Monday, December 29, 2014

VA Tech Wins Military Bowl, Dancing Beamer Strikes Again

ESPN:
J.C. Coleman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown, and Virginia Tech harassed and ultimately injured Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel while rolling to a 33-17 victory Saturday in the Military Bowl.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer wasn’t on the sideline Saturday afternoon, but BeamerBall was in full effect. Beamer, who had throat surgery earlier this month, watched from the press box as his special teams and defense helped Virginia Tech (7-6) pull away from the Bearcats (9-4) starting late in the second quarter.

Tech freshman Greg Stroman contributed to the Hokies' win in all three phases of the game. He scored a touchdown on defense, caught a pass and ran the ball twice on offense, and broke off two punt returns that went longer than 30 yards on special teams. He ended his day by breaking up a fourth-down pass attempt on Cincinnati's final possession of the game.



Best play: The Hokies opened up a 27-10 lead thanks to a fumble return for a touchdown. Linebacker Deon Clarke started the play with a sack that pried the ball loose from Kiel. Defensive tackle Nigel Williams scooped up the loose ball near the 40-yard line and rumbled to the end zone’s doorstep before coughing it up. Stroman picked it up from there and plowed his way in for the score.


Virginia Tech managed to continue its streak of 22 seasons with a winning record despite a disappointing 6-6 regular season.



And behold Dancing Beamer from November 15th after his Hokies pulled off a 17-16 win at No. 21 Duke...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Backstrom Leads in Points, Ovechkin Scores Goal of the Year


Russian Machine:
The Washington Capitals tolerated one period of boring New Jersey Devils-style hockey before they unleashed the fury. Lifted by goals from the Young Guns– Green, Backstrom, and Ovi– the less-boring team won this one soundly.

The Capitals struck twice in the second period, first with a furious slapper from Mike Green and then by Nick Backstrom’s patient wrister set up by Jay Beagle.

Alex Ovechkin scored a career-highlight goal seven minutes into the third period, executing the Ovi Move on two Devils defenders before backhanding the puck over Cory Schneider. Nick Backstrom added an empty netter in garbage time to celebrate his tenth goal — and team-leading 34th point (and he's now fifth in the league with 24 assists).

Braden Holtby earned his second shutout of the season– his first since game two in Boston. 19 saves on 19 shots. He rules.


The goal was only Ovechkin’s third over the past 11 games.

“When you feel good, everything is working well,” Ovechkin said. “Those kind of moments happen. Just [tried] to make a move and it was working, so . . . good play.”

The goal is Ovechkin’s 437th. He’s now tied with Pavel Bure as the third highest scoring Russian, behind Fedorov and Mogilny, whom I bet he’ll catch next season. Ovechkin is now the 66th highest scorer in NHL history (again, tied with Pavel).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Colbert Report Says Goodbye

"I love being onstage," he said. "I love the relationship with the audience. I love the letting go, the sense of discovery, the improvising." Colbert also loves the freedom his television persona gives this down-to-earth, all-around decent guy to indulge his most narcissistic fantasies. "I get to piggyback my own ego on the character's unlimited ego," he says. This theme of porous but distinct personas is one Colbert returns to often. That night, when an audience member asked him about the differences between him and his character during a pre-taping Q&A, he replied, "I wouldn't want to be that asshole. He's got a tremendous ego. I get to pretend I don't."
Wikipedia:
The Colbert Report saw immediate critical and ratings successes, leading to various awards, including two prestigious Peabody Awards. The show's cultural influence—which occasionally would require a fair degree of participation from the show’s audience, dubbed the Colbert Nation—extended beyond the program a number of times. This impact included the character running for U.S. President twice, co-hosting a rally at the National Mall, presenting a controversial performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and establishing a real Super PAC that raised a million dollars:
  • The Colbert Report premiered in October 2005. In the debut episode, Colbert coined the word truthiness, defined as "a quality characterizing a "truth" that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively "from the gut" or because it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts." Truthiness was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society and for 2006 by Merriam-Webster.
  • Colbert eventually coined a neologism to reflect this truthiness in action: Wikiality, which he defined as "a reality where, if enough people agree with a notion, it becomes the truth."
  • In 2006, Colbert encouraged fans to vote for his name to be the new name of a bridge in Hungary, which was being decided via an online poll; he beat the runner-up by more than 14 million votes. He was, however, disqualified, as the name of the bridge was intended to be a memoriam.
  • The show's popularity resulted in Colbert headlining the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner, which he performed in character. Colbert's performance quickly became an Internet and media sensation.
  • Colbert received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Knox College, Illinois on June 3, 2006; his credit as producer has been listed since that time as "Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A." (later changed in April 2009 to "Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A." after Colbert was knighted by Queen Noor of Jordan in exchange for his support of the Global Zero Campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons).
  • New York governor-elect Eliot Spitzer and Henry Kissinger appeared on the show to preside over a guitar contest between Colbert and members of the indie-rock group the Decemberists. (Peter Frampton ended up filling in for Colbert, but that's a whole other story.)
  • In February 2007, Ben & Jerry's unveiled a new ice cream flavor in honor of Stephen Colbert, named Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream. All proceeds were donated to charity through the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund. It was the subject of an extended bit on the program, including the creation of the "Wriststrong" wrist band, based on Lance Armstrong's "Livestrong" wrist band, which donated all proceeds to the Yellow Ribbon Fund.
  • In April 2007, a Pew Research Center report cited both Colbert and The Daily Show viewers as more well-informed than those who gathered their information via newspapers, television news and radio.
  • Colbert was named one of People's Sexiest Men Alive, one of GQ's Men of the Year, and one of Time's 100 most influential people. And in August 2007, Richard Branson christened one of the planes used for Virgin America's inaugural flights "Air Colbert."
  • In 2008, East Carolina University associate professor Jason Bond named a species of trapdoor spider Aptostichus stephencolberti in honor of Stephen Colbert.
  • On the first of the four episodes in Baghdad, Iraq for the troops, Colbert had his head shaved on stage by General Ray Odierno who was jokingly "ordered" to do so by President Barack Obama, who appeared on the episode via a pre-recorded segment from the White House.
  • In 2010, while in character, Colbert appeared before judiciary subcommittee hearing on the issue of farm workers and immigration.
  • Colbert was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 2010 for A Colbert Christmas.
  • The Annenberg Public Policy Center reported in 2014 that the Colbert Super PAC segments (Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) increased viewers' knowledge of PAC and 501(c)(4) campaign finance regulation more successfully than other types of news media.
  • And perhaps most surprisingly, more than three dozen congressmen and -women have subjected themselves to Colbert's merciless and occasionally demeaning ridicule as part of the show's ongoing series "Better Know a District."

“It’s bizarre,” remarked an admiring Jon Stewart, whose own program, “The Daily Show,” immediately precedes “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central and is where the Colbert character got his start. “Here is this fictional character who is now suddenly interacting in the real world. It’s so far up its own rear end,” he said, or words to that effect, “that you don’t know what to do except get high and sit in a room with a black light and a poster.”

In May 2008, The Colbert Report received a George F. Peabody Award recognizing its excellence in news and entertainment. On August 21, 2010, it was announced that The Colbert Report won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program for its episodes broadcast from Iraq. In 2012, The Colbert Report won a second Peabody Award for its Super PAC-related coverage.

In 2013, The Colbert Report won two Emmys, one for Outstanding Variety Series and one for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. The Colbert Report winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Series broke the longest winning streak in Emmy history, beating The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which dominated the Best Variety Series competition from 2003 to 2012. In 2014, The Colbert Report won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host.

The series finale on December 18, 2014 was watched by 2.481 million viewers, making it the most watched episode ever in the show's history. The finale was the most watched cable program of the night in its time slot, beating The Daily Show which was seen by 2.032 million viewers.


On one wall of the show's set, there is an artificial fireplace with the engraving "Videri Quam Esse," meaning, "to seem to be rather than to be"; it is a play off of the traditional Latin phrase "esse quam videri," or, "to be, rather than to seem to be," reflecting Colbert's mock right-wing personality.


Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner: "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers, and rubble, and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."


More information:
» Paste: Colbert's 10 Greatest Moments on The Daily Show
» NY Daily News: The Colbert Report took home the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Series
» Vanity Fair (2007): "The Man in the Irony Mask"
» Rolling Stone: 30 Best 'Colbert Report' Bits

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Redskins' Struggles: "It Hasn't Just Been One Player"

Mike Jones:
The Redskins (3-11) enter the game against their NFC East rivals having allowed 53 sacks (second most in the NFL). Meanwhile, the visiting Eagles have racked up 47, second most in the league.

And the Eagles (9-5) will catch Washington at one of its lowest points. The team has allowed at least five sacks in each of its past six games — a franchise record and the second-longest streak in league history.

Following a 2013 campaign that saw the Redskins surrender 43 sacks (14th in the NFL), team officials set out this offseason to upgrade the offensive line in free agency and the draft.

They shifted Kory Lichtensteiger from left guard to center and signed Shawn Lauvao early in free agency and penciled him in at left guard. The Redskins tried — and failed — to add a veteran to upgrade the right tackle position. Washington also drafted tackle Morgan Moses and guard Spencer Long in the third round, hoping to groom them so they could insert them as starters at some point this season.

Things haven’t played out as planned. Lichtensteiger has proved solid in his new position, but Lauvao and right guard Chris Chester have struggled. Tyler Polumbus opened the season at right tackle but got benched after seven games. Moses developed slower than anticipated, so second-year backup Tom Compton replaced Polumbus in the lineup, but he too has struggled. (Moses last week suffered a Lisfranc injury and was placed on injured reserve ).

Long hasn’t managed to satisfy coaches enough in practice for them to feel comfortable starting him over Chester. Third-year pro Josh LeRibeus likewise hasn’t managed to overtake Lauvao.

The line’s issues not only have put the Redskins in danger of setting a team mark for sacks allowed but also have been a major reason for a sputtering offense and a six-game losing streak.

The 1998 team allowed 61 sacks en route to a 6-10 finish. This squad is yielding an average of 3.8 sacks per game, but given that the team has given up 36 sacks over the past six weeks, that embarrassing record could fall.

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden acknowledges the protection issues have crippled the offense. But the coach insists the blame can’t fall solely on his linemen.

Mark Bullock:
The offensive line has long been a problem for Washington. It has struggled to maintain pass protection and give its quarterback the extra second or two to make a pass. It hasn’t just been one player either. Everyone on the line, including Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, has played poorly.

Quarterbacks and offensive lines work hand-in-hand on pass protection. The best offensive lines give their quarterback the extra second or two that he needs for a route to develop; while the best quarterbacks anticipate throws and get the ball out of their hands quickly to keep the blocking time to a minimum. It’s rare that teams have both a great quarterback and offensive line, but the Redskins’ problem is that they have neither. Both are making the situation worse for the other, and will continue to do so unless the problem is addressed.

Thomas Boswell:
Griffin’s team has lost the past 10 games in which he has taken the majority of the offensive snaps — a more meaningful measure than the technicality of who “started” that game. In the past two seasons, he has played the most snaps (by far) in 18 games. Washington is 3-15. His quarterback rating has fallen every season and is now so low (25.5, based on ESPN’s QBR formula) it is possible he ultimately will be no better than Heath Shuler. (I know, unbelievable.)

On Sunday against the Giants, playing after McCoy was hurt, coaches called a high-school-level offense to keep him from being overwhelmed. Of his 27 passes, 20 were thrown behind the line of scrimmage or less than five yards downfield. He completed only 2 of 5 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. Two passes with 90 yards-after-catch boosted his stats. Despite minuscule demands, he was overwhelmed anyway, sacked seven times, fumbling twice and generating just 10 points. A depressing desperation dink-and-dunk derby.

Afterward he said “fun” six times. Either he’s in denial or keeps up a brave face for the team or wants the state of his game a semi-secret until he improves. I can sympathize with all that.

In fact, now that it is clear Coach Jay Gruden doesn’t believe he’s yet a competent pro quarterback but a helter-skelter “make a play” guy, I feel little but empathy for Griffin.

Brought in to save a franchise, he was begged to play that role. He went along. His first coach let him play compromised, defenseless, with an injured right knee until the joint collapsed, untouched, and required total reconstruction. Two years later, his speed is not back. So it never will be. With his separate-from-everybody gift gone, he was exposed as a player with big skills but only some of those needed in an NFL quarterback.

Like many college stars and Heisman Trophy winners, he was mis-evaluated by miles. Few things are harder than projecting NFL quarterbacks. It’s nobody’s fault. Provided a modified college offense his rookie year, Griffin’s development was frozen. All were fooled, including him.

More information:
» NFL.com Video: RGIII Touchdown Call Reversed
» NFL.com: Jeff Fisher Trolls Redskins During Opening Coin Toss
» London Fletcher: Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett is "Clueless"

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Howard Blake's "Walking in the Air" (1982)


Wikipedia:
"Walking in the Air" is a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' 1978 children's book The Snowman. The song forms the centrepiece of The Snowman, which has become a seasonal perennial on British television. The story relates the fleeting adventures of a young boy and a snowman who has come to life. In the second part of the story, the boy and the snowman fly to the North Pole. "Walking in the Air" is the theme for the journey. They attend a party of snowmen, at which the boy is the only human. They meet Father Christmas and his reindeer, and the boy is given a scarf with a snowman pattern. In the film, the song was performed by St Paul's Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty and this version was released as a single on CBS in 1982, and reissued in 1985 (on Stiff Records) and 1987.

Howard Blake developed the melody of "Walking in the Air" from a theme in his 'Lullaby - A Christmas Narrative,' an a cappella choral work commissioned by The Scholars in 1975 and first performed by them at St John's Smith Square, London, on 21 December that year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Live At Paste: Aloft Hotel Sessions


Paste:
Nashville draws many up-and-coming musicians, including locally-based band Judah and the Lion. The band’s members met at Nashville’s Belmont University, and although they spend most of their time on the road these days, they still have an adoring fan base waiting for them at home. We saw this first hand when the band performed at Aloft Cool Springs, right outside of the city in Franklin, Tennessee. Watch Judah & the Lion perform “Everything Changes” from their recent release Kids These Days live at Aloft Cool Springs in the player above.


Paste:
At Aloft Arundel Mills, we caught up with Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Dan Mangan, who released his first set of EPs in 2003. Now, with a couple Juno Awards and four LPs under his belt, he’s expanding his sound as Dan Mangan and Blacksmith, a new name that pairs Mangan’s scrupulous songwriting with a sort of synth innovation we haven’t seen on previous records. His latest single, “Vessel,” came through just as powerfully live with two people as it does in the studio version.


Paste:
Spencer Cullum, Jr. and Jeremy Fetzer have played behind plenty of our favorite musicians, from Johnny Fritz to Caitlin Rose, but their instrumental project, Steelism, has been particularly refreshing. No two performances from Steelism are alike, and any chance to spend an evening with the band’s upbeat music is one we’d jump at. Fortunately, at Aloft Birmingham Soho Square, our cameras caught the band in action playing "Caught in a Pickle".

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Bekoso, Bekiso, Bekaso"

Chicago Tribune:
A Jewish friend -- former rabbinical student, actually -- recently introduced me to a catchy and true Hebrew expression from the Talmud [Eiruvin 65b] that goes something like this:
Bekoso, bekiso, bekaso

Sometimes the order of the three words is different and the spelling can vary depending on who's doing the transliteration, but this is certainly close enough for blog work.

It is a list of the major areas in which a person's character is tested and revealed.
Bekoso -- (b'KOH-soh) by his cup, or metaphorically, how he or she behaves when drunk.

Bekiso -- (b'KEE-soh) by his pocket, or metaphorically, how he or she manages money.

Bekaso -- (b'KAH-soh) by his temper; how he or she acts when angry.

As the adage goes “nichnas yayin yatza sod.” (Wine goes in and secrets come out.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wanderers


Erik Wernquist:
"Wanderers is a vision of humanity's expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.

Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds - and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.

CREDITS:
VISUALS - Erik Wernquist - erik@erikwernquist.com
MUSIC - Cristian Sandquist - cristiansandquist@mac.com
WORDS AND VOICE - Carl Sagan
COLOR GRADE - Caj Müller/Beckholmen Film - caj@beckholmenfilm.se
LIVE ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY - Mikael Hall/Vidiotism - mikael@vidiotism.com
LIVE ACTION PERFORMANCE - Anna Nerman, Camilla Hammarström, Hanna Mellin
VOCALIST - Nina Fylkegård - nina@ladystardust.se
THANK YOU - Johan Persson, Calle Herdenberg, Micke Lindgren, Satrio J. Studt, Tomas Axelsson, Christian Lundqvist, Micke Lindell, Sigfrid Söderberg, Fredrik Strage, Johan Antoni, Henrik Johansson, Michael Uvnäs, Hanna Mellin

THIS FILM WAS MADE WITH USE OF PHOTOS AND TEXTURES FROM:
NASA/JPL, NASA/CICLOPS, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, ESA, John Van Vliet, Björn Jonsson (and many others, of which I unfortunately do not know the names)."

Monday, December 1, 2014

VT Tops UVA for 11th Year in a Row, Now Bowl Eligible

ESPN:
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Michael Brewer kept getting knocked to the turf, kept getting up, and would not let Virginia Tech lose. The quarterback, maligned much of this season for inexplicable interceptions, threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Bucky Hodges with 1:48 remaining Friday night and Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 11th year in a row, 24-20.

"We knew that this would be a tough one, that we would have to kind of ride the waves to get through this," Brewer said after throwing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. "They were good defensively and they were able to get pressure on the passer. They've done it to everybody all year, so I knew I was going to take some shots, but it was one of those deals where as long as we could get back up and keep moving forward and not shoot ourselves in the foot, we'd be all right."

Once the Hokies (6-6, 3-5 ACC) sacked Matt Johns on fourth down, their second victory in six games was secured, and qualified them for a bowl game for the 22nd year in a row. Only Florida State, with 32, has a longer run. They also ended a six-game losing streak at Lane Stadium against conference opponents.

The touchdown pass to Hodges came three plays after he and Brewer hooked up for a 50-yard catch and run.

"With the coverage that they rolled to at the snap of the ball, I knew that Bucky was going to be one on one and obviously we like that matchup," Brewer said. He finished 15 of 33 with one interception, one sack and was hit plenty.

"It was one of those deals where, you know, it's senior night. It was the seniors' last game in Lane Stadium and I was going to make sure that I did everything that I possibly could to make sure that we sent them out on the right note," he said.

Virginia (5-7, 3-5 ACC), seeking its first bowl bid since 2011, lost its 10th consecutive road game. The Cavaliers drove to the Hokies' 36 in the closing seconds, but Johns was thrown for an 8-yard loss after rolling to his right looking downfield.

The game was a defensive struggle throughout, and only in the closing minutes did the offenses get moving.

The Hokies' go-ahead drive, which took just five plays and involved a foolish penalty against the Cavaliers, came after Greyson Lambert had led Virginia on an 89-yard march and a 20-17 lead.

Starting from his own 25, Brewer was flushed and threw the ball away, but got hit and knocked down by lineman Mike Moore after releasing the ball, drawing a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty and an automatic first down. Brewer hit Hodges for 50 yards on the next play, and for the touchdown after a false start penalty against the Hokies.

"It was definitely shocking," linebacker Max Valles said of the winning score. "I felt like the way we were playing all day we could have just gone out there and got a stop. I'm very disappointed in the defense. It's on us."

Virginia Tech finished with 433 yards, the most allowed by the Cavaliers this season. Virginia gained 314.


More information:
» Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Where Might Virginia Tech Go Bowling?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar (2014)

"As coincidence would have it, Interstellar was released on the same Friday as The Theory of Everything, the Stephen Hawking biopic. The renowned theoretical physicist has for years been a proponent of real-life, NASA-led interstellar travel. “It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species,” Hawking said in 2006. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers we have not yet thought of.” And it just so happens that Kip Thorne and Hawking have been close friends for decades."
Wikipedia:
The premise for Interstellar was conceived by film producer Lynda Obst and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who collaborated on the 1997 film Contact and had known each other since Carl Sagan once set them up on a blind date. Based on Thorne's work, the two conceived a scenario about "the most exotic events in the universe suddenly becoming accessible to humans," and attracted filmmaker Steven Spielberg's interest in directing. The film began development in June 2006 when Spielberg and Paramount Pictures announced plans for a science fiction film based on an eight-page treatment written by Obst and Thorne. Obst was attached to produce the film, which Variety said would "take several years to come together" before Spielberg directed it. By March 2007, Jonathan Nolan was hired to write a screenplay.

Steven Spielberg moved his production company DreamWorks in 2009 from Paramount to The Walt Disney Company, and Paramount needed a new director for Interstellar. Jonathan Nolan recommended his brother Christopher, who joined the project in 2012. Christopher Nolan met with Thorne, then attached as executive producer, to discuss the use of spacetime in the story. In January 2013, Paramount and Warner Bros. announced that Christopher Nolan was in negotiations to direct the film. Nolan said he wanted to encourage again the goal of human spaceflight. He intended to write a screenplay based on his own idea that he would merge with his brother's screenplay. By the following March, Nolan was confirmed to direct Interstellar, which would be produced under his label Syncopy and Lynda Obst Productions. To research for the film, Nolan visited NASA as well as the private space program SpaceX.

Though Paramount and Warner Bros. are traditionally rival studios, Warner Bros., who released Nolan's Batman films and works with Nolan's Syncopy, sought a stake in Nolan's production of Interstellar for Paramount. Warner Bros. agreed to give Paramount its rights to co-finance the next film in the Friday the 13th horror franchise and to have a stake in a future film based on the TV series South Park. Warner Bros. also agreed to let Paramount co-finance "a to-be-determined A-list Warner Bros. property". In August 2013, Legendary Pictures finalized an agreement with Warner Bros. to finance approximately 25 percent of the film's production. Although it failed to renew its eight-year production partnership with Warner Bros., Legendary reportedly agreed to forego financing for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in exchange for the stake in Interstellar.



Nolan filmed Interstellar with a combination of anamorphic 35 mm and IMAX 70 mm film photography. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema was hired for the film, as Wally Pfister, Nolan's cinematographer on all of his past films, was working on his directorial debut, Transcendence. To minimize the use of computer-generated imagery, the director had practical locations built, such as the interior of a space shuttle. Van Hoytema retooled an IMAX camera to be handheld for shooting interior scenes. Some of the film's sequences were shot with an IMAX camera installed in the nosecone of a Learjet.

Filming took place in the last quarter of 2013 on locations in Alberta, Canada; southern Iceland; and Los Angeles. Double Negative, which worked on Nolan's 2010 film Inception, created the visual effects. Visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin said the number of effects in the film was not much greater than in Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises or Inception, but that for Interstellar, they created the effects first, so digital projectors could be used to display them behind the actors, rather than having the actors perform in front of green screens.

Hollywood Reporter:
Among the practical challenges were transporting the 10,000-pound spaceships to Iceland; planting acres of corn through which the actors would drive at dizzying speeds; figuring out how to make them weightless in space (Nolan used a rig named "the parallelogram"); and deploying a biodegradable cellulose product known as C90 to create a huge dust field, much to the chagrin of the cast that constantly struggled to escape its particles. For inspiration, Nolan drew on everything from a Ken Burns documentary, The Dust Bowl; to the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; to astronaut Marsha Ivins, who visited the set; to the 1983 film The Right Stuff; to the music of his regular composer Hans Zimmer, whom he asked to draft part of the score before a single frame was shot — and before Zimmer even knew the title of the movie in question.



The result of all this work is an audacious, two-hour-and-47-minute drama that cost $165 million to make (Paramount, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures split the budget; Paramount will release the film in the U.S., Warners will handle international) and is expected to contend in the best picture Oscar race. Interstellar premiered on October 26, 2014, in Los Angeles and subsequently received wide release around the world. Notably, in North America, Interstellar was released in film stock to theaters still equipped to project the format before expanding to venues using digital projectors.

More information:
» USA Today's Interactive with the Endurance Spacecraft
» Wired: The Lost Chapter of Interstellar (Chris Nolan's Prequel Comic)
» Salon: "Interstellar Science: What the movie gets wrong and really wrong"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Budos Band - "Magus Mountain"


9:30 Club:
Brooklyn-based The Budos Band are a big band with a big sound.  With nine members playing an array of instruments, including baritone sax, congas, and trumpet, the Budos boys create their signature fusion of afro-beat, funk, and jazz. This year, the instrumental gurus broke their own mold with Burnt Offering, which strays from the band’s habitual eponymous titling of albums and incorporates beloved metal and psych-rock influences for the first time.  As Budos proved performing their new single, “The Sticks,” for their national TV debut on CBS This Morning, they’ve seamlessly married their beloved brassy, funky feel with the new direction.  Groove with us as The Budos Band give all they have to offer, this Saturday at the Club.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Head and the Heart - "Let's Be Still"


Paste:
Seattle indie-folksters The Head And The Heart have just released a quirky new music video for “Let’s Be Still,” the title track off their most recent LP. The idea for the video was conceived by band member Jonathan Russell with Jon Jon Agustavo directing, and the result is a fantastical blend of Mary Poppins and Moonrise Kingdom. There are antiquated outfits, colorful kaleidoscopes, silly running and lots and lots of hot air balloons.

Russell had this to say about completing the project: “We are really excited to see this video finally come to light after many months of dedicated work by all involved. Jon Jon and his crew were top notch and it was an unforgettable experience watching and participating in the process step by step.”

Let’s Be Still is out now via SubPop.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

San Francisco Giants Win Third World Series in Five Years

USA Today:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals, 3-2, to win Game 7 of the 2014 World Series and earn their third championship in the last five seasons. Though starting pitcher Tim Hudson could not escape the second inning in the game, the Giants’ bullpen shut down the Royals the rest of the way to lead San Francisco to yet another World Series win.

Baseball can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. The Giants didn’t seem like they should win the World Series in 2010, when they needed big performances out of dudes like Pat Burrell, Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria. And they didn’t seem like they should win it in 2012, when they swept a Tigers team that included, at the time, the best pitcher and the best hitter in the world. And it certainly didn’t seem like they should win it in 2014, when they played under-.500 ball from June 9 through the end of the season.

The Giants are just the second National League team to win three World Series titles in five seasons, 2010, '12 and '14. The Cardinals gave St. Louis titles in 1942, '44 and '46.

Bruce Bochy is the second manager in Giants franchise history to win three World Series. The other was Hall of Famer John McGraw in their New York days, 1905, '21 and '22.

The Royals' 11-4 (.733) postseason record is the best winning percentage by a World Series runner-up. They had a better postseason winning percentage than did the Giants (.706).

Madison Bumgarner
The Giants left-hander, who shut out the Royals on Sunday, came back on just two days' rest in the fifth inning and pitched five more scoreless innings in Game 7. He gave up a single, then retired the next 14 batters he faced.

The parameters of the postseason have changed so much over MLB’s history that it’s hard definitively that the Giants’ ace had the best postseason ever for a pitcher. Another Giant, Christy Mathewson, threw complete-game shutouts in Games 1, 3 and 5 of the 1903 World Series, for example. And Curt Schilling dominated in 2001, as did Orel Hershiser in 1988, as did Sandy Koufax in 1964.

But Bumgarner’s 2014 is one for the history books regardless: He threw 52 2/3 innings — more than anyone else ever did in a single postseason — and in those 52 2/3 innings he had a 1.03 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio over 7:1. That’s nuts. And throwing five scoreless innings in an elimination game on two days’ rest ranks as one of the coolest things you’ll ever see done on a baseball field.

Hunter Pence
Pence went 12-for-27 with three walks — good for a .500 on-base percentage — in the World Series. Plus he scored eight runs and played fine defense in right field throughout. Practically any other year, that’d be good enough to earn him World Series MVP honors.

Tim Hudson
Despite Hudson’s short outing in Game 7, he pitched pretty well for the Giants en route to his first-ever World Series berth. Hudson is 39 years old, he’s the active Major League leader in wins with 214, and he battled back from a gruesome ankle injury that ended his 2013 season with Atlanta. During the Giants’ champagne celebration after the NLCS, Hudson called out, “I waited 16 years for this!” Now, after 16 seasons in the Majors — including spots on six playoff teams that never escaped the LDS — Hudson gets his ring.

Pablo Sandoval
Sandoval also had a great series for the Giants, just like he did in their 2012 run. He batted .279 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs in 157 regular-season games for the Giants and .366 in the postseason with seven doubles and five RBIs, four of those during a seven-game World Series win against Kansas City.

But Sandoval is slated for free agency after the season. He has been such a mainstay on these Giants championship team and such a popular player in San Francisco that it’s hard to imagine him playing elsewhere. But it could be that Sandoval’s three-hit night in Game 7 represents the exclamation point on his fine tenure with the club.

San Francisco's $164.7 million season-ending payroll -- sixth-highest in the majors -- will go up slightly, and again next season. World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner receives bonuses of $100,000 for his World Series MVP and $75,000 for the NLCS MVP.

Monday, October 27, 2014

OK Go - "I Won't Let You Down"


Wikipedia:
The video for "I Won't Let You Down" was released on October 27, 2014, premiering on The Today Show. Similar to many of the band's past videos, the video is a continuous one shot music video. The band members perform the video while riding Honda UNI-CUBs, personal mobility units similar to the Segway, moving through a warehouse before moving outside for larger choreographed routines with a number of dancers dressed in traditional Japanese school uniforms and using colored umbrella props. The video was filmed on a camera mounted to a octocopter drone, which allows for ground-level and bird's-eye view shots during these routines, including a final high altitude pan of the surrounding landscape. The Japanese electropop group, Perfume also make a cameo at the start of the video.

OK Go was inspired by a trip they had taken to Japan and visited Tokyo's Robot Restaurant, which had numerous robots moving about the large facility in motions set to heavy-metal music; Tim Norwind said that the experience was "the best hour of my life". They obtained help of producer Morihiro Harano would linked them to Honda's internal ad agency, which led to them being put in contact with Japanese choreographer Airman to help plan out the routines. Honda would go on to fund the film and provide the UNI-CUBs and the octocopter for the video. The video was filmed in a vacant warehouse area in the Chiba district of Japan near Tokyo. Frontman Damian Kulash and Kazuaki Seki co-directed the video. The video was filmed in double time, recording the events at half the speed of the song and then sped up for the final video as to allow them to complete the complex choreography. In the near final shots, which show the band and dances from far overhead simulating a large dot matrix display, Harano had set large speakers at the corners of the area to play the song in half-time to help all the performers synchronize with the music. The camera drone was controlled both with GPS and manual control for fine adjustment by Harano and his crew. The video took between 50 and 60 takes to obtain the final one-shot product.

The choreography in the video was inspired by the elaborate routines of musical director Busby Berkeley. The opening sequence, primarily focusing on the OK Go band members, was made to feel like a futuristic version of Gene Kelly's dancing in Singin' in the Rain. The final shot, with the camera panning across the Japan landscape, was inspired by The Beatles use of extended outros, as to give the viewer something "that packed a bit more entertainment even after the main part was over", according to Harano.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Broken Bells - "After the Disco"


Paste:
Broken Bells have just released a new music video for “After The Disco,” the title track off their most recent LP. Directed by Nelson De Castro, the clip takes “After The Disco” quite literally, featuring band members James Mercer and Danger Mouse trying to make their way home from a party. Mercer cries out “round and round still we go nowhere” as they wander through a series of revolving, repeating rooms with frozen-in-place crowds, and he’s right—the video ends where it starts, with the party still going strong.

Wikipedia:
Recorded with the seventeen-piece Angel City String Orchestra and a four-piece choir, the album was released by Columbia Records on January 31, 2014. The album follows the band's 2013 single, "Holding On for Life", which features as the third track on the album. After the Disco was written by band members James Mercer and Brian Burton, and produced by Burton.

The album itself was released on January 31, 2014, peaking at number 5 in the Billboard 200.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GOAT - "Hide from the Sun"



Swedish psych-rock outfit GOAT have just released a frenetic new video for their song “Hide From The Sun,” and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Directed by Sam Macon, the clip complements the feverish psychedelic sound of GOAT’s most recent album, Commune, out now via SubPop.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nats Lose to Giants 3-2 in Game 4 of the NLDS

MLB:
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals' World Series hopes came to an end Tuesday night as they lost to the Giants, 3-2, in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, eliminating the club from postseason play.

"This is tough," center fielder Denard Span said. "We didn't play well all series. That's the bottom line. The Giants made the least amount of mistakes. We made too many mistakes. The little things added up. They were a better team for these four games."

Washington's bullpen was reliable most of the season, but in the seventh inning, it faltered, allowing the game-deciding run. With the score tied at 2 and one out, Matt Thornton allowed consecutive singles to Joe Panik and Buster Posey. Manager Matt Williams then decided to bring in Aaron Barrett, who walked Hunter Pence to load the bases. With Pablo Sandoval at the plate, Barrett threw a wild pitch, scoring Panik to give the Giants the lead.

"I thought I made some pretty good pitches," Barrett said. "I battled back to 3-2 [in the count]. I guess I tried to do a little too much there and ended up walking [Pence]. I tried to slow myself down as much as possible. It was great atmosphere. I just tried to do a little too much. I didn't want to walk him there, obviously. I tried to challenge him there."

San Francisco nearly scored another run soon thereafter. As he was trying to walk Sandoval intentionally, Barrett threw a wild pitch. Posey tried to score on the play, but was thrown out by Wilson Ramos on a close play at the plate that was confirmed by a crew chief review.

"I got lucky, obviously, with the wild pitch," Barrett said. "The bottom line is I didn't make pitches when I had to, and it ended up costing us the game."

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez started the game and had one bad inning, and it proved costly. Gonzalez wasn't hit hard, but he had serious problems fielding his position.

The Nats would tie the score in seventh inning off right-hander Hunter Strickland. With one out, Bryce Harper came to the plate and hit a mammoth home run that landed in McCovey Cove. It was the 104th home run that went in the water behind the right-field wall at AT&T Park, but just the third in postseason play.

"He was on some fastballs this series," Posey said.

A ninth-inning rally came up short after Harper drew a two-out walk but Ramos then grounded out to second to end the comeback attempt, and the Nationals' season. For the second time in three years, the Nats had the best record in the NL but then came up short in the NLDS.

Game 1
The Giants held off a late charge, quieting the crowd in an NL-record ninth straight playoff W. After Jake Peavy's 5 2/3 scoreless, Hunter Strickland nixed a threat before allowing two Nats shots, one a big blast by Bryce Harper, and the 'pen escaped in the eighth before a clean ninth.

Game 2
Brandon Belt's shot in the 18th decided the longest MLB playoff game (6:23) and put the Giants one win from the NLCS. Nine frames earlier, Pablo Sandoval sent it to extras with a two-out knock off Nats closer Drew Storen, who couldn't save it for a dominant Jordan Zimmermann. The game tied a record set by the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS, becoming only the second 18-inning postseason game in MLB history. Tim Hudson started on the road in both (and Adam LaRoche played 1B in both). Yusmeiro Petit became the first pitcher to throw at least 6 shutout innings of relief & win a postseason game since Pedro Martinez in 1999. In what will likely prove a footnote to the larger craziness of the game, Nats manager Matt Williams and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera were ejected from the game in the bottom of the 10th for arguing balls and strikes.

Game 3
Locked in a scoreless duel in the seventh, the Nationals scored two on Madison Bumgarner's wild throw to third on a sac bunt. Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI, Bryce Harper homered in the ninth and Drew Storen finished it for Doug Fister, extending the NLDS in San Francisco.

Game 4
After a Bryce Harper homer tied the game in the seventh, reliever Aaron Barrett's wild pitch with the bases full in the bottom of the frame allowed Joe Panik to score the go-ahead run, and the Giants' bullpen held off the gritty Nats to secure a spot in the NLCS vs. the Cards.

Sports Illustrated:
Williams' rough showing was a reminder that he, too, was just a rookie, having never managed a team at any level prior to this season, or even served as bench coach. Mattingly was once similarly green, though he did have experience as bench coach with the Yankees under Joe Torre, who mentored him both in New York and Los Angeles prior to Mattingly's taking the reins for the 2011 season. Despite his subsequent experience at the helm, he hardly covered himself in glory during the Dodgers' brief run.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jordan Zimmermann Throws No-Hitter in Season Finale

"On Sunday afternoon, the final day of the regular season, Zimmermann threw the first no-hitter in Washington Nationals history in a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. The first no-hitter by a Washington major league pitcher since Bobby Burke no-hit the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 8, 1931, at Griffith Stadium came five days before the 96-win Nationals will start the playoffs as the top seed in the National League."
AP:
WASHINGTON — As the ball soared toward deep left-center, seemingly destined to end Jordan Zimmermann's bid for the first no-hitter by a Washington Nationals pitcher, the righty threw his head back and thought, "Double. No-doubt double."

Zimmermann was one out from history Sunday, and for what must have seemed like forever he watched little-used rookie left fielder Steven Souza Jr. — a defensive replacement in the ninth inning — give chase.

"Once I got closer," Souza said, "I knew, 'Oh, my gosh, this is going to be pretty close.' So I took off."

Souza sprinted, extended his glove and leaped for a sensational overhead grab, using his bare hand to squeeze the ball in his black mitt as he tumbled to the grass. That grab preserved Zimmermann's gem and ended Washington's 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on the last day of the regular season.

"The one thing on my mind is, no matter how I'm going to get there, I'm going to get there," Souza said. "Getting there, I kind of blacked out."

He held his glove aloft to show he had the ball. Zimmermann raised both arms. Nationals relievers in the home bullpen lifted their arms, too. So did thousands in the Nationals Park crowd of 35,085, who roared with every pitch down the stretch.


Miami's Mike Dunn said he and other relievers in the left-field visitors' bullpen started cheering as the ball headed their way, certain the no-no was no more.

"When he caught it," Dunn said, "it was just like, 'Really? Did that just happen?'"

Souza's name now belongs alongside those of other players delivering superb catches to save no-hitters. The one that kept coming up in the Nationals' clubhouse was Dewayne Wise's juggling grab in the ninth that saved Mark Buehrle's perfect game for the White Sox in 2009.

"I thought there was no way this would ever happen. My career numbers are something like one hit per inning, so I figure if I can make it out of the first, the hit's coming in the second," said the 28-year-old Zimmermann, a quiet guy who was a second-round draft pick in 2007 out of Division III University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. "But today was one of those special days."

Quite a way to cap a regular season in which the Nationals finished with the NL's best record, 96-66. Washington hosts San Francisco or Pittsburgh in Game 1 of a division series Friday.

"Just an epic day for an epic season," said Denard Span, who set a Nationals single-season record with his 184th hit.

Zimmermann (14-5) threw 104 pitches, had 10 strikeouts and allowed only two baserunners. After retiring the first 14 batters, he walked Justin Bourn on a low, full-count fastball with two outs in the fifth. In the seventh, Garrett Jones reached first base on a strike-three wild pitch; moments later, catcher Wilson Ramos picked him off.

Starting on seven days' rest because his pitching shoulder got bruised by a line drive his last time out, Zimmermann poured in fastballs in the mid-90s mph, used his mid-80s slider to great effect and had his changeup fooling a Marlins lineup without NL home-run champion Giancarlo Stanton.

Zimmermann didn't need a whole lot of defensive help until Souza's memorable play. That might have been a good thing, because Nationals manager Matt Williams pulled his starters as the game went on, making for a series of standing ovations as they left, one by one. It also made for an ever-shifting defensive alignment.

Until leadoff hitter Christian Yelich turned on a 94 mph fastball on a 2-1 count with two outs in the ninth, the closest the Marlins came to hits were three liners in the fifth grabbed by backup infielders — Tyler Moore at first, Kevin Frandsen at third, and Danny Espinosa at shortstop.

"Three rockets, and right at guys," said Zimmermann, who had shaving cream in both ears from the on-field celebration. "That's when I knew there might be something special happening."

Frandsen wasn't so sure, saying: "Fifth inning's a little early to think, 'He's got a no-hitter.'"

Maybe. But all it took was three innings for pitching coach Steve McCatty to pull Williams aside and point out that their initial plan to let Zimmermann have a light day's work with an eye to the postseason might not hold up.

"I said, 'What do we do if we're going to give him six (innings) and he doesn't (allow) a hit?'" McCatty recounted. "He just looked at me and said, 'That's not funny.' I said, 'Well, there's a good chance that's going to happen.'"


More information:
» Washington Post: Jordan Zimmermann throws no-hitter in Nationals' regular season finale

Friday, September 26, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mike Doughty - "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future"


Paste:
Mike Doughty returned to the scene last week with the release of Stellar Motel, an album that features guests ranging from Jay Boogs, Hand Job Academy, Miss Eaves, and MC Frontalot to drums-and-sax trio Moon Hooch to longtime cellist/live foil Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, to Japanese rap star Kim Uhnellys.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nationals, Orioles Clinch Division Titles on the Same Night

"We are so proud of this organization," said Ted Lerner, managing principal owner of the Nationals. "Watching them clinch their second NL East division championship in three years means so much to our fans, our city and our family. [General manager] Mike Rizzo and [manager] Matt Williams should be commended for building and leading a championship club."
Washington Post:
The Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have become virtual locks to clinch division titles this week and gain entry into the Major League Baseball playoffs. Their combined might has given the region its best chance to host a World Series since the Orioles’ championship in 1983, even kindling thoughts of a Beltway World Series.

The Nationals and Orioles each made the postseason in 2012, too, but this fall carries more promise. In 2012, the Nationals were upstarts who won 98 games with a young roster that no one saw coming, and the Orioles sneaked into their first postseason since 1997 by virtue of winning a one-game playoff between non-division winners with the best records.

“I guess you could say that we kind of expect it a little more now,” Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Two years ago, it was almost like — I don’t know if you’d call it a shock. But it was like, ‘Wow, we must be pretty good.’ Now, I think we’re a pretty established team.”

This season, the Nationals and Orioles have become teams to be feared by the rest of baseball as much as enjoyed by the region. The Nationals have the best record (86-63) and largest division lead in the National League, ahead of the Atlanta Braves by 111 / 2 games in the East. The Orioles had lapped the American League East, leading by 121 / 2 games with an 90-60 record, second in the league to the Los Angeles Angels.

Despite injuries that could have derailed their season, the Orioles have persevered behind one of the most powerful lineups in baseball and a patchwork pitching staff run by Buck Showalter, regarded as one of the brightest managers in baseball. Although the Nationals will not match their win total from 2012, a deeper lineup, better rotation and the presence of star pitcher Stephen Strasburg have put them in stronger position under first-year Manager Matt Williams.

“We’ve got different personnel,” Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth said. “We’ve got more depth. We’re a deeper team. We’re a better team. We’re more experienced. We’re going to have Stephen Strasburg versus not having Stephen Strasburg. I think we’re more well rounded. We were pretty raw in 2012. We’re a little bit more polished now.”

In 2012, the Nationals clinched the NL East at Nationals Park after a loss. Players spilled onto the field and sprayed champagne into the seats. The Nationals’ recent hot stretch coupled with the Braves’ collapse has all but ensured their party will come on the road this year. The Nationals can clinch by winning Tuesday night in Atlanta. The Orioles, meanwhile, can clinch at home with a win Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 2012, the Nationals had the best record in the NL and opened the playoffs on the road because of a scheduling quirk: the one-game playoff had just been introduced, and MLB needed to shorten the number of travel days in the series, so the Nationals played two games in St. Louis before three in Washington. This year, all Division Series will have a traditional 2-2-1 format.

The Nationals’ and Orioles’ dual excellence, then, could lead to an early-October extravaganza, a weekend of baseball unlike any the region has experienced. As long as they both maintain one of the top two records in their respective leagues, four division series playoff games would take place from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4, with both Camden Yards and Nationals Park hosting playoff games Oct. 3.

The prospect may be too irresistible not to consider for a Mid-Atlantic baseball fan. But the Nationals have consciously blocked it out of their minds. Baseball players survive their marathon season with mental blinders, never straying from the day’s task. All-star pitcher Jordan Zimmermann said he did not pack protective goggles for a champagne celebration.

“When the time comes and we get closer, I’m sure someone will get a bunch of stuff,” Zimmermann said. “Right now, we’re not looking at that.”

After the Nationals beat the New York Mets three times in four games this weekend — while the Orioles were taking three of four from the Yankees in Camden Yards — Werth admitted a clinch “seems inevitable.” But he also stressed the importance of finishing strong to claim home-field advantage in the postseason by virtue of having the league’s best record.

Williams, who played in three World Series as a player, continues to react to any suggestion that the Nationals have ensured a playoff spot as if he swallowed a bug.

“It’s human nature to look ahead,” Williams said. “We cannot do that, and we must not do that. To concentrate on tonight’s game is key and important. For us to peek around the corner will do us no good. That’s what I’ve learned. I think these guys have the same mind-set. They’re all about today and winning today. We’ll move to tomorrow when it’s time to do that.”

Even while handling what General Manager Mike Rizzo described as “unfinished business,” the Nationals cannot help but sense the rhythms of fall baseball. Shadows creep across the infield. The sun sets lower and assaults outfielders’ eyes. Fans grow rowdier.

“You can definitely feel a good buzz in the ballpark,” Rizzo said.

“Everyone is excited to get to the field every day,” Zimmermann said. “We’re pretty close. We just need to keep playing the way we’ve been playing. When it happens, it happens.”


Friday, September 5, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Robin Hood of the Banks: Enric Duran

Wikipedia:
Enric Duran Giralt, also known as Robin Bank, Robin Banks or the Robin Hood of the Banks is a Catalan anticapitalist activist and member of the Temps de Re-volts collective. On September 17, 2008, he publicly announced that he had "robbed" dozens of Spanish banks of nearly half a million euros as part of a political action to denounce what he termed the predatory capitalist system.

From 2006 to 2008, Duran took out 68 commercial and personal loans from a total of 39 banks with no guarantees or property as collateral. He had no intention of repaying the debts, and used the money to finance various anti-capitalist movements. In 2008, Duran released both an online article entitled "I have “robbed” 492,000 euros from those who rob us the most, in order to denounce them and build alternatives for society" (translated), and an online video, each explaining what he had done and that he had left the country to view the reaction and consider his next move. This was also published in the free magazine Crisis, in Catalan, of which 200,000 copies were printed and distributed by volunteers throughout Catalonia. A second newspaper, We can! Live Without Capitalism was distributed on March 17, 2009, and a third, We on September 17, 2009.

Duran stated that he sought to create a debate about the financial system and the current capitalist system, proliferate protest actions against it and fund the social movements that seek to create alternatives. Duran called his action one of 'financial civil disobedience', and stated that he was prepared to go to prison for his actions. He planned for the anniversary of his declaration (September 17, 2009) to be an action day where people meet, both in Spain and abroad, to share alternatives to capitalism.

Duran was involved in the "Look for the abolition of debt" campaign(1999/2000), the "Global Resistance Movement" (2000/2002) the "Campaign Against the World Bank"(2001) and the "Campaign Against the Europe of Capital"(2002).

In April 2010, Duran began promoting the Catalan Integrated Cooperative as a practical example of the ideals detailed in We can! Live Without Capitalism. In 2011, the cooperative accepted responsibility for a former industrial complex, with a view to turning it into a centre for environmental activities.

Monday, August 4, 2014

David Wilson's Career is Over Due to Diffuse Cervical Stenosis

"I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me," Wilson said in the team's release. "I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream. Now I have a chance to dream another dream and live that, too."
ESPN:
The promising career of New York Giants running back David Wilson appears to be over before his third NFL season.

The Giants announced Monday that two doctors have advised Wilson, 23, to stop playing football due to the condition of his neck and spine. The Giants placed Wilson on injured reserve, which means he will not play for them this season. And according to a team news release, Wilson appears to understand that his playing days are over.

Wilson injured his neck in a Week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and missed the rest of the season. He had spinal fusion surgery in January and was not cleared for full contact until July 21, the day before the Giants' first training camp practice.

He was injured during practice a week later and spent a portion of last week being examined by doctors. Monday morning, he met with Frank Cammisa, who is the chief of spine services at the Hospital for Special Surgery and the doctor who performed Wilson's surgery in Januay. Cammisa and Giants team doctor Russell Warren then advised Wilson not to play anymore.

"David has diffuse cervical stenosis," Warren said in the team's news release. "He had a disc removed and a fusion in January. In light of last week's episode of symptoms, sensory and motor, Frank and I both told David he should not play football anymore. We let David know that by playing, he would be putting himself at risk for more episodes like last week or perhaps something more serious."

The Giants drafted Wilson in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Virginia Tech. He was a star kick returner as a rookie and opened the 2013 season as the starting running back. He fumbled twice in the 2013 opener and was benched while coaches worked with him on his ball carrying technique. He has 115 carries for 504 yards and five touchdowns in his NFL career, as well as six receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also scored a touchdown on a kick return in 2012.

After his appointment Monday morning, the Giants say, Wilson returned to the team facility to meet with team officials.

"David and I had a great talk," general manager Jerry Reese said. "He's disappointed like all of us, but he's a strong young man and understands that he has a lot of life left to live and it's not worth to him, his family or us to put his health in harm's way by continuing to play football."

"I'm thankful that I can literally walk away from the game and that I am healthy and capable of doing the same things I have done all my life, except play football," Wilson said. "I always try to find the positive in everything. This morning, I didn't hear what I wanted to hear, but I expected what they told me could be a possibility. I had played out both scenarios in my mind."

The Giants will open the season with Rashad Jennings as the starting running back and back him up with Peyton Hillis, rookie Andre Williams and either Michael Cox or Kendall Gaskins.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Childish Gambino - "3005" (2013)


Wikipedia:
"3005" is a song by Childish Gambino from his second studio album Because the Internet. The song was released on October 22, 2013 as the first official single from the album. It was produced by Gambino, Stefan Ponce and Ludwig Goransson. The song has since peaked at number 11 on the UK R&B Chart and 76 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The video received a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Hip-Hop Video.

The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and number 12 on the Canadian Albums Chart, with first-week sales of 96,000 copies in the United States. This would be an 84% increase in first week sales in his home country, compared to his debut album Camp. As of April 20, 2014, it has sold 257,000 copies in the United States. Due to Record Store Day, the week ending April 20, 2014, the album peaked at number one on the Billboard Top Vinyl LPs chart, selling 3,600 vinyl copies.

Childish Gambino said that he wrote the song early in the morning, as he does with all the songs he considers his best songs. He spoke on the track's significance saying, "Everybody's like, 'It's a love song.' It's kind of an existential thing. I'm just really scared of being alone. When I was little, there was a big dog down the street. I was really scared of it. But when I was with my sister, when I knew I had to protect her, I wasn't afraid of the dog as much because somebody was there. I had a purpose...I kind of feel lost. I kind of lost that, I feel."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Best of Weird Al Yankovic


Wikipedia:
Mandatory Fun is the fourteenth studio album by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Self-produced, the album was released by RCA Records in the United States on July 15, 2014.

Yankovic composed the originals first, and wrote parodies last in order for them to be as timely as possible upon the album's release. Many artists were positive in their assumptions of being parodied; Pharrell Williams remarked that he was "honored" to be spoofed by Yankovic, while Imagine Dragons advised Yankovic on how to achieve similar sounds as their original song "Inactive."

Although the music video aspect of Yankovic's songs had long been a part of his success, RCA Records opted not to fund any video production for Mandatory Fun. Yankovic instead turned to various social media portals including Funny or Die and CollegeHumor which he had worked with in the past; these sites helped to cover the production cost of the videos with Yankovic foregoing any ad video revenue.

The release of Mandatory Fun marked "Weird Al" Yankovic's first number one album on the United States Billboard 200 in his 38-year long career, debuting atop the chart the week of August 2, 2014. Mandatory Fun is also the first comedy album to reach the number one spot since Allan Sherman's My Son, the Nut in August 1963. It achieved the largest sales week for a comedy album since The Beavis and Butt-head Experience in 1994 after selling 104,700 copies during the sales week ending July 20, 2014.







Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The ShowHawk Duo


Alice Park, Bath 2014: Tribute to Daft Punk


Tron Kirk, Edinburgh 2013: The Anthem


Street Performance, Bath 2013


Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2012

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spoon - "Inside Out"


Wikipedia:
Spoon will release their eighth full-length album, They Want My Soul, on August 5, 2014. It will be their first record released by Loma Vista Recordings, after five records on Merge. It was mixed by by Dave Fridmann. Heard above, "Inside Out" is a patently dreamy affair, setting singer Britt Daniel's raw cry to a shimmery score and a locked electronic groove.

In 2009, the review aggregator Metacritic ranked Spoon as its "Top overall artist of the decade", based on the band's consistently high review scores between 2000 and 2009, amongst other factors.