4 Songs I found via Shazam and then bought from iTunes.

Shazam

“Our mission is to help people recognize and engage with the world around them”
Shazam is a mobile app that recognises music and TV around you. It is the best way to discover, explore and share the music and TV you love. Shazam connects more than 1 billion people. It took us 10 years to reach 1 billion tags, 10 months to reach 2 billion, 3 months to go from 10 to 12 billion… It’s an amazing app, available now in the Apple and Android stores. And we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to delight our users.

High Concept Movies – Defined, Examples of

The “high concept” movie (a much-abused term) is one whose premise can be summed up in a sentence, if not within the title itself — for instance, what happens when a bored married couple’s “Date Night” goes wrong? Wacky fun!

The ideas is that the easy hook goes over well with your stereotypical movie executive — it becomes the selling point rather than the actors or characters. If it sounds irresistible (and/or ridiculous), people will show up hoping to see exactly what they were promised (a premise “Snakes On A Plane” took to its logical conclusion)…

Se7en (1995)
High concept premise: A serial killer takes down his victims based on their violations of the seven deadly sins.

Bio-Dome (1996)
High concept premise: Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin get trapped in, yes, a biodome.

IFC

Emerson on Prayer

“Prayer that craves a particular commodity, any thing less than all good, is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends.”

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Self Reliance

Random Quiz

Someone who studies ants is a:
The original drummer for The Beatles was:
SQL stands for:
The author of the Foundation series:
Defenestrate means:

Heaven and Hell are Within You

An old monk on Mount Athos in Greece once told me that people rejoice in the thought of hell to the precise degree that they harbor hell within themselves. By which he meant, I believe, that heaven and hell alike are both within us all, in varying degrees, and that, for some, the idea of hell is the treasury of their most secret, most cherished hopes — the hope of being proved right when so many were wrong, of being admired when so many are despised, of being envied when so many have been scorned.

And as Jesus said (Matthew 6:21), “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

David Bentley Hart, NY Times

RIP – Neil Peart

I saw Rush on the Power Windows tour and the crowd threw glow sticks in the air when they heard the first note of Tom Sawyer. Thanks for the good times Neil!


Here’s a Rolling Stone profile of Rush from 2015 that I remember reading and enjoying: From Rush With Love

Neil Peart likes to ask himself a couple of key questions. One is “What is the most excellent thing I can do today?” The answers lead him to travel between Rush’s shows on a BMW motorcycle instead of a plane or bus (creating scheduling nightmares for the band’s management), and to embark upon extracurricular bicycle trips through West Africa and China and Europe. He aims to fill every minute of his life with as much much-ness as possible, which may also help explain all those 32nd notes.

Hamlet as improv part …

Hamlet is a tragedy where there is a part left open, as a part is left open for an improvisational actor in farce. But here the part is left open for a tragedian.

He is fundamentally bored, and for that reason he acts theatrically. The play is written entirely out of spite against actors, and by its nature the role of Hamlet cannot be done by an actor. An actor can act everything except an actor. Hamlet should be played by an actor brought in off the street, and the rest of the characters should be professional actors. The point about Hamlet is that he is an actor and you can’t act yourself. You can only be yourself.

W. H. Auden, Lectures on Shakespeare

Personal Identity, Quotes on

“Even though I was very shy, I found I could get onstage if I had a new identity.”
David Bowie

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”
Madonna

“Who the fuck are you?”
The Who

“If you understood everything I said, you’d be me”
Miles Davis

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
Alan Watts

RIP – Elizabeth Wurtzel

Elizabeth Wurtzel, whose startling 1994 memoir, “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America,” won praise for opening a dialogue about clinical depression and helped introduce an unsparing style of confessional writing that remains influential, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 52.

NYTIMES

Three Cheers for Thrasybulus

So, if we look at Athens in 401, the democracy has been completely restored and I’d like to draw my comments about this to a close by focusing on Thrasybulus, a man, who I think probably none of you had ever heard his name when you came into this class. You had heard of Pericles, you may have heard of Themistocles, you heard lots of different Athenians, but you never heard of Thrasybulus. So, you might be surprised to hear the following. Cornelius Nepos, a Roman historian of the first century B.C., in writing lives of famous Greeks and Romans, wrote the following about Thrasybulus: “If excellence were to be weighed by itself, apart from luck, I believe I would rank this man first of all. This much is certain, I put no one ahead of him in sense of honor, steadfastness, greatness of soul, and love of country.” That isn’t bad but it’s not the end.

A few years before 180 A.D., Pausanias the great travel writer of antiquity, wrote his guide to the famous and historic places of ancient Greece. In the section on Athens, he described the graves of the heroes and men that lined the roads outside the city beginning with the one leading to the place known as The Academy. Here’s what Pausanias the travel writer says, “The first is that of Thrasybulus, son of Lycus, in every way the greatest of all famous Athenians, whether they lived before or after him.” Think of all the names that are involved in that and maybe the weight of Pausanias’ general comparison is intensified by something a little bit more specific, because the next words in Pausanias’ account are these: “His is the first grave and after it comes that of Pericles,” just in case you thought he missed Pericles by mistake.

Now, that’s extraordinary and there’s a great puzzle that I can’t solve and probably never can be solved. How could it be that these fellows who lived centuries afterwards said these things about Thrasybulus and we have never heard of him? I mean barely heard of him. I mean, the best answer I can give you is there must have been lost histories, and we know there are of the period, and they must have given Thrasybulus the kind of credit for his remarkable achievements that don’t show up in Xenophon and Diodorus and the orators. But we at last, and you have an obligation to future generations, must not let the name of Thrasybulus lie in obscurity again, and just so that you don’t forget him, remember he is the only Greek I know whose name fits a Yale fight song — Thrasybulus, Thrasybulus.

Robert Kagan, Lecture 21 – The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece

Ron Rosenbaum on The Connection (audio)

Ron Rosenbaum is the Edgy Enthusiast at the New York Observer, the journalist who’s made a beat out of his own obsessive passions and interests now for thirty years. If there’s a common thread that runs through The Simpsons, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nabokov’s “Pale Fire,” Edith Wharton, Jorge Luis Borges and Mystery Science Theater 3000 it’s that Ron Rosenbaum finds it brilliant, beautiful or redemptive.

He’s a close reader of Shakespeare and the Bible and this summer’s Survivor series; a lover of classic films, epic poetry and borderline bad pop music. He writes and reports only as a rationale to read more and plunge further into his labyrinth of oddball ideas, conspiracy theories and misconceptions about the world.

It’s Ron’s world and welcome to it. The Edgy Enthusiast Ron Rosenbaum, this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted By Christopher Lydon)

Guests:

Ron Rosenbaum, Editor and Author of the NY Observer’s Edgy Enthusiast.

The Connection

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

I’m really blessed to be a parent, and watching my children grow, I really firmly believe that you’re born with a temperament and you’re wired a certain way, and you don’t have any say about it, and there’s no changing it. All you can do is learn to recognize it and own it. And some of us are born with temperaments that are positive, some are negative. But a major threshold is passed when you mature enough to acknowledge what drives you and to take the wheel and steer it. As parents, you’re always learning who your children are. They’re learning who they are. And you’re still learning who you are. So we’re all learning all the time. And that’s why change is fundamental in story. If things go static, stories die, because life is never static.