Shakira

Believe or not before she became an international sensation, Shakira's song lyrics were very politically incorrect. There is a very deep thinker and a skilled business woman behind her sexy light public persona. On this post, I want to shed some light on her earlier songs and the evolution of her entire body of work. Her upbringing combined with the passionate nature of the Latin culture made for a very diverse and broad creative output. Shakira has used her songs to make controversial statements regarding corruption in Medellin, and at times, describe in great detail the emotional turmoil of relationships that were never meant to be. Click on the title to read the full review and see my top picks.

How Food Heals or Harms Your Body, Aging and Mental Health w/Dr. Mark Hyma‪n‬ EP 1075 • 1 hr 52 min

Published February 22, 2021 “Meaning and purpose are predictive of longevity.” Today's guest is Dr. Mark Hyman, who has been on the podcast a few times and every episode has been extremely powerful. Mark is a practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine. In... Continue Reading →

Russian Doll- (2019)

The plot centers around Nadia, who seems like a typical New Yorker, working as a software developer, and living a life of excess. It's her 36th birthday, and while it would be normal for her to feel happy that her friends are throwing her a party, she seems quite disengaged. Something is not right from the beginning. Nadia starts off the night by bailing from her own party to spend the night with a stranger, only to end up dying... again and again. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Art of Happiness (His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler)

This book makes an important distinction between happiness and joy indicating that the latter creates a more positive state of mind than the former. This is the example used by his holiness: "The feeling of happiness is similar to a high, that can be felt during an event or when achieving a specific goal that we are pursuing, and therefore, happiness can feel like it is constantly eluding us. Thus the search for happiness can lead to long periods of resentment, frustration and low self esteem." Click on the title to read the full review.

Big Fish (2003)

This is another one of Tim Burton's masterpieces. I really appreciate his eye for detail and the way he invites viewers to immerse themselves into his vision. The cinematography in this movie has magical qualities. I found myself thinking about metaphorical imagery used by Tim Burton to depict how our recollection of personal experiences seem to morph as we revisit relationships and situations during different life stages. Heightened or diminished senses can play tricks on us, leading us to think that the world has changed around us, when in fact, it us and our perception of things that has changed. Suddenly, someone who was seen as a warm and caring character can become a cold hearted ogre when the bond is broken or the contact diminished. Click on the title to read the full review.

Intimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other. Insights for a new way of living (Osho)

This book is an invitation to dig deeper into the self and find out who you really are in order to create synchronicity between thought and action, inviting others to truly connect with us. When we wear masks we create dysfunction in our internal mechanism, so that when we want to smile it becomes forced, and when we truly want to love, we have forgotten how or what it means. When we fail to embrace the less perfect side of ourselves that has been forgotten and shamed, the stronger that side becomes and takes control of our actions forming a life of its own. Click on the title to read the full review.

Joker (2019)

This movie introduces a political dimension to the character of the Joker. In a way, he represents the underdog, those who have been forgotten by society and politicians. The feeling of disenfranchisement is the binding element between the audience and the character. Poverty hits Arthur and his family in many ways and it seems to be partly responsible for his descend into madness. Resentment begins to built up and it drives him mad. So he resorts to living in a world of fantasy, where he can escape the unbearable pain that he is experiencing. The script describes a step by step journey from mild disability into severe mental illness when someone lacks support. Click on the title to read the full review.

Kick Ass (2010)

Before I proceed, I must warn you that this review contains some spoilers. I absolutely loved this movie because it was unexpectedly funny, dynamic and surprisingly good. The story centers around Dave, a regular dorky comic book geek turned superhero. Dave is a high school student whose only super power is being invisible to girls. Part of his charm is that he is such a relatable character. While the plot seem to be about Dave and his journey into trying to become a superhero, the movie is really about 'Hit Girl.' Who happens to be one of the strongest female superhero character I have seen in a long time. This movie does a great job showing some serious girl power. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Police

This band is loaded with shy playfulness and layers of metaphors. Over time I also noticed that each album represented a different growth stage for Sting. He walks us from his lonely, insecure and jealous streak, all the way to his solo song "If you love somebody set them free." I really appreciate how he can paint a detailed picture with the lyrics. Click on the title to read the full review.

Big Mouth (2017-2020)

This show looks like a teenager sex ed animated comedy. However, the writing is peppered with layers of complexity. It has quickly grown to be one of my favorite shows on Netflix. While I agree with my friend's assessment that the show is "Sex Positive," I also think that is a lot more than that, sort of overall emotion positive. Somehow, the writers managed to sneak in the topic of mental illnesses and even politics into the story while making us laugh and reflect about our own hang ups. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Producers (1967- Original)

This film was Mel Brook's first movie, which was ironically sort of a flop when released, forgotten and later rediscovered by accident. It is hard to imagine that someone with Jewish ancestry would make fun of Nazi Germany only 20 years after the end of WWII, but Mel took the risk and did it anyway. This is a satirical black comedy that centers around a slick producer who sets off to commit fraud by raising money for a broadway play that is meant to fail. There are some things that I love about this version and overall, I think it is funnier than the musical. I have laughed until running out of air with this one. Click on the title to read the full review.

Workin’ Moms (2017-2020)

This is a Canadian television sitcom that follows a group of friends as they deal with the challenges of being working mothers. The story revolves around Kate and Anne (two best friends since college) who share a very strong bond, no bullshit between these two. They don't hold anything back and this is shown from the first episode as they stare at each other's bare chest and engage on a debate about the 'sogginess level' of their boobs after motherhood. 😀 The primary driver behind the humor is the indifference shown by society and partners, who have no idea of how hard it is to make it all work. Click on the title to read the full review.

Bulshit Jobs: a theory (D. Graeber)

"Your job is more like a boss' unzipped fly that everyone can see but also knows better than to mention." This is a good read for those looking to demystify the emotional realities of the post industrial labor market while doing so with some humor. Graeber compares wage labor to slavery and an alternative form of sadomasochism that has been widely accepted in our societies. If you feel like you don't know what the heck you are supposed to do in your job and live with constant fear that they will realize that there is no reason for it to exist, you are not alone. Click on the title to read the full review.

Parasite (2019)

What is true wealth? Money, assets or connections? This is a very dark and complex drama that touches upon life perception from poverty and wealth extremes. A story about class told like never before. Although it would seem like the poor people act as parasites of the rich, it is unclear who the parasite is in this movie. Click on the title to read the full review

Brad Mehldau

He made his first debut as a jazz musician in 1991. Mehldau was one of the original member of the Joshua Redman Quartet who last played together in 1994. They recently reunited to release their new album RoundAgain. His album Largo is probably one of the best modern Jazz compositions I have heard. Click on the title to read the full review and see my top picks.

Lalo Schifrin

I bet $100 dollars you did not know that some of the 1970's classic movies theme scores from internationally famous films was composed by an Argentinian. Three of his most widely known tunes are the classic 1970's Jaws, James Bond and Mission Impossible theme songs. He is famous for being able to blend the sound of the big orchestra with that of improvisational jazz. Every song is carefully crafted to transport the listener through time and space. He can tell a story by solely using a melody. Click on the title to read the full review and see my top picks.

Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2005)

The plot revolves around Malcolm, a child genius (with an IQ of 180) who faces very unusual challenges while trying to blend into a public school environment. It is precisely the clever build up to the dumb outcomes that makes this show amazingly funny, not to mention the dysfunctional dynamics that exist between all the characters. I laughed so hard with this one that I cried several times. Click on the title to read the full review.

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs

This latin band features a mix of ska, jazz, folk, reggae and funk all wrapped up on a big band sound. It is very easy to find yourself dancing even to their saddest songs. Vicentico and Flavio (who wrote most of the songs) were born in the mid 60's at the beginning of a very politically violent period in Argentina. This experience certainly left a mark on the band members who often write about their experiences and stories they witnessed during this process. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Lobster (2019)

This film employs a dystopian setting to depict the reality of the binary world that we live in and the poor mating choices that people make based on fear. This is a very dark comedy that treads lightly on the edge of tragedy. The major take away of this movie is that unlike we have been told, love is not blind. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Hives

The Hives is a Swedish rock band that rose to prominence in the early 2000's. Their music has a very hard core British garage rock revival sound. To me they sound like a blend of Queens of the Stone Age, the Rolling Stones and a little bit of 80's techno rock. The lead singer's look on the cover of their Tyrannosaurus Hives album reminds me of Alex McDowell's character in Clockwork Orange (1962). Click on the title to read the full review and see my top picks.

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