Mermaid’s May 2019 WordPress Tea Party

Stephen Malkmus

The Little Mermaid website belongs to a blogger who organizes month-long tea parties, inclusive blog hops that invite participants to mix and to write collectively on a theme.  I have read some new bloggers, accordingly, and enjoyed some new bloggers accordingly.

May’s theme is “music.” It’s a fun theme. https://www.thelittlemermaid.site/join-in-the-fun-join-in-the-may-2019-tea-party/

While music is not my lifestyle, I hear some.  My taste runs to College Rock, Electropop, Art Rock, Folk-Rock, and Soundtrack.

I can’t play an instrument, but it’s lovely to think of the musicians who make social media the method to make a name for themselves. Before the days of social media, musicians had to count on other resources to become successful.

One song I have a preference for is the Stephen Malkmus single Jenny & the Ess-Dog.  STEPHEN MALKMUS “Jenny & The Ess-Dog” (2000) https://tinyurl.com/yyebecd8

  Malkmus had broken away from his famous band Pavement, and I remember his next band the Jicks did Jenny & the Ess-Dog for his first appearance on David Letterman.  I don’t believe he had ever been on Letterman’s show.

I regard him as a favorite.  Pavement – Perfume-V https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5qnAwmVTv0

Stephen Malkmus
@EvaMcGreggor

I find music to be a pleasant pastime.  I’ve heard of painters, for example, who play music while they work on a canvas, or the like.  I often play the radio, or the streaming app Spotify, when I blog, do Facebook and Twitter, clean the apartment, those kinds of household business.

I’d like to thank The Little Mermaid for helping with such a great idea as the monthly tea parties.  Such are the fruits of blogging with WordPress.

Let’s hope there are more tea parties down the road and thank you for reading about my experience.

You can see me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons.  You’re welcome to “like” this post, to comment, and/or to “follow.”  Have a beautiful springtime.

Boldness of The Skywalker Saga: Where’d You Go?

Dedicated to a love of Star Wars, Celebration this month in Chicago flabbergasted fans.  The assembly included panel discussions and all manner of Star Wars exhibits, and also celebrity appearances, a teaser for Episode IX, along with trailers for EA’s game Jedi:  Fallen Order, The Clone Wars S7, and The Mandalorian.  The celebration also took a look back at The Phantom Menace, embracing the sci-fi franchise once again.


StarWars.com

I took in some of it owing to its availability on YouTube.  Celebration, I recall, is nine years in the running, and in 2019 it highlights Episode IX.  Celebration revealed the title of Episode IX, and a teaser trailer.  There is excitement in the business sector of the entertainment industry, being the introduction of Disney+.  Disney+ is making available animated features from Disney’s history of films, along with Marvel Cinema Universe titles from the last ten or eleven years, and the Star Wars films, of which by now there are several.

The reason I enjoy Star Wars is that when J. J. Abrams directed The Force Awakens, I felt the excitement that Star Wars was again back speaking to me.  It seemed to again be a film series to be passionate about.

The response following Celebration did not completely line up with the positive outlook of the fortunate people who went to Celebration in person.  While most everybody there loved what’s going on, some of the YouTube channels who discuss Star Wars have mixed feelings, to say the least.  Geeks + Gamers criticized the teaser for Episode IX, The Quartering was dismissive, and a union of voices on the Internet ridiculed reactions that were exuberantly emotional.  All that is best measured against the outpouring of support for the franchise.

It is almost as if there is a guilty conscience about being part of the Fandom Menace and hating The Last Jedi, but still wanting to see what Episode IX is about.  I am sure the average fan does not feel this way.  I waited for The Last Jedi to go to Netflix, but I enjoyed it.


Photographer:
Tim Mossholder

The influence of Star Wars is hard to comprehend, but there is a war indeed between the feelings a fan has for Star Wars in the nineteen seventies and eighties, and equivalent satisfaction with the new trilogy, however much it taps into your experience of Star Wars and however deep it runs within you that the original films were perfect.

Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi, and while that film was a commercial success, the popular response to the movie, as, for example, those voices on the Internet made known on Rotten Tomatoes, divided the fans.

None of this will be settled until December, but there will be a lot of excitement that grows this summer and fall.  As is typical of hot takes, animosities, apprehension, and outrage for Star Wars will be evident in the backlash that is going, “to battle,” for whatever reasons.

Publishous this month presented the Where’d You Go writing prompt.  Publishous is an 11,000-strong Medium newsletter which presents and highlights Christian writers who seek to make it, in the sense that they are writing because of the compulsion they feel to do so.  Although I’m not a member of Publishous, I look over articles they present, which provide some inspiration to blog in light of their writing prompts.

I am also a volunteer at a cemetery, Maple Lawn Cemetery, and I am their SMM.  You can find out more about us here: http://www.maplelawncemetery.org

Thank you, and please feel welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.  All the best.

Star Wars Celebration on YouTube: Where’d You Go? Chicago

It’s Good Friday, and I’m having browser issues.  Microsoft put up an alpha version of its Edge browser, and I tried, like a web developer, to surf it before it’s finished, and it lasted maybe three days.

Star Wars Celebration went on from April 11 to April 15 in Chicago.  The celebration is an army of devotees sharing a love of Star Wars.  This year Star Wars Celebration premiered a teaser for Episode IX, a preview of Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the cinema for Jedi:  Fallen Order, and a trailer for S7 of The Clone Wars.  It is all interesting.

Being that this year is 2019 and that Lucasfilm put The Phantom Menace, a prequel film to Star Wars, in the cinema in 1999, the twenty-year anniversary of Phantom Menace was observed.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace score
S

Five days is a long time to spend with Star Wars, but between Thursday and Monday a viewer watching the events on the Star Wars YouTube channel got to see the panel discussions each day at 12:00 and 4:00 Chicago time.  Celebration, which I think is nine years running, moves around the US, but this year they put it on in Chicago.  Given the audience’s enthusiasm, it seems like that worked well for them.


Photographer:
donterase

Jedi:  Fallen Order is the name of the EA game that is the first new Star Wars game since Battlefront II.  EA is a notoriously difficult game company.  The decisions EA makes are known to send gamers away.

I suspect Disney needs Episode IX in December to be a sensation if they want their investment in Disney+ to succeed.  Disney+ is the streaming service available this fall, in November, when Disney is making available their animated features, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the Star Wars films, and The Mandalorian.  Disney+ could rival Netflix, and it is expensive for Disney in the short term, so it is reasonable to think that if Episode IX is a major success, it is an indication Disney+ will do well.

It is hard to anticipate what Netflix is planning in response to its rival.  If there is already talk about what Netflix is going to do, I haven’t caught it.

I believe that Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is leading Lucasfilm for the next ten years, and her decisions to put a lot of roles that are empowering for girls affect her hold on the Star Wars fanbase, because a large number of male fans of Star Wars have made a backlash owing to the perception that they are “toxic.”  A space opera such as Star Wars has a lot of male fans, so the response has been loud about how Star Wars has met its “demise” in the sense that there will never again be a great trilogy.  The next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

The Last Jedi was the film that divided the fanbase, perhaps deliberately.  That said, there was a backlash to the Star Wars Prequels, which subsided, so the same may be true of the problems facing the Star Wars Sequels, the films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now Episode IX, concluding the Saga.  Be that as it may, The Mandalorian, continuing Return of the Jedi from 1983, looks fantastic.  Some of the success of Disney+ is probably going to be affected by whether Episode IX proves to be a giant.

Good luck to Lucasfilm.

You’re welcome to “like” this, to follow, and/or to comment.  The inspiration for Where’d You Go? is from the Medium publication newsletter Publishous, 11,000 strong and available every week or two.

SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.

Will this be the #spring in history that sees curtains for YouTube?

While the protests and the petition signatures were clear, the directive to restrict copyrighted material, known as Article 13 in the EU, received a “yes.”

Video on YouTube will likely no longer include “remixed” content once individual nations of the EU establish how they’re going to legislate protection for mainstream media, its images, film clips, and music.  For years now, the Internet has taken liberties in the name of freedom, to borrow from established media and then return to it transformative work, for the purpose of review, satire, parody and other kinds of humor.  This will likely end.

On YouTube, content filters for video uploads could become stodgy, and uninventive.  Removing freedoms to speak with ideas recycled from mainstream media inhibits Internet creators’ ability to articulate.  These come in the form of memes, even when it is an upset to the original, and identities in solidarity with views closely held to championed archetypes.  In the face of traditional media protected by Article 17 in the EU, emerging voices can and will fall by the wayside.

School bus pausing at Louth United Church, St. Catharines

If the nations of the EU no longer can upload or view content that contains copyrighted elements, for YouTube, a platform that facilitates hundreds of millions of hours of new and original video every day, doors are closing for what is a livelihood for hardworking creators.

In addition, the possibility that social accounts would be charged fees to link to webpages is a terrible limitation for small bloggers, with pages that have no hope of affording such a privilege.  This was the spring, 2019, that Articles 11 and 13 became Article 17.  There is every possibility that the restrictions on uploading copyrighted content in the EU will drift into the same freedoms available regardless where the Internet is accessed and overtake them.

A content filter is complex; it could be, despite how valuable original content is for Google and for Facebook and Twitter, that content filters will only function effectively if they are applied universally, and not just in the EU.  This could be a matter of months or years from now, but the challenges facing the EU, by creators on YouTube, and users enjoying social, and the right of Google to chart the world as it’s understood online, should be informing you.  You should at least consider the possibility that you need to be informed.

Photographer:
Kelly Sikkema

An Internet structured around Article 17 will heavily favor the promotion of mainstream media.  Independent voices will lose the opportunity to include portions of copyrighted media, and this could mean a “talking head” style of video on YouTube rather than video containing the freedoms we enjoy now.  All art and video would be required to be free of copyrighted material, which I think is a practical impossibility.

There are creators who thrive on the “remix” of media images or industry music or PC games.  Formerly, they were smart enough to make a living doing that, and exceptionally.  Their opportunities are going to disappear.

The outcome of Article 17 in the EU is only just beginning to take shape, but there will be changes for Facebook and Twitter and YouTube that Article 13 is necessitating, the requirement to filter content video users upload.  Users on the Internet, with the support of the infrastructure of YouTube and Google, will have to strategize differently once Article 17 goes into effect.  It is a sea change.

You are welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, and/or to leave a comment.  Whatever your age, if you are interested in tech, you stand alongside the brightest minds challenging the narrative of the mainstream media.

Why Star Wars Episode IX Troubles are Hotter than Jennifer Lawrence

The summer of 2011, Jun 3, 2011, the movie adaptations of Marvel’s X-Men continued with X-Men First Class.  To many fans’ delight, it turned out to be both well-executed and of substantial interest.  Film history website IMDb identifies that Jennifer Lawrence is “the most successful actor of her generation” https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2225369/

Beneath is a link to a scene from X-Men First Class.

X-Men: First Class (2011) – Charles Xavier & Raven Darkholme

https://binged.it/2HFD3RV

Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men First Class is Raven.  She tackles the question of what it means to be beautiful and what it means to be normal.  She is the shapeshifter.


X-Men First Class Promoshoot

You might say it’s ironic that the name of the mutant team, the name “X-Men,” implies that the X-Men should be male, but Raven ranks among them as an important character who is female.  Jennifer Lawrence was the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015 and 2016.  Her casting in the film reflects her strengths as an actress, in addition to X-Men First Class’ effectiveness exploring gender, and ever-elusive equality.

In 2019, the next Star Wars film is struggling with a backlash among fans given woes with the previous film in the franchise.  The 2019 film I’m referring to is Star Wars Episode IX, coming in after the disastrously written Star Wars Episode VII:  The Last Jedi.  Star Wars Episode IX has its work out cut out for it.

The Last Jedi Opening Weekend USA box office was $220,009,584, 17 December 2017.  The X-Men First Class USA Opening Weekend was $55,101,604, 5 June 2011, twenty-five percent of the former.

While box office returns mean that both films were successful, the Marvel Universe remains hotly anticipated with a trailer for Marvel Avengers Endgame just airing in the Superbowl broadcast yesterday, while Star Wars Episode IX may fail.

Star Wars is suffering some major troubles, with entries like Episode VIII The Last Jedi savaged by fans to who Star Wars is close to the heart.

Solo A Star Wars Story failed financially last year, and an animated television series from Disney, Star Wars Resistance, is arguably receiving relatively little enthusiasm among viewers.

These fans are the “fandom.”  In fact, the Star Wars franchise is suffering greatly owing to problems with The Last Jedi, which, while returning an economic gain for Disney, is failing to ignite the same passion in the hearts of Star Wars fans that the original trilogy generated, as did (again, arguably) Episode VII The Force Awakens in 2015.


Yoda

What Jedi Mind tricks are afoot?  I think essentially both X-Men: First Class and Star Wars Episode IX calculatedly use a sense of the past as an aspect of the setting.  However, the two movies address gender and gender equality rather differently.

In X-Men First Class, the mutant Raven struggles with her self-image in a very literal sense.  Contrast that with The Last Jedi.  Here the female Jedi apprentice Rey, Daisy Ridley, is problematic for many viewers of Star Wars in that Rey lacks a distinctive character arc.  In other words, she is without a back story that can make sense in viewers’ minds.

Rey’s origins are unknown, but she masters aspects of The Force which were previously established in Star Wars lore as being impossible.  Rey’s mentor Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) struggled to achieve his status as a Jedi Knight under both Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda (in the 1977 and 1980 Star Wars films).  The late Alec Guinness portrayed Obi-wan Kenobi in the original trilogy and Ewan McGregor was Obi-wan in the prequel trilogy.

This is a link to a jovial Mark Hamill speaking of Daisy Ridley.

Mark Hamill Living Like Yoda Wishing Daisy Ridley Happy Birthday

https://binged.it/2BexZOy

Like it or not, what’s hot about Star Wars is that the backlash to Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is a compelling drama in its own right.  I see it everyday on YouTube.

YouTube channel Geeks + Gamers has taken for itself the responsibility of taking to task the folk at Lucasfilm.  To restore the glory to Star Wars, Geeks + Gamers feels Lucasfilm lost this by sacrificing so much of what had been established about Star Wars.

Jeremy at Geeks + Gamers thinks through and through that Lucasfilm is reducing the importance of something special to him and to legions of other fans of Star Wars.  Jeremy and many others feel that Lucasfilm is insisting that identity politics control the creative process instead of the requirement for writers to come up with sensible new entries for the sci-fi titan Star Wars.

That said, Star Wars needs success now the way that the X-Men franchise needed a success following X3.

Disney, Lucasfilm and the future of Star Wars are an exciting drama.  If you’re interested, and you believe that Star Wars needs to go forward proper, instead of what it’s currently doing, maybe you would like Geeks + Gamers, if you aren’t already watching Jeremy and his friends.

I don’t feel too invested in the backlash, although I think of it virtually every day.  Star War Episode IX has a release date in December.  Geeks + Gamers don’t exclusively address the situation with Star Wars, but Jeremy’s dismay for Lucasfilm is often-stated, with a commitment to giving subscribers fireballs.

Marvel Avengers Endgame has a release date in April.  It’s the sequel to Marvel Avengers Infinity Wars.

Paperclips on a piece of paper

You’re welcome to click “like” on this post, to follow my blog, and/or to comment.

Beneath is a link to a Geeks + Gamers video in which Jeremy names his favorite X-Men titles.

Geeks + Gamers Staff Top 5 – X-Men Universe Films

https://binged.it/2MGZRj4

Passionate Ice; A Boy Desiring What Others Did Not So Much

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in

This is the tale of a Christmas gift.

Some of the cool moments from my life were opportunities to see films, in movie theaters.  In 1989, cinema fans filled movie houses to see the DC superhero Batman come to life.

Dimensions: 5213 x 3580
Photographer: Bruce Mars

I had a good time.  Michael Keaton’s role as Bruce Wayne, with its distance from crime, detachment from wealth, indifference to romance, makes the character of Batman seem re-imagined.  I suppose Keaton was a surprise heroic star turn, and the subplot of Gotham City TV news anchors unable to appear beautiful, owing to poison in beauty products delivered by the antagonist character The Joker, is clever.

The action sequence in a chemicals factory, when Jack Nicholson faces his character Jack Napier’s transition to The Joker, is memorable.  In other scenes from Batman, Billy Dee Williams of Hollywood fame owing to earlier roles in The Empire Strikes Back and subsequently in Return of the Jedi, appears as Harvey Dent.

The climactic confrontation of the film, at the Gotham City parade beneath a cathedral with the height of a skyscraper, is wonderful.  In 1989, my mother clipped for me a newspaper column detailing synopses of films which starred Nicholson, the other actor of Batman making a star turn.

In 1989, I thought certain films making it to the video market were important, despite evidence to the contrary.  Films, I surmised, enjoyed but one opportunity to become available for home theater fans.

Batman and Secret Origins and 1989 film tie-in
DC’s Batman characters in comic books and magazines

When the creepy little video store in the shopping plaza near my home began renting to customers Batman, the staff of the store displayed tapes of the film like a phenomenon.  Shelf after shelf in their New Releases space was full of the Batman video presentation.  The format was VHS, the cassette for running a film with a VHS player.

I’d been to see it, but I wanted that VHS.  Christmas came, and family placed three hand-wrapped videotape-shaped objects under the holiday tree, one tape for me, one for my brother, and one for my sister.

They were VHS tapes, but what titles were they?  Us kids wouldn’t know until Christmas morning.  At the appointed time, I opened mine, and to my delight, the tape inside was Batman.

As the family opened our presents, the second tape of Batman under the Christmas tree emerged.  My mother’s brother and his wife had arranged for the gift of the movie Batman as well.  Two VHS tapes of the same film!

A double.

What did my mother pronounce, you might ask?  This was a bummer.  She would quietly return my copy of the film to the store.

As a twelve-year-old, the price of a brand-new VHS edition of a blockbuster film must be extravagant, I reasoned.  The VHS copy of Batman we had would belong to us all.

I suppose that taught me a lesson, like not to count your chickens before they hatch.  It was as if my uncle and aunt had felt I deserved my own copy of Batman, and Santa Claus did not.  The VHS tape of Batman was a gift, what I wanted and what I was losing.

Thanks to film director Tim Burton, in 1989, fate unfolded for Batman mobster character Jack Napier.  The criminal mastermind fell into a vat of burning acid.  He lost the pigment of his skin pigment and became molded with a permanent smile on his face.

 I hadn’t earned my own copy of Batman, and I suppose the real lesson was that I should share.  It is a state of being tantalized by the promise of something gold and being humbled by the requirement to give it up.  Maybe we didn’t know that doubles of the Batman film were under the tree, but no contingency plan was in place.

I was cheesed.

My job on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited –and I’m available on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

#gifts