New Arrivals

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Spring means new things.

This one goes out to the babies, and those who’ve had babies, and to the ones who adore the babies.

The young ones, with their new smell, their eyes waking, smiles grinning wide to the world. They’re ready for what’s next and what’s next is everything. Everything is new to the young and they want to experience it all. Their knowledge of the world is trusting and innocent. Their judgement is uncluttered, unhurt.

New to walking, the baby will need help up. New to talking, the baby will need an example, like the sound of mom’s voice, dad’s voice.

The young one’s legs are weak, at first. They seem to get strong quickly. From a mewling lump of flesh, quickly building sinews in the neck. Strength in the core means rolling over…and over again until baby stands and starts bossing mama and papa around. Barking out orders no one understands. Rebelling against everything. Playing loud music at all the wrong times of the day.

Just kidding. That was total exaggeration.

Seriously though, before they become teenagers, they’re still as cute as a wild wolf pup. Babies are cute so that the animal kingdom will take care of them and give them the protection they need to survive and grow old and have their own babies. Survival, not only of the individual, but of the group. A cute baby means a healthy species.

A baby may not seem to have much to give, no skills to put on a resume, no bank account, no amassed assets, and yet, any new mother and father can tell you their baby means the world to them. A true mother would give her life for her child. So many mothers have given, and still do give, their whole life for their child. Why? They don’t owe anything to the child. The babe has nothing to offer in return for the mother’s devotion.

It’s most likely obvious to some, the reason is love. Love is the ultimate parental motivation. It’s the kind of feeling not limited to one species. A parent can look at someone else’s baby and feel concern and caring. A parent can look at newborn chicks in a nest with the same feeling.

Then again, do you have to be a parent to feel this feeling?

Why Rap Doesn’t Work In Movies

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You’ve seen the scene with Thor totally conquering hundreds of ugly foes. You heard the Led Zeppelin song “Immigrant Song”. You know why the song was chosen: it conveys emotion, it gives the listener a sense of the action on the screen. Not only that, but the song is about Valhalla and other Viking themes. The song enhances the effect of the action for the audience. Without the song (try watching the same scene with the audio muted) the scene could still carry some excitement, though it wouldn’t be as extraordinary, it would be a bit more flat. This is only one example of a well-crafted piece of music conveying emotion.

Danny Elfman has managed to capture a wide range of emotions with his cinematic musical scores. It could be argued that his music is mostly comical. The emotion that I usually get from a movie with Danny Elfman music is circus-like amusement. Think of Men In Black, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or The Lego Batman Movie. These are a few Danny has written music for.

If you want to hear some cinematic music, check out Jason H. Abbott‘s WordPress site when he does Epic Music Monday. Cool stuff.

Not necessarily what you would find on Jason’s site, but cinematic sounding music no less, here are some selections which convey emotions:

Try to listen to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” without feeling a sense of dominance. Jimi makes the listener feel as if chopping down a mountain with the edge of a hand is not only possible, but possible now. The sensation is immediate.

Try listening to Joe Satriani’s “Surfing With The Alien” and dismiss the feeling of cosmic awe. I don’t believe anyone can. It’s a masterpiece. Satriani can craft amazing music with a guitar.

Indulge in the sounds of Living Colour’s “Nothingness” and find a sense of loss or a feeling of emptiness or possibly only love for the pleasant melody (who knew a rock band could make such fascinatingly mellow music?). Check out anything from this band and find a variety of emotions.

The industrial/alternative/metal band Skinny Puppy, in their song “Illisit”, tells me “This is the criminal age.” And I believe them. I fear the digital criminals now.

The Australian blues band known as The Blackwater Fever can convince me there’s more  life on the run when I hear their song “Shot Thru”. It gives me a feeling of escape.

In the hip-hop song “Jump Around” by House of Pain you get a feeling of party time.

Unfortunately, most music that would be considered rap music can only convey one emotion: hubris. This is why it doesn’t work well in a cinematic setting. In a movie, you have revolving emotions. The idea of the movie is to help the audience feel a sense of one emotion, then roll into the next emotion. If a musical style is like a one-note canary, it won’t translate but one thing to the listener or the audience.

13 ways to define your love for V-day

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Lines for your valentine you won’t likely find in a Hallmark card:

 

Nerdy: You’re the central node of my network.

Country: You’re like fresh eggs and warm milk.

City: You’re my 20th floor. What a beautiful view!

Fatty: You’re the canned cheese on my cracker.

Eerie: Yours is the only mind I want to read.

Hungry: You’re the peanut to my butter.

Hearty: I just look at you and my life is fulfilled.

Emotional: The flood in my eyes is for you.

Divine: You’re the warmth of Heaven.

Comfort: You’re a cool summer rain.

Comfort 2: You’re a warm fire in February.

Practical: You’re the log on my fire.

Eternal: Forever isn’t long enough.

 

+ some you should not even consider:

Bizarre: You line my mental nest.

Fart Joke: Did you just fart? ‘Cause you just blew me away.

Edgy: You’ve discovered the depth of my soul.

Serious: Either I’m having a heart attack, or I’m falling for you.

Straight-forward: Want to put your mouth on my mouth?

Game Show: Contestant number one! (point at your valentine)

Criminal: Resistance is futile.

Cryptic: Easy sauce on a spaghetti sammich.

Le Film Romantique

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For Valentine’s Day this year, your first responsibility is to learn French. It’s la langue de la vache. No, no, no. It’s la langue de l’amour. Ha ha ha! Either way, you could get yourself laughed at or in trouble, or both, unless you learn it up good. So learn French.

Ready? Go!

While you glue colored construction paper on a shoe box, you might want to watch a romantic film. These are the pastimes of superstars, believe me. Cutting out pink hearts to glue to a red background, c’est manifique!

But what movie should you watch?

So many to select. You can’t watch more than one at a time. Allow me to suggest a few.

The Decoy Bride. This charmer of a film boasts a main character who is awkward and hilariously aware of her awkwardness. The movie is set on an island off the coast of Scotland. It involves a pretend engagement, some misty background shots, and some very quotable lines. The film feels a little lonely at times, but that’s just the feeling I get from it. You’d have to make your own judgement. Check it out!

Hitch. It’s about love and falling in love and teaching others how to fall in love. It’s a buddy movie, it’s a chick flick, it has more than one romantic couple figuring out how to live life with or without each other. And it has Will Smith. BAM! Check—it—out.

Pride and Prejudice. There are many flavors of movie made from this ultra-famous book. My personal favorite movie is the 2003 version set in Utah (and Las Vegas, for a brief moment). It’s really pink. Every shot seems to have some bold pink in it. But that’s not what makes this one great. If you’re a dude you’ll probably like the character Charles Bingley, as played by Benjamin Gourley, ’cause he’s a million laughs. If you’re a woman or a girl, you’ll probably relate to the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as played by Kam Heskin, ’cause she drives a cute, blue Volkswagen and has a “reaching stick” when she’s sick. Another reason to watch this film is Jared “Two-Trees” Hess. You know? The guy who made Napoleon Dynamite and other funny films. He has a small, yet brilliantly funny, part in this movie. Check it out!

Nacho Libre. Speaking of Jared Hess, this movie may not seem one hundred percent romantic, but it does have some romantic moments. And yes, it has a happy ending. One of the best types of magic with romantic movies is when they make you feel really good at the end. Oh yeah, this one is about religion and orphans and wrestling and Mexico, and it was even shot in Mexico. Check it out!

17 Again. With Zac Efron, Leslie Mann, and Thomas Lennon, you’ll be starstruck and amazed at the funny situation and great acting. The plot involves a man who puts business before his wife and children. He is thrust into a former age, and he has to figure out why. Along the journey of solving the mystery, he rediscovers his wife and children and how much they really mean to him. Yes, check it out.

Honorable Mentions: The Princess Bride, 10 Things I Hate About You, Sabrina, Say Anything, Runaway Bride, Never Been Kissed, Big Fish.

Voilà!

Comfortably Numb

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Serves me right for thinking it was only a little water in my sock.

Sit too long and you can become a permanent fixture in the park. Depending on the weather, of course, you can survive a splash of slush in your shoe. Not too many people have tried though. Most people are smart enough to remove the slush before it refreezes.

For every ten smart people there’s a snowman. He plays in the snow ’til he becomes one with winter. His eyes turn to coal, or so the legend goes. His lingo shifts to late Cretaceous Snowboard Era Drawl. His teeth are icicles, which makes him look positively demonic, but don’t fear him. He’s actually more fun than “tiger’s blood” on a snow cone.

As far as that goes, the only thing missing from a mountain ski slope is an army of snowmen. And I’m not only talking about the kind that play in the snow; I’m talking about the stationary stacks of snowballs. There wouldn’t be anything more fun to ski around, to jump over, to ski through, than a random line of snowmen. Every ski resort in the nation should hire some Snowmen to build snowmen. Who wouldn’t want a job like that? Especially if you were required to test your work? Test the durability of your snowmen?

Then again, if durability of the snowman was the ski resort policy, a snowman builder might use the age-old method of pouring water over the snow to turn it into ice and preserve it longer. That method could seriously damage a skier, or a snowboarder for that matter. Could you imagine rocketing down the hill, seeing a snowman up ahead, seeing it was the stationary kind with no legs, thinking it was only snow, and plowing right into it head first? Your head would split. Your skis would split. Your spread eagle would do the splits. You’d have ice in places you never wanted it.

Then, ironically, later at the emergency medical station inside the ski lodge, they would give you ice to hold on your aching head.