Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I wonder as I wander

I woke up on christmas day, looked at our calendar and discovered there was something special scheduled every day through january 1st, at that moment I realized the mouse is going on holiday. unlike my other blogging breaks, this one was unplanned otherwise I would have put up a post which said I'll be back on x day.

like every break, my vacation from blogging has had moments when I've thought sweetly of being back 'home' for along with not posting, I haven't really kept up on the activities and musings of the people in my cyberhood. maybe a couple quick clicks here or there, but I haven't spent much time wandering the blogosphere...I hope everyone is having a lovely end of 2008! can you believe it's almost 2009! what a strange, strange trip 2008 has been.

although there's still a few things on the dance card, ever since reading e's post on her favorite christmas song, it got me thinking of my favorite holiday song. I never thought I had a favorite christmas song until I heard this program which aired on my local npr station on christmas day and I heard yolanda kondonassis version of the traditional american folk carol I wonder as I wander - I find it is simply perfect.

so in this last post for 2008, I have an end of the year query - what song would you identify as your perfect holiday song? or do you think the notion absurd?

since I'm talking about favorites, I'll end with two of my favorite snaps from this past week.



unfortunately I couldn't find a vid of yolanda playing I wonder as I wander, but I did find this version as transcribed by carlos salzedo,and performed by zeno alma - and played according to zeno "with an FX touch of Jimi Hendrix, Maestro De FX & the 4th Dimension.

see you next year!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

photos: the shore of lake erie, lakewood park; ms t christmas day; dixie as vamp

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

bless us one and all

may the spirit of the season fill each heart

bless us one and all

happy holidays

in 1992 the muppet christmas carol was released, it was the fourth feature length film which starred kermit and the rest of the charming muppet gang. although this was the first film produced after the death of muppet creator jim henson, like the spirit of christmas, jim's spirit was very much alive. the film was directed by jim's son brian. it's a wonderful film. I don't know if it airs on television, and I expect since there is a brand new muppet holiday film I expect not. however, with the miracle of youtube you can experience most of the film and of course it is available on dvd.

in case you would like to sing along here are the words to bless us one and all:
Robin: Life is full of sweet surprises, everyday's a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my sprit
It fills me up with laughter, it fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong
Bless us all, who gather here
Piggy: The loving family I hold dear
Kermit: No place on Earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam

All: Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much that we can share

Robin: With those in need we see around us everywhere
Rob/Pig: Let us always love each other
Robin: Lead us toward the light
Rob/Pig: Let us hear the voice of reason
Robin: Singing in the night

Kermit: Let us run from anger
Piggy: And catch us when we fall
Robin: Teach us in our dreams and please, yes, please
All: Bless us one and all

Robin: Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyous tears
All: We reach for you, and we stand tall
Kermit: And in our prayers and dreams we ask you bless us all
Robin: We reach for you, and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams we ask you bless us all

greetings from cleveland
namasté,
xxxooo mouse

Monday, December 22, 2008

thinking of you...

quack, quack
salty jill
squirrel in nyackthe coffee messiah
the junk thief
megan
merle sneed (well, he might not be the recycling truck guy, but the guy at the hardware store knows you just as well....)
lettuce (don't ask me why?)
tut-tut - but I have no fear

sometimes when I'm wandering I encounter something that has me thinking of you - song by lenny kravitz (1995)

naked women for peace

the righteous mothers are four funny, philosophical, fabulous folk musicans from the pacific northwest. my friend who lives in olympia (yes, the one who has the rat-at-birdfeeder issue) sent me the link to this wonderful vid for their song old fat naked women for peace. hope you take a listen, if you like the song and the group, don't despair you can get their cd's by going here.



this song is partially based on the baring witness project which began innocently enough on november 12, 2002 when forty-five california women bared all to spell the word peace. since then there have been hundreds of similar actions all over the world in which nude or clothed people have spelled out words to inspire, educate, and raise public and media awareness about social issues. to learn more about the baring witness project, help launch their feature length documentary, or learn how to stage your own naked social action go here.

at a peace march in washington in september 2005 I ran across this group of women who offer another great idea breasts not bombs!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a solstice carol

There is a Certain Slant of Light

There’s a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
’T is the seal, despair,—
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, ’t is like the distance
On the look of death.
by Emily Dickinson(1830-1886) poet

at 7:04 this morning the winter solstice occurred* which means today is the shortest day and the longest night. as of tomorrow our days grow longer and the path to spring gets shorter.

last night we joined friends at s & p's home for their annual solstice gathering. the evening began with a walk to nearby edgewater park to watch the sun set. after saying goodnight to brother sun we turned around to stroll through the neighborhood in the waning natural light and as the artificial lights celebrating the season waxed. once home a convivial evening of conversation, food, wine, and poetry ensued.

warmest wishes for a most happy solstice - the reason for the season


a solstice carol

*for those of us living in the northern hemisphere that is!


photos: lone tree and lake erie at sunset. candlelight solstice eve. 20 december 2008, cleveland.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

papa don't preach

When we are working at a difficult task and strive after a good thing, we are fighting a righteous battle, the direct reward of which is that we are kept from much evil. As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. Indeed life is a have to defend and protect ourselves, and with a cheerful and brace spirit we must battle; we plan and calculate in order to make progress.
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), dutch post-impressionist painter

rumor has it that lil one, the cat seen above is pg. I'm secretly hoping that one of her kitties will be orange. since she's almost a part of the family, perhaps I can make a good case for adopting one of the kittens when they are looking for homes. lil one lives at the house where t&r (who are part of the family) live. technically she's their neighbor's cat, however, lil one has claimed all the humans (and dogs) who reside in the house on avenue w as hers. t&r's neighbors have yet to subscribe to the wisdom of spay and neutering their animals. you can bet that I'll working on that. I'm thinking after lil one has her kitties of volunteering to take her in for an operation as a gift to the household.

madonna's papa don't preach (1986)

Friday, December 19, 2008

que sera, sera

The gathering power of Squirrel is a great gift.
It teaches us balance within the circle of gathering and giving out.
They remind us that in our quest for our goals,
it is vital to make time for play and socializing.

Squirrel teaches us to conserve our energy for times of need.
If your totem is Squirrel or Squirrel has recently entered your life,
lighten your load of things that are unnecessary –
things that you have gathered in the past and may be cluttering your life –
thoughts, worries, and stresses.

Squirrel is also the totem of action.
Ask yourself are you too active, not active enough, afraid of enough,
hung up on accumulating and collecting.
Squirrel people tend to be a little erratic – trying to do many things at once.
Take the time to stop and listen to your inner self – and don’t forget to play!

this year the squirrels in my hood are incredibly fat and active. according to some this is a sign that we are going to have one hell of a cold winter. the other day I stopped to watch six squirrels in a neighbor's side yard - boy were they ever packing in the bird food. this house has a very extensive feeding station with at least a half dozen different feeders and a birdbath set up which keeps the water fluid - unlike the frozen birdbath at my house. along with the squirrels there was a tremendous assortment of birds at this house. I wonder what these folks spend a month on animal food!

two days ago I had a call from a friend in olympia, washington, she was quite distressed about a rat that has been at her bird feeder - during the day. as the guru on all things rodent among my friends, she called me to ask whassup. I told her that it is very unusual for a rat to be out foraging during the day unless it was ill. however, now I don't know maybe it wasn't sick after all but just knew that in a day's time they were going to get hit with a freak winter storm. perhaps, it was simply planning ahead and stocking up. animals have a sixth sense about these things.

I've been trying to encourage our local science café to devote one of their monthly meetings to animal esp - so far they haven't followed up on my suggestion. f said I need to supply the name of an 'expert' on animal extrasensory perception and then maybe they'll devote an evening to the topic. anyone know of the names of animal behaviorist who could fit the bill?

doris day singing que sera, sera

photo: one of the three regulars who visit my back yard

Thursday, December 18, 2008

santa's got a brand new bag

theme thursday is on holiday because of the holidays. I've found that I miss it. regular readers of the mouse know how much I love themes. today I saw that squirrel shared some santa snaps. even though it's not official I thought I'd jump on santa's sleigh and share several santa snaps I've taken the last couple weeks. santa is everywhere!

snoopy makes a very sweet and cuddly santa paws

of course there is el santa claus at cap'n taco - if I'm gonna go out for tacos, cap'n taco is where I like to go.

this store on lorain in west park provides a lot of accoutrements should you wish to dress up as a very hip santa

maybe santa will drop off a radio flyer full of great lakes ale for our holiday merrymaking

last night f was acting as santa and tried to help get mj's computer back online. while I was staying out of the way, I amused myself in mj's living room where I stumbled on to a brand new muppet holiday special - letters to santa: a muppets christmas. kermie was wise and wonderful as always. it was good to see the gang back in action. I do believe miss piggy has a more modern cut. I admit I missed more than I saw, but what I saw I loved....

my nominee for the worst christmas song ever!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

come into my sleep

Sleep lingers all our lifetime about our eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) philosopher, poet, essayist

tuesday is ms t day on avenue c. yesterday ms t took the markers she was using to draw on paper to herself. she was most pleased with the results. this will teach me not to turn my back during drawing time. when I said we needed to wash the dress to remove the marks, she exclaimed NO! and went on to say, the dress was better now.

eventually she relented, changed clothes, washed up, and returned to being a girl.

being a tiger is most exhausting.


f & I thank everyone for the anniversary congratulations and best wishes.

come into my sleep by nick cave and the bad seeds

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

hard to imagine

today is f's and my 30th anniversary. it's hard to imagine that it's been thirty years since we exchanged vows and publicly proclaimed our love for each other and our intention to adopt those two old and respected names - husband and wife. *

we did our wedding our way, for that we experienced a span of time when some family members didn't consider that we were truly married or that we would last. over time, our actions and love and commitment for each other, and for our extended families (even the doubting thomases) have proved the naysayers wrong. after a few years, I knew our marriage and union was accepted by f's mother, she took me aside and presented me with her grandmother's gold wedding ring. I still tear up when I think of that moment with my late mother-in-law as I know how far she traveled to come to that point of acceptance. I had to have the ring resized great-grandmother's fingers were smaller than mine. once it was properly sized I've worn this beautiful band of rose gold. the ring symbolizes so much - including the endurance and power of family and tradition and proof that change and acceptance is always possible.

f and I were both raised as catholics, as we found our own ways in the world we each became disillusioned over many of the official positions and stands of catholicism. we believed that it would be hypocritical to marry in the catholic church. we followed our hearts and created our own special day. we asked a friend, who was an ordained minister, to officiate. even though we don't subscribe to any one organized religion, we are spiritual people. we hold on to many of the lessons from our catholic upbringing. however, what we feel are important are the lessons that transcend organized religion and dogma. a key to our longevity is our shared values. one of these values is our mutual belief than no one religion holds a monopoly on understanding what it takes to be a good human being and what it means to be a part of something bigger than oneself. we also share a belief that when a religion believes it does hold a monopoly that is when problems between people and between nations and cultures arise.

our wedding day was a beautiful day. because it was winter we held the ceremony in our living room instead of outside surrounded by nature. we thought of that but nixed the idea because one never knows and fort worth can have some wicked winter weather. the clothes we wore for our wedding were as non-traditional as our wedding ceremony. f wore a wool fisherman's sweater under a corduroy jacket. I wore a brand new sweater, the same color as f's made of lamb's wool and angora and a long corduroy skirt I made in high school. in attendance was a small gathering of friends and f's sisters and his father. we wrote our own vows. instead of rings we exchanged sips of wine:
we share this wine to symbolize the essence of our commitment to one another - to be ourselves and to accept each other as lover, companion, and friend.*
the night following our afternoon ceremony we had a big pot-luck party where scores of our friends from school and the community attended.

we recorded the ceremony in order to play it for my family who didn't come to the wedding. of course, we were disappointed that no one from my family came, but we didn't hold it against them. they were sticking to their beliefs and we admired that. we hoped that in time they would accept our staying true to ours even if they were different than theirs. a couple days after our wedding, we braved a nasty winter ice storm, hopped in our vw bus and drove from texas to metro dc to spend our 'honeymoon' with my family. so even though my family didn't physically attend, we brought the ceremony to them, geez I wonder where that recording is, knowing f and I, it would be safe to say we probably still have it, as we still have most of the clothes we wore - unfortunately, several years ago I discovered my wonderful sweater became moth food and I ended up recycling it.

coincidentally, or would it be ironically, there is a december 16 anniversary where I wore a veil, dressed in traditional clothes and participated in a catholic ritual. on december 16, 1962 I received my first holy communion at st. ann's church in memphis tennessee.

*excerpts from our wedding ceremony. more text can be found in last year's anniversary post along with another pic of f and I from that momentous day.

curious cat that I am, wondered what is considered traditional for a 30th wedding anniversary-- pearls and sweet peas. I do have a string of pearls, perhaps I'll pull them out and wear them today. maybe f will bring home a bouquet of sweet peas this evening

since I'm about reminiscing about the past this morning, I have one particularly pearly memory. this was from 1965 when my family visited japan - here's a picture from a visit to a place where I watched a woman stringing pearls.

I can't imagine a better partner to be sharing the road with ~ happy anniversary sweet pea - I love you forever and a day!

pearl jam's tune hard to imagine click to listen - I love eddie's soulful voice - he really captures all the pain and paradise life - and marriage - can contain.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

96 tears

this weekend a buddy gave me the head's up regarding this petition to president elect obama. the petition is an impassioned plea to bring the troops home from iraq NOW. thanks and kudos to joan the anti-war granny who started the petition!

yes, iraq did have a tyrannical dictator, but there are plenty of those to go around. bottom line is the united states invaded a sovereign country based on a parcel of lies, greed and a thirst for oil...these are all terribly wrong reasons to wage war, invade a country and be an occupying force -- then, unrelatedly but associatedly there is the whole issue of the COST of the war. in these time of economic crisis and turmoil is it really wise to be spending so much money when our country is going down the economic tubes?

if you'd like to help restore peace, reduce the bleed of money and human resources out of the country then sign the petition. grandmotherhood is a state of mind; you can be a grandmother against the war even if you're male and have no grandchildren - all you need to be is a person who believes that war is not the answer. please sign. click here (btw, I'm number 165)

okay the song 96 tears is not really related to the grandmother's petition to president elect obama, but tonight I heard the texas tornados cover of the song and I was reminded on how much I LOVE this song, so...

Too many teardrops for one heart to be cryin'
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on

the song was originally written and recorded by ? and the mysterians in 1966, this vid comes from a version done by the group in 1998 for the documentary are you for real (here's the vid of the group doing the song back in the 1960s)


photo: march on washington, september 2005.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

cats in the cradle

The cat is the only animal without visible means of support who still manages to find a living in the city.
Carl van Vechten (1880-1964) writer & photographer


harry chapin's cat's in the cradle topped the billboard charts in december 1974, surprisingly it was harry's only #1 hit song. gosh I miss hearing this song. harry was another bright light that was extinguished way too soon, he died in 1981 when he was only 38 in an automobile accident in new york.

in december 1987, on what would have been chapin's 45th birthday, he was posthumously awarded the congressional gold medal for his social activism, particularly his work on world hunger. harry is regarded as the key player in the creation of the jimmy carter's presidential commission on world hunger in 1977. thirty plus years later we still have a problem with hunger in the world - increasingly so in light of today's world-wide economic crisis. however, according to hunger experts we have the means to end hunger in the world, what we lack is the will.


photo: cat on porch, cleveland. december 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

here we come a-wassailing

There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

irish toast

last saturday jane and I made our annual pilgrimage to the women speak out for peace and justice peace festival and holiday bazaar. it's always a good time and the festival offers a wonderful opportunity to run into friends not often seen. the event is held in the historic pilgrim church in tremont.

after the holiday bazaar, we always go off on a wander through tremont. tremont is one of the epicenters of art and creativity in cleveland. I always enjoy a good wander as there are always new visual treats. for instance I don't remember seeing the top mural before.

where else is one likely to encounter an inflatable motorcycle riding santa!

we weren't the only ones taking a walk. there were quite a few hardy souls out enjoying the architectural and cultural diversity of tremont - or maybe they were just walking their dog.

here we come a-wassailing

Thursday, December 11, 2008

come darkness, come light

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) philosopher, poet, essayist

in checking out the blogs of someone who recently commented on my other blog, the lakewood daily snap, I stumbled on these

I'm chagrined to say, I now have a serious case of the wants.

anyone who knows me knows I would wear these shoes.

if anyone wants to send me a gift, I take a size 9. is wanting a pair of mouse shoes any worse than desiring this for christmas? for some odd reason, I have a feeling neither e nor I will be getting what we want!

click here to hear mary chapin carpenter's song come darkness, come light

photos: top - decanters in mj's window, cleveland. bottom - pic borrowed from here

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

come together

Help us to be masters of the weapons that threaten to master us.
Help us to use our science for peace and plenty, not for war and
destruction. Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries
in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and
suspicion of us.... Teach us to wait and trust.
excerpt from thomas merton's prayer for peace (1962)

today is the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights. this declaration is composed of a set of thirty articles which are the foundation of achieving freedom, justice, and peace in the world. to read the entire declaration go here. recognizing that over a billion people in the world currently lack access to clean and potable water, resulting in millions of deaths each year, there is a campaign to add another article to this declaration which states the necessity of access to clean water as a fundamental human right. to sign a petition to adopt article 31 click here.

today is also the 40th anniversary of the death of thomas merton. thomas merton was an american trappist monk, writer and photographer. although a member of a contemplative order, merton was passionate about issues of social justice, racial tolerance, and inter-religious understanding. his personal and political radicalism was rooted not in ideology but in non-violence. in 1962, merton's prayer for peace was read in the u.s. house of representatives to begin its session. merton's prayer is as relevant and needed today as ever, to read the entire prayer click here. in 1968 merton was given permission from the abbot of gethsemani to embark on a tour of asia. during his travels he met various religious teachers and leaders, including the dalai lama and thich nhat hanh. unfortunately during this trip merton met an untimely death as a result of a freak electrical accident in bangkok. he was just 53 years of age.

in recognition and to honor both of today's anniversaries I want to share information about a new global movement - I take the vow. the goal of this movement is to promote non-violence and transform the world by taking a vow for non-violence in thoughts, speech, and actions. at this time of year, there is a great deal of talk about 'peace on earth' - what better gift can we give the world but to take a vow to be non-violent. take the vow - now!

photos: top: eglise st. andre ~lourmarin, france. october 2005; insert thomas merton 'borrowed' from the internet.

come together from the beatles abbey road album. rare vid from 1969

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

bells are ringing

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) philosopher

the beauty and truth of simplicity is always important, but especially so this time of year. good luck to all of us in trying to keep things simple and making the hidden visible.

a song written by mary chapin carpenter that I hope is destined to be a holiday classic


photo: doorbell, cleveland december 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

happy xmas (war is over)

john lennon
9 october 1940 - 8 december 1980

today is the twenty-eighth anniversary of john's death - more accurately put, his shocking murder. lennon's contributions to the world in terms of music, art, and activism will keep him alive for generation after generation. I never saw john in person, either when he played with the beatles or afterwards. I remember watching the ed sullivan show when the beatles made their american debut. as a kid, I knew the words to more beatles songs than to songs of any other group. I remember as girls we would play 'what beatle will you marry' - most of the time I chose john, but sometimes I would choose george. I remember my mom, who didn't go for rock music, would hum, whistle, or sing beatles songs.

it was john's peace activism that makes him an a legend in my book. who can forget john and yoko's famous (or would it be, infamous) bed-ins for peace. john's songs - give peace a chance, imagine, and power to the people have become peace anthems around the world. however, at this time of year and considering our current circumstances, perhaps the best is john's and yoko's holiday song happy xmas (war is over).

the song's main lyric is based on a billboard campaign that john and yoko waged in 1969. they rented billboards and put up posters in eleven cities around the world. the billboards stated:
"WAR IS OVER! (If You Want it)
Happy Christmas from John and Yoko

there are many versions of the song on youtube - afterall the song has become a christmas standard and is covered by everyone - from céline dion to angélique kidjo to the fray and tokyo rose. here are two music vids that ring my bell. john and yoko's original 1971 vid which include the sweet faces of the children from the harlem community choir.

updated version which includes heart-searing images from past and present conflicts


yes, we want it! happy xmas!

photo: strawberry fields, nyc august 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

little drummer boy

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

today is the anniversary of the bombing of pearl harbor by the japanese, which brought the u.s. into ww II. this got me wondering about u.s. involvement in war over the course of our history and how the current wars in afghanistan and iraq compare in length to other wars. since there are other curious cats that read the mouse, here's what I learned:
  • Vietnam War: eight years, five months (August 1964 to January 1973)
  • Afghanistan: seven years, two months (October 2001 to present)
  • Revolutionary War: six years, nine months (July 1776 to April 1783)
  • Iraq: five years, nine months (March 2003 to present)
  • Civil War: four years (April 1861 to April 1865)
  • World War II: three years, eight months in the Pacific (December 1941 to August 1945)
  • War of 1812: two years, six months (June 1812 to December 1814)
  • U.S.-Mexico War: one year, 10 months (April 1846 to February 1848
  • Korea: 3 years, 1 month (June 1950-July 1953)
  • World War I: one year, seven months (April 1917 to November 1918).
  • Spanish-American War: eight months (April to December in 1898)
  • Persian Gulf War: one and 1/2 months (January to February in 1991).
depressing. isn't it. doubly depressing considering that the invasion of iraq was based on a parcel of lies. well, let's not go there again.

in preparing today's post, I may have stumbled on the reason we are in this quagmire. here's what the current president says about war:

I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war.
George W. Bush (b. 1946)

he certainly no fdr, but that's not fair fdr was a democrat, however w is no ike either:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

david bowie and bing crosby chatting and singing a classic christmas carol.


drums of peace yes! drums of war no!
pa rum pum pum pum

photo: cleveland height home, 6 december 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I love my dog

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.
George Eliot (1819-1890), novelist

today's saturday safari features indy (short for indiana jones). indy is a 7-month old poodle who lives at the home of l&j. along with being a very happy dog, indy is incredibly bright. I've heard that poodles are smart dogs and indy is proof of that! at 7 months he's well trained and behaved. according to this site poodles are the second 'smartest' breed of dog. before you look, guess what is number 1?

is there irony in an artist named cat singing a song called 'I love my dog'? this song was released in 1966 when yusuf islam, who was born steven demetre georgiou, went by cat stevens. geez, I feel deprived, I've only ever gone by one name in my life.


have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

in the sky

more than any other time of year the holiday season is the most musical. of course there's the ubiquitous holiday music - holiday music is fine as long as: it is not overdone, it doesn't start getting played before december, and as long as it isn't warped into a bad impression of itself. since this is the traditional gift-giving, gift-receiving season doesn't it seem as if there is an increase in new musical releases? maybe there is no seasonal spike, it's just clever marketing - a gift of a cd can be a perfect gift. music (and books) are the exception to my on-going resolve to try to only give gifts made by hand (be they my hands or the hands of another local craftsperson/artist).

here are three 'new releases' that are at the top of my giving (getting?) list this year:

pete seeger at 89 - released in september, this album is a must have for any serious folkie or seeger fan. I like this reviewer's take.
the works
by jonatha brooke. I first heard of this recording on weekend edition. brooke continues the effort to set to music and record previously unpublished woodie guthrie songs. guthrie left behind an incredible treasure trove of songs written, but never recorded. I was first made aware of this project ten years ago when billy bragg and wilco got together and released mermaid avenue. as a diehard billy and woody fan, I know I was the first on my block to get this album. a few years later the boys released mermaid avenue volume II.

come darkness, come light: twelve songs of christmas by mary chapin carpenter. yesterday diane rehm interviewed mary and featured several of the tunes on this album - I was totally smitten. if you missed the show you can listen to the interview by following the links here.

yesterday I posted a small tribute to odetta. this got me thinking of other wonderful musicians and sages who are no longer with us. did you know today is the anniversary of frank zappa's death? geez, I miss frank zappa. how can you not love someone who said this:
We are engaged in a low key war against apathy. A lot of what we do is designed to annoy people to the point where they might just for a second question enough of their environment to do something about it. As long as they don't feel their environment and don't worry about it they're not going to do anything to change it. Something's got to be done before America scarfs up the world and shits on it.

here's a vid (and the source of the quote above) from a 1968 bbc broadcast of frank and the mothers of invention.


photo: red wall, lofty pennsylvania, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

keep on moving on

Odetta
31 december 1930 - 2 december 2008

yesterday odetta died. odetta is considered the voice of the civil rights movement. it is wonderful to know that she lived long enough to see the election of our first africian-american president. it is sad that she was 'called home' before she could attended obama's inauguration - and you know she would have been there - oh to have her singing at that party - she would have loved it!

the story I heard this morning on npr said she was performing right until the day before she died. for as long as I can remember odetta has been in the forefront of the struggle for human rights - giving her voice, hands and all.

thank you odetta - your light will shine and your voice shall ring forever....

from a few months ago





from more than a few years ago


photo 'borrowed' from the internet

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

to the fairies ....

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.
J.M. Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist

it's been almost a month since I posted a photo of ms t on the mouse - much to ms t's disappointment. I'm sure she's not the only person who enjoys seeing her photo. as you may gather from the photo, fairies and fairy play is at the top of ms t's favorite things these days.

the last photo posted showed ms t asleep with a maurice sendak book in hand. at the time I could not remember the title. since then I remembered; for inquiring minds, the book ms. t is holding is we are all in the dumps with jack and guy, published in 1993.

frankly the book is quite brilliant, in it sendak joins and interprets two traditional english nursery rhymes and provides a visual commentary on homelessness, aids, and hunger - social problems which unfortunately are as alive and well today as they were in 1993. curious cats can view the book here.

clip from tinker bell featuring loreena singing to the fairies they draw near

Monday, December 1, 2008

patchwork quilt

We've had too many World AIDS Days.
Richard Gere (b.1949) actor and activist

today marks the 20th anniversary of world aids day. in spite of strides made in the fight against aids, hiv/aids remains a worldwide health crisis. in 2007, according to the centers for disease control, the estimated number of persons living with hiv was 33.2 million worldwide, of this number 2.7 million people were newly infected.

locally, I have heard stories from friends who practice primary care medicine about how in the last couple years they have seen more new cases of hiv, especially among teens, than in years past. this is very disturbing. we must continue to promote education and awareness on how to prevent infection.

longer than the observance of world aids day has been another project which has raised awareness of aids. in 1987 the aids memorial quilt project also known as the names project began. the names project honors and celebrates the lives of people who have died from this devastating disease. to date this is the largest community arts project in the world.

over the years I have seen many panels of the quilt. the experience has always been tremendously moving and the stories told through these lovingly created panels never fail to bring me to tears. in 1996, I was in d.c. the last time the quilt was displayed in it's entirety. I know I took photographs but apparently I didn't put the photographs in an album. locating loose photos that were taken over twelve years ago, well, forget it. the image above was snagged from the internet. to read more about the names project go here.
From the point of view of the pharmaceutical industry, the AIDS problem has already been solved. After all, we already have a drug which can be sold at the incredible price of $8, 000 an annual dose, and which has the added virtue of not diminishing the market by actually curing anyone.
Barbara Ehrenreich (b. 1941) writer and activist

a song and vid celebration of the names project quilt

today's post is in loving memory of stanton and dave. you guys will always be missed and loved.....