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

27 Feb



“Write it on your heart that every day
is the best day in the year.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)



“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.”
(Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Love, from Old English lufu, of Germanic origin; also from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit lubhyati ‘desires,’ Latin libet ‘it is pleasing,’ and libido ‘desire’ … We think of love as a swooning, star-crossed romance. But love is complex, covering a wide range of feelings and experiences. There is the non-romantic form of care, affection, and loyalty that we extend towards family, friends, and ourselves. There is the romantic love that embraces passionate desire and destiny. And there is the selfless transcendent love of compassion and religious devotion, in which our own needs are diminished. So we can be reassured that even if we are not romantically head-over-heels in love, we may still be graced by love in some precious and uplifting way.



Someone’s head restin’ on my knee, Warm and tender as he can be, Who takes good care of me, Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly? … The Lincoln Center Theater has brought back the great musical, My Fair Lady, one of the greatest and longest-running shows of all time with one of the greatest scores of all time. The basis of My Fair Lady is George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion. In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. As a sharp witted character study of class and gender, it resonated when Shaw’s play was presented in 1913 just as it resonates in our time … Although old fashioned, a fair lady referred to a woman who is the object of one’s love or devotion. Taking place in Edwardian London, it’s about the privileged, educated, and pompous phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, who gives speech lessons to the direct, graceful, and honest but lowly flower seller, Eliza Doolittle, to improve her job prospects. The tale of a Cockney flower girl transformed into an elegant lady begs the question, who is teaching whom? Could it be that it’s the able, more self-aware, and wise Eliza who teaches the teacher the important things in life? … And the music! Classics by Lerner & Loewe. I Could Have Danced All Night, Get Me to the Church on Time, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, On the Street Where You Live, The Rain in Spain, and I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face. Just reading those titles I can hear the melodies in my head. And boy are they ever loverly.



While walking through the park, we hear birds using their voices to communicate with other birds. It turns out that the songbird’s brain is designed to find a life-long mate. Male and female finches learn in different ways to help them find their true love. With specific calls to identify themselves, they have a sound control system in their brains that converts sounds into social messages. The males and females both learn their father’s song but they do so for different reasons, using separate parts of their brains. The male zebra finch’s song will indicate that he is fit, healthy, and ready to breed. And the female finches critique the songs of potential suitors. Consider it the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the female songbird to find her true love.



The NYC Ballet has been home to a colorful balloon exhibition created by visual artist Jihan “Geronimo” Zencirli. There are more than 200,000 compostable, biodegradable balloons installed inside and outside of NYCB’s Lincoln Center home. Zencirli’s medium is balloons. “Balloons are not meant to last forever; they vanish.” The magic of her joyful work is its fleeting nature, a reminder that we’re alive, that we will only have this experience at this time. To create her pieces, she works with balloon artisans in Japan who make them by hand and have passed down their craft for generations. The next time we look at birthday party balloons, we can be reminded that they can be art that is meaningful and beautiful!



Love ketchup on your big fat juicy cheeseburger and fries? Well, as American as you think ketchup is, it’s really not. Both the word and the condiment have Chinese origins. The word ketchup in English was first used in 1682 for a “piquant sauce produced in Southeast Asia from fermented soybeans or fish.” And it came from the Cantonese word, kē-chap, referring to a sauce “made from the juice of a fruit or vegetable combined with vinegar or wine and spices.” At first it wasn’t even made with tomatoes! And what about catsup? That’s just another spelling of the original Asian word.



This is the Chinese Year of the Dog. Five elements represent each zodiac: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth so 2018 is the year of the Earth Dog. Dogs are honest and loyal, the truest of friends, and a most reliable partner. We all can benefit from a Dog friend: one who gives advice and help, and is good at helping others find and fix their bad habits … It is predicted that it is going to be a good year in all respects, but it may also be a formidable one. Our feelings running the gamut from happy, yet frustrated; rested, yet tired; cheerful, yet dull … Horoscopes.com writes, “The element of earth will become very important to all signs this year, bringing more groundedness and stability.” Predictions include new business opportunities, increased cash flow, and building a good reputation. But all zodiac signs will need to pay special attention to their health. An ideal time to eat healthy, do sports, and get rid of bad habits.



Valentine Painting (1967), Adrian Henri (1932-2000)

“Art communicates, spreads,
and covers the planet.
It is a blanket of love.”
(Yoko Ono)



If you’re not ready to adopt, another option is to foster. It’s a great way to help a dog prepare for his forever home. He discovers how it feels to be loved, cared for, and no longer neglected. Being a foster fail definitely happens, you fall in love and keep him. But it’s also good to know that one of the greatest rewards of fostering is to know that you’re not only helping one dog, but also the next one in line. Animal shelters and rescue groups are always looking for committed and reliable foster volunteers to care for animals in their homes while they await permanent homes. By fostering you change an animal’s life for the better.

Soundtrack to this Issue


Elvis Costello & The Attractions’s
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding

Here’s a simple message of unity and love in a troubled world, surely an anthem for peace and tolerance. 

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

As I walk through this wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery? 

And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I want to know
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? 

And as I walked on through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong and who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony? Sweet harmony 

‘Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away,
just makes me want to cry
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? 

So where are the strong? And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony? Sweet harmony
‘Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away,
just makes me want to cry

What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

Who rescued whom?11.KEEP-YP+BarkleySo grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l12.KEEP-Buddha“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Loverly lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Balloon artist quote: nycballet.com
Ketchup: OED
EndNote heart pic: Valentine Painting by Adrian Henri
EndNote quote: @yokoono
Soundtrack lyrics: Nicholas Orain Lowe ©Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

February 27, 2018
All Rights Reserved


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