This is a bit belated but I think you will find a nice overview to 2017 and pointers to 2018 in the ramblings below.
Favorite movies seen in the Theater in 2017:
I only saw two movies in the theater in 2017, so looking to improve on that in 2018. Nothing in January had me jazzed to pay theater prices for, however I am looking forward to the following in 2018:
FAVORITE TV SHOWS IN 2017:
- AMERICAN NINJA
- AMERICAN PICKERS
- LOVE IT OR LIST IT
- LETHAL WEAPON
- THE GRAND TOUR
FAVORITE STREAMING TV CHANNEL IN 2017
The one two punch of AMAZON PRIME and HULU gets this award. NETFLIX that was riding high in 2016 with LUKE CAGE and other shows, had a disappointing 2017. With a non user friendly interface compared to Amazon Prime and a selection of shows and movies that weren’t as interesting or well curated as either HULU or AMAZON PRIME, I cancelled my membership at the end of 2017. The last straw being the overhyped and ultimately lackluster PUNISHER series, as well as news of the studios pulling their content from Netflix.
In 2018 the TV shows that I am or will be watching are:
TAKEN (I think the new showrunner made a mistake getting rid of most of the cast from season 1, but hopefully he can course correct and fix it)
STRIKE BACK and ELEMENTARY return after long hiatuses
LONGMEYER went out with a bit of a whimper, so looking forward to YELLOWSTONE
And lastly looking forward to Season 2 of what, without question, was the best, most inventive TV show of 2017, Noah Hawley’s LEGION.
And for those keeping score… LUKE CAGE tied with FARGO Season 2 (Also by Noah Hawley) were the best TV shows of 2015, and DAREDEVIL Season 1 was the best TV show of 2014.
BEST MUSIC OF 2017
I loved everything binaural in 2017, adding many great CDs to my collection. THE HEAVY and GREGORY PORTER remained in heavy rotation. Gregory Porter being my favorite live performance of 2017. And I added new interests RAG N BONE MAN, Andra day and Brian Ferneyhough. With Spotify to allow me to try before I buy, I’m looking forward in 2018 to discovering more great music, both old and new.
BEST READS OF 2017
I didn’t read as many novels, or listen to as many audio books in 2017 as I did in previous years, so I definitely hope to turn that around in 2018.
I did do substantially better with Art Books, Graphic Novels, Reference Books, and comics in 2017. Some of the standouts:
MATT BAKER THE ART OF GLAMOUR
CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE
THE WOLVERTON BIBLE
ARTIST EDITION BASIL WOLVERTON (This and the other two previous books having to do with Basil Wolverton, I went all in on him in 2017. Still absorbing these three books here in 2018)
THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIANSTELFREEZE
SEX AND HORROR THE ART OF ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI
In 2018 writers I intend to go all in on are Percival Everett, Victor Lavalle, Colin Whitehead and Walter Mosley, as well as revisiting work by Ligotti, Lebbon, Ellison, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Bennett.
In 2017 Marvel had a great POWER MAN AND IRON FIST series I was reading, the only thing I was buying monthly from Marvel Comics. And Marvel letting greed get in the way of common sense, killed a series everyone was loving, with a creative team everyone was loving, David Walker and Brian Stelfreeze, to instead both dilute audience attention and oversaturate the market with multiple books, almost all of which are ready to be canceled. So going into 2018, with Marvel sticking to their insane $3.99 price point per book, there are no titles I pick up from Marvel Comics.
In 2017 DEATHSTROKE by Christopher Priest was the only DC Comic I was getting on a monthly base. It’s arguably the one series that you can just pick up and enjoy without having to read any other title, or care about any other title. Priest has been able to just do… what he does best, create a fantastic read; month in and month out. So it is the only DC book I’m reading in 2018. However, greed rears its ugly heads and the idiots who get paid to make stupid decisions have decided to add DEATHSTROKE to their floundering team book… JLA, basically gutting the standalone nature of the comic that allows Priest, to do his magic. Basically the same poor decision making that happened last year with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.
I figure the conversation went like this… ‘man everyone is talking about this book, let’s put the characters in multiple other books, and then they will be talking about all those other books too.’ No, you EFFING morons! The reason people are enjoying POWER MAN AND INRON FIST or DEATHSTROKE is because it is well drawn and well written and not part of your insipid crossover infested universe. Your very attempts to duplicate that success, without understanding it, will kill the character in the new book, and kill interest in the character in the original book.
So yeah here’s hoping someone with brains over at DC, vetoes the horrible idea to put DEATHSTROKE in the JLA, because I’m not going to read the JLA, and you’re editorial interference will create a character that no longer works in his solo book. You have therefore killed the golden goose and have nothing to show for it.
The good news is when you get sick of the stupid decisions and overpriced ad laden product at DC and MARVEL, you have great content from other publishers to enjoy. Publishers that give you more for your money. Publishers such as IMAGE, AFTERSHOCK, DARK HORSE and many more.
As far as where to buy new comics from, a lot of people will steer you to DCBS. I personally in terms of pure customer service and ease or ordering prefer LONE STAR COMICS. You can order comics in advance from the at http://www.mycomicshop.com at a discount.
They are highly recommended, and I use them myself, and this is an unpaid recommendation. Tell them Heroic Times sent you.
And wrapping this up, favorite podcasts of 2017:
COMIC GEEK SPEAK
WTF with Marc Maron
To name a few. Okay that is it for my 2017 Pop Culture overview. Thanks for bearing with it and if you enjoy, spread the word. Enjoy WEEK #6 of 2018!!!
DEALS OF THE DAY!
‘With this CD on Winter & Winter, the Arditti String Quartet celebrates 40 years of cutting-edge performances. Long recognized as the leading string quartet in avant-garde circles, and admired for the brilliance and virtuosity of its performances of the most demanding works, the Arditti gave its first concert in March, 1974, and over four decades it has not stopped rehearsing, studying, performing, and recording the most challenging music of our time. This program consists of 14 short works by some of the most prominent contemporary composers — Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Abrahamsen, Toshio Hosokawa,Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset, Mark Andre, Marco Stroppa, Liza Lim, Harrison Birtwistle, Hilda Paredes, James Clarke, Georg Friedrich Haas, Uri Caine, and Johannes Maria Staud — and the variety of their compositions makes this survey a fascinating exploration of innovative techniques and original concepts. Adventurous listeners will be impressed by the Arditti’s fearlessness and directness in approaching this uncompromising music, and the liner notes by violinist Irvine Arditti provide background information that will be helpful to those just discovering the group.’ — All Music
View/price it here:
FERNEYHOUGH:TERRAIN – with the 21st century’s most complex composer ‘s most famous CD out of print and commanding multiples of its msrp, this TERRAIN cd is a good way to sample some of the composers best works without taking out a mortgage. Great CD at an affordable price.
Get tge CD here:
Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS – At over 1200pages this hardcover is big enough to go into battle with, or you can do something more traditional with it and enjoy it and put it on your bookshelf. Rushed out just at the end of 2017, to be part of the 100th Anniversary of Jack Kirby, it is easily the must own collected edition/graphic novel to have. The first printing does have a printing error, all that rushing I was talking about. One page is printed twice. It is an easily corrected error.
You can find details here:
I printed the correct page (found at the link above) on my color printer and slipped it in the book at the correct spot. Job done. And sure we can wait for a corrected edition, or future printing, but considering we have no idea when or if that is happening, my 10 cent fix more than suffices.
Get your copy, while it is still below cover price, here:
Come back next time for more… Deals of the Day!
THE HEAVY, as I wrap up the first month of 2018, has been on heavy rotation on my CD player (remember those) in my nice non-self driving car. 🙂
Take that Elon Musk and Google!!!
I’m joking!I am a HUGE fan of Elon Musk and his Tesla and Space X projects. He is a real life Tony Stark/Reed Richards pushing a nation that has been too long held hostage by backward leaning corporate interests into the future.
That said, I’ll keep my cd player in my car, and drive my own darn car, Thank You very much. 🙂
And when I’m driving that car, I like to listen to… THE HEAVY!
THE HEAVY is a band, that has a fresh, vibrant, energetic, genre defying sound that marks them as something … new, and exceptionally good. Arguably with 4 albums under their belt since 2009, their rock-soul-fusion sound, marks them as the best band of the 21st century. A 21st century British answer to the short lived 20th century phenomenon of HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH. But where HOOTIE was more lyrical folksy, THE HEAVY true to their name has a growl in their music, that is pure power, and pure Rock. Not the Rock of metal and noise, but the Rock of Hendricks and Morrison and The Who.
I’ve been listening to these guys 2 or 3 years now, and week 4 of 2018 they are still my favorite band. I own all 4 of their CDs. You can too. All 4 of their CDs are works of art in terms of naming and construction.Get yours here:
You can hear and view the chosen ones at the link above, or see the top ten right here:
Listener Picks: Top 100 Albums Of 2017
- Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
- Lorde, Melodrama
- St. Vincent, Masseduction
- The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
- The National, Sleep Well Beast
- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound
- LCD Soundsystem, American Dream
- SZA, CTRL
- Big Thief, Capacity
- Father John Misty, Pure Comedy
As someone who has been… not a fan, of what I have heard from Kendrick Lamar; needless to say this list is not my top ten list (that is coming) but this is a start.
Quite frankly listening to their top ten selections…. not a fan of this list, however there are some standouts. Your mileage may vary.
Stay tuned for more lists, and hopefully a few I even agree with. 🙂
And a quick aside on Kendrick Lamar, I do not get it.
As someone who is not a stranger to call and response, to ballads,to instrumental, to folk, to blues, to country, to soul, to rock , to spoken word, to rap, to hip-hop to avant garde, I am no stranger to good music and bad music.
So, put the records of say Oddisee or Childish Gambino against any of the records of Kendrick Lamar, for me the work is not even in the same league.
Oddisee and Gambino and tons of others have music that is creative and enjoyable, for me the work of Kendrick Lamar is full of a couple of curse words repeated, and some not compelling rhyming.
I’m not an Eminem fan, but you can’t argue he can put out FANTASTIC music, I can see where the praise comes from for him.
I just don’t see it for Kendrick Lamar, all his praised albums, I don’t just find them not great, I find them not good, and a chore to listen to.
Give me IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE or PUBLIC ENEMY or SNOOP DOG if you want to talk great rappers, but Kendrick Lamar???.
I mean congratulations for his success and if you are one of the people who love him, great.
However, I just find his across the board praise by critics… inexplicable. Truly a case of the Emperor has no clothes.
Okay, off my soap box, and I’ll have my list up soon.
I just watched an excellent Michael Pritchard TED Talk on making filthy water drinkable. At only ten minutes you can view it here:
As someone who has always been concerned with the quality of drinking water, and has over several years tried various remedies to ensure clean water, the talk was of definite interest to me.
Especially as I see more and more companies pressure nations and communities to privatize their water infrastructure; I think water, clean drinkable non-contaminated or tinkered with for taste water (Dasani I’m looking at you)… is going to increasingly not be guaranteed. Water, in this ‘tail wags Dog’ America and World, Is going to start being a luxury item you have to pay for, rather than a basic necessity that should be freely available and provided. And those who can’t pay for clean, non contaminated water, will not get clean contaminated water.
A Trumpian Dystopian Orwellian future, made ever less far-fetched as the more passionate among us do nothing, while the venal and greedy and ignorant among us, shout loudly.
Michael Pritchard is one who did not stay quietly on the sidelines, turning his outrage on tragedies of nature, and failures of governments and men, such as Katrina… into action.
In this case a portable water filtration system called LIFESAVER that checks a lot of the boxes, that others miss.
- One it requires no external power source.
- Two it is designed to catch just about everything, rather than just a few, and
- Third and most importantly, and the one that most water filters fail on… it shuts the water filter off when it has reached the point of failure.
A water filter is only as good as that point of failure, and a system that lets you know when you have reached that point of replacement is indispensable.
In my house I use the zero pitcher, for this very reason. It’s a quick and easy test you can run on every glass of water, and when the meter hits that number of 006 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) you know it is time to replace that filter.
LIFESAVER offers a similar level of confidence, where it matters even more… when you are on the go; away from your house. And I don’t just mean camping, I mean anyplace outside your home where you need to get a drink of water, whether that be the water cooler at your job, a public fountain, or a friends house.
I work for a billion dollar company, in a fantastic high rise in the middle of a major city, and way too often the water out of the tap, for the whole building… comes out brown. That is just not acceptable. And yes the company has mounted water filters, but are the filters getting changed as they should be? When the municipality of a so-called 1st World Nation can’t provide its citizens clean drinking water from the tap (or don’t prioritize such water), you begin to question the capability of every part of that chain.
We have this delusion in America, like so many delusions that allowed otherwise sane people to actually cast a ballot for Trump, we have a delusion that water quality is a third world problem. When the truth is, through the greed of billionaires, America is quickly becoming a third world nation. The problems of Mexico, and Sudan, and Kosovo, and Nigeria and India… these are quickly going to become American problems. Because we are allowing slavers and Robber Barons to make policy, that inevitably is designed to make the few masters and the many slaves.
Some of that you can combat through legislation, though voting, through boycotting, and some of it you combat by taking an active role, in making sure the basic necessities of life… clean water… in a pinch you can provide for yourself.
That is where the LIFESAVER System comes in. Its company grade is an A, and its Amazon Reviews have been vetted and are accurate (A lot of times they are not, don’t just assume a company with 4 or 5 stars on Amazon is a slam dunk of a product. Unfortunately unscrupulous companies use robots to pad their page with tons of fake 5 star reviews.)
You want to vet the company and vet the reviews, to see if the company is legit and the reviews are legit. There are various sites that will do this for you. I’ve checked the most reputable ones, and LIFESAVER as a company is an A, and its Amazon reviews get an A for being accurate, and non robot generated.
All this to say, this is the gift giving season, Dickens’ sweet story of a carol at Christmas, has been turned by savvy businessmen into a retailers dream, the need to purchase and buy, affecting all during this time of year, more like a fever, than anything to do with faith.
Whether Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Vodun or Festivus you celebrate; we are all swept up in the compulsion to spend. All to some point swayed by the marketing push and Black Friday sales, or Amazon Monday sales.
But perhaps we can do better than the usual suspects of gifts. While the kids want (and deserve) their toys, for the adults give them the LIFESAVER. It lives up to its name. It is something that should be in each car you own, for emergencies, and one in the house as a backup filtration system. Essential for any bug-out bag.
And the lifesaver while impressive, no product should be considered an end all and be all. I would recommend having a UV pen water sterilizer as well. It is just a good one-two punch to get in the habit of doing. Especially as your filter gets close to its end of life.
Is it overkill? Probably. But considering it only takes seconds more to UV your drink after filtering, it is probably just a good routine to get into. But even without the UV step, I consider the LIFESAVER absolutely an indispensable purchase in 2017 and beyond, and a fantastic gift.
Get yours here:
You are going to also need to have replacement filters on hand (In the words of Nick Nolte, from EXTREME PREJUDICE [one of my favorite movies, and easily his most iconic role] ‘One without the other, ain’t no damn good.’)
Lifesaver Bottle Ultra Filtration Water Bottle Replacement Carbon Inserts (4-pk)
And here’s the recommended UV pen:
And here’s the pitcher for your kitchen (and you could also use an additional one for your bathroom or just go with an on tap unit for your bathroom faucet):
Or more convenient for your bathroom would be a on-faucet filter, that also offers a end of life replacement light, which would be the below:
So that’s it guys. When I started this blog, far more than a decade ago, one of my early concerns was water quality. I had tried distillers, table top water filters, and tons of options in between.
And all of that research has brought me to the recommendations above. You want to give a gift this holiday season, give the gift of clean water.
It is… a start.
Use the links above and help this blog earn a few pennies with your purchases.
I absolutely hate the fact that some musicians are only releasing their music in streaming MP3 compressed format. It is such a disservice to a musician and music lovers not to have that music on Gatekeeper free, high-quality, well mastered full range CD. It’s a crime, especially with a singer of the strength of Jacob Banks. Go ahead and discover him like I did, courtesy of MP3 or streaming, but hold out for a full range CD to buy.
Some standouts from this musician…
MONSTER 2.0 his single from 2015 PARADOX release.
And the five songs on his latest from 2017 THE BOY WHO CRIED FREEDOM. Includes the sterling CHAINSMOKING and the smokey PART TIME LOVE. A top notch singer deserving of a top notch mastered CD.
Until then, sample him here:
Another great discovery of 2017.