Wes Anderson Directs & Stars in an Ad Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Montblanc’s Signature Pen

Wes Anderson, known for his meticulous craftsmanship in filmmaking, was chosen to direct Montblanc’s commercial for their hundred-year-old Meisterstück writing tool. Filmed in Germany, the short features Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, and Rupert Friend, who portray mountain climbers inspired by Montblanc’s products.

The ad transitions from the snowy Mont Blanc to a warm chalet, which required 50 takes. Anderson surprised Montblanc by presenting a prototype pen he designed, the Schreiberling, and requested its production. The company agreed to produce 1,969 pen copies, referencing Anderson’s birth year, 1969. Anderson’s career has evolved from his early days in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums to influencing film and luxury goods industries.


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Happy Star Wars Day – Here’s a new trailer for The Acolyte

the acolyte

It’s May 4th, which means it’s Star Wars Day. This morning, I celebrated by watching Revenge of the Sith.

I got a little more hyped when I saw a new trailer drop for the next Disney+ Star Wars series, The Acolyte.

In Star Wars: The Acolyte, an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems…

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Greetings Starfighters,

Among the treasures we discovered as we cleaned out my grandparents’ old home was a Hasselblad 500C/M camera. Some of you may know what that means, many of you likely don’t, just know that Ansel Adams used a Hasselblad 500 model at times in his career.

First, a word about my grandfather. The man was obsessed with gadgets, just like I am. He shelled out over $1200 for an early VCR, had every form of home video recording equipment, and even bought a light that was allegedly the same model used on the Space Shuttle to better stage our family Christmas movies. So, having a Hasselblad just sitting in the top of a closet collecting dust isn’t necessarily a surprise.

I’m playing around with it and hope to take some shots with it soon. I was a little surprised that you can still purchase film and even get it developed but I’m also watching some videos and looking for tools to develop at home if I need to.

Once more, the Internet proves that, with a little effort, you can find and learn how to do just about anything.

Quote of the Day

Without memory, it’s impossible to build the future. – Umberto Eco, A Library of the World

Musical Interlude

A number of years ago, Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates fame began a show recorded at his home studio with various guests. “Live from Daryl’s House” has had several homes over the years, but it seems they are uploading more and more to Daryl’s YouTube channel.

Here’s the episode with Lisa Loeb, including a great version of her classic, “Stay.”

Long Read of the Day

“In 1303 CE, a monstrous earthquake ripped through the Eastern Mediterranean. The trauma shook glittering casing stones loose from the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt—the most ancient of our Seven Wonders—and brought the remains of the youngest, the towering Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, crashing to the ground. The Great Pyramid embodied enormous effort for the sake of one, virtually omnipotent man. Alexandria’s Pharos Lighthouse had been a public beacon to keep travelers from four continents safe, and to announce a repository of all the knowledge that was possible for humankind to know.

But across that complex arc of experience, spanning nearly 4,000 years, from the vision of a single, almighty human to a network of human minds, no human-made Wonder could prove a match for the might of Mother Earth.”

What Makes a Wonder? On the Human Need to Map Out Monumental Greatness

Video of the Day

Final Thoughts

May 1 means that it’s very nearly Star Wars Day. If you haven’t heard, The Phantom Menace is returning to theatres this weekend. My kid and I have watched it I don’t know how many times here at home. Friday afternoon, we’ll catch it on the big screen. I was in the crowd on opening night 25 years ago, and I think I’m just as excited now as I was back then.


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20 Minutes of Charles Schulz Drawing Peanuts Comics

Pardon me as I date myself, but I have loved and always will love the Peanuts comic strips. The cartoons were staples of my childhood, and I have no plans to stop watching them anytime soon.

I love to see creators create, so this 20-minute video of Charles Schulz creating his famous characters is a delight.

If you need more inspiration, here’s a video of Chuck Jones demonstrating how to draw Bugs Bunny and other characters.


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Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – Real Live Roadrunning

In my estimation, Mark Knopfler doesn’t get the widespread acclaim he should as one of our most talented guitarists making music over the last few decades.

And Emmylou Harris is also an underappreciated gem.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy these two masters performing together in this concert from 2006.


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That $20 fiddle has taken me everywhere…

bodie mountain express

Much of my teen years and into my twenties revolved around music. I played trumpet from 6th grade onward–and wasn’t too shabby–I eventually learned a bit of piano–I can chord and keep a rhythm like nobody’s business–and a bit of signing.

My wife has a music degree and is an excellent flautist. And my kiddo is already falling into the world of musical theatre with all her heart.

While I’m no longer actively involved in the music scene, I’ll always be a musician and hooked on the power of music. I love it and always will, and love sharing great music I stumble upon through my yearly playlists.

Music can bring us all together and inspire us to be more than we believe. For some, it can take you outside of your circumstances into a new world filled with sights and sounds beyond imagination. A new world of hope and promise.

I’m a huge believer in keeping arts programs in our schools. My time in the band kept me sane in my middle and high school experiences. Without the connections I made and the love of music that gave me a place to go and hide when things got rough, which happened regularly as a chubby, geeky kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I’m not sure what I would have done, but it probably wouldn’t have been great.

Los Angeles Unified School District is one of the last school districts in the country to provide freely repaired instruments to its students. The Oscar-winning documentary The Last Repair Shop takes us behind the scenes of that work.

More importantly, we learn the stories of a few individuals and what music and this instrument repair program mean to them.

From a mother who works to support her family to a man who caught the fiddle itch so bad he just had to have a $20 violin from a yard sale, these stories will inspire and make you weep.

By the way, that $20 violin took Duane Michaels and his band, Bodie Mountain Express, all the way to opening for Elvis on his biggest night ever and around the world, and then took him to repair woodwinds for LAUSD students.

From the film-

In a nondescript warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles, a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople maintain over 80,000 student musical instruments, the largest remaining workshop in America of its kind. Meet four unforgettable characters whose broken-and-repaired lives have been dedicated to bringing so much more than music to the schoolchildren of the recording capital of the world. Watch “The Last Repair Shop,” directed by Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers.

In less than 45 minutes, you’ll see these stories and some of the students touched by this program. Music has a unique power among the arts to unite so many, sometimes without words.

We must keep music in our schools, forever.


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Star Wars Time Jumps with The Acolyte

star wars the acolyte

Set some 100 years prior to the events of our beloved Skywalker Saga, The Acolyte provides a glimpse into the world of the High Republic.

I’m hoping this series compares well to the quality of Andor. Of course, we’re getting a Wookie Jedi, which might be worth it all.


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Chill Music for Springtime Mornings

pink flower field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As we depart from the nonsense that is Winter and dive headlong into pollen-filled, sinus-breaking, gloriously sunny early days of Spring, you too may get the urge to sit outside on your back deck on a Saturday morning and just chill.

Back deck sitting is one of my favorite pastimes and often when I do some of my best reading and thinking.

Sitting and chilling in my world means there will be music in the background, preferably something with a chill vibe and mostly instrumental.

I’ve been jamming on Hermanos Gutiérrez for a bit now and just loving these brothers more and more each time I listen.

Here’s their NPR Tiny Desk concert from early 2013 to give you a good intro to their music.

After reading a comment on that particular video, I found another band with similar vibes called Khruangbin.

This trio from Houston, Texas, is heavily inspired by 1960s and ’70s funk and soul from, of all places, Thailand. That musical passion has taken them on a journey that, these days, incorporates music from Spain, Ethiopia, and the Middle East.

Yes, they exude cool.

Add these two groups to your early weekend morning chill vibe. You won’t regret it.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Unlocking Classroom Discussions: Using “Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes” as a Teaching Tool

climate sign outside blur
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

In today’s digital age, educational resources have expanded beyond textbooks to include diverse mediums like YouTube videos. A prime example is the video “Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes,” offering a succinct overview of various political ideologies. This blog post aims to guide high school civics, history, or government teachers on how to utilize this video as a discussion starter in their classrooms.

1. Pre-Viewing Preparation:

Before playing the video, it’s essential to establish a foundational understanding among students. Teachers should:

  • Briefly Introduce Political Ideologies: Explain the concept of political ideologies as systems of beliefs that shape individual and collective political stances.
  • Set Expectations: Inform students that the video provides a brief overview, encouraging them to seek deeper understanding through class discussions and further research.

2. During the Viewing:

As students watch, they should be encouraged to take notes. Teachers can provide a guided worksheet that includes:

  • Key Terms and Definitions: Such as conservatism, liberalism, socialism, etc.
  • Critical Thinking Questions: Like “What are the core beliefs of each ideology?” or “How might these ideologies impact governance?”

3. Post-Viewing Discussion:

This is where the magic happens. Teachers can facilitate discussions by:

  • Breaking Down Ideologies: Discuss each ideology presented in the video. Encourage students to express their understanding and ask questions.
  • Comparing and Contrasting: Have students compare ideologies, discussing similarities and differences. This can lead to deeper understanding and critical thinking.
  • Real-World Applications: Relate these ideologies to current events or historical instances. This connection helps students see the practical impact of these ideologies.
  • Debate and Role Play: Organize debates or role-playing activities where students defend or critique various ideologies. This exercise enhances understanding and empathy.
Sale
Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact
  • Baradat, Leon P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 406 Pages – 12/09/2019 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

4. Extended Activities:

To deepen understanding, teachers can assign activities like:

  • Research Projects: Students can research a particular ideology in-depth or study a political leader associated with an ideology.
  • Creative Presentations: Encourage students to create presentations or infographics about different ideologies.
  • Field Work: If possible, arrange visits to political organizations or invite guest speakers representing various ideologies.

5. Critical Reflection:

End the unit with a reflective exercise where students:

  • Reflect on Personal Views: Encourage students to ponder how their personal views align or differ from the ideologies studied.
  • Discuss the Role of Ideologies in Society: Facilitate a conversation about the impact of political ideologies on societal development and individual lives.

Conclusion:

“Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes” serves as an excellent springboard for engaging students in the complex world of political thought. Through this video and subsequent activities, students can develop a nuanced understanding of political ideologies, enhancing their critical thinking skills and preparing them for informed citizenship in a diverse world.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!