Wednesday, December 21, 2011

lord of the dance

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

William Blake (1757–1827) poet and artist

happy winter solstice! the shortest day and longest night of the year - at least in the northern hemisphere. depending on where you live solstice officially happens either today or tomorrow - here in on the north coast solstice occurs at 12:30 a.m. on the 22nd; on the west coast solstice occurs at 9:30 p.m. on the 21st.

today in cleveland the sun rose at 7:50 a.m. and is to set at 5:00 p.m - this gives us 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight; in washington dc the sunrise was at 7:23 and sunset 4:49 - 9 hours and 26 minutes of daylight. i have a friend who lives in ambler, alaska (when i mail her a package the zip code pops up as 'north pole' - which never fails to tickle me, especially this time of year!) curious mouse that i am wondered how much daylight jo will have today, so i checked with accuweather - geez today ambler gets a whooping 1 hour and 33 minutes of daylight - sunrise is 12:54 p.m. and sunset 2:27 p.m!

latitude and longitude sure make a difference. curious about sunrise and sunset around the world - one of my favorite to go places is

we had our first real snow this weekend. the snow's gone now and there's little chance it will be a white christmas. today is downright balmy - the forecast calls for rain and temperatures in the high 50s! oh well - it does what it does!

the dubliners performing the song lord of the dance - the song was written in the 1960s by english poet and songwriter sydney carter. the song may seem like a traditional carol, and this is not at all surprising as it is an adaptation of joseph brackett's 1848 shaker dancing song simple gifts. carter states that the song is a tribute to shaker music and that the words were inspired by jesus and a statue of shiva of nataraja.

I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus.

...Their hymns were odd, but sometimes of great beauty: from one of these (Simple Gifts) I adapted this melody. I could have written another for the words of 'Lord of the Dance' (some people have), but this was so appropriate that it seemed a waste of time to do so. Also, I wanted to salute the Shakers.
Sometimes, for a change I sing the whole song in the present tense. 'I dance in the morning when the world is begun...'. It's worth a try".
(green print for song, 1974)

today is wall wednesday

photos: wall on the side of a nightclub in cleveland; george the gargoyle, casa mouse, 17 december 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the christmas song

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Charles Mingus (1922 -1979) musician and composer

there's nothing sweeter live music, especially when it is unexpected and delivered by talented street musicians - this fine fellow was creating a festive holiday atmosphere amidst the construction and bustle on a street corner near cleveland's busy west side market. what a joy to hang out, listen and chat between songs - his repertoire was filled with several of my favorite holiday songs.

friday turned out to be a jazzy sort of day. hours later f and i topped off our evening at one of our favorite local restaurants - which now is hosting live jazz every friday and saturday night -- the best part, is the restaurant is walking distance from our house!

today's mingus quote - it is wise advice and good mouse medicine for everyday life - wouldn't you say?

jason kendall on sax with his version of the christmas song (aka chestnuts roasting on an open fire).

the song, which has become a christmas classic was written in 1944 by mel tormé and bob wells. the song was first recorded and released in 1946 by nat king cole. according to the portal bmi reports that is the most preformed christmas song - and to think it was written on a blistering hot summer day!

Friday, December 16, 2011

night in the city

A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.
Margaret Mead (16 december 1901 - 1978) anthropologist

today is the birthday of one of my heroes - cultural anthropologist margaret mead. it is strange, but i'll never forget the day she died. when i was in graduate school (for the first time) in november of 1978 i was attending the american anthropological association meeting in los angeles. maraget mead was on the program - i'll never forget, i was looking through the program with my advisor andy, i turned to him and excitedly said i couldn't believe my luck, margaret mead was listed as giving a talk, hey maybe i'll get a chance to meet her in person - wouldn't that be incredible! he looked at me and said, "didn't you hear? they just announced that margaret mead died yesterday in a hospital in new york." my first reaction was that andy was playing a horrible prank - she couldn't be in a hospital in new york she was on the program! then i looked at him - his eyes didn't lie - there a day before i was going to meet her and a month before her 77th birthday she died. just goes to show we never know.

but what i do know is december 16th will always be a happy day - along with the date being the birthday of wise woman magaret mead, it is also the anniversary of when my honey and i publicly proclaimed our love and commitment to each other and to the world!

about today's photos i snapped these pics last night - the top photo shows the new fun lights around cleveland's west side market - i don't know if they were put up for the holidays or if they are just part of the on-going improvement plan for the market square neighborhood. regardless, i like the lights!!

speaking of lights the city of cleveland periodically plays with colored lights on terminal tower - last night the tower was red! most often this time of year it is both red and green. i wonder if someone forgot to flip the switch for the green lights!

inevitably when i'm wandering around looking at city lights, joni's classic song night in the city pops into my head.... always a nice earworm! the song first appeared on joni's debut 1968 album song to a seagull.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

sharing the fun!

A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913 - 1983)journalist & writer

sorry about the poor quality of today's wall wednesday photo, given that i snapped it looking out the window of a moving car on the rta the photo probably isn't all that bad. when i saw there was a rodent on the wall i had to capture it - and quickly -- even if that meant taking the photo from a moving train. in cleveland one can never tell how long - or short - wall art will be up. some pieces last for a long time while other pieces are covered up quickly by the graffiti eradication squads. now i just made that up about graffiti eradication squads - but based on what i see, there may very well be official groups wandering about covering up street art with gray or white paint.

as is the case in many cities, some of the best street art in the area is seen from the train. one day i would like to do a photo safari along cleveland's rail corridors, i have a feeling that the authorities would frown on this, but i'm game none-the-less. the authorities certainly frown on the street artists who use the concrete walls and buildings that abut the tracks as their canvas.

this last month of the year is flying by - yikes, can you believe we are almost halfway through december? no complaints here as december has been chocked full -- and time does fly when one is having fun - lots of activity in terms of both work and play. only thing that suffers with a full dance card is keeping up with the blogosphere - but, setting a new low for number of posts on the mouse is truly a minor trouble.

i think f and i are setting a personal record high this month for getting out for live entertainment in terms of both music and theater. just this weekend we attended an absolutely fabulous theatrical event at cleveland public theater - entitled conni's avant-garde restaurant. the reviewer for the pd was spot on when she referred to it as a "deliciously demented" holiday feast. this is not your daddy's dinner theater - i'll throw out a few more d adjectives conni's is also delightfully deliriously deranged! the theater troupe performing the extravaganza is a touring group - this year was the second year the group stopped in cleveland. i'm crossing my fingers that conni's will be a annual holiday tradition and we'll be having a holiday meal at conni's for many years ahead! as for me i'll be making my reservations at conni's each year!

we went from the superbly ridiculous to the spiritually sublime -- we wrapped up the weekend's live events by attending sacrum mysterium - sacred mystery: a celtic christmas a collaborative performance of appolo's fire and the ensemble la nef of montréal.

the fun continues (as does the celtic theme) tonight as we're heading to the cleveland museum of art to see and listen to the amazing natalie macmaster.

today is the centennial of the birth of musician and bandleader spike jones (14 december 1911 - 1965) . jones was widely popular in the '40s and '50s - and best known for his satirical songs. spike and his band, spike jones and the city slickers toured north america under the title the musical depreciation revue.

along with the 1942 hit der fuehrer's face, one of jones most well known songs is the christmas classic all i want for christmas is my two front teeth. below is a vid of jones singing the song - alas no info as to when this was filmed.

photo: cleveland, december 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

all you need is love

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
Dalai Lama (b. 1935)

wall wednesday continues.

i guess it is debatable whether the officials in the vatican got the memo about what his holiness the dalai lama suggests is the universal message of 'all major religious traditions.'

the vatican really got its panties in a bunch recently over benetton's 'unhate' campaign - the campaign was quite the buzz a couple weeks ago. i'm sure everyone is familiar the benetton ads, they feature various world leaders kissing. the vatican threatened legal action against the clothing company. the company withdrew the ads featuring a photoshopped pope benedict kissing an egyptian imam, the sheik ahmed el-tayeb.

geez some people just don't have any imagination or sense of humor!

benetton is known for its provocative advertising campaigns; according to the company -
Its aim was to “contrast the culture of hatred and promote closeness between peoples, faiths, cultures and the peaceful understanding of each other’s motivations. The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love.” (source)

the beatles all you need is love. the song was first preformed for the public on 25 june, 1967 for our world, the first live global television link. the bbc commissioned the beatles to write a song for the uk's contribution. the project was conceived by a bbc producer named aubrey singer.

nineteen countries were asked to participate in this 2-1/2 hour show. part of the ground rules for the program was that no politicians or heads of state participate. however, although politicians were prohibited from participating they still wielded power over the production, according to an article in the cbc archives 4 days before the broadcast 5 of the countries dropped out because of political reasons (for all you curious cats and mice the countries that dropped out were: the ussr and the then eastern bloc countries of poland, czechoslovakia, hungary and east germany. the leaders of these countries dropped out to protest the west's reaction to the six-day war in the middle east)

by the way, the original program was transmitted in black and white. later segments were colorized as we see in the vid below.

Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It's easy.

Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

All you need is love (All together, now!)
All you need is love. (Everybody!)
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) Yesterday (love is all you need)
(love is all you need) (love is all you need)

Oh yeah!
love is all you need, love is all you need,love is all you need, love is all you need, oh yeah oh hell yea! love is all you need love is all you need love is all you need

photo: cleveland november 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

nick of time

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange.


tattoo tuesday celebrates the feast day of saint nicholas the 4th century saint reputed to be the model for santa claus - the modern name comes from the dutch sinterklaas which is derived from a series of elisions and corruptions of the transliteration of saint nikolaos.

the historical st nick (nikolaos of myra aka nikolaos the wonderworker) had a reputation for secret gift giving - supposedly one of his favorite practices was to put coins in the shoes of those who left their shoes outside their doors at night. the practice of putting shoes out for gifts is still a custom in some of the countries which celebrate saint nicholas day.

i love to learn what or who saints are patron saints for - according to the saint nicholas center, saint nicholas is reputedly the patron saint of more causes than any other saint! the list includes more than 100 groups, including: children, sailors, thieves, pawnbrokers, bankers, archers, merchants, poor people, poets, and prostitutes (here's the skinny behind saint nicholas and prostitutes!)

one of today's photos may look familiar as i posted the top photo last year - months before starting tattoo tuesday - given that today is saint nicholas day, i thought it only fitting to repost the photo! the incredibly sexy santa is the beautiful delilah von dagger. delilah, which may or may not be her "real name" is part of the cleveland burlesque company. i also really like the second photo where the hello kitty tat is more visible.

bonnie raitt singing her classic song nick of time from an appearance she made in 1990 on the arsenio hall show

Monday, December 5, 2011


Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe their husband is about to return and need his shoes.
Joan Didion (b. 5 december 1934) writer
from the year of magical thinking

as i mentioned in my last post some of the aids memorial quilt panels are visiting cleveland - 128 panels to be exact - 64 panels are displayed at the cleveland institute of art and an equal number are displayed at metrohealth medical center.

on friday i headed over to cia - as expected i was touched and of course so, so saddened. i was so moved on friday that i decided to see the rest of the panels on sunday - i didn't want to wait until the closing reception on wednesday when the space would most likely be filled with people. there is something profoundly sacred about viewing the panels when there are few, if any others around.

below is a slideshow of my photos of the visiting panels:

for those who love factoids a few facts about the aids memorial quilt from a handout that i picked up. the handout was produced by the names project foundation. the quilt has been a ongoing visual tribute to those who died from aids since 1987. over 18 million people have visited the quilt and there are approximately 91,000 names on the quilt. the quilt weighs 54 tons and is 1,293,00 square feet. if one were to spend one minute with each panel, it would take 33 days to view the entire quilt.

a panel is 3 feet by 6 feet and there are eight panels that make up each block to form a 12 foot by 12 foot section. the quilt still receives, on a average, a new panel each day.

for more information on the aids memorial quilt including how to host a display in your community, visit the names project at

i'm thinking a good deal these days about loss and grief - which is not that unusual for this time of years. ironically the holiday season is one of those times when we are reminded, often painfully, of those who are no longer with us.

a few years ago i read birthday girl joan didion's memoir the year of magical thinking - the book is a poetic and moving account of the year following the sudden and unexpected death of her husband, fellow writer john gregory dunn. this year didion released another memoir, blue nights - two years after dunn's death, their only child died from the complications of the condition we read about in the year of magical thinking. although didion is an amazingly gifted and poetic writer, i don't know if i will read blue nights .....

grizabella singing memory from andrew lloyd webber's musical cats. the song never fails to bring this mouse to tears.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

what's going on

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.

Herman Melville (1819-1891) writer, teacher, sailor

today is world aids day - hopefully, a day of both reflection and action. although the situation has improved in some countries - in many parts of the world and among many marginalized groups, aids is still a death sentence and is still out of control. as a world community we have the knowledge to make great strides toward making hiv infection no longer be a death sentence, but the gap between knowledge and action is great. the gap can be reduced with vision, will and the proper and equitable distribution of resources. the situation can improve if everyone joins together to do something - and there is no action that is too small. even becoming to an educated and informed citizen is a form of action; so no need to feel helpless even if you are unable to contribute funds or your time to the cause, you can always contribute your mind!

if you are looking for connecting with others to help in the fight against aids, contact your local aids network or visit one of the world aids day websites - some include: the federal (us) aids site, the cdc world aids day site, and the uk world aids day home. the fight against aids needs to be waged each day - as i've been known to say about earth day, the same sentiment goes for world aids day - let's make every day world aids day.

tomorrow i plan to visit the panels of the aids memorial quilt which are visiting cleveland at the cleveland institute of art. next week i hope to check out the panels that are currently being assembled to honor and memorialize local individuals who have died of aids when they are to be shared at the closing reception for the visiting panels. visiting the quilt or seeing panels is always a very powerful experience. the first time i saw the quilt was in 1988 in washington d.c; i visited dc again in 1996 to see the entire quilt, which most likely was the last time the quilt was displayed in its entirety.

it is staggering to think of the number of aids deaths in the last 30 years according to avert, an international organization working to on behalf averting hiv/aids, nearly 30 million people have died worldwide due to aids related causes.

an all star tribute recording of the what's going on provides the soundtrack to an educational slide show on the world aids crisis.

the idea of world aids day reaches back to 1987 and who's global programme on aids based out of geneva switzerland. since 1995, the us government has issued an official proclamation. below is the text of president obama's proclamation for 2011:


On World AIDS Day, 30 years after the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported, we stand with the individuals and communities affected by HIV and recommit to progress toward an AIDS free generation.

My Administration is taking action to turn the corner on the HIV/AIDS pandemic by investing in research that promises new and proven methods to prevent infection and better therapies for people living with HIV. In the past year, the National Institutes of Health has reported important progress. We now know that treatment of HIV not only improves clinical outcomes, but can also dramatically reduce the risk of transmission. Studies on the use of antiretroviral medications to prevent infection of HIV negative individuals show promising results. And research is ongoing to devise new prevention methods that may one day offer innovative ways to prevent the spread of HIV, like microbicides that can curb the risk of infection in women. By pursuing the next breakthrough treatment in the fight against HIV, continuing research to develop a vaccine, and incorporating new scientific tools into our programs, we are taking important steps toward an AIDS free generation.

To combat the HIV epidemic in the United States, we are implementing the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in our country's history, which calls for strong, coordinated policy initiatives, enhanced HIV/AIDS education, collaboration across the Federal Government, and robust engagement with individuals, communities, and businesses across America. As part of these efforts, we are embracing the best science available to prevent new HIV infections, and we are testing new approaches to integrating housing, prevention, care, and substance abuse and mental health services related to HIV/AIDS. We are implementing the Affordable Care Act, which mandates new consumer protections and new options for purchasing health insurance for all Americans by 2014, including those with HIV. We are also striving to secure employment opportunities for people living with HIV by working to end discrimination based on HIV status.

To address the global HIV pandemic, we are working with nations around the world to advance comprehensive prevention efforts and provide lifesaving medicine to millions of people living with HIV. We are integrating cutting edge science into the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that will do even more to prevent new HIV infections, including more effective drug regimens to prevent mother to child HIV transmission and low cost approaches like voluntary medical male circumcision. When combined with other proven approaches, such as condoms, HIV testing and counseling, and programs to support behavior change, these advances can dramatically reduce HIV incidence and save lives. As we move forward, we will maintain our commitment to rigorously measuring the impact of these approaches, revising them appropriately, and incorporating new ideas and technologies as they become available.

Recognizing that a coordinated strategy is essential to our success, we are partnering with a wide variety of stakeholders to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment. Here at home, States, tribes, territories, and local governments are vital partners in implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and we are joined by a host of public and private supporters and collaborators in PEPFAR. Partnerships with corporations, foundations, faith-based institutions, academic institutions, and other organizations are critically important to the fight against HIV, and we will work to strengthen these ties in the years ahead.

At this pivotal time in the worldwide response to HIV, the United States is preparing to welcome the global community to Washington, D.C., for the 19th International AIDS Conference in July 2012. We look forward to working with and learning from people living with HIV, clinicians, researchers, practitioners, and advocates from across the globe. On this World AIDS Day, let us reflect on the people we have lost and those we hold dear who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. And as we pay tribute to the past and current heroes in the struggle against this disease, let us recommit to bringing an end to this tragic pandemic and pursuing an AIDS-free generation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim December 1, 2011, as World AIDS Day. I urge the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in appropriate activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support and comfort to those living with this disease.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

long may you run

All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.
Si'ahl, aka Chief Seattle (c. 1780 - 1866) leader of the Dkhw’Duw’Absh (Duwamish)

we are wrapping up the mouse's recognition of native american heritage month with a bit of wall art from the pacific northwest. this mural is found in bellingham, washington .

the mural depicts both the native people of the area and the non-native settlers and the close association humans have with the animals and of living with and off of the natural world.

when i visited bellingham this last year i learned that its nickname is the city of subdued excitement. i've made quite a few visits to b'ham over the years and i can attest to the fact that the town lives up to this moniker. i first visited in 1995 with my daughter when she was checking out potential schools- incidentally took a photo of this same mural during that visit. it seems as if the city is proud of the mural as it is well maintained.

gazing at this wall reminds me of annie dillard's remarkable 1992 novel the living. although i read the book fifteen years ago the book has stuck with me and remains one of my favorite novels. it is a powerful book about the people who settled in whatcom country (which includes bellingham) in the 19th century. the book primarily focuses on the white settlers but it also discussed life of the area's indigenous lummi indians. for those who enjoy a compelling read and being transported to a different time and place, i highly recommend the living.

neil young's 1974 song long may you run. the song appeared in 1976 on an collaborative album with the same title that was released by young and stills. the song was written by neil as an ode to a beloved car, i choose to redirect the message and say - long may the salmon run!!

photo: bellingham, washington, april 2010

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the word

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.

Robert Frost (1874 - 1963) poet

tattoo tuesday continues.

no time for me to put down many words but i didn't want to miss another tuesday without sharing some snaps of tats.

today's tats all feature words written on three women's arms . in the top pic the words are actually the sioux name that a friend of mine was given - i was told that the translation for kangi winyan is raven woman.

the second snap is aubrey's left arm - we saw the intricate and beautiful body art on aubrey's other arm a couple weeks ago - i also took a snap of this more simply adorned arm - the saying(s) are a tribute her dad - "you play" and "don't pre-worry" are a couple of his favorite expressions.

the third snap is of deb, another friend, no explanation needed!
toodles, my guests for movie night have arrived -- gotta run!!

beatles the word

Sunday, November 27, 2011

the way it will be

If every day is an awakening, you will never grow old. You will just keep growing.

Gail Sheehy (b. 27 november 1937) author & lecturer

who else is in shock that in just a few days it will be DECEMBER!

this november definitely broke some sort of time-speed record - however, it seems as if i've been saying that about most months these last few years - i've heard this is a sign of getting old - nothing wrong with getting old - especially as my grandpap used to say "when one considers the alternative!" in my book getting old is not the same as growing old, wouldn't you agree?

okay that's it for today, gotta run - today's big excitement is soon to come. ms t and i are heading out to see the muppets!

the way it will be by gillian welch and david rawlings - the song is on gillian's 2011 album the harrow and the harvest

photo: d's backyard buddha, virginia. november 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thank you

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.

Black Elk (1863- 1950) medicine man

wall wednesday continues.....

i thought it would be nice to use wall wednesday as an opportunity to get my happy thanksgiving message out to all the friends who drop by the mouse!

ah, i've been a lax blogger of late - sorry! no doubt my absence is more a sign of the current tempo of my life than anything else. but the tempo of my life reflects all that i have to be thankful for:

i am thankful for having a full life.
i am thankful for my family and friends.
i am thankful that i can make friends "family"

i am thankful for good health and a strong body.
i am thankful that every experience - happy, sad, joy, disappointment, pain, tranquility - has a lesson and a message that - if i pay attention - will enrich.

i am thankful for knowing that what is important in life is not riches but knowing that every experience can be enriching.

i am thankful that i am who i am
i am thankful that you are who you are.

i am thankful for every species on our beautiful blue marble.

i am thankful for all of the seasons.
i am thankful for cold, heat, rain, and snow.

i am thankful for the sun and the light.
i am thankful for the moon and the night.

i am thankful for all who came before who have made the world a better place.

i am thankful for all who struggle who are making the world a better place.

i am thankful for hope.
i am thankful for charity.
i am thankful for faith.
i am thankful for love.

dido performing her sweetly infectious song thank you - the song first appeared in the film sliding doors (a wonderful romantic dramedy with leads by gwyneth paltrow and john hannah - i was smitten with the film as it ran two stories in alternative realities - i just love musing about what ifs and alternative realities, don't you?) the song was released as a single in 2000 and then later it appeared on dido's debut album no angel.

photo: wall in albuquerque, october 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

cherokee nation

May the warm winds of Heaven blow softly on your home,
And the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows,
And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

Cherokee Blessing

nahm and wall wednesday return.

lament for a cherokee nation was written in the late 1950s by john d. loudermilk, and it is loudermilk's voice and version in the vid below.

although written by loudermilk the song was first released in 1959 by marvin rainwater under the title pale-faced indian, rainwater's version went virtually unnoticed. however, in 1968 don fardon covered the song under the title (the lament of the cherokee) indian reservation, and it became a hit. the popularity of fardon's cover is fairly ironic, given that marvin rainwater is actually part cherokee (25%), whereas, fardon is british born and breed. the version of the song that i remember best is the 1971 cover by paul revere and the raiders - the raiders version made it to the top of the pop charts peaking in july for a week as the number 1 song - according to the portal: "Indian Reservation" became Columbia's biggest-selling single for almost a decade, clearing over six million units.

photo: mural part of the 516 arts alley art mural project, albuquerque, new mexico. october 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

light as a feather

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874-1964) poet
The Road Not Taken

feathers are the common denominator for today's tattoo tuesday.

saturday's errands included a stop at visible voice books - a wonderful independent bookshop in cleveland. while checking out i was taken by the artful sleeve of aubrey who was working the shop that day. of course, i asked permission to take a snap and when she graciously gave permission to snap and share, i asked her the story behind the work.

aubrey says that the piece reflects her worldview and the inspiration for the artwork are the poems of robert frost. the feather on aubrey's arm is a feather pen - if you look closely and perhaps enlarge the photo on the right you may see the nib) i didn't probe her on the specific poems as we began discussing where she had the work done, how long it took and who did it. she had the work done while living and studying in san francisco, because it is so intricate the work took quite a few sessions and was done by a tattoo artist named barnaby.

below is another feather - mallory supplies the canvas for this colorful feather.

oh by the way, while at visible voice i picked up two woody guthrie books - a replacement copy for my lost 30 year old edition of woody's autobiography bound for glory and a gently used copy of pastures of plenty: the unpublished writings of woody guthrie (edited by dave marsh and harold leventhal). if you haven't noticed, there's a new addition on the mouse's sidebar - to celebrate the upcoming centennial of woody's birth in 2012, i have added a link to the guthrie foundation site which features a woody song a day!

norah jones performing light as a feather - norah and singer-songwriter ryan adams wrote the song together. the song appears on jones 4th studio album, the fall (2009).

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)minister & civil-rights leader

murmuration is a term for a flock of starlings. i never knew this until the other day when a friend posted an amazing video on facebook - i can't count how many times i've watched it - it is fascinating. the on-line magazine (or would that be an ezine?) wired has an interesting piece about the video and the phenomenon that liberty smith and sophie windsor clive found themselves witnessing.

i find the names for groups of birds most curious and wonderful - most of us know a group of crows is called a murder - but did you know that a group of cranes is called a sedge? so i guess the sculpture above is of a small sedge of cranes.

if you see geese on the ground they are called a gaggle of geese; but when they are flying overhead they are a skein of geese. owls must be the most political of bird species as group of owls is called a parliament of owls. i said fascinating stuff!

do you think the photo below is a sedge of cranes, a siege of herons, or a skein of geese....or something else?

james lipton's book an exaltation of larks (1993) is a delightful anthology of collective nouns for birds and other species - and a virtual goldmine for all us scrabble players and word lovers out here.

photo: top -sculpture entitled cloud chasers by o.k. harris, bottom - birds in flight. rio grande valley state park, albuquerque, new mexico, october 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

universal soldier

The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father,
They know not what they do."

The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.

Kurt Vonnegut (11 november 1922 - 2007)
above from A Man Without a Country

today is veterans day - just one more of the 365 days of the year to pray for peace.

buffy sainte-marie singing her classic anti-war anthem universal soldier. the song was released in 1964 on her debut album it's my way!

of the song buffy remarked:
"I wrote 'Universal Soldier' in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."

amen sister!

photo: roadside memorial, somewhere between durango colorado and santa fe, new mexico, 22 october 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

grey street

Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Anne Sexton (9 november 1928 - 1974)

this month the mouse will be celebrating native american heritage month on wednesdays with photos from our recent wander. all of the walls will in some way express native american culture or themes.

i was pleasantly surprised by the abundance of murals and vibrant and interesting street art we encountered in many of the communities we visited. some of the murals and street art were commissioned or 'authorized' - but there were also plenty of random acts of beauty, such as the interesting and intriguing piece shown above that we encountered in an alley in albuqerque.

in addition to contemporary wall art, we made a point to check out some really old wall art while visiting the ancient pubelo community at chaco cultural historical park. as we learned that the peñasco blanco trail was home to a relatively large concentration of chacoan and navajo petroglyphs, we made a point to hike it. there were some instances when the petroglyphs were easy to find, however, not always. below is a detail photo of what the sign shown above was pointing to - it was way up and i can only imagine the route taken to create it.

not all the rock engravings at chaco were ancient - we saw some instances of people making their mark in more recent times. 1905 can be considered recent when one realizes that the original petroglyphs were made a thousand years ago! fortunately, the number of modern additions aren't abundant and the park service which oversees this land has launched a concentrated effort to curtail additions by encouraging people to report signs of vandalism and leveling hefty fines.

dave matthews and tim reynolds performing grey street - according to the portal, matthews inspiration for the song was the life of poet anne sexton. although brilliant, sadly sexton had a long history of depression and mental illness - sexton killed herself a month before she was to turn 46. i am currently reading sexton's daughter linda's memoir searching for mercy street: my journey back to my mother, anne sexton (1994/2011). linda was twenty-one when her mother killed herself in 1974; linda's memoir is riveting and it was a very courageous book to write.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

full circle

Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other.
Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) author & human rights activist

today's tattoo tuesday body art feature two fellows (and i'm happy to say new friends) from my 'hood - nick (top) and dave. nick i met because of a cat and dave i met because of the beautiful portrait of mary that graces his arm.

story one - meeting nick. one day a few weeks ago i crossed the street purposely to meet nick; he was walking down the street holding the handsome orange cat you see in the snap. i was curious, one doesn't often see people taking cats for a walk. lately i've been thinking about training a new future cat and i've been fantasizing about how to go about training a young cat to be a therapy cat. i think it would be great to have a cat i could take around to nursing homes or special centers - but that's another story and no time to get into that here.

well it turns out that the cat wasn't nick's - he said he saw the cat as he was going down the street and noticed that it looked a bit forlorn and lost. he called to the cat, the cat came over, he picked the cat up and that's about when i wandered over to meet nick and the cat. he was trying to figure out what he should do - the cat was very friendly and obviously not a stray. we talked a while about nick's options and when i left nick and the cat, nick settled on a plan to walk down the street and go up to each house and ask if the cat lived there. if he couldn't find the house where the cat lived he was going to take the cat home and then move on to plan b. well, about five minutes later i was in front of my house and a car stopped in front of the house - it was nick. he told me that a couple minutes after i left him, he went up to a house and before he had a chance to talk, a man barked at him, "hey, what are you doing with my cat?" nick explained why he was holding the cat and that was that.

well this story has absolutely nothing to do with nick's tattoo - seeing nick's tattoo was an added bonus to meeting nick and the orange cat. when i was talking to nick i couldn't help but notice his wonderful, cheerful tattoo - of course, i asked if i could take a photo and share it and also asked if he designed it. nick was very gracious and told me yes, i could take a photo and share it, but, no he didn't design the tattoo. the design comes from the artist yann black - i can't recall now the back story to the piece, but recall something about the circle of life and nature and so on and so forth. nick, if you see this help me out!

turns out yann black is a name in the world of body art - from googling yann black i learned yann is a montreal-based artist who specializes in whimsical, fanciful, scribbly tattoos (see here and here )

story two - meeting library dave. the other day while walking by the library, i happened to see dave with a couple other fellows who work at the library. i shouted out a hi to one of the guys who is a friend and gave a nod to dave and the other guy. i was instantly struck by dave's amazing tattoo of the virgin mary and asked him about it. he said when he lived out west he was impressed with many of the religious tattoos he saw there and decided that he really would like one - hence mary. there is name under the image, the name is of his young daughter who is the apple of his eye and delight of his life - so library dave's tat is a celebration of life tat! i like that!

full circle by dan fogelberg (just a song that's been running through my head today)

Monday, November 7, 2011

living in the past

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.

James Thurber (1894-1961) author & cartoonist

i seem to be having a difficult time getting into the groove of regular posting on the mouse and have fallen dreadfully behind keeping up with the goings-on in the bloggyhood. no doubt this is a combination of post-vacation syndrome, playing catch-up, and enjoying a spell of some mighty fine autumn weather.

i'm happy to report that i've gone through my vacation snaps and created several sets of albums on flickr. this may be the first time i've ever created more than a single set of photos from a wander! i linked the first two of these sets (monument valley and zion national park) the first week i was back....

here on the mouse, i've have to move on from my vacation mind and start being in the present - ha ha! however, if anyone is interested in photos from chaco culture national historical park, hovenweep national monument, or looking at random (and hopefully interesting) snaps from albuquerque or santa fe the pics are up but you are on your own. i just hope you enjoy the armchair travel should you click and go.

jethro tull's living in the past (1969)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

gracias a la vida

Someday I'll be a weather-beaten skull resting on a grass pillow,
Serenaded by a stray bird or two.
Kings and commoners end up the same,
No more enduring than last night's dream.
Ryōkan Taigu (1758–1831) buddhist monk & poet

tattoo tuesday continues. today is november 1st which is celebrated in many places as all saints day. in mexico november 1st is also the first day of the dia de los murertos (the day of the dead) festival.

today's tattoos are among some i captured from a few of the folks i met on my recent wander and coincidentally feature a couple tattoos of skeletons in mexican costume - images often associated with the dia de los murertos. day of the dead traditions include constructing altars at the graves of deceased loved ones and leaving offerings of favorite foods, gifts, flowers - primarily marigolds, and fanciful decorated sugar skulls.

the first photo is of a fellow i met at monument valley - he was taking a photo of his wife in front one of the incredible rock formations which make up the park. i wandered over to ask if they'd like me to use their camera to take a photo of the two of them - of course they did. (i confess, one of my guilty pleasures is to ask strangers if i can use their camera to take a snap of them with whoever they are with)

as i took their photo i couldn't help but notice the wonderful tattoo and most graciously the fellow's whose name i forgot (sorry) allowed me to take a snap of and share it here on the mouse. after leaving monument valley they were heading to mexican hat - in honor of his tattoo, no doubt. coincidentally, after leaving monument valley, f and i also headed to mexican hat on our way to our next destination on our sw wander, cortez, colorado - but alas we didn't see the couple when we stopped at mexican hat an hour of so later.

the photo above and below show some of the body art which adorns the body of nikki - one of the wonderful staff from epazote, an incredible restaurant in santa fe we dined at near the end of our vacation. although the third photo doesn't offer a day of the dead image, it does capture the vivaciousness and beauty of nikki - along with a bit of the restaurant's gorgeous decor. the decor, wonderful as it was, was drab in comparison to the dishes that chef fernando olea dreamed up. when food is really good there's an expression that it is to die for, well, in my book chef olea's food is food to live for!!

mouse readers know how fond i am of festivals. in cleveland one of my favorite is our dia de los murertos celebration. this is the seventh year cleveland has held this community celebration. below is a slide show of some of the action from this year (52 photos - remember
if you wish you can enlarge the slide show, after hitting play click on arrow icon in the lower right corner of the screen)

joan baez and mercedes sosa performing gracias a la vida in 1988- the song was written by artist and ethnomusicologist violeta parra, who helped launch the nueva canción (new song) movement in chile.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

runnin' down a dream

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
John Muir (1838 -1914) naturalist, author, and wilderness activist

for anyone interested in a bit of armchair travel to the beautiful american southwest, today are the first two slide shows from my recent wander.

the first set of photos (31 snaps) are from zion national park - we visited zion exactly a week ago. at zion we drove to the park from kanab, utah (which was our 'home' for a couple days after leaving albuquerque). once we got to zion, we parked our car and utilized the park's shuttle system. during busy months the majority of the park is only accessible via the park's shuttle system. apparently these shuttles run in a few other of the country's popular national parks during tourist season - i think they are great - the manifest goal, of course, is to reduce traffic congestion and pollution; but i noticed the shuttle had a latent benefit by bringing people together the shuttle created a little temporary quasi-community. at zion shuttles ran every 15 minutes and go between many of the trailheads and other points of interest, visitors can jump on and off as many times as their little hearts desire.

zion was great - we hiked for several hours on a few of the parks many trails. even though it was a weekday and getting on in october there were plenty of people about - some groups, both school kids and adult tours, but also plenty of folks just on vacation like f and i. there were also along the narrows trail lots of very gregarious rock squirrels!

if you wish you can enlarge the slide shows, after hitting play and getting show to start click on arrow icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

the day after visiting zion we hit the road and traveled out of utah, into arizona and then back into utah.

after a couple stops and 225 miles east we ended up at monument valley tribal park.

the second show (18 photos) is from a drive we took through monument valley. the photo on the right is of me before we started off on the drive - you can see the park's famous two 'mittens' in the background. this photo isn't included in the slide show as it was taken with my cellphone! i can't believe how good it turned out - geez, who needs a big ol' camera when one can snap a photo as good as this with an itty bitty smart phone!

monument valley lies within the navajo nation reservation, the navajo name for the area is tsé biiʼ ndzisgaii, which means valley of the rocks. the area is designated as a navajo tribal park which is the navajo nation equivalent of a national park. one can either view monument valley from the highway (rt. 163) for free or pay a small fee (i'm pretty sure it was $10 for the two of us) in order to drive through the area. we elected to do the latter - and it was good thing i planned ahead and rented a high clearance vehicle, the dirt road through the park was very rough; if one wasn't careful one could do significant damage driving a regular car on the dirt road (it would be criminal to put a paved road through the park, so dirt road it ought to be!) there were other options to get up close and personal to the huge sandstone masterpieces - one could opt for a vehicular guided tour (we saw plenty of these going through - basically they were conducted with those safari type vehicles) or one could take a horse-riding tour - that could be fun if i wasn't terrified of getting thrown off a horse (despite my fondness for animals, i don't seem to have an affinity for horseback riding). i understand there are aerial tours (plane or hot-air balloon) but we didn't see any of those the afternoon we visited. for information on the park, visit the park's website.

after visiting monument valley we traveled north and east to cortez, colorado. on the way to cortez we passed through the small town of mexican hat, utah - named undoubtedly after the unique sombrero shaped rock nearby.

large photos not in slide show: top - maple leaves at zion national park, 20 october; middle photo- roadside view a few miles south of the entrance to monument valley tribal park; bottom photo - the curious mexican hat rock, 21 october, 2011

tom petty's perfect road trip song runnin' down a dream - the song was released in 1989 on petty's first solo album full moon fever. runnin' down a dream is also the title of a 2007 documentary that peter bogdanovich did on tom petty and the heartbreakers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

yah ta hey!

With Beauty before me, may I walk.
With Beauty behind me, may I walk.
With Beauty above me, may I walk.
Wish beauty below me, may I walk.
With Beauty all around me, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in Beauty.
Navaho prayer

mouse medicine returns and wall wednesday resumes...

reentry is underway -- who knows how long it will take before i get back into any kind of groove! it is astounding how things pile up when one is away. oh well, each thing in its own time.

f and i had a wonderful vacation to the american southwest. we started in albuquerque, after getting our vacation legs we hit the road in our rented jeep on a most spectacular wander. we spent time in new mexico, arizona, utah, and colorado - essentially making a big circle - as we ended up the night before we flew home back in albuqerque. i can't believe how much we packed in in just nine day: we hiked national and tribal parks and monuments, explored museums, visited friends, ate some incredible food, and met and spoke with all sorts of interesting folks.

and yes, i was a snapping fool - given that i use a digital camera, it's difficult to say exactly how many photos i took since i delete the obvious rejects at the end of each day. even with that practice i downloaded nearly 850 photos yesterday. now i need to take some time to organize them - my goal is to put together a flickr set for each place we visited. when i get the albums together, i'll give a shout out, just in case anyone is interested in a bit of armchair travel to chaco canyon, zion national park, monument valley, hovenweep national monument , and the interesting miscellany in-between. hopefully, my photos will stimulate a little wanderlust and maybe others will wish to make a pilgrimage to some of these these incredible places.

both of today's walls are from the same building which was close to the hotel we stayed at in albuquerque. this building is located on the corner of 8th street and central avenue. by the way, if you do get to albuquerque and need a place to stay, i heartily recommend the hotel blue - it is located in downtown albuquerque; it is reasonably priced, is clean with comfy beds, offers a nice complementary breakfast with decent coffee (decent hotel/motel coffee is very hard to come across in my experience!) and has a friendly and helpful staff.

yah ta hey is a navajo greeting - similar to aloha it can mean hello or goodbye. on our way to window rock, arizona, which incidently is the government seat for the the navajo nation, we drove through a small community named yah-ta-hey - the photo below is of a smoke shop along rt. 264 which shares its name with the community.

r. carlos nakai and his song kokopeli wind from his 1989 album canyon trilogy. nakai is a native american flautist of navajo-ute heritage. nakai does tour, click on the link above to his website if interested in experiencing his music live - for instance, this coming weekend he will be performing in philadelphia!

Friday, October 14, 2011

z is for zinnia

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.

Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) cartoonist & humorist

zinnias are such a happy flower!

i'm not the only one smitten with zinnias, vincent painted quite a few still lives featuring zinnias back in the day. below is just one of van gogh's zinnia paintings this still life: vase with zinnias was painted in 1888 in arles and is now in switzerland.

more zinnias and more zinnias by vincent

my goal was to put the alphabet to rest before i zoom off. it's nice to make a goal - especially considering that this week has been absolutely crazy

i look forward to visiting a few z places - the zion national park and the pueblo of zuni to name a couple.

z is also for zzzzzz

a snoozing bingo and a new (snoozing) pup in the hood!

see you later alligator!

zz top new song flying high (2011)