Thursday, September 8 2022

“What’s with today today?”
~ Lucas, Empire Records

That’s a practical (and dope!) line from Empire Records.

It’s a fantastic movie quote because you can use it in real life. “Luke, I am your father…” is an iconic Star Wars line; however (sadly) real life doesn’t provide numerous opportunities to use it, you know? So it’s good but not great.

The today line was said because Empire Records a music record store was hosting Rex Manning day. A washed up sonic lothario…think Tom Jones without the talent or that voice. In the midst of a busy “celebrity” appearance is all the staff and store misadventures. The money from last night’s sales is gone. The store is gonna close; gentrification. Staff relationships are fracturing. A lot was happening and unfolding. Hence the question and the line: “What’s with today today?”

Exactly what I found myself muttering…more than once on Thursday, September 8 2022.

Obviously overshadowing everything all day…the Queen died. (The odd irony of losing the Queen in the same season we get a new Queen song. The odd synchronicity of pop culture: when God closes a Queen He opens a Queen??)

That whole thing is super weird. I get that it’s…well the Queen and all that but she also had no real connection to my life. I don’t really have any Queen feelings; I’m not sure what her legacy is. If anything I like Dairy Queen more than this Queen. (I grasp the historical significance of the end of an era aspect, though. This is kinda but not really like when Blockbuster shut down; just with…Winston Churchill.)

So…we’re going to accommodate King Charles and the faces and names of things will shift accordingly. We could…in theory…use this window to rethink matters…is this really what we want to do? What value does a King have in 2022? etc. but we’ll probably go with status quo and quickly move on.

That was the Queen. Thursday, September 8 2022 was also Disney+ Day an annual virtual event featuring announcements of upcoming feature films and television series; a whole pile of Disney stuff. (Obviously Disney+ Day was scheduled long before the Queen settled her bill.) Yet another Simpsons short (Welcome to the Club) was added to Disney+ making about 10 Simpsons shorts since the streamer launched. They surprised us with a BTS concert film (thanks?); showed trailers etc. and…confirmed Thor: Love and Thunder is IMAX enhanced.

That’s a first for Disney+ as other networks such as HBO Max has been offering their viewers format and audio options. Is this something you want? Or do you just want to loaf on the love seat and watch Thor: Love and Thunder? I suspect this is where the streaming wars are headed; it won’t be just about content but offerings and options. (The Making of Thor: Love and Thunder was also added to Disney+ on Thursday.)

That was the Queen and Disney+ Day. Thursday, September 8 2022 was also the start of the Toronto International Film Festival; now in person. Globe and Mail reporter Barry Hertz revealed Taylor Swift tickets for her Lightbox appearance (she was speaking not even performing!) were selling on Stubhub $1,898. Each. That’s a “Swift” way to empty your bank account. While I could talk about the films and movies the issue is…streaming.

Just the other night in Toronto we hosted Weird: The Al Yankovic Story; Al was here in town. And yet before TIFF even started it was announced Weird will stream on on the Roku Channel on November 4. A number of movies (and films) have Netflix broadcast dates or other similar streamer outlets. So…should TIFF be showing em? Do you want to pay over $20 a ticket for a movie that will be on Netflix next month?

Entertainment reporter David Friend penned this smart article: Does the public still care about the Toronto International Film Festival? It’s something we should talk about; but like the King thing we’re probably gonna go with status quo.

That was the Queen and Disney+ Day and TIFF 2022. Thursday, September 8 2022 was also the day we saw the second trailer for The Rock’s DC Comics movie Black Adam.

I’m Gladwell Malcolm Is Advocating Working From The Office

Pre-Pandemic working from home was a fantastic concept; the companies who adopted that initiative benefited.

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Hurt Myself Today In 1995

Saw one of those retro rock posts: Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt was released today in 1995 as a Fun Fact. Whatever.

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When The NBA Prey Becomes The NBA Shill

Another NBA Season; Another Jurassic Park Raptors ESPN Commercial. This is one of the strangest NBA traditions.

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The 2022 Purge

Happy Purge Day!

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Poop Things

In John Carpenter’s 82 classic The Thing the Antarctica snow concealed a hideous alien which when freed from its icy tomb spelled doom for humanity.

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Lockdown The Logic

As I write this it’s currently minus 20. Toronto has a naturally built in lockdown season; it’s called January.

Ain’t no need for vapid political machinations to shut down pop culture as an attempt to look they’re doing something. Politically something is always better than nothing, right? That’s like hitting the side of a TV to make it work.

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Noah Who Is The National Champion

This trailer for the National Championship is breathtaking.

“So for the glory of old Georgia; let the Bulldog nation rise and believe…believe in the names on the back.” #GoDawgs (Shout out to Ernie Johnson Jr.!)

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To C-B-C or Not To C-B-C…That’s The Question…

Tara Henley a writer and broadcaster most notably with the CBC has penned: Why I resigned from the CBC and went to Substack. Speaking freely.”

This is a fascinating perspective; obviously freedom is far more valuable than acceptance.

Getting upset because someone is “abusing” free speech is silly; that’s like freaking out over self-driving car accidents. That’s naturally going to happen: that’s the uncomfortable process.  (It’s also extreme thinking…like buying a gun to protect your loved ones from a home invasion. You can just get dog or set up an alarm system if protection was the legit issue.)

In April 2021 Paul Pierce was fired from ESPN; he would no longer be a regular on The Jump. He talked to SI about his frustrating TV experience revealing:

“There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.” (Ugh I know…some of them on ESPN even refer to him as King. I understand how rating economics work especially for ESPN I just don’t agree with it.)

I get it. I can understand his frustration or similarly a journalist’s frustration with an arduous institution like the CBC which echoes Paul Pierce’s comments.

(How do you balance the classic “that’s not what we do?” with the shifting standards of the internet? I’m not even talking about clickbait; just integrity which is rooted in knowing who you are and what your strengths are.)

So Tara Henley like many other journalists has identified a benefiting outlet that facilitates her freedom; she’s now “free” to pursue different stories; elevate unique voices and have fun. Okay then. Let’s see where all this goes. Without the backing of a large organization her work will rise and fall on timeless principles such as quality and sound journalism.

If you find Tara’s response inspiring then know she isn’t alone…3 fresh folks worth following who mirror her journey are: Ethan Strauss left The Athletic, Bari Weiss left the NY Times and “after a decade as a Forbes senior editor, Zack O’Malley Greenburg now writes exclusively at Substack, where he’s serializing his fifth book We Are All Musicians Now.”

This is an encouraging trend. How will the institutions and news organizations respond? Will they evolve or pimp out clickbait? It’s possible some institutions don’t view any of these defections as feedback.

There’s always the goofy white guy who thinks this isn’t an issue; that it’s all overblown hype (thankfully he’s not as terrible as the goofy white guy who believes people only advocate for free speech so individuals can be politically incorrect. “You just want to be racist!” That guy often makes me laugh…his world like his thinking is so insular.).

Bottom Line? This trend is fantastic. The writers flourish with intellectual freedom and we get quality writing.

Be Free.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Dave Chappelle’s Closer Smoking?

I’m slowly working through Dave Chappelle’s The Closer. His latest Netflix comedy special.

Made a strong tea and sat down with the special: as expected dude is one of the smartest people in room. I appreciate his willingness to push his audience around; in that sense he’s Bowie-like in that he demands his audience go down these strange roads with him.

But…how come he’s not smoking?! Does he eventually smoke?! Not smoking…throws his comedy off rhythm.

Woody Allen was one of the best stand ups for that consistent comedy cue. He’d always adjust his glasses on a particular word: you could reverse engineer the joke. Really clever.

So I find Chappelle’s lack of smoking disconcerting. I’m a bit lost.

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