Morning Mixtape: ‘Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles’ By Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

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My friendship with a fellow named Syd Spink has reaped many benefits for me over the last 15 years or so. Under Syd’s thoughtful tutelage, I went from a casual music fan who listened mostly to noisy hard rock and overproduced pop hits to someone with a broader appreciation for many genres and sounds. One of the more eclectic additions to my catalog was Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, introduced to me by Syd, of course. I thought it was unlistenable noise early on, but slowly his music grew on me and I came to appreciate and even love it at times. Years later, when I discovered the film “The Big Lebowski,” which would become my very favorite, I felt like one of the cool kids because I was able to recognize this Beefheart track in the film’s soundtrack. Enjoy this, my friends. Enjoy every song.

On movies: Leaked dialog from ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ script

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HAN SOLO: I’m saying, I see what you’re getting at, Luke, they kept the credits. My point is, here we are, it’s Life Day… which I’m allowed to break only if it’s a matter of life or death …

LUKE SKYWALKER: Will you come off it, Han? You’re not even fucking Jedi, man.

HAN SOLO: What the fuck are you talkin’ about?

LUKE SKYWALKER: Man, you’re a fucking Corellian smuggler …

HAN SOLO: What the fuck are you talking about? I converted when I married your sister! Come on, Luke!

LUKE SKYWALKER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah …

HAN SOLO: And you know this!

LUKE SKYWALKER: Yeah, and five fucking years ago you were divorced.

HAN SOLO: So what are you saying? When you get divorced you turn in your lightsaber? You stop being Jedi?

LUKE SKYWALKER: It’s all a part of your sick Leia thing, man. Taking care of her fucking droids. Going to her fucking Jedi Temple. You’re living in the fucking past.

HAN SOLO: A thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Mace Windu to Kit Fisto … You’re goddamn right I’m living in the fucking past! I’m Jedi as fucking Yoda!

Moments: On a Blu-ray player and future frustrations

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Dad 2.0 worked as a printer for a bank. About 20 years ago, his office started using computers for the printing process. This was a big change for Dad 2.0. He worked most of his career in the darkroom.

The company was going to use Macs. I was editor of the student newspaper in college. I borrowed one of our computers for the summer. Dad 2.0 checked some books out from the library to learn the new system.

He didn’t like it. I tried to teach him, but the lessons worked poorly. I went too fast. I took for granted that everyone knew how to use a mouse.

Dad 2.0 was the kind of person who read the instructions first. He was, wisely I add, of the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy.

I grew up with computers and video games. I only went to the instruction book when I couldn’t figure out the buttons necessary to decapitate an enemy with a kung-fu move in “Mortal Combat.”

I teased Dad 2.0 for being old. But Mom 2.0 scolded me. She admonished that one day I wouldn’t want to learn every new thing, especially after I had done it one way for a long time.

I scoffed. I had always enjoyed gadgets. I found it impossible to imagine a time when I would want anything less than the newest, sleekest and best gear.

As usual, Mom 2.0 was right. Wisdom comes with age and experience. It’s tough to recognize that when you’re 20 years old.

My first clue that technology was passing me by came in the world of TV. I bought a nice, big TV back in 1998. It looked great. It sounded great. So what if it weighed as much as a Volkswagen Beetle?

I put it on a stand in the middle of the room and watched TV shows on the square tube screen. I used it more than any other appliance. I failed to see the need to replace it with one of these skinny, rectangular models that hang on the wall and are filled with plasma or LCD or LED.

When my Grandma Rogers died late last year, I inherited her small flat-screen TV. I could definitely see the improvement. The picture was pretty and rich. I hauled the big tube TV into the bedroom, where I watch videos of old cartoons from my childhood and pretend it’s a Saturday in 1981.

But the truth of Mom 2.0’s words sunk in last week. My DVD player, the one I had bought when I got the then-fancy new TV back in 1998, died. People don’t repair things anymore. The shop I went to said it would cost me $50 just for them to look at it. I could get a new one for less than that.

So I did. I bought a Blu-ray player. The technology community might mock me for needing a hard media player at all. Everything, they say, will be streaming soon. Still, I have a lot of movies on DVD. Without a DVD player, they’re simply taking up space on the wall that could be used for vintage Lynda Carter posters.

I brought the new player home along with a Blu-ray copy of my favorite movie, “The Big Lebowski.” I quickly learned that I needed a cable that wasn’t included in the box. So I went back to the store.

I got the device hooked up. The first thing the device wanted to do was connect to the Internet. I couldn’t fathom why this was necessary. But I entered my network passcode.

Then the Blu-ray player wanted more passwords. Some were for entertainment networks that I had never heard of. Others were for Netflix, to which I don’t subscribe.

Finally, the Blu-ray player wanted to connect with Facebook. This was it for me. I use Facebook for my job as a paragraph stacker. Somehow this network where people share pictures of the meal they are about to eat, the minor achievements of their children and complaints about movies has become essential to reporting and writing the news.

I once enjoyed Facebook. It put me back in touch with a lot of people with whom I’ve lost contact over the years. But after looking at their Facebook feeds for several years, I’ve learned there was a reason why I lost contact with them.

I couldn’t imagine a good reason for the device by which I watch movies to connect to Facebook. So I didn’t do it. But my frustration grew.

I began to want for the simple days of VCRs. Insert movie. Press play. Now, it seems, there is a desire to connect to the outside world even when you’re just trying to watch a movie at home alone.

I finally got the player setup. I put in my movie. I thought bliss was on the way. “The Big Lebowski” always mellows me out.

But no. There was more.

The Blu-ray wanted to educate me on all the special features it had. There was one that would count the swear words on screen. Another one would tell me what song was playing.

This all sounded neat, but they took up a third of the screen. And even then I couldn’t read the print from my chair across the room. It took me a full 5 minutes of button pushing just to get to the movie.

Finally, I pushed one of the green buttons. The TV and the Blu-ray turned off. That was enough of a sign for me.

I went into the bedroom and picked up a book. I don’t remember which book it was, but I know this much: No network or Facebook connection was required.

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Morning Mixtape: ‘The Moth’ by Aimee Mann

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Aimee Mann is one of my favorite vocalists, maybe my very favorite. Her voice really speaks to me. I can’t explain it better than that. “The Moth” comes from her 2002 album “Lost in Space.” It’s terrific. Oh, a bit of Mann trivia: She is the girlfriend of the nihilists who sacrifices her toe in order to blackmail Jeffrey Lebowski in “The Big Lebowski.” I love this song. I hope you like it too. Enjoy.

5-sentence review of ‘The Big Lebowski’

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  1. I don’t remember when I first saw “The Big Lebowski,” it was likely on VHS, but I remember not particularly liking the film, even though in 1998, before the age of social media, quoting the movie had become a sort of pre-tumblr meme between fans of the film.
  2. I tend to be very stubborn about being told what is good professional critics and even peers, sometimes to the detriment of my entertainment — I waited two years to watch “Pulp Fiction” because I was sick of everyone telling me how great it was — but somehow the film crept up on my list of favorites with each viewing, perhaps due in part to regular input from people whose opinion I respected telling me, “Hey, it’s a great movie.”
  3. Then came a period in late 2010 through the middle of 2011 when I ran into a friend’s brother at a Halloween party dressed as the Dude (Jeff Bridges) and we exchanged lines from the film while he drank white Russians and I thought, “Man, I need to watch that movie again.”
  4. A few days later, I watched the movie and really liked it and I repeated the next day and the next until I had watched it 138 days in a row, and that became a sort of local meme among my Twitter and Facebook followers (and a daily annoyance to more than a few).
  5. I realize this isn’t really a review rather than a personal history for a movie, but I recommend “The Big Lebowski” for the fine, funny performances, the unorthodox plot, the foul language and the fact that the Dude, Walter (John Goodman), Donny (Steve Buscemi) and even Maude (Julianne Moore) and that creepy Jesus (John Turturro) are people I’ve very much enjoyed hanging out with over the years and though I don’t visit their world on a nightly basis, I stop by often for an oat soda, a trip the lanes and the quest to recover a rug that really tied the room together.

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“THE BIG LEBOWSKI”

Rated R

1 hour, 57 minutes

DirectorJoel Coen and Ethan Coen.

Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston and John Turturro.

Grade: A+