Short Takes

John Boyega and That Stormtrooper Outfit

Here's my first reaction to seeing John Boyega in a stormtrooper uniform on the surface of a desert planet.

Cinematically, this is a single reaction shot, designed to orient the audience/viewer to a new scene or the beginning of a scene. Boyega rises up, gives a solid reaction, and then moves in the frame to a new perspective that does not appear in the clip.

This suggests that the actor has been knocked out, incapacitated, or is recovering from being struck or disabled in some way. His shocked demeanor supports that.

The idea that he is, in fact a stormtrooper is a stretch for me because he is considered one of the "good guys." That would suggest the Boyega is wearing the uniform as a ruse and nothing more. He put on the armor in order to escape from a situation or to pass himself off as someone he is not. Where's the helmet? Removed because this is not who he is and this is not his actual uniform? Probably.

The Internet exploded with outrage; however, in keeping with the cinematic history, using a stormtrooper uniform to escape detection or deceive the real bad guys goes back to Episode Four, which, of course, begins with a crash-landing on the desert planet that has seen so much action.

I could be entirely wrong, of course, and I'll eat my words a year from now...

Yes, You Gotta Pay For Stuff

I found this attempt to look at what illegal music sharing has done for non-traditional and classical artists very interesting:
Over the past fourteen years, since the launch of peer-to-peer filesharing service Napster, those rights have been harder and harder to protect, whether you’re Domingo, Dylan or Diddy. The recent news that global recorded music revenues are growing for the first time since Napster’s launch in 1999 must therefore be cause for tentative celebration – even if the growth is only 0.3%. 
But the menace of illegal music-sharing still looms large. “Our markets remain rigged by illegal free music,” says Frances Moore, Chief Executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, whose latest findings estimate that a massive 32% of all internet users still regularly access unlicensed music sites. 
This turns what’s left of the legal online music space into a vicious turf war where the rules of engagement change constantly and a titan like Apple – which, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, controls around 75% of the $9.3bn digital music space – must watch its back. Witness the launch later this year of iTunes Radio, intended to counter the attack from subscription services like Spotify and Pandora, that now boast tens of millions of users worldwide and whose profits make up more than 10% of overall digital revenues. 
But if life in the small, legal digital space is tough for the mainstream record industry and content-distribution companies, it’s even more precarious for those in classical music, whose audience has traditionally exhibited very different buying, listening and collecting habits to those in the pop world.

The problem is, no one is going to pay for music in the future. It will continue to vanish as the years progress, and if classical artists can't survive, then they will simply stop making music.

No one could possibly live off of revenues from Spotify. I don't even know how that would even begin to compensate a classical music ensemble. If you had a popular quartet, how would they even begin to subsidize their future recordings from a Spotify account? It's mind-boggling. You gotta pay for stuff.

Would it be rude to point out that a massive amount of wealth was stolen from artists and concentrated in the hands of an immature manchild who believes himself entitled to fairytale weddings that destroy the environment?

Andre Cassagnes 1926-2013

Worth noting:
Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France, the toy's maker said. 
Cassagnes died Jan. 16 in a Paris suburb at age 86, said the Ohio Art Co., based in Bryan in northwest Ohio. The cause wasn't disclosed Saturday. 
"Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time," said Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art. 
Then an electrical technician, Cassagnes came upon the Etch A Sketch idea in the late 1950s when he peeled a translucent decal from a light switch plate and found pencil mark images transferred to the opposite face, the Toy Industry Association said.

Cheated Out of a Summer

My customary rants are usually directed at anything other than the weather; what's the point, right?

This summer, I feel cheated.

I feel like we were cheated out of a great deal of swimming pool time. There were whole weeks where we couldn't go swimming outdoors and there were stretches that were unbearably cold followed by unbearably hot. Yes, we swam when it was hot, but couldn't when it stormed and when there was lightning.


Here's to a better summer next year. Yes, I'm early. For me, it might as well be September.