavy lifting... er, landing... sent back a photo of it actually happening...
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
NASA even managed to get an orbital view of it happening...
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
But the big surprise here is that Perseverance didn't land alone. He brought a little buddy with him... the Ingenuity test copter drone!
Photo from NASA/JPL - Caltech
This little helicopter bot is just a test project. It's not really on Mars to do anything except experiment with the concept of using helicopters on the red planet. Not the most mind-boggling thing to happen on this mission, but every journey begins with a single step. What IS a bit mind-boggling is how Ingenuity hitched a ride to the planet's surface. It's snuggled underneath the Perseverance and will be popped off, rotated right-side-up, then placed on the ground as the rover drives away. NASA tested it here on earth, as you can see from this cool video...
The engineering required to make all this happen... and happen under Mars' brutal temperatures and a much thinner atmosphere... is truly a testament to human ingenuity. Oh... wait a second... is that why the little helicopter bot was named Ingenuity? NASA will be holding another press briefing at 2pm P.S.T. tomorrow, and you can bet I'll be watching!
• Help! So much attention is (rightfully) being directed towards the human crisis happening in Texas, and my heart aches for all those who are suffering. But what keeps me up at night are the animals who are caught up in the cold weather danger as well. They are mostly overlooked, and it's gut-wrenching to see the reports coming out of the Lone Star State. A friend has been sharing links where people can donate, and I've done what I can, starting with these three organizations...
Anything you can donate... no matter how small... will be much appreciated.
• Social Media Reporting! United Airlines Flight 328 suffered catastrophic engine failure and was forced to land. And the way I found out about this major news story? It appeared on TikTok as a trending video...
What's even more amazing was the footage of the blown engine from within the cabin...
Planes can fly on one engine and are built to accomodate a blown engine. However... this flight was on its way to Hawaii from Denver. This would have been a very different story if they were 1,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean. I'm just happy it happened so soon after takeoff and that nobody was hurt. The interior video above was shot by Bretty Guy who, ironically ennough, posted this back in 2013...
After having his video viewed millions of times and being picked up by every possible news organization, he probably gets it now. Social media is how we communicate. It's how information (and, disinformation, natch) gets seen.
• NEWSFLASH! Womans Wants Apology After Tom Brady Trophy Toss — Apology? Are you shitting me?!? Because your feelings were hurt over an object you don't own? It wasn't even fucking damaged! It got tossed by somebody WHO TOSSES SHIT FOR A LIVING...
Photo captured from video by WFTS via WCVB.
Good Lord. Nobody... absolutely NOBODY... gives a shit about your stupid-ass feelings over the fucking Lombardi trophy, and absolutely NOBODY owes you shit. Your dad got paid to do a job and he did it. Your ownership... or rather any ownership by your your father... ended the minute the trophy left left Tiffany & Co. — If I bought a Tiffany baby rattle that your dad made and shoved it up my ass, would you be acting this stupid? Oh probably. Because self-important pieces of shit ALWAYS act just this stupid. I am getting so damn tired of the entitlement people feel when it comes to nonsensical bullshit like this. Save your outrage for something that matters... like the current flavor of the month ice cream at Baskin-Robbins or which kitten video is trending on YouTube or some shit like that. If anybody should be dishing out apologies, it should be your pathetic ass for acting like Tom Brady melted the fucker down and took a shit on it while you were holding it. I mean, there's a pandemic going on that's killing people... but Tom Brady tossed a trophy to somebody, so let's all shed tears over that. Jesus Christ.
• Loser! This appeared in my Facebook feed. One of those few times I don't mind seeing an ad because this is hilarious...
If only there was an apropriate place I could wear such a thing. If you do, you can pick one up (in several designs) right here at TeePublic.
• Cheese! There’s a meme going around TikTok which originated with a man going to his refrigerator and asking "Doesn’t everybody have a drawer in their fridge that’s completely dedicated to cheese?" The joke being that he has DVDs stored in his refrigerator...
Since then people have been making their own version of the meme where they have increasingly weird stuff being stored in their refrigerator. — And this whole time I’m like "BOTH DRAWERS IN MY FRIDGE ARE DEVOTED TO CHEESE!!!" And also a third draw which has my snack cheeses in it. My refrigerator is all cheese all the time and it's no laughing matter!
• Va Va Voom! There are two sides to TikTok that I absolutely love and would rather watch than most television shows or movies... Black TikTok and Gay TikTok. Both can be entertaining as hell, and I laugh out loud more often than I'd ever admit. I also end up learning more than I'll ever admit. And while there's some overlap from time to time, they are two very different entities. UNTIL TODAY, THAT IS. I've run into the song Va Va Voom by Nicki Minaj on both sides. It's a song that I've never heard of before. And it ended up being 100% my jam for the weekend...
Banger! Thanks TikTok!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, bullet fans...
Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2021
I am glad to see that the number of April Fools jokes online have plummeted. This is just not the time. I wish people would drop it completely, because it's never really the time for me. But I'm no fun like that.
This morning I found some of my old MAD magazines and books when I was looking for a certificate I needed. Boy did that take me back.
One day when I was in Middle School on my way to class, a friend returned a MAD book that they had borrowed. I didn't think anything of it and threw it on top of the books I had under my arm. After taking my seat, the science teacher saw the book and snatched it off the table. I wasn't looking at it... it was just sitting there. Apparently that was offensive enough to him that he was compelled to take it. After class I asked him for it back and he turned all red-faced and said "NO!"
He was always a bit of an asshole, but taking my personal property for no reason? Fuck him.
A month-and-a-half later it was the last day of school. I didn't want to risk asking for my book back and having him refuse, so I had my mom write me a note asking him to return my property. After class was over, I handed it to him. He threw it on his desk and ignored it.
So I asked him to read it now.
And he did.
At which time he was consumed with rage.
"I THOUGHT IT WAS A NICE NOTE THANKING ME FOR BEING A GOOD TEACHER OR SOMETHING... BUT INSTEAD YOU WANT YOUR BOOK BACK?!?" He then pulled open a big drawer on his desk that was filled with confiscated crap. "IS THIS THE BOOK?!?" It wasn't. "WELL HOW ABOUT THIS ONE?!?" Yes. That's my book.
He threw it at my face. I was THIS close to telling him to go fuck himself and the last thing I would do is write a note praising him when he was a bargain-basement teacher at best, but instead I said "Thanks so much! Have a great summer!" because I knew that would piss him off more. And what did I care? I was off to high school.
It was at that moment I wondered if he would fail me or lower my grade. He didn't... probably because he knew I would call him on his bullshit... but I am fairly certain that he wanted to quite badly.
And speaking of people getting mad about nothing...
The beautifully-crafted Lil' Nas X music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name) is causing quite the uproar. Probably because Lil' Nas X takes a stripper pole down to hell in his Calvin Klein underwear and gives the devil a lap dance...
While I was eating lunch I logged on to Facebook where people are talking about it. One of the posts said "What do you think about all this?" to which I commented "I think that if 'well-meaning Christians' hadn't constantly told Lil' Nas X he was going to hell for being gay, he wouldn't have been compelled to make a video throwing it back in their faces."
From there it went to the inevitable "But this is harmful to children seeing it!" to which I replied "I dunno. I've listened to metal since I was a kid, which can be far more satanic than this, and I turned out okay." I was half-way expecting somebody to reply with "BUT DID YOU THOUGH?!?" except nobody took the bait. Oh well.
It's always something, isn't it?
When I was a kid it was Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeath, Slayer, Venom, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Motley Crüe, and the rest. Today it's Lil' Nas X which, if I'm being honest, is relatively tame by comparison. He gives the devil a lapdance. Whoop-de-doo.
The song is a banger though. Reeeeeally catchy.
But if it offends you, I guess you could always move to North Korea where they censor everything. Pretty sure you won't find Lil' Nas X playing there. For one thing, I don't think the long red braids he wears to hell is one of the 28 approved haircuts you're allowed to have.
Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2021
Last night I stayed up until midnight to watch the latest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier but ended up going to bed instead. The middle part of a story is usually the lull in the storm before the build-up to the finale, and I figured I'd be better off catching up on my sleep.
This morning I woke up early to watch it and was not shocked by anything in the episode. I was happy with the way that it filled in the blanks as to the philosophical differences between Sam Wilson and John Walker. And I want to reiterate again that Wyatt Russell is absolutely killing it as the "new" Captain America. People have been unloading a lot of hate towards the actor and I just don't get it. As I've said all along, the character of John Walker has a specific purpose in the story. And watching Russell build out that purpose is thrilling to watch. He knows exactly where New Cap needs to go and is taking him there perfectly...
I sure hope that fanboys start to understand this so they stop sending death threats(!) to Wyatt Russell. I mean... holy shit. The guy is a very good actor just doing his damn job.
It's been interesting to see Marvel Studios actually treating the show like they billed the show: as a six-hour movie. Now instead of 30 minutes of build-up and world-building followed by 30 minutes of development followed by a 30 minute race to the finale, we get more time to better flesh-out the story and characters while still having all the action beats of a big-budget film. All the subtleties that make The Falcon and The Winter Soldier such a good television show are the first things that would be cut when making it into a theatrical motion picture.
tl;dr... I like what's happing with this series because it's different. It's not just "made for television movies of the same old things.
But enough about super-hero television.
Back in The Real World, Prince Phillip has died at 99 and DMX has died at 50.
Prince Phillip, husband to the longest ruling monarch to ever exist, was a dutiful public servant who was also highly problematic. His history of saying abusive, misogynistic, racist, and bigoted crap is legendary. But of course the tabloids are already blaming Meghan Markle. Never mind that he was 99 years old and in declining health, it was an interview with Oprah that did him in. I swear... people will find a way to blame Black women for anything, no matter how absurd, because that's the default of a society built on systemic racism and misogyny.
DMX, a celebrated rapper and actor, was a hugely successful and talented musician that was also highly problematic. Some of his music was shockingly homophobic... often violently so. And then there were his lyrics promoting misogyny and rape which were roundly (and rightly) condemned. And yet... some of his tracks were brilliantly honest and raw, changing the course of music history in their wake. I practically wore out my CD for his debut album It's Dark and Hell is Hot when it was unleashed upon the world in 1998. It was a great album to listen to when you were mad at the world and wanted to vicariously unleash through DMX's rage. And I was a mad at the world quite a lot back in those heady pre-politically-correct days. In more recent times, I've been reading story after story of what an incredible human being he was. Stories of kindness towards total strangers. Stories of him just being a decent person to all he met. It's as if the PERSON he strived to be was the best of humanity... while the PERSONA he portrayed in some of his music was the worst of humanity. It makes him difficult to figure out, but also makes me happy to know that he was a genuinely decent guy beneath it all.
And now I'm headed for a nap in the hopes that the raging headache I've been battling all day will give me a break. It's tough to blog when it feels as though your eyeballs are being pushed out of your skull.
Posted on Monday, April 19th, 2021
If you know even a little bit about me, you'll know that my musical tastes are a bit... um... eclectic. I love pop. I love electronica. I love dance. I love classic rap and hip-hop. I love hard-core rap. I love metal. I love punk. I love grunge. I love dream-pop. The only music I loathe is opera. The only music I avoid (but have listening to more and more lately) is country.
But there is one genre that I love more than any other: 80's Pop.
And it's not just a small segment either... I love everything from the 80's. And, in particular, 80's Euro-Pop. Thompson Twins, New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths... I could listen to it all day every day and never tire of it.
Which is why I was absolutely thrilled at the latest episode of The Simpsons (titled Panic on the Streets of Springfield) because they parodied that genre flawlessly... coming up with a character that typified some of the more angsty artists like Robert Smith and Morrisey. But especially Morrisey. You can see him all over the episode, and the incredible parody song Everyone is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You) which I adored...
I rewound my DVR and played it again and again and again. I loved it.
But boy did somebody running Morrisey's official Facebook account not enjoy it...
Surprising what a “turn for the worst" the writing for The Simpson’s tv show has taken in recent years.
Sadly, The Simpson’s show started out creating great insight into the modern cultural experience, but has since degenerated to trying to capitalize on cheap controversy and expounding on vicious rumors.
Poking fun at subjects is one thing. Other shows like SNL still do a great job at finding ways to inspire great satire.
But when a show stoops so low to use harshly hateful tactics like showing the Morrissey character with his belly hanging out of his shirt (when he has never looked like that at any point in his career) makes you wonder who the real hurtful, racist group is here.
Even worse - calling the Morrissey character out for being a racist, without pointing out any specific instances, offers nothing. It only serves to insult the artist.
They should take that mirror and hold it up to themselves.
Simpson’s actor Hank Azaria's recent apology to the whole country of India for his role in upholding "structural racism” says it all.
Unlike the character in the Simpson’s “Panic” episode...
Morrissey has never made a “cash grab”, hasn’t sued any people for their attacks, has never stopped performing great shows, and is still a serious vegan and strong supporter for animal rights.
By suggesting all of the above in this episode…the Simpson’s hypocritical approach to their storyline says it all.
Truly they are the only ones who have stopped creating, and have instead turned unapologetically hurtful and racist.
Not surprising... that The Simpsons viewership ratings have gone down so badly over recent years. — Peter Katsis
This is just stupid. When you're in the public eye and phenomenally famous, you're going to get parodied in places like Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. It's just part of the game. And while, yes, it can be painful to see... the simple fact is that it's incredibly flattering that you're somebody famous enough to be parodied in the first place. People understand that this is a frickin' cartoon PARODY, and the fact that his handlers feel that the real-life Morrissey is so different pretty much proves that.
The character of Quilloughby (from "The Snuffs, as played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch) is not Morrisey. If The Simpsons wanted to have ACTUAL Morrisey on an episode, they would have called up Morrisey and asked him to be a guest on the show. They do that all the time. But that's not what the episode called for, so they came up with the stand-in they needed to tell the story they wanted to tell and get the laughs they were trying to get.
And the episode is hilarious to anybody like me who loves the genre. I mean, come on, my parents once got contacted because a teacher noticed that I was listening to Morrissey and The Smiths. The music was considered by some to be "psychologically dark and damaging" and parents were concerned that kids who listen to it would commit suicide. For me it was the complete opposite. On the contrary, knowing that there was music which so adeptly captured what I was feeling made me feel less alone in the world.
So... holy shit... RELAX about it! Morrisey has done some crazy shit over the years (he canceled two of the shows I was supposed to see... then cut his show short when I had to FLY ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SEE HIM because he didn't like the energy of the crowd!). Plenty of crazy shit. So it's not like there was no material for The Simpsons to draw from. With Morrissey, it's a frickin' gold mine.
My love for all things Morrissey has dwindled over the years because he can be such an asshole. But watching Panic on the Streets of Springfield actually made me like him again. But even more surprising? The Simpsons is better than it's been in years this season.
And it goes without saying that I had The Smiths and Morrissey playing all night and all morning after the episode. Dang they had some amazing, amazing music.
Posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2021
Feeling lost? Feeling that the internet has let you down? Want to be let down even further? Well have no fear... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• BREAKING NEWS! Holy fucking shit... CANADA DOESN'T EXIST, y'all...
I KNEW IT! THANKS FOR THE LIES, NASA!!! This is Antarctica all over again!
• It's a Dip! I had Wavy Lay’s potato chips and Rold Gold pretzels with my grandma’s dip for breakfast. AND I DON’T NEED YOUR JUDGEMENT! Anyway, here’s the non-recipe for the dip ("non-recipe" because it’s all to taste, and there aren’t measurements I’ve ever used because I start with small amounts and add more as needed by dipping a chip to taste test as I go)...
Mash together with a fork until well-blended (yes, it looks like barf, but it tastes amazing!)...
Now, my grandmother used a splash of Worcestershire Sauce (to taste) instead of the Colby-Jack, but when I became a vegetarian, she made a separate bowl without it because Worcestershire contains anchovies that I don’t eat. It tastes great without, but something was missing. I tried adding a lot of different spices and other stuff to try and replicate the original and was about ready to give up… when my (now-ex) girlfriend said that it would be good with cheese in it. So I tried all kinds of cheeses… but it was Shredded Colby-Jack I liked best. Medium Cheddar is also very good. Yes, yes, I know it looks awful… but this is my most favorite dip ever.
• Hello Victor! I was recently re-introduced to the theme song from Hulu's Love, Victor, the sequel series to Love, Simon...
Such a pretty pop track. A little surprising that it's so short! Two minutes and forty-eight seconds is all you get.
• Arena! Wait... Magic the Gathering: Arena was released for iPhone back in March and nobody told me?
It looks and plays beautifully. And, unlike Magic The Gathering Online, it seems more geared towards casual play. But do I really want to get back into the game that financially wrecked me in the early 90's? Turns out it's actually not that expensive to play... IF you're content to grind your way through games to earn coin. If you just want all the good cards right away, then you'll have to spend real cash. I barely have time to play a game of Minecraft Dungeons each day. But maybe a quick game of Arena before bed is in the cards for me? Guess I'll have to tap my land cards to find out.
• DEER! I constricted the event trigger area for my back yard to just my patio because it was being triggered by raccoons too often, but a neighbor told me that the deer are back, so I extended it. And, sure enough, they wander by every day in the early morning. If you look closely, you can see some out in the field in addition to the one that walks across my back yard...
I don't know where they come from or where they go, but they graze in the field then leave. Really hope they don't get hurt... wherever they go.
• WHAT! Wait... Saturday Night Live is funny again?
Keegan Michael Key was the guest-host, and this disturbing take on The Muppet Show was funnier than it should have been given the violence against a Muppet...
Dang. Poor Statler! Serves him right, I guess?
• FUCK! The fact that people are THIS stupid should not still surprise me. But here we are...
Oh yeah! Because I just LOVE wearing a mask! We all do! Just LOVE it!
The CDC saying that fully-vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors is fucking stupid too. It's supposed to incentivize people to get vaccinated. But all it's actually going to do is cause anti-vax dipshits to lie and say they're vaccinated so they don't have to wear a mask any more... which is something they never wanted to do in the first place. Well, I'm fully-vaccinated. But people who are vaccinated can still get COVID and may not know they have it because their immune system has been programmed to attack it... which means they can still pass it to others. So I'm going to continue wearing my fucking mask inside public places so I'm doing my part to keep COVID deniers out of the fucking hospital. You know, in case I get a heart attack and need to be in the hospital or something. Jesus Christ. The people most pissed off about COVID precautions and restrictions ARE THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING IT LAST SO LONG! Hope you break a dick.
And I am done. No more bullets for you! (which is probably a good thing given my rage level right now).
Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
I've had many mormon friends over the years that have come to mean a lot to me. And, without exception, they have accepted it when I tell them that I try to live my life according to Buddhist principles and that's enough for me. They've never attempted to "convert" me. They've never condemned me or my beliefs. They've never lied or harmed members of my family. They've never been anything except nice to me. And so I've done my very best to be kind to them in turn.
When I'm traveling and run into Mormon missionaries, I stop and say hello, ask how they're doing, and ask them where they are from to make conversation. Especially when I am in a foreign country, because I know they're probably homesick and lonely. Being nice costs me nothing.
This is not to say that I don't have issues with the Mormon Church. Far from it. I was absolutely infuriated when they, as a tax-exempt entity, decided to support the virulently anti-gay Prop. 8 Campaign. But I feel this way about all the churches that decided to become anti-gay propaganda machines. If you want to be a PAC, then that makes you taxable, and you should lose your exemption. Period.
But anyway... ultimately if you want to be Mormon (or whatever) and aren't using it as a weapon to against people (see Prop. 8 above) then you do you and I'll do me.
And if you want to stop being a Mormon, that's okay with me too.
Which brings us to Mormon Stories.
Mormon Stories Podcast is a series of conversations with John Dehlin which center around Mormonism. It started as a forum where Mormons could discuss all aspects of the religion from varying perspectives. And it's fascinating. I was reminded of this recently when a friend brought up Tyler Glenn (lead singer from Neon Trees). Back when I first got into the band (late... just four years ago or so), I found a 3-part interview he did about his growing up in Mormonism... and what eventually caused him to leave the church. If you don't know of him, he's the guy behind the fantastic theme song for Love, Victor...
I ended up listening to Tyler's episode all over again. I think what makes it so compelling is just how smart, kind, and humble he is when talking about Mormonism. His perspective is part uplifting... part heartbreaking... but all interesting. Even if you're not a fan of Neon Trees I still highly recommend listening to his appearance on Mormon Stories. Yes, it's six hours long, but once you start listening the time flies by. I (re)listened to it while I was working...
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's an interview with Jeremy Runnells about his infamous letter questioning Mormonism that's fascinating in a more analytical way. There's an interview with Wayne Sermon from the band Imagine Dragons that's every bit as interesting as Tyler Glenn's story. There's an interview with Noah Rasheta, who teaches Secular Buddhism from the perspective an ex-Mormon. The list goes on and on.
If you're looking for a new podcast series about a subject you may not even be familiar with, give it a listen.
Posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2021
There's so much going on right now that I'm having trouble slowing my mind enough to get some sleep. My solution? As with so many things now-a-days... it's TikTok.
This guy covers songs a other artists, and what he comes up with is so good. The 1975 is one of my favorite bands, and her nails this. Just nails it. If you’re on TikTok, go be amazed. @maxfrostmusic...
He is able to effortlessly step into different musical styles...
Then it just starts getting unreal...
And into a region that's uncanny to an insane degree...
getting toasty with posty🔥🎄 @postmalone ##alliwantforchristmasisyou♬ original sound - Max Frost
Yeah, this is exactly the kind of thing I need to take my mind off of the world.
Posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2021
Baby it's hot outside, but the hot lead from my bullets are even hotter... and an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Pride! I could do an entire week of posts on the TikToks of ileavebreadcrumbs. He is a man who married a male soldier during the era of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and his stories are just... a lot. I cannot even fathom how straight couples would deal with the same obstacle that gay couples have to endure. Just take for instance their wedding...
The fact that he is willing to put himself out there knowing that homophobic bigots are just waiting to tear him apart in the comments is everything that Pride exists for. Love = Love.
• Pride Again! And it doesn't stop there. His husband is not just "fairly famous"... he's famous-famous." His story has been discussed in many, many places. Including, most famously, on The Daily Show...
He was even a part of The Newsroom...
That's all kind of crazy how they found out they were on a TV show! But... remarkable too.
• More Pride! But the TikTok that destroyed me was this one...
Do yourself a favor and go watch his TikToks. This is why we have a Pride Month.
• At The Car Wash, Yeah! A friend shared this video on Facebook and I must have watched it a hundred times by now. It's just that good...
Somebody filmed him doing it again, but this time we get to see him walk off...
I mean, you can see him just patiently waiting for the brush to come down and then walk directly underneath when it gets low enough. Makes ME want to give this a try!
• Salvage! One of my truly joyful distractions on YouTube is Baumgartner Restoration. Julian is an absolute master of his craft, and his latest project... restoring a van Dijk... is him at the absolute top of his game. If you have time to spare (and I highly recommend making time) this is a remarkable mini-documentary. UPDATE: The second part is even better, so I'm posting it instead (you can still catch the first part here, if you're hungry for the whole story)...
Absolutely incredible. UPDATE: and in this second part, be sure to watch an "end credits scene" that follows the blank black frame at the end (because there are no credit!).
• SHARRRRK! And... I've cleared my calendar for Shark Week starting July 11th. Thank heavens I have Discovery+, because I will absolutely be tuning in for Stranger Sharks!...
Oh, who am I kidding. I'll be tuning in for all of the shows!
• Beer Beer! Truck Truck! You may remember when I mentioned that a guy made a song out of somebody (rightly) critiquing Country music...
Well, it finally came out as an actual song. It's good. But a part of me thinks that something got lost in translation from the demo to the finished song...
The additional twang and polish is a bit distracting from what I was used to in the original track. Even so... that's a song that's going to be popping up on my SONOS rotation! And I'm not even a fan of Country music!
Now, if you'll pardon me, I'll go back to watching my air conditioning electricity bill continue to bankrupt me.
Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
I've said many, many times that I am a massive, unapologetic Miley Cyrus fan. It started with Hannah Montana and has carried all the way through her music career. Her voice just hits me right every time. I held off watching her Stand By You concert until this last day of Pride because it seemed a great way to close out the month.
It was fantastic.
Miley is a ride-or-die LGBTQ+ ally, and she uses every possible opportunity to back that up in this show. If you haven't seen it, it's on Peacock. If you don't have Peacock, it's worth getting the free trial just to watch it.
Here's my live commentary as I watched, just in case you can't live without my thoughts...
I tell you what... I would have given just about anything to be at this concert. What a fun night with some great performances!
Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021
Well, it's really happening.
One of my all-time favorite bands is ABBA. When I was young I listened to their stuff near-constantly, and owned everything they released.
And despite fans clamouring for new music... despite an offer of $1 billion for a world tour... they resisted. ABBA was over. The music was done. And there was nothing more to come in the future.
Until there was.
And today was the day.
A new album titled Voyage and a virtual concert performance is forthcoming...
And, in all seriousness, could this be any more brilliant?
The album itself is arriving on November 5th...
And two of the tracks... I Still Have Faith in You and Don't Shut Me Down... are available to listen to right now.
And so 2021 is shaping up to not be so terrible after all perhaps?
UPDATE: When I pre-ordered the album from iTunes, I saw that the complete track listing is there plus you get a digital booklet!
I totally trust ABBA and all... but... Keep an Eye on Dan—?!?!?
UPDATE UPDATE! And here's the lyric video for Don't Shut Me Down (which I've had on repeat for a hundred times now) and a video for I Still Have Faith in You which features the ABBAtars at the end...
There we go!
Posted on Sunday, September 19th, 2021
They may be more than meets the eye, but Transformers ain't got nothing on this blog... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Classic? Still really, really pissed at the Coca-Cola Company for fucking up Coke Zero. It tastes like such horrendous shit that I am still not used to it... and likely never will be. The only caffeinated beverage I liked, and it's just... gone.
• GAH! Taylor Swift has been re-recording her music due to legal ownership issues with her back-catalog. Her vocals are as good as ever, but the new music is awful. Wildest Dreams, one of my favorites, was just re-recorded and they trashed the music on it. It used to be so open, bright, uplifting, and soaring... now it’s flat, boring, and dour. Almost depressing...
There’s this throbbing bass line just fuzzing over everything and it’s truly terrible. I fully support Ms. Swift taking back ownership of her work, but not like this. Not like this. Ugh.
• Safe & Effective! The Pfizer vaccine is apparently far less effective than Moderna over time... and yet they only authorized the Pfizer booster for people 65 years and older or people at high risk? What the fuck kind of nonsense is this? If it's an issue of them not having enough vaccine for people who are unvaccinated, then yeah... I can wait. But the number of people getting vaccinated right now has to be fairly low given how many people are refusing to protect themselves and others, so what the hell?
• Whitney! They are remaking The Bodyguard? Yeah. Good luck with that. On top of having to replace the irreplaceable, you run the very real risk of trampling over a sacred ground you don't want to be stepping...
I dunno. Maybe the stars will align and they can find a cast that works and find a way of avoiding the disrespect that comes from a wound still fresh... but I won't want to watch it for a very long time. If ever.
• Beard! Yet another fantastic flawless episode of Ted Lasso... this one focusing almost entirely on Coach Beard (with a little more Mae, Baz, Phil, and Jeremy thrown in)...
I sure hope that a few of the other characters that haven't been featured much get at least some character development. They could almost film an entirely new series focusing on the lives of everybody outside of the football club and it's probably going to be great just from the standpoint of adding to the greater narrative.
• Character! I have watched most all of the character breakdown videos from GQ. My favorite that I've seen is this one with Willem Dafoe...
He is a compelling guy, a phenomenally talented actor, and listen to him talking about his career is fascinating stuff.
• Money Shot! Okay... this is pretty incredible...
Now, of course, the answer to everything is just "CGI"... but in the days before CGI? This is what there was.
And that's a wrap for bullets one-day-delayed.
Posted on Thursday, September 30th, 2021
Last night I got a whopping 3-1/2 hours of sleep. This is despite my being exhausted, heading to bed at 10:00pm, and taking a Benadryl. It's like, holy shit, what more do you want from me Sweet Slumber?
Needless to say I was dragging ass when my cats impatiently convinced me that the breakfast alarm was, indeed, actually beeping at me to get out of bed. This was a terrible situation because I had a lot of stuff on my plate today and no time to be half-asleep on the job.
Nothing a handful of chocolate-covered coffee beans can't fix.
And I can hear you saying to yourself COFFEE? BUT DAVE HATES COFFEE! Which is true. But I was not up for dealing with the heinous amount of fuckery that comes from the "new & improved" Coke Zero bullshit today.
This morning at the office while waiting for a file to send, I was blazing through TikTok and heard Queen of Disaster for the millionth time and wondered for the billionth time why Lana Del Rey never released it. Such a brilliant song. Can you imagine being so talented that this is a song you THROW AWAY? — Instead the only way to hear it is when it's credited to "SirLofi" which I think is the original Lana Del Rey? I dunno. There are a lot of versions out there...
In other news, the illustrated cover for the single is incredible.
I'm guessing that it wasn't until around 2:00pm before I realized that it was, in fact, Thursday and not Friday as I had been telling myself all day. The idea of having to do this shit all over again on my imagined-weekend was enough to drive me mad, but I endured.
Now I'm home.
Having my mind completely blown by this video about DNA and crime scene investigation...
I haven't done any genetic testing. The reason is simple... I don't want some piece of shit health insurance company being able to peer into my genetic markers to deny me coverage because I'm carrying a gene that gives me a 2% chance of having a heart attack. Or whatever. But it sounds like it doesn't even matter. Enough of my third cousins have likely had their DNA registered somewhere to make my contribution moot. Which is pretty cool when you think about it.
Incredible how the future is both wonderful and horrifying, isn't it?
Like most things on a Thursday you think is Friday.
Posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021
I watched the last episode of 60 Minutes about the Facebook whistleblower because I was expecting some serious dirt. Some people were saying that the Facebook outage was intentional so that people on Facebook wouldn't be discussing the 60 minutes interview, so it must be juicy, right?
Turns out that it was not.
It was the opposite of juicy. Which, according to the listed antonyms of the word, means it was dull, bland, juiceless, moral, withered, sere, desiccated, boring, dehydrated, unfavorable, shriveled, unexciting, disadvantageous, clean, unsexy, uninteresting, and dry.
The story was all those things because all the allegations were just so fucking obvious. Facebook puts profits above its users? ZOMFG! I may die of un-shock.
Facebook is a piece of shit company. They put users like me in Facebook jail for the stupidest crap so they can say "SEE! WE ARE DOING SOMETHING!"... yet some people can say whatever the fuck they want, and spouting COVID misinformation (which is LITERALLY KILLING PEOPLE) is perfectly okay. I can't joke "all men are pigs" when I am, in fact, a man and am clearly joking... THAT will get deleted... yet a man can threaten to beat up a woman and there are ZERO consequences on Facebook, even if you report it.
So, yeah. What a waste of my fucking time. If I didn't have so many people important to me which I only have contact with on Facebook, I'd have ditched them long ago.
What was not a waste of my time was the the story after the whistleblower non-story about Tony Bennet preparing for his final concerts amidst him having alzheimers. It was absolutely fascinating. And heartbreaking. Especially if you've had to go through it with somebody you care about.
Cannot possibly recommend watching this highly enough. Worth your valuable time...
The reaction by Lady Gaga at the end when Tony knows her name... it's like... all the feels. I've been there. And you feel exactly like that. And when it happens less and less, you are hit by it harder and harder. I still remember the last time my mom remember who I am, even as I am forgetting all the less happy times around it.
But that's how it works, right? That's how we cope? Cling to the good things and let go of the bad?
It's how I cope, anyway.
Posted on Sunday, October 24th, 2021
The world may be going to hell in a hand basket, but you can look forward to the journey... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Dune: The Book! When an art book for Blade Runner 2049 was made (called The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049) I bought it immediately. The movie was so beautifully realized that I had to see the work behind it. And I was not disappointed. It was a wonderful book that provided some juicy insight into how it was crafted. When I saw that Dune had an "Art and Soul" book coming, I pre-ordered it before the movie was released because I knew Denis Villeneuve wouldn't disappoint...
And he did not disappoint again. The book is gorgeous and rich with detail. With a notable exception. I didn't see anything on the written alphabet that's presented on the scroll Duke Leto signs at the beginning or what's found in Paul's book or on Dr. Yueh's note. This seems a weird omission given how much thought must have gone into it?
• Language! The spoken languages of the Fremen was expanded upon by David J. Peterson. He also created the sign language used by the characters. And he put his work online! (along with some other languages he created for film and television, which you can find here). Fascinating stuff. I especially loved how he showed (then explained!) Jessica signing to Paul when they were bound and taken out to the desert to die. And shared a PDF of his transcription for the closed captioning! There's additional stuff showing some writing, but not what I saw in the book and Yueh's note, which is what I was most interested in.
• Meme! Lastly on the Dune front is my attempt at a meme...
Yeah, yeah. But I couldn't help myself.
• 80's Rewind! My favorite music will forever be 80's Pop. I listen to many other kinds, but that's my go-to jam. Running across music I missed from that era is rare. But finding new music which is clearly 80's-Pop-inspired is an increasingly abundant treat. This past week I found two artists that take me back. The first is CARSON and this wonderful track, Good Love...
And then there's the band Fly By Midnight, which has a number of great songs that feel like they could have been released 35 years ago...
Some of the tracks are a bit more contemporary, but they still have an 80's sensibility in how they're constructed that have me addicted...
And then there's the YouTube suggestions that are filling me with even more incredible stuff. Conor Matthews has some stuff I never knew existed but now can't live without...
New old music is the best music!
• BARGAIN! My favorite home renovation show is Bargain Block on HGTV. I don't always like the design result, but the road to getting there is great. And it's been renewed for a second season!
Sometimes good news happens when it comes to the shows I like!
• Conspiracy Made Real! Netflix has unloaded one of the most depraved animated shows ever, which is hysterically funny to watch...
The imagination that goes into creating this series is really great. It's not just crude for the sake of being crude. Doesn't get much better than that!
• Rami is Pete and Pete is Rami! Saturday Night Live has moments of genius that shouldn't exist. And this one from the previous episode is one of them...
Inspired. The genius of it makes things funnier than they actually are to me.
And no more fresh hell until next Sunday.
Posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2021
Since I'm back from my Thanksgiving adventure, I might as well bullet up the internet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Past Midnight! Fly By Midnight is my favorite band of 2021... and they never disappoint. This live broadcast is wonderful...
I cannot believe that I didn't even know they even existed until a couple months ago. The music industry is weird.
• Mata WHAT?! Okay. I know it will get better. I understand this. But right now? No thanks. The "metaverse" looks awful...
Maybe for an occasional chat, but I don't want to live here.
• InstaGreat! Oh nothing... just InstaCart making my Thanksgiving be great by doing God's work...
Alas, Instacart isn't quite so accessible when I'm at home... but across the mountains I absolutely love that a few clicks is all it takes to get whatever you need brought right to your door!
• DavidLL! Six calls. SIX FUCKING CALLS to U.S. Bank to try and get my name correct on my account. Surely I am not the only "II" to ever have an account at US Bank?? But despite SIX CALLS, my account is still fucked up. My name is David Simmer II. Not David II Simmer. Not David Simmer LL. Not DavidL Simmer. Not DavidSimmer LL. AND NOT DAVID L LL!! Jesus Christ... what the fuck does it take? How hard is this? Apparently it's equivalent to fucking brain surgery that it's STILL NOT RIGHT after SIX FUCKING CALLS!!! Forget having nice, kind customer service agents. I want a total asshole who will ACTUALLY. GET. THE. JOB. DONE!
The fifth time I literally walked them through it... "The first name box should be DAVID, the last name box should be SIMMER, the suffix box should be TWO CAPITAL I's to get II. I don't use my middle name and would prefer not to have it left blank, but if you insist, the middle name box should say LEWIS. Didn't make any difference. Still got it wrong.
• Dope Soap! I see Ice-T in the new Tide Pod commercials and try very hard to remember that he had a music career before he went into acting... and pushing soap. Which is a far cry from when he was pushing dope, which was definitely not cleaned by soap...
I don't play when it comes to my dope
I check my lyrics close, like with a microscope
I don't clean'em up with no ivory soap
I leave'em hard and pure, hope that you can cope
Because you might O.D. if you overdrive
Tide Pods... the soap that's dope!
• Spidey 4, 5, 6! Rumor has it that Sony has backed up a dump truck full of cash to Tom Holland's house for another trilogy of Spider-Man movies. This makes me very, very happy. While ultimately I'm looking forward to Miles Morales taking over the role, I think that Peter Parker has some stories left to tell. Besides, they can always do a Miles Morales movie, then have worlds merge in Spider-Man 6 as a nice hand-off kind of thing.
• A Mother's Love! And, lastly, I had no idea that this happened... The Open Christmas Letter.
Enjoy those fleeting shopping days until Christmas!
Posted on Wednesday, December 29th, 2021
#1 Silver Crane by Fly By Midnight
Here's yet another case of a band that I never knew existed somehow ending up reaching me and I become consumed with their music. Not only did I listen to Silver Crane over and over and over again... I had Alexa playing through their entire catalog for many, many days in 2021. There's few missteps in their body of work and I love most everything they've released. But focusing on my favorite album of 2021 (by a wide, wide margin) for a minute... there's a well-crafted pop sensibility that threads its way through every track, starting with the mellow beauty of Borrow Your Time... working it's way through lush tracks like Be Right There, Tomorrow, and When She's Dancing... then ending with the wonderful North... a dozen fantastic tracks that made my 2021 a little more bearable.
And because, like me, you may never have heard of Fly By Midnight before, here's more tracks that aren't off of Silver Crane, but might encourage you to look at their back-catalog...
And here's the first song I ever heard from Fly By Midnight the day after my birthday in the Year of Our Lord, 2021... originally released back in 2015!
#2 = by Ed Sheeran
It was Overpass Graffiti that got me. Lord what a beautiful song. — I have never been able to get into Ed Sheeran. I like a few tracks here and there, but his albums just don't appeal to me for some reason, even though he builds the kind of music I should like. But then I took a ride on = and ended up digging it. No idea if this is because he's changed... or I've changed... but there's an old-school pop undertone that's gone through a modern filter that hit just right for me in 2021 (and Overpass Graffiti is such an amazing track).
#3 Star Crossed by Kacey Musgraves
And she's back. One of the biggest surprises (to myself) when it comes to these lists was the fact that her previous album Golden Hour ended up being my second favorite album of 2018. I don't know that I like this album more... it's difficult to replace your first love... but it's sure got some beautiful tracks on it. Taking a page out of Taylor Swift's book, Kacey seems to be working through her divorce and taking us along. Or maybe I'm just reading that context into it, but regardless of where it came from, the music here is every bit as lovely as Kacey herself.
#4 Good Things by Dan + Shay
Country pop is not exactly a genre I seek out... but after hearing Dan + Shay provide the incredible Christmastime track Take Me Home for Christmas to the film Dashing in December last year, I've been all over their music... including their latest release, Good Things, which is exactly what the name implies. Track after track of good things. Highly enjoyable hopeful music that is just what 2021 needed.
#5 Times by SG Lewis
Disco is not dead, apparently. And maybe if it stayed as creative as this album, it wouldn't be dead at all? Interesting to note that while SG has been sneaking around for a while... releasing EPs and collaborating with, well, everybody... this is his first full studio album. Once again collaborating with a who's who of music (including Nile Rodgers, Robyn, Lucky Daye, and more!) this welcome release is a total treat from start to finish.
#6 Screen Violence by CHVRCHES
CHVRCHES was the opening act for a couple tours I saw, and it was always a pleasure to listen what they were up to... even if I didn't play their music when I get home. All that changed with Screen Violence. Lauren Mayberry rips through track after track with a sublime dedication to the lyrics that you can feel. The songs are an eclectic mix of pop-rock with a bit of an edge, and listening through the album is a rollercoaster of feels that you don't want to end.
#7 Montero by Lil Nas X
Nothing quite like an entire album of "fuck you" to all the people who made your entire life hell, and nobody did it better in 2021 than Lil Nas X. People told him he was going to hell for being gay? Fine, he'll take you to hell in a banger track with a video to match. People told him he belongs in jail for his subversive music and videos? Find, he'll take you to prison in all the ways they fear. But the album isn't just a kiss my ass dis release, there's some really good songs to be found that stay with you in the best way possible. And to those people mad about his success? GOOD!
#8 Music Of The Spheres by Coldplay
Say what you will about Coldplay, but they know how to construct a song that gets stuck in your head. They also know how to create killer videos that take what you think you know about their music and push it into a different direction entirely. Music Of The Spheres isn't revolutionary... it isn't even evolutionary... for the band, but it's filled with one terrific song after another, including a banger collaboration with South Korean sensation BTS (no idea how in the heck that happened!).
#9 Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! by Aaron Lee Tasjan
Weird. Eclectic. Interesting. It's really hard to come up with a way to describe exactly what this album is. So I won't even try. I'll just say that it's a highly listenable mix of cool tunes that seeped into my playlist many, many times in 2021.
#10 Future Past by Duran Duran
I struggled as to where this should fit on my list... or whether it should even be here at all. On one hand... it's freakin' Duran Duran. But on the other hand? Hardly their best effort. But even a middle-of-the-road album by the band is something I like better than most of what got released in 2021. There's certainly some tracks that work better than others here... Beautiful Lies is a wonderful return to form, for example... but something is lacking when compared to their previous two albums (All You Need is Now and Paper Gods) which were both amazing.
HONORABLE MENTION: Firebird by Natalie Imbruglia
It's interesting how "The Torn Girl" is so much more than that one great track, but she doesn't seem to be able to break free of it. There are worse things, I guess, but she's such an amazing artist that I wish people would give her other music a try. Firebird is a perfectly lovely album that's all the things you love about her best-known song.
HONORABLE MENTION: You Signed Up For This by Maisie Peters
If I were to sum up You Signed Up For This it would have to be something like "eminently listenable pop." Great tracks that are nicely constructed and wonderfully performed that you can just listen to on repeat while working, cleaning the house, or talking to your cats. That probably sounds like a dis, but it's really not. Maisie Peters can effortlessly engrainin herself into your everyday life in a way that it feels like it could be a soundtrack to your existence or something. Even if that doesn't apply to you, this album is well worth your time to explore.
ALSO WORTH A LISTEN: Planet Her by Doja Cat
Welp. If anybody knows how to inject their music into the social consciousness by exploiting social media, it's Doja Cat. She was everywhere, and I was hypnotized into addiction so badly that I was listening to Her even when social media was nowhere to be found. So many fantastic tracks dripping with her delicious voice. And then she put some real money into her videos that were worth a look many times over.
ALSO WORTH A LISTEN: Fast Idol by Black Marble
Gotta love it when an album is released that feels like it was dropped into a black hole in 1986 and has only now emerged! I don't know exactly where Black Marble gets their influences, but it feels like it must be a smorgasbord of 80's synth-pop acts, which is exactly why I love Fast Idol so much.
ALSO WORTH A LISTEN: Human by OneRepublic
One Republic is one of those bands that is nothing if not consistent. They have a formula. It works. And they revisit it with each new album. In many ways, I appreciate that because their formula totally works for me. On the other hand... boy it would be nice if they would push into new territory, because I'm not sure how many more albums of the same thing will keep me interested (see: Imagine Dragons, who also released an album this year). In the meanwhile though? This is another good album by a band I really enjoy.
ALSO WORTH A LISTEN: Voyage by ABBA
I've been a huge ABBA fan for as long as I've been listening to music. And just when it seemed that we would never hear anything new from them as a band ever again, here comes this gem. What I would have loved is an album that burns through a dozen dance tracks that they do so well, but that's not what we got. Sure there are tracks like Don't Shut Me Down that are great, and sweet tracks like When You Danced with Me and No Doubt About It that I played more than a little bit... but Voyage is stuffed with slow, plodding tracks that are a nice listen, but not really what I hoped for. All I CAN hope for is that ABBA isn't done yet and will give us another album so I can combine the best of both for the album I've been waiting for.
FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEO OF 2021: One Right Now by Post Malone and The Weeknd
It came out on November 15th and I still haven't stopped listening to it almost daily. My appreciation for both Post Malone and The Weeknd just keeps growing, and it's because of tracks like this. As if that weren't enough, the video is pretty epic...
FAVORITE SURPRISE SINGLE OF 2021: STAY by Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber
I discover a lot of music on TikTok, and one of the most inescapable in 2021 was a snippet of STAY which, much to my surprise, is actually a darn good pop single...
FAVORITE THROWBACK TRACK OF 2021: Cold Heart by Elton John and Dua Lipa
Some songs will never get old. A great many tracks by Elton John fall into this category, and when he dusts them off for a modern take like this, I'm all ears...
FAVORITE PREVIEW OF 2022: 23 by Sam Hunt
My fifth favorite album of 2020 was a rare Country artist who knows how to craft some really nice songs. This September he dropped a preview track from his upcoming album and it's exactly the kind of thing that makes me love his music.