How to Write a Musical

As a composer I was trained in Classical music. What does that mean? Form, counterpoint, strict harmony and rules, rules, rules. Because I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive and somewhat tight-assed about order and organization, I took to it like nobody's business. It was like being an architect, building from the foundation up and being careful to install the plumbing in a way that made sense while creating something of beauty. No one wants to see the plumbing, one only wants it to work.

Now that I'm working on a musical, I'm having to drop a lot of my training and it isn't easy. You see, my education succeeded in inserting a very large cork up my creative backside and I'm having to work very hard at dislodging it. I keep telling myself, "Be huge! Be bigger than life! Go over the top!" and other such things. What works in the concert hall will not work on the stage.

Traditionally, women composers (I can't believe we still say this; do we still say women doctors or women lawyers?) have been taught to lay low, to write "feminine" music, music that is not bombastic, bold, or in any way sounds like the music that men compose. It has gotten better, of course, but the attitude can still be felt; a lot of people think that women composers are messing around with something that belongs to men and that it's, well, just not as good or as interesting. The thing is, there have always been women who compose music. From Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th century to modern composers like Vivian Kubrick, we have been around, holding our own in a male dominated field, working twice as hard to receive half as much recognition. 
Music composition is one of the last bastions of male supremacy. Think about it. When was the last time you saw one of those little white composer busts that was of a woman? I only bring this up to illustrate how easy it was for me to sit quietly at my piano writing "polite" music. Now, however, I am being forced to shed my proverbial cocoon and come out dancing with top hat and cane, with huge gestures and a belting voice. It's a lot of fun. No wonder men have been doing this for so long. This having fun concept is proving to be the most important lesson I'm learning, in fact. What? Composition can be fun? It has always been rewarding for me, even addictive, but fun? Ummm...

As I'm writing this musical, I'm pulling all the stops as it were and rising above my training and education. I'm turning off my mentor's voice and going for the laughs and the applause. Opera is about bowing to the altar of music, while the musical is about bending it into all kinds of absurd shapes and having fun. Composing opera is all about beauty and tradition, about the music; composing a musical is all about entertainment and the audience.


Thanksgiving at Bookends Cottage

Nathan (who will be going to Le Cordon Bleu
next year) lends his hand at making pie crusts.

Lauren and Yours Truly doing what we do.


Gobble, gobble...

Till we wobble, wobble.

Raising Thanksgiving Consciousness

My predilection for living in all tenses, past, present, and future, comes from my dad. People in our family (especially my mother, who didn't understand him at all) thought that he lived in the past, but as I get older--and more like him--I know that this was a false notion.

Holidays like this one send my mind racing back to past Thanksgivings when I was a kid. I remember how much Dad loved the day and how Grandmother always made him his own chocolate cream pie because he didn't like pumpkin. I remember how nostalgic Dad was and I recognized the look he always got on his face when he thought no one was looking. He was looking back to his own childhood, as well as to future Thanksgivings when he would be gone. At the same time, he was completely enjoying the present as well.

I find myself doing this now that I've scaled the "over 50" fence. As I think back on those days at either Grandmother's house or my Aunt Pat and Uncle Don's, I can't help but wonder what our family will become when Nettl and I are gone. Will they get together around the the table, remembering our Thanksgivings as a family? Will they talk about Nettl's apple pies and my jokes that always make Heather nearly spew? Will one of them live in the Thanksgiving time warp that has been passed down?

I've never understood families that get together on these special days just to fuss and fight, and wait impatiently for it to be over. Nothing lasts forever, and one day we may be all alone, looking back on our past holidays. None of us know where we will be then: palace or alley, surrounded by family or in a nursing home with no family left. How do we wish to remember our Thanksgivings? Would we prefer to remember fighting, or savoring it for the blessing that it is?

We will be there one day: our kids will be middle-aged and new generations will take the center of the family stage. If we can remember to exercise a little past-present-future consciousness, we can make memories that will comfort us when we're old.

May you and your family make pleasant memories today that will be remembered with love.


The Blessing of a Blended Family

Once a year I feel totally justified in waxing sentimental. When I was younger I was part of a large extended family, and Thanksgiving was spent in much the same way that other Americans spent theirs: kids running around, moms, aunts and grandmoms in the kitchen cooking (and nipping on wine), dads, uncles and granddads playing cards, working on cars, BSing (and drinking beer). All that ended for me in 1974 when my grandmother died and our family began to slowly disintegrate. Finally, by 1993 it was all over with my dad's death, and between then and 2000 I don't even remember Thanksgiving without not-so-vague feelings of being a kind of orphan.

When, in 2000 Nettl and I joined our lives and our immediate families, I was given the greatest gift I've ever received: five kids (she has three and I have two). They're all grown now, ranging from 17 to 39. I cannot imagine where I'd be without my family, and when I try to, I cannot imagine being even remotely happy. Tomorrow, we'll all be together, the seven of us, and we'll be doing what many other American families will be doing: cooking, talking, making music, laughing, and eating. I'm relishing every minute; who knows when this will happen again? Soon enough it will be partners and children, and over-crowded schedules.

This year I'm thankful for my family and the way we enjoy each other, and pull together. I'm also thankful for the generosity of friends, who allow me the blessing of relaxing and enjoying the day without worries of where the food will come from. Bless you.

And bless all of you. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

"I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich."

"A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men,
women, an occasional animal, and the common cold."

Ogden Nash (Hope you feel better soon, Nathan)

"And thank you for a house full of people I love."
Ward Elliot Hour

Addios Firefox!

After three months of constant Firefox 3.5.5 issues, I've said good-bye. Sad, too, because I was a die hard fan for so long.

Tonight, as I was doing some stuff online, all of the page graphics and images just disappeared. Kaput! No matter what I tried, nothing brought the pages back around to looking right. I went over to Internet Explorer, but IE8 doesn't show videos. They say it's an issue. Duh! Finally, I downloaded Chrome, but the jury is still out on whether I'll keep it or not, or if my Vista can even handle it.

Now, Blogger has this new image uploader that doesn't align the text  around an image correctly. If I backspace to get rid of the extra line, it deletes the image. To make it work, I have to go in and play with the code, and that's a pain.

I'll say one thing for Chrome: it's fast!


Willow's Soft Ginger Cookies Are the Best!

If you don't believe me, visit Willow's blog for the recipe, and try them yourself. They are, as Micah said, "Evilicious". These are the BEST ginger cookies I've ever eaten. Perfect for the holidays!

Photo by Willow.

Morning From the Other Side

Unable to keep my eyes open, I went to bed last night before 10:00. Usually, if I'm seeing six in the morning, it's because I'm still up, but today I awoke ready to get going on the day. The kids are coming home tomorrow after all, and I have a lot to do.

So here I am, sitting in bed, talking to Nettl who's getting ready for work and complaining at the cat. God, the cat... She was such a pain yesterday; hope she's in a better humor today. Having a two year-old in the house is easier than she is. My entire day is spent being her personal valet.


Crack Up-a-Doodle-Do!

I don't remember how it started, or what I was looking for, but around 2:00 this morning, after writing a little on my book, I came across a video on YouTube of the Steve Allen Show. It was taped, I'd guess, around 1968. The video was of Foster Brooks. What was funny was that the panel of guests didn't know who he was or that his drunk schtick was just that. I was laughing so hard, I was afraid I was going to wake Nettl. You can see it here. Pay special attention to the expression on the face of the woman next to him. Priceless...


The Online Sad Sack Parade

Lately, it seems I've met up with a number of people who can't, or won't, pick themselves up and improve their situations. I'm not talking about people with physical issues or actual depression (I've battled both of those over the last decade), I'm talking about lazy-assed sad sacks, like our friend here, Eeyore...


Show Off Your Firefoxiness

But first, have you noticed that since their latest update, Firefox 3 isn't crashing anymore? Between my Vista (Windows Titanic) issues and the issues with Firefox, I was ready to get another browser, something I thought I'd never, ever do. You might already know about the Firefox Skins plugin, but I discovered it only about a week ago. Click the screenshot and take a look at the sun/moon thingy in the upper right hand corner. That's just one skin that you can download for free. I'm not plugging Firefox Skins, I'm just sharing something that I thought was fun.

Well, last night's NaDruBloMo was a complete success. It must have been, because I got the day wrong, not only in my introductory sentence, but in the title as well! Bravo! The only bad thing about it is that I awoke this morning, not with a hangover, but with this going through my head. Arg!

Well, back to writing.


NaDruBloMo Monday

(Okay, so it's technically Tuesday, but when I started drinking it was Monday, so bite me.)

My son bought me some wine tonight (isn't getting older wonderful!?) and I'm finally able to write my NaDruBloMo entry. Whew! I was worried that our current financial problems would keep me from taking part! It's not like me to miss something like this, but being broke is a bitch. As much as I like my wine, it's a non-issue when family need is an issue. (So bite me Wim, Suzi, and all of you who like to gossip about what an alcoholic I am. Plegh! My family will never do without because I like to imbibe in a legal substance once in a while. Besides, you're from Amsterdam and Germany... Like your countries aren't famous for drinking!)


Da Rulz
Please note that the rules that accompany the NaDruBloMo celebration is that you cannot go back and correct your bad handwroter... or compuwroter, or something like that. Therefore, I will not be backspacing over my words to make them perfect for you. Wait.There are norules like that. I just imposed them on myself. What a ass!

In the Cool Beans Category
Nettl got her book in the mail today! You can imagine how jealous I am. I've been trying to get Night Music published for, well, a lot of years (14, but who's counting...). Now, comes along and the love of my like has a book! But I designed the cover, added some content, and did a lot of editing, so good for me too! Tis is like a well-needed cattle prod, to tell the truth, and I'm now working extra-hard to get With A Bullet written and published so that I can have it on my nighttable like she has hers. (See how the soulmate thing works? Sandpaper, baby, gimme some sandpaper!) CongratswNettl! You've worked really, really hard for this and you deserve everything good! You've been an inspiration to me and I love you! And that's not drunken BS.

The Mundane & the (ahem) Sacred
Tonight I spent 1.5 hours in our freestanding antique tub, and it was wunderbar! I lit some candles, put on some music, made a carafe of wine available, and got lost. Ourtub stabnds in a huge bank of windows, and as I looked out at the black tree limbs against the cloudy sky, Istarted thinking about cliches. Well, not any cliche,buttheone aqbout how writers paint with words. I never took that very seriously befrore, but tonight I really experienced it. I looked outat the scene, and instead of seeing shades ofgrey, brish strokes, and all that, words came to me:

The mist hung in the air, clinging to the barren trees like a shroud.

I could never apint that, but I can write it, and let's face it, writing oit takes a lot less time! (And it's free--no pigments, canvases or brushes. Nowonder painters can't afford to drink and are always bumming wine off of writers!)

Sorry about my spacebar issues. A couple of months ago I cleaned my keyboard and a little flibbertygibbit under the space bar broke off. Usually, I futz with it si that you don;t know, but hell, it NaDruBloMo for me tonoght, so sod it.

Did I eveer tell you what a fan Iam of long,of soaks in a tub? Ilike bubbles and candles and all that. Givde me bubbles, baby!

Issues, reprise
It just occurred to me that te younger geberation are not bad spellers... they simply have broken space bars.

Did I ever tell you about the time I met Jimi Hendrix? Yeah, I did. Did I ever tell you about the time I slept with Paul McCartney? No, because I didn't. Jesus, there's a whole universe between those two... Let me tell you about the time... well, no.

Good night!

What The Hell Is That!?

If you remember, I posted an entry a while ago that had a picture of something I couldn't explain. Here, for your amusement and conjecture, is another. Click to embiggiate.

The Road to Success

I've suddenly been hit over the head by my muse, who is demanding that I work not only on my book, but on my musical as well. This has caused a path to be worn in the carpet between where I sit in the living room and the piano in the dining room. It also means that while certain parts of my brain are shouting dialogue and turns of phrase at me, other parts are singing numbers like, "When My Pussy Comes Home", one of Mrs. Slocombe's numbers.


Meantime, enjoy this allegorical map called, "The Road To Success" (it inhugifies if you click it).


Accepting Love

Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation or experience, I try to ask myself, “What is it about love that I’m not learning?” Sometimes the answer is a bit convoluted and I have to dig around a bit to find it and sometimes it’s looking me in the face.

It’s my belief that all we’re really here for is to learn love. The Beatles were right when they sang, “All You Need Is Love” because if you boil everything down—the so-called good and bad lessons—it’s only about love: love for others and love for ourselves. Love covers a multitude of sins and I know from my own experiences that when I apply the love lesson to any given situation, I’m prompted to act from the best part of myself rather than ego or fear. I’m no saint, so it’s not always easy. It’s never easy, in fact, because it’s so easy to act from fear.

We’ve been going through a financial crisis for so long now that I’ve almost come to accept it as our lot in life. Almost. Right behind that defeatist attitude, however, lies the knowledge that it’s only a test, a test that I intend to pass though. When someone offers help, my first reaction is to feel small and embarrassed—a failure—but when I ask myself, “What is it about love that I’m not learning?”, I know that I’m supposed to learn to accept love, to turn off the negative voices and allow people the joy they receive from their selfless actions.

By accepting assistance from others I not only allow them the blessing that giving bestows, I also keep the flow moving so that when it’s my turn I’ll have what it requires to help others. It’s a continuum of energy that sets us up for an ever-expanding dance of giving and receiving. That’s what the adage, “Tis more blessed to give than to receive” means. And isn’t that what life is about anyway? All creatures on this planet benefit from working together for the good of all—it’s only human beings that have distorted that into the I, Me, Mine mentality that plagues and poisons our society; it comes from fear and is the opposite of love.

For those of us who believe in reincarnation and remember our past lives, the lesson is even more wide-spread because we are able to look into the relationships that have traveled with us in and out of lifetimes, find the karmic issues, resolve them, and move on. Perhaps we helped others in a past life and we are only just now receiving the energy, like ripples on a lake caused by a toss of the proverbial pebble, or maybe we’ve been wealthy in a past life and need to learn important lessons about pride. In this light it’s easy to understand how important giving and receiving is to our soul’s evolution.

How can we ever expect to be in a position to help others when we cannot receive or accept help ourselves? Today, accept not only the love that your friends send, send that love to them in return by not stopping the flow that they’ve set up and when you are able, pass that love on to the next person in need.

Sunday Pate

My new book, With A Bullet, is a story set in London in the 1970s. It's about four people in the world of popular music who are dealing with their individual issues, some having to do with acquiring fame and fortune and some with living with it.

The title comes from Billboard's Top 100 jargon. When a record goes "Number 40 with a bullet", for example, it means that it shot up out of nowhere and is predicted to go straight to the Top 10...

I actually wrote this book many years ago, but it was pretty godawful. The manuscript was one thing that I was glad went in The Great Dump of 2001. A few months ago the story started haunting me and I knew that I could rewrite it into something worth reading. The characters are so firmly etched upon my life that my brain actually missed them (see this entry, The House I Never Lived In, for an explanation). The book is no longer self-indulgently autobiographical; the characters have evolved their own identities quite apart from those they previously had. I've grown up, it seems, and I can create characters that have little to do with me. That's the gift that years of experience gives us writers.


World Beat Music

I'm not writing tonight. In fact, I'm going to go to bed as soon as this entry is posted. I wrote all afternoon and now I'm just plain old tired.

Meantime, enjoy this composition by James Plakovic, who is known for what he calls his "two dimensional sculptures of playable music". I'm not sure when this piece was composed, but the entire composition is scored for 37 instruments and contains a total of 32 measures. The total playing time is approximately 40 seconds. The link below will take you to a midi version of it. You can hear the fully orchestrated version on his website, but I couldn't get the sound clips to work. This piece, which is titled, World Beat Music, doesn't sound as unpleasant as I thought it was going to. Click the image to enlarge it, and Listen to it here.

See and hear more of Plakovic's music here.



I'm having a hard time tonight knowing where to take my story. There are a number of frustrating issues with my new book, you see, not the least of which is the fact that this was something I wrote way back when. I mean wa-a-ay back. The only good thing about it was the characters, so I've resurrected them. The story had potential, but it needed a lot of surgery. I'm working all that out as well, and I'm liking the results. The story hasn't changed all that much, but it has matured; I've added some twists that I wasn't able to invent when I was younger. I think it's going to be good...


I Always Miss the Fun News

On January 10, 1992, twelve 40-foot containers holding 28,000 plastic bath toys were washed overboard off a cargo ship into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and broke open. The floating toys, which were on their way from Hong Kong to Tacoma, Washington, included yellow duckies, blue turtles, red beavers, and green frogs that have since been caught up in the world’s ocean currents and continue turning up on the most improbable shores. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, saw from the beginning how valuable the toys could be in tracing ocean currents, and correctly predicted their trip through the Northwest Passage.

The Friendly Floatees, as they became known, made their first landfall in mid-November of 1993, when the counter-clockwise Subpolar Gyre started dumping the toys on Alaskan shores. It took the ducks about three years to drift full circle on the Gyre. They turned up all over the Pacific: Japan, Hawaii, North America, and Australia.

As Ebbesmeyer predicted, some of the toys escaped the Gyre to flow North through the Bering Strait into the Arctic. Between 1995 and 2000 they slowly drifted eastward, frozen in the arctic ice, at a rate of 1 mile per day. Since 2000, the ducks started reaching the North Atlantic, being sighted from the shores of Maine to Massachusetts. In 2001, the Floatees reached the site where the Titanic sank. In 2003, the plastic toys reached the shores of the Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland.

If you spot one of these plastic toys on a beach--its colors probably faded, with the imprint "The Early Years" on it--then you’ve found one member of the rubber armada that set sail 17 years ago. At some point, the scientific team that tracked their progress offered $100 apiece for the toys, provided you could tell them when and where you’d found them. The offer was valid only from July through to December 2003, and only for Friendly Floatees found in New England, Canada, or Iceland. However, Friendly Floatees have become so famous that they can fetch up to $1,000 at auction.

Hat tip to Strange Maps and Wikipedia.


What's in a Name?

Life could have been so much easier for me if my parents had either

1) given me a name they intended to call me, or
2) called me by the name they actually gave me. My name has been a big frickin' deal my entire life.

I was christened Sheila Kathryn, but did they call me Sheila? No. When I was a baby, it was Sheila Kay, but all I remember is Kathy. At the age of 9 this was changed to Kaye, and until their deaths, my mom still called me Kathy while my dad called me Kaye. I preferred Kaye, and used it until 1999, when my pen name, Steph, took over by the use of online friends who never knew Kaye. But even that began as a masculine pen name, Stephan Karl, which is what my parents had planned to name me, until I emerged from the nom de plume closet and my gender was plain for all to see. Still, all through my school years, the kids called me Kaye while the teachers called me Sheila, which, for some reason, gave the kids reason to make fun of me. WTF...

"Who Am I?" #6

We are brother and sister though a lot of people wouldn't expect it. We have spent our lives in movies, but we've always worked separately. We've each won Academy Awards and we are known for being eccentric.

Who are we?


Happy Birthday Spotlight: My Son, Micah

I thought that for Micah's birthday today, I'd share with you some things that people have said about him. Micah is a brilliant, innovative musician, composer, producer, artist, craftsman -- need I go on? Let's make it simple. He's a true Renaissance Man in every sense of the word. Genius is a word that I don't use much because it's as overused as the standing ovation (also something I don't do unless I really feel the performer deserves it. Nowadays, everyone gets a standing ovation, rendering the gesture meaningless. But I'm rambling...). Micah is a genius, and I'd say that even if he wasn't my son. He masters everything that he sets himself to and he's a deeply spiritual man, fun-loving with a playfully self-deprecating sense of humor. But this is what I say. Here's what other people say...


A Little of This, a Lot of That and Maybe Too Much of T'other

Man, am I glad that project's in the can! After months of helping Nettl by editing, formatting, and designing the cover as well as the promotional website, her book is finally published and up for sale. We've invested a lot of ourselves in this book, and I think it's worth it. It's titled, So Faithful A Heart - The Love Story of Nancy Storace and Wolfgang Mozart, and is an historical fiction. Check it out!...


Armchair Circumnavigator: Sable Island

43°57'0"N, 59°54'57"W
(Click images to enlarge)

Sable Island is a narrow crescent-shaped sandbar located about 15.5 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. It is approximately 16 miles long and less than a mile across at its widest point. Because it's basically a sand bar, its shape and size have shifted dramatically throughout its recorded history. It emerges from shoals and shallows on the continental shelf which, in tandem with the area's frequent fog and sudden strong storms--including hurricanes and "nor'easters"--have caused over 350 recorded shipwrecks. It is often referred to as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic". The nearest landfall is 100 miles to the northwest near Canso, Nova Scotia.

Since the time of the earliest European visitors to Nova Scotia, Sable Island has been the bane and saviour of sailors. Many of the sailors wrecked on the island's shoals survived by swimming or floating to shore to wait for rescue. The Sable Island Rescue Service existed for many years to help sailors caught in the treacherous waters.

The first recorded shipwreck off the Island occurred during a voyage in 1583 by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, whose expedition lost a ship and many lives when poor planning and lack of patience brought a small fleet to the island at night. This was to be repeated time and time again throughout history as sailors and ships ended their days on the sands and rocks around the island. (See shipwreck map.)

The island is home to 5 people--4 Environment Canada Station personnel and one resident researcher--but in the summer, seasonal contractors, research scientists, photographers, etc. come to the island. It is protected under the Canada Shipping Act, which means that permission must be obtained from the Canadian Coast Guard to visit the island.

Sable Island was named after its sand (Sable is French for "sand"). It is covered with grass and other low-growing vegetation. In 1901 the federal government planted over 80,000 trees on the island in an attempt to stabilize the soil; all died. Sable Island is believed to have formed from large quantities of sand and gravel deposited on the continental shelf near the end of the last ice age. The island is continually changing its shape with the effects of strong winds and violent ocean storms. It has several freshwater ponds on the south side between the station and west light, and a brackish lake (Lake Wallace) near its center. There are frequent heavy fogs in the area due to the contrasting effects of the cold Labrador Current and the warm Gulf Stream. During winter months, the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream can sometimes give Sable Island the warmest temperatures in Canada.

The island is home to over 300 free-roaming feral horses, protected by law from human interference. They are descended from horses confiscated from Acadians during the Great Expulsion in 1755 and left on the island by Thomas Hancock, Boston merchant and uncle of John Hancock. In the past, excess horses have been rounded up and shipped off the island for use in coal mines on Cape Breton Island, or to be sold, but the Government gave full protection to the horse population in 1960 and they have been left alone ever since. No human is allowed to interfere with any of the island's wildlife because it is a wildlife preserve and is protected by the Canadian government.

A life-saving station was established on Sable Island in 1801, and its crew became the first permanent inhabitants of the island. Two lighthouses, one on the eastern tip and one on the western tip were built in 1872. Until the advent of modern ship navigation, Sable Island's two light stations were home to permanent lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as the crew members of the life-saving station. In the early 20th century, the Marconi Company established a radio station on the island and the Canadian government similarly established a weather station.


The November of My Life

The other night as I sat here writing, I looked down at my hands and noticed that they've suddenly aged. I held them up and really looked at them, recognizing how much they look like my mother's hands. I've also noticed lately that my hair isn't as thick as it used to be and that I have a pad of extra skin on my jawline between my chin and the curve that leads up to the ear. My cheeks aren't as plump and my eyes seriously need to have some skin removed (the lids have gotten far too heavy, which makes them feel tired all of the time). I'm not into cosmetic surgery, but if I could, I'd have my jaw and eyes done a littlenot much thoughjust enough to get rid of the tired look I've acquired...

Chong and L'il Cheech

When I left Ventura to return to Denver in 1999, I had to leave (among many precious personal belongings) all of my house plants. I love houseplants and I have two green thumbs; friends bring me their sick plants and I'm almost always able to revive them. Maybe it's the Hobbit in me, I don't know.

Anyway, while in Denver for those short seven months, I bought a Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) in a 4" plastic pot. You know, the little plants at Walmart that cost, like, $1.49. When I moved to Stillwater in August of 2000, I brought it with me. A few months later, when Nettl's mother died, her dad gave me all of her plants. One of them was a tiny Dragon Tree, not taller than 4 or 5 inches. I immediately moved it in with my other Dragon Tree, which by then had grown to be about a foot tall. They were happy together for about five years and, because one was tall and the other short, and they looked like they had busy heads, I named them Cheech & Chong.


Lubricate That Blog

My pal Monty, over at The Daily Bitch, posted an entry that really challenged me. As always, she's on the cutting edge of something fun, or the slippery slope of something dangerous...


Black and White America

A few days ago, JP Deni posted a link to the following article in Facebook. The photography was so wonderful that I had to post one picture in hope that you'll go look at the rest. Why, oh, why were talents like this kept from white America? What did society, our civilization, gain? Aren't we supposed to be better than that? When we hide another's light under a bushel, we hurt not only them, but ourselves. As Shakespeare wrote, "All are punished." Sorry, but racism is something that just chaps my ass. I just don't understand it. We are one family on this planet and we need to take pride in each others' gifts, helping each other along. Anyway, here's the article. Please go look at the photographs when you're finished reading. (This photo will enlarge if you click it.)...


In Praise of Naps

“Naps are nature's way of reminding you that life is nice, like a beautiful, softly swinging hammock strung between birth and infinity.” Peggy Noonan

Is there anything in life more precious than an afternoon nap? I’m not talking about the 10-minute power nap (at which I used to be pro), I’m talking about that luxurious hour when the world outside ceases to matter and life goes on just fine without us. The Spanish have always had the right idea; they’ve always known about the benefits of the siesta. They know that there isn’t much in our workaday world that is so important that it can’t wait an hour...