Archives for April 2015

Batman v Superman v Han Solo v Hillary

trailers

It has been a very big week for trailers, as two-minute peeks inside the biggest productions of the next year landed on YouTube over the last ten days: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. JURASSIC WORLD. TERMINATOR: GENISYS. TOMORROWLAND. There is a lot riding on each one of these trailers, as they are all Summer Tentpoles, expected to prop up their backers’ bottom line for the next calendar year.

But they were all just appetizers for the three trailers that set the entire Internet ablaze:

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

HILLARY CLINTON: GETTING STARTED

These three productions have three things in common: they all have huge budgets, they are all sequels, and they are all expected to bring in a billion dollars.  So which one made the biggest splash?

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Shut Down The Daily Show

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I love The Daily Show. I’ve always loved The Daily Show. I have been watching it faithfully since Craig Kilborn was smashing heads with his “5 Questions” segment (and I still think that version of the show was pretty funny). I have witnessed the show at its highest highs (when Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell were correspondents) and its lowest lows (the Mo Rocca years, admittedly concurrent the Carell/Colbert years — I just find Mo Rocca painfully unfunny and worse, oddly smug about it. Am I digressing?). It’s had up-cycles and down-cycles and I have stuck with it through them all.

From around the time of the debacle of the 2000 election recount, The Daily Show became an indispensible part of my life, of how I consume news, of how I interpret it. And for several years I became very focused on trying to get a job there as a writer, and it still hurts that I wasn’t able to make it happen.

 

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Tidal Might Not Be Completely Evil

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It was a scene very easy to ridicule: sixteen multiplatinum musicians lined up on a stage, announcing the launch of a new streaming music service that costs twice as much as Spotify, and promising to “change the course of music history” before signing a high-minded Bill of Rights like they were the friggin’ Continental Congress.

Tidal is a streaming music service recently purchased by Jay-Z, who brought in a lot of heavy hitters, including Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Jack White, Kanye West, Daft Punk, and Alicia Keys, as partners. It purports to be the first artist-owned streaming service, and promises to pay artists more fairly than services like Spotify or Pandora, which famously streamed singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc’s song “Wake Me Up!” 168 million times and paid him a paltry $4,000.

Most people saw that objective as a tone-deaf plea for more money from the people who need it least; indeed, the people on the Tidal stage are just about the last 16 people artists to make real money in the music business. Oh, Madonna and Kanye don’t have enough money, so they want me to pay $20 a month?

 

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Bootsy Collins Castle, 2001-2015

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Bootsy was a good boy. He was a pure-bred border collie. If we had known how neurotic border collies are, we might have chosen a different breed, but I once had a friend whose border collie was a terrific frisbee dog, and I wanted a frisbee dog too — I kind of insisted on it — so Jen bought him from a breeder in Kentucky, not far from where we were living in the fall of 2001.

We had only been married for a year, and we had left our adopted hometown of San Francisco when we both lost our jobs in the dot-com crash. We were broke and had no idea what to do next, so we decided to try Cincinnati, where my parents and my brother live, because we knew it was cheap. We got a crazy cheap apartment across the river in Newport, Kentucky — we moved in on 9/11 — and tried our best to settle into an unfamiliar town. We got Bootsy a couple of months after we got there. He was the cutest little puppy. Jet black and snow white. He loved to play. I remember coming home to that second-floor apartment and seeing him peeking over the top step, waiting to greet me. Jen and I had been a couple for a few years, but Bootsy made us feel like we were starting a family.

Cincinnati didn’t really work out. It was nice being close to my family, but we didn’t really connect with anyone we met there. Bootsy made it a lot easier. Every day I walked him to the elementary school down the street from our apartment and taught him how to catch the frisbee in the baseball field. He could go for hours. I would say “Bootsy! Go deep!” and he would run full speed away from me for 40 feet or so and then curve to the right, and I would throw the frisbee as far as I could. If I could get it within ten feet of him in any direction, he caught it, and I would cheer for him as he brought it back. If it was raining, I threw him tennis balls from the couch. He always caught those too.

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