Monday, January 08, 2018

MEdia Dragon LLC: A Sacred Geography where everyone can be a Cold River Jedi

Almanac: Ralph Waldo Emerson on optimism

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude ... read more

H.L. Mencken did what he could to keep his obituary short and to the point, tucking the following note into his clip file in the morgue of the Baltimore Sun: “Save in the event that the circumstances of my death make necessary a news story it is my earnest request to my old colleagues of the Sunpapers that they print only a brief announcement of it, with no attempt at a biographical sketch, no portrait, and no editorial.”

 Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History Nicholas Kristoff

'If astronauts have a hero, that hero is John Young': plaudits flow for NASA's longest-serving astronaut

Prague Spring of 1968 was the huge failure and so were a number of the Iron Curtain Crossings which led to 1989 Velvet Revolution ...

Vanity Fair’s David Kamp recently tried to get Kathleen Kennedy and Rian Johnson to tell him the meaning behind The Last Jedi, the title of the upcoming Star Wars movie. LOL. Hopeless move, right? Why would he even ask such a question? Oh, because George Lucas told him who the The Phantom Menace referred to before that movie came out.
Vanity Fair: So, do we know what the words The Last Jedi allude to?
Kathleen Kennedy: Why in the world do you think I would tell you that?
VF: I’ll tell you why. Back in 1998, I interviewed George Lucas for V.F. ahead of The Phantom Menace, and I asked, “Who or what is the phantom menace?” And he nonchalantly said, “Oh, it’s Darth Sidious.”
KK: Did he really?
VF: Just like that.
KK: I’m not going to do that.
VF: So, does the word “Jedi” work in the singular or the plural?
KK: That’s actually what’s interesting about the title, and very intentionally ambiguous.
VF: As you’re being right now.
KK: Yes.
Here’s the relevant passage from a piece written by Kamp and published in 1999:
Given that The Phantom Menace is a Vader- and Emperor-free movie, the role of evil string-puller falls to someone we’ve never heard of. “The phantom menace is a character named Darth Sidious,” Lucas says, “who is the last of the Sith” (“An ancient people… conquered by powerful dark-side Jedi magic”-page 268, Star Wars Encyclopedia, by Stephen J. Sansweet). Actually, Lucas goes on to explain, the “menace” honorific should be broadened to include Sidious’s apprentice, Darth Maul, a terrifyingly fierce-looking character played by the martial-arts expert Ray Park. Maul gets to fight a lightsaber battle with Obi-Wan, but Sidious remains a shadowy figure. “Nobody knows Darth Sidious exists,” says Lucas. “Well, he’s seen to the audience, but not to the players.”
Lucas appears to be firmly in the spoilers are fine camp.
Latest 'Star Wars' Teaches The Value Of Failure : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR

Yoda: Failure is the greatest teacher ...  failure is.

Yoda: We are what they grow beyond...

 Let's not forget that there are many characters in the Star Wars galaxy who don't speak English

Luke Skywalker: Where are you from?
Rey: Nowhere.
Luke Skywalker: Nobody is from nowhere.
Rey: Vrbov.
Luke Skywalker: Yeah, that's pretty much nowhere.

Star Wars is a religion that primes us for war and violence

Slow down, you move too fast.
Got to make the morning last.
       —from “59th Street Bridge Song,” by Simon and Garfunkle 
When I find myself in times of troubles, mother Maria (sic)  comes to me,

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
       —from “Let It Be,” by The Beatles

More than 40 years after it hit theaters for the first time, the cultural influence of the “Star Wars” movie franchise is undeniable. You can see that reach in the skyrocketing box-office take of the most recent installment, Star Wars: The Last Jediwhose ticket sales worldwide raced past the $1 billion mark just before New Year’s Day.

the Resistance has always been closer to something vaguely between Communism and liberal democracy.  

 A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars redefined blockbuster moviemaking, and its sequels, prequels, and TV spinoffs have continued to excite and inspire audiences who want to escape the mundane life ... When you look at the Star Warsstories themselves, they’re about personal tragedies and losses and triumphs. It’s all part and parcel of the same thing.  'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Finally Explains The Force 
  (Peter Thiel Thinks 'Star Trek' Is 'Communist' While 'Star Wars' Is 'Capitalist' - The Wrap)

W.S. Graham was a poet's poet. Everything he did was as an artist. Confronting his own death, he wrote a poem, finally allowing his frailty to be seen Poet's Poet  

BBC - GCSE Bitesize: The end of the Cold War

BBC hit by complaints of anti-Semiticism in drama McMafia 

There are many gripping moments in McMafia, the BBC’s lavish new television drama featuring Russian oligarchs and organised crime. Who knew that a caviar knife could be so deadly? Or that hired killers could run amok in the Home Counties, leaving a bloody message from Moscow all over the tasteful furnishings? 

For Russia purists, there are a few quibbles. Would Alex Godman – the British-educated son of a Russian gangster, played by James Norton – really talk to Dad in accent-free English? And where exactly are the bodyguards? They are an obligatory feature of life for any self-respecting Moscow businessman but strangely missing here when their tough-guy skills might come in handy. But the ideas underlying McMafia – taken from the nonfiction book by the journalist Misha Glenny – are surely right. International crime syndicates are able to shift huge sums of money around the world, still. This is thanks to a financial and banking system that allows them to hide behind anonymous company structures, and asks few questions.
McMafia makes chilling TV. But the reality is even worse | Luke Harding | Opinion | The Guardian

UK Lawyers for Israel have released a statement on their Facebook page that outlines two problems it finds with McMafia, a new series about Russian-Israeli gangsters on BBC One.

Tall Towers and MEdia Dragons  Ze Latitude Game: 

Fr egzarmpl, a riter ov th time, naimed Max Beerbohm, hoo woz stil alive in th twentith senchri, rote a stauri in wich e pautraid an immajnari karrakter kauld “Enoch Soames”–a thurd-rait poit hoo beleevz imself a grate jeneus an maix a bargin with th Devvl in auder ter no wot posterriti thinx ov im! It iz a sumwot labud sattire, but not without vallu az showing hou seriusli the yung men ov th aiteen-ninetiz took themselvz. Nou that th littreri profeshn haz bin auganized az a departmnt of publik servis, our riters hav found their levvl an hav lernt ter doo their duti without thort ov th morro. “Th laibrer iz werthi ov hiz hire” an that iz aul. Thank hevvn we hav no Enoch Soameses amung us to-dai!
MEdia Dragon: The piece I’ll never read - Unless you happen to own a newspaper, you don’t get to read your own obituary. And that’s probably as it should be. I’ve written some pretty sharp remarks about the recently deceased, after all, and I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody remembered them when my own time comes–or maybe not. Perhaps I’ll outlive my own minor renown and be remembered solely, as I once speculated in this space, for having owned a Max Beerbohm caricature. Would I want to know that now? Not really. I have a pretty good sense of irony, but I’m not sure it’s that robust….

SCOTT ADAMS: How to Determine If You Should Talk About Politics in Public. “As a public service, I put together a list of predictions that various people made about Trump that you can use to evaluate your own predictive powers. Count the number of items on the list that you once predicted would be true.”

As old as cave paintings, the umbrella — mundane yet magical — is a reminder of the elements of nature we have still not mastered Umbrellas