Musings from the basement...

Puddles Pity Party is the greatest show on Earth

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Last night, I watched a gigantic clown chew gum and sing “Under Pressure” while forcing an audience member to eat pastries. It was the greatest. I’m talking about Puddles of Puddles Pity Party, and if you don’t remember the name, you’ll probably remember the sight of him from his viral collaboration with Postmodern Jukebox:   Yeah, that guy. Toweringly tall, decked out in black and white garb, and projecting an air of detached sadness as he eases through a pop song with a disturbingly powerful voice. Based on stuff like this and his Sia cover with the same group of quasi-retro hipsters, it would be easy to assume that Puddles is a gimmick, and one with a limited shelf life. One you’d only be able…
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How Public Enemy Changed the Way I See the World

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It may seem like hyperbole to say that a music act can alter one’s worldview in a significant way, but anyone who knows me knows that music is an incredibly important, often powerful part of my life – and “powerful” is as apt a term as any for what Public Enemy has to offer. After all, Public Enemy changed the way I see the world. For those only passingly familiar with them, Public Enemy is a now legendary hip hop group best known for songs like Fight the Power, Bring the Noise, and 911 Is a Joke. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, making them a crossover powerhouse who may not have burned up the charts – they’ve…
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It’s time to watch every Star Wars trailer in a row, to prepare for Rogue One awesomeness

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I’m surprised I haven’t posted about Star Wars more often, considering it’s been part of my like for about as long as I’ve been been walking and talking. Saw the original in the theater when I was a wee lad, had the comics, had the toys, listened to the audio version on vinyl records with my little kid’s turntable. The whole damn Star Wars experience. Later, I read the books, played the games, and had the bitter Internet debates. Maybe that last part is why. Is there anything left to be said about Star Wars other than “it’s awesome” or “George Lucas ruined my childhood and destroyed everything I hold dear, so I will hold a grudge against him until my final days, praying for…
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Watching a bunch of Harry Potter trailers back-to-back, because why not?

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A new movie set in the Harry Potterverse is about to debut, Big Giant Monsters and How to Get Them, so my esteemed Youtube Partner, Tig of Nerd out with Me fame, and I decided to do what any sane middle aged men drinking beer in an attic would do: we watched all the Harry Potter trailers back-to-back, jabbering as we did. Eight trailers is a lot. This is a long episode of Hours in the Attic, just short of our longest to date. But we also think it’s a fun way to quickly revisit all those Potter flicks, so check it out:

The Myth of the Assimilating Immigrant, Speaking English, and Eroding Americana

Mulberry Street, New York City, circa 1900

Discussions about immigration are funny. They tend to focus on the same small handful of heartfelt pleas; arguments about losing our culture, griping that immigrants don’t learn the language (“the language” being English), and the idea that immigrants of the past used to come here and work hard to assimilate themselves into American culture. As we’re about to discover, that last part is largely a myth. First, a word on the language. The United States has no official language. Never has. As immigration has increased from non-European countries, there have also been increasing calls for a national language, thus far to no avail. Some individual states do, 32 of them in all, but not the United States itself. Our documents are written in English, and…
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