May 28, 2015

Dolly Parton's Classic "Coat Of Many Colours" To Become A Movie


Dolly Parton’s Song of Many Colors, which Parton says is her favourite song she has ever written, will be turned into a television movie by NBC.

It will be the first production in a new deal between Parton and the network that will see a number of her songs turned into movies.

NBC made the announcement at their upfronts on Monday morning as part of their events programming for the 2015-2016 season. The film will tell the story of Parton’s childhood with Dolly executive producing in conjunction with Sam Haskell of Magnolia Hill Entertainment and Warner Brothers Television.

Coat of Many Colors was written by Parton in 1969 and released two years later as the second single from the album of the same name. It tells a story from Dolly’s childhood where her mother would take rags that had been donated to the family and sewed them together to make a coat. While making the garment, she told Dolly the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors from the bible.

Coat of Many Colors peaked at number 4 on the Country Singles chart but has gone on to become one of Parton’s most loved classics.

Picture and story with thanks to Noise 11
There are more posts regarding Dolly Parton on this blog.

Slowed-Down Dolly Parton - "Jolene"

Dolly Parton: One Of A Kind

Dolly Parton At Glastonbury 

 Kenny Rogers Says Australian And New Zealand Tour Will Be His Last

Don Henley Recruits Mick Jagger And Dolly Parton For Country Album Cass County

Dolly Parton Premieres ‘Pure And Simple’ From New Album, Which Includes Glastonbury Set

Dolly Parton Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at CMAs

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A contronym has contradictory definitions that can mess with your head. 
Some words are just weird. You think you're using them correctly, but then there's that moment of doubt. Does that word mean something else entirely? One of the ironies of the English language is that occasionally, both meanings are correct — even if they're wildly different.
A contronym (also called a contranym or an autoantonym) is a word with two meanings that happen to be the opposite of each other. Specifically, according to the grammarly blog, "a contronym is a word with a homonym (another word with the same spelling but different meaning) that is also an antonym (a word with the opposite meaning)."
Got that?
Contronyms are also sometimes referred to "Janus words" after the two-faced Roman god. Here are 30 contronyms and their contradictory, two-faced definitions.

With many thanks to Mary Jo DiLonardo at MNN 
Related: Paraprosdokians 

To separate by fleeing or to hold together (as with a bolt)
Going toward a destination or restrained from moving
To fasten together (with a buckle) or to bend or collapse from pressure
To adhere firmly and closely or to split apart
To fasten (as with a paperclip) or to detach with shears (clipping your hair or your hedges)
To give advice or to get advice
A common practice or a specially made item
To cover something with a fine power or to make something clean by brushing or removing dust
To order someone to do something or to prohibit someone from doing something
Firmly fixed and unmoving or able to move rapidly
Completed or destroyed
To add decorative touches (to food or drink) or to take/withhold from (as in wages)
An advantage given to equalize chances of winning (as in golf) or a disadvantage that makes equality difficult
To rent property or to offer property for rent
Departed or remained behind
The original, perfect example or a copy
Not operating (turn off the light) or operating (the alarm went off)
Visible (the stars are out) or invisible (the lights are out)
To watch or to fail to notice
Watchful, responsible care or a mistake made due to forgetfulness or poor supervision
To skim or to read very carefully
To separate or to become entangled
To lease something or to offer an something for lease
To boycott or to approve
To hide or to show (like a movie)
To add seed ("seeding the lawn") or to remove seed ("seeding a watermelon")
To hit or to miss while trying to hit
To add (decorations) or to take away (extra hair or fabric, for example)
To endure or to deteriorate
To withstand or to be worn away



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New Bionic Contact Lenses Could Make Glasses Obsolete


Your eyesight may be about to get a huge boost if a new bionic lens makes it to market. Invented by an optometrist in Canada, the Ocumetics Bionic Lens promises to enhance eyesight to a level that's three times better than 20/20 - the universal standard for normal vision.

These aren't lenses you pop in and out, though - the lens developed by Gareth Webb is inserted into the eye via a painless procedure that takes less than 10 minutes (Webb says the process is a lot like cataract surgery). The lenses don't degrade over time so you'll never have a problem with cataracts or failing vision no matter how long you live.

The Ocumetics Bionic Lens incorporates a patented miniature optics system that works like a tiny digital camera: powered by the body, it can shift focus from close range objects to objects any distance away faster than the human eye is able to.

Such technology isn't invented in a day, of course - the lens has been eight years in the making and has cost US$3 million to develop so far. "This is vision enhancement that the world has never seen before," Webb told CBC News. "If you can just barely see the clock at 10 feet, when you get the Bionic Lens you can see the clock at 30 feet (9 metres) away."

Ocumetics Technology Corp, which owns the technology, says it's safe and durable. The implanted lens feels natural and won't cause headaches or any kind of eyestrain. Nevertheless, there's a way to go before it hits the market: a launch has been tentatively set for 2017, after extensive clinical trials have been completed.

For Webb, it's an innovation that's close to his own heart: "At age 45 I had to struggle with reading glasses, which like most people, I found was a great insult," he says. "To this day I curse my progressive glasses. I also wear contact lenses, which I also curse just about every day. My heroes were cowboys, and cowboys just did not wear glasses."

If the Ocumetics Bionic Lens makes it to market then a whole host of eyesight problems could be overcome, not least having to wear glasses or contact lenses. Clinical trials are now set to begin on animals and blind human beings.

In addition to his main work on the bionic lenses, Webb has set up a charitable foundation called Celebration of Sight, dedicated to helping organisations that provide eye surgery in developing countries. Funds have also been earmarked for eye research institutes across the world.

By David Nield

With many thanks to Science Alert

Willie Nelson: On The Road Again With New Album And Memoir


There’s a lot going in the camp of American country veteran Willie Nelson, who at 82 shows no sign of slowing up or stepping off the tour bus. 
Next week sees the release of his new album, Django & Jimmie, his sixth in collaboration with fellow country great Merle Haggard. The title track is a tribute to music legends Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers. Also next week comes the publication of Nelson’s autobiography My Life: It’s a Long Story, which is a suitably lengthy tome that goes behind the scenes of his illustrious music career, not to mention his pursuits as an actor, activist, poet, golfer and judo black belt. Finally, if one thought Nelson was past retirement age, spare a thought for his roadie Ben Dorcy, known affectionately in the music business as Lovey.

Dorcy celebrated his 90th birthday this week and has been working with the who’s who of show business for 64 years, among them Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. He was also John Wayne’s chauffeur and gardener for a few years. To celebrate Lovey’s 10th decade two of the Nelson clan — Willie’s daughter Amy and grand-nephew Trevor Doyle Nelson — are working on a documentary titled King of the Roadies. The film is to be funded through a Kickstarter campaign and the makers are hopeful for a release next year, possibly on the subject’s 91st birthday.

One can’t help but mention the word Eurovision today. Thousands of Aussies will rise at a ridiculous hour tomorrow to follow the fortunes of our first entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest. Good luck to Guy Sebastian. No matter the result, we can be sure he will do Australia proud — and with a song, Tonight Again, that deserves accolades in Europe and beyond.

Although not bidding for Eurovision glory Melbourne band Husky is doing its bit to take Australian music to Europe. The group, which last year released its second album, Ruckers Hill, is relocating to Berlin to further its career. “With our album coming out in Europe and America now we’ve got a lot happening on the other side of the pond,” says singer Husky Gawenda. “So we thought we’d set up shop for the European summer in Berlin. We’ll use it as a base to tour from and write our new record.” The band will be based in Berlin until the end of the year, but Gawenda will be back in Australia before then. 

He’s part of the ensemble that includes Marlon Williams, Jordie Lane and Fergus Linacre that is performing the Beatles’ Revolver and Rubber Soul around the country in August.

While we’re in a congratulatory mood, well done also to Brisbane’s pop darlings Sheppard, which this week went platinum in the US with its song Geronimo. That represents more than a million streams or digital downloads of the song, a great achievement. Sheppard starts a tour of the US next week followed by dates in Europe. It will be home in August to headline the Gympie Muster.

Birthday greetings this weekend to Radiohead drummer Phil Selway, who is 48 today, and to US singer songwriter Jewel, who turns 41. Bob Dylan is 74 tomorrow.(May 24)

By Iain Shedden

Above: The late, great Patsy Cline singing one of Willie's compositions and a favourite of mine.

With many thanks to The Australian

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May 17, 2015

Could Marilyn Monroe Star In A New Film?


Furious 7’s digital Paul Walker body double reopens speculation about CGI characters replacing actors or ‘resurrecting’ late movie stars, reports James Rocchi. 
It’s already the fourth highest grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office. But some say Furious 7 may not just be an extraordinary success but a glimpse at the future of film-making. When Paul Walker died in a car crash in November 2013, he hadn’t finished shooting the film, so digital face-replacement technology was used in his remaining scenes. 

 His brothers Caleb and Cody Walker stood in for him as the shoot continued, and then their late brother’s face was digitally superimposed on their own to ensure that the film, more than halfway through production at the time of Walker’s fatal accident, could be finished.
It’s just one step toward the day, some Hollywood futurists predict, when a deceased movie star can be brought back to life on screen by digital effects – and not just for a few scenes as with the CGI Paul Walker in Furious 7, but for entire films.

Imagine a new movie ‘starring’ Marilyn Monroe or Cary Grant. And yet creating a digital copy of an actor to carry an entire performance remains an elusive goal, joining flying cars and food pills as ‘inevitable’ future developments that always seem somehow out of reach. If it’s a goal that anyone actually desires, that is.

The mechanics of creating a photo-real, all-CGI performance may be simply too time-consuming for film-makers. “When you create creatures or do face-replacement, it’s human time and human effort,” says Andrew Whitehurst, visual effects supervisor on Alex Garland’s recent sci-fi film Ex Machina. “And it’s not a question of ‘Oh, the computers aren’t fast enough’; it’s the psychological element of the [CGI character] that you need to be able to understand, how humans work physically but also psychologically in order to create this performance – and I do not see it as being something that is even on the horizon.”

Ex Machina combines human movement and computer-generated effects in an artificially intelligent femme fatale named Ava. As played by Alicia Vikander, Ava has an artificial body with partially transparent parts – a visually-striking look that Whitehurst and his team worked hard to achieve. “There’s the movement of Ava, which is entirely driven by Alicia’s performance, [but] the complexity of the actual mechanics of the robot is something we created from scratch,” Whitehurst says. “So there are two sides: one is the actual creation of the robot parts, and the other is the way the players actually move, and the way that they inhabit the space, that’s down to us minutely copying what Alicia did on set.”

Virtual reality
Whitehurst thinks that the all-digital actor, invented or based on a past star, is a much more difficult proposition than the hype that surrounds the idea would suggest. Film critic Alison Willmore of Buzzfeed sees the potential of all-digital actors being too seductive for Hollywood to stop trying, however. “The all-synthetic actor can’t throw a fit halfway through his or her synthetic contract,” she says. “The synthetic actor is the ultimate performer. As much as it seems the stuff of – and has been the stuff of several -- dark, futuristic movies, I do think it’s not unreasonable of Hollywood, and the music industry as well, to have that impulse to make the all-digital performer, whether an original creation or a ‘digital ghost’.” In recent years, posthumous performances via holographic versions of Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson on TV programmes, concerts and awards shows have elicited a mixed response – with most viewers ultimately deciding they preferred the real thing.

That lukewarm audience response has diminished Hollywood’s interest in exploring the technology further – especially when you consider how expensive, time-consuming, and reliant on analogue technology such attempts are. Just ask Eric Barba, the chief creative officer of special effects company Digital Domain, who was asked to reverse time’s effect for Disney’s Tron: Legacy and create a younger Jeff Bridges – a 32-year-old version of the actor, who was 60 at the time of the film’s production – Their first step to making it happen was to work off a physical cast of Bridges’ face. “We certainly went back and looked at the era of [Bridges’s career] that the filmmakers felt would be the right age,” says Barba. “…So we were able to sculpt that likeness for the younger Bridges.” But an actual human model was essential for the work. And though he ultimately appeared 30 years younger onscreen, the movements of the character were still supplied by Bridges himself via motion capture – it wasn’t purely digital animation.

Days of future past
At the idea that one day you could feed film negatives, Blu-ray discs and other footage into a computer to create, say, an all-digital Humphrey Bogart to star in another film, Barba laughs. “Images on film are generally from one perspective,” he says. “They’re not from multiple perspectives at exactly the same time. And they’re also [filmed using] different lenses, and each lens has a slightly different effect on perspective. If Jeff Bridges was shot with a wide lens, you see that; if Jeff was shot with a longer lens, his face is going have a slightly different look to it. So you really can’t digitize an image [of an actor] to create [another character played by that actor]; that’s a fantasy world.”

The range of scenes featuring all-digital stand-ins is also limited. “We’ve done face-replacement for a lot of films, and you can get away with a lot in action scenes,” says Whitehurst. “But as soon as you have even a little bit of dialogue, it is colossally hard to do.” If you were to create a digital version of the young Laurence Olivier as Richard III, it would be easier to have him engage in a swordfight than recite the “winter of our discontent” soliloquy. “It’s the subtlety of human performance and human motion that is the thing that is very, very, very difficult to try and reproduce,” says Whitehurst. “There’s not even a question of the amount – or the feeding in – of the data. Creating a digital human, it’s not like trying to simulate an ocean, where the more data you chuck at it, the more complicated you make the simulation, it gets as good as it gets; with faces, with human performance, it’s a much more artistically driven enterprise.”

But the rule in Hollywood is that even a seemingly impossible technology can be realised if it promises profit. “Do I have a great desire to see a digitally-resurrected Humphrey Bogart try and sell me something in a commercial and then appear alongside Justin Bieber in a buddy-cop comedy?” asks Willmore. “No. But do I think it’s totally off the table for someone to try it if the technology begins to approach feasibility? It could totally happen.”

“I’m not saying it’s never going to happen,” adds Whitehurst. “But it’s certainly something that’s not going to happen imminently.” 

For now, though, the best way to create digital performances is through the motion-capture scanning of flesh-and-blood actors. And even if computerised actors are on the horizon, Whitehurst also thinks that the magic of special effects can never recreate the more mercurial magic of Hollywood: fame and all that comes with it. “I don’t know why you would want to spend time trying to create a recreation of Humphrey Bogart,” he says.

 “It seems like a strange thing to want to do. And [since] a lot of the magic of Hollywood is [rooted in] the idea of celebrity… you clearly wouldn’t have [that if an actor] was completely computer-generated.” What would happen to the Oscars, to film premieres, to the whole aspirational fantasy of movie stardom? 

Compared to a hypothetical movie industry built around new films starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe, flying cars don’t seem that far-fetched.



With many thanks to BBC Culture

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Kashmir Sapphire Ring Fetches $7.3 Million At Auction


A prize 35-carat sapphire from Kashmir has fetched $7.3 million, according to the auction house Christie's.

The sale, to a private anonymous Asian buyer, set a world record for a Kashmir sapphire at $209,689 per carat, Christie's said in a statement.

Kashmir sapphires are sought after for their rich cornflower blue or velvety blue color. Sapphire-bearing rock deep in the northwestern Himalayas was exposed in a rock slide in 1881, prompting a rush of mining activity. The mines were exhausted by the 1930s.

The cushion-shaped sapphire ring that sold Wednesday is set with triangular-cut diamond shoulders and baguette-cut diamonds elsewhere, mounted in gold. The sapphire is of the notable velvety hue often compared to the color of a peacock's neck feathers.

Among other top pieces sold was a rectangular-cut pink diamond ring of 5.18 carats surrounded by an oval of white diamonds. It sold for $10.7 million. The buyer was anonymous.

There was no buyer for a large brooch dubbed the "Maria Christina Royal devant-de-corsage." It was presented by King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife, the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, on their wedding day in November 1879.


In all, the Christie's "Magnificent Jewels" sale totaled $97.5 million.

With thanks to Yahoo News

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