Take This Tune Again

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We haven’t done a Take This Tune for a long time, so for the new folks, here are the very simple rules. I set a subject and put up a video. Your job is to contribute a story, comment, or a video of your own in response to the idea and seeded video.

Since This is Oscar Season, the subject is songs from films that reflect your life in some fashion. Mine is a doozy. The film: “Same Time Next Year” covers a one weekend a year love affair for 25 years from the 1950s on. In between the time shifts, the musical interludes show the passage of time with the beautiful: The Last Time I Felt Like This which was nominated but did not win the Oscar (another bad academy decision). The video below is a collection of those images that mark the passage of time with all the historical pictures of important events. To this day it remains one of my favorite films simply because the years covered are the story of my life from childhood to mid 30s.

Your job is to tell me a story, post a video, give me the film music of your life.

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That Time Again

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As we begin the season leading up to the Academy Awards to be aired on Sunday,February 28, listed below are all the nominees. Since you probably haven’t had a chance to see all of the films vying for the little gold man, now is the time to familiarize yourself before Chris Rock makes fun of them all. This year’s controversy (every year has one) is that while some of the films might be in black and white, the nominees are all white and white. I’m sure Mr. Rock will have a thing or two to say about this condition while those of us with an unending admiration of Idris Elba are being appropriately grouchy. Just go see Beasts of No Nation and you can be grouchy as well. You can watch it on Netflix.

In the meantime, please weigh in with your guesses, hopes, favorite films of the year etc. There will be a test later in February should you wish to join in submitting your ballot.

Oscar List

Oscar List 2

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Nothing’s Changed

In honor of my return to normal blogging, I am republishing a post written 10 (Yes 10) years ago. It was a jeremiad against the infantile coverage by news media of the political scene and the dumbing down of communication. We are now inundated with mispronounced words and misspelled video crawls and that doesn’t even begin to touch on gossip masquerading as information. So enjoy Willie and his cohorts who once taught children there were bigger and better things in the world and they could actually learn about them all at the Saturday cartoons.

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31 August 2006 The Whale Sang Opera

Willie WhaleThis past week has been an amazing example of what may be wrong with the country. The news has gone from Iraq to Jonbenet to Warren Jeffs to Rumsfeld to fascism to the President. The majority of the commentary has been on a ten-year old murder case and a captured polygamist, and most of that has been in breathless, gushing one syllable words. The President rattled off a group of talking points almost all of which were then echoed or shown on every TV “news” program with the implication that you would either support or oppose those statements with little or no real analysis or critical thinking – simply a knee jerk reaction from whichever side of the political spectrum you call your own. Little of the news or entertainment requires a functioning brain. You simply parrot whatever you are spoon fed by your side of the political spectrum to then be regurgitated to your friends and compatriots.

A great deal of teaching in today’s classrooms amounts to “teaching to the test”, simply informing children of the information they will need to parrot on being examined. There really is nothing wrong with teaching children information by rote. What is missing is the encouragement of curiosity and exposure to bigger ideas, different worlds, and thoughtful commentary. When I was in what amounted to an AP class many, many years ago, the teacher gave “open book” tests because it was more important to know how to find information than it was to “know” it. Even for the average student, the idea was to rise to the level of instruction not bring instruction down to the understandable level of the child. Many years ago Marva Collins proved that even the least advantaged child will achieve if that is what is rewarded by their parents and their cohorts.

In the upper left hand corner is Willie the Whale. He is a Disney cartoon. He sang Figaro, Pagliacci, and Faust along with Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread, and children of that era loved him along with Night on Bald Mountain, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Peter and the Wolf. On TV we had Ed Sullivan and for every plate twirled or Senor Wences with his hand puppet saying, “All right” there were live scenes from Broadway plays and opera singers. News was Uncle Walter with real “News” not some blond newsreader who cannot pronounce many of the words on the copy in their hands … my latest bugaboo one who says o-ree-on rather than o-rye-un.

Frank Sinatra sang “The House I Live In” with its multi racial cast and it won an Oscar. Listen to the dialogue of movies from the 30s through 60s and hear multiple syllable words, Marx Brothers double entendres, and Cole Porter lyrics. Even among the least educated, the exposure through movies and TV to the unfamiliar was constant. For those who couldn’t make their way through a whole novel, there was the Readers Digest version. Part of the problem is cable TV that allows you to run away from something you don’t understand. When there were three networks, you took what you could get. For all the advantages of multiple channels, it is also possible to only hang out where you are comfortable or where your prejudices are reinforced. Sure there were injustices and prejudices in materials forty years ago. There are cartoons you can’t show on TV today because of those images, but there were also more ways to escape what your were raised with at home. If nothing else, Fred Astaire dancing in a tux said there was a different world out there.

We have become a nation that swallows things whole without investigation. We are a nation that distrusts “other” ideas. We no longer seek out alternate experiences or events. Virtually every magazine or TV show has some sensational tabloid feature. Many motion pictures are aimed at the lowest common denominator. Once an adult, you can get through life without reading anything other than misspelled email and the material necessary to do your job. For the majority of people, there is little to no encouragement to seek out books, discussions, debates, or public group experiences with other adults. Lives have become insular: work/home with little time left over for anything else. Even the children are programmed with their mothers known as Soccer Moms. Society has come down to the level of the child rather than insisting that the child come up to the level of adults.

Let’s bring back Willie.

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Tonight’s A Night

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Is mud wrestling too much to expect for tonight’s Republican Debate?

If you need some relief, Rachel Maddow will be interviewing Hillary Clinton. Sort of like taking intelligence Pepto-Bismol to recover from Ignorance Indigestion.

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Fired Up And Ready To Go

SOTU

It seems as if there will be a look back and a view forward for this President who has come under a more concentrated attack in the past seven years than any of his predecessors. The follow up commentary should be interesting. Bernie will be there in his role as a Senator. Hillary will not. Also there the lovely Kim Davis of Kentucky religious prejudice fame. She will be counterbalanced by Edith Childs, the lady of infinite hope about what an individual can do politically. Then there is the empty chair holding all those who have died via bullets from a gun.

Have your way with suppositions of what may or may not be said.

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