“One Night in Bangkok” – video, back story and lyrics

One of my favorite music videos is “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head. The title might raise eyebrows, but it’s not what you think. It is a tale about a world chess tournament in Bangkok and the speaker’s opinion about the location and what goes on outside of the tournament. I am fond of music that tells a story, and this video does it well. (If there are any problems with the video here, just leave a comment and I will do my best to fix it.)

HISTORY / BACK STORY:
The song was originally sung by the British actor and pop-dance singer Murray Head (verses) and Swedish singer and songwriter Anders Glenmark (choruses) on the 1984 concept album for the musical “Chess.” Its music was composed by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn K. Ulvaeus, and its lyrics were written by Tim Rice and Ulvaeus.

In the musical for which it was written, it is sung by the former American champion, who lost the previous year to the Russian. He is now in Bangkok as a TV commentator on (some say the referee for) the tournament between the defending Russian champion and a new Russian contender.

Tim Rice was interviewed about “Chess” and they asked about the location. He replied that he had noticed that other major world competitions were held in either the great capitols of the world or big cultural centers, while world chess tournaments seemed to be set in fairly unfashionable places or, at least on first glance, slightly odd places for events of such importance.

His aim was to contrast highbrow intellectual chess culture with the distinctly lowbrow attractions of Bangkok. Thus the American actor mocks those who only come to Bangkok for the sexploitative nightlife and other mundane attractions, looking down on what goes on, for he is there for the beauty of the game. This is shown by at least one double-entendre about Chess compared to the Bangkok nightlife -“I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.” After all, it does seem a rather unusual place to have such a tournament if you understand that, at the time, chess was seen as a metaphor for the Cold War superpower struggle.

LYRICS:
Bangkok, Oriental setting,
and the city don’t know what the city is getting –
the crème de la crème of the chess world,
in a show with everything but Yul Brynner!

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it.
All change, don’t you know that when you
play at this level, there’s no ordinary venue.

It’s Iceland,
or the Philippines,
or Hastings,
or, or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster,
the bars are temples, but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
and if you’re lucky then the god’s a “she.”
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One town’s very like another
when your head’s down over your pieces, brother.

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity,
to be looking at the board, not looking at the city!

Whaddya mean?!
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…

Tea girls, warm and sweet, (warm, sweet)
some are set up in the Somerset Maugham Suite.

“Get Thai’d!” You’re talking to a tourist
whose every moves are among the purest.
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble;
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

Siam’s gonna be the witness
to the ultimate test of cerebral fitness.
This grips me more than would
a muddy old river or reclining Buddha!

But thank God, I’m only watching the game, controlling it.

I don’t see you guys rating
the kind of mate I’m contemplating.
I’d let you watch, I would invite you,
but the queens we use would not excite you.

So you’d better go back to your bars…
your temples…your massage parlors…

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster.
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free.
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister,
a little flesh, a little history.
I can feel an angel sliding up to me.

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble;
not much between despair and ecstasy.
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble,
can’t be too careful with your company.
I can feel the Devil walking next to me.

========

For anyone who is interested, here is a link to the Musical: Chess, the original recording (audio, not videos, and has more storyline). A different production from the next link.)

This link is to a playlist which is just the music (the Broadway version is different than the original): Chess – Original Broadway Cast

And finally, here is a link to a review of the musical: AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Aeromobil Flying Car Makes A Majestic Lift-Off

Aeromobil Flying Car Makes A Majestic Lift-Off.

Technology is really advancing quite quickly. Here is an actual flying car!

This is an old post, but this is still pretty cool so I am reposting it. This blog post has more pictures and two YouTube videos about it.

aeromobil-3-0-6

 

Online Moon Phase Calendar

Sometimes you just want to know the phase of the moon. Is it waxing (getting larger) or waning (getting smaller)? When will be the full moon exactly? Stop any arguments about whether the moon is full today or not. Or maybe you are planting by the moon and need to keep track of that.

Here is an incredibly cool site with that kind of moon information.

I have created a static image for August 2016 because that image won’t show any other way.

August 2016 moonphase

However, click on the site link and you will see where you can find the moon phase calendar, full moon calendar, and other cool moon information.

Moon Giant website – Today’s moon phase

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Animal road rescues

I am not used to taking pictures of everything I do (my phones have not been particularly “smart” until very recently, in spite of being very technologically savvy – just a rebel), so I missed an opportunity to make this a more interesting post with actual personal shots. I will try to remember in the future, but that omission also had a practical reason, as you will see.

That having been said, it has been unusually dry this year in our part of western New York State (which ordinarily rivals Seattle for cloudiness and rain). Great for sun tanning, I guess, but not so good for animals that live in water.

We recently drove to Medina, NY and on our way back we stopped to rescue (read: remove from the road) two turtles who had left their now-dry creek beds in search of water.

The first was a snapping turtle that only had hard caked mud on its back and not a trace of the usual green moss that grows on them. It was a medium to large-sized one (about a foot in diameter, much like this one) and I quickly went up to it, grabbed its tail and dragged it the rest of the way across the road, which obviously didn’t make it very happy, but better than dying by car. Taking a picture clearly wouldn’t have worked, and my husband is a tech newb.

I didn’t move mine that way. A little to big for this lady to try doing that.

I then tried to goad it into continuing on its way into the brush on that side. This time it was not surprised and had enough energy to tuck in its tail and try to snap at me. Good sign. I hope it found water and didn’t cross back over.

 

The second was a red-eared slider, also coming from the side of the road where the dried up creek was located.

This time I picked it up (it was so dry it didn’t even “wet,” as they usually do) and we drove to where the river was, up a few miles. I wish I could have done that for the snapper, but we don’t drive a pickup truck, which would have been the only way to do that!

Please be careful on the roads this summer. I breaks my heart to see any animal end up as road kill.

 

 

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Geeking out to science music videos!

Arrgghh! Enough politics!

Time to lighten up and have fun with SCIENCE (music videos)! Not boring ones, either.

You don’t even have to pretend to understand, but maybe they’ll impress your friends.

At the very least they will wobble your brain nicely.

So what is your field of battle?

But what are facts if you don’t have love?

Sigh…talk nerdy to me!

Then there’s this…this…whatever. I don’t understand all he’s talking/singing about, but he does it so beautifully! (Maybe he is ze Frenchman?)


Have I blinded you with science?

(Lyrics follow for those who simply MUST know what he is saying – like me)

It’s poetry in motion, she turned her tender eyes to me,
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony.
Mm, but she blinded me with science,                   “She blinded me with science!”
and failed me in biology.

When I’m dancing close to her,                               “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”
I can smell the chemicals.                                         “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”                          “Science!”

Mm, but it’s poetry in motion, and when she turned her eyes to me,
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony.
she blinded me with science,                                   “She blinded me with science!”
and failed me in geometry.

When she’s dancing next to me,                             “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”
I can hear machinery!                                                “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”

It’s poetry in motion! And now she’s making love to me.
The spheres are in commotion; the elements in harmony.
She blinded me with science,                                   “She blinded me with science!”
and hit me with technology.                                     “Good heavens Miss Sakamoto,
.                                                                               you’re beautiful!”

I…I don’t believe it! There she goes again!
She’s tidied up, and I can’t find anything!
All my tubes and wires, and careful notes, and antiquated notions.

But! It’s poetry in motion, and when she turned her eyes to me –
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony
Uh, she blinded me with science,                             “She blinded me with, with science!”
She blinded me with…

Songwriters: THOMAS DOLBY, JONATHAN KERR

.

.

But I can’t resist one last song for all those who have ever wondered “What IS love?”

Video

Mathematical Limerick

I found this outrageous poem and had such a chuckle (whooped and hollered, actually) that I had to share it!

I showed it to my son, for whom math has not been coming easily and has been working on polynomials and quadratic equations this summer in preparation for college. His comment? “I don’t like that. No. I don’t like that.”

Yes, I know, poetry was not meant to be used this way.😉

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The ORIGINAL version of the Serenity Prayer

This famous bit of poetry was first written by the theologian Reinhold Neibuhr. He was a powerful influence on the German Pastor and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Our world is violent and hurting, and people are anxious and angry. Dietrich also lived in a time of great trouble that, in many ways, was worse, but it is easy to lose perspective through our institutionalized ignorance of history. You see, His convictions cost him his life. The Nazis hung him on April 14, 1945, less than a month before the end of the war.  

Many are familiar with this prayer in its shortened form through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), although it has since become popular with many others. However, it is well that we also know it as written, for there is great wisdom there, especially considering its original context.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

jesus-the-good-shepherd

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Math Jokes! (explained)

I’m an odd duck – I find math fascinating (especially weird conceptual stuff), but as for working it out, I don’t quickly “get it.” I managed to mostly get passing grades in middle school because I could figure out “work arounds” (there’s often more than one way to get an answer) but rarely by the method taught. Formula for maths failure in high school. Sigh.

Anyhow, I blame it largely on frequent moves during middle school creating substantial academic discontinuity. I’m also a quirky visual learner, so when math jargon was casually tossed around in a classroom my eyes glazed over and I didn’t try to understand it because by then the teacher had raced on down the road and I knew I wouldn’t catch up. I could have interrupted to ask for a proper explanation, but…I knew how that usually went. Because it would take me a bit longer than others you could almost hear the rolling eyes and suppressed sighs.

On to the point: I love math jokes! Often they are puns (which I adore!), but it’s also a way to learn what I never understood because people are generally more willing to explain these “fun bites.” So here’s a great video with some popular maths jokes “dissected in forensic fashion” from one of my favourite channels.

BTW, for those concerned about my regrettable maths deficit, no fear! I developed an ongoing, multi-layered solution:
1. I grew up. If you like learning, you learn better as you get older.
2. I taught myself the essentials I had missed and needed to know.
3. I bought cool books about fascinating mathematical topics and math shortcuts.
4. I watched “Numbers” obsessively and looked up what they were talking about.
5. When I became a sign language interpreter I learned the “tech signs” for math and suddenly jargon had logical meaning! Hey, it’s not everyone’s solution. If I could make a video it would make sense, but I am not of the “selfie” generation, so making videos of myself seems narcissistic.
6. Then I homeschooled my children and I am now very much better at maths.

The “Woman in the Window”

This isn’t a tale of fiction, or about the 1944 Edward G. Robinson “film noir,” but an explanation of Elizabeth, the woman who watches.

She’s familiar to neighbors, delivery people, the mailman, many who come up our driveway and (especially) the local kids, but they mostly just call her creepy. That’s fair enough because you can usually see her in the window even from across the street. It’s what she does, but not exactly why she came to be here.

We have a two-story, two-car garage, which is our only “attic” since the house has none. Built in the early 1900’s, it once stabled a few horses but was never finished up or downstairs. When we bought our house the garage windows facing the driveway looked sad and naked, so I put up curtains, added silk flowers in vases and, voilà! It looks proper enough from outside that most people think it’s functional space or even an apartment, though I tell all who ask that it’s just storage.

And so I unknowingly set the stage for the entrance of our unplanned “tenant,” the watching woman.

Time passed. One day I wanted to put away a dress form I wasn’t using, so I took it to the attic. I decided to put an old dress on it, and then added a cape, stabilizing its wobbly light wire structure, reducing its chances of being knocked over, and making it look more respectable. I was pleased with the result, and that was that. Then, some months later, it all came to a head.

When my daughter was young a neighbor gave her a beauty school practice head. She had a lovely time with it, but as she grew older she lost interest but still wanted to keep it, so when I took it to the “attic” I affixed it to the form because it seemed the logical place, Elizabeth came into being, and I became a kind of accidental Dr. Frankenstein.

Halloween came around, and on a whim I put her in a window facing the driveway–not so close to the front that she was completely obvious, but not too far back because most people don’t look up often. The effect was pretty much what I had hoped – she startled some and alarmed others. Even when they came up close and I explained her, she was still disturbing.

Part of the effect is the dark blue eye shadow that enhances her large eyes. Light and shadows of the passing day also change how well you see her. Then we have a solar-cell spotlight inside the window that shines up at her at night (it’s the only place we could physically put it), so the shadows cast look very spooky!

(If your computer can play it, set the video’s resolution to HD 1080)

Halloween came and went, and she was left to watch people come and go. However, time and familiarity hasn’t tempered her unsettling influence. In fact, in the last two weeks four people have mentioned her to me with nervous laughs as they glance furtively at her window.

Elizabeth’s debut was gratifying, but I never intended to make our neighbors wonder about us; I just didn’t move her because I got busy. But her continued presence provided unexpected benefits we didn’t want to give up. We have a security system, but that won’t prevent kids (and some adults!) from running up our drive, cutting through our yard and hopping the fence to get to the private street that abuts our back fence. Most of the time stopping them and politely asking them not to do that kept things fairly well in check, but you can’t very well sit in the drive all day! After she took up residence (so to speak) I pointed her out to some of the local boys and how it looked like she was “watching them.” The word got around, and shortcuts dropped dramatically!

I could share amusing stories about people’s reactions, but one was particularly dramatic. One evening our daughter rode home with a friend. They pulled up the drive, she got out, and as she walked in front of the car to the door her friend looked up, noticed Elizabeth in the window behind her, and screamed! My daughter says she doesn’t remember the specifics beyond that since “a lot of people…are scared of her,” but that one was most memorable.

A neighbor suggested putting up a second sign, next to the ADT sign, saying “Watch for Elizabeth, she’s always there,” but that could be a bit heavy-handed, so our “creepy” tenant is now a part of our security system.

You know, if it weren’t for her, I would mount our bat house on the wall facing the drive. It’s not only the best side for mosquito control, but also because it gets the hot afternoon sun that brown bats like. It’s true!

But…then we might have fewer guests, and the newspaper man might refuse to deliver to our door, so for the time being she retains the exclusive status of being our most interesting, if rather unsettling, topic of conversation.

She’s really not that bad. Come visit sometime and I will introduce you.

(Am I enjoying all this just a little too much?)

Creative Sentencing reduces recidivism dramatically

Our legal system has problems, and a lot of it is aggravated by by-the-book, one-size-fits-all sentencing that doesn’t take individuals into consideration rather than having the courage to take the time to come up with common sense, individualized sentences that are more effective than just putting people in jail willy-nilly. This judge is one of my favorites.

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