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12 Strong

“Understated” isn’t a word you’d ordinarily use to describe a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but that’s surprisingly what 12 Strong ends up being.

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The Final Year

A documentary about the final year of foreign policy during the Obama administration, and incidentally about the grim surprises that life sometimes has in store…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Pogo says it for the very first time

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Walt Kelly remains in my mind the greatest of all creators of daily comic strips. Yes, greater than Charles Schultz, because Pogo's Okefenokee Swamp was considerably larger than the Peanuts landscape, his characters were sometimes wicked animal versions of politicians, and his drawing was so delightful.

Pogo has become immortal for a single line:

And here's an example of one of the many theoretical and philosophical conversations that went on in Pogo's neighborhood. [ Click to enlarge ]

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Joni MItchell: "Big Yellow Taxi"

And when she was very young:

Joni Mitchell in Canada 1965 Uploaded by . - "Big Yellow Taxi" is quoted in my blog entry about loneliness.

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How to be alone

Here is my blog entry on loneliness.

Internet and Needy Photo Scout: Larry J. Kolb, ex-CIA. Recent Needy Photos, with your captions, are linked at the bottom of the right column. var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname = "Roger Ebert's Journal"; a2a_config.linkurl = "http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/"; a2a_config.num_services = 8;

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Will Rogers on unemployment

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The Platters perform "The Twist"

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These are The Platters Featuring Monroe Powell, live in concert on 8/27/2010 at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. Michigan. Monroe Powell is last of the survivors who sang lead with the earlier group. He's on the left above; the others are Kenni Jaye, Inez Zak and Don Gloudé. (photo: Ebert)

You have to reflect that some of the dancers in this video have been doing The Twist for almost 50 years. That's why they're so good at it.

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"Chanda Mama" around the world

A folk song from Chennai, India, performed by musicians from around the world.

In Krishna Vamsi's Bollywood movie "Chanda Mama"

As a children's lullaby from the Bollywood movie "Vachan" (1974)

Moon uncle will visit the moon in an air plane Moon uncle will visit the moon in an air plane Will play hide-and-seek with the stars The play will satisfy my moon uncle Happily my moon uncle will return home

Moon mother from far, will cook puye made of boor (sweets) Moon mother from far, will cook puye made of boor You will eat on a thali, moon uncle in a cup You will eat on a thali, moon uncle in a cup Moon mother from far....

The cup broke and mon uncle became angry The cup broke and moon uncle became angry Will bring a new cup by clapping Will bring a new cup by clapping We will please moon uncle with milk and malaayi The moon from far ... You will eat .... The moon from far ...

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The helpful Robert Benchley

Once long ago, when theaters were not so obsessed with turning over their audiences, a feature film might be accompanied by a cartoon, a newsreel, and a Selected Short Subject.

The short might be a Robert Benchley lecture. At the time such shorts were enormously popular; a little murmur of anticipation might run through the audience. In Benchley's case they fit nicely with his writing career for The New Yorker.

Benchley became so popular that he sometimes made guest appearances in featur films, sich as "The Sky's the Limit" (1943) with Fred Astaire and Joan Leslie:

☑ All of my TwitterPages are linked under the category Pages in the right margin of this page.

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Marilyn Monroe and Carl Sandburg

Our house in Michigan is close to one Carl Sandburg lived in for 20 years on the shore of Lake Michigan. On his birthday, I went searching on the web for footage of him reading his poetry, and to my surprise found none. I know he appeared often on television. Something will probably turn up. I did however find this video, put together from photographs of a meeting between Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe. Photo montages don't often do much for me, but this one had something. A sweetness. Two lovely people.

My introduction to the film criticism of Carl Sandburg. Carl Sandburg: The Harbert Years . Then I found this. The voice is Sandburg's.

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February 3, 1959: The day the music died

• • "American Pie" is a folk rock song by singer-songwriter Don McLean.Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. A re-release in 1991 did not chart in the U.S., but reached number 12 in the UK. The song is an abstract story surrounding "The Day the Music Died" -- the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.), as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson.

The importance of "American Pie" to America's musical and cultural heritage was recognized by the Songs of the Century education project which listed the song as the number five song of the twentieth century. Some Top 40 stations initially played only side two of the single, but the song's popularity eventually forced stations to play the entire piece. "American Pie" is Don McLean's signature song. •

• The song is well known for its cryptic lyrics that have long been the subject of curiosity and speculation. Although McLean dedicated the American Pie album to Buddy Holly, none of the musicians in the plane crash are identified by name in the song itself. When asked what "American Pie" meant, McLean replied, "It means I never have to work again." Later, he more seriously stated,

"You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me... sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence."

McLean has generally avoided responding to direct questions about the song lyrics ("They're beyond analysis. They're poetry.")[3] except to acknowledge that he did first learn about Buddy Holly's death while folding newspapers for his paper route on the morning of February 3, 1959 (the line "February made me shiver/with every paper I'd deliver"). He also stated in an editorial published on the 50th anniversary of the crash in 2009 that writing the first verse of the song exorcised his long-running grief over Holly's death.

Despite this, many fans of McLean, amongst others, have attempted an interpretation (see Interpretation Links); at the time of the song's original release in late 1971, many American AM and FM rock radio stations released printed interpretations and some devoted entire shows discussing and debating the song's lyrics, resulting in both controversy and intense listener interest in the song. Some examples are the real-world identities of the "Jester", "King and Queen", "Satan", "Girl Who Sang the Blues" and other characters referenced in the verses. • From Wikipedia. The full entry is here. • •

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• •Garrison Keillor's thoughts on the radio program Writer's Almanac on the birthday of Buddy Holly. • • • Amazon.com Widgets

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