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.

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.

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.

The Strokes

Another garage rock revival band. Although they are from NY, their style resembles the sound of other well known UK bands. Their lyrics are eclectic and charged with alternative lifestyle vibes that leave them open to interpretation. One could safely say that it reflects the reality of life in New York, fast paced, vibrant and not fit for the faint of heart. Click on the title to read the full review.

Misbehaving (Richard H. Thaler)

This book is an excellent read for anyone desiring to become smarter about money and decision making in general. It is also a must read for social scientists, especially those interested in formulating effective public policy. Click on the title to read the full review.

Everybody Lies (Stephens- Davidowitz)

This book uses a powerful digital truth serum to extract some insights about human nature and the reasons why we lie. Click on the title to read the full review.

The Danish Girl (2015)

In my view this is a true love story, of a love so great that was able to evolve with the individuals as they grew into their true selves. This is a tale of a love that transcends genders, relationship labels and it lasted a lifetime despite the constant pain and disappointment. Click on the title to read the full review.

V for Vendetta (2005)

Quarantine, curfews, economic turmoil and compliance with health laws. Does it sound familiar? "Imagine a virus so deadly and that only you have the cure, how much power can that afford you?". Meet V, a different kind of super hero! Click on the title to read the full review.

Inception (2010)

Inception is another masterpiece from Christopher Nolan and it is considered cinematography at its finest. This movie is so layered that it is hard to keep this review brief. The plot centers on dreams within dreams if that were possible. The imagery switches between time and setting using cinematography as a guiding point to keep the story together. Sit tight and prepare to feast your eyes and your imagination, this is going to be a wild ride. Click on the title to read the full article.

Arrested Development (2006-2018)

Have you ever watched a show that gets funnier with time? This is one of those shows. The personal stories and the narratives are so well written that I can notice new subtleties with every re-watch. Click on the title to read the full article.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

The story balances on a tight rope between mental illness and an amazing capacity for creativity, reminding us of the link between deep trauma and an active imagination. Perhaps this is why some of the greatest artists in history were also often tortured by demons. Click on the title to read the full article.

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