Sunday, January 20, 2008


I'm in love with a little rat named Remy. But he's no ordinary rat - he has dreams, ambitions and tenacity that far exceeds the complacency of his family and friends. Not content to live a life of "stealing garbage," Remy is determined to become the greatest chef in France. It should come as no surprise that a number of obstacles might stand in his way, but it's the finesse with which he negotiates through this maze that makes him a role model for not only rats, but for humans as well.

I was particularly moved by a line of dialogue he shares with his father outside of a Paris exterminator's shop:
Django: Take a good, long look, Remy. This what happens when a rat gets a little too comfortable around humans. The world we live in belongs to the enemy. We must live carefully. We look out for our own kind, Remy. When all is said and done, we're all we've got. [starts to walk away]
Remy: No.
Django: [stops] What?
Remy: No. Dad, I don't believe it. You're telling me that the future is, can only be, more of this?
Django: This is the way things are. You can't change nature.
Remy: Change is nature, Dad. The part that we can influence. And it starts when we decide. [he walks away]
Django: Where are you going?
Remy: With luck, Forward.

In the midst of an already brilliant film, this gem touched off a glorious array of emotions and meditations that caused me to pause the film and reflect. Was this pivotal moment really spoken in a Disney film? Will the masses of children and parents seeing this immensely popular movie see the inherent Buddhist message contained here? With the charm of Remy coupled with the whip smart choreography and timeless storyline, I have no doubt that this film will find favor (and repeated viewings) for many years to come.

4 out of 5 stars (especially since there was no sung dialogue!)

The Fine Art of Goofing Off

Last night, my wife and I learned a valuable life lesson, a deep philosophical revelation, an instruction of epic proportions: Don't delay, start goofing off today! We have now been transfixed and mesmerized by the artistic genius of Henry Jacobs.

"Henry Jacobs is a legend, at least among fans of 1950s radio satire and electronic music. He was a West Coast composer, radio host, and a friend and collaborator of philosopher Alan Watts. His legacy might have existed mostly in the hazy memories of his fans -- had not some of his tapes been rediscovered, and just released in a CD/DVD combo, The Weird Wide World Of Henry Jacobs.

Beginning in 1953, Jacobs hosted a music program for KPFA in Berkeley, Calif. The Folkways record label later released highlights from this show on an LP, Audio Collage, in 1955. His work represented a patchwork of skits, soundscapes and mock interviews.

Jacobs co-organized the Vortex Experiments, a series of mind-expanding sound and light concerts at a San Francisco planetarium starting in 1957. In 1970, he moved to a stretch of remote coastline north of San Francisco. Now 80 years old, he says he's trying to live as if it's the 19th century -- or possibly the fifth."

The above introduction accompanies an excellent interview with Jacobs on NPR's All Things Considered.