With Apologies To Valued Commenter Raven…This Is Funny

And yet more thread.

To start: do not bring a bulldog to a roundup:


Texas is up pretty convincingly as I write this, but in Raven’s honor I’m rooting for Georgia, and there’s lots of time.

In other ways to enjoy the first day of a better year (saying it often enough helps make it so!) — another video I love to show my documentry class:


One of the early assignments is to take a bunch of historical newsreel footage of New York and cut it to some contemporary song — I have some cuts, and the students can use those or pick a favorite tune of their own.  That exercise is all about cutting to and with picture, beginning to think in visual narrative, and getting the start of a feel for the role of rhythm in conveying meaning and feeling.

This video helps get some of those asks across — and it repeats the theme of the Umbrella Man video: technical skills are great, and expand one’s palette.  But it’s possible to achieve a great deal with simple craft, as long as you know what you’re trying to say, and take great pains to make the straightforward shots and cuts you know how to make as precise as possible.  As, I think, this video does.

And because I love pictures, here’s an old favorite to help the year begin on the right note:

I say hello to the fighting Temaraire, here on her last journey, just about every time I return to London (and will again later this month).  Turner is one of those artists who needs to be seen in person.  Reproduction gets close to what he did with light; it cannot capture the texture and play of his paint.  Anyone on or travelling to the east coast…if you come to Boston, his “The Slave Ship” at the Museum of Fine Arts is a pilgrimage destination.  Truly, if you’re in town, you owe it to yourself to see this astounding work.  And if you’re in range of New Haven, Yale’s Center for British Art is a must-visit.  It’s got a ton of remarkable art, and as good an introduction to the singular visions of Turner as I’ve seen outside of London.  (If you do make it to London, then the Tate Britain gallery, a recent find of mine (I’m slow) has a wealth of Turners. The National Gallery has the headliners, the ones that make the art books — but Tate B. has enough examples to see how his eye and sensibility matured.)

As you might have guessed, I’m a Turner fanboi. Not apologizing.

Open thread!

I Am Gonna Make It Through This Year If It Kills Me (open thread)

Looks like we could use an open thread; here’s a prompt: what are some songs that you like to listen to on New Year’s Eve or Day? I’ll start.

This Year by The Mountain Goats:

Kings by Steely Dan:


New Year’s Role Model Open Thread: Dance Like You’re Sitting in the President’s Seat

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: To Begin Again


A trilogy for the new year:


Barack Obama is STILL My President

I’ve said repeatedly that one of the things that really scares me the most about Trump is that he lives such a joyless life. He doesn’t appreciate art, music, movies, laughter- basically he exists to feel good about other people’s pain and to laminate everything with gold or whatever it is he thinks is the “best.” At any rate, a reminder of what it was like to have a real human being as President with Obama’s end of year list of books and music:

As 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books, movies, and music that I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors, artists, and storytellers – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list – I hope you enjoy reading, watching, and listening.

Here’s a reminder of the books that I read this year that appeared on earlier lists:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (obviously my favorite!)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
Educated by Tara Westover
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
The Return by Hisham Matar
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

Here are my other favorite books of 2018:
American Prison by Shane Bauer
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Florida by Lauren Groff
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
There There by Tommy Orange
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

My favorite movies of 2018:
Black Panther
The Death of Stalin
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Minding the Gap
The Rider
Support the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

And finally, my favorite songs of 2018:
Apes••t by The Carters
Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
Disco Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess
Every Time I Hear That Song by Brandi Carlile
Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde
Historia De Un Amor by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
I Like It by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
King For A Day by Anderson East
Love Lies by Khalid & Normani
Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version) by Prince
My Own Thing by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp)
Need a Little Time by Courtney Barnett
Nina Cried Power by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
Nterini by Fatoumata Diawara
One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid
Wait by the River by Lord Huron
Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
And in honor of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a classic album: The Great American Songbook by Nancy Wilson

His music playlist is, without exception, perfection. Every song on there is good.