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

28 May

FOR THE LOVE OF MAY

1.IndianaLOVE.may2018

The beloved artist of LOVE, Robert Indiana (who changed his name from Robert Clark in honor of his home state), died this month on May 19. Originally a Christmas card that was commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art in 1965, his LOVE painting became the embodiment of peace and love of the ‘60s. He turned it into the famous sculpture that is erected in cities all over the world. It even became a U.S. postage stamp issued for Valentine’s Day 1973 … The design was his interpretation of the phrase “God is love” that he heard as a young boy raised as a Christian Scientist. The red and green of his first LOVE version were the colors from the Philips 66 gas sign, in memory of the company where his father worked. In the early 1960s, as a reminder of his mother, he created works with HUG, her word for affection.

 

THE FIFTH OF MAY

2.Margarita.LineEmUp.may2018

Line ’em up! Here’s to the merry month of May, a personal favorite. And of course the perfect toast is a Margarita to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! The holiday recognizes the victory of the Mexican army over the French army on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla.

 

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE

3.Jackie.may2018

Jacqueline Bouvier always got right back on her horse after she fell. Figuratively and literally, as a child she toppled from her horse on her first day at riding camp. She was bookish and aimed for a career after college. In fact, she ranked being a journalist over landing a man. Until, of course, she met John F. Kennedy. When he became president, Jackie brought progressive ideas about art and culture to the White House. Intelligent and charming, she won over foreign dignitaries … After JFK’s assassination, she displayed unforgettable dignity and the “steel under all that beauty and style,” the steel that was always there. And oh yes, Jackie got right back on that horse, moved her children to NYC, helped save Grand Central Terminal from demolition, and became a revered book editor … Just Being Jackie, a Young Adult book by Margaret Cardillo with illustrations by Julia Denos, is great for anyone at any age as a reminder of this icon’s cool strength and backbone.

 

TRUTH

4.RobertFrost.may2018.c-USE

“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth…[in a] democratic society, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself…In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation.” (President John F. Kennedy)

It was at JFK’s inauguration in 1961 that Robert Frost became the first inaugural poet, delivering an ode to the dream of including the arts in government which touched JFK deeply. Frost died two years later in January 1963. That fall, JFK spoke at an event honoring the poet at Amherst College. His speech mirrored Frost’s about the arts and celebrating the role of the artist in society.

 

THE DARCY DEFENSE

5.JaneAusten.Quotation.may2018-USE

Would you be surprised to learn that many judges cite Jane Austen quotes in court? It is as an authority on relationships that her influence prevails in the courtroom. Although Harper Lee and Mary Shelley also show up in legal decisions, each is quoted from one work (Mockingbird and Frankenstein). On the other hand, quotes and references are taken from all of Austen’s many books such as Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and, of course, Pride and Prejudice. As well as from Jane Austen herself … In a fraud case involving friends who formed a partnership that went really bad, the judge cited Emma: “business…may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does,” and concluded that had the litigant “been mindful of the words of Jane Austen,” he would not have gotten himself involved in the lawsuit … In a gender discrimination case where a female plaintiff alleged her managers “did not tolerate intelligent and articulate female subordinates,” the judge quoted Northanger Abbey: “A woman especially, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” Doing so, the judge used Austen’s satire to shine a spotlight on what the civil rights law at stake aimed to end … And to emphasize that “looks can be deceiving,” the judge wrote in a legal malpractice case: “…one must get the whole story in order to have an accurate picture of events. The seemingly haughty and prideful Fitzwilliam Darcy turned out to be a pretty nice guy by the end of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”

 

AND THEY’RE OFF!

6.HorseRacing.may2018

In May there’s also the Kentucky Derby. So here are some common phrases you might not know come from horse racing! … Hands down: To win something hands down means to win it easily. It comes from the practice of horse racing jockeys loosening the reins when it seemed certain that they would win … Give-and-take: The art of compromise or a lively exchange of ideas originally referred to horse races in which bigger horses were given more weight to carry, lighter ones less … Dark horse: In addition to meaning lacking light, dark also means concealed, secret, or mysterious. So a dark horse is a horse about whose racing powers little is known. And in politics, a dark horse candidate is one who unexpectedly comes up from behind … Front runner: The leading candidate in a contest or election and comes from the horse racing term referring to a horse that runs best while in the lead … Running mate: Another political term that we get from horse racing refers to a candidate for the lesser of two associated political offices such as a vice-presidential candidate is the running mate of a potential president. In horse racing, a running mate is a horse that sets the pace for another.

 

MEMORIAL DAY

7.MemorialDay.may2018.courtesy.cr-use

“On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live.” (Eric Burdon, musician)

 

DOG NEWS

8.DogNews.may2018.c-westie.3-USE

Alexandra Horowitz, the author of Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell, explains how dogs perceive the world through their extraordinary organ. What every dog knows about the world comes mostly through his nose. Every breath of air a dog takes is loaded with information.

How can we tap into our dogs’ world of smell and enrich their lives? “Let them smell. If you live with a dog, start thinking about what the world is like from an olfactory point of view. Let them smell you (you are your scent, to your dog), let them smell each other (that’s how they find out who it is), and let them smell the world. Take walks for smelling (not just for peeing, or for exercise). The pleasure that comes from watching a dog snuffling down a path, nose to the ground and nose in the air, guided by nothing more than the filaments of odors that come his way, is to me unmatched.”

 

ENDNOTE: PHILIP ROTH
(March 19, 1933-May 22, 2018)

9.EndNote.PhilipRoth.may2018

“The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.” (The Dying Animal by Philip Roth)

 

WE CAN HELP

10.WeCanHelp.AliCenter.may2018

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, used his greatness as a catalyst to do great things for the world and, in turn, inspire us to do the same. The Muhammad Ali Center promotes respect, hope, understanding, and love, encouraging everyone everywhere to be as great as they can be. Your donation will help them continue to preserve and share Ali’s legacy and values.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

11.Soundtrack.AllYouNeedIsLove.may2018

The Beatles
All You Need Is Love 

Love fills May’s fair spring air. At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, people all over the world saw the blossoming of love. Robert Indiana’s sculptures and paintings remind us of the endurance of love … John Lennon’s All You Need is Love was written for Our World, the world’s first ever worldwide televised satellite link-up broadcast to 25 countries. Its optimistic message captured the mood of the Summer of Love (1967), and its simple lyrics and disarming chorus perfect for a global audience. 

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

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy
All you need is love, all you need is love
All you need is love, love, love is all you need

 

 

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

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

 

Sources:
Jane Austen pic quote: Emma: A Novel, Jane Austen (1867)
Jane Austen references: Matthew H. Birkhold, Electric Literature
Dog News quote: Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz (Scribner October 2016)
Philip Roth pic: Philip Roth
Soundtrack lyrics: John Lennon/Paul McCartney ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC 

May 28, 2018
All Rights Reserved

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

29 Apr

BONNIE APRIL

1.Scotland.apr2018

“My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”
Robert Burns
(My Heart’s in the Highlands)

Tartan Day is a U.S. observance celebrating Scotland on April 6 each year. It commemorates the Declaration of Arbroath signed on April 6 in 1320, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was modelled on … “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself” (from the Declaration of Arbroath).

 

CECI N’EST PAS UN DRAPEAU

106.1973

Is Flag a painting or a flag, or both? Interested in the relationship between an artwork and its subject matter, prior to painting Flag Johns visited an exhibition of René Magritte’s work and saw a painting that directly addressed this question. It was the 1950s when Johns painted Flag, inspired by a dream in which he saw himself painting an American flag. In a time that cherished abstraction, Johns chose recognizable, commonplace subject matter. Flag is made up of dense drips and fleshy tactile brushstrokes, with pigment mixed with hot wax and strips of newspaper and fabric. In fact, Flag was a turning point for Johns. For in the paintings that followed his dramatic debut, he challenged every aspect of mid-century painting and established his reputation as an artist … From an interview in 1990: “In Savannah, Georgia, in a park, there is a statue of Sergeant William Jasper. Once I was walking through this park with my father, and he said that we were named for him. Whether or not that is in fact true or not, I don’t know. Sergeant Jasper lost his life raising the American flag over a fort.” … Jasper Johns created figurative works out of instantly recognizable symbols, and then rejected the idea that they had any defined meaning.

 

MY PET

3.Pet.westie.apr2018

Pet (noun) \ ˈpet \
a) a pampered and usually spoiled child
b) someone treated with unusual kindness or consideration

April 11 was National Pet Day to celebrate pets and encourage adoption. A pet is an animal kept primarily for a person’s company, protection, or entertainment. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, pet is found in 16th-century Scottish, northern English, and northern Irish dialects as a word for a “lamb.” By 1710 it was used for a “tame or domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship” and in 1720 it applied to “a spoiled or favored person.”  … The origin of pet might be a connection to petty, as in “little” and petty lamb becomes shortened to a pet lamb. Back to the 1300s, petty might have come from the French petit or from Celtic roots related to piece … The OED traces pet to the Scottish Gaelic peata, “a tame animal” and suggests that peata is related to Latin’s suescere, “to become used to” … So our takeaway is: A pet is an animal that’s gotten used to us.

 

SPRING RECIPE: AVOCADO EGG SALAD

4.Recipe.AvoEgg.apr2018

Finally it’s officially spring! Try this light Avocado Egg Salad that uses mashed avocado in place of mayo … Ingredients: 8 hard-boiled eggs, 1 avocado, ¼ cup chopped green onion (optional), 1 teaspoon mustard (yellow or Dijon), ¼ teaspoon paprika, salt and pepper … Chop the eggs and put them in a salad bowl, mash the avocado with a fork, then mix mashed avocado, mustard, onion, and paprika into eggs until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and black pepper and enjoy on crackers or in a sandwich.

 

DOG NEWS

5.ScottishDogs.apr2018

A West Highland White Terrier lives in my house. A very stubborn proud Scot he is. So let’s not tell him that there are other Scottish dog breeds. Of the 13 breeds that originate in Scotland, six of them are terriers: Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, Border Terrier, the aforementioned West Highland White Terrier, and the Scottish Terrier. The others are Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Rough Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Bearded Collie, Scottish Deerhound, and Gordon Setter …. Sidebar: Westies are described as intelligent independent thinkers who have plenty of attitude for a dog their size. Tell me about it.

6.DogNews2.MozartMusic.apr2018.peterbudogonpiano

Mozart helps dogs handle stress and calm down. The Madrid Police Force has 22 detection dogs who find explosives and narcotics and participate in rescue missions. These dogs have demanding jobs that require intense focus and a high level of alertness, so they experience a lot of stress on the job. To lower their anxiety and stress levels, a specialized sound system to provide music therapy to the dogs was installed in their quarters. Research on dogs in shelters found that classical music caused dogs to sleep more and to vocalize less. Mozart is a particular favorite, found to play a comforting role on task performance and mood. Do you play classical music for your dog? (I admit that Barkley listens to Meat Loaf and Tom Petty. Maybe I ought to add a dash of calming Mozart.)

 

ENDNOTE: MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS

7.EndNote.Mary.apr2018

“To be kind to all, to like many and love a few,
to be needed and wanted by those we love,
is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1587) 

Mary Stuart reigned over Scotland from 1542 to 1567. She was six days old when her father, King James V, died and she acceded to the throne.

 

WE CAN HELP

8.WeCanHelp.dogfighting

This is Ray, one of the 51 dogs rescued out of Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation in 2007. How timely that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month. Thanks to Senator Harris (D-CA) and Senator Collins (R-ME), the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act was just introduced in the U.S. Senate, shining a light on the illegal world of dogfighting. Too many dogs rescued from fighting are held by the federal government for months, even years, while court cases drag on, stressing them out even more. The HEART Act will help these dogs get rehabilitated and rehomed faster and will make their owners responsible for the cost of their care, taking the burden off the local shelters who take these animals in and show them love for the first time. Contact your U.S. representative and senators in Washington, DC to urge them to support and cosponsor the HEART Act.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

9.Soundtrack.PaulMcCartney+paulmartha.apr2018.b

The Beatles
Martha, My Dear

“When you find yourself in the thick of it, Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, Silly girl” … Martha, My Dear, by the Beatles, might seem to be about a woman but was actually written for Paul McCartney’s dog. He wrote Martha, My Dear as a piano exercise, but then later included it on the White Album. The song was inspired by McCartney’s love for his Old English Sheepdog which he adopted in 1966. Although there was speculation that the song was about girlfriend Jane Asher, in 1977 he revealed that his dog Martha was the song’s true inspiration. “Whereas it would appear to anybody else to be a song to a girl called Martha, it’s actually a dog, and our relationship was platonic, believe me,” he said. Martha died in 1981 at the age of 15 at McCartney’s farm house in Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. 

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

Martha, my dear
Though I spend my days in conversation, please
Remember me
Martha, my love
Don’t forget me
Martha, my dear 

Hold your head up, you silly girl
Look what you’ve done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl 

Take a good look around you
Take a good look you’re bound to see
That you and me were meant to be
With each other
Silly girl 

Hold your hand out, you silly girl
See what you’ve done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl 

Martha, my dear
You have always been my inspiration
Please, be good to me
Martha, my love
Don’t forget me
Martha, my dear.

 

Who rescued whom?

10.KEEP-YP+BarkleySo 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:
Declaration of Arbroath extract: National Records of Scotland
Flag pic: Flag (1955) by Jasper Johns
Dog on Piano pic: photo by Peter Bu/Flickr
We Can Help dog pic of Ray: Jacqueline Johnson
Martha, My Dear lyrics: John Lennon/John Winston Lennon/Paul McCartney/Paul James McCartney ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

April 29, 2018
All Rights Reserved

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

 

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

27 Feb

FEBRUARY: PEACE LOVE UNDERSTANDING

1.Pencils.feb2018

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

WHERE IS LOVE?

2.Love.feb2018.a

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

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

LOVE AND DEVOTION

3.MyFairLady.feb2018

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

THE SONG OF LOVE

4.FinchSongbirds.feb2018.b-USE

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

BALLOONS!

5.Balloons.feb2018

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

KETCHUP WITH YOUR DIM SUM?

6.Ketchup.feb2018.fries-USE

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

DOG NEWS

7.ChineseYearOfTheDog.feb2018

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

ENDNOTE FROM YOKO

8.EndNote.Yoko.Heart.adrian-henry.FEB2018

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

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

WE CAN HELP

9.WeCanHelp.foster.feb2018

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

Soundtrack to this Issue

10.Soundtrack.PeaceLove.feb2018-USE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

February 27, 2018
All Rights Reserved

 

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

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

22 Dec

DECEMBER’S WONDERS

Earthrise.dec2017

Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was entering lunar orbit. As it was circumnavigating the moon, Astronaut Bill Anders took Earthwise, the iconic picture showing Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface …. And then poet Archibald MacLeish penned the essay Riders on the Earth that appeared in The New York Times on Christmas Day that year:

“For the first time in all of time, men have seen the Earth … seen it from the depths of space … To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold. Brothers who know that they are truly brothers.” Amen to that.

 

WE ARE FAMILY

Mishpocha.Peanuts.gang.dec2017-USE

mishpocha mish-paw-khuh, –poo kh-uh noun 1: Yiddish. an entire family network comprising relatives by blood and marriage and sometimes including close friends; clan, kin, kindred, tribe.

“We’re all mishpocha here.” The Yiddish word is from Hebrew, literally meaning family. Sure, it can be used that way but it can also mean so much more. It defines the connectedness we feel with others. Around these holidays, we show our appreciation for our own mishpocha. That could be our blood family or the friends we choose to be our family … In the 1960s, the Chase Manhattan Bank had a well-known advertising slogan: “You have a friend at Chase Manhattan.” There was a bank next to one of the Chase branches that posted this sign: “— but here you have mishpocha!” … Friends are the family we make. The holidays are all about celebrating our mishpocha. So I hope you, my mishpocha, will enjoy a wonderful and fulfilling holiday season.

 

THE SOUND OF ART

Kandinsky.dec2017.brighter-USE

Look at this painting. After a little while you can see the music. Wassily Kandinsky made a mission of how colors and forms affect human emotions. Known for his lyrical style, he was interested in the relationship between art and classical music and painted the visual equivalent of writing a symphony. Inspired by a performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin, Kandinsky used colors and shapes to evoke sounds. He even named his paintings as if they were musical pieces, such as Composition 8 (in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection). Kandinsky believed that abstract colors and forms can be used to express the “inner life” of the artist. He was born on December 16, 1866 in Moscow, Russia and died December 13, 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. December is a good time to honor this truly musical artist.

 

SO WHAT!

So.dec2017-USE

so sō/ Adverb 1. to such a great extent. 2. to the same extent (used in comparisons). Conjunction 1. and for this reason; therefore. 2. with the aim that; in order that.

So I was wondering, have you noticed that it seems everybody is starting their sentences with “So”? We’re not talking about the dictionary’s description. In fact it’s so prevalent that it’s being called a linguistic epidemic. An epidemic? But it only has two letters! Pay attention and you’ll hear experts on the morning shows start their answers with it. Is it a tactic to buy time to think up an answer? Or is the person conveying that what they have to say is particularly important so you should pay attention? Perhaps it’s a signal that the interviewee is uncomfortable with the topic or the questions being asked. In a well-known interview with the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg managed to use “So” to start four sentences in just one response! … This verbal tic and its gratuitous use is just plain annoying. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to collect your thoughts and then answer the question. It is true that “So” helps start a conversation in an agreeable tone. Hey, comics and storytellers use it to warm up their audience all the time. But consider this. It is possible that its use in this way is ungrammatical or incorrect, but that’s not really it. What is it but a cultural change over time in colloquial speech. One that is growing, encouraged by the next generation, and eventually it will become the norm. Oh! And don’t get me started on its use in place of a period at the end of a sentence, with the person’s voice trailing off. As if there was something more to be said but there really isn’t. That, too, is very annoying.

 

CHEWIE COME! GOOD BOY

Chewbacca.dec2017-USE

Did you know that the inspiration for Star Wars’ Chewbacca was a dog? According to George Lucas, the lovable Wookiee is based on his Alaskan Malamute, Indiana. “…And when I’d drive around, she’d sit in the front seat. Having her with me all the time inspired me to give Han Solo a sidekick who was like a big, furry dog.” …  The name Chewbacca is actually a derivation of sobaka, the Russian word for dog. The character was envisioned as a mix between a monkey and a dog, and his voice comes from bear vocalizations mixed with lions, badgers, camels, rabbits, and walruses. As Han Solo’s best and most loyal friend, the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon sure seems like a dog! (Note: Yeah, that’s right, George Lucas named Indiana Jones after his dog.)

 

DOG NEWS

DogNews.CanaanDog.dec2017

Could these be the oldest images of dogs as hunting companions? Researchers have discovered cave art in Saudi Arabia that dates back thousands of years and possibly shows hunters leading dogs on leashes.  The modern day Canaan breed of dog (top) seems to resemble the ancient hunting dogs of Saudi Arabia (bottom). The image of a man ready to shoot an arrow with dogs tied to him (being led on leashes?) by his side shows their use as hunting partners. If in fact it is proven that these engravings date back to 9,000 or 8,000 B.C., it could possibly show the world’s first images of dogs. But the Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History’s archaeozoologists think that the Arabian Desert cave art might be from 5,000 B.C., when physical evidence of pastoralism was first documented. Dogs were domesticated during the Neolithic period as dog bones dating back roughly ten thousand years were found where humans settled. But it’s more likely that dog domestication was furthered by humans who benefitted from hunting with them. So we can conclude two things: that our emotional attachment to these amiable creatures goes back a long, long time; and that my own companion, Barkley, will still never come when I call him.

 

ENDNOTE: WILLIE NELSON

EndNote.blessings.dec2017

“When I started counting my blessings,
my whole life turned around.”

 

WE CAN HELP

CREDIT: Barry G. Schwartz

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and today, is one of the largest in the world. Its mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” This includes animal rescues, adoptions, working with the government on animal protection laws, and so much more. The end of the year is an opportune time to consider making a donation so they may continue to help animals.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.TPMarquee.dec2017.blurry-USE

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Runnin’ Down a Dream

It seems to me the perfect thing to do is to end the year with Tom Petty singing about his dreams of endless possibilities. Watch the video of this live performance. Then listen to the glorious ovation the band gets as they walk off the stage. I figure the sound of all those people clapping and shouting can be our own everlasting salute to a positive spirit whose enduring music lives on. You are wrapping up our year, TP. May you still be driving into the great wide open looking for something good down the road!

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

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
I was flyin’ 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream 

I felt so good like anything was possible
I hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was unstoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream 

I rolled on as the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine 

Yeah runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

 

 

 

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

 

Sources:
Earthrise pic: Earthrise, December 24, 1968, NASA
Archibald MacLeish essay quote: Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth by Robert Poole
George Lucas quote: Wookieepedia
Dog News pic: Science Magazine, November 2017
Dog News facts: National Geographic
ASPCA pic: ASPCA puppies adopted in cardboard boxes, 1970’s
Tom Petty lyrics: Jeff Lynne, Michael Campbell, Tom Petty ©Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

December 22, 2017
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)

Book.Imagine.oct2017.jpg

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

RayBradbury.F451.oct2017

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

MeToo.oct2017

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.

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

27 Sep

SEPTEMBER’S NEW LEAF?

HappyFall.sept.2017.fscottfitz 

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

Ringo.GiveMoreLove.sept2017

Count on Ringo to catch the zeitgeist and encourage its remedy. If words alone would heal…Give More Love.

Sometimes this world can be a hard place
We wonder where we go from here
So many hurting bad, Lost everything they had
It’s hard to know what we can do 

Give more love, Give more love
It’s what we know we need more of
From the heart, Let it start
To spread to everyone, Now it’s up to you
There’s something you can do
Give more love, Give more love, Give more love

 

NOM NOM IS A NO-NO

NomNom1.sept2017.CookieMonster.red

“I’m hungry, let’s get some nom noms at the dining hall.” “I just had a cheesy pizza. Nom nom nom.” “You like that burger? Nom nom nom.”Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster originated the expression nom nom. While eating something delicious, he would keep repeating the phrase “om nom nom.” The earliest appearance of om nom was in the Urban Dictionary in 2004, defining it as “1. eating with extreme delight. 2. The noise made when food is **** good nd u wanna show everybody [sic]” … Now it generates loathing. Is it something a grown-up ought to say? Doesn’t it sound like baby talk? Maybe it’s a little gross? Or is it a trend that is oh so over? … How did it become a buzzword? The OED‘s definition of buzzword: “a catchword or expression currently fashionable; a term used more to impress than to inform.” I think both those definitions are applicable. It was even in the running for 2010’s word of the year.

NomNom2.sept2017.Cats

Nom nom became popular in 2007 when a cat licking a birthday cake was posted on the ICanHasCheezburger website with the caption “nom nom nom/nooo it are my birthday” … Let’s bear in mind that nom nom is not in the dictionary (the real dictionaries, Urban Dictionary aside). Scrumptious is a better word. So is delicious or delish, tasty, lip-smacking, and yes, yummy is cool. How about we all agree that nom nom belongs to Cookie Monster – and only Cookie Monster.

 

AFTER THE DELUGE

Hurricane1.sept2017

The word hurricane comes from Taino, a language spoken by the Arawak, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and picked up by Spanish explorers there. The Taino word hurákan means “god of the storm.” Interesting to note that the word hurricane now only applies to tropical storms that occur in the Caribbean or Atlantic Ocean … At the end of the 15th century, Christopher Columbus noted a severe tropical storm while in the West Indies: “Nothing but the service of God and the monarchy would expose me to such danger.” Sure enough, three of his ships capsized … The word appeared mid-16th century in the English translation of a Spanish historian’s opus detailing the Spanish conquest of the Americas (from 1492 to 1547) with this description of a great tempest: “…when the deuyll greatly intendeth to feare theym, he threteneth to sende them great tempestes which they caule Haurachanas, and are so vehement that they ouerthrowe many howses and great trees.” … Shakespeare used hurricano in King Lear when Lear howls on the heath: “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!” … Nature may be reminding us that out of destruction comes the chance to make new, to make better; out of destruction can come creation.

Hurricane2.sept2017.dylan

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
“It’s my work,” he’d say, “and I do it for pay.
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way.”

And then there’s Rubin Hurricane Carter, whose lightning-fast fists earned him that nickname. A top contender for the world middleweight crown, he had an astonishing four-fight winning streak, including two knockouts. Sadly, at the height of his boxing career, he was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 20 years. Bob Dylan, advocating for his innocence, wrote about his life in the song Hurricane after visiting Carter in prison in 1975. Every night on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Dylan sang Hurricane and asked his audience to lobby for Carter’s release. Ultimately Dylan’s efforts actually helped get him out of jail.

 

BERNSTEIN!

LeonardBernsteinAt100.sept2017

“I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.” And we are all the better for it … Leonard Bernstein at 100 is a two-year celebration of his life and legacy that kicked off with the Kennedy Center’s concert Bernstein on Broadway, featuring selections from his musicals. Events in cities all across the world will continue through August 2019 … The Grammy Museum’s traveling exhibit will go across the country. His record companies are issuing box sets, remastered recordings, and new recordings of his music. New documentaries will include highlights of his fervent support for civil rights through his music and in his own voice. And of course there will be concerts. Many concerts … I grew up going to Bernstein concerts with the Philharmonic. He was bigger than life, inspiring an enduring love for music. He made music easily accessible for the music novice as well as the trained musician. And most of all, using his favorite word, he made music fun … At a time when we all need our anxieties abated and our emotions and spirits uplifted, we have the Maestro’s music that reflects his own response to a time of great angst and disappointment. Motivating and hopeful – he has never failed to touch us deeply and remind us of our shared humanity.

 

LIGHT SHOW

JoshuaLightShow.sept2017

Light elevates us. But a light show transports us … Liquid light shows, projected on a screen behind the band, mix a live film to the beat of the music using glass oils or by cutting up transparencies … You remember being mesmerized by the colorful weaving wiggly psychedelic patterns at Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and The Who concerts, don’t ya? A light show is a fully artistic visual interpretation of the music as the band is performing. So no two shows are alike, creating a truly unique and totally immersive experience. Joshua Light Show, perhaps the most famous light show, still going after 50 years, has even been prominently displayed in concert posters … “There’s no question that the development of the scene as it evolved in San Francisco was way more than the music,” says Jefferson Airplane (and Hot Tuna) guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. “And part of it, of course, was the visuals that came along with the light shows.”

 

DOG (AND PET) NEWS

DogNews.ASPCA-Irma.sept2017

The ASPCA saw the devastation of Hurricane Irma firsthand and they were there for animals in crisis. The ASPCA prepared water rescue, emergency sheltering, and relocation efforts for the areas where animals needed help most. 100% of our donations are going toward the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Fund, to ensure that rescue teams are always ready to help animals from situations of cruelty, neglect, and natural disaster … The ASPCA has these tips to prepare for an emergency situation such as Irma: Pets should be wearing ID tags with contact info; micro-chipping is a more permanent form of ID; make an emergency kit with medical records, water, bowls, pet food, and medication; and download the free ASPCA mobile app, to store important records needed for boarding pets at evacuation shelters.

 

ENDNOTE FROM RINGO

Endnote.RingoTweet.sky.sept2017

Even the clouds in the sky [are] beautiful
I am listening to we can work it out
peace and love

Endnote1.FingersPeaceEndnote2.HeartStarEndnote3.SunEndnote4.NotesMusicEndNote5.PeacePurpleSign

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ElieWiesel.sept2017

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect engages Americans to fight harder for Anne Frank’s dream: An inclusive world in which mutual respect replaces hatred and its consequences. We can help them to continue their traveling exhibits and educational programs across the U.S. and Canada. They go to museums, schools, universities, companies, and houses of worship. With our help they can carry on Anne Frank’s legacy. Fighting prejudice and discrimination, and advocating for her dream of a kinder and fairer world is more important now than ever.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack-Picture.ConcertPoster.sept2017.v3cr

David Bowie sings Paul Simon’s America

Organized by Paul McCartney to honor the memories of the victims of 9/11, The Concert for New York City was held at Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2011 … David Bowie opened the concert with a beautiful heart-rending cover of Paul Simon’s America with only guitar and bass for back-up. He told the crowd: “Hi friends, my fellow New Yorkers. I’d particularly like to say hello to the folks from my local [FDNY] ladder, you know where you are. It’s an absolute privilege to play for you tonight.” … It was originally released on Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends album in 1968. Rolling Stone noted: “It captured America’s sense of restlessness and confusion during the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, as well as the escalation of the war in Vietnam.” The emotion it stirs keeps it forever relevant. 

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

And we walked off to look for America
Cathy, I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve gone to look for America … 

Cathy, I’m lost, I said though I knew she was sleeping
And I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America

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:

Give More Love lyrics: Ringo Starr, Gary Nicholson/Ringo Starr Official Website
Hurricane pic: The aftermath of Hurricane Ike in Gilchrist, Texas (2008)/Reuters
Dylan’s Hurricane lyrics: Jacques Levy, Bob Dylan ©Bob Dylan Music Co.
Joshua Light Show pic: Joshua Light Show with Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, October 2013, Fierce Festival, UK JLS (Twitter December 23, 2013)
Dog News pic: ASPCA
Endnote Ringo Starr quote: @ringostarrmusic (September 10, 2017)
Soundtrack quote: Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Simon and Garfunkel Songs by Andy Greene/Rolling Stone Magazine (January 15, 2014)
America lyrics: Paul Simon ©Universal Music Publishing Group 

Special note about the Soundtrack: The video is May 30, 2002, but the sound is the actual performance from the October 20, 2001 concert.

September 27, 2017
All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

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

28 Aug

AUGUST’S MOONDANCE

TotalEclipse.aug2017.5-use

“… All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night … [for] the reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” (Victor Hugo)

The total eclipse of 2017, when the sun was completely blocked by the moon, crossed from the West Coast to the East Coast, from Oregon to South Carolina. A once-in-a lifetime sight, it was a phenomenal phenomenon … “On a magic night in the moonlight, Can’t I just have one more Moondance with you, my love.”

 

MOONSHADOW, MOONSHADOW

Moonshadow.teafortillerman.aug2017.cr-USE

“Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.” Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, wrote Moonshadow about finding hope in any situation. To be present and joyful. To see life as it is right now. Every moment is rich and unique; whether we are aware of it or not, we are always “leaping and hopping on a moonshadow.” If we worry about what could be, or what was, we are missing the splendor and wonder of life. How there is always light to be found in the darkest situations. In fact, he calls this song the “Optimist’s Anthem.” The song’s timeless message is a celebration of the greatness of life itself.

 

THE FINAL FRONTIER

Voyager.GoldenRecord.aug2017.single

One day, maybe a billions years from now, aliens might find a spaceship from Earth holding a time capsule of life on our world. Launched in August 1977, NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 each have on board a Golden Record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disc with greetings in 60 languages, sounds and photos, and samples of music from different cultures around the world … In Murmurs of Earth, Carl Sagan writes that Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode made the cut, the only rock ‘n’ roll song to make it; Jefferson Starship did not. Here Comes the Sun could not be sent because the Beatles, who totally wished their song sent into deep space, did not hold the copyright to their own song … The other songs from the US represent different music genres: Louis Armstrong’s Melancholy Blues (jazz), the Navaho Tribe’s Night Chant, Blind Willie Johnson’s Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (gospel blues), and (with France and the USSR) Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance performed by the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (modernist classical ballet) … The mission is continuing today. As far as we know, E.T. has yet to discover the records. And the beat goes on.

 

PURPLE REIGNS

Purple.aug2017.piano-USE

In honor of Prince, the color mavens at Pantone created a new shade of purple. It is named Love Symbol #2 after The Purple One’s logo and inspired by his custom-made purple Yamaha piano.

 

HEART OF THE MATTER

BonnieTyler.aug2017

Once upon a time there was light in my life, But now there’s only love in the dark, Nothing I can say, A total eclipse of the heart … Bonnie Tyler performed her huge 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart as the solar eclipse happened. On a cruise ship! The Royal Caribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas ship. Positioned in the path of totality a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida, she sang just as the moon moved across the sun … Oh and on the ship’s menu? Yep, you guessed right. Moon Pies.

 

BUSY AS A DUMBLEDORE

Dumbledore.WB_HalfBloodPrince.aug2017

Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Did you ever wonder how JK Rowling came up with the Hogwarts Headmaster’s name? Albus is Latin for white, which may refer to his beard. Percival was a Knight of the Round Table who searched for the lost grail. Wulfric may refer to Wulfric of Haselbury, who had the gifts of prophecy and healing in 12th century medieval England. And Brian is derived from an Old Celtic word meaning noble … Then there’s Dumbledore. It’s an Old English word for bumblebee. “Because Albus Dumbledore is very fond of music, I always imagined him as sort of humming to himself a lot,” says Rowling … Heed these words from this magical and wise wizard: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

 

ENDNOTE: …AND BACK ON EARTH

DalaiLama.aug2017.peacepsych2-USE

In closing this month’s missive, current events got me thinking about the Dalai Lama’s words to the commencement class of the University of California/San Diego this past June: “… in order to create a happier, peaceful world – firstly, inner peace. Very important. Peace, world peace, must achieve through inner peace, not through weapon” … Amen.

 

DOG NEWS

DogNews.westiebeans.aug2017-USE

Did you eat all your veggies, Barkley? That’s a good boy. With a healthy diet, our dogs live longer and feel better. Studies show that the preventive power of vegetables can actually be a life-saving benefit. Researchers at Purdue University found that by adding fresh vegetables to their diets, cancer cell growth was prevented and decelerated by 70 to 90%. Given that so many dogs 10 years old-plus succumb to cancer (the leading cause of death for dogs of this age), feeding our dogs vegetables is a really good thing! Just make sure you know which ones are good (carrots, celery, and green beans) and the ones that you should never give them (onions, mushrooms, avocado). Barkley likes his apples, pineapple, and bananas, too.

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.TheArts.aug2017.arts+culture-USE

What is the economic impact of the arts and culture in America? Thousands of nonprofits across the US bring arts and culture to their communities. And these communities do see an economic benefit. Say you go to a performance, a museum, or a music festival. That means that parking garages, restaurants, and shops get real busy. Money spent locally stays locally. An industry that generates joy, inspiration, and vitality also provides a direct economic benefit through local jobs, government revenue, and increased tourism. Moral of the story: Support the arts in your community.

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.PinkFloyd.black.aug2017-USE

Pink Floyd’s Eclipse 

As Professor Dumbledore says to Harry Potter: “While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.” As the song is ending, listen. Heartbeat, heartbeat, heartbeat…

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

All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel 

And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save 

And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy,
Beg, borrow or steal 

And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say 

All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight 

And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

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:
Moondance lyrics: Van Morrison ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Moonshadow pic: Tea for the Tillerman cover art by Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam
Moonshadow lyrics: Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam ©BMG Rights Management US, LLC
Golden Records pic: NASA
Total Eclipse of the Heart lyrics: James Richard Steinman ©Carlin America Inc.
Dumbledore pic: Still from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Warner Bros.
JK Rowling quote: The Independent UK
Dumbledore quote: JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Dumbledore quote before Eclipse: JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pink Floyd’s lyrics: George Roger Waters ©Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., TRO, Inc.

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