I was going to go with a single post this time around but then I enjoyed the randomness of the cocktail post I made a little while ago – a dash and sprinkle and amusing mix of topics and such. So here goes attempt number two folks, I hope its as good if not better then the first.
A very special Birthday
First things first, I would like to say that today is the anniversary of legendary composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Most people will be familiar only with his surname at most but few can name what musical works he was famous for, hardly surprising considering the dearth of mass love for classical music these days.
Perhaps a quick refresher, the two ballets for which he composed that are most well known still would be the Nutcracker Suite and Swan Lake – however he was also the composer for The Sleeping Beauty, the ballet based on the fairy tale we’ve all known and grown up with.
But I will not bore you, this was just a quick note to commemorate an iconic talent on this, the 170th anniversary of his birth.
Like my prior post about H.C.Anderson, this is a tribute to a great talent and to perhaps raise a little awareness, maybe a gentle nudge and reminder to learn from the wonders of the past and not get lost only in the mundanities of today as is our wont.
Here is a selection from among his works. Ordinarily I wanted to post the 1812 overture (arguably his greatest work!) but this might be more enjoyable to everyone at large.I give you Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 – Mov 1, Part 1/3 (Martha Argerich, 1973)
Load and enjoy it while you read the rest of this post, like a the heady alcoholic layer of a fine cocktail.
Next up we have a little stream of consciousness thinking.
How did it come to this?
Its a strange thing to look at the world around you and be saddened. I have tried many a-time to just let it go and not look. I tell myself “look! unless you’re going to pack up and move to darfur or wherever to feed and medicate the dying or some-such, let it go!” and its true.
There was a line of dialogue by a completely forgettable character who was there for a scene or two in the movie Hotel Rwanda:
Jack (after Paul thanks him for shooting footage of the genocide): I think if people see this footage, they’ll say Oh, my God, that’s horrible. And then they’ll go on eating their dinners.
And the saddest part is that this is true. We all feel bad, we all want to do something. We read books and comics about heroes and villains and standing up and believing. We celebrate stories of the individual struggling and making a difference and situations that would break almost anyone – and yet we live in this world only in our minds and idle chatter. Most of us anyway… its so much easier no?
Most of the time we bury ourselves in the little details of work, home, family, clothes, car, etc, etc.. Shows like Seinfeld show the sillinesses and things we do day-to-day and honestly, it makes one question life.
If you have ever had a chance to see a video sampling I posted on this blog some time ago – The Known Universe by The American Museum of Natural History – then you might gauge where Im going with this.
Forget the universe, look at our own planet – step back and look at the world. Forget who and what you are (if you can) and just try and see humanity and this fragile little blue marble that we live on and depend on to survive every second. Nothing logical justifies easily 80-90% of things I see people do. Religious drama, political games, vendetta’s, ideological differences, class and race distinctions – all these things we pretend we are evolving out of or getting better with.
We have. Progress has been made these last few decades, but look hard and look fairly and you see that there is a lot of it we have yet to even scratch the surface on.. most of what we are today is teetering on an edge, it is a barely maintained and thin skinned facade of growth which given time and space might get stronger and right itself. But today? No, we are this close to tearing it all down..
We all may not choose to go out and change the world hands-on, I dont delude myself that will happen. And I also believe that the world as we know it (and likely for some time to come) will be one of conflict and challenges, continuous but always changing, because it is this conflict that gives rise to evolution and change and prevents stagnation. Sadly the change is not always good but even that has its benefits and drawbacks once the next arises. Call it chance, survival of the fittest or even destiny – your choice – but it exists nonetheless.
What I ask of myself and of you the readers that take the time to read my ramblings is this: be good, dont take life for granted and though you may continue to simply live your life and not be a hero or villain, you need but to look at the world and judge for yourself what little things you can do differently – be it the way you treat others, yourself, your habits, your rigidity or lack thereof. Only you know what you want and you know what? We all get the world we deserve.
Like Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Do every act of your life as if it was your last.”
So ask yourself.
What would like to be remembered for doing? Selfish? Sure – but if you ask me, better a slightly selfish do-gooder who makes a difference then a selfless person doing evil in the name of good. And besides that, ask yourself honestly – am I genuinely, truly happy and satisfied with life when I sit back to think on it? If you answer no, then you need ask yourself why?
I leave this part of the cocktail now with some thoughts from the meditations of the wise Marcus Aurelius, that you might read them and take pause to meditate yourself:
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.“
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.”
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”
“Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them.”
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.“
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.“
And at last we come to the tail end of this zesty little beverage.. It gave you an elegant taste to start with, something to help you leisurely settle back. Next there was a touch of seriousness, a slightly sharp tang with a hint of pathos (at least so I felt at the time of mixing this drink); and now finally as you reach the bottom of the glass, let it leave you with a zesty sweetness, something by which to lighten your mental palate and moving past the serious beginnings of the drink – like the week itself – flow into the happy times that a weekend brings.
I came across these in my web wanderings and stumblings, the first is a funny piece with all the heroines of all those classic Disney movies we grew up with, the other – well you decide. 🙂
50 points and a round of applause to anyone who can identify them all!