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

28 Mar

MARCH’S MOONLIGHT + MADNESS

1.Irish.Shamrock.mar2018

“We can make our minds so like still water
that beings gather about us that they may see,
it may be, their own images,
and so live for a moment
with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
because of our quiet.”
(William Butler Yeats)

 

MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN

2.Frankenstein.maryshelley.mar2018.fearless.b USE

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is 200 years old. Mary was born in London in 1797, the daughter of pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and was married to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was 16. Without a formal education, but for her father’s extensive library, she found an outlet in writing stories. Spending the summer at a country house on Lake Geneva in 1816, she and her husband were joined by poet Lord Byron and Dr. John Polidori. Stormy weather forcing them indoors, they held a competition to see who could invent the best ghost story. Conceived from a feverish dream, Mary’s story became the iconic tale of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster created from the spare parts of corpses. In 1818 it was published as Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus. Barely a teenager, Mary Shelley has influenced our imaginations with her enduring creation. Frankenstein is very much alive. “It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!”

 

THE DOORS

3.Doors.mar2018

Would you like to take a piece of the Hotel Chelsea home? The doors of some of the hotel’s famous residents are being put up for auction. Opened in 1885, the hotel has been closed since 2011 for renovations. It was home to actors, writers, artists, and musicians, lots of musicians. Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan. Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe, Tennessee Williams, and Mark Twain. Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Liam Neeson and Humphrey Bogart. There are 55 original white-washed wooden doors of their rooms which were salvaged during the hotel’s refurbishment … The auction, managed by Guernsey’s auction house, is on April 12 at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, 529 West 20th St. and on display starting April 5. If you would like one, bids begin at $5,000. Part of the proceeds from the auction will go to City Harvest, which delivers food to New York’s hungry.

4.ChelseaHotel.Balcony.mar2018.c-USE

In 1966 the Hotel Chelsea was declared a NYC landmark, “one of the few remaining of the great Victorian Gothic apartment houses which once adorned the City.” The 12-story hotel is particularly notable for its ornate iron balconies. Sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey in his room at the Hotel Chelsea in the 1960s. It is also here that Bob Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan after hotel guest Dylan Thomas; and where he wrote the album Blonde on Blonde.

 

BEATLES PARK

5.BeatlesPark.mar2018-USE

Here’s a little known Beatles story. Catching a glimpse of the Beatles as they walked out of an airport was the single most exciting event in the history of a small town in Arkansas. And Walnut Ridge is determined to keep the memory alive. In September of 1964 the Beatles landed at the Walnut Ridge airport for a quick stopover. Word leaked out and the entire town turned up at the airport to see them. In remembrance of that event, Walnut Ridge created Beatles Park, with cutouts, sculptures, and murals of the band including a yellow submarine. The town celebrates by gathering in the park every September for a Beatles Fest, featuring a concert from their own town’s band, the “Liverpool Legends.”

 

ADA’S ALGORITHM

6.AdaLovelace.mar2018.quote-USE

The world’s first computer programmer lived in the first half of the 19th century and was a woman. Ada Lovelace was born in London in 1815, the daughter of Lord Byron. Lady Byron left her husband, taking the newborn. From the age of 4, Ada was tutored in math and science, rare for a woman in Victorian England. And at 12 she thought up the design for a flying machine! As a teenager, she was the protégé of Charles Babbage who created a mathematical calculating machine. Ada took it a step further, programming a code that was the first algorithm by a machine: it gave it instructions in a language it could understand, the first computer program … Ada foresaw that music, words, pictures, and sounds could be made digital by a machine. Wow, right? Her ideas of computing were far ahead of their time, technology catching up a century later. In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Defense named a sophisticated computer programming language “Ada” in her honor. It’s still being used today in aviation, health care, transportation, finance, and space … October 15 is Ada Lovelace Day, dedicated to promoting women in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math.

 

DOG NEWS

7.DogNews.mar2018

Dog bites man makes the front page of the New York Times March 15, 1939: A legal battle over a dog’s right to be “entitled to at least one bite before his master is held liable for damages.” And the New York State Senate upheld it 25-18, declaring it a time honored tradition that came down to us from the Middle Ages.

 

ENDNOTE: NEIL deGRASSE TYSON

8.EndNote.TysonHawking.mar2018

On Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty.
Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating
the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.”

 

WE CAN HELP

9.WeCanHelp.Rhino.mar2018.b-USE

The northern white rhino is the most endangered animal on Earth. Their population was largely wiped out during the poaching crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. Sudan, the world’s last male, died after months of poor health. His death leaves only two females, his daughter and granddaughter, alive in the world. Hope for preserving the northern white rhino lies in developing in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques. So Sudan’s genetic material was collected to be used for this radically new procedure which can cost $10m! Our donation helps San Diego Zoo Global fund new reproductive research at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, relocate rhinos into safer habitats, and provide anti-poaching patrols.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

10.Soundtrack.Animals.mar2018

The Animals
Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

 Eric Burdon says he fell in love with this song because that’s how he always felt. “I’ve really been misunderstood. By my mom, my dad, school teachers, a couple of the women that I married. I’ve been misunderstood all of my life.” Wow, think about how Frankenstein’s Monster must’ve felt. 

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

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I feel real bad.
I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood 

Baby, sometimes I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
And sometimes it seems that, all I have to do is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side
I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood 

 If I seem edgy, I want you to know,
That I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems, and I get my share,
And that’s one thing I never mean to do
Cause I love you, Oh, 

Oh, oh, oh, baby – don’t you know I’m human
I have thoughts like any other one
Sometimes I find myself, Lord, regretting
Some foolish thing, some little simple thing I’ve done
I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

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

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

 

Sources:
W.B. Yeats poem: from “Earth, Fire and Water” (1893)
Frankenstein quote: Frankenstein, Universal Pictures (1931)
Chelsea Hotel quote: New York City Landmark Commission
Ada Lovelace pic: Portrait of Ada Lovelace by Alfred Chalon, 1838
Soundtrack lyrics: Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Chris-N-Jen Music
Eric Burdon quote: Dan MacIntosh interview, September 13, 2010

March 28, 2018
All Rights Reserved

 

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

30 Jan

JANUARY, HOPE’S PATHWAY

1.jan2018.skyheart

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering,
‘It will be happier.’”
Alfred Lord Tennyson

LOST AND FOUND

2.Monet.jan2018-USE

A Monet painting that had been missing since 1895 has been found through a Google search! The Effet de Brouillard, painted in 1872, was tracked down by art historian Richard Thomson. Missing for years, he discovered the painting had recently been sold in New Orleans and through the power of the internet he tracked it down! It has only been exhibited three times before: London in 1874 and in Boston and New York in 1895. The original owner of the painting was Galerie Durand-Ruel who bought the painting directly from Monet in Paris in 1873. Effet depicts a scene of the Argenteuil near Paris, where Monet lived for seven years and will go on display at the National Gallery this year.

3.Raphael.jan2018-USE

A 500-year-old mystery at the Vatican has just been solved. Two paintings by Renaissance master Raphael were discovered during the cleaning and restoration of a room inside the Vatican Museums. The two female figures, Justice and Friendship, were painted by Raphael around 1519, a year before his death at 37 in 1520. The oil paint, the brushwork, and the unusual shades of color were all clues confirming they were Raphaels. The job of restoring them along with the rest of the room will take until 2022 and cost over three million dollars!

DEEP PURPLE

4.PantonePurple2018.jan2018.lights-USE

Colors have the ability to convey deep messages and meanings, to inspire and influence. Pantone’s color of 2018 is Ultra Violet, a beautiful blue-based purple that conveys artistic expression, creative inspiration, and spiritual reflection. Reigning supreme in this new year, this mystical, dramatic, and provocative purple shade is inspired by music legends Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Prince (who received his own official Pantone hue in 2017). According to the company, it embodies individuality and spirituality, and alludes to the mysteries of the cosmos and the unknown. Oh, and it’s my favorite color.

WALK THIS WAY

5.WalkThisWay.withdog.jan2018.c.cr-USE

It’s said that taking a walk in the woods, in the city, in the fields, or on a beach, sets the mind free and aligns one’s self to Nature. In true solitude is when we hear our inner voices and we let our minds wander, creating a fertile ground for our imagination. In fact, walking is powerful, providing a way for us to get in touch with our intellect, judgement, awareness, and creativity … “When I go out for a walk, there is so much I see that makes me happy to be alive. Breathing. Not thinking. Observing. I am grateful beyond measure to be part of it all.” Artist Maira Kalman loves to walk. She has this in common with many great minds all of whom got their inspiration from long walks. Dickens and Hugo walked; Twain was a pacer; and Mozart preferred it to a carriage … Taking a long walk with my dog in the park makes me happy. And it’s especially peaceful to walk as the snow gently falls and quietly lands. There’s no real destination, no set time. Letting my mind wander. Listening to the world around me. Then getting so lost in my thoughts that I don’t hear anything else but my inner voice. And my dog’s cheerful bark. Just enjoying the journey.

DO YOU SPEAK DROOG?

6.ClockworkOrange.vancekelly.jan2018.e-USE

“Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood e old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood…There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim.” … Alex speaks Nadsat, the language created by Anthony Burgess in his novel A Clockwork Orange. A mix of Russian (Nadsat is Russian for teen), gypsy, Cockney rhyming slang, criminal-speak, and Shakespeare’s English. Burgess wrote his dystopian tale in 1962 at the height of the Cold War and then Stanley Kubrick made the iconic brilliant film ten years later. Instead of creating a glossary, Burgess wanted us to figure out the meanings of the words just from the setting … Droog means friend and is the most famous Nadsat word, everyone who has ever seen the movie remembers it. It gains potency as we follow Alex’s brutal pranks with his wretched friends Pete, Georgie, and Dim … “I read this with care, my brothers, slurping away at the old chai, cup after tass after chasha, crunching my lomticks of black toast dipped in jammiwam and eggiweg” … At the end, Alex talks to his imagined son, wondering if he would heed any fatherly advice Alex might pass on: “And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world, round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers.” Got it?

DOG NEWS

7.DogNews.BelovedDogBookKalman.jan2018.d-USE

“[Dogs] are constant reminders that life reveals the best of itself when we…extend our unconditional love…the most tender uncomplicated, most generous part of our being blossoms…when it comes to the love of a dog.” … Whimsical, funny, philosophical, moving, and witty. In her book, Beloved Dog (Penguin Press, 2015), author and illustrator Maira Kalman shares with us her affection for the dogs she has known and loved. Through her heart-warming anecdotes, stories and delightful artwork, we see how dogs can be the most loyalest friends we could ever have, happy to see us, always eager to play, and a great fresh-air companion. If you’ve ever loved a dog and lost a dog, you’ll definitely be moved, not in a maudlin way but in a weird quirky uplifting way. You’ll laugh and probably cry, too, but I think you’ll cherish your own dog just a little more.

ENDNOTE: ABRAHAM LINCOLN

8.Endnote.AbrahamLincoln.jan2018

“My dream is of a place and a time where America
will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”

Abraham Lincoln’s pronouncement was a reflection of his time, as it is also a reflection of ours. To gain any perspective on the anomaly of our cultural moment, it wouldn’t hurt to begin this new year filled with hope. Together, let’s have hope. Because really, what’ve we got to lose?

WE CAN HELP

9.WeCanHelp.Adopt.HomeMat.jan2018-USE

Big smiles. Cozy naps. A wagging tail every time we walk in the door. (Unless you have a Westie who stays on the couch and clearly conveys, “So you’re home, what’s for dinner?”) When we adopt a pet, so many things change for the better, for everyone. We can help change an animal’s life! Consider welcoming the love of a pet into your life. Putting our love into action is what adopting is about. Let’s spread the word that adoption is a cool thing to do. Each of us can play a role in creating a better world for animals. Adopting a pet who needs a loving home will make a difference in their lives, and ours.

Soundtrack to this Issue

10.Soundtrack.DreamOn.steventyler.jan2018-USE

Aerosmith’s Dream On

 Okay, okay, I know. You thought it would be Walk This Way. But it’s the beginning of a new year. We’re dreamin’ about new things and good things and hoping for the best. And y’know, it’s really hard not to smile when Steven Tyler’s doing his thing. What’s that expression? It never gets old. “There’s so many days where I dunno if I’m coming or going. Y’know sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” Inspiring. Gotta love him. Enjoy!

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

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way

Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay

I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win 

Half my life is books, written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it’s true, oh
All these feelings come back to you 

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away 

Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true

Who rescued whom?

11.KEEP-YP+Barkley

So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

12.KEEP-Buddha

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Maira Kalman quote #1: The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press 2007)
Dog News pic: Beloved Dog (Penguin Press 2015)
Maira Kalman quote #2: Beloved Dog (Penguin Press 2015)
Dream On lyrics: Steven Tyler ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC

January 30, 2018
All Rights Reserved

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

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

29 Oct

OCTOBER’S FREEFALL
 TomPetty.Getty

“Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while
And I’m free, free fallin’…” 

Tom Petty was MusiCares Person of The Year and celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary with a high-profile tour. What a great year he was having – then our hearts were broken ... “Well I know what’s right, I got just one life, In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around, But I’ll stand my ground, And I won’t back down” … TP once said of I Won’t Back Down, his anthem of iron will and moral conviction, “It’s so bare, without any ambiguity. There was nothing there but truth.” He could have been talking about any one of his songs. In fact those words could have been said about him, too.

 

DRACULA’S PRELUDE

Stoker.churchyard.oct2017

What would Halloween’s month be without a scary tale? How about a story of how that scary tale came to be? In 1890 Bram Stoker was the overworked manager of London’s Lyceum Theatre. Exhausted – perhaps he felt the energy had been sucked out of him? – he went on vacation to Whitby, a remote seaside village in North Yorkshire. Starting out as a peaceful vacation, he ended up creating Dracula. Planning to write, the seashore fueled his imagination. Medieval cottages, a church with a graveyard full of weathered headstones, and the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Seeing this 13th century pile of Gothic arches built on the remains of a 7th century monastery, a light went off for Stoker. Along with a full view of the harbor, he could visualize that this lovely setting was perfect for a Gothic horror story. Walking in the churchyard, Stoker noted many names and dates off the gravestones that he would use. He learned that in 1855 the ship Dmitry left a Russian port and encountered a fierce storm. It found its way into the Whitby harbor and gave Stoker the idea for Count Dracula’s arrival in England. It was Whitby’s museum library where he found a book on Eastern European culture and folklore, William Wilkinson’s An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia, helping him flesh out the origins of his vampire. He read that DRACULA in Wallachian language means DEVIL, a person with courage, cruel actions, and cunning. So he had the geographical origin, nationality, and now a sinister name. Stoker’s visit to Whitby, a peaceful and pleasant English village, was the catalyst for what became the most famous vampire novel.

 

I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND

Elizabeth-barrett-browning AndRobertBrowningHands.oct.2017

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace

That’s the beautiful first stanza of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43. Here is a plaster cast of Robert Browning holding Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s hand. It is by Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), considered the most distinguished female sculptor in America during the 19th century and is known as the first female professional sculptor. These hands evoke the romance and strong union shared by the Brownings. You can tell which hand is which by the size of the hands and the clearly masculine and feminine wrist cuffs. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote that it symbolizes “the individuality and heroic union of two highly poetic lives.” And it is clear to see it personifies Elizabeth’s famous sonnet.

 

CELEBRATING JOHN’S BIRTHDAY (OCTOBER 8)

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John Lennon believed that music, art, and peace have the power to change the world. French graphic artist Jean Jullien has illustrated Imagine, the first picture book set to John’s original lyrics. With a foreword by Yoko, it was created in collaboration with Amnesty Internationalto inspire a new generation to imagine a world at peace.” … The book tells the story of a pigeon who sets out on a journey to spread a message of peace and friendship among birds from around the world Imagine’s enduring message for humanity sure is a clarion call for our times. With its simple illustrations, this beautiful book is a reminder that it is the simple things we do every day that can make a difference. Since ultimately we have the power to help heal the world. And the world will live as one.

 

FROM A SOUP CAN TO MARS

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In the 1940’s Ray Bradbury was an aspiring writer. As such, he had a scant budget. So when he cooked for his new bride it was classic newlywed style—he opened a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. Even as his fame and bank account grew, he stayed loyal to his favorite meal, ordering cans of the soup by the case. The author of such great sci-fi classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles (my fave), The Illustrated Man, and Dandelion Wine told Playboy in 1996, “…At one time, I had planned to have my ashes put into a Campbell’s tomato soup can and then have it planted on Mars.” But then he thought it should be a place his fans could visit. His plain headstone at Westwood Memorial Park bears his name and “Author of Fahrenheit 451.” But it was NASA that gave him the ultimate tribute when they landed a rover on Mars a few months after Bradbury’s death in 2012. They named the site where the Mars Curiosity touched down, “Bradbury Landing.” Ray Bradbury had the most amazing imagination and left us with stories that inspire us to dream.

 

TO TOO

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Too is widespread and significant as of late. A little word, but a mighty one … Adverb 1. in addition, also, furthermore, moreover 2. to an excessive extent or degree: you’re too kind. 3. more than should be: too near the fire. 4. an affirmative to contradict a negative statement: I am too! 5. extremely; very … We’re using it, saying it, what does it really mean? Too is only a stressed form of the preposition to. Too started out as to. In 900, Old English to basically expressed “in the direction of.” When it was stressed, to went on to mean “furthermore,” “also,” and “excessively.” By the 16th century to, used at the end of a phrase indicating stress, its spelling became too. By the early 20th century, its use as emphasis became universally accepted. And now in the 21st century, its use is powerful and empowering.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE?!

Cher.Shoes.oct2017

What the…?!?! I saw this in my Twitter feed and thought – it’s gotta be Cher. Who else? With just these boots, Cher revealed in several tweets that she has been cast in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. All she would say about her character is that “her look is amazing, not like anything I’ve done & she’s a pistol.” Of course …. But wait! There’s more! A musical based on her life and career is coming to Broadway. The Cher Show, paying homage to her 1970’s show The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, will cover her six-decade career and feature her best known songs. “My life as a musical on Broadway. It seems crazy, exciting, and bizarre – but that’s probably how my life seems to most people,” says Cher.

 

ENDNOTE FROM GENE SIMMONS

EndNote.GeneSimmons.oct2017

What’s the best advice you ever received? “The wisest person I ever met continues to be my mother. She survived a Nazi concentration camp at fourteen when her whole family was killed. Her perspective on life is, ‘Every day above ground is a good day, so reach for the stars. As long as there’s nobody trying to kill you, what have you got to lose? You cannot fail.’ And she’s right.”

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA

The ASPCA needs our help to care for the thousands of beloved pets and shelter animals displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. They deployed animal search-and-rescue teams, provided critical supplies, and established an emergency animal shelter. They are also sending supplies to partner shelters affected by Northern California’s wildfires. So far they have come to the aid of 18,000 animals impacted by the recent back-to-back disasters. 100% of our donations goes to the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Fund, which supports all of the ASPCA’s life-saving efforts for animals in disaster and cruelty situations.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.TP-FreeFallin.oct2017

Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’

 “Good songs stay written. Good records stay made…Tom made a lot of great music, enough to carry people forward.” (Bruce Springsteen) 

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

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’ 

All the vampires walkin’ through the valley
Move west down Ventura boulevard
And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m
Free fallin’, now I’m free fallin’, now I’m 

I want to glide down over Mulholland
I want to write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while 

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

 

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

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

 

Sources:
Tom Petty pic: Michael Putland/Getty Images
I Won’t Back Down lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Tom Petty quote: Rolling Stone interview (2009)
Bram Stoker pic of St. Mary’s churchyard: iStock
About Whitby: bramstokerestate.com
Hands pic: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Nathaniel Hawthorne quote: From his novel, The Marble Faun
Cher pic and quotes: Twitter @cher
Endnote quote by Gene Simmons: Rolling Stone (September 25, 2017)
We Can Help pic: ASPCA rescue/Hurricane Irma
Soundtrack quote by Bruce: David Fricke interview (October 2017)
Free Fallin’ lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Music video of Tom Petty performing Free Fallin’ ©1989 UMG Recordings, Inc.

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

26 Jun

JUNE’S SUPER TRIBUTES

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PAReunion-use.bottom.june2017.cr-use

A tribute to love and the arts, my Performing Arts high school reunion was described by one of my classmates as “a roomful of love.” There was a lot of love, all of us happy to be together, some classmates coming from afar. All these years we have never lost touch with each other. There is a sense of ease when you are with the people you were always most comfortable with. We all knew that we hit the jackpot – none of us cut out for a standard high school experience. We were dancers, actors, and musicians. We were outsiders and we found each other. And we never lost that bond.

HAIL WONDER WOMAN

Wonder_Woman.june2017.cartoon-use

Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie? It is the updated version of the classic comic book character from DC Comics (1941) and the TV series (1970s). The most popular female comic-book superhero of all time, the series is celebrated for its depiction of strong women. In her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Deckle Edge, 2014), Jill Lepore reveals our hero’s origins, essentially based on feminism. Influenced by early suffragists and feminists, Dr. William Moulton Marston created her in 1941. In his first script, he explained her Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. Strengthened by supporting themselves, they developed huge physical and mental power. Dr. Marston’s comic was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way – the growth in the power of women.” … He goes on to say, “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

… AND FAREWELL BATMAN

Batman.june2017.top-USE

Adam West was Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s TV series. In tribute to West’s iconic portrayal of the Caped Crusader, the Bat-signal was projected onto the tower of Los Angeles City Hall. As I’m sure you remember, the Gotham City Police Department used the Bat-signal to summon the superhero to help them … West’s deadpan delivery of his lines and his genuine yet self-mocking portrayal was what made the show a phenomenon. That and the way he danced the Batusi, of course. And don’t forget that famous earworm of a theme song: dada dada dada dada. Sure the plots were absurd and his adversaries were totally nuts – the Penguin? the Joker? the Riddler? really!??! – but he made all the ridiculousness perfectly sincere and sublime.

THE MUSIC OF ART

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Marc Chagall’s Triumph of Music (left) and Source of Music (right). Aptly, these huge murals are in the windows of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center for all to see and enjoy. Growing up in a Russian shtetl, Chagall was surrounded by musicians, many were violin players. Music became his inspiration throughout his life and his deep love of it informed his artistic style. He listened above all to Mozart while he painted. He died at 97, having lived through the 20th century’s best and worst times (Russian pogroms, WWI, and Nazi persecution in WWII) … His musically inspired works include murals for opera houses and theaters, as well as backdrops, scenery, and costumes for operas. His distinctive use of bold colors and dazzling brush strokes brought to life fanciful dreamlike animals and even a fiddler on the roof! “Color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.”

“…FIND MAGIC WHEREVER YOU LOOK”

Dr.Seuss.CatInHat.june2017-use

A whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss and his menagerie of unforgettable characters is at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, MA. On display are our unforgettable “childhood friends” including Yertle the Turtle, Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and Horton the Elephant who heard a Who … Aimed at children of ALL ages, the museum’s cheerful displays convey the positive message of his final book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Congratulations! Today is your day. you’re off to great places! You’re off and away!” … And just like his books that address life’s obstacles and fears, the museum offers an environment filled with hope, encouragement, and inclusion. A welcoming message that is underscored by Dr. Seuss’s famous line from Horton Hears a Who: “Don’t give up, I believe in you all, A person’s a person no matter how small.”

FEELIN’ GROOVY

Groovy.june2017.cr-use

groov·y / ɡroovē adj.
Slang. Exciting, attractive; excellent; enjoyable:

Groovy music; Groovy car; Groovy shag haircut
“Man, those are some groovy guitar riffs.”

Hey man, so you think you know what the word groovy means? In 1932, groovy was a jazz slang term, used in a phrase meaning first-rate, performing well, or excellent such as in the groove … Teens circa 1941 started using it for wonderful. Then in the happy hippie times of the 1960s, it was used as a synonym for cool, excellent, fashionable, or awesome … However, in late Victorian England, it had the completely opposite meaning. In that time, it applied to someone stuck in a groove or a rut – a square. As defined in Farmer and Henley’s Slang and Its Analogues (1890): “GROOVY, Adj. – Settled in habit; limited in mind” … Whoa, that is definitely not groovy.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE DOG?

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What makes a movie even better? A really cute dog as the star or in a supporting role, of course. They steal our hearts … Rin Tin Tin was a real German Shepherd who became a movie star in the 1920s. Rin Tin Tin the Fourth starred in the TV series (1954) about an orphan boy and his dog who help the Cavalry soldiers bring law and order to the Old West … Toto in The Wizard of Oz was played by a Cairn named Terry, whose film credit used her character name, Toto, rather than her real name. There never was a real Toto … Lassie, who starred in Lassie Come Home (1943), is also fictional. A boy in Yorkshire, England owns Lassie until his father sells her to a duke in Scotland. But brave Lassie is determined to find her way back home, encountering adventures that are the basis of the TV series (1954). Although Lassie was a female, she was played by a Rough Collie male named Pal … And my fave: Asta, the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man movies. Owned by famous sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles, he helped them solve crimes by finding dead bodies and sniffing out and retrieving hidden guns. A veteran actor, he fittingly received star billing as “Asta,” his professional name.

WE CAN HELP

ACLU.june2017-use

As a tribute to Adam West/Batman, Wonder Woman, talented dogs, the power of reuniting, and the arts and creativity and freedom, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union. For almost 100 years, the ACLU works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and its laws. That includes freedom of speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, and citizens’ rights to privacy. A champion for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, immigrants, and those with disabilities, the ACLU operates within the court system to enact change and protect our basic human rights as American citizens. We can help them continue to fight for our freedom and the protection of our constitutional rights now and for the next generations.

Soundtrack to this Issue

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Elvis Costello’s Alison

Their aim was true! 129 points true! Here’s a nod to 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors – Alison from Costello’s 1977 debut album, My Aim Is True. Go Warriors!

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

Oh it’s so funny to be seeing you after so long, girl.
And with the way you look I understand
That you are not impressed.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress.

I’m not going to get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines,
Cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody.
I only know it isn’t mine. 

Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.

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

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

 

Sources:
PA pic top: Richard Goldfinch
PA pic bottom: Richard Goldfinch
Wonder Woman pic: Wonder Woman’s revised look on the cover of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (2016). Art by Stanley Lau
The Cat in the Hat sculpture inside The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum: Mark Murray/Springfield Museums
Alison: Words and Music by Elvis Costello ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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

27 Mar

MARCH SAYS DREAM ON

DesertBloom.mar2017.purple.cr-USE

There’s a Super Bloom happening in San Diego’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Purple verbenas, desert dandelions, brown-eyed primroses, desert sunflowers, and evening primroses offer us a glimpse of what we hope is in store for all of us after a crazy snow-filled March.

DESERT BLOOM

JoshuaTree.mar2017

This 30th anniversary of U2’s Joshua Tree reminds us of another California desert blooming with wildflowers. Known for its mind-blowing views, the Joshua Tree National Park has inspired artists and musicians for the past 75 years. The Joshua tree, the largest of the yuccas, grows only in the Mojave Desert. A spike-leafed evergreen, it grows nowhere else in the world. Mormon settlers are said to have named it “Joshua” because it mimicked the outstretched arms of the Biblical Joshua, at prayer and waving toward the Promised Land.

JoshuaTreeU2AlbumPic.mar2017.faded

Produced in March 1987 by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno in U2’s native Dublin, their fifth album Joshua Tree took inspiration from the “mythic and real America,” says Bono. The Edge’s fierce guitar work plus Bono’s ever impassioned vocals equal a signature sound of spirit, hope, and emotion. Their best-selling album includes Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and With or Without You. It may be imperfect but still a classic.

MONOPOLY UPS THEIR GAME

Monopoly.newtokens.mar2017

Parker Brothers acquired the rights to Monopoly on March 19, 1935. Is there anyone who has never taken a chance on strolling Atlantic City to buy utilities and railroads or to hit it big with Boardwalk hotels? The original 10 tokens were an iron, purse, lantern, racecar, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon, and rocking horse. The existing Scottish terrier, battleship, race car, top hat, and cat tokens will carry on. To be joined by Tyrannosaurus rex, a penguin, and a rubber ducky. No hashtag, no emoji, no cell phone. Offered a large collection of potential new tokens, more than 4 million voters worldwide selected these to be presented in the next version of the game. Take your game down from your closet shelf. See what tokens you have. What happened to the iron? I think my old game just got valuable. Ebay, anyone?

QUEEN MONOPOLY
QueenMonopoly.mar2017

Even greater Monopoly news! You will be a Champion of the World touring with Queen in the band’s own Monopoly version. According to Brian May, instead of moving around the board picking up real estate, Queen Monopoly will take players through standout moments and performances in the band’s career. Fans tour the history of the band, from their first concert at Imperial College in 1970 to their last with Freddie Mercury at Knebworth Park in 1986 and buy venues and hit singles and try to avoid taxes, jail, and bankruptcy. How cool is this? Really looking forward to passing “go” and “collecting $200” with the bicycle token from Bicycle Race or maybe Brian May’s guitar.

CHUCK BERRY

ChuckBerry.mar2017

“If you had to give rock ‘n’ roll a name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”
(John Lennon)

A founding father of rock ‘n’ roll, Chuck Berry will be remembered for his great songs, guitar riffs, and his famous duck walk. At 90 years old, he had a new album coming out this year. As a songwriter, he was honored with PEN New England’s first Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence award, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. His co-honoree, Leonard Cohen, said “all of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry.” Bob Dylan called him “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” And John Lennon called him “a rock poet.” … He influenced a new generation of musicians to write songs that tell a story. You Never Can Tell is a love story that goes like this: “It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well, You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle, And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell, ‘C’est la vie’, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.” … By the way, did you know that his Johnny B Goode is heading for the stars on the Voyager spacecraft? It doesn’t get cooler than that.

MORSE NO MORE

Morse.mar2017

Colin Dexter, the creator of detective Inspector Morse who solves crimes in Oxfordshire, has died. Dexter’s 13 Morse novels (1975-1999) were adapted into the wonderful TV series starring John Thaw as the detective. That series then spawned Lewis, Morse’s longtime sergeant and Endeavour, about Morse’s early days on the police force. All his Morse stories were set in the city of Oxford, where murders happened at the University’s colleges, living quarters, and in Oxford’s beautiful countryside. The crossword puzzle loving Morse was erudite, cranky, cryptic, and not especially easy to understand. Thanks to Dexter for creating such an interesting character. And like Sherlock Holmes with prodigious intelligence and curious eccentricities, Morse always got his man.

DOG NEWS

DogNews.RescuingPennyJane.mar2017

Meet Alfred, a silly, big Goldendoodle, intent on jumping on everyone at the shelter. Brody is an overly exuberant and misunderstood German shepherd mix. Their stories and others form an inspiring trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work to save them in Rescuing Penny Jane. The author covers what life is like in the shelters across the country. There are badly abused dogs and many who are neglected. Others are given up by their families who cannot take care of them. Case studies provide valuable insights into the importance and challenges of finding these dogs their forever homes. Reading this book, you might feel moved to learn more about adopting and caring for a shelter dog. Or find out how to make a difference by volunteering in one.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.WarriorCanine.mar2017

Vets with combat stress train service dogs for fellow vets. That says it all. Research shows that companion animals, specifically dogs, help reduce blood pressure and ease stress. At the Warrior Canine Connection, service members with PTSD or mild traumatic brain injuries benefit greatly from working with service dogs. It can take two years and many service members to train each dog during which the veterans learn to become more patient, handle stressful situations better, and get back to living their lives. It costs more than $25,000 to breed, feed, care for, train, and place each dog. Every donation makes a difference.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.Aerosmith.mar2017

Aerosmith’s Dream On

For MTV’s 10th anniversary in 1991, the band performed the song live with an orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen.

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

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn’t that the way
Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay

I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life
Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and
From sages
You know it’s true, oh
All these things you do come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away

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

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

 

Sources:
Desert Bloom pic: Anza-Borrego DRC @AnzaBResearch
Joshua Tree pic: @Wanderlust Nomad, Trover
U2 pic: Anton Corbijn (taken during the album photo shoot sessions)
You Never Can Tell lyrics: Chuck Berry ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Dream On lyrics: Steven Tyler ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC

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

28 Nov

NOVEMBER: SERVICE. HONOR. FREEDOM.

veteransday-nov2016The sun continues to rise, welcoming a brand new day every day. And we can all agree on this: Let’s honor our veterans! For they protect our cherished freedom.

STAND UP FOR VETERANS

standupforheroes-nov2016-bossseinLouis CK, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and Bruce Springsteen. The famous comics and The Boss performed at the 10th Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert to raise funds for wounded veterans. Founded by ABC’s Bob Woodruff, who was wounded himself reporting in Iraq, Stand Up For Heroes has raised more than $33 million for the Bob Woodruff Foundation in the past 10 years. The foundation works with community and national programs, as well as the military, to make healthy and positive futures for veterans and their families.

PURPLE

purple-grid-nov2016“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” (Alice Walker)

A certain concession speech was made in purple lapels and blouse and a matching tie. Purple is the color you get when blue and red come together, it is bipartisanship, it is unity. The purple in the U.S. military Purple Heart award represents courage. Because of purple’s rarity in nature, it is a symbol of nobility, wealth, and power. Suffragettes wore purple to symbolize dignity in the 1900s. A symbol of harmony made forever memorable in Jimi’s Purple Haze and Prince’s Purple Rain. It symbolizes high ideals, creativity, devotion, and peace. With hope in our hearts and an “open mind”, we look forward, not backward. That we may experience peace and prosperity in a nation united, with liberty and justice for all.

HALLELUJAH

leonardcohen-nov2016“There’s a blaze of light, In every word, It doesn’t matter which you heard, The holy or the broken Hallelujah” … A beautiful song. And everyone who has ever covered Hallelujah, has done right by it: Bob Dylan, John Cale, Bono, Rufus Wainwright, Ed Sheeran, k.d. lang. But it was Jeff Buckley’s version that brought it to light. So the sad news that its composer, Leonard Cohen, died touched so many people … Cohen’s opening lyrics evoking King David introduce the music, describing the harmonic progression of the verse and explaining the song’s structure: “It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.” In C major, it’s the ascending melody line, basically the scale that makes the song ultimately uplifting. A prayer, a hymn even … “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

Leonard Cohen explained the song: “This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled, but there are moments when we can…embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah.’ That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation is, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say, Hallelujah!”

Here’s what he said in an interview in 1991, but he could have said it now: “I think the irony of America is transcendent in the song…It’s a song of deep intimacy and affirmation of the experiment of democracy in this country…That this is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy. So I wanted to have that feeling in the song, too.”

MUSIC HEALS WOUNDED WARRIORS

musicorps-poster-nov2016The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band, consisting of injured war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, was established at Walter Reed Hospital in 2007. To help in their recovery, each veteran is taught how to play an instrument, write songs, and arrange music by professional musicians. And they are really good, playing concerts across the nation. They joined Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters at a benefit concert in New York City and performed Hallelujah with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Do you watch NCIS? Then you might remember the special (and emotional) 300th episode last spring that featured the Band singing Hallelujah! Through music, MusiCorps helps our military veterans find peace and healing so they can go on with their lives. How inspiring is that?

HOPE

hope-nov2016-2-use“Hope and optimism are different. Hope has to do not with thinking everything’s okay, but seeing that it’s not and then you move anyway.” (Anna Deavere Smith) … No matter whom one voted for, the harsh atmosphere affected us emotionally and we feel spent. What to do? We must embrace change and have hope that, despite all expectations, we will come out on the other side stronger, smarter, and united. We can help each other by providing support, listening better, pursuing solutions, and working together. For engaging in these productive deeds we will inspire hope, we will heal our wounds, and we will move forward. That is my hope.

THANKFUL

tdayparade-trixiewithfelix-nov2016Appearing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time is a bouncing dog named Trixie seen here floating with Felix the Cat. By the way, the Felix balloon, a handmade replica of the original 1927 version, was the first ever flown at the Macy’s Parade … Thanksgiving is a day to eat delicious food with loved ones and watch colorful huge characters float in the sky. And it couldn’t come at a better time. Consider it a respite when we took the time to really enjoy all that the day brings and to be thankful to be in a country where peace and prosperity are possible.

FREEDOM MEDAL

freedommedal-nov2016What an incredible group of people to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. They include Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Lorne Michaels, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Cicely Tyson, Vin Scully, Frank Gehry, Maya Lin, and Bill and Melinda Gates … Talk about humility. This was Vin Scully’s response to his inclusion: “Oh my gosh, no. Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.”

DOG NEWS

dognews-secretservicedogsbook-nov2016Bravery, loyalty, and love. Wherever the president goes, so do the dogs. A new book, Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States by Maria Goodavage, tells the history of the Secret Service K9 program and tells stories about the dogs that served along with their handlers and the bond between them. And all they ask in return? To play ball and get lots and lots of belly rubs.

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-servicedog-cemetery-nov2016Patriot PAWS trains and provides service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans with mobile disabilities and PTS in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence. A Patriot PAWS service dog is trained for 18 months to two years at a cost of approximately $33,000, so donations are crucial. They are currently accepting applications from veterans who served during Desert Storm.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-traffic-band-nov2016-useTraffic’s Freedom Rider
Traffic at the Santa Monica Civic Center, February 21, 1972.

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

Like a hurricane around your heart
when earth and sky are torn apart
He comes gathering up the bits
while hoping that the puzzle fits
He leaves you, he leaves you, Freedom rider

With a silver star between his eyes
that open up at hidden lies
Big man crying with defeat
see people gathering in the street
You feel him, you feel him, Freedom rider

 

Who rescued whom?
whorescued-img_2902-fb-sun-10-23-16
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

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

 

Sources:
Leonard Cohen pic: Official website leonardcohen.com
Hallelujah lyrics: Leonard Cohen ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Leonard Cohen 1st quote: The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah’ by Alan Light (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Leonard Cohen 2nd quote: Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo (Da Capo Press, 2003)
Anne Deveare Smith quote: Time, November 7, 2016
Freedom Rider: Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

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

28 Oct

OCTOBER’S COOL!

snoopy-october-2-oct2016

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
(George Cooper 1840-1927)

 

TAKE IT EASY

glennfreystatue-oct2016-cr

Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see … Why it’s a bronze statue of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey who wrote those lyrics that ended up memorializing Winslow forever. The idea for the statue came from two radio morning hosts on Phoenix classic rock station KSLX to pay tribute to Frey’s impact on Arizona’s history. He is portrayed with his long hair and handlebar mustache, the way he looked in the early 1970s. And of course, there he is standing in “Standin’ On The Corner in Winslow, Arizona Park”Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.

 

SHERLOCK FEELS NO PAIN

sherlockandpinkfloyd-oct2016

“Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?” The extraordinary actor who stars as Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, joined David Gilmour on stage to sing Roger Waters’s part on Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. It was an unannounced appearance for the surprised crowd at Royal Albert Hall. After delivering the line, “That’ll keep you going through the show, Come on, it’s time to go,” Cumberbatch left, yielding the stage to Gilmour.

 

THE AMERICAN ELM

americanelmtree-oct2016-cr-use

“The calm quiet strength of a tree
Showing anyone near
All the secrets of time
The calm quiet strength of a tree”

In the fall of 1858, the plans for New York City’s Central Park was underway. Land was set aside and plans drawn up to create a peaceful oasis in a busy city. On October 17, 1858, the very first tree was planted. It was the first of more than 20,000 trees now thriving in the Park … Central Park’s American Elm trees that line the Mall (also known as Literary Walk) are cherished and protected. A fence enclosing them has signs that say: Protect the American Elm: Please keep out. For this is one of the largest and last remaining groves of American Elm trees in North America. They were popular in 19th century landscaping (hence all the Elm Streets!), but due to Dutch Elm disease in the 20th century many of them died. Walking under their graceful canopy feels like you’re walking in a cathedral. Still green, the leaves on their twisty branches will soon turn to the fall colors, a beautiful and wondrous sight.

Hermann Hesse wrote about his love of trees: “… when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.”

 

DYLAN’S NOBEL PRIZE

dylan-nobel-oct2016

“Do you love me or are you just extending goodwill?” … It’s love alright. Love for Bob Dylan who received the Nobel Prize in Literature for the poetry of his timeless, ever relevant lyrics and for the influence his body of work continues to yield. This is the first time a musician has been given this award. Born Robert Zimmerman, he fittingly adopted the name Dylan after the poet Dylan Thomas. Even Joyce Carol Oates notes this is an “inspired and original choice, his haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary.” And most significant the award acknowledges that the beauty of his words has import and that songwriting is a laudable inclusion in the pantheon of literature.

dylan-timesareachangin-oct2016

 

CLASSICS NEVER GET OLD

oldcellaconcert-oct2016

“I was so much older then I’m younger than that now.” If Dylan said it, it must be true. All these artists are over 70, yet there’s no denying they are forever young. Desert Trip, the classic rock festival in Indio, CA, gathered thousands, 75,000 in attendance each night. Dubbed Oldchella, their songs are invincible and timeless with lyrics that are as important now as they were when they were written in the 60s and 70s. Our collective memory is tied-up in these songs and these artists. Rock ‘n ‘roll is nothing less than life-affirming. We consider their mortality and take the opportunity to worship our heroes while we still can. “May your heart always be joyful, And may your song always be sung, May you stay forever young.”

 

CLASSICAL AND ROCK: “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL”

mikemills-oct2016-use

Echoing President Reagan’s message to Gorbachev, R.E.M.’s bassist Mike Mills and violinist Robert McDuffie are doing just that. They have collaborated on Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra and are touring together with a chamber orchestra performing the six-movement work in opera houses and concert halls across the country. Both are classically trained but went in different musical directions. Working on the concerto, they intentionally wanted to combine the two genres. Says Mills, “One of the main things I like about [the concerto] is that we are trying to break down the walls between classical and rock ‘n’ roll, to show that there are elements within each that translate into the other. Some of the piano parts I wrote for R.E.M. have really small, tiny, little classical elements…” … It’s really cool and joyous. Take a listen to these excerpts.

 

BIGLY: ADVERB

bigly-oct2016-oxford1933

He said what??? Is bigly a word? For many of us, its use in the last presidential debate was the first time we heard it. I looked it up and it is a word. A variation of big, an adverb we commonly use, it means big, in a big manner, largely, comprehensively. The picture above shows the definition as it appears in the Oxford Universal dictionary from 1933. Bigly dates back to Middle English, when it meant in a blustering manner, haughtily, pompously. Lasting until the early 20th century, it has fallen out of use in our contemporary vocabulary … Look, he could be saying big league but swallowing the last g. A term that comes from baseball, players work their way up the ladder from the minor leagues to reach the major leagues, also called the big leagues … Back to bigly! The suffix -ly means in this way as in: largely, hugely, broadly, shortly. So why don’t we say: bigly, longly, smally, littly? There is no reason semantically. I think it’s going to catch on. Bigly is going to be huge. Believe me.

 

PETALS FOR PEACE

yoko-oct2016-grass-use

Yoko Ono’s first permanent public art installation in the US is a giant lotus flower in Chicago’s Jackson Park. The Sky Landing sculpture was constructed near a Japanese garden in an area dedicated to Japan-US relations (Yoko was born in Tokyo). The artwork has 12 large steel lotus petals and mounds that form the yin yang symbol to represent peace. It is a “place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other.”

 

FLUTIST, NOT FLAUTIST

Silver flute on a musical score

I am a flutist (pronounced FLOO-tist) because Jean-Pierre Rampal was a flutist. He was my role model and whatever he did was good enough for me. So why do people ask if I am a flautist (pronounced FLOU-tist)? Although technically, they’re both right, flutist is more right. Nathaniel Hawthorne used flautist in The Marble Faun in 1860, perhaps because it was set in Italy where flute is flauto and a flutist is a flautista. But flutist is the older term, used in 1603! Plus, flutist is an offspring of the French flûtiste, which came from flûte. Voila! Having the historical claim and the more direct lineage, flutist it is and c’est moi!

 

UPDATE: BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

pancakesinparisupdate-oct2016-cr-use

In our September Newsletter we featured Craig Carlson who opened diners in Paris that serve an authentic American breakfast! He wrote about his successful venture in Pancakes in Paris. We have made an impression all the way to the author in Paris! Our wonderful Shirley Struchen sent the Newsletter to Melissa Dixon in Paris, who met the author at his reading event. Here’s what she wrote: “I just met Pancakes in Paris author and he is so lovely! His story is fantastic. He came to Paris with $300 in his pocket. He launched an amazing restaurant. He was happy to learn about Yvette’s blog review.” Here is Melissa with the author. Merci, Melissa. C’est formidable!

 

DOG NEWS

dognews-williammerrittchase-oct2016-cr-use

In one of William Merritt Chase’s most celebrated paintings, The Tenth Street Studio (1880), the dog lies on a rug in the center of the room, head on the floor, one leg stretched across the train of an elegant white dress worn by the young woman in a blue chair. Chase’s (1849–1916) much-loved dogs were a customary presence in many of his works. His white, longhaired Wolfhound named Katti (pictured with him here) appears in several portraits. A renowned teacher at the Art Students League in New York City for 36 years, he furthered American modern art. Catch a major exhibition of Chase’s work now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“Before returning to America Chase purchased the beautiful white Russian hound Katti which he used in several pictures. The dog, a fastidious and aristocratic person, was the most considered member of the family. They found him rather a trying guest as he refused to eat anything but beefsteak.” (The Life and Art of William Merritt Chase by Katherine Metcalf Roof, 1917)

 

WE CAN HELP

wecanhelp-aspca-hurricane-oct2016

Hurricane Matthew ripped through the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The storm is over but the region has the lasting effects of the devastating floods. The ASPCA Disaster Response Team is always ready to deploy in natural disaster areas. So far, they have helped and transported nearly 950 animals to safety in these four states and there are still more to be saved. Our donations ensure that the Disaster Response Team has what they need – boats, leashes, medical care – to respond to animals in need.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

soundtrack-vanmorrison-oct2016

The single from his new album, Keep Me Singing:
Van Morrison’s Too Late

Magical and poetic. Mixing rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, soul, jazz, gospel, and Celtic music, no two words define Van Morrison’s music and lyrics better. A new album is always good news. On this Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer’s 36th album of 12 original songs, his inimitable Celtic soul sound is as powerful as ever. And now this Belfast native is a Sir, being knighted for his musical achievement and his service to charities in Northern Ireland. We all love Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Domino, and Into the Mystic so let’s take a listen to a new one. Enjoy!

 

Who rescued whom?

whorescued-img_2902-fb-sun-10-23-16

So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Comfortably Numb lyrics: David Jon Gilmour, Roger Waters ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Peermusic Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, IMAGEM MUSIC INC
The Tree poem: Tom Splitt ©1994
Hermann Hesse’s quote: Trees: Reflections and Poems (1984)
Is Your Love In Vain? Lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1978 Special Rider Music
Joyce Carol Oates quote: @JoyceCarolOates/Twitter
Times They Are A-Changin’ lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1992 by Special Rider Music
Forever Young lyrics: Bob Dylan ©1973 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2001 by Ram’s Horn Music
Mike Mills quote: Rolling Stone, October 19, 2016
Sky Landing pic: Kiichiro Sato/The Associated Press
Yoko Ono quote: AP/NationalPost.com
Flute pic: Sébastien Bonaimé via Getty Images
William Merritt Chase with pet dog pic: Florence, ca. 1911, The William Merritt Chase Archives, Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, Gift of Jackson Chase Storm
ASPCA pic: aspca.com

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

27 Sep

SEPTEMBER FULL OF HOPE

helloseptember-sept2016“The breezes taste of apple peel. The air is full of smells to feel. Ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush, new books, erasers, chalk, and such. The bee, his hive, well-honeyed hum, and Mother cuts chrysanthemums. Like plates washed clean with suds, the days are polished with a morning haze.” (John Updike, September)

HOPE EVERLASTING

911lights-sept2016

“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” James Baldwin said to Margaret Mead in a historic public conversation in New York City, August 25, 1970 … The twin beams of light emitted each September 11, as transcendental as any symbol of remembrance can ever be, depicts the timeless hope of which James Baldwin speaks.

ROCK STAR!

freddiemercuryasteroid-sept2016-2-use“A shooting star leaping through the sky, Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity…Burnin’ through the sky yeah” … An asteroid has been named after Freddie Mercury to honor what would have been his 70th birthday. Asteroid “Freddiemercury” is “burnin’ through the sky” in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Per Brian May, Queen’s lead guitarist as well as an astrophysicist, “It’s just a dot of light but it’s a very special dot of light and maybe one day we’ll get there.”

BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

pancakesinparis-sept2016
Former Hollywood screenwriter Craig Carlson, with no restaurant experience, recounts his dream of opening an American diner in Paris, Breakfast in America, and turning it into a popular restaurant chain in the heart of Paris.

“After a year in France, I was dying for a good ol’ American breakfast. [Back in LA] I ordered a ham steak, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, and buckwheat pancakes. I stared at it wide-eyed and said, ‘Oh my God, this is the one thing I missed when I was in Paris!’ At that instant a year’s worth of eating French breakfasts replayed before my eyes. But the problem was that every breakfast was exactly the same. Croissants and pains au chocolat, croissants and pains au chocolat. I stared down at my pancakes…my heart racing as I repeated the phrase: ‘The one thing I missed in Paris’…I knew exactly what I wanted to do: open an American diner in Paris! I even knew what I was going to call it: Breakfast in America.”

KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S GATE?

dylangate-sept2016Did you know that Bob Dylan liked to sculpt enormous iron gates? Yes, it’s true. After all, he was born and raised in iron ore country in Minnesota. He just built a 26×15-foot iron gateway for the MGM National Harbor casino in Maryland. Called Portal, it incorporates found objects, farm equipment, kitchen utensils, and tools … Per Dylan: “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.” Whoa, that is so Dylan.

WHEN BAD ADVERTISING HAPPENS TO THE ARTS

wellsfargo-nea-sept2016Here’s a real head-scratcher. Seems that the Wells Fargo financial services company thought this was a good idea. Picture this. A smiling young woman with the caption: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.” And the tag line: “Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.” Although they were taken to task for this tasteless ad campaign that they subsequently abandoned, how was it ever approved? The arts and those who choose to be artists are to be cherished, enjoyed, and encouraged. Hey, Wells Fargo, learn something about the arts from the National Endowment for the Arts and put aside some ad dollars for a donation. It’s the arts that fulfill promises and make life grand.

FULL OF AWE

awesome-sept2016-newsWords enable us to communicate with each other. What powerful tools they are! But changes in language and in people, including interpretation, people adapting language to fit their needs, societal changes, and shifting pronunciations, affect the meaning of a word over time. Let’s look at the evolution of the word awful: In Shakespeare’s time awful had the complimentary meaning of “full of awe.With the suffix –ful, awful means having the quality of awe. Its meanings include being worthy of, commanding profound respect or reverential fear, which may have led it to mean causing dread. So over the centuries, awful took on a negative quality – frightful, ugly, monstrous. Then awful was eventually replaced with today’s positive awesome. Note that the suffix -some is basically the same as –ful in its meaning. Since awful had such a strong negative connotation, awesome was used meaning “awe-inspiring” without the negativity. By the mid-1900s awesome went from awe-inspiring to its ubiquitous use today meaning amazing. Okay, so awesome may have reached its cultural saturation point, but its history is nonetheless awesome, right?

TRIUMPHANT NEW MUSEUM!

blackmuseum-baldwinquote-crA new major museum is always worth celebrating! Just opened is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in the heart of Washington DC. Its very design is crucial to the story it tells. From its lowest floor depicting the history of slavery, each ascending floor follows the journey to the civil rights movement and up to “A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond” and President Obama’s inauguration.

…AND THE BEATLES’ CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY

eightdaysaweek-sept2016In the new documentary, Eight Days a Week, director Ron Howard examines the Beatles’ touring years. Of note, we learn that in 1964 when they reached the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL, seats were segregated. They refused to perform until the venue was integrated, gaining a victory for civil rights. “We played to people. We didn’t play to those people or that people – we just played to people,” so said Ringo.

ROCK RELICS DO GOOD!

maxskcauction-bruce-sept2016Cool pic of The Boss, right? Unless you’ve read Yvonne Sewall-Ruskin’s High On Rebellion: Inside the Underground at Max’s Kansas City (see May 2016 Newsletter), you’ve never seen it. Taken upstairs at Max’s Kansas City backstage by Lily Hou in 1973, it was one of many great items up for auction to benefit Yvonne’s arts non-profit, Max’s Kansas City Project, which provides artists grants of emergency relief for housing, medical, and legal aid.

DOG NEWS

dognews-911dogs-sept2016Barkley’s incredible veterinarian Dr. Amy Attas (as well as Buddha’s and Skeffington’s!) volunteered to care for the heroic rescue dogs at ground zero. Dr. Attas and her colleagues listened to the handlers while their dogs were being treated for cuts, burns, and dehydration, prompting the vets to ask psychologists to sit with them. “A lot of the handlers told us that their dogs were really depressed, because they were search and rescue dogs and they weren’t finding anybody,” Dr. Attas told NBC News.

WE CAN HELP

9-11stairs-sept2016The Vesey Street stairs, on site at the 911 Memorial Museum and now known as Survivors’ Stairway, is the sole remainder above ground of the World Trade Center. Gazing at it, one visualizes all those people running down them seeking safety and escape with fervent hope that they make it out. The 9/11 Memorial Museum documents the impact of 9/11 and explores its continuing significance. There we bear witness to a collection of artifacts that remind us of the people we lost and the brave souls that heroically went in to help, to save, to do their job. It is a place of commemoration.  Make a monetary donation or you can make a contribution to the collection such as pics, videos, voice messages, personal effects, workplace objects, and diaries.

wecanhelp2-doghope-aacr-sept-2016Fact: Animals have a positive effect in helping people cope with traumatic events. HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response teams have been responding to crises and disasters since 2001, when they sent specially trained handlers and their dogs to provide comfort at ground zero in NYC. They calmed survivors and helped first responders and other workers relax and talk about their experiences, just as you see Tikva here at work. HOPE has since responded to major hurricanes, wildfires, train derailments, and school shootings. An all-volunteer organization, your donation helps them continue training and certifying new crisis teams.

Soundtrack to this Issuesoundtrack-highhopes-teleBruce Springsteen’s High Hopes

Happy Birthday to the Boss. And what a way to celebrate. Four hour concerts! A book! A book tour! A new album! … Along with his captivating, candid, and poignant memoir, Born to Run, is a compilation album Chapter and Verse which features 18 songs that reflect the themes and sections of the book and includes five unreleased songs … High hopes is surely what we are feeling, so here’s the title track from the High Hopes album:

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

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don’t you know these days you pay for everything 

Got high hopes
I got high hopes
Got high hopes
I got high hopes

Who rescued whom?
Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016
At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l
IMGP2541.cr.newsltr
“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
James Baldwin quote: A Rap on Race (J. B. Lippincott; 1st edition, 1971)
Freddy Mercury lyrics: Don’t Stop Me Now by Freddie Mercury ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Brian May quote: The Guardian, September 5, 2016
Book quote: Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson Page 42 ©2016 Sourcebooks
Dylan’s gate pic and quote: Forbes, September 7, 2016
Dr. Amy Attas, DVM quote: NBC News/New York, September 11, 2016
Tikva at Ground Zero, NYC, 2001 pic: HOPEaacr.org
Soundtrack High Hopes lyrics: Timothy Scott McConnell ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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

26 Aug

HOT DOG DAYS OF AUGUST

Weather.Aug2016.cruse.png

 

 

How hot is it? Real Feel: 118 degrees – wow! … This has been one hot summer for most everyone everywhere. Hope you (and your dogs) are keeping cool wherever you are … Prediction: There will be snow soon enough!

 

THE BOSS TELLS HIS STORY

BruceBornToRunBook.aug2016

 

 

“I come from a boardwalk town where almost everything is tinged with a bit of fraud. So am I. By 20, no race-car-driving rebel, I was a guitar player on the streets of Asbury Park … But I held four clean aces. I had youth, almost a decade of hard-core bar band experience, a good group of homegrown musicians who were attuned to my performance style and a story to tell.” … From the forward to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, to be released in September.

 

SO HOW’D YA WRITE THAT SONG?

RobertPlant.aug2016

 

Many were mollified at the unquestionably correct verdict that, no, Led Zeppelin did not steal a lesser known band’s music for their not derived, resplendent, iconic Stairway to Heaven Robert Plant testified in court on the song’s origins: “…I sat with Jimmy by the fire, and he began playing. And I had this little couplet lyrically that, if you like, in tempo, fitted into what he was playing. So I just started developing that into two lines, then four lines, and then on, slowly, opening it up…‘There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven. And when she gets there she knows that the stores are all closed; with a word she can get what she came for.’…I was really trying to bring in that aspect of Welsh, the beauty and the remoteness of the pastoral Britain…Meanwhile, the guys were working on opening up the song and its transition into something that was really flowering and it was quite a thing as we moved on through the song, to open it up and to turn around various parts of it and see it develop into something I couldn’t even imagine.” … Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that’s how they wrote that song.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’!

Tchaikovsky.aug2016

 

 

The Nutcracker. Swan Lake. 1812 Overture. The celebrated Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) believed that one must keep working and working, just keep at it, and inspiration will happen … “We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination” … Two centuries later, producer, songwriter, and lead singer and guitarist of The White Stripes, Jack White echoes Tchaikovsky’s ideal … “Inspiration and work ethic — they ride right next to each other…Not every day you’re gonna wake up and the clouds are gonna part and rays from heaven are gonna come down and you’re gonna write a song from it. Sometimes, you just get in there and just force yourself to work, and maybe something good will come out.”

 

PEPSI-COLA HITS THE SPOT

PepsiColaSign.aug2016.day.2

 

 

The distinctive Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, Queens, that faces the East River and Manhattan, is now an official New York City landmark. Its bright red swirly lettering has long been a welcoming beacon on the waterfront. Crowning Pepsi’s bottling plant at this site in 1940, its reconstruction in 1993 was faithful to the original sign. The 50-foot painted Pepsi bottle was probably replaced in the 1970s with an updated bottle design. Serving as a longstanding and well-known branding symbol, this sure is a testament to the power of a great marketing imprint.

 

READY FOR LIFT-OFF

MetChandelier.aug2016

 

 

Another should be New York City landmark are the Metropolitan Opera’s spacey chandeliers. Who doesn’t ooh and aah as the world-famous show before the show starring 12 radiant starbursts begin their ascendency as the lights fade? A gift made by the Austrian government to thank the US for its help after WWII, it was a shining symbol of the friendship between Austria and the US. Fondly named sputniks, their design was inspired by the post-war era’s International Space Race and the Big Bang. And now they have been mechanically overhauled, outdated equipment for raising and lowering them updated. Let the oohing and aahing begin!

 

YOU MAY SAY HE’S A DREAMER

JohnLennonVsUSABook.aug2016

 

 

“Let’s see, I think it was Jack Lemmon and Yoko Moto,” said Leon Wildes when asked the names of his new clients. With immigration and deportation hot-button issues in this election year, how timely and informative this new book is about John Lennon’s four-year battle to stay in the US. Wildes was John and Yoko’s lawyer, an expert on immigration law. Insights abound. We see that the debate about discretionary targeting of political protestors was as relevant then as it is now. Richard Nixon may have wanted John banished but, as Wildes states, “Thanks to [Lennon’s] willingness to fight, we managed to discover and helped create a remedy for impossible cases.” Funny how John’s 1972 deportation case with its societal significance and legal impact, is as essential a lasting legacy as is the extraordinary music he left us.

 

…AND SPEAKING OF JOHN’S MUSIC

BeatBugs.aug2016

 

 

Netflix’s new animated series, Beat Bugs, tells stories through Beatles songs, teaching kids life lessons while turning them on to great music! About a quintet of kid characters and their insect friends, Eddie Vedder performs as Jasper, a grasshopper who takes the insects on a Magical Mystery Tour. Pink sings Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as Lucy the dragonfly, and yes, she has kaleidoscope eyes. James Corden sings I’m A Loser and Sia covers Blackbird. All You Need is Love is the theme song. Animated bugs singing Beatles songs? I’m taking that Ticket to Ride!

 

RIP, MENTSCH

StevenHill.aug2016

 

 

Law & Order is just a fact of life. It permeates countless homes. Who doesn’t love feeling the palliative power of watching L&O reruns over and over again? Switching channels, we are compelled to stop when there’s an episode airing. We know the words, we know whodunnit, we know the wisecracks. Especially those pithy gems spoken by Manhattan DA Adam Schiff, Steven Hill’s character. Hill even studied the law to make his character more convincing. Born Solomon Krakovsky to Russian Jewish immigrants, he passed away August 23. A devoted Orthodox Jew, he did not work on Shabbos, which was written into all his contracts. And when Hill resigned after a decade on L&O, in the show Adam Schiff resigned to work with a Holocaust organization. Oh, and he played the rabbi in Yentl. I admired him. A great actor who stayed true to his faith, Steven Hill had a deep sense of his own purpose and a heartfelt compassion which he exuded in every one of his roles. “Take the deal.”

 

I LOVE MY DOG

CatStevens.ILoveMyDog

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.

All he asks from me is the food to give him strength
All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get.

All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes
I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that.

 

It is the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ first hit single release, I Love My Dog in 1966. That was followed by The First Cut Is The Deepest, Wild World, Hard Headed Woman, Where Do the Children Play?, Father & Son, Morning Has Broken, Peace Train, and Moonshadow. Did you forget he wrote all those great songs? He’s on tour to celebrate his 50th anniversary as an artist – even playing New York City for the first time since 1976! Through his charity, Small Kindness, a portion of every ticket goes to UNICEF and International Rescue Committee to help children affected by the current refugee crisis. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, his most recent albums (2006’s An Other Cup is excellent!) are as notable as his early ones we cherish.

 

I LOVE MY RESCUE DOG

RescueDog.aug2016

So there’s this cartoon about the wonders of rescuing a dog. If you’ve ever adopted a dog, you will relate to comic artist Bird Born’s simple yet right-on telling of how he welcomed home his new friend. Remember, we never know where they are from, what kind of damage has been inflicted on them, nor are we ever assured that they’ll forget their history. But, we can shower them with loads and loads of love, make them feel safe, and show them the world will be a better place for them. Born’s experience in We’ve Taken A Dog From An Animal Shelter is a mirror of our experience, too. It’s the story of fear turning into owning the couch, the bed, the easy chair, well, you know the rest.

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA-LAFlood.aug2016

 

 

The ASPCA has dispatched its Disaster Response Team to Louisiana to conduct water rescues for animals displaced by the area’s devastating floods resulting from three days of torrential rain. Donations will help the ASPCA “give people peace of mind while they cope with this crisis by making sure their pets are safe.”

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.JoshuaTree.aug2016.cr

U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

 

One can relate to this gospel-influenced anthem from U2, especially heading into fall’s new beginnings. This is critic Jeff Jensen’s description: “[It] is my bridge over troubled water, a psalm of reorientation in times of disorientation. It embraces hopeful paradoxes: that doubt and faith are compatible, that certainty doesn’t preclude a constant search for truth … a bittersweet hymn that calls me to look up when I’m down and keep clear-eyed when I’m fogged.”

 

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

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you.

I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you.

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

 

 

 

Who rescued whom?

Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

At the New York Tartan Day Parade.
So grateful for Barkley coming into my life.
Thanks to Westie Rescue of New England.

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Bruce quote: Bruce Springsteen official website brucespringsteen.net
Robert Plant trial pic: Mona Shafer Edwards
Robert Plant quote: Rolling Stone, August 16, 2016
Tchaikovsky quote: Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky by Modeste Tchaikovsky (University Press of the Pacific 2004)
Jack White quote: from the documentary, Under Great White Northern Lights
Leon Wildes quotes: John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History (American Bar Association, August 2016)
Beat Bugs pic: Netflix
I Love My Dog lyrics: Cat Stevens ©Universal Music Publishing Group
Soundtrack quote: Jeff Jensen/Entertainment Weekly August 12, 2016
U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For lyrics: Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen, Paul David Hewson, Victor Reina ©Universal Music Publishing Group

 

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