Vital Signs, Personal Profile

Tony Polito


Places

Hard to believe, looking back, but I had the pleasure of making more than two dozen trips to Vegas over the last fifteen years.I don’t gamble that much, but there is plenty to do there, that’s for sure !! Over those years, my steel trap mind collected more information and trivia about Vegas than probably anyone in this state east of I-95 (at least)!

I have lived in Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming. In my travels, I especially enjoyed Jackson Hole, The Outer Banks, Key West ... and, of course, Durham.


Music

Now that I have SiriusXM Radio and a MP3 plug in for my Zune, I don't play CDs in the car much anymore ... who does … but when I did, I used to keep these two in the changer ready to go: Spotlight on Keely Smith and Best of Chet Baker Sings.  Hey, it’s my lounge and I will play my lounge music in it!  J  

Generally, on SiriusXM, I am listening to Siriusly Sinatra (SiriusXM 75), Smooth Jazz (SiriusXM 71), Classic Motown Soul (SiriusXM 53), Adult Contemporary R&B (SiriusXM 51) & 80s Hits (SiriusXM 8). That last channel is gonna sound sorta like the spin at "519."

I also … like lots of people these days … rely on Internet Radio. For that I use a Logitech Squeezebox at my desk. Most of the time, its crankin' Martini in the Morning. Look no further for the best programmed understanding of the genre. The other pre-sets are KJUL Las Vegas, Music Of Your LIfe, CBS 880 New York News, WINS 1010 New York News & KXNT Las Vegas Talk/News Radio.

I have been listening to more classical music of late (which I did a good bit of way back in my undergraduate years). My favorite piece of classical music is The Albinoni Adagio; I was introduced to it via the soundtrack of the James Caan film Rollerball (1975). Now I use the CD changer to park several of those “most relaxing” classical compilations, for when driving is just too stressful !!

Here a few of my other CDs; click through to hear sample tracks:

Louis Armstrong, Basia, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Dave Brubeck, José Carreras, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Celine Dion, Dr. John, Sheena Easton, Enya, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bob James, Elton John, Kenny G, Carole King, Earl Klugh, Diana Krall, Selena, Sergio Mendes, Dean Martin, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, David Sanborn, Boz Scaggs, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington.

Over time, I have been partial to the work of:

Here is an odd duck: On a single CD -- from the Beatles' producer -- Cher, Meat Loaf, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Sinead O'Connor and others all paying tribute to The Glory of Gershwin !!

Here's a good one, oft overlooked. Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings, Laurindo Almeida Plays.  Sammy did this 1966 studio set of ballads with only one microphone and one brilliant Brazilian guitarist.

Btw, For your perusal, here is Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the top 500 albums of all time.


Books & Magazines

Currently I subscribe to only four magazines: Our State, Consumer Reports and Atomic Ranch.

A couple of readings a while back that I found interesting were Prisoner's Dilemma: John Von Neumann, Game Theory and the Puzzle of the Bomb and Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. In general, I tend towards such serious non-fiction.

In the business book genre, here are a few books that reflect the 'new paradigm in business thinking' from which students of business could benefit:

I’m always interesting in “contrarian” literature. Here are a few other such works that I looked at a while back:


Movies

Here are a few “different” and/or independent movies I’ve added to my collection:

Rollerball (1975), Hard Eight, Hoffa, Network, Norma Rae, Roger & Me, The Center of the World, The Insider, The Straight Story.

Some other movies of various genre that I find to be notable for one reason or another:

1984 (1984), Amadeus, American Beauty, American Dream, Atlantic City, Back to School, Brazil, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Casino, Contact, Cool Hand Luke, Cry Freedom, Eyes Wide Shut, Goodfellas, Groundhog Day, House of Games, JFK, Leaving Las Vegas, Local Hero, Man on the Moon, Mindwalk, Once Upon a Time in America, Ocean’s Eleven (1960), Pleasantville, Scent of a Woman, Silkwood, Spartacus (1960), The Butcher's Wife, The Fountainhead, The Handmaid’s Tale, THX 1138, The World According to Garp, Trees Lounge, Unforgiven, Wall Street.

Here are a number of more popular foreign films I have seen and recommend  … and a number of which I now own:

Au hasard Balthazar, Belle De Jour, Bob Le Flambeur, Cinema Paradiso, Fahrenheit 451, Farewell My Concubine, Ikiru, Indochine, Jean de Florette, La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker), La Sirène du Mississippi (Siren of the Mississippi, Mississippi Mermaid), Like Water for Chocolate, Manon des sources, Monsieur Hire, Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud, Nikita, Raise the Red Lantern, Solaris, The Hairdresser's Husband, The Last Emperor, The Seven Samurai, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Vanishing, Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart in Winter), Xizao (Shower), Y Tu Mama Tambien.

My first recommendations for light romantic comedy:

Continental Divide, Joe Versus the Volcano, Manhattan, Moonstruck, Rare Birds.

Here are a couple of truly fascinating murder mysteries based on actual events:

            Echoes in the Darkness and The Thin Blue Line.

All time favorites? 

2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Natural, The Shawshank Redemption, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Wild at Heart and Vertigo. Each argues a truth with powerful eloquence.

I recommend that everyone should see the classic “blonde” Hitchcock films: Marnie, North by Northwest, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo. The complex and meticulous symbolism Hitchcock wove into these films through the dualities, the colors, the flowers, the jewelry, the costuming, the “flawed” male versus the icy blonde – it’s all just very fascinating. I discovered that François Truffaut “borrowed” large parts of the storyline and imagery of Vertigo … and then threw in some Marnie for good measure … to develop La Sirène du Mississippi … but even in casting Catherine Deneuve as the cool blonde, Truffaut’s product simply didn’t measure up to Hitch quality.

I suspect that a lot of people don’t realize how many foreign films have been remade for American audiences. Here’s just a few examples:

Blow Out (1981), starring John Travolta … borrowed its basic storyline from Blowup (1966), directed by Michelangelo Antonion
Breathless (1982), starring Richard Gere … is a remake of Breathless (1960), directed by François Truffaut
Basic Instinct (1992), starring Sharon Stone … was heavily influenced by The Fourth Man (1983), both directed by Paul Verhoeven
City of Angels (1998), starring Nicolas Cage … is a remake of Wings of Desire (1987)
Dark Water (2005) ... is a remake of the 2004 Japanese film Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara
Fistful of Dollars (1964), starring Clint Eastwood … is a remake of Yojimbo (1961), directed by Akira Kurosawa
Insomnia (2002), starring Al Pacino and set in Alaska … is a remake of Insomnia (1997), set in northern Norway
Original Sin (2001) … is a remake of La Sirène du Mississippi (1969), directed by François Truffaut
Point of No Return (1993), starring Bridget Fonda … is a remake of Nikita (1990), directed by Luc Besson
Scent of a Woman (1992), starring Al Pacino … is a remake of Profumo di Donna (1974).
Solaris (2002), starring George Clooney … is a remake of Solyaris (1972), directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Shall We Dance (2004) starring Richard Gere … is a remake of the 1996 Japanese film Shall we dansu?
Star Wars (1977) borrowed its basic storyline from The Hidden Fortress (1958), directed by Akira Kurosawa
Sweet Charity (1969) … is based on Fredrico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (1957).
The Magnificent Seven (1960), starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen & Charles Bronson … is a remake of Seven Samurai (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa
The Man Who Loved Women (1983), starring Burt Reynolds … is a remake of L’ Homme Qui Aimait Les Femmes (1977), directed by François Truffaut
The Ring (2002) … is a remake of the Japanese film Ringu (1998)
The Vanishing (1993), starring Jeff Bridges & Kiefer Sutherland … is a remake of Spoorloos (1988)
Unfaithful (2002), starring Richard Gere … is a remake of La Femme Infidèle (1969), directed by Claude Chabrol
Vanilla Sky (2001) starring Tom Cruise … is a remake of Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) (1997)

 [ Just in case you’re interested in broadening your knowledge of movies, here are links to several “all time best” movie lists … AFI’s Top 100IMDB’s Top 250Roger Ebert’s Top 100 ]