The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New music I am listening to lately:

I am not one of those people who is uber-knowledgeable about music. I read a few music blogs (waves at Flux from Barbelith, and Pudding Tame), but I’m not the big music fan I used to be. Part of it is that I am a bit older, so I don’t feel the need to search out new music like I used to, part of it is that I prefer to get information when I drive so I listen to either talk or news radio most of the time and partly because (like most people, I’m guessing) I want music as a kind of “comfort food” where I listen to things that I’ve either heard a bajillion times already or sounds like a music style I already like.

I have satellite radio, but I have fallen into the pattern of hitting about five different channels (the New Wave channel, the Grunge channel, the two classic rock channels and the garage rock channel), so even the newer bands I hear, sound like the stuff I already like.

So, as I look through my CDs, I notice that pretty much after REV105 went away, the only new bands I am “finding” are ones that either friends have put CDs in my hand, or they have opened for bands that I already like. Every once in a blue moon, I’ll see a band on TV or heard a song in a movie that I’ll like enough to search out.

The big problem is that music CDs have become disposable, IMHO. They put out SO many every week that it’s almost impossible to keep up. It’s like most forms of entertainment now…they dump so much out there on the market that it’s hard to sort through the big pile of new stuff every week to find what you might possibly like.

So, the new CDs I have been listening to over the last few months are:

The Decemberists: I picked up all 4 of their CDs used after seeing them on Colbert. “The Crane Wife” is the one I am listening to the most. They have a lot of “prog rock” echoes, and are interesting enough lyrically that they warrant continued listening.

Shaw/Blades: I know, the minute I saw it’s Tommy Shaw from Styx, most people will have their eyes glaze over. I liked some of Styx’s output, but was never a BIG fan of the band. Their early stuff was rather thin, and their later stuff got AMAZINGLY pretentious, but they have some great songs scattered amid the mess. However, I was not expecting to ever say that an acoustic album of covers by Tommy Shaw would be worth getting…but it is. Shaw strips down each song to its bare bones, and then shows that he has an amazing singing voice as long as you don’t mind the fact that he’s channeling Robert Plant…better than Robert Plant ever did. A surprisingly satisfying CD that is something I can listen to all on its own.

Funkadelic: Yeah, I’m 30 years late to the party, but the music is simply fun funk that doesn’t seem to have aged in my mind, and each used CD I find sounds like it was recorded yesterday. I never listened to the band before simply because I’d never heard George Clinton’s work before, but now that I have, I’m going to keep looking for it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Marshall Rogers passes away

Heidi MacDonald is reporting the death of Marshall Rodgers.

Those of you who read comics probably know Marshal's work. His run on Batman kept the book from being canceled in the mid 70's, and his run on Dr. Strange was the best since Ditko worked on the book. He worked on a lot of other comics, and I bought all of them. His work was amazingly inventive, had a thin, clean line, and worked in every genre effortlessly. He even drew the Batman syndicated comic strip in the late 80's, showing that he could bring his trademark style to a much more restrictive medium.

I met him briefly at the Minneapolis Convention, and he was a charming man who seemed surprised that so many people loved his work.

Made made great comics, and I'll miss his work.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Political Musings

It sounds like John Edwards’s wife is having medical problems again, so he will be putting his Presidential campaign on hold. I know that Obama and Hillary are the front runners, but Edwards has been the candidate who is running with some actual ideas, and not on force of personality. He actually has plans, and not just platitudes, and he’s not getting any traction, which is a damn shame. I hope his wife comes through all right, and he gets back into the race, since I’m not impressed with Hillary’s conservative tendencies and Obama’s lack of experience.

The other thing I have been thinking about, politically, is how the White House is acting while it is under attack. The press has finally seemed to have caught up with the American Public, who turned on Bush after Katrina, and now that the Democrats are in, we are at least having people ask some questions about the Imperial Presidency.

Oh, they won’t DO a hell of a lot about things, but at least they are asking.

Let’s take the State’s Attorney firings as an example.

Before the election, Dear Leader Bush or one of his many minions let the word go forth from that time and place that the State’s attorneys needed to investigate Democrats, and needed to make sure the media KNEW they were investigating Democrats. It’s an old political trick, and one that Rove has used constantly. Deal Leader would have people make huge announcements that they were starting investigations, then after the elections, those investigations would be quietly dropped. Since the Repugs were in trouble going into November, they pulled out the old trick.

However, SOME of these State’s attorneys had actually investigated and won convictions on Repugs like Duck Cunning ham. So, with the election loss in the books, Dear Leader or one of his minions decided it was time to get rid of the people who didn’t follow political orders. Now that it’s being investigated, they are running even older political tricks:

-Dumping tons of paper, hoping that there is so much, no one can find anything
-Holding back information on the days in question when they do the big dump
-Blaming Bill Clinton. Still.

Now that the pressure is getting to be massive, Dear Leader said that he will allow the two aides that all of the evidence is pointing at to have to answer questions from Congress, which is supposed to oversee the Executive Branch. However, Dear Leader is pulling the 9/11 trick and saying they can ONLY talk to his people if it is NOT under oath, is not made public and is not records. Much like his and Cheney’s testimony to the 9/11 commission.

Dear Leader, showing he known his Orwell, says that NO President has allowed his aides to be questioned under oath about policy decisions. Never mind that Clinton’s aides did it 47 times during that Presidency. But if Dear Leader tells you something, who do you believe, those liberals in charge of history, or the man who has Osama Bin Laden on the run?

I also liked that they pulled out the Ron Jeremy look-alike last week to confess to every terrorist act since 1991 last week, and it was a big deal, even though he confessed to it all back in 1993 when he was first taken into custody. I wonder if they really thought it would get Walter Reed or the State’s Attorney stuff off of the front page for more than a single news cycle. Surely they know that they built up Osama Bin Laden as the be-all, end-all boogeyman, and no one will give a damn until he’s caught…

Dear Leader is floundering. The charge of incompetence has finally stuck with the news media and general public, and every new scandal that gets unearthed is going to just add to that story.

It’s a shame that the Democrats don’t know how to play poker, because when your opponent is weak is when you up your bets.

Bush pulls out the “I don’t want a fishing expedition,” you answer with an investigation while asking, “Why are you scared of an investigation if you didn’t do anything wrong?”

When they start trotting out the confession of Ron Jeremy, you come back by pointing out that this is old news, and What Have You Done For Me Lately.

When they trot out Weapons Made In Iran, you show the same photo with the “Made in the United Arab Emirates” on the other weapons enhanced with circles and red arrows and remind people that’s who he wanted protecting our ports.

When Halliburton announces they are moving to Dubai, you put forth a law that no company can have contracts with the US military unless they are American Based and pay taxes to the US Government.

It’s time to hammer Dear Leader just as hard as he’s been hammering the truth and Constitution for the past six years.

If they don’t, the average voter will think that if they can’t stand up to Dear Leader, how can the Democrats possibly stand up to terrorism.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Homicide: Life on the Street

Sitting on my Tivo are the final two regular episodes of Homicide: Life On The Street. When I watch them, I will have seen every epsiode other than the movie, and I don't want to have it end.

It aired when I didn't have much TV time, and even though I heard how great it was, I just didn't have time to watch it. When "Sleuth" started re-running it, I decided to watch a few episodes to see if it was as good as I'd heard. I'd toyed with the idea of getting the DVDs, but they are SO overpriced, I decided against it.

As I watched, I was drawn in, and can say that it is probably my favorite police procedural drama in any medium. The scripts were fresh, the stories were more than simple whodunits, but the thing that made the show go above and beyond being just another cop show were the characters.

EACH character on the show was rich, complex, flawed, but not in a trite way. Det. Frank Pembelton was utterly unlikeable in the early episodes, but as the series went on, and you discovered more about him, the more he was the most complex and rich character on the show and maybe on television. His series-long struggle with his loss of faith wasn't just tacked on, but felt REAL and spoke to me in a way that few TV characters have.

The final season was a HUGE step down from previous seasons, and the show did stumble here and there. Pembleton's recovery from a stroke was right out of a soap opera, the way some characters were written out of the show felt like throw-aways, but a bad episode of Homicide was still better than 99% of what else is on. If the series would have ended with the finale of season 6, I would have been fine with it, and the new characters in season 7 felt completely out of place...cardboard cutouts mixing with people, but I still don't want it to end.

And, as most well done series, there is a character who was our focus through the run. The show starts with Det. Bayliss on his first day in the unit, and it's pretty clear that the emotionally fragile character will be the focus of the final episode as well.

But if I watch the last two episodes, there won't be any more (other than the TV movie which is ONLY available in the Complete Series set).