Category Archives: diversion

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A Hands-free Review of the Interview

Note:  Due to hand surgery on Friday, my left hand is wrapped up in something that looks like a mitten and my arm is in a splint.  So I’m trying to write this item with dictation using the software Dragon Dictate. I’ve never been good with dictation but think that it will be better than one-handed typing so this is a Sunday afternoon practice run. Welcome to the first ever hands-free Rexblog post.


Not believing that it could be a movie worth investing a couple of hours of my life, I decided to wait until The Interview made it to Netflix before watching it. (It appeared there yesterday.)

Here’s my opinion: It’s funny in a Seth Rogen-James Franco inside-jokes you don’t get unless you have seen all their other bro-pack movies way. I’m aware enough of the references to get about  1/3rd of the jokes and to at least understand why 20-something- years-old guys might find the movie hilarious.

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Review: All the Way starring Bryan Cranston

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I rarely do reviews of any type on this blog, and rarer still (perhaps never?), review Broadway plays (although, here’s one for an off-broadway show from 10 years ago). However, I wanted to get on the record that the limited run (scheduled to close at the end of June) of the drama All the Way, starring Bryan Cranston, is a great show to see, if: (1) You’ve become a big fan of Bryan Cranston via Breaking Bad and would like to see him do something that, while impressive and intense, is totally devoid of any hint of Walter White. (2) Are a hopeless political-history wonk who regrets not being able to see Ralph Bellamy play FDR or Frank Langella as Nixon. (While he’s great, Cranston is no Bellamy or Langella, sorry to say.) Or, (3) wonder if there was ever a real President who wielded DC power like that portrayed by Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood (House of Cards).

The play is closer in plot structure and focus, even subject, to the film Lincoln than the Broadway bio-plays that made it to the films that I linked to above: Sunrise at Campobello or Frost/Nixon. The focus is the back-story drama that led up to enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on July 2 of that year. Whether it is great acting, staging or writing, I’ll leave up to the pros. I will only say it is, for those who enjoy such things, three-hours of world-class Washington wonkishness.

While Cranston’s accent will, at times, grate on the ears of Southerners, especially Texans, in the audience, his portrayal of LBJ is impressive. Despite being his first Broadway show, he carries the lead with ease — or, not exactly ease perhaps, as he seems to be shouting at people most of the play.

(Sidenote: Writing this made me think of one of the more strangely-titled films I’ve ever seen that involves the power-plays of a U.S. President (in this film’s case, Andrew Jackson), The Gorgeous Hussy, starring Joan Crawford. If you can find a streaming source, it’s worth a look to see a 1936 House of Cards.)

This is a test. This is only a test. Do not attempt to adjust your set.

Recently, I’ve been away from this blog a lot.

  • jackson hole wyomingI went with my family to Wyoming. I’ve shared a few of the gazillion photos I took while there on Flickr. (Which reminds me, I really don’t like the way Flickr displays sets now. I’ve tried to let the design sink in on me, but I’m sorry, the back-end admin is a confusing hodge-podge of a UI until you click through and discover something that looks like the old interface.)
  • I’ve been working on a major project at Hammock that is allowing me to do some things that are so great, I can’t even talk about them.

For those reasons, I’ve gone a few weeks wthout blogging.

I’ve also gone a few weeks without seeing what happens when I try to create a blog post on Fargo.io and post it here.

Which is what this post is all about.

That is all.

Recommended listen: Ray Manzarek on Fresh Air

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Promotional photo of The Doors. From left-John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, Jim Morrison. Source: Wikipedia Commons

On the way home earlier today, I heard this fascinating interview by Fresh Air host, Terry Gross, in which she speaks with Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist for The Doors. Manzarek died from cancer on May 20, so the show re-aired this interview recorded in 1998.

I highly recommend a seven-minute segment of the interview to anyone interested in the process of creation, be it music or any type of art that uses a collaborative process and draws from various sources. It starts at time-stamp 12:45.

In it, Manzarek, who is seated in front of a radio studio piano, explains how the song, Light My Fire, was created.

If your perception of The Doors is influenced by the hallucinogenic fog created by Oliver Stone in his film that portrays Jim Morrison as a stoned sociopath, Manzarek’s seven minute explanation will make you realize the lucid talent, breadth of musical knowledge and study that went into the composition.

Manzarek’s edge-of-the-seat enthusiasm and passionate story telling sounds as far away from Oliver Stone’s Doors as one can imagine.

Highly recommeded listen.

You can find the interview on NPR.org.