Thursday, July 31, 2008

so. central rain

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
W.H. Auden (1907-1973), writer

curious minds who need to know can visit here or here or here to learn a heck of a lot about water.

july 31 is bill berry's birthday. bill retired from r.e.m. in 1998 to farm, however, he often rejoins his bandmates to play songs. as a farmer, rain is very important.

in honor of bill, rain, and water, enjoy today's song - r.e.m. so. central rain

note about photos: last week while a and the kids were here, one of our activities included going on a scavenger hunt to check out the year of the rat sculptures. I'm almost finished capturing snaps of all of the rats in situ. this rat is called land-air-water.

it's gotten really hot again. instead of bitching* I'm trying to fill my mind with nice cool thoughts and images. this photo taken in february of the nearby rocky river helps.

*too much

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

wuthering heights

The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.
Henry Moore (30 july 1898-1986), english artist & sculptor

july 30th is a vortex of some über creative folks - but, I guess that is a silly thing to say as creative folks are born every day! among the talented folks born on this day is henry moore. henry was born in castleford, yorkshire. I'm quite fond of henry's sculptures - I love the way he abstracts the human body but still preserves and communicates the nuances of not only the human form but of human emotion and human relationships. over the years I've snapped quite a few photos of moore's sculptures, the one above is located at the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden and is called 'king and queen.'

also born on 30 july is british poet and novelist emily brontë in 1818. coincidentally she also hails from yorkshire. emily penned only one novel, wuthering heights, but it has endured and is considered a classic of literature. wuthering heights is iconic all over the world and has been referenced to, alluded to, or has inspired everything from albert camus' essay 'the rebel' to a monty python sketch entitled 'the semaphore version of wuthering heights", whereby the actors communicate via semaphore flags.

kate bush, who was also born on july 30th (but not in yorkshire, but kent) first major hit was entitled 'wuthering heights'- and appeared in 1978 on her debut album. the song almost instantly become an international chart topper. with this song bush became the first woman to reach number one in the uk charts with a self-penned song. do you think she wrote this song because she's emily's birthday twin? here's kate preforming the now classic 'wuthering heights'- the song!

are mouse readers having half as much fun as I with this whole birthday recognition theme? since it's summertime and the living is BUSY!, this birthday overlay is just the structure I need right now. I don't know if I'll continue the recognizing birthdays through august, but I do know I'll be continuing the birthday theme into august.... and might just return to a birthday theme next july, it's a perfect summer blogging construct!

photo: taken on may 4, 2008 while on a wander in dc with lettuce.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a town called heartbreak

All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.

America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 -1859) french political thinker and historian

isn't it magical that alexis de tocqueville and the contemporary historian- filmmaker ken burns have the same 29 july birthday!

I wonder if de tocqueville stayed at the dunham tavern when he visited cleveland?

singer-songwriter patti scialfa also was born on july 29th in honor of alexis visit to cleveland today's song is patti's a town called heartbreak

Monday, July 28, 2008

beautiful world

All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. This becomes even more obvious when posterity gives its final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists.

I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) french artist

I'm coming off another jammed pack weekend spent with visiting family. this time it was my sister and her two kids - they got in thursday afternoon and flew out this afternoon. a's family is currently living in zambia and they are spending a few weeks in the states making the circuit visiting family and friends. one of the special events we checked out on friday evening was cleveland's annual ingenuity festival. it seems only fitting to mention of this festival in light of today's birthday boys - marcel duchamp and gerald casale.

duchamp was born in blainville-crevon france on 28 july 1887. he is most closely associated with the dadaist and surrealist art movements - and perhaps his most famous piece of work is nude descending a staircase. I would have loved to have met marcel - any guy who has an alter ego like rrose sélavy would be a fun friend to pal around with, don't you think?

the other birthday honoree for today is gerald casale - gerry is one of the founding members of the new wave band devo. devo was a pioneer in the area of music videos. who can forget their classic song whip it! or the amazing album q: are we not men? a: we are devo! devo combines surrealistic humor, social commentary, and just plain fun. gerry was born on july 28, 1948 - although his wiki bio doesn't say where he was born, since devo was born at kent state, I expect gerry like the other founding members of devo is a local boy!

photos: top - a flag of car bumpers part of the 'red tag' project anti-war art installation; insert - aphrodesia, a world fusion group based in san francisco, performing friday night. both taken 7.25.08

this post would have been up hours ago, but I was having difficulties trying to post photos with blogger - but luckily now it appears they fixed whatever bug was bugging me and undoubtedly many others!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

ruby tuesday

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and happy, and wise and gay.

today is ms. t's birthday!! ms t was born on a tuesday and she is indeed full of grace and those of us that know her are graced by her joyful spirit.

happy birthday ms. t!! ms t is three!!

ms. t's got milk - she just needs some cake!! be assured, later today there will be a party for ms. t and I expect ms t's mama will be having a lovely and yummy cake for all!

to find out what day of the week you were born on click here for a perpetual calendar

hey, guess what it's also mick jagger's birthday today. sir mick was born on july 26, 1943 in kent england. mick and his buds singing their sweet classic ruby tuesday

Friday, July 25, 2008

the memory of trees

The hard part is how to plan a picture so as to give to others what has happened to you. To render in paint an experience, to suggest the sense of light and color, of air and space.
Maxfied Parrish (1870-1966) painter and illustrator

the brilliant painter maxfield parrish was born on july 25th in philadelphia, his given name was frederick, but adopted maxfield, the family name of his paternal grandmother as his professional name. parrish's paintings are most luminous. colbalt blue is sometimes called- parrish blue in recognition of maxfield parrish's passion for using it.

parrish paintings have inspired many artists over the years. enya is one of those artists who has been influenced by parrish incorporating many homages to parrish in her music videos. the cover art for her album the memory of trees is based on parrish's painting "the young king of the black isles"

photo: street art in cleveland - most likely not inspired by maxfield

Thursday, July 24, 2008

knockin' on heaven's door

I was pleased to learn that ched settled on door as our theme this week. when I'm walking about I love looking at doors - doors to houses, doors to businesses, doors to shops, doors to churches, really any door interests me and engages my imagination.

many people try to create a certain ambiance with their doors and many places have a sense of shared style when it comes to doors. in fact, doors have become a kind of architectural cause célèbre for a city. have you noticed that more and more places are taking pride in their doors and using posters and postcards of doors to promote their city or town?

the other thing about doors is how handy the door is as a metaphor. have you ever noticed how many common expressions and sayings we have that feature doors? think about it and if you are inclined share a few of these expressions or sayings about doors in a comment!

since I'm fond of doors and quotes, I thought to celebrate doors I would simply share a few of my faves .....

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. - Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003), american actor

Pale Death with impartial tread beats at the poor man's cottage door and at the palaces of kings. -Horace (65 BC-8 BC), ancient roman poet

Joy, temperance, and repose slam the door on the doctor's nose. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), educator and poet

Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open. -Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), scientist, inventor, innovator

Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. Coco Chanel (1883-1971), french fashion designer

May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door. - Irish Blessing

dylan and friends performing 'knockin' on heaven's door' in 1976. I saw dylan in concert in 1975 or 1976 (although not at the concert in this vid) - undoubtedly dylan would have sung this tune. I saw bob in fort worth or dallas, I'm pretty sure it was his rolling thunder revue tour but you know me with the whole time space continuum thing. I do remember it was a most magical night - it was the first time I saw bob live, and to add magic to magic, who should join bob on stage but joni! after the concert bob came to eat at the hop a restaurant on berry street in fort worth about 2 blocks from where I lived (the hop is not to be confused with ihop; alas the hop is no longer in operation although there are vestiges of the hop found at zeke's fish and chips located off of camp bowie). bob eating fried okra at one of our favorite dives, well let's say it was the talk of the town!

photos: top - a door to the mouse's favorite type of shop, paris, 2004; second picture - doors with cat doors, bonnieux, france, 2005 (I know I've posted this picture before, but it is my absolutely favorite door picture! wha is really freaky is I posted this picture on july 22nd last year); third photo - dublin door, may 2001; 4th and 5th photos - more doors of the provence; 6th photo - door at edgefield inn part of the mcmenmin microbrew empire, oregon march 1996. bottom photo: a door in ireland somewhere, may 2001. to enlarge the images of the doors simply click on them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

keep jah inside

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
Haile Selassie (1892-1975) ethiopian statesman

july 23rd is the birthday of lij tafari makonnen. most of us know him by the name he was given when he became the emperor of ethiopia - haile selassie I, which translates as the 'power of the trinity.' however, his full title was 'his imperial majesty haile selassie I, conquering lion of the tribe of judah, king of kings of ethiopia and elect of god' - wow, quite a mouthful! however to rastafarians he is known simply as HIM, jah or jah rastafari.

prior to the emperor gig, haile salassie served as ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930. he reigned as emperor of ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. selassie played a leading role in the formation of the african union and was viewed as a uniting figure in africa. within the rastafarian movement he is considered to be god incarnate.

although he led a resistance to the italian facists invading ethiopia his efforts failed and from 1936-1941 haile selassie was forced into exile. he spent those years in bath, england. after ww II selassie returned to ethiopia. ethiopia became a charter member of the united nation. haile selassie worked to modernize ethiopia and was a voice for africian unity. in 1974 he was deposed by a military coup.

to celebrate jah's birthday here is the song 'war' as performed and made popular by bob marley. the lyrics to the song are derived from a speech made before the UN general assembly in 1963 by haile selassie.

photo: detail mural at lakewood public library

THIS JUST IN: today is also the coffee messiah's birthday! hippo birdie two you coffee!

from the fortune-telling birthday book for those who are born on july 23rd:
You are energetic, vivacious, and rather talkative, and you are very fond of gaiety and social life and like to have an active part in anything you undertake. You are not demonstrative in your love and require affection and understanding from your mate.
from the book the secret language of birthdays: this is the day of uncertainty resolvers. the meditation for those born on july 23rd is: An element of uncertainty is inherent in any act of observation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

oh what a world

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset fates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
'the new colossus' by emma lazarus, 1883

in 1849 on 22 july the poet emma lazarus was born in new york city to esther nathan and moses lazarus. I wonder if was it emma's heritage as a sephardic jew, a group of people who were expelled from spain for the simple reason that they were jews, which led her to become an advocate of disenfranchised immigrants? when emma wrote her most famous poem, thousands upon thousands of immigrants were arriving on the shores of the united states. both sides of my family were among the waves of huddled masses yearning to breathe free that showed up while emma lived (or slightly thereafter, emma died quite young at age 38) . emma's brilliant poem has shined its light on the american imagination for a century and it has shaped how many of us feel about freedom and exile.

also born on 22 july is the absolutely fabulous and talented rufus wainwright. how could rufus not be a gifted musician - his mother is kate mcgarrigle and his father is loudon wainwright III! like emma before him, rufus is involved in the struggle for advancing human rights and equality to all people.

to celebrate emma and rufus' birthdays is rufus singing 'oh what a world' - and yes 'life is, beautiful' would make a most wonderful headline!

photo: lady liberty as seen from the boat going over to ellis island (not to be processed but to tour the amazing ellis island national monument ). this photo was scanned from a film print, whomever was processing my photos in 1999 weren't always too concerned about the quality of the processing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

where do the children play

there was a great deal of play over the long weekend. starting on thursday the house was filled with much merriment and a bit of a family reunion. we were joined by two of f's sisters, a brother-in-law, and four young adults! the folks from texas brought along some of that texas heat - now I enjoy a sizzling good time, but I'm not all that keen about sizzling heat - but we survived just drank lots of water and showered off when ever and however we could!

saturday's highlight was the cleveland irish festival. along with the family, we were able to share the day with good buds s & p. the heat put a damper on our consumption of guinness and harp (when at an irish festival it's important to stick with irish beer - you won't find any us hitting the miller concessions!) - none of us really found alcohol and heavy duty heat and humidity a comfortable combination although I can't say that everyone at the festival felt the same way as there were plenty of inebriated souls about.

as expected the music was fantastic. heard some of our faves including eileen ivers and the immigrant soul, cherish the ladies, maura o'connell, and 7 nations. the day's musical surprise occurred during the performance of the incredibly talented duo of liz carroll and john doyle, near the end of their set liz invited eileen and joanie (of cherish the ladies) to join them. they did and WOW!

sunday we headed to hale farm and village, e had to work so we had to bring the family reunion to her! hale farm and village is also just a wonderful and special place to spend a day. on sunday there happened to be a gathering of horse drawn carriages and costumed drivers so there was an additional element of fun.

well, the party's over - at least for now (we're looking forward to more company coming in this thursday - this time my sister and her kids!) I really have to start on the mounds of laundry. while the towels and sheets are getting clean, I hope to be able to finish piecing the top of the latest project....a very colorful and fun fishy quilt! more on that later on the magical mouse blog.

july 21 is the birthday of yusuf islam, (born steven demetre georgiou) and best known as cat stevens. yusuf is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, philanthropist, educator, and peace activist. after a near death experience in 1977, cat converted to islam, changed his name to yusuf (in honor of the story of joseph in the qur'an) and took a hiatus for many, many years from his musical career and devoted himself to his family, his faith, and assisting in humanitarian causes and relief efforts. during high school and college I listened to a lot of cat stevens. then and now I'm moved by jusuf's voice and lyrical and expressive songwriting.

photos: top - children (using the term loosely!) playing hale farm on 20 july; middle picture from left to right - joanie, liz, eileen and john playing together on the harp stage at the cleveland irish festival 19 july; two particular handsome horses, hale farm, bath ohio.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)
beatles song 'birthday' written in 1968 by paul and appearing on the white album.

hey, along with my birthday it's also wat's - now wat is a mega beatles fan - so is there a more perfect song for today? happy birthday wat! 143!

anyone else out there in the cyberhood with today as their birthday?

scenes from the fritz lang silent classic "metropolis" and the beatles' "birthday"

photo: the mouse circa 1959.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'll put a spell on you

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one's life.
peace pilgrim (b. 18 july 1908, d. 1981) born mildred lisette norman, peace activist

also born on this day screamin' jay hawkings. screaming jay was born in cleveland in 1929 (d. 2000). he originally set out to be an opera singer, but as it is said 'shit happens' instead of opera he started singing the blues (was this because he couldn't get into the opera? hum?). his most acclaimed hit was the 1956 classic 'I'll put a spell on you' which was selected by the rock and roll hall of fame as one of the 500 songs which shaped rock n' roll. screaming jay was a very interesting and eccentric fellow, along with being fascinated with voodoo and is often considered the father of 'shock rock' - he toured with nick cave and the also clash. it is said that he left behind 75 children! eh gads! cock-a-doodle doo!

photo: ms t meets richard the rooster, his lovely wife henrietta and daniel richard & henrietta's human. hale farm and village, bath, ohio. july 2008.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

time to go home

home - on one hand, it's such a small unassuming little word. on the other hand, it is one of the biggest, most powerful words around.

several years ago while touring the st. james gate brewery (home of guinness) we ran across christian morgenstern's saying "home is not where you live but where they understand you." painted on the wall, the saying was part of an interactive exhibit asking folks touring the guinness factory museum to write down a message. I can't remember the fate for the messages, but something about this line of morgenstern has stuck with me.

speaking of things that have stuck with me. I have a little book from my childhood called beautiful hearts. published in 1952, this book had a purpose to teach little children the basics about catholicism after all it was published by the daughters of st. paul. despite the targeted audience, the book's messages are universal and if the directives were followed, the world would be such a better place.

the book's simple drawings and stories provide 7 basic prescriptions for making the world a better place: 'shelter the homeless' 'feed the hungry' 'give drink to the thirsty' 'clothe the naked' 'visit the sick' 'visit the imprisoned' and 'bury the dead.'

those of us who have a home often take our homes for granted. it is staggering to consider the extent of homelessness throughout the world. in the united states, homelessness is a vexing and misunderstood social issue. according to the national alliance to end homelessness almost 750,000 people experienced homelessness last year and an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 are chronically homeless. homelessness does not discriminate - it exists in small rural towns, suburban neighborhoods, and large metropolises and effects families with children, single adults, teens, the elderly and people of all races. the primary cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. in addition to the number of homeless, there is another 5 million households in the u.s. who have serious housing problems.

according to the united nations up to 100 million people are homeless throughout the world and another 600,000 million people live in shelters that "are life threatening or health threatening in developing world cities."

home.....a little word, but a BIG issue.

I realize probably 80-90 percent of the folks who read the mouse probably never click on the vids - who has time. however, today, I want you to share this discovery and urge you to check it out. in trying to come up with just the right song* to go with today's theme I ran across this group - how have I not heard of them before!
anyway, I thought this song touched on lots of different aspects of the home theme. please, sit back and enjoy this music vid of michael franti and spearhead entitled 'time to go home' ( from their album YELL FIRE!

*other songs that were contenders include: paul simon and lady smith mambozo "homeless"
(8:30); tracy chapman "fast cars" (5:34); joni mitchell "big yellow taxi" (2:46); bob marley "no woman, no cry" (5:56); rage against the machine "no shelter" (4:13) ; neil young "old man" (3:57)- to name but a few!

photo: dublin, ireland, may, 2001.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

true love

I give to you and you give to me
True love . . . it's a true love
So on and on it will always be
True love . . . it's a true love

For you and I have a guardian angel
On high with nothing to do
But to give to you and to give to me
A love forever true
A love forever true

my true love was born on this day! happy birthday sweetie -- 143 -4ever!!!!

george harrison performing true love (2:43) recorded in 1976, the year I met my true love, a song sung by our favorite beatle, coincidence? I think not.....

photo: pic snapped at the cleveland irish festival in 2006 - not only is the cleveland irish festival our favorite music event and summertime ritual but 90% of the time it falls during f & my birthday week - another coincidence? what do you think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


with a special nod in blogging bud gary's direction, the mouse is celebrating linda ronstadt's birthday. recently, gary commented about how much he likes linda's version of the water is wide and later reminded me that july 15th is linda's birthday. linda was born in tucson in 1946.

I also hold a special fondness for linda and am most happy to shine the spotlight on her talents and gifts. however, I haven't always been a linda fan; back in 1976 when f and I got together, I was a bit jealous of linda rondstadt; turned out f was a huge rondstadt fan. who wants to compete with a rock diva like linda rondstadt for someone's affections!

happy birthday linda (and by the way, thanks for standing up against the war, keep it up!)

linda ronstadt performing desperado written by glenn frey and don henley in 1973.

photo: sculpture in front of plaza del sol imports, fort worth, june 2007

Monday, July 14, 2008

so long it's been good to know you

I've sung this song, but I'll sing it again,
Of the people I've met and the places I've seen.
Of some of the troubles that bothered my mind
And a lot of good people that I've left behind, saying:

So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh;
So long, it's been good to know yuh.
What a long time since I've been home,
And I've gotta be driftin' along.

Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), singer-songwriter and american troubadour

yesterday I spent the day at the 33rd annual music in the valley festival at hale farm and village, I couldn't have dreamed up a better way to commemorate the late great woody guthrie. coincidentally, the first song encountered as we started walking the idyllic grounds of hale farm was woody's union maid.

woodrow wilson (woody) guthrie was born on 14 july 1912 in okemah, oklahoma. woody was a prolific songwriter, in his songs he set out to capture what he saw was happening in the world around him and worked to use music in order to promote social justice for all people. perhaps woody's most famous song is 'this land is your land' - woody wrote this song in 1940 as a response to the ubiquitous 'god bless america' which he believed was complacent and unrealistic. in 'this land is your land' woody protested class inequality in the final verses.
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?

As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said "no trespassing." [In another version, the sign reads "Private Property"]
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me.

unfortunately, the final verses of this song are often skipped - how many of you remember singing these lyrics when you were a kid in school? there's a lot of great information about woody, his songs and his life, including two excellent biographies - joe klein's woody guthrie: a life (1999) and mark allan jackson's prophet singer: the voice and vision of woody guthrie (2007). however, if you are disinclined to pick up one of these tomes, just visit the official woody guthrie website. woody was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1988 for his ability to transform the folk ballad into a vehicle for social change and paved the road for scores of other musicians, including pete seeger, bob dylan, joan baez, bruce springsteen, billy bragg, and ani difranco, to name just a few.

recording from the library of congress collection, the song (3:38) is accompanied by an amazing selection of archival photographs of woody and images showing what conditions were like for many folks in the 1930s. woody's songs were collected for the library of congress by alan lomax with the assistance of pete seeger.

photo: dancing to 'union maid' at the music in the valley festival, bath, ohio. 13 july 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

fields of gold

The best way to avoid a bad action is by doing a good one, for there is no difficulty in the world like that of trying to do nothing.
John Clare born 13 july 1793 (d.1864) english peasant poet of the romantic school.

today is a day of sweet memory for me and others in my family. as long as I've been with f (over thirty years!), july 13th has been the kick-off of our july birthday-a-thon. it has been a little over a year since my mother-in-law died. today would be her 91st birthday. we find comfort knowing her spirit infuses our hearts and memory today and for all our days that come. I dedicate sting's beautiful song 'fields of gold' to mother wing.

sting is joined by i muvrini for this fanciful and moving rendition of 'fields of gold.' i muvrini is a band from the island of corsica.

photos: a field of sunflowers near wounded knee, south dakota, taken during e's and my great cross-country road trip, 1999; mother wing and one of her eleven beloved grandchildren, texas, 2004

Saturday, July 12, 2008

when the train comes back

Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don’t hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.
from operating manual for spaceship earth (1963)

r. buckminister fuller was born on this day, 12 july in 1895 (he died on july 1, 1983). buckminister fuller, also know as 'bucky,' was a true visionary. he was an architect, inventor, philosopher and social critic and as a futurist was light years ahead of most individuals of his (our) time. bucky had an extraordinary life and contributed a great deal to humankind. he is perhaps best known as being the designer of the geodesic dome and coining the expression 'spaceship earth.'

he believed passionately that we must all work together - like a crew - in order to survive on our planet which he likened to a spaceship.
We are on a spaceship; a beautiful one. It took billions of years to develop. We're not going to get another. Now, how do we make this spaceship work?
he can also be given credit for making synergy a common expression and the majority of his work was about exploring and creating synergy. he advanced the notion that synergy is the basic principle of all interactive systems, and incorporated this into his theory of synergetics or "geometry of thinking."

while researching today's brief celebration of bucky, I ran across this great piece by medard gabel and jim walker; in it they outline 10 principles which they describe as:
... a framework of leadership which we call “comprehensive anticipatory design leadership”. Through a careful study of Fuller’s writings, inventions, and methodologies what emerges is a powerful blueprint for problem-solving leadership in an age of rapid change – a leadership approach that has implications far beyond the field of technological innovation.
I hope you'll take a few minutes and read gabel and walker's article - it's quite brief but loaded with an excellent distillation of bucky's operating instructions. I also discovered that a buckminister fuller exhibit recently opened at the whitney museum in new york. another reason to visit to new york soon!

considering fuller's advice to be a trimtab, fuller was indeed a doctor of mouse medicine.

also born on this date, christine (perfect) mcvie (b. 12 july 1943) performing the bluesy and soulful when the train comes back, 1970 (1:23)

photo: mars, pennsylvania june, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

left of center

If you want me
You can find me
Left of center
Off of the strip
In the outskirts
In the fringes
In the corner
Out of the grip
When they ask me
"What are you looking at?"
I always answer
"Nothing much" (not much)
I think they know that
I'm looking at them
I think they think
I must be out of touch

But I'm only
In the outskirts
And in the fringes
On the edge

suzanne vega's 'left of center'

singer songerwriter suzanne vega was born on july 11 1959. it's unfortunate that suzanne's songs don't get much airtime and it's hard to believe it's been over twenty years since her break out hits of luka and tom's diner. although I've enjoyed all her albums over the years, the song that strikes the deepest chord in me is one of her even earlier songs - left of center. probably because I've found that when we can position ourselves at the margins we get a much broader view and it's at the margins where I have found that we can achieve real understanding of others.

thanks steve for the head's up on this piece . by the way there is a relatively new album out by suzanne entitled 'beauty and crime' - and this album shows us that she still one of the finest lyrical and literate songwriters around!

suzanne singing left of center at the montreuz music festival in 2004

photo: street art, ithaca, new york 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

o fortuna!

birthdays (or birthday) is this week's theme. july is a big birthday month here on avenue c and I admit I've kind of seized on the today's theme the past few days. who knows I may ride this wave for the entire month - I'm certainly having a good time! on any day there are so many people who share that particular birth day and I've been having a good time choosing who to recognize and call attention to. there are so many people who make our world, and our species, better and/or more interesting. in response to yesterday's post where the mouse celebrated june jordan, coffee commented, "So many people pass by without us knowing" -- so true, so true.

I believe it was blogging buddy cergie who several months ago attempted to gather info about the birthdays of folks in the cyberhood - it was a fun game. I learned that I have a birthday twin in the cyberhood - WAT. how many of you played and did any one find that they have a birthday twin?

I have a weird relationship with birthdays.... I would love to be one of those people that always remembers someone's birthday ahead of time, sends a note or a card and my greeting arrives at just the right time. but, alas,I'm not one of those people, instead I'm one of those folks who seem to remember someone's birthday either on their actual birthday, or, even worse after the fact. my notes and cards most often don't get sent (ironically, many of the cards I intended to send were often acquired months ahead of time for a particular person; but unfortunately, like my intentions, the cards somehow get misplaced and are just paving that ol' road.... but hey, that's okay, since I believe in energy, I believe the good vibes and good thoughts I'm thinking are still going up into the cosmos and are still working their magic! the 'recipients' might not realize it, but the good wishes are being showered on them.

our theme this week had me thinking and wondering about birthday celebrations in other cultures and in other times. there's a lot of info out there about birthdays cross-culturally and historically. not surprisingly I learned that celebrating birthdays with gift giving is a relatively recent custom and a fairly 'culturally bound' custom at that. if interested go here for an interesting (and brief) article on birthday traditions.

up until today I've been featuring just one person who has a birthday on a particular day, however, july 10 is fraught with interesting and inspiring folks. here are a few quotes from a few of the folks who share this day:

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
marcel proust ( b. 10 july 1871)

Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.
mary mcleod bethune (b. 10 july 1875)

Tell me, I forget, show me, I remember, Involve me, I understand.
carl orff (b. 10 july 1895)

The complexity of things - the things within things - just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.
alice munro (b. 10 july 1931)

I'd rather have friends who care than friends who agree with me.
arlo guthrie (10 july 1947)

When I was growing up, it was 'Communists'. Now it's 'Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.

cindy sheehan (b. 10 july 1957)

So it doesn't have to be happy music to be inspiring.
bela fleck (b. 10 july 1958)

I tried to find a youtube vid of the tavern poem/song that I liked (go here to read the lyrics - they are a hoot!), but struck out. so instead I offer o fortuna - which is okay as it's probably birthday boy carl's most recognizable piece from his adapation of the medieval collection of poems known as carmina burana.

on saturday we attended a concert of the cleveland orchestra performing this scenic cantata at blossom with a group of friends. it was a wonderful evening and a memorable addition to our holiday weekend. I wonder if the rest of the gang still have threads of o fortuna running through their heads?

photo: fireworks from the 5 july concert at blossom.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

one love

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea:

we are the ones we have been waiting for.

from Passion: New Poems, 1977-80, by June Jordan

9 july is june jordan's birthday, goddess rest her soul. why is it that so many of the 'good' die young? june was/is* an amazing soul - poet, social activist, teacher, mother, wisewoman. june's one of those folks I've long had on my list of people I'd like to have dinner with - unfortunately, I never had the good fortune of meeting june or attending any of her readings or lectures. but back in 'the day' - my day- she was among the pantheon of women thinkers and academics who informed and shaped my worldview (for whatever that is 'worth').

don't you just love the last line in june's"poem for south african women".... we are the ones we have been waiting for..... what a mantra!! and most excellent mouse medicine. yes, we are the ones we have been waiting for.....

june was born in harlem on 9 july 1936. her parents were jamaican immigrants - to celebrate june's heritage (and her world view) the song I've chosen to start the day is bob marley 'one love' -I do believe this is the mouse's favorite marley tune.

photo: steel drum performers at the clifton arts and music festival, cleveland 2008

*was/is....some think souls live forever and ever....I think I do....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

one of us

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets
lyrics by eric bazilian (of the hooters)

joan osbourne popularized bazilian's song 'one of us'. released in 1995 it soon became a commercial success - it topped the pop charts and catapulted joan into the limelight (soon after the song's release joan received a grammy nomination). joan sang a slightly different version of the song as the theme song for the television show "joan of arcadia" that ran from september 2003 to april 2005. I was a fan of the series and was quite disappointed when it was cancelled (yeah, I know.....I'm can be a real dweeb)

joan was born on 8 july 1962. joan singing 'one of us' (4:46) pretty infectious, n'est-ce pas?

photo: god ( of us) & his traveling house lakewood, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

it don't come easy

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,
And you know it don't come easy.
You don't have to shout or leap about,
You can even play them easy.

Peace, remember peace is how we make it,
Here within your reach
If you're big enough to take it.

I don't ask for much, i only want your trust,
And you know it don't come easy.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time,
And you know it don't come easy.
selected stanzas to "it don't come easy" by ringo starr

today is ringo starr's birthday (b. 1940 in dingle, liverpool)! f and I had the good luck to see ringo perform a few years ago at a concert he and his all starr band gave at the cleveland's annual 'great american rib cook-off and music festival'! incidentally, that was the only year we attended. the music was good and ringo was great, but my f makes better bbq ribs than any of the ribs we tried!

photo: ringo the cat (ringo lives with friends s&p - so named for a ring at the base of her tail), cleveland, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

happiness to his holiness!

this morning when I put up the day's post, I wasn't thinking about today's date - 6 july. today as many mouse readers probably know is tenzin gyatso's birthday. tenzin gyatso is most often referred to as his holiness the dalai lama or simply hh. however, tibetans often refer to hh as gyalwa rinpoche, meaning "precious victor", or yeshe norbu, meaning "wish-fulfilling jewel." hh, as I like to think of him, although I really like "wish-fulfilling jewel," was born on 6 july 1935.

I wonder if ched had hh's birthday in mind when she choose this week's theme for theme thursday! hey, I'm just getting a head start on thursday with this additional post for today. you know how fond I am of themes, geez, maybe I'll just celebrate thursday's theme all week.

this morning my friend nc sent me this interesting link -- robert wilkinson, the author wishes hh a happy 617th birthday. I enjoyed robert's piece, following the links, and of course the hh quotes included.

hh often refers to himself as 'a simple monk' and for that reason I choose the above picture (opposed to this one which is of course my favorite hh picture!). in the picture above hh is in the company of another 'simple monk' who I believe is another great teacher, great soul, and all around great human being. tragically, brother thomas died at the tender age of 53 in a bizarre accident; this picture was taken a short time before he died. by the way, this picture is from the wonderful book "a hidden wholeness: the visual world of thomas merton" by john howard griffin. the photograph was taken by hh's secretary. (speaking of amazing humans john howard griffin is another incredible person; I had the good fortune of meeting him and attending a talk by him many years ago. mr griffin wrote the groundbreaking book black like me. when I live in fort worth, mr griffin lived there. mr. griffin died in 1980.)

happy birthday hh - 73 or 617!!

the water is wide

May all beings have happiness.
May they be free from suffering.
May they find the joy that has never known suffering
May they be free from attachment and hatred.
-buddhist prayer

june tabor singing the water is wide, a traditional song

photo: a squirrel friend on avenue c, july 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

life is just a bowl of cherries

Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don't take it serious,
Life's too mysterious
You work,
You save,
You worry so
But you can't take your dough
When you go, go, go

So keep repeating "It's the berries."
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life
To you were just loaned
So how can you lose
What you've never owned

Life is just a bowl of cherries
So live and laugh, aha!
Laugh and love
Live and laugh,
Laugh and love,
Live and laugh at it all!

ethel merman singing life is just a bowl of cherries in 1975. the song was made popular in the 1930s. ms. merman sang it in the broadway revue "george white's scandals" - music and lyrics are by lew brown and ray henderson.

photo: fruit at local farmers' market. july 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

for america

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) philosopher and author of Common Sense

for the past twenty years npr's morning edition has celebrated the fourth of july holiday by reading the declaration of independence. just in case you missed it click here

jackson browne performing
for america

photo: u.s. capitol as seen from the grounds of the national botanical garden. washington dc

Thursday, July 3, 2008

sailing shoes

shoes - how many of you have a thing for shoes? I confess I have a bit of a shoe fancy. it's not as bad as it used to be, in my advancing age I have gotten both practical and cheap. and never has my shoe habit gravitated toward 'fashionable' footwear - I prefer shoes that are a little quirky and colorful.

I have seasonal shoes. currently my shoe du saison is a pair of lime green keen hiking sandals. I had to get a new pair of shoes as I pretty much wore out the pair of knock-off tevas that I wore the past two summers. I will miss the lovely z that pair of sandals created. my new pair of sandals have more stuff going on; however, by the end of the summer I should have a better idea if there is a discernible pattern created by the sandal stuff.
I've always been taken by boots. recently I fell for the boots that I saw worn by various bhutanese folks at the smithsonian folklife festival. when I lived in texas I never wore cowboy boots. ironically, the first time I went back to texas after moving away I bought a pair of tony lama boots. I still have these boots, they still fit, however, unfortunately in 1985 I had an accident where I almost lost my left foot (really - I'll show you the scar if you want) a sequela of this event is that I can no longer comfortably wear my tony lama boots or wear any pair of wooden soled clogs (which for the longest time was my favorite type of footwear). okay way too much information!

if you are a curious cat (or mouse) and want to learn more about shoes, the bata shoe museum in toronto is a destination worthy of checking out. it is wild and you can get a little flavor of its holdings by visiting the website.
this year marks the 100th anniversary of converse shoes. I've long had a weakness for the classic chucks. currently I have a pair of maroon hightops. I really miss my yellow chucks; but my all time favorite was the pair of lime green chucks I got after my yellow chucks had to be chucked out.
croc (and croc knock offs) are very popular these days. they seem like fun to wear - I know ms t loves her crocs (knock offs). however, they aren't completely benign footwear and parents and guardians need to be aware that this style of shoe presents a few dangers, especially on escalators when small feet are wearing them. to read more go here or here.
that's enough shoe silliness for today.

sailin' shoes performed by david dandborn, stevie ray vaughn, maria mckee and van dyke parks jammin' (4:02)

photos: dancing shoes at 2008 folklife festival; insert my current shoe du jour; bhutanese boots; chucks pic taken in 1994; ms t and her friend modeling their pink shoes; snap of shoes seen in ithaca ny in june

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

by the way

we are rapidly approaching the fourth of july weekend. for us this a weekend heavy of outdoor dining. one of our favorite summertime snacks is stuffed jalapenos - making them is a snap. you just need three ingredients nice big jalapeno peppers, cream cheese, and bacon. of course you also need a grill and some long handled tongs.

some of you may be heading to the beach this weekend. if you going to the beach and have certain equipment, make sure you take precautions and don't end up like the poor bloke in this newspaper clipping. OUCH!

by the way by the red hot chili peppers