texshelters

Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Writing at Hugpages

In Current Events, Education, Entertainment on May 17, 2012 at 02:43

Dear Readers:

I am now posting at HubPages. The link is here.

http://texshelters.hubpages.com/

It seems I can make some money there without having millions of comments. I hope I will see you there in the future with your comments and question.

Thank you so much. I may post here again with longer, serious pieces.  However, I have amped up the humor over at the Hub.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

1973–A Landmark Year in Popular Music

In Entertainment, Music on December 15, 2011 at 23:27

Popular music was at its peak in both diversity and quality in 1973 . Why was 1973 such a note-worthy year in music? Was it technological, like newly crafted digital Moog synthesizer, used on Stevie Wonder’s 1973 classic Innervisions?

Perhaps it that FM radio had emerged from the 60s and become a dominant platform for the rock and roll culture. Or was it the globalization of rock and rock from Britain to its Commonwealth and beyond that brought rock to hundreds of millions of listeners and influenced new styles of music, in turn influencing rock and roll? Reggae is the prime example of cross cultural influence between rock and in this case, jamaican musical styles.

Not only was the early seventies a time of cultural and political upheaval (the Vietnam War, Watergate, Black, Native American, Gay, Chicano rights movements and so on), it was a time of emerging and converging musical styles such as heavy metal, funk, reggae, jazz fusion, and early disco.

While all the political and cultural events of the late 60s and 70s had an impact on the music of 1973, the early seventies was a time when rock, pop, and soul, major musical styles of the day, had matured. Rock and roll began in the 50s with Chuck Berry (among others) and came to white kids through Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, et al. New technology built upon current and older  technologies, and new forms of music builds upon older forms. Also, those who had been influence by early rock, pop and soul artists were reaching their creative peak in the 70s, and they themselves were influencing a new crop of artists.

By the late sixties and early seventies, people picking up guitars had a litany of artist to call upon and imitate as well as add to. The same is true in pop and soul. James Brown lead to Parliament Funkadelic and the Brothers Johnson, Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, among others lead to the 60s folk music which lead to folk rock artists of the 70s, and so on.  And new communication and recording technology helped spread these new forms of music.

Not only had early rock, pop and soul artists become mainstream enough to sell and make a profit from, they were influencing new forms of music. Rock led to progressive rock and heavy metal, pop lead to singer song-writers like Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and soul music lead to funk, which branched out into rap and disco.

Every year has its classic music, whether it be rap, rock, funk, soul, or other popular form. But the year 1973 stands out for the number of classics by artists that have made an eternal mark on popular music and culture.

First, any year that features Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is a great year for music. So much has been written about this album that spent an amazing 786 weeks on the Billboard album chart that I will leave it for others.

Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin’s fifth studio album was also released that year. The album features classics such as D’yer Maker, The Song Remains the Same and The Ocean. The album is strong front to back with some of the best song writing ever by Zeppelin.

The Who, while outdone again by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, put out one of their best albums in 1973, Quadrophenia. It’s a rock concept album, and one of the best. “The Real Me” features some of the finest drumming by Keith Moon on any Who track, and it features hits like “Love Reign O’er Me” and “I’m One”.

Alice Cooper’s best album, Billion Dollar Babies, was also released in 1973. With hit songs like “Elected” and “No More Mister Nice Guy”, Cooper wedged his place into rock stardom. There is not one weak song on the album; I recommend this album to all rock fans. In fact, I argue that this album is one of the best rock albums of all time.

Iggy Pop’s Raw Power also came out in 1973, and while not the best of the year, the album was a break from the heavy mental and introduction of power pop that foreshadowed groups such as the The Ramones. Iggy Pop was part of the Detroit grunge scene along with MC5.

For those not into the hard rock scene, 1973 didn’t disappoint. The year featured Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Paul McCartney and Wings with Band on the Run, and reggae classics from Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff.

Innervisions was a breakthrough album for soul singer and song writer Stevie Wonder. The album warns us about drugs, talks about racism and the struggles black men face, egomaniacs, love and his faith. Every song is it’s own gem that features unique musical influences. “Don’t you worry about a thing” is a Latin jazz, soul song featuring Cuban style piano of the day. In “Higher Ground”, influence by the philosophy of Dr. King, Wonder brings out the Moog and discusses the need to live a righteous life. In the manner of Dr. King, Wonder doesn’t come off as preachy at all; it is more confessional. It also has a little Buddhism in it, “The last time on earth I lived my whole life in sin.”

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road  is Elton John’s last masterpiece as a songwriter. While he has written many good songs since, none of his albums can hold a Candle in the Wind to the Harmony on this album. It’s hard to argue with the quality songwriting and craftsmanship on this album. And a special Tip of the Hat to Bernie Taupin, John’s long time collaborator, who wrote some of the tracks and many of the lyrics and guitar parts on this album.

Bob Marley and Wailer put out Catch a Fire in 1973, which features one of my favorites, “Concrete Jungle”, and Burin’ with two of Marley’s best and more well know songs,  “Get up Stand Up” and “I Shot the Sheriff.” Jimmy Cliff put out his peon to the Struggling Man that year and his classic The Harder they Come. All in all, it was a great year for two of Reggae’s leading artists.

The year also features Queen’s first album “Queen”. While few would argue that this album was their best work, it was a good start to a seminal rock act. Aerosmith release their self title debut that year as well, featuring the blockbuster “Dream On.” The New York Dolls also released their first self titled studio album. While they didn’t top the charts, The Dolls are credited with influencing the punk rock movement and bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Clash in Britain in the late 70s.

Bruce Springsteen also started his stellar career in 1973 with two albums, Greetings from Ashbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocence and the E-Street Shuffle. These albums would be a career for many, but for Mr. Springsteen, a warm up for his classic 1975 Born to Run.

David Bowie release Aladin Sane, his first number one album. It’s one of Bowie’s best albums with great songs and not as uneven as many of his albums featuring songs such as “Alladin Sane” and “Panic in Detroit.”

And prog rockers also had a good year. Nothing says “progressive rock” louder and more pretentiously than Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery. For those old enough, who can forget their enjoyment or revulsion the first time they hear “Karn Evil #9?” Pretensions aside, there is some fantastic composing on this album, and I mean “composing”.  And what would the early seventies be without prog rock super group Yes. Not only did they release Tales From Topographic Oceans, they released their Yessongs compilation of live recordings that went platinum, as has their third, fourth and fifth albums. That’s not bad for a band not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Genesis also released Selling England by the Pound in 1973.

Parliament Funkadelic put out their seminal Cosmic Slop in 1973. Other groups releasing albums include ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, and The Eagles.

So whether you liked soul music, pop, rock, raggae among other styles, 1973 is a year to remember and on that lives on in our mp3 players and FM radio stations.

Read more about the great albums of 1973 here.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Pet Peeves of 2010—My Lewis Black self-indulgent moment

In Current Events, Entertainment, History on December 31, 2010 at 21:45

Here is a list of pet peeves for 2010. They are all tied for first place and not ranked.

Obama’s bipartisanship: Republican Party rigidness.

“Obamacare”—the name, the discussion, the fake debate, the delay in implementation, the bill itself.

Vegetarians who think anyone who eats meat is an insensitive bastard who doesn’t know how “cruel it is” to eat meat.

People who comment on my articles and videos who think insults are facts.

Air guitar and the affiliated air instruments.

Tribute bands. I can’t wait for my trip to Vegas to see the Miley Cyrus Experience and Boy II Men Again tribute shows.

Heroes substituting for good social policy. Good thing we have all those people feeding the poor during the holidays because we have a tax policy that allows jobs to go overseas. Yea America! Way to love thy neighbor folks.

People who get congratulated for covering a song someone else wrote just because the song they covered is a good one even if their version sucks. I especially love it when people like Celine Dion tries to be hard by singing “You shook me all night Long” or Pat Boone sings from his heavy metal album.

<object width=”480″ height=”360″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xoyun?width=&theme=none&foreground=%23F7FFFD&highlight=%23FFC300&background=%23171D1B&start=&animatedTitle=&iframe=0&additionalInfos=0&autoPlay=0&hideInfos=0″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”></param></object><br /><b><a href=”http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xoyun_you-shook-me-all-night-long_music”>You shook me all night long</a></b><br /><i>Uploaded by <a href=”http://www.dailymotion.com/razfin”>razfin</a&gt;. – <a target=”_self” href=”http://www.dailymotion.com/us/channel/music”>Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.</a></i>

The rules for capitalization state that the word “Internet” gets a capital letter. Was that the proper name the military gave it? Why don’t we capitalize “Radio” and “Television” then?

People who don’t teach telling teachers how to teach. Moreover, I have disdain for anyone that implements an expensive testing regimen before finding out if the tests are valid or test student achievement. Well, if you are trying to test memorization and test taking skills, mission accomplished.

Movies about boxing. Shouldn’t writers and directors have stopped those projects after Raging Bull came out?

People who thank God (or Jesus) for winning a football game or winning a Grammy or any other personally aggrandizing pursuit. Do you really think that the mythical man in the sky really cares about sports and awards?

I’m tired of people being tired of vampires and Harry Potter.

When do I get my own talk show?

Articles based on quotes instead of articles about substantive issues. Why is what Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Christine O’Donnell or Glenn Beck said news? At least Boehner will soon be speaker of the house, god bless him.

Capitalizing the word god when you are a non-believer.

Scapegoating immigrants for everything from lack of jobs to tooth decay.

Too much Mark Zuckerberg and not enough Aung San Suu Kyi.

John McCain. I’m not sure who the man is any more than he knows who he is. Aren’t you ready for your tribute in the Senate yet Mr. McCain? At least Jon Kyl has been consistently bigoted and racist plutocrat his whole life.

News about how the middle class is suffering. What about the poor? Yea, I know, they don’t vote or give you money or work in the Fortune 500 companies as your lumpen prols.

Lies about taxes. Taxes ate my baby!!

Homophobia. Sure, they’re not homophobic if they are against gay marriage, gays in the military or think gays can be cured. It’s okay if you want to call it religious bigotry and not homophobia. You decide.

Racism denial by racists. And everyone in prison is innocent too.

Drone attacks.

The Bill of Rights can be ignored when it suits the narrow agenda of the powerful. Examples: unlawful detentions, spying, extrajudicial assassinations, banning a legally permitted mosque, etc.

Jon Stewart being one of the only sources of sane commentary on television. Luckily for you, you are reading my blog where sane commentary and humility reign.

The royal family’s return to prominence because Prince William is getting married. Why do people in Britain and America (and Australia?) care so much about the royals? Is Manchester United having a bad football season in London, or what? Don’t they get MTV and Lady Gaga videos in Great Britain and the Commonwealth?

References in articles to people few people know, like Lewis Black.

2010.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Happy 2011 y’all!

It’s Time to Bend Over Again

In Current Events, Entertainment on December 7, 2010 at 22:27

With the impending extension of the tax cuts for those that have taken a majority of the wealth in the last 30 years, I thought it was time for another rousing chorus of “Bend Over America” with special thanks to the Tea Party, Neocons and the mainstream media.

Give it a hit on YouTube if you like it.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Texas School Books Don’t Go Far Enough

In Education, Entertainment on November 11, 2010 at 18:11

In May this year, the Texas school board passed their ten-year revisions to their public school textbooks. The new standards are the most God fearing, anti-science, pro-conservative revisions in history, but they don’t go far enough.

The Texas school board is trying to bring God back to this Godless nation. One way they can do this is by bringing more Jesus into the textbooks. Old textbooks would tell us that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion and protects us against government institutionalization of a state religion. As freedom loving Joseph Lieberman and former Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell both said, “…the Constitution guarantees from of religion, not freedom FROM religion.” (link 1) (link B)

There is no freedom from religion in this God fearing nation, and we will make sure that you aren’t free from religion, ever, especially in school. Religion is pamphagous in our nation, and resistance is futile.

So, we must shoe horn the truth into our textbooks that this nation was founded as a Christian nation, and no other religion should be allowed.

First, we need to replace the Bill of Rights with the Ten Commandments in all history textbooks. As every sane person knows, the Bill of Rights is unconstitutional. And other than the Second Amendment that enforces gun ownership, and the Tenth Amendment giving states rights, the Bill of Rights only protects liberals who commit crimes. We don’t want criminal protections in America. As everyone knows, being accused of a crime means you are guilty. So we don’t need the 4th through 8th Amendments and all the legal excuses liberals call protections.

Moreover, the Tenth Amendment allows us to do Gods bidding: cut Medicaid state by state, ban legally protected health procedures state by state, and lets the states decide on whether to have slaves or not. We will protect the Tenth Amendment with our Second Amendment rights to threaten people with our Second Amendment rights. (link)

On another religious note, we must put a statement in all textbooks that Islam is an evil religion that attacks innocent people and that Christianity has never been used as an excuse to kill anyone who didn’t deserved to be killed. And, all math was created by white Europeans and East Indians, Arabs, Mayans, the Chinese and other cultures had nothing to do with anything we do even if we do use Arabic numbers and French words.

While the Texas textbooks resuscitate the image of Joseph McCarthy, the God fearing socialist hunter, we need to start hunting and black-listing all non-Christians. One way to get the ball rolling it to put more information about all the sin committed by socialists like Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, who as we know was a communist spy.

We need to get rid of any mention of rights movements led by the devil’s henchmen: terrorist Mexican Cesar Chavez, Anti-war America hater Dr. King, Revolutionary Thomas Jefferson, Man Hating Cady Stanton and Julia Ward Howe, Muslim Malcolm-X, Indian Heathen Russell Means and many other socialists. What did these folks ever do for America anyway?

What we need to do is take the “rights” out of history texts and just talk about the right, like Ronald Reagan, our savior.

And finally, the Texas school board has standards that attack science for the heathen devil worship it is. Science is the devil’s creation, used to hide the word of God behind verifiable facts. (link) For example, all grade school textbooks will question global warming, thanks to recent vote. (link)

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.” (link) (linklet)

The Texas State Board of Education board members believe that there is an over-representation of minorities in textbooks. Most of these members are strongly conservative and believe that the separation of minorities should be done away with.
(link)

Two more links about the greatness of the new ignorance.

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-cuts-thomas-jefferson-out-of-its-textbooks/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031700560.html?nav=hcmodulel

And remember, the United States never made any mistakes. How do I know? It’s not in the history textbooks.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

Rally to Restore Sanity Video Featuring Tex Shelters

In Current Events, Election Politics, Entertainment on November 6, 2010 at 15:39

Peace,
Tex Shelters

The Rally to Show How Reasonable Jon Stewart is

In Current Events, Entertainment on November 1, 2010 at 14:49

The Rally to Restore Sanity

Written Oct 29th, 2010, before The Rally to Restore Sanity:

Jon Stewart has nicknamed his Rally to Restore Sanity “The Million Moderate March”. But that isn’t what the rally really is about. It’s not about moderates, liberals, or conservatives. It’s about people who can prevent fact based issues a reality based argument, and not end up hating or dismissing arguments other who disagree with them make. That is exactly what Stewart promotes with his sign idea, “I may disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

Written Nov 1st, 2010 (A video of the rally will is forthcoming.)

The day of the event was many things and amounted to little. Many of the people who went to the rally could not hear, let alone see, the proceedings. I arrived late, missed Ozzie Osbourne and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Steven) singing together, and missed some of the early shtick.  I was there in time to hear Stewart sing, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar get a standing ovation. Yes, there was nowhere to sit, but Kareem would have gotten a standing ovation if there were seats.

The part of the show I saw wasn’t any funnier than nightly shows of Stewart of Colbert, but the audience with their signs and costumes was spectacular. But the show and the rhetoric? Eh. The lead up to the rally sold his message of bringing back civil debate as much as the rally itself did. One thing to add: The message must have gotten through. With all the jostling and pushing and shoving on the Metro and at the show, I didn’t see on instance of an altercation. People really were there to get along, and I give Stewart  and the audience credit for being calm and easy-going.

However, Stewart’s message fell pray to his desire to be far and balance, as opposed to Fox News. Part of the closing address to the crowd was spent on Stewart calling on the cable news media and politicians to ratchet down their partisanship on the left and on the right. He spoke as if the shouting of Keith Olbermann (which is annoying) is equivalent to Sharon Angle’s calling for a “Second Amendment Solution”. That is ridiculous, and to quote Angle, “If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are going to start looking for second amendment remedies…The first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/sharron-angles-solution-broken-congress-arm

To compare Olbermann calling Limbaugh “fat” to a Republican comparing being gay to alcoholism is silly. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/buck-compares-gay-alcoholism/ While Mr. Stewart has it right, Olbermann is guilty of name calling, he equate signs with Obama as Hitler, Stalin or a witch doctor to Bill Maher calling Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell an idiot. Is it regrettable? Sure. Is calling a woman who is NOT even a Senator “stupid” the same as calling the sitting president a “Nazi”? No way in hell. Stewart is just being a middle of the road namby-pamby left of center douchbag a-hole attention whore looking for the affection his dad held back if he thinks insults on the left are the same as threats on the right, so there Mr. Stewart. As you going to go after Tex Shelters now? I didn’t think so, ya coward.

Back on a serious note. I am glad Stewart had the rally. He is able to do this because his network is not pretending to be a “news” organization, and he is generally correct that the issues have been lost in all the paid advertizing and so-called punditry that is more often then not gripe sessions and “gotcha” moments. However, the actual “radical left” is not only miniscule in scope, less publically visible (not having their own network), but they are also more fact-based than the radical right. The “far left”, whatever that means, is also not dependent on the Democratic Party and have abandoned them almost completely, and the radical right have nearly taken over the Republican Party. And while I disagree with his comparing the “radical left” to the “radical right”, I am pretty sure Stewart’s not Hitler.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

 

The Stupidest, Funniest Movie you Will See this Year

In Entertainment on August 8, 2010 at 22:21

I can sum up Dinner for Schmucks in one sentence; it’s the stupidest, funniest movie you will see this year. Okay, that was one “clause”, but you know what I mean.

If you don’t know the story, it’s about a man who works with investments and tries to get ahead by bringing the biggest idiot to dinner thus pleasing his boss to get a promotion. Sounds stupid? Oh, it is.

What makes this movie work is a good script and a cast of A-list comedians starting with Steve Carell as the idiot of Paul Rudd’s desire.

Let me break in to say that it took a lot of cajones to use a Yiddish term relating to male genatalia, schmuck, in the title.

I generally don’t find movies that mock groups of people or “idiots” funny. I didn’t like Dumb and Dumber and I didn’t even like Animal House that much. John Belushi was in Animal House, so it was palatable. But I find idiots prancing around to be offensive on so many levels. It’s probably why I don’t like sitcoms like I Love Lucy (although I like Lucille Ball) or Family Guy. Any show that lives off of only stupidity and cruelty doesn’t work for me.

However, Carell is so good in this movie that I had to like it. He put humanity into his role of the simple minded Barry and avoids most of the clichés of the idiot. In many ways, Barry just thinks in a different way and he is not stupid at all. However, Paul Rudd, the man who invites him to this dinner, doesn’t recognize this until it is almost too late.

Paul Rudd is passable. He’s not terrible, but he doesn’t charm the audience. Vince Vaughn was more charming in Dodge Ball, another stupid but funny film, than Rudd is here.

Again we have a movie romance that makes no sense. Rudd is trying to get his girlfriend Julie to agree to marry him throughout the film and this schmuck dinner in essential to that end. However, other than being not bad looking, we don’t see any reason Julie would want to be with Tim (Paul Rudd). Julie (Stephanie Szostak) is very good looking, but her character is whiny and annoying. I am not sure it’s the fault of the acting or the script, but I think it was a little bit of both. The audience is just supposed to believe they are in love because they say so, but it’s not working.

The comedian cast is another thing. In addition to Carell as Barry, there is the brilliant Jemaine Clement, a multitalented New Zealander with the French Name, as the creative genius alternative artist Kieran with the animal magnetism. He has the funniest lines in the movie and he delivers. “Animals are not monogamous, very few are like the penguin”, he tells Tim. “Julie is a lioness. You can not mate your penguin to this lioness.” That is more or less what he says, and in the context of the film, it is a great line.

Lucy Punch is worth noting, in more ways than one, for her funny role as Darla, the obsessive one night stand of Tim’s who is still after him. Her over the top obsession with Tim worked because she is a bit crazy, and he is a jerk we don’t feel sorry for. Whether it was the role, the fact that she was into spanking, or her acting, she was a delight to watch. And the crazier she gets, the more we want to watch her. Think of a bloody car artfully overturned with a designer’s touch and you will get close to her role in the movie.

There are some very funny scenes and lines in this movie, and it is more than just a series of disconnected bits. There is a build up in the madness that only a film could do.

The plot points were predictable, but done well. There was no stretching out of the inevitable reconciliation scenes and Tim’s realization that he is the real schmuck in the movie. The only surprise is that the director didn’t over play those scenes and thus he didn’t ruin the film. Other outcomes were easily predicted, but journey was to the end was chock full of laughs.

Overall rating: matinee.

It’s hilarious moments don’t completely make up for the predictable buddy film and the uninteresting love story. However, the humor keeps the film from being a total waste of time. Bonus points for Carell once more being the funniest person in the movie.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

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