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

27 Nov

NOVEMBER MEDLEY

CoverPic.nov2017

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again…

THE MYSTERIOUS ORIENT EXPRESS

OrientExpress.nov2017.train

Hercule Poirot solved his most famous case on it, Alfred Hitchcock’s lady vanished from it, and James Bond rode it from Istanbul to London … The original Orient Express, opulent and glamorous, ran between Paris and Istanbul, its first departure on October 4, 1883 from Paris’ Gare de l’Est … Not only tales of fiction, but real artists and spies traveled by the Orient Express earning it the nickname, “Spies’ Express.” An English spy named Robert Baden-Powell posed as a lepidopterist holding intricate sketches of butterfly wings that actually contained codes of fortifications along the Dalmatian Coast, helping the British and Italian navies in WWI … And there were actual murders on it, too. In 1935 a wealthy woman on her way to her husband, the Romanian military attaché in Paris, was robbed and pushed through the open window. Her body was discovered along the railway in Austria. When her belongings were found, missing was a silver-fox scarf. A Swiss policeman spotted a woman wearing that scarf. She told him she got it from a 23-year-old student. He was later sentenced to death but was eventually imprisoned for life. In 1950 Captain Eugene Simon, the U.S. naval attaché in Bucharest, was traveling with sensitive papers about spy networks in Eastern Europe. He fell off the train under suspicious circumstances in a tunnel near Salzburg. His murder was never solved. Too bad that Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective, wasn’t brought in to solve it!

… THE GENESIS OF POIROT

HerculePoirot.nov2017.StylesBookcover-USE

“Poirot was an extraordinary-looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible, I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound” … And so we are introduced to Hercule Poirot by Captain Hastings in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

While growing up, Agatha Christie enjoyed reading Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and thought about writing her own detective story. During WWI, Agatha Christie was a nurse at a Red Cross Hospital where her lifelong interest in poisons began. Surrounded by them, it was natural that death by poisoning was her preferred method to kill off her victims … For her first novel’s detective, she was inspired by the Belgian refugees in her hometown. So she created a Belgian refugee retired police officer. Of the utmost importance, he must be extremely intelligent, using his “little grey cells” to solve the crime. And of course he deserved a grand name – such as Hercules! Hercule Poirot was born and introduced to the world in The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920, four years after it was written, famous as much for his magnificent moustache as his little grey cells … He is the only fictional character to have received an obituary on the front of The New York Times in 1975, following the publication of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case ... “My name is Hercule Poirot and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.” (The Mystery of the Blue Train). And very modest, too.

 

IS IT REAL OR IS IT SCI-FI?

Tablet.2001.nov2017

“(Floyd) would hold the front page while he searched the headlines…a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort … Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad and the fantastic technology behind it was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased.”

Before there was Apple’s iPad (released in 2010), Arthur C. Clarke envisioned the tablet of the future. In his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), he dreamed up a portable computer that would be used by everyone on earth – and in space! – that he called the Newspad. In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), we see the astronauts use the tablets to conduct spaceship diagnostic checks, to read the news (see pic), or when they need a line of communication to Earth. Arthur C. Clarke, who died in 2008, would be happy to know that it’s just not sci-fi anymore – today’s NASA astronauts use tablets.

 

HOW SPLENDENT IT IS!

Splendent.radientcolor.3-USE

splendent: [splen-duh nt] adj. 1. Shining or radiant as the sun. 2. Gleaming or lustrous as a gem. 3. Brilliant in appearance, color. 4. Admired by many; illustrious. 5. gorgeous; magnificent; splendid. 1425-75; late Middle English, from Old French esplendent, from Latin splendēns, splendent-, present participle of splendēre, to shine.

Now say these words aloud: bright, brilliant, radiant, incandescent, lustrous, shiny, glistening, sparkling, resplendent, and luminous. How seductive are they? Feel better? Doesn’t each one just make you smile and make your eyes light up? One word does all that. C’mon, say it with me: splendent!

 

DIGITAL BURGER WARS

EmojiBurgerWars.nov2017.2-USE.CR

There is a Burger Emoji Wars. Really. It started with a tweet about the difference between the Google and Apple cheeseburger emoji. Cheese on the top or on the bottom? You see, Apple’s emoji design places the cheese on top, while Google’s has it on the bottom. What is the correct way to layer the buns, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese in a classic American cheeseburger, anyway? Call in the chefs. One says Google got it right. The cheese on the bottom is closer to the tongue and also seals in juices to prevent the bottom bun from getting soggy. Another countered that when the cheese is melted on the burger, the bun gets toasted and crunchy. But when the cheese is melted on the bun, the bun is a soggy doughy mess. One tweet seemed to sum it up best: it’s called a cheeseburger, not a burgercheese. Fries with that, anyone?

 

DOG NEWS: THE HARRY POTTER WAY

DogNews.HarryPotterShelter.nov2017.2-USE
An Orlando, FL pet shelter is using Harry Potter’s magical sorting hat from Hogwarts to sort their animals into Pawgwarts Houses to find them loving forever homes. They help potential pet parents match their lifestyles to a pet based on its behavior and personality, instead of breed labels. Staff and volunteers assess each dog’s qualities and personality traits from a series of activities, and then match it to a Pawgwarts House. A quick learner has the knowledge of a Ravenpaw. A small dog with determination has the ambition of Slobberin House. An affectionate jovial dog embodies the friendliness of a Hufflefluff. And a dog who embraces change and new things has the bravery of a Gryffindog … All you muggles and wizards can sort your dog into its appropriate Pawgwarts House by taking the Pawgwarts Sorting Quiz on the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s website.

 

ENDNOTE: GRATITUDE

Thanksgiving.marctetro.cr

Dear Friends, that we support one another through life’s joys and challenges, that we lighten each other’s loads, that we learn from each other, that we swear by truth, trust, and loyalty – that’s a lot to be grateful for. Thank you, Yvette.

“I thank you…for this most amazing day…
and for everything that is natural, infinite, which is yes.”
(e.e. cummings)

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.creativets.7.album-USE

“The song gave me a chance to tell my daughter something I never could quite figure out how to do,” says a vet in the Songwriting Program … CreatiVets helps disabled veterans cope with service-related trauma by fostering their self-expression through free music and art programs. It’s a way they can transform their struggles into an art form that helps them heal. The group flies veterans to Nashville to collaborate with accomplished songwriters for three days, or to study at either Chicago’s School of the Art Institute or Virginia’s Commonwealth University for three weeks … “It wasn’t until after I began to tell my story to people that I felt a sense of relief from some of the grief I held inside,” says a vet in the Art Program … Unsung Heroes is an inspirational tribute from nine brave veterans with nine different stories that honor and support our military heroes. Pick up the album to hear their songs and learn about the composers and veterans who collaborated on this project.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.Ripple.nov2017.garcia
Grateful Dead’s Ripple

Are we all just ripples in still water? Mystical and soulful, the primary source for Ripple comes from the 23rd Psalm, with its references to still water, a cup that may be full or empty, and paths of righteousness. Robert Hunter’s lyrics provide comfort and wisdom, while Jerry Garcia’s melody is graceful and pure. When asked to name a lyric of which he was particularly proud, Hunter answered, “Let it be known there is a fountain, that was not made by the hands of men,” a line from Ripple. “That’s pretty much my favorite line I ever wrote, that’s ever popped into my head. And I believe it, you know?” Echoing the 23rd Psalm, each of us is the shepherd of each other, with the hope and optimism for a global brotherhood. “If I knew the way, I would take you home.”

C’mon, sing along, you know the words:

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own? 

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air. 

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow. 

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men. 

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone. 

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow. 

You, who choose to lead, must follow
But if you fall you fall alone.
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home. 

La dee da da da …

 

 

Who rescued whom?
KEEP-YP+Barkley
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
KEEP-Buddha
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Orient Express pic: a postcard for the Orient Express, c. 1900 (photo: Arjan den Boer)
2001: A Space Odyssey pic: Stanley Kubrick (1968)
Arthur C. Clark’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: Chapter 9
Dog News pic: Courtesy of Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Endnote pic: Marc Tetro
Robert Hunter quote: Rolling Stone 2015
Ripple lyrics: Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter ©Universal Music Publishing Group

November 27, 2017
All Rights Reserved

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: