Friday, 18 October 2019

The Rolling Stones: Rock and Hard Place



Published on Nov 1, 2016 by Declan Linnington
YouTube: The Rolling Stones - Rock And A Hard Place (Single Version)


The fields of Eden
Are full of trash
And if we beg and we borrow and steal
We'll never get it back
People are hungry
They crowd around
And the city gets bigger as the country comes begging to town
We're stuck between a rock
And a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place

This talk of freedom
And human rights
Means bullying and private wars and chucking all the dust into our eyes
And peasant people
Poorer than dirt
Who are caught in the crossfire with nothing to lose but their shirts
Stuck between a rock
And a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place
You'd better stop put on a kind face
Between a rock and a hard place

We're in the same boat
On the same sea
And we're sailing south
On the same breeze
Guiding dream churches
With silver spires
And our rogue children
Are playing loaded dice
Give me truth now
Don't want no sham
I'd be hung drawn and quartered for a sheep just as well as a lamb
Stuck between a rock
And a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place
You'd better stop
Put on a kind face
Can't you see what you've done to me

References

Wikipedia: Rock and a Hard Place
"Rock and a Hard Place" is a song by the Rolling Stones from their 1989 album Steel Wheels. It is the second single from the album, and remains to this day the most recent Billboard top 40 hit by the band.

Wikipedia: Steel Wheels
Steel Wheels is the 19th British and 21st American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1989, and the final album of new material the band would record for Columbia Records.

Wikipedia: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them fourth on the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" list and their estimated record sales are above 250 million. They have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums and numerous compilations. Let It Bleed (1969) marked the first of five consecutive No. 1 studio and live albums in the UK. Sticky Fingers (1971) was the first of eight consecutive No. 1 studio albums in the US. In 2008, the band ranked 10th on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists chart. In 2012, the band celebrated its 50th anniversary. They still continue to release albums to brisk sales and critical acclaim; their most recent album Blue & Lonesome was released in December 2016 and reached No. 1 on the UK Album Charts and No. 4 in the U.S. and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. The group also continues to sell out venues, with their No Filter Tour ongoing since September 2017.

2019-10-18

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Axel and Romina: Bachata Zouk



Published on Jan 2, 2013 by Axel y Maria Bachata Sensual
YouTube: Axel and Romina l Climax - Usher l BachataZouk Sexy dance 2017 (0:55)

Sexy, indeed. Sensual also comes to mind. Ballroom dancing is an interesting synergy: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Two people together working as a coordinated unit to produce an eye-catching spectacle of unified movement.

It would seem that bachata is a slower version of the salsa, originating from the Dominican Republic.

Zouk also refers to a dance, originally from the Caribbean but then expropriated and modified in South America.

I found scant information about the above dancers, but did manage to work out this. Axel Antezana is a dancer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He's posted a number of YouTube videos, mainly with his regular partner Maria, but with others as well. Romina Hidalgo is also from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and seems to be very involved in the local dance scene as both a performer and an instructor.



Instagram: Axel Antezana

Instagram: Romina Hidalgo

YouTube channel: Axel y Maria Bachata Sensual

Facebook: Axel y Maria Bachata

Wikipedia: Bachata (dance)
Bachata is a style of social dance from the Dominican Republic which is now danced all over the world. It is connected with bachata music.

Often referred to in the West as "authentic / Dominican" bachata, the original social dance was created in the Dominican Republic during the 1960s and was danced only in closed position, like the bolero, often in close embrace. Bachata basic steps are performed by moving within a small square (side, side, forward and then tap with your toes, then side, side, back and tap). This step was inspired by the bolero basic step, but evolved over time to include a tap and syncopations (steps in between the beats), helping dancers express the more dynamic music being commonly played. The hand placement can vary according to the position of the dances, which can range from very close to open to completely open.


Wikipedia: Bachata (music)
Bachata is a genre of Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republic in the first half of the 20th century with Indigenous, African and European musical elements.

The first recorded compositions of Bachata were done by José Manuel Calderón from the Dominican Republic. Bachata originates from Bolero and Son (and later, from the mid 1980s, Merengue). The original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness", "bitter music", or "blues music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. The form of dance, bachata, also developed with the music.


Wikipedia: Brazilian Zouk
Brazilian Zouk is a partner dance which began in Brazil during the early 90s. Brazilian Zouk evolved from the partner dance known as the Lambada. As the Lambada music genre went out of fashion, Lambada dancers turned to Caribbean Zouk (from the francophone, Caribbean Islands) as their music of choice. It was this transition that birthed the dance known as Brazilian Zouk. The term "Brazilian Zouk" was adopted in order to distinguish the dance style from the musical genre "Caribbean Zouk". Nowadays the term "Zouk" is commonly used to refer to the "Brazilain Zouk" dance style. The most characteristic feature of Brazilian Zouk is the follower's upper body movements which are led out of axis by intricate leading and following techniques. Other features include body isolations, tilted turns and more recently counter-balance techniques. Brazilian Zouk is a dance with well defined basic steps and rhythmic patterns. The representation of these steps and rhythmic patterns varies depending on the substyle of Zouk. The overall plasticity of the movements and the range of musical genres it is danced to, make Brazilian Zouk a partner dance that caters to creativity and improvisation. Over time, Zouk dancers have experimented and incorporated other styles of music into Zouk, such as R'n'B, Pop, Hip Hop and Contemporary (amongst others).


Published on Aug 1, 2016 by Axel y Maria Bachata Sensual
YouTube: Grupo extra - Besos a Escondidas | Bachatazouk AXEL & MARIA (4:04)


2019-10-16

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Monday, 14 October 2019

Sax Squatch

And now for something completely different.


Published on Oct 5, 2019 by Sax Squatch
YouTube: Saxsquatch - You Don’t Know Me (0:55)

official web site: https://www.saxsquatch.com/

YouTube channel: Sax Squatch

Facebook: Sax Squatch

Sax Squatch appears to be this gentleman.

Facebook: Dean Mitchell



Published on Aug 24, 2019 by Sax Squatch
YouTube: A Relaxing Day with Saxsquatch (0:33)
In beautiful Paducah Kentucky today



2019-10-14

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Monday, 7 October 2019

Marv Newland: Bambi Meets Godzilla



Published on Sep 11, 2013 by World of Gojira
YouTube: Bambi Meets Godzilla Original (1969) (1:30)


Wikipedia: Bambi Meets Godzilla
Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969) is an animated short film created entirely by Marv Newland. Less than two minutes long, the film is a classic of animation; it was listed #38 in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons (1994).

Plot
The opening credits, consisting entirely of roles filled by Newland himself, scroll over an animated image of the character Bambi serenely grazing while the Call to the Dairy Cows from Rossini's opera William Tell (1829) plays in the background. After the credits, Bambi looks up to see Godzilla's foot coming down, squashing him flat (set to the final chord of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" slowed down to half speed). After a moment, the closing credits appear alongside the image of Godzilla's foot atop Bambi. The closing credits give grateful acknowledgement to the city of Tokyo "for their help in obtaining Godzilla for this film". Godzilla's toe claws wiggle once and the cartoon ends.


Wikipedia: Marv Newland
Marv Newland is an American-Canadian filmmaker, specialized in animation. [He is best known for Anijam (1984), CMYK (2011) and Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969).]

Note: CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key or black. These are the four colors of ink used in the traditional method of printing hardcopies of images, called offset printing.

Published on Oct 28, 2013 by NFB
YouTube: CMYK (7:16)
CMYK is a dizzying celebration of sound, colour and movement. Director Marv Newland and animator Kunal Sen meticulously assembled multitudes of CMYK symbols, pulled off flaps of common printed materials like cereal boxes. Freed from their workaday origins, these objects become moving artwork. Coloured dots pulsate chaotically, crosshairs roll languidly and primary shapes dance compellingly, while the music by composer Lisa Miller and the Quatuor Bozzini quartet is equally spontaneous. The result: an unrestrained riot of colour and energy.



Published on Jul 29, 2018 by The Local Cess Pool
YouTube: CMYK (10:14)
In the early eighties, Marv Newland organized a collaboration between many animation artists insisting they did whatever they wanted with his design - so long as the artist ends with a clear drawing the artist after him or her can start their scene with.


2019-10-07

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Classics IV: Spooky



Published on Apr 26, 2018 by DUOPHONIC_for STEREO phonographs II
YouTube: Spooky (HQ)(1968) Classics IV
Video stereo synch of Spooky by Classics IV

In the cool of the evenin'
When everything is gettin' kind of groovy
I call you up and ask you if you'd like to
Go with me and see a movie

First you say no
You've got some plans for the night
And then you stop, and say, all right
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you

You always keep me guessin'
I never seem to know what you are thinkin'
And if a fella looks at you
It's for sure your little eye will be a-winkin'

I get confused
'Cause I don't know where I stand
And then you smile and hold my hand
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you
Spooky, heh, yeah

If you decide someday to stop
This little game that you are playin'
I'm gonna tell you all the things
My heart's been a-dyin' to be sayin'

Just like a ghost
You've been a-hauntin' my dreams
So I'll propose on Halloween
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you

Spooky, spooky
Oh, whoa, all right, I said spooky
Oh, yeah, yeah, I said spooky
Yeah, yeah
Oh spooky, spooky
I said spooky


References

Wikipedia: Spooky (Classics IV song)
"Spooky" was originally an instrumental song performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe (Shapiro), written by Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr, which first charted in 1967 hitting #57 on the US pop charts. Its best-known version was created by James Cobb and producer Buddy Buie for the group Classics IV when they added lyrics about a "spooky little girl". The vocalist was Dennis Yost. The song is noted for its eerie whistling sound effect depicting the spooky little girl. It has become a Halloween favorite. In 1968, the vocal version reached #3 in the U.S. (Billboard Hot 100) and #46 in the UK.

Wikipedia: Classics IV
The Classics IV is a band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, United States, in 1965. The band is often credited for establishing the "soft southern rock" sound. The band, led by singer Dennis Yost, is known mainly for the hits "Spooky", "Stormy", and "Traces", released 1967 to 1969, which have become cover standards.


2019-10-02

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Lynn Brown Rosenberg: My sexual awakening at 70

What happens to a woman who seeks to rediscover her sexuality at 70? Does she visit a sex store? Does she buy toys and porn? Does she push her boundaries to even greater extremes by joining a sex chat website? She does all of this and a whole lot more! Interweaving a repressed and intimidating upbringing with her lively and uncensored search for sexual liberation (complete with writing erotic stories), Rosenberg discovers it’s never too late to find freedom and begin life anew.

How to review this book? I'm sure that upon reading the title, buyers like myself would be attracted by the potential for titillation. However, I found myself frequently disturbed by the author's childhood. Mom and Dad repeatedly demonstrated a self-involvement to the point of ignoring their daughter or finding her an inconvenience in their lives. In fact, at one point, when the author was in her twenties, Dad confessed that if they could do it all over again, they wouldn't have children. I'm sure we all at one point or another have reflected on our lives, the choices we made, the choices we possibly should have made, but to say that to your own daughter? That bowled me over.

Before returning to the book, I have to get this off my chest. A long time ago, I recognised that collectively we allow ourselves to do certain things without supervision and without any testing to prove we're capable of doing such a thing. What things? Sex, marriage, and parenting. I have to take lessons and pass an exam in order to get a driver's license. I have to go to university, do an internship, and pass the medical board's requirements before I'm allowed to perform brain surgery. But nobody's going to check my qualifications before having sex, getting married, or bringing a child into the world. Some people are naturals. Most people are taking a whack at it, learning with on-the-job training. But some do it because they think they're supposed to do it but don't really want to do it and consequently, end up doing it in a half-hearted fashion. There were numerous times throughout Ms. Rosenberg's memoir when she recounted life with her parents, and I cringed. People don't realize they would be doing the world a favor if they did not have children as opposed to their second- or third-rate parenting and the negative effect it has on another human being. Congratulations to the author for having survived and managing to come out the other side.

Back to the sex.

How many of us had no talks about sex from our parents? I mean literally nothing. You're on your own. Figure it out yourself. The author grew up in the fifties and sixties and Mom and Dad reflected back on her the sexuality of that era, that is, good girls never do before marriage. Doing so makes a woman tawdry, a prostitute. Talk about slut-shaming and sex-shaming. Add on top of this how they were cruel and abusive toward their own daughter, and I'm surprised the author had any sex at all.

Ms. Rosenberg eventually meets a man, and they fall in love. He becomes her husband. But as she writes:

"I think there were many reason why Jerry and I didn't click sexually, and my inhibition was one of them. I was trained that I'd be thought of as a prostitute if I was too enthusiastic or creative when it came to sex, let alone if I enjoyed it. I didn't want Jerry to think of me that way, or to think of myself that way. Above all, I needed to be "good," especially with a man who really cared about me."

Elsewhere, I have wondered how much our culture has influenced our behavior and our gender roles to the point of affecting our relationship with our spouse, supposedly the one person in life with whom we should theoretically have the most open and honest rapport. The author is worried that if she expresses herself sexually, her husband will see her as "cheap". How many marriages in the world have been saddled with a mediocre sex life because one or both partners are worried about how they think society wants them to behave? Ms. Rosenberg can't be open with her husband and ends up not being open with herself.

After fifteen years of marriage, her husband dies of cancer. She lives alone, but then has an epiphany.

Joan Price - Aug 12/2019
Let Freedom Ring: The Joy and Novelty of No-Risk, Anonymous Sex by Lynn Brown Rosenberg
I had gone 12 years without sex, and I didn’t want to live that way anymore.

I changed psychological medications and that made a difference right away. But I also realized I had been repressed sexually for decades. That began to crystallize when I told my urologist I hadn’t had an orgasm in many years. She suggested I get some porn and a vibrator. I did exactly that!

Although reluctant at first to discuss my sex life, or the lack thereof, with my therapist, I began to relax after he reassured me, “Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all.” I learned from him about porn you can watch in the Internet.

I watched some pretty interesting stuff and became especially intrigued with one video where the woman talked to the man, telling him what she was going to do to him and asking him if he liked it. She stroked him as she talked, and this was all he needed have an explosive orgasm. This aroused me — it was sexy, safe, and the kind of part-way point I needed to get back to sex.

During another session, I told my doctor I missed having no one in my life to talk to about my sexual desires. He told me about sex chat websites like BeNaughty.com and Flirthut.com. What?! There was no way I was going to talk sex with strangers. And besides, what in the world would I say?

And then I remembered the woman who talked and brought the man to ecstasy. I went back to that video and wrote down word-for-word what she said. Having the words pushed aside my unease. Sure, I was nervous, but willing to give it a try.


Lynn writes erotica
A 70-year-old woman writing explicit sex scenes complete with four-letter words may surprise you, shock you, and titillate you. But I assure you, millions, no tens of millions of people are doing this every day across the globe. Maybe you haven't done it, but it is going on. While my life may be parochial, I'm reminded that there are people out there living extraordinary lives.

Ms. Rosenberg includes several examples of her erotic stories in her book. I would label this "throwaway erotica". This is the type of thing you read when you're horny, or write when you're horny, or possibly share with a partner when you're horny and want to get them horny. This isn't great literature; there will be no Pulitzer Prize. But it does serve the purpose of expressing yourself. Sometimes you want to say, "I love you," and sometimes you want to say, "I lust you." Sexual energy begets sexual energy.

I once knew a couple who were having an affair. She lived on the east coast, and he lived on the west coast. Their relationship was hot, like on fire. Periodically, they got together for a weekend tryst of passion measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale.

But while apart, both of them wrote and independently published erotica. They sold books. Curious, I bought some. Profane, scandalous, and oh so passionate. I realized what they were doing: They were keeping their passion alive by writing each other "lust letters".

Ms. Rosenberg put pen to paper, so to speak, and discovered that the old saying is true: Our biggest sex organ is our brain.

An orgasm is an orgasm is something more
Ms. Rosenberg experiments with porn and sex toys and in the process, discovers something about herself.

I knew something significant was missing from my life. I didn’t realize how significant until, for the first time in my life, I had the good fortune of achieving a really powerful orgasm. Why did that matter? Not only was it unimaginably pleasurable, it was life affirming. I felt authentic, sexy, and extraordinarily present. Partner or not, I was alive.

An orgasm, as an integral part of the human experience, can be life-affirming.

Final Word
Am I happy that Lynn Brown Rosenberg came out of her shell and discovered herself? Yes. Would I want her life? No. While the book deals with a woman eventually triumphing over her up-bringing, I wince, thinking about her childhood. Holy cow! What horrible parents.

I laud Ms. Rosenberg for her take-charge approach at the age of seventy. It is a reminder that it's never too late.

I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I've not done.
-Anonymous

But I also see it as a warning to us all to take charge now and not wait. We're all influenced by our parents, our religion, our peer group, and our culture. We live in an environment which is still very much the traditional patriarchy, along with misogyny, the Double Standard, sex-shaming, slut-shaming, women as chattel, virginity valued above all else, sex only in marriage and only for procreation, etc. No matter how much we want to escape it, these influences surround us, even at a subliminal level, and affect us psychologically. This is not peace, love, and understanding. And we may not even be aware this is going on. As I'm fond of saying, "Does a goldfish know it's living in a fishbowl?"

Let's all try to follow Lynn Rosenberg: be honest with others, but more importantly, be honest with ourselves. This is what I like, and this is what I want. But unlike Ms. Rosenberg, let's not do this when we're 70, but when we're 50, 40, or even 30. Not tomorrow, but today. Right now.


References

official web site: Lynn Brown Rosenberg
Residing in Los Angeles, Lynn was a musician and composer for several years and is now successful writer. An excerpt from her memoir entitled "My Sexual Awakening at 70" has just been published by Salon.com as well as The Huffington Post. An interview with HuffPost Women is upcoming.

Facebook: Lynn Brown Rosenberg

my blog: Esther Perel: Is this woman on to something? - Mar 12/2013
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire?

my blog: How old is too old for sex? - Apr 10/2014
A professional photographer captures the mature sexuality of ten 70-year-old women and causes a variety of reactions. Can one be too old for sex? With age, is anything sexual in bad taste? Is being photographed in a suggestive pose empowering for a woman or does it objectify her? And is objectification as in the "object of my desire" always a bad thing?

2019-09-07

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Friday, 6 September 2019

Turia Pitt

Somebody on Facebook posted the following picture.


I had to investigate this story.

Wikipedia: Turia Pitt
Turia Pitt (born 24 July 1987) is an Australian mining engineer, humanitarian, athlete, motivational speaker and author.

In September 2011, Pitt was competing in an ultramarathon through Western Australia's Kimberley region, when she was caught in a grass fire. During a subsequent inquiry, she stated there was "nowhere else to go" when the competitors tried to outrun an out-of-control blaze that swept up Selena Gorge, just outside Kununurra. Pitt suffered burns to 65 percent of her body. It was several hours before medical help arrived and she was air-lifted out. Doctors did not expect her to survive her injuries.
...
Medical problems
Prior to the ultramarathon incident, Pitt was a healthy, fit athlete. As a result of her injuries in the fire, she was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month. All the fingers of her right hand, and two fingers on her left, had to be amputated. She endured six months in hospital, underwent over 200 operations and spent two years in recovery. During that time, she was required to wear a full-body compression suit and mask, and only allowed to remove for an hour a day. The mask was required to help smooth out the scars on her face and body. She removed it for the first time on the 60 Minutes program revealing her face to the world.

...
She is an Ambassador for ReSurge International, and has raised money for the organisation by leading trekking adventures. In that capacity, she walked the Great Wall of China in 2014, the Inca Trail in 2015, and the Kokoda Track in 2016. Through this work, along with her support for other ReSurge International fundraising initiatives, she has directly and indirectly contributed to more than $1 million being raised to support the organisation's work.

Wikipedia: ReSurge International
ReSurge International, formerly known as Interplast, is the first international humanitarian organization to provide free reconstructive surgery in developing countries, primarily to children with cleft lip and palate and burn scar contractures.

Woman's Day - May 16/2019
In pictures: Turia Pitt and Michael Hoskin's love story by Chloe Lal
Turia Pitt and fiancé Michael Hoskin's love story is one for the ages... Their relationship is an integral part of Turia's inspiring story of survival. She often cites Michael's love as what kept her going during her horrific ordeal, revealing he makes her feel like "the luckiest girl in the world."



Published on Oct 21, 2014 by TED Talks
YouTube: Unmask your potential | Turia Pitt | TEDxMacquarieUniversity
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

Turia Pitt was named Cosmopolitan’s ‘Woman of the Year’ for 2013, short-listed for this year’s ‘Young Australian of the Year’ and the winner of the recent NSW ‘Woman of the Year’ Awards. She is a burns survivor, motivational speaker, engineer and published author. She has a double degree in Mining Engineering and Science and graduated with first class honours. Her memoir ‘Everything to Live For’ was published late in 2013.




Final Word
I've had a tough day. I'm frustrated, even angry. Things aren't going right, and it's upsetting. Then I see this. I'm stunned. I'm amazed. Even ashamed. I have no idea of the problems, the challenges faced by some other people. In comparison, I'm living the dream. I'm humbled, and quite rightly, I should be humbled. I have no idea of their struggles.


References

official web site: Turia Pitt

my blog: Poor Me - Jun 21/2010
Jacqueline Saburido, born in 1978 in Venezuela, went to the United States in 1999 to study English. On September 19, 1999, she went to a birthday party and after two or three hours, she and her four friends decided to go home. During the drive, their vehicle was hit by an SUV driven by a man, Reginald Stephey, 17 years old, who was drunk. Two passengers were killed immediately; the other two were only slightly injured. Jacqueline was trapped in the car, one foot stuck underneath his seat. The car caught fire and Jacqueline suffered burns over 60% of her body. The consequence of this tragic accident, Jacqueline lost all the fingers of both hands, hair, ears, nose, lips, eyelid of the left eye and most of her sight. Since the accident she has had more than 50 surgeries and supposedly, others will follow.

my blog: Nick Vujicic: What can I complain about? - Jul 20/2011
Tetra-amelia is a word made up of two Greek words: "tetra" meaning four and "amelia" referring to the failure of an arm or leg to develop before birth. This rare disorder is characterized by an absence of all four limbs.

Nicholas James Vujicic, born 4 December 1982, was born with Tetra-amelia; he has no arms and no legs. "Nick", as he is called, was the eldest son of a Croatian family living in Brisbane, Australia. He was born limbless although has two feet, both toeless except for two toes on one foot. Other than this disability, he was born perfectly healthy.


2019-09-06

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Saturday, 10 August 2019

America is at a Reckoning

For some time now, I've been suspicious that something happened in 2016. Yes, Russia meddled, and that affected the outcome. Yes, people voted for the third-party candidates like Jill Stein, and that affected the outcome. But we all expected Hillary to win by a landslide. This wasn't supposed to be a contest; it wasn't even supposed to be close. Donald Trump was a joke and didn't have a snowball's chance.

What the dickens happened? This is so surreal; I have difficulty wrapping my head around it.

I put together the following pie chart based on numbers from U.S. Election Atlas. You can see that the real winner of the 2016 Election was "Did Not Vote". Now, that sounds funny, doesn't it? The biggest block of voters did not cast a ballot. Donald J. Trump is president based on merely 26% of all eligible voters. That's pretty far from a majority. That's not a ringing endorsement by a long shot.


The media, pundits, election experts and statisticians have all been focused on issues like Russia's involvement, how the electoral college system is antiquated and ignores the popular vote, how a vote for an independent client was a vote for Trump, gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc. All of those issues are important and deserve consideration. But look at the above pie chart. I repeat Hillary was supposed to win by a landslide.

In the film Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore points out that the Democrats have won the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. Based on that statistic, he concludes the majority of America is liberal, not conservative. Is it true: Is the silent majority just that, silent?

Last year, I put together the following image. With all the debate surrounding guns in the United States after a number of high-profile mass shootings, I got curious about the numbers. There were reports about the majority of Americans favoring some form of gun control, and yet there were little or no controls. The NRA wields an unprecedented amount of lobbying power in Washington and yet, they have only five million members, a mere 1.54% of the total population. What happened to the will of the people?


According to a June 20, 2019 poll conducted by Monmouth University, less than four in ten say Trump should be re-elected. If "Did Not Vote" cast their ballot, we should have a landslide. And yet, the fear of Trump winning in 2020 is great. Some prognosticators are predicting Trump will serve a second term. How could that be possible? Then again, just about everybody was wrong about Trump's first term.

This has been a long time coming
There are issues America has never dealt with: sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia. Despite the best efforts of the founding fathers, the country has, at times, shown a brutal, parochial worldview.

Slavery. The United States of America, the largest economy in the world, the greatest military power, the "shining city on a hill", had institutionalized slavery. The subjugation of other races is in the blood of the nation.

Charlottesville. Like many people, I watched video clips of the protests. "Very fine people on both sides." I watched the parade of mostly men carrying torches and chanting, "Jews will not replace us." I saw the subsequent Internet meme: "You can't be a Nazi and an American. We had a war over this. The entire world was involved."

#MeToo. I read about Harvey Weinstein who I suppose can be inadvertently credited with having started the movement. Did he never look in the mirror and ask himself what he was doing? I'm a man. I can understand being horny and pushing the envelope, of being persistent to the point of being annoying. But Harvey, come on! You stepped over the line, drew a new line, and then stepped over that. Holy cow! And the subsequent list of big-name men who fallen from grace? I will now shake my head in surprise and disbelief, realizing my disbelief proves how well ingrained and hidden this has been in our culture. Boys will be boys. Grab 'em by the... well, you get my point.

Income inequality continually goes up. The national debt continually goes up. Heck, the deficit always goes up! Ronald Reagan, possibly America's first celebrity president, has the distinction of starting what has been a trend for Republicans and the country in general: an economy which is steadfastly growing out of control. In the Wikipedia article Reaganomics, it's pointed out that at the beginning of the Reagan presidency, the United States was the largest creditor nation in the world. At the end of Reagan's presidency, just eight years later, America had become the largest debtor nation in the world. That position has not changed but only gotten worse.

Ignorance is bliss
Jimmy Kimmel has an amusing bit where he sends a camera crew out on Hollywood Boulevard to interview people. In one segment, "Can You Name a Country?" (July 12/2018, YouTube 3:44) the interviewer gives the person a pointer and asks them to point out a country, any country, on a world map. Now, I'm sure they've edited the clip to show only the funniest, but it was nevertheless startling to see a general level of knowledge which can only be labelled as abysmal. I looked at the map and knew I couldn't name all the "-stans" of the former Soviet Republic, but people couldn't identify a single country, not even the United States!

Starting in the 2016 campaign through these two years of the Trump presidency, I've heard politicians, Fox News contributors, and Trump supporters voice opinions with such conviction and surprising ignorance. One of my favourites is, "I don't believe in global warming, but I'm not a scientist." First off, belief is not the equivalent of knowing. Second, admitting you're not a scientist is what? Some sort of Get-out-of-jail-free card in case you're wrong?






The above two Internet memes are funny but let me point out that they're funny because they're true. There's a false equivalency: an opinion is not equal to a fact. And one can't ignore facts and science just because they refuse to change their opinion. Someone may believe that two plus two equals five but repeating it over and over again isn't going to change anything. But I would point out that if somebody persists in saying the answer is five, sooner or later, reality is going to catch up with them. (FYI: For an interesting discussion of 2+2=5, look at the link below about George Orwell's book 1984.)

Fake News, Alternative Facts, and 2+2=5
Back in 1637, Réné Descartes figured out that the only thing he could be sure of was that he was thinking: "I think, there I am.". Everything else could very well be The Matrix. Admittedly, these philosophical exercises can be akin to mental masturbation, but in these days of Trump, when absolutely everything has been put on the table, we can all review our own belief system. Debating is a skill we should all develop. It's insufficient to say, "This is what I think." Prove it.

However, I've come to appreciate over these past few years just how much of our worldview, our belief system, comes from those around us: family, friends, peer group, leaders. While I can sit with somebody at a table at Starbucks and use two packets of sugar and two packets of sweetener to prove that two plus two equals four, there are a great number of things I can't prove myself. I must rely on others, but my choice of expertise says something about me.
  • The tobacco industry has marketed themselves to suppress data about the use of their product linked to cancer.
  • The fossil fuel industry has suppressed for decades research linking the burning of fossil fuels to global warming.
  • The sugar industry suppressed data linking their product to heart disease and set up a marketing campaign to suggest the problem was fat, not sugar.
It's interesting to consider that in the quest for profit, the above industries are killing their consumers. Now I don't think these industries sat down for a board meeting, took a vote, and all decided to literally kill people. I think they collectively demonstrate the human psychological condition of diminishing the importance of things we don't fully understand. Yes, cigarettes cause cancer, but I don't have cancer. Yes, fossil fuels cause global warming but what exactly is warm and how does that affect anything? Yes, I use sugar but I'm healthy, so what's the problem?

Final Word
Today, the lights are still on. But tomorrow? Of course, philosophers and therapists say we should all live in the present so let's let tomorrow take care of itself. That's much easier that trying to figure out what effect what we're doing today will have on tomorrow.

Dear children: Good luck. You're on your own.


References

Wikipedia: 2 + 2 = 5
The phrase "two plus two equals five" ("2 + 2 = 5") is a slogan used in propaganda, literature or other media, most notably the 1949 dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. In the novel, it is used as an example of an obviously false dogma that one may be required to believe, similar to other obviously false slogans promoted by the Party in the novel.

Psychology Today - Dec 27/2018
A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump's Support by Bobby Azarian Ph.D.
Whether we want to or not, we must try to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, as it has completely swept the nation and also fiercely divided it. What is most baffling about it all is Trump’s apparent political invincibility. As he himself said even before he won the presidential election, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Unfortunately for the American people, this wild-sounding claim appears to be truer than not. It should also motivate us to explore the science underlying such peculiar human behavior, so we can learn from it, and potentially inoculate against it.

2019-08-10

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Secret Life Of Brian: Documentary on the Monty Python film



Published on Jul 15, 2015 by Monty Python the Flying Circus
YouTube: The Secret Life of Brian (48:04)
Documentary shown on Channel 4 in 2007 showing the controversy that was around during and after the filming of "Monty Python Life of Brian".


Some idle thoughts
"So funny, it was banned in Norway!" I remember seeing the film when it first came out and was amused, but I had no idea of the backstory. As with anything religious, there's controversy, and it would seem the stalwarts of Christianity took exception — Even umbrage! — to mocking our Lord. Then again, were they locking our Lord Himself or were they mocking our attempts to worship the Lord?

I found the documentary fascinating. While films of fiction can be entertaining, a documentary can be eye-catching since we're talking about real life.

In hearing about the controversy generated by the religious, I have to ask how many fought to have the movie banned but had not actually seen the film? If you can't take criticism, you can't laugh at yourself and your own beliefs, there's something wrong.

References

Rotten Tomatoes: Monty Python's Life of Brian: 95%
Critics Consensus: One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical.

Wikipedia: Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin). It was also directed by Jones. The film tells the story of Brian Cohen (played by Chapman), a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as—and next door to—Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

Following the withdrawal of funding by EMI Films just days before production was scheduled to begin, long-time Monty Python fan and former member of the Beatles, George Harrison, arranged financing for Life of Brian through the formation of his company HandMade Films.

The film contains themes of religious satire that were controversial at the time of its release, drawing accusations of blasphemy, and protests from some religious groups. Thirty-nine local authorities in the United Kingdom either imposed an outright ban, or imposed an X (18 years) certificate, effectively preventing the film from being shown, since the distributors said it could not be shown unless it was unedited and carried the original AA (14) certificate. Some countries, including Ireland and Norway, banned its showing, with a few of these bans lasting decades. The filmmakers used such notoriety to benefit their marketing campaign, with posters in Sweden reading, "So funny, it was banned in Norway!"

The film was a box office success, the fourth-highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom in 1979, and highest grossing of any British film in the United States that year. It has remained popular, receiving positive reviews. The film was named "greatest comedy film of all time" by several magazines and television networks, and it would later receive a 97% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus, "One of the more cutting-edge films of the 1970s, this religious farce from the classic comedy troupe is as poignant as it is funny and satirical." In a 2006 Channel 4 poll, Life of Brian was ranked first on their list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Films.


Wikipedia: Monty Python
Monty Python (also collectively known as the Pythons) are a British surreal comedy group who created the sketch comedy television show Monty Python's Flying Circus, which first aired on the BBC in 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and impact, including touring stage shows, films, numerous albums, several books, and musicals. The Pythons' influence on comedy has been compared to the Beatles' influence on music. Regarded as enduring icons of 1970s pop culture, their sketch show has been referred to as being “an important moment in the evolution of television comedy".

my blog: Monty Python: The Cheese Shop - July 26/2014
This sketch from the television show was included in the 1973 album, Matching Tie and Handkerchief.

my blog: Monty Python: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Feb 11/2012
"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" is a comedy song written by Eric Idle that was originally featured in the 1979 film Monty Python's Life of Brian and has gone on to become a common singalong at public events such as football matches as well as funerals."

2019-07-30

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Thursday, 11 July 2019

John Prine and Iris Dement: In Spite of Ourselves



Published on Apr 30, 2017 by John Prine
YouTube: John Prine and Iris Dement - In Spite of Ourselves Official Video

She don't like her eggs all runny
She thinks crossin' her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money
She gets it on like the Easter Bunny
She's my baby I'm her honey
I'm never gonna let her go

He ain't got laid in a month of Sundays
I caught him once and he was sniffin' my undies
He ain't too sharp but he gets things done
Drinks his beer like it's oxygen
He's my baby
And I'm his honey
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

She thinks all my jokes are corny
Convict movies make her horny
She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs
Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs
She takes a lickin'
And keeps on tickin'
I'm never gonna let her go.

He's got more balls than a big brass monkey
He's a whacked out weirdo and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he's howlin' at the moon
He's my baby I don't mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

[Spoken:]
In spite of ourselves


References

Wikipedia: In Spite of Ourselves
In Spite of Ourselves is the 13th studio album of John Prine, featuring duets with various well-known female folk and alt-country vocalists, released in 1999.

The album was Prine’s first release since successfully battling throat cancer. The female duet partners include Iris DeMent, Connie Smith, Lucinda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Melba Montgomery, Emmylou Harris, Dolores Keane, Patty Loveless, and his wife, Fiona Prine.


Wikipedia: John Prine
John Prine (born October 10, 1946) is an American country folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s, and is known for an often humorous style of country music that has elements of protest and social commentary.


2019-07-11

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter