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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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27 Responses

  1. Avatar Cardiff Kook says:

    I love the old Kung fu movies and agree completely with you on the quality of both Hustle and Soccer.

    The new demons movie is a blast and very much similar to the other two. It even has big foot Kung fu.Report

  2. Avatar Cardiff Kook says:

    By the way, I assume you have seen “The Good, The Bad and The Wierd”. Possibly the best western of the last decade. Korean, so no Kung Fu — but what an action movie. Puts Hollywood to shame.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’ve been read A Great and Monstorous Thing: London in the 18th century by Jerry White. I’m a nerd and I like social history.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    Finally saw Django Unchained. Did not care for it at all. Possibly my least-favorite Tarantino ever, and that includes the pretty-bad Death Proof. The only really memorable scene belonged in a different, more comedic film.

    I liked Basterds, a lot, but this one just didn’t work for me.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

      I was flipped. The only thing I liked about Basterds was the Nazi while Django had me *HOOKED* from the first scene.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird says:

        Maybe it would have been better in the theater with other people, instead of at home on me own?

        I can’t remember if I saw Basterds that way.

        It just dragged, story-wise, and I wasn’t all that impressed with the cinematic aspects (whatever else one thinks about QT, he’s generally pretty technically-adept, but the visuals and staging all just seemed…adequate).Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

      I have mixed feelings about Django Unchained. On the one hand, there is some excellent acting, and some great moments (I actually think the part that’s essentially a Western is really nice). On the other hand, what year is this again?

      I quote Inglorious Basterds pretty often, particularly in situations that have anything to do with basements.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris says:

        There’s actually a damn fine Western out this year.
        Rather unpredictably, it’s Austrian.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        Yeah, as usual the acting is good; QT is pretty reliable on that front.

        Thinking about it some more, I wonder if Unchained would have worked better before Basterds, than after.

        Basterds tried to do something a little beyond its revenge/exploitation flick facade, by commenting, explicitly and more than once, on what cinematic violence can be *for* (catharsis, basically).

        It also went completely over the top – since it is a fantasy anyway, let’s go ahead and XVYY UVGYRE, abg Trarevp Anmv Fgnaq-Va, and that audaciousness was refreshing and hilarious (I actually laughed out loud when I realized, no, they are really going all the way with this fantasy.)

        In Unchained, there’s no real attempt at any larger point beyond the revenge fantasy (they attempt to link the quest to old German myth, but that didn’t resonate all that much for me).

        There’s also no single historical slave-owner Big Bad – it’s no slight against Johnson or DiCaprio, who managed to make their characters detestable-yet-entertaining (and JESUS, Samuel Jackson), but there’s no way any of them can get up to the level of the 20th-century’s real-life Dr. Doom stand-in.

        So the stakes, within the movie’s world, seemed to be set lower; like the movie’s sights*, in general.

        *I even thought it a bit of a letdown in the straight ‘visuals’ department – one thing Westerns usually dependably are, is beautiful to look at. Wide-open plains and mountain vistas and such. But QT seemingly wasn’t interested in lingering on any of that.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Yeah, I can see the reversal of order, particularly since the “message” Basterds was pretty clearly beating us over the head with (“They’re enjoying watching a film about Americnas dying violent deaths, and we’re watching a film in which they, the Germans, are about to die violent deaths,” is not particularly subtle) is directly contradicted by the ending of Unchained.

        But what bugs me the most about it, I think, is that to the extent that it is a commentary on race and slavery, it’s basically one that belongs in the time of the movies that QT loves so much, and not in this century, and I’m not even really sure it is such a commentary as much as it is a straightforward revenge flick that utilizes certain fears and stereotypes of black people to drive its plot. As R. put it at one point, it’s a film that in some ways suggests that the way white people (in this case Tarantino, but I imagine also many of his fans) see black people hasn’t changed that much since the 70s.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        I saw Django as a film about the journey of Christoph Waltz’s character, from complete cynicism to being so horrified by what slavery looks like up close that he was shocked into having principles. With a half-hour of ultra-violence tacked on the end for dessert.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        @chris utilizes certain fears and stereotypes of black people to drive its plot. As R. put it at one point, it’s a film that in some ways suggests that the way white people (in this case Tarantino, but I imagine also many of his fans) see black people hasn’t changed that much since the 70s.

        Can you expand on this, maybe with an example? I’m not quite sure what you mean I don’t think.

        I will say that although QT has been criticized in the past for his easy use of the word “nigger” – and certainly this film is set in a world where people WOULD use that word easily and frequently – it really clanged on my ears this time.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        @mike-schilling “journey of Christoph Waltz’s character”

        This was there – and I got the sense that QT is so enamored of Waltz as an actor that the role may have been expanded for him – but I also thought it a bit problematic that Waltz’s character was so much of the ‘protagonist’ and took so much of the action, rather than Django (though, I did like their relationship, particularly when he tries to tell Django to ‘cool it’ then realizes, no, he has trust in Django and must let him make his own calls and roll with them – they are truly ‘partners’, not ‘master and protege/sidekick’).

        Waltz’s character was necessary to get the plot rolling, but I think at a certain point he became a distraction from what the movie was supposed to be about, on a base level (Django’s revenge, getting the girl).

        I dunno, the whole thing just didn’t gel together and satisfy me.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I can expand on it, but I’m afraid it might be a violation of the MD spirit.

        I’ll just say that the role black bodies play (it’s a straight up black exploitation film, not a parody of one), and the play on the fear of the violent revenge of black people, are central to what the latter part of the film is.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I am also listening to Serial. So far I have not been driven to insanity by the very repetitive minor chord they play about a million times each episode.Report

  6. Avatar Michael M. says:

    Since folks in these parts, except for Saul, tend not to mention podcasts, I thought I’d recap a few I enjoyed this past week, in case anyone wants to check them out. I’m always on the lookout for other recommendations.

    Point of Inquiry – Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not a Weapon. Monday, 11/10/14

    On occasion of the publication of his new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, POI talks to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about the modern day Assault on Language, which turns out to be about as real as the modern day War on Christmas. Pinker
    waxes about what makes good style and debunks many phony controversies about made-up rules that either were never legitimate (for example, it is perfectly fine to use the pronoun “they” to refer to a singular antecedent, because “they” in such a construction refers to a bound variable, not an individual) or contrived for ulterior motives (John Dryden claimed that you should never end a sentence in a preposition to argue that Ben Jonson was an inferior poet) with no basis in the logic of English grammar. We are such stuff that dreams are made on — take that, Grammar Pedants. Host Lindsay Beyerstein and Pinker also discuss more overtly political usage controversies, like the term
    “cisgender” as a counterpoint to “transgender.”

    Pinker notes: “One can find the defenders of the language saying that [language is in decline] in every decade in every century. And they can’t be right, otherwise we would be grunting like Tarzan…. Language is doing fine.”

    Stuff You Missed in History Class – The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Monday, 11/10/14

    I’ve only been listening to Stuff You Missed in History Class for a few months, but this is the first episode I’ve heard where the topic was, I thought, too big for the show’s format to do justice to. SYMHC works really well when looking at at more focused events with narrower implications. I have been
    thinking of it (and enjoying it) more as “Forgotten Headlines/Figures of History.” For example, last month they did a series of riveting Halloween-themed shows on subjects like the “Beast of Gevaudan” about a mysterious series of animal attacks that terrified the French countryside in the 1760s and the “Villisca Ax Murders” about the horrific, unsolved 1912 murder of a family in small-town Iowa. On a lighter note, they also had a good episode on “The History Halloween Candy.” Here, they do an admirable job of situating the 1492 expulsion in the contexts of the history of Jewish (and to some extent, Muslim)
    persecution by Catholics, talk about the resurgent wave of expulsions that followed Spain’s actions, examine how different groups of Jews coped and reacted, and discuss what historians still debate about the specific motivations of Ferdinand and Isabella. Their rationale for picking this topic is that in American history classes it tends to be overshadowed by that other thing that happened in Spain in 1492, when Columbus set sail for India and inadvertently laid the groundwork for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    I Was There Too – Aliens with Ricco Ross. Wednesday 11/12/14

    Wolfpop is a brand new podcast network curated by Paul Scheer, who co-hosts How Did This Get Made? for Earwolf and co-stars on FX’s The League. This is only the second episode of I Was There Too, the premise of which is to offer a “fly-on-the-wall” perspective from a non-star/non-lead in a particular movie. This week’s guest played Private Frost, one of the crack team of colonial marines, almost all of whom were wiped out by the titular xenomorphs in James Cameron’s sequel. Ross, who came from a large, poor family in Chicago, talks about how he almost didn’t take the part because he was simultaneously offered an unspecified role in Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, about the difficulties he had adjusting to Michael Biehn’s style after having bonded with James Remar (the original actor cast as Cpl. Hicks), about Sigourney Weaver mediating a labor dispute between Cameron and the British crew (thus saving the movie as well as saving Newt in the movie and saving the Earth from Paul Reiser!), and about his dreams coming true. He also explains the origin of Arcturian Poontang and the meaning of “Heath” on his armor — an explanation that might turn out to be a disappointment for gay men everywhere. Ross comes across as an all-around awesome guy and this is an excellent and entertaining new podcast.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Michael M. says:

      @michael-m

      I listen to the following:

      Crab Feast
      Joe Rogan Experience
      This Is Your Life w/ Michael Hyatt
      Pop Culture Happy Hour
      Watching Dead
      Stuff You Missed in History
      Norman CenturiesReport

  7. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    I am watching Rutgers play its first mens basketball game as a member of B1G.

    They are losing at halftime to George Washington 33-21.

    They were conference rivals in the A-10 for 19 years, from 1976-1995.

    I notice they repainted their floor, featuring more black, which Rutgers is including more-and-more in their uniforms, even though their official color is (duh) scarlet.

    They had to repaint the keys at the very least, because the old key featured the AAC logo.

    My phone currently has last year’s floor as its wallpaper. I will have to go to a game again to take a picture of the new floor.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Rereading (after 30 years) Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe. So well written, and so much that 13yo Aaron just didn’t get. Truly a masterpeice.

    Also, just watched the first two episodes of Peaky Blinders, quite good actually.Report

  9. Avatar Maribou says:

    Finished Jan Edwards’ YA SF trilogy, with Earth Flight, as uncomplicatedly fun as the other 2 and worth having ordered it from the UK.

    Still watching Person of Interest and Lost Girl.Report