Monday, January 31, 2011

Buffy Season 8 Concludes

Last month, the eighth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer reached its stunning conclusion, nearly four years after it began and six and a half hears after the shows series finale. Such is the power of comic books.

The result was a massive 40-issue season bringing in, not only Joss Whedon, but other Buffy writers as well as comic book writers like Brian K. Vaughan into the mix. It included virtually every living character from the show and a few dead ones (I won't spoil them). And also Fray.

I will admit that when I first heard that Joss Whedon was planning on releasing an epic comic book eighth season of Buffy my first reaction was "Why" followed by "aren't you doing Buffy Season 8 and not Angel Season 6?" But, after a rough start, Buffy Season 8 won me over.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Truly Outstanding Albums: John Henry, by They Might Be Giants

In 1965, Bob Dylan introduced electric guitars to the Newport Folk Festival for the first time, and the face of music was irrevocably altered. Never before had anyone thought of using electric guitars in folk music (provided you ignore the Byrds as well as Dylan's own "Bringing it All Back Home" album released earlier that year). And never before had an artist received such unjustified hate for introducing new instruments. And it would never happen again . . . until 1994, when They Might Be Giants released "John Henry".

In the years since the Newport controversy, things have settled a little. Pete Seeger claims he only called for the amps to be shut off, because they were set up poorly and that the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding. But the hatred reserved for "John Henry" continues to this day. Pitchfork Media even declared "John Henry" to be "one of the least interesting albums ever released".

While Dylan was crucified for using electric guitars instead of acoustic guitars, They Might Be Giants were crucified for using drums instead of a drum machine.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Check Out This Interview: Inside the Georgia Prison Strike

You may be familiar with the prisoners' strike that occurred in Georgia in December. Or you may not. Despite being a major week-long non-violent strike of prisoners across six prisons, the event got very little media coverage. What coverage there was tended to be horror stories about (gasp) criminals with cell-phones. The prison officials even classified the carefully organized, non-violent protest as a riot.

But one of those prisoners used his contraband cell-phone to give an interview to Ty Moore of Socialist Alternative. I highly recommend giving it a listen. It gives a great inside view of the conditions in the prison, as well as the steps taken in the strike and the reprisals against the strikers.

You can listen to it here. It's 50 minutes long.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Claiming King

To day marks the twenty-fifth anniversary Martin Luther King Day becoming a national holiday. More importantly, it's the first time the holiday has been celebrated since Glenn Beck established himself as following in King's footsteps with his "Rally to Restore Honor". This really makes you think about all of the different people of all stripes who claim King as their own. Consider this:

Glenn Beck the paranoid anti-socialist nut-job is claiming to follow in the footsteps of the guy who said "There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism"!

For people who admit Glenn Beck's full of shit there's this bit of outrageousness. Martin Luther King the anti-Vietnam War activist who was hounded by the FBI, is compared by some, to Barack Obama, who instituted a military surge in Afghanistan and had the FBI raid anti-war activists homes in Minneapolis and Chicago!