Music That Inspires: Temple of the Dog

On May 18th of 2017 singer and songwriter Chris Cornell took his own life. Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden, and one of the most influential musicians on modern rock history. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden led the wave of the 1990s grunge music scene. Without Cornell’s writing and voice, hundreds of bands and thousands of popular songs would not exist.

The first time I remember hearing Cornell was from the Black Hole Sun music video. I had never heard anything like it before, and I was fascinated his voice. Cornell’s vocal abilities are impressive. He was one of few people who can scream sing and still be intelligible. You can feel the power of his voice even with the volume turned down.

Rather than comment on his suicide, I would like to focus on his music. There are so many good songs and albums to pick from. He fronted Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and released five solo albums. I think, however, I will go with my favorite, Temple of the Dog by Temple of the Dog.

It is rare to find an album where every song is good. This is one of those albums, and why would it not be? It is Chris Cornell singing with Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron, i.e. the group that would become Pearl Jam.

The album resulted from Cornell writing two songs in tribute to his roommate Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone. Wood overdosed on heroin. Cornell had no one to talk to following Wood’s death, and wrote the songs Reach Down and Say Hello 2 Heaven to cope with his feelings. He later presented them to Ament and Gossard, who were members of Mother Love Bone. The rest of the album came together after that.

Because there is not a bad song on the album, it makes it difficult to choose what to highlight. However, I think I will go for the songs I like to listen to the most. Continue reading

Hey Marvel, it’s not you, it’s your progressive agenda

Several months ago Bleeding Cool reported that Marvel Comics will shift its books away from politics and back to storytelling, action, and adventure. As I noted in my previous post about the change, Marvel’s sales took a hit in recent years. Their numbers are not low enough to result in bankruptcy, however, they are low enough to cause concern. The reason is that most of the books with low numbers are their newer titles. Many of these books feature so-called “diverse” characters. Despite Marvel’s active promotion of the books, the titles simply do not sell.

One person at Marvel has an explanation for this. ICv2 interview Marvel VP of Sales David Gabriel. Gabriel responded to several questions about the impact of the “diversity” initiative at Marvel:

Part of it, but I think also it seemed like tastes changed, because stuff you had been doing in the past wasn’t working the same way. Did you perceive that or are we misreading that?

No, I think so. I don’t know if those customers with the tastes that had been around for three years really supporting nearly anything that we would try, anything that we would attempt, any of the new characters we brought up, either they weren’t shopping in that time period, or maybe like you said their tastes have changed.

There was definitely a sort of nose-turning at the things that we had been doing successfully for the past three years, no longer viable. We saw that, and that’s what we had to react to. Yes, it’s all of that.

It is not a matter of people’s tastes changing. If it were, one would expect a greater audience, not the ever shrinking audience that the industry has seen in the past two decades. The problem here was that Marvel attempted to appeal to people who do not buy their product and are more interested in identity politics. The books that Gabriel claims were a success all saw dwindling numbers within a year of their release. Gabriel names several characters — Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, The Mighty Thor, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Moon Girl — so let us look at the debut and current sales of their books: Continue reading

The Red Pill: A Review

After years of waiting, I finally got the chance to watch Cassie Jaye’s documentary The Red Pill. Jaye’s documentary began as her examination of the men’s rights movement, and grew into her journey out of feminism.

The film received a great deal of backlash during its filming, post production, and initial release. All of the negative response, from people contacting Jaye’s financiers to cut her funding to people backing out of interviews to protests against the film, came from feminists. Most notably, they came from feminists who never saw the bulk of the footage or the completed film.

The reaction has been so overblown that it has likely increased people’s desire to see this horribly misogynistic film that gives a platform to rape apologists. Or something to that affect.

Is that Jaye’s film? Is it a love letter to women haters? Is it an attack on feminism? Does it excuse male violence against women? Continue reading

Joe Rogan interviews Neil Degrasse Tyson

Joe Rogan recently interviewed Neil Degrasse Tyson. I enjoy listening to Tyson speak. It is rare to hear someone that enthusiastic about science. He also comes across as a likeable man, which makes him even more engaging.

One of my favorite things about Tyson is when he offers up tidbits of science that people are familiar with and proceeds to show how much deeper the knowledge goes. He does this with multiple types of infinity. I had heard of this before, although I cannot recall where. Yet his explanation is simply inthralling.

I also hope he takes Rogan’s advice and goes back to commenting on films. I find it fascinating to hear what catches his attention as glaringly wrong.

It is a fun interview, and of the rare instances where science is explained in a simplified way to make it palatable.  Continue reading

Milo, Real Time, and how the left loses a debate

Bill Maher interviewed Milo Yiannopoulos on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. The interview was okay. Maher avoided most of the touchy subjects that Milo is known for. It seemed more like Maher wanted to teach Milo to tone down his behavior than conduct an interview. I got that impression from how Maher brought up the people Milo targets. He also read some jokes from the late Joan Rivers. Maher’s point was that Milo should choose his targets more carefully and thoughtfully, and if not make sure the jokes are funny. Maher clearly sees something in Milo because he later tells Milo that he sees him as a potential “young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.”

The intervention tone, however, kept the conversation from getting to anything of substance. Milo’s own behavior did not help. He tends to speak endlessly. Maher does the same thing. They both interrupt others a lot (Hitchens also did this). It makes for a stilted conversation because neither one of them could make a point and dig into it.

What I consider the low point is the end of the interview. Maher tells Milo that he needs to “get off the Trump train”, but ends the interview without letting Milo explain why he supports Donald Trump. While I agree that Milo’s support of Trump is misguided at best and deliberate trolling at worst, it was bad form for Maher to make the comment and not let Milo respond. Continue reading

#DeleteMarvel: Revenge of the Hypocrites

What do you do when the CEO of a company that has pandered to you for half decade supporters new Hitler?

This is the problem faced by progressives who read Marvel comic books. Their problem begins with Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, a long-time Donald Trump supporter. Perlmutter has a sordid history concerninh his penny-pinching and general indifference to his employees. However, that has history has little to do with the current situation.

The current situation, the #deletemarvel boycott, stems from Perlmutter’s support of Trump. That is it. There is no concern about the CEO’s handling of Marvel, how he treats his employees, or that his primary concern is money. It is solely that he committed the crime of supporting new Hitler.

That seems one of the pettiest reasons to boycott any company. Perlmutter has little to do with the day-to-day grind of the company. Progressives, however, do not like to miss a chance at virtual-signaling. If that means boycotting a company that scrubbed its line-up of iconic characters to meet their demands for more “diversity”, so be it.

Of course, the boycott will likely reduce the already dismal sales of the social justice themed books. Continue reading

Feminists still can’t take a joke

Piers Morgan gave brilliant response to the women’s marches held on Saturday:

The amount of whining and complaining about the joke tweet was incredible. Hundreds of people tripped over themselves to set Morgan straight. Actor Ewan McGregor pulled out of an interview with Good Morning Britain in protest, although Morgan’s response was classic.

The contrast here is interesting. Morgan was clearly joking. He would not support an actual men’s march. He would mock it relentlessly along with most of the people attacking him. His point was that the women’s march essentially had no point. It did not change anything. Donald Trump is still president and the people who voted for him were not swayed by a bunch of entitled, well-off women wearing “pussy” hats complaining about not getting their way after losing in a fair election. Continue reading