Affirmation – Savage Garden (1999)

Affirmation

Affirmation is a song soaked with virtue signalling and moral exhibitionism, but to give credit where its due it was released long before these phrases became part of the popular vernacular. This Australian song by the pop duo Savage Garden hasn’t aged particularly well, but I was very fond of it when it came out. The single was most successful in the United Kingdom where it reached #8, becoming the duo’s fourth Top 10 hit. I remember it being played incessantly on the radio. When Savage Garden sung it at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympics ceremony in Sydney – I’m not gonna lie, I had goosebumps even if it was lip synced.

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people’s hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it’s bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem
I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone

From Wikipedia: Affirmation is the second and final studio album by Australian pop duo Savage Garden. The album was released on 9 November 1999 by Columbia Records. It won the 2000 ARIA Music Award for Highest Selling Album….”Affirmation” was released as the fourth single from their second studio album of the same name….
The lyrics are a series of statements each starting with “I believe”, for instance: “I believe in Karma, what you give is what you get returned” and “I believe you can’t appreciate real love until you’ve been burned”. Darren Hayes has a teaching degree in early education and may have been strongly influenced in structuring the song lyrics in such a manner; by John Dewey’s seminal text on education “My Pedagogic Creed”; which also starts a new statement with “I believe”.

Another song from lead singer Darren Hayes which will feature in the music project is his fantastic cover of fellow Australian Delta Goodrum’s Lost Without You. I can’t watch that performance of him at the Arias without getting all glassy-eyed especially when they close-in on Delta’s reaction at the end.

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Posted in Music

‘Taking pleasure of influencing and misleading’- revisiting Oscar Wilde’s only novel.

For today’s ‘Wednesday book quote’ we revisit Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. This section examines further the mindset and personality of Lord Henry whose brash and provocative monologue Youth is the one thing worth having was discussed previously. Lord Henry is such a unique individual because he’ll take any conversation immediately out of its comfort zone. ‘Small talk’ isn’t exactly his cup of tea; he prefers to poke and probe, push the boundaries with whom he’s talking to. His pleasure is in the art of impressing, influencing, and even misleading his acquaintances.

Lippincott.jpgAccording to wikipedia Lippincott’s monthly magazine first published The Picture of Dorian Gray complete in July 1890, but fearing the story was indecent they deleted 500 words without Wilde’s knowledge. Despite that censorship, The Picture of Dorian Gray offended the moral sensibilities of British book reviewers, some of whom said that Oscar Wilde merited prosecution for violating the laws guarding public morality.

Picture is the only novel written by Wilde. He said that the three principle characters were reflections of himself. There is probably no better example of this interplay than in the following section which begins the book and there are few passages I have found more richly compelling and amusing than this one.  To set the scene, the decadent dandy Lord Henry is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of Dorian Gray. While sitting for the painting, Dorian listens to Lord Henry espousing his hedonistic world view. The conversation below is with the ‘deeply moral’ artist Basil:

Dorian Gray - Basil Pt 1Dorian Gray - Basil Pt 2Dorian Gray - Basil Pt 3

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Posted in Reading

Adorándote (Soluciones Live) – Marcela Gandara & Zaira Johnson

Marcela Gandara 1

Marcela Gandara

A few months ago I just had lunch with a friend and I was on my way back home and this song Adorandote (Worshiping You) popped up on my playlist. I had never heard it before although I recognized the voice of one of the singers. I listened to the song on repeat for the remainder of my trip home. I was besotted with it and I still am.

The song features Mexican christian singer Marcela Gandara. This music project houses lots of wonderful music from Marcela. I was enchanted with her music from first hearing. I was in a fragrance shop a few years back looking for my favourite cologne ‘Joop’ and I heard over the shop’s speakers the song Pensaba en ti (Thought of You) by Marcela. I asked the shop assistant if she knew of the song and artist and sure enough she did and later that day I listened with great adoration to 1 hour of Marcela Gandara on you tube. Soon thereafter I added a lot of her music to my collection. I have a real penchant for Christian music and I will expand on why that is on an another occasion.

Your words are so sweet
Sweeter than honey
I want to hear your words
Keep them in my heart
and contemplate your gaze
Enrapture me with your love
And be in the place where I can breathe your presence
and stay, nothing else
I go after your heart
Loving You
Looking for you

– A loose English translation of an excerpt from Adorandote (Worshiping You)

According to the Soluciones Juveniles:
Soluciones Live is a Christian project that brings together some of the coolest voices of worship in Latin America.
Each song gathers the intimate and intense moments that are lived in our conventions where thousands of souls connect in adoration to the Father.

This album is a sample of the sound of this generation, a particular sound that expresses a passionate desire for the presence of God and causes us to have a real encounter with Him.

This video was recorded at Beacon Hill Recording Studios in El Paso, TX.

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Posted in Music

13/8 – 19/8 Imagination, sharks, baseball, evolution, cats and reality.

news on the march

It would appear that Monday’s News on the March may not be a suitable title of the content of this post. Perhaps ‘The week that was in my digital world’ is more akin to what I’m trying to do here.  But it’s Citizen Kane so I’m keeping the newsreel image. Call me old fashioned, call me sentimental, but the News on the March image is staying right here. Most of the articles which capture my interest are from you good folk – fellow blogging enthusiasts, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for allowing me to refer your great content on my Monday’s News on the March page.

WordPress article from shakemyheadhollow:

‘If “purposiveness” characterizes our movements, or changes in state, “imagination” is the best term we have for the force that drives the changes. Imagination is our capacity to project beyond the immediate real, the here and now of our existence.’

Article from BBC Future:

Humans are like ungainly packets of meat when paddling in the ocean and should be easy prey compared to fast-moving fish and seals. So, why are so few people attacked by sharks?

You tube video – Foolish Baseball:

Anyone interested in baseball should be subscribed to Foolish Baseball on you tube. They have the best produced, entertaining and informative videos about Baseball I have ever seen. Even someone unfamiliar with baseball would probably find these intriguing. Why do people love Baseball? Then watch Foolish Baseball videos and find out. The video above of Justin Verlander’s remarkable inning is as good a place as any to start.

WordPress article from James Cross – Broad Speculations:

About 70 thousand years ago something happened that resulted in modern humans. Whatever caused this change, it resulted in what appears to have been a major leap in cognitive capabilities. It was quite possibly the change that most differentiates us from Neanderthals and other archaic humans and what has made us unique among hominid apes.

WordPress poem from James Cross – Intellectual Shaman

Cats sit at the end of their driveways

in the summertime evening

“Here puss…puss,” I say.

but they don’t move

They’re waiting

for what? (read more)

WordPress article from Mike Smith – SelfAwarePatterns:

Excerpt: These are truly hard problems, and solving them is forcing scientists to consider theories that posit a reality even more removed from the manifest image. It’s why we get things like brane theory, the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics, or the mathematical universe hypothesis. If any of these models are true, than the ultimate nature of reality is utterly different from the manifest image.

news on the march the end

Posted in News, Science, Sport and Adventure

Adagio For Strings Op 11 – Samuel Barber

Samuel Barber

Samuel Barber 1944

Adagio For Strings is one of the most recognizable mournful pieces of classical music. It was composed in 1936 by American Samuel Barber who is also one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music twice. Adagio For Strings is arranged for string orchestra from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11. Samuel Barber rejected many arrangements of it, such as with the organ but he did transcribe the piece in 1967 for an eight-part choir, as a setting of the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”). Adagio For Strings has featured in many television shows and movies (including Platoon) and was even played at the funerals of Albert Einstein and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Interesting Facts from Wikipedia:

  • The recording of the world premiere in 1938, with Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra (hear the actual recording below) was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.
  • Adagio for Strings is the final song on the 2010 Peter, Paul and Mary compilation album Peter Paul and Mary, With Symphony Orchestra. Mary Travers had requested that Adagio for Strings be played at her memorial service.
  • The Adagio for Strings was one of John F. Kennedy’s favorite pieces of music. Jackie Kennedy arranged a concert the Monday after his death with the National Symphony Orchestra; they played to an empty hall. The concert was broadcast by radio.
  • The work is also extremely popular in the electronic dance music genre, notably in trance.

To end this post on a bright note, what piece of music would you like to have played at your funeral if at all?

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A Separation (2011) – Asghar Farhadi (Friday’s finest)

A Separation_
I had A Separation on the back-burner to watch for far too long and when I eventually saw this Academy award winner for best foreign film, I was kicking myself I hadn’t seen it sooner. It is currently sitting 9th on my all time favourite movie list. Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama of a dissolution of marriage. Sounds like a contradiction in terms doesn’t it? ‘Compelling drama’ – ‘dissolution of marriage’. Meh, who wants to see an Iranian Kramer versus Kramer? Those were exactly my thoughts.

I should have gone without preconception since this movie shook me to my core and I can’t think of a another movie with more nuanced and instinctive performances from the leads and supporting cast. Is there such a thing as reality-drama because if there is then A Separation deserves the highest accolades in that genre. It’s not just that where it reigns supreme but the genius of Asghar Farhadi’s story is that it piles on the tension and drama without resorting to fireworks, trickery or shock and awe plot effects.

Do not read any detailed reviews or trailers. Go without preconception.
It deserved all the plaudits it got and of course a much wider audience and for that reason it is here in ‘Friday’s finest’. If you have seen A Separation don’t hesitate to let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

Minimalistic and economic, a Separation is one of the finest, most chiselled pieces of cinema of this millennium.
– IMDB User Tait_Tait

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Posted in Movies and TV

‘Abandoned Love’ (revisited) – Bob Dylan

The next song in the library is Bob Dylan’s Abandoned Love which has already been explored here in Is ‘Abandoned Love’ Bob Dylan’s saddest song? Click on the image below to revisit the song and peruse the engaging conversation. Abandoned Love Image

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Posted in Music

‘Wickedness’ and The Brothers Karamazov

Dostoevsky 1

Fyodor Dostoevsky

As you can tell from the excerpts below Dostoevsky makes his villains extraordinarily powerful. He makes those characters as strong, attractive and intelligent as he possibly can. Today’s book quote comes from a conversation between one of the most vile literary characters father Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his youngest son, the dutiful Alexei Fyodorovich (a.k.a Alyosha). To lay the groundwork for the conversation which ensues I’ll shed a little light on the major characters in The Brothers Karamazov.

The father Fyodor is a 55 year old ‘sponger’ who takes little interest in his sons – The Brothers Karamazov. His relationship with his eldest son Dmitri (a.k.a Mitya) is the most volatile, hardly surprising as they are both so much alike. They are considered ‘sensualists’; spending large amounts of money on nights filled with champagne, women, and whatever entertainment and stimulation money can buy.  Dmitri is brought into contact with his family when he finds himself in need of his inheritance, which he believes is being withheld by his father. They end up in a love triangle as they chase the same woman Grushenka who Dmitri has recently fell in love with. Dmitri hides near his father’s home to see if Grushenka will arrive and later he bursts in and assaults him while threatening to come back and kill him in the future.

The hero of the book (which Dostoevsky himself as narrator enunciates from the get-go in surprising candor) is the youngest son Alyosha who is a novice in the local Russian Orthodox monastery. He is a person of great character despite being naive and not having a formidable intellect. His full brother Ivan who is a staunch atheist is constantly attacking Alyosha trying to knock him off his perch of faith and Alyosha can’t address a single one of Ivan’s criticisms because Ivan has a devastating intellect and in some sense its devastating to Alyosha as well. But Alyosha’s faith and commitment to being good supersedes his inability to win the arguments because the arguments aren’t exactly the point. To Alyosha is it is not what you believe as if its a set of facts, but how you conduct yourself in the world.

Alyosha has just arrived at his father’s house the morning after the assault by Dmitri:

Karamazov pg 173 Setting 1Karamazov pg 173 Setting 2

Soon thereafter Fyodor”s personality is explored in the conversation between him and Alyosha (Alexei Fyodorovich). For your information Fyodor refers to Dimitri as Mitya:

Karamazov pg 173 Pt1Karamazov pg 173 Pt 2

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Aad Guray Nameh – Snatam Kaur

Snatam Kaur
Aad Guray Nameh
isn’t so much a song as it is a mantra. It was recommended by a friend of mine at my son’s football club who also enjoys practicing Kundalini Yoga.  It was performed by Snatam Kaur and released on her chant album Prem (image above) in 2002.

Wiki: Snatam Kaur Khalsa is an American singer, songwriter and author. Kaur performs new age Indian devotional music, kirtan, and tours the world as a peace activist. The surname “Kaur”, meaning “princess”, is shared by all female Sikhs….
Snatam Kaur’s career received a boost when it became known that her music was a favorite of Oprah Winfrey. Kaur was nominated for a 2019 Grammy for her album Beloved.

The translation of the mantra is as follows:

Aad Guray

According to the SAT NAM fest site:

“When you cannot be protected, this mantra shall protect you. When things stop, and won’t move, this makes them move in your direction.” – Yogi Bhajan

Aad Guray Nameh is a very powerful mantra used for protection, to gain clarity, and to receive guidance from one’s highest Self. This mantra creates a protective field of energy around the person chanting, attracting abundance to them helping them live out their destiny.

The Mangala Charan Mantra (Aad Guray Nameh) can be chanted at any time, any place, whenever there is a need for protection. When chanted for 31 minutes, in any setting, it is a practice for covering and clearing the past, present and future.

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Posted in Music

6/8 – 12/8 News on the March

news on the march

I hope it’s not considered too flattering on my part if I borrowed the iconic newsreel from Citizen Kane for my Monday news space.

These are some of the news, articles, and videos that caught my attention this week:

BBC World Service podcast – ‘After an elderly woman decided she would donate her body to medicine, she befriended anatomist Vic Spitzer – the man who would go on to dissect her’.

WordPress article from shakemyheadhollow:

Now the moral high ground seems up for grabs. Liberals are more vulnerable, rightly or wrongly, to charges of prejudicial, restrictive, and divisive policies. Where did things go wrong, and is it just an image problem or something more substantive?

WordPress article from Bruce Goodman at Weave a Web:

‘Poodle Jerkin was a clown of questionable talent. He snorted cocaine. Who wouldn’t if you worked day in and day out for a circus that hardly paid for nothing? And his wife had left him and taken the kids. There was no hope, so he snorted cocaine and got the sack. Yeah, he wasn’t good enough even for a fuckin’ circus.’

Trump released his 5 point plan which included ending the glorification of violence in video games. But does that make any sense? Japan has the highest video game revenue per person in the western world yet has the lowest per capita violent gun death rate. In Japan, however, obtaining a firearm isn’t so easy. And according to the Washington post: just this year, research from two Oxford scholars found “confirmatory evidence that violent video game engagement, on balance, is not associated with observable variability in adolescents’ aggressive behaviour.”

Trump has said since then ‘serious’ talks on gun control are under way. We’ll see what comes of that.

This was a lot better than the attention seeking 12 second soundbite one might be accustomed to hearing in mainstream media.  Why can’t this uninhibited and uncensored long format form be available to all candidates to let them articulate their position? Perhaps it is but you wouldn’t know it in the mainstream press.

Also, if you enjoy tuning into Joe Rogan podcasts on occasion I highly recommend his short interview with Roe Jogan.

BBC World Service: 7/8/2019 The Colombian city of Zipaquirá has welcomed home local hero Egan Bernal, 10 days after he won the Tour de France. Last month the 22-year-old became the first Colombian to win cycling’s most prestigious race – and its youngest champion in 110 years. His return also coincided with a national holiday – the 200th anniversary of Colombia’s victory against Spain in the Battle of Boyacá.

As per the description: The heckling in the beginning of this track is priceless.  The power Bob unleashes in this version is sure to knock the socks off of the haters in the audience–badass.
The quality of this recording is top notch!

‘It’s a folk song’!

news on the march the end

Posted in News

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