Friday, December 31, 2010

Read My Special Addition Article: Aladdin, The Genie and "The Diamond in the Rough"

DO NOT read this article if you are reading the articles here and you want to figure out what the diamond in the rough is for yourself.

This essay explores thematic elements in the Disney Classic "Aladdin." Come find out why it is "what's inside the lamp" that counts on this magic carpet ride.

Make sure to get free e-mail updates of my articles on scribd by subscribing, in order that you do not miss out on a great read.

All of my articles I post on scribd will not be available elsewhere.

Click here to see the essay.

Monday, December 27, 2010

OK, This is just RIDICILOUS Must Listen to "Four Chord Song"


(Could not get the video to fit on here because for some reason blogger decides to behave when I am editing a post then does not when I actually post it. I hope to add this video directly to my blog soon but this is really a must-listen to song for anyone interested in music, human psychology, music theory or popular entertainment.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Americans We Are Still Discovering: Jon DeMello

Have you ever Met Someone with an Incredible Ability to Pick up a Sport?

Did that person continue to improve at a rate you never thought possible? Did he combine his natural athletic ability with a natural sense of where to be and what to do in this sport? Did he pick and choose his spots to talk shit in order to subtly throw you off your game?

Jon Picked Up Sports at the Drop of a Hat

Meet Jon: a former professional wrestler (the real kind) and club rugby player for the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Jon switched to wrestling from playing and coaching hockey (including an athlete with down's syndrome) his freshman year of high school, and in three short years he built his skills to take fourth place in his weight class at the Kelsey-Graves tournament. He was part of a powerhouse Brooks School Wrestling team. His senior year of high school, he transfered to Nashoba Regional High School, where his coach encouraged him to join a club team and start wrestling for money.

Jon takes on Rugby

Once he entered college at the University of Edinburgh, he decided to take on rugby. He started at the intramural level as a fresher, and climbed the ranks all the way to club level. He did this all while taking up boxing as well (I am not sure how successful he was at boxing, but you can assume he was.)

Jon and his new sport: Basketball

Over the last three weeks, he has taken up playing basketball consistently for the first time in their life, and the results are Where Amazing Meets Extraordinary. He has an amazing sense for the game and displays his strength and agility.

Jon and his Sense for the Game

His basketball smarts are most on display when he is off the ball on the offensive side. Without any instruction, Jon makes v cuts, sets picks at the perfect time, rolls to the basket and gets in good boxing out position. He also plays decent defense and makes good decisions when he has the ball, even if these aspects of his game are not as inspired as his off the ball offensive play.

Jon Uses his Athletic Ability

His strength and agility are most on display when he is forced baseline by their defenders. Those fans who play and watch basketball know this may be the most difficult position to be in on the basketball court. You are often behind the backboard, which makes shooting a near impossibility. Usually another player on the court can help your defender to trap you without leaving his man, effectively cutting off passing lanes. You are forced to put the ball on the court and use your strength to create something out of nothing or, for most people a worse tactic, try to find a teammate on the perimeter. In these situations, Jon puts his agility and strength to the test because he keeps his dribble and uses his strength to get a lay-up on the strong-side or use their agility and quickness to get to the weak-side for a reverse lay-up.

The ability of Jon is shocking. The fact that Jon can pick up sports so late in his life can be frustrating to us who sweat like gym rats everyday just to become sub par basketball players. That people like Jon can handle his amazing abilities with such grace, dignity and humility makes it so it is only possible to love them.

If you know someone who is an American you would like to nominate for a "The Americans We Are Still Discovering" article, please send your submissions to me at

I have provided you with valuable information and innovative content I took a long time to create. Can you do me the huge favor of getting free e-mail or RSS updates by subscribing?

Announcement: Article "American Socioeconomics and The Race Problem"

I am working on a project called "American Socioeconomics and The Race Problem."

It will go over how our socioeconomics influences the behavoirs of each class and how this relates to the actions as a whole of each race.

I hope to use a format that will make the article understandable to the lay-person and in-depth enough for a sociologist or economist. This means the article will take a great deal of time to come up with, even though I have done a lot of work on it already.

If you know anyone who would like to join this project (sociologists, economists and/or race experts) please e-mail me at

If I have someone co-author this article, it will be available only by purchases. If I do it myself, I will either put it on scribd with "My Green, String Less Hoody," and other articles that may be there or, depending on how much time and effort it takes me, I will make it an e-book available for purchase.

I hope all is well and you had a great day!


Seif-Eldeine Och

Friday, December 24, 2010

Announcement: UPDATE ON WOMEN

If you read the paragraph "One of the ways Americans respect their women more than Arab countries" you will notice an editing change.

This change reflects the true opinion of my heartand I hope it will be taken as an apology to those who read the original passage, a mistake of my mind and not my heart. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who Treats Women Better: Americans, Islam or Muslims?

" In France (America), there is Islam without Muslims, In the Arab World (Middle East), there are Muslims without Islam." Tawfik Hakim (I am pretty sure about this attribution, as well as the accuracy of the quotation itself, which I read in "Seclurism Confronts Islam," but could not find the quote or the attribution online, so I put it here with this caveat.)

Muslims all over the world are proud to be following the right religion. Unfortunately, a great majority of them are following the right religion the wrong way. They are focused on the prize and rewards Allah Subhanawatalla will give them instead of the sacrifice and greater good their religion can offer the world. (Remember the story of when the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, asked Ali to pray without thinking of the prize and he would get a great reward. Ali made it through almost the whole prayer before he thought for a split second of the prize, and then lost it all.)

In America, by contrast, there is Islam without Muslims.

America is a beacon of Democracy just as Islam is. (American Democracy is a majority Democracy and Islam is ijma or consensus Democracy, so there are some differences, although they are more similar than Islamic governance and, say, Saudi Arabia, where there is governance by kingship.)

Americans also have respect for their women unlike many Arab countries. Although they perform pre-marital sex, they respect their women in many other ways.

Many Americans believe that Islam (the religion, not the people) does not respect women because of the aya that allows Muslims to marry up to four wives. There are many points to consider when you look at this aya:

the first and subsequent wives of the man must approve the partnership of the next wife in the line

a Muslim must treat each wife EXACTLY equally, probably an impossibility because it is impossible to treat everyone the same way, no matter how hard you try

which brings us to the historical ramifications of the decision, the aya was revealed after the Battle of Uhud, wherein a great amount of Muslim men lost their lives, the aya (line of poetry in the Quran) gave Muslims the ability to marry so many wives to PROTECT the women, not the men, as they were now recently widowed and lived in a partiarchal society

(Mohemad, Peace Be Upon Him, did a lot for women, as before this decree it was legal in Mecca, Medina and most of the Arabian Peninsula to marry as many wives as you want, and while Mohemad, Peace Be Upon Him, did what he could, you cannot change the culture of a whole people during a lifetime.)

One of the ways Americans respect their women more than some Arab countries is allowing them to work. A woman's proper place is ANY COMBINATION of cooking, cleaning, raising the children and WORKING that they CHOOSE.

Now, based on what most Americans and most Westerners have heard about Muslims and the Muslim world, they would be confused to find this out. The truth is many Muslims have strayed from the right path.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his life are the best example of how a Muslim should go about anything. Did the Prophet keep his wife locked up in the house and not allow her to work? No. His first wife, Khadijah, was in fact HIS BOSS before (and I believe during, but I am not sure) their marriage. She owned the caravan ring the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, worked at.

You can thank the Wahhabis and the Al-Saud family (current Kings and Princes of Saudi Arabia) for the false religion that has become mainstream Islam in the past 2 centuries. Muhammed Abdul-Wahab was a 18th century Islamic scholar who failed out of his training multiple times. He was the son and brother of two Islamic jurists who vehemently disagreed with his views on Islam.

Abdul-Wahab and his views did not become popular until he and the British co-opted these views with the rising power of the Al-Saud tribe. Once the Al-Sauds became Hakims of Mecca and Medinah, they were able to easily influence Muslims who were going on pilgrimage into their views. (If you are interested in Islamic law, may I suggest you research the Hanabalite school of law, the most liberal and closest chronologically to the time of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and therefore, probably, the least corrupted of the existing and established four schools of Muslim thought.)

They have twisted the words of the Holy Quran and not allowed women their proper place in society (such as banning them from the roads and forcing them to wear the burqa, something the Quran encourages but does not force its women to do.) Much of the Arab world can learn from America in how to treat their women. 
I recommend "Seclurism Confronts Islam" by Olivier Roy for anyone interested in the topic of how Islam can coincide with the Modern State.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Check out IBM's The Smarter City to see what humans will have to do to survive.

The Honor Code: Creating the Liar and the Snitch

Many schools and Universities have an "Honor" Code wherein students give a pledge to turn in any other student who they see or suspect to be cheating or breaking the rules.

This system effectively creates two types of students at these schools: the liar who says they agree with the Honor Code and the Snitch who breaks any type of loyalty only to protect themselves.

These groups do not breed the right atmosphere for a healthy environment of work and/or play.

Of course, there are certain times when reporting criminal and/or unethical behavoir is the right decision to make, but more often than not it is better to allow people to discover their own ethical code and leave the judging up to God.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Aladdin and the Diamond in the Rough

Thought I was abandoning the diamond in the rough, did you? Thought I would give up on you guys that easily? Remember to search for the diamond in the rough and e-mail me with your answers at

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Announcement: Thank you for visiting the Donate to Bana'a Page

Thank you for visiting the Bana'a donation page, I hope you had the chance to donate, but.....DO NOT DONATE IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO OR KNOW A CHARITY MORE TO YOUR LIKING. (What does this have to do with the diamond in the rough?)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Make Your Man Change into the Person You and HE Wants Him to Be (And is just afraid to tell you!)

Setting Goals and Expactations

The first thing you should do in any relationship is find out what your partner WANTS to become and share with him the person you want to become. This conversation will help you reach your goals together and will help prevent any infedilities as your partner will not want to let you and, more importantly, HIMSELF, down from the promises you two have made to each other. (Once someone commits to a certain stance, even if they change their mind about their stance, they will not want to say or do anything that hurts their credibility.)

Encouraging Good Behavoir

Once you have had this conversation, maintain good behavoir by employing the carrot and stick method. (Remember, the carrot is more powerful than the stick!) To illustrate this point, I will share with you a story about a series of games I played against a FIFA opponent today (okay, not the greatest audience to use this metaphor with, but bear with me.)

When I turned on FIFA today there was only one opponent online around my skill level. When I played this opponent the first time, he used his headpeace to scream into the game. I allowed this to happen to determine whether he would realize his behavoir was inappropiate and when he did not stop I simply left the game. The next time, I was placed against the same opponent, and this time I did not hesitate to leave the game the first time he screamed into his headset. The third time around, he left the game himself once he entered it (reciprocity.) The fourth time? No screaming, great game and he was able to collect points and victory after beating me 2-1.

When employing the carrot and stick method, make sure to recognize any behavoir your man does in accomplishing the goals you have set in the beginning of your relationship. Praise the SPECIFIC ACT and relate it to the behavoir/goal you two are hoping to accomplish. This will make him happy that he is accomplishing the goals you and he set in your relationship.

DO NOT complement your man in a black and white, good versus evil, static way. Everyone has shades of grey, and you do not want to tell your man simply "you are nice" without giving him a specific way he is nice. If a man begins to believe he is "nice" then he will think everything he does, even the not so nice things, are warranted.

How to Criticize without Offending

When criticizing your man, make sure to sandwich those criticisms between two complements. With criticism, unlike the carrot method, it is okay to present things in a black and white way. This will help your man develop a moral code of ethics. Sandwiching your criticisms with complements will lessen the blow to your man's ego, and will decrease resistance to the changes you propose.

Remember the Senses!


Also, surround yourself and your partner with the colors that will most help you accomplish your goals. (Colors have a HUGE effect on psychology and behavior.) I suggest light blue tones, blue is not only the most popular color, but has a very soothing effect. Red will increase your physical and sexual attraction (use these when you want a sexy, alone night with your man!), but will decrease the perceived long-term viability of a relationship. Brown is of the earth, and increases feelings of belonging, friendship and long-term compatability.

Smell and Memory

Also, make sure to surround yourself with the right smells. Smells have a greater affect on the memory than any other sense and, as such, are the most important sense for reminding your man why he is with you. This is especially important after the first 18 months of a relationship, when men and women become desensitized to the affects of each other's hormones.

Make sure to have your man wear a cologne that improves your relationship! All colognes use pheromone mixes to attract the opposite sex, but products by Instant Influence are by far the most successful because of the amount of research and cutting-edge science the company employs. Make sure to warn your man about the effects these scents will have on those of the same gender! Stronger pheromone presence increases competition between those of the same gender.

Also, have your man try out different mixtures and amounts to determine which is the best for him. The pheromones interact with a man's naturally occuring hormones, so every man will get a different reaction for the mix he employs. Have him keep a journal of each day he wears the cologne, and also make sure he takes days off for a control. Describe how these mixtures are having an effect on your relationship.

Sex Relations

If you decide to have sex with your partner (you do not have to, and you should never be forced or pressured to!) focus on the things you like that he does, and do not mention the things that he does you do not like. He will start doing the things you like more often, and start doing the things you do not like less often (he will get the hint! But, if he continues to do things that you do not like, then he must like them himself. You can sacrifice a little physical pleasure to keep your husband happy, can't you?)


Have a discussion about what sexual fantasies you have and what sexual fantasies he has. Trust me, he has some fantasies just as disturbing as the fantasies you have! (Vampires, YUMMY!)

Building Social Skills

Sit down with him and read the book "Rules of the Game" (both the black and white book, but start with the white) by Rolling Stone Journalist, Author and Seduction Expert Neil Strauss. This book will help build his social skills and define the goals he wants to accomplish in his life. Make sure to point out the advice that is not practical or ethical, such as negs and cold reading. Focus on the advice which makes the most sense to you, and remember, these is a big difference between  INFLUENCE and MANIPULATION.

Manipulation is employed only for the actor's benefit, influence is for the benefit of either all parties or the greater good!

They are just not as smart as us!

Remember, a woman has 12 to 16 parts of the brain meant for communication, while a man has only 4 to 6. Do not get angry at your man if he seems not to "get it." You girls are just smarter, and you can't hold that against us!

Finally, and most importantly, visit a psychologist at least once a month together. This will give you an objective and expert opinion on how to improve your relationship.

(Is your man the diamond in the rough you have been waiting for?)

Tentative Agreement with TMS NE Medical Director Karl Lanocha for Interview

Today I went to my dad's psychiatric office and struck a tentative agreement with TMS NE Medical Director Dr. Karl Lanocha for an onsite interview. TMS is a machine that treats both uni-polar and bi-polar depression through electromagnetic fields.

My knowledge of psychology lies somewhere between lay and professional so I could not really understand how this was different than ECT and why it was more affective, but that was basically the gist of the whole presentation (the presentation was geared at medical professionals). I knew just enough psychology to ask good questions and too little to have any idea what the answers meant. When the interview is conducted, of course, it would be geared toward the lay-person so you and my other readers can understand what is going on.

Well, that's all. folks.

If you have questions about the diamond in the rough or anything else, e-mail me at Hope you are all doing well!


BANA'A: The Sudanese Educational Empowerment Network, seeks to provide an undergraduate education in the United States to multiple Sudanese scholars to return to Sudan after their studies are complete in order to work against the cycles of violence and genocide. Bana'a is greatly enhanced by the fact that these students network with each other every summer in Washington D.C. The two current Banaa Scholars are Mo Hassan at the University of Rochester and Makwei Mabioor Deng, the inaugarul Bana'a Scholar, at Washington University.

Bana'a is a credible and well-established organization, honored by such organizations as "The Clinton Global Initiative."

Bana'a does maintain tax-exempt status through George Washington University, so any donation you make will provide you with a tax-break. Click here to donate.

A Vampire with a Soul Becomes Human: "Angel"

"Oops, I may have made a tiny mistake. The uhhh word, sunshu, I said that meant you are going to die, actually I think it means you are going to live...sunshu has roots in so many different languages, the most ancient source is the protoo bantu, they consider life and death the same thing, only a thing that's not alive never dies. You get to live until you die, it's's saying, you will become a human... The vampire with a soul, once he fulfills his destiny, will sunshu, become human. It's his reward!"

"Wow, Angel human? Wait, where's that thing about him having to fulfill his destiny first?"

"Well, it's saying it won't happen today or the next day. He has to survive the coming darkness, the battles, a few plagues and some, ooohhh, several, but not that many, fiends that will be unleashed upon the world."

"So," Angel says "don't break out the champagne just yet."

"Oh yeah, break out the champagne Pinocchio," Cordelia says, "this is a big deal."

"I guess it is."

"Typical, I hook up with the only person in history who ever came to L.A. to get older!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Vampire With A Soul: "Angel"

"It tells of a vampire with a soul. This doesn't surprise you?"


"But you said you didn't know what it was?"

" I didn't, but...."

" Somehow you did?"


"There is a design, Angel. Hidden in the chaos's it may be, but it's there. And you have your place in it."

Where is your place in the chaos's?

Rapper-Poets versus Poet-Rappers


Nas- The effort Nas puts into editing his work and perfecting it to a poetic sensibility is evident in the great deal of time that some time exists between his albums. Though turning out albums on a yearly basis helps one's bottom line, Nas is and was at his best when he takes time to develop his work. This is because to Nas every word, every syllable and every letter is crucial in fitting into his overall theme. His poetic sensibilities are best on display in tracks such as my all-time favorite song "One Mic," and "If I Ruled the World."

Tupac- Tupac's talent as an actor and dancer are more discussed than his great ability with poetry. Tupac's poetry was usually short, simple, sweet and to the point. This style is also evident in his movies and his rap albums. You can check out his poetic sensibilities in tracks such as "Brenda's Got a Baby" and "Thug Mansion," as well as the movies "Juice" and "Poetic Justice," (which he co-starred in with Janet Jackson, only to find out Jackson wanted NOTHING to do with him off-screen.)


Biggie- Biggie is probably the least poetic of the four, but Biggie was also able to mix in hypnotic hooks with stunning imagery. His greatest and most popular hit "Juicy" was also by far his most poetic work. "I made the change from a common thief, to up close and personal with Robin Leach. And I am far from cheap, smoke toke with my peeps all day, spread love it's the Brooklyn way," and "money green couch, leather sofas, got two rides, a limousine with a chauffer. Phone bill about 4 gs flat, no need to worry my accountant handles that. "

Jay Z- Sean Carter is able to go in the studio and spit out a song in one go. That he maintains a poetic narrative arc and imagery in such a pressured situation is impressive. In these times, Jay Z is able to take other people's work and efforts and expand upon them in a new creative direction. For anyone who thinks this a problem, consider such reputable artists such as Shakespeare took other people's work, such as Plutarch's which he used to help describe Cleopotra entrance in "Julius Ceaser." What a great tribute to these rappers from one of the best ever!

The Rapper-Poet Poet-Rapper

Eminem-Eminem is able to freestyle as a poet-rapper and perfect and edit his work as rapper-poet, the only rapper in history to fit both roles to the T, Eminem is only third behind Nas and Tupac in poetic sense, and only behind Tupac as the greatest rapper ever. His narrative arc was best displayed on the song "Stan," along with other hits and even non-hits such as "When Bad Meets Evil," "Brain Damage," (if you have not heard this one, go immediately and check it out) and "Love the Way You Lie."

Which of these rappers best exemplifies the diamond in the rough?

The Americans We Are Still Discovering: Yi Li

Have you ever met somebody who worked so long and so hard at a sport with very little immediate return to their game only to one day wake-up to discover that this person had become a very solid player?

Did that person approach the game with the meticulousness and thought that rivaled a med student studying how to save lives? Did that person make the perfect leader and coach? Could he surprise and inspire you with his dedication and love for the game?

Meet Yi: Yi wrestled in high school to very little success until his senior year, when his technical skills and knowledge of the sport got him elected captain at Milton Academy. When Yi entered college, he also meticulously studied boxing, getting a punching bag and working on it daily over the span of months to greatly expand his hand speed and accuracy. During his sophomore year of college at Tufts University, Yi brought this same attention to basketball.

When I had met Yi he was a pudgy, goofy class-clown with a little bit of an attitude. He even wrote his college application essay on how he had discovered being a class-clown had gained him popularity. While still quite the jokester, Yi takes more time in his day to display excellent leadership capabilities, serious reflection on life and dedication to his friends.

Yi worked on his love for wrestling, boxing and basketball as well as general fitness over the course of years. While still no Adonis, Yi went from being the pudgy, funny Asian kid to the well-toned athlete he is today. The dedication he displayed during his time wrestling at Milton caused the coaching staff to seek out Yi to join them as an assistant.

Yi brought that same sensibility to the game of basketball. He is the type of player that seems to exert no effort despite setting valuable picks, getting himself into excellent rebounding and defensive positioning, moving his feet on defense, running the court and replacing on offense when the situation calls for it.
He is a true student of the game, and while his career path now has him headed toward an excellent career in internal medicine, he could easily one day make a great coach in either wrestling or basketball if he so chose to (or a poet, because although Yi has not had the opportunity or time to improve upon his craft, he possesses as much natural talent for poetry in his pinky as I do in my whole body.)

The Americans We Are Still Discovering: James Taylor

James Taylor spent a year at Milton Academy only to leave it for another school. His advisor recognized his gift for music, and would sneak him up to the attic during study hall so Taylor had more time to improve upon his craft.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fresh and Def Jazz-Rap Combos from the Early 90's

Pharcyde- Pharcyde's creative height was achieved early on in their careers on their first demo, including the hit song "Passin' Me By." The 1994 Red Hot Organization's compilation "Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool" (the benefit album for AIDS awareness that won "Album of the Year' by Time Magazine) was bolstered by Pharcyde's inclusion onto it with "The Rubbers Song."

Digable Planets- Probably the most unique and stylistic of the Jazz-Rap era, Digable Planets was "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)." Digable Planets was also featured in "Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool" with "Flyin' High in the Brooklyn Sky," a song that featured fellow artists Lester Bowie and Wah Wah Watson.

De La Soul- De La Soul's 1989 release '3 Feet High and Rising" and 1991 release "De La Soul is Dead" (a reference to the changing of the tides of Hip-Hop from a socially conscious movement to its growing characterization by its sub header Rap as a "Gangsta" movement, a transformation that was cemented by the works of Tupac and Biggie in the mid-90s, although "Gangsta Rap'" remains a socially conscious movement, even if you have to dig a little deeper to get there) were at the same time the most critically acclaimed and commercially acclaimed hits of the Jazz-Rap fusion.

De La Soul's playfulness was on display in such tracks as their biggest hit, "Me, Myself and I", while their socially conscious undertone hit you over the head with shock and value in tracks like "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa." The De La Soul tradition is carried on by artists such as Common, Rakim and KRS One to this day to the same critical acclaim, though not the same commercial success.

A Tribe Called Quest- In probably the greatest as well as least recounted tour in all of musical history, De La Soul joined with A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets in 1994, ending with a bang at Lollaplooza. If you ask the Tribe "Can I kick it?" the answer is most certainly going to be "Yes you can!"

This group defines the Jazz-Rap era more than any other. says the group's debut album "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm" was "marked by...light-hearted content (safe sex, vegetarianism, youthful experiences)." (Are you now on instinctive travels marked by the rhythm of your own heart beat? Ask yourself, what is the diamond in the rough?)The Source gave this album, which took six years to become a commercial hit, its third-ever five-mic rating.

Miles Davis- The influence of Hip Hop in the late 20th century is exemplified in Miles Davis's 1992 "Doo-Bop." Jazz was the musical expression of the African-American community up until this point, and "Doo-Bop" signified the passing of this torch onto Hip Hop. Davis's recognition of the importance of this new genre reveals his musical genius, and that he was only 6 tracks deep into "Doo-Bop" before his passing on September 28th, 1991 is a tragedy.

Nas- Much like Nirvana's "Teem Spirit" was for grunge, Nas's "Illmatic" was both the height and death for Jazz-Rap fusion. "Illmatic" remains the ultimate expression of how a young, black male (Nas was 20 at the time, and many of the songs and production were done when he was much younger) can turn the difficult experiences of growing up in the ghettoes of New York on their head. (make sure to read Goodman's response if you choose to follow this link, and keep in mind this article is from 1965.) "N.Y. State of Mind," similarly, is the ultimate musical expression for the world's definition of a cosmopolitan and modern city. Nas was able to cut his lyrics and style down to the effectiveness, efficiency and authority of a young Hemingway.

What if the diamond in the rough could give you success like these people? Would you then be willing to shape it?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oliver Stone, Modern Film and "Any Given Sunday"

Olive Stone led a distinguished career, writing many critically acclaimed hits that did well in the box office. Then he came upon "Any Given Sunday," he synthesized the screenplay from 3 different sources.. Stone used the movie to send off Hollywood, he gave it a million different cuts to produce quite the jarring effect. The point was how Hollywood was putting sensory stimulation and box office receipts ahead of quality.

What was the result?

Other than "Platoon," "Any Given Sunday" was Stone's largest hit, outgrossing all other movies he made by at least $5 million. His other movies were thought-provoking, careful and tediously researched dramas. Movies such as JFK allowed us to get into the heads and psychology of its main characters.

Why did "Any Given Sunday" Outperform them All?

 Sure, thought-provoking movies which tell us something about our characters' main conscious motives are great, but they miss out on the fact that most of our decisions occur on the subsconscious level. A movie that hits you in the head with cuts provides more feed for our subconscious mind.

At one point in the movie, Stone goes in a radically different direction. He adds a scene where Al Pacino, who plays the coach in the movie, gives an emotional and slow 4 minute speech. This provides us a conscious view of a character who we have mostly seen in a subconscious light. The speech may be so popular and so rememborable precisely because it was so different from the rest of the movie. We now had both our feed for the conscious and the subconscious level we were hoping for.

One inch at a time.

The Americans We Are Still Discovering: Jason Yeager

Anyone who had the pleasure of hearing Jason play piano at Milton Academy (he was and has been featured on NPR many times since) will be delightfully surprised that it was even possible for this talented musician to build on his skills. Personally, I had the pleasure of seeing Jason's talent develop from my sophomore year of high school all the way until my final year with him at Tufts in 2009. I have not heard him since, but trust this dedicated professional has built his skillls in new and exciting ways. Be sure to check out this talented musician as he breathes life into a classical American musical genre and takes it in a new direction.