Sunday, 31 July 2011

Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

I liked it. This is a good film. I laughed, I cried (figuratively) and I rooted at the end for true love. The term "soul mate" seems to transcend marital infidelity and even divorce. Gee, is the end really the end or is the end merely our inability to communicate?

This rom-com, romantic comedy, is slipping into the middle of the summer, the season of giant Hollywood mega-buck blockbusters. I can get excited like every video game saturated teenager at the sensory overload of special effects explosions but what really tugs at my heart strings is a good old fashioned story about human relations and that little thing called love. And here we have not a story of teenage love - no vampires or werewolves thank you very much - but a story of middle-aged love, a time of questioning of those wedding vow words of forever and until death do us part. When you're married, when you're stuck in the same old thing, when you have to face the routine day after day after day after day (okay, I've made my point), is everybody else having more fun than you? Does everybody have or is everybody else finding more meaning in their lives than you?

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) are high school sweethearts who have been married forever. We open with dinner at a restaurant as the two of them try to decide whether to have dessert or not. Finally, Cal says that they should just say what they want on a count of three. One, two, three: Cal says, "Crème brûlée" and Emily says, "I want a divorce." From there, hilarity ensues. However it is hilarity tinged with a nostalgia for one's soul mate. Cal as the newly single man navigates the treacherous waters of the pick-up scene thanks to the deft and knowledgeable hand of one Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a ladies' man extraordinaire who takes Cal under his wing. But interspersed with these scenes of Cal playing Joe Stud Muffin are Cal's clandestine nocturnal visits to his home where he prunes the bushes, waters the flowers and maintains the lawn of the home where his wife and children continue to live but without him. You realise that yes, Emily had an affair and yes, Cal is coming into his own at the bar picking up total strangers for various romps in the park, but somehow they realise that while the grass may appear to be greener on the other side of the fence, your own lawn with its history and the comfort of familiarity is the true meaning of life and love.

The story by Dan Fogelman is ace. I enjoyed the characters; I enjoyed the plot and the various comic situations were quite amusing. The grand finale where the relationship between all the players is tied together I found funny. A romantic comedy is a formula and how many twists on this standard story can anybody come up with? However I found this one to be original.

I throw this in as a curiosity. The trailer for the film ends with the 2006 song Starlight by Muse however this song is not used in the film. - Ah, how meaningful is it when you hear Cal say, "I should have fought for you."



Final Word
Yes, there is adultery. However these are good-hearted people merely trying to find their way in the world. And in the end, our two "soul mates" do find their way back to each other so we can definitely say that true love does rule the day. Now who can resist a story about true love?

This was a thoroughly enjoyable film. Since the central theme is about middle-aged love, this may be lost on a younger crowd but the theatre of middle-aged people (and older) who watched the film with me seemed to like it as well as I did. The various members of the cast were terrific and there are a number of surprises which will keep you entertained. I recommend seeing this film.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Crazy, Stupid, Love.: 78%
It never lives up to the first part of its title, but Crazy, Stupid, Love's unabashed sweetness -- and its terrifically talented cast -- more than make up for its flaws.

Wikipedia: Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a 2011 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, written by Dan Fogelman, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon. The film was released on July 29, 2011.

my blog: Muse: Starlight
"Starlight" ... can also be heard during the closing credits of the 2010 film The Tourist, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp [and it] was used in the trailer for the new Steve Carell movie Crazy Stupid Love.

2011-07-31

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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Rob Ford or the public: Now who's dumber?

This past week has seen the most unusual of events of the city's political scene. A marathon session of Toronto's city council's executive committee of over 21 hours saw over 300 people representing union members, arts groups, social agencies and others present their opinions about what to cut and what not to cut in Toronto's budget. There is an estimated $774 million funding gap in next year's budget and the mayor is going to have to cut something to save some money. The question is cut what?

As part of the mayor's pledge to find the "gravy" at city hall, Ford's administration commissioned KPMG to do a study of 155 of the city's "core services". The 400 page report lists $700 million worth of cost cutting options including the closure of libraries, the elimination of subsidized daycare spots, stopping water fluoridation, closing the affordable housing office, the sale of the Toronto Zoo, scaling back snow clearing, closing city-owned theatres, cutting back on night buses and crossing guards.

The Globe and Mail reported that throughout the night, presenters chose different methods to get their point across. One sang a song, another read a poem, one wrote a short story, a young man performed a puppet show and a retired teacher delivered a satirical essay. Most simply berated the committee. But the message was the same: don’t cut anything.

Every politician gets voted into office by a group of people who have hoisted him onto their shoulders as their saviour. Inevitably, the lustre of future success wears off as reality sinks in with oh such a harsh tinge. As the groundswell grew last year for Rob Ford's buzz phrase "Stop the gravy train!" the popular sentiment turned to shaking up city hall as my gawd, those fat cats down there are stealing us blind. However throughout the campaign as Ford repeated ad infinitum (or was it ad nauseum?) how he was going to find $2 billion in savings without cutting any services, I kept scratching my head over and over again in perplexed reservation because something in all this political rhetoric didn't quite add up to a mathematically sound financial strategy for running the city of Toronto.

In the article "Toronto Mayoral Race Down to the Wire: Rob Ford and George Smitherman" I wrote on October 20, 2010:

On Sunday, October 18, the Toronto Star in an editorial announced its support for George Smitherman. The newspaper said that "only one candidate has the proven political skill, government experience, commitment to change, negotiating ability, compassion, drive, determination and charisma that — taken together — would amount to an effective mayor. George Smitherman is that candidate." The Star went on to recognize a host of chronic problems which plague the city of Toronto such as "budget shortfalls, crumbling infrastructure, gridlocked roads, under-built transit, a shortage of affordable housing, and disadvantaged neighbourhoods that foster crime and poverty." It added that while Rob Ford has tapped into the popular sentiment of "It's time to stop the gravy train", Ford has failed to present a concrete vision of how to deal with the issues while Smitherman has not just the experience, but the fresh perspective necessary for the position of mayor.

On July 20, 2011 just 9 months later, Royson James, City Columnist for the Toronto Star, in his op-ed piece entitled "Toronto wants its vote back" wrote this startling assertion:

The mayor has proved himself entirely unreliable. He has failed to produce evidence of the fat at city hall. He brings in consultants who tell citizens the very services they treasure — libraries, police, firefighters, recycling, day care, TTC, snow removal, public gardens, museums, arts and culture — are where the “savings” must be found.

James goes on to explain that Rob Ford promised to find $2 billion in the city's budget without the average citizen noticing and do it without cutting services. This has turned out to be an empty promise. It seems there is no "gravy" and there never was the "gravy" that Ford was leading everyone to believe. On top of it, he went ahead and made some political brownie points by killing the vehicle registration tax which brought in $60 million and the land transfer tax which had $250 million in annual revenues. Now that we have all arrived at crunch time, the only way of balancing next year's budget is to cut something that people actually want.

Royson James sums up with: In short, Mayor Rob Ford’s credibility is shot, shredded, blown to bits — victim of his excessive rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims.

Final Word
Rob Ford was voted in not quite with a landslide but enough that one would think the Toronto citizens wanted a change. Did they get one? Politics is a game of buzz words, feel good phrases and smiling warmly while shaking your hand. Unfortunately, at some point that politician has to do something. Running a city, heck running a country (don't get me started on Harper!) is not easy. Anybody who runs for office has got to have a great deal of arrogance as I imagine they haven't got the foggiest idea of what they're getting themselves into.

Rob Ford convinced the voters he was going to make a difference. Rob Ford convinced us that he knew exactly what he was doing. Okay, so where's the beef? Mr. Ford had not yet sat in the driver's seat when he was campaigning. Mr. Ford had not yet looked at the books when he made promises he now can't keep. Mr. Ford claimed he could run the city of Toronto when he had never a city before in his life. Was that dumb?

But the public voted for him. Now just who's dumber?


Uploaded by frodformayor on Oct 13, 2010
Frod for Mayor_The Truth About Rob Ford.mpg



References

Toronto Star - July 20/2011
Toronto wants its vote back by Royson James
[You think I'm being hard on Rob Ford? Mr. James writes a very stinging indictment of Ford's inability to come even close to matching his campaign promises.]

The Grid - July 11/2011
Ford’s consultants: Miller was right by Edward Keenan
The conclusions drawn by the consultants hired by Rob Ford are the same as the talking points of Rob Ford’s opponents: that there is very little inefficiency in Toronto’s government (KPMG says 96% per cent of services in Public Works—the area covered by this phase of the report—are required) and that finding savings for taxpayers will require cutting services.

Seriously, that’s what it says. Rob Ford, of course, campaigned by saying repeatedly that he would lower taxes without cutting services. He said repeatedly that simply making the functioning of government more efficient and eliminating waste would realize huge savings. He said, “we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” KPMG, after being paid handsomely by Ford’s city hall, would beg to differ, it seems.

City of Toronto - July 11/2011
KPMG: Core Services Review
The vast majority, 96%, of services that report through the Public Works Committee are core municipal services, either mandatory as a result of provincial legislative requirements or essential to the continued operation of the City as an urban area. The exceptions are described on the following page.

The Toronto Star - July 14/2011
Riverdale Farm, park zoos move to chopping block by David Rider
The KPMG review of parks and environment services, released Thursday, was the fourth commissioned to identify the city’s “core services” and what can be cut. Four more will be released on staggered days next week.

Instead of finding the “gravy” Mayor Rob Ford promised to strain from the city budget, KPMG has so far suggested likely non-starters — taking fluoride out of drinking water — and the painful, like closing city-run daycares.

“It’s an incredible turnaround,” said Ryerson University politics professor Myer Siemiatycki. “Rob Ford got elected by selling Torontonians a political fairy tale and, with these reports, it’s turning into a horror story.”

Oye! Times - Oct 20/2010
The Toronto Mayoral Debate: Now where do we stand?
Getting the reins of power is one thing; holding the reins is another thing. The horse represents a will unto itself and controlling it is not as easy as one would like. In other words, once in office, a newly elected leader discovers that getting everybody to pull in the same direction at the same time doesn't necessarily work due to the competing goals of the various interests. You start with a plan then, if you'll excuse my French, s**t happens.

While Rob Ford has certainly tapped into a very visceral sentiment of "Stop the gravy train" - Who doesn't want to get "those bastards" stealing our money? - I have to ask myself whether or not Mr. Ford has ability, the knowhow and the moxy to pull it off? I hand over him the reins of power; can he ride the horse? Or is the horse going to buck and is Ford going to be thrown to the ground like a rodeo participant at the Calgary Stampede?

In last night's debate, Ford hammered home his accusation of Smitherman's complicity in the eHealth scandal. The truth is not so cut and dry. According to the Globe and Mail, Mr. Smitherman was the provincial health minister for 4 and a half years but was moved by Premier Dalton McGunity to the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in June, 2008, three months before the government launched eHealth. How can Ford blame Smitherman for this when Smitherman wasn't even there?

It is this type of analysis which needs to be done to ensure that the candidates are telling us the truth. The mistruths or lies or even slanderous remarks do little in my mind to assure me that the candidate in question is going to be the leader I want in office. If a candidate can't get his or her facts straight, how do I know that anything they are telling me is true?
------------------
The Toronto Star has put together on their web site something they call the "Smell Test" in which they look at specific campaign statements made by the candidates and examine whether or not these statements are true. The Toronto Star endorsed Smitherman this past Sunday, October 17 so you might say their analysis is slanted but in going through the various points; they do discover some negatives about Smitherman so I'm not finding this one sided. It is balanced and fair.

Ford's mantra through this campaign has been "Stop the gravy train". From what I understand, the Ford camp has now produced a T-shirt with this slogan. At face value, this seems like an idea anybody could get behind. In a YouTube video, Ford rattles off a list of perks given to city council members he thinks are unjust to Toronto taxpayers. Seems pretty compelling.

In the Star's analysis (Ford's problem with free perks) of Ford's promise to remove these "free perks" and in so doing save Toronto $20 million a year, I see numbers which add up to a different picture. The total given by the Star is less than a half a million dollars, far short of this $20 million quoted by Ford. This is a perfect example of how Ford's statements sound good but do not hold up to mathematical scrutiny. Even if the Star is wrong on this one, I see nothing from Ford's camp which would substantiate his $20 million claim. This just doesn't add up.

Ford has promised to scrap the fair wage policy. The Star (Ford's vow to scrap fair wage policy) points out the numbers do not match up with Ford's promises and Ford has failed to show hard numbers to back up his claim. On top of it, getting rid of this policy would involve convincing the province to rescind provincial legislation and apparently a report produced by the city itself has stated that this would entail a long and protracted litigation with little likelihood of success. If this is true, Ford cannot hold his promise. If the Star is wrong, Ford once again has failed to provide a detailed plan on how he would make this work. This just doesn't add up.

2011-07-30

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Friday, 29 July 2011

Shania Twain: Man! I Feel Like a Woman!


Let's go girls! Come on.

I'm going out tonight-I'm feelin' alright
Gonna let it all hang out
Wanna make some noise-really raise my voice
Yeah, I wanna scream and shout
No inhibitions-make no conditions
Get a little outta line
I ain't gonna act politically correct
I only wanna have a good time

The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget I'm a lady
Men's shirts-short skirts
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, doin' it in style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel the attraction
Color my hair-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman!

The girls need a break-tonight we're gonna take
The chance to get out on the town
We don't need romance-we only wanna dance
We're gonna let our hair hang down

The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget I'm a lady
Men's shirts-short skirts
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, doin' it in style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel the attraction
Color my hair-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman!

The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun (fun, fun)

Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget I'm a lady
Men's shirts-short skirts
Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, doin' it in style
Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel the attraction
Color my hair-do what I dare
Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman!

I get totally crazy
Can you feel it
Come, come, come on baby
I feel like a woman


References

Uploaded by ShaniaTwainVEVO on Oct 8, 2009

Wikipedia: Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
"Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" is the seventh single released from Shania Twain's 1997 album Come on Over. It was written by Mutt Lange and Twain. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!," originally released to North American country radio stations in early 1999, was the opening song on both Twain's Come on Over Tour and the Up! Tour. The song won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2000. Twain headlined the Super Bowl XXXVII Halftime show opening her set with "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!". In 2006, the single was certified Gold by the RIAA for 500,000 digital downloads.

"Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" was used to comic effect in a 2004 Chevy Colorado TV commercial, in which a group of men are traveling in one of the vehicles, and one of them begins singing along very enthusiastically with Twain's recording (from the female narrative), much to the discomfort of his friends. (Chevrolet is a sponsor of the Country Music Association.) The song was also performed by American Idol winner Carrie Underwood during the fourth season, and by Britney Spears in Crossroads.

Music video
The music video for "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" was shot in New York City and directed by Paul Boyd. It was filmed on January 11 and debuted on March 3, 1999. The video is a role reversed version of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love". The video won the MuchMoreMusic Video of the Year award at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2000. The original version of the video is available on Twain's DVD The Platinum Collection.


Wikipedia: Come on Over (Shania Twain album)
Come on Over is the third studio album recorded by Canadian singer Shania Twain. It was released on November 4, 1997. It became the world's best-selling country music album and the best-selling studio album ever released by a female artist in any genre. To date, the album has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, shipped over 20 million copies on United States, and in the UK it has sold over 3.3 million. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and stayed there for 50 non-consecutive weeks. It stayed in the Top Ten for 151 weeks.

Wikipedia: Shania Twain
Shania Twain, OC (born Eilleen Regina Edwards; August 28, 1965) is a Canadian country pop singer-songwriter.

OC = On November 18, 2005, Twain was invested as an Officer in the Order of Canada.

2011-07-29

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ellen Jong: The body as performance art

Ellen Jong is an American photographer and artist born May 22, 1976 in New York City to a mother who is a pediatrician and a father who is an obstetrician gynecologist. She alludes to a connection between parents as medical professionals and the human body as a vessel for physical health and performance. Studies in psychology and visual arts led her to photography and from there capturing her own life became an important theme in her work. In 2006, she published her first monograph, "Pees On Earth", a collection of self-portraits taken while urinating in public. In 2010, she published "Getting To Know My Husband’s Cock", a collection of pictures of her husband but not limited to that one body part. You didn't think I was going to run into books with those titles and just let it pass by, did you?

By the way, for those of you who, like me, are not one hundred sure of what a monograph is, I looked it up. According to Wikipedia a monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author. Librarians consider a monograph to be a nonserial publication complete in one volume or a finite number of volumes.

Pees On Earth
Over the years, I have run across a number of books whose subject matter or central idea I can only qualify as unique. Of course unique may also be a euphemism for bizarre but let's not forget that sometimes bizarre merely indicates that I didn't think of it first or, and this is more to the point, I would never think of it. Does that just show me to be not very creative? Do I miss that "gift" of looking at the world from a unique angle? Who would have thought in a million years of photographing themselves takin' a whiz in public? *laughs* Do I hear Monty Python? And now for something completely different...

On Ms. Jong's own web site, she has a page devoted to her book Pees on Earth.  She explains how this unusual idea came to her and transformed itself into a concept for the book.

It was the summer of 1998. I was 22 years old, at a rooftop in TriBeCa. By the time I left, I really had to pee. I had no patience to wait on line for the overused, overcrowded, and overrated bathroom. I walked out onto the street instead, and found an office desk thrown on the curbside. I squatted behind it and released what felt like, "ah, freedom!"

I pulled my pants back up and walked away from a stunt I wanted no one to have witnessed. I was thrilled, but I wasn't satisfied. I turned around to see what I'd left behind. The suspect puddle looked more like something from a murder scene than a drunken adventure. I captured it with my camera like a villain obsessively collecting the records of his crimes. With one snapshot, I claimed the anonymous puddle, and have reclaimed it again and again.

The page also includes 24 pictures taken from the book to give all of us a taste of just what the book is all about. She states that "the act of peeing [is] a means to reevaluate the spaces I find myself in—to make them my own." I'm sure anybody like me is going to immediately think of an animal marking its territory but she goes on to say: "The experience is a combination of secrecy, physicality, grace, and the prospect of unexpectedly getting caught. Most of all, it is one of sensational peace."

And speaking of getting caught, Miss Rosen, a communications and marketing strategist based in New York City, interviewed Ellen Jong on April 15, 2010.

I’ve always had bit of penis envy, but only when it comes to peeing in public. I’ve admired how men could just whip it out and go with no hassle—unlike us ladies who have to find somewhere discreet to pee, and make sure we don’t splash our shoes. So, needless to say, when I met Ellen Jong, who has been taking self-portraits for the past ten years while pissing wherever the damn well hell she wants, I was fully in awe. Jong has shamelessly leveled the playing field, proving women can do anything guys can do—and not ruin their shoes.

The amusing blog posting goes on as a dialogue between Miss Rosen and Ellen Jong talking about the book Pees on Earth. There is an amusing story of Ms. Jong's attempt to pee in Times Square in New York City and getting a summons for it. A couple of years later when the cops catch her with a open bottle of Tequila and check her licence, they discover there is a warrant for her arrest because she ignored the summons. How many of us get to tell a personal story of being arrested, booked and spending the night in jail? Then again, do we want to add that notch to our belt?

Getting To Know My Husband’s Cock
Published in 2010, this catchy title with a four letter word probably makes many do a double take. While the book may at first give you a risqué idea of its contents, the photographs are an exploration by a newly married woman of her new life partner.

"This recollection of the first three years leading up to my wedding day and my first year of marriage is a love song in photographs and text where the male body is used as a metaphor for love; his cock is a symbol of manhood, it affects me profoundly, challenges, indulges and intoxicates me."

I note that the forward of the book was written by one Cindy Gallop. For those not familiar with my writings, I do refer to Ms. Gallop as the author of both the web site and the book called "Make Love Not Porn". I would say that both Ms. Gallop and Ms. Jong are among the more unique members of the New York citizenry.

Ms. Jong has put together a web site dedicated to the book. The section called "Inside the Book" gives you a glimpse into Ms. Jong project of love with the first 19 pages of her opus.

Uploaded by SelfPublishBeHappy on Sep 14, 2010
Video Book Talk: Getting to Know My Husband's Cock by Ellen Jong
Ellen Jong talks about her book 'Getting to Know My Husband's Cock'



Final Word
Ms. Jong has a different perspective on the world. The above two literary endeavours are unique and I will leave it up to the next potential reader and or buyer to decide if these two books are merely novelty items or worthy additions to their home library. Whatever the case, the titles of the books are catchy enough to make anybody stop and take a second look. Hmmm, now that I think of it, I am always looking for something novel for Christmas and birthday gifts. With most people in the family already owning what they want or having the means of buying what they want, it's always nice coming up with something which does fit the Monty Python requirement of now for something completely different. Gee, wouldn't December 25th be great time to unwrap a gift entitled Pees on Earth?


References

Ellen Jong
Artist Statement
I am interested in the things that are overlooked in the every day. These things are objects, landscapes, expressions on faces, gesters in the body, behavioral responses, more, they are micro-moments loaded with information to further my intimacy and understanding of myself and the world around me.

Pees on Earth
Pees On Earth is my first photographic monograph, an intimate travelogue and a pursuit for identity, self and freedom.

Miss Rosen - April 15/2010
Ellen Jong: Did they think I was dangerous?
[Interview with the photographer]

Getting To Know My Husband's Cock
a self published monograph with photographs and text; published in NYC (2010)

Getting To Know My Husband's Cock: Forward

I love this book.

I love it because it is a beautifully atmospheric collection of photographs that tell an honest, intimate and insightful love story.

Getting To Know My Husband's Cock is the ultimate love token.

When you love someone, you love getting to know them. You love learning and exploring and finding out everything about them. And you particularly love getting to know those most intimate parts of them that give you, and them, enormous pleasure and joy in the knowing.

I would love to see Ellen's book inspire everyone to create their own Getting To Know My Husband's Cock. Or Getting To Know My Wife's Pussy - every variation thereof, whether straight, gay or whatever. How much would you love your loved one to create a book like this for you? How much would they love it if you created one for them? This is sexual scrap-booking of the very highest order.

Ellen has chosen to share her love story with all of us. The rest of us might only ever share ours with our loved one - but I cannot imagine anyone who would not be blown away to receive a gift of love as true, and as beautiful, as this.

Cindy Gallop
New York
March 2010

my blog: Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn
[Check out the speech Ms. Gallop gave at the 2009 TED conference]

my blog: Book Review: Make Love Not Porn by Cindy Gallop


2011-07-28

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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Robert Palmer: Addicted to Love


Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is what it takes

You can't sleep, you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another kiss is all you need

Ohh oohh
you like to think that you're immune to the stuff
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough
you know you're gonna have to face it
you're addicted to love

You see the signs, but you can't read
You're runnin' at a different speed
You heart beats in double time
Another kiss and you'll be mine, a one track mind

You can't be saved
Oblivion is all you crave
If there's some left for you
You don't mind if you do

Ohh oohh
You like to think that you're immune to the stuff
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough,
you know you're gonna have to face it
you're addicted to love

Might as well face it, you're addicted to love (5x)

Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your will is not your own
You're heart sweats and teeth grind
Another kiss and you'll be mine

Ohh oohh
you like to think that you're immune to the stuff
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough
you know you're gonna have to face it
you're addicted to love

Might as well face it, you're addicted to love (5x)


References

Uploaded by RobertPalmerVEVO on Dec 24, 2009

Wikipedia: Addicted to Love (song)
"Addicted to Love" is a song by Robert Palmer first released in 1986. The song has now become known as his signature song, thanks in part to a highly popular video featuring high fashion models. Other artists have released versions since.

This is the third song on the Riptide album. The most commonly heard version runs around four minutes, but the full album version runs a little over six minutes.

The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as spending two weeks atop the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart, and it peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart.

Originally intended to be a duet with Chaka Khan, her record company at the time wouldn't grant her a release to work on Palmer's label, Island Records. Chaka Khan is still credited for the vocal arrangements in the album liner notes.

The guitar part on the song is played by Andy Taylor, then a member of Duran Duran, and keyboards by Wally Badarou. The song is also notable for the unaccompanied drum opening, which plays at 7/4. The rest of the song is in common 4/4 time.

Wikipedia: Riptide (album)
Riptide is the eighth solo studio album by the British singer Robert Palmer, released in November 1985.

Wikipedia: Robert Palmer (singer)
Robert Allen Palmer (19 January 1949 – 26 September 2003), born in Batley, Yorkshire, was a Grammy Award-winning English singer-songwriter. He was known for his distinctive voice and the eclectic mix of musical styles on his albums, combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae and blues. He found success both in his solo career and in the supergroup Power Station, and had Top 10 songs in both the US and the UK.

His iconic music videos by Terence Donovan for the hits "Simply Irresistible" and "Addicted to Love", featured identically dressed dancing women with pale faces, dark eye makeup and bright red lipstick, which resembled the women in the art of Patrick Nagel, an artist popular in the 1980s. Sharp-suited, his involvement in the music industry commenced in the 1960s, covered five decades and included a spell with Vinegar Joe.

2011-07-27

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Erectile dysfunction or just not sexually aroused

According to the Minnesota Men's Health Center, one in ten men in the world suffers from ED (Erectile Dysfunction) and the likelihood of ED goes up with age: 39% at age 40, 65% over the age of 65. It is estimated that up to 30 million American men frequently suffer from ED and that it strikes up to half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70.

However those same stats point out that every man at one time or another has had a bout of ED and the causes of this condition are not just physical but also psychological. Sometimes it's all in your head and sometimes it's all in the head of your penis.

In examining the physical causes of ED, we find a number of conditions which are related to either the nerves or the circulatory system however it seems that with the importance of blood flow being at the heart of any erection, the factors which affect one's blood vessels are probably the most significant. Arterial narrowing brought on by ageing may be one of the biggest concerns as statistics state that men in their 60s are four times more likely to suffer from ED than men in the 40s. However other physical problems may be at fault: heart disease, clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson's disease, Multiple sclerosis, low testosterone, Peyronie's disease (development of scar tissue inside the penis), certain prescription medications, tobacco use, alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, and treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate and surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord. Whew, that's quite a list.

The psychological causes of ED may be considered at times to be more subtle and more difficult to recognise as men are well known for being tough and not admitting to anybody, including themselves, that they may be having a problem. Stress or anxiety, low self-esteem, marital or relationship problems, performance anxiety and even an unsatisfactory sex life can all play a part in the likelihood a man may have a bout of ED. However, in saying a "bout of ED" there is the idea that this ED is temporary and can be remedied. It is this last point the current article will explore.

Who hasn't heard of Viagra or Levitra or Cialis? Anybody who's had to deal with spam has probably had more than their fair share of emails advertising these magic pills which portend to give any man a raging hard-on the likes of which haven't been seen since, well, one was 16 years old. There is, however, a curiosity to be found buried in the directions. On the official web site of Levitra (Why Levitra: Forget the Rumors), the manufacturer Bayer states:

* Levitra is not a magic pill or an aphrodisiac (a substance such as a food or drug that arouses or is believed to arouse sexual desire); it will not increase sexual desire.
* It should not give you an instant erection; you'll need to be sexually stimulated for it to work.


On the same site, in the upper right hand corner of the page, is a link to the Patient Information of the drug. You will find the following points:

ED is a condition where the penis does not harden and expand when a man is sexually excited.

When a man is sexually stimulated, his body's normal physical response is to increase blood flow to his penis. This results in an erection.

In the above snippets of text taken directly from official documentation for the drug Levitra, you will see when a man is sexually stimulated or [a man needs] to be sexually excited. In other words, the drug will not give a man an erection. The desire for sex, the excitement of sex or sexual stimulation will give a man an erection. The drug will only facilitate the flow of blood to the penis; it has absolutely nothing to do with making the blood actually flow into the penis. Only sexual arousal does that.

Marty Klein: How to not get an erection
Dr. Marty Klein (b 1950) is an American sex therapist, educator and public policy analyst. He publishes a monthly magazine called Sexual Intelligence and in issue #137, July 2011 he tells the story of Sam who starts dating a year after his wife left him.

Sam arrives at a point in one relationship where he is going to have sex but Sam encounters a problem: he's not getting an erection when he wants one. Sam thinks he is suffering from erectile dysfunction but questioning by Dr. Klein leads to a few discoveries.

Sam describes how he and his girlfriend Yolanda were kissing and it seemed they were going to have sex. Sam was excited by this but didn't have an erection. When Klein asks Sam to describe what they were doing, Sam explains they were making out and rubbing against each other but nothing else. Klein goes on to talk about physical stimulation.

I told Sam that he needed to have direct stimulation on his penis in order to get an erection. He disagreed; shouldn't it be enough that he was "excited"? "It's important that you're emotionally aroused," I partially agreed. "But you need to be physically aroused as well."

The gist of it is that Sam expects to have an erection with little or no direct physical stimulation either by his girlfriend or by himself. Sam is also very, very reluctant to talk about this with his girlfriend.

This conveniently illustrates the three rules for not getting an erection when you want one:
* Don't get the physical stimulation you need
* Envision "sex" as something that requires an erection
* Don't discuss this dilemma with your partner


All of the documentation associated with these so-called wonder drugs for supposedly giving a man an erection state over and over again that a man must be sexually aroused to have an erection. In other words, the drug itself is only a physical aid to assisting in blood flow. If a man isn't sexually aroused, the drug ain't gunna do squat.

The story of Sam underlines a myth held by probably every man and woman: a guy is ready, willing and able twenty-four by seven. Associated with this is the idea that a guy must get a woman "in the mood" for sex. As the initiator of sex probably about 100% of time in our culture, the man comes to the table already "in the mood" so he has the job of warming up his partner. This amusing metaphor for men and women succinctly sums up the traditional view of the two sexes and their different relationship to sex. Men are like microwaves; you push a button and they're on. Women are like crock pots; they take time to warm up. (see Sex: Men are always ready, willing, and able)

But what if the man isn't in the mood? Is it erectile dysfunction or is it that he's just not "in the mood"? And if it's that he's just not "in the mood", what does anybody do about it? First of all, in Sam's story, he's embarrassed to talk with his partner. Why this reticence on the part of Sam? He points out that having sex is one thing but talking about it is much more difficult and then Dr. Klein makes the most telling of statements: Talking about sex is much more intimate than doing it. That strikes me as a powerful assertion. Is sex more than just sex? Is sex talking? Is sex the intimacy of communicating with your partner? Klein goes on: "Sex would be a lot easier on the nerves if you didn't feel pressured to get erect for it. If you just counted everything as sex, and you two decided to enjoy each others' bodies in whatever ways were available, getting an erection wouldn't matter."

Secondly, since Sam's story makes no mention of the woman's participation, the question begs to be asked: does the woman know how to sexually arouse a man? Can she get Sam "in the mood"? Is Sam truly suffering from the physical ailment of erectile dysfunction or is he just not sexually aroused or not aroused enough? (see my blog: Sex: Are women lousy lovers?)

In the article "How Sex Changes for Men After 50" by Michael Castleman (AARP: Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons - Oct 12/2010), the author writes:

Some things change. Take, for example, erections. After 40 and certainly by 50, they rise more slowly, and become less firm and frequent. Sexual fantasies are no longer enough. Men need fondling, often for quite a while. It's disconcerting to lose firmness and suffer wilting from minor distractions, such as a phone ringing, but these changes are perfectly normal. Unfortunately, many men mistake them for erectile dysfunction (ED) and become distraught — only exacerbating the problem. Anxiety constricts the arteries that carry blood into the penis, making erections even less likely.

Mr. Castleman is discussing men after 50 but is the idea of a man not being "in the mood" and needing to be warmed up applicable to any age?

Final Word
Boy, do I end up talking about the weirdest subjects or what? The point I found so curious in looking at the above materials is that while erectile dysfunction can be a physical condition, is it always? Stress or anxiety, low self-esteem, marital or relationship problems, performance anxiety and even an unsatisfactory sex life can have an impact on a man's performance, that is, can leave a man not "in the mood". Not being in the mood is not erectile dysfunction; it's just not being "in the mood". Gee, where have I heard this before? (hint: women not being "in the mood") - If you'll get it up, I'll get it out.

Talking about sex is much more intimate than doing it. Wow. Powerful stuff. I've always heard that the body's biggest sex organ is our brain. Are we all missing out on something? Is there more to this thing called sex than just an erection? Is there more to this thing called sex than just sex? This reminds me of an odd question about the brain and sexual arousal. This is applicable to all readers in whatever your partnered circumstances may be, but the wording, if you'll excuse me, is as if I'm asking this of a woman:

Can you give a man a hard-on without touching him?

Obviously we're back talking not about a man's genitals but about his biggest sexual organ his brain. If that's stimulated, will everything fall into place? And if you think you could successfully answer the above question, I would add a second question:

Could you make a man cum without touching him?


References

Wikipedia: Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED, "male impotence") is sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance.

Wikipedia: Vardenafil
Vardenafil (INN) is a PDE5 inhibitor used for treating impotence (erectile dysfunction) that is sold under the trade name Levitra (Bayer AG, GSK, and SP).

official web site: Levitra
About ED
* The inability of the penis to harden and expand when the man is sexually excited.
Why Levitra: Forget the Rumors
* Levitra is not a magic pill or an aphrodisiac (a substance such as a food or drug that arouses or is believed to arouse sexual desire); it will not increase sexual desire.
* It should not give you an instant erection; you'll need to be sexually stimulated for it to work.


Levitra: Patient Information
What is Levitra?
Levitra is a prescription medicine taken by mouth for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. ED is a condition where the penis does not harden and expand when a man is sexually excited, or when he cannot keep an erection.
Levitra does not:
* cure ED
* increase a man's sexual desire
How does Levitra work?
When a man is sexually stimulated, his body's normal physical response is to increase blood flow to his penis. This results in an erection. Levitra helps increase blood flow to the penis and may help men with ED get and keep an erection satisfactory for sexual activity.


The Free Dictionary: Erectile dysfunction
Description
Under normal circumstances, when a man is sexually stimulated, his brain sends a message down the spinal cord and into the nerves of the penis. The nerve endings in the penis release chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, that signal the arteries that supply blood to the corpora cavernosa (the two spongy rods of tissue that span the length of the penis) to relax and fill with blood. As they expand, the corpora cavernosa close off other veins that would normally drain blood from the penis. As the penis becomes engorged with blood, it enlarges and stiffens, causing an erection. Problems with blood vessels, nerves, or tissues of the penis can interfere with an erection.


Causes and symptoms
It is estimated that up to 30 million American men frequently suffer from ED and that it strikes up to half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70. Doctors used to think that most cases of ED were psychological in origin, but they now recognize that, at least in older men, physical causes may play a primary role in 60% or more of all cases. In men over the age of 60, the leading cause is atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can restrict the flow of blood to the penis. Injury or disease of the connective tissue, such as Peyronie's disease, may prevent the corpora cavernosa from completely expanding. Damage to the nerves of the penis from certain types of surgery or neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, may also cause ED. Men with diabetes are especially at risk for erectile dysfunction because of their high risk of both atherosclerosis and a nerve disease called diabetic neuropathy.


Some drugs, including certain types of blood pressure medications, antihistamines, tranquilizers (especially before intercourse), and antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, including Prozac and Paxil) can interfere with erections. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use may also contribute. In some cases, low levels of the male hormone testosterone may contribute to erectile failure. Finally, psychological factors, such as stress, guilt, or anxiety, may also play a role, even when the ED is primarily due to organic causes.

BJU International - Oct 13/2005
How (not) to communicate new scientific information: a memoir of the famous brindley lecture
by Laurence Klotz
In 1983, at the Urodynamics Society meeting in Las Vegas, Professor G.S. Brindley gives his lecture ‘Vaso-active therapy for erectile dysfunction’ and demonstrates the effectiveness of self-injection with papaverine to induce penile erection by dropping his trousers and showing off his own erect penis.
[I laughed out load when I read Mr. Klotz's personal account of this lecture as he was there and witness to the proceedings. OMG!]

About.Com - Aug 6/2006
Sexual Difficulties: Loss of interest in sex
Loss of interest in sex, or sexual problems such as under-arousal or premature ejaculation, can occur at any age and for any number of reasons. A general state of under arousal is often accompanied by other issues in life such as overwork, stress and/or relationship problems. Men are often fairly poor at recognizing or acknowledging psychological issues or they see it as a sign of weakness. Stress is often viewed as something that affects other people but many men simply aren't tuned in to reading the signs in themselves.

About.Com - May 29/2006
Inability to reach orgasm-Anorgasmia
The inability to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse is better documented for women than men. Whilst anorgasmia, also known as orgasmic disorder, orgasmic dysfunction or orgasmic inhibition, is less common in men there are similarities in both sexes in terms of the possible causes and therapeutic outcomes.

AARP: Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons:
How Sex Changes for Men After 50
It's not the same as it used to be — and that can be a good thing.
by: Michael Castleman - October 12, 2010
Some things change. Take, for example, erections. After 40 and certainly by 50, they rise more slowly, and become less firm and frequent. Sexual fantasies are no longer enough. Men need fondling, often for quite a while. It's disconcerting to lose firmness and suffer wilting from minor distractions, such as a phone ringing, but these changes are perfectly normal. Unfortunately, many men mistake them for erectile dysfunction (ED) and become distraught — only exacerbating the problem. Anxiety constricts the arteries that carry blood into the penis, making erections even less likely.

Mayo Clinic
Erectile Dysfunction: Risk Factors
As you get older, erections may take longer to develop and may not be as firm. You may need more direct touch to your penis to get and keep an erection. This isn't a direct consequence of getting older. Usually it's a result of underlying health problems or taking medications, which is more common as men age.

Minnesota Men's Health Center
Facts About Erectile Dysfunction
* One in 10 men in the world have erectile dysfunction.
* 30 million men in the United States have erectile dysfunction.
* 50% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction, frequently within 10 years of diagnosis.
* The likelihood of erectile dysfunction increases with age: 39% at age 40, 65% over the age of 65.
* Men experiencing erectile dysfunction often report increasing anxiety, loss of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, tension and difficulty in the relationship with their partner.


WebMD
Erectile Dysfunction
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5% of 40-year-old men and between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men experience ED on a long-term basis.

A much more common problem that affects the majority of men at some point in their life is the occasional failure to achieve an erection, which can occur for a variety of reasons, such as from drinking too much alcohol or from being extremely tired.

Failure to achieve an erection less than 20% of the time is not unusual and treatment is rarely needed. Failure to achieve an erection more than 50% of the time, however, generally indicates there is a problem requiring treatment.

WebMD
Sex-Drive Killers (Slideshow)
Is Your Sex Drive in Park?
Are you or your partner losing interest in sex? A variety of physiological and psychological factors can impact your libido. Check out these common sex-drive killers.


WebMD
Erections: Use It or Lose It?
Men who have trouble getting erections have sex less often than men with normal sexual function, several studies have shown.

But can a long sexual dry spell actually cause erectile dysfunction (ED)? And can men cut their risk for ED by having sex (or masturbating) on a regular basis?

my blog: Sex: Men are always ready, willing, and able
A woman only has to give a guy the green light and she can sleep with him. Twenty-four by seven, a man is willing to have sex and can be made to have an erection with little or no stimulation. It's a sure thing. No effort on the part of his partner, the woman, is necessary.

2011-07-26

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Monday, 25 July 2011

NPD: Diagnosing that @#$%^* bastard

Narcissistic personality disorder is quite a mouthful and while it has a certain air of scientific authority, it does not at the end of the day detract from the problematic reality of dealing with a self-centered egomaniac who doesn't give a s**t about anybody other than himself.

In a recent blog posting by a divorced female blogger, the author discussed the application of this mental disorder to her ex-husband, a disorder officially recognised by the American Psychiatric Association in their publication The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The Mayo Clinic succinctly defines the disorder as:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

The Wikipedia article on NDP states:

NPD is considered to result from a person's belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person's conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognised their (perceived) defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them.

It is interesting in the above articles to compare the outward appearance of the behaviour and the inner workings of the person in question. At the heart of it, the individual seems to have a deep seated inferiority complex. Now doesn't that strike you as contradictory? There's a guy running around like he's God's gift to humanity - Lord, am I good or what? - and he really has low self-esteem. He is so preoccupied with validation of his own worth; he is oblivious to the needs of anybody else.

At one time or another, it dawned on me how people who were good, that is people who knew they were good, seemed to be less likely to brag. Why? They already knew they were good, probably better than everybody else in the room, so what was there to prove? Note what I said: they knew they were good. They didn't think they were good; they didn't hope they were good or hope that others would think they were good; they just knew they were good. Imagine Tiger Woods in a room with ordinary people. He is the best golfer in the world or pretty close. Why would he brag about this in a room full of people who probably couldn't best his score on 18 holes if they only played 9 holes?

Truly, truly great people who "know" they are great ofttimes turn out to be very generous with their talents. They don't brag; they share. The braggarts are those who doubt themselves. They are constantly seeking feedback, verification of their talents.

This idea of "knowing you're good" seems to spill over into all areas of a personality. A person who is confident, who knows they are good, seems to be more generous, fairer with other people. As I said, what else there to prove?

In everyday life, there have to be many "shades" of this type of behaviour. I can think of a few times in my life when in a fit of egotistical bravado, I have bragged about something I had done or how good I am in general. It's like I just shot a hundred and one and I'm going around my group saying, "Nah, nah, nah, nah, naaah. I beat you. I have the best score!!!" then somebody leans in close and whispers in my ear, "Pssst. That man sitting at the next table is Tiger Woods. He just shot 68."

Okay that personal story is more of a funny story than a serious one. But I do recognise in myself various "shades" of needing validation. Yes, I do have a bit of an inferiority complex at times - not all the time - and in certain areas of my life I guess I do look for some positive feedback. After all, is it only my voice I hear saying that I'm a great guy? It does feel kind of good to hear another voice, even a chorus of voices chiming in once in a while to list off those of my many and imagined characteristics which could be construed as indicative of a person hopefully a notch up from the qualities of a slug.

I have a family story dating back to the 1970s. My aunt Jane married Henry and they had three children. "Uncle" Henry was a printer by trade and started his own printing business. I remember as a young boy visiting this shop with these huge printing presses; it was quite impressive. One day, Uncle Henry walked out. He walked out on his business, his wife, his children, his home and his entire life. Why? As a young boy I wasn't necessarily privy to all the details but later I did ask my father what happened.

It seems that Henry wanted to be big. He wanted to be big and successful. However Henry made a fundamental business mistake in that everybody has to start at the bottom and work their way up. Everybody has to start small. Henry apparently was refusing to do small jobs, waiting for the big scores. They never came. He eventually drove himself out of business. He just couldn't swallow having to go work for somebody else so he left town.

My aunt was left holding the bag on a house with a mortgage and a family of three children. My aunt and uncle did divorce but she had to raise the children by herself. My aunt did not have a very good life. Henry was pretty much never heard from again but through the grapevine, I did hear he married a younger woman and did die prematurely from cancer in his early fifties.

In my posting "Why did that @#$%^* bastard divorce me?", I ask why a man would one day decide to leave his wife and children, ruin his reputation, besmirch his good name, alienate his kids and turn himself into a "bad man". Yes, he's a sex addict; yes, he's a two-timing sonofabitch, etc. but why? Nobody starts out with a goal to be bad. Yes, today I'm going to berate my wife, be cruel to the kids and kick the cat down the stairs. What? Really? Do you have this written up in your day planner? Tuesday: tell the wife she's a bitch.

The premise I was skirting while trying to surreptitiously lead the reader to my conclusion was that perceived obstacles to being open and honest can lead us to hide stuff and not be truthful. Bam! Something out of character comes bursting onto the scene and you stand there stunned asking "Where the H did that come from?" while not realising it had been percolating below the surface for some time. In the article I was talking specifically about sex but it could be applicable to other things. In the above story, Uncle Henry couldn't talk about his business and his desire to succeed. He couldn't talk about his failure and his (perceived) humiliation. Yes, he ran away but he ran away because he felt there was no way to escape what was for him an intolerable situation. Being a "bad man" was less painful than living in a community where he imagined that day after day after day everyone would point at him saying, "There's the printer who went bankrupt."

Final Word
For whatever reason, our left arm gets caught in a wood chipper and is ripped off. As in the Kübler-Ross model of coping with dying, the five stages of grief, we will all go through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally and hopefully acceptance. Is part of acceptance trying to make sense of it? If we can somehow explain it, give a reason, even come up with an underlying scientific cause, will we be better able to accept it?

I like to use the analogy of the sun coming up in the morning. No matter how much I may hate it; there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The sooner I accept this fact, the sooner I can move on to those things in my life I can actually change. And likewise, if I don't accept it, I am going to remain "stuck" in life, complaining about the sun coming up in the morning, something which is completely outside of my control. Using the expression Zen-like to qualify one's traits such as a Zen-like peace or a Zen-like acceptance of the situation seems humorous but it is also an accurate description of what we must do to truly find our own inner peace.

I can beat the wood chipper with a sledgehammer. I can have the wood chipper crushed and sold for scrap metal. I can do any one of a number of things to vent my anger and maybe it will make me feel better. Sort of. Partially. Temporarily. But at the end of the day, my left arm is still gone.

If there is any consolation, it may be in this. Uncle Henry wanted to be big, so much so, he couldn't face failure and left. Narcissistic personality disorder? Probably in spades but I am certain my aunt would have used the more vernacular @#$%^* bastard.

I recognised a long time ago that those who have wronged me are probably living in their own hell because of it. Nobody starts out wanting to be the "bad man". I am positive everybody would prefer being loved and admired. Uncle Henry knew deep down that he was a bad man and found it a terrible guilt to live with. The best way of dealing with it was to never again in his lifetime see those people who would remind him of his greatest failure: his life. I'm sure it ate him alive. He lost his life: his wife, his children, his family, his home, family vacations, his children's birthdays, Christmas, New Year's Eve, summer vacations, visits from my family so we kids could play together. He knew he was wrong but could never admit it to himself. He never made the healing step of making amends and he was never at peace with himself. I bet he fell to knees more than once over the years and sobbed his eyes out at his loss.

Living well is the best revenge.
- George Herbert, English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 - 1633)

If George was alive today, you might punch him in the nose. Don't you just hate it when somebody is right? Of course, something being right like living well doesn't necessarily mean that it is easy to do. Accepting the past, truly accepting the past and moving on is not always straightforward.


References

Wikipedia: Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder. The narcissist is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness.

Wikipedia: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States of America and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers. The DSM has attracted controversy and criticism as well as praise. There have been five revisions since it was first published in 1952, gradually including more mental disorders, although some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders, most notably homosexuality.

Chronicles of a Sick Rose by Laura Regis - Feb 8/2011
Personality Disorders
Last year I remember taking a personality test which said that I had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, having read about the signs and symptoms characterized by this disorder I concluded that I did not. Yesterday, I found my self taking another Personality disorder test, a completely different one this time, with different sets of questions, and ended up with the same result: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

2011-07-25

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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

Right off the bat let me tell everybody who jumped out of their seat as soon as the credits started rolling and left the theatre. You missed it! At the end of the credits there was a preview of next year's Avengers movie. Fools! Have you not yet learned that Marvel movies seem to have gotten into the habit of doing this? Heck, the credits aren't that long. Are we in that big of a hurry?

Yes, this is just another in a line of summer blockbusters vying to make us part with our hard-earned entertainment dollars but if I compare it with the money making juggernaut of the latest entry in Transformers franchise, this story has some meat on its bones. Don't forget that I am a firm believer in the score from Rotten Tomatoes as an accurate indicator of the quality of a film and while Transformers: Dark of the Moon (my review) managed to only qualify for an abysmal 36%; Captain Avenger currently rates a respectable 73%. Anything under 60% is considered bad and I'd say 36% is low enough to be called really bad.

The meat on the bones of this story comes from the origins of Captain America dating back to World War II. A dwarfish nerd is rejected from the draft and can't go fight the evil Nazis like all the other true men. However he ends up part of a secret experiment which instantaneously transforms him into a tall, muscular superhero. As Roger Ebert so humorously pointed out, just about every comic book of the forties and fifties had an advertisement for some training program which showed a weak man having sand kicked in his face at the beach by the bigger bully as the bully steals weak man's girl. That is the story of Captain America.

Using World War II as the film's backdrop is great because nothing embodies pure evil better than the Nazis. Over the years, there have been lots of fictional stories of the Nazis having superweapons, superpowers and gawd knows what else and what better place than this film to show the nemesis of all nemesises, Red Skull, the most evil of all Nazis; heck more evil than Adolf himself.

The backdrop of World War II, the era, the clothes, etc. give a certain overall style to the film which in many cases require special effects. However the use of CGI in this film, in comparison with Transformers, is not the in-your-face pound-you-over-the-head bigger and better explosions. Okay, there are lots of explosions but here it seemed to make sense as part of the story as opposed to just trying to dazzle you. The actor Chris Evans benefited from some quite startling transformations as the first small underweight Steve Rogers to the taller, muscular Captain America. This is so integrated into the movie story I imagine most of us don't think of it as a special effect. It is the type of effect which is truly part of the story as opposed to another explosion or car crash or whatever just tacked on to make us go, "Wow!"

I quite enjoyed myself. Part of the credit goes to the supporting cast who did a marvellous job (Marvel Comics, marvellous job, get it?) of contributing to making this a good film. Tommy Lee Jones as the doubting army commander who recruits Steve Rogers plays gruff with a wonderful touch of humour. Hugo Weaving as Schmidt / Red Skull brings that maniacal wide-eyed villainous look to his character which so reminds me of Agent Smith from The Matrix. You just know that despite his calmness, he's going to turn around and do something really, really bad. Hayley Atwell as the romantic interest has a certain smouldering beauty about her which trades off nicely with her militaristic kick butt demeanour. There's a great scene where as an army officer, she is checking out a group of smartass recruits. She asks one mouthy jerk to step forward then decks him.

Okay, I can't help myself: spoiler alert. I thought this scene was so funny I actually clapped in the theatre. A group of soldiers are required to run I don't know how many miles as part of their training. They arrive at a flag pole and the drill sergeant tells the group this is the halfway point. He then adds that if anybody can get the flag at the top of the flagpole, they can have a ride back to camp in the jeep with Hayley Atwell who is observing the men training. Some of the men try to shimmy up the pole but fail to get anywhere close to the flag. The sergeant yells that he's never seen anybody get the flag in - I think - seventeen years then orders them all to go back running. Our nerdy Steve Rogers walks over to the pole and pulls out two pins at its base which hold the flagpole in an upright position. The pole tips over and falls flat on the ground. Rogers walks over and easily removes the flag from the top of the pole as the drill sergeant and all the other men stare in stunned silence at how he's solved the problem. I'm sorry, that completely cracked me up and I thought it was such a brilliant out of the box solution to getting the flag off the top of the pole, I had to clap. That was an absolutely brilliant scene and was truly funny.




Final Word
This is a good bit of summer blockbuster entertainment. I saw it in 3D and can't really say that the extra dimension added anything to write home to Mom about. I have to chuckle as Roger Ebert who is well known for detesting 3D as a dumb gimmick specifically wrote in his own review to see the movie in 2D. Well, if you do you'll save yourself three bucks.

This is well worth heading out to the theatre. If you'd enjoy a "comic book" superhero action adventure movie, you won't go wrong by taking in this cinematic treat.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Captain America: The First Avenger: 73%
With plenty of pulpy action, a pleasantly retro vibe, and a handful of fine performances, Captain America is solidly old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment.

Wikipedia: Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America.

Wikipedia: Captain America
Captain America is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941), from Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Over the years, an estimated 210 million copies of "Captain America" comic books have been sold in a total of 75 countries. For nearly all of the character's publication history, Captain America was the alter ego of Steve Rogers, a sickly young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. Captain America wears a costume that bears an American flag motif, and is armed with an indestructible shield that can be thrown as a weapon.

2011-07-24

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Amy Winehouse: Tears Dry On Their Own


All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we know
And this regret I got accustomed to
Once it was so right when we were at our high
Waiting for you in the hotel at night

I knew I hadn't met my match but every moment we could snatch
I don't know why I got so attached
It's my responsibility and you don't owe nothing to me
But to walk away, I have no capacity

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm gone
And in your way in this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I don't understand, why do I stress the man
When there's so many bigger things at hand
We could a never had it all, we had to hit a wall
So this is inevitable withdrawal

Even if I stop wanting you, a perspective pushes through
I'll be some next man's other woman soon
I cannot play myself again, I should just be my own best friend
I fuck myself in the head with stupid men

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm gone
And in your way in this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

So we are history, your shadow covers me
The sky above, a blaze

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm gone
And in your way in this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I wish I could sing no regrets and no emotional debts
'Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets
So we are history, the shadow covers me
The sky above, a blaze that only lovers see

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm gone
And in your way my blue shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am gone
And in your way my deep shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away, the sun goes down
He takes the day but I'm gone
And in your way my deep shade
My tears dry


References

Uploaded by AmyWinehouseVEVO on Dec 23, 2009

Wikipedia: Tears Dry on Their Own
"Tears Dry on Their Own" is a song written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse for her second studio album, Back to Black (2006). It was released as the album's fourth single on 31 July 2007. While the melody and lyrics are composed by Winehouse, the music behind her voice is a sample interpolation of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 Motown classic hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", penned by the married duo of Ashford & Simpson.

Music video
The song's music video was shot in Los Angeles, and was directed by David LaChapelle on 22 May 2007. The clip features footage of Winehouse making her way through Echo Park and in a dim hotel room. The hotel is the Grand Hotel at 1479 S La Cienega Blvd, in Los Angeles.


Wikipedia: Back to Black
Back to Black is the second and final studio album by English recording artist Amy Winehouse, released 4 October 2006 on Island Records. It incorporates 1960s soul music styles and modern R&B production, with subjective lyrics that concern relationships and reflect on Winehouse's experiences with drinking, sex, and drugs.[1] The album produced several singles, including "Rehab", "You Know I'm No Good", "Back to Black", "Tears Dry on Their Own", and "Love Is a Losing Game". Back to Black received positive reviews from most music critics, earning praise for its classicist soul influences, Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson's production, and Winehouse's songwriting and emotive singing style.


Wikipedia: Amy Winehouse
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter, known for her substance abuse and mental health.

Winehouse's 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British singer to win five Grammys, including three of the "Big Four": Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for "Stronger Than Me", one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for "Rehab", and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game", among other prestigious distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom.


2011-07-24

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