Tag Archives: Earthwise

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

%d bloggers like this: