July 22, 2012

A Magical Moment - July 21

Songwriter and singer Laleh Pourkarim


















Yesterday I had a magical moment. I had gone with some friends for a walk along the coast in the sunshine, and at the end of our long walk we took the boat, rather exhausted, to Oslo to have dinner. As we arrived at the dock in Oslo, I could see the gigantic stage rigged in front of the city hall for the memorial concert this evening.Today it is one year since a young Norwegian man blew up the government building in central Oslo (killing 8) before he proceeded to the island of Ut√łya to kill 69 people, most of them teenagers. All in the name of anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism and anti-feminist ideology.

Back to my magic moment. The stage was already rigged and there were large screens next to the stage, for projecting the concert to those standing far away, as around 100 000 people are expected to crowd the little square in front of the city hall this evening. But yesterday, there were hardly any people around. Almost like the silence before the storm. I was sitting down with my tired legs, waiting for a delayed tram. That's when the music came - a very soft orchestra started playing, and soon there was a delicate female voice:

I will tell your story if you die
I will tell your story and keep you alive
The best I can
I will tell it to the children
If we have some, if we have some
But I've always felt a feeling we would die young
Some die young
Some die young ....


I thought it was a recorded song being played to test the speakers, but I suddenly realized a woman on the large screens projecting from the stage. A delicate, exceptionally beautiful woman, with the gentle evening sun making her hair sparkle. She was singing her song Some Die Young. I figured it was a test song the day before the real concert. I was mesmerized.

Later I found out that it was Laleh - the young Swedish (born to Iranian parents) singer and songwriter. I would like to share the song with you - actually two versions of it; one where she is singing on an open air stage in Sweden and then a version where she is singing live on a Norwegian tv-program. And finally I will provide you with the lyrics.

When I see and hear her sing, I feel hopeful for the world.







Here I sneak in a fresh video. The memorial concert is just finished, and some lovely person has already posted Laleh's performance on Youtube, so here you can see Laleh singing at the July 22th memorial concert:


Some Die Young
Lyrics
by Laleh

I will tell your story if you die
I will tell your story and keep you alive the best I can
I will tell them to the children
If we have some, if we have some
But I've always felt a feeling we would die young
Some die young
Some die young


Some die, some die young
But you better hold on
So many things I need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together
Some die young


I will tell your story if you die
I will tell your story and keep you alive the best I can
I will tell them to the children
If we have some, if we have some
But I've always felt a feeling we would die young
Some die young
Some die young

Some, some die young
But you better hold on
So many things I need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together

Some die young
But you better hold on
So many things I need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together
Some die young

I will tell your story if you try
but how long will your thoughts
of valleys stay green
when the world you were born in
changes with seasons
Will you run with the stream, will you run along
or will you run against and finally reveal
Why some die young
Why some die young
Why some die

Some die young
But you better hold on
So many things I need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together


Some die young
but you better hold on
So many things i need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together
Some die young

But you better hold on
So many things i need to say to you
Please don't, don't let me go
and we said we would die together
Some die young


Some die young

She walks with her head in the sand
They will never die

Some die young



March 25, 2012

The Movie of the Year - the Artist

George Valentin - a man with an edible heart























Oh, wow.

I saw a movie a few weeks back with Senior S and Junior S. Let me tell you: It blew my heart (I think it is possible not only to blow one's mind, but also one's heart).

Senior was a bit skeptical. He prefers soft action movies or romantic comedies. Junior and I had to convince him that it was worthwhile. Why was he hesitant? Because it was a silent movie, and it made him think about Charlie Chaplin and he wasn't in the mood for a modern day Charlie Chaplin movie. A silent movie. Yes, Sir. Some ingenious director (read: Michel Hazanavicius) came up with the idea to make a silent movie again. And he did it to boot.

The product is The Artist, the movie that swept the Oscars a couple of weeks back. Although the movie is French, the setting is Hollywood between 1927 and 1932, at the time when the movie industry was transitioning into "talkies", or movies with sound. The hero of the movie, George Valentin, is the heart throb of the silent movie industry before he is plunged into irrelevance by the emerging "talkies". The movie depicts the fall and rise of this artist. And of course there is a touching love story that will melt a stone's heart.

It was a strange feeling as the movie began. There was only music, filled with emotions, twisting and moving with the story. And the odd title card, that would flash on the screen when a snippet of a dialogue was deemed important, such as:

Go and buy a piece of jewelry for my wife.  A nice piece, to make it up to her.
 or 
We belong to another age, you and I, George. Nowadays, the world talks.


(Oh, I love it!)


I was entranced. The faces and the bodies of the actors took on a new dimension. I don't know how to describe it, but this movie awoke a greater range of emotions in me than most other movies I have seen. And it was so blissfully wordless. A perfect anti-dote to modern day life. Not that I am against modern life. But I want a new kind of modern life - with more silence and dance and....men like George Valentin. Perhaps that is what I want most - more men like George Valentin. There is a saying in Hungarian that goes something like this: You're heart is so tender, I feel like eating it. Georg Valentin, acted superbly by Jean Dujardin (France's crushing answer to George Clooney), has an edible heart.


Valentin contemplating his fall from greatness

Seeing Peppy for the first time

Smiling to Peppy






George and Peppy


The next day I phoned another group of friends and urged them to see it. So it was a good excuse to see it again - with them. I think I will see it several times, like Slumdog Millionaire, and Good Will Hunting, and The King's Speech, and O, brother, where art thou, and Moulin Rouge, and Chicago, and The English Patient and....that's enough for now. 


I finally located my favorite scene of the movie on Youtube. It is the scene where George Valentin falls in love with Peppy. It is called Peppy's Waltz.




I will add two more bonus tracks here at the bottom; the movie trailer and Jean Dujardin's acceptance speech at the Oscar:




And here is the link to Dujardin's acceptance speech when he received the Oscar for best actor. I have never before seen such an excited winner.

P.S. 


I think it is interesting to watch the comments under the trailer of The Artist in the Youtube comment field. It is fascinating to see how some people are very upset that this movie won the Oscar award for the best movie, calling it by shameful names. I have not understood if it is Americans irate over the fact that the movie is a French production (maybe they still have Dominique Strauss-Kahn's naked butt fresh in mind), or if it is because they can't handle the silence - it might simply be too loud for them.

A funny analogy fell into my head. In the beginning when I stopped eating meat, it happened quite often that some individuals became aggressive upon hearing my preference, as if going vegetarian (or vegan) was an act of war against them. Now I wonder if these nasty commentators might be offended by the vegetarian version of movies - they can't handle a movie meal without meat! Ha, ha!


That was a rather clever observation, she said self-congratulatory....

March 7, 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer and Animals

I remember almost falling into a trance when I read the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. To my great delight, the book has just been released as a movie this year. He has since written other books, one of which is the important On Eating Animals.

I came across this video with this wonderful conversation with Jonathan Safran Foer talking about On Eating Animals. Please enjoy!

February 29, 2012

Dr. T. Colin Campbell - the Father of Modern Nutrition



This is yet another follow-up to my wish for a healthy year for everybody. Below you will find a lecture by the father of the China Study - and thus - of Modern Nutrition, Dr. T. Colin Campbell. Although it was taped a few years back, never mind - this is how long it takes for good messages to get around! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I have also found a great nutrition information site - please have a look at Dr. Greger who runs through the latest, top research in a very easy and informative way - the site is: www.nutritionfacts.org

And at the very end I have found a beautiful video for how to make nut milk - delicious stuff! I came across it on this blog: http://toyourhealthnutrition.blogspot.com

Ok - here he is: Dr. Campbell - introduced by Dr. Lisle.





And here is the nut milk video:

February 26, 2012

A Delicate Balance



As a follow-up to my last post, here is a really good documentary movie  - A Delicate Balance - about our eating habits and the health of our bodies and well as the planet.

I am embedding the trailer below - to see the full one-hour movie, click here and follow the instructions to watch the movie.

February 18, 2012

To a Healthy New Year!



I have been absent. I apologize, dear readers. I have been busy with two things. Most importantly, I have finished writing my book Asian Tales. It is my first book. Unfortunately it is strictly personal - so it won't be offered in any bookstore near you. It is only for friends and family whom I write about in the book. [If you feel like you might be one of my friends or family members included in the book, please contact me for a free copy! :-)] But one day, perhaps, one day- another book will come. At any rate, I finished a book, so I feel good!

Secondly, I have been consumed by health literature. During my visits to the United States the last few years, I almost stopped being appalled by the horrible diets that most Americans consume. The funny thing is that it has a very appropriate terminology: the SAD diet - the Standard American Diet. This indicates that it is a diet full of meat, diary products, eggs, sugar, white flour and processed foods - including junk food (read: McDonald's).  Last fall I was in Washington D.C., and as I sat on my motel bed one Saturday night, CNN's health specialist Dr. Sanjay Gupta ran a program called: The Last Heart Attack - you can click here to see the full program. The program is focused on a plant-based diet as the best cure and prevention for heart disease.

Bill Clinton is a prominent guest on the program. After undergoing two heart surgeries he decided to go vegan and now only eats things without a face or a mother. This lifestyle change gave him back his health and Clinton is now more than anything a health missionary. Of course I was intrigued, as a vegetarian. I didn't become a vegetarian for health reasons, but for reasons of animal welfare. I picked up two of the books referred to in the program - How to Prevent and Reverse Heart-Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. The latter is a mind blowing book for several reasons. First of all, it is the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition - running over 20 years and including 6,500 people from 65 counties in China. The most important conclusion was that people who eat least animal protein (this includes diary products) are least likely to suffer from chronic diseases and those with high animal protein intake suffer most disease. In fact, the study goes so far as to show that animal protein - especially milk protein - is a powerful carcinogenic.

Another reason why the book is mind blowing is that it exposes the powerful roles that the meat, dairy and pharmaceutical industries play in misinforming or actively working against public health efforts. I recommend this book for any informed citizen - to get a taste, here is the link to the book's introduction.

This year I celebrate 20 years as a vegetarian. It was in 1992 that I took a moral philosophy class in college and read Peter Singer's book Animal Liberation. After that, it was impossible for me to eat meat - I was instantly persuaded by his arguments: Animals have rights because they have the ability to feel pain. We are plain wrong, morally, when we inflict pain on animals (which we mostly always do) simply because we like the taste of meat.
It was also through reading Singer's book that I became aware of the horrible factory farming practices of the meat, diary and egg industry. I highly recommend the movie Earthlings to learn more about how animals are abused in our current modern economy. If you do indeed watch it, I suspect your life will not be quite the same again. For me it was a book that made me aware, but other people need some more graphic material. Here is the link to the full movie.

Finally, I would like to end with the words of one of my new found heroes, Dr Steven Best. He is a social rights and animal activist as well as a professor of philosophy and author. In the very end of this 10 minute video you will see below, he concludes:

"I'm sick of hearing that we all belong to one race - the human race - it's so pathetically inadequate to understand our fundamental connections on this planet. We belong to one community - the community of living subjects. In order to be an honorable and responsible member of that community we need to harmonise our existence with that of other life forms around us. We need to dismantle speciesism, anthropocentrism, and patriarchy and the models of the 17th century that are behind the illicit and exploitative and misinformed uses of science, and our capitalist economy that has been devouring all living things for its obsessive growth imperative. (...) Our world will never heal, we will never heal this crisis - this sickness in our soul - until we fundamentally redefine our relationships with animals."

Amen. Thank you, Dr. Best.

(For more about Dr. Best, see his website and blog)