Category Archives: TCB

Taking care of business

The Death Star Canteen

May The Force Be With You

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. The film was the fifth episode and the second installment in the Star Wars saga. Upon its intial release, the film received very mixed reviews from critics but, over the years, it has become many people’s favourite Star Wars film. It was also a pivotal film for creator, George Lucas.

‘Star Wars’ was released three years previously and became an unexpected success as well as a cultural phenomenon. Lucas wanted to use this success as a chance to become independent from the Hollywood film industry. He financed ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ by himself, bucking  Hollywood trends, and took full control of the Star Wars enterprise.

He brought in one of his former USC professors, Irvin Keshner, to direct and hired two leading screenplay writers to pen the story. This allowed Lucas to focus more on his company, Industrial Light And Magic (ILM), and the film’s special effects. The result was a technical achievement and an overwhelming triumph. The film cemented Lucas’ reputation and confirmed the Star Wars franchise as one of the most important cinematic and cultural achievements of the 20th century.

And so, thirty years later, the film lives on in its many released, restored, remastered, re-released and limited editions. However, for me, the original is still the best. The movie reminds me of my youth and of the wide-eyed wonderment that I gazed at the screen with, as the characters and scenes unfolded before me. It created an entirely different existence that I, and every other ten-year old I knew, could get lost in and be fascinated by. It is, simply, one of the best films of all time.

May the force be with you.

The Old Man And The Sea

I just finished reading ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ and I can’t help but wonder how appropriate the themes in the story are to my life right now with Wifey in Honolulu.

The old man, Santiago, is a fisherman, who is going through a serious rough patch.  He endures 84 days without a single bite, before he decides to venture out past the shallow waters in his boat on the 85th morning.

His pride and endurance are the two characteristics that Hemingway explores in great detail.  Man’s pride to succeed will often drive him to push himself and make decisions that may, at first, seem crazy.  ‘Living the dream’ is what everyone wishes to do but how many people have the actual courage to take their boat out past shallow waters?  Man’s endurance is also what is tested every single day in life.  How much struggling can a person overcome?  How many defeats can someone withstand?  How much disappointment can a person handle?  Struggles, defeats and disappointment are the challenges in life and the ways in which the world seems intent on, ultimately, destroying every single person who lives.

Santiago endures three days of pain and struggling with the fish before he finally defeats the worthy opponent.  However, within hours of his triumph, he begins to lose his reward as the predators in the sea emerge to destroy his trophy.  The old man does not concede though. He battles the sharks and gradually accepts the loss as a part of his journey.  Victories are fleeting and destruction is always unavoidable.  There are lessons to be learned along the way though and these can be taught to future generations.  The passing of wisdom from man to boy enables man to persist and bravely face defeat, knowing that winning or losing is not important.  Striving to do your best, enduring obstacles and learning from your mistakes are what matter in this life.

It was nearly 80 days before I was able to secure employment in Hawaii and, at times, finding a job seemed to be an impossible task.  Social, economic and cultural struggles continue to face Wifey and me each and every day.  But we are surviving.  And we are learning.  And every morning is a chance to wake up and become better than we were the day before.

Did we sail our boat out too far, by coming to Hawaii?  Are we chasing too big a fish?  Can we face all the predators and obstacles that lie before us?  Our pride and determination for a better life brought us here.  But only our endurance will give us the ability, over time, to find answers to all of these questions.

For now, we will just keep sailing.

Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?

“How you played in yesterday’s game is all that counts.”
– Jackie Robinson

The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins were the first teams to take the field today, all donning the immortal number 42 on their backs in honor of the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first day in the big leagues. On april 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson played his first major league game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, which broke the color line in baseball, helped to end racial segregation and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.

Here are just some of the highlights of his amazing life and career:

1919 – Born on January 31 in Cairo, Georgia
1939 – Earned varsity letters in football, basketball, track and baseball while attending UCLA
1941 – Played semi-professional football for the Honolulu Bears in Hawaii
1942 – Drafted by the Army and assigned to duty in Kansas
1944 – Refused to move to the back of an Army bus, which led to a court-martial and, eventually, an honorable discharge
1945 – Received an offer to play professional baseball in the Negro league for an amazing salary of $400 per month
1946 – Played one season with the Montreal Royals in the Class AAA International league
1947 – Became the first black player in the major leagues
1950 – Earned the highest salary of any Dodger with a paycheck worth $35,000
1955 – Won his only championship when the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the World Series
1957 – Retired from baseball and was subsequently diagnosed with diabetes
1962 – Elected into the Baseball Hall Of Fame on the first ballot
1964 – Helped found Freedom National Bank – an African-American owned and operated bank in Harlem
1965 – Became the first black analyst for ABC’s Major League Baseball Game Of The Week telecast
1972 – Died shortly after throwing out the first pitch in Game 2 of the World Series and accepting a plaque to honor the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut

I’m Moving To Hawaii…

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Thanks for reading this blog and listening to my music.



The Gig That I Did Go To

Massive Attack hit the Olympia last night to promote their new EP ‘Splitting The Atom’.  They were absolutely brilliant – a stunning light show, top-notch musicianship and a host of guest collaboraters including, Horace Andy, Shara Nelson and Martina Topley-Bird.

They have been writing and rehearsing since the end of 2008 in the hopes of finishing  what was dubbed ‘LP 5’ but the album has not yet surfaced.  Recently, the date February 8, 2010 was confirmed as the release date of the now-named ‘Heligoland’.

Rumor has it that Horace and Martina will be guest vocalists on some of the tracks and that Damon Albarn, Guy Garvey (Elbow) and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) will also appear on the album.  If it is anywhere near as good as some of the tracks sounded live then it will be one of the biggest releases of next year.

The setlist (to the best of my recollection) was:

01. Flat Of The Blade
02. Hartcliffe Star
03. Babel
04. Girl I Love You
05. Future Proof
06. Risingson
07. Angel
08. Inertia Creeps
09. Teardrop
10. Mezzanine
11. Safe From Harm
12. Unfinished Sympathy

13. Splitting The Atom
14. Atlas Air
15. Karmacoma

The Gig That I Didn’t Go To

The Pixies hit the Olympia last night as part of the Doolittle 20th Anniversary tour.  I didn’t get a ticket but a few of my mates did.  The reviews were rather mixed.  On the one hand, tickets were going for 200 EUR plus at the door and Frank Black didn’t say a word during the entire show.  On the other hand, they played a classic album in it’s entirety and, by all accounts, sounded absolutely amazing.

In a slightly related topic, some news has emerged about the Pixies’ new box set ‘Minotaur’.  When it comes to this, Frank Black had something to say; “I like that the sheer size of Minotaur moves it into the category of being an art object as opposed to being just a CD box set.  It’s not necessarily something you’d put next to your stereo, but on your marble coffee table with your other art books.”

True.  But I’m not sure I am willing to pay the price that is being asked for each of the editions.

Limited Edition / Signed (by all the band members) – 350.00 STG, which includes:
* All five albums in both 24K gold plated CD, Blu-ray audio, DVD surround sound and vinyl formats
* A 1991 Brixton gig in Blu-ray and DVD formats
* Two fine art books – one 96-page and one 54-page
* Two double-sided fold-out posters

Limited Edition – 299.99 STG (same as above without the signatures)

Deluxe Edition – 109.99 STG (everything but the 96-page book and vinyl albums)

200 EUR tickets?  350 STG box sets?  It sounds like they are only in it for the money to me.

The setlist was:

01. Dancing The Manta Ray
02. Bailey’s Walk
03. Weird At My School
04. Manta Ray
05. Debaser
06. Tame
07. Wave Of Mutilation
08. I Bleed
09. Here Comes Your Man
10. Dead
11. Monkey Gone To Heaven
12. Mr. Grieves
13. Crackity Jones
14. La La Love You
15. No. 13 Baby
16. There Goes My Gun
17. Hey
18. Silver
19. Gouge Away

20. Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)
21. Into The White
22. Where Is My Mind?