Let’s Talk Tony Bennett

I have to tell ya, I am impressed.  I went youtubing (sounds like something you do on a river doesn’t it?) for an Alejandro Sanz song and came across the following video:

I had somehow missed that these two had collaborated last year.  For those who do not know him, Alejandro Sanz is one of the most famous Spanish singers to come out of Spain.  He has been popular for over 20 years being known for his emotionally sung and poetically written ballads.  He is one of my favorite singers of all time.

I was a little hesitant when I pressed play because the title was in English and as much as I love Ale Sanz, his English accent is not so great.  His part however, is mainly in Spanish and it is lovely.

But that is not what drew me to write a blog on this subject.  Lord knows I could go on and on about Sanz and the influence that he has had on me emotionally and linguistically.

I wanted to discuss instead, Tony Bennett.  How brilliant is this man?!  He is taking a musical genre that has not graced the ears of many of the younger generations and bringing it to the forefront again, long past its prime.  He is bringing back the crooner-era songs by mixing them with young, mainstream and sometimes controversial artists.  Sure, we expect him to do a duet with Norah Jones, Diana Krall or Natalie Cole, but did you ever picture Tony Bennett with the likes of Lady Gaga, Queen Latifah or Juanes?  I can’t say they were on my list of most wanted collaborations.  However, this is a wonderful idea on so many levels.

On a musical and business level, Mr. Bennett in his young age of 85, has revived his career and given himself a younger image through his association with all of the young mainstream artists.  Where some elders may shun the musicians of current music or ‘noise’ as they may call it, he embraces it.  He is embracing the new as well as making sure that this genre, these beautiful songs of his more youthful days do not fade so quickly as records and radio play are overcome by the digital era.

On a social level, he is bridging the generation gap.  He is introducing old songs to the new generation and giving them something they can share with their grandparents.  We could use a little more of that these days, don’t ya think?

So hats off to you Mr. Bennett for taking the road less traveled by.

Duets II (Tony Bennett album)

Duets II (Tony Bennett album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is more information on both duet albums:  Duets, An American Classic / Duets II

 

Movie Screening – Bring Tissues

A small box of Kleenex.

A small box of Kleenex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just finished watching the Vow.  Sappy?  Of course.  Tear-jerker?  Of course.  It was everything I expected it to be.  Also, as a side note – prior to watching it, someone had commented on how great the end credits song was.  At first, I was thinking how could it be THAT great?  But I completely agree.  Awesome way to end the movie with a classic song and feel.

I had some tears cascading down my cheeks throughout the movie and this got me thinking about a couple of things.

1.  Why do women flock to these Puffs-inducing movies?  (Puffs are WAY better than Kleenex IMO.)  It’s like self-inflicted emotional torture.  Does it make us appreciate what we have in our lives?  Does it make us feel the whole swirl of the emotional range?  Why do we feel the need to pull forth all of these emotions?

2.  Which love story has used up the most of your tissue box?  If there were an award for the sappiest one, who would take the giant tissue-shaped trophy?  The Notebook?  Titanic?  Sweet November?  And are there any that don’t involve a major character dying in the end that STILL induce a great deal of tears?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter below…

Happy movie watching!

Updates…and Writing for Your Health?

I know, I know, I haven’t written nearly as much as I used to, but such is my life, creativity and focus comes in waves.  I’ve tried to fight it to maintain consistency and dependability, but alas the waves always win out and I have learned to accept it.

Since we last met, not too much has happened, except that I have FINALLY, finally…did I say FINALLY?…signed up for Korean language classes.  I tried a free class, I tried studying on my own, I tried a language exchange, but none of it really works for me personally, so I had to bite the bullet (err…more like bite a hole in my wallet) and sign up at an academy.  And since I have already put it off for so long, I decided the best way to catch up was with an intensive course.  So I’ll be taking 2 hours of classes, 5 days a week, hopefully until I reach the top level which will be for like the next year-ish.  I’m actually really excited about this because I know I’ll be able to pick it up quickly.  I’ll be starting on the 2nd level since I already know the basics and how to read, so I have until Tuesday to do the lessons they’ve already done in lesson 1 to make sure I’m not behind.  I’ve been doing 1-2 lessons a day for the past week and I love it.  I’m actually glad that I waited this long because now the language and words seem to make more sense because I’ve been here long enough to have heard and read and seen the language everywhere, so it seems somehow easier.

NANOWRIMO starts the same day as my classes so let’s see how well I do while balancing 10 hours of classes, 40 hours of work a week and 1,667 words a day in my life!  HA!  I may have mentioned before that I got my best grades in high school when I was working two jobs, so it may actually work since I am more productive when given limited amounts of time.  Not too sure how well that will bode for my blogging though…argh.

Now, on to something less about me, me me…

I read an article on yahoo about this book called The Secret Life of Pronouns and given that I like analyzing things and I love linguistics, I was instantly interested.  The idea of the book is that the pronouns, articles (a, an, the – for the non-English teachers out there) and prepositions we use say a lot about us and our interactions with others.  So I went to the author’s website and played with his linguistic personality exercises and watched his videos.

One of the videos was not related to pronouns, but was related to writing in general and I thought it would be of interest to you bloggers and fellow writers in the universe.  Here’s what he has to say about it…

What are your thoughts?  Do YOU think writing contributes to your health and well-being?  Do you feel physically better when we get it all down on paper (or monitor)?

May I Have Your Autograph?

Signature of Abraham Lincoln.

Image via Wikipedia

You may have noticed I’ve had an unexpected theme going here.  It started with the future of bookshelves, then the future of the geologic makeup of earth and now the future of the autograph.  I can’t explain why I’m thinking about the future so much lately, but just go with me here.

A few months ago one of the lessons in the books I teach was about autographs and their value (I do not choose these books I assure you).  It talked about how the less someone signs things, the more its worth and about the autograph hunters who go get them so they can sell them online.  I believe it said that Abraham Lincoln’s autograph is worth the most because he did not sign much (probably due to that whole being shot at an earlier age part I’m guessing).

But what happens to autographs of the future when there is no paper or no books to write them on?  When all that remains are e-readers, will you walk up to Elizabeth Gilbert at a ‘book’ signing and say “Can you please sign my e-reader in the Eat Pray Love folder?”

How much will an electronic signature be worth if it can be copied and pasted and transferred to a multitude of gadgets so easily?   How will you show it off to your friends?  By adding it to your slideshow on your digital picture frame?

It brings to mind a My Fair Lady quote when Audrey Hepburn says “What’s to become of me?”  There are a lot of items up for obsolescence that should be asking themselves that very question.

What I Learned from a Mammoth, a Sloth and a Saber-tooth Tiger

That’s right folks, we are talking about Ice Age.  If you have seen any of the 3 movies, here is the trailer for the 4th which is due out in 2012.  (Might I mention that the movies are so well loved that the trailer does not even include the 3 main characters and people are still anxious to see it. 😉  ).

Have you ever thought about what you can learn from animated movies these days?  The lessons weaved into these plots are not just for children but for adults as well.  Shrek teaches us to accept and appreciate his friends despite his hermitic tendencies.  Mufasa of course skills us on the circle of life and taking responsibility.  Happy Feet shows us how to embrace our differences.  The list goes on and on.

Ice Age has taught me what my education system failed to do.  It showed me how it all comes together.  Of course throughout our school years we learn about dinosaurs, the ice age, the various animals and how they lived, etc.  But since each period or concept was taught in separate years and in separate ways, I never really understood what happened first and what came next and because of that it was hard to visualize it all.  But I watch Ice Age and it all starts to make sense.  Unreal right?  I know that Ice Age of course is a movie and not meant at all to be realistic, but having a visual representation displayed in a very basic way helps me to match up the few scant memories that I retained from all those years of learning.  It fascinates me to no end to think about how insanely long ago all of this happened.  I try to picture the world without people and with these giant reptile-like creatures roaming around instead.  The idea blows my mind.  Watching the movies got me pondering the idea even more and they have actually sparked my interest in paleontology.  I need to go back and re-learn it all now that it makes more sense.

It also makes me wonder if the big bad dinosaurs could go extinct, when will that happen to humans and what will replace us?  I got all this from a kid’s movie!  (and a funny one at that)

It’s like that book from awhile back called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  All I really needed to know, I learned in animated films.

Remakes, Prequels, Sequels and Adaptations

Dirty Dancing

Image via Wikipedia

According to an article I read today on Yahoo, there is a Dirty Dancing remake now in the works.  WHY?!?!?!  What is it with the movie industry these days?  Have they all run out of creative juice?  So much of what seems to be coming out in the past several years are movies that are either remakes (including remakes of old TV shows like Dukes of Hazzard or the A-Team), prequels, sequels (do we really need another Final Destination?) and Adaptations (Twilight anyone?).

Don’t get me wrong, most of these movies I enjoy because…well, I’m easy to please when it comes to movie entertainment.  However, I also like to see something come out where I don’t already know the ending or the setting or the characters.  I want to be surprised.  I think one of the many reasons Avatar was so popular was because the collective conscience of the movie-going mind said ‘finally something new!‘  It’s like the movie gods are now grasping for straws.  They want to keep popping out movies for money and can’t write the ideas fast enough, so they go and grab the hottest novel or an old blockbuster to re-do.  Maybe they should call in the team from Apple to help them be a little more innovative.

So, will I go see the Dirty Dancing remake?

Probably.

I’m a Latin dancer and that movie was the initial spark that inspired that particular passion in my life.

Will I be disappointed by the movie?

Probably.

Your mind has a way of perfecting memories in your head to help you connect to that warm feeling of nostalgia we all love.  So I doubt that the new movie will evoke in me the same kind of awe-inspiring feeling that I felt when I was…you know..8.

I’m sure some day I’ll rent Smurfs and I’ll love the next Sherlock Holmes, but in the meantime, can we get something new and different and unexpected?

Anatomy of a ManCom

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Image via Wikipedia

In the past several years I’ve noticed an influx of what I am going to refer to as ManComs.  Like the male equivalent of RomComs.  Actually closer to the male equivalent of ChickFlicks, but the rhyming version of that for males is not appropriate for all audiences, so we shall stick with ManComs.

What makes a movie a ManCom you may ask?

  • The average-looking main character goes after a gorgeous co-star and actually gets her.  I believe Adam Sandler started this craze back in his Billy Madison days.  I love Adam Sandler, he’s charming and cute, but he’s no Johnny Depp.  Jason Segel is another prime example.  I’m a fan of How I Met Your Mother, he’s sweet, but seriously Jason?  Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)?  Not likely.
  • A disgusting, fat friend.  This friend is not disgusting because he’s fat, he’s disgusting because he is always the barer of the crudest sexual jokes.  Prime example, Dan Fogler (Stu) in Good Luck Chuck.  Let’s just say there’s a scene with him and a large fruit that I’d rather forget.  I think this character is included to make the average-looking main character look even hotter/nicer/more normal.
  • Bodily function jokes run amuck.  Bathroom humor is a staple in these movies, so is awkward nakedness, highly embarrassing moments and masturbation.  American Pie is a classic example of all of these mashed into one.
  • A period of sleeping with random girls from bars.  Not every one of these movies has this, but it’s a recurring theme nonetheless.  See 40 Days and 40 Nights and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Side Note:  I don’t think 40 Days, 40 Nights is a true ManCom because Josh Hartnett is HOT [WHERE IS HE THESE DAYS??] and the feather scene with Shannyn Sossamon is a female fav.  Instead perhaps this movie built the bridge between RomComs and ManComs.).  Is this the way men deal with all emotional problems they wish to avoid?  The good thing is they usually show that that particular method is not successful in helping the main character feel better.

I do mock these movies, but we ladies know that RomComs have much to be mocked as well, despite how much we may love them in all their glorious cheesiness and predictability.  I actually enjoy these ManComs occasionally, they have their very funny moments and some endearing moments, but sometimes the gross humor is just a bit much for me.  I appreciate this new form of entertainment for men though.  At the very least they now have something to watch that isn’t violent or morbid.  I’d much rather see ManComs on a date versus a man who wants to drag me to see Saw.  Soon enough we’ll be seeing a ‘She’s Just Not That Into You.’

So Ladies and Gents, what do you think of ManComs?  Which are your favorites and which do you hate?