Monday, May 26, 2008

Rockin' Digital Animation

A Tale of Rock
This wonderful 2007 winner by U.K. animators Stephen Payne and
John Godwin from the
University of Hertfordshire animation expose
left me delighted and amazed, even more than the first time I watched another
British animated short called 'Wallace and Grommit' - fifteen years ago.
The music, the character's emotions and funny expressions - all without the
use of any dialogue - will certainly find a place in every Rock music lover's heart.
The film is a short Short and any attempt at a Synopsis would take away
from the level of craftmanship and Rocker-savvy humor. It requires
repeated watching, in the same spirit as one's Grandma with the kids, happily
watching the 'Shrek' DVD over and over and over again. Enjoy !

Click here for the HD version

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Higher Consciousness, Lower BP

I have high Blood Pressure. Really high B.P. I take no medication for it even
after I first discovered I suffer from this deadly problem several years ago.
I did make a feeble attempt to receive treatment when I saw an advert for a
free check-up that required my participation in some experimental drugs, but
never joined the program due to a conflict with my schedule at a job I was
about to begin. A job I got after many harrowing months of unemployment.
The initial free consultation I got for the program was uplifting in that the
Physician shared her findings with me by saying that although I was on the
high end of the scale with my BP, something strange had occurred within
my body, which made it adjust itself to cope and function fully, undeterred
by what would normally incur an ambulance ride and a stay in the ER.

So I got to thinking, what would make my body behave in this highly desirable,
manner ? What self-preservation mechanisms had kicked in ? I took a longer
and harder than usual look at my lifestyle and discovered a few interesting
facts : I smoke almost a pack of cigarettes and imbibe four or more cups of
Coffee on a daily basis; stretch and bend and take deep breaths about four
times a week, sleep for about six hours nightly, and drink socially, but not as
much as I would like to. Add to this the fact that I have never had a personal
Physician and it all makes me very conscious that a better approach to my
well-being is in order.

Enter RealAge, who recently mailed the following to subscribers
such as myself :
Do This to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Wouldn't it be great if your mind had a superpower that made your blood
pressure behave?

It does! A review of nine major studies says your mind could budge your
blood pressure in a healthy direction if you give it a meditation break.
Regular practice helps lower both systolic (the top number) and diastolic

Breathe In, Breathe Out
Meditation -- that ancient art of focusing on a phrase or mantra, letting your
breath flow in and out, and allowing your thoughts to gently come and go --
is a proven stress reliever. And research now shows that regularly practicing
transcendental meditation may have blood pressure benefits. (Get a head start
on meditation basics by popping in the new YOU: Breathing Easy CD.
It walks you step by step through several refreshing and relaxing meditation
and breathing techniques.)

Need more incentive to meditate? Check out these other areas that it helps improve:

Try this two-step meditation tool.

RealAge Benefit: Keeping your blood pressure at 115/76 mm Hg can make
your RealAge as much as 12 years younger.

Blissful Ignorance

Is Ignorance bliss ? Are Americans really all that dumb ?

I received the video below in an email Forward:Fwd today :


This came from a friend in the U.K.
Think about it....these people likely vote, too !'

The amusing video clip from British Television seeks answers
by asking some General Knowledge questions to average
Americans (from various age/race groups) on the street, and then
leaves it up to us to draw our own conclusions :

O-kay. So it's a funny but not very flattering picture that emerges.
So why is it that even post-9/11 there are so many people wanting
to immigrate there to partake of the 'American Dream' ? Since America is
a land overwhelmingly made up of immigrants, where does all this
awareness come from, Borat ? Definitely not from all the smart-asses
who choose to get paid in US $$. Are there that many non-Americans
who would give up their blissful lives in their own countries to throw
in their lot with 'stupid Americans' ?

Inquiring minds may want to know, but I don't, because I'm blissfully ignorant.

Monday, May 19, 2008

98 In The Shade at Kemah Boardwalk

The Gulf Coast Music scene has some of Texas' hidden treasures who
can strum, drum, fiddle, pick, twang, holler and howl with the likes of
Dr. John, Leon Russell, Big Brother and the Holding Company,
Koko Taylor,
Rick Derringer and many more. Decades of intimate
sessions and friendships have produced musicians who continue to
meld the traditions of Blues, Honky-Tonk, Classic Rock, Bluegrass and
Country into a unique sound that can only be heard on the Texas Gulf Coast.

I caught 98 in the Shade, one of the Gulf Coast legends

at the Kemah Boardwalk last week

where they performed as part of the free Summer concerts called
'Rock The Dock'
and what a stellar performance it was, since they had
vocalist Andra Mitrovich, who is one of the finest Janis Joplin
interpreter/tribute performers around. Unfortunately she is not in the bit
of video footage below but you can see and hear her along with the rest of
98 in the Shade at their website link after this clip. Enjoy !

The tune* was the 1938 Classic 'Orange Blossom Special' and by chance the little train

that takes Boardwalk visitors around the amusement site clattered around
at the same time. Once again, unfortunately, the light was inadequate and so I
can't really convey the great synchronicity of the train and the tune going on.
Dang ! (as they say in these parts) it's mah first video upload, son !

Link to 98 site

Official Kemah Boardwalk site

*Orange Blossom Special mp3

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food. Farmers. World Crisis.

As news goes this is not entirely new but the updates emerging are disturbing
nonetheless :
Indian Farmers are committing suicide in ever-increasing numbers, at a
rate of one every 30 minutes !


(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Approx. 29,000 Indian farmers committed suicide in my old home state of
alone between 1997 and 2005.
Maharashtra, one of the country's
richest States, whose capital, Mumbai, is home to 25,000 of India's 100,000 dollar
millionaires. Plagued by slumlords, atrocious interest loan rates illegally enforced by
loan sharks, illiteracy, and a Govt. busy courting the corporate bigwigs, the people
who tend to the crops that provide sustenance and power are killing themselves
and their families off. This leaves land uncared for, and dwindling crops leading to
vast Food shortages which will result in greater demand for Overseas Imports
which will naturally cost more due to the rising cost of Transportation which isn't
getting any cheaper soon thanks to the Fuel Crisis. Factor in a few recent Natural Disasters like the Myanmar Cyclones, Chinese Earthquakes and Tornadoes in
Oklahoma, and the world capacity to provide Food Aid shrinks alarmingly.

Finger-pointing at China and India by G.W. Bush recently drew this response at
The International Herald Tribune :

Developing nations like China and India have long been blamed for everything
from the rising cost of commodities to global warming, because they are consuming
more goods and fuels than ever before. But Indians from the prime minister's office
on down never fail to point out that per capita, India uses far fewer commodities
and pollutes far less than the West, and particularly the United States. '

Chart accompanying the article (click to enlarge)

While the world debates on the Food Crisis, the suicide epidemic continues.
The farmers say their plight is largely being ignored as the country rushes to
embrace the global marketplace. Few find it reassuring that India's agriculture
minister, Sharad Pawar, doubles as the nation's top cricket official.

No solutions here. Just me getting and giving a peek at what all this talk of
World Food Crisis is about. When I make more sense of it all I might post a
follow-up. In the meantime I strongly recommend these Important Links :

*The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation by Vandana Shiva (2004)
*Global Infromation and Early Warning System (GWS)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pangea Day is Here !

At 1800 GMT on this day, around the Globe, millions are taking part in
Pangea Day. The event is already underway even as I attempt to
spread the news since I'm in the USA. What's Pangea, you ask ?

In a nutshell, the event came about thus :
'In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED Prize, an annual award
granted at the TED Conference. She was granted $100,000, and more
important, a wish to change the world. Her wish was to create a day in
which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of
that wish.'
Watch her acceptance speech here

24 outstanding short films from around the world by talented visionaries
who chose to inspire and transform the world we live in are on view,
with exceptional music, speeches and appearances from diverse world
influences like Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour,
musician/activist Bob Geldof, Hollywood's Cameron Diaz, Director
Mira Nair, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova to name but a few.

Below is a screenshot of the online videos offered to people in Cairo, Kigali,
London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro who will all be linked via
seven different languages. In addition the viewing is available Live, on TV,
via Mobile casts and in digital theaters, making this quite possibly the biggest
globally connected event to date since Live Aid.

Time is short. Go watch the films now and perhaps start to make a change
for the better in your world !

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

ONE Campaign: Tackling the Food Crisis

E-mail update from David lane, One Campaign spokesperson

Dear Fred,

While the hunger crisis is far from over, we've already won a big victory.
In just three weeks, 137,000 ONE members have responded to front page
news of rising food prices, dropping crop yields and violent protests with
an advocacy campaign that is spurring world leaders to action.

I was so impressed by your grassroots action that I recorded a quick video
message to share some highlights and say thanks for all that ONE members
like you have done to make this campaign a success. I hope you'll check it
out by clicking on the video below.

Thank you,
David Lane,

P.S. Speaking of video, this Saturday, May 10th is Pangea Day, a global
event to bring the world together through film. You can learn more about
Pangea Day and find local broadcast times and events here:


Monday, May 05, 2008

Indian Youth Facing Tough Times

It's the best of times and yet the worst of times for the young people in India.
Indians are now major players in the World market and the path of their
progress lies in the hands of these young folks, bombarded by Hollywood,
Bollywood, IT investors, Stadium Rock concerts, and the newly-launched
IPL Cricket tournaments. Fifty percent of the population are twenty-somethings
who are barely as old as MTV.

Is the 'Me' Generation alive and well and still self-centered? Is Democracy
in India undergoing a massive revamping ? These and other questions are
given center stage by the CNN/IBN folks on their program 'Glamour Bazaar'.
They put together a distinguished panel of folks from various
walks of life like writer Shobha De, legendary Ad Meister and theater personality
Alyque Padamsee, writer and film critic Bhawana Somaaya and had them
interact and share views with a live studio audience composed of India's future

Below is the first of 6 video clips which offer many colorful and deep insights
into the mindset of a tech-savvy generation that blogs, does business online and
socializes via networks like MySpace, Orkut, Facebook and, yes, YouTube.
All in the space of a single day......