Monday, March 30, 2015

Joseph at TUTS

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been around since as early as 1968, a very turbulent year, and has expanded and improved over time, up to today.

The plot is minimal, the favorite brother is sold by the other 11 brothers to slavery. He is seduced by his owner's wife, goes to jail, gets out of jail as he can interpret dreams for the Pharaoh.

It was a pure joy to watch, a real opera, sung throughout, funny, colorful, and profane.

The Pharaoh is played by Elvis, with all the mannerisms and body language. An inspired idea. The Jewish/French Music Hall version of Those Canaan Days sung and acted by the brothers was to die for; perhaps the best part of the whole show. The tune sticks with you.

The show was pythonesque. Monty Python was on TV in the UK from 1969-1974. It was created and evolved at the same time and place, the same cultural influences; art is not created in a vacuum.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Keep Calm continues to morph

I was at the dump on the weekend, the last trip from the garage clean out, which was more major than it sounds.

In front of me was a huge pickup truck and trailer; two young guys were unloading used kids toys. On the truck was a variant of the Keep Calm logo I could no decipher, Keep Calm and Roll Coal. I had to ask.

"It is because this is an old diesel so it smokes a little, as it does not burn the new clean diesel," one of them said. That sorta makes sense. "It is a derivative of the original, Keep Calm and Chive On," he continued.

Maybe not. I told him the original 1939 story, which is weird but seems to be true. I looked up Keep Calm and Roll Coal and it has a very anti-social and darker side to it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

System One and System Two

Rory Sutherland is a behavior scientist, an interesting guy. He talks about System One, the fast instinctive and emotional brain, and System Two, the slower deliberative logical brain, our conscious brain.

Engineers design and make things using System Two thinking, but sometimes it is better think outside the box and understand the psychology of people.

Are faster trains better, shaving 30 mins off a trip, or is it better to spend much less money making the journey better with clean modern carriages with restaurants, high-speed WiFi, movie theatre, etc. More like a hotel than a train, a place to linger.  See Swedish night trains

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A new project, still in the collecting stage

I plan to make two lamps with the base made from a stack of china.  The trick is drilling holes in china to take the long threaded tube that contains the wire and holds everything together.

The holes start round, but when the drill comes out the other side, the hole widens and sometimes creates a three or five sided hole.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Dalai Lama and the end of the road for reincarnation?

A story of control and belief

How can you not love this guy? Unless you are part of the Chinese dictatorship who have forever tried to control the beliefs of the Tibetan people.

The Dalai Lama is the 14th reincarnation, but has said he maybe the last, and may not reincarnate.  I guess he is able to choose.....

A great ploy, as the Chinese Government have said they control the succession; the 15th Dalai Lama will be "their man."

But most Tibetan people believe the current Dalai Lama and not the Chinese government. If he says there is no 14th then he removes the pawn from the government. What else does he no believe? Is it all an act? Has he been hanging around westerners too long?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Individuals that impact history

The assassination of Boris Nemtsov brings to mind the power of a few individuals and turning points in history.

The first prime minister of Russia was Boris Yeltsin, who for a while paraded Boris Nemtsov as his successor. In 1999 Boris Yeltsin blessed Vladimir Putin, and under his leadership Russia be became a darker, non-democratic place, with wars in Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine.

In late 2000 the vote for the US president was so close it was decided by the Supreme Court, and George W Bush became president instead of Al Gore. The US went on to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iran.

We will never know, but the world under Boris Nemtsov and Al Gore would have probably been a better more enlightened place.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Don't judge us by the past, but who we are now

Even in recent times Western culture has done terrible things, but at the time it was considered normal and proper.

Massacre of American Indians
Owning slaves
Promotion of snake oil
Lynching of blacks
Internment of US citizens of Japanese and German origin
Promotion of tobacco products
Treatment of gays

Just a few items from one country. We have done terrible things, but each year we understand more and try to do better. However, some people, some cultures, are behind the curve.

The important thing is we know what is bad, and no long do such things. Others still practice such things, but have no excuse; we all have the same internet.