Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash

Oh, Had I A Golden Thread

(CNN) -- Pete Seeger, the man considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary folk music who inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters, died Monday.  He was 94.

Seeger's best known songs include Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) and If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song).

But his influence extended far beyond individual hits.

Familiar with controversy
In a career spanning more than 70 years, Seeger frequently courted controversy.
"He lived at a time when so many things hadn't been done yet, the idea of making music about something hadn't really been done," Jackson said. "And now people do it all the time."
Seeger's opinions didn't always sit well with authorities.
"From the start, he aspired to use folk music to promote his left-wing political views, and in times of national turmoil that brought him into direct confrontation with the U.S. government, corporate interests, and people who did not share his beliefs," William Ruhlmann wrote in a biography on allmusic.com. "These conflicts shaped his career."
Early career
In 2009, Seeger talked to CNN about the beginnings of his music career in the late 1930s.
"I come from a family of teachers, and I was looking for a job on a newspaper and not getting one," he said in the interview. "I had an aunt who said, 'Peter, I can get five dollars for you if you come and sing some of your songs in my class.' Five dollars? In 1939, you would have to work all day or two days to make five dollars. It seemed like stealing."
But Seeger said he took his aunt up on the offer.
"Pretty soon I was playing school after school, and I never did work on a newspaper," he said "You don't have to play at nightclubs, you don't have to play on TV, just go from college to college to college, and the kids will sing along with you."
Last days
Jackson, Seeger's grandson, said the singer-songwriter had heart surgery in December to replace a valve, which had gone well and had nothing to do with his death.
He said Seeger was in the hospital for six days before his death.
He couldn't speak for the last three days, Jackson said, but his mind never went away and he continued to recognize people.
"He was a second father to me, he was a friend, he was a best friend," Jackson said. "He was just this wonderful, genuine person."

Where Have all the Flowers Gone?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday is for Poetry: THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT, a parable to remind us how one perspective can be totally wrong of what is observed

The story of the blind men and an elephant originated in the Indian subcontinent from where it has widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies; broadly, the parable implies that one's subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. At various times the parable has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behavior of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.

It is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. The tale later became well-known in Europe, with 19th century, American poet John Godfrey Saxe creating his own version as a poem.  Since then, the story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in an ever-increasing variety of ways.

One of the most famous versions of the 19th century was the poem "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by American poet, John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887).

The poem begins:
          It was six men of Indostan
         To learning much inclined,
         Who went to see the Elephant
          (Though all of them were blind),
          That each by observation
          Might satisfy his mind.

They conclude that the elephant is like a wall, snake, spear, tree, fan or rope, depending upon where they touch. They have a heated debate that does not come to physical violence. But in Saxe's version, the conflict is never resolved.


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
          Not one of the them is seen.

In my opinion, one cannot make an enlightened decision about anyone or anything without all the facts.  Although I often wonder that in the end, we see what we want to see.


Different Strokes for Different Folks, Sly and the Family Stone (1968)

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Herded dolphins to be slaughtered at Japan's Taiji Cove" by Madison Park and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN

The Cove is a 2009 documentary and call to halt mass dolphin kills in Japan.

The film is told from an ocean conservationist's point of view, and highlights the fact that the number of dolphins killed in the Taiji dolphin drive hunting is several times greater than the number of whales killed in the Antarctic.  It claims that thousands of dolphins and porpoises are killed in Japan every year by the country's whaling industry. The migrating dolphins are herded into a cove where they are netted and killed by means of spears and knives over the side of small fishing boats.

The film argues that dolphin hunting as practiced in Japan is unnecessary and cruel.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy 86th, Totti!
            With all our love! 

Christmas 2013

Nicole, Totti, Carmel

 at Mickey & Sharon's


Monday, January 13, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dearest Mutti,
You are forever loved.
Forever remembered.
Forever missed.
I thought it would be easier by now, one year later...
But it's not.
Yes, I've continued my life without you,
How?  Keeping busy, crying, laughing, friends' and
family's comfort,
Such a loss I have never felt,
I remind myself you'd want me to be happy,
but it's just not that easy,
Mutti, none so dear and beloved as you
has blessed my life.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Going with the Flow" by Brandon Griggs, CNN

For centuries, the conventional wisdom about protecting shorelines from storm surges has been to build a seawall. And if that fails, build a bigger wall. But in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated much of the New Jersey-New York coastline in 2012, that rigid line of thinking is being tossed on its ear.

Instead of erecting ever-bigger barriers – which when breached can trap floodwater, as in a bathtub -- civic planners are embracing bold new ideas that would redesign shorelines to accommodate some managed flooding and minimize destruction. "The challenge for us over the next several decades is how we learn to live with water and not fight against it," said Samuel Carter, an associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation, which is helping fund a new project to reinvent the coastline of New York and New Jersey.

The project, Rebuild by Design, brings together many of the world's top engineers, architects and others to create innovative ways to minimize flooding and protect shorelines. Among their ideas: building a series of protective breakwaters in New York Harbor that slow the force of waves while serving as living reefs to rebuild the dwindling oyster population; designing "hyperabsorbent" streets and sidewalks that would mitigate storm runoff; digging channels along streets to divert stormwater; and creating buildings that are designed to flood without being damaged.

Ten of the best ideas have been chosen by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to be further developed into formal designs. These may be eligible for federal Sandy-relief funding and eventually be implemented across New York and New Jersey while serving as a model for flood-protection efforts in other parts of the world. With sea levels expected to inch higher in coming decades, these kinds of projects will only become more crucial, especially in urban areas.

The idea, Rebuild by Design's planners say, is to come up with collaborative, flexible new solutions tailored to each community instead of just rebuilding and inviting history to repeat itself. "It's a normal thing for human beings all around the world: When something (bad) happens, they want to go back to where they were (before). But when it comes to Superstorm Sandy, that would be a total failure," said Henk Ovink, co-chairman of the Rebuild by Design jury and a senior adviser for the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. "Water can be a threat, but it's also a necessity and a resource," Ovink said. "You can embrace water. Working against nature is not a solution."

Perhaps these songs can help you through some of the rough patches of life, as they have in mine...

There's one thing I can do, play my mellotron for you,
Try to blow away your city blues
Your dreams are not unfound, get your feet back on the ground
Dreams will set us free, we cannot lose
We cannot lose, we just have to choose

But oh Lord we've got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light
No use to stop and stare
And if you don't know where you're going
Any road will take you there

Now the darkness only stays the night time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always going to be this grey
All things must pass
All things must pass away

Watch out now, take care
Beware of thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

Some things take so long but how do I explain
Not too many people can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears

Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them

Isn't it a pity

When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

If not for you, winter would hold no spring
I couldn't hear the robins sing
I just wouldn't have a clue
If not for you

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out but I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race
That's life

Don't let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don't even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
and hear their death knell ringing,
when friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

You sit around getting older, there's a joke somewhere, and it's on me
I shake this world off my shoulders, come on baby the laugh's on me

Stay on the streets of this town and they'll be carving you up all right
They say you got to stay hungry
Hey baby, I'm just about starving tonight
I'm dying for some action, I'm sick of sitting 'round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction, come on baby give me just one look

You can't start a fire, sittin' 'round cryin' over a broken heart
This gun's for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark
You can't start a fire, worryin' about your little world falling apart
This gun's for hire even if we're just dancing in the dark

Even if we're just dancing in the dark