History and Science Music Vids – Egypt

I really do love what historyteachers have done, combining pop music, fun videos on youTube, and educational information on historical and scientific topics. This is an awesome way to teach and get involvement from students. Besides these are just simply awesome.

Today’s topic:  Historical Egypt


Usual Disclaimer:  As usual, I did not make these I just found them.

Oscars 2015 Ceremony and Wrap Up

I watched the OSCARs last night – all of it, from 8:00 pm to 12:09pm (EST). It’s sad when you get to the last couple of awards and all you’re thinking is, “Is it over yet? I want to sleep!”

This year’s OSCARs seemed almost a throwback to the infamous 1970s OSCARs when political speeches dominated the acceptance speeches. However, I felt that it was nice, or at least, different, to see some thought-provoking references to topics as diverse as:  Women’s Rights (specifically equal pay); racism – how far we’ve come, yet how far we still need to go; teen suicide; Alzheimer’s disease; ALS; and as always the importance of allowing creative people to be creative and achieve their dreams (or at least to stop crushing those who try).

I also watched the Red Carpet preview – which was as annoying as usual. But I thought this was interesting – Lady Gaga, looking very much like a member of DC Comics Royal Flush Gang:


Speaking of, OMG – after teasing us all night that she was going to perform, her Sound of Music Tribute was brilliant! In short, Lady Gaga nailed it – proving for once and for all – that gal can sing!

But it was a night for good music – from Neil Patrick Harris’s opening song and dance tribute to film, (nearly spoiled by Jeff Black’s scripted interruption, which was not funny – at all,) to the fun and bouncy live performance of “Everything is Awesome” and the very moving performance of “Glory”, which literally had audience members in tears, and, of course, Lady Gaga’s performance – it was a great night for music.  That it was supposed to be a night dedicated to film seemed to slip the minds of whoever wrote the show (because, yes, such awards shows are scripted.)

Neil Patrick Harris did a good job hosting, though having him come out in only his underwear on film’s biggest night, in front of all his more powerful, and no doubt much richer colleagues, in a word, sucked. It felt like one of those teen dreams you always hear people talk about, where the person shows up to school or a job interview naked. It was just wrong. I was embarrassed for Neil Patrick Harris, I didn’t find it funny at all, it was cruel, and it went against what turned out to be a theme for the night – the triumph of the little guy against all odds. Which is it Hollywood – encourage the “weird kids” who dream big? Or act like the popular kids who bully and tease and make the lives of the “weird kids” miserable?

Next, let’s talk about Patricia Arquette. During her OSCARs speech she talked about wage equality for women. You go girl! It was awesome! Cynics are already criticizing her brave move, pointing to the high wages of the entertainment industry. However, First, she wasn’t specifically talking about her industry – her comment was about all women – no matter what they do. Second, women are notoriously underpaid in Hollywood and in the American Entertainment Industry, especially when compared to their male counterpoints. When George Clooney demanded and got $1 million dollars an episode for E/R, Julianna Marguies asked for a raise. Not only did she not get the raise, she was fired for “causing trouble”. And actors, working actors, do not make as much money as you think they do. Sure, A-list Hollywood superstars get million dollar contracts, but the guy playing “storm trooper #3” or “woman in crowd”? They’re not pulling down multi-million dollar contracts. And all actors do contract work – 4-6 months on any given movie is the norm. My guess is you don’t get a 401k when you only work for six months at a time. One of the reasons many established actors (male and female) go into television late in their careers is they can pull down a decent wage, the hours are better and more predictable, and the stream of money coming in is also predictable – something that’s necessary for future planning.

But anyway, enough ranting. This year’s OSCAR’s saw several films bringing home the gold, rather than a clean sweep by any one film – a result I usually think is more fair, and more realistic in honoring the creative talent of film. Films that won awards included:  The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, and Whiplash. Eddie Redmayne won best actor. Sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch. I saw both films, and they were both excellent. I actually think it was in some ways a pity that they came out during the same year, and competed against each other at the OSCARs – because both deserved the win.

Here’s the full list of winners:  2015 Oscar Winners, from The Guardian – Film.

Inventive Fan Re-Interpretations of the Sherlock Theme


I found this blog post yesterday – and I was astounded at the creativity and musical artistry of these videos – compiled into a BBCA Anglophenia blog post.  Click the link above to listen.  The Merlin crossover is probably my favorite, but I also really like the Indian version and the version played on bells.  Take a listen!

Birds of Prey – from Batman: The Brave and the Bold

This vid is a little different from the music videos I normally post on my blog.  Normally, I concentrate on videos that show the remarkable creativity of fans and today’s young people.  When I find something that I really like, that is positive, I pass it along for others to enjoy.

This vid is actually a clip from the Warner Brothers animated series, Batman:  The Brave and the Bold, which is one of the few Batman animated shows that I haven’t seen in it’s entirety nor do I own it on DVD.  I’ve seen a few episodes here and there, but not the entire series.  However, a friend clued me in to this musical scene, and since I love it – I thought I’d share.  Enjoy!

Copyright is of course to Warner Brothers, Warner Brothers animation, and Bob Kane.  I’m not making any profit from this, and copyright law now allows for the use of short clips for educational purposes.

If you are wondering who the Birds of Prey are, Birds of Prey was a comic book published by DC Comics, which featured several female DC heroes.  There also was a short-lived, live action series called Birds of Prey, which I have seen and really enjoyed.  The live action version featured Barbara Gordon, once Batgirl, now a paralyzed librarian by day and Oracle by night – the information source for the entire DC universe of heroes; Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary, the hero originally from the book Green Arrow who had the superpower of a sonic scream; and Huntress the daughter of Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Bruce Wayne (Batman).

Disney’s Let It Go from Frozen, According to Google Translate

Usual Disclaimer:  I didn’t make it, just found it.

I really love this video, but for more than one reason. I like Malinda’s voice – and she also performs the song well, especially considering it’s mostly nonsense lyrics, which I would presume is much harder to do. The result of the Google Translate experiment is also pretty funny, especially considering it manages to actually reverse the meaning of the song’s chorus. And, the new lyrics tend to stick in one’s head.

But there is also a much more serious side to the Google Translate series of which most people are probably not aware.  I have an academic background in anthropological linguistics, having studied it in both under-grad and grad school, as well as reading various books on linguistics from several disciplines and even watching video courses on the subject.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, not by a long shot, but I know more about the study of language than your average person.  This series of music videos illustrates, precisely and in an easy-to-grasp and humorous way, the problem with machine translation.  Machine (that is by computer) translation is often very inaccurate, especially with figurative language or language that contains a lot of slang and argot.  Machine language translates, literally, by single words.  Sometimes it might use a phrase, but it’s mostly by words – and it should be obvious that words can often have different meanings.  In conversation, native speakers will automatically pick-up on the meaning of a word by context and pronunciation/intonation.  A native speaker knows the difference between the sentences, “Attention, class, read chapter two for tomorrow,” and “Yes, I have read Oliver Twist.”  However, someone who is learning English might be confused by those two sentences, especially initially.  And in machine translation, the machine can’t tell the difference, and might choose the wrong tense when translating into another language.  This is compounded when several layers of translation are used – because each layer builds on assumptions of the previous layer.

However, machine, computerized, or automatic translation aren’t the only cases where translations are messed-up.  People also make mistakes in translation. Sometimes because they are working with written records that are very difficult to read. Sometimes because the meanings of words have changed. Sometimes because political views make one translation more desirable than another one. Sometimes out of laziness. And sometimes simply by mistake – no one is perfect, not now, and not in the past.

And, as anyone who has ever studied a foreign language knows – it can be literally impossible to translate certain words from language A to language B if language B doesn’t have that word.  A good translator will actually both use the word from, say, Japanese, or Russian, then describe it’s meaning in a series of words in English.  All languages world-wide are unique, and almost always contain words that are unique to that language.

Brilliant Alfred and Bruce vid for Gotham

Didn’t make it, just found it – but this is just brilliant music vid really gets to the core of the Bruce and Alfred relationship.  I’ve always loved the father-son relationship between Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne, as guarded as it is at times.  This vid, for the excellent new show, Gotham, really illustrates that relationship.