We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 22, 2018


[STARLITE] -- A friend recently posted a link to The Story Behind Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" (WSJ). Depending on the source, "Steppin' Out" was released in either June or August of 1982. It spent a total of 27 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #6 on December 11, 1982. It also peaked at #5 in Cash Box magazine, #4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, and #7 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks. In short, it was Jackson's biggest US hit. Now, I'm sure I heard "Steppin' Out" on the radio in 1982. However, my clearest memory of the song is as the lead track off STARLITE, a 1983 compilation record from K-Tel. If you watched TV in the 70s and 80s, you probably remember commercials for K-Tel's records and other products. A vinyl copy of STARLITE boasts a retail value of about $2.00 these days, and it features a track list of 14 songs:

1) Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson 2) Eye In The Sky – Alan Parsons Project 3) Personally – Karla Bonoff 4) Nobody – Sylvia 5) Goin’ Down – Greg Guidry 6) Love Or Let Me Be Lonely – Paul Davis 7) Blue Eyes – Elton John 8) Wasted On The Way – Crosby, Stills & Nash 9) Only The Lonely – The Motels 10) On The Wings of Love – Jeffrey Osborne 11) A Penny For Your Thoughts – Tavares 12) You Can Do Magic – America 13) Who’s Crying Now – Journey 14) Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me – Juice Newton

All the songs were top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and half of them reached top 10 status. Yeah, there are a few oddballs on there, like "On The Wings of Love" or "A Penny For your Thoughts," but it's a pretty solid lineup. And while STARLITE harbors no true, straight-ahead rockers, it is kind of a diverse collection of music (as far as 80s top 40 music goes). So, rather than choose my usual trinity of tracks, this week's Flashback is featuring the entire compilation. Enjoy!



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Let the games begin

So we received emails from SDCC yesterday that our badges were on their way!

We arrived home and it must have been a worm hole because our badges were already here!




What is everyone looking forward to?

Dangrdafne is looking forward to seeing her friends and getting away from work for a long break.

Brainwise is looking forward to the overall experience of SDCC even for our eighth visit.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 15, 2018



[Clutching at the 80s] -- This week in 1987, 80s prog rockers and cult darlings, Marillion, released their fourth studio album, Clutching at Straws. Marillion got their start in Aylesbury, England, in 1979, and took their name from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, The Silmarillion. A favorite among the D&D playing teens in the early 80s, Marillion reached the peak of their success with Clutching at Straws' predecessor, the concept album Misplaced Childhood (1985). While not as commercially successful as ChildhoodStraws did reach #2 on the UK Albums Chart and it received many positive reviews. In fact, AllMusic.com considers this album to be their "most unheralded masterpiece." It was certainly a transitional record -- it was the last record with singer-songwriter, Fish, and it heralded guitarist Steve Rothery's ascension to being the band's new musical instigator later recordings.

Like ChildhoodStraws is a concept album. However, rather than delving into the vagaries of youth, this record looks the downward spiral of a young adult. In these songs, we see Torch, who is 29 years old and out-of-work. His life is a mess and he seeks solace mainly in alcohol. It is not a happy story, as Torch ends up a raging drunk beyond all hope of redemption.

CD Booklet for UK release of Clutching at Straws
The three singles released from Clutching at Straws were "Incommunicado," "Sugar Mice," and "Warm Wet Circles." However, since we're dealing with a concept album, I thought it might be best to provide a full playlist rather than just pick my usual three selections. Enjoy!

Flashback(s): "I'm a citizen of Legoland travellin' incommunicado  |  And I don't give a damn for the Fleet Street aficionados." (lyrics from the first single, Incommunicado).




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Preacher

Dangrdafne review

Simply put, I should NOT like this show at all. It is uber violent, horrifying and dark, soooo dark.


But

I LOVE this show!

I mean I really love this show. Every episode blows me away with its creativity, acting, filming and crazy. It is the best over the top there can be. I love how everything ties together. You have to watch, though, there is no multi-tasking while Preacher is on.

I adore the family that is created between the three main characters and how they do anything for each other. It is the best kind of family there is, a chosen one.

And speaking of chosen one, Dominic Cooper is spectacular as Jesse aka Preacher. Watching him grapple with his role with Genesis is a thing of beauty. And that hair?? Woah, his hair is perfection.

Ruth Negga is spectacular as Tulip. She is strong, vulnerable, powerful, tough, in love and just a perfect match for Jesse. I want to be Tulip, minus all the violence around her.

Then there is Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy. I used to hate vampires when I was a child but in my adult years I have come to love so many. Cassidy is on that list. He is such a good human... who isn't human. His caring and his loyalty is better than most people.

One of my current fascinations is in season 2: how they wrote Hitler as a sympathetic character. We meet Hitler in Hell and we get to see the cause of his insanity. It is not what you think it is and it makes you question many things. Is he inherently a good person gone bad? Or is he just bad to the bone? These are the questions that come up in Preacher and they leave them for you to work through on your own.

We are two seasons in and the third starts on June 24th. I highly. highly recommend catching up before the 3rd season starts if you aren't watching. I will add that this is a highly violent and gory show. If you are easily queasy, I recommend watching with a friend who is not so they can tell you when to look away and when to watch again. The opening to season 2 is quite horrid but worth it, so worth it.

The search for God is one many of us feel and the way the show weaves everything together is some of the best storytelling there is on TV.

I easily give Preacher 4 paws and a tail !!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 8, 2018



[Escalator of Life] -- Some songs are perfect time capsules of time and place. It doesn't matter when such a song hits your ear again, you are mentally transported back to that moment you first encountered it. A perfect example of this happened during my morning commute earlier this week. The opening keyboard strains of "Escalator of Life" came on the radio and I was no longer driving down 309 for my dayjob. No, in my mind, it was 1986 and I was sitting in a dorm room at University Park. RTP, who had just dropped my turntable's needle onto a new-to-me record, looked at me and said, "I think you're going to like this." That was my introduction to Robert Hazard and his 1982 eponymous debut EP. I would later acquire my own copy of this record, which is still in my collection. I would also later learn that Hazard's most famous song was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," which he wrote and recorded in 1979 but never released. No, he was waiting for the right person to release it, and that person was Cyndi Lauper who made it a #2 song in 1983. Anyway, Hazard released a total of seven records between 1982 and 2007. His later records veered away from his initial new wave sound in favor of a more contemporary singer/songwriter, almost folky, vibe. I even got to see him perform at the Sellersville Theater during this latter stage of his career. We lost him shortly after that tour; he passed away in August, 2008, just shy of his 60th birthday. But this post is about Hazard's first EP in all its 80s glory. And you can revisit some tracks with me after the jump. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Dangrdafne review:

Personally I have no idea why people are not liking this movie. But then I am not a die hard Star Wars fan. I can watch the movie for what is it and not what some expectation of what it “should” be is.


SPOILERS

I LOVED this movie. It was fun, funny, heart warming, exciting, clever, well written, great filming and a really great story.

I thought Alden Ehrenreich was perfect as a young Han. I loved his innocence and how you can watch him learn to get stronger, smarter and tougher. It was nice to see the happier side of Han Solo for awhile too.

I was definitely not on board with Woody Harrelson before the movie but I am definitely on board after. I worried that because he was so famous that he would overshadow everyone but that’s not giving Woody’s acting the credit is deserves. He did not overshadow anyone and in actuality his presence brought a much needed grounding to Han and the story. He was portraying the more knowledgeable character and having the “famous” person portraying that role worked perfectly.

Thandie Newton was incredible. Gone waaay too soon in the movie but she was an integral part of the story. I loved watching her learn to like Han and to trust him. Again it was fun watching the more seasoned performer helping out the newbie and the newbie growing and learning from them.

The origin story of Chewbacca and Han meeting was awesome. I don’t know the actual canon story but this was perfect. And talking in Wookie?? Awesome! I actually started to think I could understand it by the end of the movie.

L3 - the droid - was hilarious and her back story leads to a major plot point of the movie. I recently saw the actress who portrayed L3, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, on the Graham Norton show and not only do I now have a girl crush on her but she was just perfect for L3. My favorite part of her story was that when she went to audition for the role she had never seen any Star Wars at all and didn’t know what a droid was. Skip to seeing her in the movie... I would never had guessed she didn’t know what a droid was or that she didn’t know Star Wars. She fit in perfectly and she was hilarious!

Donald Glover as Lando was perfect casting. Exactly what I would think a young Lando would be like and he played perfectly off Han. Emilia Clarke was also great but when the movie ended I had to ask my friend, a Star Wars aficionado, if Q’ira exists or not in the Star Wars world and she said no. But apparently Q’ira might be around in the newest world of Star Wars.

A major point to make about the movie, is that during a major action scene myself and my two friends were pushed back in our seats, holding onto our arm rests, hearts pounding... even though 1) one of us had already seen the movie and 2) we knew the outcome of the scene. It has to be a good movie if we react like that under these two circumstances for sure.

Overall, the movie was a heist movie in outer space and it was perfect. Please don’t listen to the naysayers. Go see the movie and make your own decision. Just enjoy the story and the fun.

4 paws

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback (on a Saturday) for June 1, 2018


[Define My Life] -- So, you might have seen a tweet or an FB post that claims your life can be defined by the song that was #1 when you turned 14. Some time ago, I chased down the #1 song the day I was born, and there are plenty of sites that help you dig that up if you can't research record charts on your own. But back to the 14th birthday thing. I had the good fortune of turning 14 during the 80s, so I wondered what that song might be for me. This Washington Post article has a utility that finds your song and a few runners up. But I had already done my own sleuthing via the Weekly Top 40 blog. And the US Billboard #1 song on my 14th birthday was "I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. In fact, it was #1 for the entire month of April, and it spent seven consecutive weeks in the top slot before being dethroned by "Chariots Of Fire - Titles" on May 8, 1982. Now, I do love rock 'n roll, and I have extraordinary affinity for the simple combination of guitar, bass, and drums. But does this song actually define my life? Well, let's look at some of the runners up:


All four of them are songs I love to this very day. And I still own at least two of them on 45rpm.

There are other songs that were in heavy radio rotation around my 14th birthday (researched here). They include XTC's "Senses Working Overtime," The Jam's "Town Called Malice," and Toto's "Rosanna." Any of those could be a serious contender as the song that explains my life.

However, I feel that "Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls is an even more likely culprit (although it was released a full month after I hit the magical age of 14). That track appears as the 2nd entry in my Flashback post of February 9 this very year.

Still, Joan Jett and "I Love Rock 'N Roll" were all over the place as I turned 14. So, as that single was also the title track to Joan Jett's second studio album (and first with The Blackhearts), let's groove to the complete album.



That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven! While we're waiting till the next post, chime in with your own #1 songs.



Top Image source: Some other Brian's vinyl record birthday cake
Bottom image source: Screen shot of a Facebook post.