Friday, June 16, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I started Thoreau's Walden this past week. I'm finding that this is a book that I have to take slow. Thoreau packs so much into each paragraph that one can't rush through it without missing a lot. So I'm reading the first chapter, 'Economy,' in which he suggests that it's easier for people to acquire things than to let them go, i.e., land, a house, and so on. He has the gall to suggest that clothing is to keep warm and not to adorn ourselves. He suggests that people get their hands in the dirt a lot more. He states that we shouldn't be slaves to other's opinions of human worth according to how well we perform at our jobs. It's Fight Club in the woods and without the fighting.

I watched Walk the Line last weekend, and had mixed feelings about it. The acting is superb, and the story is fascinating. We of course are treated to Johnny Cash's humble beginnings to his sudden rise to his falling into womanizing and drugs to his redemption (at the Oscars, Jon Stewart called it "'Ray' with white people," which actually turns out to be pretty accurate). Reese Witherspoon deserved her Oscar, because June Carter turns out to really be the heart of the movie. Cash isn't really a sympathetic character. He spends most of his time falling apart, washing down pills with alcohol, straying from his wife, wanting to be with June, and dealing with unresolved father issues. If I watched 'Ray' again, I'd probably have the same reaction to Ray Charles. They really are self-involved jerks most of their respective movies, and then we get this two-minute sequence at the end of both where they're on the upswing again and we're told that They Went On To Make Music For The Next 40 Years. One aspect of the movie that took me by surprise is that while Cash is getting his start, we see him touring with a big group including the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis. I hadn't realized that they'd all come up together.

Our viewing of Angel Season 5 was stalled out for a few weeks. My wife hasn't been interested in watching it. Yesterday I just popped the next one in so we can get it over with and move on. I need closure~! I already have plans for what's next, too. I'm thinking the whole series of Firefly (Joss Whedon's lesser-known TV series) followed by The Shield. But I might be persuaded to start watching 24 as well. Meanwhile, Entourage has started. We see Ari's new agency, which communicates how well he hopes Aquaman does. We have yet to see how superstardom affects Vince, but it's only the first episode.

Last Sunday I was driving to my favorite mexican food chain which is not Taco Bell (where the meat is labeled "Grade D, But Edible"), and I had Keller Williams' live CD playing. It was during this car ride that it fully hit me: this guy is a musical genius. First, he's a virtuoso so over the course of the CD he switches from acoustic guitar to bass to some sort of tube instrument, and his lyrics are very clever. If you've never heard him, start with this CD and THEN move to his studio stuff. He's one of those where you have to hear him live to get a true sense of what he's about.

Around the web, this is a very silly video on the evolution of dance.