Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

This Time He’s a Movie Hound

Continuing with the favorites that Facebook thought it had destroyed forever… but no!  They live!!

Favorite Movies:

[] A Mighty Wind. Mostly because over the course of the 1990s I was introduced to the folk music world, and this movie affectionately gets the skewering *just right*.

[] Galaxy Quest. Mostly because over the course of my life I’ve been a Star Trek nerd, and this movie affectionately and respectfully gets the skewering *just right*.  (“The finest Iago of my generation, and I’m reduced to this.” -Alan Rickman)

[] Brazil. Seriously. Watch this movie. It’s funny, then it’s scary. Michael Palin plays the straight man. Phew!

[] Casino Royale. As much as I doubted that Daniel Craig would be the best Bond I ever saw … y’know, he just might be. I know, I KNOW! Connery! Right, I know! Maybe if Connery made Bond movies in the era of, oh I don’t know, decent special effects and an editing pace that was faster than encroaching glaciers. But from the running and jumping (!!) in the opening sequence, to Eva Green, to the END of Eva Green, to the musical conceit of holding off on the full 007 theme till the Very… Last … Possible … Scene … (well, it’s a prequel, so we reverse-engineer the music, yes?  Well-played!) … this is a great one indeed. Particularly if you then see The Spy Who Loved Me shortly thereafter, and don’t even TALK to me about Moonraker.

[] Waiting For Guffman. (I am NOT Bob Balaban!) The absolute best in squirm humor. Especially for those of us with musical theater experience.

[] The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I was afraid they’d screw it up. For the most part, they didn’t. Zooey Deschanel is bang-on as Trillian.

[] The Incredibles. “Edna Mode. …And guest.”

[] Much Ado About Nothing. I miss the days where Kenneth and Emma spoke to each other.

[] The Muppet Movie. “I’da been gone with the Schwinn.” … “Bear left.” “Right, Frog.” … “Would you like to smell the bottle cap?” Never mind the sequels; this thing still stands up to close scrutiny. Still don’t know how they pulled off the bike riding in the park scene.

[] Notting Hill. I know, this is not exactly a Guy Movie … so I’ll just say, by Jove, it IS all about Julia Roberts’ smile.

[] O Brother, Where Art Thou? “I am the gol-durn pater-familias.”  With honorable mentions to Fargo and The Big Lebowski (thanks, Joe).

[] Raiders of the Lost Ark. Which makes me sound like a fan-boy, or a former subscriber to “Starlog” magazine … OK, so I read it, but I never subscribed!! … But watch this movie and see if you can find a single character, scene, line of dialogue, moment of music, or ANYTHING that isn’t note-perfect in this movie. It wasn’t the sequels’ fault that they didn’t quite measure up.

[] This Is Spinal Tap. This, as well. Not a moment in it that isn’t all full of comic timing and Beatles history. “Come on, come on. Mime is money.”

[] Serenity. No, I’m not kidding. Whether or not it has a decent plot, lots of exploding things, spaceships, zombies and whatnot … it’s got a relentless barrage of just-barely-not-quite-self-consciously-clever exchanges of dialogue that I would quote a lot, if I could just remember them. Really, it’s kinda neat.

[] ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room. If you’re looking for a documentary that makes you gag at some people’s (Ken Lay et al.) sheer soul-less chutzpah as they line their own pockets at the expense of people who have put their trust and their money in them … look no further. This is based on Bethany McLean’s reportage and subsequent best-selling book about the mind-boggling hubris, and eventual collapse, of Enron.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | entertainment, Famous Persons, film, journalism, media, movies, science fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Speed Linking

One of the pastors who serves the church where I “church-gig” has himself a blog. Don’t know how many pastors, ministers, clergy etc. in the world have their own blogs, unless they’re the famous sort who go on TV as pundits or whatever. This particular gentleman’s blog contains not just musings from the perspective of a Christian pastor, but also from the perspective of a New York Yankees fan (and fan of the larger world of baseball), and a sports-in-general fan. This causes me to go visit it quite a bit because I quite honestly don’t know what to expect, and it’s fun. The blog is “A Yankee Pastor” and it’s listed over there to the right.  It’s good readin’; by all means go check it out.

…And yeah, he’s a Yankee fan and I’m a Red Sox fan and we get along anyhow. I have to admit that Mariano Rivera is incredible, and John has to admit that Dustin Pedroia is the hardest-working second-baseman in show business. So we’re OK. (Plus, he’s the pastor and I’m the choir director. I know a pecking order when I see one!)

One thing Pastor John has begun to do is “speed linking” – every Friday he lists a series of things he’s found interesting over the course of the previous week with links that readers can follow, or not, as they like. Bob Ryan, a writer from the once-mighty Boston Globe sports section, used to publish columns full of one- or two-sentence blurbs about the sports world and he called them “Cleaning Out the Desk Drawer of the Mind”. Sounds like a good idea to me; in my case, I think it’s more likely to be “cleaning out the Bookmarks Folder of the Mac”, since you wouldn’t believe how many items are currently stored in THAT thing.

So … Speed Linking! Part One! In no particular order!

[1] If there was a more consistently funny 90 seconds in American entertainment than this, I don’t know what it was.

[2] During the last two summers, I’ve had the opportunity to take in Shakespearean comedies thanks to the good offices of the American Shakespeare Center, tucked away in the little town of Staunton, VA. Thanks to Basil and LJ for letting me in on THAT little secret – a well-kept one that deserves to be less well-kept! One of the fun things about the ASC is that their theatre is quite true to the design of the original indoor theater in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally staged, the most striking element of which is: they don’t dim the lights at showtime. The t-shirts on sale in the lobby of the ASC theatre say, “ASC: We Do It With the Lights On”; and this allows the players to see the audience and interact with them, making the productions even more effective than they would have been to start with.

Another good bit about the ASC is that they put stuff on their website like this.

[3] Here‘s an article about yet another thing said by a national politician/celebrity who is either misinformed, ill-informed, under-educated, a knee-jerk partisan, or being well paid by an agent of some lobby or other to say willfully stupid things. Or a combination of any of the above. Or all.

[4] Apparently there are those who are just as concerned about the future of concert program notes as they might be about the state of modern journalism.

[5] Here‘s a photo which is what band is all about. A place for everyone.


[6] Come to think of it, #3 above might be informed by this article, and this one.


[7] Ordinarily I’m firmly against the hijacking of a cultural icon like Linus Van Pelt; but in this case I’ve gotta admit … it’s really well done.

[8] Free speech, young students with opinions about teachers, and social media. You be the judge of this.  I think this may be another subject for another post.

[9] Who knew Superman was a Methodist?  (Well, apparently the Kents were.  The question is, what was Clark like in Sunday School?)

[10] In case you wondered about Mary Whipple, about whom I wrote in my first post about Brushes With Fame – turns out that being a coxswain for a crew team requires a lot of varied qualifications, including more than a bit of leadership training.


[11] If you want a genuine laugh at genuine cleverness, read any of these lyrics.

November 26, 2010 Posted by | baseball, blogging, entertainment, Famous Persons, government, humor, Internet, literature, media, music, news, politics, social media, sports, SUMC, television, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Favorites, Rescued from the Clutches of Facebook

With 20% More Thanksgiving Day Appropriateness!


Favorite Quotes:


“Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about?”

–George Bernard Shaw, Candide, Act I


“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.”

–Comte. de Bussy-Rabutin


“Acquaintance I would have, but when’t depends

Not on the number but the choice of friends.”

–Abraham Cowley, “Of Myself”


“But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.”

–William Shakespeare, Sonnets


“Contrary to popular belief, saxophones are actually percussion instruments meant to be played with hammers. Large hammers.”



“Give me all you’ve got, then crescendo!!!”

–Leonard Bernstein


“One good thing about being young is that you are not experienced enough to know that you cannot possibly do the things you are doing.”

–Gene Brown


“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering ‘What the hell happened?’”



“No one is under a moral obligation to remain in the vicinity of, to keep working with, or even to keep living with, another person whose behavior is demoralizing, severely upsetting or stress-producing.”

–Robert M. Branson, Ph.D, Coping With Difficult People


“People would say, ‘Well we’ve done it that way in the past,’ and I’d say, ‘Well that’s why you’ve lost 10 years in a row.’”

–John Calipari


“Singers are underrated: while nobody thinks they can play the French horn, everybody thinks they can sing.”

–Peter Schickele


“Slimy? Mud hole? My HOME this is!”



“The closer you get to the fire, the more you get burned.”

–Billy Joel


“The game of life is not so much holding a good hand as playing a poor one.”

–H.T. Leslie

“The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success.”

–Irving Berlin


“We are the cockroaches, and Heidi is the flashlight.”

–an unnamed West Chester DMA staffer; unnamed because I don’t remember exactly who it was.


“What really flatters a man is that you find him worth flattering.”

–George Bernard Shaw


“Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on.”

–Sir Thomas Beecham on an unidentified soprano in Die Walkyre


“A friend is one who you’ve just met; yet have known forever.”

–my friend Gina Vanaria


“There’s nothing like facing the prospect of making new friends to make one treasure ‘old’ friends.”

–my friend Nancy Locklin

November 25, 2010 Posted by | DMA, literature, music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments