Thursday, June 23, 2011

Whitey

The FBI caught up with James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica, California.  The fugitive mobster from South Boston had been on the lam with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig,  for 16 years.  He took off after his FBI handler tipped him off to indictments that were about to be handed down.

Whitey, you see, was an FBI informant.

He's implicated in 19 murders.

When I first found out through Twitter, I thought, Good.  Finally.

The black eye that the Boston FBI has been wearing since Bulger's informant status was revealed fades a little bit.  The wisdom of using known criminals as informants can be debated, but it seems to me like Whitey and others, including Steven Flemmi, helped get other mobsters off the streets. But there are allegations that the Bureau helped point Whitey toward others who ratted him out, and it didn't end well for those folks.

What sort of justice is that?  

Anyway, trial still awaits.  Anything can happen there, as we saw with O.J. Simpson.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clarence Clemons

I've been a fan of Bruce Springsteen at least since Born to Run.  The first time I saw him and the E Street Band was the Born in the USA tour.

I was going because I somehow got the tickets last minute.  I asked a friend to go, and he backed out last minute.  I still wanted to go, so I made the long drive from Andover, MA down to East Rutherford, New Jersey.
I still had a spare ticket when I got there.  I thought about selling it, but knowing me, I'd get caught.  

This girl comes up to me and asks if I had any tickets I was selling, and I said here, just take it.  She thought maybe I'd be asking for sexual favors in return.  I assured her, there were no ulterior motives.  She thanked me, went off with her friends.  Came up to my section during the show at one point to thank me again.

I write this in the wee small hours of Sunday, June 19, 2011.  Clarence Clemons, longtime saxophone player for the E Street Band, died Saturday at age 69.  He had a stroke the weekend before, and at least two brain surgeries since.

So many of Springsteen's songs he recorded with the E Street Band (there are some he didn't use the band on) are made better with Clemons' sax - Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, Born to Run, Badlands, to name just the ones that come to mind.

He performed with Jackson Browne, Ringo Starr, Jerry Garcia, and more recently, he'd worked with Lady Gaga.

But it was with Bruce that I first came to realize the impact a saxophone could have on a rock and roll song, and it was all Clemons.  What a talent.  I'm glad he was here.

Green Lantern - A Fan's Review

I went into the theater skeptical about Green Lantern.  I was prepared to be let down, knowing how hit-or-miss are movies based on comic books.  I'd also seen a couple of poor reviews.

I liked it.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are well cast in their leading roles.

The movie crams a lot of character history into two hours.  As there always is with movies based on books, even comic books, there's some that gets left out.  There's enough meat in the movie to keep the belly full.

The effect of Hal Jordan's father in his life is told well, and repeatedly.  We learn a bit about Carol Ferris, his love interest, but again, there's only two hours, and many miles to travel here.

I really dig how the current technology makes the aliens of the Green Lantern universe come to life.

There are two important villains in the narrative that are taken care of, conquered, in this first movie.   There's enough history with each that could have probably been featured in their own "episode."

I wasn't entirely thrilled with the ending of the movie.  Not the climax, but the ending.

No spoilers here.  Go see it. I recommend it.   Save yourself some money, the 3-D doesn't do much in this movie.