What are you listening to/watching?

What can I say? It doesn't fit above, put it here. Also the location of board rules/info.
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Dormouse559
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Dormouse559 »

Salmoneus wrote:
21 Apr 2020 01:23
The last couple of days, I've been playing/learning a lot of chess. www.chess.com/play/computer is a really easy, no-hassle, in-web-browser chess thingy […]
Thanks for sharing. I won a game on 2 difficulty, which felt nice since I haven't played since high school and have no sense for strategy.

The analysis feature is pretty neat. Apparently, I and the computer spent the first third of the game making mistakes at each other; the middle bit involved me repeatedly not winning when the game says I could have; and in the final third I made either the best possible move or something close to it while the computer kept making mistakes.

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
21 Apr 2020 04:25
Salmoneus wrote:
21 Apr 2020 01:23
The last couple of days, I've been playing/learning a lot of chess. www.chess.com/play/computer is a really easy, no-hassle, in-web-browser chess thingy […]
Thanks for sharing. I won a game on 2 difficulty, which felt nice since I haven't played since high school and have no sense for strategy.

The analysis feature is pretty neat. Apparently, I and the computer spent the first third of the game making mistakes at each other; the middle bit involved me repeatedly not winning when the game says I could have; and in the final third I made either the best possible move or something close to it while the computer kept making mistakes.
I've gotten up to about level 5, although apparently it depends a lot on how good your computer is (and mine is... not good). I find I'm generally OK at that level if I follow boring, reliable principles. I'm also OK at spotting the potentially good moves (I'm very bad at spotting the catastrophic moves... but I just click 'back' and pretend it never happened...). But I can't really evaluate which move is best. And I also have little clue about 'sharp' moves - where I know there's a risk but also a reward, but I can't tell which is bigger. A big recurring theme for me is knight-bishop (and vice versa) exchanges - sometimes the engine says they're brilliant, sometimes they're terrible. Sometimes I go for an exchange, but it tells me it's disasterous... only to recommend seemingly the exact same exchange a few moves later. In theory this is because the wider position is better, but I can only sometimes tell why, and even then only in hindsight. I'm also pretty terrible at late middlegame or early endgame situations with too many pieces on the board - there are so many moves possible and I can't work out which are good, or sometimes even why the recommended moves are good or the condemned ones are bad...

And if I try anything bold, or anything unusual in the opening, I've got no chance...

[as someone without the patience to regularly look through the analysis tab, one thing I like about this applet is the little balance-of-power bar that lets you see how good or bad each move you make is, so you can learn as you go...]

--------------



What I'm currently reading: the Independent headline "Planet disappears from sight, prompting surprise". Not the article, just the headline. Great headline.


[reminds me of a (very, very) old HIGNFY joke. There was a news story about a woman who was fined for taking a stick out of a forest to let her dog play with it, and HIGNFY ran through all the papers' headlines about it, along the lines of "Ruff Justice!" and "The Long Paw of the Law!" and so forth, culminating in the Indy's "Woman fined for removing stick from woodland". The Independent: Deayton summed up: never knowingly interesting.

Of course, that was a long time ago. Then the Indy went through an intentionally interesting phase. As it says in TTOI: Just tell me what the fucking news is and I'll put it on the front page. It's not like we're The Independent, we can't just stick a headline saying 'Cruelty' and then stick a picture of a dolphin or a whale underneath it. I mean, that's just fucking cheating, that's rubbish. And now it doesn't have a front page, because it's only online...]

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Salmoneus wrote:
22 Apr 2020 00:29
I've gotten up to about level 5, although apparently it depends a lot on how good your computer is (and mine is... not good). I find I'm generally OK at that level if I follow boring, reliable principles. I'm also OK at spotting the potentially good moves (I'm very bad at spotting the catastrophic moves... but I just click 'back' and pretend it never happened...). But I can't really evaluate which move is best. And I also have little clue about 'sharp' moves - where I know there's a risk but also a reward, but I can't tell which is bigger. A big recurring theme for me is knight-bishop (and vice versa) exchanges - sometimes the engine says they're brilliant, sometimes they're terrible. Sometimes I go for an exchange, but it tells me it's disasterous... only to recommend seemingly the exact same exchange a few moves later. In theory this is because the wider position is better, but I can only sometimes tell why, and even then only in hindsight.
I'm having a similar experience. The analysis puts more weight on the distribution of pieces than I do. For me, that's because I don't know how to assess overall positions. It's a lot easier, if shortsighted, to just think about the relative value of pieces and make decisions on exchanges that way.

Salmoneus wrote:And if I try anything bold, or anything unusual in the opening, I've got no chance...
Hey! Me too! In my case, it's less boldness than throwing spaghetti at the wall, so that might have something to do with it.

Salmoneus wrote:[as someone without the patience to regularly look through the analysis tab, one thing I like about this applet is the little balance-of-power bar that lets you see how good or bad each move you make is, so you can learn as you go...]
Mmm, that is very helpful. One thing I've observed is that the bar isn't a direct gauge of move quality. If you only have bad options, it could show power shifting away from you even when you make the best (or least bad) move available.


I have learned something through observing the computer: the Stonewall Attack. The AI used it in a game it won, and I noticed how hard it was to break up. So I used it in the following games and won on the second try. [:)]

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
22 Apr 2020 03:04
I'm having a similar experience. The analysis puts more weight on the distribution of pieces than I do. For me, that's because I don't know how to assess overall positions. It's a lot easier, if shortsighted, to just think about the relative value of pieces and make decisions on exchanges that way.
I think there's probably three levels of analysis: piece values (whether you're gaining or losing points immediately); tactics/combinations (whether you're about to gain or lose a piece in the next three or four moves); and strategy/position (whether you'll be better off ten or twenty or thirty moves later). I can do the first, and I can sometimes manage the second, though unreliably - but the third is beyond me, other than some very general principles.

If it makes you feel better, though, you have exactly the same problem against the engine that the engine has against AI: engines put too much weight on the value of pieces and on short-term combinations, and not enough on long-term strategy, which is why Alpha can obliterate them... and unlike the engines, but like you and me, Alpha learned through trial and error! (of course, we'd need a couple of million years of practice to match her...)
Salmoneus wrote:And if I try anything bold, or anything unusual in the opening, I've got no chance...
Hey! Me too! In my case, it's less boldness than throwing spaghetti at the wall, so that might have something to do with it.
Well, I don't want to give the false impression that I've any idea what I'm doing myself! But I have heard of a few openings, and seen a few professional games, and can recognise some things that look like good ideas, so every so often I think "hey, it's not doing anything dangerous, so why do I need to be so cautious - can't I skip to the good bit?" - and the answer every time is no, I can't...
I have learned something through observing the computer: the Stonewall Attack. The AI used it in a game it won, and I noticed how hard it was to break up. So I used it in the following games and won on the second try. [:)]
Huh. That looks a bit radical for me! I stick pretty firmly to e4, with Nf3 (or d4 if black's ignoring the centre). Going with d4 and then leaving my king open like that would scare me!

Hmm... off to try...

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

So, Elektra last night and Tosca tonight.

Bloody hell, opera is...


Well, here's some song lyrics from Elektra:
From the stars rain down, so will an hundred throats
Of victims rain their life-blood on thy tomb.
And, as from vessels overturned, blood
Will from the fettered murderers flow
And in one wild wave, one torrent
From them will rain their very life's red life-blood,
And drench the altars.
And we slay for thee
The chargers that are housed here[...]
And we slaughter all the hounds [...]
Then dance we, all thy blood, around thy tomb
And o'er the corpses piled, high will I lift,
High with each step, my limbs


Or:
E'en bid me slay each thing that crawls or flies
In earth or heaven; bid me rise in steam
Of blood yea, in blood-red mists bid me sleep


Or:
everywhere
In every court lie corpses piled, and all
The living are with blood besmeared, and are
Sore wounded, but yet all exult, yea all
Embrace each other, drunk with joy


[the actual opera is in German, and these lines, in strange mock-Shakespearian, aren't actually the subtitles I saw, which were rather blunter. However, they appear to stick closely to the meaning of the original, so far as I recall specific sections, even if the syntax is a bit more florid.]

And then there's Tosca:
Your lover is bound hand and foot.
A ring of hooked iron at his temples,
So that they spurt blood at each denial.


(the chief of the secret police has Tosca's boyfriend tortured so she can hear the screams, while his adjutant mumbles words from the Requiem, before blackmailing her into offering sexual favours... but this does not go well:)

Is your blood choking you?
And killed by a woman!
Did you torment me enough?
Can you still hear me? Speak!
Is your blood choking you?
Die accursed! Die! Die! Die!


---------

Bear in mind: Elektra theoretically has a happy ending (in a mass murder sense). And even Tosca isn't too bad. In this series we've also had Norma (human sacrifice, repeated consideration of (and threats of) infanticide (by the mother), multiple suicides by burning to death) and the Dialogue of the Carmelites which is... dear gods. That makes all these others look cheerful. It ends in an actual genocide, with about a dozen characters executed slowly one by one until everyone's dead.


Opera. It's what humanity invented to make it seem like smallpox wasn't the worst that could happen...

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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^Elektra is wonderful. I have it on vinyl. Think it's time to listen to it again.

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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I found it difficult to get into - there's no tune, and disappointingly little variety ('modern' shouldn't have to mean 'unremitting'!). However, once I got into it, I agree, it's very good - powerful and gripping. And, of course, a wonderful sound, with an immense orchestra. Certainly made me more interested in Strauss... it's a shame he's not really a composer you can just dip into!

Sadly, I wasn't really concentrating, and didn't catch any heckelphone solos! [are there heckelphone solos? I know there's heckelphone solos in Salome, I don't know about Elektra...]

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Salmoneus wrote:
23 Apr 2020 23:06
Certainly made me more interested in Strauss... it's a shame he's not really a composer you can just dip into!
But Cole Porter wrote, "You're the melody to a symphony by Strauss!"
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Khemehekis wrote:
24 Apr 2020 09:17
Salmoneus wrote:
23 Apr 2020 23:06
Certainly made me more interested in Strauss... it's a shame he's not really a composer you can just dip into!
But Cole Porter wrote, "You're the melody to a symphony by Strauss!"
I'm guessing he meant the other Strauss?

But of the four notables Strausses (Johann, Johann II, Jozef, and Richard), only Richard Strauss wrote any symphonies - which he wrote as a teenager, were panned, and were never widely performed. [the Alpine Symphony and Symphonia Domestica aren't symphonies, despite the names, but are just references to, as it were, a state of harmony]

[Johann III, Edouard, Edouard II and Oscar Straus (Strauss by birth) also composed no symphonies...]

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Birdlang »

Listening to this person play their song they made.
https://youtu.be/C7CWQ5clIsE
Ꭓꭓ Ʝʝ Ɬɬ Ɦɦ Ɡɡ Ɥɥ Ɫɫ Ɽɽ Ɑɑ Ɱɱ Ɐɐ Ɒɒ Ɓɓ Ɔɔ Ɖɖ Ɗɗ Əə Ɛɛ Ɠɠ Ɣɣ Ɯɯ Ɲɲ Ɵɵ Ʀʀ Ʃʃ Ʈʈ Ʊʊ Ʋʋ Ʒʒ Ꞵꞵ Ʉʉ Ʌʌ Ŋŋ Ɂɂ Ɪɪ Ææ Øø Ð𠌜 Ɜɜ Ǝɘ

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Salmoneus wrote:
24 Apr 2020 14:21
I'm guessing he meant the other Strauss?

But of the four notables Strausses (Johann, Johann II, Jozef, and Richard), only Richard Strauss wrote any symphonies - which he wrote as a teenager, were panned, and were never widely performed. [the Alpine Symphony and Symphonia Domestica aren't symphonies, despite the names, but are just references to, as it were, a state of harmony]

[Johann III, Edouard, Edouard II and Oscar Straus (Strauss by birth) also composed no symphonies...]
Yeah, that sounds like a quote from someone who doesn't know anything about classical music (or was just looking for a good rhyme!)

Like a concerto by Schubert :)

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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You're a melody from Sonata E by Strauss! :P

Don't know if that's a compliment. Seems a bit moody.

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:
25 Apr 2020 07:09
Salmoneus wrote:
24 Apr 2020 14:21
I'm guessing he meant the other Strauss?

But of the four notables Strausses (Johann, Johann II, Jozef, and Richard), only Richard Strauss wrote any symphonies - which he wrote as a teenager, were panned, and were never widely performed. [the Alpine Symphony and Symphonia Domestica aren't symphonies, despite the names, but are just references to, as it were, a state of harmony]

[Johann III, Edouard, Edouard II and Oscar Straus (Strauss by birth) also composed no symphonies...]
Yeah, that sounds like a quote from someone who doesn't know anything about classical music (or was just looking for a good rhyme!)
The former sounds likely... until you remember that this was the 1930s, when everybody knew something about classical music (pop music not yet existing!). In particular, Cole Porter knew an awful lot about classical music - he studied music at Yale, and then Harvard, and then at the Schola Cantorum in Paris (which specialised in Gregorian chant, rennaissance polyphony, and baroque counterpoint). He wrote a ballet. At the Schola Cantorum, he studied under d'Indy, who knew and greatly admired Strauss (and, incidentally, had met Liszt, and Brahms, and Bizet*, and Massanet, and Franck, and Alkan**, and Fauré, and... well, everybody really; he was in the audience at the first performance of the Ring). Porter's wife even tried to sign up Stravinsky to teach him, though he declined.

So yeah, it's not a mistake made by accident, I'm pretty sure. I guess he was just struggling for a rhyme... although given that it rhymes with "mickey mouse", not exactly essential to the song, and plenty of other composers rhyme with something, it's still a bit perplexing.

Indeed, given that Porter would have known perfectly well that "the melody to a symphony" is a silly idea anyway, I have to think he was making fun of his own audience a little there. In the 1930s, Strauss would have been famous, but not widely listened to.

Indeed, given that other rhymes in the song include "you're Inferno's Dante / you're the nose on the great Durante" and "you're the baby grand of a lady and a gent.... you're pepsodent", it's likely that Porter's just being intentionally silly, and the silliness of a Strauss symphony is part of that, whether or not he expected his audience to be in on the joke.



*he went along to the premiere of Carmen because he'd won a free ticket - a number of them were given to local organ students (studying under Franck!). He bumped into Bizet having a nervous breakdown in the neighbouring allyway in the interval. The next day, Bizet came along to the organ school to ask if someone could secretly play the harmonium quietly off-stage during one of the big songs, because the lead tenor couldn't sing it properly and needed the help; d'Indy volunteered, and ended up 'performing' every night for the whole of the rest of the first run of Carmen.

**he happened to wander into a room where Alkan was playing the piano. They played the piano at each other for a bit, Alkan seized him by the shoulders, pushing him toward a window, shouted "You must become an artist!!!... Farewell, for we shall never meet again!!!!!" at him, and ran off. This makes a lot more sense when you've seen just how gigantic Alkan's beard was.

----------------------


Hmm. Now I'm intrigued that it took me a second to realise that "gallery" and "salary" were supposed to rhyme for Porter. They just about do, for me, in isolation, when said "clearly", but they certainly don't when the former is in the phrase "National Gallery". "Gallery", often, and almost always when following a name, has only two syllables, whereas "salary" always has three... this appears to be an unmotivated lexical sound shift...

---------------
Like a concerto by Schubert :)
Huh - good point, I hadn't thought of that. Apparently there is a Schubert concerto now - some American orchestras have decided that they can sell more tickets by adverstising an early 'konzertstuck' as a violin concerto. And of course, although Schubert wrote a lot of opera, he was mysteriously rubbish at it...


But yes, it's strange in a way how composers specialise. I remember being told when I was young that Mozart was, in this respect, the only universal genius, in that he attempted and mastered every genre that then existed. His three great operas are among the most performed operas. His last three (well, two, at least) symphonies are among the best-known symphonies; his violin concertos and his late piano concertos are among the most performed concertos. [and of course, in the realm of bassoon, horn, oboe, clarinet and flute/harp concertos, and the sinfonia concertante, he remains virtually unchallenged!] His string quartets are among the most played quartets, and his string quintets are probably the most played quintets; his piano sonatas have been a little overshadowed, by the sheer volume of competition if by nothing else, but several of them (the two minor-key works, 8 and 14, and 16 (the sonata facile)) remain near the top of the repertoire. His mature violin sonatas are apparently very good. His Great Mass and Requiem are both unfinished, but even so, and alongside his minor masses, make him one of the greatest mass writers ever; similarly his small-scale choral music (like Ave Verum Corpus). He didn't exactly write leider in the Romantic sense, but his concert arias (like Exultate Jubilate) are among the best-known concert songs. The romantic "suite" hadn't been invented yet, but his serenades and divertimenti fill more or less the same niche, and again, are right at the top of it (the Haffner, Gran Partita, and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and the Musical Joke...). And what major composer can claim to have challenged Mozart in the realm of the mechanical clock, or the glass armonica? He even provided a good store of miniature piano pieces (eg the fantasies).

The only major genre he didn't master was the tone poem, because it didn't exist yet. And I guess he didn't write an oratorio (although he updated the Messiah). He also didn't write a lot for the cello, which wasn't yet popular.

But other than Mozart, did any composer even seriously attempt everything, let alone master it? I guess maybe Beethoven comes closest?

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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But seriously: it's interesting that Schubert didn't write a concerto. I'd guess it's because concerti were closely associated with professional virtuoso musicians, which was a world Schubert had little access to. His attempts to 'break out' were focused on the opera (where the big commercial demand made entrance relatively easy) and the symphony (which at least didn't require a top-level musician, only a bored conductor). And of course the concerto's flamboyance was sort of at odds with his style. But it's kind of a shame he didn't abandon the opera obsession, and instead think of writing a brilliant concerto and persuading a great performer to deliver it - a higher-risk option (it would have been hard for a nobody like Schubert to get his suggestion noticed), but with higher reward (a famous virtuoso going around Europe performing your work was a much bigger boost to the career than having a local theatre put on a run of an opera for a few weeks).

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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I have been watching videos by "debu idol" group Big Angel びっくえんじぇる. Important to note they call themselves debu. They have a lot of cute song videos and those videos where you try making various candy kits or other foods, but also have a little calisthenics thing they do recently since a lot of people are staying home in Japan and elsewhere for obvious reasons.

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Khemehekis »

"You're the Top" is often described as a look into what people valued or adored during the 1930's. The line "You're broccoli" referenced a vegetable that had become newly known in the United States, for instance. (George H. W. Bush's generation were the first American children to grow up eating broccoli.) So, if people didn't prize Richard Strauss' symphonies . . . well, perhaps Salmoneus's right about that just being melodic, lyrical silliness.

"You're the melody to a symphony by _____" calls for a monosyllabic composer's name.

Bach? Doesn't rhyme with many English words except for "loch".

Brahms? Maybe something with "moms" or "palms" or "psalms". This was before Tom's of Maine toothpaste, and long before CD-ROMs or dot-coms. Proms? Pom-poms?

There were lots of Italian and Russian composers, but their surnames aren't normally monosyllabic.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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I've been watching the second season of the HBO show L'amica geniale (My Brilliant Friend), based on the novels by Elena Ferrante. It's a really great story, but also fascinating due to most of the dialog being in Neapolitan, rather than Italian. I'm told it's common for Italian shows to feature the local languages when the setting calls for it, but to me it's very noteworthy. By contrast, I recently watched a Swedish show set in a small town in the south, and there were more characters speaking with a Stockholm accent than the local one...

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Des Pages de Tessa B. Le texte au début :
Des Pages by Tessa B. The text at the beginning reads:
Un grand cinéaste hollywoodien (Titanic, Avatar…) dont je ne peux pas divulguer le nom devait initialement réaliser ce clip. Mais confinement oblige… En voici ma version. En m'appuyant sur son scénario original, j'ai tenté de rester au plus proche de ses intentions de mise en scène.

A big Hollywood filmmaker (Titanic, Avatar…) whose name I can't reveal was initially going to direct this music video. But due to quarantine… here's my version. Using his original script, I tried to stay as close as possible to his intended direction.
Et ce qui suit est une série amusante de scénarios tournés dans son appart, accompagnés de storyboards expliquant les situations (très clipesques) qu'ils représentent.
And what follows is a humorous series of scenes filmed around her apartment, complete with storyboard panels explaining what (very music video-y) scenarios they represent.

Et j'adore la chanson. Tant mieux !
And I like the song. So much the better!

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

I've been watching Family Guy. I like when a show as dumb as Family Guy makes reference to a language I've been studying. In this episode, Peter decides he's tired of being stupid and cultivates his intelligence:

Peter: I've been studying Sanskrit. Turns out an ancient tongue can be as titillating as a young one. Anyway, as they say in Sanskrit, shubha prabhatam.
Joe: Heh, it's weird, "Shubha Prabhatam" is my porn name.
Quagmire: What?
Joe: Yeah, name of first pet, name of the street I grew up on.
Quagmire: You had a pet named "Shubha"?
Joe: Yeah, Shubha was a tough old pooch. He was feared up and down Prabhatam Drive.
Quagmire: You have a very odd past.

Who writes this stuff? :P

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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Paris Is Always Paris [>_<] [maybe]

A group of Italian tourists visit Paris, and hijinks ensue. I watched the French dub. It leans heavily on this idea of Italian men being unable to resist French women, and the creeper vibes are strong. The film is nice for a look at early-1950s Paris, and there are some storylines/moments that get a little deeper than stalking=humor.

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