Tag Archives: inspiration

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.

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

28 Nov

NOVEMBER: SERVICE. HONOR. FREEDOM.

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

STAND UP FOR VETERANS

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

PURPLE

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

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

HALLELUJAH

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

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

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

MUSIC HEALS WOUNDED WARRIORS

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

HOPE

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

THANKFUL

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

FREEDOM MEDAL

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

DOG NEWS

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

WE CAN HELP

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

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

26 Aug

HOT DOG DAYS OF AUGUST

Weather.Aug2016.cruse.png

 

 

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

 

THE BOSS TELLS HIS STORY

BruceBornToRunBook.aug2016

 

 

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

 

SO HOW’D YA WRITE THAT SONG?

RobertPlant.aug2016

 

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

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’!

Tchaikovsky.aug2016

 

 

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

 

PEPSI-COLA HITS THE SPOT

PepsiColaSign.aug2016.day.2

 

 

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

 

READY FOR LIFT-OFF

MetChandelier.aug2016

 

 

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

 

YOU MAY SAY HE’S A DREAMER

JohnLennonVsUSABook.aug2016

 

 

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

 

…AND SPEAKING OF JOHN’S MUSIC

BeatBugs.aug2016

 

 

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

 

RIP, MENTSCH

StevenHill.aug2016

 

 

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

 

I LOVE MY DOG

CatStevens.ILoveMyDog

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

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

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

 

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

 

I LOVE MY RESCUE DOG

RescueDog.aug2016

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

 

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.ASPCA-LAFlood.aug2016

 

 

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

 

Soundtrack to this Issue

Soundtrack.JoshuaTree.aug2016.cr

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Who rescued whom?

Barkley+Mom.Tartan.IMG_0587.cr.Apr2016

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

Buddha, stay. Good dog. z”l

IMGP2541.cr.newsltr

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

 

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

 

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

26 Mar

MARCH SPRINGS AHEAD

PeterMax.SnowyDay.Mar2016.CParkReservoirBridge

Peter Max’s Snowy Day to remind us of winter’s passing, with memories of the cold white covered ground and the promise of the sun’s radiant warmth to come.

#JeSuisBruxelles

Belgium.TinTin.MonDieu

Belgium’s iconic and beloved cartoon characters, Tintin the world traveling cub reporter and his dog Snowy, became the national symbol of mourning and solidarity following the deadly terror attacks in Brussels on March 23 … The Adventures of Tintin was written by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé … Throughout their dangerous escapades, Tintin and Snowy always and heroically save the day. But not today.

THE FIFTH BEATLE

GeorgeMartin.engineering1964.Mar2016

“If anyone earned the title Fifth Beatle, it was George,” said Paul McCartney upon George Martin’s passing on March 9. Classically trained musician, composer, producer, and engineer, Martin helped The Beatles develop their sound. He signed them in 1962 and produced most of their music. Here he is at Abbey Road Studios – look at that board and the tape players in the early 60s!

George Martin on The Beatles: “I think they’re so damn good they’ll be with us for generations … they’re just great musicians and great writers, like Gershwin or Rodgers and Hammerstein. They are there in history, and The Beatles are there in history, too. They’ll be there in 100 years, too. But I won’t be.” … You will be, George. You already are.

THE WHO HONORS BOWIE

Who.Mar2016

The Who paid tribute to David Bowie before their concert at Madison Square Garden. A large screen projected a message from the band to Bowie:

David Bowie. Friend of The Who. Son of New York. Tonight we will distinctly miss David Bowie, longtime fan of The Who. He’s told the story of how he climbed the fence at London’s Roundhouse to sneak backstage and give Pete Townshend a copy of his new 1969 album, David Bowie. He covered ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ on his Pin Ups album. Nearly every year at MSG, he sat in the first row right beside the stage. We’ll miss our friend, a true icon of music and art, and a brilliant innovator.” … Classy.

GET INSPIRED

AgnesMartin.painting.Mar2016

Artist Agnes Martin (1912-2004) said her paintings were “meditations on innocence, beauty, happiness, and love,” and creative work comes from inspiration, “the beginning and end of all art work.” Using a narrow palette, lines and grids drift over faint background colors.

“An inspiration is a happy moment that takes us by surprise. Many people are so startled by an inspiration that they think that they are unique in having had it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Inspiration is there all the time for anyone whose mind is not covered over with thoughts and concerns, and [it is] used by everyone whether they realize it or not … It is an untroubled state of mind, [one that] cannot last, so we say that inspiration comes and goes, but it is there all the time waiting for us to be untroubled again. We can therefore say that it is pervasive.”

NINA SIMONE

NinaSimone.Mar2016

“How can you be an artist
and not reflect the times?”

Nina Simone was a classical music prodigy, a singer and songwriter who combined jazz, pop, R&B, gospel, and folk, and an outspoken civil rights activist. An artist of her times.

MUSIC FUNNY

MahlerSmahler.Mar2016

Here’s a little classical music humor to help celebrate the LA Philharmonic’s Mahler concert at Lincoln Center. Hee-hee.

“A symphony must be like the world. It must
embrace everything.” (Gustav Mahler)

WESTIE NEWS!!! THE BESTIE NEWS!!!

DogNews.CruftsBestInShowWestie

Best news!!! Best in Show news, that is. Devon, this gorgeous two-year old Westie Champion Geordie Girl, won the 2016 Crufts Best in Show! She’s the third Westie to win Best in Show at Crufts in 125 years. Are you listening, Westminster? Isn’t it time for the Westie to win for the third time here, too?

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.AMC.GSD.Mar2016.cr

The Cancer Institute at the Animal Medical Center provides integrative and comprehensive care for animals diagnosed with cancer, focusing on early detection and working to find a cure through advanced research. A hospital for companion animals, AMC is also an institute for veterinary education and research. Donate to help continue their mission of providing high quality care and research for animals with cancer.

Soundtrack to this Issue
 Soundtrack.Yesterday.Single.Mar2016
 The Beatles’ Yesterday

It was George Martin’s idea of putting a string quartet on the record, giving this incredible song its indelible and perfectly simple understated sound! … Listen to Paul McCartney perform this live at Anfield, Liverpool on June 1, 2008.

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

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday. 

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly. 

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Who rescued whom?Barkley.WeCanHelp.Dec2015So 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.”
(Buddha)

 

Sources:
Tintin and Snowy pic: @Vladdo/Twitter
George Martin pic: BBC/Rex Features
The Who pic: Theo Wargo/Getty
The Who quote: Rolling Stone Magazine, March 4, 2016
Agnes Martin painting: Untitled 1998
Agnes Martin quotes: Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances (Phaidon Press), edited by Arne Glimcher
Mahler pics: Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts
Westie Devon pic: Crufts
German Shepherd Dog pic: Animal Medical Center
Yesterday lyrics: Lennon-McCartney, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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

26 Mar

ARE YOU INSPIRED?

marvin-gaye-got-to-give-it-up.tamla.Mar2015

“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.

CHANGES AT THE PHIL

PART 1: THE OPERATOR

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?

PART 2: THE MAESTRO

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!

THE BACK-UP PLAN

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.

WE CAN HELP

WeCanHelp.Vans+ASPCA.Mar2015

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.”
(Buddha)

Sources:
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

Can We Get Inspired by the Runner-Ups? Sure!

23 Oct

WWW.ShaneSnow.10.23.13

Shane Snow, CCO of Contently

WWW.ShaneSnow.VWoolf.10.23.13

 

Source:
Flawed People and Underdogs, by Shane Snow, July 22, 2013

 

 

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