Tag Archives: ASPCA

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

22 Dec



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.




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.




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 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.




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.)




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.




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



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


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.”


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

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

29 Oct


“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.




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.



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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.”




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


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.”


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





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




“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.


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.




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.


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.




“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 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.”




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.




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




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


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?


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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l


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



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




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

28 Oct



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

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




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




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




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

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

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




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





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




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




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




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



Silver flute on a musical score

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




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




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

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




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


Soundtrack to this Issue


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

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


Who rescued whom?


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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l


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


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

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

26 Aug





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






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





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






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






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






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






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






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






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




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

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

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


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




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






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


Soundtrack to this Issue


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


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


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

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

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

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




Who rescued whom?


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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l


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


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


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

27 Oct





“…Fred implored me to come and live with him in Detroit. Nothing seemed more vital than to join my love…saying good-bye to New York City and the aspirations it contained, I picked what was most precious and left the rest behind…”

Patti Smith blends a lifetime of memories with everyday experiences in her new book, M Train. In elegant prose and with sincerity, she recalls her favorite Greenwich Village café now closed, a cherished black coat now lost, her late husband, Frida Kahlo’s home, and Hurricane Sandy. Haunted by these intimate ghosts, she writes about the possessions (people, places, things) she has cherished, lost, and she reckons are now found as remnants in her soul, to be stored there forever … “The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.”


ElvisCostello.bookcover.Oct2015USE“Songs can be many things, an education, a seduction, some solace in heartache, a valve for anger, a passport, your undoing, or even a lottery ticket.”

Elvis Costello’s new memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, recounts his life which begins as the son and grandson of musicians. Destiny surely played its hand. In equal doses, as a fan and as a scholar, he writes about music and the artists he reveres. The wit and acute observations that we’ve come to recognize and appreciate in his songs are just as evident in his autobiography. Accompanied by a 38-track, 2-CD set, he tells the detailed stories, experiences, and emotions behind Alison, Accidents Will Happen, Watching the Detectives, Oliver’s Army, and Veronica.



From modest beginnings in a small-town drugstore in 1960, Tower Records became the heart and soul of the music world, a cultural phenomenon with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. All Things Must Pass, a new documentary from Colin Hanks, charts Ross Solomon’s dreams and the chain’s magical legacy and fateful demise in 2006. Tower was the place to spend hours going through records and talking about music. And you’d never know who you’d see there. A cherished memory: spending an afternoon with the one and only Bill Graham. Not just a store.


Ali.SportsIll.Oct2015“You feel his presence when you walk into the room. Even though he can’t really communicate with you, you hope that just by being near him, something rubs off on you.’’

That can only be one person. The Champ. The Greatest. Muhammad Ali, the world’s hero, my hero … He told Sports Illustrated in 1965, “I got a feeling I was born for a purpose. I’ve always had that feeling since I was a little boy. Perhaps I was born to fulfill Biblical prophecies. I just feel I may be part of something—divine things.” … On October 1, at The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY, the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award was inaugurated to honor a former athlete who has used the platform of sports to improve the world. The ceremony was 40 years to the day after Ali overpowered Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila“How would you like to be remembered as an athlete? As the best heavyweight boxer of all time. As a person? As a good person who tried to be kind to everyone.”


DogNews.book.Oct2015“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.” (W. H. Auden)

Wouldn’t you like to know why your dog behaves the way he does? The editors of Adopt-a-Pet.com just published a great resource for dog owners. The Total Dog Manual highlights behavior, training, and care. And Adopt-a-Pet.com should know – they are the world’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, helping shelters and rescue organizations find permanent loving homes for homeless pets. While they can’t speak, dogs do communicate to us.

So we should learn how to speak dog!



The ASPCA just completed the expansion of the rehabilitation center to shelter and care for even more canine victims of cruelty in New York City. The Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment can house up to 50 dogs rescued through the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership at any given time. And, crucially, the dogs will receive personalized behavioral rehabilitation necessary to prepare them for adoption. Our donations help the ASPCA continue to do their fabulous, innovative, and necessary work!

Soundtrack to this Issue


Elvis Costello and the Imposters’ live performance of
Everyday I Write the Book

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

Don’t tell me you don’t know what love is
When you’re old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions
And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Book and a Dog pic: Edward Gorey
Patti Smith quotes: M Train (Knopf, October 2015)
Elvis Costello quote: Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider Press/Penguin Random House, October 2015)
Ali pic: Sports Illustrated Cover, October 5, 2015
Quote under Ali pic: Dhani Jones, a former NFL linebacker who was a presenter at the night’s event, Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
Ali quote: Muhammad Ali to Sports Illustrated’s Gil Rogin, 1965, Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
Ali’s questions and answers: Sports Illustrated cover article, October 5, 2015
We Can Help pic: ASCPA
Elvis Costello’s Everyday I Write the Book lyrics: ©Universal Music Publishing Group

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

28 Sep



Keith’s first solo album in over two decades, Crosseyed Heart (Republic Records), has a little of everything. Rock, blues, country, reggae – the rootsy sound we expect from him, instantly recognizable. Oh, and it was recorded on analog tape. Nice! … On songwriting, he says, “In the right mood and with the right instrument, there’s a certain feeling of being an antenna, receiving and then transmitting.” … And if you haven’t already guessed, my fave Keith album is Talk Is Cheap. Words to live by.

DarleneLove.Album.Sept2015You already love her. You heard her sing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) every Christmas on the David Letterman Show. This new Darlene Love album is something to celebrate! And we have Steve Van Zandt to thank. He produced a huge sound to complement Darlene’s rich voice, and he asked friends to write songs. Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Linda Perry and Jimmy Webb. In fact, Costello’s Still Too Soon To Know features a duet vocal by Bill Medley … And if you still haven’t seen the Oscar-winning doc, 20 Feet From Stardom, do it. See and hear how great this lady is and always has been.



At a ceremony before The New York Philharmonic’s Opening Gala Concert, Avery Fisher Hall became David Geffen Hall, in honor of Mr. Geffen’s $100M gift toward renovating the hall … Also honoring the Gala Concert, an annual major NYC event, the Empire State Building went Philharmonic Red!


“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” … Maya Angelou died last year, her Harlem home filled with paintings and wall hangings. Part of her art collection, about 50 works, just sold for nearly $1.3 million. Her son, Guy Johnson, wrote in the auction catalog, “For my mother, paintings, sculpture, dance and music were ways of translating the intangible into digestible bites; these forms of art were ways of expressing feelings and emotions that resisted the confinement of words…Just as Dr. Angelou continues to serve as a source of inspiration for countless artists, writers and performers, she also found inspiration in the works of others.” … The painting here is by Bernard Casey (1939 – ). It is titled Music and Fruit (Songs in Eden), an acrylic on cotton canvas, circa early 1970s. Let’s see, musical notes in colorful hearts? What’s not to like.



We take note of three auspicious birthdays … Happy celebratin’, Stephen King, turning 68 on September 21. And the nice present he got from President Obama the previous day was the National Medal of Arts … Having just celebrated Born To Run’s 40th anniversary, now it’s the Boss’s turn. Happy 66th birthday to Bruce Springsteen, on September 23 … And Freddie Mercury, born September 5, 1946 (died November 24, 1991). Forever and always, our Champion of the World.


WeCanHelp.ASPCA.CAwildfire.Sept2015The raging wildfires in California have destroyed homes and caused thousands of residents to flee. While firefighters fight the blazes, people have been evacuated from their homes, putting many pets’ lives in jeopardy. The ASPCA has stepped in to help save badly burned animals, check for pets and livestock left behind, and shelter displaced animals in the ASPCA’s 30-foot disaster response trailer customized to house animals in emergencies. So far, 203 animals, including dogs, cats, goats, pigs, and horses, have been rescued and brought to safety; and 37 animals have been reunited with their families after being separated during emergency evacuations. Our donations can provide much-needed assistance during this critical time.

Soundtrack to this Issue

Meatloaf.GreatestSummerSong.September2015Greatest Song of the Summer of 2015?
Meat Loaf’s You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
From Bat Out of Hell (Epic Records/CBS Inc. 1977)
As voted on by Ultimate Classic Rock’s listeners.

Another September birthday boy, Meat turned 68 on September 27! Hey, more great news! Meat is back in the studio with Karla and Ellen. Could this mean another epic Steinman song?

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

You hold me so close that my knees grow weak
But my soul is flying high above the ground
I’m trying to speak but no matter what I do
I just can’t seem to make any sound

And then you took the words right out of my mouth
Oh, it must have been while you were kissing me
You took the words right out of my mouth
And I swear it’s true
I was just about to say I love you


Who rescued whom?

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Keith Richards quote: NY Times, September 17, 2015
Avery Fisher Hall pic: AP
Guy Johnson catalogue quote: Swann Galleries, September 15, 2015
Best Song of Summer 2015 pic: Ultimate Classic Rock
You Took the Words lyrics: Jim Steinman ©1977 Edward B. Marks Music Corp., Neverland Music Company, and Peg Music Co.

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

30 Jul



“My religion is kindness.” … During her set at the Glastonbury Festival, Patti Smith surprised concertgoers bringing out the Dalai Lama so everyone could wish His Holiness a happy 80th birthday. “We are grateful to him for all his love of humanity and making people aware of the importance of saving the planet,” Smith said before leading the crowd in singing Happy Birthday To You. … Also in honor of his birthday, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Lorde, etc. contributed to the Art of Peace Foundation’s Songs for Tibet II, a tribute album celebrating the Dalai Lama’s philosophy of peace, non-violence, and compassion.




Have you gone to the Metropolitan Museum yet? Run to see these four paintings completed by Vincent Van Gogh before he left the asylum at Saint-Rémy. Never before shown together, the Irises and Roses exhibit features the Met’s Irises and Roses shown alongside their long separated mates: Irises from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and Roses from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Due to the light-sensitive pigments, it is noteworthy to see how the once vibrant colors have faded with time. Catch it before the show closes August 16.



Sneakers.AdidasRUNDMC.July2015Sneakers as art? The Brooklyn Museum’s The Rise of Sneaker Culture show is the first exhibition to explore the social history and cultural impact of sneakers. You’ll see the oldest existing running shoes from the 1860s, 1917 Chuck Taylors, Keds from the 1920s, and the first editions of Nike Air Jordans. Did you know that in 1986 Run–DMC invited Adidas execs to their Madison Square Garden show where they performed their hit, My Adidas? Well, Adidas gave them a sneaker deal! The show will make you wish you’d saved your Reebok Freestyles from the 1980s. It closes October 4.



BEETLEJUICE.July2015Yes, really. For Lincoln Center’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton concert series, film composer and Oingo Boingo frontman, Danny Elfman performed the scores from his three-decade collaboration with the director. It started with his first movie score for Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Then came Alice in Wonderland, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and of course, Beetlejuice. They did 15 scores together, so what do they have in common? Elfman says, “We both loved every horror film made in the 60’s and the 70’s. His idol was Vincent Price, mine was Peter Lorre. It kind of defined us for the next 30 years: Evil mastermind tortured doomed souls, both misunderstood.” There is a fun atmosphere watching concertgoers show up as their favorite characters, but it’s truly the melding of these two artists’ weird, witty, and altogether delectable creativity that is celebrated.



BroadwayBarks.July11.2015Dogs took over Shubert Alley for the 17th annual Broadway Barks, featuring adoptable pets from 28 shelters throughout New York. Founded by Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters, and produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, more than 250,000 dogs and cats have found permanent homes since the first event in 1999. Co-hosted by Peters and Andrew Rannells, cast members from almost every current Broadway show came out to show support.



ASPCA.2016CalendarCoverGirl.July2015Sponsoring Broadway Barks was the ASPCA. Not only fighting animal cruelty and abuse, lobbying for animal welfare, and promoting adoptions, the ASPCA website offers helpful tips on caring for your companion … Meet the winner of the 2016 Calendar Cover Pet contest. Dharma was found on the roadside. Having just given birth, the puppies were not there and she had clearly been abused. After her rescue and adoption, beautiful Dharma now enjoys road trips and hiking! … Celebrate adopted animals all year. Remember to order your 2016 ASPCA Calendar.


Soundtrack to this Issue


Don McLean’s Vincent
From American Pie (Capitol 1971) 

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

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now, I understand, what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue


Who rescued whom????????????????????????????????

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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


Dalai Lama and Patti Smith pic: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Beetlejuice pic: Everett Collection
Danny Elfman quote: Rolling Stone
Don McLean pic: Photograph: MediaPunch/Rex
Vincent lyrics: Enrico Nascimbeni, Don McLean, Roberto Vecchioni © Music Corp. Of America Inc., Benny Bird Co. Inc.

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

26 Mar



“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” (Jack London) …

A jury ruled that Blurred Lines copied elements of Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up, requiring Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke pay $7.3 million to Gaye’s heirs for copyright infringement. “The verdict handicaps any creator who is making something that might be inspired by something else…fashion, music, design, anything. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas. Everything that’s around you in a room was inspired by something or someone. If you kill that, there’s no creativity.” So says Pharrell Williams after the decision …

What does inspire mean? (verb) 1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence 2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought) 3. to influence or impel 4. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence 5. to give rise to, bring about, cause … From the 14th century Old French, to influence with an idea or purpose;  inhale, breathe in …

“As an artist you want to record songs you feel strongly about…” A life filled with sadness, abuse, depression, and loss, Marvin Gaye found inspiration from what he saw around him and what he lived through. His songs reflected his concerns about poverty, discrimination, politics, drug addiction, and the environment. Motown founder Berry Gordy says of Gaye, “The truest artist I’ve ever known. Whatever he was going through in his life he put on records. So if you want to know Marvin just listen to one of his records.” … One may hold fast to the enduring resonance of What’s Going On, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), and Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), songs by an inspired and inspiring artist …

Let’s also keep in mind what Bob Dylan said, “Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” His are our last words.



Agent, manager, recording executive, film producer, and philanthropist, David Geffen is donating $100 million to renovate david-geffen.Mar2015and rename Avery Fisher Hall, becoming David Geffen Hall this September with the start of the New York Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season … Geffen made his mark in the music biz finding talent and building record companies to nurture that talent. He received the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award from one of his early artists Jackson Browne at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Of his success he said, “I have no talent except for the ability to enjoy and recognize it in others.”

Being shrewd is crucial to succeed, as this story from his bio, The Operator, shows. When John Lennon wanted to get back to recording, every label wanted to sign him. Upset that Yoko was not respected, John had her answer the phone calls. All the record execs “dismissed her rudely and demanded to speak with Lennon. Each time, Lennon directed Ono to hang up.” Although he didn’t know her, Geffen “shrewdly figured out that she was the decision maker…he sent her a telegram and asked for a meeting with her.” Seeing that it was addressed to her, John said, “He’s the one we’ll go with.”

By the way, did you know David Geffen started out in the mailroom at William Morris?


AlanGilbert.Mar2015The Philharmonic announced that music director Alan Gilbert will be stepping down in 2017 after eight seasons. The first native New Yorker to hold the post and the son of two of its players, he expanded the Orchestra’s repertory and its activities, developing CONTACT!, premiering new scores, and the NY Philharmonic Biennial, exploring modern composers … Especially inspiring (yes!) were his programs, La Dolce Vita: Music of Italian Cinema with Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Josh Groban, and Philharmonic 360, where the Orchestra surrounded the audience in the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, playing Boulez, Mozart, and Ives … His entrepreneurial energy and pioneering spirit has inspired the Orchestra and its audiences. Bravo, Maestro!


You’ll find inspiration in the documentary, The Wrecking Crew, about the studio musicians behind The Beach Boys, The WreckingCrew.Mar2015Monkees, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas and the Papas, and my fave, The Association (Windy!) – the sound of 1960s LA soft rock. In it, Nancy Sinatra says, “The musicians were really the unsung heroes of all those hit records.” … What’s really cool is what media specialist Howard Homonoff has to say about the doc. In his Forbes article, Howard points out the film’s “real lesson is about being open to finding creativity and innovation in unlikely places – not just in music but far beyond.” Read it just to learn his takeaways – partnership makes good business and that there’s nothing that talent, experience, and professionalism can beat. Follow him, his articles are great … And oh yeah, teamwork can be inspiring.



Vans launched a new collection of shoes, shirts, hats, and bags featuring dog and cat patterns to support the ASPCA. The shoes are available for purchase now at vans.com and select footwear retailers.

Soundtrack to this Issue isWindy.TheAssociation.Mar2015.b

Windy by The Association
#1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, July 1967

C’mon, sing along:
Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway
Calling a name that’s lighter than air
Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow
Everyone knows it’s Windy

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
Smilin’ at everybody she sees
Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it’s Windy

And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)

Who rescued whom?Delivery.10.29.14.happiness.cr

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”lIMGP2541.cr.newsltr“…live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Pharrell Williams quote: Rolling Stone, March 19, 2015
Marvin Gaye quote: Marvin Gaye fan page website
Berry Gordy quote: This is Rebel Music by Harvey Kubernik (University of New Mexico Press, 2004)
David Geffen pic: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010
David Geffen quote: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010
John Lennon story: The Operator by Tom King (Random House, 2000), pages 311-312
Alan Gilbert illustration: New York Times Book Review/Jillian Tamaki
Windy lyrics: Mildred J. Hill, Patty Smith Hill, Ruthann Friedman, © Irving Music Inc., Summy-birchard Company

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

27 Oct


Part spoken word, part concert, Lennon: Through a Glass Onion celebrates his words and music. Happy birthday, JohnJohnLennon.stageshow.Oct2014 … On the eve of her new album release, Aretha Franklin talked with Clive Davis at the 92Y. “It really is an honor if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person, it means I’ve done my job.” … Big-hearted Betty Buckley performed six concerts at Joe’s Pub, from her new T Bone Burnett-produced album, Ghostlight … Simon Rattle led the Berlin Philharmonic in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Park Avenue Armory, part of Lincoln Center’s White Light FestivalEverly Brothers honored with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Music Masters award … Bravo, Maestro James Levine on your 2,500th performance with the Metropolitan Opera OrchestraMatisse’s colorful cut-paper collages at MOMA … Yeah, they went their own way, but now Fleetwood Mac is back and on tourPrince.ArtOfficialAge.Oct2014The Who: 50 Years Greatest Hits album, whoa, fifty years? No! … Also out with new albums: Yusuf, Neil Diamond, and Annie Lennox sings American standards … The 3rd annual CBGB Music and Film Festival featured Devo … Speaking of, Mark Mothersbaugh has a solo art exhibition, Myopia, traveling the US … The surprising, enterprising, never disappointing artist known as Prince released two albums at once, Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum … Esa-Pekka Salonen and the NY Philharmonic play Stravinsky’s The Firebird, let’s see, do the prince and princess live happily ever after? …

The glorious voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo played Carnegie Hall’s South African music fest … Happy 30th birthday to Def Jam Records,BloodMoon.10.8.14.Oct2014.cr influential and genre-defining … Masters of Hawaiian Music played SubCulture. Can you say ki ho’alu? That’s slack-key guitar to you … A Harlem block is officially renamed, George Carlin Way … Recovered, the Allman Brothers resumed their residency at The Beacon … They gave it away on iTunes then U2 released Songs of Innocence, their 13th album, featuring the single The Miracle (of Joey Ramone). You had me at Joey Ramone … The Beach Boys’ gorgeous classic, God Only Knows,  celebrates the launch of BBC Music with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Chris Martin, Stevie Wonder, Chrissie Hynde, Sam Smith, and more, and oh yeah, the great Brian Wilson … Two new breeds in Westminster, Coton de Tulear and Wirehaired Viszla … New postage stamps celebrate Batman turning 75 … The Blood Moon, a total lunar eclipse, rose up bright red … And R.I.P. Jack Bruce, Cream’s singer and bassist, and co-writer of the best song there ever was and ever will be, Sunshine of Your Love.


So says my favorite singer/songwriter, Matt Turk. Big congratulations on his latest album, Cold Revival, and his sold-out releaseMattTurkColdRevival.pic-ChristinaTorpie.October2014 party at The Bitter End …

“Opening with a lilting mandolin strum, Cracked Egg turns sharply into a powerhouse of explosive drums and heartfelt singing … When A Boy’s gentle, acoustic picking becomes a more upbeat track with the right amount of organ punched in … The album’s title track Cold Revival has a perfect country feel with restrained slide guitars, understated organ and strings … Say You’ll Live’s minor chords, mandolin and spoken word opening bursts into a dramatic, organ-driven piece.”

“Matt Turk strikes a fine balance between rockers and introspective acoustic excursions.” … Oh, and Matt is Featured Artist in Guitar Player magazine … Don’t wait, buy Cold Revival at turktunes!


Books on music: Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War by Carol Oja, Griel Marcus’sFiddler.book.Oct2014 The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, Mick Fleetwood’s Play On (timed with his band’s tour), Sheila E’s The Beat of My Own Drum, Neil Young’s Special Deluxe, Joe Perry’s Rocks, David Ritz’s Aretha Franklin bio (timed with her album release) Respect, and Tradition! The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World’s Most Beloved Music by Barbara Isenberg …

And new films about music: Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is by My Side, JK Simmons as a music teacher in Whiplash, and Ethan Hawk’s inspiring bio on the equally inspiring 87-year old piano teacher, Seymour Bernstein, Seymour: An Introduction.



“Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time
to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”
(Elizabeth Lawrence)



Soundtrack to this Issue
Aretha’s Version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
(with a dash of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, oh yeah!)

From the album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics
©2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

C’mon, sing along:

The scars of your love remind me of us
It keeps me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love keep me breathless
I can’t help thinking

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it to the beat

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


Lennon: Through a Glass Onion pic: Illustration by Aaron Smith
Matt Turk pic: Christina Torpie, October 2014
Matt Turk’s Cold Revival review quotes: Rob Ross/PopDose
Matt Turk’s Magnet Magazine review quote: Magnet October Issue #114
Fall Colors pic: Chris Meloni
Rolling in the Deep lyrics: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Paul Epworth © EMI Music Publishing Ltd., Melted Stone Publishing Ltd.

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