Saturday, February 28, 2009

‘So… like… that’s pretty cool…'

Several variations of the saying above were spoken in twentieth century as people described various items about their family tree. The lack of public speaking skills in a honors class at the high school level is surprisingly high. Multiple individuals’ hands shook violently as they read from their note cards. A good number of the speakers did not engage their audience resulting with myself along with a quantity of my classmates falling asleep.

Public speaking is the number one fear in America. I’d like to ask; why? What is it about talking in front of a group of people that makes it different from talking with your friends or family?

An experience like that combined with doing a load of research on speech and debate for a news article, I’ve come to the conclusion that speech and debate needs to become a required credit to graduate. Speech and debate not only helps people become familiar with talking in public, but also helps you become more aquatinted with yourself as a speaker.

Thanks for reading,

Joel Samson Berntsen (Kings of Leon-Revelry)

Monday, February 23, 2009

VW: And I don't want a Jetta

After a single of Vampire Weekend was recommended to me (Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa), I couldn’t resist purchasing the whole album. Vampire Weekend formed at Columbia University, they all graduated, got full-time jobs, and produced their debut album in their spare time. They’re considered alternative/afro-pop/new wave. The following is just me outlining the each track, nothing too special just my opinion.
1. Mansard Roof- Lyrically, the song shakes my brain, even if they’re a tad repetitive, the violin adds to the song along with familiarizing the sound of VW into your head. The keyboards are also fantastic, as they are in every song.
2. Oxford Comma- “All your diction dripping with Disdain” is my new favorite lyric. Ezra Koenig vocals narrate a wonderful
3. A-Punk- The pinnacle song of Vampire Weekend. Buy now.
So… I got tired of doing track analysis with less than two and ½ songs in. I apologize.
Vampire Weekend isn’t the newest or freshest band out there, but they display sharp, witty lyrics that actually forces intellectual thinking from the audience. As for the keyboards, bass, guitar, singing, and all the additional sounds throughout the album; Fan-Fucking-Tastic. A melodious tour of college life inter-mixed with stories of escapading women and mystic seaports.
Also, search for their music video’s if you have time. They’re rather astounding, especially oxford comma. T he whole video is one amazingly long tracking shot. It makes my heart of film flutter.
One last reflection, Walcott’s lyrics beside the wonderful violin almost certainly make it the crest song of the self-titled debut album.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Surprise! More Vampire Weekend)

Friday, February 20, 2009


I cannot wait for two movies. Mark that two. Granted there are plenty of films I’d really love to see right now such as Watchman and Star Trek. However, Edger Wright’s adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, has me wetting my pants in anticipation. Not only is Scott Pilgrim played by Michael Cera, but the film has the best casting I’ve ever seen. Ever. Check it out yourself. .Scott Pilgrim might be my favorite illustrated series of writing I’ve read. I really need to write about it. Moving on to the next film…

Last year, while on the holocaust unit in my continuing education, I wondered why no one has ever told a story of Jews fighting and Killing Nazis. I apparently sent a telepathic link to several people in Hollywood because with Defiance recently released it seems that it’s the new thing. With Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards being filmed, I am filled with extreme giddiness. One of my favorite Directors, plus Brad Pitt, add violence, and mix in key figures of the Nazi party and you’ve got my attention. I disparately wish it was August.
Joel Samson Berntsen(E18-Deterktivbryan)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shampoo Fatigue

The majority of my family uses the big bathroom in my house, which leads to my mother buying large, bulk containers of shampoo and conditioner. After using the same shampoo for a couple of months, I’ve come down with a strange case of something I now call shampoo fatigue. It’s where you actually dread using the shampoo because you know exactly how your head is going to feel once you’ve rubbed it into your skull.

This is a tad weird, I know. Nevertheless, I felt a strange sense of relief when I bought myself a container of Garnier Fructis. It seems to have done the trick, but how long will I have before I become tired of Fructis?

Stay tuned folks...

Joel Samson Berntsen (Against Me! - Ocean)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Taken seems like a formulated kidnap movie: Semi-innocent Girl gets kidnapped by ominous group and father like figure sets off to catch the perpetrators. And even though Taken starts off generic in nature, you quickly become emotionally enthralled in movie.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, an over-protective father who is desperately trying to make up for lost time with his daughter. Mills is retired military and when he begrudgingly lets his daughter go to Paris. Things quickly start to hit the fan; fortunately, Mills is prepared for everything and immediately sets off to find his daughter.
Neeson gives an extraordinary performance as Mills and its heart-breaking seeing him caring for someone he barely knows. The audience quickly falls in love with him, cheering and clapping for his actions, something rarely done at any movie I’ve been to lately. Taken is strongly routed in reality, more than any other action film I’ve seen in years. The protagonist is still nearly invincible, however, the smartness and brutality of Neeson makes you feel like he should have survived every dangerous meeting in the film.
It’s a somewhat bitter-sweet experience though because everyone wants Neeson to succeed, but his daughter is a lifeless ingrate beforehand that I didn’t really want to be saved. But I did, which is one of the reasons that Taken is such a great movie. It takes the audience into an unknown world and tells a simple tale that you can’t help but care about. What happens in Taken could and does happen, which explains why people care so much about Neeson succeeding in rescuing his daughter.
In short, Taken is an incredibly solid film that should be seen as soon as possible.
Joel Samson Berntsen (Ride-The Vines)

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Sales are Vinyl

Earlier, I was faced with the task of planning my Friday night, while in the tub. My phone has a rather loud vibrator that, when placed on certain surfaces, is like a jackhammer. So, while I’m in my tub reading of Obama’s exploits, I hear the earthquake. It was a text asking me if I wanted to see a movie in a half-hour. Being as I was naked and unable to be in the theatre in that amount of time I was somewhat baffled and responded with just saying ‘maybe’ and telling that person I was currently in the tub. I was already sick of getting in and out of the tub to check my phone and so when the person texted my back I just started disregarding my phone. I thought it might be more suitable to move my phone nearer to me. However, would it be worth the potential risk of being electrocuted and/or ruining my phone? I decided to just leave my cell alone and continue reading. Luckily, everything worked out. I saw Taken. Hopefully, I’ll post my review soon. It really blew me away, which was surprising. I’ll save that for the review though.

Always a pleasure,

Joel Samson Berntsen, listening to Twist and Shout-The Beatles.