Category Archives: Entertainment

Movies, music, and humor.

Beauty, courtesy of Pink Floyd

I am not a Pink Floyd fan per se, though I’m familiar with and have enjoyed some of their pieces.  But this is a thing of beauty, in my opinion:

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 as interpreted by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmore.  The video can be seen (and heard!) below, but the lyrics of the sonnet and some background are available at the link.  You’re probably familiar with the words: Continue reading

Greenspace

Greenspace

 GREENSPACE

BY

Keith DeHavelle

 

IN SPACE, no one can hear you’re green. It’s a pity.

Caesar turned slowly, arms outstretched to catch the sun. In the middle distance, I could see Hamlet doing the same thing. A moment later, Fortinbras began to turn. Yes, they’re all named for dead people — they’re all shades.

Lots of shades up here. We’re helping to cool the planet. The temperature has stayed stable since the turn of the 21st century, and we’re all frightened out of our wits since we know that the really serious problems are due at any time. Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike

My Lady and I enjoyed it.  There was a certain discontinuity from the actors being different. Hank Reardon is very reminiscent of Ed Harris here, huskier of voice but in the range that Harris can do. Dagny’s pretty-boy brother is well-portrayed, as is Dagny herself.  And I think this Francisco d’Anconia is a significant improvement over the one from the first movie.  The suave man from the rich Chilean family is now suggestive of Antonio Banderas, and that’s entirely believable.

But his most famous speech — if you Google["money speech"] you’ll get all sorts of links to his name, was very abbreviated in the film.  This was a little disappointing; the speech is quite rightfully famous.

In both the both the film, Francisco d’Anconia, head of Chile’s d’Anconia Copper, is at a very exclusive party with wealthy and celebrity guests.  He hears one of the attendees naively asserting that “money is the root of all evil” and “money is made by the strong preying on the weak.” This annoys him, and he challenges the people at the party. This version is from the book, and it begins:

      “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

      “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor � your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

      “Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions � and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

The rest of the speech is visible here, and an audio presentation (read by the excellent Edward Hermann from the audiobook) is on YouTube here with the second part here.

The YouTube presentation gives you both, actually, as the text is on-screen as well. That version is from the abridged Atlas Shrugged, and I recommend it highly.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

The Death of Music

Or at least, the death of the music industry is fort0ld in this article.  While the author perhaps overstates the case in some respects, the concerns certainly seem valid to me. And it doesn’t take the usual angle of “the kids’ music is terrible” — he comes at this from a different direction.

A good friend is in this now-suffering industry, and described the article as spot on.

There’s another effect not quite described here. In previous times — say, pre-radio — music was something you heard at home if you were lucky enough to live in a home with a piano (or guitar or fiddle, which seemed more culture-specific). When you were able to hear music professionally performed, it was a Big Deal, and memorable.

Now it is trivial; music seems to be relegated to simply the background noise of most people’s lives.  People who decades ago might have spent significant money making their high-end audio equipment as distortion-free as humanly (and technically) possible now listed to low-quality music on YouTube recordings through cheap speakers.  And even though iTunes and similar systems can deliver high-fidelity music data, the audio environment of the car, the street, or the office does not lend itself to absorbed contemplation of excellent music.

We are missing something, here, and I think it is symptomatic of larger effects.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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John Carter

My Lady and I just got back from seeing John Carter. We thought it was very good indeed!

The film was a study in contrasts — the melodic, almost romantic music in the middle of a major battle scene — and yet it made sense in the context presented. There was a hostage crisis in the film, and my Lady laughed aloud. We did not share at all Tars Tarkas’s comment: “Thank the gods that’s over with!”

This is NOT a fantasy, a “titans” or “gods” mythology romp, though that is exactly what the “coming attractions” before the movie were featuring. Stanton made this film “science fiction with liberties,” not just silly magic, and I appreciated that.

Since I don’t watch television and see relatively few films, this was my first exposure to Taylor Kitch. He did fine, it seemed to me. Both my Lady and I were reminded of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. I’ll echo the thought about Lynn Collins (as Dejah Thoris): The leading lady would be a shoo-in for Wonder Woman if they ever bring that old series back.

It is amazing to me that people are heaping so much abuse on the film. It has become trendy to dislike it, which is very unfortunate for Andrew Stanton and probably insurmountable. It seems to have nothing to do, really, with the film itself. I’ve just looked around, and seen complaints that about 30 minutes of it was set back in the 1800s. Why is this a problem? There are entire films set back in the 1800s! And it provided a needed backstory (not exactly the same as the book, but it works) which plays much into the doings later on. Nicely done, I thought. But perhaps this is too much for people who have short little attention spans.

It is a very enjoyable film, and I do now understand why the name was changed to just John Carter. I recommend it. You’ll believe that tharks CAN fly!

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Mental gymnastics

I suspect that each of us has odd abilities, though for most of us don’t make extensive use of them.

I have two minor ones, probably related:

  • I write rhyme easily, in various structures, almost as fast as I can type. (It helps that I am not a fast typist, perhaps.)
  • Everyday words and phrases bring song lyrics instantly to mind; this actually creates something of a background noise that I have to mentally suppress.

The young lady featured in this news story (and who has her own website here) has a different ability.

She’s getting some notoriety for it. Good for her!

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle