Archive | November, 2013

November Newsletter: A Review of the Month’s Culture, Arts + Trends

29 Nov



From mourning to morning…The light was sure to come…And it came with the support from friends and colleagues…Cards, calls, emails, visits, Facebook and LinkedIn messages, blog post comments, a special prayer, deli dinners, lemon bars, wines, carrot cake, flowers, plants, hugs, dog kisses (from Ethan) and pics (from Bogey), chocolate babka, and latkes…With heartfelt gratitude to you all…And with best wishes for you at this auspicious time of Thanksgiving and Chanukah…Let there be love. Let there be light. Let there be life.


A new doc on PBS, American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train a Comin’ looked at his life and music. Oh, and those clothes. Everything about him was colorful. Loved it…Musicwood covers concerns over wood by guitar makers, environmentalists, land developers, and loggers…A third doc, 12-12-12, went backstage at the benefit concert for Mozart.WQXR.Nov2013Hurricane Sandy victims at Madison Square Garden…Over at WQXR, it’s Mozart Month. The NY Philharmonic played his Requiem with the NY Choral Artists and performs his three final Symphonies, Nos. 39, 40 and 41, broadcast live November 30…And let’s hope the Brooklyn Philharmonic finds a way out of a dire financial situation…An eight-part series on YouTube, Zirka chronicles Robert Plant’s journey in Mali and features Malian music…Y’know those wonderful 92Y events that you wish you could go to all of them? Now ya can. They opened their archives, so stream away…Dylan Fest concerts benefited Sweet Relief Musicians Fund…The Stand Up For Heroes concert at Madison Square Garden featured MusicCorps wounded warriors playing alongside Roger Waters…City Winery hosted the Guitar Mash Benefit Concert and Jam that raised money for music education programs…Jazz and Colors in Central Park with 30 acts…Are record stores back? Vinyl, too? Rough Trade NYC opened in Brooklyn, has CDs and vinyl. WFMU’s Record Fair success is a sure sign of LP love. And Record Store Day expands to Back to Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day event…The Beastie Boys handled a toy company’s use of their music with a good outcome that respects the rights of artists. “We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering…As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.”…Based on live recordings from their archives, the busy BBC released a new Beatles CD, a reissue, and a book. Thanks!…Van Morrison played NYC and has new deluxe behind the scenes CDs that include a re-mastered Moondance…Speaking of 92Y, Anthony DeCurtis talked to Lou Reed in 2006. “Lou Reed has defined so much of what contemporary music is about…my favorite conversations with him have often occurred running into him on the streets…that’s why we live in New York. So, the King of New York, Lou Reed.”…Finally, Lou Reed’s memorial at Lincoln Center was a fitting tribute, no speeches, no talking, just listening. His music speaking for him. And for us.


At $58.4M, Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) went for the highest JeffKoons.OrangePuppy.11.28.13auction price paid for a living artist…Remember Al Hirschfeld’s line drawings, caricatures of Broadway stars, that were on the cover of the Sunday NY Times arts section? His works are on view ‘til January 4 at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts. Count those NinasThe Leonard Bernstein Letters (Yale U Press) is a collection ofLeonardBernstein.Letters.NovNewsletter.11.29.13 letters he wrote and received. Those by and to Aaron Copland and Adolph Green (who called him Lennish!) reveal wit, passion, anger, humor, and above all, the immense value they placed on music…Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year is selfie…Not too late to catch The Forty Part Motet sound installation at the Cloisters, there ‘til December 8The ever topical, musical, and erudite Tom Stoppard (Arcadia and Rock ‘n’ Roll!) wrote a radio play based on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside, commissioned by that busy BBC in honor of the album’s fortieth anniversary, is also on CD…Malcolm Gladwell talks about underdogs and what advantage really is in David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He explains, “…underdogs win more often than we think because their limitations can force them to be creative.”



Police dogs finally get bullet-proof vests. What took so long? Although over 450 now have them, there are many more who need them across the US. A vest costs $950. Donate to: Vested Interest in K-9s, Inc.


I wrote four posts about losing my precious Buddha on Yvette Perry’s Blog…And I got back to business, though still hurting, with a post about Johnny Cash’s deeply moving version of Hurt as it was used on the TV show, Person of Interest…Also posted there is this newsletter so you can easily share it with your friends. Just click on any of the share buttons below each post…And hope you follow the Blog!

GeorgeHarrison.GiveMeLove.11.28.13Soundtrack to this Issue is George Harrison’s
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Love pic: Robert Indiana exhibit at the Whitney through January 5, 2014
Beastie Boys quote: LA Times, November 27, 2013
Mozart pic: WQXR
Jeff Koons Balloon Dog (Orange)
outside Christie’s pic: The Pup Diary
The Leonard Bernstein Letters
pic: Yale University Press (2013)
Malcolm Gladwell
quote: 60 Minutes, Sunday, November 24, 2013
George Harrison pic: Popdose

Johnny Cash Explains the Hurt

27 Nov

Do you watch Person of Interest? A television show I recently got into. Interesting concept, heroic characters, fast-paced plots. From Bad Robot, JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Fringe). And there’s a dog. What’s not to love?

Question: Can a piece of music elevate and even elucidate an episode of a television show? Did you watch last nite’s episode? If you did, you know the answer is yes, it can. Because it did.

JohnnyCash.11.27.13.hurt.crThe opening four minutes was accompanied solely by Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt. It set the tone and it stated the thesis for what followed.

Revenge, eye for an eye, retaliation, settling the score. The characters suffered a mighty loss in last week’s episode. This week was all about their response.

Healing, light at the end of the tunnel, there’ll be better days…

Sure, there’ll be time for all that.

For now, Johnny Cash is tellin’ you, it’s just about the hurtin’.


I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of thorns*
On my liar’s chair

Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stain of time
The feeling disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become?
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again

A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Hurt: Music and lyrics by Trent Reznor (*changed to crown of “thorns” in Cash’s version)
Johnny Cash’s Hurt: From the album, Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), produced by Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash Pic: from Hurt shoot

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

20 Nov

I have written about mourning Buddha. But writing solely of my sadness, well, that’s something else. Maybe addressing sadness head-on is the step that leads to healing (read: getting to the opposite of sad). So here goes.

Essentially, I have an upbeat, positive, happy nature. And now I am unbearably sad. As is understandable and expected at such a time. I do know that the day will come when I will be ok. That I will be less sad. I cannot yet say, even in contemplating future feelings, not sad. So less sad it is. For now.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ― Kahlil Gibran

Although I don’t know much about Khalil Gibran, I know he speaks truth TulipEars.b.hi-cin this quote. For what I am sad about is exactly that – that which gave me happiness, joy, and contentment. The delightful creature Buddha was. And who I now weep for. Snippets of remembered pictures appear in my mind’s eye. Especially the last time I saw my baby. For it was a beautiful picture. Thankfully. His all white body surrounded by white down comforter and white pillows. A black nose. And those beautiful big pink ears. Sleeping peacefully. A comforting picture.

“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.” ― William Faulkner

A recurring theme in talking about the loss of our companions is their shorter lifespans than ours. Yet we repeat this experience throughout the course of our lives. We love them, we lose them, we grieve. Repeat. Would I want it any other way? Sure, I wish they would live long lives alongside ours. But the thing I have always thought, during Buddha’s lifetime and since losing him, is that it is better to have him than not. It surely, surely is. That he affected my life positively, I am thankful for. That Buddha affected many along his life’s journey, I am thankful for, too. So many things to be thankful for. So we choose pain over nothing. But really we are choosing love. And choosing to live. And whatever comes, well, that is life.

“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining, Behind the clouds is the sun still shining, Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have found solace in the words and music of George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun and Cat Stevens’ Morning Has Broken. Their identical messages resound in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem. That the sun is sure to shine again. I know it will. Because, Buddha, you are my sunshine. My memories of you and the beautiful pictures I have of you – those that are tangible and those in my mind’s eye – are beside me now. I hold them close. I have hope and I have peace and one day soon I will be less sad because I have the certainty that your enduring spirit will shine forever. And ever. Amen.


Khalil Gibran quote: On Joy and Sorrow from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (Alfred A. Knopf)
William Faulkner quote: The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem]
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem: The Complete Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mourning Has Not Broken…Yet

16 Nov

I miss you so much, My Beautiful Buddha Boy. The second week of missing you did not get easier. In fact, it was harder.

I said before that sadness sucks. Mourning sucks even more. What are you supposed to do? Think? Not think? Dwell? Not dwell? Well, I did think, I did dwell, I also walked around, I sat down, got up and walked around again. Repeated over and over. I even crawled into bed twice in daytime. Oh, and all while crying, howling, wailing, sniffling.

What I do know is that there is no supposed to, that much I know. Sadness is this thing that you just can’t say, “Go away,” and it goes. It doesn’t. It can’t. It just stays. Until I guess one day it isn’t there. Or it isn’t there like a big heavy cloud-like boulder above your head weighing you down. That day is not yet here. My friends say, “It’s ok, take a step at a time.” Step at a time. That is good advice. I have been doing that, little by little. Cleaning out Buddha’s things, giving some away, keeping those things dear to me, writing, making a book, and reading all my messages and cards.

You established your covenant with us through the family of Noah, and with every living creature, the birds, the cattle, and with every beast of the earth that came out from the ark. (Genesis 9:10)

Dogs. It’s been said that they are all about unconditional love. But I think it’s so much more than that. It’s not that they just give us that. Well, it is, because they do. But I think we need to deserve such an awesome gift. Because that is a huge gift. And we better be worthy of it. I hope that I was. Because Buddha deserved that from me. I took care of him. With love. And with unconditional devotion. Through lots of medical issues, I did my best for him. I loved taking care of him. I really did. It didn’t matter to me what was needed. I did it. You just do. And now I just miss him so much. It hurts. He was my precious, precious baby. Adorable and loving and sweet and kind. How could I not be missing him? He is irreplaceable.

I lost someone I love. I had a beautiful baby boy and now I don’t. Thirteen and a half years flew by. Where did they go? I can’t reconcile these things. Buddha’s no longer here. I look for him. He’s not here. It feels like he’s here. I trip over him. And I trip over his water bowl. And then I realize that he’s not here. And the bowl’s no longer there on the floor. It went by so fast. How did that happen?

Our pets give us the gift of unqualified and unconditional love. They love us, and love us and love us some more, and there is always more love where that came from. When they become a part of our lives they become a very special part of our family life and all that we share. We thank You, O God, for all that they gave to us. Compared to the number of years that we humans live, their lives are brief. And when their lives come to an end, we feel the pain of our loss, because a beloved member of our family has died.

I lost him on Halloween. Every year he was the Angel Boy. So not only was halloweenangelhe an Angel Boy with real wings this Halloween, he will be my angel boy always.

Goodbye is not an option. He’s always with me. As I am with him. I know that. I can feel that.

(Buddha with his angel wings on Halloween.)

I was reminded this week of a news story on Barbie’s birthday about Stanley, a man who collects Barbie dolls. He said, “You’re always in a good mood because you always have beauty around you.” Writing about it at the time, I noted, “He made happiness.” Because Barbie made him happy, that’s what he surrounded himself with. How wonderful is that? I, too, made happiness. Buddha and I had a happy home. It’s a wonderful thing to make happiness. And it’s even a better thing to be grateful for it. While you’re in it. And after it’s gone.

Was it by chance or by fate that the two songs I have referenced during this time, Here Comes The Sun (see previous blog post) and Morning Has Broken, both speak of sunlight – the light that brings hope for a new day. That both these songs I find comfort in lyrically and melodically. That both are by songwriters – George Harrison and Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam now) respectively – who sought spiritual enlightenment wholeheartedly, candidly, and publicly. That here’s my Buddha Boy, suitably named, for he was truly a Buddha inside and out. And that I have found comfort in such an inadvertent coincidence. Call it a fluke, godsend, blessing, or stroke of luck. By any definition, it’s all a reflection of my Buddha and my love for him.

Buddha. He was love, peace, beauty, kindness. He was light. He was life. He was a mitzvah. Buddha, thank you for being my dog. Your mother loves you forever and ever. Amen.

Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day


Pet prayer: Adapted from Rabbi Neal Schuster
Barbie collector: ABC News/GMA, March 9, 2013
Morning Has Broken: Words by Eleanor Farjeon and music by Cat Stevens, 1971 (BMG Rights Management), from the album Teaser and the Firecat.

Losing Buddha and Finding Solace with a Little Help from George Harrison

8 Nov

Being sad sucks. Listening to George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun helps. It has provided solace in a week of mourning. It has been a nurturing companion providing me with hope that there will soon be light.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

You see, my Buddha passed. Perfectly named – yes, he had a big pink belly – Buddha was possessed of a calm, sweet, kind nature. Is it remarkable, fortuitous even, that it was George Harrison’s own signal of enlightenment that I was steered toward to help me deal with the loss of my precious Buddha? Palliative, meditative, uplifting, and altogether positive, Here Comes The Sun is the comfort food that is feeding me, filling me with hope.

Little darling, the smiles returning to their faces
Little darling, it seems like it’s years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

An indication of exactly how persuasive it is, did you know Carl Sagan thought Here Comes The Sun should be included on the Voyager spacecraft’s Golden Record to provide any entity that recovered it a representative sample of human civilization? How cool, how appropriate.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

I miss Buddha so much. My heart is breaking. Yet here is this song about looking forward. That happy times will come again when the sun comes out. That there is a promise for new beginnings. That “… it’s all right.” I sure do hope so. In fact, I’m clinging to that.

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right


Here Comes the Sun: Words and Music by George Harrison, copyright 1969 Northern Songs, from the Beatles’ album, Abbey Road.

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