Monday, 31 December 2012

Nomophobia: nomo what?

The fear of being out of mobile phone contact. What? Yep, this term, an abbreviation of "no mobile phone phobia", was coined in 2008 in Briton during a study about those who got antsy when deprived of their cellphone. Anxiety? Cold-sweats? Impatiently pacing up and down? Seems like somebody going through withdrawal from drugs or alcohol but in our modern day world of 24 by 7 communications, it would seem we sometimes have an overwhelming need to be plugged in and if we're not, we feel cut off, out of the loop, castaway on a desert island.

Why this sudden interest? In Canada, Rogers Communications released a survey on December 27, 2012 of 1,040 Canadians who own a smartphone or tablet. 5% of the respondents claim to have their device in bed with them; 46% have it on the nightstand beside their bed; and another 13% have in the same room. Wait. Back up. In bed with them? Ha ha. I'm sorry; that's pretty funny. Of course I have heard of people keeping their device under their pillow.

13% say they "would be lost without it" and 8% "would not want to live without it." 33% check their mobile before brushing their teeth in the morning while 26% "would feel naked without [their] smartphone and Internet access." Ah, wow. Do we have an overwhelming need or what? Heck, do we have an addiction?

13% say they use their smartphone in the bath room "all the time"; 17% say "often"; and 28% say "occasionally". I'm sorry, did I just hear a toilet flush?

What about television?
According to Nielson, the average American watches nearly five hours of video each day. While that video traditionally has been television, the company notes that consumers are moving to other technologies to watch content like computers, gaming consoles, and mobile devices. In other words, the five hours remains constant just the amount of time watching a television is shifting.

Are we addicted?
I'm sure that you, like me, have heard we are all going to hell in a handcart; the sky is falling doom and gloom. But what is really going on? What's the truth? I decided to check this out by looking at my own week. The hours are approximate and I'm sure your particular day and week will vary from mine.

total number of hours: 24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours

total sleep: 8 hours x 7 days = 56 hours (8 hours? Ha ha, like that's going to happen!)

total hours awake: 16 hours per day; 112 hours per week

Work (including travel and lunch): 10 hours x 5 days = 50 hours

Remaining free time: 62 hours per week. On a work day, I have 7 free hours while on the weekend with no work, I have 16 free hours. (6 * 5 + 16 * 2 = 62)

I exercise anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. On the weekend I might do more so how about for the sake of simplicity I go with an average of 1 hour per day for 7 hours per week. Even if this isn't an accurate reflection of reality, it will make me feel noble and give me bragging rights for the duration of this article. So that leaves me with: 5 * 5 + 15 * 2 = 55 free hours per week. What do I do with 55 hours of free time?

How about meals? Here's an estimate: breakfast = 30 minutes time 7 days = 3.5 hours; lunch = 30 minutes times two days = 1 hour (workdays included above); and dinner = 1 hour times days = 7 hours. This gives a total of 11.5 hours per week. That brings me down to 44.5 hours of free time per week.

Other miscellaneous things I do: go to the movies (good for 3 or 4 hours with travel time); grocery shopping (couple of hours a week including travel time: I always buy fresh and frequently); other shopping possibly.

Oddly enough, I don't own a television. I do watch some television over the Internet but this is more than likely nothing more than the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, 2 half hour shows televised four days a week for a total of four hours per week.

However, as I mention above, the ratings company Nielson reports that the average American is watching nearly 5 hours per day of television. From my calculations, that would be over 50% of my free time. In reality, I watch 4 specific hours of TV but admittedly would add the occasional one hour drama and YouTube videos (I'm on a West Wing kick right now). In total? I suppose fifteen, maybe twenty hours per week would be reasonable but certainly not the 35 hours (5 hours per day times 7 days) reported by Nielson. It is surprising that since I started living without a television set, I have stopped the practice of plopping myself down in front of the boob tube and systematically going through all the channels looking for something, for anything to occupy my time. Oh look, here's an infomercial I haven't seen. Ha ha.

However, I do admit that the Internet is without a doubt the centre of my time, not just for television, but communication and information. I blog which involves research. I spend time, maybe a lot of time, reading the news, researching topics by doing Google searches, reading articles written by journalists but preferably by recognised experts, then writing about my findings and posting them online. I publicise my work using social media especially Twitter and Facebook. As a consequence, for me, while television and specifically television over the Internet is a fraction of my free time, the Internet is without a doubt my interactive gateway to the world.

My question is this. 50 years ago when I was growing up, it would seem much of our time communicating was done face to face with neighbours and acquaintances. Newspapers were important and of course, television although in its infancy was taking off like a rocket.

Today, the Internet is linking us all in a new way. Unlike the newspapers and television of my youth which were one-way conduits of information, the Internet is providing a more interactive form of communication. Yes, television is still a one-way street but social media like Facebook and Twitter or self-publication like blogs or eBooks or personal web sites are allowing all of us to talk back to people or to talk to the world. Is this good or bad? Or is this merely different? Is this an addiction? Or has technology given us a better form of communication? Heck, are we addicted to communication?

Intermittent Reinforcement
B. F. Skinner (1904-1990) was an American psychologist best known for his work in the area of behaviourism. As opposed to Freud who delved into the inner workings of the mind, Skinner concerned himself with what we do saying the inner why wasn't as important as knowing what we can see and measure, namely, our behaviour.

I never have forgotten from my university days about Skinner's study of intermittent reinforcement. The story goes that he taught a pigeon to press a button to get a seed. The bird would press the button and out popped a seed. From there, he started varying the number of button presses necessary to get a seed. Instead of every time, the seed would come every second press or every third press. Then Skinner made it three, four or five times, or varied it: every second time then every tenth time. What he observed was that the pigeon would repeatedly press the button in the hopes of getting a seed. It wasn't necessary to be rewarded for each press for the pigeon to continue its behaviour of pressing the button.

This concept was applied to gambling. We put a coin in a slot machine and pull the handle. We lose. We put in another coin. We lose. We put in another coin and we win. We continue to gamble. In other words, we don't have to win each time to continue putting coins in the machine; we only need to win once in a while. For a more detailed look at this, see my blog: Would Skinner have owned a Blackberry?

I jokingly but seriously compared this to email and how we seem to repeatedly check our Inbox looking for new mail. Once in a while, our persistence pays off but just as with gambling or like the pigeon, we continue our behaviour looking for the reward. Yes, it's an odd comparison but I have certainly observed in myself that during the course of the day as I am either at work or at home going over to check my Inbox. Am I addicted to email? Or is my email just an experiment in behaviourism?

Final Word
Is life changing? You bet. Are we moving into new territory where there may not be a clear explanation of what's going on? You bet. Are we addicted? Are we crazy? Are we too plugged in? Or is this merely the nature of the beast?

When I was a child in the 1950s (Yes, I'm that old... OMG! He grew up before the Internet!), there were no cellphones, no personal computers, and no Internet. What's a valid comparison? Is a child growing up today with their own cellphone, their own computer, and the Internet in some way abnormal in comparison with me as a child? I think it's not just different; it's better.

We collectively must be careful about painting any new phenomenon with a sky is falling brush stroke. With anything, there are problems but that does not mean that statistically the entire thing is going to hell in a handcart. Nothing is perfect so statistically there will always be something which goes wrong. Our problem is understanding just what the phenomenon is and what should be considered normal. Let's all be careful we don't look at anything new as we're a bunch of luddites.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to check my Blackberry, emphasis on "need". And I'm going to get progressively irritable if I don't.

Just an FYI: If I get up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom, I do NOT check my Blackberry. Ha ha.


References

Nomophobia: And here I was thinking it was the fear of gnomes.

Wikipedia: Nomophobia
Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term, an abbreviation for "no-mobile-phone phobia", was coined during a study by the UK Post Office who commissioned YouGov, a UK-based research organisation to look at anxieties suffered by mobile phone users.

Rogers Conmmunications - Dec 27/2012
Innovation Report: 2012 Trend Watch
From November 15th to November 19th, 2012, an online survey was conducted among a sample of of 1040 Canadians that own and use a smartphone or tablet and subscribe to the Internet or have a data plan for either device, who are Angus Reid Forum panel members.

SecurEnvoy - Feb 16/2012
66% of the population suffer from Nomophobia the fear of being without their phone
A recent survey of 1,000 people in employment, conducted using OnePoll, discovered two thirds of respondents fear losing or being without their mobile phone.

my blog: Would Skinner have owned a Blackberry?
In 1972, my first visit to university, I took a course in psychology which covered behaviourism and the work of B. F. Skinner (1904-1990). I was so fascinated by the American psychologist and his studies of operant conditioning that I have never forgotten the material even after more than thirty years. However for me, the most interesting concept in his work was intermittent reinforcement.

Nielson - May 3/2012
The Cross Platform Report - Q4 2011
The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set. Although this ratio is less than it was just a few years ago, and continues to change, the fact remains that Americans are not turning off. They are shifting to new technologies and devices that make it easier for them to watch the content they want whenever and wherever is most convenient for them. As such, the definition of the traditional TV home will continue to evolve.

Wikipedia: Luddite
The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who violently protested against the machinery introduced during the Industrial Revolution that made it possible to replace them with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.
...
In contemporary thought
Many of the ideas that were encompassed within the Luddite movement have been studied and evaluated in modern economic literature. The concept of "Skill Biased Technological Change" (SBTC) posits that technology contributes to the de-skilling of routine, manual tasks. The Luddite fallacy addresses the idea that technological advances can have adverse effects on structural unemployment. Most mainstream economists agree that the benefits technology provides to the economy as a whole (i.e. increased aggregate demand due to falling prices) outweigh the costs of the temporary displacement of particular workers, who can find other work as technology fuels economic growth.

In modern usage, "Luddite" is a term describing those opposed to industrialisation, automation, computerisation or new technologies in general.

2012-12-31

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Saturday, 29 December 2012

The System: Don't Disturb This Groove


Pay attention, are you listening? You're my favorite girl
Excuse me for the moment, I'm in another world
On a mountain, by a fountain, flowers blooming everywhere
With Venus and cupid, the picture's very clear

Hang the sign upon the door, say, 'Don't disturb this groove'
Just a way to say that, I'm so into you
And the feelings so real, so don't disturb this groove

Erotic whispers for the listener, let the music fill the air
Excuse me for a moment, I'm at a loss for words
By election sheer perfection and as if these eyes would care
Your heart is in the right place, so don't you go and change

Baby over and over the passion starts again
You're my lollipops and everything and a little taste of sin
Causing fire and desire in this mortal soul to live
Till the angels fall from heaven and the day the earth stands still

Hang a sign upon the door, say, 'Don't disturb this groove'
Just a way to say that I'm so into you
And the feeling's so real, so don't disturb this groove
Just a way to tell you that I'm so into you

Close your eyes and let the music put you in the groove
Lock the door and turn the phone off, it's time for me and you
Hang the sign upon the door, say, 'Don't disturb this groove'


References

Uploaded on Apr 10, 2010 by criticalbeat

Wikipedia: Don't Disturb This Groove (song)
"Don't Disturb This Groove" is a song by American synthpop/R&B duo The System, from the 1987 album of the same name. The song was written by The System's David Frank and Mic Murphy. It was released as the album's first single.

In May 1987, the song reached number one on the Billboard R&B Singles chart, spending one week on top. It was later a hit on the pop chart during the summer of 1987 as well, peaking at number four on the Hot 100 in July.

Wikipedia: Don't Disturb This Groove (album)
Don't Disturb This Groove is the fourth studio album recorded by American R&B/electro-pop band The System. Released by Atlantic Records in 1987, the album became a highlight of The System's career, as it has been the most commercially successful album, surpassing their hugely successful debut, Sweat. It reached No. 62 on the Billboard 200 and No. 13 on the R&B Albums chart.

Wikipedia: The System (band)
The System is an American synth pop duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist Mic Murphy and seasoned session keyboardist David Frank. The band was founded in 1982 in New York and backed up by Paul Pesco on electric guitar and Kris Khellow - keyboards, synthesizers.

Sometimes the group is referred to as an "emotio-electro" band because of their hi-tech, synthesizer-driven sound mated to passionate vocals and sensitive lyrics.

2012-12-29

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Friday, 28 December 2012

Movie Review: Silver Lining Playbook

I had no idea of what to expect but when I saw a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I knew I had to give it a shot. This is an odd, truly quirky story but the critics are right, this is a good film. And imagine, no car chases, no special effects, and no explosions. Okay, we see some tempers explode a couple of times but there are no pyrotechnics.

In a nutshell without any real spoilers, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who has apparently lived for years with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, is coming home to his parents' home after an eight month stay in a mental health facility. We learn that he came home one day to find his wife having sex with another man in the shower. Enraged, Pat nearly beat the man to death. That's the background; that's the setup for this quirky story of Pat getting himself back together and his life back on track. We have a terrific cast of characters supporting Pat in his quest for a new life: Robert Di Nero as the father; Jacki Weaver as the mother; Jennifer Lawrence as the colourful and charming love interest; and Chris Tucker as a friend and fellow inmate from the mental institution. I started out with the idea that Pat, having to have been institutionalised was the nutty one but the entire cast of characters all has their own idiosyncrasies to a point where I was left thinking Pat wasn't all that nutty. Add on top of all this, Pat's father is a bookmaker and the theme of betting on sports games, specifically on the Philadelphia Eagles, and there is a certain overall craziness to the proceedings.

David O. Russell
Yes, yes, we laud the actors and there is always the hoopla surrounding the Oscars but I will repeat that every great film starts with a great story. Wunderkind Russell does double duty as both screenwriter and director. He adapted the story from the 2008 debut novel of Matthew Quick "The Silver Lining Playbook". I come back to the Rotten Tomatoes rating of 92%. That rating is based on the reviews of professional critics so Russell is garnering high praise indeed and if I can add my two cents that is a much deserved rating. I did not recognise the director's name but a little research reveals that this gentleman is quite the creative powerhouse. As a director he has to his name "Spanking the Monkey (1994), "Three Kings" (1999), "I ♥ Huckabees" (2004) and "The Fighter" (2010). As a writer, he's done "Spanking the Monkey (1994), "Three Kings" (1999), and "I ♥ Huckabees" (2004). I used the term wunderkind to point out this man's double talent.

I should also add here that with great talent sometimes comes eccentricity. Apparently Mr. Russell has been known to go off on a tangent. During the making of the 1999 film Three Kings, he apparently nearly got into a fistfight with George Clooney. For the 2004 film "I ♥ Huckabees", videos surfaced of the director calling one of the stars Lily Tomlin the most foulest of names and storming off and on the set several times. I have worked with people with their own personal demons and it can be a bit of a challenge. For the moment I will concentrate on the results of Russell's work and not what he did to get there.




Final Word
It's a great film. It's a quirky story. It's a slice of life albeit an odd slice of an odd life all done without killing dozens of bad guys with a ton of fancy-pants special effects. It's one hour and sixty-two minutes which will capture your attention and keep you engrossed. What's going to happen next? Wow, I wasn't expecting that.

I recommend the film. I highly recommend it. This is worth forking over the bucks to see it now in the theatres as opposed to waiting until it eventually makes it to Netflix or TV. Make a night of it with dinner. Make it a date night. You'll enjoy it.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Silver Lining Playbook: 92%
Silver Linings Playbook walks a tricky thematic tightrope, but David O. Russell's sensitive direction and some sharp work from a talented cast gives it true balance.

Wikipedia: Silver Lining Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell, from a screenplay by Russell, adapted from the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick. The film stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, with Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, Julia Stiles and Chris Tucker in supporting roles.

official web site: Silver Lining Playbook

Wikipedia: The Silver Linings Playbook (novel)
The Silver Linings Playbook is the debut novel written by American author Matthew Quick. It was released in hardcover in September 2, 2008.

Wikipedia: David O. Russell
David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director and screenwriter. His films include Spanking the Monkey (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Three Kings (1999), I ♥ Huckabees (2004), The Fighter (2010), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). He has been the subject of controversy, while receiving much critical acclaim.

Published on Feb 26, 2013 by HipHopNewzCentral
Jennifer Lawrence, Jack Nicholson Meet After The 2013 Oscars
Jennifer Lawrence was the star of the 2013 Oscars: She won Best Actress for her performance in "Silver Linings Playbook," tripped while walking up to the stage to accept the award, graciously joked about tripping during her acceptance speech, and then flipped the bird to photographers backstage. All that before reacting like a normal person would when meeting Jack Nicholson for the first time.


2012-12-28

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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Twitter: An oddity about retweeting

Like many people, I find something I like or think significant and click on "Retweet". All good. However, rightly or wrongly in trying to exploit the potential of this social media, I will send out the same tweets several times over the day in an effort to catch a different audience. I noted though that Twitter doesn't allow you to retweet the same thing twice in what I believe is a twenty-four period. So to get around this restriction, I go back and delete my original tweet then tweet exactly the same thing. Works like a charm.

Yes, works like a charm except for one important consideration. If anybody has retweeted me, when I delete my original tweet, I also delete their retweet. Somehow their retweet is connected directly to my original tweet so if I delete it, both things disappear.

I started noticing though that others do not retweet in the conventional sense. Instead of clicking on Retweet, they copy and paste my tweet. Note the following

My original tweet

Sheila Kelley: Let's Get Naked: TED Talk http://bit.ly/YGL3Ef #WomensIssues #WomensRights #SexualFreedom #LetsGetNaked #TEDTalks

The special retweet

RT @wqbelle: Sheila Kelley: Let's Get Naked: TED Talk http://bit.ly/YGL3Ef #WomensIssues #WomensRights #SexualFreedom #LetsGetNaked...

See the difference? The user has copied and pasted my tweet then prefaced it with "RT" and my Twitter name. If I delete my original tweet, their retweet does not disappear. Their tweet is now an independent tweet separate from mine.

I researched this and discovered Twitter's official Help (see References) describes the above the method but still recommends using their own Retweet feature. They do not mention what I discovered: deleting the original tweet deletes linked retweets. They also mention the limit of 140 characters and as you can see with the above example, the copier must truncate my tweet since the "RT @wqbelle: " adds 13 characters to my original tweet.

Did you know?
You are limited to 1,000 tweets per day but who's going to hit that limit by entering a thousand tweets? However there are smaller limits for semi-hourly limits and yes, I did hit this limit once. I just had to wait an hour then I was able to carry on. Normally I don't go that nuts but every once in a while I'm hot hot hot. Well, hot meaning in sending out tweets.

What's the point of tweeting?
Does tweeting do anything? I use Twitter to publicise my blog. Yes, I'll tweet a newspaper article or a YouTube video or something funny I find, but for the most part it's just me using another means of bringing people to my writing. I am a legend in my own mind. Does it work?

When I tweet I can see the pageviews on my blog go up. That's all I can say. My blog isn't all that popular so this is all relative but yes, when I tweet I do see more hits on my pages. Now I need to do some more detailed analysis with something like Google Analytics to find out if people are actually staying on a page to read anything but considered my Alexa score isn't all that hot, I'm not the next big thing on the Internet at the moment. Ha ha. No worry about me going viral.

Final Word
The purpose of this was to discuss the difference between Twitter's Retweet function and copying and pasting an entire tweet then prefacing with "RT" and the name of the original sender. The RT method guarantees that your tweet will remain online if the original user, like me, deletes the original tweet in order to repost it during the same 24 hour period.

All the best to all of you in your worlds. Happy retweeting!


References

Twitter: How to Retweet a Tweet

Twitter: FAQs About Retweets (RT)

Twitter: About Twitter Limits (Update, API, DM, and Following)

Wikipedia: Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".

It was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. Since its launch, Twitter has become one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet, and has been described as "the SMS [Short Message Service] of the Internet." Unregistered users can read tweets, while registered users can post tweets through the website interface, SMS, or a range of apps for mobile devices.

Twitter Inc. is based in San Francisco, with additional servers and offices in New York City, Boston, and San Antoni

MediaBistor - Nov 1/2012
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – Social Media Statistics And Facts 2012 [INFOGRAPHIC]
If Twitter was a country, it would be the twelfth largest in the world.

All Twitter - Dec 1/2012
20 Twitter Stats From 2012
1. There were 175 million tweets sent from Twitter every day throughout 2012. (source: Infographics Labs)
6. Top 3 countries on Twitter are the USA at 107 million, Brazil 33 million and Japan at nearly 30 million. (source: Jeff Bullas)
7. The average user follows (or is followed by) 51 people. (source: Diego Basch’s Blog)
9. 32% of all Internet users are using Twitter. (source: Marketing Land)
13. Lady Gaga has 31 million followers, which is the most followed account on Twitter. (source:Socialbakers)
18. 50% of Twitter users are using the social network via mobile. (source: Microsoft tag)

2012-12-27

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Movie Review: Django Unchained

Mr. Tarantino does make an entertaining film. Yes, I read the various papers and the hoopla about the gore, the use of the N word, and the depiction of slavery, yadda yadda yadda, but Quentin makes amusing entertainment. There is no doubt about this gentleman's talent. Now for the details.

Here's the story in a nutshell without any real spoilers. The time is two years before the American civil war. Christoph Waltz, who was absolutely fabulous in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, plays a bounty hunter amusingly disguised as a dentist. The bounty hunter is chasing a trio of men but doesn't know what they look like but finds a slave, Jamie Fox, who can identify them. Bounty hunter frees slave and enlists his help. Cue spaghetti western music.

I say spaghetti Western as first, Mr. Tarantino is fond of the supposed B movie genre, and second, the film takes its name from a 1966 Italian spaghetti Western called Django with the reputation of the most violent film made up to that point. Well, what's not to like? The results are fascinating, sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, but always entertaining.

The Gore
When a bullet enters the human body do we really see blood and flesh explode and splatter everywhere? I really don't know but certainly this type of depiction has cropped up in a number of films. Poetic licence? Hyperbole? Or accurate portrayal? I note that the premiere of the film was delayed due to the Connecticut school shooting on December 14, 2012. The film opened Christmas day, December 25, 2012.

The N Word
Oh boy, talk about a hot button topic. Today, unless you're black, you do not under any circumstances utter that word in public. Anybody remember Michael Richards from Seinfeld getting himself into hot water when he angrily used the word during a stand-up routine against some hecklers back in 2006? Quite embarrassing. (Laugh Factory Incident)

On the other hand, Chris Rock uses the word over and over and over again and uses it quite effectively within the context of his screamingly funny comedy routines. It is interesting to consider that Chris saying it is a sign of solidarity but a white guy saying it would flash back on hundreds of years of slavery, racial segregation, and suppression.

Slavery
Apparently the filmmaker Spike Lee has taken exception to the film. But he hasn't seen the film and he's said he has no intention of seeing the film. I find this odd as it reminds me of how certain things like films or books have been condemned or even banned over the years by people who haven't even had the pleasure. I hate it on principle?

Is Quentin's portrayal of this abomination of U.S. history accurate or not? Let's not forget that it is only a film. Nevertheless, as a topic of further discussion, we should not forget that at this point in time, the time of the slaves, one group of people, the whites, considered slaves, the blacks, to be property. They were not human beings; they were sub-human. They were animals, merely chattel. Yes, slaves have been around since the beginning of time but familiarity doesn't make it any more right.

Spike may take exception to Quentin's film but I walked away from the film feeling a tad upset at how anyone could possibly look upon another human being as mere chattel. What horrors were committed to slaves under this institutionalized human exploitation?

The Cast
Everyone is great. Jamie Fox and Christoph Waltz work well together. Waltz here is another terrific quirky character, as quirky as his character in Inglourious Basterds. Leonardo DiCaprio is a great bad man. Even Quentin does a funny cameo as an Australian. Yes, you heard me right: accent, good day mate and all. There are a number of other faces you will recognise but for me the big surprise was Samuel L. Jackson. I had to look twice. That's Jackson!?! Holy cow.




Final Word
I enjoyed it. But it is gory. In places, it is wincingly gory. Ugh. But as always, it is Quentin with his quirky but very entertaining style of storytelling. Love him or hate him, Mr. Tarantino is an original. There is no doubt about that. I think he is going to (almost) single-handedly resurrect the B movie from its relegated position as an inferior film. It's a pleasure we enjoy but refuse to admit to in good company. Yes, yes, there's Shakespeare but every once in a while you want to see a good blood splatter. I am recommending the film. It is not for the faint of heart but it is very entertaining.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Django Unchained: 89%
Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, Django Unchained is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.

Wikipedia: Django Unchained
Django Unchained is an American western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. The film was released on December 25, 2012 in North America.

A recap of Tarantino
I've collected some information about the Tarantino filmography. If nothing else, it does underline a fairly impressive level of quality in his work. Even Death Proof of the Grindhouse double feature while a financial failure, did achieve some critical acclaim. That is to say that even at his worst, Quentin is better than a lot of filmmakers.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Budget: $1.2 million
Box Office: $14.6 million

Pulp Fiction (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Budget: $8.5 million
Box Office: $214 million

Jackie Brown (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Budget: $12 million
Box Office: $73 million

Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Budget: $55 million (shared with Volume 2)
Box Office: $181 million

Kill Bill Volume 2 (2004)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Budget: $55 million (shared with Volume 1)
Box Office: $152 million

Death Proof (2007)
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Budget: $53 million (part of Grindhouse)
Box Office: $24 million (part of Grindhouse)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Budget: $70 million
Box Office: $320 million

Django Unchained (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Budget: $83 million
Box Office: to be determined

A personal story about Pulp Fiction
I saw this movie when it first came out in 1994 and found it one of the most entertaining and original films I had seen in a long time. Amusingly enough, I knew the MF word but probably heard it more times over the film's running time of 154 minutes than I had in my entire life. Ha ha.

At some point, I was extolling the virtues of Pulp Fiction to a married couple but for some inexplicably reason failed to mention this was adult entertainment. No, I mean really adult entertainment. They later told me they rented the movie and sat down with the entire family to watch my highly recommended suggestion. This couple at the time had children aged 6, 8 and 10. Oh boy, do you see the storm brewing on the horizon? I forget how many minutes exactly you get into the film before Samuel L. Jackson starts with a stream of profanities that would strip the chrome off of metal and cause little old ladies faint dead away within a radius of 100 feet (30m). My friend said he jumped up and ripped the video cassette out of the player and nobody has ever seen the rest of the film.

Let me summarize my oversight in explaining the film and its adult content by saying, "Oops!" The therapist says the three children are coming along just fine. :-)

2012-12-26

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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas 2012: Home Alone 3

Do earth-shattering events change traditions? Do life-altering experiences, well, alter life? Growing up, Christmas was always at Mom and Dad's. Even after I was grown up (snickers all around), Christmas was always spent "at home", at home meaning chez ma mère et mon père. (I have no idea why I slipped into French.) Somewhere along the way, there was marriage and the attempt to define new traditions: Christmas morning, opening the gifts under the tree. Whether in my own home or at my parents, there was the round of big dinners, visits from family, friends or visits made to family and friends. All good. All that is warm and nostalgic.

Traditions change: death and divorce. You get your arm caught in the wood chipper and have it ripped off. Like it or not, you will have to live the rest of your life missing a limb and you will have to learn how to button your shirt with one hand. You will learn how to decorate a tree and make gravy without two arms. Good? Bad? Happy? Sad? With the aplomb of a Zen master, I would say that sometimes life "just is": a tsunami has washed away your town; a wildfire has destroyed your home; the financial crisis wiped out your life savings. You accept and move on. You have to accept because you have no choice. And through acceptance, you do move on. As I said, with the aplomb of a Zen master. This does not preclude occasionally stopping, leaning over slightly while supporting myself with my hands on my knees, staring in the direction of the floor, taking a deep breath then slowly saying quietly to myself, "Fuuuccckkkk!!!"

In 2011, the world population crossed the seven billion mark. Out of that, approximately two billion are Christian. So that makes theoretically about two billion who celebrate Christmas and five billion who don't. In my first Christmas alone, right on the 25th of December 2010, I looked out the window of my apartment and saw a moving truck parked outside. Somebody was moving out of the building and during a couple of hours a group of four people went back and forth loading up furniture, clothes, and boxes of things for their next home. It made me think that for the most part, Christmas is just another day. People have jobs to go to; there are services which have to remain operational; and I was going to jog just as I did any day.

Don't Cry For Me Argentina
Christmas number three represents my new tradition: another day devoted to me: time for reflection, a little TV over the Internet, and of course some writing. Maybe I'll take in a movie. Maybe not. I'll jog. I'll exercise. I'll organise some of my personal files and do a little cleaning. If I feel like it, I'll take a nap. Just another day.

Sound sad? It's not. As odd as it seems, I am enjoying the peace and quiet. I have at times enjoyed the holiday hubbub but right now I'm enjoying the freedom from tradition. Yes, I sometimes get nostalgic but one has to come back to that Zen master stuff (or is it bulls**t?) and move on. You have to enjoy life right now as it is, for what it is. After all, what else exists? Is the glass half full or is it half empty? Heck, it's the only glass I got!

Thankful
On April 7, 2012 I suffered the worst sports injury of my life. I traumatised my upper left quadrant of my body but did not tear my rotator cuff (that would require surgery). I did however slightly separate the two bones in my forearm, pop the long arm of my biceps tendon out of its groove, and mildly herniate the C6 cervical disc. For four months I had pain twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Where am I now? I was told it would take six months to a year to get back to where I was. I am just over the eight month mark. I have not taken any pain medication since August. I am back jogging. I do isometric exercises everyday but started a month ago to additionally work out with a resistance tube. I go back to physiotherapy not really for the therapy but to keep checking that everything remains in place especially the long head of my biceps tendon. This is the best I have felt since April.

I am lucky; very very lucky. Other people have told me stories which make my hair curl. (Okay, that's figuratively curl since I'm almost bald.) Some have required surgery and some have pain years after their original injury. Moi? I am kissing the ground. There but for the grace of God go I.

But what must I do to ensure this never happens again? I am consulting experts. I am paying attention to what they say and I do the exercises they prescribe. I am working up slowly and not trying to get overeager and damage myself. I have decided I am going to get myself a home gym system and when I get the green light, I am going to go back to resistance training. I want to work on strength to make sure I don't suffer from the same sort of weakness which caused my original injury. Besides, I wouldn't mind being able once again to do "The Slow Climb" from the Kama Sutra while standing up. Or at least "The Stand and Deliver". It's good to have goals. (And my goal in even mentioning the Kama Sutra is to get from you "spit take", "guffaw", or "Ooooo". Ha ha ha.)

Bella DePaulo
Ms. DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979) is a social psychologist and the author of "Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" (2007). I haven't read the book but have read reviews and excerpts. Ms. DePaulo tries to set the record straight about singles that they are not losers or nutbars. From the book description on Amazon:

Singled Out Debunks Ten Myths of Singlehood, Including:
-Myth--The Dark Aura of Singlehood: You are miserable and lonely and your life is tragic.
-Myth--Attention, Single Women: Your work won’t love you back and your eggs will dry up. Also, you don’t get any and you’re promiscuous.
-Myth--Attention, Single Men: You are horny, slovenly, and irresponsible, and you are the scary criminals. Or you are sexy, fastidious, frivolous, and gay.

Good lord is that what people think when you introduce yourself as single? I'm doomed! Heck, we're all doomed!

Final Word
A new tradition is born. And I suspect it is a tradition practised by more people than any of us realise. Ignominious? Ignored? Ostracized? Condemned to walk the Earth forever like the Wandering Jew?

When I was 42 and still single, I was sitting in a doctor's office glancing through Cosmo. Yes, yes, I was reading Cosmo. There wasn't anything else to read but the front cover had something which caught my eye. An article about middle age men who were single basically said the following: if a guy is 40 and single it means one of two things. First, he's so messed up a woman should avoid him or two, he's gay. I was laughing as I realised that I was doomed! I'm not gay so I have to be screwed up. Ha ha.

Now here, in reading about Bella DePaulo I read that single men are either horny, slovenly, and irresponsible or they are sexy, fastidious, frivolous, and gay. Oh crap, here it comes again. I'm doomed!!! Well, is it at this point I just give up and try to go with the flow? And the only way to stop people from thinking I'm mentally unhinged is that I must now start decorating my apartment with a new eye. Hmmm, how about pink? Of course there is always fuchsia. I'm not sure what fuchsia is but just the way that word rolls off the tongue, I know that people are going to look at me in a new light.

"And to all a good-night!"


References

Single people: alone but not necessarily lonely
Singles only want to get coupled. Singles are miserable and lonely; their lives are tragic. If you're married, you will be healthier and live longer. Single women are not getting any and are promiscuous. Single men are horny, slovenly and irresponsible. They are also scary criminals. If a man is single, fastidious, well-dressed and sexy, he's gay and here gay is a bad thing.

Wikipedia: The Wandering Jew
The Wandering Jew is a figure from medieval Christian folklore whose legend began to spread in Europe in the 13th century. The original legend concerns a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming.

Amazon: paperbook, 2007, by Bella DePaulo
"Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After"

Book description
Drawing from decades of scientific research and stacks of stories from the front lines of singlehood, Bella DePaulo debunks the myths of singledom---and shows that just about everything you’ve heard about the benefits of getting married and the perils of staying single are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong. Although singles are singled out for unfair treatment by the workplace, the marketplace, and the federal tax structure, they are not simply victims of this singlism--single people really are living happily ever after.

From Publishers Weekly
DePaulo fastidiously defines the various categories of singlehood-divorced, widowed or just plain never been married-and gives their struggle a voice in this intriguing cultural study. According to DePaulo, "singlism" is the pervasive discrimination single people face in politics and everyday life, though DePaulo makes it clear he isn't equating it with racism or sexism. Rather, DePaulo uncovers society's immediate associations-conscious and otherwise-with the word "single," including the implication of loneliness, homosexuality and/or a personal defect that prevents a single person from achieving the dubiously enshrined goal of marriage. In addition, this exhaustive study reveals how marriage has come to represent the foundation of both American society and politics, and how the resulting system of discrimination pervades even in this modern age of financial freedom-including increased tax burdens, decreased social security benefits, and real-world wage disparity. In identifying the stigmas of being single and debunking myths like "marrieds know best," DePaulo has given this complicated subject the attention and respect it deserves, opening a dialogue without offering any pat solutions.

Wikipedia: Home Alone 3
Home Alone 3 is a 1997 American family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes. It is the third film in the Home Alone series and the first not to feature actor Macaulay Culkin or director Chris Columbus.

2012-12-25

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Monday, 24 December 2012

Sheila Kelley: Let's Get Naked: TED Talk

You must watch this video! In the following talk at TED, Sheila Kelley shows the Yin Yang symbol and describes how each of us, male and female, have the potential for both Yin feminine and Yang masculine. But in what she calls "The Yin Effect", we live in a world which cuts out a piece of the Yin feminine from women that part which deals with their sexuality. How? Ms. Kelley talks of the negativity towards female sexuality and goes on to recount a personal and poignant story of when she was 7 years old. She and two neighbour boys, on a hot summer day, all took of their tops and laid down in the cool grass. The mother of the boys yelled out the window to the 7 year old Ms. Kelley to put her top back on, that she was a naughty girl and that she should be ashamed of herself. Mom then sent the 7 year old girl home. And so it starts the suppression of female sexuality.

Does a fish know it's living in a bowl? Do we truly understand the society we live in? Do we actually know what's right and what's wrong? This talk by Sheila Kelley is incredible. This should be a must-see for both women and men. As Ms. Kelley goes on to point out, from the simple admonishment of when she was 7 years old, to a woman having to keep her knees together and paying close attention to how she dresses and the threat of being labelled with such terms as whore or slut, the collective we does everything it can to suppress a woman's sexuality. We are so mixed up in this situation like the fish in the bowl; we do not understand what's going on around us.

Published on Dec 18, 2012 by TEDxTalks (running time: 21 minutes)
Let's Get Naked: Sheila Kelley at TEDxAmericanRiviera
There exists in every woman an Erotic Creature. When Sheila Kelley discovered this sleeping giant, her life changed irrevocably. She had stumbled upon what women were missing and launched it into a worldwide sensation, ushering in the 4th wave of feminism by teaching women to own their sexuality. Let's Get Naked is about exposing the truth and the Erotic Creature, both of which rest just beneath the surface.



Final Word
I believe that today's society has vilified sex. I believe that we collectively are so confused about this issue, we no longer have the foggiest idea of which end is up. The American culture celebrates violence and treats sex as something dirty when it should be the other way around.

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse.
- Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege

On top of it, we collectively suppress the sexuality of women as something terrible. We want it, but we hate it. We desire it, but we push it away. What we fail to understand, we condemn.

I could go on; anybody could go on for thousands of words, heck, tens of thousands of words. Unfortunately, righting the wrongs, changing the course of humanity isn't going to happen overnight and it certainly isn't going to happen in anything I write. But if I could give anybody pause to think about things, their own live, the lives of all of us, then maybe some good will come out of it; maybe some seed will take root.

I will end with with telling quote taken from Ms. Kelley's presentation. It should give all of us, men and women, a reason to rethink our status quo. We can't continue as we are. We shouldn't continue as we are. We are failing to understand life and enjoy it to its fullest.

"Woman is life and man is the servant of life. The male's job is to protect the women."
-Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth


References

Wikipedia: Sheila Kelley (American actress)
Sheila Kelley (born October 9, 1963) is an American television actress. She is best known for her roles as Gwen Taylor on L.A. Law and as Dr. Charlotte "Charley" Bennett Hayes on Sisters.

Following her role as a stripper in the film "Dancing at the Blue Iguana," in which she performed a seductive strip routine, she became a fan of pole dancing. Kelley has since become noted for her "S Factor" national exercise studios:(LA, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Houston) and her book, "S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman," and DVDs,. Sheila's copyrighted feminine fitness program incorporates Pilates, yoga, stretching and uniquely designed pole dance routines which develop tone, muscle, fluidity of movement and confidence. She also publishes a monthly editorial which addresses women's issues available at www.sfactor.com.

official web site: Sheila Kelley
Global femme leader Sheila Kelley is a passionate voice for the advancement of women in the world. Her personal mission is to elevate feminine culture so that it is more in balance with male-dominated culture. Through her women's fitness company Sheila Kelley S Factor™, Sheila is redefining "striptease" and "pole dancing" into an artistry of female empowerment for women. Through her Redefining Sexy campaign, she is redefining "sexy" by inspiring women to believe in their natural beauty.

Twitter: Sheila Kelley @thesheilakelley
Actress, Author, Speaker, Global Femme Leader #RedefiningSexy, Originator of Feminine and Pole Fitness, Founder of Sheila Kelley S Factor

official web site: S Factor
Founded in 2000, S Factor is a fitness technique that teaches women the language of their bodies through fluid feminine movement. The ultimate revelation of S for any woman, is the awakening and cultivation of her own soulfully sexy Erotic Creature. When integrated into a woman’s daily life, this Erotic Creature propels a woman forward like rocket fuel, towards whatever desire she wants to attain. All of this just from enlivening the feminine body through movement? Yes.

Originally recognized as the first and only pole dancing and striptease workout in the world, Sheila Kelley's S Factor single handedly introduced the industry of "sexy fitness" to the world stage. Since then, S Factor has evolved into a highly unique, feminine empowerment fitness brand that offers books, DVDs, retreats, workshops, clothing, shoes, and fitness and journey classes at studios throughout the nation.

YouTube: Sheila Kelley S Factor Sexy Pole Dance on Oprah!
Sheila shows you how to move around the pole under the beat of the music.

Google video search: "Sheila Kelley"

Wikipedia: Joseph Campbell
Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss."

Wikipedia: The Power of Myth
The Power of Myth is a book and six-part television documentary originally broadcast on PBS in 1988 as Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. The documentary comprises six one-hour conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) and journalist Bill Moyers.

Google Books: The Power of Myth, page 108

Campbell: Well, the woman is life and the man is the servant of life.

FYI: I found above that Campbell did in fact say "Woman is life and man is the servant of life" but I did not find that he also said "The male's job is to protect the women." We must take Ms. Kelley's word on this.

2012-12-24

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Movie Review: Jack Reacher

The movie was scheduled to have a premiere screening on December 15, 2012. The Sandy Hook shooting took place on December 14. Out of respect for the families of the victims, Paramount Pictures postponed the premiere as the opening scene of the film involves a sniper randomly shooting five people. The movie opened on December 21.

Considering Sandy Hook, I looked at the film with a different eye. That eye saw violence and lots of it. That eye saw the American culture steeped in the mystic of the lone cowboy righting wrongs and bringing hell and damnation to the bad guys. That eye saw something so pervasive in the United States that I do wonder if a fish knows it's living in a fishbowl. Okay, this is supposed to be a movie review so I'll save my rant for another time.

Jack Reacher is the fictional character of a series of novels by the British author Lee Child (pen name of Jim Grant). He is described as 6' 5" tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest with a weight between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). Tom Cruise is 5'7" (1.70m) and weighs 170 lbs. (77 kg). (Tom stats) If there is one thing the fans of the novels seem to have taken exception to, it's such a diminutive actor in the title role. On the other hand, Arnold, as in Schwarzenegger (like I needed to say), clocks in 6' 2" (1.88m) and 260 lbs (113 kg) (Arnie stats) more in keeping with the description of the Reacher character but let's not forget that Arnie is 65 years old. Reacher was supposedly born in 1960 which would make him 53 right now. Just a few random facts about the fictional and the real to get off the table right up front.

Good movie? Bad movie? I rate it as an okay middle of the road quality film. Been there, seen that. Considering its 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this one is squeaking by. Yes we have a murder mystery that the lead character must solve but this involves the lead character going through a number of bad guys to get to the head bad guy to ultimately solve that original mystery. It's this part of the proceedings I would classify as gratuitous violence as opposed to good detective work.


Final Word
Tom Cruise has morphed into an action hero of sorts so this outing should come as no surprise. Cruise isn't physically big so it's interesting how camera angles can do wonders to make our little big star come across as larger than life.

As an aside, Mr. Cruise has toned it down considerably from a couple of years ago when he went a tad nuts in public with his jumping up and down on Oprah's couch. Although things have been quiet as of late, I couldn't resist throwing in my run-in with Scientology. See my blog: Scientology: Tom makes good movies

In the final analysis, going to see the film probably has more to do with being a fan of Tom Cruise than anything else. The film over all is professionally made but the results are just so-so. I am sure there are many other offerings out there worthy of your hard-earned cash so I would recommend you choose wisely and wait until this one turns up on TV and even then, I would warn you to treat this as a curiosity as opposed to an excellent way to waste two hours. I think Tom's next film Oblivion (see link below) looks more interesting. Ha! How good is Jack Reacher? I'm previewing another film in this review! Ha!


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Jack Reacher: 62%
Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise.

Wikipedia: Jack Reacher (film)
Jack Reacher (previously titled One Shot) is a 2012 American crime film. It is a adaptation of Lee Child's 2005 novel One Shot. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film stars Tom Cruise as the title character. The film entered production in October 2011, and concluded in January 2012. It was filmed entirely on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia: Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher is a fictional character created by British author Jim Grant (who writes under the pen name of Lee Child) and is the main character in 17 Books.

official movie web site: Jack Reacher

Box Office Mojo: Jack Reacher
Production Budget: $60 million

Scientology: Tom makes good movies
from July 2010: Scientology, Tom Cruise, Oprah, South Park. This dates back a few years but a reference on a recent blog made me think of my own run-ins with Ron. This is not an exhaustive description or analysis of this so-called religion but merely my personal experiences.

Wikipedia: Oblivion (2013 film)
Oblivion is an upcoming science fiction thriller film based on the Radical Comics graphic novel Oblivion by Joseph Kosinski and directed and co-produced by Kosinski. It stars Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Zoë Bell and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. [The film is set to be released on] April 19, 2013. The film will be released exclusively in IMAX on April 12, 2013, one week ahead of its wide release.


2012-12-23

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Alexandra Stan: Mr. Saxobeat


[Chorus]
You make me this
Bring me up, bring me down
Play it sweet
Make me move like a freak
Mister Saxobeat

Makes me this
Brings me up, brings me down
Plays it sweet
Makes me move like a freak
Mister Saxobeat

You make me this
Bring me up, bring me down
Play it sweet
Make me move like a freak
Mister Saxobeat

Makes me this
Brings me up, brings me down
Plays it sweet
Makes me move like a freak

[Male Vocals:]
Oh oh oh oh yeah
Um yeah um yeah um yeah
Oh oh yeah um yeah um yeah um yeah
Oh yeah
Um yeah um yeah um yeah
Oh oh yeah um yeah um yeah um yeah

Bridge:
Hey, sexy boy, set me free
Don’t be so shy, play with me
My dirty boy, can’t you see
That you belong next to me
Hey, sexy boy, set me free
Don’t be so shy, play with me
My dirty boy, can’t you see


References

Uploaded on Mar 9, 2011 by SteveAATW

Wikipedia: Mr. Saxobeat
"Mr. Saxobeat" is a song by Romanian recording artist Alexandra Stan from her debut studio album Saxobeats (2011). "Mr. Saxobeat" is an up-tempo Eurodance song with house elements. The song contains a love message, where Stan speaks of a man she is attracted to and the way she makes her move. It was written by Andrei Nemirschi and Marcel Prodan a Romanian producing-duo and produced by the latter one at the Maan Studios in Romania. It was firstly released under Maan Music Label and then internationally under Columbia Records.

Wikipedia: Saxobeats
Saxobeats is the debut studio album by Romanian dance/pop singer Alexandra Stan. The album was released on August 29, 2011 on Play On/Jeff Records in France, following a worldwide release step-by-step until early 2012. Four singles were spawned from the album: "Get Back (ASAP)", "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)", "1.000.000" and the worldwide number-one hit "Mr. Saxobeat". The album contains thirteen tracks (eight distinct song plus five remixes). The tracks on the album tackle various genres (mainly dance, synthpop, Hi-NRG, pop and R&B) as well as a collaboration with rapper Carlprit.

Wikipedia: Alexandra Stan
Alexandra Ioanna Stan (sometimes stylized as Alexandra Staи) (born June 10, 1989) is a Romanian singer-songwriter. She released her debut single, "Lollipop (Param Pam Pam)", in late 2009. The song impacted United States mainstream radios in early 2010, peaking at number-eighteen. Her sophomore release, "Mr. Saxobeat", became her worldwide breakthrough hit, selling almost 1,000,000 copies in less than a year and reaching the top five in over twenty countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom and the top thirty in Australia, Canada and United States. She released her debut album in August 2011, entitled Saxobeats. The album spawned two more singles: "Get Back (ASAP)" and "1.000.000" the latter with rapper Carlprit. On June 4, 2012, she released a new song called "Lemonade", which has over 30 million views as of December 1st.

official web site: Alexandra Stan @StanAlexandra

Twitter: Alexandra Stan

Facebook: Alexandra Stan

2012-12-22

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Friday, 21 December 2012

Chris Rea: Driving Home For Christmas


I'm driving home for Christmas
Oh, I can't wait to see those faces
I'm driving home for Christmas, yeah
Well I'm moving down that line
And it's been so long
But I will be there
I sing this song
To pass the time away
Driving in my car
Driving home for Christmas

It's gonna take some time
But I'll get there

Top to toe in tail-backs
Oh, I got red lights on the run
But soon there'll be a freeway
Get my feet on holy ground
So I sing for you
Though you can't hear me
When I get through
And feel you near me
I am driving home for Christmas

Driving home for Christmas
With a thousand memories

I take look at the driver next to me
He's just the same
Just the same

Top to toe in tail-backs
Oh, I got red lights on the run
I'm driving home for Christmas, yeah
Get my feet on holy ground
So I sing for you
Though you can't hear me
When I get through
And feel you near me
Driving in my car
Driving home for Christmas

Driving home for Christmas
With a thousand memories

I take look at the driver next to me
He's just the same
He's driving home, driving home
Driving home for Christmas


References

Uploaded on Dec 10, 2009 by RhinoUK

Wikipedia: Driving Home for Christmas
"Driving Home for Christmas" is a single written by Chris Rea and released in December 1988 as a non-album single. The song peaked at #53 in the UK Single Chart in 1988, and re-entered the chart in 2007, peaking at #33.

Music video
In 2009, twenty-one years after the song was first released, an original video was made in aid of Shelter; all proceeds were donated to the charity. The celebrities who featured in the video were Martin Shaw, Mike Read, David Hamilton, Kristian Digby, Gail Porter, Lizzie Cundy, Kenny Thomas, Carol Decker, Matt Di Angelo, Mark Brennan, Giles Vickers-Jones and Lionel Blair. (Andy Abraham, Alexander O'Neal and Kirstin O'Brien were scheduled to appear but did not). Of the project, Rea stated "I wanted to do something special this Christmas and what better way than to help keep a roof over people’s heads when they need it most – at Christmas. By teaming up with Shelter we can hopefully make a difference."


Wikipedia: Chris Rea
Chris Rea (4 March 1951) is an English singer-songwriter, recognisable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. The British Hit Singles & Albums stated that Rea was "one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980s. He was already a major European star by the time he finally cracked the UK Top 10 with his 18th chart entry; "The Road to Hell (Part 2)"." By 2009, Rea had sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.

2012-12-21

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Boyz II Men: End Of The Road


[Verse:]
We belong together
And you that I'm right
Why do you play with my heart,
Why do you play with my mind?

Said we'd be forever
Said it'd never die
How could you love me and leave me
And never say goodbye?

When I can't sleep at night without holding you tight
Girl, each time I try I just break down and die
Pain in my head oh I'd rather be dead
Spinnin' around and around

[Chorus:]
Although we've come to the End Of The Road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you

Girl, I know you really love me,
You just don't realize
You've never been there before
It's only your first time

Maybe I'll forgive you, hmm
Maybe you'll try
We should be happy together
Forever, you and I

Can you love me again like you loved me before
This time I want you to love me much more
This time instead just come to my bed
And baby just don't let me, don't let me down

[Chorus:]
Although we've come to the End Of The Road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you

[Spoken:]
Girl I'm here for you
All those times of night when you just hurt me
And just run out with that other fella
Baby I knew about it, I just didn't care
You just don't understand how much I love you do you?
I'm here for you

I'm not out to go out and cheat on you all night
Just like you did baby but that's all right
Hey, I love you anyway
And I'm still gonna be here for you 'till my dying day baby
Right now, I'm just in so much pain baby
'Cause you just won't come back to me
Will you? Just come back to me

(Lonely)
Yes baby my heart is lonely
(Lonely)
My heart hurts baby
(Lonely)
Yes I feel pain too
Baby please

This time instead just come to my bed
And baby just don't let me go

[Chorus:]
Although we've come to the End Of The Road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you

[Chorus: a cappella]
Come.... to the End Of The Road
Still I can't let go
It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you


References

Uploaded on Dec 24, 2009 by VEVOBoyzIIMenVEVO

Wikipedia: End of the Road
"End of the Road" is a 1992 Grammy Award-winning, number-one song recorded in May 1992 by Boyz II Men for the Motown label. Written and produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Daryl Simmons. It is Boyz II Men's most successful single and replaced Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" as Motown's most successful single. It was the last Motown single to reach #1 on the UK singles chart until Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)" in 2012. The song is listed at #43 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. The song is often used as a "last song" before a radio station changes format.

Originally recorded as a soundtrack song for the Eddie Murphy motion picture Boomerang, the song (themed about a breakup where the man really doesn't want the woman to go) topped the charts from August 15 through November 7, 1992, setting a record for most weeks at number one with 13 weeks, beating Elvis Presley's 11-week hold with "Hound Dog" / "Don't Be Cruel". Presley's record had stood 36 years.

However, two weeks after "End of the Road" left the top spot, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" reached number one, and remained there 14 weeks, one week longer than "End of the Road". Boyz II Men's new record stood only 17 weeks. The group's next single ("I'll Make Love to You"), however, would tie Houston's record, and 1995's Boyz II Men/Mariah Carey collaboration "One Sweet Day" would break it, logging 16 consecutive weeks.

Wikipedia: Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men is an American R&B vocal group best known for emotional ballads and a cappella harmonies. They are the most successful R&B group of all time, having sold more than 60 million albums worldwide.[1] Currently the group is a trio, featuring baritone Nathan Morris alongside tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. In the 1990s, Boyz II Men found fame on Motown Records as a quartet, but original member and bass singer Michael McCary left the group in 2003 due to health issues.

official web site: Boyz II Men

2012-12-20

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Monday, 17 December 2012

Matchbox Twenty: She's So Mean


I kn-kn-know a girl
She gets what she wants all the time
Cause she’s fine
But for an angel, she’s a hot, hot mess
Make you so blind
But you don’t mind

Cause she’s an uptown, get-around, anything-goes girl
She’s a hardcore, candy-store, give-me-some-more girl

She’ll make you take her to the club, but then she leaves with her friends
She likes to stay late at the party cause the fun never ends
And all her clothes are on the floor, and all your records are scratched
She’s like a one-way ticket cause you can’t come back

Sayin’ yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)
Yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)

You kn-kn-know that if you don’t shut your mouth
She’ll freak out
You better get your shit together
Cause she’s bringing you down, now
Yeah, boy, you better, you better

Cause she’s an uptown, get-around, anything-goes girl, girl
She’s a hardcore, candy-store, give-me-some-more girl, girl

She’s got a wicked sense of humor, can’t believe what she says
She drinks Bacardi in the morning till it goes to her head
And all you want is just to hold her, but she don’t go for that
She has a hard time coming when she can’t hit back

Sayin’ yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)
Yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)

Every now and then she makes you just a little bit crazy
She’ll turn the knife into your back and then she’s calling you ‘baby’
Crazy

She’ll make you take her to the club, but then she leaves with her friends
She likes to stay late at the party cause the fun never ends
And all her clothes are on the floor, and all your records are scratched
She’s like a one-way ticket cause you can’t come back

Sayin’ yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)
Yeah, and you want her
But she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)
Yeah, and you want her
Yeah, you want her
Yeah, I know how you want her, but she’s so mean
(You’ll never let her go, why don’t you let her go?)


References

Published on Jul 30, 2012 by matchboxtwentytv

Wikipedia: She's So Mean
"She's So Mean" is the title of a song by American alternative rock band Matchbox Twenty. It was released on June 12, 2012 as the first single from their fourth studio album North. A music video has been released for this song on July 30, 2012.

Music Video
The official music video was uploaded to YouTube on July 30, 2012. It features the band singing. While this is going on, a girl (Danish model Stephanie Corneliussen) walks in and causes mayhem like destroying Brian Yale's bass, throwing vinyl records at the band, crashing a bicycle into Paul Doucette's Drum kit, ripping wires out of the wall, pouring coffee on the Mixing console, setting the drums on fire, and spraying the band with a fire extinguisher.


Wikipedia: North (Matchbox Twenty album)
North is the fourth studio album by American pop rock band Matchbox Twenty. It was released on August 28, 2012 in Australia and September 4, 2012 through Atlantic Records worldwide. The first single off the album, "She's So Mean", was released on June 12, 2012.

Wikipedia: Matchbox Twenty
Matchbox Twenty (originally spelled officially, and still sometimes known as Matchbox 20) is an American pop rock band, formed in Orlando, Florida, in 1995. The group currently comprises Rob Thomas (lead vocals, piano), Paul Doucette (drums, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Kyle Cook (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brian Yale (bass guitar), and touring drummer Stacy Jones (drums).

official web site: Matchbox Twenty

2012-12-17

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