(In Memory of Prince) Great Guitar Solos – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Live at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

(I don’t know if this signals a return of my Great Guitar Solos series or if it’s just a one-off; I haven’t decided, yet.)

So I have a confession to make: I don’t have Prince’s music in my collection. His music was never completely my jam.

I don’t hate his music.

On the contrary…

Prince, IMO, was a monster of guitar, a talent surpassed by very, very few, perhaps almost none, during his time. His ability to play the guitar was phenomenal to watch, and I loved watching him solo. His solos were incredible, up there with Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and David Gilmour, but with a technical know-how above all of them. Each time Prince laid down a solo, it was a master class in how to play the guitar as the leading instrument.

So yes, I respect, immensely, the talent that he wielded. But I was never a big fan of the 80s musically, and Prince was part of that. He was brilliant, however, and I would defend him as a master talent of guitar to anyone who would dare claim otherwise. Even someone who would assume that their musical opinions are objective facts would have to bow to Prince’s mastery of guitar.

And this performance I want to highlight here shows that off incredibly, in my opinion…

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(Best of) Tales from the Second Window

So for a couple years I worked as a shift coordinator and overnight manager at a 24-hour Burger King in Florida. Since we were situated across the street from a large group of bars, we would get a lot of interesting customers during the overnight shifts. I shared some of the best stories on Facebook that I then brought to my old blog in two posts, here and here. I’m bringing what I consider the funniest ones here, along with two new ones from my current job at Teavana.

I have to admit that I have a slight ulterior motive for doing this… I desperately want to publish a comic made up of all of them (not just the ones I’m posting here, but all of them in those two links), but there are a couple obstacles I need to overcome:

1. I can’t draw (including doing illustrations on a computer) to save my life. And I’ve tried, believe me. You do not want to see the results…

2. I’m not sure how to handle the fact that I basically steal the format (and idea, really) of Not Always Right. Well… okay… let me be honest… I’ve submitted to them before these stories happened, but I never saw anything resembling my submissions posted, so I gave up and did this, instead. It probably won’t matter given the format of a comic, but still…

Also, I’m pretty sure I’d have to obscure the references to Burger King and Teavana. For a lot of these, that’s easy, but for a few of them that will be more difficult… and I’m not the best editor (as anyone who reads my writing can attest :D).

(Content note for some ableist words. It’s mostly in the dialog from customers, but at the time I originally wrote these, I wasn’t really aware of ableism, unfortunately, so I use some ableist words, as well. I do apologize for that.)

Anyways, without further ado, here are the best of Tales from the Second Window…

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How Would You React to the Emergence of Superheroes?

I actually posed this question on Facebook before Batman v Superman was released. It didn’t get as long of a discussion as I’d hoped, but it did get some fascinating comments. I thought I’d bring it here, too, if people are interested in talking about it.

For the record, I saw Batman v Superman again on April 19th. Dad wanted to see it, and I went along with him. I liked it a bit better the second time around. I still have most of my complaints, but in general I’m not as bitter about it as I was after my first viewing, and I did see a few more things I enjoyed, plus the ending hit me a hell of a lot harder the second time around, too.

But that’s not what this is about, really…

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Voting for Donald Trump is Not Progressive; It’s REgressive

To start off, I need to say that I am NOT voting for Hillary Clinton. To be honest, I may just skip the primary all together and vote against the Republicans in the general. I was very much excited about Bernie Sanders in the beginning, but I’m simply not anymore. I watched his failure with black people, including what looked a lot like racial profiling at one of his events, read his distinct inability to get specific on any of his promises, and basically just lost any of that excitement I had in him when I finally accepted that, really, he’s just another politician.

If you want more details, I recommend you go here and watch Elon James, Imani Gandy, and Aaron Rand Freeman of This Week in Blackness Prime discuss it all.

With that, however, is my unshaken belief that while Democrats in general are pretty terrible, they aren’t even close to being as bad as Republicans, and so what should be galvanizing the left is keeping the Republicans as far away from government as is possible. Democrats are bad, sure, but Republicans are actively evil.

Apparently, though, not everyone who claims to be “progressive” believes this. Some people, apparently, have decided that if Hillary Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee (and it looks like she will be), they are going to vote for Donald Trump.

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The Debate Over CGI

Before Batman v Superman came out, there was a lot of discussion about the use of effects in certain shots from the TV clips, like when Batman drives the Batmobile into his cave, or when Superman flies over to Lex Luthor… people were talking about how they noticed how bad those shots looked (a few people said that the Arkham games had better Batmobile driving effects than the shot I linked to above), and then moreso after the movie came out, as well. My response would always be to rewatch those TV spots and then keep my mouth shut because I just didn’t see it. They looked fine to me. Then when I saw BvS for the first time on March 24, in real Imax, and I did look for those things, but maybe not hard enough, because, again, I didn’t see it. The CGI, for me, at least, was simply not one of the problems with BvS. (Although, admittedly, that was also my first time seeing a feature film on a screen that big, so that could have been part of it.)

But that sort of clued me in to something about myself… I guess I just don’t notice CGI. I mean, I can see when it’s really bad… like the Rock’s Scorpion King in the second Mummy, or Neo’s fight with the hundreds of Agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded. But, for me, the CGI has to be particularly bad to notice it, and that tends to happen in a much smaller amount of movies than the anti-CGI people would have us believe… at least from my perspective. Even in this video, the CGI they point out (with the exception of the aforementioned Scorpion King and Agent Smith battle, both highlighted) is stuff I definitely didn’t notice when I first saw those films (though, admittedly, I would notice it now if I watched those films again).

During my binging, I came across the following video:

After seeing it, I decided I’d like to have this discussion/debate here with y’all. How do you feel about CGI versus practical effects? How often do you notice CGI (definitely more than I do, but still) in movies and TV shows? Do you think mediocre CGI can ruin an otherwise great film? What would you hold up as examples of great CGI? Do you really prefer practical effects, or can those be bad, too?

Repost! “God’s Chosen People? The Useful Lie of the Christian Zionist Movement”

I was supposed to do this four days ago but, apparently, my brain doesn’t do a very good job of putting the short term stuff to the long term area… I’m really sorry, Joe! Um… better… late than never?

Heh…

Anyways…

Joe Sands wrote this pretty awesome takedown of the Christian Zionist movement, and I’m gonna need more people to read it. I’ll give you the first few paragraphs then send you on your way to Joe’s blog to read the rest:

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I received a dire plea in the mail from Mike Evans’ organization, The Jerusalem Prayer Team. In that money begging mailer, Mike asked for donations of $30 – $100 or more. The $30 level would give you the ‘Bible Promise Box,’ a relic of the 1980’s, where you picked out a card for every day of the year, and the contents of that card would be a Bible verse, promising you goats and land or something. The $100 level would give you a book, written by Evans.

Evans is a master of hyperbolic and overly-simplistic fearmongering.

Today, Israel stands squarely in the crosshairs of evil and determined enemies want nothing more than to finish the job Hitler started more than seven decades ago.

Really? First of all, the reasons Hitler hated the Jews were much different than the reasons the Middle East is a religious and cultural powder keg. To compare the two as substantively similar is to be intellectually dishonest. The only similarity is that the focus of ire is the Jewish people. Even that is a simplification. In many ways, the conflict over Israel, and Jerusalem specifically, has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with the historical bitterness of both sides, the representative Israeli government having committed the majority of the atrocities against the Palestinian people, as well as those surrounding their borders. The co-opting of the Jewish religion to bolster their rights to the land is simply the most effective conduit for convincing their citizenry and the nation’s allies that their actions are not only proper, but have an holy implication. Thus, to come against the Israeli government is synonymous with rejection or hatred of the Jewish god, and by default, the Christian god.

And that’s where the Christian Zionist movement plays their pretentious hand. They feign love for the Jewish people, claiming God chose them as his own in the Old Testament, which is true, and then turn around and use the money their supporters give them to bolster both the protection of Christian holy sites (including the whole of Jerusalem), as well as working to “save” the Jewish people, introducing them to the Christian god and his son, Jesus Christ.

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Now get to Joe’s blog and read the whole thing! It’s worth it… seriously…

#BatmanvSuperman – Dawn of Frustration

So, I promised that this would be a spoiler-free review. I’m still going to keep to that, but it presents a pretty big problem:

It means that this review is not going to be as in-depth as I want it to be. The vast majority of the bad and the good are spoilers, some minor and some major. So, basically, all I’m capable of doing is giving general impressions for this particular review in order to avoid major spoilers. And my spoiler-heavy review won’t be coming until the extended edition is out in, I think, August, because I want to see that to see if it alleviates at least some of the problems I had with this movie.

That, happily, is one of the problems I can discuss without spoiling anything, so I’ll start there…

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Anatomy of a Guitar Solo

This is a post from my old blog, posted back on March 28, 2013. Not the best written post ever, but it’s a nice little insight into my mind when it comes to music and what I listen to. I thought there were a few readers here who might enjoy it. I am removing the references to one of my many abandoned blog series, because I just never continued it. Maybe I’ll reignite some of those old series here… or maybe not. We’ll see…

Of course, what makes a guitar solo good is a subjective question. There are even people out there who don’t like guitar solos!

I know… right? Seems like a mythical concept, like gods! But oh… they exist. They’re out there…

Anyways…

This post explains the kind of guitar that I personally like to hear. This is only my subjective tastes, so…

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