Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

5/26/10

As Good as Bohemian Rhapsody: Queen's "The Prophets Song" review

Is "The Prophet's Song" by Queen my favorite song? It could be. Queen fans know it, but too often, it gets overshadowed on the "Night at the Opera" album by two great songs, "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "You're My Best Friend." It is the first album song I loved, having previously never heard it on the radio. It is the first song I learned the words to, and now, 35 years later, think it still owns the mantel.

At 8:22 long and Queen's longest song with lyrics, it makes radio play difficult. Textured, with rich biblical and apocalyptic imagery, it is pure art rock. Unlike their visceral stadium rock songs, "We Will Rock You" and "Another One Bites the Dust," "The Prophet's Song" tells a poetic tale involving a dream the singer has. It is a warning to listeners that a time will come that is cold and hateful, yet strangely redemptive while also punitive, as explained by an unnamed seer. It describes elements found in Noah's Flood in the "Book of Genesis" with Armageddon in the "Book of Revelation," but is not intended to parallel either, with gothic overtones.

"I dreamed I saw on a moonlit stair
Spreading his hands on the multitude there
A man who cried for a love gone stale
And ice cold hearts of charity bare.
I watch as fear took the old men's gaze
Hopes of the young in troubled graves
I see no day, I heard him say
So gray is the face of every mortal."

Tempo and instrument changes, mixed with diverse vocal arrangements show Queen's magnificence as a band. Like "Bohemian Rhapsody," no single listen is enough to understand it, and, even then, so much resolution is left unsaid. Despite not every metaphor being clear, it is satisfying. Though recorded and released in 1975, it is not a "70s rock song" by any standard. Like Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," or the Beatles' "Hey Jude," "The Prophet's Song" is iconic and among the best rock music has ever produced.

I fully recommend "The Prophet's Song" by Queen.

Anthony Trendl
http://hungarianbookstore.com/

5/18/10

24 and Jack Bauer Jumped the Shark

Live or die, hero or ultimate enemy, I think the last few episodes of Jack Bauer and 24 have been preposterous.

They can't allow peace in the end - not believable in that it generally provides some connection to the real world. If the 24 producers do, not only will have they jumped the shark, but they will have taken the easy way out writing-wise.

The only upside is I think it effectively points out the complications and compromises made in the supposed peace. Bush, now Obama must decide to do unsavory things. I want peace, but am saddened that our world - always someone somewhere - fights against it.

24: Season Seven [Blu-ray]

5/15/10

Golgotha: Shadowing Steps: A Tragedy (spoken word)



This is the story of a man searching for God in his last moments as he is about to be executed. He is not innocent, but the guilt of the crime for which he will be killed is in question. Some people believe in him, others do not, and some have a job to do. There are those who love him, and those who hate him. Either way, the inevitable is at hand. He searches for God, but doesn't know where to look. He doesn't have long, but in minutes, he will know the answer.

As he walked the earth, his feet dragged into the dirt, and with each step, he was closer to the end. He made his own shadow, as we all do. But, he is not the only one making the shadows. He is not Jesus Christ, but he is not Satan, yet somehow, this is Golgotha.

Look into the eyes of a dying man, and wonder.

Set to Ravel's Bolero, in a piano duet by Jacques Fray, Mario Braggiotti. See my review.

I wrote this back in the late 1980s after listening to the full length version countless times, with my eyes closed, over several hours. After a few listens, it became a soundtrack to my imagination. I saw something between the guillotine scenes of Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, Gary Gilmore's all too willing execution in Utah, and my imagined situation of a crucifixion on Golgotha (though not Christ's own, for he did not fight nor was guilty of sin), as well as the rants I have read about outside of well-known executions of John Wayne Gacy and others.

Perhaps none adequately describe what I saw. Gilmore, Gacy were both guilty. In the Dickens' book, it was a crime against the country they were accused, not rape or murder. Still, there are common threads throughout. There are the righteous, the self-righteous, the holy and unholy, the caring and uncaring, and all can be found on both sides of the platform.

What's the tragedy? I think I know, but I'm interested in your response. The answer might not be as obvious as you think.

Shorter Piano Duet of Ravel's "Bolero" Finds The Same Passion As Its Bigger Brother (review)

The Ravel's "Bolero" you likely know is 13 or 14 minutes long. More instruments. In fact, on the album this duet comes from, the Boston Symphony Orchestra version has recorded at 13:51. However, Jacques Fray and Mario Braggiotti discover that 3:30 works perfectly well. It captures the essence of the original, but, on its own, brings its own gravity.

It misses the massive power felt at the end of the full orchestra version, but it grabs all of the subtlety. Two pianos find each other, building intensity, leading to what Ravel himself called, "one very long, gradual crescendo" all will remember.

The longer piece is well-known thanks to the movie 10 and in the 1984 Winter Olympics when skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won the gold in historic style with it.

Ordinarily associated with dance and romance, I used the Fray and Braggiotti as a backdrop to "Golgotha: Shadowing Steps: A Tragedy," a spoken word video, the story of a man searching for God in his last moments as he is about to be executed. Concretely and completely a different kind of passion, but the flexibility of "Bolero" is exactly that.

I fully recommend the piano duet of Ravel's "Bolero" by Jacques Fray and Mario Braggiotti.

Anthony Trendl
http://anthonytrendl.com/

Bolero, as conducted by Andre Rieu

5/6/10

I Will Not Be Executed: What Dreams May Come

Smucker's Concord Grape Jam, 18 oz (1 lb 2 oz) 510 g
  • A 12 year-old African American did not buy the Detroit Lions for $52,000 after the team had the worst year in sports history. (For the record, they were 0-16 in 2008, and 2-14 in 2009. They stink.)
  • My high school cross country coach (the one roiled in scandal just after I graduated) did not buy the Epicurean Hungarian Restaurant. He claimed not to have bought it, so who can say? Either way, I knew an American could not bring the authenticity to the place.
  • I did not see a mix of my old boss at Chapel of the Air and my professor of marketing to nonprofits (the one who is VP at Christianity Today) running through my neighborhood as I sat counting change I found on the sidewalk. He did not turn and scornfully harass me for not running.
  • I will not help manage an avant garde musical with my old boss at the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (the one who went on to become president of Big Idea/Veggie Tales). 
  • I will not be living my last day as a condemned criminal, soon to be executed for the crime of dating a journalist once and briefly. We walked, supposedly to the park and bought a hot dog from a street vendor. She didn't finish her hot dog, and we chatted and left. Hardly a date; I never knew her name, or that she was a journalist. Just someone I met and struck conversation with. Ignorance is no excuse, they said. The crime is because I worked for a multinational corporation, and the date opened the door for her to learn, then report half truths that would impact the brand, which would impact sales, which would impact the world economy. As such, a capital crime. Thankfully, then, I did not rush around town, looking for a caveat or any kind. No loopholes, though I thought there should be. Everyone seemed so blasé in this darkest hour. Though my hours were numbered, instead of spending this last opportunity saying good-bye to loved ones, I raged in desperate anger, researching in futility for respite.
Rule now to follow, as a lesson learned: Watch that PBJ I have late at night. Not so heavy next time on the grape jelly.

This surreal collection of dreams apparently brought you by Smucker's Concord Grape Jam, 18 oz (1 lb 2 oz) 510 g.

5/5/10

Cinco de Mayo (Easy Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe)

Welcome, You've Got Mayo! A Mayonnaise Recipe and Other Mayos

Had AOL been a sandwich maker, their marketing efforts may have sounded quite similar. They aren't and so we know the more familiar You've Got Mail, based on the Ernst Lubitsch directed Jimmy Stewart movie, The Shop Around the Corner.

George Bush Ketchup?
W Ketchup, Bottle, 24 fl ozNot all mayo is a replacement for ketchup (or do you write catsup?). Hot now is the politically flavored W Ketchup, to seduce Republicans hoping to avoid indirect donations to the John Kerry campaign. Everyone knows Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz-Kerry, whose first marriage was the late heir to the Heinz 57 fortune. See wketchup.com for more information, or heinz.com to learn what's behind the ketchup in question. This guide is about mayo, not ketchup, and not nearly as political as a popular hamburger condiment. If political talk is more your thing, see The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty.

Mayo, Mayo, Mayo
However, in the course of considering that interesting turn of phrase, I wondered what could be learned and known about mayonnaise, sandwiches and things related to it all.

To start if, I searched the internet. There are some questionable sites who use the product for reasons I won't mention here.

Remember, Cinco de Mayo is about the Fifth of May, a Mexican holiday. It does not mean, "Making mayo is a cinch."

The Latino Holiday Book: From Cinco De Mayo to Dia De Los Muertos : The Celebrations and Traditions of Hispanic-Americans

Then, there are the commercial sites. Mayo is actually a site managed by Hellmanns. Don't dismiss it entirely. They have recipes in English and Spanish (our Cinco de Mayo fans will be pleased). Hellmann's, as most Americans will know, is the best known of the mayo brands. Hellmann's, for you business watchers, is the same as Bestfoods.

(for a terribly academic digital book on mayonnaise, The 2003-2008 World Outlook for Mayonnaise).

Mayo Clinic Family Health BookMayo Clinic isn't a place to learn spreading techniques. It is a very serious college of medicine in Minnesota. They do research and make discoveries that are helping people across the world.
Mayo Clinic Family Health Book
The County Mayo, in Ireland, is more green than white. If your mayonnaise is green, then you've got to examine the efficacy of your storage technique.
Incredibly Indispensable Irish Web Directory

Bill Clinton, our famous deli visiting president, may have enjoyed a thick dollop of mayonnaise on his storied sandwiches. All too Human.

We know Dagwood Bumstead, creator of immense sandwiches, loaded on the white stuff. His wife created a cookbook with help from comic strip writer Chic Young, Blondie's Cookbook.

As you ponder the palate of Dagwood, tune in your CD player to John Mayall. Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. His name sounds close enough to 'mayo' for this writer. It harkens back to when Eric Clapton played serious blues and was not a pop-bluesman looking for his next MTV gig. As students of serious entertainment, remember Whitman Mayo, better known as Grady Wilson on Sanford and Son.
To make mayo, the kind used on many sandwiches, follow this recipe:
Easy Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

2 (two) yolks of eggs
1/8 (one eighth) teaspoon salt
1-1/2 (one and one half) cups vegetable oil
About 4 (four) tablespoons lemon juice

1) The eggs yolks go into a small bowl.

2) Add a half teaspoon of the lemon juice and the salt. Mix well.

3) Stirring constantly radually add the oil, a small amount at a time. As you go, add the oil more quickly.

4) Keep stirring.

5) As the mixture thickens, you'll thin it with small amounts of lemon juice, and then oil, and then lemon juice until you've used it all.

By now, it should look like mayonnaise. Use as you would the store bought kind.

You should use the mayo right away. If not, store in the fridge.