Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Thoughts on A Goofy Movie

Now I kind of want to talk about A Goofy Movie one of the most underated Disney movies out there, but before I can I need to talk about.

 Okay so in the 90's Disney tried to repurpose a lot of it's old I.P.s for TV. Mostly this meant a lot of ______ the animated shows.

 But oftentimes especially with older I.P.s they went weird.  Like The Jungle Book re-imagined as a 1920's flying pulp.

Goofy's version of this was a show that imagined him as a single dad trying to raise his Son, Max, in suburbia with Pegleg Pete as an obnoxious next door neighbor.

But something wierd happened. While a lot shows had a kid character Max, as well as his best friend Pete Jr. began to take over more and more of the show where it got to the point where they were the show. It eventually become more of a kid com about Max and P.J.'s preteen social awkwardness than an update to the modern slapstick of the old shorts.

Not that it wasn't there. The show was great at satirizing suburban life in same vein as the Jetsons and the Flintsons

But here is the rub. When it comes to older I.P. the mouse has never really been good at using it. That's more or less how MaleficentCinderella and even Once Upon a Time happened. Disney trying to figure out a way to actually do something it's older properties rather than just coasting off merch and theme parks.

It's on my list.

Goof Troop was a decently popular show in its time and had made Goofy, Goofy of all characters cool again. But all things must end and the show was canceled after a respectable 78 episodes.  Thing about a lot of animated hits of my childhood is they just refuse to die.

And Goof Troop got a last hurrah as a theatrical release Serenity style.

Here is the thing. Being both a fan of the show and the movie I have to applaud the choices they made in the show. Rather than it being an extended episode like most of these types of these movies the show, by a everybody up a few years the movie became about something bigger than the slap stick antics.

Due to some act one shenanigans the elder Goof thinks his kid is becoming delinquent and though well meaning drags him on the road trip from hell rather than doing the smart thing and just talking to the guy to see what's up.

For Max's part he makes the mistake of thinking that his Dad is so clueless that even if I tried to tell him what was up he wouldn't get. And that's the central conflict of the movie can these two guys who have a huge gap in each other's motivations hash it out and figure each other out before they wind up killing each other.

The ending song is so damn catchy I couldn't help but spoil the whole damn thing. Hey it's not just a Disney movie but  a Goofy movie. You didn't really think it was going to end on a downer

So okay. I am digging the plot but even you can't take drama in your talking dog movie, it broke from the more orchestral Disney tunes at the time to still find something that sounded pretty cool.  And that adds to the other reason this movie is worth watching the movie is kind of a time capsule of 90'sness. Including Pauly Shore.

And a Chucky Cheese knock off. Back. Back Dufus. Back I say,

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Disney Adventure

Okay then. There's lots of kick ass stuff going on in the world but like I said previously, there isn't much I can normally say about big national stuff that somebody else hasn't already said better so I'll leave certain supreme court decisions there.

Nope while this blog wears many hats I think it's best to think of it as a journal of sorts, a public record of whatever is on my mind. Sometimes what's on my mind is big political stuff and sometimes it's.

Okay let's back up. I normally don't do small talk at city council meetings. I suck at it. But I do overhear a lot of it. Two people were talking about the recent trend of superhero movies. The recent trend I love by the way.

I kind of wanted to rebut the comment but hey the internet has already done the. "Why are superheroes in?" convo to death.

It was another off hand comment in that conversation that sent my brain flying.

"Why can't they be more like Disney movies."

Okay then.

The reason why that's kind of hilarious should be obvious, but again it got me thinking. How did we get here. How did we get here. How did we get to the point where a Disney movie is a Disney movie and you notice when it isn't?

At least in terms of big hollywood that's kind of wierd. It's not so much with indie studios or indie subsidiaries but with studios themselves it kind of is (not counting marvel).

If I say a movie was put out by Lionsgate or Warner Brothers that tells you nothing about the content of the film at least not in the same way something like who wrote, directed or acted in it does so why Disney.

Well I think I kind of answered my own question there for a bit.

See when people are talking about Disney movies as Disney movies they tend not to be talking about the great continuum but of various eras of Disney.

You have golden age Disney which I shouldn't knock. But the think about Golden age Disney is that it was somewhat brief. We are oddly approaching the point where Disney as a film Company in terms of production history is outstretching the production run of it's namesake producer.

And as such what I consider to be the trademarks a Disney movie may not line up with the older generation who remember the Golden Era.

Me. Well I came up watching the dawn of the Renaissance.

But while love those movies I'll the first to tell you that I wasn't paying attenton to those stories because of plot or character. My parents trusted the mouse so I didn't have to ask twice to get into Lion King.

And while yes I think those movies hold up great the movies I actually started thinking about (beyond the brainwashing) are the ones that signaled the end. And damn it I so want to defend them.

Okay so I'd be an idiot to try to claim Home on The Range was solid gold and I never saw Brother Bear. But come onSpace Pirates are cool. I'm sorry. SPACE PIRATES ARE COOL!

And Tarzan had that cheetah fight going for it.

And once you get past "Reflection" Mulan is pretty straight old school war flick with the usual beats.

My point is that Disney movies of my time were a lot bigger on the adventure than the princess days. So it kind of makes since to me that that they would getting in bed with Star Wars and Marvel stuff now.

Heck I would argue that that's what made the Disney Renaissance the Disney Renaissance. That the company felt a lot more comfortable with and as a result was better at making movies where a lot of action has to take place on camera.

But that of course begs the question of gender. Is the reason why so much fonder of those movies is that more of them were being made for a male audience. Oh god and talking about Disney and gender opens a whole host of issues I don't feel like talking about right now.

Speaking of Frozen. In a lot of ways it is a throw back to the more action heavy renacance movies more than the more romance and comedy stuff of the Golden Age. But all the same it arguably has a lot more drama than even the movie based off of Shakespeare.

Oh and a thousand lit snobs want to kick my ass right about now.

Trying to dissect Frozen is also a little more head work than I want to do right now.  But it makes my list of movies that were meaningful to me, That helped me wrap my brain around some emotional... thingy I was having at the time, helping me contextualize what I was feeling and why? And honestly that is another post.

But back to my point. Walt's been dead for nearly 50 years. And It's hard to say a Disney movie is still a Walt Disney Movie.

There was a time when that may have been a bad thing but I think we're long past that point.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This Shit Has Got to End

There are bigger more pressing things going on in the world but I've been stalling and I need to get Monday's regular City Council Meeting out. Mostly the reason why it's not out is my sleep schedule has been screwed (this time in a good way) and so I find myself being knocked out for long periods of my day but the procrastination has made something despondently clear.

 I will have a sad sad little life if the arguments between Pamela Gerald and Council President Sylvia Jordan go on.

Oh they've always gone at it feels like ever since Siver left Jordan's been taking things personal and so it gets worse and worse.

My view is and has been whoever steps up to the mic in the communications portion should be able to say what they want as long as what they want is  either factually true or relevant opinion. That forum is a government owned one after all, but Jordan tends to do a bad job at saucing out the difference opinion and slander.

Since I've come back from college it's been getting harder and harder for people get to that mic as the rules have changed and she's had a hand in that and nothing Gerald says or does is going to make me forget that or think it's right or even alright.

If someone wants to talk to Council they should be able to do it before votes are taken, 3 minutes might not be enough time to get the point across on complicated issues or even emotions, and yes it can be crushing when somebody in a position of power tells you how you feel, not the facts you cited but how you feel is wrong or stupid.  (Hear that Jayne Cobb!)

But all the same Gerald doesn't help my case when she flirts with and occasionally crosses the previously mentioned line between opinion and slander on a weekly basis.

And I'd be lying if I didn't say I feel a little bit personally responsible. Look I'm going to keep doing what I do because transparency and all, but it irks me when people use my blog/video as a stage to talk to third parties not in the room rather than each other turning the objective recording of events I meant this to be into a parody of itself. CSPAN effect my ass.

Southfield June 15, 2015 City Council Meeting

Southfield City Council Meeting Held June 15, 2015
Topics Discussed or Acted Upon Include

  • The Hilltop and Bridge Street Special Assessment
  • A Tax Abatement Request from Hello World
  • A Rezoning Request from ElringKlinger
  • Controversy over New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
  • Controversy over A Police Community Forum

An agenda and related documents can be found at here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Have No Answers (Post-Structural Activism)

You know I don't really talk about national stuff because most of the time a lot of other people are saying what I'm thinking. But I've only seen maybe one headline that touched it and even then only tangentially. And I don't even know my own thoughts on it.

I just want to throw this out there.

The discussion on transracialism surrounding Rachel Dolezal sounds a lot like the discussion on transgenderism in feminist circles. 

I don't know how I feel.  But I read a lot of think pieces about feminists angered and wary that the ability to redefine an identity in that way diminishes the real inequalites that are pervasive in society. And while I disagree strongly with some of the most venomous stuff I see spewed forth on that front I can't ignore the argument out of hand.

They've attacked the concept of binary gender coding and all of a sudden here comes a group of people who say. No we do code one way just not in the way you expect.

We are at a point where even the concepts, the underlying linguistics we use to discuss ideas of gender and racial identity are in flux. Even before Rachel Dolezal I would hear things in the wind about how those of mixed race ancestry viewed themselves and wanted to be treated.  Hell I still get pissed off about some of the stupider stuff said about President Obama's ancestry, and the experience of being descended from slaves every now and again.

I just want people to talk but the only conversation I've mostly seen regarding the connection between the Dolezal and Jenner  so far has been reactionary internet memes from the traditionalist set that are weirded out by unconventional identity politics regardless.

That said here is much better think piece on this rebutting that traditionalist internet meme stuff.

But that article is a more complicated than usual argument for change on the right, than a self -examination of the left. One that goes beyond the "young people are moving away from us" thing and actually hits upon an issue that even the left is divided up on, that is clearly in the progressive wheelhouse but is being ignored because nobody knows what to say or think yet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Southfield Imagine 2020 Report

Southfield Board Of Education Approves Imagine 2020 Plan

Tuesday night the Southfield Public School Board voted to enact a financial sustainablity plan that would merge the two comprehensive high schools in the district, sell Schoenhals Elementary and Brace-Lederle K-8 Schools, and close Adler Elementary.

The plan was made roughly based on recommendations from the Southfield Citizen's Advisory Committee  made earlier in the year and Dr. Felix Chow, an education fiscal consultant.

The financial staff of the district recommended the plan based on concerns that early warning legislation being discussed in Lansing would require the district to project it's budget for two years rather than one and fear that if the district could not increase its fund balance it would be at risk of eventually receiving an emergency manager with a projected $5.4 million deficit in the 2016-17 school year.

When attempting to find a solution for the problem the staff looked at better utilizing the district's underused facilities. According to Plante-Moran CRESA, a real estate advisory firm, the district has roughly a 44% site utilization rate, while the state of Michigan recommends at least roughly a 60% site utilization rate.

The 4-3 vote was made after two community meetings held in early June at Southfield High School and Southfield-Lathrup High School. At those community meetings as well as at the June School Board meeting, parents, students and teachers expressed concerns about plan.

June 2, 2015 Meeting

June 4, 2015 Meeting

The presentations at that meeting described the district's financial position and the need to "right size". At that meeting Dr. Chow stated that due to a declining enrollment and property values the district is facing a trend of declining fund balance as currently its expenditures cannot decrease quickly enough to outpace those two trends.

Part of how the school is funded is based on a count of the students but between 2010 and 2014 the district has lost 1483 or about 33% of its students.

Some parents were concerned about some of the school consolidations fearing the mixture of the district's older and younger students. Both students and parents also expressed a fear that the having one high school athletic program would not allow for the same opportunities for students as in the past and that extracurricular and comprehensive programming such as music and art in general would be more limited.

In addition students expressed apprehension about losing their school identities.

In an attempt to address some of the communities concerns regarding extracurricular and athletics the Superintendant Dr. Lynda Wood (Note: a previous version of this post misspelled Dr. Woods first name as Linda) released a frequently asked question packet that is currently on the district's website.

Ultimately the proposal was approved with Board President Rance Williams, Vice President Yolanda Smith Charles, Secretary Betty Robinson and Trustee Leslie Smith voting yes and Trustee Nathaniel Lewis, Trustee Michael Poole, and Trustee Darrell Joyce voting no.

Other Useful Links
District's Imagine 2020 Website
October 2014 Plante-Moran Audit Presentation
Click on Detroit Article

Southfield Public Board of Education Meeting Held June 9, 2015

Southfield Public Board of Education Meeting Held on June 9, 2015

Topics Discussed or Acted Upon Include
  • The District's Imagine 2020 Fiscal Sustainability Plan
  • Changes in the school's Start and Dismissal times
  • A College Board Partnership to Aid in SAT Prep utilizing Kahn Academy
An agenda and related documents can be found here,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Southfield June 1, 2015 City Council Meeting

Southfield City Council Meeting Held on June 1, 2015
Topics Discussed Include

  • The Retirement of Cindy Puls from the Clerk's Office
  • Personal Property Tax Exemption for Hello World Inc., A Digital Ad Agency
  • A Discussion Regarding Potentially Reforming the city's Tree Ordinance
  • A Discussion Regarding Potentially Regulating Group Child Care Facilities and the Use of Basements
  • Potentially Rezoning the Staples Warehouse on Northwestern for the Use of ElringKlinger, an Auto Supplier
  • A Request for documents related to the city's decision regarding New Hope Missionary Baptist Church

An agenda and related documents can be found here.

Southfield Police Crime Bulletin May 11-17, 2015

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