Pokemon jokes are still cool
Elliott Smith- Needle in the Hay
A great depressing number from Elliott here, this song is a lot more than sad really, it’s got that vibe that it’s a bit, what you’d call, ‘fucked up’. Which I guess is a feeling some people feel, there’s sad, and then there’s one step further than that to the point that people call you crazy and ‘not in a good mental state’, the exact label they gave to Elliott Smith. What I think is great about this song is the fact that if you feel a bit like that, his songs are great to reassure you and show that you aren’t the only one. It is beautiful though in that aspect, plus his voice is perfect for the type of song it is.
The style of song is very similar to his first album, full of claustrophobia and eerieness. Giving the sense of being trapped incredibly well. It isn’t really the easiest of listens due to many clashing notes on the acoustic guitar, and the very low, dark sound it has. It’s a great start to his self-titled album, bringing you straight to the point as quick as possible, even with the title which the word ‘needle’ has a lot of connotations, this song fulfilling one of them, heroin addiction. And he’s using that as a metaphor for how difficult it is for you to find exactly what you need. Like how difficult it is to find a needle in hay.
Album: Elliott Smith
Favourite Part/Lyrics: ”I can’t be myself, And I don’t want to talk, I’m taking the cure, So I can be quiet whenever I want, So leave me alone, You ought to be proud that I’m getting good marks”
This came today. I giggled and skipped and now all is well in the world.
A cover of Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead. Bear with the lack of EQ.
I just love this.
When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.
In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.
Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road is a powerful combination of apocalyptic journey (I was tempted to use the word “thriller,” because there are a few thrills in this book, but mostly just chills and deep disgust), environmental messages, examinations of father/son relationships, and overall statement on humanity.
The book’s first line is describing the unnamed protagonist of the book. It’s a recurring image throughout the desolate prose of The Road - the Man waking up with a panicked jolt, reaching out for his son. It’s a touching and disturbing testament to what drives a man, ultimately - the entire book is a journey to some vague and abstract symbol of security, the coast. There’s not really a reason why the coast should be any safer than anywhere else, but the desire to see his son safe singularly motivates the Man throughout the book.
An important part of The Road is the juxtaposition of reality and dreams. In the Man’s dreams, he reminisces on his relationship with his wife (who killed herself instead of live in the post-apocalyptic world that the Man and his son trudge through), but when he’s awake, he forces himself to focus on what is real, even if it is horrifyingly terrible.
The final sentence of the book concludes a single paragraph-long metaphor about fish in mountain brooks. He describes the patterns on the fins of the fish to be “maps of the world in its becoming,” “of a thing which could not be put back.” The fish are ancient and separate from the troubles of humanity, and yet at the same time, live in the world that is being destroyed as a result of this unspecified disaster.
Speaking of this disaster, people have speculated that McCarthy had a supervolcano eruption, an asteroid impact, or perhaps a nuclear war in mind. Certainly the nuclear war would fit in better thematically, but certain aspects (including how damn ashy everything is in the book and how, you know, they don’t die of radiation sickness) seem to indicate that a supervolcano is the likely accident. However, in the movie, which is obviously not the book, there are hints that it was an asteroid.
Every detail that McCarthy avoids is deliberate - just as deliberate as his delicately rough writing style.
One of these days, I’m going to cut you into little pieces.
And no one sings me lullabies, and no one makes me close my eyes; and so I throw the windows wide and call to you across the sky.
Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Meddle certainly isn’t as famous as their ubiquitous Dark Side of the Moon or even their epic rock opera The Wall, but it contains multitudes of brilliant music.
“One of These Days” begins with an incredibly sinister sounding bass riff that runs throughout the entire song and makes the listener feel like they’re running away from something themselves. Largely instrumental, the six minute track contains only one lyric: “One of these days, I’m going to cut you into little pieces,” which is preceded by loud knocking and followed by an upswing in tempo. It sounds a little bit like Cookie Monster, but it’s still creepy nonetheless.
And, of course, most Pink Floyd fans know Meddle as the song that contains the the 23-minute long song “Echoes.” In addition to perhaps being a source of musical “inspiration” for Andrew Lloyd Webber, it contains some pretty brilliant poetry. Roger Waters himself says that the song is about “the potential that human beings have for recognizing each other’s humanity and responding to it, with empathy rather than antipathy.” The final line, perhaps, explains some frustration with the “antipathy” of the world.
Remember, of course, the title of the track, “Echoes.” It can be inferred that when he’s opening his windows and shouting to someone, it’s to hear the echo of his voice back to himself. Waters implies that the only person he can find this “empathy” in is himself. That’s a pretty sad sentiment, I’d say.
Of course, Waters would soon compose The Dark Side of the Moon and change his life forever.
First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey.
I’m skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the air and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy’s life with a story.
The Things They Carried is Tim O'Brien’s Vietnam masterpiece - though calling it a Vietnam book is like calling Hamlet a Danish play. Sure, Vietnam is the setting in which most of the story takes place and was the inspiration for the message of the novel, but the themes transcend specific locations and eras.
The book’s first sentence introduces one of the book’s most important characters besides O'Brien himself. Jimmy Cross is the leader of the ragtag group of soldiers, though he’s constantly distracted by a girl back home - he’s obsessed with the idea of her, more than her as a real person, because of the innocence she represents. Cross is in many ways a Christlike figure in the book (his last name is no coincidence.)
The final sentence of the book is pretty heartbreaking and pretty meta. Acknowledging one last time the illusion of the book that he references but doesn’t dwell on throughout the story, Tim the author reflects on the purpose of this novel that you, the reader, just finished reading. It makes the audience feel like they’re reading a diary, or the transcript to a therapy session - some sort of cathartic release that O'Brien grudgingly allows the reader to partake in.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of war is the death of innocence, and Vietnam contains one of the greatest graveyards for such in the modern world.
Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.
Look at it carefully so that you will be sure to recognise it in case you travel some day to the African desert. And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on. Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince in French) has captured the imaginations of readers since 1943. It is the eighth best-selling book of all time.
The book begins with childish innocence, as the narrator describes the downfall of his artistic endeavors - and, thus, his imagination and creativity - and ends with half-poignant, half-sweet message to the reader.
This is Michael Bluth. For ten years, he’s worked for his father’s company waiting to be made a partner, and right now, he’s happy.
Maybe a movie.
Viewed by many fans as being one of the most tragic stories of all time, Arrested Development was a very funny show that, like a Renaissance artist, found its audience after its death. The opening line reflects the constant narration of Ron Howard - and sets up the fact that the rest of the series is, to Michael, a constant struggle.
The ending is, obviously, a coy nod to fans of the series who were outraged at the show’s cancellation, and though they’re certainly taking their sweet time penning the film, numerous sources and actors seem to agree that it will probably get made, maybe. The context for the line is that Maeby is pitching her idea for a TV series to a Hollywood insider - the real Ron Howard, who narrated and produced the show. He says it doesn’t sound like a TV show, but maybe a movie.
It will probably be released sometime in the 2020s; Jeffrey Tambor will be dead, Jason Bateman will be an old man, and Michael Cera will still look like he’s 14.
Hello, my name’s Forrest Gump.
- Forrest Gump
Of course, and you’re Dorothy Harris, and I’m Forrest Gump.
- Forrest Gump Jr.
1994’s Forrest Gump - yeah, that’s 17 years ago - is beloved for a few reasons; there’s something alluring about innocence juxtaposed with corruption and still enduring. Furthermore, Forrest Gump capitalizes on America’s love of recent American history and nostalgia by inserting an unassuming character into important events without him realizing it. It pulls on the heartstrings in a simple, inoffensive way.
It’s also crafted very carefully, with motifs amok. Forrest’s friendliness and innocence is displayed right away when he introduces himself to a complete stranger on a bus bench. It comes full circle in the end, when Forrest’s son introduces himself in a similarly happy-go-lucky way to his bus driver (the same bus driver Forrest had). It emphasizes the fact that Forrest had the innocence - and the intellect - of a child while he was a full-grown adult.
Forrest Gump 2 probably would have featured a lot of awkward puberty-related scenes; luckily Forrest never evolved to the teenage angst stage of development.
Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?
- Mark Zuckerberg
You’re not an asshole, Mark. You’re just trying so hard to be.
The character of Mark Zuckerberg’s first line in Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-winning 2010 film The Social Network definitely reflects the final lines of the movie. The opening scene, perhaps one of the most brilliantly written and acted exchanges of dialogue in modern cinema history, shows Mark “trying so hard.” And he crashes and burns, and he’s enough of an asshole where the audience doesn’t really feel sympathetic for him. That’s intentional characterization, obviously, but underneath that obsessive little competitive dweeb lies a lonely soul, and that’s what Marylin, an assistant to Mark’s attorney, sees.
The beginning and ending scenes of The Social Network are both powerful but in different ways; whereas the opening scene is a rapid exchange of about 10 pages of dialogue in a matter of a few minutes, the final scene is without dialogue, consisting of Mark sitting on his chair alone, refreshing his computer to see the results of his friend request to Marylin. He, in perhaps one final insult to the real Mark Zuckerberg’s social skills, mistook her pity for genuine interest.
He’s pleased to meet you underneath the horse, in the cathedral with the glass stained black, singing sweet high notes that echo back to destroy their master.
- “Speed Trials” by Elliot Smith
I’m in love with the world through the eyes of a girl who’s still around the morning after.
- “Say Yes” by Elliott Smith
The beginning and ending lines of Elliott Smith’s 1997 album Either/Or - name borrowed (let’s stay stolen, actually, because he’s probably not going to give it back) from existentialist Søren Kierkegaard - seem to harken the listener to Smith’s prolific drug habits. Perhaps someone unaware of his background would find the opening line of “Speed Trials” very odd, but with the knowledge of Elliott’s drug addictions, it’s quite clear that it references a drug deal and the fact that drugs end up destroying him.
The end of “Say Yes” is quite a bit more romantic but contains a subtle metaphor to drug use as well. Throughout “Say Yes,” Smith describes a past relationship that results in feeling great in the nights but waking up “[feeling] like shit.” In his final line, which symmetrically is the same as the first line of the song, he reflects his idealistic wishes for a more substantial relationship than he can get with drugs, even if his reality and flaws make it impossible.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
The beginning of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece The Great Gatsby is one of the most famous in all of American literature (the end is, too). It’s interesting for a few reasons: Nick’s father’s advice, which is essentially not to judge or criticize people, sets up Nick’s role as an unassuming, blank character who is caught in the riptides of the lifestyles of Jay Gatsby and his ilk. It also reinforces the fact that Nick sees this whole story as something that hardened him - causing him to become less “vulnerable.”
Gatsby ends beautifully with a stormy image that emphasizes how people are haunted by their past, even if they struggle to move on.
And that burden, of course, is placed on all of the characters of the book - one last swipe at the transient lifestyle of the Roaring Twenties.
How come I end up where I started?
“15 Step” by Radiohead
No matter what happens now, you shouldn’t be afraid because today has been the most perfect day I’ve ever seen.
“Videotape” by Radiohead
“15 Step” begins Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows chaotically and desperately, while “Videotape” ends it on a heartfelt if not mildly ominous note. “Videotape” seems to imply that the speaker is prepared for death because they’ve lived out a perfect day; it oozes melancholy romance with every beat that Thom Yorke stretches out his syllables. Still, on paper it reads surprisingly clearly and could almost be taken word for word from a love letter.
Even more, perhaps it’s the end of a love letter to Radiohead fans, who devoured In Rainbows, as well as critics, who praised it as being one of the band’s most accessible records.
Playing In Rainbows on repeat, of course, continues onward from “Videotape” back to the anarchic “15 Step” - how come I end up where I started?
Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
An obvious choice for an inspection of beginning and ending, seeing as it’s one of the most popular long series of novels in modern history. The first sentence of the series reflects the more ironic tone that the series had at its beginning; it shows a time when JK Rowling was struggling to find her narrative voice and experimented with subtle criticism of English society.
The final two sentences of Harry Potter are perhaps best described as thematic and trite. It is, rather uncreatively (I think I just made up that word), a cliché happy ending. However, the emphasis on the scar reinforces something brought up in the first book - the idea of being abnormal. Harry’s scar set him apart both socially and prophesically (I’m on a roll!) - making him an outcast among outcasts. The ending of the series affirms that Harry has descended back into the shapeless, formless masses of indistinguishable wizards and witches with magical powers.