I’ve been spending quality time viewing and listening to works by Sergei Rachmaninoff on YouTube (played by Anna Fedorova, the great Ukrainian pianist). Fantastic music, and even I can see that it is extremely challenging to play this.
Surprise, surprise: one piece sounded a bit familiar, and as it turned out, the 1975 smash hit “All by Myself,” a song by American artist Eric Carmen is based on the second movement (Adagio sostenuto) of Sergei’s Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, opus 18 (1901).
Seems Eric should have titled his song and changed the lyrics to “Not by Myself, but by Sergei” – which admittedly isn’t very catchy and might not have lead to a top 20 ranking in the hit parade.
By the way, during my exploration of Rachmaninoff’s work, I also discovered that his music is also used in the beautiful ice skating scene in Ronin; that action packed John Frankenheimer thriller with Robert DeNiro – one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.
I have been looking at a couple of articles that, although not #realnews, may be interesting for you to take a quick glance at, even if only superficial.
Stumbled across an article about a Bodybuilder from Germany, Ralf Moeller, who became quite a celebrityin Hollywood. You can read more about this 1.96cm celeb here. Ralf made quite a success of himself.
From there it was (however) only a small step to a list of the worst movies ever, some of which feature (drumroll – but no surprise whatsoever)… Adam Sandler. This depressed me no end; just imagine spending a year or more to write, act, direct, edit and market a movie; all that time & effort, to then be featured in this list as one of the worst movies ever: Life is cruel.
The discrepancy between the worst movies in that list and the movies that bomb at the box-office is intriguing. I actually kinda linked The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Blade Runner 2049, Hello Dolly and One from theHeart. But none of those made a lot of money. Sad! The audience is merciless.
Better quickly turn the page on that unsavory topic, and zoom in on some of the best movies ever made– especially the country lists contains some gems: the Dutch Turkish Delight (an early work by the famous Hollywood director Paul Verhoeven), Australia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the UK’s The Third Manand Lawrence of Arabia. All absolute favorites of mine.
Before you get the impression that I am a couch potato, only watching old movies on my TV: I actually saw two movies in the cinema this week: The new Star Wars movie and The mountain between us. I enjoyed both, the former because the makers managed to reinvent the series yet again; the latter because two excellent actors excel in a very intimate what-if, end-of-world scenario. Naturally, the idea of being left on a deserted mountain is close to my heart (as reflected in my own work, see the section “books”)
Cinema – hard to imagine life without it. Pronounced close to death for years, nevertheless artists keep on cranking out movies, and good ones too. Why do people enjoy cinema so much? A cinema is a unique place: you visit it with dozens of people, no need to talk, great for a first date, and (added bonus) you have to switch off your mobile. And the popcorn.
I’ve seen hundreds of movies over the past 50+ years. The first-ever movie was Mary Poppins, I was a boy of 5 or 6, and going to the city cinema with my parents and older brother and sister was an amazing experience, engraved in my memory. Shortly after that: the Sound of Music. No wonder I still rate these two movies as top of the list. The miracle has never left me. From The Godfather, to Young Frankenstein, all the way to Hannah Arendt and Bohemian Rhapsody… I love cinema.
With 250,000 videos uploaded per day, more than a thousand years required to view all videos, more than 100 million videos watched daily, and more than 300 million users accounts, YouTube continues to amaze. It is among the most popular sites in the world and the second most popular search engine after Google. Compared to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr (all channels that I also use), YouTube is still a complex channel to reach your readers and audience. Using it for marketing is worth the efforts, but the effort is higher.
Which types of videos are the most popular on YouTube?
I did some quick research and can confirm the following: videos that are most often visited tackle these hot topics: cuddly cats on somebody’s belly, bitpull terriers smooshing with babies, road rage, hair extension, nail art, fake news, more cuddly cats, fail compilations, parodies, cooking, funny animals, people walking against doors, people unpacking products, product reviews, gaming experiences, thunderstorms, pranks, cuddly cats in little baskets, pranking, vlogs, extraterrestrials, musicians that nobody has heard of, family outings, people driving combines, people driving combines in video games, single criminals being arrested by dozens of heavily armed and overweight policemen, more road rage. And pitbull terriers cuddling with small cats on somebody’s belly that walks against a door as a result of a horrible prank.
I didn’t read the original novel by Siegfried Lenz (1968), so the story was completely new to me. A wartime movie, with a village policeman (initially) forced to prohibit his friend from painting; common practice in Nazi Germany. But the story has many levels: it addresses the conflict of a father/son relationship (with the painter competing for that role); the battle between good and evil (how can any painting be bad for society?); the decline into fanaticism and sticking to the party rules; how do we deal with populism in our own age; how can it be that hardened war criminals simply return and continue as before…?
The backdrop of the German coast, with constant rain torturing the characters, complements a very intriguing story that forces the viewer to continue to watch.
Horror movie scene. Young girl sits in her bed in a dark room. Her head kind of turns 360 degrees over her torso, causing the two priests present to intensify their praying and the electric light to flicker. She opens her blood stained mouth and pointed teeth become visible. She vomits a huge jet of yellow, sticky brexit. A few moments of quiet, and then a small Donald Trump crawls out of her esophagus, in a business suit with a red tie. The door to the bedroom is thrown open, Stephen King stumbles over the doorstep, he shoots across the room and careens our of the window, spilling a huge stack of his horror books on the way out.
The end. Credits.
(The Girl – Linda Blair. First Priest: that guy from Manchester by the Sea. Second Priest: his brother. Stream of Brexit: Boris Johnson. Stephen King and Donald Trump as themselves.)
In 2011 I published a visionary novel TWO JOURNEYS, which deals with a corona pandemic. I’m a biologist with considerable virology experience which, with the SARS epidemic, inspired my literary work.
Although I do not see myself as a expert virologist, I do track this pandemic with high interest. A lot of data has been collected, which can become very confusing (even to me; although I‘m used to work with scientific data) – but I would like to offer a single data point. Today, May 9, globally 275,000 individuals have died. As certain countries (China, Brazil, Russia, Iran, even the UK, and others) are poor at reporting corona deaths, my guesstimate is that the actual number of deaths is probably closer to 600,000. This happened in about 4 months. Imagine no lockdowns would have happened!
It is hard to extrapolate (as crucial data is still missing), but my guess would be that the total number of deaths from this pandemic could easily be within a range of 10,000,000 to 100,000,000 (see the Spanish flu, which had probably 17,000,000 victims – in a less densely populated world). This is a “guesstimate” for the case of no lockdowns at all.
Now let’s take a different angle. The challenges that we are confronted with are three fold: (1) circumvent human suffering (2) limit economic repercussions (3) as primates, we are eager to have full social, face-to-face contacts. We want all three, and as soon as possible.
These goals seem to contradict one another. However, the beauty is that the solution for all three is identical. And very straightforward: we must all follow the WHO guidance rigorously, and do this now: wash your hands multiple times a day, do not touch your face, sneeze and cough in your elbow, keep a distance to others of 2 meters/6 feet, stay at home & only leave your house for essential business.
My main concern is the weakening of discipline, this is the true problem. People are beginning to move the goalposts, there is a trend to soften the handling of social distancing.
You can help to reduce the number of deaths AND also make sure that the lock-downs are lifted quickly. This means you will have to inform yourself. How often and how to wash your hands? What should my children do (especially teenagers)? How are aerosols created and how far do they travel when talking, coughing or laughing? See this great article by Erin Bromage.
If all of us are very consistent and self-disciplined throughout this pandemic, then we save lives… and the economy.