Dec 29 2015

There are Star Wars: The Force Awakens Contrarians

I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the movie has received much critical acclaim. Great! May they make all the money.

However, I also think it’s important that there are other voices out there. People who say “this stinks” or at least “this isn’t as good as everyone says it is”. Otherwise we’re all mindless drones bowing to our corporate overlords. Not to be over-dramatic about it. But it rarely ends well when EVERYBODY agrees.

Star Wars - Sand People

Star Wars – Sand People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo

Deutsch: „Star Wars”-Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And OK, sure. It’s just a movie. It’s just Star Wars. But it’s also more than just Star Wars. It’s entertainment, it’s escapist, it’s fun, it’s all good… as long as we can see the flaws. Or as long as we aren’t blindly devoted to the blockbuster.

DaddyTips readers (and pretty much anyone who knows me) are well aware of my love for the Avengers movie. I am willing to acknowledge that there are parts of the film that aren’t perfect. It’s a thing that makes me happy, and I think those things are important. For example, I don’t believe in “guilty pleasures” unless your guilty pleasure is something you should feel guilty about doing, such as clubbing baby seals. Watching a movie that you know isn’t great but you like it anyway? Please. (I do not, for the record, put The Avengers movie in that category. At all. I’ve seen it more than ten times. I might watch it again today.) That being said, I have no problem with someone who doesn’t like the movie, be they a friend or a professional film critic. I enjoy reading/hearing a different point of view than mine. As long as they have more to say than just this:

This article from Vox, titled “Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, written by David Roberts (whose bio says “I write about energy and climate change” — and Star Wars, apparently, which shows how big a deal this movie is, in case you hadn’t noticed), makes some good points, and also has links to other Vox articles that are worth reading, including one that supposedly explains what the heck The First Order is. (I haven’t read it yet, hence the “supposedly explains”. Keep in mind that I did see the movie, but I still don’t really know what The First Order is. For the record, it doesn’t really matter, except that it does. Which is basically my point. If that’s confusing, ask me and I’ll explain.)

Bottom line: you can like a movie and know that it’s flawed, you can dislike a movie and acknowledge what’s good about it, you can hate a movie that everyone says is great — you should make your own decisions. I’ll even go so far as to call this a DaddyTip. In what way? The tip is that you shouldn’t let your kids get sucked into the blind devotion of a movie. I’m not suggesting you hit them over the head with criticism either, especially if they’re young. But let them know that it’s OK if they don’t 100% LOVE every single minute of this new Star Wars movie even if their friends do, or any other piece of entertainment for that matter. Be clever. Be a contrarian. Look at things with a critical eye as well as the eye of a fan. Understand that entertainment is awesome, and that it’s fun to escape from reality. Just make sure that you don’t completely forget about reality when the movie is over.

Or join the crowd and love it. That’s also an option, and probably easier.

Being derivative is not some clever pomo statement — it’s just derivative.

Source: Critics are going too easy on Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Vox


Jun 21 2015

Sopranos for Fathers Day

Last year, HBO recommended an episode of The Sopranos for Fathers Day. It kinda makes sense, as long as you don’t watch it with your kids (depending on how old they are, of course).

The specific episode recommended by HBO is called “College” (Season One, Episode Five).

Sopranos on Father's Day

 

In it, Tony Soprano (played of course by the late and very great James Gandolfini) takes his daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) on a trip to visit colleges. Since this is The Sopranos, Tony gets sidetracked by some unexpected business.

It’s an early episode of the show — it first aired on February 7, 1999, according to Wikipedia —  and is very good. (Sorry! Forgot to say “spoiler alert.”) It certainly deals with father-daughter issues in a unique way, as did the show as a whole. One of the many great things about The Sopranos was seeing Tony try to be a dad while also conducting his, ahem, legitimate business dealings.

If you want to double-down on Gandolfini for Fathers Day, you can also watch the film Enough Said, which stars Mr. Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. (Catherine Keener is also terrific in a smaller role.) The two have great chemistry, and it’s a nice movie that is also parenting/dad-themed, and it has a fun twist. Here’s the trailer.

There is, of course, an extra note of sadness to the film because it is James Gandolfini’s last starring role.

You can watch The Sopranos and Enough Said via HBO Go and probably HBO Now. (I don’t have the latter and don’t want to say something that isn’t true.)

So if you’re looking for some dad-themed stuff to watch for Father’s Day, here are two solid suggestions… or perhaps we should say… DaddyTips.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there!


Mar 12 2015

Brett Singer TV Appearance Tomorrow on Fox 5 DC

I will be appearing on TV tomorrow, via Skype, on Fox 5 DC. Those not in DC can stream it live on MyFoxDC.com. My segment is scheduled for 9:15am.

Logo of the Fox Broadcasting Company

Logo of the Fox Broadcasting Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The topic? Apps for paranoid parents, which I wrote about for Parents.com here.

Again, to watch me, Brett Singer, in all my DaddyTips glory, visit MyFoxDC.com tomorrow, Friday March 13, around 9:15am and click on the “Watch Live” link.


Dec 20 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-20-14 (Video)

The third DaddyTips Video commentary has arrived. Today, 12-20-14, I’m talking about NFL football.

DaddyTips Featured Video

Because this video is a little bit longer than usual (it’s about 3 minutes long; the other two have been closer to 2 minutes), and because I wrote it out rather than improvising, I’m going to include the full text here. It’s still faster to watch the video, unless you happen to be a speed reader. But if you don’t watch, you miss out on my stellar wit and brilliant facial expressions.

DaddyTips Video Comment

 

So here we go. This is fun. If you like the video, please share it with anyone and everyone.

Thanks for reading/watching/sharing, and most of all thanks for just being you. Happy holidays!

(Text of video follows.)

<singing>
The NFL, The NFL
Today I’ll be talking / about football-all-ell
</singing>

Today is Saturday, December 20. There will be 2 football games, billed as a special Saturday edition of Thursday Night Football. Despite the fact that that phrasing is a sign of the apocalypse – kind of like midnight movie premieres that are actually at 7pm – I like football enough that I’m going to watch the games.

Today’s comment is not about one of the Saturday games, it’s about the Bears/Lions game, which is on Sunday.
Apparently the Bears are going to start Jimmy Clausen instead of Jay Cutler. This quote is from an article on Michigan’s MLive.com written by Kyle Meinke, titled “Golden Tate hopes Jimmy Clausen ‘stays safe’ against Detroit Lions defense“.

“He may give us a spark. Who knows? We’re not sure, but I think it was a good time to take a look.”

That’s Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman talking about his decision to start Clausen instead of Cutler.

NFL coaches are an intriguing breed. Generally they live and breathe football. They spend endless hours studying tape, coming up with plays, and thinking of ways to motivate their players.

“He may give us a spark. Who knows?”

Compare this to Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who, when asked if his team could win the Super Bowl with their backup quarterback, said yes. To be fair, he was ASKED. He didn’t make a proclamation like Rex Ryan, the sometimes crazy coach of the hapless New York Jets.

The Cardinals have suffered a pile of injuries to key players, including starting quarterback Carson Palmer. They are currently 11-3, first place in their division, the NFC West. They are also the ONLY team in the NFC that has clinched a playoff spot.

The Bears are 5-9. That’s LAST place in the NFC North. They haven’t lost their starting quarterback. Until Sunday, when they plan to put in a guy who hasn’t started a game since 2010. Because they’re out of the playoffs.

Maybe coaching does matter.

It was suggested to me by a friend that I end these videos with a Tip, since they are being posted on – wait for it – DaddyTips.com. My tip today is:
Be more like Bruce Arians than Marc Trestman. I don’t follow the Cardinals closely, but from what I’ve heard and read, Arians appears to do everything he can to help his team win, including convincing his players that they CAN win, no matter what. Trestman – you know, the guy who said “Who knows?” when asked if starting Jimmy Clausen would help the Bears beat the Lions, would seem to be cut from different cloth.
My point? Buck the odds. Say “why not me?” instead of “who knows?”

Happy holidays.

(Note: The music used at the end is “I Am A Bear In A Lady’s Boudoir” by Cliff Edwards, recorded circa October 25, 1933. It’s in the Public Domain and available for download at the invaluable Internet Archive.)

Previous DaddyTips Video comments:

DaddyTips Comment 12-16-14

DaddyTips Comment 12-15-14


Dec 16 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-16-14 (Video)

Here it is, DaddyTips second semi-daily video commentary. On this day, 12-16-14, we talk about Hobbits and Hanukkah.

DaddyTips Featured Video

By the way, for those playing along at home — we shaved!

Thanks for watching. Once again, please let us know what you think, publicly or even privately if you prefer.

DaddyTips Comment, 12-16-14 from Brett Singer on Vimeo.

Here are the links mentioned in the video.

Xmas in Frisco, the terrific Internet Radio station that has been playing Electric Menorah songs during Chanukah for the past… 10 years? Is that possible? I think it’s been 10 years. Many thanks to them. Note: the station is not safe for work listening (depending upon where you work, of course) because sometimes they play songs with dirty words in them.  Anyway, here’s the link: somafm.com/xmasinfrisko (They have other good stations as well, but this is the only one that plays our music.)

The Hobbit: Book and Film Differences is a really great blog that delivers exactly what the title describes – the differences between The Hobbit films and The Hobbit book. Note that I said “films” and “book”. There’s only one book but there are three films. Have I mentioned that? I’ve actually really enjoyed reading this site, written by someone who goes by the handle Quoggy. Well worth checking out if you have even a passing interest in the subject matter. Here’s the link: hobbitdifferences.blogspot.com

Last, but certainly not least, make sure to go to facebook.com/brettmusic and click the button that says “Like”. That way we’ll know that you like us, you really really like us.

Happy Hobbit Hanukkah!


Dec 15 2014

DaddyTips Comment 12-15-14 (Video)

We’re going to try something new here at DaddyTips — a semi-daily video commentary on… well, whatever we want to talk about.

DaddyTips Featured Video

We’ll try to keep it brief and clean. We do not promise to shave. (This time we didn’t; we considered shaving and then re-doing the video but decided that would ruin the spontaneity of the clip. Also it would involve shaving.)

Today’s topics are excessive consumer surveys and the leaked emails from Sony Pictures.

So here it is! Let us know what you think, publicly or even privately if you prefer.

DaddyTips Comment, 12-15-14 from Brett Singer on Vimeo.


May 02 2014

Boo Boo Car On My Big Boy Burn (Tips)

I burned my hand. It hurts. I was holding an ice pack on it but that didn’t allow me to type and I have some work to do. I looked in my freezer for a better solution. Voilà. Boo boo car on my big boy burn, held in place with three rubber bands. Since this was a new solution to an old problem, I decided to make it a DaddyTip.

image

So far it’s working reasonably well. I’m not typing my typical 90-100 words per minute (I type fast, always did) and I’m making more mistakes than usual. But I am able to type using both hands now, sans the burnt finger of course.

I’m not going to include any “related links” because most of them involve Honey Boo Boo and I refuse to involve myself with that sort of thing. Well, unless someone wants to pay me enough money. Then maybe I could get over my… what’s the word? Scruples? Integrity? Whatever.

Burns, by the way, are really annoying and painful. I do not recommend them. The way I got this one was extremely stupid. I was cooking something in the oven, removed the dish from the oven using oven mitts, then removed the oven mitts from my hands and immediately moved to remove the glass top of the extremely hot Corningware dish with my bare hands. Like I said, not too bright. So there’s another tip for you — don’t touch hot things without proper protection. You know. Something most three-year-olds already know.

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