An Elegant Time-Waster ~ Very Early Morning Thoughts

America’s Got Talent is an OK show – but when I was introduced to the “outside the US” versions, I came to realize there are some very good versions of that show around.   Several things define it for me, but perhaps the biggest on of all ~ there is no 90-second time limit.  The acts take as long as necessary to show what their talent is and how it works.  Here is the winner from 2009 who introduced me to real sand painting.

BTW, this really does have something to do with this post – I promise …

I have been watching sand paintings/painters for several years … until I ran into this interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. To quote:

” And today, we bring you the live-action sand animation of Hungarian artist Ferenc Cakó, who projects his work on a screen for a theatrical audience. These more sculptural forms may be more painstaking than traditional cel animation, and for that reason more rare, but they are also often much more interesting.”





And to give proper credit – here’s the site I found this…I have it bookmarked and visit it daily…It’s call “openculture” for a reason.

It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…

By now, we all know the cover that uncovered a huge stream of hate/hysteria ….

I'd also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner ...

I’d also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner …

. Now, I have no argument that the picture is one of a self-confident, somewhat attractive youth.  The look of a lot of college students.  But, even as the picture hit the internet, before distribution – the flames began to fly.   OK, here’s where one of my points comes … IF the cover was only to glorify the bomber, then I don’t think they would have included this statement:


The article itself – which hopefully some people read online – while not exactly the world’s greatest journalism – attempted to deal with the question – why would someone who seeming had everything going for him do something such as this?  What failed him? Did his brother “turn him to the dark side”.  Some of these questions we may only get answers to at the trial…if ever,

I want to wander back in recent history a bit, and take a look at a moment in time and TIME magazine.  When this cover was published, TIME was pretty much everywhere and if not in most homes, was probably read somewhere by someone in that home.

Here’s a cover about Timothy McVey ….

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

Here’s a good-looking fellow, who lit an explosion that killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others. And TIME is having a debate about should he die.  I don’t recall a huge uproar over the photo or the story.  I don’t recall people wanting to burn the issue or stores refusing to carry it.  It was published, distributed and seemingly “forgotten” as a major issue for people to deal with …

OK, let’s go to another TIME issue a little more recent…Osama Bin Laden

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian ) 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

So, just looking at the photo as a photo, here’s a fairly handsome person with a slight smile, piercing eyes – and to my untrained eye – has been slightly airbrushed.  Just slightly. And yet –

  • 3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
  • 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
  •  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

Now, admittedly you might think I’m begging the question with this one, but in a sense, it was presenting a very pretty picture of a very evil person …

Which brings me to the Rolling Stone cover … warts and all.  One of the Boston Police was so upset at the cover he released some shots of the capture (which has now gotten him suspended) .  Sgt. Sean Murphy, Massachusetts State Police photographer really might not have wanted his photos to be used as the cover but was trying to counter-act what he perceived as the glorification of the bomber.  Here’s his picture … and my comments below ..

 caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

There actually people today demanding (on Facebook and other places) that Rolling Stone should reissue the magazine with this picture on the cover.  Here’s my problem with that.  Go ahead, enlarge the picture for a moment…. I’ll wait …

This picture does as much to glorify him as the other might.  You have the handsome – albeit blood spattered – youth, with his shirt pulled up above his abs and a laser target on his forehead.  For an arrest photo, it’s also quite well-lit. It could actually pass as a fashion advertisement in a glossy magazine. [if you didn’t know who it was] Certainly, nothing that would tell you “this is an evil, scary killer” …

Here’s where I’m at with this … people didn’t like the photo because it didn’t reach their preconceived notions of what a killer should look like.  It also struck deep into the biases and dislikes that people have.  And sadly, there is no arguing with that.  Let me repeat that – there is no arguing with folks who are biased, discriminatory or yes, even racist.

S. I Hayakawa in his landmark book “Language In Thought And Action” talked about the idea that once we have cast someone in the role of the enemy all communications and actions are immediately suspect and forced to fit the narrative we’ve given them.

Seem familiar? We’ve seen it at two MLB events in the last couple of weeks.  I was watching on Twitter someone attempting to counter someones frankly bigoted argument with the truth Puerto Ricans indeed are US Citizens (have been since I think 1917). the discussion went about as well as you would think … nowhere.

More on this anon ….

And It’s That Day, Once Again ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts ~

First off some thoughts in picture …..

blog April Fools Day1

blog April Fools Day2

There, now that I’ve gotten that out-of-the-way ….

Along the years, I’ve gotten to enjoy some really bizarre “conspiracy theories”.   Some are in the category of >banging head on keyboard> while others actually make you stop and go “Hmm.”  This is one of those.

In spite of what my Grand-kids might think, cell phones are a rather new invention … or are they?

the way back machine

[NOTE: the two videos that follow have NOT been doctored, they are as they were … ]

OK, let’s set the way back machine  to the year – well close to the year – 1928 and Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus … watch and you might think that Dr. Who had been there ….

Really? A cell phone in 1928(ish) …. To quote the infomercials: “But wait there’s more…..”

Skip the record ahead just a few years to the somewhere toward 1938(ish) ….

Totally flummoxed? As always, there are some explanations….. I’m just not going to include them now.  I’ll post about it tomorrow after you’ve dealt with them ….

Happy April Fools Day everyone ….

Odd Thoughts Because It’s Been An Odd Day ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts.

There’s been a lot going on this week.  I have a friend at Stage (end) cancer, another friend that is facing what could be heart failure.  I’ve been strong and uplifting until last night …. that’s when I discovered that the well had run dry.  I’ve been around long enough and through enough (look back through this history of the blog for those episodes that really revitalized my outlook) to know that it’s bound to happen.

Even counselors know that a sponge can only absorb so much, and then all that has to be squeezed out or the sponge becomes of no use.

Today, then – became a quiet and reflective day.  However (comma) I really wanted a few things to possibly 1) kick me in the behind to make me move (LOL) or 2) make me laugh and/or 3) inspire me ….

Here’s the laugh factor …. as a preface – the Mouse House (AKA Disney Studio) is NOT known for their sense of humor in regards to what others might do with their material.  I’ve been surprised at some of what on YouTube is allowed to remain and not so surprised at what they’ve wanted removed.

In this case, they took the recording outtakes/bloopers from The Lion King and animated them and included them (evidently) in The Lion King DVD … I’m still chuckling over parts – especially the last one.  I have to admit when I saw the film the first time (and the stage show) a part of me wondered if that had ever happened.

And now – THIS video made my day just to be able to watch these folks fly … and what a rush it must have been for them …..

Let me quote:

Wingsuit flying is the sport of flying the human body through the air using a special jumpsuit, called a wingsuit, which adds surface area to the human body to enable a significant increase in lift. Modern wingsuits, first developed in the late 1990s, create the surface area with fabric between the legs and under the arms. A wingsuit may be referred to as a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit, or bat suit.

A wingsuit flight normally ends with a parachute opening, so a wingsuit can be flown from any point that provides sufficient altitude to glide through the air, such as skydiving aircraft or BASE jumping exit points, and to allow a parachute to deploy.

The wingsuit flier wears parachute equipment designed for skydiving or BASE jumping. The flier deploys the parachute at a planned altitude and releases the arm wings, if necessary, so they can reach up to the control toggles and fly to a normal parachute landing.

Now that my heart has stopped racing … enjoy…..


And They Came To Believe And It Came To Pass ~ Late Evening Thoughts

[updated video link 9/26/2012]

Hopefully, by the time I’m done this post will make sense.  Starting with Friday, this was an amazing weekend for me.  I celebrated a dear friend’s birthday, went with two VERY dear friends to Rocky Horror Picture Show with a wonderful, silly and noisy audience, and Sunday went to a club where I actually felt free to dance and not worry about the “youngers” standing on the sides going “ewwwww”!  I also, at the club had my inner theater geek (30+ years in theater will do that do you) explode as I got to see ~ but sadly not touch ~ the computerized controls for the entire light system.  Yes, it was an amazing, exhausting but fun weekend.  A true mountain top experience.

As we all know, you really can’t live on the mountain top ~ you inevitably must go down into the valley.  And that’s where I came to today.  One thing I’ve learned is that there’s really no good grass or water on the mountain top, it’s down in the valley.  While the valley may not be totally comfortable and it’s certainly NOT the high of the top, it still is very, very important and extremely worthwhile ~ if you let it.

As I was dealing with the “down” of today, my mind went to some of my friends complaints that I have a tendency to believe in people far longer than I should.  I know that it is sometimes a problem.  I had one person I was trying to help who fell into the pattern of using me to “have a place to stay to sober-up, get a little food to eat, clothes washed and a little money” – rinse, repeat.  I have another that I have such a soft spot for…a couple of years ago, he was trying to spark a business and I made an investment.  Not in the business, but in him.  I believed in him then, and I believe in him now.  I’m seeing some pay-off from the investment, but I must be the only one so far.

But as I was wondering in my mind ~ there is a saying that “My mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied ~ especially at night ~ I began to question my belief in people.  Then, my inner “me” took me back through much of my life … the problems in college, relationships that failed – badly, the three suicide attempts.  It was the third attempt  (which I posted about here before – feel free to read the history),  when at the CRU – the Crisis Residential Unit – that someone actually said they believed in me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty that believed in me, but somehow I had to come to the bottom before I could really realize it.  And as I climbed out of THAT “slough of despond” I became acutely aware of how powerful our belief in someone can be.  Oh, I’ve done it before, but there always seemed to be an agenda.  Now, I’m working agenda free.

To me, that’s where the power really begins.  You see someone not just as they are, but as they could be for themselves…..not as the person YOU want them to be.  I can’t change anyone, I can only encourage and believe in them.  They may not take the paths I would have or would have chosen – but they are on their own journey not mine.

I’m going to post more on this at another time, but also during the “down” of today, I found this video.  Here’s the power of only ONE person believing in someone.  He had only one person, his grandmother…I still cry each time I watch this video.  I want my life to be as she is … in the background, but believing.  That’s one of the things I’d like to be remembered for when – in the not too distant future – I’m gone that someone will say: “He believed in me”.

First off, I’m sorry there will probably be an ad (it is from You Tube after all) and please watch it all the way through and see what terrible power being told “you’re not good enough” can have over someone.  I’m not saying we have to encourage someone when they obviously can’t do something.  There’s no way at my age and (ahem) physical condition I’ll be an Olympic athlete – but there’s other things I can do…. and so can you.

[It appears I own an apology to Freemantle AND X-factor UK …Here’s the video embedded]

See people where they are, and for who they are … and as I used to tell my speech students, don’t change the pattern, just eliminate the flaws.

Early Afternoon Thoughts ~ The Day You Think You Are Too Old To …

When I flew up to Montana several years ago to conduct my Mother’s memorial service, I stayed at her house.  On the coffee table was a book whose title I believe was “Getting Old Isn’t For Sissies“.  As I glanced through the book one statement struck me and has stayed with me since.  Part of the statement is the title of this post:

“The day you think you are too old to do something, is exactly the day you should do it …” 

That has governed a lot of my thinking over the past few years.  I love the statement “I will get OLDER, there is nothing I can do about that.  However, I refuse to get OLD.”

At my current … ahem …. age,, I know that I’m no longer 21, 31, 41 or even 51 … but I have developed a love for life and living that I pray I never lose.  That’s why, when I saw this video today, it really struck a chord with me.  I have admit I laughed and laughed while watching this.  This fellow is amazing and so are those around encouraging him.  He’s certainly not lost his love of life!!!

(sorry that it’s a link…for some reason it won’t embed!!!)

Which got me looking for some of my favorite quotations and some new ones…

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Groucho Marx
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
Madeleine L’Engle
Part of getting older is realizing that you can integrate all these different areas of your life, rather than the adolescent mindset, which for me lasted a long time, which says, ‘It’s all or nothing.’
Chris Robinson
The minute you’re born, you’re getting older.
Doris Roberts

This one is probably one of my favorites:                                                                                           Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  ~Author Unknown

The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.  Doug Larson

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.      Samuel Ullman

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.                                                             Author Unknown 

What are some of your favorites?

And The Competition Starts Now (2) ~

Yesterday I mentioned that I usually enjoy the non-US competition shows more … here are three reasons why … Just so you know, there is no 90 second time restraint, so the real talent can shine through … in other words these clips are a little long – but so, so good.

This was the clip that first introduced me to Ukraine’s Got Talent … I actually had to go back and look up the history to understand it – I’m including a short lesson:

“…the overwhelming brunt of the Nazi occupation between 1941 and 1944, as of the devastating Soviet reoccupation, was borne not by Russia but by the Baltic States, by Belarus, by Poland, and above all by Ukraine…. nowhere is it made clear that the largest number of civilian casualties in Europe were inflicted on the Ukrainians, millions of whom were killed both by the Nazis and by the Soviets. Thanks to persistent wartime prejudices, many British and Americans still harbor the illusion that most Ukrainians spent the war either as auxiliaries in the concentration camps or in the Waffen-SS Galizien….[but] the Waffen SS recruited three times as many Dutchmen as Ukrainians.” (New York Review of Books June 9, 1994, p. 23).

Here’s the 2009 clip of an amazing sand artist …

This years winners were amazing as well … it’s the Street Workout group – who manage to make working out beautiful, sexy and powerful.  No, I wouldn’t want to be next to them at the gym!! This was the final performance…

I have enough trouble riding a two wheeled cycle … maybe I need a three-wheeler!!!!


And last, but certainly NOT least ~ The world’s best bartender … unless you’re in a hurry to  get that drink!!!!


And The Competition Starts Now ~

I enjoy some of the singing/dancing competition shows, but it’s no secret to those that know me that I prefer the non-US versions of most of them.  X-Factor Britain, Australia’s Got Talent and, amazingly enough, Ukraine’s Got Talent … To me – when the idiotic 90 second time constraint is removed – the depth of talent can shine forth.  Also, most of the time the judges are secondary to the talent.  In other words, it’s not the judges show – it’s truly a T A L E N T show.  Of course, there’s always the acts that aren’t going to do well – but that’s to be expected.  It’s the unexpected treasures along the way that make the viewing so worth while.

Let me preface this clip with ~ First, I “lurve” me some Etta James. I’ve heard so many lousy covers of her work … THIS clip was a revelation!!!! Secondly, NEVER judge a book by it’s cover … when I first saw him, all I could think of was “OMG, Pee Wee Herman.” Not by a long shot – I agree with Louie… A Star has been born!!! (BTW, notice the complete lack of buzzers!!!)

I also like the idea that these contestants stand on their own – their looks are not part of the package…the talent is what makes the deal.  This clip also resonated with me because I’m such a firm believer in the importance of arts in the schools.  As someone said to me today –  “When we lose the Arts (in Public Education) we lose our humanity. We lose our ability to build bridges.”  Listen carefully to the story on this clip…when I realized just what he’d managed to accomplish with his music .,.. I’ll admit it, I cried.

And one last clip ~ Auditioning for a show is stressful enough, but imagine doing it completely on your own.  This fellow is a London chimney sweep who wants to sing…and actually is darn good at it!!! (Evidently, he’s a good sweep as well!!!)

I’ve got a few more clips to share, but I’ll do that tomorrow …. enjoy!!!

Mid-Morning Thoughts ~

Hopefully, everyone’s weekend was somewhat better than this one …

(h/t to

For my part, I had a delightful weekend…I connected with a dear, dear friend that I had not seen for a number of years!! You know it’s a dear friend when you can catch up on the fly, and not feel as if there’s been a huge space since you’ve been together!!!

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus
A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
Arnold H. Glasow
A good friend will bail you out at 2am.  A true friend will be sitting there with you saying: “Damn, that was fun!!! – (unknown)

It also reminded me that life is indeed short, and our purpose is NOT to arrive at the grave all pretty and posed – to be lowered gently into the ground.  Life is to be lived so that at the very last minute you slide in all tattered, worn saying: “What a ride!!! WHAT A RIDE!!!”

An Elegant Time-Waster ~ Sunday Edition ~

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of these.  I try to find something that is fun, interesting and yes – a time-waster.  When you click on the link, you will be presented with what I can describe as a “sausage with eyes”.

Use your cursor to move it around.  When prompted, give your mouse some serious shaking – and watch what happens.

I will, however, repeat something that is on the site – although not necessarily as high-lighted as it should be …

Those at risk of epileptic seizures should choose a different website.

And they are NOT kidding …..