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Month: March 2014

Just to let you know…

I’m not gone – four classes that are top-heavy with projects have eaten my free time and I do this for love, not money. I’ll be back this weekend, I hope, and I’ll catch everything up from the 10th. Thanks for bearing with me!

 

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March 12: Paula Abdul ~ “Opposites Attract”

Okay, so this is another throwback (might be that way for the whole week, at this rate), but Paula Abdul’s dance is infectious and the animation for her performance partners, The Wild Pair (originally credited as MC Skat Kat), the video employs a technique similar to Gene Kelly’s Anchors Aweigh and Invitation to the Dance.

It’s one of my favorite music videos from the ’80s, because of the animation and the dancing.

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March 11: Cyndi Lauper ~ “True Colors” and “Time After Time”

My musical tastes spring from late ’60s Motown, R&B and folk, ’70s psychedelic and classic pop & rock, and the ’80s New Wave movement. I’ve liked some of the newer stuff, but not much.

There are a few artists who transcend time and style, who produce classics that defy pigeon-holing when describing their work.

Cyndi Lauper made hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “She Bop” popular in the clubs, and yeah, they’re fun to dance to when you’re out in a club or at a party, but they’re not substantial like these two pieces.

True Colors and Time After Time both have a smoky quality and more heart than a lot of the music that came out of the New Wave. The video shows she went there long before Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Björk.

and

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March 10: Wealth Inequality in America

This video began to make the rounds in my feed shortly after the 2012 elections. I’m sorry it didn’t start to circulate before the election, but now that 2014 is on us, it’s time to revisit the subject, especially in light of Robert Reich’s new feature, Inequality for All.

If you don’t have the time or the patience to sit through a full-length documentary, here’s a summary (not directly related to the movie) that should spell it out for you.

I encourage you to watch the full-length movie, though. It’s available online through a variety of sources, including Netflix streaming, which is how I watched.

I’ve been howling about Trickle Down economic policies for decades. Here’s why.

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March 9: Sherwin Nuland ~ A meditation on hope

In 1994, Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland wrote a book called, simply, How We Die.

On March 3rd, Dr. Nuland died of prostate cancer. This week, Krista Tippett featured an earlier talk with Dr. Nuland about his various books and his views on spirituality in her weekly NPR show, On Being.

Until this week, I didn’t know of the book’s existence. I still haven’t read it, because I’m presently swamped (as you may have noticed from the erratic way in which this blog is being populated at the moment). Based on the radio show, which I listened to this morning while trying to adjust my internal clock to the new Daylight Savings normal, I’ve decided the book needs to rocket to the top of my reading list. And, I think, perhaps for my friends as well, as this has been a bad week for a number of them.

The majority of my friends are older (in the vicinity of, or over, 50), and most are dealing with the aging and illness of parents and their siblings, but one of my friends just lost a battle with H1N1 and pneumonia at only 43. It’s not clear to me from this obituary whether I will agree with all that he writes, as I believe quite firmly in speeding up the process if the person is ready to go and wants to exercise the option, but I found his words this morning to be worth further investigation.

Here’s a TED talk featuring Dr. Nuland on the subject of hope rather than death. I recommend listening to both this and the On Being show as well. Expect more of these over the coming months. I’ve found many of the TED talks intriguing springboards for further conversation. I don’t think I’m alone.

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March 8: BELIEF (Huvr)

In the movie Back to the Future, Part II, Marty McFly fast-forwards to 2015. Seemed like a long time into the future, back then.

Fast forward to today (for real) and the video below that hit YouTube on March 3. In just five days, the video has accumulated some 11 million hits. Sadly, if you visit the Wikipedia entry for the BTTF II Hoverboard, you’ll see it’s the hoax I expected it to be.

Sad? No, not really. The video gave me a smile.

Just don’t be that gullible maroon who thinks this is actual science. It’s not. It’s just movie magic.

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March 6: Kajagoogoo / Limahl ~ “Too Shy” and “NeverEnding Story”

It’s one-hit-wonder time today, with Kajagoogoo‘s Too Shy, a video I liked a great deal when I used to watch MTV (back when they showed, you know, music).

I always wondered what happened to them, because I knew there was something that happened. Limahl broke away (well, not really, according to Wikipedia), and eventually made a hit out of the theme for the movie version of The NeverEnding Story.

Ah, well. The backstory is seldom as nice a read as the art produced.

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March 4: “Let It Go” one more time (post-Oscars)

Yeah, I know. You’re probably sick of the song now. I’ll try to make this the last time (for now). But I couldn’t contain myself when Adele Dazeem…ahem…Idina Menzel herself sang on Sunday night’s Academy Awards show. (Made me wonder whether it was just a simple mistake, an amazing parody of herself, or a brilliant marketing move for the producers of If/Then.)

But I digress…

I mentioned earlier that there are in excess of 213k in parody or tribute links to the song Let It Go on YouTube. I’ll give it a rest after this, but you need to see these, just because.

First, the current Broadway cast of Avenue Q congratulate their co-creator, Robert Lopez, who co-wrote the song with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez:

Then, there’s Alex Boyé stellar Africanized Tribal cover of the song, with the ) Ft. One Voice Children’s Choir. Holy cow, can that kid sing!

Finally? What you’re all probably thinking. And if you haven’t swallowed yet, do yourself a favor: Put the coffee down.

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March 3: “12 Years a Slave” and “Slavery And The Making Of America” (Revised)

Ordinarily, I’d be posting a video for History Monday, but not today.

Today I’m posting the link to the 2014 Best Picture Oscar Award-winning 12 Years a Slave. I’d post a link to the movie itself, but I’m certain it will return to theaters in the very near future, and I encourage you to go see it.

12 Years a Slave is a tough watch because it presents the terrible, cold, hard, unshakable reality of slavery. Solomon Northrup’s story is Roots for today’s world.

Movies like these bring home the truth, whether people want to hear it or not. It is important to tell these stories, especially today, when people like Arkansas state representative Jon Hubbard can be so remarkably unclear about the cost that they can suggest  slavery was a “blessing in disguise” and sites like Save Our Heritage (which I refuse to link to – you can go find this one on your own) post the sort of revisionist history that would have you believe being a slave isn’t so bad, and that we ought to return to those times.

You can complain about reality all you want, but you can’t alter it. That’s why it’s reality. It’s what happened. And what’s happening now, today, here in the US and abroad. That’s how I dedicate my Mondays this year: To recognizing the truth.

[Revised to add…]

So, because I haven’t got a live link to either 12 Years a Slave or Roots, I give you a different documentary, entitled Slavery and the Making of America. Yeah, it’s long. It’s also important. And I’m adding it here after the initial posting date, because I found it after I posted.

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March 2: Mr. Hublot (2014 Academy Award Winner)

I had hoped to find this piece for today’s entry, but when I looked yesterday, it wasn’t where I expected to see it. Today, magically, I could find the film, but be warned – it’s likely to go away again, so see it while you can.

How does Mr. Hublot fit into Spiritual Sunday? I’ll leave that as an exercise for the viewer. All I know is it touched my heart. Would have been my choice, if I’d been allowed to vote. (Yes, Get a Horse! was awesome, but while it was funny and technically spectacular, it wasn’t moving.)

Unfortunately, the full version of the video is gone from YouTube. You can find more by going to this link to the official site.

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March 1: LEO the anti-gravity show

What would happen if the laws of gravity changed?

Taking advantage of the camera’s viewpoint and some exceptionally creative and athletic perspective adjustments, LEO, the brainchild of Montréal actor and director Daniel Briére, based on an original idea by Tobias Wegner, asks the question. For more about LEO and other works, go here: http://boatrockerentertainment.com/

Check it out!

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