THINGS I LOVED / HATED THIS WEEK #92

LOVE:

Rebel Heart” Preorder:

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I don’t know why everybody has so many problems with Madonna. I think she’s awfully fun. People just enjoy being offended. I don’t. I don’t really get offended very often. Maybe that’s a character flaw? Who cares? A few weeks ago, all of Madonna’s new music was leaking. It was a big leak. I didn’t listen to any of it since I don’t care for unmastered music unless it’s One Direction, and if it is, I will scour the fetid underbelly of the Internet to find the tracks. Madonna did a creative thing, though, and released six of the songs for purchase in order to counteract the piracy. I’m glad she did, since the songs are such fun. I’ve been running on the treadmill to them since they came out. Let me tell you something reader, I haven’t been inspired to run on the treadmill since Beyoncé’s 4 came out. In 2011. That was forever ago. I don’t like running, but for some reason, when Madonna is talking about the Illuminati, I get a second wind. I thank Madonna personally for my health and current state of fitness. Bless you, Madonna. Preorder the album today, readers, you will be in for a treat.

Ernest Fanelli:

 

Spotify is easily one of the greatest inventions of the modern age. I cannot recommend it enough, but this has little to do with the man I’m going to be talking about. The other day, whilst sitting at my island in my workroom, swearing through another fascinating lesson on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, I decided some music might be helpful. A little something instrumental helps me focus, you see. I couldn’t decide what to listen to, so I researched to discover if there were any composers who were considered to be impressionists. There were a few, I found out, and Ernest Fanelli’s name stuck out to me, so I did a bit more study on him. He lived in Paris, struggled terribly, and only wrote a few pieces of music. He was discovered when he submitted a piece of his own composition as a sample to a company that copied music. The business owner found the music so new and fresh and sensational that Ernest soon became the talk of the town. Why this isn’t a movie, I don’t know. Anyway, I was sold, so I found an album on Spotify and LO AND BEHOLD IT WAS INSPIRED BY ANCIENT EGYPT. Is that fate or what? No such thing as coincidences. The music is beautiful and I love it and you should certainly give it a listen.

“Harry Wore What” Instagram Account:

 

As you are well aware, my future husband is Harry Styles. It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony and we’re going to be sickeningly in love and all that. But, the most important thing about my future nuptials to the most charming member of One Direction is the chance to raid Harry’s closet. We’re the same height and wear the same shoe size, so, clearly this relationship is destined to be. He wears the best clothes. Saint Laurent all the time. It’s fabulous. I often want to know exactly what he is wearing and where I can get my own. So, I finally found this account on Instagram that does all the work for me. Now I know where he gets his £795 shoes. I can’t afford them, though, which is sad, but at least it gives me the opportunity to dream. What is life without a dream, after all?

HOLA! Proxy Unblocker Thing:

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I used to much more computer savvy. You had to be back in the early 2000s. There weren’t convenient apps to do everything for you. You had to dig though the backwaters of the Internet to download movies that you couldn’t afford to buy because there was no Netflix and you were a high school student without a job. You really had to teach yourself how to work your way around the Internet. Nowadays, it’s the simplest thing in the world, for which I am immensely glad. Still, there are occasions when the Internet fights me and I have to return to my criminal roots. One of my very favorite shows is called Miranda. It airs on the BBC and annoyingly has never, to my knowledge, been shown in the United States. That’s an awful crime since the show is so fabulously funny. I’ve been so inspired by that program. I gallop all over the place. People at work don’t even look twice anymore. I had the chance to monitor gym class a few weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun than when I had a large group of teenagers galloping all over a gym like a horse race. I love my job. Anyway, there were holiday specials of Miranda and I simply had to see them. Of course it was difficult and the BBC wouldn’t let me stream the episodes since I’m not in England. Computers are awfully smart. I wasn’t going to download the episodes since I’ve made a conscious decision to not do that anymore. Finally, I discovered something called HOLA! I don’t really know what it does, but somehow it manages to trick the Internet into thinking that I’m located in a different country of my choice. It took a few tries, but all of a sudden, I was streaming Miranda right off the BBC website. Legally. I think. I nearly wept happy tears. I love the future. Download this…thing…whatever it is, reader! LIVE!

French & Saunders on the Radio:

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Female comedians are easily the most inspirational things in my life. I absolutely adore them. From Joan Rivers to Kathy Griffin to Miranda Hart to Dawn French to Jennifer Saunders and to dozens more. I think they’re phenomenal and every day, I want to be a little bit more like these funny ladies. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, as you should well know, are comedy partners and used to have a wonderful sketch show called, French & Saunders. I have watched every episode a good couple of dozen times and still laugh just as much as I did the first time around. Happily for me and for other lovers of comedy, each holiday season, these two delightful women put on a series of broadcasts on the BBC Radio. It’s a mixture of nonsense, music you’ve never heard, and irreverent interviews that never fail to charm. The shows are perfect and they are actually what I look most forward to each year when December comes rolling around. More than Christmas and Hanukkah! I so enjoyed this year’s episodes and can’t wait for more. Anytime I can hear Jennifer Saunders do absolutely anything is a good day. She is one of my very favorite people, not only because she is one of the world’s great procrastinators, but because she has such a lovely life and has done so many delightful things. She’s Eddy from Absolutely Fabulous, after all, so how could I not love her? Listen to the interviews on YouTube, if you can find them. You won’t be disappointed.

Into The Woods:

In my teenage years, I had a bit of a Sondheim stage. I borrowed every cast recording of his musicals from the Urbandale Library, ripped them to my computer, and then put the tracks on my iPod — the big clunky kind with the wheel — I’m so glad to be living in the future, and learned them by heart. Sondheim is a delight, but the soundtrack for Into the Woods never really stuck with me, only the songs with the witch. I’m not big on fairytales, after all. Years later — God, I’m ancient — I was quite excited to hear that an adaptation was being made. I didn’t go in with many expectations when I took my seat at the theater, and I surely didn’t expect to be so gloriously entertained as I was. MERYL STREEP IS A DIVINE ANGEL FROM HEAVEN AND CAN DO NO WRONG. The film was fabulous and I have had it in my head ever since that afternoon. I don’t even know where to begin, but I must insist you get to your local cinema and treat yourself to a delightful musical. Meryl’s portrayal of the witch was just fantastic and her singing is perfection. Everybody’s singing was perfection, especially the hilarious Little Red Riding Hood. My friend, Anna Kendrick is great in it, too. “Your friend, Ben?” I hear you asking. To which I say, “YES, MY GOOD FRIEND, ANNA KENDRICK, WHO I SAT TWO CHAISE LOUNGES AWAY FROM AT THE CHATEAU MARMONT IN 2013.” Anyway… The best scene in the whole picture, though, is surely when Chris Pine’s character and his brother do a delightful duet whilst tearing open their shirts on a waterfall.

GO SEE IT NOW. I need to find out where I can buy clothing that will make me look like a medieval Disney prince. I’m really into that look at the moment. This is a very discordant entry. Forgive me. Just get to the theater.

“Great British Bakeoff”:

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I have known about this show for ages and ages and ages. Everybody who is remotely interested in British culture does. But, I had never taken the time to watch it. WHAT A FOOL I WAS! Luckily, PBS has begun broadcasting a season (under the new name, The Great British Baking Show) and I am already obsessed. I watched the first episode on the elliptical machine the other day and screamed, “YASSSS,” every time the contestants made a particularly good looking cake. I want to go on this show more than I want to go on America’s Next Top Model, and that, reader, is saying something quite substantial. If you are unaware of the premise, let me educate you. A group of contestants gathers in a lovely tent to bake cakes and cookies and breads. They don’t fight each other. They don’t yell. They are rather kindly souls who are just trying to make a delicious pastry for the judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood — what perfect names! My favorite, obviously, is Mary. Everybody loves her because she’s flawless and rather like the Martha Stewart of England. The reason I adore the show so much is probably because it’s so calm and sweet and tame. No asshole judge is shouting and screaming profanities. There is not a ridiculous amount of stress put on contestants who can’t handle pressure. And, the lighting is always excellent. I’m a sucker for good lighting. It’s a relaxing reality show to watch, and I love it. Do tune in, readers.

HATE:

“The Pyramid” Film’s Disappearance:

A month or so ago, whilst watching American Horror Story, there was a preview for a film called The Pyramid. Of course it piqued my curiosity immediately, and I decided that I had to go to the cinema to experience it. This is abnormal, since I don’t care that much for going to the movie theater. I don’t like just sitting in a dark room with a bunch of mouth breathers whilst being unable to multitask. The film looked like a bunch of crap. Like, legitimate crap, and that thrilled me. I always love watching movies about ancient Egyptian mythology because it is so absolutely crazy and never based on any facts. This one had secret passages — on hinges — inside of a newly discovered pyramid. What could be more amusing or historically inaccurate? Jessica and I were going to see it over Winter Break, but by that time, the film had already vanished. It’s not playing anywhere. I can’t even find much information about it online. Annoying. I did find this on Wikipedia:

The Pyramid received harshly negative reviews from critics, with Moviefone and CraveOnline both naming it one of the worst films of 2014.

I guess I missed a classic.

Egyptian Antiquities For Sale on EBAY:

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As an amateur scholar of ancient Egypt, I often find myself in a wormhole on the Internet about a curious array of topics. Just the other night, I was awake until three o’clock in the morning reading about Nechi II, a twenty-sixth dynasty pharaoh who allegedly ordered a troupe of Phoenician sailors to sail from the Red Sea, make their way around the tip of Southern Africa, sail all the way back up, go through the Strait of Gibraltar, and then make their way back down the mouth of the Nile. There is historical evidence of this being true, but to my knowledge, no solid physical proof. Still it is a wonderfully interesting idea and has many intriguing implications that I won’t get into now. Anyway, I found myself on eBay looking for antique Limoges china to use with my new coffee machine and then wound up looking at ancient Egyptian antiquities for sale. I was intrigued at first and my Discover card was practically begging me to buy a few ushabti figurines, but I stopped myself. First of all, if these are authentic relics of ancient Egypt, they have a good chance of being sourced illegally. They have an even better chance of being fakes. Nineteenth century visitors might have acquired a few true pieces, but the majority on sale are modern fakes. They look real. I read a fantastically interesting article on how they are produced. The sellers make them in almost the exact same way as the ancients did, using the same materials, but then they feed the little faience pieces to cows and pull the remarkably believably aged pieces out of the waste. Stomach acid can do wondrous things, I suppose. Disgusting, yes, but so ingenious! And, so, it frustrates me to see these things that can be picked up for pennies in Cairo and Luxor selling for a hundred dollars to gullible collectors who should not be buying antiquities in the first place. Buying relics is dangerous to the historical record. DON’T DO IT.

Paris Attacks:

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I was terribly upset by the recent shooting in Paris. There have been other attacks, and much bigger ones closer to home, but this one struck me quite personally. The location of the Charlie Hebdo offices are literally a three or four minute walk from my first Parisian apartment. Here’s a map:

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It seems insane to me that something of such awful violence could happen near my peaceable home in Paris. The streets surrounding my beautiful little apartment with the chandelier and dentil moulding is prolific with magazine headquarters. Just at the end of my road was the place where they put together Les Inrockuptibles, a magazine dedicated to music and culture. I always loved to peak in the windows at the staff at work behind huge iMacs. Whenever the front door hung open, I looked at the people loitering in the entrance hall, and I wondered if they were celebrities. Back then I wasn’t very knowledgeable about modern French singers. I’ve since better educated myself. Anyway, it hurts me mentally to know that something so savage as a shooting could occur, quite literally, on my doorsteps. Paris has always been safe. It is safe. It will always be safe, but there is now this upsetting image that will infect the minds of travelers. Beyond that, this has done even more irreversible damage to the faithful of Islam. I know so many kind Muslim people after my travels, and this just makes me so frustrated. I already speak an incredible deal on interfaith tolerance. I will have to start doing even more. Maybe it’s time to resurrect my reverend posts? Paris, je t’aime toujours.

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