Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

Music: Mavis Staples/Hard Times

Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

The filmmaker, Samuel Christopher, is actually a duo consisting of Chris Turner and Sam Tootal. Their short film examines poet Billy Collins’ enigmatic poem “Hunger” by posting the poem’s lines up against a silent urban landscape like hyper-literary graffiti. Christopher interprets Collins’ textual riddle with his own visual rendering of the poem, a forsaken and depopulated cityscape’s lonely craving. In particular, the “fox” that was lugged over your shoulder is anything that you thought was “in the bag”, or “success.” When it escapes, you might mistakenly think you’re stronger, instead of realizing that you’ve lost whatever it was that you thought was safe and secure. Your “cottage” in a forest that “covers the world” refers to the fact that no matter how great your house, it is a very lonely place on a very big planet, and no matter in what esteem you may hold it, or yourself, ultimately you’re very insignificant. In the end, no one is much different from the people who are poor or are homeless.

Hunger

The fox you lug over your shoulder
in a dark sack
has cut a hole with a knife
and escaped.
The sudden lightness makes you think
you are stronger
as you walk back to your small cottage
through a forest that covers the world.

Billy Collins

Hunger: Cravings of the Weary Forsaken

Short Film by Samuel Christopher

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Seductive Bare-Chested Masculine Confidence

Seductive Bare-Chested Masculine Confidence

Actually, now that I’ve had some more time to think about it from the perspective of a quick character study, while looking more closely at the very interesting photographs of this guy, perhaps I should have described him as “alluring,” rather than “seductive.” “Alluring” suggests, I think, a less cold-hearted stance toward/with others, while “seductive” implies intentionally hard-hearted and calculated schemes to take advantage of others. But the “bare-chested masculine confidence” is certainly a fitting description of the aura he projects.

This is a very handsome, muscular fellow, who most men and women would probably find to be quite attractive. The guy recently won a national title, Mr. America, Mr. American Glamour, Mr. Fascination, or some title like that. Well, at least I know for darn sure that I’m correct about the Mister part. In almost all of the photographs of him, this manly man looks you straight in the eye. In that sense he creates an impression of invitation, with an implication of closeness.

On the other hand, his gaze has a certain vacant quality, conveying a decidedly disinterested air. In other words, there exists a paradox of social attachment or closeness, accompanied by an opposite message of social distance. I’m wondering if this social ambivalence might be somewhat characteristic of people who are celebrities, as well as of people who want or are trying to be celebrities. Anyway, at the very least my comments here have attempted to establish an underlying point that there’s nothing improper about looking closely at men who are alluring and very attractive. Perhaps it’s more a matter of how you think about it.

The Alluring Guy with Bare-Chested Confidence

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Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

Empathy, Mutual Recognition and Feelings of Love

I truly hope that readers won’t mind my writing this message that attempts to convey some sense of tranquility. One of the most wonderful opportunities made available and nurtured by writing on the internet is that there arise moments of inspiration which can beget an artistic container enclosing, and a liminal space that relates to, differing personal and public interests with a variety of perspectives. In my case, the art of blogging or writing on the internet evolved or transmuted into a focus upon creative blog composition. My earlier compositions were somewhat lengthy expressions of my understandings of and perspectives on contemporary psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, art, photography, diversity (including the rights of persons in the GLBTTQSA community and other ethnic/minority groups), politics, multimedia and music.

My current blog compositions tend to be short and condensed, but which at the same time embrace several layers of meaning. For example, this composition simply consists of a photograph, this descriptive and interpretive introductory text and a 60-second short-film. A later post might consist of just a single thoughtfully chosen photograph. Regarding this particular composition, in the midst of our current climate of heatedly divisive national political discourse, worrisome economic stressors, environmental and energy concerns and ongoing involvements in international crises, I thought that it might be helpful to offer readers a small oasis, a few moments of thoughtful calm and, perhaps, serenity.

Empathy is a one-minute short film that was a Regional Winner in the 2008 British Academy Film Awards. It is a film of elegant simplicity, which demonstrates how people of different generations can briefly be united by even small gestures of empathic mutual recognition. Empathy reveals how even very young children are capable of showing their passions from an early age. In this short film, the brilliant young actor is able to convey a deeply touching sense of truly heartfelt empathic compassion from which many of today’s adults could well learn.

Empathy: A Foundation for the Complexities of Love

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For Motorcycles, The Future is Now

For Motorcycles, The Future Is Now

There are several out-of-this-world motorcycles traveling amongst us. This is probably caused in part by the rapidly increasing sales that motorcycle-industry designers and executives are now enjoying, in turn due to the craziness of soaring prices at the gas pump.

To take advantage of this newfound popularity, motorcycle designers are introducing new ideas, with many creatively original approaches to design and functionality. There is a noticeable outpouring of radically different concept and production motorcycles hitting the scene, which challenges our preconceived ideas about motorcycles as we known them in the past.

Many of these bikes are designed like pieces of art, with a conviction that experienced and wealthy motorcyclists would like something more exclusive. The following videos and photo-gallery convey some idea of what many of these creative designs are like.

Yamaha’s Deus Ex Machina and Other Futuristic Designs

The Incredible Yamaha Morpho II

For Motorcycles, The Future Is Now

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All Kids Have Rights

All Children Have Human Rights

The United Nations’ 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child was the first legally binding international law to incorporate the full range of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Built on a variety of legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed upon set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. These basic standards set minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be respected by governments. They are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each individual, regardless of race, color, gender, language, religion, opinions, origins, wealth, birth status or ability and therefore apply to every human being everywhere.

With these rights comes the obligation on both governments and individuals not to infringe on the parallel rights of others. These standards are both interdependent and indivisible; some rights cannot be ensured without, or at the expense of, other rights. Its implementation is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. National governments that ratify it commit themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights, and agree to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child, along with international criminal accountability mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court, the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone, is said to have significantly increased the profile of children’s rights worldwide.

The United States is one of only two countries in the world which have refused to ratify The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.

All Kids Have Rights

All Children Have Rights

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“Wardrobe Malfunction” Fine Stripped: Timberlake Sings About It

“Wardrobe Malfunction” Fine Reversed: Timberlake Sings About It

Last night on ESPYs, Justin Timberlake performed a song about the legendary “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl. Coincidentally, this morning the Third Circuit Court overturned the $550,000 fine that CBS had paid to the FCC for the incident, ruling that the network could not be held accountable for the actions of “independent contractors” (Timberlake and Janet Jackson).

However, the court added, that if the FCC wanted to fine ESPN for Timberlake’s lame song, that would be okay!!

“Wardrobe Malfunction” Fine Reversed: Timberlake Sings About It

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The Dark Night’s Ghastly Joker: Heath Ledger Touted for an Oscar

The Dark Knight’s Ghastly Joker: Heath Ledger Touted for an Oscar

Handsome is as handsome doesn’t in The Dark Knight. Of the three male actors who dominate the movie, it’s Heath Ledger with his face hidden behind twisted clown makeup, whose perfect features are never seen, who has proven to be the most memorable. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight is both a demonic creation and three-ring circus of one. Ledger died in January at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose, after the principal photography of the film had concluded. His death could have cast a paralyzing pall over the movie if his performance were not so alive. Ledger’s Joker is a creature of such ghastly life, and his performance is so visceral, creepy and insistently present that the portrayal pulls you in almost at once.

Ledger’s performance is so intense and lasting in part because, despite his insane mask, it’s a subtle and nuanced performance that is so powerful it almost erases all memories of the handsome Australian actor behind the Joker’s mask. The makeup seems to have liberated Ledger. Ledger’s body movements are flexibly agile, he’s expressive with only his eyes and his voice has oscillating surges of irony, mockery and psychopathology. Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight is an essay, in a way that he’s never shown before when playing straight-faced characters, in pure magnetic charisma.

While Hollywood’s Academy Awards are still more than six months away, the late Heath Ledger already is being touted for a supporting actor nomination for his terrifying performance in The Dark Knight. Ledger’s performance is so mesmerizing and daring as Batman’s clown-faced arch enemy that it’s possible he might become the first performer since Peter Finch (in the 1976 Network) to receive a posthumous Oscar.

The Dark Knight (Official Movie Trailer)

You can read more about what I’ve written earlier about Heath Ledger here and here.

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