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Good Bye Olivia

Posted on August 8th, 2022

Dave!I was deeply saddened to learn that Olivia Newton-John passed away today.

I fell in love with her... and fell in love with her hard... while coming of age in the 70's and 80's. I wasn't allowed to go see Grease in the theater (I was 12 years old)... but it was one of the first VHS tapes I rented in the early 80's! That was back when VCRs were so expensive that you couldn't afford to buy one unless you were wealthy. Instead my family reserved the VCR at the local video store to rent over the weekend... then rented a stack of movies to go with it so we could get our money's worth out of the pricey machine rental.

And, yeah, I watched Grease multiple times on multiple weekends. I was never a fan of musicals but... well... Olivia Newton-John. Because, damn...

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease.

And I listened to that soundtrack many, many, many, many times.

And then there was Xanadu.

Because of my love of Olivia-Newton John, I begged my parents to let me go see it in the theater when it was released in 1980. I was 14 years old. It was a PG film. My parents relented, and let me go see it with my friends. The movie wasn't great... but I did like it because it played to a trifecta of my loves... Olivia Newton-John, Don Bluth Animation, and Greek mythology. Olivia Newton-John was positively radiant in every frame...

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

ANIMATED Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Olivia Newton-John looking amazing in Xanadu.

Kira never got to say which muse she was... but she started to say it. Her name started with a "T" which means she was Terpsichore, muse of dance. And while the movie wasn't all that great... the soundtrack was incredible. I played it to death.

In 2020 Olivia made a quick video on the 40th anniversary of the movie... looking as radiant and lovely as ever...

ONJ appeared numerous places over the years. More recently she was a guest-judge on RuPaul's Drag Race and even appeared in one of the Sharknado movies!

As sad as it is that she's gone, she leaves behind music that will carry on for a very long time. And that ain't nothin'. Rest In Peace, Olivia Newton-John, you will be so very missed.

   

Time and Tide

Posted on August 4th, 2022

Dave!I had an 80's channel running while working tonight and was mostly able to ignore it until the song Time and Tide by Basia dropped. "Whatever happened to her?" I wondered... as I opened a tab to Google. What I found out that she never stopped making music. Her last album, Butterflies, was released in 2018. What's so amazing is that she still sounds incredible. How in the heck did she ever drop into obscurity with her level of talent?

Of course I could say the same for dozens of other musicians (at the top of my list would be a-ha, who is seen as a one-hit wonder for Take On Me, but had even more amazing tracks afterwards).

How she started...

Where she ended up (circa 2009)...

1987 seems like it was just yesterday. Time and tide really does wait for no man.

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Bullet Sunday 735

Posted on October 24th, 2021

Dave!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...

The cover for The Art and Soul of Dune showing Paul looking out into the desert as a ship flies overhead.

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...

A massive sandworm towers over two characters and says I'VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU ABOUT YOUR CAR'S EXTENDED WARRANTY!

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!

The team from Bargain Block standing in a house that's been ripped out.

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.

   

Everyone is Horrid Except Me (And Possibly You)

Posted on April 19th, 2021

Dave!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...

Flawless.

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.

   

Living Comfortably Numb

Posted on February 4th, 2019

Dave!Blergh.

Today I had to run into The Big City to have some dental work repaired. Going to the dentist is never fun, but today's trip was made worse by the brutal cold front that descended into the valley last night. It was so cold out that the windshield wipers fell apart after ten minutes on the road.* Which is dangerous when road-slush is fusing itself to your car...

Ice Fusion to My Car

Fortunately I was able to crank the defrost and drive carefully enough that my windshield stayed mostly-clear. At least long enough to drop by the auto parts store for new wipers.

And then it was dental reconstruction time.

Which was a piece of cake.

I can't believe how anesthesiology tech has advanced over the years. Used to be they shoot you up with novocaine and you're uncomfortably numb for an entire day... then you have that awful taste in your mouth as the drugs leach out. Gross. Then everything hurts for a while as your body recovers. Even once novocaine was replaced in the 80's, the new generation of numbing agents seem like they're improving.

Now? You feel nothing. You taste nothing. The numbness fades in hours. There's no residual discomfort or pain. The work was completed just six hours ago and I can barely tell that anything was done. How cool is that?

And speaking of cool...

There's a musician named Simon "Blanks" de Wit in the Netherlands who reimagines popular songs with his own musical arrangements on YouTube. The results are fantastic, especially when he takes contemporary music and turns it into 80's pop with a "StyleSwap"...

The result is often something I like far more than the original...

The guy is incredibly talented, posting "One Hour Challenge" videos where he attempts to remake songs in 60 minutes...

He composes his own songs as well...

His sound is still developing, and it will be interesting to see where he goes as a musician. If he can come up with an album that's 80's pop inspired, I'm so there.

   

*Note to self: Not replacing your windshield wipers for six years is probably not a good idea.

   

Bullet Sunday 560

Posted on April 29th, 2018

Dave!An abundance of sunshine is headed your way... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Gnats! I don't live in the South. But this video made me LOL because most every year gnats show up for three or four days here and it's exactly this...

Another thing that came my way that got me to thinking is this story link, which is exactly the kind of thing you want to be thinking about since mid-term elections are seven months away.

   
• Four-Twenty Day! This is seriously funnier than most stand up specials I've seen...

Dayam!

   
• WHCD! This year they had another Daily Show corespondent host the White House Correspondence Dinner, Michelle Wolf. In my humble opinion, it was a less than stellar performance. Not because the things she said weren't truthful or relevant... I think she hit the right notes there... but because her humor wasn't landing. Skewering people is fine, that's what the dinner is for. But you have to make it sound more lighthearted than just being mean. I think back to Hasan Minhaj's brilliant commentary last year where he totally killed it without going vile, and feel that's a better take on how to do it...

Of course, everybody pales when compared to the absolute master of the White House Correpondence Dinner... President Obama...

Too good to be true in so many ways.

   
• Good Medicine! Then again, no fancy dinner can compare to a solid dose of truth delivered in desperate times...

This is where we are. The current administration is doing nothing to fix anything.

   
• Faux Friends! As for the actually president of these United States of America? Still unhinged, completely detached from reality, and bat-shit insane...

I have no idea... none... how anybody supports this deranged shit show.

   
• New Twins! It's no secret that one of my favorite bands of all time is the Thompson Twins. Which is why it's no surprise that I was thrilled when the group's front-man, Tom Bailey, started touring again. And now? New music!

Tom Bailey's Science Fiction

If you want to support his efforts (which will hopefully be more like a new Thompson's Twins album than anything radically different), you can head over to his page on Pledge Music.

   
Until next week, just keep swimming...

   

Modern

Posted on September 27th, 2010

Dave!omg... OMD...

History of Modern by OMD

   

Yeah, it's pretty frickin' amazing and was well worth the wait. I'd blog more about it, but I'm too busy listening to it. Get your own copy at the iTunes Store!

   

Furs

Posted on June 19th, 2010

Dave!In my never-ending quest to see all my favorite 80's bands in concert, I headed over to Seattle this morning so my sister and I could see The Psychedelic Furs playing at the Showbox SoDo. The Furs were responsible for transitioning me out of my "punk" phase, and led me to a life-long love of the new wave music scene which has lasted until this day.

As expected, the show was phenomenal, even though they didn't play my favorite song (Until She Comes) and the Showbox SoDo is not one of my least favorite venues. Still, with 30+ years of material to draw from, Richard Butler tore through their setlist with an energy and enthusiasm that was contagious, and belied his 54 years...

Psychedelic Furs Album Covers

Probably best-known for their hit Pretty in Pink, The Furs have a fantastic catalog of music that's well-worth checking out if that's the only song you know them by. Their 2001 "Greatest Hits" album is a good place to start (iTunes Link), and at $7.99 for 17 tracks, it's quite a bargain.

   

Bullet Sunday 140

Posted on July 12th, 2009

Dave!In news that surprises even me, my head hasn't totally exploded. That makes Bullet Sunday a bit easier...

• Eventful. In catching up with my mail, I discovered that I was invited to a kind of important event. It's one of those things where I have no idea how my name ever got on the guest list, and am certain that if I showed up that they would realize they made a terrible mistake and kick me out immediately. Fortunately, I won't have to risk having my ego crushed... I can't attend because I'm already scheduled for something else that weekend. Probably just as well. I couldn't really blog about it, so what's the point?

• Phooey. Speaking of pointless... Hong Kong Phooey as a live-action movie? Seriously?!? Nobody could come up with anything better to film than this? I'd say that Hollywood is now officially out of ideas.

• Characters. Speaking of Hollywood, it's kind of odd how small it really is. After a while you notice how the same actors keep popping up over and over again in shows and movies. Two of my favorites are Tim Guinee (from Strange World) and Margaret Colin (from Now and Again). They're everywhere...

Tim and Margaret
Tim Guinee photo from Facebook. Margaret Colin photo from LIFE.

It's shocking that these two have never managed to do a project together. They appear in so many things that I suppose it's inevitable... probably as a Lifetime Television movie or something. Even so, I'd watch that.

• Shock. Speaking of shocking... how is it that I am still discovering 80's music? Groups like Blancmange and China Crisis completely escaped my notice back in the day, and I have no idea how. Oh well. It's kind of cool to be finding them now, because it's music that's all new to me...

• Battles. Speaking of new... I know that all the LEGO video games are made for kids, but I still like them. LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Indiana Jones are all basically the same game with different scenery, but they're still a lot of fun to play. Now LEGO has entered the Real Time Strategy game genre with LEGO Battles for Nintendo DS. It's a drastically simplified version of RTS games like Warcraft and Starcraft, but still has enough going on to be entertaining...

LEGO Battles

The characters change depending on whether you're playing Castle, Pirates, or Space scenarios, but it's basically the same game over and over. Using builders to stock supplies so you can build soldiers to defeat enemies. It gets repetitive but still manages to keep me wanting to move forward to see what's going to happen next. About the only thing that I'd change would be to smarten up the AI that drives the characters. All too often they take wrong turns and get stuck, which means a big chunk of your time is spent herding LEGO mini-figures around. This gets to be really frustrating after a while, and it's so prevalent a problem that it's shocking nobody in development fixed it. Oh well. Until the totally awesome Warlords II FINALLY comes out for DS, I guess this is about as good as it gets.

   

And now I suppose I should go to bed... seeing as how it's midnight and I have to be up in five hours.

I am not fond of Mondays.

   

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