Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bryan Adams Week: What Went Wrong

Ok, ok...we admit that headline is too strong. Still Bryan Adams had two wonderful albums, Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless. He followed this up with the risk Taking Into the Fire and his risk was well rewarded. Victim of of Love and The Heat of the Night are strong, interesting, risky songs. The later has a great chorus.

What was he supposed do, Reckless II?

In 1991 Bryan Adams released Waking up the Neighbors. We wish to be clear, there is nothing wrong with songs, per se. But they do not rise to the level of his previous work. In fact the tracks on this album, while competent the songs seem musically lazy.  What we are trying to say, is that while Bryan Adams is writing decent enough music, it just isn't as interesting or intense as what he was doing the previous decade.

My god do we hate Everything I do (I do it for you). By the Lords of Kobol we hate the bridge linking the guitar solo to the final chorus, this is how love struck 8th graders think.

[You're in a position to know-ed].

Robin Hood is good though...

Re-review The Force Awakens

So we re-watched Star Wars the Force Awakens yesterday.

After seeing Rogue One, which we've previously noted we think is the second best Star Wars movie, we had forgotten all about the Force Awakens. Also we saw Red Letter Media's Half in the Bag review of the Force Awakens. Mike, Jay and Rich liked it so we wanted to give it another go.

Overall we'd give the Force Awakens a B. Half in the Bag called a 'soft reboot' and this seems about right.

A few thoughts:

-We have lots of character in The Force Awakens and the things they do are consistent and make sense.
-It's pretty obvious Rey is Luke Skywalker's daughter. They drop hints all over the place, yo.
-At first we wondered about the whole presentation of Kylo Ren, he seemed like an emotionally disturbed Millennial. But after seeing the Force Awakens again we like him more and more.
-Kylo Ren is irredeemable, right?
-Something bugged us about Han Solo in the Force Awakens and we finally figured it out. Go back and watch it again. Harrison Ford isn't playing Han Solo. He's playing Indiana Jones.
-We lie Rey, Finn and Po a lot.
-We loved the ending scene.

The Force Awakens also represents a clean break with prequels. Ok, there is one reference to the Sith, but that's it.

Thank god.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Via my friend Bill Katz we see GWB has a 59% approval rating.

We voted for the man twice without regret.

During the dark days, his second term mostly, we never let his dumpster level approval rating get us down. He only had one place to go and with the passage of time his achievements would seem self-evident.

Nine years on, here's what we can say about W:

-He handled 9/11 (talking us through and liberating Afghanistan).
-He handled  the financial crisis (all of TARP was payed back).
-He won the war in Iraq.
-A strong five year economy with 7.5 million jobs.

There's a lot of small things we like to, the nuclear deal with India, help for Aids in Africa, etc, etc.

Not bad, overall.

As we always knew.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday Tally: Will's Bryan Adams Sing Along

As part of our Bryan Adams Week commemorations we have put together our dream concert set list.

The set list is divided into four parts, and though we've already stated we don't really care for him after the Into the Fire album, we'll sample some of his newer stuff.

Notes: We'll get things off to a rip-roaring start
-Oh Canada (I kill me)
-Go Down Rocking (this is from his new album)
-Can't Stop this Thing we Started
-18 Till I Die (another new song, from his previous album)
-Somebody (a nice catchy, peppy song to round out part I)

Notes: Let's hit 'em with the hits. This is going to to be the boppiest one.
-It's Only Love
-This Time
-Summer of 69
-Cuts Like a Knife(wrap up the section with the best)

Notes; This will be our slightly more artsy section. We want this to have a night time feel
-Run to You
-Feels like the First Time
-Have you Loved a Woman
-Every thing I do (makes me want to puke, but you have to give the audience what they want)
-Kids Wanna Rock (wrap it up strong)

Notes: We'll stick with his acoustic set
-All for One
-Straight from the Heart

Monday, June 19, 2017

(Not) Millennial

I love this commercial.

Basically we have a young man out to lunch with his girlfriend and her mom. He's a power-nerd with his nose buried in his phone. Its tempting to dismiss him as just another wimp Millennial. Go back and watch the commercial again.

Here is an organized young man who knows what he wants. In this case he has decided he is very interested in this young lady and she may even be 'the one'.  He is taking her and her mother out to lunch and has the bill 'taken care of '.

The girl beams, mother is impressed.

After paying he asks what should they do next.

'Shoe shopping,' mother replies.

He's got this taken care of too.

'I was hoping you were going to say shoe shopping.'

Well done, young man. Well done, indeed.

(Not) Metal Monday, Kicking Off Bryan Adams Week

Well, last Friday Mrs. Stroock and I saw Bryan Adams, still going strong as he nears 60.

This is the typical Generation-X rocker and his songs will never be far from the memories of anyone who came of age in the 80's.

This is the 5th time we've seen Bryan Adams in the last 12 years. We saw him in 2005, touring with Def Leppard and he positively blew the Limeys away.

For me his two best albums are Cuts Like a Knife and Reckless (of course). These are both quintessential rock albums and both were platinum sellers. The accompanying videos aren't overwrought and generally hold up OK.  Example:

Into the Fire (1987) is not bad  and for us that really ends the Bryan Adams era. Of course he had huge albums in the 1990's but we never liked those, though we respect the man for challenging himself with songs like, 'Have you ever really loved a woman), a Spanish Flamenco style song.

We loath the Robin Hood song, but always loved the movie. There will be more on that later in the week.

On Friday the band looked dapper in jeans, white shirt and black blazer. On stage the guys looked like they were having fun. About half the songs played were post Reckless. Actually we thought the song order was strange, but we suppose Mr. Adams knows what he's doing. His encore was an acoustic solo of three songs, which we liked. This included All For One, and Straight From the Heart.

A note on the future. We've been to metal concerts that were peppered with young people and even kids. But here the crowd was looking old. At 43 and 40, Mrs. Stroock and I were among the youngest in attendance. Like rock and roll, the age of Bryan Adams has passed. Enjoy both now.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tiger's Tail: Looking North

North Korean soldiers looked on in wonder at the dizzying array of shaving creams, tooth pastes, shower soap and shampoo in South Korean homes....But it was the abundance of toilet paper that led to the collapse of North Korean moral. Soldiers wondered at full rolls of toiler paper hanging in the bathroom's of even the poorest houses of Seoul, with entire six packs waiting in linen closets. More remarkably the toilet paper was not course, but impossibly soft, like the pillows that lay on every bed in the city.

The South Koreans may have been the victims of capitalist oppressors but they enjoyed creature comforts unheard of in the north. This was the stark reality confronted by North Korean troops already tired and warn out after a week of war.

Indeed few supplies were reaching them at the front. By then American, South Korean and increasingly Japanese air power hammered the Red Triangle. Not a bridge was left standing, not an intersection was left un-cratered.

But this was only part of the aerial campaign. On the 7th day of the war a flight of B-2 bombers struck and utterly obliterated Kim ill Sung University in Pyongyang. This was a major nuclear  research facility. The B-2s left a half dozen smoldering piles of ruble where nuclear research faculties once were. Tellingly the Americans struck the university during the middle of the day, ensuring that hundreds of scientific personal were killed. An hour later a second flight of B-2's repeated the feat at Hamyhung University of Chemical research. The United States Air Force struck Uranium Enrichment sites at Yongjo-ri, near the Chinese border, and Chonma-San, both near the Chinese border.

While these strikes garnered world attention they distracted from the American's real purpose. As the air war over North Korea continued unabated the US Navy unloaded the 25th Infantry Division at the port facilities of Hasan, about 40 miles south of Seoul. At the same time the 1st Marine Division embarked from Okinawa. The marines sailed to points north, where they would rendezvous with elements of the 101st Air Assault Division north of the border....