Eighty-Seven Years of Brilliance

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The world lost a literary giant Thursday as Columbian-born Gabriel García Márquez, possibly the greatest Latin American author who ever lived, died at the age of 87.

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, García Márquez was considered by many to be the creator of the genre known as “Magical Realism,” though he never made any claim as such. His One Hundred Years of Solitude, first published in 1967, is one of my favorite books ever and was described by novelist William Kennedy in a 1970 National Observer review as:

…the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race.

 

The Magical Realism of Solitude combines facets of Latin American history and mythology, taking the reader on a veritable out-of-body experience in which dreams and ghosts come to life, inanimate objects become holy relics, and the impossible seems practically mundane. He created living, breathing entities through his writing. Love in the Time of Cholera was another popular García Márquez novel and The General in His Labyrinth is also one of my favorites.

I consider him to be one of my heroes, the kind of man you regret never having met face to face. RIP.

Happy Opening Day 2014, MLB Fans!

YADICOVERMost of my writing these days is over at BleedinBlue.com where I wax poetic on the trials and tribulations of the St. Louis Blues. This year there have been fewer tribulations and a lot of success, and the playoffs are only 2 weeks away. Today is Opening Day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season for the St. Louis Cardinals who are picked by most to win the Central Division. Some even think they’ll go all the way to the World Series again.

There have been three MLB games already played, all involving the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team I loathe and for whom I wish nothing but failure and misery. Today is the real Opening Day, and the Cards are in Cincinnati for a three game series against another team worthy of intense hatred and disgust, the Reds. They’re thugs and punks and will no doubt cry, “Woe is me!” when the Cards whoop their ass this week due to a myriad of big names starting the season for the Reds on the Disabled List.

While you’re waiting for the game to start, an afternoon affair that begins at 3:10 St. Louis time, go read a very good article on the Cardinals from Sports Illustrated’s by Ben Reiter. The article is on his blog, and talks about the wealth of depth that makes St. Louis a perennial contender. Ben also has the cover story for the March 31 issue, a wonderful piece on Cardinals MVP Yadier Molina. Go get it from your local newstand, it’s good stuff.

 

3 Years Already?

Apparently, I registered and started blogging with WordPress 3 years ago today. Feels like it’s been longer. 

I had every intention of writing more this year, and that could still happen, but so far, not so much. I write often for BleedinBlue.com, a St. Louis Blues Hockey site sponsored by Fansided.com, but that’s only Blues stuff. It’s definitely a passion of mine, but personal writing has taken a backseat to the NHL and Real Life for now.

I’ve read great books I could rave aboutImage. The Martian, by Alan Weir, his 1st novel, was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever read.

I’ve seen movies I could share opinions on. Gravity, for example, was visually stunning and very intense, but I didn’t really care for the story, thought it was too cheesy in places, and really hated the ending. I’m glad Bullock didn’t win Best Actress, it was far from Oscar worthy.

I’ve listened to a LOT of new music, one of the best albums being Broken Bells – After the Disco Image

I’ve been to restaurants I could rave about, places like J. Greene’s Pub and Sushi Bistro in Kirkwood. Get the fish sandwich and a Civil Life Brown at the Pub and try the Fuji Roll at the Bistro.

Those are the kinds of things I like to write about because I enjoy sharing my opinion, but I still have fiction to write, it’s in my head, I just haven’t made time to write any lately. Thanks to all who follow along and especially to those who engage with or share what I have to say here. Here’s to (at least) 3 more years!

Sizing Up The Cardinals in The Spring

Sean J:

Dan always has some level-headed things to say about the Cardinals and this post is no different. I have to say I agree with just about everything he says here, possibly excepting the Matt Carpenter deal BUT I don’t think it’s terrible, just seems like a really long deal for a guy who has had one great season.

Sure, we can expect him to be consistent, and his ability to stay healthier than Alan Craig is an important distinction between the two core members of this dynastic team.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dan, and I’ll echo your sentiment that I sure hope people can reel in their emotions during Spring games. Give it a few more weeks before you start thinking the sky is falling on the Cards- what? You all know you’ll be thinking that the first time they lose a game ;)

Originally posted on Dose of Buffa:

Good morning folks,

Fresh off work and a hit and run with the gym, I wanted to take the chance to talk about the Cards today. While I officially cover the Cards for Sports Rants and do most of workCardinals_Spring_Base_inev_________t607 there, I wanted to take a detour and present to you a bullet round that covers the recent actions of the team. Things to remember, a fresh take on certain players and maybe a few surprises.

  • Stop worrying about Oscar Taveras’ health. Sure, the kid can’t stay healthy and is showing more signs of becoming the next J.D. Drew than the second coming of Albert Pujols but it’s still early. He hasn’t played a major league game yet and deep down, the Cards aren’t counting on him to contribute a ton this season.  They didn’t trade Matt Adams for a reason and traded for Bourjos. Insurance for the plight of…

View original 1,172 more words

Be more Human

By now many of you and much of the entire planet are familiar with the TEDx series, talks given in various forums addressing various topics, all in the spirit of  sharing “ideas worth spreading.” 

A good friend of mine, Eliot Frick, recently spoke at a TEDx event here in St. Louis and he was amazing. His topic was the humanization of business, and if you’re an employer, employee, a leader of people, or even simply a person interested in creating a better future for humanity, I highly recommend you make 20 minutes of free time to watch this video.

I’ve known Eliot since high school, and while I’ve always known him to be brilliant, his success as an entrepreneur here in St. Louis has been a pleasure to watch. In 2004 he started bigwidesky, a marketing company that has evolved into so much more. I count myself lucky that I’ve had many occasion to sit and just talk with him over the years about topics such as Artificial Intelligence, String Theory, philosophy, music and quantum physics. Authors such as Brian Greene, David Foster WallaceDouglas HofstadterRay Kurzweil and Michio Kaku are on my bookshelves because of Eliot.

He doesn’t know I’ve written this today and my intention is not to inflate his ego, put him on a pedestal or spout saccharine platitudes. He certainly deserves the praise he’s received for the work he’s done but he’s not done it alone and he’d tell you the same thing, that he’s had plenty of help along the way. This post today was simply intended to share his message, which I find profoundly inspiring. I hope you do too.

 

Which one is Pink?

I’ve been in a music listening frenzy lately, following the release (and my discovery, which is usually much later than the actual release) of Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 Best Albums of 2013. The #1 was, incidentally, Vampire Weekend’s ‘Modern Vampires of the City,’ which I think is a fantastic album.

I made it a point to listen to as many of them as I could and discovered a plethora of new ear-candy, new to me anyway. I love music and I love lists, so this was a little slice of heaven for me. It definitely played a part in my creation of the soundtrack I mentioned in my last post, the one that I can hear accompanying my unwritten screenplay. That music in turn prompted me to sift through my own collection of music which brings me to today’s topic. My favorite band of all-time, hands-down: Pink Floyd.

I’m 41, I didn’t grow up listening to Floyd, per se, though I did experience a LOT of music from the 1960′s & ’70′s as a kid thanks to my dad, who at one time possessed an enormous collection of vinyl stretching across about 4-decades of music, mostly Rock-n-Roll, but generously peppered with all genres. I remember him playing albums in the house, often downstairs when he and his buddies would get together to shoot pool and hang out, something I was lucky enough to repeat when I was in high school.

I don’t think he played them overly much but something about Pink Floyd stuck with me and once I hit my late teens and then later in college, their music became my go-to, chill-out standard. I’ve listened to and own most of their albums, the ones that’ve been remastered onto CD’s anyway, from the early Syd Barrett days of The Piper at the Gates of Dawnthrough the addition of David Gilmour, the rift with and departure of Roger Waters, all the way to The Division Bell, their last studio album, released in 1994.

My favorite period of Floyd music came from around the time I was born, the early 1970′s. I never was enamored of the heavy-psychedelics of their earlier works, though I’ve certainly indulged in that sort of entertainment, ahem, but that’s probably for another story. Maybe it’s why my dreams are always in color? Kidding, digression. Listening to Floyd last night made me ask myself about the “best” of all their albums, and while it’s a close call, my post today is to voice my opinion that the best, most definitive Pink Floyd album, the one I would play for someone who’d (gasp!) never heard them before, would be Wish You Were Here.

Wish was the follow-up to what might actually be my favorite Floyd album, Dark Side of the Moon. The two could very easily be interchanged in my personal 1-2 classification here, and probably will be depending on which I’ve most recently listened to. Wish happens to be what’s playing in the car right now, so I’m rather high on it. Figure of speech, but who wouldn’t want to be actually high and listening to it in the comfort of their own home, am I right?

The rolling, spine-tingling, goose-bump generating ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond‘ is the highlight of the album, framing the middle tracks perfectly in a tribute to Syd, creating a full composition of sound, much like Dark Side did, rather than simply a playlist of songs. That’s something that we lost from music, to a degree, with the advent of digital distribution, whether on CD or via the internet.

Single’s dominate downloads, and I know I have TONS of CDs that I bought because of one, maybe two songs, but the rest are always skipped through. I had a very brief moment with vinyl, but the idea of stories being told through an album is very appealing to me. Consider classics like The Who’s Tommy, or even contemporary releases such as Wincing the Night Away by The Shins.

There wasn’t any deep underlying purpose to this post, other than to share some of my favorite music with anyone who comes along to read it. Seriously, if you’re not familiar with Pink Floyd, give either of those two albums a listen, and let me know what you think. Totally disagree with me about the “best” of their work? Let me know in the comments below what your choice would be and why. Thanks again for reading.

A beginning in an ending

I’ve been trying out Spotify Premium on a free trial and I think I really like it. Last night I was browsing playlists friends have made and I already know at least one I want to post myself some time this week. I made a soundtrack for a movie that I’ve not yet written. The inspiration came to me in a dream, quite vividly, though it was months ago. I wrote down a bunch of notes so I would remember the basis of the story, and it’s going to be something I will work on in the New Year, either as a novel or a screenplay. But at least the music for it is done :P

Have you seen the movie Sin City? My dream had that sort of Gothic, Noir quality to it, but not exactly the same art style- it was more live action that animation- and it wasn’t black & white, I usually dream in color, but the colors were weirdly muted, almost waxy. There were puddles of what I assumed were rainwater on the roof of a building that looked so black they might’ve been tar or something.

The major players in my dream, outside of myself of course, were some kind of gangsters most resembling the Japanese Yakuza. Can I get in trouble for mentioning them? Am I on a hit list now? No one in the dream but me had actual facial features, so it’s not like I was astrally ratting anyone out. Everyone was dressed impeccably in extremely tailored, dark suits, and yes, there were swords of various types, and probably guns, I’m not 100% certain. I don’t have my notes with me as I write this.

This is more to motivate myself to work on this project, having an actual beginning of the process, than to notify anyone about it, though I know at least 1-2 actual people read this blog whenever I post something, lol. I’ll post more details about where I’m heading with it and as always I welcome feedback and your opinions, dear readers. Perhaps it will end up as some sort of collaborative effort, who knows? This is only a beginning, on a day of endings. Last day of December, last day of the 4th Quarter, last day of 2013.