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The last Massive Attack V Adam Curtis (#MAVAC) review you should ever read Part 1

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Qualifying

Sitting down to collect thoughts on paper about Massive Attack V Adam Curtis (#MAVAC) is like sitting down to complete a jigsaw puzzle which might not have all the pieces.*

*After experiencing the MAVAC art installation first hand, Ben Ratliff’s review seems well intentioned but inadequate. My article of expectations illustrates the potential challenges in processing a dynamic twist in the technique of a controversial but inarguably compelling story teller.

So lets be clear, this review is about what MAVAC means TO ME. The caveat ‘to me’ is a parachute, if I miss the target and land in a mine field, better to land soft. That being said, the message Adam Curtis wants to extend to his audience isn’t obscure, it’s pretty clear in my mind: Trust is a weapon being used against you by those in control. If your trust is based in ignorance, all the better for the status quo. However, if you plan on informing yourself, fighting ignorance and seeing the world as it really is, they’ve got a plan for that as well.

We’ll get to who they are later.  Read the rest of this entry »


Comcast built the tallest building in the Philly skyline but I can’t wait to see it crumble down via streaming video

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News like this makes me look at my TV longingly [from MacTech]:

Fifty-one percent of U.S. population watches streaming video weekly. Call it a tipping point — more than half (51%) of the U.S. population (ages 13 to 54) now watches TV programs or movies using streaming video at least once a week. Connected TVs, mobile devices, videogame consoles, and streaming services such as Netflix have helped turn a “tecchie” phenomenon into a mainstream entertainment source.

According to a just-released GfK report, “How People Use Media: Over-the-Top TV 2013,” the weekly streaming audience for TV and movies in the US has risen from 37% three years ago to 48% in 2012, and edged over the halfway point in the past year.

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I’m impatiently waiting on the post-cable-distributiion world and reports like this show that it’s only a matter of time.

I want to see  TVs emancipated from the oppressive content distributors. In this part of the county, that means Comcast and Verizon. However, you can read this rant with “Cox,” “Time Warner” or whatever one or two cable companies dominate your market in place of  ”Comcast.”  And it should make sense thanks to the uniformity of nationwide oligopolies. If there is any confusion at this point, this video explains the twentieth-century cable TV mindset that forms the barrier between content and consumer.

To be clear, I don’t hate Comcast or their skyscraper. I think it fits the skyline pretty well- the street level designs are cool and inviting, and I still want to eat lunch at their cafeteria with the crazy view. I’m just frustrated. There has never been more creative and compelling content available on the small screen, and the available distribution options for that content are exploding. Regardless, cable companies maintain a stranglehold over much of this system, and that means you either subscribe to their model or watch pirated content.

Few things are as resilient to change as the cable TV distribution model. It’s the quintisensial twentieth century model operating and making money in defiance of all the market factors of the twenty first century village economy. They have one thing going for them– entrenchment. Comcast is big and its tentacles extend far–both the physical lines of coaxial cable that drape from telephone pole to telephone pole through most cities and the unseen lines of influence that extend into the heart of the political policy machine in America.

I’m not arguing for nationalization of  cable lines for the sake of competition. Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner and the like shouldn’t be split up into smaller companies. Market solutions will emerge on their own, unless you believe the conspiracy theories that the oligopolies want to tier-structure the internet in the cable TV model under the guise of throttling bandwidth hogs and protecting content producers from piracy. Assuming those attempts to rein in the internet are stopped or overblown, the market will eventually crush or restructure Comcast and the other content-distribution dinosaurs, and I’m ok with waiting for that. I’m so ok with it that I won’t even bitch if Comcast becomes one of the big winners in a post comcast-model world– as long as their ancient model dies.

Also, I’m going to need the whole thing wrapped up before my promotional offer from Comcast ends, and I’m forced to pay $100 a month just to watched Boardwalk Empire, Newsroom, Game of Thrones and Doomsday Preppers.

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Urban Nature in Northeast Philadelphia

Prior to capture

Prior to capture

 

This gigantic spider with a florescent yellow design adorning its massive abdomin presented itself to me today while cutting an overgrown backyard on the 6800 block of Edmund Street in Tacony, Philadelphia. After recoiling in horror I was convinced that this rare specimen needed to be documented. Pictures lead to video which led to capturing. Two life-long residents (50+ years old) of the neighborhood (one, a former landscaper) evaluated the captured spider; both said they’ve never seen anything like it and guessed it poisonous due to it floresent  markings. Read the rest of this entry »


@MarkLevinShow To “Old White Guys” Stop Funding the Republican Machine

Does this week mark the beginning of the end for the Republican Party or the end of the beginning?

There are a lot of interesting reactions from the disparate figureheads of the Republican and Conservative coalitions that make up the non-Obama supporting electorate. Much of the talk is far-reaching in pinning down just how marginalized the Republican Party has become. John Bohnier called Obamacare the “law of the land,” and the new mantra is that the Republican Party can’t survive appealing to a dwindling base of “old white guys.” Read the rest of this entry »


Understanding the Coalition – the Spine of Any Political Movement

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From National Constitution Center website

In my humble understanding of the nature of political movements, one of the key universals to help me is the idea of the coalition. The Progressive movement and the Tea Party movement both appeared as fairly unified groups. But closer inspection reveals enormous coalitions of disparate groups loosely bound together by one or two fundamental ideas. Often times, as with the West LA Wake Up America Protest earlier this month thin commonality can bond coalitions together in spite of thick disagreement.  Read the rest of this entry »


@BryanCranston talks on @SternShow about cooking up meth batches with a DEA expert for Breaking Bad research

Photo from HowardStern.com

In his Stern Show interview Bryan Cranston revealed a lot of fascinating facts about how he came to his role on Breaking Bad. Here he discusses some preparation he did for the role with a DEA expert on methamphetamine production. Cranston wouldn’t confirm whether or not he actually cooked up a batch or two but Stern seemed convinced that he did and was more interested to know whether Cranston every tried his own recipe. Read the rest of this entry »


@BryanCranston on @SternShow: The one universal attribute of anyone successful in Hollywood, and his dad teaching him how not to behave

Bryan Cranston gave a fascinating interview on the Stern Show. In this clip, he talks about luck—the one universal component of any successful career in Hollywood. He goes on to trace the random string of events that brought him to a small part in the X-Files TV show. He didn’t think much of it then but the director of that particular show would go on to Breaking Bad many years later and brought Cranston along. Read the rest of this entry »