The Golden Oldies Are Alive Inside

11 12 2014

We’ve always known that music speaks to the heart. This winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award shows us how.

If you don’t laugh or cry watching this check your vital signs.

I’ve watched Alive Inside 2x in the last 2 days. The second time I watched it with my girlfriend (novia is the word here in Merida). She sells cheese on the street and delivers it to her customers’ homes or restaurants. Recently she bought a Smartphone and listens to Spotify music on it as she works from the back of her car. As she watched the movie she started to laugh seeing how music affected the Golden Oldies in the movie. “It does the same to me as it does to them!” “Yo tambien!” (Me too!), I replied referring to how I feel listening to whatever music du jour I stream on my computer.

I don’t know where I’d be by now if it weren’t for ITunes and now Spotify. I connect to the outside world for the most part by computer, except when it comes to mi novia y mi amigos en Merida. Right now it’s Mercedes Sosa in Buenos Aires in 1982 when the Argentine military dictatorship was crumbling. Great music with such feeling – Gracias a La Vida.

Let’s take a minute to talk about streaming music. I’ve read 2 recent articles – one in the NYT, the other in The New Yorker. Both articles point out that musicians are being hurt by the lack of money when we stream their music. I pay Spotify a monthly fee but that money doesn’t find its way to the artist very much. A musician I recently listened to on Spotify told me how little she gets. In her case nothing. I don’t play CD’s so I gave her something on Paypal and she sent me some music to download.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/24/revenue-streams

Make sure you help the musicians who help the Golden Oldies stay ALIVE INSIDE.





I Remember Morgan

2 12 2014

MeandM

I met her in Oakland, California at the animal shelter around 10 years ago. After a rottweiler pup almost died in my arms to parvo he died at the vet’s office. We couldn’t have a dog for 6 months until the environment was free of the disease. Liz, my significant other at the time, saw Morgana La Fey’s (she named the dog) adoption picture on the Internet so off we went to see this ‘big bad bully.’ After the Oakland SPCA vetted us as potential Rottie owners home she came.

I nicknamed her BDE – Best Dog Ever – after Lenny Dietz of the SPCA showed me how to treat her. We walked the streets of Oakland and the Mandela Parkway scaring half the heavily African-American community. A white man with a Rottweiler, sometimes 2? When they got to know us no more fear. A sweet dog with a guy who was colorblind. The trails of the Point Elizabeth dog sanctuary bordering the San Francisco Bay were our happiest moments – Morgan, Liz and me. The only ‘bad’ came when the owner of a Lab let his fear of a ‘bully breed’ ruin a sunny day for his dog, mine and me. Morgan went to play and the owner told me, “I’ll kick your ass if you let that dog near mine.” In my younger days that challenge would have been answered, instead I shook my head and walked away.

Next on our itenerary was walking Marina Del Rey and LA’s Westside. One night the door was left open and Morgan wandered out in the middle of the night. For some reason I awoke around 3 in the morning. For some reason? The BDE was gone. I drank scotch until it was dawn and I could look for her, post fliers, and visit animal shelters. She was “chipped” but I couldn’t find the papers. I called the Oakland SPCA and they gave me the info. I called the chip facility at 4PM. How’s this for luck? At that very moment the facility was on the phone with the person who found her.

I went to a vet’s office and there she was – happy as the proverbial other kind of other animal in shit. She had followed a neighborhood dog walker and his dog home. Morgan knew how to pick ‘em. The dog walker worked in an upscale dog day care center in West LA. You can’t get more posh than that if you’re a dog. The guy had taken her to a vet in the morning and they couldn’t find the chip. Then they spent the afternoon in day care. Then Kevin (good Irish boy) went to another vet. There they found the chip before treating her chronically infected ears. I insisted on paying for the vet’s services. Kevin didn’t want my money. I prevailed. How many people in the dog world find a pure-bred Rottie and take her to 2 vets to find a chip? I still wonder why Morgan agreed to come home with me. .

Thanksgiving morning Liz let me know that Morgan had passed. She drove her to her favorite place (a cabin in the foothills of the Sierras) and put her to rest.

RIP Morgan – The BDE

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Donde Estas Amor?

11 10 2014

meridabill:

A well-done spanglish love poem…buen hecho, Fernando. Felicidades.

Originally posted on The Merida Review:

by Fernando Izaguirre

Donde Estas Amor?

.
El Amor sueña
Abajo de la luna
Que miraba desde mi ventana
Where lagrimas fall
And the reflection
Of memories stay.

Donde estas mi amor?
You taught me how
To love with the edges of my fingertips
That traveled down the slope
Of your spine.

Donde estas my beautiful angel?
You took care of me when
My world got heavy and my
Arms were waning from lifting
It.

Mi Amor,
You are my completed poem
That bites the tongue
That wants to roll but the wheels
Are flat.

Come home my love
And the seagulls will
Surely fly again and arrow
Themselves into the sea
Where they found us.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Fernando Rafael Izaguirre, Jr., was born in 1993. He is an Honors student at Lee College in Baytown, Texas, majoring in…

View original 97 more words





Photography by Sally Davies

26 09 2014

Photography by Sally Davies.





Yo Adrian!! What Price Glory in the NFL?

17 09 2014

adrian-peterson-wheaties

From the first time I saw him in the NFL Adrian Peterson was my kind of guy. I remember a TV discussion. It was about AP’s practice of not stepping out-of-bounds but instead ramming his shoulder into a defender for a couple of extra yards that would eventually cost him a couple of years in his career. No way he would change that, he said. It was his style…the way he ran the football. As a rugby player I admired him for his strength and speed. Over the last few years I’ve stopped watching the NFL the way I did “back in the day” when both my sons played high school football. The owners’/players’ money and behavior, the concussion issue, the 3 1/2 hour almost nightly games, and the hyperbole of media coverage became too much for me along with the wisdom of my 70’s telling me it didn’t make a damn bit of difference if the Eagles ever won a Super Bowl.

AP claims that being beaten by a switch has played a part in making him the man he is. I understand that because I too came from a home of violence and abuse. But it was something I left behind. After that the worst moment of my life as a father was when I hit my 4-year-old son for not fighting someone who took advantage of him on the street. I thought I was teaching him to be a man at that moment. It was something I apologized to him for when he became an adult.

chuck-bednarik

Are violence and football intrinsically related? Of course they are. See Chuck Bednarik standing over Frank Gifford. I remember violence as an option of my behavior when I was playing rugby that was much closer to the surface than when I wasn’t. It’s the psychology of the sport. We teach our kids to be tough, hit hard, stand up for the team, never give up. We can also teach them that football is not everyday life when it comes to woman and children. Call it sensitivity training. Teach them it is a privilege to play the game physical but there are no similar privileges when it comes to being a father, husband or boyfriend.

wpggroup

What Price Glory? is a play written by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. It was written in 1924 by men with 2 different opinions about war. Anderson was a pacifist, Stallings was a veteran who lost his leg in WWI. They were friends who worked together as journalists. Their play became a legendary silent film and then a movie made by John Ford in the 50’s. The play’s POV, as expected when written by one man who didn’t believe in war and another who did, did not have a single focus. It showed soldiers for what they were – a mixed bag of brave and vulgar men. The same is true of football players. Can they change? Sure, it’s a choice.

Poster - What Price Glory (1952)_01

Maxwell-Anderson-Quotes-1

It’s difficult to switch back and forth from being physically competitive to being kind, considerate and loving. I assure you that anybody who makes the switch over and over is a special person. An example is Devin Still, the Cincinnati Bengal father of a child with cancer. When that switch happens we open our hearts like the people of Cincinnati have.

devinleah

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Sport is business now – an integral part of the infrastructure of the 21st century.

Silver Football and NFL Logo On Top of a Green Field

It wasn’t always the way it is now. In my lifetime sport seems to have gone from a way to learn how to live honorably to a way to earn money. Football’s best lessons are still there but don’t leave it up to the businessmen of sport – read NFL – to teach them. That’s still up to the mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.

Come on, Adrian, be better than what you were taught.





10 Great Quotations from George Bernard Shaw on His Birthday

26 07 2014

meridabill:

We need laughter more than ever. I don’t read the news any more to stop the tears. GBS had the gift like many another Brit. This is high praise coming from a Paddy.

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him. – Preface to Pygmalion

When I was a young man I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work. – The Wordsworth Book of Humorous Quotations

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same. – Maxims for Revolutionists

Shaw1

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – Major Barbara

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious. – Saturday Review, 1895

Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get…

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Goodbye Senor Blues – Hello to The Faces of Cape Verde

19 06 2014

The last 3 posts to this blog have had to do with death and depression. Don’t get the wrong idea. I may be an old geez (to use one of my kids favorite expressions when they were growing up) but I do not intend this to become an obituary blog. However, I will honor my heroes when they pass on. We lost Horace Silver this week – a great musician, composer and recognizer of talent.

Horace’s dad came from Capo Verde. So does Cesaria Evora – the internationally known singer of Morna (Capo Verde’s national music). This video captures the spirit and people of an island that has given me much joy without ever going there.

The closest I’ve come to Capo Verde was in Sao Cristovao restaurant in the Alfama Barrio in Lisbon. If you go here…

http://www.thelisbonconnection.com/restaurant-sao-cristovao-alfama-lisbon-cheap-cape-verdean-african-dishes-favorite-local-place-owner-maria-levy/

you’ll get a sense of the place and the people of Capo Verde. The night we went Maria took our order. The order was to “bring us what you recommend.” The working class guys at the only other occupied table (it was a late night) chuckled as they ate huge quantities of chicken stew. Maria’s grandson and daughter entertained us and themselves while we waited with a patois of Span-Portu-glish. By the time the food arrived (including a huge serving dish of the chicken stew) we felt we were part of the family. About halfway through the meal Maria’s daughter led a 50-or-60 something man whose face might be on the “Elle Chante” video to our table. He spoke English and we chatted a while.

When I mentioned that I liked Cesaria Evora he said, “Just a minute.” and walked to the music player. I can’t remember if it was a CD player or tape. Regardless Cesaria’s “Sodade” came on.

He returned to the table and I asked him if liked jazz. He broke into a wide grin of affirmation. “How about Horace Silver?” The grin widened and he walked away. In a few minutes he came back with complimentary beers, a beaming smile and a shuffle done to “Song for my Father” which was booming from the music system’s speakers. Music is the universal language and Horace spoke it well. He was articulate, multi-lingual, and the swinging father of HARD-BOP. I’ll miss you, man. Here’s the original and a vocal from Dee Dee Bridgewater. Thanks for leaving behind such happy beautiful music, Horace. RIP. A 20 min ute version of “Song for My Father” follows the NYT obituary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/arts/music/horace-silver-85-master-of-earthy-jazz-is-dead.html?_r=0








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