Latrine Stream: A Social Distancing Series- Mirror

With the Coronavirus keeping us all on lockdown, I am assuming many of you are looking for things to watch during these times of social distancing and quarantine. The Latrine Stream Series will be focusing on either a film or group of films each day. Look at this series as a break in between rewatching “The Office” and “Friends”. A majority of the films touched on in the series can be found on the Criterion Channel.

Although I am currently working on a Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective piece, I felt the best place to start this new series would be worth the directors fourth film “Mirror”. Released after his international hit “Solaris” Tarkovsky took a more autobiographical approach with his next film. “Mirror” is the definition of “pure cinema” relying less on conventional narrative, forcing the viewer to let the images wash over you, putting the viewer in a contemplative state.

The film is made up of dreams and memories of an unseen man. Just like how dreams and memories are sort of just images in our mind, the film is presented in a similar way. We see a short scene of the man’s grandfathers barn burn down, only witnessing the moment itself nothing before nothing after. Moments like this leave the viewer thinking about moments in our own past, recalling the snap shots in our mind. This connection is what I feel makes “Mirror” transcend what a film can be.

In the story the man’s mother and ex wife are portrayed by the same actress Margarita Terekhova. This might be jarring for some audience members, Tarkovsky allows the viewer to understand why he made this choice later on in the film. A narration by Tarkovsky’s father accompanies several scenes, not adding much to the narrative of the story but adding more to the autobiographical aspect of the film. The directors actual mother plays the protagonists mother during the final shot of the film.

Not really sure how Tarkovsky got this past the Soviet Censorship at the time, even for today’s standards films lacking a central narrative are not common. Although this is not my favorite Tarkovsky film this is definitely experimental filmmaking at its finest and a must watch if you are looking to connect with a film in a different way apart from a story telling aspect.

Grade: 5/5

Bucco Brady!

After telling the New England Patriots he would not return to the team for the 2020 season, it has been reported by ESPN that Tom Brady has agreed to sign a 2-year 30 million dollar contract with my home town Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will be great not only for the Bucs organization but also for the fans of Tampa Bay who have been looking for a savior at QB ever since the team fumbled the Doug Williams deal back in the eighties.

For me this is bittersweet. I am a lifelong Patriots fan but was also born and raised in the Tampa Bay Area so the Bucs are my second team. It’s crazy to think that my all time favorite player is now a member of my home town franchise. The Pats are still my love but the Bucs are now like my side chick team. As someone who was already contemplating getting 2020 season passes due to my enjoyment of the Tampa Bay Vipers games, the signing of my all time favorite player to my home town team might just put me over the edge.

The off-seasons for both teams has been night and day. The Pats did nothing that would entice Brady to stay in their anemic offense for another season letting big name WR Stefon Diggs going to division rival Buffalo Bills for peanuts. The Bucs locked up both of their top defensive pieces Shaq Barrett and JPP, the latter being the leagues sack leader and breaker of Buc legend Warren Sapp’s franchise record. The offense is stacked with my personal favorite WR Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both making pro bowls last year, and Breshad Perriman making some big plays after Evans was injured. Instead of wasting money to see if Jameis improve off of last years 30 TDS for 30 Ints performance, the Bucs went all in on Brady. If worst comes to worst they just draft a QB to sit behind him for two seasons which will help the future of the organization. With Bruce Arians at the helm for his second season, I feel the offense will be even more high powered, without the threat of Jameis pick six.

I think this was a great move by the Tampa Buccaneers organization who after 40 years finally made a great decision at QB. Brady will not only help the team get over the playoff hump but I feel his goal is to be the first QB to play a super bowl in front of his hometown crowd which is a possibility this season with the Super Bowl held in Tampa this season. As a Tampa Bay Area native I am tired of Tampa teams being laughed at and not taken seriously, my hope is that TB12 will continue his leadership not only on the field but also in the Tampa Bay community, raising the flag as the captain of the ship.

The Boyhood Dream Doesn’t Come True.

As a lifelong wrestling fan from the Tampa Bay Area, one goal in my life was to see Wrestlemania Live. With the announcement of Wrestlemania 36 being held at Raymond James stadium a few years back it seemed like one of my bucket list goals could finally be checked off. But unfortunately due to Coronavirus my boyhood dream won’t be coming true.

The saddest part of all this is WWE is still going to hold Wrestlemania but instead of being in a packed stadium it will be held at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, in front of no fans. That is the equivalent of playing the Super Bowl on a practice field in front of no fans. This might have been my last opportunity to see all time greats like The Undertaker and Goldberg wrestle. The Taker match is the most disappointing since he is wrestling AJ Styles, my all time favorite. Although both Taker and Goldberg are past their prime just the entrances alone are worth the price of admission.

As a whole this card was pretty stacked with John Cena vs The Fiend and Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre both having big fight feels. I will still watch the event but it will still feel bitter sweet. With NXT Tampa as well as the WWE HOF also being cancelled this bizarro world we are living has finally infiltrated Vince McMahon’s universe. This will be a huge hit not only on the city of Tampa, which has a huge wrestling background but also on the wrestling business as a whole. Many independent promotions run shows during Wrestlemania weekend to capitalize off the hype, have been forced to cancel their events as well. Big companies like WWE can afford the financial hit but the smaller promotions could be really hurt by this.

I am hopeful that after all this Cornavirus stuff is over WWE will come back to the Tampa Bay Area. At this point my childhood dream of going to Wrestlemania has been put on hold but with the company frequently hosting the event in Florida. I might not have to wait a lifetime to experience “The Showcase Of The Immortals”.

Defanged and Losing In Los Angeles.

With a 24-20 lead at half the Vipers looked poised to get their first road win of the season. Well Josh Johnson and OC Norman Chow had other plans. After getting off to a terrible start throwing an int on the first play to Vipers DB Robert Priester, Josh Johnson showed why he is one of the top QBs in the league shredding the top rated Vipers defense for 288 passing yards. The defense was doing a good job of getting pressure but it seemed like as the game went on they left their foot off the gas allowing the Wildcats to come back before the half. I know coach Glanville is a big proponent of the blitz method but when your DBs are getting beat for big yardage plays, it’s time to secure the back field. The TE’s of the Wildcats towered over our defense allowing for TD after TD. I am still however impressed with how the D-Line is playing they just were not fast enough to get sacks. Their are still some bright spots in the 41-34 loss.

I’m not going to start calling for Taylor “Corn Dog” Cornelius’s job yet. Each week he is looking better and better throwing for 300 yards this week. I know some fans are pulling for Murray to come back,but Murray lacks the running ability Cornelius has allowing him to make chicken shit out of chicken salad on a majority of busted plays. Flowers got in for a few special teams plays but I still don’t think he should be the starter over “Corn Dog”. If he can get more of a rhythm going with Reece Horn and Dan “Tha Threat” Williams, the big play option will be available. Teams don’t fear our big play ability enough making it easier for defenses to predict the play. Once the Wildcats started stopping our running game and our defense wasn’t getting takeaways or stops, we just couldn’t keep up with their big plays.

That is not to say all is lost. We showed we can go toe to toe with two of the leagues most high powered passing games, Houston a few weeks ago. I feel if this had been a home game we would have stole the momentum not allowing the Wildcats to regain their ninth life right before half. With two winnable home games coming up against two pretty weak passing games in St.Louis and Dallas the season is not a total loss yet. If we can manage to pick up some division wins down the stretch the team could definitely secure the 2nd spot in the XFL East. The team definitely has some things to work on with the hated rival St Louis Battlehawks coming to the Snake Pit this weekend. Hopefully we will be plucking feathers out of our teeth come next Sunday.

Long Live The Grump.

As a child I would recall watching this bizarre animated show featuring this dope wizard and his dragon. Eventually I was able to find the show online. It’s actually called “Here Comes The Grump” a short lived animated series that ran from 1969-1970.

The show was created by long time animation duo DePatie-Freleng most know for creating “The Pink Panther Show” amount other characters in their stable of animated universe. Rip Taylor does the voice of The Grump himself who has put a spell on the kingdom ruled by Princess Dawn. The princess, her pig dog, and “boy from the real world” Terry Dexter go from one wacky place to another in search of the crystal key that will break the gloom spell over her kingdom. Of course since he is grumpy, The Grump and his dragon Dingo follow them in a sort of “Coyote/Road Runner esque chase. It is cool seeing all the different places the cat and mouse game leads our characters, like the land of glass and the place where you have to laugh at everyone’s jokes.

While it is a great show I can definitely see why it didn’t have the staying power. Once you see the first few episodes, pretty much the same beats occur in each following one. The Grump gets sneezed on by is dragon and will yell “woah dragon!” in his raspy chain smoker voice. Apparently The Grump was inspired by Yosemite Sam and you can definitely see the similarities. I think The Grump is a much more trippy looking character rocking the all pink and purple fit. If you are a fan of the work of early seventies, late sixties morning cartoons I would definitely check out “The Grump”.

The Vipers and The Cats Duel Out West.

In Week 5 the Vipers head out west to take on the 1-3 LA Wildcats who are looking to bounce back after a tough loss in New York last week.

So far teams playing cross country games are 0-4. The Vipers look to keep the momentum rolling after their first win and shut out of their inaugural season.

Coach Trestman has named Taylor “Corn Dog” Cornelius the starter this week with Murray backing him up. I feel this is a smart decision with “Corn Dog” looking better and better each week. He showed me he is willing to do what it takes to get a win, with his 18 yard touchdown last week.

According to Allison Koehler the teams beat writer, Quinton Flowers has returned to practice and got some one on one time with new receiver S.J. Green and coach Trestman. It will be interesting to see if Trestman will incorporate Flowers into the offense more has a running back due to an injury with De’Veon Smith that might limit his touches. Flowers still insists on being traded but if we get a big road win and he makes some big plays he might change his tune. I would like for him to stick around, his play making ability will open up the offense.

Former Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson is the team leader of the LA Wildcats. Last week he was without two of his top offensive weapons WRNelson Spruce and RB Martez Carter.

On the defensive side of the ball the O-Line is going to have a tough time with DE Shawn Oakman who is a monster. After trading defensive captain Anthony Johnson to the trash DC Defenders and firing DC Pepper Johnson, HC Winston Moss has taken over the play calling of the defense. Moss and the team give off sort of an Oakland Raiders vibe. They buy into his toughness. Some of his sideline rants and lounging are my favorite moments of the season.

Coach Granville is running one of the best defenses in the league, which will continue this week. The running game will definitely need to set the tone again this week. I think the Vipers will capitalize off the win last week and take it to the Wildcats in their home building getting the first road win of the season.

Hanna-Barbera > Disney?

Disney has become a media conglomerate over the years, focusing less on animation and more on big budget super hero films. Most of their animation catalog except everyone’s favorite Mouse, pretty much comes from an already known property. For me the best stable of characters in the world of animation cause from Hanna-Barbera.

The studio was founded in 1957 by Tom and Jerry creators and former MGM animation duo William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Under the studio they created some of the most popular and longest running animated series in America like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and Scooby Doo.

I mainly found out about the studio from the reruns Cartoon Network would show back in the day. Mainly just The Flintstones, it was not until I became older and had access to the Boomerang streaming service that I was able to dive into the back catalog.

The Flintstones will always be one of my favorites but new found favorite shows like Wacky Races and Magilla Gorilla have become some of my favorites, Atom Ant is pretty cool to. Wacky Races will always have a place in my heart because my friends would watch it in High School. Dick Dastardly and his snickering dog Muttley lose almost every race due to their tricks. Yogi’s Gang is basically the Hanna-Barbera Avengers with almost every character joining Yogi on his Ark fighting a different villain each week.

The channel had new content as well with a more modern Wacky Races series available to stream. For now not every show in the Hanna-Barbera stable is on the platform but I’m hoping shows like Wally Gator, Squiddly Diddly, and Quick Draw McGraw will find their way on the platform.

Food Nostalgia.

No matter what your cultural background is one thing we can all relate to is food. Food connects us to our past and to our heritage. I can remember from a young age drinking Dr.Browns Root Beer and eating black and white cookies with my Grandma. Even thought it’s been years since she’s passed every time I drink Dr.Browns or eat my beloved black and white cookies it transports me back to a nostalgic place keeping me connected with my Grandma and our relationship. I only like the white part and she only liked the chocolate part and still to this day I only eat the white part, making it the perfect shareable treat.

Even going to eat at my favorite pizza place Gianni’s has a similar effect on me. I still hear and visualize my grandma telling me stories of Piggly Wiggly going to the market to get blueberry pies as I chomp down on two slices of cheese pizza and a cherry coke.

Just recently as Monday, my mother made chicken soup, and you know what the first thing she said to me is “it’s just like how grandma used to make it”. You better believe it was. Family traditions and food keeps the spirit alive of our loved ones no matter how long they have been gone, making the traditions even that more meaningful.

I can still remember every Friday my dad and I going to the video store to get some films for the weekend and splitting a pie and garlic knots from Little Italy. Even though we don’t do it anymore, it is still a tradition that I will one day do with my family.

One of the things I am looking forward to later on in adult hood is passing down these traditions to my children. Who knows maybe years I’m gone my kids will spilt their black and white cookies with their grand kids keeping the tradition alive.

Same Flowers, Different Garden.

After leaving the team Week 4 for “personal reasons”, QB Quinton Flowers returned to the Vipers this week but theirs one catch, he’s asked to be traded. After getting passed over on the depth chart for Taylor Cornelius and his limited action in the second half of the Week 3 Houston Roughnecks game, Flowers relationship with the team seems to have been burned.

The rumored landing spots for the disgruntled home town hero are the New York Guardians and the Seattle Dragons, both of which are facing QB controversies of their own. The Guardians protected QB Matt McGloin threw his team under the bus after their Week 2 blowout against DC, allowing Luis Perez to take over the reins after being traded from the LA Wildcats in preseason. Perez was LA’s protected QB pick but after signing former Buccaneers QB Josh Johnson the team moved on from him. Perez played pretty decent in his first start last week giving NY a much needed home win against his former LA team.

The 1-3 Seattle Dragons might be looking for a spark in their offense after finally benching the inconsistent Brandon Silvers for former USF QB B.J. Daniels. Flowers was Daniels heir apparent at USF. Jim Zorn the Dragons Head Coach seems to be just as inconsistent as Trestman so I don’t think it would be a good landing spot for Flowers. Personally I rather see the team trade him at this point for one of NY or SEA’s defensive players or someone for someone who can beef up our solid O-Line.

Flowers was never promised the starting job in Tampa anyway so I am not sure what he is expecting to get anywhere else around the league. At this point I will be glad when he is gone so the team can move forward and build off the momentum of their Week 4 shutout which Flowers was absent from. I hope the Fang Gang has similar feelings as I do and will continue to support the team, Murray, and “Corn Dog” over Flowers. Don’t get me wrong he is definitely a playmaker and could be an asset to the team, but I feel having him apart of the team moving forward will only make things worse. If he’s not going to play at least get something for him and give him a shot somewhere else, making it a win win for both parties involved.

I Want Etake.

With his rumored album “Eternal Atake” on the horizon, Lil Uzi drops another banger “I Want” giving fans that “Backstreet Boys” feel to hold us over until Atake drops.

After the release of his hit “Luv Is Rage 2” Lil Uzi Vert hasn’t dropped a full project in almost three years. Between label disputes, short retirements, and dropping some of his best tracks to date pretty much back to back to back, with “Futsal Shuffle 2020”, “Sanguine Paradise”, and “That’s A Rack” all taking spots on my top tracks on 2019 list, the latter taking the top spot. Other than projects from Benny The Butcher and K Dot, Eternal Atake is my most anticipated project of the year.

His newest single “That Way” is Uzi’s take on the Backstreet Boy’s 1999 classic “I want It That Way”. Uzi is back at it always bringing some of the best hooks in the game. On first listen you might think the song is kind of corny, but for me that is Uzi’s charm. Dropping one of my favorite lines of the year like “Yes I’m slimey like a snail but I’m no slowpoke” and “I killed my girlfriend that’s why I’m single”.

For me Uzi’s recent output just builds on what he was delivering on classics like “Lil Uzi VS The World” and the “Luv Is Rage” series. Uzi is able to stay in this middle ground between the mainstream and underground due to his huge fan base. He differentiates himself from his contemporaries by delivering not only the best singles in the game, but some of the best bodies of work, allowing his projects to be played from front to back.

If your a fan of Uzi’s recent output this should be right up your alley. I know for me it is definitely high in the rotation, until Uzi finally gives us “Eternal Atake”.