video review : Tony Ferguson versus Anthony Pettis at UFC 229

video review : Tony Ferguson versus Anthony Pettis at UFC 229

Pettis is no slouch, but Ferguson’s fighting style is hard to deal with. It’s a barrage of pressure from a guy who doesn’t seem to get tired. He gets rocked in round 2 but recovers and continues to attack.

The ending is, as Jon Anik describes it, somewhat anticlimactic as the bout ends with Duke Roufus throwing in the metaphorical towel for Anthony Pettis. He’s apparently done in by a broken hand.

my rating = 4 of 5

2018

audio review : In The End ( album ) … The Cranberries

audio review : In The End ( album ) ... The Cranberries

“It’s all over now,” Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan declares. She’s right. She died in the process of making this album, which, as a result, is purported to be the band’s final.

It’s essentially a set of demo songs, at least when it comes to the vocals, but they sound complete to my ears. Their melodies, while unexceptional, are groovy enough.

my rating = 3 of 5

2019

audio review : They Don’t Care About Us ( song ) … Michael Jackson

“All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us,” the refrain, a ghetto street chant, goes. But what is it saying? That upper class white people (“they”) are generally apathetic toward (“us”) blacks? Michael Jackson, who one could jokingly say went from the latter to the former, suggests so.

“I’m tired of being the victim of hate,” The King Of Pop declares, “You’re raping me of my pride… for God’s sake.” But the best bit is the one about Martin Luther King, which is harmonized to perfection before the final chorus section, where this anthem starts to sound like another Michael Jackson classic.

It could’ve been just that, but the guitar break, which serves as a bridge, is jarring. Not to say there shouldn’t be a guitar break; there absolutely should; just that there should be a better, or at least more fitting, one. The song also goes on for too long at the end. It should end at about the 04:10 mark.

my rating = 4 of 5

1995

audio review : History ( album ) ... Michael Jackson

video review : Jared Cannonier versus Anderson Silva at UFC 237

video review : Jared Cannonier versus Anderson Silva at UFC 237

Anderson Silva’s UFC 234 bout against Israel Adesanya almost ended like this. The Stylebender landed a kick to the knee of The Spider’s lead (right) leg early in the third round that buckled him, but he recovered. Jared Cannonier must’ve studied that fight. Here he kicks Silva’s same leg until it gives.

It’s an odd and anticlimactic ending to a fight it seems was just getting started. Anderson Silva goes down near the end of the “very” first round; a point at which Jared Cannonier’s speed and strength advantage has him at a slight edge, though Silva manages to land some impressive kicks of his own.

The man is 44 years old and looks good for that age, but these losses are adding up, which only tarnishes his legacy as arguably the best UFC fighter ever. If he’d retired after his first loss to Chris Weidman, which is what I said he should’ve done at the time, there wouldn’t be much to argue about.

Instead he went for a rematch and got his leg broken. That loss is eerily similar to this one, which takes us back to the question of the end. BJ Penn, who Silva once praised as one of the best ever, earned his seventh straight loss at this same 237 event. The way Silva’s career is going isn’t much better.

my rating = 3 of 5

2019

Hershey’s Gold

Hershey's Gold

Hershey’s Gold is one of their better candy bar varieties. Chocolate has long been a flavor overrated in my mind and this bar has none. It’s a sweet caramel made with tiny bits of peanuts and pretzels, the salt of which makes for an interesting juxtaposition.

my rating = 4 of 5

video review : Chris Weidman versus Jacaré Souza at UFC 230

video review : Chris Weidman versus Jacaré Souza at UFC 230

“What a fight,” Joe Rogan comments at the end. I agree. This is one hell of a fight; a kickboxing brawl that, while Chris Weidman looks a tad sharper, goes back and forth fairly evenly until Souza shuts him down.

That’s literally what it looks like; someone pressing a robot’s off button; as Weidman slowly falls over from a big overhand right to the temple. It’s a third round KO and his fourth loss in less than three years.

my rating = 4 of 5

2018

The Marvelous Land Of Oz ( book ) … L Frank Baum

The Marvelous Land Of Oz ( book ) ... L Frank Baum

Frank Baum’s Wizard Of Oz is good on its own. It’s not Wonderful, thanks mainly to its anticlimactic ending, but it’s better than this unnecessary sequel, which takes us back to Oz to follow not Dorothy but an orphan boy named Tip. He meets eccentric characters, some we know, along his way.

General Jinjur and her Army Of Revolt; hundreds of feminist (sexist) girls with pretty faces; make for alluring villains. More time should be given to their zany antics. Jellia Jamb, a servant in The Emerald City’s Royal Palace, is also cute. Tip’s adventure is inferior to Dorothy’s though in nearly every way.

my rating = 3 of 5

1904

review : The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz ( book ) … L Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz ( book ) … L Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz ( book ) ... L Frank Baum

This modernized fairy tale, about an orphan named Dorothy who gets blown away to a magical land during a Kansas cyclone, could’ve lived up to its grandiose title if it were about a quarter shorter. The storyline reaches its thematic peak during the Balloon chapter, XVII of XXIV, which makes for an ending that’s somewhat anticlimactic.

It’s consistently cute though, mostly due to the unlikely friends Dorothy meets along the way. There’s The Scarecrow, who has no brains, The Tin Woodman, who has no heart, and The Cowardly Lion; the three of whom join Dorothy, and her dog Toto, on a quest to Oz’s City Of Emeralds to get their wishes granted by the Godlike Wizard.

my rating = 4 of 5

1900

audio review : Bad Sister ( album ) … Roxanne Shanté

audio review : Bad Sister ( album ) ... Roxanne Shanté

Bad Sister isn’t a bad album, but it would be a lot better without all the filler, which come mostly in the form of overblown remixes. The Hip-Hop version of Live On Stage clocks in at damn-near seven minutes.

The best song is Feelin Kinda Horny, the only one not produced by Marley Marl, interestingly enough. Fatal Attraction and Knockin Hiney are also decent, though the latter includes a repeat (filler) verse.

my rating = 3 of 5

1989

video review : Israel Adesanya versus Anderson Silva at UFC 234

video review : Israel Adesanya versus Anderson Silva at UFC 234

I expected Anderson Silva, arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the history of The UFC, to get knocked out in the first round of this fight. Silly me. Even at 43, which is old for the sport, he’s got skills. The Spider is long past his prime; he’s slower and more tentative; but is able to hang with a top newcomer.

Israel Adesanya is, in essence, a younger version of Anderson Silva, a man he once idolized. Silva does some Matrix-style dodges in the first round and actually outstrikes Adesanya in the second, but it isn’t enough. Adesanya wins mostly by staying busier, particularly in the third, where Silva seems to fade.

my rating = 3 of 5

2019

audio review : New Amerykah : Part One [ 4th World War ] ( album ) … Erykah Badu

audio review : New Amerykah : Part One [ 4th World War ] ( album ) ... Erykah Badu

It’s still the 1970s as far as Erykah Badu is concerned and that’s fine with me. That decade produced some of the best music, at least when it comes to the sounds of the instruments. There’s just something about an old funk groove that never goes out of style. Badu has a knack for funk grooves. That’s why it’s sort of disappointing to hear her cover old songs instead of making them up on her own.

The opening bit is a note-by-note cover of a Ramp song. That shameless jack move, which hardcore fans might excuse as homage, takes away a lot of artistic credit when it comes to Badu’s originality. As does My People, based on an Eddie Kendricks chant. “My people, hold on,” she says, probably referring to politically oppressed black people as the overall theme of the album seems to suggest.

But even if you’re put off by her social ideology and annoyed by her comic spontaneity; the Kolleen bit is grating; it’s hard not to be enchanted by her overall musicality. The original songs are, to my ears, better than the covers, which says something in regard to her talent. The Healer, a tribute to J Dilla, is voodoo magic. Telephone, another lament, captures perfectly the essence of soul jazz.

my rating = 3 of 5

2008

audio review : New Amerykah : Part Two [ Return Of The Ankh ] … Erykah Badu

audio review : New Amerykah : Part Two [ Return Of The Ankh ] ... Erykah Badu

If that 4th World War is about fear, Ankh must be a metaphor for romantic love. Conceptually that’s not a good thing; “love” has long been the go-to cliché for songmakers; but few singers sound as soothing and rejuvenating as Erykah Badu when she wraps her head around a groove.

This Part Two of New Amerykah is less quirky but perhaps more soulful than Part One. The set begins 20 Feet Tall with gorgeous chords over a clicking metronome before funking up the pace for Window Seat. Other highlights include Don’t Be Long and an interlude entitled Incense.

my rating = 4 of 5

2010

audio review : New Amerykah : Part One [ 4th World War ] ( album ) … Erykah Badu