Pop Culture Friday! Thanksgiving leftovers!

23 Nov

Happy Leftover day people!  I hope you’re enjoying your cranberry/stuffing/turkey sandwiches or however you eat your leftovers.  You know, I honestly prefer things the next day on holidays like this–so yummy.  And for those of you who went shopping, well rub your bunions and get a load of this!

1.  Holiday Specials–Of course what would Thanksgiving be like without holiday specials!  I watched two.  The first is the Peanuts Thanksgiving one, where they eat popcorn and jelly beans and Peppermint Patty throws a hissy fit.  No idea where Lucy is here, Linus is at the table but I guess Lucy decided not to come this time.  Also, last years Doctor Who Christmas special!  (The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe).  Weirdly enough this is the most Christmasy special they’ve done yet, what with all the trees that sprout ornaments and the stars on top, then there’s wood people, and a WWII plane, and Amy and Rory–well you’ll have to watch it yourself, but it’s a treat.

2.  Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”–Well, number one this week is Rihanna, which I reviewed last week, and then there’s Gangnam Style, which I’m not even going into because there’s been so much said about it already, so number three is Bruno Mars.    I didn’t really get into Bruno Mars when he first came out–he was a little too Disney sounding even if he did sing about sex now and then.  I can say “Locked out of Heaven” is a little more musically interesting–he’s got all of his influences right out there–The Police, late seventies arena rock, dance music from the mid nineties, Phil Collins.  The weird thing is he manages to stick it all together without a hitch (and arguably more interesting than all the preceding influences besides the Police).  The video looks like an imitation of old imitations of old videos, and pretty much sums up the good points and bad points of Bruno Mars all at once.  Clearly he is an extremely charismatic performer with energy to spare, his voice is solid, and he’s genuinely likeable.  The problem is that none of this feels real–and I’m not claiming that it’s meant to, but even when he sings your sex takes me to paradise, it sounds like something that he’s singing because it sounds edgy, and not because he particularly means it.  Also, weird thing in the videos, why do I get the impression of all the effort to show him being one of the guys, (there’s a street scene with gambling, and then a spin the bottle thing) he seems more isolated than ever–like he doesn’t know how to act?  It’s a sort of unintended sadness behind those images–like somebody who doesn’t have real friends.    All this being said, this song is infinitely superior to the blandness before even if it still is extremely corporate and calculated.

3.  Vince Flynn The Last Man–Sigh, the top-selling books are never the ones I really like.  (Ok, sometimes, but not very often.)  I haven’t read The Last Man and do not intend to, nor am I going to really criticize this book because that isn’t fair.   What I can say is that this is one of a series of espionage books starring Mitch Rapp, and that Vince Flynn is a conservative commentator.  I’ve never been into spy thriller books, with the possible exception of James Bond because he’s so fun, these books tend to have very little humor in them.    Now keep in mind, I’m not saying that spy thriller books are bad, I’m just saying they’re not for me.  Funnily enough I’m not surprised that Flynn is a conservative, as these books tend to cut things into black hats and white hats–just like old cowboy movies, and I can see reading these books as a sort of escapism from a world that can sometimes be frustratingly ambiguous.   Also, one fact that I noticed in his bio was that Flynn is dyslexic, but started reading a lot and writing to conquer it–so I can certainly see the attraction towards a super-spy who does everything himself when someone is a “bootstraps person.”   At the same time, sometimes bootstraps people can be shockingly insensitive towards all the people and communities that helped them get where they are–because nobody gets anywhere completely on their own.

4.  She & Him–WHY ON EARTH DID I NEVER PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR CHRISTMAS ALBUM BEFORE?  OMG it’s so wonderful–especially Christmas waltz is perfect for her–oh and Zoey Deschanel, the one girl who can play the manic-pixie-crazy-girl and I still love her at the end.

5.  Dumb Ways to Die–Fun YouTube song that basically is a public service announcement to be careful around trains, but it’s really fun with cartoon characters doing stupid things.

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