No, I wasn’t playing the delightful “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle, Before & After, I was just ruminating on the pop culture week that was. I also watched 6 episodes of “True Detective” in a marathon that same week, but since it didn’t have the word “Hotel” in its title I couldn’t do anything with it. More on that later.

FotoFlexer_NMHSo Neutral Milk Hotel have dusted the cobwebs off of the French horns and saw, and are out on a serious walkabout. And only 16 years after they released their last record! Jeff Mangum and his lineup of beardos are pulling out all of the Suessian stops as they play their Jing Tinglers, Flu Floopers and Tar Tinkers to amuse an audience that still thinks he’s trying to save Anne Frank. He’s not. At $40 a ticket he’s trying to make up for lost time. Lost time? Wait a minute – maybe he does have a time machine.

FotoFlexer_Mangum2014Wearing the same outfit he had on the previous year during his solo tour, Mangum took the stage alone and thrust into “Two Headed Boy.” A crowd favorite. A crowd, mind you, that was told “nyet to photography!” Soon he was joined on stage by his merry pranksters, who switched instruments, brought friends and participated in a wild rumpus. It was a sonic bouillabaisse and a joy to witness.

Are his motives purely mercenary? Who knows. Does he kick himself for declining to tour with R.E.M. in 1999? They say, “Everybody Hurts.” Sometime. Anyway, big thank you Siena University for winning a basketball game, otherwise I wouldn’t have have had Michele and the Coach’s tickets! Score, indeed.

Which brings us to Wes Anderson’s beautiful “Grand Budapest Hotel.” A film that is very much Neutral Milk Hotel inspired, in that it seems to want to go back in time and stop Germans. A great cast, certainly, but this is Ralph Fiennes’ film. A tour du Wes performance that will earn him a Golden Globe. Yes, Gustave H. is another Anderson man-child who revels in his outsider world of oddball quirks and ticks, but like Max Fischer and Steve Zissou, he must grow up. Darkness arrives in the form of Adrien Brody. And then “Germans.” Wow! This movie is so loaded with sights, sounds and cakes from Mendl’s that you’ll simply love it, darling. As an added bonus, the soundtrack features a balalaika orchestra. 4 stars and 4 garters!

And so, “True Detective.” Not the “Twin Peaks” we were promised, but still a compelling show that took us to creepytown. I kept waiting for Rust’s visions to dominate the story a la the red lodge. Also, I wanted something more of the “Yellow King.” Like, remember the vision in the 3rd episode, when the killer is wearing the Dark Ages mask? What happened to that? Anyway, kudos to you, television. You’ve done it again.

To be fair to the Germans, I’m going to suggest you buy the new Notwist CD. Of course, you’ll thank me. Why ask?