Category Archives: Entertainment

Inspirational musical: The Greatest Showman

So, I’m a sap.

I cry at the oddest movies scenes. Hey! Don’t judge me. (I know you don’t, but well, okay, so we’re good.)

I watched (and then re-watched with the lyrics and then found this site which allows you to follow exactly the lyrics of the movie The Greatest Showman (Hugh Jackman, Michell Williams and others)).

Why this, here, now? Who knows? Not me. But so what? If you haven’t watched the film, do so. It’s cinematic. It’s corny. It’s contemporary (politically speaking). But there’s some really good music in it. And you can now listen to it and sing along. Really. I am…


So, be sure to click these links in that site and then click the > arrow to start the music.



Ranking vs rating

This is a reoccurring theme with me.

When we have a choice, we don’t want some numeric number to help us choose, we want binary options. All choices, even from an array of options can be reduced to a series of binary choices.

When it comes to reading a book, you have one choice of two options: Read it, or not.

However, the there is the issue of precedence. Given two books you would like to read, which do you read first? What if there are 100? 10,000? You need to be able to prioritize your choices so as to optimize your pleasure within your time allotted.

Therefore you must rank your choices. And in order to do this you must have some scale against which you can compare — in binary fashion — each choice. We all have our own spectrum, our own ranking of quality. Here I present my fiction novel ranking.

Alpha  : The Hobbit
Beta   : Harry Potter
Gamma  : Old Man and the Sea
Delta  : The Martian
Zeta   : Charlotte's Web
Theta  : Ringworld
Kapa   : The Road
Lambda : The Shining
Sigma  : Dune
Omega  : The Hunger Games

To use such a list, one first needs to determine “Do I want to read this book or not?” With that out of the way, one would then find some trusted fellow reader on which this story is ranked. Say you wanted to read a story I’ve recommended The Girl with All the Gifts — M.R. Carey.

Given that list above I, Anonymole, would place The Girl with All the Gifts here:

Delta  : The Martian
>>> The Girl with All the Gifts
Zeta   : Charlotte's Web

So, if you’ve read any of the books below the zeta level, (Charlotte’s web, Ringworld, The Road, etc.) then you can safely tell yourself, self, I’ll read THIS book before I read any of the others below zeta.

You’ve found the spot for maximum reading enjoyment in which to place this novel.

It might sound overtly complicated, but it’s really just a simple, “what have I read that compares?” concept. Of course, this is my list, you would have your own list, and I would suspect some of my comparison ranking choices would be on your list too. Which means, I could find out where my own preferences fit on your pleasure spectrum.

I use a set of Greek letters to identify where any one book might fall. Omega is that lowest level at which I’d recommend a “to read” selection. Below that, it’s off the list. All the books I recommend reading will fall within those 10 levels. If I indicate that Year One — Nora Roberts (which I’m reading now) is a lambda level story. Well, there you have it. It’s on the list, but pretty low.

Binary choices + ranking = better than the Five Stars system.

A sister article to “My Five Stars”:

I need a new alcohol

No, it’s not “I need a new drug”, I’m not Huey Lewis & The News. I don’t want a pill or a powder. I want a new alcohol-like substitute.

One that doesn’t cost too much, taste too bad, one that’s yeah, just right. But I DO want it to make me sick if I take too much, penalize me if I over indulge, or do stupid shit.

Alcohol costs too damn much these days. Beer is $10 a sixpack now! Whaaa? The good stuff, the drinkable IPAs, that is. Sure, I can suck down boxed wine, but hell, the stigma and haughtiness of drinking wine — nope. Drinking the tall, dark, clear, amber, glorious stuff — you know it. I’ll do it, but damn, a bottle might last a week.

No, I need a new, designer alcohol, created by bio engineers and chemists to be effective, debilitating, short lived, tasty and cheap.


Because I’m a sacrificial sot.

What does that mean? This is what that means. It means I hereby sacrifice my life working a job I hate, for an industry I despise, eight to ten hours a day all so that the people I love can continue to exist, get educated, and hopefully pursue better lives than me.

“Oh, you hate your job? Well, quit!” WTF! I can’t quit. I have to keep doing what I do in order to pay the thousands of dollars a month bills to keep this tiny family-engine running. If I were to quit, go off into the wild, live my dream life, the three or five or eight people who directly (and indirectly) rely upon my income, my sacrifice, would perish (or at least suffer considerably).

And everyone who says otherwise is utterly full of delusional visions of a nonexistent lifestyle.

So, to endure my servitude (more like slavitude) (which I accept fully) I need temporary nocturnal divestiture of my responsibilities. And I access such a release through the application of a simple chemical compound known as ethanol.

But, for some reason, the stuff has grown expensive and frankly, entangled with too many societal caveats of acceptable behavior. Fuck that. I just want a new alcohol. One that will cut through the sticky pop-culture, inane, seething world and erase, for a time, my worries of said world.

Is that too much to ask?




Comedic impedance mismatch

Could you be a comedian?

Imagine the mind of Robin Williams, Jim Carey or Sarah Silverman? (Or any of the hundreds of manic, amazing comedians of our time.)

I could never be a comedian, even close to their caliber. However, my mind is capable of understanding and instantly embracing what those folks relate through their stories and monologues.

How can this be? I can know exactly what Louis C.K is saying and how it relates to me and the world and why it’s funny — but I couldn’t possibly recreate his material? How can I know but not produce?

Now, this is not an art craft like painting, dancing or sculpting. Activities that would take me decades to master (if ever). No, all this is is the simple knowing of a thing. The information, available for the taking from the world around us and presented, matter-of-factly, to me, through animated presentation.

Obviously this view is malformed. Although the information that comprises a comedian’s material is right there — in front of me — the mixing, the timing, the delivery the sequence is all much, much more than just the information.

This is what I call comedic impedance mismatch. When you’re done enjoying a comedian’s routine, you’ve not really amassed any new respect for the skill-acquisition of the human race. The information used by the comedian came from everyday life, the news, books and media and movies and songs — stuff we’ve all already experienced. They didn’t learn a new way to be a human and absorb information differently.

But somehow, a comedian can blend these mundane features of our world in such a way that transcends our simplistic views of that same world. They see the world differently.

Painting you can learn. Dancing, visual and material arts can be practiced. But comedy? I’m not sure that that can ever be taught. We can enjoy those comedic moments as recipients of revelatory, recombinant info-bytes. But to create them? I’m not sure that is a learnable skill.


Arrogance vs humility

“I’ve got the biggest muscles, the smartest brain, an inexhaustible stamina and the longest penis; if you dragged me behind ten horses I could plow a thousand acres with my stiff rod. Follow me and I’ll lead you to greatness!”

“I’m no one in particular, but I’m pretty sure that that first fellow is lying his ass off. I’m fairly wise and I’ll lead you where I think it’s safe and prosperous, but I offer no guarantees nor promises of sanctuary or fulfillment.”

“I’m the most fertile, most skilled, most versatile female you’ll ever find. My vagina can field strip and clean an M-16 in under a minute. Follow me and your land will flow with grain and populate with beasts of burden, you will never want nor suffer drought nor famine.”

“I can advise you to how to plant and grow your crops, raise your children and strive for a fulfilling life. And unlike that first woman, I may err at times, but my heart is true and I’ll never deceive you.”


Alright, I had to go there. Those visions, when I had them, just struck me as hilarious. But their personifications provides me with the fodder for my argument, which is, why do we scoff at arrogance but gravitate toward humility?

If that first couple showed up on the world’s stage, wouldn’t you think that, holy shit! These folks have got it goin’ on. They must be near-enough to gods!

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We despise arrogance and bravado. Yet, one would think, that such attributes would have somehow tracked through our genetic history much more often than meekness and humility. The strong and forthright prevail right?

No, they don’t seem to. Somehow we detect the falseness, the insincerity of their claims. Even toned down ten-fold we’d still be put off by that couple. Why? Good looking, virile, fertile, single minded and determined — why would we disdain them?

Somehow we are attracted to those who demure their prowess, who are self-effacing. Those who would rather shift the accolades away from themselves and onto others, others who might be worthy, but not as worthy. An unassuming hero or heroine is so much more appealing than one who is vain or pretentious. Even though the deed might deserve declaration at the highest order.

What is it in us that favors the mild mannered legend rather than the haughty demigod?



I need a new Magic

I lay in bed, thinking about things, as I do, and I wondered if there was a new type of magic that I could dream up that had not already been imagined. So, in order to determine what might constitute “new” I had to itemize the existing types of magic. Here they are in no particular order. Note, these are my determinations, I did not consult with other (no doubt numerous) sources. I may have missed some, if so, do be so kind as to correct the error of my waze.

  • Skill magic: enhanced skills, for instance blacksmith, fighting, crafting, doctoring, gardening, baking, singing — any skill where a magic is employed to augment or perfect a skill. The magic is only available during the practice of the skill.
  • Psychological magic: finding, influence, persuasion, mind reading — where psy-ops or reading of other people or creatures is done. Scrying might be included here.
  • Force magic: commanding the power of the Universe against matter or mind. I’d include the concept of Luck magic here too. The concept of being “Lucky” might be attributed to some Universal force. This is an amorphous magic, but can be attributed to power over matter, primarily.
  • Deity magic: command of, or the favor of gods and their powers. Here we can’t wield the power directly, or if we do, then the power (generalized magic) was granted by a deity. But generally, we are subjected to a deity’s magic.
  • Learned magic: spells, incantations, wands and witches & wizards. This is magic that can be learned from books, tomes or scrolls. Or taught by magicians who already have the knowledge. And knowledge is the key here – the magic is unavailable until the knowledge is acquired.
  • Vision magic: dreams or visions that alter the world, I’ll include Time magic here, moving through time. This is the power of a mind or a consciousness to influence the physical world through dreams.
  • Creature magic: elves, faeries, leprechauns, dragons, unicorns, Pegasus — magic that exists as part of a creature’s physicality or legacy. This is magic, like deity magic, which humans cannot wield but may have access to through control or influence of the creature.
  • Wish magic: genies, mirrors, wells, monkey’s paw. Magic provided through wishing, whether through an agent or through a physical “possessed” or magically imbued object.
  • Thing magic: coins, crystal balls, keys, books, swords, shields. When things have been enchanted to contain the magic, and whomever possesses the thing then controls the magic.
  • Perception magic: [per Phil Huston] the illusion or appearance of magic (mundane magic) which is meant to fool us into believing (doesn’t all story magic do this? — Phil would say).
  • Tech magic: [per Phil Huston] Arthur C. Clarke’s “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
  • Nature magic: [per Serendipitious Web Life] Magic derived from Mother Nature, Gaia, Chaos, Eywa (Avatar) and evident in springs (Fountain of Youth), trees (the Ents of LOTR), elementals.

In the end, Magic is power over matter/energy, mind, space or time. Each of the above listed magics represents some form of one of these, or a combination of them.

What other magics might we explore not listed here?

  • Hive magic: A blend of Force, Psych and/or Vision magic but can only be exercised when the necessary number of companions or citizens unite as a hivemind.
  • Anti magic: The cancellation or annulment of any magic applied by others. The black hole of magic.


Why buy a story?

Have you ever bought a novel? Paid money to see a movie? Bought a DVD? Rented a netflix, redbox or, gasp, a Blockbuster video cassette? Have you ever watched TV?

Of course you have. We all have. But why?

Because we love to be entertained. Our brains are so big, so complex that they crave constant interaction. But our lives are so small, so trivial and filled with such mundane jobs and workaday tasks that we are compelled to entertain them. We need entertainment to, well, complete our lives.

Would we ever just go back to telling stories around a tribal campfire? Oh, we might and would, if that’s all we could get. And what stories we could tell then too. Stories of financial conquest and ruin, trips to foreign lands, amazing things we’d eaten, drunk, and seen. But we don’t need to do that do we?

No. We just need to whip our our credit card and buy another hour or ten’s worth of entertainment. There. Done. Now we can settle back and watch or read and live another’s life — as if it were our own; fiction or not; reality, fantasy or fantastical science. As long as we can get away from our own mundane lives.

How often to you seek entertainment escape? Every week? Everyday? More often? Is that not odd? Humanity sponsors a trillion dollar enterprise dedicated to allow people to abandon their lives, for a time, in order to remain sane in this banal world we’ve created. What’s even more odd — we’re just getting started. Our entertainment menu is set to grow exponentially.

When that day comes, whose stories will be the ones told, read, projected, injected? Yours? One can only hope.