Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top 5 of the Decade - Albums

Over the next month, in a lame attempt to mark the end of the decade, the LBAM will be running down some "Top 5 of the Decade" lists. Thrilling, I know. Try to contain your excitement.

So we'll start with albums. I am well aware that neither of you who read this blog share my taste in music. You're both wrong, so just get over yourselves.

#5 - Bastardos! - Blues Traveler, 2005

Blues Traveler released a couple of really mediocre albums this decade, 2003's "Truth be Told" and 2008's "North Hollywood Shootout." The former was boring and the latter indulgent, including a baffling and rambling jam with Bruce Willis. Bastardos! was unlike anything BT did before, and they'll probably never do anything like it again. I'd almost suggest that if you don't normally find yourself liking Blues Traveler, this might be an album to check out. Prominent use of a horn section makes the best parts of this album sound maybe like Chicago would've if Chicago had ever managed to rock with any amount of hardness at all.

Highlight: She and I has great horn arrangements underneath a great John Popper vocal performance. Amber Awaits has the kind of hook that made Blues Traveler famous, and a shitload of money, in the 90s, but is probably a better song than Runaround or Hook

#4 - Song of the Traveling Daughter - Abigail Washburn, 2005

I gues 2005 was a good year for music I like. This album is more or less indescribable and just saying it features old-timey, clawhammer banjo playing, cello, and Chinese lyrics won't get most people to listen. The trick, I have found, is to just get people to listen without telling them what it is they're going to listen to. The results are just amazing.
Highlights: Rockabye Dixie, Who's Gonna Shoe - If you can watch and listen to Abigail Washburn sing either of these songs live and not fall a little bit in love with her then you lack some essential qualities of soul and character that probably make you not worth knowing.

#3 - Takk - Sigur Ros, 2005

There was a long time while working on my MFA where I didn't bother listening to anything else. I wrote a solid half of the poems in my thesis while listening to this album. Inspiration distilled into music.

Highlight: HoppĂ­polla - I could listen to this song every day for the rest of my life and still love it.

#2 - The Hard and The Easy - Great Big Sea, 2005

My favorite band reclaims their identity as a roots/folk/acoustic band rather than a pop group. And while I don't mind their pop stuff, it was their acoustic folk with its impressive vocals that drew me to them in the first place. The real test of this album is there is not a single song on it I skip over if I listen to the album. I can't say that about Something Beautiful* or Fortune's Favor, the albums preceding and following The Hard and the Easy, respectively. I mean, England, on Fortune's Favor, might be the best original song they've done this decade, but it also comes on an album with clunkers like Dream to Live and Oh Yeah. Blech.
Highlights: The River Driver - The kind of stirring, introspective, gloomy folk song that made me love this band the first time I saw them, in...1997? 1998? Something like that. And Captain Kidd never fails to make me want to plunder something.

#1 - Our Endless Numbered Days - Iron and Wine, 2004

Sam Beam is a poet. I don't say that about many songwriters. Maybe 3...him, Ellis Paul, and Colin Meloy. This is an album full of poems. I sometimes feel like the album is some kind of series of poems, with each song in conversation with each other.
Highlights: The last five tracks are grouped on my iTunes as having been played the most. That's probably why this is #1. They are, in order, Each Coming Night, Free Until they Cut Me Down, Fever Dream, Sodom South Georgia, Passing Afternoon. Listening to this in the car the other day, I said to the official wife, it makes me want to write a paper on the intertextuality of the lyrics. Yeah. English major.

Apologies to: Ellis Paul, whose Live album from 2000 should probably be on this list. The Decemberists. Either The Crane Wife or Picaresque could easily be on this list as well. Bright Eyes, for I'm Wide Awake, it's Morning. Tim O'Brien, for the double release of Cornbread Nation and Fiddler's Green, which were both fantastic traditional albums. It would probably have been unfair to even consider Down the Old Plank Road/Further Down the Old Plank Road by the Chieftains in collaboration with more people than you can shake a stick at. You can consider this #6-10 of the list if you like.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The redneck disease.

Yesterday, the LBAM had reason to visit his mother and the street he grew up on for the first time in a couple of months.

It may shock those of you who are accustomed to the polished, urbane wit of the LBAM to know that he comes from a place that first-time visitors have commented resembles nowhere so much as East Bumblefuck.

That being said, the actual neighborhood has always been fairly nice, not necessarily close knit, but friendly, populated by people of diverse background but united by a common concern; keeping their lawns neat and their boats clean.

Lately, though, there has been an incursion by rednecks who are renting a house at the end of the street. How, you may ask, dear reader, do I know they are rednecks?

Well, there's the rusting trampoline in the yard. The broken appliances heaped against the overflowing shed. The pile of tires.

But the worst part, the worst part is the truck. I did not notice make nor model, but I'm sure whichever it is, one of the profusion of stickers on the back windows no doubt heaped abuse upon the "rival" automaker, likely in the form of an unlicensed sticker pirating an image of Bill Watterson's Calvin peeing on something. It was painted (poorly - a DIY job, I have no doubt) an unappealing shade of green. It was lifted high off the ground on enormous, mud-encrusted tires. There were fake bullet hole stickers on the doors. Enormous white block letters proclaimed "Git-R-Done" on top of the windshield. Truck nuts? You bet.

The real winner was the tailgate, which was crowned with a "NUTS DEEP" in huge letters, flanked by amateurish air-brush paintings of Bud Light bottles and a Monster Energy can. Further stickers on the rear window I did not have time to study, but I have little doubt they proclaimed loyalty to Jesus and some NASCAR driver or other.

Through great force of will, I did not immediately set fire to it. In fact, through magnanimity of spirit and generosity of soul, I managed to move myself to pity for the person who owned this monument to advertising and poor taste. I can hear those of you out there claiming that this person should perhaps be admired; though you do not share his taste, you say, he is not afraid to proclaim that he is not just another anonymous driver!

To that, I say, amiably, nonsense. His (permit me the gendered pronoun; I have no doubts as to the sex of the owner of this vehicle) vehicle proclaims only that he is a devoted follower of things that are, in the main, wholly transparent. He has constructed an identity out of advertising slogans and catchphrases aimed at his demographic by TV executives who are sniggering with contempt as they run to cash the check. I would bet that he knows nothing of his religion except how he feels about it.

More and more, this is what annoys me; people who build their selfhood entirely out of what is given to them by popular culture. I see this endlessly with my students; I see it on various internet forums, where certain posters seem to go through month-long phases where their quote or picture or avatar is always related to a certain thing...a wrestler, a movie, a band, a character...and then switches they next time they see something new and totally awesome, which they then rush to identify with. This, it should be said, is not unrelated to the Hipster identity, which is an endless rush from one new thing to the next, only in this case the 'thing' must be something the rest of the world scoffs at, rather than embraces.

And this, really, is the crux of the matter, and what I don't want in my neighborhood; people who allow themselves to be dictated to, or indeed, created, by advertising and television. Let it be understood that I myself enjoy many of the things associated with traditional redneckery. I love banjo music, and at times have transported myself and camping equipment to distant locales so that I may listen to it for entire weekends. Friends and I have enjoyed many a hearty sip of homemade corn liquor, and blown many a breath of flame across a campfire with it. But these things are now authentic, pursued probably more faithfully by hipsters (at whom I am willing to aim my moonshine-fire breath) than rednecks.

The moral of the story; fuck rednecks. Meanwhile, I'll try to figure out something else to be angry at.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Material Needed

So, those of you who read this blog...both of you...have no doubt noted a dearth of posts. A dry spell. A veritable drought of the droll witticisms and pithy observations you've all come to expect.

Why is this? Is it perhaps because your dear LBAM can't get his dander up anymore? Given up rage for more seemly pursuits. Golf, perhaps?

Hardly. The real reason is that the LBAM is, at heart, a lazy bastard. And despite being a lazy bastard, the economy being what it is, the LBAM is forced to work, to toil, to wear his rhetorical skills to their very barest bones in three separate pedagogical pursuits. This has left him with little time to be both suitably angry and agreeably eloquent simultaneously. Nowadays the equation works more like Anger+Free Time=Drunk, rather than blogging.

That being said, I am challenging you, dear reader, to come up with new angry fare to be angrily blogged about here. Be it in the world of sport, politics, comic books, or other assorted nerdery...toss me some subjects in the comments that you'd like to see me froth about.

Now, this is not a "taunt the LBAM" game. We do not go and simply post "Cal Ripken Jr. sucked. Discuss." That will win you no posts, just swift comment deletion. Give me something I can really sink my teeth into and I will attempt to deliver. Search for the really stupid examples of humanity, the people whose organs and blood should be harvested on general principles, and share them with me. Drive me into a frenzy. Do this, and I shall blog.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Watching the Watchmen

God, I could just die for using that as the title of this post. The internet is full of silly little plays on that word, and none of them work. Luckily for me, I'm lazy and forgetful and so the shame of doing so myself will soon wear off.

Okay, I'm going to take the simple strategy of talking about Watchmen in three separate components; the Good, the Bad, the Decidedly Weird.

The Good

1. The movie is beautiful. Eye candy is everywhere, from the suits and sets to the eerie, will o' the wisp style glow that follows Dr. Manhattan. There's the right amount of neon, the right amount of bad 1980s purple suits and eyeshadow, the incredible contrasts of bright and gloomy in the suits of the old Minutemen in flashbacks...visually, the movie is simply stunning. There are few movies that look this good from start to finish.

2. The opening credit montage, despite the poor music choice (more on that later) was fantastic. I think it is easily my favorite opening credit sequence of all time. I've watched it again a few times online, and some of the subtler touches in it are really excellent (especially the nod to the relationship between Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice).

3. The incidental music, the cues and such, was beautiful and usually perfect.

4. I felt that some of the characters were very well realized; Rorschach was pretty well done (though his extreme right-wing beliefs were mostly glossed over) and Jackie Earl Haley's performance was spot on, unnerving and creepy. Likewise the Comedian, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's performance, though I felt he certainly did not look young enough in the flashback scenes, something that makeup or CGI could've addressed, I would think. Dr. Manhattan was good, I felt him to be distant and alien, as well he should be. My personal favorite was probably Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl, who I felt to be a total schmendrick, and the obvious portal for audience empathy (I felt Dan was, in the movie, clearly the analogue for the comic book fan, for whom life makes the most sense in terms of superheroes and mythologies and perhaps technology).

The Bad

1. Slow motion fight scenes; the movie would've been half an hour shorter if these had just been done in regular time. On a related note...

2. Do they actually have superpowers? Well, the comic book says no, aside from Dr. Manhattan. But then how was Rorschach scrambling up buildings, how were Nite Owl and Silk Spectre breaking backs (at least it looked like it to me) in the alley fight, and most of all, how in the name of Glaucon did Ozymandias do a flying, 12-yard ninja leap with no apparent effort in the Karnak fight against Nite Owl? What the hell? I get that he is the best hand-to-hand combatant of the group, but...really?

3. Um, Silk Spectre totally kills a guy in that alley fight, right? She stuck his knife into the back of his neck...at least that's what it looked like to me. That's not something Silk Spectre would do, I don't think. Furthermore, when did Archie get a gatling gun? I thought it had fire suppression and sound emitters and all those sorts of things...but I don't recall a gatling gun shooting down the water tower to put the flames out. I feel like the movie ramped up the presence of violence, the skills of the characters, and suchlike, perhaps in order to better fit in with the contemporary superhero movie landscape...and I would've been fine with that if it had felt like a commentary on superhero movies instead of just an attempt to blend in. It didn't.

4. Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl is not Bruce Wayne/Batman. He is Ted Kord/Blue Beetle. This is the one aspect of Nite Owl's character I didn't like, in connection with the above. I felt he was changed to resemble Batman more than an original character or Blue Beetle (hence the changing of a sound emitter or fire suppression on Archimedes to a gatling gun).

5. The soundtrack. The entire movie doesn't take place in the 60s; the primary storyline is set in 1985. So then where the hell is the 80s music (aside from a few bars of "99 Luftballons" early on). Why the hell are we hearing Hendrix and Dylan and so forth? This was my only problem with the opening credits...why play a song from 1964 when most of the credits are happening in the 40s? Why not some big band? I didn't understand. It honestly felt like the soundtrack to this movie could've been exchanged with almost any Vietnam war movie, and that's lazy.

6. Matthew Goode was a horrible, horrible actor. Maybe he's been good in the past, maybe he'll be good again, but he was godawful as Ozymandias. What was with the now you see it, now you don't German accent? Why did his consonants keep getting lost? Why did he look like such a nancy boy? I didn't feel that Ozymandias was threatening or a good fighter or world class athlete. I felt like I could take a few swings at that guy and he'd say "not the face! not the face!" and curl up into a ball, and I felt there was no way in hell he could throw the Comedian through a window OR mastermind a cunning, evil, world-changing plot.

7. I'm torn on this; I felt in some scenes Malin Ackerman really came through as Laurie, and in others she fell flat. Her performance was uneven.

8. Ozymandias was far too clusmily foreshadowed as THE VILLAIN!

9. Not sure why Hollis Mason was introduced and not killed off. I think this ties into the fact that the film didn't do a great job of displaying the utter panic on the streets, the belief that nuclear annihilation was truly imminent.

The Decidedly Weird

1. Friend and comrades Robustyoungsoul and TPTT will probably back me up on this, and it was in fact the former who first made me think of this; why the hell would Veidt's plan work this time? Why, the instant Moscow is hit, is whatever is left of the USSR's power structure not pressing the big red button? I can think of no logical reason at all. Wiping out Moscow does not wipe out their ability to launch missiles, surely, and there's nothing about the way it happens that would, logically, make them stop and assess what it was or call the US. I would think they'd just assume the worst had come to pass, the west had unleashed their deadliest weapon (Dr. Manhattan) and so, without further ado, kablooie.

2. Veidt's plan, in this version, would so completely derail the world economy that I can't see it saving the world, I see it destroying it just as thoroughly. As I recall, his plan dusted London, Moscow, Paris, NYC, and Los Angeles. And, once again, as I recall, THIS attack destroyed buildings and property as well as people, whereas the squid in the book projected a "psychic attack" that seemed to only kill people...thus leaving infrastructure and such in place. I could be wrong; I loaned my copy out so I can't doublecheck. At any rate, in this version, I feel Veidt's plan=FAIL.

3. Why should Dr. Manhattan need Veidt's help to solve the world energy crisis? In the book, once again, that is something he has already done, it's over, dealt with. Now this is not a fanboy, nerd-rage, "OMG THEY CHANGED IT!" sort of reaction, but more of a disappointment; by using 'the energy crisis' as cover, it seems to me a futile and unnecessary attempt to make the story relevant to contemporary issues

4. Did Lee Iacocca need to get it between the eyes? Well...maybe. Even so, having Ozymandias use the auto/oil industry execs as human shields during the assassination attempt was a little clumsy and obvious. And again, a fairly transparent way to make things relevant. And yes, part of me cheered to see it happen, but even so...it seemed a little unsubtle for Veidt.

5. I didn't need the raunchy superhero sex. Yes, it was an important factor in the book and we need to know it's happening, but I don't know if we needed to see it quite as thoroughly as we did.

6. Ditto some of the really 'enhanced' violence. I don't recall, in the book, Big Figure's fat henchmen getting his hands cut off with an industrial grinder, I remember him getting his throat slit.

7. On Veidt's huge wall of TV screens, I caught a glimpse of Rambo II, the plot of which is Rambo going back to Vietnam to rescue POWs still held there. But...wait. In this reality, we WON in Vietnam...Dr. Manhattan ended the war a scant few days after intervening. Why would...how would Rambo II even get made? Why would Rambo, the novel, even be written? It wouldn't....none of it makes sense! ARRRGGH, continuity-headache.

8. The Nixon makeup sucked. Nixon has been put on screen plenty of times and can be done well. This was just silly. He looked like a goddamned duckbilled platypus.

Alright, that sums up MY experience of seeing Watchmen. It says something when I come up with 4 points under good, and eight each under "Bad" and "Decidedly Weird." It wasn't terrible, it wasn't a waste of time, I don't want my money back, and I don't think Zack Snyder is a terrible person or even a bad director. I sincerely hope that this movie inspires people to pick up the book, or to pick up comics in general. But I just don't know if it will.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 5 Anticipated Movies of 2009

Well, my esteemed blogger colleagues Soul Kerfuffle and PoTT and I have decided we once again need to get on this whole "joint blogging project" some more. So we've decided to go with our "Top 5 Anticipated Movies of 2009." Without further ado...

5. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen - Yes, ultimately the first movie pretty much sucked at any point in which robots were not battling each other. And the really puzzling thing was how little screen-time the robots actually got. I sense this will not be a problem in the second movie. Why, do you ask?

Because Michael Bay had a direct hand in writing the screenplay. He expanded an outline into 60 pages during the writer's strike.

That being the case, I expect the movie to feature mostly robots getting blowed up real good, or getting punched so hard their eyes pop out. Freeze frame the moment when Optimus punches Bonecrusher in the first flick; it totally happens. Eye pops right out.

I expect the landscape of Transformers 2 to be positively littered with busted robot eyes.

4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Yeah, X-Men 3, uh, failed to live up to its promise. That being said, this looks like an asskicker of a movie, and casting Liev Schrieber as Sabertooth may very well turn out to be a stroke of genius. If nothing else it'll be fun to see Logan kicking ass without a bunch of pansy ass whiner X-Men around him.

3. Watchmen - I don't know if the graphic novel can really be brought to the screen in a way that does it justice. But what kind of comic geek would I be if I didn't go see it? Obviously Zack Snyder's strategy is "slavish devotion to the look and feel of the original" though there are apparently significant changes to the ending. I do know I have to see it because I have to know if the movie can work.

Bonus prediction: I am going to go see this movie, and on the way out I will hear some teenager say "Man, that plot was ripped off from the first season of Heroes." Then the world will go black and I will wake up in jail with bloodstains under my fingernails.

2. The Expendables - IMDB lists this movie as coming out in 2010, but I'm listing it here anyway. Why, do you ask? Let me count the ways.
1. A script written by Sly Stallone featuring a group of badass mercenaries overthrowing the government of an African country at the behest of the CIA.
2. The confirmed cast: Sly Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren as the main members of the team. Rumored casting: Forest Whitaker (as CIA handler) Ben Kingsley, and Mickey Rourke (!!!!!)
3. Did I mention it was written by Stallone?
4. According to script reviewers, the climactic battle scene is simply scripted as "unlike anything ever seen before."

I can hardly wait.

1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - Do I really need to even explain this one? Haven't you all seen my toyblog? And despite all the NERD RAGE surrounding this movie (and believe me, the nerd rage is truly frightening and highly irrational - suffice it to say people think the only way to bring G.I. Joe to the screen is to do so so that it is EXACTLY FRAME FOR FRAME LIKE THE COMIC or EXACTLY FRAME FOR FRAME LIKE THE CARTOON depending on which they liked better as a kid) I am actually kind of optimistic. Is it gonna be great cinema? Hell no. But look, Stephen Summers can direct a fun, solid action flick (I'm thinking more The Mummy than Van Helsing), Chris Eccleston should be a fine villain, Sienna Miller is really, really hot in black leather with guns, and Ray Park is Snake-Eyes. Action, explosions, ninjas, and T&A. What more can a toy collecting nerd like me want?

Monday, December 29, 2008

LastBestAngryMan Man of the Year 2008

In honor of the tenth anniversary of one of the greatest films of all time, the LBAM dubs this man Man of the Year 2008:

Walter Sobchak.

Noted accomplishments:
-Being the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules
-Strictly observes the Sabbath
-Living in the past, due to 3,000 years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax
-Capable of ushering you into a world of pain
-Understands that the ringer cannot look empty
-Survived combat with a worthy fucking enemy
-Knows that pacifism is not something to hide behind
-Helped advance his team to the next Round Robin
-Avid student of political philosophy

The LBAM salutes you, Walter Sobchak, and all those who understand your profound impact upon the world today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Best. Death. Ever.

Without doubt, death scenes are the most potentially powerful moments in any piece of fiction, be it film, novel, play, or otherwise. There have been, of course, numerous great death scenes, but there are probably a few that really stand out. So I'm going to go for a Top 5, and the rest of you, as always, are encouraged to submit your comments or suggestions, no matter how laughably wrong they may be. Now, these are not strictly just from film or tv or novels...no genre limitations. The one rule is, no real deaths or death quotes unless they've been fictionalized; otherwise I'd have to say that Robert Emmet would win hands down for his words before his own brutal execution. On to the list.

5. Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities - Melodramatic? Perhaps. But it set the tone and standard by which all later awesome deaths ought to be judged.
Why it's great: He's ensuring the happiness of his unrequited love Lucie by taking the place at execution of the man she does love, Charles Darnay. How fortunate that he and Sydney are dead ringers for one another. Ah, Dickens.
Key line: "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

4. Syrio Forel, A Game of Thrones - Yes, he was a minor character and no, he doesn't belong on the same list as some of these guys, but he appears to kill five armored dudes with a stick. I'm going to repeat that, just so we're clear; Syrio has a stick, filled with lead, used for sword training, and no armor. A bunch of dudes with armor and heavy swords and shields show up to take his student into custody. He kills five of them with a stick. That is sheer, no foolin' badassery, folks.
Why it's great; Well, maybe we don't see him die, and some mooks think he isn't dead (he is, folks) but he unhesitatingly sacrifices himself so his student Arya can escape. And he looks damned cool while doing it.
Key line: "The First Sword of Braavos does not run."

3. Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker - Alright, forget what you think about the prequels or about Ewoks. Vader sacrificed himself to save his son, having found the last bit of good in him that said son was sure was still there. Say what you will about Lucas' writing for the prequels or anything else, but that story element, right there, it is poignant, it is genius, it is wonderful.
Key line: "Just for one...let me look on you...with my own eyes."

2. Boromir, The Lord of the Rings - I'm going to go with Boromir's movie death scene, because it is just that much cooler than his death in the novel. If you're reading this blog, I probably don't have to describe it or tell you why it's great. But I will anyway.
First and foremost, the man is fighting to redeem his honor, which is a tad tarnished at the moment. Secondly, he keeps getting back up and fighting after one, then two orcish arrows are in him. The view of him after the second arrow, how Merry and Pippin, standing nearly defenseless just behind him, slowly come into focus in his vision, thus demonstrating his inspiration to keep fighting...genius.
Why it's great: Do I really have to say so? Because he kicks and unbelievable amount of Uruk-Hai ass? Seriously, some time when you're watching this, freeze frame and count the corpses near where he fell. That's not the work of Gimli, Aragorn, or Legolas...just him. I don't think Pippin or Merry can be credited any kills; Boromir accounted for at least an even twenty, and it might be as high as two dozen. Hell and yes.
Key Line: "Forgive me. I did not see. I have failed you all." and of course; "I would have followed you, my brother; my captain; my king."
If that didn't tear you up at least the first three or four times you watched it, there is no talking to you. I can get the sniffles just thinking about it.

1. Cyrano de Bergerac - Yes, really. Number one. His death is so awesome it covers 3 scenes of the final, fifth act of the play. Let's give a quick summary of facts:

-He has, now for fourteen years, maintained his silence regarding his part in the love affair between Christian, now dead those fourteen years, and Roxane, whom he has loved for even longer.
-He has never compromised his ideals, even though they have led to a live of solitude and poverty.
-He has essentially just been assassinated, with tragic irony, by a lackey dropping a log onto him from an upper storey window. Funny? A little. Sad? absolutely.
-Despite knowing he was dying, he has gone to keep his weekly appointment with Roxane at her cloister, to entertain her with his "Gazette" of court gossip and news.
-Roxane carries the letter he wrote as Christian's farewell to her just before his death in battle, over her heart. Cyrano asks her to let him read it, finally, and she realizes he does in fact have the letter memorized, and wrangles a confession out of him.

Here begin the greatest lines in death scene history, most of which I am skipping:
Roxane: Ah, how many things have died, and how many have now been born! Why were you silent for fourteen years, knowing that he hadn't written that letter, and that the tears on it were yours?
Cyrano: The blood was his.

Later, as he begins to become delirious due to his fractured skull:
Philosopher, scientist, poet, swordsman, musician, aerial traveler, maker of sharp retorts, and lover (not to his advantage!) here lies Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, who was everything, and who was nothing.

Then, finally, as he refuses to let anyone even help him stay on his feet and is staggering around, swinging his sword at his 'enemies,' lies, compromise, prejudice, cowardice, and stupidity, he finally goes down with the following:
Yes, you've robbed me of everything; the laurels of glory, the roses of love! But there's one thing you can't take away from me. When I go to meet God this evening, and doff my hat before the holy gates, my salute will sweep the blue threshold of heaven, because I'll still have one thing intact, without a stain, something I'll take with me in spite of you! You ask me what it is, I'll tell you, it's...my panache.

Beat that. I sure can't.