Posted on 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 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 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 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 May 20th, 2021
This past week I've been planting stuff in my flower beds. I got everything into the ground on Sunday and finished my planter on Tuesday. Surprisingly, I must have learned a thing or two from previous years, as ALL of my flowers survived the process. I took a walk around when I got home from work yesterday and was most pleased.
Then this afternoon the skies opened up and a torrential flood of rain fell out.
At first I thought that it would be a momentary thing that lasted for just a couple minutes. But eventually the rain kept dropping harder and harder and I started to worry about my poor flowers. After 10 minutes I couldn't take it any more and ran home to see what was happening to them...
The answer was... nothing good. So I ran around trying to cover them.
All the irises that hadn't already fallen over from their own weight were pounded flat.
My larger flowers were okay... with minor damage and a few snapped stems that had to be trimmed.
But the smaller flowers, which I thought would be just fine because of their proximity to the ground, were ripped to shreds. Not the alyssum, of course... that shit can survive just about anything... but all the tiny blue, purple, and yellow flowers I liked so much. They had their petals ripped off and their leaves buried in mud. They likely have new blooms yet to come, so I expect that I'll see them come back. But right now there's just little stubs where flowers once grew.
I spent a while digging a small trench to vacate all the water from the beds. I then had to manually scoop the water out of my planters. I left the irises alone, however, because they were going to fall over eventually anyway.
After I finished up, I went inside to take a shower, change clothes, and grab a sandwich.
And the minute I sat down to enjoy that sandwich?
Here comes the torrential flood of rain again.
Posted on 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 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 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 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 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.