Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Twas The Week After Christmas - Happy New Year!

Twas The Week After Christmas

Twas the week after Christmas 
and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, 
not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled, 
the eggnog I'd taste.
All the holiday parties 
had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales 
there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store 
(less a walk than a lumber).

I'd remember the marvelous 
meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces 
and beef nicely rared,

The wine and the rum balls, 
the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, 
"No thank you, please."

So--away with the last 
of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruitcake, 
every cracker and chip
Every last bit of food 
that I like must be banished
Till all the additional 
ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie-- 
not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew 
on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, 
or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot 
and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, 
and life is a bore --
But isn't that what 
January is for?

Unable to giggle, 
no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all 
and to
all a good diet!

New Year's Resolution, Camera Obscura

Gonna Make It Through This Year, Great Lake Swimmers

Funky New Year, The Eagles

New Year's Resolution, Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve, Ella Fitzgerald

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Very Native American Christmas to You!

NPR via the Library of Congress
A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920.
With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations.
According to a 1909 account in the Tombstone Epitaph, members of the Gila River Indian Community — living on reservations in Arizona — were introduced to imported-from-Europe Christmas customs, such as St. Nicholas and Christmas trees. "It was the first time the Indians had ever seen the good old saint and they were highly amused and pleased."
The Yale Expositor of St. Clair County, Mich., reported on December 18, 1913 that for certain Sioux dwelling in South Dakota, Christmas and its accoutrements came through government-run schools. In each village, the Sioux collected funds for a feast. One member dressed up as Kris Kringle and made speeches and handed out presents. Native American children, the newspaper noted, "were quick to show interest in the Christmas tree."
In a round-the-nation story, The Winchester News from Winchester Ky., on Dec 31, 1910, wrote that the Christmas tree "brought to their notice by the palefaces, caught their fancy and today ...forms the center of nearly all the Indian Christmas celebrations."
Some Native Americans put a special spin on Christmas, incorporating traditions and tales that dated back ages. The Salish passed down a Christmas story of a "great and good man who came among their forefathers and performed miracles of all kinds, and on leaving them said he would return in the form of a large white coyote," the 1910 Winchester News noted. "They say he has appeared at different times, but has not been seen now for more than 150 years."
A 1904 San Francisco magazine cover, by Maynard Dixon, showing Santa Claus with a cowboy and a Native American man.
New York Public Library
In San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., the 1913 Expositor account pointed out, the holiday celebration among Native Americans living there was "a curious mixture of Christian and pagan customs."
Members went to the old mission church in the morning, held a feast at midday and then began "a fantastic and ceremonial dance that continues for half a week.
Today, explains Deborah A. Jojola, Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque – which represents the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico — "most of the Pueblo Nations within New Mexico have seasonal cycles for ceremonies and celebrations."
Many Pueblo communities celebrate the harvest, she says. And the day of the patron saint of the church and the village that "blends both native and Catholic expressions with a single purpose — the welfare of the people."
But through the decades, Christmas – which also combines old familiar folkways with Catholicism — has taken on added significance. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, she says, many of the Pueblos host special masses and dances.
The Jemez Pueblo, for example, celebrates with Buffalo Dances on Christmas Eve and early morning on Christmas Day. The Buffalo Dancers – featuring two men and one woman — make their way down from the nearby mesas into the Pueblo "bringing the Spirit of Prayer, Song and Dance," Deborah says. The woman "is said to represent Our Mother of all living things, She is young, beautiful and full of strength. She holds the utmost honor during the four day celebration."
In Isleta Pueblo, Deborah says, there is a winter dance held in the St. Augustine Church after the Christmas Eve mass. Many of the festivities are for all ages. "In virtually all ceremonies," Deborah says, "Pueblo children are integral participants. Indian parents rarely, if ever, need a babysitter for traditional ceremonial preparations or actual events."

The Christmastime dancing is led by elders, but at some point on the fourth day of the celebration — young children are invited to dance. For many, she says, "this is their first welcome celebration."


What Child is This - Native American Flute

Native American Christmas Music

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"We Say Thank You to the Earth" and Happy Thanksgiving!

by Joanne Shenandoah/Lawrence Laughing
(this poem translates Lawrence Laughing's language verbatim)


"In respect to our home the earth, we say thank you to the earth
For everything she gives us, nourishing us every day.
We give thanks to all the water in the world, everything within that water.
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land.
We give thanks to all the berries, the fruits, the medicines.

We give thanks to the animals that keep the forests clean.
We give thanks to all the trees for their different uses that they give to us,
For shelters, for fires that we make in the winter time keeping us warm.

We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs.
We give thanks to the four winds.
We give thanks to the grandfathers, the ones that bring rain.
We give thanks to our oldest brother, the sun, who shines his light every day.

We give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the moon,
For she is the one that has been charged with the duty
To make sure that light has a continuance.
She is the one that watches over all the movements
Of the water and also the water within us.
We give thanks to the stars, her helper.

And we give a special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings
That watch over the human family.
Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places.
They are the ones that come to our minds
And say go around, don't go further
To protect us and steer us away from danger.

So that's what we do.
We start right from the earth and we climb the ladder
Right to the special place beyond the heavens
Where there's a special spirit that lives there,
The spirit that makes it possible for us to be here
And everything that we have mentioned.

And so with collectiveness of our hearts and minds
We send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the spirit of us all."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Prayer for Peace, Lawrence Laughing

Lawrence Laughing

Mother Earth, Joanne Shenandoah

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Holiday gift shopping, already?

Can you believe? Where did 2015 go? Holiday gift shopping ads scream it's that time of year. Of the thousands of ideas, here are a few suggestions that clicked with me, and may with you.

While my brother was still alive, for my birthday he gave me The Beatles 1 cd. So many wonderful memories!

1 is a compilation album originally released in November 2000. It features virtually every number-one single achieved in the United Kingdom and United States from 1962 to 1970 by the Beatles. Issued on the 30th anniversary of the band's break-up, it was their first compilation available on only one compact disc. 1 was a commercial success, and topped the charts worldwide.

The Beatles 1 is now available on DVD:

The above link from Paul McCartney's website describing what one will receive from the newly released Beatles 1 Video Collection; in-depth promotional films and videos; the deluxe edition including 50 films and videos.
For Bob Dylan fans: The Best of the Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12
For Bruce Springsteen lovers,
The Ties That Bind
The Ties That Bind features 52 tracks on four CDs plus four hours of never-before-seen video on two Blu-rays. It includes eleven previously unreleased rarities including Meet Me In The City.
Chrissie Hynde's book Reckless: My Life as a Pretender is now available.
An excerpt from the NY Times' book review: There are a number of fine moments in “Reckless,” which, at its best, is a sensitive and rowdy coming-of-age story. Ms. Hynde figured it out as she went along. “I thought if I kept not doing what I didn’t want to do,” she says, “I would naturally get closer to what I did want.”
For jazz lovers, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire
"The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings.
Author Ted Gioia, whose body of work includes the award-winning The History of Jazz and Delta Blues, is the perfect guide to lead readers through the classics of the genre. As a jazz pianist and recording artist, he has performed these songs for decades. As a music historian and critic, he has gained a reputation as a leading expert on jazz. Here he draws on his deep experience with this music in creating the ultimate work on the subject.

An introduction for new fans, a useful handbook for jazz enthusiasts and performers, and an important reference for students and educators, The Jazz Standards belongs on the shelf of every serious jazz lover or musician."
For classical music lovers is the beautiful book The Steinway Collection: Paintings of Great Composers:

"Music lovers will delight in the beautiful color paintings and eloquent prose portraits in The Steinway Collection: Paintings of Great Composers. Chopin, Wagner, Liszt, Beethoven, Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Mendelssohn, Handel, and Schubert are among the composers celebrated in this historic book, which was originally printed in 1919 as an in-house publication of Steinway & Sons but has never before been released to the public. The paintings by esteemed American artists and accompanying essays by the brilliant critic James Gibbons Huneker are intended, in Mr. Huneker's words, to "evoke musical visions; for music is visionary, notwithstanding its primal appeal to the ear." An introduction by acclaimed broadcaster and writer David Dubal, Juilliard professor of piano literature, gives the book historical perspective."
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's book Mycroft Holmes is a fun compliment for the Sherlock Holmes' afficianado.
"Before the golden age of Sherlock Holmes in London, another Holmes with a superior mind
jumped around town sorting out minor oddities. Mycroft Holmes blows a hole in Doyle’s canon to make room for the brother who may have taught his younger brother a thing or two.
But wait, didn’t this author play basketball? Isn’t he the guy who taught Uncle Jessie to sink a free throw on Full House? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not only an NBA legend, he is also a massive Sherlock Holmes fan. The mystery that Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse build from local myth to government scandal is enticing and unpredictable, keeping readers guessing what mess Mycroft will find himself in next. It also sets up an entire backstory that explains how Mycroft Holmes became the man in the pocket of the British Crown when Sherlock comes onto the scene.
The mystery at the center of Mycroft Holmes proves to be just as thrilling and full of twists as if Sherlock himself were on the case. For all the modern retellings of the Holmes brothers and Sherlock’s adventures, the choice to not only set the story in the late 1800s, but mimicking the voice of Doyle is refreshing. The partnership and friendship between Douglas and Holmes is well-developed and one that you will grow to care about deeply as the story unfolds.
The backstory constructed for Mycroft Holmes by Abdul-Jabbar and Waterhouse is sure to earn a place in the early canon of the Holmes brothers’ tales. Fans of Doyle’s original tales will take more pleasure in Mycroft Holmes than those who enjoy more modern retellings of the Holmes brothers.
Holmes and Douglas’ journey from England to Trinidad is familiar to the tales of Holmes and Watson, but Mycroft comes into his own character and not merely a shadow of the brother we all know and love. At times Mycroft’s oddities are frustratingly similar to Sherlock, however, Mycroft Holmes breathes life into the character that could have easily shaped the Sherlock Holmes Doyle penned into existence."
For movie lovers, TCM's Greatest Holiday Classic Films.
Includes Christmas in Connecticut; A Christmas Carol, The Shop Around the Corner, and It Happened on 5th Avenue.
And for anyone who would want, in addition, or help the environment, a tree can always be planted at the Arbor Day Foundation http://shop.arborday.org/content.aspx?page=commemorative


Happy shopping!

Love Me Do, The Beatles

Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

The River, Bruce Springsteen

2000 Miles, Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders

Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

Raindrop Prelude by Chopin, performed by Alicia Keys

Spies, Coldplay

The Shop Around The Corner starring Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan

The Memory of Trees, Enya

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wishing all a,

Following is one of the best classic ghost stories, The Uninvited.


The Uninvited, a 1944 Ghost Story starring Ray Milland

Spooky, Classics IV

Year of the Cat, Al Stewart

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ten Fall Foilage Destinations in the United States courtesy of Nature.Org

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus

Make way for fall colors: gold, yellow, orange and red are all set to arrive, ready to delight with their brief but beautiful display. Viewing fall foliage is a perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon and The Nature Conservancy's many preserves are prime destinations. So pack a lunch and plan a weekend escape to one of these special places that your support is helping to protect.


1. Bear Rocks Preserve, West Virginia

Bear Rocks Preserve offers visitors a unique and incredibly beautiful hiking experience. Here, high above Canaan Valley in Dolly Sods, a windswept expanse opens up to the sky, offering views of undulating mountains folding out eastward across the skyline.

2. Barr Hill Natural Area, Vermont

Barr Hill is a minor mountain by Vermont standards at just 2,120 feet elevation. But this 256-acre preserve presents unparalleled vistas, easily reached with little climbing on a short nature trial. Peak colors should arrive last week of September through first week of October.More: Vermont is renowned for fall colors! At the 365-acre Raven Ridge Natural Area, you will find an enjoyable hike up to the ridge with magnificent views of the Champlain Valley. Also explore the Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain. 

3. Green Hills Preserve, New Hampshire

With more than 10 miles of hiking and multi-use trails, the Green Hills preserve is a favorite destination in all seasons. Best fall views are from mid-September to mid-October. Starting at the Black Cap Trail parking area on Hurricane Mountain Road, hike to the summit of Black Cap (approximately 1.25 miles). From there you’ll soak in a panoramic view of the Mount Washington Valley in full color.

4. Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Ohio

The 18,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve is one of the most biologically diverse places in the Midwestern U. S., encompassing rugged woodland, prairie openings, waterfalls and clear streams. Nearly ten miles of easy-to-moderate trails make the preserve a great place for hiking, birding and other wildlife viewing.

5. Kings River Preserve, Arkansas

Flowing out of the Boston Mountains of Madison County, the Kings River meanders 60 miles across the Ozark Plateau where it meets Table Rock Lake on the Arkansas and Missouri border. Breathtaking views are found around every bend.

6. Baxter's Hollow, Wisconsin

The deep woods and cool, mountain-like stream make Baxter's Hollow in the Baraboo Hills a great place to visit any time of the year. In the fall, however, the reds, oranges and yellow of the oaks, hickories and maples make it a spectacular place to take a walk in the woods. Listen for the final songs of migratory birds before they head south for the winter.

7. McCarran Ranch Preserve, Nevada

McCarran Ranch Preserve lies along a stretch of the Truckee River closed to public access for over a century. Today we’re proud to offer recreational opportunities for hiking, fishing, birding, mountain biking and more at this model restoration site in northern Nevada. A trail system guides visitors through the heart of the restoration area—passing a new meandering channel and a series of wetlands, as well as“living sculptures” installed to restore habitat and improve water quality. 

8. South Fork Preserve, Colorado

Located about 20 minutes from Telluride, our South Fork Preserve along the San Miguel River is a great destination for taking in the change in seasons. Look for cottonwoods (gold) and willows (gold and red) along the river and gamble oak shrubs (red) on the hillsides.

9. Tieton River Canyon, Washington

Twenty miles west of the city of Yakima, the Tieton River Canyon extends from the forested flanks of the East Cascades to the arid, sage-dotted hills of the Columbia Basin. It is home to golden eagles, Rocky Mountain elk and mountain lions. It's the Oregon white oak that makes this a special place in fall – the oak turns glorious reds and muted browns and yellows.

10. Santa Fe Canyon, New Mexico

Standing tall and blazing gold, aspen put on quite a show each year across New Mexico. The Nature Conservancy’s Santa Fe Canyon Preserveis no exception. The 525-acre preserve is located only a few miles from downtown Santa Fe, nestled in the foothills adjacent to the spectacular Santa Fe Canyon National Forest.
Happy Fall, everyone!


Indian Summer, The Doors

Harvest, Neil Young

Harvest Moon, Neil Young

Autumn Leaves Are Falling, Clannad

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wishing all who observe Yom Kippur, an easy fast.

Kol Nidre, Cantor Jacob Barkin

Wishing all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a Happy New Year filled with love, peace, and joy! 

Music for Rosh Hashanah

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My deepest sympathy to the Levin family for the loss of their mother.
May her spirit be at, and rest in, peace.


Angel, Sarah McLachlan

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The New York artist, SACHA, and his use of Circulism; a style of painting he invented

Recently, I was introduced to a wonderful artist by the name of SACHA. Working in oils and using muted rustic tones, SACHA’s paintings are at once contemporary and reaching back to the Spanish classical painting tradition. This is the painting which drew me in:

The Seated Gipsy
Have always enjoyed South America's writers' use of Magical Realisim.  In my opinion, if it were translated into art, this is what it would look like. And, it was love of his paintings, at first sight.
He has found a way to mix paints by making circles, scratching the surface of the canvas and bringing out the whiteness of the canvas with a simple toothpick. These circles of movement are brought out in a new technique he calls Circulism. Up close one can see and feel the texture of the tiny and large circles. One can also see how with one color can create shades by just applying more or less circles. 

Details of the face of The Seated Gipsy
(in the original the circles are evident, in this copy not so much)
With Circulism, SACHA has used paints on all types of surfaces such as canvas, wood, cardboard, paper, and glass.

Three Women
Three Women is my favorite. Am seriously considering getting a print of his original which btw are available for most of his works at http://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/sacha/all

Lovers with Fetus
Lovers with Fetus offers an other-worldiness. I immediately thought of David Bowie's character, alien Thomas Newton and his family in the film The Man who Fell to Earth.

La Menina
A native of Queens, New York, SACHA had his first show at age 17. His paintings have been exhibited widely in New York and around Spain as he is of Spanish descent, evident in the above painting La Menina.

Woman in Red Chair with Grey Fan

Another beautiful painting evident of his Spanish influence.

If interested in the multitude styles of SACHA's works, please visit, http://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/sacha/all

You're in for a visual treat!


Gravity of Love, Enigma