Dancing With Himself: The Tragic Way Billy Idol Undermined his Best Song

Billy Idol recorded two versions of “Dancing With Myself.” The first was with his ’70s punk group Generation X; the second was as a solo artist. The Generation X version is a pop punk classic. The solo version—far more widely known—is a vaguely punk inflected ’80s pop song that could fit comfortably into Cyndi Lauper’s catalogue.

Here’s the Generation X version. Note how the punk guitar slashes through the mix at 0:35. Even when it drops out in the next verse, the energy it infused never goes away. The band repeats the first verse as the third verse only with those power chords throbbing underneath the reiterated words.

Below is the video for Idol’s inferior solo version. By the way, the video is amazing. Director Tobe Hooper (of original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist fame!) creates this amazing ’80s urban dystopia by way of Andrew Lloyd Webber stage production tableau. Billy idol is all synthetic charisma, like an English punk rock Michael Jackson.

But when the guitar kicks in in the chorus, it’s much lower in the mix and sounds kind of flat. The punk edge is absent and the energy drops as a result. It’s a bummer.

We live in an age of miracles and abundance, so you have instant access to the superior Generation X version at will.

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So, You Have a Baby.

raising_arizona1A friend of mine went and got his wife pregnant. For him, it’s a life changing experience. For me, it’s an excuse to show off my expertise in caring for babies.

Being a parent is like playing a video game. You start on the easiest level without any skills. As you get better, the game gets harder. This isn’t to say that infants are easy to care for, particularly if you’ve never done it before. But infants are immobile, which counts for a lot.

While the infant is breastfeeding, the mom is the boss. Dads can be good employees by taking some initiative and owning important business practices like changing diapers, bottle feedings, getting the infant to sleep and ridding the baby of snot and gas. You’re going to learn to be a specialist in one or all of them.

Each of those tasks has different challenges. Changing diapers rewards efficient and quick thinking. Getting a baby to sleep and eat rewards patience and sticking to a disciplined routine. Your baby is apt to squirm, roll over or kick when you are trying to get a diaper on. As long as you are thorough, gentle and quick, you can approach it however you want.

Related: inventing euphemisms for body functions is really fun. We started with “she’s the mayor of Browntown,” shortened it to “Browntown” and flipped that into “Brownton Abbey.”

Getting an infant to sleep isn’t an application for improvisation. It calls for steadiness and patience. If a position or a rhythm works, you have to hold it until it stops working, which means dealing with physical discomfort and boredom. That sounds easy but believe me, it is not.

Babies can’t blow their nose. So it’s your job to get the boogers out of their nose. You should get a device called a frida. It’s basically a short, thin hose attached to a plastic tube. You stick the tube in the baby’s nose and the hose in your mouth and suck the mucus out. Babies hate this and you will feel like a self-loathing snot vampire. But it’s effective and they get over it.

Burping a baby remains to me as mysterious as casting spells. I’ve done it thousands of times but still do not understand it. Look elsewhere for insight.

If you’re watching your baby by yourself, use the bathroom the second they are safely asleep. They could wake up five minutes after they fall asleep. It’s hard to find the necessary serenity to calm a baby when your bladder is screaming at you.

The optimal time for an infant to be awake is 90 minutes. There’s a whole book about it, but the important information can be distilled to a sentence fragment: put the baby back to sleep 90 minutes after it wakes up. The time frame will have a high success rate until they are about six months old.

Following the advice in the book and video The Happiest Baby on the Block will 1) make you feel like a lunatic and 2) be almost revoltingly effective. When the baby cries, hold him/her parallel to the floor, rocking them and saying “shush” in their ear at the same volume they are crying. It feels like a harsh, punishing thing to do to a baby. It feels wrong. You will want to sing or speak gently. While older babies will respond to that sort of thing, newborns like the shushing better.

Expect people to treat you very differently when you’re out in public with your baby. I’m a white dude. When I am in public with my daughter, older black and Latin women—people for whom I was previously largely invisible—now greet me with warm smiles and bright eyes. I could do something crazy, like ask them to loan me money or tell them I’m running for office as a Republican and they’d keep an open mind. Women carrying babies don’t enjoy the same automatic approval because they’re expected to.

Fellow fathers will nod at you as you pass. It’s like being part of a secret club except it is totally not a secret. Just nod back. It’s fun.

You will be invisible to most women under 30 when you’re with an infant. I don’t know why exactly but I just know that they don’t have time for your noise.

If you show up at a place full of college students with a party atmosphere, you can almost feel the crowd stiffen. It’s a real bummer for them to see all that adult responsibility right in front of them. Conversely, it will be hilarious for you.

And this was the most unexpected thing: caring for an infant will likely be the least narrative-driven period of your life. You will be pretty happy but there will be no stories to tell about it. I saw friends a couple months after my daughter was born and said that while spending time with my daughter was a staggeringly rich and rewarding experience, I didn’t have a single anecdote about it. I can turn a story about seeing a guy in a funny hat into a five-minute bit. When my daughter was a newborn I would just drip words like “beautiful” and “amazing” like some sap with a thesaurus.

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New Song: The Invisible King

My latest song has a real prominent ’80s feel. The guitars are shimmery and clean, reminiscent of the Police, the bass line could be in a Cure song and the outro keyboard wouldn’t feel out of place on the Cars’ first album. The bridge feels very “Got the Time” era Joe Jackson, only way stripped down. The most contemporary element is the use of octaves, which is more of a ’90s punk technique.

I’m pretty proud of the verse chord progression. The four chord sequence feels dramatic, like something the Ventures would play. The chorus is something I wrote a while ago for a song I scrapped. The bridge is two chords and it’s all improvised first takes, which makes it sound live and saved a lot of time.

It was originally meant to have vocals but I found it too hard to sing over. The song requires someone to hit high notes and bring energy. My shaky baritone didn’t cut it.

The title is a mash up of words from two Police songs. Bet you can’t guess which ones!

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What to Do When Billy Idol Walks into the Bar 

billy idol
You will recognize Billy Idol by his haircut. He will be wearing some variation on the peroxide blond spikes he’s been rocking since the late ‘70s. He may or may not be wearing leather, so just look for the blond spikes.

Bartenders are advised to greet him with something along the lines of “what’ll it be tonight, Mr. Idol.” I haven’t checked but I’m almost positive Billy Idol is a fake name. Even if it’s not, it’s funny to call him Mr. Idol. Like hoew the Times “Arts and Leisure” section used to call Snoop “Mr. Dogg.”

You may have the bourbon Rebel Yell behind the bar. Don’t bother offering it. He’ll be able to see the bottle on his own. He’s surely tired of being offered it. Be the one cool bartender who doesn’t mention it.

When he’s done with his first round, feel free to ask him if he wants to sink another drink. Act confused. Pretend you didn’t know it was a line from one of his songs. Then later reveal you knew it was from one of his songs all along. Everybody will laugh because it’s a funny joke.

If you are a pretty girl, expect him to hit on you. You’re under no obligation to sleep with him, of course. You can if you want to. It could be fun or it might be weird.

If you want him to stop hitting on you, mention something about how much your dad used to like him. This will make Billy Idol feel old and deflate his ego enough to make him move on to another girl.

If you’re a man, expect Mr. Idol to be warmly curt with you. You will have time for one short interaction, such as a brief anecdote or question. Perhaps he can tell you about what a funny guy Adam Sandler was on the set of the Wedding Singer. Or whether it bothers him when people yell “hey motherfucker get laid get fucked” while he sings “Mony, Mony.”

When Billy Idol says “Cheers Mate,” this is your cue that he wants to politely end the conversation. Extending the conversation past this point will confuse and irritate Billy Idol. Billy Idol will not think that you’re a cool guy.

If Billy Idol is alone at any point in the evening, do not ask him if he’s tired of dancing with himself. It’s embarrassing for everyone, especially you.

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Billy Idol Week: Steve Stevens is the Worst Guitar Player of the ’80s

Last week, I learn how to play “Rebel Yell.” I expected a couple of quick fun minutes bashing around power chords and learning a simple guitar hook.

Nope! I couldn’t play the first five seconds. The song opens with a complicated fingerpicking figure before moving into a fussily precise intro section. Then it finally bangs into three quick power chords before moving into the verse section where, instead of power-chording in tandem with the bass, the guitar plays a precious little upper string countermelody. The chorus doesn’t even let loose with big easy power chords. You still have to move up and down the neck with stopwatch precision.

I watched a video of Stevens playing the song by himself. While I was instantly irritated by his harsh Brooklyn accent and decision to decorate his home studio with a mannequin wearing trashy ’80s lingerie, I still didn’t know how to play the song.

Casual listeners would probably never suspect any of this. The song feels like a three chord howler, like Danzig’s “Mother,” only faster. It succeeds despite the over-thought guitar part, as the guitar is mixed way below the vocals and the keyboards.

I was fresh off effortlessly intuiting the hook and chords of “Dancing With Myself,” a song that originated with Idol’s punk band, Generation X. Learning Rebel Yell, a song from three years deep into Idol’s solo career, I realized the corrosive effect of Idol’s guitar player Steve Stevens.

The ’80s were a shit time for guitar players in many respects and Steve Stevens encapsulates almost all of the bad of ’80s guitar. His guitar is so compressed it sounds like he’s playing through a plastic amp. All of the liberating roughness of ’70s punk and blues-style metal guitar was polished away, leaving only the speed and pomp.

His playing is the peak of Guitar Center salesman style. Guitar solos are showcases for technique-driven tricks instead of melodies. Every third note is a harmonic and the wammy bar never gets a rest.

In comparison, the guitar player for Generation X is sort of a savant genius. The glorious two string opening guitar hook of “Dancing With Myself” undoubtedly did not arise from hours of practice. The chorus is pure Johnny Ramone power chords and comes on like a rush and a release. When Idol remade the song as a solo artist, Steve Stevens played the chords almost timidly, with delicate timing. The guitar sound is an echoey ghost of its punk origin. It strips it of everything that was originally remarkable.

Stevens has stuck with Idol since the early ’80s, occasionally straying for solo records or to take on high-profile chances to ruin songs by people like Michael Jackson.

I just found out this week that he appeared (or maybe even starred) on some dumb reality show about how he’s a vile Los Angeles rock cliche married to a plastic surgery nightmare lady.

I still think that Billy Idol seems like a chill guy but his 30 year association with Stevens makes me question his choices. Maybe Idol’s so laid back he doesn’t want to cut loose an old friend?


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Billy Idol Week: Rock the Cradle of Love: Unredeemable Bullshit

Sometimes I hate myself for the stuff I remember. I know so much rock trivia that I wonder if my heart is made of garbage.

Case in point: “Cradle of Love.” It’s a mediocre song I have no personal connection to. But for some reason I know everything about it. The following paragraph was all written from memories I kind of wish I didn’t have.

It was on the soundtrack to the Andrew Dice Clay movie Adventures of Ford Farlane. I think the video was released around the same time as the movie. Billy Idol was injured while they were filming (I think in a motorcycle accident, and if I turn out to be right about that, I will feel like God is laughing at me), so instead of featuring his spiky hair and signature fist bump, the video starred a lithe and bubbly female model who dances in a Eugene Levy-type nerd’s apartment to a cassette tape (haha) of Billy Idol. When it first aired, footage from Ford Farlane was interspersed in the video. They took it out after the movie flopped and cut in more scenes of the girl.

The girl was a big part of what made the song a hit. Dudes were really into her. Watching it now, it seems ridiculous. The fleeting shots of her in a bra and a skirt writhing on a bed are interrupted by long reaction shots by the nerd. She crawls and I guess that was a big deal at the time but over all, it’s more stylish than lurid. Compared to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video, you could show “Rock the Cradle of Love” at a Sunday school field trip.

About that stylishness: David Fincher directed the video. The future director of Zodiac packed the video with unnecessarily artful composition. A high heel sinking into a fish tank gets as much screen time as Billy Idol.

It’s Billy Idol’s worst hit song. Say what you will about “Mony Mony”; it believes in its own worth as a song with enough conviction to be annoying. “RTCOL” is a lazy attempt at an ‘80s ZZ Top song rip off. The song starts with the chorus and never significantly deviates from it. It sounds like everyone involved with its composition and performance was hung over and on deadline.

The girl from the video’s is Betsy Lynn George. If you google “Cradle of Love,” you’ll stumble on an interview with her where she sounds pretty traumatized about the sexual nature of her performance in the video. Also, according to the interview, she later went out on a date with Billy Idol that almost seems like a scene from Entourage.

Billy and I [did go] to dinner once. We got along well, but it was not exactly a match. I rarely wore makeup and did not dress sexy in real life. I was wearing shoes that he did not like, I was later told. We went to his house and sat by the pool. We kissed, but it was not going anywhere. I asked to be driven home. His driver and right-hand man told me when we got in the car that he “could not believe” I didn’t stay, that “all the woman stay.”

She’s a gymnastics teacher now, according to IMDB. Billy Idol would never have a hit again.

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The Flash Might be the Best Superhero Show Ever

full-flash-suit-grant-gustin-the-cwThe new Flash TV show has a its flaws. But after the pilot episode I think it might be the best superhero show ever televised.

It’s achingly sincere and unapologetic about being its source material. It makes Smallville, Agents of Shield and Gotham seem ashamed of what they are.

There’s no winking in the show. It’s not ironic. There’s no arch comment on superheroes or comic books. There aren’t any overtly comedic characters to deflate its sense of purpose. The Flash’s heroism occurs without reluctance. He is simply a good and brave person who wants to do the right thing.

It’s strange how refreshing that is. After the gloom of the Dark Knight trilogy and the oppressive volume of Man of Steel, seeing a D.C. character be an uncomplicated do-gooder just kind of feels good. It harkens back to the simple joy of reading comic books as a kid. The good guys are good guys. Sometimes being a good guy is complicated because people think you’re a bad guy, like with Spider-Man or the X-Men, but the stories had simple moral codes overall. Everybody ended up doing the right thing for the most part.

I watched the pilot episode of The Flash with my computer open. I was only half paying attention to the show at first. Then I started googling character names. Pretty much every character on the show is comic based. Iris, the love interest has the same name as the Flash’s eventual wife in the comics. The Star Labs assistant played by the girl from Sky High has the same name as a comics villain. And judging by this tweet by the actress, that’s no coincidence. I could continue but honest to Zoom, it could be a spoiler.

I’ve watched super hero-based shows all my life and hey almost invariably only import the bare bones of the source material. Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor will be ported over without Brainiac, Mr. Myxlplyx or Bizzaro. They’ll rename Bruce Banner David Banner and never mention Rick Jones, Betty Ross or the Abomination.

Smallville was the worst of them. The show never featured Clark Kent as Superman. But the show runners realized they could hype up an episode by distantly alluding to the comics. So viewers would get two minutes of an interpretation of a classic character talking to a guy in a blue and red shirt who had yet to learn to fly. The first season of Agents of Shield was littered with similar teases but with they’ve improved greatly in the second season, unapologetically featuring a comics-accurate Absorbing Man.

Speaking of Smallville’s aversion to show Superman being Superman: The Flash is having none of that. Barry Allen was in his stupid red suit running around like a lightning bolt moron by mid point of the first episode. It was glorious.

So I’m hooked, despite the blandly handsome lead actor, the cheesy thwarted love story, the flat dialogue and strangely rushed plotting. Don’t let me down, nerds!

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Everything That Works in Other Spielberg Films Fails

spielbergJurassic Park isn’t Spielberg’s worst movie, but it’s the worst Spielberg movie. Spielberg assembled it from approaches that worked in his previous movies but fail here.

Filmmakers and critics say Jaws works because you don’t see the shark until the end. That misses how Jaws is an entertaining, well-crafted thriller aside from the shark. Interesting people do interesting things. It’s not a bunch of Michael Crichton fake scientists sitting around arguing about dinosaurs like in Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park thinks it’s fooling people. It doesn’t show dinosaurs for almost a half an hour. A raptor kills a guy and we just see a shaky cage. The main characters don’t know there are dinosaurs on the island when they get there. This information is withheld to allow for big reveal that dinosaurs are in the movie.

The slack pacing doesn’t slow down the bombast of Spielberg’s favorite music man, though. John Williams’ horns and strings play at blaring volume even during mundane conversations. Every note asks if the audience can believe the amazing shit that going on, with swelling strings accompanying standard movie features like flying helicopters.

When the dinosaurs at long last appear, they are heralded by Spielberg’s signature shot: having someone look offscreen in slack jawed bewilderment. It’s ok if you miss the first one, when Sam Neil and his neckerchief see a brontosaurus. The same shot repeats about a half dozen times. If you like watching people look at stuff without knowing what they’re looking at, this is the movie for you.

And the stuff they’re looking at isn’t all that impressive, frankly. Dinosaurs in films ranging from special effects showcases like Peter Jackson’s King Kong to goofball comedies like Will Ferrell’s Land of the Lost. So the scenes that expect awe induce boredom.

Spielberg made Jurassic Park right after he made Hook. With both plodding middlebrow movies, Spielberg leans heavily on his signature styles. He had to shake off some dust to prepare for  his next movie, Schindler’s List, and the “mature” phase of his career that movie brought on. I’m glad that he refilled his mojo to eventually pull off the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. But the shopworn style in Jurassic Park is tedious hackery.

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Jurassic Park, My Least Favorite Movie

Jurassic Park is not the worst movie ever made, but it’s the one I hate the most.

There’s no escaping Jurassic Park. It’s constantly on television. Worse, for a pop culture op ed junkie like myself,  film writers treat it like a masterpiece and write endless tributes about it.

When writers talk about Jurassic Park, they employ language usually reserved for describing childbirth, using words like  “joy,” “wonder” and “awe.” Devin Faraci, a pop culture writer/reporter whose stuff I usually like a whole lot (his gamergate soul searching is a masterpiece of self aware nerdery), calls it “one of the best movies ever” and leads with the sentence fragment “terror and wonder.” The Rotten Tomatoes review pull quotes overflow with ghastly phrases like ” the joy is timeless” and “this movie doesn’t just stand the test of time, it transcends it.”

Roger Ebert was a holdout skeptic for the film on its release, saying in his review that while he thought the dinosaurs were “a triumph of special effects artistry,” the movie overall lacked “a sense of awe and wonderment and strong human story values.” That qualified thumbs up is now supplemented by an unqualified one on rogerebert.com. On last year’s release of the 3D version of Jurassic Park, reviewer Nell Minow calls it a “thrill ride” and ” a masterpiece of the genre.”

The Absurd and Dull Story it Chooses to Tell

Quick outline of JP’s plot: This Santa Claus millionaire lunatic clones dinosaurs and opens a dinosaur theme park on a South American island. The financial backers are worried about the safety of the park so they demand he spend top dollar to fly in scientists to inspect the park. While the scientists visit—accompanied by the lunatic Santa Claus’ grandchildren—a disgruntled computer technician disables the park’s security. Chaos ensues, then everybody escapes on helicopters with a greater regard for family values and a diminished passion for cloning dinosaurs.

Wayne Knight, Newman from Seinfeld, plays the computer technician who sets the chaos in motion. I’m just going to call him “Newman.”

Newman doesn’t have to be in the movie at all. He’s there so the Santa Claus millionaire can be sympathetic. SCM is a grandfather and wants to bring science to the masses, so he’s a good guy. Newman wants money, betrays SCM and is a fat sweaty mess so he’s a bad guy.

But SCM is still the worst villain in the movie. He resurrected man-eating lizard monsters and skimped on security. Give Newman a bonus and the dinosaurs stay in their cages. It’s as easy as that.

But no, he has to lavish his money on scientists.

And what good are the scientists going to do? Sam Neil and Laura Dern are paleontologist. They dig up and dust off bones. Sometimes they theorize about whether raptors hunt in packs or other boring bullshit. But having them consult on a dinosaur attack is be like trying to stop a war with a gravedigger. If the shareholders were really worried about park security, they wouldn’t demand dinosaur experts. They’d demand security.

Here’s what a security expert’s would recommend first: don’t let children on the island. And yet SCM—again, the chief villain of the movie—invites his fucking grandchildren along for a stress test. The secondary villains, even though we never see them onscreen, are the children’s parents. I love my dad but if he asked to bring my daughter to an island full of dinosaurs, that’s a hard fucking no.

And if dinosaurs really came back, the least interesting place for them is a theme park. Put them in a war zone or a school. Oh, actually, a creationist museum would be hilarious. Anywhere but a theme park.

Everything That Works in Other Spielberg Films Fails

Jurassic Park thinks it’s fooling people. It doesn’t show dinosaurs for almost a half an hour. A raptor kills a guy and we just see a shaky cage. The main characters don’t know there are dinosaurs on the island when they get there. This information is withheld to allow for big reveal that dinosaurs are in the movie.

Jaws doesn’t show the shark until the end. But Jaws is an entertaining, well-crafted thriller where interesting people do interesting things. It’s not a bunch of Michael Crichton fake scientists sitting around arguing about dinosaurs like Jurassic Park.

The slack pacing doesn’t slow down the bombast of Spielberg’s favorite music man, though. John Williams’ horns and strings play at blaring volume even during mundane conversations. Every note asks if the audience can believe the amazing shit that going on, with swelling strings accompanying standard movie features like helicopters. Does he expect us to be impressed by helicopters? What kind of rubes does he take us for?

If you like watching people look at stuff without knowing what they’re looking at, this is the movie for you. The dinosaurs’ delayed appearances are heralded by Spielberg’s signature shot: someone looks offscreen in slack jawed bewilderment. It’s ok if you miss the first one, when Sam Neil and his neckerchief see a brontosaurus. The same shot repeats about a half dozen times.

Spielberg made Jurassic Park right after he made Hook. With both plodding middlebrow movies, Spielberg leans heavily on his signature styles. He had to shake off some dust to prepare for his next movie, Schindler’s List, and the “mature” phase of his career that movie brought on. I’m glad that he refilled his mojo to eventually pull off the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. But the shopworn style in Jurassic Park is tedious hackery.

Jurassic Park’s Clothing Palette is Nightmare Puke Pastels

Everybody in the movie dresses like an asshole.

The wardrobe is a dreary sea of ill-fitting linens and pleated khakis. Sam Neil wears a goddamn neckerchief like that’s a thing that’s OK. Laura Dern is dressed for a brownie scout troop leadership summit.

The lawyer wears a pastel colored suit with shorts like he’s Angus fucking Young, topped with a misshapen homburg. The hunter looks like a villain in a Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon and he’s the only person close to appropriately dressed.

Every Character in the Jurassic Park is Michael Chrichton

The dinosaurs only appear onscreen after 20 minutes of expository gibberish. It’s like having to sit through a boring educational film before getting to ride a roller coaster.

Spielberg must have realized that, as he actually has a scene where the characters watch a boring educational cartoon. He didn’t realize the extent of it, as it takes another excruciating half hour before a dinosaur attacks anyone.

Everybody remembers Jurassic Park for popularizing the idea of chaos theory. But does anybody remember the context for why it was part of a movie about cloning prehistoric lizard monsters? No. they don’t. Because there is no real reason for its inclusion in the movie other than to show that smart guy scientist Jeff Goldblum is a smart guy who knows stuff about science.

I’ve read a couple of Michael Chrichton books and they all start with scientists assembling and mouthing off to each other in response to an earth shaking crisis or discovery. I’m not a Chrichton expert, but I know he was a weird guy with some strange views. He made climate change advocates villainous scammers in State of Fear and named a baby rapist character for a critical reviewer. Each of his dumb scientist characters are probably figures for some debate had in his head while he was writing. Their dialogue splits the difference between hitting their single character note and the kind of technical exposition I’d imagine IT professionals must find fascinating.

The film feels like four different people giving a lecture at the same time. Then there are some dinosaurs. Bravo, dickweed.

Jurassic Park Killed the Special Effects Movie  

I grew up during the golden age of special effects creation porn. When Temple of Doom came out, a half hour TV special detailed the miniatures sets behind the climactic mineshaft chase. I’ve watched hours of footage of Industrial Light and Magic technicians working on spaceships. Watching a special effects blockbuster had a secondary pleasure beyond plot and spectacle. Figuring out how the filmmakers manipulated physical objects in tricky ways to create an effect was a fascinating guessing game.

Jurassic Park’s digital effects team destroyed that game. The answer’s always the same now: some dude typed some stuff into a computer. In a video on making the video’s effects, the film’s special effects computer team seems like artless goons with an inflated sense of their frankly janky-looking work.

And honestly, I don’t think the effects work is all that good. The weird green screen the scene where Sam Neil stands in front of a Brontosaurus is like a 20 second preview of the worst aspects of the Star Wars prequels. Neil and the other actors are obviously walking through an air-conditioned warehouse trying to emote to tennis balls. When the T-Rex busts up the scaffolding Laura Dern and the kids are hanging onto at the end of the movie, it’s like the soccer scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

When I watch Jurassic Park, I don’t see dinosaurs. I see over-caffeinated computer artists coding on a deadline.

Random Notes From Watching Jurassic Park

Ugh. The kids. “Interactive CD Rom.” Hahaha. No.

“Hold on to your butts.” Ugh. Boo. No.

Despite being the first movie to rely on computer-generated imagery, movie has a weird anti-computer bias.

These smug little privileged shits.

After about an hour, the story boarded set pieces start and the movie perks up for a while. Spielberg has some fun with a broken truck.

Then it takes a long break for a poignant speech from mad man Santa Claus.

Whiniest kid in the world.

At least three characters suffer leg injuries in the movie.

The Sole Great Thing About Jurassic Park

 Jeff Goldblum. That dude can do no wrong. Even though he’s playing the same character he played in The Fly and later in Independence Day and gets sidelined in the movie after doing the first genuinely heroic act in the movie, he owns the whole thing.

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Stop Whining About U2

ipodquadI don’t like defending millionaires. But people need to stop complaining about U2.

For all the people angry that content has been automatically included with new technology: did it bother you that Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers came with the original Nintendo system? Were you livid when Minesweeper came with Windows?

And for all the youngsters with the clever “what’s a U2” question. Do you think your kids are going to know who Drake is? Time only moves one way. Yes, U2 is an old band with old fans. Your youth will pass and you shall someday be old. Don’t be a dick about being young now and you won’t be bummed out about being old then. When you consider that the only alternative to aging is death it won’t seem so bad.

By the way, the funniest person to complain about U2 being old is Sharon Osbourne, who is married to a 1,000-year-old man who still sings “Crazy Train” at festivals.

For all you oldsters complaining that it’s not punk or metal music: “Kill ‘Em All” is 30 years old. Minor Threat broke up the same year that album was released. Your loud aggressive music is Dad rock. It’s just not in beer commercials yet.

For people complaining that the U2 album is coming up when they set their iTunes to shuffle: you know the big button with the two triangles that point to your right? Try clicking on it. All should be OK with the world.

Just realize how bitterly ironic your online moaning is. You are complaining with the same instrument that caused the situation. The Internet burped and inflates the cultural bubbles that make it possible to be inundated by pop culture without ever encountering U2, the most famous band in the world.

And it’s likely that Internet users created the need for the biggest band in the world to partner with an international mega-corporation to have their music not just heard but also paid for. Every song you’ve ever streamed, bit torrented or youtubed has led to U2 popping up on your music library. Congratulations. Well done. You have stripped music of its monetary value. Now the biggest band in the world can’t rely on selling records. Bravo.

And the Internet insures U2 can never happen again. The weird little band they were in the early 80s would never find traction. They’re hard to twitter. Pitchfork probably wouldn’t give care. They’d never register with American Idol Fans. Their second album was a disappointment so they’d look like a one hit wonder.

So when Metallica puts out their next EP of Misfits covers exclusively on Vine or something, remember it was probably you that put us all in this dumb position.

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