A Day In the Life (of a ballerinas)

I found this online from the Royal Opera House, which also house the Royal Ballet, apparently.

This woman works so hard. Her name is Yuhui Choe.

I’m also impressed by how ballet dancers, even at the height of their profession, still start the day at the barre, just as though they were beginners. They always seem to go back to the basics and build up from the foundation. I’m sure there’s a lesson there.

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Flight of Night Paul Manship

Paul Manship Flight of Night\

I just think this is cool. It has a sense of movement and grace.

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Obligatory LeBron James Post part 2

So, as I said in my previous post, I didn’t fully discover hating LeBron until the following season, LeBron’s first in the NBA. As it became time for the finals, and Miami was approaching the final, I found myself hoping that he would lose. I didn’t want him to get a championship that first year. I was rooting against him. As I rooted against him, something strange happened. The NBA finals became, almost, slightly, fun. I won’t say fun. That would be a stretch. But still, it was far more fun to root against LeBron than it was to root for him. It was like rooting against the Yankees.

For the first time, the NBA season was not a wasteland. There was something to do. I could root against LeBron. :)

I would like to point out that I never went psychotic about it. I have heard people on the radio say that they hoped that LeBron would not only lose, they hoped he would break his ankle, tear his ACL and Achilles, and would never play again. I’m not that crazy. I have never wished physical injury or personal tragedy on him. I only wanted him to lose. With one notable exception: the 2012 London Olympics, because the Olympics are the Olympics and Team USA is Team USA.

Well, that’s all gone now. I can’t root against LeBron now, because that would be a tremendous socially unacceptable.

So, am I happy about LeBron coming back?

No, but I am not unhappy about it.

I plan to pay as much attention to LeBron and the Cavs that I did last time LeBron was here. The last time he was here, I never watched a single game. I plan to repeat this pattern.

I do feel a certain degree of disdain for people who rushed out to burn their LeBron jerseys last time, and are now rushing out to buy LeBron jerseys. Does this make me supercilious? Undoubtedly.

I’m not surprised though. This is nothing new.

Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?
What tributaries follow him to Rome,
To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft
Have you climb’d up to walls and battlements,
To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
The livelong day, with patient expectation,
To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:
And when you saw his chariot but appear,
Have you not made an universal shout,
That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,
To hear the replication of your sounds
Made in her concave shores?
And do you now put on your best attire?
And do you now cull out a holiday?
And do you now strew flowers in his way
That comes in triumph over Pompey’s blood? Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,
Pray to the gods to intermit the plague
That needs must light on this ingratitude.
Julius Caesar, Act I Scene 1

As fate would have it, a friend and I were at the Indians game on Friday. At the end of the game, people were standing on the street corner with Forgiveness shirts, proclaiming, “The kingdom has been restored!”

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Obligatory LeBron James Post part 1

I suppose that some people might be interested in my views of LeBron James returning to Cleveland, considering that I am from Cleveland, and considering that I have insulted LeBron at various times on my blog. (I regret nothing!)

First of all, let me start with this. I never watched an entire Cavs game when LeBron was here the first time. I don’t like basketball. It’s boring. It has the opposite problem of soccer. In soccer, teams never score. Well, almost never. (See the Germany Brazil semifinal game for a notable exception.) In basketball, they always score, so it seems a little boring to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for them as athletes, I just don’t think that the basketball is boring.

I also want to state that I was not angry BECAUSE he decided to leave Cleveland. I can’t blame him for that. Everyone wants to leave Cleveland. Everyone. Can I blame him for doing what we all secretly dream of doing? (Don’t get me wrong, I actually love Cleveland, and Cleveland gets a bad rap in many ways. There are many advantages to living, working, and playing here. But still, everyone thinks about leaving. Everyone.)

However, it was the cockiness, the self absorption demonstrated in the the TV show that I found distasteful. Very distasteful. Before he announced, many people on the radio were saying, “I have to believe he’s going to stay. To announce that he’s leaving on national TV would be such a horrific, dick move, I can’t believe he would do it.” Then, there it was, a horrific dick move.

Of course, I had reasons to suspect that he was a douche before he left. In 2008, a local free magazine reported that LeBron James and his friends had kept a restaurant open until 2:30 am, well after closing, ordered $800 worth of food, and left a $10 tip. Was that true? My mom heard that it was confirmed when the restaurant manager quit, but of course, I can’t vouch for its veracity. However, that story seemed much more believable after the decision. A man who would do that would be the kind of man to stiff waiters like that, plus Clevelanders began hearing other, terrible stories about LeBron around the same time. I heard that, at the Olympics, he complained that his fries were too cold, and threw them at the staff screaming. Those were the stories I remember. Of course, I don’t know if any of them were true, but they seemed to jive with the kind of person who would do The Decision.

I also didn’t like it because of what it said about basketball as a sport. It showed that all you really needed to win, or have a winning team, was a superstar. In football (American football) it is not that easy. There have been plenty of great teams that do not have a large number of superstars. It seems basketball is not so much a team sport, but a Superhero and Sidekicks sport.

But even at that moment, I didn’t completely hate LeBron James, though I shared in the disgust of my fellow Clevelanders at LeBron’s unbelievable gall, hubris, and vainglory.

It was through the next year that I began to discover Hating Lebron…

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Films About Women Part 13

1 Jane Eyre 2011
I was actually torn about putting this film on the list at first. I should give some background. In 2006, the BBC released a miniseries of Jane Eyre. It was excellent, except for a few hiccups, great, but not perfect. In 2011, the BBC released a motion picture of Jane Eyre. My first thought was, “Again?”

I mean, there have been a lot of versions of Jane Eyre. A lot. It seems that every ten years or so there is a version of Jane Eyre, whether or movies or a miniseries. There is even a musical of Jane Eyre!

So why is this version in the list?

Well, it’s quite simple. I like it. It’s a good version. It captures the mood of Jane Eyre fairly well (though I think the miniseries of 2006 captures it better) but it also is an example of a good adaptation. It cannot tell everything in Jane Eyre, but I agree with what it chooses to keep in and what it chooses to leave out. Also, I think that there are some things that the film does far, far better than the 2006 miniseries. The best example for this is when Mr. Rochester begs Jane Eyre to stay. The miniseries sexed it up in a way that did not happen in the book, where the movie plays on the sympathy for Mr. Rochester. I find myself feeling for him and his position and I feel conflicted, just as Jane does in the scene.

It also features a young director Cary Fukunaga and two up and coming actors, Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. Mia was also roughly the same age as Jane Eyre is in the book, which was lovely to see.

Is it the definitive version of Jane Eyre? No. There is a definitive version of Jane Eyre and it is the book written by Charlotte Bronte. I also disapprove of the ending of the 2011 film, and have since I saw it for the first time. Still, it is a good version and I like it. I actually just bought a copy of it, so that must say something.

2 Three Faces of Eve
We turn now to a movie from 1957 about the (much debated) phenomenon of multiple personality disorder. It follows Eve and her therapist as they begin to uncover her alternate personalities.

Joanne Woodward is wonderful in this role. She plays each of her three identities marvelously. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and it was very well deserved in my opinion. She essentially had three roles in one film, which is incredibly difficult as an actor. I also liked how she handled the “transitions” between one persona and another.

Three Faces of Eve

I was also delighted to see that, in 1957, the film rejects Eve’s Stepford wife persona. Her therapist laments that this persona is simply an inadequate one for the demands of every day life and inadequate for a woman. Sometimes I think that both conservatives and liberals have harmful stereotypes of women at different points in history. Liberals sometimes talk about the “bad old days” and slander the women of the past or dismiss their voices. Their voices are valid. I think conservatives praise a false stereotype of women in the 50′s which never really existed. They then try to make women be something that women never were.

The film also features Lee J Cobb as the psychiatrist. Lee J Cobb’s main claim to fame, in my book came in 1949, when he was cast as the lead role in a new play. The role was Willy Loman and the play was Death of a Salesman.

3 Maria, Full of Grace

Maria, Full of Grace is a film about desperation and hope. This film tells the story of a pregnant teenager in Columbia. She is desperately poor, working in a sweatshop. In desperate need of money, she decides to become a drug mule. The film follows her as she swallows packets of heroin and flies to the United States to deliver them to waiting dealers.

The film does not shy from the way that drug mules are prepared and the danger that this practice poses to them. It shows Maria practicing swallowing whole grapes and talks about how the packets can sometimes burst, leading to mules to die from drug overdoses. This film also ends with a ray of hope, though it is not exactly a happy ending.

The world’s drug trade is massive and affects so many people on so many different levels. At times, we can glorify the drug trade and the people involved. (Yes, I love Breaking Bad as well, so I am a hypocrite.) My brother also loves Breaking Bad, but he has criticized it for glorifying crystal meth and glossing over the destruction that it causes to both individuals and societies as a whole. However, it is good to learn more about what some people call “the other economy” and to think about how people end up involved in it.

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Pandora by Chauncey Bradley Ives

This is a great statue. It looks Classical or Renaissance, and yet it’s a relatively modern American statue.

Pandora Chauncey Bradley Ives

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Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Thomas Jefferson

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Declaration of Independence

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Writing_the_Declaration_of_Independence_1776_cph.3g09904

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Or, if you’re lazy, just watch this.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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