29 April 2011

5 On Friday - Let The Sun Shine In

I sometimes refer to 1968 as "The Year America Died".  If you get a chance read 1968 The Year That Rocked The World  by Mark Kurlansky.  It was a hopeful time that came crashing down around our ears.  A great deal of the positive and negative was reflected by a new arrival on Broadway.

In a year marked by as much social and cultural upheaval as 1968, it was understandable that the New York Times review of a controversial musical newly arrived on Broadway would describe the show in political terms. "You probably don't have to be a supporter of Eugene McCarthy to love it," wrote critic Clive Barnes, "but I wouldn't give it much chance among the adherents of Governor Reagan." The show in question was the now-famous "tribal love-rock musical" that introduced the era-defining song "Aquarius" and gave New York theatergoers a full-frontal glimpse of the burgeoning 60s-counterculture esthetic. Hair premiered on Broadway on April 29, 1968.

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so.

William Shakespeare

25 April 2011

Get Back Honey

Fell in love with the soundtrack for the Heineken's commercial titled "The Entrance" and ended up buying the Asteroids Galaxy Tour Album featuring "The Golden Age". The lyrics are a definite time trip.

I wished I lived in the golden age
Giving it up on the Broadway stage
Hang with the rats and smoke cigars
Have a break with Frank and count the stars
Dressed to the nines, with hair to match
Shiny jewels, casino cash
Tapping feet, wanna take the lead
A trip back in time is all I need

Sing it out loud gonna get back honey
Sing it out loud get away with me
Sing it out loud on a trip back honey
Sing it out loud and let yourself free

on my way, gonna make it big
Gonna make these songs for the chicks to dig
It's really hot and a little bit sour
We're getting your strength to maximum power
Flying away from reality
Whatever-ever happened to gravity?
I see it clear, a shooting star
And I'm really gonna sing it like da-da-da

Sing it out loud gonna get back honey
Sing it out loud get away with me
Sing it out loud on a trip back honey
Sing it out loud and let yourself free

Sing it out loud gonna get back honey
Sing it out loud get away with me
Sing it out loud on a trip back honey
Sing it out loud and let yourself free

Ohhh silver screen on a rainy day
Sally Bowles in Cabaret
Shaking sticks, oh what a show
Fresh and jolly, from tip to toe
Rambling down the boulevard
With a fire burning in a wooden heart
My mind is set, I won't be lying
But I never really thought it would feel this fine

Sing it out loud gonna get back honey
Sing it out loud get away with me
Sing it out loud on a trip back honey
Sing it out loud and let yourself free
Sing it out loud gonna get back honey
Sing it out loud get away with me
Sing it out loud on a trip back honey
Sing it out loud and let yourself free!

The Durian Tree

The Old Man And The Durian Tree

An old man aged over 80 years old was planting a durian tree when he was observed by a neighbor. (A durian is a thorny fruit with a very pungent smell. It is known as the King of Fruits and is very popular in South East Asia)

The neighbor asked the old man “Do you expect to eat durian from that tree?” The durian tree will take about 8 to 10 years to bear fruit.

The old man rested smilingly on his spade. He said “No, at my age I know I won’t. All my life I have been enjoying durians but never from a tree I have planted before. I could not have had durians if other men have not done what I am doing now. I am just trying to pay the other men who planted durians for me.”

Author Unknown

-Do we serve so that others can enjoy what we have received?
A chance to reflect, and learn about your True Essence.
Brought to you by The School of Practical Philosophy.

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22 April 2011

5 On Friday - Behind Closed Doors

Every Friday our buddy at Trav's Thoughts lets us go off in all our many directions on five songs with simple instructions.  Every once in a while we get a theme.  This week it is spinning off of Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown".  Last week I jumped the gun and put up a version of Sundown that seemed to extend from the lyrics with songs about prostitution. Then I went and read "Song Facts" about the meaning. Consensus seems to be that it was about the about to be ex wife, the "good friend" whose nickname was Sundown and Gordon's drinking (feeling no pain) and anger management problems at the time.  So this time the progression is about cheating.

18 April 2011


Not typing for a couple of days.  Stitchesinfinger.  Back with 5 On Friday

16 April 2011

Good Memories

In the past I've put up some of the pictures from my trip to Scotland, but I just found this slide show on You Tube that has a slide show of the main areas where I lived with friends and the lochs and hiking trails we toured. Enjoy.

14 April 2011

5 On Friday - All In A Night's Work

Our buddy Travis is tossing a little twist into the usual Five On Friday  meme with the following:
Five Degrees of Musical Progression is back!
I'd like to try something a little different for FDoMP, Vol 3.  I know it's only the second time we've actually done this as a group, and it would seem a little early to start throwing twists.  
Humor me, 'k?  It's my birthday. 
Here's the little twist...we all begin from the same jump off track.  There are a lot of directions we can go with this song, so I think it's a good starting point.

To join in, simply visit Trav's Thoughts and sign in after creating your own 5 on Friday

Originally before this request from Travis, I was going to do Bessie Smith as this is the anniversary of her Birthday, so if you get a chance, visit You Tube for some more of her music.  While the daughter of a minister, she got started by singing on the streets.  Whether or not she did anything else is open for debate but it was a hard life at the beginning and may just fit in with my choice of songs for this week.  So here she is with "You Gotta Give Me Some".  Fair warning the lyrics to this song and everything from here on in has an R rating.

My 5 On Friday is not so much a progression as a profession - So let's take a short walk down a long long road with the ladies of the night.

One Day - Two Movies

April 14 was another one of those busy days in history (Is there any other kind?).  One event was the birth of a lady whose music has been heard for decades and whose life was immortalized by Sissy Spacek's Oscar winning performance in "Coal Miner's Daughter".  Happy Birthday to Loretta Lynn (nee Webb) born in 1935

On a much sadder note, this is the day when John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln.  In addition to Booth, there were several other conspirators whose actions are reflected in this note from This Day In History.
On the evening of April 14, conspirator Lewis T. Powell burst into Secretary of State Seward's home, seriously wounding him and three others, while George A. Atzerodt, assigned to Vice President Johnson, lost his nerve and fled. Meanwhile, just after 10 p.m., Booth entered Lincoln's private theater box unnoticed, and shot the president with a single bullet in the back of his head. Slashing an army officer who rushed at him, Booth jumped to the stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis! [Thus always to tyrants]--the South is avenged!" Although Booth had broken his left leg jumping from Lincoln's box, he succeeded in escaping Washington.
Another person was charged with conspiracy in the later trial for the assassination: Southern sympathizer, Mary Surratt. Her story is told in the newly released "The Conspirator" where as the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.

13 April 2011

The Sage of Monticello and A Few Other Seasonings

(April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826)

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
  • John F. Kennedy Address at a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners (29 April 1962)

Thomas Jefferson was a true renaissance man known as an inventor, expert in law, politics, architecture, philosophy, and writing. Many know him most commonly as the third president of the United States but his most important accomplishments came outside of the presidency. Jefferson was a primary founding father and known to have written the Declaration of Independence.

Born in 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia, Jefferson was the third president of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He began his political career in 1769 in the Virginia House of Burgesses (legislature). Forty years later, he retired as president of the United States. He died on July 4, 1826, at Monticello, his home in Virginia. Jefferson once said, “All my wishes end where I hope my days will end—Monticello.”

The following is from Monticello Explorer where you can tour the various rooms of Jefferson's home.

Monticello's Kitchen showing stew stove, work table, and hearth

Monticello's kitchen was among the best equipped in Virginia. While serving as U.S. Minister to France, Jefferson purchased a large number of cooking utensils for his residence in Paris. In the early 1790s, as part of an 86-crate shipment of goods, he had them shipped back to America and eventually to Monticello. While the cellar of the South Pavilion housed Monticello's first, relatively small kitchen, a second kitchen was constructed during the expansion of the house. Completed by 1809, the newer, much larger work space featured a bake oven, a fireplace, and an eight-opening stew stove with integrated set kettle. A tall case clock also stood in the kitchen: Isaac Jefferson, one of Monticello's former slaves, recalled that the only time Jefferson went into the kitchen was to wind the clock.

If you would like to dine with Jefferson, there are  wonderful cookbooks available featuring many of the recipes that might have been served at Monticello since they were preserved in cookbooks of others who were raised or dined there.  These books are available through the Monticello Gift Shop and go to support the monument, so you dine well and feel really good about it.

You might want to look up a more precise recipe for Blancmange (Almond Cream), but the Jefferson  recipe is below:

 "4 ounces sweet almonds with 5 or 6 bitter almonds; pour boiling water on them to take off the skin. Put them in a mortar and beat them with a little cream. Take them out of the mortar and liquefy them with cream, little by little stirring them; 4 ounces of sugar to be put in. Have ready some isinglass [gelatin], say 1 oz dissolved in boiling water, and pour it into the preceding mixture, stirring them well together. Strain it thro' a napkin, put it into a mould, and it is done."

11 April 2011

The Spring Done Sprung Meme

Her majesty is getting ready to tiptoe through the tulips and therefor has declared a spring into spring. Just visit the Queen's Meme and answer the inquiries.

Today we are discussing the wonders of Spring. But it's not all about blooming flowers and Easter cards this time. Just a simple play on words with a twisted smack of alliteration and snark thrown in. You know, the usual. Now do me a favor and add your smack to the smack.

1. What about spring ticks you off the most?

Pastels. I don't like pastels. I even dressed my babies in primary colors. Pastels are sad, wimpy imitations lurking on the color pallet and popping up once a year in M & M's and Peeps

2. How many blooming idiots have you met lately?

Everybody's crazy except thee and me, and sometimes I'm not sure about thee.  I would rather have a blooming onion.

3. If spring springs early when you're in the middle of a spring fling, does that mean you must flung 'em out of your life early or can it wait until summer comes? 

No.  If they are a really, really good one, you hang on extra tight until it turns into a winter wonderland.

4. If you could toss one thing or person out the window during your annual spring cleaning, who would it be?

At the moment Paul Ryan from the penthouse floor, but the supply of prospective candidates is endless.

5. Do you have seasonal defective disorder?

Yes. Spring makes me grouchy. Everything is just too darn CUTE.

6. If you left the windows open on a cool spring night, what would the neighbors see?

 Me dancing nude in the moonlight in my dreams while snuggled under the blankets

7. Name your most potent allergens during this season of (achoo!) bliss.

 My nose is a barometer. I don't have allergies, but my nose hates changes in moisture. Spring is awful because it's dry, it's wet, it's dry, it's wet ......... Achoo!!!!

There is one good thing about a Spring - a great Rodgers and Hart song but they weren't happy about it either:

Of course, Ella Fitzgerald's voice makes even Spring bearable.

Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba

On this day in 1814 Napoleon Bonaparte emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba.  The link goes to "This Day In History" for the events of this day, and the title is one of my favorite palindromes.  

To top it all off, this day gives me an excuse to play one of my favorite Mark Knopfler songs:  Done With Bonaparte which I used a while back for a "Take This Tune" theme.

10 April 2011

Discovered In Passing

Found the following on one of my favorite political websites.  It was written by a brilliant man named Nash who makes no bones about being from the left of the spectrum, but given the actions of the far right these days, it is a perfectly understandable, if forceful, reaction:

"It's truly amazing to watch the USA go from a position of total global dominance in 1989, with the fall of the Soviet empire, to the floundering, dying mess we see today.  Our economy is in shambles. We don't really manufacture anything anymore, we just run Wall Street Ponzi schemes.  Our public education system, once the marvel of the world, is decaying due to lack of funding, and yet, even as it fails, it's very existence is under relentless attack by extreme conservative ideologues who want to replace it with a dubious combination of for-profit schools, religious schools, and home schooling. We are rapidly becoming one of the most enthusiastically ignorant countries in the world. We EMBRACE stupidity.  In 20 years, most of us will be working for the Chinese.  And who did this to us? We did it to ourselves.

We have fallen in love with the simple-minded right-wing fantasies peddled by Reagan and all his followers: 

* we don't need to pay taxes
* government is evil
* environmentalism is silly
* businesses should be allowed to do anything they want
* poor people are scum
* high school sports are more important than education
* unions harm the economy
* war, any war, is good.

Obama is a perfect example of this. He Challenges NONE of the basic principles of conservative ideology. He only advocates a somewhat less extreme variation of the basic plan. He offers NO alternative.  There are people out there who have other ideas, but the MSM effectively filters them out. Anyone who fundamentally questions the almost universally accepted right wing agenda is ignored, or presented as "unelectable."  (i.e. Bernie Sanders)

Optimists like to believe that the USA is the "greatest country on Earth," that we have "survived world wars, depressions, etc." They want to believe that "things will correct themselves." Another line I hear is that "The American people are fundamentally good and will do the right thing. Democracy works." Chris Matthews, for example, clings to this belief.  I don't think so. History is full of examples of great nations that have destroyed themselves through their inability to detect and solve basic problems. Fatal arrogance and rigidity are quite common.  I have come now to believe that the USA is a doomed empire. The Chinese know this. This is the century of their climb to dominance, as we fall by the wayside.

When you look at the parade of morons who now run what's left of our government, the only question to ask is, how quickly will it take for total collapse to occur?  I suspect our society is going to fall apart much faster than most people can imagine.  Sorry to be so long-winded but I just can't believe what I see, I just get so OUTRAGED that people can make such bad choices, politically."

08 April 2011

5 On Friday - Sing Out For Freedom

If you would like to play along on this great meme, simply head over to Trav's Thoughts, sign in and follow the Rules/No Rules:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.
2. Go to Playlist.com to make your Set of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the Set, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.
2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. And don't be discouraged if the Embed code won't work. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.
3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.
4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

There was something musical happening on April 8 but it was the sad death of Kurt Cobain and since a singer created a remarkable event that changed America happened on April 9, 1939, I'm cheating a bit. If this sounds a bit like an echo of just one week ago, you're right. History is funny that way.  To be even weirder, another great black singer was born on April 9,1898. So for this week's 5 On Friday, you get both of them.

Marian Anderson, whose performance at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939, made a compelling case for the transformative power of music, and in a place typically associated with the power of words sang from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused her access to their concert facilities.

Paul Leroy Robeson[1] (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an African-American concert singer (bass-baritone), recording artist, athlete and actor who became noted for his political radicalism and activism in the civil rights movement.

05 April 2011

Tartan Week

For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

The Declaration of Arbroath
6 April 1320.
The Declaration of Arbroath is considered a source document, and many of the ideas relating to the unalienable right to freedom in this declaration eventually found their way into the American Declaration of Independence more than 400 years later.
The manifesto affirmed the nation of Scotland's independence in a way no battle could, and justified it with a truth that is beyond nation and race. Man has a right to freedom and a duty to defend it with his life. The natural qualifications put upon this by a medieval baron are irrelevant, as are the reservations which slave-owning Americans placed upon their declaration of independence. The truth once spoken cannot be checked, the seed once planted controls its own growth, and the liberty which men secure for themselves must be given by them to others, or it will be taken as they took it. Freedom is a hardy plant and must flower in equality and brotherhood.

From The Lion in the North: One Thousand Years of Scotland's History
Penguin Books.
New York in particular has some wonderful celebrations that you can check out HERE

So whether your heritage is Scottish or not, Tartan Week in celebration of the Declaration of Arbroath is for you, as is Bob Burn's song celebrating the rights and freedoms of the individual.

A Man's A Man For A' That

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, an' a' that
The coward slave, we pass him by
We dare be poor for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Our toil's obscure and a' that
The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd for a' that

What though on hamely fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man, for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Their tinsel show an' a' that
The honest man, though e'er sae poor
Is king o' men for a' that

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord
Wha struts an' stares an' a' that
Tho' hundreds worship at his word
He's but a coof for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
His ribband, star and a' that
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that

A prince can mak' a belted knight
A marquise, duke, an' a' that
But an honest man's aboon his might
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that
For a' that an' a' that
Their dignities an' a' that
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank that a' that

Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree an' a' that
For a' that an' a' that
It's coming yet for a' that
That man to man, the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that

The Queen's Meme - The Grocery Meme

This week her majesty wants to know our dietary habits, so stop feeding you face or wishing you could feed your face because you are on a diet and tell all. To participate (not to mention staying out of the dank, dismal dungeon) just sign in on the Queen's Meme and answer all the following gentle inquiries of sincere interest.

1. Do you make a list when you go grocery shopping? 

 I keep a grocery list on my computer to be added to so that I can print it out to take with me.  I then race out of the house without printing.  It saves on ink.

2. Do you buy more groceries when you're hungry?

No my stomach can't afford groceries.

3. Coupons. Use 'em?

Whenever Safeway gives me a $10 off.  Otherwise, I forget.

4. Have you ever complained to the manager of your grocery store?

All the time.  The produce manager greets me by my first name and says, "Just tell them at the register".  The trouble with cold storage over long distances is that deep bruising you can't see from the outside happens.  This is why I buy almost all locally grown, but I can't live without avocados.

5. Do you like to buy groceries at huge chain stores like WalMart? Or do you shop exclusively at food stores?

They aren't practical for a small family.  Since my son is a veteran and works at Fort Lewis, we wait for the case sales and restock the pantry twice a year.

6.  How much time do you spend reading labels in the grocery store?

Way to much.  I need to practice saying sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate,  and dyglicerides.

7. Do you push your own grocery cart to the car and return it?

Actually yes unless I can hand it over to someone on their way in.

8. What is the one food item you always buy at the grocery store that you can't live without?

See above referenced avocados.  There is no life without avocados.

04 April 2011

In The Name of Love

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) 

The Congressional Black Caucus

01 April 2011

5 On Friday - Oh What A Beautiful Musical

If you would like to play along on this great meme, simply head over to Trav's Thoughts, sign in and follow the Rules/No Rules:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.
2. Go to Playlist.com to make your Set of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the Set, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.
2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. And don't be discouraged if the Embed code won't work. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.
3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.
4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

There was something musical happening on April 1 but it was the sad death of Marvin Gaye and since something absolutely remarkable that changed musical theater forever happened on March 31, I'm cheating a bit.

Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs, the first title given to the work was Away We Go! which opened for out-of-town-tryouts in Connecticut on March 11, 1943. Expectations for the show were very low, the composer had just broken up with his alcoholic if brilliant lyricist and the new writer and lyricist had had six flops in a row. The producer, Mike Todd is supposed to have walked out after the first act during the tryout and wisecracked “No legs, no jokes, no chance", which was quoted by Walter Winchell in his New York column. The cast was so depressed that there is an apocryphal story that Celeste Holm was supposed to have asked, "Who do you have to lay (euphemism) to get out of this thing?"

And then the curtain went up March 31, 1943 on Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!", and musical theater has never been the same since. It ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances. For more than 65 years now it has been in almost constant award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award winning 1955 film as well as a popular choice for school and community productions.

The selections below are all from the wonderful 1998 London revival. The international cast included Hugh Jackman as Curly, Maureen Lipman as Aunt Eller, Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, and Shuler Hensley as Jud Fry. This production was filmed and issued on DVD, as well as being broadcast on U.S. Public in November 2003.

Surrey With The Fringe On Top

People Will Say We're In Love

I Can't Say No (Vicki Simon as Ado Annie)

Poor Jud Is Dead