Friday, January 13, 2012

Up Close & Personal in 3D

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Starting off with a funny story… I was sitting with my roommate Pixie and one of her friends watching TV last night… and we saw a commercial for the soon-to-be released “Beauty & the Beast” in 3D, which obviously everybody is going to line up around the block of the movie theatres to see. Well, her friend mentioned that Titanic is apparently being released later this year… also in 3D. So Pixie said, “Are they just going to release every movie with a soundtrack by Celine Dion in 3D now?” Which immediately led to one of the most awkward movie titles ever… starring Robert Redford & Michelle Pfeiffer… yes, it’s “Up Close & Personal… in 3D”. Come on now, you all remember the song. “You were my strength when I was weak… You were my voice when I couldn’t speak…” Seriously though, the title is just awkward… and that got me thinking of a few other movie titles that wouldn’t really work with the 3D addition… such as the new depressing as hell Tom Hanks one coming out “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close… in 3D” doesn’t sound appealing at all. Or “Definitely, Maybe… in 3D” well, is it going to be in 3D or not? Or among one of the lamer movie titles to begin with… but I remember it because it was released on my 21st birthday & stars Angelina Jolie and an oft-accused doppelganger of mine, Ed Burns (I blame the nose) but that movie… “Life or Something Like It… in 3D” just seems pretty vague & pointless to watch. I don’t know… any others out there that come to mind that wouldn’t work with “in 3D” added?

Jay-Z Update – First & foremost, congratulations to Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z) and his lovely wife Beyonce Knowles on the birth of their first child, daughter Blue Ivy Carter. By the way, I was so sure that she was going to be named Brooklyn… but that’s a side note now. This is also a baby name update, just so you know… because I always thought that Blue was a boy’s name AND color… but still, congratulations to both of you & I understand the need to have distinctive names that nobody else has in the entertainment industry. I’m sure that’s a great significant meaning behind it… or something. Like the initials B.I.C. as a tribute to Biggie. Or maybe it’s just because it’s the colors of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, which Jigga partly owns. In further news, Blue Ivy is not even a week old, but she is already making music history. Billboard says that thanks to her dad, Jay-Z, featuring her on his new song, "Glory," Blue becomes the youngest person to ever appear on its chart. Jay-Z released the song about his first-born child with wife Beyonce on Monday, and it immediately became a viral sensation. The song, which credits B.I.C., features the sound of Blue's cries at the end. The song's refrain is "The most amazing feeling I feel/Words can't describe what I'm feeling for real/ Maybe I paint the sky blue/My greatest creation was you. You. Glory." Now, the song will enter Billboard's chart next week at No. 74. Blue was born Saturday, and her parents confirmed her birth Monday... so less than a week old and she’s already rockin’ the charts. It must run in the family…

Beethoven’s Bummer – Speaking of musical genius, a rare handwritten letter by legendary German composer Ludwig van Beethoven complaining about illness and a lack of money has turned up at a northern German institute as part of a bequest, causing excitement among lovers of the composer. The Brahms Institute in the northern city of Luebeck said the six-page letter bearing the composer's signature and original seal was, in essence, an attempt to sell his well-known "Missa solemnis" mass which he completed in 1823. In the letter, Beethoven asks harpist and composer Franz Anton Stockhausen to help find advance buyers for the mass. But most striking are details about his personal circumstances, such as his financial concerns, an eye disorder and an attempt to track down a music-loving dentist who wrote to him, said Stefan Weymar, music researcher at the institute. "My low salary and my illness demand efforts to make a better fortune," said Beethoven in the letter, which has turned yellow with age and needs to be stored in special conditions and handled with gloves. Beethoven, 53 at the time of writing, went on to say that the education of his nephew was costly and that the boy would need support after his death. The black writing, which slopes to the right, looks messy and is marred by corrections and crossings out. "Beethoven was not a composer with beautiful handwriting. It is spontaneous and he wrote things, then crossed them out, his thoughts changed as he went on and that is the impression the letter gives," Weymar told Reuters. At the end, he wrote "all letters to me need nothing more than "To L. v. Beethoven in Vienna," where I receive everything." The missive ended up in the hands of music teacher Renate Wirth, a descendant of the recipient. "The bequest is of extraordinary historic value -- a piece of luck for the Brahms Institute. The value of the Beethoven letter is valued at over 100,000 Euros (about $120,000)," said Institute head Wolfgang Sandberger. Born in the western German city of Bonn in 1770, Beethoven moved to Vienna as a young musician and become one of the most celebrated composers of all time, straddling the classical and romantic eras. His deafness in later life makes his musical accomplishments all the more astonishing. Beethoven died in 1827, four years after the letter was written, and is buried in Vienna. His Moonlight Sonata for the piano and dramatic four-note opening to his Fifth Symphony are among the best known pieces of classical music ever written. His Ode to Joy, part of the Ninth Symphony, has been adopted as the EU's Anthem of Europe. "The appeal of a letter handwritten by Beethoven is certainly very great," Michael Ladenburger, head of the Beethoven House museum in Bonn, told Reuters. That appeal is reflected at auctions -- a shopping list with just six words on it was auctioned for 60,000 Euros last year. His letters are rare and the length of this one, with the insight it gives into his personal life, make it very interesting indeed." The Brahms Institute will put the letter on show from next week. Wow… just think about it. During his life, he was struggling to get by financially (at least by his standards) and stricken with deafness, an eye ailment, so much hardship. Yet now, his music is regarded as some of the best ever composed & little checklists to himself made for groceries are being auctioned off for nearly six digits. By the way, if you haven’t seen Gary Oldman rock his Beethoven in “Immortal Beloved” you seriously need to go rent that tonight. Great flick. Anyway, just a little tidbit about how sometimes greatness goes unappreciated in your lifetime… but if you’re truly great… sometimes you get recognition down the road. Sad but true. Be strong, brothers & sisters.

Greatest Wish Ever!!! – Okay, I’ve worked quite a bit with the Make-A-Wish Foundation back in the college days… and it’s truly a great organization. Life is about experiences and there’s really nothing better than the smile on a terminally ill child’s face when you can make their dreams come true. Most wishes are cute things like going to Disneyland (like I am in March with the niece & nephew), play catch with an NFL quarterback, see the Grand Canyon, stuff like that… but there was one that I read about that I REALLY liked. Why? Because it’s now on my bucket list. A 7-year-old boy with cancer was granted his wish… to blow up a building… more specifically, to push the detonator and implode a massive grain silo in Ohio. WUPW reports that Maxwell Hinton, who is suffering from Neuroblastoma, was granted the request by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. "I got cancer, Neuroblastoma, and I went through treatment and they made a wish for me," Hinton said. "I watch MythBusters and they inspired me to blow a building up." That’s right, even more destruction involving educational programming… and by the way, side note: Where’s Kari Byron at? Doesn’t anybody know she was the real reason people watched that show? Back to point, the ConAgra grain mill was already scheduled to be demolished, making way for the sale of 11 acres of property as part of a four-year renovation project. An estimated 30,000 local residents turned out to watch Hinton help blow up the building. "It's been a great experience for him, but it's a great experience for this whole area," said Doug Studer, who helped to organize the fulfillment of Hinton's wish. Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it?

Well, this weekend is more football as we come down the stretch of the NFL season. The Saints are in town, Tebow goes to New England to work miracles, the Texas go to Baltimore & the Giants will hopefully be dismantled by the Packers. Also, I think this weekend is when I’ll look for that new laptop so I can more readily bring you my updates. Seriously, my current laptop is about to get shanked… but then again, it’s about 10 years old & just pathetic by today’s standards. Also, I’m thinking about hitting up the Contemporary Jewish Museum as it’s the last week of an exhibit about Harry Houdini that I have yet to experience entitled “Houdini: Art & Magic” which just sounds like fun. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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