the best reason to buy a home cinema set…

is to be able to enjoy the production of La Traviata, prepared for the 2005 Salzburg Festival, with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon.

i’m not sure how much of an opera fan i usually am; they say opera is an acquired taste; i’ve done my share of opera education but i never felt wholly entirely won by opera… until one special evening when my friend Eduardo, who’s a true opera fan, decided to show us a bit of this show… it was love at first sight… that very night i went home and bought on amazon the dvd… and the night it came, i watched it twice… it’s one of those things that you cannot take your eyes off… not just the music, which is wonderful, but her dress, their black suits, the red couch, the glass that hits the wall, the so many almost breathable shades of love … it feels as if there was only one way this show could have ever existed and that was perfection… pure perfection… the state of existence where each vibration is synchronized in pure harmony;

i am literally jealous of each and every single person that was there in that music hall that night. did they know when they entered the hall that they will experience one of the most beautiful moments of human expression? it is so beautiful that the first thing that comes to my mind is that the place where this comes from is the same place where war and famine come from…

and so how can you ever lose your sense of wonder…

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30 Rock!

dear mom,

i made it to 30 !!!
we’ve done a pretty good job with my 20s!
what’s next?

luv u!

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a little bit of faith

The question it comes down to, even after seeing this wonderful debate, which i must add, just scratches the surface, is the question of transcendence; the idea of God the way we have culturally built it for centuries under different religions and the reason it worked then and it continues to work today is intimately related to our need to transcend; we are a bunch of primates with the amazing quality of awareness… it is precisely this awareness that makes us sensitive to the idea of a higher power, of a higher purpose, of a higher meaning;
religion is man made but is it the same with faith? ;is our faith and need of faith a matter of biological evolution? (the way scientists explain the feeling of love by a combination of chemical substances in the brain, the way you treat depression by using xanax, the way House would treat excessive generosity by a surgery on your thyroid)
if the answer is yes, then there’s nothing really higher than us, we are the ultimate outcome of the infinite coincidence; then another question comes up and that is: evolution is a fine business but to what end? evolution is a process which means we come from something to become something else; not sure, but isn’t the very definition of evolution related to becoming something more? isn’t ultimately evolution a form of material and even spiritual transcendence? isn’t knowledge (faith apart) a form of spiritual evolution?;
if on the contrary, faith is not a matter of biological evolution, then there is something that is built in the human being that makes it possible for the human being to experience transcendence;
if i try to figure out where i stand now (and i put a strong emphasis on “now”), i’d say i’m rejecting religion to be able to experience faith as a means of transcendence; i believe in the spiritual transcendence whether by faith or knowledge, or art or any other means, i believe my world (because ultimately that’s the only thing we can and we should decide on, the subjective experience), my world is a world in which I am not the product of coincidence, or random chemical combinations in the brain or any other organ for that matter, but a world in which i evolve from birth to death in both a spiritual and material way, from the clean plate of a new born baby to hopefully the wise thoughts of an old wrinkled lady that on her death bed, will not dream of heaven, but will be filled with sheer gratitude to have been given the chance to be. And I express this hope with the consciousness that I may not enjoy my current mental faculties by the very end of my life and that if i were to develop such things as dementia or alzheimer for example, my whole theory would go out on the window; but whatever my end may be, if i get the opportunity to experience even for a short moment transcendence, my purpose on this world is met;

A murit un ateu furios și de treabă. Și o dezbatere cu el despre Dumnezeu
de Cristian Ghinea
in Dilema Veche

S-a dus Christopher Hitchens. Intelectual angajat, editorialist influent, activist impredictibil dar cu argumente. De stînga în ținerețe, de dreapta la bătrînețe. Mereu incomod, mereu onest, mereu agresiv. A fascinat o lume. Am scris despre el în Dilema în 2008.

Vă recomand două articole despre el, portrete interesante ale unui om fascinant. Acesta din Prospect din 2008 și acesta din New Yorker din 2006.

Și vă mai recomand o dezbatere cu Tony Blair, în care fostul premier susține că religia este o forță a binelui în lume, iar Hitchens susține contrariul. Este virulent, are umor, este fermecător. Se întîmpla în noiembrie 2010, semnele bolii care l-a răpus acum erau deja vizibile. Publicul rîde, publicul cade pe gînduri, publicul urmărește cu fascinație doi oameni foarte inteligenți și foarte diferiți cum dezbat și se completează reciproc. Și la final votează covîrșitor cu Hitchens și împotriva religiei.

Faceți-vă timp, știu că sîntem cu toții ocupați. La dracu`, o dată moare Christopher Hitchens!

Lăsați puțin televizorul deoparte și urmăriți această oră și jumătate de discuții, veți rămîne cu ceva.

S-a dus. Să spun ”Dumnezeu să-l ierte”, l-ar enerva. Doar el a scris o carte care se numește ”God is not great”. S-ar enerva, zic, atît pentru că Dumnezeu nu exista pentru el, dar și pentru că dacă totuși ar exista, nu ar avea nevoie de iertarea Sa, a rămas mereu convins că a avut întotdeauna dreptate. ”Să-i fie țărîna ușoară” ar fi prea tradiționalist, cred că l-ar enerva și asta. Spun doar atît. Sînt convins că ateismul său agresiv, bravada sa împotriva lui Dumnezeu și mai ales împotriva oamenilor care se folosesc de Dumnezeu veneau dintr-o căutare continuă, a preferat să-și răspundă cu ”nu” pentru că misterul îl enerva. Că există sau nu Dumnezeu – Christopher Hitchens știe acum răspunsul.

(Cristian Ghinea)

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note to self: remember to breathe…

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power to the comment

so here i am randomly checking out youtube for more music and stumbling over this song… at first i liked the visual effects, the idea; i used to fancy about it when i was in highschool or maybe in college; i like the contrasts, the grey dress, the white immaculate walls and then all the colors pouring from the ceiling; then the song is not so bad, i feel like i heard it before or something, then i looked up the lyrics; yup, i love to squeeze all the juice out of the experience .. but what i love most about youtube is the whole “commenting” experience; i love checking out the comments because it gives you a nice picture of what type of emotions and feelings a form of art is generating in one’s mind; so cool to be able to see how many people liked it, how many didn’t, to wonder why they didn’t if you did, and to what extend they didn’t if they took the trouble to click on the thumbs down button, and how many people liked the most agreed first two comments; and why… and what are other people thinking of when they listen to the song… i was definitely thinking of the colors, of how they staged it, of how many times they had to redo it, of how much paint they used, of how it smelled if the paint was actual paint, whether it stained, how cool it was to be in that studio, i couldn’t quite get the metaphor with the angels, she keeps her eyes closed a lot, the dress is cute… i should get a dress like that, maybe some other color, grey is not really my color… although i do have grey stuff.. like that blouse with the short sleeves… it depends on the grey… and it’s so difficult to match.. but then it would look so cool with red nails… yup…

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oh, sweet music…

Words disappear,
Words weren’t so clear,
Only echos passing through the night.

The lines on my face,
Your fingers once traced,
Fading reflection of what was.

Thoughts re-arrange,
Familar now strange,
All my skin is drifting on the wind.

Spring brings the rain,
With winter comes pain,
Every season has an end.

I try to see through the disguise,
But the clouds were there,
Blocking out the sun (the sun).

Thoughts re-arrange,
Familar now strange,
All my skin is drifting on the wind.

Spring brings the rain,
With winter comes pain,
Every season has an end.

There’s an end,

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let’s not enjoy the show today!

From Huff post, it’s finally coming down to numbers! the bad news is not just that women are half of the buying ticket population but that movies and TV became the main way to pass on social norms, not healthy, balanced social norms but gender biased social norms; therefore, let’s not enjoy the show this time…

An Article by Amy Lee, published 11/22/11 in Huffington Post

Like a broken record that continues to stick and sputter, a new study shows that women are still underrepresented when it comes to the top movies in the country.

A study released by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism took a survey of the 4,342 speaking characters in the top 100 grossing films of 2009 and compared it to results from the top 100 films of 2007 and 2008. For women, nothing much has changed — in these top films, 32.8 percent of actors are female and 67.2 are male — 2.05 males to every one female. This means that less than 17 percent of films are gender balanced, even though females make up half of the ticket-buying population.

Perhaps more disturbing is the finding that women are much more frequently sexualized when they appear on screen. They’re more likely to be seen in sexy clothing (25.8 percent to men at 4.7 percent) and more likely to be partially naked (23.6 percent to 7.4 percent).

Women are also more likely to feel the affect of their age on their career. Though teen girls (12-20 year olds) are more likely than adult women, 21-39, to be shown as sexy, or partially naked — 21.5 percent to 13.8. But older women, aged 40-64, are not only less likely to be shown as attractive (3.8 percent), but less likely to be shown at all. Only 24 percent of all characters aged 40 to 64 are female.

Though New York Magazine recently suggested that we’re living in the “golden age” of male objectification, for women, the golden age never ended. The ratings controversy over films like “Blue Valentine” and “Shame” have also indicated the possibility that people are more likely to find issue with full frontal male nudity, and depictions of female sexual pleasure — though full frontal female nudity rarely guarantees an NC-17 rating.

Part of the problem may be the serious gender gap that exists in the movie business as a whole. “Gender equality does not exist behind the camera,” the study wrote, looking at 1,240 positions to reach the conclusion. Only 3.6 percent of directors are female, only 13.5 percent of writers are female and only 21.6 percent of producers are female. No change has occurred in these figures over the past three years. The study also found that films with one more female screenwriters shows a 10.2 percent increase in female presence in films — a suggestion that if things were to change behind the camera, they could also change in front.

“It’s hard to know why women have fared so badly in Hollywood in the last few decades, though any business that refers to its creations as product cannot, by definition, have much imagination,” New York Times critic Manohla Dargis wrote, last year.

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not related

You called me after midnight,
it must have been three years since we last spoke.
I slowly tried to bring back
the image of your face from the memories so old.
I tried so hard to follow,
but didn’t catch a half of what had gone wrong,
said “I don’t know what I can save you from”.
I don’t know what I can save you from.

I asked you to come over,
and within half an hour,
you were at my door.
I’ve never really known you,
but I realized that the one you were before,
had changed into somebody for whom
I wouldn’t mind to put the kettle on.
Still I don’t know what I can save you from.
I don’t know what I can save you from.(4 times)

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man and woman

not sure what made me put these two together… this is not a man’s world, neither a woman’s; if only man got over himself and if only woman got over God… two beautiful songs

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reading henry miller…

“… I shall make no judgments, no criticisms. Those who have had enough will come to me for reflection and meditation; those who have not had enough will die as they lived, in disorder, in desperation, in ignorance of the truth of redemption. If one says to me, you must be religious, I shall make no answer. If one says to me, I have no time now, there’s a cunt waiting for me, I shall make no answer. Or even if there be a revolution brewing, I shall make no answer. There will always be a cunt or a revolution around the corner, but the mother who bore me turned many a corner and made no answer, and finally she turned herself inside out and i am the answer.”

from “Tropic of Capricorn”

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