Monday, March 30, 2009

Media: D.I.Y. and on-demand posted a piece about D.I.Y. magazine publishing. You can send your publication to MagCloud and print it on-demand for 20 cents per page.

Also the CBS Sunday Morning show had a great tidbit about what today's blogging shares with America's very first newspaper.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sirens by Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee Rascal is a rapper from London. The video for his song 'Sirens' really bowled me over with its commentary on the perpetuation of racism. The concept is simple, direct and visual, which is perfect for a music video. I don't care what kind of music you like, watch the whole thing all the way to the end.

I don't think there's any profanity in this song, but if you're intrigued into further investigation of Dizzee Rascal, fair warning that his other songs do make copious use of four-letter words.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Here Comes the Bride" hummed really quickly could be mistaken for the "Psycho" theme music

This a fabulous wedding photo.

See more photos and other things, like horrific bridesmaids' dresses, at Tacky Weddings

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yes, that line forms on the right, babe

Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife is one of my favorite songs. I love the lounge act swing of it that contrasts with the dark subject matter of the lyrics. Maybe I'm the only one, but this is one of those songs that hooked me with its melody, and it was only several listens later that I realized, "Hey, it's about a guy who kills people!" The song has been performed by all sorts of people: Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Robbie Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Nick Cave.

I pick Darin's as the definitive version (Fitzgerald's is a close second - she name drops fellow Mack-crooners Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong, what's not to love?), but the song originated in a 1928 German musical called The Threepenny Opera, composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. The song's original title? Die Moritat von Mackie Messer (The Ballad of Mack the Knife). It was apparently written for Weill's wife. Though wikipedia can be a dubious source, this tidbit about the song caught my interest:
A moritat (from mori meaning "deadly" and tat meaning "deed") is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by strolling minstrels. In The Threepenny Opera, the moritat singer with his street organ introduces and closes the drama with the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife, a character based on the dashing highwayman Macheath in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. The Brecht-Weill version of the character was far more cruel and sinister, and has been transformed into a modern anti-hero.
The opera opens with the moritat singer comparing Macheath (unfavorably) with a shark, and then telling tales of his robberies, murders, rapes, and arson.

I can't find the original German from the 1931 film version, but the movie's a great watch if you're into old, subtitled musicals. Man, I love the film version organ and the way the song's intensity builds. And singing along lets me pretend like I know German. Here's the French-language version from the same year--they shot the same film in 2 languages at the same time:

-A few years ago there was a Tony-nominated Broadway revival of the show starring Cyndi Lauper, Alan Cumming and Nellie McKay. Cyndi Lauper sang Mack the Knife!
-Finally, I haven't watched all of it yet, but Northwestern University has posted an entire live, professional-quality live performance of Threepenny. It looks pretty neat so far - live orchestra, good production value, and decent filming and editing, so if German musicals don't float your boat, you can see it in English.

If today's post had a moral, it might be to steer clear of anyone with weapon as part of their nickname.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

If this dude had trouble in math, there's really no hope for me

Today in 1879, this guy:

was born in Germany.

I appreciate his contribution to the field of physics, but since I don't understand physics, here's a bunch of things he said that I get a kick out of.

Like his observations of the way we are:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That's relativity."

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Or one that appeals to me especially in the midst of a spring break that will be filled with midterms studying and essay-writing:
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

And the significance of creativity:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

Monday, March 9, 2009

I have a more considered post waiting in the wings with content generated by me instead of a mishmash of re-posted stuff, but that's just going to have to wait because my brain, she has been taken by the midterms. In lieu of an actual post I offer this quote to ponder:

Michael Miner, writing in the Chicago Reader: "The Internet pelts us with news; a good newspaper arranges it in our heads." [Originally from here].

And, in closing, here's a creative video to stimulate the imagination:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random bits of randomness

Some amusing videos I saw on the internet today:
-A video tutorial on "What Facebook is For".
-Wii Breakfast, the newest evolution in video games!
-My favorite of this round-up: Ryan Started the Fire, a ditty borrowing from Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" to pay homage to The Office.

Also, I watched The Jungle Book for the first time since I don't know when and everyone should have this song stuck in their heads if I do, so The Bare Necessities, a singalong: