Category Archives: social commentary

This, this, all the this!

If you are a creative, this video will sounds very familiar – but it’s a universal message. Lord knows I’ve been down this road a few times. Determination, persistence and touch of naivete is usually enough to win the day – it’s just the “day” in question usually lasts for years.

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It’s Funny What Strikes a Chord…

thrift-shop-large

I have been doing a lot of website building and refining these last three weeks as part of my new year commitment, and things have been going well. When all the sites are completed and ready you can bet that I’ll push them like crazy.

First one’s free: AndelonProd.com

As I’ve been refining CurtisAndersen.com I noticed some glitches in my RSS feed and had to go back to my old Blogger page to check some of the old posts. Imagine my surprise when I saw that, even months after having changed sites with the exact same URL, there were thousands of hits on the old version of the blog! Thousands!! I was shocked. There hadn’t been a new post since August, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Out of curiosity I decided to look and see what the most popular post of all time was and it turns out to be my examination of the Macklemore song “Thriftshop.” So since it’s Friday and it’s an appropriate party night I thought it might be nice to revisit that post:

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

I think this still holds water, even if I would write things a bit differently now. What do you think?

See you next time.

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Filed under music, music video, social commentary, Uncategorized, video, YouTube

Fun Video Friday! – Double Duty covering Kangaroos and Net Neutrality

Special Fun Video Friday this week. If you follow me on any social media then you may have seen my recent posts about trying to protect net neutrality and asking the FCC to consider the internet a title II common carrier so that the big ISP’s can’t have control over the speed or content that you receive online. You would think that in America of all places the internet would remain a bastion of freedom, but you’d be wrong. Right now the future of the internet is teetering and could go either way. We as citizens need to stand up! The first video for today covers, quite well, why net neutrality is important and how to take action. I’m sure many of you have signed petitions on the subject, but the best way to comment is directly to the FCC. I’ve included the link below. Please watch this, follow the link and help protect this vital communication system.


To put the “fun” back in Fun Video Friday here’s a video of a kangaroo petting a dog:



See you next time!

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Filed under animals, fun video friday, goverment, internet, net neutrality, politics, social commentary, social networking, video, videos, YouTube

On Miley Cyrus and Wrecking Ball

Image from Trinikid.com

Miley Cyrus has that song Wrecking Ball, the one that has received so much attention because of the provocative video that was released along with the song.

Yes, that one.

The one where she’s naked on a wrecking ball. And licking a sledge hammer.

Yes, that one.

The one that has, most likely, become the first sexual experience for post-pubescent boys who have a computer, smart phone or tablet and have had three to five minutes by themselves.

That one.

I’m not even going to link to that video because I really don’t want to promote any more views on it.

Funny thing, though, the song isn’t actually bad.

I was in the car with Rene and we were listening to the radio and suddenly this sad pop love song came on. Rene said, “You have to listen to this!” So I listened to it and I enjoyed it. I didn’t recognize it and, sure, it’s a pop song so it’s maybe not the deepest most introspective bit of musical poetry in the world – but it’s not a bad song. Like, this is going to be the love anthem for junior high and young high school relationships this school year.

So I ask Rene who it is and she gets excited and her eyes get big and she starts pointing at the radio and the only thing she can get out is, “This is Miley Cyrus! I wanted you to hear this!”

So I’m like, “Is this Wrecking Ball?”

And she nods and says, “Mm hm,” with a big “can you believe it?” look on her face.

This got me curious and Rene and I had a long conversation about it and Miley and… well that’s what the rest of the blog is about. When I got home I decided that it might be worth a look at the video since the song seems to be pretty vulnerable and sincere, even in its poppyness, and that must mean that there’s a reason why she’s getting all crazy on the sledgehammer, right?

No. Not at all. The video everybody knows about really is just sloppy soft core.

However, when I was searching, the first thing I found was a director’s cut of the video and it looked like this:

And here’s a link for those looking on mobile devices: Director’s Cut.

Now this makes much more sense for the message of the song. Here, lets take a look at the lyrics courtesy of AZLyrics.com:

“Wrecking Ball”

We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain
We jumped never asking why
We kissed, I fell under your spell.
A love no one could deny

Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

I put you high up in the sky
And now, you’re not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we’re ashes on the ground

Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crashing in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me

I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
And instead of using force
I guess I should’ve let you win
I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
I guess I should’ve let you win

Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you

I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me

I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crashing in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
Here we have a girl talking about mistakes made in a relationship, one she misses. She’s lamenting how she acted and at the same time she’s standing up to him and facing how he treated her. These are vulnerable thoughts and the director’s cut of the video brings that messages home so much more. In fact, in my humble opinion, this video actually elevates the song above its lyrical content. I am willing to believe this is the most honest Ms. Cyrus has been in front of a camera for a very long time.

Here’s the most ironic thing for me about the fact that this is the director’s cut – the director is Terry Richardson.

Yes, that Terry Richardson.

The Terry Richardson who is a very talented photographer

…but has also been called out as a perv on many occasions.

Many occasions.

This particular article is the one that got the most heat, probably because the stories are the most explicit.

So, when you see all that, the naked video with the licking falls right into form…

…but again I point to the actual raw vulnerability in the director’s cut and suddenly you start to wonder how these two things were made by the same guy.

Here’s what i’m getting at: we have two creatives who are both at high points in their careers. Both have talents that are appreciated by the general public and are looked up to by people young and old – but the story with these two is all about sex. Sex has become the conversation, not the songs or the pictures, and that’s a shame.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of sex. I understand why it is used and exploited and I do believe there are times when using sex and/or sexuality can actually be a strong statement in art. But when it becomes schtick or a crutch it’s very obvious and that, more than any moral reason, is why I think both of these artists – and yes I will use the word “artist” and not feel bad – get as much backlash as they do.

We, as the listening/viewing public expect more because they’ve both shown that they can do better. There’s disappointment when you watch someone phone it in or try to force you to believe them as they flail out of character. With Richardson in particular, I personally believe that he’s let his persona get the better of him and it’s drowning out the actual person who takes good pictures.

So I turn to you, what do you think? I look forward to your comments.

See you next time! 

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Filed under Miley Cyrus, music video, social commentary, video, Wrecking Ball, YouTube

Vacation is over, so we watched Ghost Shark.

Image Copyright Syfy

Somehow I feel like I should probably feel bad about this.

We had a wonderful time this weekend, got to spend a lot of time with my family having a great time at the beach. So what do you do when vacation is over? Well if you’re Rene and I you do your best to not let it really end.

A trip to visit the nieces and a quick stop at El Torito for “end of vacation” nachos is a good way to start. A nap isn’t bad either. But the thing that seems to have capped off the day? Ghost Shark. 
There’s no good reason why. The plot is thinner than a desperate Hollywood starlet and the effects aren’t as good as what I could do on Rene’s MacBook but for some reason we couldn’t turn it off. It’s like the Honey Boo Boo of the shark-sploitation scene. 
Does it bother anyone else that I can use shark-sploitation and you know exactly what I mean?
It looks like Syfy did a shark movie marathon today. I could do the research to confirm, but, as I mentioned, I’m trying to drag out vacation and research is just a bit too “work” to happen right now. 
So what do you think of this rash of shark movies? Good fun or the fall of western civilization? I look forward to your thoughts. 
See you next time!

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Filed under movies, rene, social commentary, society, travel

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

Thrift Shop is “blowin’ up the charts,” as the kids say, and I’m a big fan of the song. It’s got a good beat, you can dance to it and, more importantly, it preaches some great social commentary on pop culture and it’s effect on consumerism.

Before we dive too much deeper into this, let’s review the tape, shall we?

Fun, right? Now let’s review the lyrics:

 “Thrift Shop” (feat. Wanz)
Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?

What, what, what, what… [x7]

[Hook]
I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome

[Verse 1]
Now, walk into the club like, “What up, I got a big cock!”
I’m so pumped about some shit from the thrift shop
Ice on the fringe, it’s so damn frosty
That people like, “Damn! That’s a cold ass honkey.”
Rollin’ in, hella deep, headin’ to the mezzanine,
Dressed in all pink, ‘cept my gator shoes, those are green
Draped in a leopard mink, girls standin’ next to me
Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly’s sheets
(Piiisssssss)
But shit, it was ninety-nine cents! (Bag it)
Coppin’ it, washin’ it, ’bout to go and get some compliments
Passin’ up on those moccasins someone else’s been walkin’ in
Bummy and grungy, fuck it man
I am stuntin’ and flossin’ and
Savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain, bitch
I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s style,
No for real – ask your grandpa – can I have his hand-me-downs? (Thank you)
Velour jumpsuit and some house slippers
Dookie brown leather jacket that I found diggin’
They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard
I bought a skeet blanket, then I bought a kneeboard
Hello, hello, my ace man, my Miller
John Wayne ain’t got nothing on my fringe game, hell no
I could take some Pro Wings, make them cool, sell those
The sneaker heads would be like “Aw, he got the Velcros”

[Hook x2]

[Verse 2]
What you know about rockin’ a wolf on your noggin?
What you knowin’ about wearin’ a fur fox skin?
I’m digging, I’m digging, I’m searching right through that luggage
One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up
Thank your granddad for donating that plaid button-up shirt
‘Cause right now I’m up in her skirt
I’m at the Goodwill, you can find me in the (Uptons)
I’m that, I’m that sucker searchin’ in that section (Uptons)
Your grammy, your aunty, your momma, your mammy
I’ll take those flannel zebra jammies, second-hand, I rock that motherfucker
The built-in onesie with the socks on that motherfucker
I hit the party and they stop in that motherfucker
They be like, “Oh, that Gucci – that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit)
I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit)
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dough
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t
Peep game, come take a look through my telescope
Trying to get girls from a brand? Then you hella won’t
Then you hella won’t

(Goodwill… poppin’ tags… yeah!)

[Hook]

[Bridge x2]
I wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road

[Hook]

Is that your grandma’s coat?
I feel that right off the bat, just from the name of the song, you should be able to tell that this is not going to be your typical hip hop number where it sounds more like product placement than a song. And that’s an important point to my argument. I put forth to you, reader, that modern hip hop and pop music has drifted into a position where it is more important to mention things like “Benjamins” and cars than emotional connection and story. I don’t want to state, definitively, that this is bad or wrong. Art, in my opinion, cannot be bad or wrong it just may or may not be to your taste. “Product Placement Music,” or PPM as it will be referred to in this post, is not necessarily to my taste, but I’d be a filthy liar if i said I didn’t listen to or like a lot of it. It is easy to name check artists who mention brands, going back to the 80’s when Run DMC who sang about “My Adidas” to the constant mentions of Cristal and diamonds by just about everybody, including Jay Z. The push to show off conspicuous displays of wealth  dominates the lyrics of modern pop and hip hop. 

As with all trends, there will be those who reinforce it and there will be those who react against it. With “Thrift Shop” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have shot a warning across the bow with a hit that directly addresses blatant consumerism in a tight beat.

At first glance it might be easy to laugh off “Thrift Shop” as nothing more than a white rapper novelty song designed to get him on the charts. It worked for Eminem for a few albums allowing him to get into the heads of mainstream America with hits like “My Name Is” but then following up with the deeper, more troubling songs like “Stan” (although, it is worth pointing out that there is far more subtext to ‘My Name Is” than this post gives credit for – that could be a whole different discussion). It wasn’t until I watched the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis  Tiny Desk Concert that I changed my mind. The first song, “Same Love” is specifically calling out the homophobia present in hip hop. There’s no if, ands or buts; Macklemore has a message and he’s delivering it in a fun package.

So let’s take a look at the song overall. “Thrift Shop” starts off with typical bravado, and then quickly draws in the listener with humor referencing R. Kelly peeing on things and how cheap stuff is while also asking for your, yes YOUR, grandpa’s hand me downs. The hook identifies blatant displays of wealth as ridiculous by saying, “I’m gonna pop some tags Only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” For those not familiar with the phrase “popping tags” it is defined by the Urban Dictionary as: “buying shit…poppin’ the tags off of merchandise.” Instead of Bentlys and Rolexes he’s buying broken keyboards and footie pajamas.

But the point really comes home here:

They be like, “Oh, that Gucci – that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”
Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit)
I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit)
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dough
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t
Conformity through purchase, not only is it wasteful, but also unimaginative.

For the record, I’m not advocating that we all stop buying expensive cars and jewelry  I love the way well made clothes fit and feel and they usually cost a bundle and I’m not much of a car guy, but I’ve driven some pretty bitchin’ vehicles and, while I may not want to own them, I can appreciate them. But I think that perspective is important, we, as a society, need to put the right kind of importance on luxury – that is to say almost none as far as I’m concerned. The items themselves mean very little, but the work you do to be able to get those things can mean so much more.

Big ups to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for making a statement. I paid for the song, that’s my way of adding to those $20 in their pockets.

See you next time!

If you’d like to get the song you can download it from Amazon MP3!

Here’s the original explicit version:

Here’s the radio friendly version:
And here’s the whole album:

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Filed under music, music video, social commentary

Project 365 4-27-2010

Before we begin, a video presentation:

I found that on Facebook today posted by my friend Kristin.  I think it’s important to point out stuff like this because it’s easy to ignore things when you don’t see the final outcome or consequences.  I used to watch Penn & Teller’s Bull Shit on Showtime, I even own the first three seasons on DVD, and even though  they were definitely pushing an agenda I really liked seeing a different perspective on very hot topics.  What I liked best is that they could back up a lot of their claims with straight up facts.  Verifiable, cross-referenced, generally accepted facts.  There was plenty of editorial tossed in, but the facts were there all the same.  I stopped watching when I stopped paying for Showtime, is the show still on?  Just checked, it is.

I have been very bad about my workouts this week, I’m definitely placing higher priority on movie biz things then on my fitness and I’m a bit conflicted about it.  I try to ease my guilt of not working out by checking off stuff on the task list.  Honestly that could be shrinking a little faster too, but whachagonnado?  I’ve found that, in all the mire, I’m keeping my personal integrity but it isn’t making the choices any easier or making things move any faster… but I have made a commitment to not randomly vent on this page – if I did there’d be noting else – and I’m trying to push myself to write more story-like posts, in the vein of The Tobolowosky Files from /film.  Since all of these posts for the rest of the year are focused on the actual day and its associated picture it’s been hard to do genuine reflection, I mean, at best I get a day to think about what happened and the effects of it all, but I’m enjoying looking for that one part of the day, a certain hour or five minutes, that ignites deeper insight then just a list of what went on through the course of the day.

I just thought about what that would look like on paper.  Here’s the last couple days as a list:

  • Wake up.
  • Turn on computer.
  • Get water.
  • Load pages: Email, calendar, RSS reader, FB, blog pages, hootsuite.
  • Read/reply/archive email.
  • Read RSS feed.
  • Check FB messages.
  • Talk to Zeke (director for CMD!)
  • Feed dog.
  • Feed self, including making coffee if Rene didn’t yet.
  • Return phone messages.
  • Determine tasks for the day.
  • Pet dog.
  • Submit packages for film funds.
  • Eat again (Tuesday involved a lengthy trip to the post office, then eating again.).
  • Head to the school to teach.
  • Return home.
  • Last pass at email.
  • Sleep.

Most days I could literally copy/paste this string and it would be 90% accurate.  Although tonight I added a trip at the end of teaching to watch Doctor Who with Dean and then get to the grocery store for some general supplies.  Then home.

Today’s picture is from my trip to the store:

The cart just seemed so lonely.  I think I might be thinking too hard when I start impressing emotions on inanimate objects.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under getting fit, musings, politics, project 365 2010, social commentary

Project 365 4-22-2010

I’m not a fan of the television program “The View.”  I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but it rubs me the wrong way – although since Whoopie has been added to the mix I find that I can have it on in the background and not be completely distracted.  Today they had Vice President Joe Biden on the show.  I watched his segments because I’m starting to feel my “politics” again and I’m trying to pay attention to what is actually going on versus what each side is saying about each other.  To other people my age and younger: now is the time to start paying attention and get involved!  Anyhow, I thought the Biden stuff would be all fluff, and there was quite a bit, but they actually talked about some issues as well – mostly taxes and how the Obama Administration would be approaching them.  It was a good little talk, but way too short.  Now I need to find time to actually look up the Wall Street reform proposals and how they will effect me.

In other aggravating news about ridiculous things that make no sense to me, Rene got a new job doing HR for a marketing and sales firm that I can’t name by name since I’m going to be talking eight different kinds of shit right now and I don’t want to be sued for liable – or slander.  I forget which one is for writing (I’m pretty sure it’s liable.  Did I even spell that right?)  Anyway, this is third-party since I’m only getting Rene’s POV, but it sounds like this company has no Earthly idea how to run their company.

EDIT: OK, I’m leaving in the first paragraph but cutting out the rest of my rant.  Rene is actually writing and article on this subject that I believe will be posted on her blog when the job ends.  It’s a temporary gig.  I’m not a fan of corporate culture, especially when it endorses idiocy and cruelty.  I’ll just leave it at that.

The more I think about the day the more I realize that I was just straight up angry today.  I didn’t here from the people I wanted to hear from, I’m feeling the pressure of time on all of my projects and I feel like the people in power all over the place are more concerned with bickering with each other than actually making things happen…

Actually, that might be the root of my anger today: everybody’s talking but nobody is doing anything!  God, it’s frustrating!

OK, enough rant.  Here’s today’s picture:

It’s a sopadilla and honey.  Delicious and sweet.  A complete opposite of the day.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under politics, project 365 2010, rant, social commentary

Project 365 3-28-2010

Today was the last day for Spadra brunch, the weekly brunch that we used to do on Sunday mornings with a rotating group of friends.  Due to the illness of his parents, the owner has sold the restaurant to have the time to care for them.  It is a good reason to shut down, but a place as unique as Spadra will be missed.

There aren’t many restaurants where you can go in at 10am, eat breakfast, have a few pots of coffee, get a beer and then spend the rest of the afternoon on the patio just chatting the day away.  Really those days have been hard to come by the last few months, but when we could have them they were thoroughly enjoyed.

Spadra was a true “scene,” a place where like-minded people gathered together and shared a common experience.  There aren’t many places left where you can actually have a “scene.”  In fact the manufactured “scenes” that so many bars, lounges and restaurants try to produce have watered down what the idea of a real scene is so badly that when you experience a real one it is a bit overwhelming.  And in my life the only scenes worth a damn are the ones that grow all by themselves.  Manufactured scenes are just really elaborate planned parties – not nearly as much fun or as authentic.

Today’s picture is of Rene and I at our last Spadra brunch:

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under project 365 2010, social commentary

Project 365 3-21-2010 Surprise Brunch and Congress

Today was a pretty uneventful day.  The biggest news of the day, the news heard around the world, is that the United States Congress passed the Heath Care Reform bill.  It took over my Twitter page and filled up the Facebook news feed.  I don’t even know where I fall on the debate.  I know I agree with the idea of heath care reform, but I have not been able to keep up with the changes to the bill nor have I been able to cut through the bullshit both sides have been shooting at us for the last six months.

Political rant: I do not care for either party, Republicans or Democrats.  As far as I’m concerned they are all doing the exact same thing, spending my money on their pet projects, but they choose to spend it on different stuff.  I do not support or endorse anyone who is a career politician nor do I want to hear from someone who has ever listened to a lobbyist.  I just don’t like it. 

All that being said, if HCR means that Rene is no longer punished for being a woman when it comes to getting insurance then I’m for that.  If I can get decent insurance that costs less than a quarter of my annual income then I’m for that too.  I look forward to hearing about what was actually passed today.  I have a feeling neither side really knows what that is yet.

Speaking of sides, have the lines been drawn on Facebook!  The arguments are getting fierce and this is just the first day.  Hard core Republicans are calling this the downfall of the country while hard core Democrats are calling it the salvation!  If we’re lucky it might fall somewhere in the middle and might just be the first step toward a real solution.

OK, no more political talk!  Today’s picture is of this:

We went to brunch at the last minute after thinking we weren’t going to brunch.  It ended up being really fast, but really nice.  We’re going to miss Spadra when it’s gone, but we’re enjoying the experience while we can.  Today I got the breakfast quesadilla.  It was delightful.

Ugh, after reading this I’m dreading the possible comments that I might get, but I’m never one to back away from a good debate.  What are your thoughts on HCR?  Help convince me one way or the other.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under politics, project 365 2010, social commentary