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Coronado Clarion Autumn Issue (Front Cover)

clarion-front-cover-summer-2016

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EROTIC POLITICIANS

The Doors

Out of the vastness of the Los Angeles Forum, its 18,000 seats filled on a December Saturday night with the cream of LA’s teenybopper set, came the insolent cry. The Doors didn’t want to do their 1967 hit; not only had they just finished their first number, but onstage with them and their 32 amplifiers were a string sextet and a brass section ready to perform new Doors music.

They got through a few more numbers, but then, with the yelling getting louder, they acquiesced. A roar of cheers and instantly the arena was aglow with sparklers lit in literal tribute. The song over, and the kids shouting for more, lead singer Jim Morrison, in a loose black shirt and clinging black leather pants, came to the edge of the stage.

“Hey, man,” he said, his voice booming from the speakers on the ceiling. “Cut out that shit.” The crowd giggled.

“What are you all doing here?” he went on. No response.

“You want music?” A rousing yeah.

“Well, man, we can play music all night, but that’s not what you really want, you want something more, something greater than you’ve ever seen, right?”

“We want Mick Jagger,” someone shouted. 

“Light My Fire,” said someone else, to laughter.

It was a direct affront, but the Doors hadn’t seen it coming. That afternoon, before the concert, Morrison had said: “We’re into what these kids are into.” Driving home from rehearsal in his Mustang Shelby Cobra GT 500, he swept his arm wide to take in the low houses that stretched miles from the freeway to the Hollywood Hills. “We’re into LA. Here, kids live more freely and more powerfully than anywhere else, but it’s also where old people come to die. Kids know both and we express both.”

The teens had belonged to the Doors; their amalgam of sensuality and asceticism, mysticism and machine-like power had won these lushly beautifully children heart and soul, and the kids had made them the biggest American group in rock music. Now, at one of their biggest concerts, prelude to the biggest ever at New York’s Madison Square Garden in January, the kids dared laugh, even at Morrison. Not much, but they had begun.

The Doors started out in LA’s early hip scene in 1965. Morrison, then 22, son of a high-ranking navy official, met organist-pianist Ray Manzarek on the beach at Santa Monica while both were making experimental films at UCLA. Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger became friends of Manzarek at one of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s first meditation centres in southern California. Named from a line of Morrison’s poetry – “There are things that are known and things that are unknown; in between are doors” – by early 1966 they had their first date, playing for $35 a week at a tiny and now defunct club on Sunset Strip.

While on their second job as the house band at Whisky a Go Go, working behind dozens of groups they have now eclipsed, they began to build a following, playing blues and classic rock songs with a harsh and eerie stringency. 

“We were creating our music, ourselves, every night,” Morrison said, “starting with a few outlines, maybe a few words for a song that gradually accrued particles of meaning and movement. Sometimes we worked out in Venice, looking at the surf. We were together and it was good times.”

Their best songs, Crystal Ship, the diabolical The End and Light My Fire took shape in those early days while Morrison was developing the erotic style that has made him the group’s star and rock’s biggest sex symbol. He doesn’t fall off stages any more, but he writhes against the microphone stand, leaps from eyes-closed passivity into shrieking aggression, and moans sweet pain like a modern St Sebastian pierced by the arrows of angst and revelation.

Just about everybody takes him seriously: the New Haven police who last year arrested him for “giving an indecent or immoral exhibition”; the girls who rush the stage, sometimes only to get ashes flicked from his cigarette; and critics who rave in detail about “rock as ritual”. But no one takes Morrison as seriously as Morrison takes Morrison.

His stage manner, he said, unlike the acts of Elvis, Otis Redding, and Mick Jagger, with whom he is often compared, has a conscious purpose. Shyly, almost sleepily soft-spoken in private, he sees his public self as a new kind of poet-politician. “I’m not a new Elvis, though he’s my second favourite singer – Frank Sinatra is first. I just think I’m lucky I’ve found a perfect medium to express myself in,” he said during a rehearsal break, slouched tiredly in one of the Forum’s violently orange seats. Though handsome, with his pale green eyes and Renaissance prince hair, he has none of the decadent power captured in the spotligh

 

“Music, writing, theatre, action – I’m doing all those things. I like to write, I’m even publishing a book of my poems pretty soon, stuff I had that I realised wasn’t for music. But songs are special. I find that music liberates my imagination. When I sing my songs in public, that’s a dramatic act, not just acting as in theatre, but a social act, real action.

“Maybe you could call us erotic politicians. We’re a rock’n’roll band, a blues band, just a band, but that’s not all. A Doors concert is a public meeting called by us for a special kind of dramatic discussion and entertainment. When we perform, we’re participating in the creation of a world, and we celebrate that creation with the audience. It becomes the sculpture of bodies in action.

“That’s politics, but our power is sexual. We make concerts sexual politics. The sex starts out with just me, then moves out to include the charmed circle of musicians on stage. The music we make goes out to the audience and interacts with them, they go home and interact with the rest of reality, then I get it back by interacting with that reality, so the whole sex thing works out to be one big ball of fire.”

That analytical abandon was just right for the serious rock of the post Sgt Pepper era. After the album version of Light My Fire got heavy airplay on FM rock stations, Elektra released a shorter single that became a top 40 No 1. The Doors have followed it with a series of singles and two more albums. They have a quickly identifiable instrumental sound based on blues topped with Morrison’s strong voice and lyrics. Manzarek plays a rather dry organ, but Krieger is an aggressive guitarist and Densmore a solid and inventive drummer.

Yet as the kids in the Forum knew, they’ve never topped Light My Fire. The abandon has gotten more and more cerebral, the demonic pose more strained. The new music they wanted the crowd to like at the concert was abstract noise crashing behind a Morrison poem of meandering verbosity.

After the show, Morrison said it had been “great fun”, but the backstage party had a funereal air. And at times that afternoon, he showed that he knew their first rush of energy was running out. Success, he said, looking beat in the orange chair, had been nice. “When we had to carry our own equipment everywhere, we had no time to be creative. Now we can focus our energies more intensely.”

He squirmed a bit. “The trouble is that now we don’t see much of each other. We’re big time, we go on tours, record, and, in our free time, everybody splits off into their own scenes. When we record, we have to get all our ideas then, we can’t build them night after night like the club days. In the studio, creation is not so natural.

“I don’t know what will happen. I guess we’ll continue like this for a while. Then to get our vitality back, maybe we’ll have to get out of the whole business. Maybe we’ll all go off to an island by ourselves and start creating again.”

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ROYALTIES FROM THE TOMB

The-Doors-BillboardEven when rock stars create more-or-less conventional families, the lines of dynastic inheritance can still break down within a generation or two.

In theory, Jim Morrison, made the smart moves to ensure that his wealth – a “massive” $400,000 when he died in 1971 – transferred in an orderly fashion to his common-law wife Pamela Courson.

But because he and Courson died childless and she didn’t bother writing a will, control of his 25% stake in the Doors’ record sales and copyrights became contentious.

And now that the last of the first generation of caretakers is in her early 90s, the rights seem likely to accelerate their slide away from the people who knew and understood Morrison when he was alive.

The lesson for estate planners focused on the long term is clear: the first transfer is relatively easy to lock down, but the real work is in keeping things on track when the property shifts again decades down the road.

The truly long tail

Morrison’s lawyer is only accountable for part of the problem here.

Back in 1971, nobody predicted that the copyrights on the Doors song catalog would even still be an issue 43 years after the rock star himself was dead.

Under then-extant intellectual property law, Morrison’s lyrics would have stopped accruing royalties in 1996 and the challenge of assigning that income stream beyond that point would be academic.

However, unexpected extensions of the copyright period now mean that his literary estate remains active until at least 2041, which means putting plans in place to cover almost 40 years of further contingencies.

The legal landscape keeps changing, so the best an executor can really do is remain engaged and flexible enough to roll with unexpected developments.

A similar case can be made for the dynastic family as a moving target, and this is where Morrison should have gotten better advice.

His will left everything to Coulson, who only survived him by three years before a fatal overdose.

When her name showed up in Morrison’s will, his lawyer should have asked the follow-up questions: what happens if she dies, and does she have a will as well?

Evidently the conversation only got far enough to establish that if Coulson failed to outlive Morrison by longer than a few months, the songs and royalties they represent would revert to his brother and sister.

She survived long enough, so she inherited. But if anyone ever asked her about her own plans, nobody seems to have acted on the answers – the chain of succession died with her.
In the absence of a will, her parents inherited. His parents sued and received an ongoing stake in his legacy to ensure “parity.”

It’s clear from Morrison’s conscious decision to bypass his parents that he he didn’t want them to oversee his artistic posterity, while the Coulsons were practically strangers.

But because nobody sat down with Pamela before she died, those people ended up in control of his posthumous rights all the same.

Poetic justice or just random drift?

Doors devotees characterize Pamela’s father, who originally became artistic executor of the estate after she died, as the most eager to develop the Morrison mystique.

The Morrisons themselves seem to have been content to take a back seat and let the checks come in.

Either way, the only one of the original four parents left alive at this point is Coulson’s mother, Pearl.

She turns 91 in September, so the time left for her to weigh in on the estate is getting short. What happens when she dies?

Jim’s mom and dad have been gone since 2005 and 2008, respectively. Odds are good they bequeathed their share in the Doors to their surviving kids, which would mean the brother and sister are finally back in the loop.

On Pamela’s side, sister Judith is still alive and is likely to inherit when her mother dies.

However the beneficiaries weigh out, they’ll collectively be entitled to a 25% split of the Doors’ residual income streams alongside Robby Krieger, John Densmore and the late Ray Manzarek’s wife.

Based on a reported $3 million in annual record and download sales plus incidental publicity and memorabilia licensing, each quarter of the band may be worth $1 million a year at this point.

That’s not a tragedy, but as the slices get thinner, it becomes harder to align all the interests.

Krieger and Manzarek already alienated Densmore and the Morrison heirs by trying to cash in with a touring reunion act without consent from the other partners.

They were also eager to break Morrison’s long-standing edict against licensing the catalog to advertisers, even though the right commercial could easily quadruple or quintuple reported record sales revenue.

Apple and Mercedes were both interested in paying seven to eight figures for an ad, but both times the other partners shot the deal down as contrary to the band’s principles.

Does Jim Morrison’s sweetheart’s sister take his bohemian credo more seriously than cold hard cash? What about her kids, or his own nephews or nieces?

Sooner or later, the artistic vision that creates the music gets so diluted that entertainment becomes a business. When that happens here, you’ll hear “Riders on the Storm” and other songs used to sell cars and iPods.

And eventually, one or more interests will want to cash out for a lump sum. The more pieces the pie gets cut into, the harder it will be to negotiate a group deal – but it will get easier for an outsider to accumulate the rights piece by piece.

Unless members of the Morrison and Courson families make an effort to teach the heirs what the Lizard King wanted, he’s not going to get what he wanted.

Beyond the grave

Needless to say, Morrison could have exercised much stronger “dead hand” powers by putting his intellectual property into a trust.

That vehicle could have paid Pamela all of its income for as long as she was alive, but she wouldn’t have been able to direct its long-term strategy one way or another.

If Jim said his trust would always veto the rest of the band on licensing the songs, that’s what the trust would do.

And upon Pamela’s death, successor beneficiaries would be determined according to Jim’s dictates. Although we can’t know for sure, this would probably leave the income with his siblings today, bypassing both sets of parents and ultimately all of the Coursons.

The beneficiaries would be free to do as much or as little estate planning as they like in order to assign their own assets. The Doors lyrics would enjoy the closest thing to immortality the law allows.

And as the law changes, a well-constructed trust would be able to change with it while leaving its core mandate untouched.

If intellectual property protection stretches out even further, a Morrison trust would have the power to plan to be around in 2050 and beyond.

With the right trustees, the vehicle could also adapt to shifts in the marketing environment, sidestepping the land grab over “peripheral” merchandising that has troubled the Jimi Hendrix estate, for example.

There will probably be scenarios we don’t even know how to forecast yet, let alone manage. Jim Morrison couldn’t even see his wife’s death coming. A trust can evolve with the times.

UPDATE..

 Pearl “Penny” Courson

Passed away peacefully Friday July 11, 2014 at her home in Santa Barbara, CA after a long battle with cancer at the age of 90.

Born September 14, 1923 in Chicago, IL, Penny was the daughter of the late Paul Schmidt of Vienna, Austria and the late Margaret Jarvis Schmidt of Illinois.

She is survived by her daughter Judith Courson Burton, granddaughter Emily Burton and husband Chris McGillin, grandson James Burton and wife Deja Rabb Burton, and her great grandchildren Everett, Simone, and Colette. She was preceded in death by her daughter Pamela Courson Morrison and husband Columbus “Corky” Courson.

A child of the depression Penny overcame tough circumstances. After she married Corky they traveled the world. She was a connoisseur of the arts and worked as an interior designer. She was a homemaker and great cook who loved to entertain for family and friends. Penny was a staunch liberal with a feisty personality.

She loved her Bichon Frisé Lola and her dearest friend Jaime Camargo, who cared for her and her husband when they took ill.

Penny’s ashes will be interred next to the love of her life, her husband of 64 years. Memorial services will take place at the Santa Barbara Cemetery chapel on August 16th at 1pm.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Jim Morrison Film Award at UCLA or The Santa Barbara Hospice, which was very helpful in her last days.

– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newspress/obituary.aspx?pid=171936358#sthash.kvfsPYv7.dpuf

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YOU KNOW YOU GREW UP IN CORONADO WHEN – REDUX

We ran this story back in 2010 and much to my delight. Coronado’s who have left here never to return still read about the way we lived. As you will read in the story and the post’s and comments section, friends are still trying to locate each other to renew old memories of precious times gone by.

A.R. Graham (Editor)

YKYGUICW

YOU KNOW YOU GREW UP IN CORONADO WHEN

Excerpts from the Facebook blog exclusively for those of us who grew up in Coronado:

YKYGUICWhen…

Does anybody remember the reverend (I think it was Reverend Brown) of the Episcopal Church, when he dyed his hair blonde and bought a corvette? This was probably back in the 50s? He was the talk of the town. That was my church growing up — still a beautiful church. – Maureen Rutherford Nieland

That’s a hoot! We could have used him over at Graham Memorial. Carson was like a raven.  – Suzi Lewis

Oh, I remember him driving that car around town, LOL! – Helen Nichols Murphy Battleson

 

 

John
N/Ax
jonnybvd@gmail.com
68.7.250.52
I’m looking to get a hold of Ken Brown, thanks!

 

Ken Brown
800ozbrown@gmail.com
75.16.34.40
Would you believe….for the 50th CHS reunion the ‘Centaurs’ put it together one more time. Drew Gallahar (Base & Vocals/Santee) coordinated a rehearsal studio in San Diego. Surprisingly to us, sound was good and we decided to show up for the reunion. Good thing since Cliff Lenz and myself were in the class of ’64.

We had Bill Lamden (Sax,Flute,Base & Vocals/San Diego), Danny Orlino (Lead Guitar, Base & Vocals/ Guam), Ken Brown (Drums & Weird Noises/ Westlake Village), Drew Gallahar (Base, Guitar & Vocals) and the glue that brought us together, Mr. Cliff Lenz (Piano, Organ, Guitar, Base & Vocals/Seattle). We were extremely excited when Mike Seavello (Tambourine/San Diego) agreed to coordinate Sound, Equipment and our sanity checks.

For 50+ years out…. we didn’t sound bad and we all had a great time. Just wanted to thank all that supported our musical efforts throughout the years. They were glorious times for each of us and hope we represented good times for you as well.

Original Members:   Cliff Lenz: keyboards, lead guitar
Rick Thomas: lead guitar 
  Doug Johnson: bass 
  Pat Coleman: drums

“The Centaurs” by Cliff Lenz: Funny how a love affair with rock and roll and a seven year odyssey of performing, recording, road trips, and opening for some of the biggest names in rock can begin with just a casual meeting between two high school kids. In the fall of 1962, a classmate and friend of mine at Coronado High, Doug Johnson, said there was a new student named Rick Thomas who played electric guitar and that we should meet. I had a Les Paul Jr. and a breadbox size amp and thought that two guys could sound a lot more like the Ventures than just one guy. So I called Rick and we got together at Doug’s house with our guitars for a jam session. Miracle of miracles, we could actually play something together that didn’t sound half bad, the Venture’s tune “The McCoy”,  E, A, and B7th and lots of open string melody notes, but what the hell it was a start and it was a thrill. I’m sure that it’s a thrill for all young musicians who, never having played with someone else, experience for the first time what collaborative music making can be.

We started practicing on a weekly basis putting a repertoire together. Pat Coleman became our first drummer and we enlisted Doug Johnson to play bass. Having no prior musical experience, it was a little too much for Doug and he politely resigned from the band after a few weeks. Not long thereafter the (now) trio was asked about playing for an after-football game dance. Assistant Principal, Mr. Oliver, wanted to make an announcement over the school PA that a band would be performing but we didn’t have a name. He actually suggested we call ourselves Rick and the Shaws or Cliff and the Dwellers!We had been thinking about possible names. At the time, the Air Force had rolled out its new ballistic missile, the Atlas Centaur – That’s It! Call ourselves the Centaurs and every time they fire one of those babies off, we get free publicity. It was decision time in the principal’s office, and so the group was officially launched with Mr. Oliver’s announcement that the “Centaurs” would be playing that night. I think we had maybe fifteen tunes and played everyone of them three times, but we made it through the gig without a single tomato flying toward the stage. Another thrill and we were hooked.

The new venture would include the frequent addition and deletion of personnel. (This is not necessarily in chronological order).We added a girl singer, Clair Carlson, and saxophonist, Randy Chilton. Kenny Brown became our new drummer with the prettiest pearl Ludwig drum set in San Diego. Drew Gallahar (a guitarist and trumpet player in the CHS stage band) joined us on bass. I got a Fender Strat and Bandmaster amp. Not to be outdone, Rick got a Fender Jaguar and Showman 15 amp and a Fender reverb unit! We got the gig as the house band at what would become the legendary Downwind Club – the Junior Officer’s Club on North Island where we played for six years barely keeping our heads above the oceans of beer served every Sunday. A wonderful saxophonist from La Jolla, Bill Lamden, replaced Chilton. For a time, Janie Seiner was our vocalist. There were dances, concerts, and car shows all over San Diego, and we even played for a change-of-command party at North Island with more captains and admirals than you could count. A major thrill was recording a couple of surf tunes in the United Artists Studio in Hollywood, a session that was produced by Joe Saracino, who had been the producer of the Ventures. We also played on the Sunset Strip in the summer of ’66 in the same club where the Doors became famous.

Rick left the group late in ’66 and was replaced by Danny Orlino. The rest of us were now at San Diego State and Danny was still at CHS. He was a truly gifted player. Bob Demmon, longtime CHS band director and rock guitarist with the famous surf group, the Astronauts, once told me that Danny was maybe the finest guitarist he had ever known personally. I now doubled on guitar and organ. I think we were the first rock group in San Diego to use a cut down Hammond. The keyboards were in one box and the guts in another for portability. I also invested in a Leslie speaker, which really enhanced our sound.

From ’62 to ’67, the music had morphed from Pop to Surf to R&B to Psychedelic. We now had a new chick singer, Linda Morrison (she lived in San Diego), a great talent who became a real driving force with her powerful vocals. Not bad to look at either. She later became Miss San Diego. Steve Kilajanski took over on sax for awhile. We also now had an agency booking engagements for us, Allied Artists of San Diego, and we joined the musicians’ union. Kenny Brown became our manager giving way to several new drummers, all excellent players – Kenny Pernicano, Rick Cutler, the late Paul Bleifuss (formerly with the great S.D. band, the Impalas), Carl Spiron (who played with one of San Diego’s all time great groups, Sandi and the Accents/Classics), and later Terry Thomas.

With great reluctance in 1969, I left my last band (Bright Morning) and my long-time guitar buddy Danny Orlino to head north to go to graduate school at the University of Washington. Danny left San Diego and has been a famous guitarist and singer in Guam for many years. Kenny Brown converted his band manager skills and keen business sense into a successful real estate and property management career in the Los Angeles area. Bill Lamden became a dentist. Drew Gallahar still has his hands all over guitars but now he makes them. He’s a guitar builder at the Blue Guitar in Mission Valley. I had a 20-year career as a television producer and the host of “Seattle Today” on the NBC affiliate in Seattle, but I was also composing and performing music at the same time. Along the way I received an Emmy for composing the theme music for the Phil Donahue Show. I have returned to music as a guitar and piano teacher in the Seattle area. Sadly, Rick Thomas died of cancer in 2004 after a career as an electrical systems maintenance engineer. I visited him in Chico, CA a few months before he passed away. We got out the guitars and played and reminisced. A few months after he died, his parents sent me his guitar, which I will always treasure. It’s an uncommon Fender model called the Coronado.

Thanks to all those of you who listened and danced to our music over the years. It was a great party! (Cliff Lenz, co-founder/leader- the Centaurs)


“The Centaurs” by Ken Brown: The Centaurs rock ‘n’ roll band from Coronado during the 60s meant something special because “The Centaurs” were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution. I can remember an article in the Coronado Islander, our high school paper, which pictured the Centaurs success on par with the Beatles. They were riding high and so were we. When you are young, talented, and restless, the imagination becomes your reality. We were on top of the world, our world, and it was great fun for all who participated. We went from playing at Sea World to the Downwind Club to All Night High School Parties to our own Dance concerts. A highlight was the Centaurs opening for ‘The Doors’ at Balboa Stadium. The participants had their own special role for they too were part of the 60s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution.

I can safely say that I would not trade a moment of this musical bonanza for any other. We were living life at a fast pace with all the trimmings. Local people knew we were the Centaurs. We carried it wherever we went. We were young talented musicians (all in the local musicians’ union) who had set a new stage and pace for rock and roll. We had the 62 + 64 Chevy 327 Impalas, the Delorean, the Lotus ,and Hemi engines, and a bunch of other hot cars of the time. The Centaurs were sexy with strapping lads and foxy singers. If you were not in the ‘mood’ before our event inevitably you left in the ‘mood’. And that’s my point.

During our 25th Centaur Reunion at the Coronado Women’s Club, we had an array of people, some family, others were supporters with their special memories of what “The Centaurs” did for them. We brought the new 60s sound to Coronado and all its surroundings. We opened the musical doors for our generation. We may have never competed with the Beatles, but we sure promoted their music, along with the Rolling Stones, and a whole lot more Legendary Rock Bands of our time. Can’t have much more fun than that because “We lived the Dream”. (Ken Brown, Drummer and Business Manager of “The Centaurs” and “Framework” from Coronado)

After publishing we received this great comment from Cliff Lenz, original member of The Centaurs:

Thanks for putting the Centaurs in the Rock ‘n’ Roll issue of the Coronado Clarion. (And first up no less!) A side note to the article I thought you’d be interested in- my father was a navy officer- graduated in the same class as Admiral Stephen Morrison from the Naval Academy (class of ’41). They were life long friends and ended up retiring together in Coronado. When I found out that he was the father of Jim….I was excited about the opportunity to ask him about his superstar son. However, my mother warned me to never bring the subject up with his parents as he was persona non grata within the family. The picture of the Admiral in the Academy ’41 Yearbook looks like Jim with a flat-top!

Another sidebar- We opened for the Doors in the old Balboa Stadium in July ’68. Amazing concert- 25,000 stoned/screaming fans. Years later Oliver Stone comes out with “The Doors” with Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison. My stock went up with my two sons when I told them that their dad’s band opened for a Doors concert in San Diego. A few years later my son, at the University of Oregon, told me that he was walking to class with a girl friend and the movie came up in the conversation.
Trying to impress her he reported that his dad had a band that opened for the Doors at a big stadium concert. She said: “Cool, My dad was actually in the Doors!” Turns out she (believe her first name was Kelly) was the daughter of drummer John Densmore!
As they say- small world.
Thanks again for the inclusion of my old band in your magazine- I dearly miss those days……… Coronado and the music of the ’60’s.

Regards,
Cliff Lenz

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The Night of the Lizard King

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The Night Of The Lizard King

A Ghost Rock Opera in three acts

Written By: Alan Graham

 

ACT I

SCENE I. Pacific ocean

Dec 7th 1941

Enter Admiral Morrison singing.

 

ADMIRAL

Grandma love a sailor
who sailed the frozen sea.
Grandpa was a whaler
And he took me on his knee.

He said, “Son, I’m going crazy
From livin’ on the land.
Got to find my shipmates
And walk on foreign sands.”

This old man was graceful
With silver in his smile.
He smoked a briar pipe and
He walked four country miles.

Singing songs of shady sisters
And old time liberty.
Songs of love and songs of death
And songs to set men free.

Yea!

I’ve got three ships and sixteen men,
A course for ports unread.
I’ll stand at mast, let north winds blow
Till half of us are dead.

Land ho!

Well, if I get my hands on a dollar bill,
Gonna buy a bottle and drink my fill.
If I get my hands on a number five,
Gonna skin that little girl alive.

If I get my hand on a number two,
Come back home and marry you, marry you, marry you.
Alright!

Land ho!

 

Work In Progress

 

 

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Florence Jenkins

Unknown

Florence Foster Jenkins, born Nascina Florence Foster (July 19, 1868 – November 26, 1944), was an American socialite and amateur soprano who was known and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and notably poor singing ability.

Despite (or perhaps due to) her technical incompetence, she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Cole PorterEnrico Caruso, and other celebrities were loyal fans. The poet William Meredith wrote that what Jenkins provided ” … was never exactly an aesthetic experience, or only to the degree that an early Christian among the lions provided aesthetic experience; it was chiefly immolatory, and Madame Jenkins was always eaten, in the end.”

Nascina Florence Foster was born July 19, 1868, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Dorrance Foster (1836–1909), an attorney and scion of a wealthy land-owning Pennsylvania family. Her mother was Mary Jane Hoagland (1851–1930).[2][3][4][5][6] Her one sibling, a younger sister named Lillian, died at the age of 8 in 1883.[7][8]

Foster said she first became aware of her lifelong passion for public performance when she was seven years old.[6] A talented pianist, she performed in her youth at society functions as “Little Miss Foster”,[1] and gave a recital at the White House during the administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes.[6] After graduating from high school, she expressed a desire to study music in Europe. When her father refused to grant his permission—or the necessary funds—she eloped with Dr. Frank Thornton Jenkins (1852–1917) to Philadelphia, where they married in 1885.[8] The following year, after learning that she had contracted syphilis from her husband, she terminated their relationship and reportedly never spoke of him again. Years later, Florence asserted that a divorce decree had been granted on March 24, 1902, although no documentation of that proceeding has ever surfaced.[9] She retained the Jenkins surname for the remainder of her life.

After an arm injury ended her career aspirations as a pianist, Jenkins gave piano lessons in Philadelphia to support herself; but around 1900, she moved with her mother to New York City.[6] In 1909, Jenkins met a British Shakespearean actor named St. Clair Bayfield, and they began a vaguely-defined cohabitation relationship that continued the rest of her life.[10] Upon her father’s death later that year,[8] Jenkins became the beneficiary of a sizable trust, and resolved to resume her musical career as a singer, with Bayfield as her manager.[11] She began taking voice lessons and immersed herself in wealthy New York City society, joining dozens of social clubs. As the “chairman of music” for many of these organizations, she began producing lavish tableaux vivants—popular diversions in social circles of that era.[1] It was said that in each of these productions, Jenkins would invariably cast herself as the main character in the final tableau, wearing an elaborate costume of her own design.[6] In a widely republished photograph, Jenkins poses in a costume, complete with angelic wings, from her tableau inspired by Howard Chandler Christy‘s painting Stephen Foster and the Angel of Inspiration.[12]

Jenkins began giving private vocal recitals in 1912, when she was in her early forties.[11] In 1917, she became founder and “President Soprano Hostess” of her own social organization, the Verdi Club,[2][13] dedicated to “fostering a love and patronage of Grand Opera in English”. Its membership quickly swelled to over 400; honorary members included Enrico Caruso.[1] When Jenkins’ mother died in 1930, additional financial resources became available for the expansion and promotion of her singing career.

According to published reviews and other contemporary accounts, Jenkins’ talent at the piano did not translate well to her singing. She is described as having great difficulty with such basic vocal skills as pitchrhythm, and sustaining notes and phrases.[15] In recordings, her accompanist Cosmé McMoon can be heard making adjustments to compensate for her constant tempo variations and rhythmic mistakes,[16] but there was little he could do to conceal her inaccurate intonation. She was consistently flat, and sometimes deviated from the proper pitch by as much as a semitone. Her diction was similarly substandard, particularly with foreign-language lyrics. The technically challenging songs she selected, well beyond her ability and vocal range, emphasized these deficiencies.[15] The opera impresario Ira Siff dubbed her “the anti-Callas.” “Jenkins was exquisitely bad”, he said, “so bad that it added up to quite a good evening of theater … She would stray from the original music, and do insightful and instinctual things with her voice, but in a terribly distorted way. There was no end to the horribleness … They say Cole Porter had to bang his cane into his foot in order not to laugh out loud when she sang. She was that bad.”[10] Nevertheless, Porter rarely missed a recital.[17]

The question of whether “Lady Florence”—as she liked to be called, and often signed her autographs[10]—was in on the joke, or honestly believed she had vocal talent, remains a matter of debate. On the one hand, she compared herself favorably to the renowned sopranos Frieda Hempel and Luisa Tetrazzini, and seemed oblivious to the abundant audience laughter during her performances.[18] Her loyal friends endeavored to disguise the laughter with cheers and applause; and they often described her technique to curious inquirers in “intentionally ambiguous” terms—for example, “her singing at its finest suggests the untrammeled swoop of some great bird”—which served only to intensify public curiosity.[19] On the other, Jenkins refused to share her talents with the general public, and was clearly aware of her detractors. “People may say I can’t sing,” she once remarked to a friend, “but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”[1] She went to great lengths to control access to her rare recitals, which took place at her apartment, in small clubs, and once each October in the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Attendance, by personal invitation only, was restricted to her loyal clubwomen and a select few others. Jenkins handled distribution of the coveted tickets herself, carefully excluding strangers, particularly music critics. Favorable articles and bland reviews, published in specialty music publications such as The Musical Courier, were most likely written by her friends, or herself.[6] Despite her careful efforts to insulate her singing from public exposure, a preponderance of contemporary opinion favored the view that Jenkins’ self-delusion was genuine. “Florence didn’t think she was pulling anyone’s leg,” said opera historian Albert Innaurato. “She was compos mentis, not a lunatic. She was a very proper, complex individual.”[10]

Her recitals featured arias from the standard operatic repertoire by MozartVerdi, and Johann Strauss (all well beyond her technical ability); lieder by BrahmsValverde‘s “Clavelitos” (“Little Carnations”, a favorite encore); and songs composed by herself and McMoon.[1] As in her tableaux, she designed her own elaborate costumes, often involving wings, tinsel, and flowers, to complement her performances. During “Clavelitos”, she would throw flowers into the audience from a basket (on one occasion, she hurled the basket as well) while fluttering a fan.[20] After one “Clavelitos” performance, the audience cheered so loudly that Jenkins asked the audience to return the flowers; she replaced them in her basket and performed the song again.

Once, when a taxi in which she was riding collided with another car, Jenkins let out a high-pitched scream. Upon arriving home, she went immediately to her piano and confirmed (at least to herself) that the note she had screamed was the fabled “F above high C”—a pitch she had never before been able to reach. Overjoyed, she refused to press charges against either involved party, and even sent the taxi driver a box of expensive cigars.[21][10] McMoon said neither he “nor anyone else” ever heard her actually sing a high F, however.[17]

At the age of 76, Jenkins finally yielded to public demand and booked Carnegie Hall for a general-admission performance on October 25, 1944.[15] Tickets for the event sold out weeks in advance; the demand was such that an estimated 2,000 people were turned away at the door.[17] Numerous celebrities attended, including Porter, Marge ChampionGian Carlo MenottiKitty Carlisle and Lily Pons with her husband, Andre Kostelanetz, who composed a song for the recital. McMoon later recalled an “especially noteworthy” moment: “[When she sang] ‘If my silhouette does not convince you yet/My figure surely will’ [from Adele’s aria in Die Fledermaus], she put her hands righteously to her hips and went into a circular dance that was the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen. And created a pandemonium in the place. One famous actress had to be carried out of her box because she became so hysterical.”[18]

Since ticket distribution was out of Jenkins’ control for the first time, mockers, scoffers, and critics could no longer be kept at bay. The following morning’s newspapers were filled with scathing, sarcastic reviews that devastated Jenkins, according to Bayfield.[6] “[Mrs. Jenkins] has a great voice,” wrote the New York Sun critic. “In fact, she can sing everything except notes … Much of her singing was hopelessly lacking in a semblance of pitch, but the further a note was from its proper elevation the more the audience laughed and applauded.” The New York Post was even less charitable: “Lady Florence … indulged last night in one of the weirdest mass jokes New York has ever seen.”

Five days after the concert, Jenkins suffered a heart attack while shopping at G. Schirmer‘s music store, and died a month later on November 26, 1944, at her Manhattan residence, the Hotel Seymour. She was buried next to her father in the family crypt in Pennsylvania.  

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John Clare Poet 1793–1864

John Clare was born into a peasant family in Helpston, England. Although he was the son of illiterate parents, Clare received some formal schooling. While earning money through such manual labor as ploughing and threshing, he published several volumes of poetry, including Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery. After suffering from delusions, Clare was admitted to an insane asylum where he spent the final 20 years of his life.
 I AM
 I am—yet what I am none cares or knows; 
My friends forsake me like a memory lost: 
I am the self-consumer of my woes— 
They rise and vanish in oblivious host, 
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes 
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed 
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, 
Into the living sea of waking dreams, 
Where there is neither sense of life or joys, 
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems; 
Even the dearest that I loved the best 
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest. 
I long for scenes where man hath never trod 
A place where woman never smiled or wept 
There to abide with my Creator, God, 
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, 
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie 
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
First Love

I ne’er was struck before that hour 

   With love so sudden and so sweet, 
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower 
   And stole my heart away complete. 
My face turned pale as deadly pale, 
   My legs refused to walk away, 
And when she looked, what could I ail? 
   My life and all seemed turned to clay. 
And then my blood rushed to my face 
   And took my eyesight quite away, 
The trees and bushes round the place 
   Seemed midnight at noonday. 
I could not see a single thing, 
   Words from my eyes did start— 
They spoke as chords do from the string, 
   And blood burnt round my heart. 
Are flowers the winter’s choice? 
   Is love’s bed always snow? 
She seemed to hear my silent voice, 
   Not love’s appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face 
   As that I stood before. 
My heart has left its dwelling-place 
   And can return no more. 
THE DYING CHILD
He could not die when trees were green, 
         For he loved the time too well. 
His little hands, when flowers were seen, 
         Were held for the bluebell, 
         As he was carried o’er the green. 
His eye glanced at the white-nosed bee; 
         He knew those children of the spring: 
When he was well and on the lea 
         He held one in his hands to sing, 
         Which filled his heart with glee. 
Infants, the children of the spring! 
         How can an infant die 
When butterflies are on the wing, 
         Green grass, and such a sky? 
         How can they die at spring? 
He held his hands for daisies white, 
         And then for violets blue, 
And took them all to bed at night 
         That in the green fields grew, 
         As childhood’s sweet delight. 
And then he shut his little eyes, 
         And flowers would notice not; 
Birds’ nests and eggs caused no surprise, 
         He now no blossoms got; 
         They met with plaintive sighs. 
When winter came and blasts did sigh, 
         And bare were plain and tree, 
As he for ease in bed did lie 
         His soul seemed with the free, 
         He died so quietly.
I HID MY LOVE
I hid my love when young till I 
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly; 
I hid my love to my despite 
Till I could not bear to look at light: 
I dare not gaze upon her face 
But left her memory in each place; 
Where’er I saw a wild flower lie 
I kissed and bade my love good-bye. 
I met her in the greenest dells, 
Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells; 
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye, 
The bee kissed and went singing by, 
A sunbeam found a passage there, 
A gold chain round her neck so fair; 
As secret as the wild bee’s song 
She lay there all the summer long. 
I hid my love in field and town 
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down; 
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er, 
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar; 
And even silence found a tongue, 
To haunt me all the summer long; 
The riddle nature could not prove 
Was nothing else but secret love. 
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John Donne Poet 1572–1631

John Donne’s standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, is now assured. However, it has been confirmed only in the early 20th century. The history of Donne’s reputation is the most remarkable of any major writer in English; no other body of great poetry has fallen so far from favor for so long and been generally condemned as inept and crude. In Donne’s own day his poetry was highly prized among the small circle of his admirers, who read it as it was circulated in manuscript, and in his later years he gained wide fame as a preacher. For some 30 years after his death successive editions of his verse stamped his powerful influence upon English poets. During the Restoration his writing went out of fashion and remained so for several centuries. Throughout the 18th century, and for much of the 19th century, he was little read and scarcely appreciated. Commentators followed Samuel Johnson in dismissing his work as no more than frigidly ingenious and metrically uncouth. Some scribbled notes by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Charles Lamb‘s copy of Donne’s poems make a testimony of admiration rare in the early 19th century. Robert Browning became a known (and wondered-at) enthusiast of Donne, but it was not until the end of the 1800s that Donne’s poetry was eagerly taken up by a growing band of avant-garde readers and writers. His prose remained largely unnoticed until 1919.

In the first two decades of the 20th century Donne’s poetry was decisively rehabilitated. Its extraordinary appeal to modern readers throws light on the Modernist movement, as well as on our intuitive response to our own times. Donne may no longer be the cult figure he became in the 1920s and 1930s, when T. S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats, among others, discovered in his poetry the peculiar fusion of intellect and passion and the alert contemporariness which they aspired to in their own art. He is not a poet for all tastes and times; yet for many readers Donne remains what Ben Jonson judged him: “the first poet in the world in some things.” His poems continue to engage the attention and challenge the experience of readers who come to him afresh. His high place in the pantheon of the English poets now seems secure.

Donne’s love poetry was written nearly four hundred years ago; yet one reason for its appeal is that it speaks to us as directly and urgently as if we overhear a present confidence. For instance, a lover who is about to board ship for a long voyage turns back to share a last intimacy with his mistress: “Here take my picture” (Elegy 5). Two lovers who have turned their backs upon a threatening world in “The Good Morrow” celebrate their discovery of a new world in each other:

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,

Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

In “The Flea” an importunate lover points out a flea that has been sucking his mistress’s blood and now jumps to suck his; he tries to prevent his mistress from crushing it:

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, nay more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;

Though parents grudge, and you, we’ are met,

And cloistered in these living walls of jet.

This poem moves forward as a kind of dramatic argument in which the chance discovery of the flea itself becomes the means by which they work out the true end of their love. The incessant play of a skeptical intelligence gives even these love poems the style of impassioned reasoning.

The poetry inhabits an exhilaratingly unpredictable world in which wariness and quick wits are at a premium. The more perilous the encounters of clandestine lovers, the greater zest they have for their pleasures, whether they seek to outwit the disapproving world, or a jealous husband, or a forbidding and deeply suspicious father, as in Elegy 4

, “The Perfume” 

Though he had wont to search with glazed eyes,

As though he came to kill a cockatrice,

Though he have oft sworn, that he would remove

Thy beauty’s beauty, and food of our love,

Hope of his goods, if I with thee were seen,

Yet close and secret, as our souls, we have been.

Exploiting and being exploited are taken as conditions of nature, which we share on equal terms with the beasts of the jungle and the ocean. In “Metempsychosis” a whale and a holder of great office behave in precisely the same way:

 

He hunts not fish, but as an officer,

Stays in his court, as his own net, and there

All suitors of all sorts themselves enthral;

So on his back lies this whale wantoning,

And in his gulf-like throat, sucks everything

That passeth near.

Donne characterizes our natural life in the world as a condition of flux and momentariness, which we may nonetheless turn to our advantage, as in “Woman’s Constancy“:

Now thou hast loved me one whole day,

Tomorrow when thou leav’st, what wilt thou say?

…………………………………..

Vain lunatic, against these ‘scapes I could

Dispute, and conquer, if I would,

Which I abstain to do,

For by tomorrow, I may think so too.

In such a predicament our judgment of the world around us can have no absolute force but may at best measure people’s endeavors relative to each other, as Donne points out in “Metempsychosis”: 

There’s nothing simply good, nor ill alone,

Of every quality comparison,

The only measure is, and judge, opinion.

The tension of the poetry comes from the pull of divergent impulses in the argument itself. In “A Valediction: Of my Name in the Window,” the lover’s name scratched in his mistress’s window ought to serve as a talisman to keep her chaste; but then, as he explains to her, it may instead be an unwilling witness to her infidelity:

When thy inconsiderate hand

Flings ope this casement, with my trembling name,

To look on one, whose wit or land,

New battery to thy heart may frame,

Then think this name alive, and that thou thus

In it offend’st my Genius.

So complex or downright contradictory is our state that quite opposite possibilities must be allowed for within the scope of a single assertion, as in Satire 3: “Kind pity chokes my spleen; brave scorn forbids / Those tears to issue which swell my eye-lids.”

The opening lines of Satire 3 confront us with a bizarre medley of moral questions: Should the corrupted state of religion prompt our anger or our grief? What devotion do we owe to religion, and which religion may claim our devotion? May the pagan philosophers be saved before Christian believers? What obligation of piety do children owe to their fathers in return for their religious upbringing? Then we get a quick review of issues such as the participation of Englishmen in foreign wars, colonizing expeditions, the Spanish auto-da-fé, and brawls over women or honor in the London streets. The drift of Donne’s argument holds all these concerns together and brings them to bear upon the divisions of Christendom that lead men to conclude that any worldly cause must be more worthy of their devotion than the pursuit of a true Christian life. The mode of reasoning is characteristic: Donne calls in a variety of circumstances, weighing one area of concern against another so that we may appraise the present claim in relation to a whole range of unlike possibilities: “Is not this excuse for mere contraries, / Equally strong; cannot both sides say so?” The movement of the poem amounts to a sifting of the relative claims on our devotion that commonly distract us from our absolute obligation to seek the truth.

Some of Donne’s sharpest insights into erotic experience, as his insights into social motives, follow out his sense of the bodily prompting of our most compelling urges, which are thus wholly subject to the momentary state of the physical organism itself. In “Farewell to Love” the end that lovers so passionately pursue loses its attraction at once when they have gained it:

Being had, enjoying it decays:

And thence,

What before pleased them all, takes but one sense,

And that so lamely, as it leaves behind

A kind of sorrowing dullness to the mind.

Yet the poet never gives the impression of forcing a doctrine upon experience. On the contrary, his skepticism sums up his sense of the way the world works.

Donne’s love poetry expresses a variety of amorous experiences that are often startlingly unlike each other, or even contradictory in their implications. In “The Anniversary” he is not just being inconsistent when he moves from a justification of frequent changes of partners to celebrate a mutual attachment that is simply not subject to time, alteration, appetite, or the sheer pull of other worldly enticements:

All kings, and all their favourites,

All glory of honours, beauties, wits,

The sun itself, which makes times, as they pass,

Is elder by a year, now, than it was

When thou and I first one another saw:

All other things, to their destruction draw,

Only our love hath, nor decay;

This, no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday,

Running it never runs from us away,

But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.

The triumph the lovers proclaim here defies the state of flux it affirms.

Some of Donne’s finest love poems, such as “A Valediction: forbidding Mourning,” prescribe the condition of a mutual attachment that time and distance cannot diminish:

Dull sublunary lovers’ love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

 

But we by a love, so much refined,

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Donne finds some striking images to define this state in which two people remain wholly one while they are separated. Their souls are not divided but expanded by the distance between them, “Like gold to airy thinness beat”; or they move in response to each other as the legs of twin compasses, whose fixed foot keeps the moving foot steadfast in its path:

Such wilt thou be to me, who must

Like th’ other foot obliquely run;

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end, where I begun.

A supple argument unfolds with lyric grace.

It must be borne in mind that the poems editors group together were not necessarily produced thus. Donne did not write for publication. No more than seven poems and a bit of another poem were published during his lifetime, and only two of these publications were authorized by him. The poems he released were passed around in manuscript and transcribed by his admirers singly or in gatherings. Some of these copies have survived. When the first printed edition of his poems was published in 1633, two years after his death, the haphazard arrangement of the poems gave no clue to the order of their composition. Many modern editions of the poetry impose categorical divisions that are unlikely to correspond to the order of writing, separating the love poetry from the satires and the religious poetry, the verse letters from the epithalamiums and funeral poems. No more than a handful of Donne’s poems can be dated with certainty. The Elegies and Satires are likely to have been written in the early 1590s. “Metempsychosis” is dated 16 August 1601. The two memorial Anniversaries for the death of Elizabeth Drury were certainly written in 1611 and 1612; and the funeral elegy on Prince Henry must have been written in 1612. The Songs and Sonnets were evidently not conceived as a single body of love verses and do not appear so in early manuscript collections. Donne may well have composed them at intervals and in unlike situations over some twenty years of his poetic career. Some of them may even have overlapped with his best-known religious poems, which are likely to have been written about 1609, before he took holy orders.

Poems so vividly individuated invite attention to the circumstances that shaped them. Yet we have no warrant to read Donne’s poetry as a record of his life or the expression of his inner disquiets. Donne’s career and personality are nonetheless arresting in themselves, and they cannot be kept wholly separate from the general thrust of his writing, for which they at least provide a living context. Donne was born in London between 24 January and 19 June 1572 into the precarious world of English recusant Catholicism, whose perils his family well knew. His father, John Donne, was an ironmonger. His mother, Elizabeth (Heywood) Donne, a lifelong Catholic, was the greatniece of the martyred Sir Thomas More. His uncle Jasper Heywood headed an underground Jesuit mission in England from 1581 to 1583 and, when he was caught, was imprisoned and then exiled; Donne’s younger brother, Henry, died from the plague in 1593 while being held in Newgate Prison for harboring a seminary priest. Yet at some time in his young manhood Donne himself converted to Anglicanism and never went back on that reasoned decision. Though he was a tradesman, Donne’s father claimed descent from the Herbert family, and his mother was the daughter of John Heywood, epigrammatist and author of interludes. Donne’s father died in January 1576, and within six months Elizabeth Donne had married John Syminges, an Oxford-educated physician with a practice in London. In October 1584 Donne entered Hart Hall, Oxford, where he remained for about three years. Though no records of his attendance at Cambridge are extant, he may have gone on to study there as well and may have accompanied his uncle Jasper Heywood on a trip to Paris and Antwerp during this time. It is known that he entered Lincoln’s Inn in May 1592, after at least a year of preliminary study at Thavies Inn, and was at least nominally a student of English law for two or more years. After sailing as a gentleman adventurer with the English expeditions to Cadiz and the Azores in 1596 and 1597, he entered the service of Sir Thomas Egerton, the lord keeper of England. As Egerton’s highly valued secretary he developed the keen interest in statecraft and foreign affairs that he retained throughout his life.

His place in the Egerton household also brought him into acquaintance with Egerton’s domestic circle. Egerton’s brother-in-law was Sir George More, parliamentary representative for Surrey, whose family seat was Loseley House near Guildford in Surrey. More came up to London for an autumn sitting of Parliament in 1601, bringing with him his daughter Ann, then seventeen. Ann More and Donne may well have met and fallen in love during some earlier visit to the Egerton household; they were clandestinely married in December 1601 in a ceremony arranged with the help of a small group of Donne’s friends. Some months elapsed before Donne dared to break the news to the girl’s father, by letter, provoking a violent response. Donne and his helpful friends were briefly imprisoned, and More set out to get the marriage annulled, demanding that Egerton dismiss his amorous secretary.

The marriage was eventually upheld; indeed, More became reconciled to it and to his son-in-law, but Donne lost his job in 1602 and did not find regular employment again until he took holy orders more than twelve years later. Throughout his middle years he and his wife brought up an ever-increasing family with the aid of relatives, friends, and patrons, and on the uncertain income he could bring in by polemical hackwork and the like. His anxious attempts to gain secular employment in the queen’s household in Ireland, or with the Virginia Company, all came to nothing, and he seized the opportunity to accompany Sir Robert Drury on a diplomatic mission in France in 1612. From these frustrated years came most of the verse letters, funeral poems, epithalamiums, and holy sonnets, as well as the prose treatises Biathanatos (1647), Pseudo-Martyr (1610), and Ignatius his Conclave (1611).

In the writing of Donne’s middle years, skepticism darkened into a foreboding of imminent ruin. Such poems as the two memorial Anniversaries and “To the Countess of Salisbury” register an accelerating decline of our nature and condition in a cosmos that is itself disintegrating. In “The First Anniversary” the poet declares,

mankind decays so soon,

We’ are scarce our fathers’ shadows cast at noon.

…………………………………

And freely men confess that this world’s spent,

When in the planets, and the firmament

They seek so many new; they see that this

Is crumbled out again to his atomies.

‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone.

Donne contends that at this late stage of creation we exhibit a pitiful falling off from the early state of humankind:

There is not now that mankind, which was then,

When as the sun, and man, did seem to strive,

(Joint tenants of the world) who should survive.

…………………………………..

Where is this mankind now? who lives to age,

Fit to be made Methusalem his page?

Alas, we scarce live long enough to try

Whether a true made clock run right, or lie.

Our attempts to know the world by means of our natural powers are inevitably misconceived. For we seek to order a degenerating cosmos with our decaying faculties and to impose a stable pattern upon a condition of continual flux that we cannot even adequately measure, as Donne claims in “The Second Anniversary”:

And what essential joy canst thou expect

Here upon earth? what permanent effect

Of transitory causes? Dost thou love

Beauty? (and beauty worthiest is to move)

Poor cozened cozener, that she, and that thou,

Which did begin to love, are neither now;

You are both fluid, changed since yesterday;

Next day repairs, (but ill) last day’s decay.

Nor are, (although the river keep the name)

Yesterday’s waters, and today’s the same.

So flows her face, and thine eyes, neither now

That saint, nor pilgrim, which your loving vow

Concerned, remains; but whilst you think you be

Constant, you’are hourly in inconstancy.

In this condition of gathering uncertainty the very latest of our so-called discoveries are likely to be the most unsettling, as shown in these lines from “The First Anniversary”:

And new philosophy calls all in doubt,

The element of fire is quite put out;

The sun is lost, and th’earth, and no man’s wit

Can well direct him where to look for it.

Yet Donne is not counseling despair here. On the contrary, the Anniversaries offer a sure way out of spiritual dilemma: “thou hast but one way, not to admit / The world’s infection, to be none of it” (“The First Anniversary”). Moreover, the poems propose that a countering force is at work that resists the world’s frantic rush toward its own ruin. Such amendment of corruption is the true purpose of our worldly being: “our business is, to rectify / Nature, to what she was” (“To Sir Edward Herbert, at Juliers”). But in the present state of the world, and ourselves, the task becomes heroic and calls for a singular resolution.

The verse letters and funeral poems celebrate those qualities of their subjects that stand against the general lapse toward chaos: “Be more than man, or thou’art less than an ant” (“The First Anniversary”). The foremost of these qualities must be innocence itself, for that is just the condition which Adam and Eve forfeited at the Fall. As an innocent person presents a pattern of our uncorrupted state, so an innocent death is an ambiguous event; for in itself it is no death at all; yet in its effects it reenacts the primal calamity. Elizabeth Drury’s departure from the world left us dying but also better aware of our true state, as depicted in “The First Anniversary”:

This world, in that great earthquake languished,

For in a common bath of tears it bled,

Which drew the strongest vital spirits out

But succoured them with a perplexed doubt,

Whether the world did lose, or gain in this.

With the loss of her preserving balm the world falls sick and dies, even putrefies, leaving the poet only the task of anatomizing it so as to demonstrate its corruption. Donne uncompromisingly carries this complex conceit of an innocent death right through the two anniversary poems for Elizabeth Drury, disregarding the practical disadvantage that he is thus led to attribute a great deal to a young girl he had not even met. Ben Jonson assured William Drummond “That Donne’s Anniversary was profane and full of blasphemies,” and said “That he told Mr. Donne, if it had been written of the Virgin Mary it had been something; to which he answered that he described The Idea of a woman and not as she was.

Donne does not seek to celebrate a uniquely miraculous nature or a transcendental virtue. He shows us how an innocent young girl effectively embodied in her own human nature the qualities that alone preserve the natural creation and why her death reenacts the withdrawal of those qualities from the world. He pointedly declines to take the girl for an emanation of the divine spirit, another Beatrice who rose above the flesh in her life and transcends the world finally in her death. On the contrary, Elizabeth Drury is celebrated for human excellences that are spiritually refined in themselves. She was a being in whom body and spirit were at one.

Most of the people Donne praised, alive or dead, were past the age of innocence. Yet the burden of the Anniversary poems is that Elizabeth Drury’s death has shown us all how to resist the corrupting force of the world. A tried election of virtue is possible, though rarely achieved, which resists the common depravity of the Fall. Donne consoles a mourning woman with the conceit that she now incorporates her dead companion’s virtues with her own, and has thus acquired the power to preserve both their beings from corruption: “You that are she and you, that’s double she” (“To the Countess of Bedford”). He claims that a woman embodies all virtue in herself and sustains the world, so that “others’ good reflects but back your light” (“To the Countess of Huntingdon”). He excoriates a blind world that unknowingly owes what little vitality it still retains to the virtue of a few moral prodigies who mediate Christ’s own virtue, having the quasi-alchemic power to turn “Leaden and iron wills to good” and make “even sinful flesh like his” (“Resurrection, Imperfect”). Such virtuous beings rectify nature to what it was in their own bodies, so interfusing sense and spirit as to make an intelligent organism of the body itself, as depicted in “The Second Anniversary”:

we understood

Her by her sight, her pure and eloquent blood

Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought,

That one might almost say, her body thought.

These poems of Donne’s middle years are less frequently read than the rest of his work, and they have struck readers as perversely obscure and odd. There is clearly some justification for that response, as seen in these lines from “The Second Anniversary”:

Immortal Maid, who though thy would’st refuse

The name of mother, be unto my Muse

A father, since her chaste ambition is,

Yearly to bring forth such a child as this.

The poems flaunt their creator’s unconcern with decorum to the point of shocking their readers. In his funeral poems Donne harps on decay and maggots, even venturing satiric asides as he contemplates bodily corruption: “Think thee a prince, who of themselves create / Worms which insensibly devour their state” (“The Second Anniversary”). He shows by the analogy of a beheaded man how it is that our dead world still appears to have life and movement (“The Second Anniversary”); he compares the soul in the newborn infant body with a “stubborn sullen anchorite” who sits “fixed to a pillar, or a grave / … / Bedded, and bathed in all his ordures” (“The Second Anniversary”); he develops in curious detail the conceit that virtuous men are clocks and that the late John Harrington, second Lord of Exton, was a public clock (“Obsequies to the Lord Harrington”). Such unsettling idiosyncrasy is too persistent to be merely wanton or sensational. It subverts our conventional proprieties in the interest of a radical order of truth.

Donne’s reluctance to become a priest, as he was several times urged to do, does not argue a lack of faith. The religious poems he wrote years before he took orders dramatically suggest that his doubts concerned his own unworthiness, his sense that he could not possibly merit God’s grace, as seen in these lines from Divine Meditations 4

Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack;

But who shall give thee that grace to begin?

Oh make thyself with holy mourning black,

And red with blushing, as thou art with sin.

These Divine Meditations, or Holy Sonnets, make a universal drama of religious life, in which every moment may confront us with the final annulment of time: “What if this present were the world’s last night?” (Divine Meditations 13 ). In Divine Meditations 10the prospect of a present entry upon eternity also calls for a showdown with ourselves and with the exemplary events that bring time and the timeless together in one order:

Mark in my heart, O soul, where thou dost dwell,

The picture of Christ crucified, and tell

Whether that countenance can thee affright.

Christ’s double nature, as God and man at once, assures his power to transform events in time; and it also confirms our power to outbrave our last enemy: “Death be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so.” The ringing rhetoric sustains a mighty shout of defiance in Divine Meditations 7, proclaiming the possibility of a heroic triumph snatched from likely defeat:

At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow

Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise

From death, you numberless infinities

Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go.

Such a magnificent declamation gives our moral life the grandeur of a universal drama that is perpetually reenacted; it sets the trumpets blowing here and now to proclaim the sudden irruption of the Day of Judgment.

The poet is always fearfully aware that we cannot command such triumphs for ourselves, and that we may have part in them at all only by submitting ourselves to a course of repentance that will open us to God’s grace at last. In Divine Meditations 1 he states,

But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,

For, if above all these, my sins abound,

‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,

When we are there; here on this lowly ground,

Teach me how to repent.

The present moment may define us forever. We make our predicament immediate by imagining ourselves in mortal sickness, or at the point of final judgment, brining ourselves sharply up against a reality that our daily lives obscure from us:

I run to death, and death meets me as fast,

And all my pleasures are like yesterday,

I dare not move my dim eyes any way,

Despair behind, and death before doth cast

Such terror.

These Divine Meditations make self-recognition a necessary means to grace. They dramatize the spiritual dilemma of errant creatures who need God’s grace in order that they may deserve it; for we must fall into sin and merit death even though our redemption is at hand; yet we cannot even begin to repent without grace. The poems open the sinner to God, imploring God’s forceful intervention by the sinner’s willing acknowledgment of the need for a drastic onslaught upon his present hardened state, as in Divine Meditations 

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for, you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

The force of the petition measures the dire extremity of his struggle with himself and with God’s adversary. Donne pleads with God that he too has an interest in this contention for the sinner’s soul: “Lest the world, flesh, yea Devil put thee out” ( Divine Meditations 17). The drama brings home to the poet the enormity of his ingratitude to his Redeemer, confronting him bodily with the irony of Christ’s self-humiliation for us. In Divine Meditations 11 Donne wonders why the sinner should not suffer Christ’s injuries in his own person:

Spit in my face ye Jews, and pierce my side,

Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,

For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he,

Who could do no iniquity, hath died.

On the death of his wife in 1617 Donne’s poetic response in Divine Meditations 17 was movingly restrained and dignified:

Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt

To nature, and to hers, and my good is dead,

And her soul early into heaven ravished,

Wholly in heavenly things my mind is set.

He turns his worldly loss to an occasion of final good in that he now finds only one sure way to be reunited with her. She becomes the means by which Christ woos his soul toward a remarriage in heaven: “But why should I beg more love, when as thou / Dost woo my soul for hers; offering all thine.”

Donne’s religious poems turn upon a paradox that is central to the hope for eternal life: Christ’s sacrificing himself to save mankind. God’s regimen is paradoxical, and in Divine Meditations 13 Donne sees no impropriety in entreating Christ with the casuistry he had used on his “profane mistreses” when he assured them that only the ugly lack compassion:

so I say to thee,

To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assigned,

This beauteous form assures a piteous mind.

In Divine Meditations 18 he resolves his search for the true Church in a still bolder sexual paradox, petitioning Christ as a “kind husband” to betray his spouse to our view so that the poet’s amorous soul may “court thy mild dove”: “Who is most true, and pleasing to thee, then / When she’is embraced and open to most men.” The apparent indecorum of making the true Church a whore and Christ her complaisant husband at least startles us into recognizing Christ’s own catholicity. The paradox brings out a truth about Christ’s Church that may well be shocking to those who uphold a sectarian exclusiveness.

Wit becomes the means by which the poet discovers the working of Providence in the casual traffic of the world. A journey westward from one friend’s house to another over Easter 1613 brings home to Donne the general aberration of nature that prompts us to put pleasure before our due devotion to Christ. We ought to be heading east at Easter so as to contemplate and share Christ’s suffering; and in summoning up that event to his mind’s eye, he recognizes the shocking paradox of the ignominious death of God upon a Cross: “Could I behold those hands, which span the poles, / And turn all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?” (“Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward“). An image of Christ’s degradation is directly imposed upon an image of God’s omnipotence. We see that the event itself has a double force, being at once the catastrophic consequence of our sin and the ultimate assurance of God’s saving love. The poet’s very journey west may be providential if it brings him to a penitent recognition of his present unworthiness to gaze directly upon Christ:

O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;

I turn my back to thee, but to receive

Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.

O think me worth thine anger, punish me,

Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,

Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,

That thou mayest know me, and I’ll turn my face.

A serious illness that Donne suffered in 1623 produced a still more startling poetic effect. In “Hymn to God, my God, in my Sickness” the poet presents his recumbent body as a flat map over which the doctors pore like navigators to discover some passage through present dangers to tranquil waters; and he ponders his own destination as if he himself is a vessel that may reach the desirable places of the world only by negotiating some painful straits:

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are

The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?

Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,

All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them.

By this self-questioning he brings himself to understand that his suffering may itself be a blessing, since he shares the condition of a world in which our ultimate bliss must be won through well-endured hardship. The physical symptoms of his illness become the signs of his salvation: “So, in his purple wrapped receive me Lord, / By these his thorns give me his other crown.” The images that make him one with Christ in his suffering transform those pangs into reassurance. The flushed face of the fevered man replicates Christ’s bloodied flesh, which is also the purple robe of Christ’s saving dominion; the sufferer’s spasms of pain become the thorns of Christ’s crown, which is also a true crown of glory. By intertwining Christ’s agony and loving power with the circumstances of his own desperate illness, Donne identifies the travails of a holy death with Christ’s anguish on the Cross, making such a death a means to bliss. His witty conceit seeks to catch the working of Providence itself, which shapes our human accidents in the pattern of timeless truth.

In Donne’s poetry, language may catch the presence of God in our human dealings. The pun on the poet’s name in “A Hymn to God the Father” registers the distance that the poet’s sins have put between himself and God, with new kinds of sin pressing forward as fast as God forgives those already confessed: “When thou hast done, thou hast not done, / For, I have more.” Then the puns on “sun” and “Donne” resolve these sinful anxieties themselves:

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

But swear by thy self, that at my death thy son

Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;

And, having done that, thou hast done,

I fear no more.

For this poet such coincidences of words and ideas are not mere accidents to be juggled with in jest. They mark precisely the working of Providence within the order of nature.

The transformation of Jack Donne the rake into the Reverend Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, no longer seems bizarre. To impose such clear-cut categories upon a man’s career may be to take too rigid a view of human nature. That the poet of the Elegiesand Songs and Sonnets is also the author of the Devotions and the sermons need not indicate some profound spiritual upheaval. One reason for the appeal of Donne in modern times is that he confronts us with the complexity of our own natures.

Donne took holy orders in January 1615, having been persuaded by King James himself of his fitness for a ministry “to which he was, and appeared, very unwilling, apprehending it (such was his mistaking modesty) to be too weighty for his abilities.” So writes his first biographer, Izaak Walton, who had known him well and often heard him preach. Once committed to the Church, Donne devoted himself to it totally, and his life thereafter becomes a record of incumbencies held and sermons preached.

His wife died in childbirth in 1617. He was elected dean of St. Paul’s in November 1621, and he became the most celebrated cleric of his age, preaching frequently before the king at court as well as at St. Paul’s and other churches. One hundred and sixty of his sermons have survived. The few religious poems he wrote after he became a priest show no falling off in imaginative power, yet the calling of his later years committed him to prose, and the artistry of his Devotions and sermons at least matches the artistry of his poems.

The magnificent prose of Donne’s Devotions embodies a way of thinking that gives it both its character and its power. The impassioned development of a thought through metaphor sets up links and correspondences that are caught in the structure of the sentences themselves, as witnessed in this prayer, number 20 in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

:

I am come by thy goodness, to the use of thine ordinary means for my body, to wash away those peccant humours, that endangered it. I have, O Lord, a Riverin my body, but a Sea in my soul, and a Sea swollen into the depth of a Deluge, above the sea. Thou hast raised up certain hills in me heretofore, by which I might have stood safe, from these inundations of sin … and to the top of all these hills, thou has brought me heretofore; but this Deluge, this inundation, is got above all my Hills; and I have sinned and sinned, and multiplied sin to sin, after all these thy assistances against sin, and where is there water enough to wash away this Deluge?

The highly dramatic counterpointing of the syntax follows out an elaborate pattern of understanding. This set of twenty-three Devotions presents a prime example of the attempt to find an eternal significance in the natural occurrences of the world, even such a down-to-earth proceeding as a forced evacuation of the bowels to relieve a physical malady.

Donne wrote his Devotions in his convalescence from a protracted bout of relapsing fever that brought him very near to death in November and December 1623. He plots in formal stages the day-to-day physical progress of the illness, discovering in it nothing less than a universal pattern of ruin and (as it turns out) recovery. By taking his own constitution for a little world that reproduces the economy of the larger world, he works out in elaborate detail the correspondence between his present predicament and the disordered state of nature. As his illness is no mere physical accident but the embodiment of a spiritual condition, so the whole of nature itself now decays in consequence of reiterated sin. At the very nadir of his being Donne contemplates the prospect of his imminent death, as well as the final ruination of the world, by occasion of the death of another human being whose funeral bell he hears tolling close at hand. The celebrated passage from number 17 in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions gains power in its context:

Perchance he for whom this Bell tolls, may be so ill, as that he knows not it tollsfor him; And perchance I may think my self so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The Church is Catholic, universal, so are all her Actions; Allthat she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me … who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings? But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No Man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a Clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontory were, as well as if a Manor of thy friends, or of thine own were; Any Man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

It is thus harrowingly brought home to him that his own predicament is not particular to himself but shared with the whole of nature. All funeral bells toll for us all, as well as for our dying world.

However, the sudden and unexpected remission of his fear also realizes a spiritual truth. A countermovement against the rush to ruin may save us and the world if we will sustain it in our lives. Christ’s blood can counteract the seas of sin that threaten to inundate the world. In one man’s extremity the universal design of Providential love discloses itself, and Donne’s formal meditation on his sickness stands as a powerfully sustained feat of thinking that discovers the coherence of God’s creation in the very fortuities that seem to deny it.

The publication in 1919 of Donne’s Sermons: Selected Passages, edited by Logan Pearsall Smith, came as a revelation to its readers, not least those who had little taste for sermons. John Bailey, writing in the Quarterly Review (April 1920), found in these extracts “the very genius of oratory … a masterpiece of English prose.” Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in Studies in Literature (1920), judged the sermons to include “the most magnificent prose ever uttered from an English pulpit, if not the most magnificent prose ever spoken in our tongue.”

Donne’s best-known sermon, Deaths Duell (1632), is his last one, which he preached at court just a month before he expired. He was already visibly dying, and this sermon is often taken to seal his long preoccupation with death. In fact it celebrates a triumph over death that is confirmed by the Resurrection of Christ. Donne draws out three distinct senses of his text from Psalm 68, “And unto God the Lord belong the issues Of death.” God has power to bring about our deliverance from death; our deliverance in death (by his care for us in the hour and manner of our death); and our deliverance by means ofdeath (through Christ’s sacrifice of himself for us). By examining each of these senses in turn, Donne shows that they finally cohere in Christ’s life. The sermon culminates in a meditation upon Christ’s last hours and sufferings, inviting the reader to acquiesce in oneness with Christ’s own condition, just because he is the second Adam, who redeems the sin of the first:

There we leave you, in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him, that hangs upon the cross. There bathe in his tears, there suck at his wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a Resurrection, and an ascension into that Kingdom which he hath purchased for you, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood.

Over a literary career of some forty years Donne moved from skeptical naturalism to a conviction of the shaping presence of the divine spirit in the natural creation. Yet his mature understanding did not contradict his earlier vision. He simply came to anticipate a Providential disposition in the restless whirl of the world. The amorous adventurer nurtured the dean of St. Paul’s.
— A. J. Smith, University of Southampton

 

 

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COOLEST ROCK-n-ROLL ARCHIVE ON EARTH

Take a trip down memory lane with Coronado Rock-n-Roll archivist John Moore.

SOURCES

The San Diego Concert Archive was created through extensive research of the following newspapers, fanzines and weekly periodicals: The San Diego Door/Teaspoon, The San Diego Union, The San Diego Evening Tribune, The San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego State University Daily Aztec, The San Diego Reader, Quasi-Substitute, Snare, Kicks and SLAMM.

LIBRARIES
San Diego Central Library, San Diego Historical Society Research Archives and San Diego State University Love Library.

SPECIAL THANKS 
Laurie Henderson, Joseph Garcia, Paul Wultz, Tom Sims, Bart Mendoza, Jake Tison, Cesar Guizar, Larry Harmon, Phil Galloway, Andrea Soldi, Ken Langford, Doug Schlar, Jesse Adriance and Eric Rife.

EMAIL
sdconcertarchive@aol.com

ADDRESS
Send photos, posters, flyers and tickets to: 

Jon Moore
PO Box 83931
San Diego, CA 92138 

SUBMISSIONS
Submissions are welcome and will be posted anonymously to protect the privacy of the donor. Please contact us with details regarding your pre-2000 San Diego concert memorabilia.

WEBSITE
This site was created, and is maintained, 100% gratis by Hesh One.

COPYRIGHT
Jon Moore Presents: San Diego Concert Archive © 1992-2004 Jon Moore. Advanced written consent is needed to reproduce any information or image from this website.

 

CONCERT TICKETS

Before barcodes and holograms, promoters often spent as much time decorating their tickets as they did with their posters and handbills. Even with their minimal amount of information, tickets provide an important part in the documentation of the San Diego music scene.

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CONCERT FLYERS

Flyers have always been an inexpensive and effective way to promote a concert. Some are as basic as simple hand-scrawled information on a sheet of paper while others are detailed and sophisticated pieces of art.

CONCERT POSTERS

From the colorful psychedelic hand-screened images of the 1960s and 1970s, to today’s offset press high tech printing capabilities, rock posters have always been on the cutting edge of modern graphic art, simultaneously capturing a moment of San Diego’s music scene on a piece of poster board.

 

 

 

VENUES

There have been many places for bands to play around San Diego… Some have come and gone and others have stuck around.  Here’s a sample of some of the most popular ones.

4th & B Street 
345 B Street, Downtown
Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule, Chris Isaak

Abbey Road
3117 University Avenue, North Park
Zeros, Hitmakers, Penetrators

Adams Avenue Theater 
3325 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights
REM, Anthrax, Dead Kennedy’s

Arena, The 
8th & Harbor Street, Downtown
Elvis Presley

Aztec Bowl/Cox Arena
5500 Canyon Crest Drive, SDSU Campus, College Area
Grateful Dead, The Police, A Tribe Called Quest

Bacchanal/Reptile House/Sound FX 
8022 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearney Mesa
Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks

Backdoor, The 
5500 Campanile Drive, SDSU Campus, College Area
Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Captain Beefheart

Balboa Bowl/Starlight Bowl 
2005 Panamerican Road, Balboa Park
Kingston Trio, Rolling Stones, Peter, Paul & Mary

Balboa Park Club
2150 Panamerican Road West, Balboa Park
Little Richard, Ike & Tina Turner

Balboa Stadium
1405 Park Boulevard, San Diego High School, Balboa Park
The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors

Belly Up Tavern
143 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach
Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter

Bodies
6149 University Avenue, Rolando
Meat Puppets, Lucy’s fur Coat, No Knife

Bostonia Ballroom
1340 Broadway, El Cajon
Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, Rose Maddox

‘Canes
3105 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach
Candlebox, Snoop Dog

Cal Western
3900 Lomaland Drive, Point Loma Nazarene College
Derek & the Dominos, Moody Blues, Steve Miller Band

California Theatre
1122 4th Avenue, Downtown
Cheap Trick, Devo, Motorhead

Candy Company
7711 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area
Lightin’ Hopkins, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott

Carpenter’s Hall
23rd & Broadway, Downtown
Bad Brains, Corrosion of Conformity

Casbah
2501 Kettner Boulevard, 2812 Kettner Boulevard, Middletown
Rocket from the Crypt, Melvins

Cinnamon Cinder
7578 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area
The Knack, Sonny & Cher

Civic Theatre
202 C Street, Downtown
Bob Marley, The Eagles, Kinks

Club 860
860 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
Blind Melon, Stone Temple Pilots, White Zombie

Community Concourse
202 C Street, Downtown
Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, Jeff Beck

Convention Hall
202 C Street, Downtown
Rolling Stones, Allman Bros.

Coors Amphitheatre
2050 Otay Valley Road, Chula Vista
Elton John, Dave Matthews, Phish

Copley Symphony Hall/Fox Theater 
750 B Street, Downtown
Sting, Elvis Costello, James Taylor

Cox Arena/Aztec Bowl 
5500 Campanile Drive, SDSU Campus, College Area
Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith

Earth
1165 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach
Ravi Shankar, Procol Harum, Boz Scaggs

El Cortez Hotel
702 Ash Street, Downtown
Joan Baez

Devore Stadium
900 Otay Lakes Road, Southwestern College, Chula Vista
Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler

Fairmont Hall
3760 Fairmount Avenue, City Heights
Minor Threat, Cramps, T.S.O.L

Fox Theater/Copley Symphony Hall 
750 B Street, Downtown
Thin Lizzy, Tubes, Ozzy Osbourne

Golden Hall
202 C Street, Downtown
Pink Floyd, The Clash, Rush

Hahn Cosmopolitan Theatre
444 4th Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter Downtown
Jeff Buckley

Heritage Coffee House
3842 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach
Tom Waits

Hippodrome
Front & G Street, Downtown
Velvet Underground, Maya, Bo Diddley

Iguanas
Pueblo Amigo Shopping Center, Tijuana, Mexico
Nirvana, Hole, Mother Love Bone

International Blend/Kings Road Cafe
4034 30th Street, University Heights
The Untouchables

In The Alley
340 East Grand Avenue, Escondido, CA
Tim Buckley, Tom Waits

Jack Murphy Stadium
4994 Friars Road, Mission Valley
Def Leppard, U2, Rolling Stones

Jackie Robinson YMCA
151 YMCA Way, National City
Final Conflict, The Descendents, D.I.,

Java Joe’s
1956 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach
Gregory Page, Steve Poltz, Jason Mraz

JJ’s/Palace, The 
4025 Pacific Highway, Midway
New York Dolls

Kings Road Café/International Blend
4034 30th Street, Normal Heights
Bad Brains, Redd Cross

La Paloma Theatre 
471 First Street, Encinitas
Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Cliff, Ramones

Mission Beach Ballroom
Address Unknown, Mission Beach
Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry

North Park Lions Club
3927 Utah Street, North Park
Germs, Misfits, XTC

Occam’s Razor
6559 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area
Hedy West

Open Air Theatre SDSU
5500 Campanile Dr. SDSU Campus, College Area
Oingo Boingo, Madonna, The Smiths

Pacific Ballroom/Trianon 
1106 Broadway Street, Downtown
Sam Cooke, The Drifters, BB King

Pacific Square Theater
Ash Street & Pacific Highway, Middle Town
Glen Miller Orchestra

Palace, The/JJ’s
4025 Pacific Highway, Midway
Albert King

Palisades Theater
2838 University Avenue, North Park
7 Seconds, Bad Religion

Peterson Gym SDSU
55th Street & Montezuma Street, SDSU Campus, College Area
Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Peter, Paul & Mary

The Power House
1550 North Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon
Sonny & Cher

Reptile House/Bacchanal/Sound FX 
8022 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearney Mesa
Hunters & Collectors

Rock Palace
3465 El Cajon Blvd, University Heights
Crawdaddy’s, Tex and the Horseheads

Rodeo
8980 Via La Jolla, La Jolla
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone

Roxy Theater
4642 Cass Street, Pacific Beach
Peter Tosh, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed

Russ Auditorium
1405 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park
Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington

San Diego Sports Arena 
3500 Sports Arena Boulevard, Midway
Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix

Sign of the Sun
4701 College Drive, College Area
Mississippi John Hurt, New Lost City Ramblers

Silverado Ballroom
Euclid Avenue & University Avenue, Rolando
The Gayniters

Skeleton Club
202 Market Street, 921 4th Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter Downtown
The Wierdos, The Hitmakers, The Go-Go’s

Soma
5305 Metro Street, 555 Union Street, Linda Vista
Blink 182, Sublime, Unwritten Law

Sound FX/Reptile House/Bacchanal
8022 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Kearney Mesa
Lemonheads, Tori Amos, Sara Mc Lachlan

Spirit, The 
1130 Buenos Avenue, Bay Park
Violent Femmes, 10,000 Maniacs, Butthole Surfers

Spreckels Theater
121 Broadway Street, Downtown
Sheryl Crow, Hootie & the Blowfish

Starlight bowl/Balboa Park Bowl 
2005 Panamerican Road, Balboa Park
Jerry Garcia Band

State Theater
4712 El Cajon Boulevard, Normal Heights
7 Seconds

Stratus
9630 Campo Road, Spring Valley
Jane’s Addiction

Sweetwater Ballroom
24th & Highland Avenue, National City
Jackie Wilson

Texas Tea House
4970 Voltair Street, Ocean Beach
Unwritten Law

Trianon/Pacific Ballroom
1106 Broadway, Downtown
Woody Herman, Spade Cooley

Tuesdays
211 West G Street, Downtown
Linda Ronstadt, Dan Hicks

U.C.S.D. Gym
9500 Gilman Drive, U.C.S.D. Campus, La Jolla
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys

U.S.D. Gym
5998 Alcala Park, University of San Diego, Linda Vista
Marvin Gaye, Jose Feliciano, James Cotton Blues Band

United Fruit Company/University Ballroom 
4009 Central Avenue, Normal Heights
Flying Burrito Bros.

Wabash Hall
3855 Wabash Avenue, North Park
Samhain, Social Distortion, Bad Religion

War Memorial Building
Balboa Park
Ike & Tina Turner

Westgate Park 
Fashion Valley
Dave Clark Five

White Whale
5520 La Jolla Boulevard, La Jolla
Steven Stills

The Wizard 
3117 University Avenue, North Park
The Puppies, Trowers

World Beat Center 
1845 Hancock Street, 2100 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park
Beck, Unwritten Law

Winters 
5880 El Cajon Boulevard, Rolando
Pearl Jam

Zebra Club
560 5th Avenue, Downtown
The Crawdaddys, The Dinette’s

 

 

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RAIN DANCING

“Life isn’t how to survive the storm, it’s about how to dance in the rain.”

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A Death In Paris (1971) By: A. R. Graham

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A Play in three acts’

Act 1.

Scene One.

The deck of an American world war two aircraft carrier The Bon Homme Richard (Bonnie Dick).

The heavily decorated ships Captain stands alone looking out at a tempest tossed ocean as the wind, rain, and lightening process.

He turns to the audience and begins a  mournful soliloquy on loss of blood and treasure.

He ends with…

“I wish I could have told him in the living years”

fade to black.

Scene 2.

A brief silence ensues broken by the strained bursts of discordant violins,  followed by   a single male voice reciting (not singing) the lyrics to Gershwin’s… (I love Paris  every moment, every moment of the year)…

Lights up on Jim Morrison standing alone, dressed in a cap and gown at his high school graduation day ceremony.

Enter stage left Pamela carrying a black box from which she produces a rolled parchment and a silver dagger.

Above them on the god walk appears the apparition of  Jean Paul Marat and Charlotte Corday deeply embroiled in a mime heated argument.

Corday waves aloft a document a “Last Will and Testimony” in fact.

Marat call out to Morrison “Aidez-moi, ma chère amie!”

The stage fractures left and as the lights are slowly dimming on Jim and Pamela, Corday, using the silver dagger, points an accusing finger at Pamela…

A didgeridoo vibrates loudly as the right side of the stage illuminates to a winters day in Per La Chaise Cemetery…..

two grave diggers are excavating a tomb…

fade to black.. 

 

Work In Progress.

 

Posted in Clarion Rock, Summer 2016, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BEAT COP By: Alan Graham

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What if every single minute of your day was knowing that you were in grave danger from someone who wanted to kill you. Every time you left your house for work that you may not come home, and that the people you love, and who love you, will never get to see you ever again. 

This is the horizon that our military faces as they lay their lives on the line for the rest of us who wallow in freedom and security. 

This is also the the same dreadful landscape that the average beat cop patrols 24/7  as they go about their duties serving and protecting the property and lives of their communities.

Coronado to the eye, appears to be Mayberry RFD the television show from the 1950s in a wonderful idilic community where everyone is happy and the biggest crime in killing time.  However, the average Coronado cop faces the very same violent dynamic as the inner city cop does.

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The cop who gave you a speeding ticket and the you now despise, more than likely prevented you from causing an accident, or worse. When you make ill informed or rash statements about cops, or say “all cops are this or that” it would do you good to remember that a Police officers life is fraught with never-ending stress which is often compounded by disrespect of the people they serve and protect.

So, the next time you come into contact with a police officer, before you get in his/her face, please remember that they suffer the very same ups and downs or hopes and fears that we all do, the only difference being that they do not get to say what they think to you, but you get to say whatever you want to them, while they must remain calm and courteous  at all times.

Coronado cops are some of the finest of our great nation and they deserve the appreciation and deep respect for laying their lives on the line every day for all of us.

Law enforcement officers recognize that stress is part of the profession and working conditions. In the past, police culture did not recognize stress as a problem affecting their officers. However, there is now plenty of evidence and research showing that unmanaged stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What many officers might not be aware of is the long-term effects of chronic fatigue and the relationship between stress and fatigue. Not getting enough rest and not eating properly in order to fuel the body can increase the effects of fatigue. Being fatigued on-duty causes many issues, such as poor decision making and other cognitive task difficulties.

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When stress is preventing normal sleep times (6 to 8 hours, recommended), an officer can quickly encounter sleep deprivation. A study conducted in 2011 compared the effects of sleep deprivation to excessive drinking of alcohol and found the effects on a driver were very similar.

Both sleep deprivation and alcohol caused impaired speech, inability to balance, impaired eye-hand coordination, and falling asleep behind the wheel (Senjo, 2011). When officers are constantly fatigued after their shift, they often do not find the time to unwind, change gears, and enjoy their time off away from the job.

Even with the current departmental manpower issues caused by the current economic times, already overworked officers continue to work double shifts, special patrol details, and second jobs. Studies have shown that fatigued officers have performance issues on and off duty. Officers are willing to sacrifice their health and safety by accepting the increase workload to provide the extra income for their families, despite the warning signs caused by working while fatigued.

It is the responsibility of elected officials and senior law enforcement officers to bring reasonable balance through policies that are supported by research. Recent studies show that police culture still supports the mentality that working more is better for your career, despite the data that chronic fatigue causes serious performance and health issues.

Please let the Coronado police officer you meet know how much you truly appreciate the excellent services which they provide to us all.

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Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2016, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Intimacy

By: Alan Graham

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One of the most tragic stories concerning intimacy in humans is the forlorn tale of sadness concerning the lack of such between Kenneth Grahame the writer of Wind in the Willows, and his son Alistair.

All the gold on earth cannot bring joy if that “caring gene” does not exist within oneself, but to decry or to indict someone for not displaying it to others is a lesson in futility.

They, as do we all, come hard wired from the womb/factory, be it eye, hair, or skin color, angry, sad, depressed or happy, the human is delivered as surely as a car from the factory, with preset conditions, and some run smoothly while others malfunction or breakdown often.

‘Monday’s Child,’ a poem/nursery rhyme which dates back to the early 1500s is illustrative of the different types of personalities, sad, happy, angry, worried, all dictated by the genetic code issued in the womb at the moment of conception.

Tragedy in the Willows

Hidden in a quiet corner of Oxford, in the shadow of medieval St Cross Church, stands a moving pair of gravestones. 

In one of them lies one of the most beloved names in English literature, Kenneth Grahame, writer of The Wind in The Willows, the bewitching riverbank tale of Mole, Ratty and Toad of Toad Hall. In the other lies his son, Alastair, nicknamed Mouse.

What could be more comforting? — father and son resting together by an ancient church nestling beside the River Thames, the setting for Grahame’s gentle masterpiece.

Cold relationship: Kenneth Grahame often ignored pleas to visit his son Alastair at boarding school – and never recovered when he committed suicide aged just 19

And yet, look closer at those graves, and a tragic tale begins to emerge. Kenneth Grahame died in 1932, a broken-hearted man of 73, who hadn’t written anything of note since The Wind in The Willows was published in 1908. 

The reason for his heartbreak lies next to him — Mouse committed suicide 12 years before his father’s death, aged only 19.

Despite a glittering education at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Mouse, a frail child, blind in one eye, was of a fragile, nervous disposition. His father’s immense fame — and unrealistic expectations of his son — didn’t make things any easier.

And so, one evening in May 1920, after dining in Christ Church’s 16th century hall, Mouse strolled down to the Thames — home of Ratty, Toad and Mole. And there he lay down on the railway track running across Port Meadow and awaited the train that would end his misery. 

Now this sad tale of tortured paternal love has come to the surface once more, with this week’s sale of a signed first edition of The Wind in The Willows for £40,000 — five times the estimate.

The dedicatee of the book is Ruth Ward, a childhood friend of Mouse. Also in this week’s sale is a rare picture of Mouse — a chubby-cheeked cherub of a boy — and several letters to Ruth Ward from the writer’s wife, Elspeth.

Writing in 1908, Elspeth says: ‘I thought you might like perhaps better than anything else a new book that Mouse’s Daddy has just written, so I asked him for one for your birthday present. I want to know how you like it. Mouse is having it read to him every evening and is greatly pleased with it.’

The letter paints a picture of a close young family — Mouse was eight at the time — but the sad truth is that, despite the enormous success of The Wind In The Willows, the Grahame household was not happy.

For all his fame and fortune, Grahame remained a tortured soul until his death. Several weeks after his funeral, his coffin was moved to the Oxford cemetery from its grave in Pangbourne, Berks.

Grahame was born in 1859 in Edinburgh to an aristocratic, failed lawyer, whose love for poetry was defeated by his love for vintage claret. The drinking only intensified when Grahame’s mother, Bessie, died soon after the birth of his brother, Roland. 

Grahame was only five — his place in the world grew even more insecure when, weeks after the death, his father moved the family to Cookham Dene in Berkshire on the banks of the Thames. Grahame clung to the river for the rest of his life.

The young Grahame excelled at school and was set for high academic honours when another hammer blow struck. The family finances had dwindled so much that he was forced straight into work at the Bank of England. 

For the next 30 years, he toiled away at the Bank, retiring as its Secretary in 1908, the year of The Wind in The Willows. Throughout his career, he had published children’s books and a memoir of childhood — sales were good, and Grahame was well-known before his worldwide smash hit was published. 

Still a favourite: Kenneth Grahame’s tails of Mole, Toad and Ratty have engrossed children for generations

Despite his eligibility as a literary banker, Grahame remained awkward in the company of the opposite sex. It wasn’t until he was 40 that he married Elspeth Thomson. For all her devotion to him, he remained a distant figure, incapable of demonstrating love.

The same emotional constipation condemned his relationship with poor Mouse, born in 1900. A little premature, Mouse was blind in his right eye; the other had a severe squint.

As an only child, Mouse was subjected to extreme, uncritical affection from his mother, and absurdly high academic expectations from his father. It didn’t help that Elspeth was growing increasingly miserable, taking to her bed for much of the day.

By the time he was three and a half, in a haunting prophecy of his death, Mouse amused himself playing a game of lying in front of speeding cars to bring them screeching to a halt. When he was given his presents on his fourth birthday, rather than enjoying them, he set about repacking them in complete silence.

All the while, though, this sad, pressured little boy was inadvertently helping the creation of one of the great children’s books, a book which is full of a brand of carefree happiness that always dodged Mouse himself. 

Grahame was inspired to write The Wind In The Willows by the bedtime stories he read his son. One evening, when Mouse was four, his parents were due to go out for dinner. Waiting for her husband in the hall, Elspeth sent the maid for him.

‘He’s with Master Mouse, madam,’ said Louise, the maid, ‘He’s telling him some ditty about a toad.’ Grahame took to transcribing verbatim accounts of the stories, written in the same baby-talk that he had told them. ‘The Mole saved up al is money and went and bought a motor car… Mr Mole has been goin the pace since he first went [on] his simple boatin spedishin wif the Water Rat.’

The publication of The Wind in The Willows, though, did nothing to stop the boy’s awful downward trajectory. 

Bullied at Rugby School, Mouse was transferred to Eton. There, too, he suffered because of his disastrously superior attitude. He left the school to be privately tutored in Surrey. 

His eyesight worsening, and his nerves still tattered, it was a broken, miserable Mouse, then, that turned up at Christ Church in 1918. He failed his scripture, Greek and Latin exams three times over the next year. In 1919, his tutor wrote the words ‘Pass or go’ next to his name in the college records; if he failed the exam again, he would have to leave.

He had made no friends and joined no social clubs. It had all got too much for him. At that last dinner in Christ Church Hall, he downed a glass of port. An undergraduate sitting next to him said later, ‘I had not known him do [this] before.’

Mouse then trudged off across Port Meadow towards the railway track. When his decapitated body was found the next day, his pockets were crammed with religious books for his dreaded scripture exam. 

His death did at least bring one consolation; in recognition of his suffering, Oxford University, for the first time, made special provision for disabled students.

On May 12, 1920, Mouse’s 20th birthday, he was buried in Holywell Cemetery next to St Cross Church. His father scattered lilies of the valley over the coffin. 

And 12 years later, the shattered genius who wrote The Wind in The Willows was buried beside the doomed little boy who had inspired him.

Cold relationship: 

Kenneth Grahame often ignored pleas to visit his son Alastair at boarding school – and never recovered when he committed suicide aged just 19

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STARVING CANCER

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In the early 20th century, the German biochemist Otto Warburg believed that tumors could be

Today Boveri is celebrated for discovering the origins of cancer, but another German scientist, Otto Warburg, was studying sea-urchin eggs around the same time as Boveri. His research, too, was hailed as a major breakthrough in our understanding of cancer. But in the following decades, Warburg’s discovery would largely disappear from the cancer narrative, his contributions considered so negligible that they were left out of textbooks altogether.

Unlike Boveri, Warburg wasn’t interested in the chromosomes of sea-urchin eggs. Rather, Warburg was focused on energy, specifically on how the eggs fueled their growth. By the time Warburg turned his attention from sea-urchin cells to the cells of a rat tumor, in 1923, he knew that sea-urchin eggs increased their oxygen consumption significantly as they grew, so he expected to see a similar need for extra oxygen in the rat tumor. Instead, the cancer cells fueled their growth by swallowing up enormous amounts of glucose (blood sugar) and breaking it down without oxygen. The result made no sense. Oxygen-fueled reactions are a much more efficient way of turning food into energy, and there was plenty of oxygen available for the cancer cells to use. But when Warburg tested additional tumors, including ones from humans, he saw the same effect every time. The cancer cells were ravenous for glucose.

Warburg’s discovery, later named the Warburg effect, is estimated to occur in up to 80 percent of cancers. It is so fundamental to most cancers that a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which has emerged as an important tool in the staging and diagnosis of cancer, works simply by revealing the places in the body where cells are consuming extra glucose. In many cases, the more glucose a tumor consumes, the worse a patient’s prognosis.

In the years following his breakthrough, Warburg became convinced that the Warburg effect occurs because cells are unable to use oxygen properly and that this damaged respiration is, in effect, the starting point of cancer. Well into the 1950s, this theory — which Warburg believed in until his death in 1970 but never proved — remained an important subject of debate within the field. And then, more quickly than anyone could have anticipated, the debate ended. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick pieced together the structure of the DNA molecule and set the stage for the triumph of molecular biology’s gene-centered approach to cancer. In the following decades, scientists came to regard cancer as a disease governed by mutated genes, which drive cells into a state of relentless division and proliferation. The metabolic catalysts that Warburg spent his career analyzing began to be referred to as “housekeeping enzymes” — necessary to keep a cell going but largely irrelevant to the deeper story of cancer.

“It was a stampede,” says Thomas Seyfried, a biologist at Boston College, of the move to molecular biology. “Warburg was dropped like a hot potato.” There was every reason to think that Warburg would remain at best a footnote in the history of cancer research. (As Dominic D’Agostino, an associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, told me, “The book that my students have to use for their cancer biology course has no mention of cancer metabolism.”) But over the past decade, and the past five years in particular, something unexpected happened: Those housekeeping enzymes have again become one of the most promising areas of cancer research. Scientists now wonder if metabolism could prove to be the long-sought “Achilles’ heel” of cancer, a common weak point in a disease that manifests itself in so many different forms.

There are typically many mutations in a single cancer. But there are a limited number of ways that the body can produce energy and support rapid growth. Cancer cells rely on these fuels in a way that healthy cells don’t. The hope of scientists at the forefront of the Warburg revival is that they will be able to slow — or even stop — tumors by disrupting one or more of the many chemical reactions a cell uses to proliferate, and, in the process, starve cancer cells of the nutrients they desperately need to grow.

Even James Watson, one of the fathers of molecular biology, is convinced that targeting metabolism is a more promising avenue in current cancer research than gene-centered approaches. At his office at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, Watson, 88, sat beneath one of the original sketches of the DNA molecule and told me that locating the genes that cause cancer has been “remarkably unhelpful” — the belief that sequencing your DNA is going to extend your life “a cruel illusion.” If he were going into cancer research today, Watson said, he would study biochemistry rather than molecular biology.

“I never thought, until about two months ago, I’d ever have to learn the Krebs cycle,” he said, referring to the reactions, familiar to most high-school biology students, by which a cell powers itself. “Now I realize I have to.”

Born in 1883 into the illustrious Warburg family, Otto Warburg was raised to be a science prodigy. His father, Emil, was one of Germany’s leading physicists, and many of the world’s greatest physicists and chemists, including Albert Einstein and Max Planck, were friends of the family. (When Warburg enlisted in the military during World War I, Einstein sent him a letter urging him to come home for the sake of science.) Those men had explained the mysteries of the universe with a handful of fundamental laws, and the young Warburg came to believe he could bring that same elegant simplicity and clarity to the workings of life. Long before his death, Warburg was considered perhaps the greatest biochemist of the 20th century, a man whose research was vital to our understanding not only of cancer but also of respiration and photosynthesis. In 1931 he won the Nobel Prize for his work on respiration, and he was considered for the award on two other occasions — each time for a different discovery. Records indicate that he would have won in 1944, had the Nazis not forbidden the acceptance of the Nobel by German citizens.

That Warburg was able to live in Germany and continue his research throughout World War II, despite having Jewish ancestry and most likely being gay, speaks to the German obsession with cancer in the first half of the 20th century. At the time, cancer was more prevalent in Germany than in almost any other nation. According to the Stanford historian Robert Proctor, by the 1920s Germany’s escalating cancer rates had become a “major scandal.” A number of top Nazis, including Hitler, are believed to have harbored a particular dread of the disease; Hitler and Joseph Goebbels took the time to discuss new advances in cancer research in the hours leading up to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Whether Hitler was personally aware of Warburg’s research is unknown, but one of Warburg’s former colleagues wrote that several sources told him that “Hitler’s entourage” became convinced that “Warburg was the only scientist who offered a serious hope of producing a cure for cancer one day.”

Although many Jewish scientists fled Germany during the 1930s, Warburg chose to remain. According to his biographer, the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Hans Krebs, who worked in Warburg’s lab, “science was the dominant emotion” of Warburg’s adult life, “virtually subjugating all other emotions.” In Krebs’s telling, Warburg spent years building a small team of specially trained technicians who knew how to run his experiments, and he feared that his mission to defeat cancer would be set back significantly if he had to start over. But after the war, Warburg fired all the technicians, suspecting that they had reported his criticisms of the Third Reich to the Gestapo. Warburg’s reckless decision to stay in Nazi Germany most likely came down to his astonishing ego. (Upon learning he had won the Nobel Prize, Warburg’s response was, “It’s high time.”)

“Modesty was not a virtue of Otto Warburg,” says George Klein, a 90-year-old cancer researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. As a young man, Klein was asked to send cancer cells to Warburg’s lab. A number of years later, Klein’s boss approached Warburg for a recommendation on Klein’s behalf. “George Klein has made a very important contribution to cancer research,” Warburg wrote. “He has sent me the cells with which I have solved the cancer problem.” Klein also recalls the lecture Warburg gave in Stockholm in 1950 at the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. Warburg drew four diagrams on a blackboard explaining the Warburg effect, and then told the members of the audience that they represented all that they needed to know about the biochemistry of cancer.

Warburg was so monumentally stubborn that he refused to use the word “mitochondria,” even after it had been widely accepted as the name for the tiny structures that power cells. Instead Warburg persisted in calling them “grana,” the term he came up with when he identified those structures as the site of cellular respiration. Few things would have been more upsetting to him than the thought of Nazi thugs chasing him out of the beautiful Berlin institute, modeled after a country manor and built specifically for him. After the war, the Russians approached Warburg and offered to erect a new institute in Moscow. Klein recalls that Warburg told them with great pride that both Hitler and Stalin had failed to move him. As Warburg explained to his sister: “Ich war vor Hitler da” — “I was here before Hitler.”

Imagine two engines, the one being driven by complete and the other by incomplete combustion of coal,” Warburg wrote in 1956, responding to a criticism of his hypothesis that cancer is a problem of energy. “A man who knows nothing at all about engines, their structure and their purpose may discover the difference. He may, for example, smell it.”

The “complete combustion,” in Warburg’s analogy, is respiration. The “incomplete combustion,” turning nutrients into energy without oxygen, is known as fermentation. Fermentation provides a useful backup when oxygen can’t reach cells quickly enough to keep up with demand. (Our muscle cells turn to fermentation during intense exercise.) Warburg thought that defects prevent cancer cells from being able to use respiration, but scientists now widely agree that this is wrong. A growing tumor can be thought of as a construction site, and as today’s researchers explain it, the Warburg effect opens the gates for more and more trucks to deliver building materials (in the form of glucose molecules) to make “daughter” cells.

If this theory can explain the “why” of the Warburg effect, it still leaves the more pressing question of what, exactly, sets a cell on the path to the Warburg effect and cancer. Scientists at several of the nation’s top cancer hospitals have spearheaded the Warburg revival, in hopes of finding the answer. These researchers, typically molecular biologists by training, have turned to metabolism and the Warburg effect because their own research led each of them to the same conclusion: A number of the cancer-causing genes that have long been known for their role in cell division also regulate cells’ consumption of nutrients.

Craig Thompson, the president and chief executive of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has been among the most outspoken proponents of this renewed focus on metabolism. In Thompson’s analogy, the Warburg effect can be thought of as a social failure: a breakdown of the nutrient-sharing agreement that single-celled organisms signed when they joined forces to become multicellular organisms. His research showed that cells need to receive instructions from other cells to eat, just as they require instructions from other cells to divide. Thompson hypothesized that if he could identify the mutations that lead a cell to eat more glucose than it should, it would go a long way toward explaining how the Warburg effect and cancer begin. But Thompson’s search for those mutations didn’t lead to an entirely new discovery. Instead, it led him to AKT, a gene already well known to molecular biologists for its role in promoting cell division. Thompson now believes AKT plays an even more fundamental role in metabolism.

The protein created by AKT is part of a chain of signaling proteins that is mutated in up to 80 percent of all cancers. Thompson says that once these proteins go into overdrive, a cell no longer worries about signals from other cells to eat; it instead stuffs itself with glucose. Thompson discovered he could induce the “full Warburg effect” simply by placing an activated AKT protein into a normal cell. When that happens, Thompson says, the cells begin to do what every single-celled organism will do in the presence of food: eat as much as it can and make as many copies of itself as possible. When Thompson presents his research to high-school students, he shows them a slide of mold spreading across a piece of bread. The slide’s heading — “Everyone’s first cancer experiment” — recalls Warburg’s observation that cancer cells will carry out fermentation at almost the same rate of wildly growing yeasts.

Just as Thompson has redefined the role of AKT, Chi Van Dang, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, has helped lead the cancer world to an appreciation of how one widely studied gene can profoundly influence a tumor’s metabolism. In 1997, Dang became one of the first scientists to connect molecular biology to the science of cellular metabolism when he demonstrated that MYC — a so-called regulator gene well known for its role in cell proliferation — directly targets an enzyme that can turn on the Warburg effect. Dang recalls that other researchers were skeptical of his interest in a housekeeping enzyme, but he stuck with it because he came to appreciate something critical: Cancer cells can’t stop eating.

Unlike healthy cells, growing cancer cells are missing the internal feedback loops that are designed to conserve resources when food isn’t available. They’re “addicted to nutrients,” Dang says; when they can’t consume enough, they begin to die. The addiction to nutrients explains why changes to metabolic pathways are so common and tend to arise first as a cell progresses toward cancer: It’s not that other types of alterations can’t arise first, but rather that, when they do, the incipient tumors lack the access to the nutrients they need to grow. Dang uses the analogy of a work crew trying to put up a building. “If you don’t have enough cement, and you try to put a lot of bricks together, you’re going to collapse,” he says.

Metabolism-centered therapies have produced some tantalizing successes. Agios Pharmaceuticals, a company co-founded by Thompson, is now testing a drug that treats cases of acute myelogenous leukemia that have been resistant to other therapies by inhibiting the mutated versions of the metabolic enzyme IDH 2. In clinical trials of the Agios drug, nearly 40 percent of patients who carry these mutations are experiencing at least partial remissions.

Researchers working in a lab run by Peter Pedersen, a professor of biochemistry at Johns Hopkins, discovered that a compound known as 3-bromopyruvate can block energy production in cancer cells and, at least in rats and rabbits, wipe out advanced liver cancer. (Trials of the drug have yet to begin.) At Penn, Dang and his colleagues are now trying to block multiple metabolic pathways at the same time. In mice, this two-pronged approach has been able to shrink some tumors without debilitating side effects. Dang says the hope is not necessarily to find a cure but rather to keep cancer at bay in a “smoldering quiet state,” much as patients treat their hypertension.

Warburg, too, appreciated that a tumor’s dependence upon a steady flow of nutrients might eventually prove to be its fatal weakness. Long after his initial discovery of the Warburg effect, he continued to research the enzymes involved in fermentation and to explore the possibility of blocking the process in cancer cells. The challenge Warburg faced then is the same one that metabolism researchers face today: Cancer is an incredibly persistent foe. Blocking one metabolic pathway has been shown to slow down and even stop tumor growth in some cases, but tumors tend to find another way. “You block glucose, they use glutamine,” Dang says, in reference to another primary fuel used by cancers. “You block glucose and glutamine, they might be able to use fatty acids. We don’t know yet.”

Given Warburg’s own story of historical neglect, it’s fitting that what may turn out to be one of the most promising cancer metabolism drugs has been sitting in plain sight for decades. That drug, metformin, is already widely prescribed to decrease the glucose in the blood of diabetics (76.9 million metformin prescriptions were filled in the United States in 2014). In the years ahead, it’s likely to be used to treat — or at least to prevent — some cancers. Because metformin can influence a number of metabolic pathways, the precise mechanism by which it achieves its anticancer effects remains a source of debate. But the results of numerous epidemiological studies have been striking. Diabetics taking metformin seem to be significantly less likely to develop cancer than diabetics who don’t — and significantly less likely to die from the disease when they do.

Near the end of his life, Warburg grew obsessed with his diet. He believed that most cancer was preventable and thought that chemicals added to food and used in agriculture could cause tumors by interfering with respiration. He stopped eating bread unless it was baked in his own home. He would drink milk only if it came from a special herd of cows, and used a centrifuge at his lab to make his cream and butter.

Warburg’s personal diet is unlikely to become a path to prevention. But the Warburg revival has allowed researchers to develop a hypothesis for how the diets that are linked to our obesity and diabetes epidemics — specifically, sugar-heavy diets that can result in permanently elevated levels of the hormone insulin — may also be driving cells to the Warburg effect and cancer.

The insulin hypothesis can be traced to the research of Lewis Cantley, the director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College. In the 1980s, Cantley discovered how insulin, which is released by the pancreas and tells cells to take up glucose, influences what happens inside a cell. Cantley now refers to insulin and a closely related hormone, IGF-1 (insulinlike growth factor 1), as “the champion” activators of metabolic proteins linked to cancer. He’s beginning to see evidence, he says, that in some cases, “it really is insulin itself that’s getting the tumor started.” One way to think about the Warburg effect, says Cantley, is as the insulin, or IGF-1, signaling pathway “gone awry — it’s cells behaving as though insulin were telling it to take up glucose all the time and to grow.” Cantley, who avoids eating sugar as much as he can, is currently studying the effects of diet on mice that have the mutations that are commonly found in colorectal and other cancers. He says that the effects of a sugary diet on colorectal, breast and other cancer models “looks very impressive” and “rather scary.”

Elevated insulin is also strongly associated with obesity, which is expected soon to overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable cancer. Cancers linked to obesity and diabetes have more receptors for insulin and IGF-1, and people with defective IGF-1 receptors appear to be nearly immune to cancer. Retrospective studies, which look back at patient histories, suggest that many people who develop colorectal, pancreatic or breast cancer have elevated insulin levels before diagnosis. It’s perhaps not entirely surprising, then, that when researchers want to grow breast-cancer cells in the lab, they add insulin to the tissue culture. When they remove the insulin, the cancer cells die.

“I think there’s no doubt that insulin is pro-cancer,” Watson says, with respect to the link between obesity, diabetes and cancer. “It’s as good a hypothesis as we have now.” Watson takes metformin for cancer prevention; among its many effects, metformin works to lower insulin levels. Not every cancer researcher, however, is convinced of the role of insulin and IGF-1 in cancer. Robert Weinberg, a researcher at M.I.T.’s Whitehead Institute who pioneered the discovery of cancer-causing genes in the ’80s, has remained somewhat cool to certain aspects of the cancer-metabolism revival. Weinberg says that there isn’t yet enough evidence to know whether the levels of insulin and IGF-1 present in obese people are sufficient to trigger the Warburg effect. “It’s a hypothesis,” Weinberg says. “I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.”

During Warburg’s lifetime, insulin’s effects on metabolic pathways were even less well understood. But given his ego, it’s highly unlikely that he would have considered the possibility that anything other than damaged respiration could cause cancer. He died sure that he was right about the disease. Warburg framed a quote from Max Planck and hung it above his desk: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die.”

 

Posted in Clarion Autumn 2016, Clarion Causes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coronado Clarion Autumn Issue 2016 (back cover)

OLD SCHOOL COOL

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HOT, SEXY, DEAD

Unknown

Kelly’s mother picked up the phone for the fifth time that night. It was for sixteen-year-old Kelly.

“Who’s speaking?” the mother asked.

“Eddie,” the boy answered.

“I’ve got it,” Kelly shouted.

When Kelly hung up the phone, her mother inquired, “Who’s Eddie?”

“A friend,” Kelly replied.

“Where’s he from?” She didn’t like the sound of the accent.

“Oh, I think he’s from Spain,” Kelly said and slid out of the den.

Puerto Rican, the mother worried. Just what she wanted for her blond-haired, green-eyed daughter. The next day, she was cleaning Kelly’s room. In a small wooden frame on the bureau was a picture of a young man. His hair was long and curly. He wore no shirt. His arms were spread out as if he were being crucified.

When Kelly arrived at her Long Island home that afternoon, her mother confronted her with the picture, “Is this the animal you’re going out with?” she asked.

Kelly glanced at the picture and laughed. “Mom, that’s Jim Morrison. From the Doors. A band,” she said, tripping upstairs to her room. “And he’s dead anyway,” Kelly continued as her mother stood in the door-way, still waving the picture. Kelly was relieved that she hadn’t noticed the other pictures of Morrison on her fireplace mantle.

Kelly will tell anyone who asks that her favorite group is the Doors. She even bought Eddie-from-Spain a black T-shirt with her favorite picture of Morrison on the front. Kelly can’t always name any of the Doors’ songs, but if you sing one, she’ll know it.

Just why Kelly’s into Jim Morrison is difficult to explain, but there’s no doubt that she and most of her friends can recite, in great detail, the story of his life. Their talk centers on the drinking, the drugs, the performances that ended in near riots. An arrest in Las Vegas for a fight with a cop. Trouble on an airplane bound for Phoenix, resulting with Morrison in hand-cuffs. An onstage bus in New Haven for rapping about a backstage confrontation with police. And the most famous bust of all, his arrest after a show in Miami on several counts of indecent exposure and lewd and lascivious behavior. Most of these teenagers couldn’t care less whether Morrison actually exposed himself or not; they simply adore the fact he would even think of doing it. The new generation of Doors fans, many of whom were in kindergarten when the band peaked in the late Sixties, is attracted to Morrison’s unabashed sexiness, the lure of his voice and the hot, ornery lyrics. A song like “The End,” in which Morrison, in an Oedipal rage, screams, “Father, I want to kill you/Mother, I want to fuck you,” is heady stuff for a seventeen-year-old. To these kids, Morrison’s mystique is simply that whatever he did, it was something they’ve been told is wrong. And for that they love him.

The extraordinary distance between his life, his stardom and their own youth likely fuels the worship: maybe if these kids saw Morrison today, they wouldn’t be so certain all his activities were godlike. But in death, he remains their ageless hero, the biggest of them all.

“It’s amazing,” says Bryn Bridenthal, vice-president of public relations for Elektra/Asylum Records, the Doors’ label. “The group is bigger now than when Morrison was alive. We’ve sold more Doors records this year than in any year since they were first released.”

The statistics are impressive. Every album in the Doors catalog, for instance, doubled or tripled its sales in 1980 over the previous year. Aided by Elektra’s decision to drop the list price of The Doors, Waiting for the Sun and The Soft Parade from $8.98 to $5.98, kids all over America began scooping up the old records. In fact, of twelve Doors albums, ten have now been certified gold or platinum.

“The Doors’ catalog is an amazing success,” affirms Joe Smith, chairman of Elektra Records. “No group that isn’t around anymore has sold that well for us.”

The Morrison revival began about three years ago and has grown from a modest renaissance into a landslide. Though the roots of this posthumous popularity are not perfectly clear, music-industry executives tend to trace its origins to the 1979 release of Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which prominently featured “The End.” This unexpected bit of reexposure was soon followed by the appearance of An American Prayer, an album of Morrison reading his own poetry (recorded in 1971) with instrumental backing added years later by the remaining Doors. Though sales were poor, it stirred further interest in this disembodied voice, this done from the past. But the big push came with the publication of a Morrison biography. No One Here Gets Out Alive, by Daniel Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins. To date, 740,000 trade and mass-market-paper-back copies have been printed, and the book made the best-seller lists. Its last chapter, which raises numerous questions about the circumstances of Morrison’s death and the disposition of his remains, is just the sort of dark, eerie, mysterious tale that tends to set impressionable minds dreaming.

Soon, FM stations were sneaking the Doors back onto their playlists. Together, the renewed airplay and the lowered LP prices had the kids buying Doors discs in sufficient quantity to put three of them on the charts again. A phenomenon was reborn.

“It’s a whole new audience,” says Bob Gelms, music director of WXRT in Chicago. His station, along with many other FM rock outlets, is playing Doors songs with the frequency of many current popular bands. As Ted Edwards, music director at WCOZ in Boston, points out, many younger kids are hearing the Doors for the first time.

“The Doors sound perfect next to Van Halen,” says Hugh Surratt, music director of KMET in Los Angeles. “We treat them as a very viable part of our programming. It’s amazing a band like that has gone on for so long. It’s as if they’re still recording. It says something for their durability and for the cyclical nature of things. Everything comes back around.”

Yet all this chronology, all these facts and figures pall beside the most important aspect of Morrison Resurrectus: the need today for kids — perhaps for us all — to have an idol who isn’t squeaky clean. Someone rebellious, someone with a smirk that’s more cynical than mean, someone whose sexiness is based on steamy eroticism, not all-American good looks. James Dean, not Shaun Cassidy; handsome with problems gets them always.

 

Posted in Clarion Rock, Summer 2016, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think

By Tim Urban

The first day I was in second grade, I came to school and noticed that there was a new, very pretty girl in the class—someone who hadn’t been there the previous two years. Her name was Alana and within an hour, she was everything to me.

When you’re seven, there aren’t really any actionable steps you can take when you’re in love with someone. You’re not even sure what you want from the situation. There’s just this amorphous yearning that’s a part of your life, and that’s that.

But for me, it became suddenly relevant a few months later, when during recess one day, one of the girls in the class started asking each of the boys, “Who do youuu want to marry?” When she asked me, it was a no-brainer. “Alana.”

Disaster.

I was still new to being a human and didn’t realize that the only socially acceptable answer was, “No one.”

The second I answered, the heinous girl ran toward other students, telling each one, “Tim said he wants to marry Alana!” Each person she told covered their mouth with uncontrollable laughter. I was finished. Life was over.

The news quickly got back to Alana herself, who stayed as far away from me as possible for days after. If she knew what a restraining order was, she’d have taken one out.

This horrifying experience taught me a critical life lesson—it can be mortally dangerous to be yourself, and you should exercise extreme social caution at all times.

Now this sounds like something only a traumatized second grader would think, but the weird thing, and the topic of this post, is that this lesson isn’t just limited to me and my debacle of a childhood—it’s a defining paranoia of the human species. We share a collective insanity that pervades human cultures throughout the world:

An irrational and unproductive obsession with what other people think of us.

Evolution does everything for a reason, and to understand the origin of this particular insanity, let’s back up for a minute to 50,000BC in Ethiopia, where your Great2,000 Grandfather lived as part of a small tribe.

Back then, being part of a tribe was critical to survival. A tribe meant food and protection in a time when neither was easy to come by. So for your Great2,000 Grandfather, almost nothing in the world was more important than being accepted by his fellow tribe members, especially those in positions of authority. Fitting in with those around him and pleasing those above him meant he could stay in the tribe, and about the worst nightmare he could imagine would be people in the tribe starting to whisper about how annoying or unproductive or weird he was—because if enough people disapproved of him, his ranking within the tribe would drop, and if it got really bad, he’d be kicked out altogether and left for dead. He also knew that if he ever embarrassed himself by pursuing a girl in the tribe and being rejected, she’d tell the other girls about it—not only would he have blown his chance with that girl, but he might never have a mate at all now because every girl that would ever be in his life knew about his lame, failed attempt. Being socially accepted was everything.

Because of this, humans evolved an over-the-top obsession with what others thought of them—a craving for social approval and admiration, and a paralyzing fear of being disliked. Let’s call that obsession a human’s Social Survival Mammoth. It looks something like this:

Mammoth

Your Great2,000 Grandfather’s Social Survival Mammoth was central to his ability to endure and thrive. It was simple—keep the mammoth well fed with social approval and pay close attention to its overwhelming fears of nonacceptance, and you’ll be fine.

And that was all well and fine in 50,000BC. And 30,000BC. And 10,000BC. But something funny has happened for humans in the last 10,000 years—their civilization has dramatically changed. Sudden, quick change is something civilization has the ability to do, and the reason that can be awkward is that our evolutionary biology can’t move nearly as fast. So while for most of history, both our social structure and our biology evolved and adjusted at a snail’s pace together, civilization has recently developed the speed capabilities of a hare while our biology has continued snailing along.

Our bodies and minds are built to live in a tribe in 50,000BC, which leaves modern humans with a number of unfortunate traits, one of which is a fixation with tribal-style social survival in a world where social survival is no longer a real concept. We’re all here in 2014, accompanied by a large, hungry, and easily freaked-out woolly mammoth who still thinks it’s 50,000BC.

Why else would you try on four outfits and still not be sure what to wear before going out?

Trying on Shirts

 

Trying on ShirtsTrying on Shirts

Trying on Shirts

The mammoth’s nightmares about romantic rejection made your ancestors cautious and savvy, but in today’s world, it just makes you a coward:

Pursuing a Girl

Pursuing a Girl

Pursuing a Girl

Pursuing a Girl

Pursuing a Girl

And don’t even get the mammoth started on the terror of artistic risks:

Karaoke

singing 2

The mammoth’s hurricane of fear of social disapproval plays a factor in most parts of most people’s lives. It’s what makes you feel weird about going to a restaurant or a movie alone; it’s what makes parents care a little too much about where their child goes to college; it’s what makes you pass up a career you’d love in favor of a more lucrative career you’re lukewarm about; it’s what makes you get married before you’re ready to a person you’re not in love with.

And while keeping your highly insecure Social Survival Mammoth feeling calm and safe takes a lot of work, that’s only one half of your responsibilities. The mammoth also needs to be fed regularly and robustly—with praise, approval, and the feeling of being on the right side of any social or moral dichotomy.

Why else would you be such an image-crafting douchebag on Facebook?

Or brag when you’re out with friends even though you always regret it later?

Brag

Society has evolved to accommodate this mammoth-feeding frenzy, inventing things like accolades and titles and the concept of prestige in order to keep our mammoths satisfied—and often to incentivize people to do meaningless jobs and live unfulfilling lives they wouldn’t otherwise consider taking part in.

Above all, mammoths want to fit in—that’s what tribespeople had always needed to do so that’s how they’re programmed. Mammoths look around at society to figure out what they’re supposed to do, and when it becomes clear, they jump right in. Just look at any two college fraternity pictures taken ten years apart:

frat

Or all those subcultures where every single person has one of the same three socially-acceptable advanced degrees:

Diploma

Diploma

Sometimes, a mammoth’s focus isn’t on wider society as much as it’s on winning the approval of a Puppet Master in your life. A Puppet Master is a person or group of people whose opinion matters so much to you that they’re essentially running your life. A Puppet Master is often a parent, or maybe your significant other, or sometimes an alpha member of your group of friends. A Puppet Master can be a person you look up to who you don’t know very well—maybe even a celebrity you’ve never met—or a group of people you hold in especially high regard.

We crave the Puppet Master’s approval more than anyone’s, and we’re so horrified at the thought of upsetting the Puppet Master or feeling their nonacceptance or ridicule that we’ll do anything to avoid it. When we get to this toxic state in our relationship with a Puppet Master, that person’s presence hangs over our entire decision-making process and pulls the strings of our opinions and our moral voice.

puppet master

With so much thought and energy dedicated to the mammoth’s needs, you often end up neglecting someone else in your brain, someone all the way at the center—your Authentic Voice.

AV

Your Authentic Voice, somewhere in there, knows all about you. In contrast to the black-and-white simplicity of the Social Survival Mammoth, your Authentic Voice is complex, sometimes hazy, constantly evolving, and unafraid. Your AV has its own, nuanced moral code, formed by experience, reflection, and its own personal take on compassion and integrity. It knows how you feel deep down about things like money and family and marriage, and it knows which kinds of people, topics of interest, and types of activities you truly enjoy, and which you don’t. Your AV knows that it doesn’t know how your life will or should play out, but it tends to have a strong hunch about the right step to take next.

And while the mammoth looks only to the outside world in its decision-making process, your Authentic Voice uses the outside world to learn and gather information, but when it’s time for a decision, it has all the tools it needs right there in the core of your brain.

Your AV is also someone the mammoth tends to ignore entirely. A strong opinion from a confident person in the outside world? The mammoth is all ears. But a passionate plea from your AV is largely dismissed until someone else validates it.

And since our 50,000-year-old brains are wired to give the mammoth a whole lot of sway in things, your Authentic Voice starts to feel like it’s irrelevant. Which makes it shrink and fade and lose motivation.

 

Eventually, a mammoth-run person can lose touch with their AV entirely.

In tribal times, AVs often spent their lives in quiet obscurity, and this was largely okay. Life was simple, and conformity was the goal—and the mammoth had conformity covered just fine.

But in today’s large, complex world of varying cultures and personalities and opportunities and options, losing touch with your AV is dangerous. When you don’t know who you are, the only decision-making mechanism you’re left with is the crude and outdated needs and emotions of your mammoth. When it comes to the most personal questions, instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.

Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts. A bad break-up is painful for everyone, but it stings in a much deeper place for a mammoth-run person than for a person with a strong AV. A strong AV makes a stable core, and after a break-up, that core is still holding firm—but since the acceptance of others is all a mammoth-run person has, being dumped by a person who knows you well is a far more shattering experience.

Likewise, you know those people who react to being criticized by coming back with a nasty low-blow? Those tend to be severely mammoth-run people, and criticism makes them so mad because mammoths cannot handle criticism.

Low Blow

Low BlowAV

Low Blow

Low Blow

At this point, the mission should be clear—we need to figure out a way to override the wiring of our brain and tame the mammoth. That’s the only way to take our lives back.

Part 2: Taming the Mammoth

Some people are born with a reasonably tame mammoth or raised with parenting that helps keep the mammoth in check. Others die without ever reining their mammoth in at all, spending their whole lives at its whim. Most of us are somewhere in the middle—we’ve got control of our mammoth in certain areas of our lives while it wreaks havoc in others. Being run by your mammoth doesn’t make you a bad or weak person—it just means you haven’t yet figured out how to get a grip on it. You might not even be aware that you have a mammoth at all or of the extent to which your Authentic Voice has been silenced.

Whatever your situation, there are three steps to getting your mammoth under your control:

Step 1: Examine Yourself

The first step to improving things is a clear and honest assessment of what’s going on in your head, and there are three parts of this:

1) Get to know your Authentic Voice

meet AV

This doesn’t sound that hard, but it is. It takes some serious reflection to sift through the webs of other people’s thoughts and opinions and figure out who the real you actually is. You spend time with a lot of people—which of them do you actually like the most? How do you spend your leisure time, and do you truly enjoy all parts of it? Is there anything you regularly spend money on that you don’t feel that comfortable with? How does your gut really feel about your job and relationship status? What’s your true political opinion? Do you even care? Do you pretend to care about things you don’t just to have an opinion? Do you secretly have an opinion on a political or moral issue you don’t ever voice because people you know will be outraged?

There are cliché phrases for this process—”soul-searching” or “finding yourself”—but that’s exactly what needs to happen. Maybe you can reflect on this from whatever chair you’re sitting in right now or from some other part of your normal life—or maybe you need to go somewhere far away, by yourself, and step out of your life in order to effectively examine it. Either way, you’ve got to figure out what actually matters to you and start being proud of whoever your Authentic Voice is.

2) Figure out where the mammoth is hiding

mammoth hiding

Most of the time a mammoth is in control of a person, the person’s not really aware of it. But you can’t make progress if you’re not crystal clear about where the biggest problem areas are.

The most obvious way to find the mammoth is to figure out where your fear is—where are you most susceptible to shame or embarrassment? What parts of your life do you think about and a dreadful, sinking feeling washes over you? Where does the prospect of failure seem like a nightmare? What are you too timid to publicly try even though you know you’re good at it? If you were giving advice to yourself, which parts of your life would clearly need a change that you’re avoiding acting on right now?

The second place a mammoth hides is in the way-too-good feelings you get from feeling accepted or on a pedestal over other people. Are you a serious pleaser at work or in your relationship? Are you terrified of disappointing your parents and do you choose making them proud over aiming to gratify yourself? Do you get too excited about being associated with prestigious things or care too much about status? Do you brag more than you should?

A third area the mammoth is present is anywhere you don’t feel comfortable making a decision without “permission” or approval from others. Do you have opinions you’re regurgitating from someone else’s mouth, which you’re comfortable having now that you know that person has them? When you introduce your new girlfriend or boyfriend to your friends or family for the first time, can those people’s reaction to your new person fundamentally change your feelings for him/her? Is there a Puppet Master in your life? If so, who, and why?

3) Decide where the mammoth needs to be ousted

ousted

It’s not realistic to kick the mammoth entirely out of your head—you’re a human and humans have mammoths in their head, period. The thing we all need to do is carve out certain sacred areas of our lives that must be in the hands of the AV and free of mammoth influence. There are obvious areas that need to be made part of the AV’s domain like your choice of life partner, your career path, and the way you raise your kids. Others are personal—it comes down to the question, “In which parts of your life must you be entirely true to yourself?”

 

Step 2: Gather Courage by Internalizing that the Mammoth Has a Low IQ

Real Woolly Mammoths were unimpressive enough to go extinct, and Social Survival Mammoths aren’t any better. Despite the fact that they haunt us so, our mammoths are dumb, primitive creatures who have no understanding of the modern world. Deeply understanding this—and internalizing it—is a key step to taming yours. There are two major reasons not to take your mammoth seriously:

1) The mammoth’s fears are totally irrational.

5 things the Mammoth is incorrect about:

→ Everyone is talking about me and my life and just think how much everyone will be talking about it if I do this risky or weird thing.

Here’s how the mammoth thinks things are:

circles

Here’s how things actually are:

Circle

No one really cares that much about what you’re doing. People are highly self-absorbed.

→ If I try really hard, I can please everyone.

Yes, maybe in a 40-person tribe with a unified culture. But in today’s world, no matter who you are, a bunch of people will like you and a bunch of other people won’t. Being approved of by one type of person means turning another off. So obsessing over fitting in with any one group is illogical, especially if that group isn’t really who you are. You’ll do all that work, and meanwhile, your actual favorite people are off being friends with each other somewhere else.

→ Being disapproved of or looked down upon or shit-talked about has real consequences in my life.

Anyone who disapproves of who you’re being or what you’re doing isn’t even in the same room with you 99.7% of the time. It’s a classic mammoth mistake to fabricate a vision of future social consequences that is way worse than what actually ends up happening—which is usually nothing at all.

→ Really judgy people matter.

Here’s how judgy people function: They’re highly mammoth-controlled and become good friends with and date other judgy people who are also highly mammoth-controlled. One of the primary activities they do together is talk shit about whoever’s not with them—maybe they feel some jealousy, and eye-rolling disapproval helps them flip the script and feel less jealous, or maybe they’re not jealous and use someone as a vehicle for bathing in schadenfreude—but whatever the underlying feeling, the judging serves to feed their hungry mammoth.

eating words 1

eating words 2

eating words 3

When people shit-talk, they set up a category division of which they’re always on the right side. They do this to prop themselves up on a pedestal that their mammoth can chomp away on.

Being the material a judgy person uses to feel good about themselves is a fairly infuriating thought—but it has no actual consequences and it’s clearly all much more about the judgy person and their mammoth problem than it is about you. If you find yourself making decisions partially based on not being talked badly about by a judgy person, think hard about what’s actually going on and stop.

→ I’m a bad person if I disappoint or offend the person/people who love me and have invested so much in me.

No. You’re not a bad person for being whoever your Authentic Voice is in your one life. This is one of those simple things—if they truly selflessly love you, they will for sure come around and accept everything once they see that you’re happy. If you’re happy and they still don’t come around, here’s what’s happening: their strong feelings about who you should be or what you should do are their mammoth talking, and their main motivation is worrying about how it’ll “look” to other people who know them. They’re allowing their mammoth to override their love for you, and they should be adamantly ignored.

Two other reasons why the mammoth’s fearful obsession with social approval makes no sense:

A) You live here:

Earth

So who gives a fuck about anything?

B) You and everyone you know are going to die. Kind of soon.

die

So like…yeah.

The mammoth’s fears being irrational is one reason the mammoth has a low IQ. Here’s the second:

2) The mammoth’s efforts are counterproductive. 

The irony of the whole thing is that the obsessive lumbering mammoth isn’t even good at his job. His methods of winning approval may have been effective in simpler times, but today, they’re transparent and off-putting. The modern world is an AV’s world, and if the mammoth wants to thrive socially, he should do the thing that scares him most—let the AV take over. Here’s why:

AVs are interesting. Mammoths are boring. Every AV is unique and complex, which is inherently interesting. Mammoths are all the same—they copy and conform, and their motives aren’t based on anything authentic or real, just on doing what they think they’re supposed to do. That’s supremely boring.

AVs lead. Mammoths follow. Leadership is natural for most AVs, because they draw their thoughts and opinions from an original place, which gives them an original angle. And if they’re smart and innovative enough, they can change things in the world and invent things that disrupt the status quo. If you give someone a paintbrush and an empty canvas, they might not paint something good—but they’ll change the canvas in one way or another.

Mammoths, on the other hand, follow—by definition. That’s what they were built to do—blend in and follow the leader. The last thing a mammoth is going to do is change the status quo because it’s trying so hard to be the status quo. When you give someone a paintbrush and canvas, but the paint is the same exact color as the canvas, they can paint all they want, but they won’t change anything.

People gravitate toward AVs, not mammoths. The only time a mammoth-crazed person is appealing on a first date is when they’re on the date with another mammoth-crazed person. People with a strong AV see through mammoth-controlled people and aren’t attracted to them. A friend of mine was dating a great on-paper guy awhile back but broke things off because she couldn’t quite fall for him. She tried to articulate why, saying he wasn’t weird or special enough—he seemed like “just one of the guys.” In other words, he was being run too much by a mammoth.

This also holds among friends or colleagues, where AV-run people are more respected and more magnetic—not because there’s necessarily anything extraordinary about them, but because people respect someone with the strength of character to have tamed their mammoth. 

Step 3: Start Being Yourself

This post was all fun and games until “start being yourself” came into the picture. Up to now, this has been an interesting reflection into why humans care so much what other people think, why that’s bad, how it’s a problem in your life, and why there’s no good reason it should continue to plague you. But actually doing something after you finish reading this article is a whole different thing. That takes more than reflection—it takes some courage.

toe in water

But courage against what, exactly? As we’ve discussed, there’s no actual danger involved in being yourself—more than anything, it just takes an Emperor Has No Clothes epiphany, which is as simple as this:

Almost nothing you’re socially scared of is actually scary.

Absorbing this thought will diminish the fear that you feel, and without fear, the mammoth loses some power.

medium mammoth

With a weakened mammoth, it becomes possible to begin standing up for who you are and even making some bold changes—and when you watch those changes turn out well for you with few negative consequences and no regrets, it reinforces the epiphany and an empowered AV becomes a habit. Your mammoth has now lost its ability to pull the strings, and it’s tamed.

small mammoth

The mammoth is still with you—it’ll always be with you—but you’ll have an easier time ignoring or overruling it when it speaks up or acts out, because the AV is the alpha dog now. You can start to relish the feeling of being viewed as weird or inappropriate or confusing to people, and society becomes your playground and blank canvas, not something to grovel before and hope for acceptance from.

Making this shift isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s worth obsessing over. Your Authentic Voice has been given one life—and it’s your job to make sure it gets the opportunity to live it.

Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2016, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CHINESE WISDOM

Submitted By: 

Knight Kroger

According to Confucius and other Chinese philosophers, we shouldn’t be looking for our essential self, let alone seeking to embrace it, because there is no true, unified self to begin with. As Confucius understood, human beings are messy, multidimensional creatures, a jumble of conflicting emotions and capabilities living in a messy, ever-changing world. We are who we are by constantly reacting to one another. Looking within is dangerous.

Instead of struggling to be authentic, Confucius proposed another approach: “as if” rituals, that is, rituals meant to break us out of our own reality for a moment. These rituals are the very opposite of authenticity—and that’s what makes them work. We break from who we are when we note the unproductive patterns we’ve fallen into and actively work to shift them—“as if” we were different people in that moment.

When you hear your girlfriend at the door and make yourself go to greet her instead of sitting there absorbed in your iPhone, you are creating a break. When you make a point of ignoring your mother’s harping and solicit her guidance, you are recognizing that both of you are constantly shifting and changing and capable of bringing out other parts of each other. Instead of being stuck in the roles of nagging mother and put-upon child, you have behaved “as if” you were someone else. It turns out that being insincere, being untrue to ourselves, helps us to grow.

Confucius lectures students in a silk painting from around the Song dynasty (960-1279).
“But if there’s no true self and I’m always changing,” more than one student has asked, “how can I decide on the career that’s right for me?” Today’s students want a plan for their future, which makes sense. Their high-school activities—AP classes, varsity soccer, the service trip to Haiti—were aimed at the goal of college admission, and they believe that a clear road map will help them to take the next step toward a fulfilling and profitable career.

Here again Chinese philosophy offers an alternative, rooted in the idea that the world is a glorious mess.

Consider Mencius, a Confucian philosopher who saw the world as anything but stable. Hard work does not necessarily lead to prosperity. Bad deeds will not necessarily be punished. There are no guarantees. Mencius advocated thinking not in terms of making decisions but of setting trajectories in motion.

Imagine a student who has decided he wants to become a diplomat. He’s always been great at mediating conflicts among his peers. He was involved in Model U.N. in high school, the international section is his favorite part of the newspaper, and he’s become pretty fluent in Spanish. He knows that majoring in international relations and taking his junior year abroad in Spain will give him the experiences that will propel him toward that career in diplomacy.

So he goes off to Spain, but after a month falls ill with a severe respiratory virus that lands him in the hospital. It is his first experience of hospitalization, and it plants a seed: He becomes curious about how and why doctors and hospitals do what they do.

Things can now go one of two ways. He can remain wedded to his long-term plan and let that interest in health care die out. The hospital experience will make for a few good stories for his friends, but it won’t interfere with his plan to take the diplomatic world by storm. Or he can keep diving into his new obsession, reading everything he can, maybe making friends with some of the young residents on his medical team, and eventually return to the U.S. and devote himself to a health-care field instead.

None of this has anything to do with the fact that he was in Spain; it’s just that one series of experiences led to another and opened up things to him that weren’t part of the plan. There’s nothing wrong with spending a year in Madrid or majoring in international relations. But there is something wrong with going abroad as part of a plan that fits in with a vision of who you already are and where you’re going.

Concrete, defined plans for life are abstract because they are made for a self who is abstract: a future self that you imagine based on a snapshot of yourself now. You are confined to what is in the best interests of the person you happen to be right now—not of the person you will become.

Mencius encourages us to think of life not in terms of decisions but as a series of ruptures that lead us from one thing to another. He would say to the students of today and their anxious parents: Live with a constant awareness of the ever-changing world and your ever-shifting self. Train your mind to stay open and constantly take into account all the complex stuff that is you.

But how do you train your mind to stay open, you ask? Zhuangzi, another ancient Chinese philosopher, has the answer: Make a point of breaking out of your limited perspective every day. Live spontaneously at every moment.

But don’t we do that already? We live in a culture that positively reveres spontaneity. We find predictability boring. We chafe at rules. We admire the free thinker, the person who dares to be different, the lone genius who dropped out of college on a whim and founded a startup.

But spontaneity, for Zhuangzi, wasn’t about doing whatever you want whenever you want. What we call spontaneity, he would call the unfettered expression of desires, and there’s no way anyone can embrace that sort of a life all of the time.

Zhuangzi embraced “trained spontaneity.” When you train yourself to play the piano or learn tennis, trying to reach a joyful place where you can play a Mozart sonata or gracefully arc a lob, you are following his advice. You are putting effort into reaching a moment when your mind does not get in the way. You are training yourself not to fall into the trap of seeing yourself through one fixed perspective. You are training yourself to spot the shifts that make for an expansive life.

Doing this doesn’t require formal mastery of an activity; it can happen in everyday life, too. Take a walk with someone very different from you: a toddler, your grandmother or even a dog. Notice that they experience the walk differently from you: The toddler stops to gaze at every rock; your grandmother, an avid gardener, names every flower she sees; the dog tunes into a world of scent.

Realize that each of us moves through a narrow set of instincts. One of them has to do with how we define ourselves: This is what I’m good at, this is what I’m doing to build my life toward the future; these are my leisure activities, which I fit in on the weekends.

But there’s a reason that so many Nobel Prize winners are also musicians, artists, actors, dancers and writers, just as there’s a reason why Steve Jobs drew on his knowledge of calligraphy, which he’d studied in college, when he designed his iconic typography for the Apple computer. It isn’t that diverse activities, so unconnected from the primary work of scientists, help them to loosen up. It’s that a breadth of experiences and perspectives helps break them out of their pathways and see new connections and opportunities everywhere.

With this kind of trained spontaneity, you become able to make connections so that you’re not even waiting for those breaks. In fact, you create the conditions in which they will happen. And you are no longer attempting to fit the diverse experiences you have into a definition of who you are. You are training yourself to see your life as a constant flow of possibilities.

But possibilities, in and of themselves, are not enough. As the Chinese philosopher Xunzi would implore us to remember, what’s most important is what we do with them.

Consider how many of today’s students were raised: Their talents were identified early. They were “athletic,” “good at math,” “a natural at the violin.” Soon enough, they were winnowed into a stream that would allow those talents to flourish. They learned to stick with what they were good at. Over the years, it became instinctive to sideline the interests for which they didn’t show a natural aptitude.

Xunzi argues that we should not think of the self as something to be accepted—gifts, flaws and all. He would argue instead that we should think of the self as a project. Through experiences, we can train ourselves to construct a self utterly different from—and better than—whatever self we thought we were.

A man we know was diagnosed as dyslexic at a very young age. Because of this diagnosis, he became determined to train himself to understand the complexity of languages and sentence structure. He eventually mastered Sanskrit, one of the world’s most difficult languages.

As Xunzi reminds us, nothing is natural. The talents and weaknesses we are born with get in the way if we allow them to determine what we can and cannot do. The only thing you really need to be good at is the ability to train yourself to get better.

We have seen the practical effect of Chinese philosophy among students who have opened themselves to these ideas. There’s the young man who excelled at math and came to Harvard expecting to major in economics, since it played to his strengths, until a semester of foreign language led to travel abroad and new interests; he ended up in a graduate program in East Asian studies instead.

There’s the student who mapped out a career as a scholar in Asian philosophy until his work in music and computing allowed him to develop a new form of electronic instrument, so he founded a company to manufacture it.

Then there’s the young woman who agonized over taking a job on Wall Street because she had planned since high school to work on maternal health issues. She accepted the offer and discovered that working in finance was exactly the “break” she needed.

All of the changes in the lives of these young people came about not through assuming they knew their talents and following a trajectory, but through deliberately breaking with what they thought they knew about themselves. “All I know is America, and I should just experience what it’s like to live somewhere else,” one student told us. “I’m curious about modern dance even though it will have nothing to do with medical school,” said another. “I’ve never been good at languages, but I’m going to take Italian this semester and just see what happens.”

The students we know who have taken these teachings to heart are not expecting that a new interest will necessarily lead to a new direction or a new career. For them, the goal is simply to break from what they think they know about themselves.

So if you want not only to be successful but also to live a good life, consider these subversive lessons of Chinese philosophy: Don’t try to discover your authentic self; don’t be confined by what you are good at or what you love. And do a lot of pretending. We could all benefit from a little more insincerity.

Dr. Puett is a professor of Chinese history at Harvard University. Dr. Gross-Loh is the author of “Parenting Without Borders.” This essay is adapted from their new book, “The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life,” published next week by Simon & Schuster.

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THE ILLUSTRATED LADY

Written by:  Alan R. Graham.

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All day long, she processes legal documents concerning the most awful transactions between human beings in the dreary proceedings of the restraining order. Esperanza looks ten years younger than he real age, no doubt from clean living. Even now, she does not drink or smoke and her only vice is the adoration of Rock ‘n’ Roll music.

 
We will call her Esperanza Rosas (Hope Roses). A ‘soul child’ blessed with sweet innocence and an unbound adoration for music.
 
She loves to go to concerts of the top Rock and Roll Stars (those still living), and celebrates their artistry like a true fan.
 
I call her “The Illustrated Lady” because she bears rather unusual tattoos, ones that are the names of songs – “I Can See Clearly,” “Let It Be,” “Three Little Birds,” others – all songs of joy and peace.
 
I told her about the book “The Illustrated Man,” written by Ray Bradbury. It became a movie of the same name, starring Rod Steiger, and the plot was dark and foreboding. 
 
The Illustrated Man is classic Bradbury, a collection of eighteen startling visions of humankind’s destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin, visions as keen as the tattooist’s needle and as colorful as the inks that indelibly stain the body. The images, ideas, sounds and scents that abound in this phantasmagoric sideshow are provocative and powerful: the mournful cries of celestial travelers cast out cruelly into a vast space of stars and blackness, the sight of gray dust settling over a forgotten outpost on a road leading nowhere, the pungent odor of Jupiter on a returning father’s clothing. Here living cities take their vengeance, technology awakens the most primal natural instincts, Martian invasions are foiled by the good life and the glad hand, and dreams are carried aloft in junkyard rockets.
 
Esperanza’s tattoos are the polar opposite of that grim tale; they signal only happiness and pure unadulterated bliss.
 
The tiny bit of sadness etched on her sweet soul is barely visible as she deals with the worst scenarios of terrible conflict between neighbors, friends, and family members. All of this she can rise above because she is steeled with her own passion and drive to accomplish her coolest quest, to see Elton John LIVE in Las Vegas.
 
Hope Roses Rocks.

 

Unknown

Afterthoughts:

I sent the rough draft of the article for Hope’s approval before publishing and I received the following response “…

Hi Alan,

Thank you for the rough draft. I enjoyed the article and thank you for not using my real name.
I do approve. That’s very kind of you to say those things and it’s a nice change to meet someone as insightful as yourself to see beyond yourself and the issues that brought you to my window.
Most people who come in are already an emotional wreck and can’t see further than themselves and that’s okay. I get my joy from helping them, to calm them, to empower themselves, to make sure they leave my window with more knowledge and inner strength to deal with whatever their issues might be.
But I could never do that without the passion for music to therapeutically get me through my day so I can help them help themselves. It was a pleasure meeting you. 
As I write this, Moon Shadow comes on the radio. That one might be my next tattoo!
When we were kids, my sister used to sing this to me. It was her favorite song.
She has since passed.
There are no coincidences. 
Ciao 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KEEP YOUR NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE

By: Alan Graham

“Keep your nose to the grindstone”

Meaning:  Apply yourself conscientiously to your work.

Origin

There are two rival explanations as to the origin of this phrase. One is that it comes from the supposed habit of millers who checked that the stones used for grinding cereal weren’t overheating by putting their nose to the stone in order to smell any burning. The other is that it comes from the practice of knife grinders when sharpening blades to bend over the stone, or even to lie flat on their fronts, with their faces near the grindstone in order to hold the blades against the stone.

Left quote
The miller’s tale might have worked for Chaucer, but it doesn’t help here.
right quote
All the evidence is against the miller’s tale. Firstly, the stones used by millers were commonly called millstones, not grindstones. The two terms were sometimes interchanged but the distinction between the two was made at least as early as 1400, when this line was printed in Turnament Totenham:

“Ther was gryndulstones in gravy, And mylstones in mawmany.”

The Middle English language there is difficult to interpret but it certainly shows the grindstones and millstones as being distinct from each other. If the derivation was from milling we would expect the phrase to be ‘nose to the millstone’.

A second point in favour of the tool sharpening derivation is that all the early citations refer to holding someone’s nose to the grindstone as a form of punishment. This is more in keeping with the notion of the continuous hard labour implicit in being strapped to one’s bench than it is to the occasional sniffing of ground flour by a miller. 

nose to the grindstone

The first known citation is John Frith’s A mirrour or glasse to know thyselfe, 1532:

“This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their faces.”

The phrase appears in print at various dates since the 16th century. It was well-enough known in rural USA in the early 20th century for this picture, which alludes to the ‘holding someone’s nose to the grindstone’ version of the phrase, to have been staged as a joke (circa 1910).

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The Manic Ride

By: Alan Graham.

I have witnessed up close the terror of the  Manic Ride several times in my life.

For more than thirty years I have counseled many people from all walks of life including, friends, business associates, plus several high profile Hollywood celebrities.

The behavior is profoundly disturbing, almost impossible to curb, and as a consequence all, family members close friends and all people who come in contact with the subject are deeply and irreversibly change. It is similar to a haunting, an exorcism, or serious trauma, and even the most loving person is transformed from sweet to angry or hostile on this awful ride through a hellish landscape.

Manic depression, is a disorienting condition that causes extreme shifts in mood. Like riding a slow-motion roller coaster, patients may spend weeks feeling like they’re on top of the world before plunging into a relentless depression. The length of each high and low varies greatly from person to person. In any given year, this disorder affects more than 2% of American adults.

If someone who is suffering with this condition also happens to be a total asshole, then they become a colossal asshole on steroids.

Which brings me to the subject of ‘ASSHOLE OF THE CENTURY’ A.K.A Ledyard Hakes of Coronado Ca.

To earn the ignoble title of Asshole Of The Century  (A.H.O.T.C.) one must be a really big asshole, No, a colossal asshole, and the subject of this story is just that, a lower than whale-shit, self centered, greedy, mean spirited short assed asshole.  

Our story begins on a sultry August night in Coronado California in the year 2013.

Some tenants awoke in the middle of the night to the smell of noxious gas fumes and by morning all tenants had left the building and  began assembling in the courtyard. The gas company was called but by the time they arrived the smell was gone and they failed  to find  a leak…..

 

Work In Progress…

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ANCIENT ARISTOCRATS

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A 2,400-year-old underground tomb complex, containing what appears to be an aristocratic family, has been discovered near the ancient city of Soloi in northern Cyprus.

The complex contains three burial chambers, two of which were intact while the third had been looted. In the unlooted chambers archaeologists found human remains as well as jewelry, figurines, weapons and a collection of 16 vessels used to serve people attending a “symposium,” an event in the ancient world where men drank, talked and enjoyed entertainment.

One of the chambers held an intricate gold wreath in the shape of an ivy plant. The wreath’s gold berries and thin gold leaves survived the passage of more than two millennia of time.
The artifacts found in the tomb complex reveal trade between the ancient people of Soloi and Athens said archaeologist Hazar Kaba, who studied the tomb complex as part of his doctoral dissertation at Ankara University in Turkey.

The remains of one of the metal vessels is seen here. It has an image of a bearded male. The remains of one of the metal vessels is seen here.  It has an image of a bearded male.

“This tomb complex surely proves that Soloi was in direct relationship with Athens, who was the naval power of the period,” Kaba said. “Soloi was supplying Athens with its rich timber and copper sources, and in return, was obtaining luxurious goods such as symposium vessels,” he said, noting that artists from Athens appear to have taken up residence in Soloi, influencing the design of the artifacts made there.

Kaba also found connections with other regions. For instance, some of the jewelry and symposium vessels were decorated with designs similar to those found in the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, which controlled much of the Middle East at the time the complex was constructed.

The gold wreath looks like wreaths that were placed in the tombs of Macedonian aristocrats, he said. Some of the symposium vessels had been imported from Ionia — a region in what is now the west coast of Turkey — and Macedonia.

A few decades after the tombs were sealed off — between 400 and 350 B.C. — the Macedonians, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, would crush the Achaemenid Empire, conquering an area that stretched from the Balkans to Afghanistan.

Who was buried here?

One of the intact burial chambers contains the remains of a man, a woman and a little girl. Iron spearheads and a shield were buried with the man, Kaba said.

The second unlooted chamber contained the remains of a woman and a young girl, but no one else. The third chamber had been looted and was empty.

The people buried in the complex were likely from a wealthy aristocratic family, Kaba said. Right now researchers are trying to determine how the people buried in the complex were related to each other. “A DNA project is also running on the bones to identify the degree of kinship between the deceased,” Kaba said.

Kaba is in the process of publishing four articles that discuss finds from the tomb complex. Excavations at the complex took place between 2005 and 2006. Conservation and restoration of the artifacts is ongoing.

 

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RESCUE RACOON

rescued-raccoon-pumpkin-laura-young-45

Last year, Nassau, Bahamas resident Rosie Kemp found a baby raccoon that had fallen out of a tree. The mother was nowhere to be found, so Kemp and her daughter Laura Young decided to adopt the little bandit and named her “Pumpkin.” Eventually, Pumpkin recovered from her injuries and moved in with Young and her husband.
“She instantly bonded with us and our two rescue dogs and follows me and our two dogs everywhere we go,” Young told The Dodo. “She now thinks she is a dog… she is able to play and be rough with them and she respects them when they have had enough.”

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PHONE SCAM

Unknown

 

By: Alan Graham

Recently I have been experiencing increased telemarketing calls for all sorts of dubious services and in particular one from a “computer virus expert.”

“

Someone who identifies himself as Cam, and bearing a pronounced Chinese accent, tells me that my computer has been infected with a “very bad virus”.



I have received the same call on many occasions. So I thought I would try something different in order to deter them from calling again.



“Do you deliver?” I asked.

“What?



“Do you deliver?” I asked again.



No. We can do it by phone”, he said, half confused.



I paused then said, “Okay! I’ll have Kung Pow Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork.”



Now he was pausing, and I could hear him talking to someone else who was now saying to him, “What?”



Before he could answer I said, “And could I have six egg rolls too?”



He was trying to process the diabolically and deliberately confusing questions I had asked him. So I helped him along with the process by following up with, “How do I pay for this?” and then mercilessly offering a tantalizing array of opportunities for him to scam me, “Do you take Visa, American Express Gold Card, PayPal?”



He seemed so relieved and rather surprised that I had made it so easy for him, he blurted out, “GOLD CARD PREEZE”.

“

Once again, and with utter gleeful malice I asked, “How much will that be?”



He pretended to be calculating for a few moments, then said, $499.00.” 



Now I paused for a few moments. Then with my best Chinese accent I said,

”Wayrra mini? Dat too mush money for chicken an poke!”



”Too mush?”



”Sure, I can get it fo twenty dorras at another Chinese restaurant.”



Somehow at the last minute, it must have dawned on him that I was pranking him. He asked me if I was Chinese, and I said , “Yes, I am. Are you?”



He paused for a long time. Then he said , “No, I am from Scotrand.

I said, “Oh! I been to Scotrand once, it was crosed”

“

He paused again, then he hung up.

Check out this website for similar scams

http://www.whycall.me

 

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MESMERIZING MURMURATIONS

murmuration-of-gretna-green-starlings-post-by-jchip84

Would you pull over your car just to watch some starlings? A gathering of only a few of these speckled, iridescent-black birds isn’t a very alluring sight—particularly in North America, where these birds are invaders. The European Starling was originally introduced here by a group of well-meaning Shakespeare enthusiasts in 1880, but many Americans now consider them to be pests that serve little purpose other than to dirty car windshields and destroy crops.
But Grainger Hunt, a senior scientist at the Peregrine Fund, tells a different story in Living Bird magazine. He marvels at the way thousands of the birds gather in flocks called murmurations. They are “a dazzling cloud, swirling, pulsating, drawing together to the thinnest of waists, then wildly twisting in pulses of enlargement and diminution,” he writes. It’s certainly worth stopping your car for, or stopping to watch a video like this one, a YouTube hit recorded over the River Shannon, Ireland:
Almost always, Hunt writes, these aerial spectacles are caused by a falcon near the edge of the flock. It turns out that the beauty of a murmuration’s movements often arises purely out of defense, as the starlings strive to put distance between themselves and the predator.

European Starlings can be noisy neighbors. Photo by Red~Star via Birdshare.So how do these masses of birds move so synchronously, swiftly, and gracefully? This isn’t an idle question—it has attracted the attention of physicists interested in how group behavior can spontaneously arise from many individuals at once. In 2010, Andrea Cavagna and colleagues at the National Council of Research and the University of Rome used advanced computational modeling and video analysis to study this question. They found that starling flocks model a complex physical phenomenon, seldom observed in physical and biological systems, known as scale-free correlation.

Surprising as it may be, flocks of birds are never led by a single individual. Even in the case of flocks of geese, which appear to have a leader, the movement of the flock is actually governed collectively by all of the flock members. But the remarkable thing about starling flocks is their fluidity of motion. As the researchers put it, “the group respond[s] as one” and “cannot be divided into independent subparts.”

When one starling changes direction or speed, each of the other birds in the flock responds to the change, and they do so nearly simultaneously regardless of the size of the flock. In essence, information moves across the flock very quickly and with nearly no degradation. The researchers describe it as a high signal-to-noise ratio.

This scale-free correlation allows starlings to greatly enhance what the researchers call “effective perceptive range,” which is another way of saying that a starling on one side of the flock can respond to what others are sensing all the way across the flock—a huge benefit for a starling trying to avoid a falcon.

Last week, a new study on starling flocks appeared in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. The researchers, led by George Young at Princeton, did their own analysis of murmuration images to see how the birds adjust to their flockmates. They determined that starlings in large flocks consistently coordinate their movements with their seven nearest neighbors. They also found that the shape of the flock, rather than the size, has the largest effect on this number; seven seems optimal for the tightly connected flocks that starlings are known for.

Imagine a game of telephone: one person passes a message along to the next person, who repeats it to another, and so on. For humans, the telephone message loses information very quickly—that’s what makes the game fun. The first finding, by Cavagna’s team, suggests that very little information is lost in a starling flock. The second finding, by Young’s team, suggests that starlings “play telephone” with their seven nearest neighbors. Somehow they are able to process messages from those seven neighbors all at once, and this is a part of their method for achieving scale-free correlation.

Still, neither finding explains how starlings are capable of such extraordinary collective responses. As the researchers admit, “How starlings achieve such a strong correlation remains a mystery to us.”

Murmurations remind us that nature’s beauty can take limitless forms, and can shock and inspire us. A number of commenters on the River Shannon video mention a feeling of connection that they experienced while watching the video. It’s as if seeing that synchrony, that seemingly perfect connection between each starling, also reminds us to value our connection to the world around us, for connection can be truly beautiful.

 

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QUANTUM COMPUTERS

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Quantum computers capable of doing far more complex calculations than current supercomputers may now become a reality following study
Computer scientists have described the breakthrough as ‘game-changing’
They created quantum bits, or qubits, on silicon to perform calculations

A major step towards building quantum computers capable of performing formidable calculations at a fraction of the speed of current machines has been achieved.
Computer scientists claim to have made a ‘game-changing leap’ by building a logic gate – a building block of a digital circuit – using the strange properties of subatomic particles in silicon.
They say these could eventually lead to new types of quantum microchips that would revolutionise the digital world.
Researchers have created the world’s first quantum logic gate on silicon (illustrated in an artist’s impression). They say it is a ‘game-changing’ step forward in the development of practical quantum computers

Researchers have created the world’s first quantum logic gate on silicon (illustrated in an artist’s impression). They say it is a ‘game-changing’ step forward in the development of practical quantum computers
Quantum computing takes advantage of the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time. For example, a photon can appear as both a wave and a particle.

In traditional computers available today, data is expressed in one of two states – known as binary bits – which are either a 1 or a 0.
GOOGLE AND NASA TEAM UP TO ON QUANTUM COMPUTING RESEARCH
Nasa, Google and the Universities Space Research Association have announced they are to install a new generation of quantum computers in their Artificial Intelligence laboratories.
They will use the D-Wave 2X systems which have a 1000 Qubit processor.
The system has twice as many qubits as the previous generation of quantum computers being used by the organisations, but need to operate at temperatures of -459°F.
There are aslo some doubts about how effective quantum computers currently are as some research has suggested they are currently not able to outperform traditional computers.
However, Google says quantum computing is a way of solving some of the more complex problems that current traditional computers struggle with.
They say these systems are better at dealing with ‘messy’ sources of data where it can be mislabelled, as information often is in the real world.
Writing on its blog, Google said: ‘Can we move these ideas from theory to practice, building real solutions on quantum hardware? Answering this question is what the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab is for.
‘We hope it helps researchers construct more efficient and more accurate models for everything from speech recognition, to web search, to protein folding.
‘We actually think quantum machine learning may provide the most creative problem-solving process under the known laws of physics.’
A quantum bit, or qubit as it is known, can exist in both of these states at once, meaning many computations can be performed in parallel. For example, two qubits can encode four different values while a three qubit system encodes eight different values.
This would allow new types of computers to be constructed that would far surpass the capabilities of modern super computers.
Professor Andrew Dzurak, director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at the University of New South Wales, said: ‘We’ve demonstrated a two-qubit logic gate – the central building block of a quantum computer – and, significantly, done it in silicon.
‘Because we use essentially the same device technology as existing computer chips, we believe it will be much easier to manufacture a full-scale processor chip than for any of the leading designs, which rely on more exotic technologies.
‘This makes the building of a quantum computer much more feasible, since it is based on the same manufacturing technology as today’s computer industry.’
Until a few years ago quantum computers were little more than theoretical possibilities, but recent research has shown they could become a realistic proposition.
Both Google and Nasa have been developing a quantum computer as part of their artificial intelligence work.
However their D-Wave quantum computer needs to be kept at temperatures of around -273°C (-459°F).
The latest research by Professor Dzurak and his colleagues, which is published in the journal Nature, has shown it is possible to build them using more conventional materials like silicon.
Their work is the first time two qubits have been able to ‘talk’ to each other in a logic gate.
On traditional microchips, bits are typically stored on a pair of silicon transistors, one of which is switched on while the other is off.
Computers running using qubit based microchips would be able to perform complex calculations that current supercomputers struggle with, say researchers. Scientists at the Australian National Fabrication Facility at the University of New South Wales (pictured) have designed and built the world’s first two-qubit logic gate

Computers running using qubit based microchips would be able to perform complex calculations that current supercomputers struggle with, say researchers. Scientists at the Australian National Fabrication Facility at the University of New South Wales (pictured) have designed and built the world’s first two-qubit logic gate
In a quantum computer, data is encoded in the ‘spin’, or magnetic orientation, of individual electrons. Not only can they be in one of two ‘up’ or ‘down’ spin states, but also a superposition of both up and down.
The key step taken by the Australian scientists was to reconfigure traditional transistors so that they can work with qubits instead of bits.
Lead author Dr Menno Veldhorst, also from the University of New South Wales, said: ‘The silicon chip in your smartphone or tablet already has around one billion transistors on it, with each transistor less than 100 billionths of a metre in size.
‘We’ve morphed those silicon transistors into quantum bits by ensuring that each has only one electron associated with it.
Nasa’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory uses an enormous quantum computer built by D Wave which needs to be kept superchilled to temperatures just above absolute zero – around -459°F

Nasa’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory uses an enormous quantum computer built by D Wave which needs to be kept superchilled to temperatures just above absolute zero – around -459°F
‘We then store the binary code of 0 or 1 on the ‘spin’ of the electron, which is associated with the electron’s tiny magnetic field.’
The team has now taken out a patent on a full-scale quantum computer chip that could perform functions involving millions of qubits.
A practical quantum chip could have a huge impact in areas where classical computers face an uphill struggle.
These include weather forecasting, the stock market, drug development, code-breaking and encryption, and exploring the fundamental nature of the universe.

 

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HEART

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Number 80 with the ball is Kyle Chaboya.
He’s on the Calaveras High School football team.
And he had just scored a touchdown with the help of his teammates and players from the other team.

Kyle has cerebral palsy.
He uses a walker to get around.
During games he pushes it up and down the sidelines cheering his team on.

But he’d never actually been IN a game until this play.
He told the Calaveras Enterprise:

“It was awesome.
The whole team coming around me once I crossed the pylon, and realizing that my dream had come true, getting to step on the football field for the first time.
It’s awesome.”

It happened during Calaveres big game against their rival Brett Harte.

Calaveras had the ball on the one-yard line.
They brought in Kyle and then helped him cross the goal line while the Brett Harte players stood by and cheered.

The two coaches had talked about the play a couple of days before the game.

Calaveras head coach Jason Weatherby proposed the idea and Bret Harte head coach Casey Kester didn’t hesitate.

Kester told the Calaveras Enterprise:

“(Jason) proposed the idea and I readily accepted.
It’s the kind of thing that goes beyond the rivalry.”

I can’t stop smiling when I see these pictures of Kyle and the players helping him across the goal line.
Especially #45 with his fist up in the air.
They all look so happy.

Chaboya says:
“To be on this team is amazing.
It just means a lot to me.”

I found out about this story from Adrienne Steinebel.
She is the sister of the head coach for Calaveras High.
She told me it was a great story.
She was right.

She also added:
“Keep in mind that this community is still reeling from the Butte Fire.
(475 homes destroyed)
This is an amazing community that I’m proud to call my hometown.”

And I’m proud to tell the story.
As one player said:
“That (play) was just an amazing moment for Kyle) and for everyone on the team.
We’re a family and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Photos from Calaveras High School Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/Calaveras-HS-Football-249529531…/…/

And here’s a link to the story in the Calaveras Enterprise:
http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/…/article_f3b54db6-6623-…

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Lord Woodbine: The forgotten sixth Beatle

 

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A homeless black man lived under one of the arches near Waterloo station until about five years ago, when he and his box vanished. His name was Samuel (pronounced to rhyme with Danielle). Most of the time, he talked to himself or slept, but on some summer evenings he would start clapping and sing lines from songs by Marley or The Beatles, or reminisce about Liverpool, where he was born and raised. His deep voice rose from a reservoir of cigarette tar and pain. One story he returned to again and again was that of another Liverpudlian, the calypso singer, songwriter and music promoter Lord Woodbine. For Samuel, Woodbine was just one more talented black man, used then cast aside by the white world, just like those impoverished blues singers in New Orleans, and countless R&B, reggae and rap artists who never got their due: “Who know today that Woodbine, he make the Beatles. Who wants to know a black man did that?” Who, indeed.

When the lads were just starting out, dreaming, green and crazy about music, they, said Woodbine, “made themselves orphans, deliberately” and followed him like motherless chicks, hanging around the joints he either part-owned or played at, always trying to have a go on the steel pans. “Woodbine’s Boys”, they called them, Paul, John, George, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass player and “fifth Beatle”) and, after Woodbine persuaded them they needed a drummer, Pete Best.

Woodbine was not ambitious; The Beatles were, and like most young people, they were takers and triers. The Trinidadian helped guide them through their formative musical years, an inadvertent father figure, an accidental hero. They found each other – the uncut band-players, often unwashed too, getting acquainted with cannabis and their somewhat unconventional role model, who part-owned shebeens and strip clubs, ran up debts and loved making music. Speaking to the musician Tony Henry, the Welshman Allan Williams, the first promoter of the group, admitted that without his old business partner Woodbine, there would have been no Beatles. It was Williams who parted with the group just as they were beginning to get popular. Woodbine’s chicks flew away. Brian Epstein, their next father figure, stepped in and the rest is history.

Only one substantial article was ever written about Woodbine – by Henry in 1998. He managed to interview the man himself, who, even then, was reluctant to intrude into the established Beatles legend. Maybe it was pride or humility, or both, or that Woodbine didn’t want the whole black Liverpudlian contribution to The Beatles projected on to him. There were others, of whom more anon. There were some poignant moments in the interview when Woodbine couldn’t hold back his bruised feelings, his disappointment that he was so casually overlooked by his boys.

As the years went by he had to endure further indignities, reminders that he was Mr Nobody. The worst blow came in 1992 at the Liverpool Playhouse, where he was invited to see Imagine, a play about The Beatles. The backdrop was a photograph taken in 1960, at the Arnhem Memorial, Germany. In the original, Woodbine – who had hired the van – was in the photo with Allan and the band minus John, who stayed in the van because he was a pacifist. The Trinidadian had been airbrushed out: “It really hurt me. Maybe the great Beatle publicity machine did not want any black man associated with their boys.”

And it carries on. Woodbine is virtually absent from the many books on Beatlemania. Biopics are as myopic. There is an interminable line of films on The Beatles, the latest of which was the BBC’s Lennon Naked, with Christopher Eccleston playing Lennon in a white suit. Liam Gallagher is making the next Beatles movie. Will it drop in on Toxteth? Best not to hope, as many say in that part of Blighty.

Biographers have passed over the black Liverpudlian who inspired and supported the fledgling band. The role of Liverpool, too, is often underestimated. In 2002, McCartney told the Liverpudlian writer Paul Du Noyer: “Liverpool was a huge melting pot. And we took what we liked from it.” Various witnesses saw this happening. The black Liverpudlian band-leader George Dixon remembers the boys watching him and the guitarist Odie Taylor at the White House pub. The Nigerian-Liverpudlian singer Ramon Sugar Deen recalls the way their music developed: “I heard them jamming in the Cavern club and the rhythm had changed. They’d got some chords off Odie.”

Greg Wilson, an enthusiastic promoter of black music, believes it is impossible to determine “influences” on artistes, the mix inside them, how their own talent responded to the sounds and thoughts of others. However, in accounts of the Merseyside four, credit is always given to Motown, Ravi Shankar and individuals such as DJ Greg Wilson. Only the musicians of Liverpool 8 have no place in the narrative. They have been Tipp-Exed out. Woodbine was the first singer-songwriter Lennon and McCartney ever met, yet one writer said that the Trinidadian had only a “walk-on part” in The Beatles’ story.

Born in Trinidad in 1928, his real name was Harold Phillips. When only 14, he lied about his age and joined the RAF. After the war, he went back home and then retuned to England in 1948 on the famous SS Windrush, which carried the first boatful of hopeful West Indian immigrants to their motherland. Though they faced raw racism and hostility, most of these immigrants had spirit and song and a buoyancy that not even the bitter cold could drag down. Woodbine knew how to enjoy life, whatever it chucked at him. He was part of the first professional steel band in this country. They played in clubs and shebeens in Liverpool 8, where in the Eighties, race riots would erupt. He made up a delightful calypso about various characters named after cigarettes. His chums, probably as a joke, renamed him Lord Woodbine. It stuck.

He perished in a house fire in Toxteth with his wife 10 years ago this July. The inferno ended an extraordinary life. He was 72 and by all accounts as skint as he had always been, though generous till the end. In his time he had been a lorry driver, railway engineer, builder, decorator, shopkeeper, TV repairman, a barman, club owner, songwriter, singer and musical mentor.

In 1958 he was with the All-Steel Caribbean Band, led by a fellow Trinidadian, Gerry Gobin. At the Joker’s Club, where the band often played, the musicians noticed two white lads who seemed keen. They were Lennon and McCartney, wide-eyed and restless kids, like many others on rock and dole. The steel-pannists moved to the popular Jacaranda Club in Liverpool 1 and The Beatles followed. Gobin, unimpressed by their music, was initially irritated by these hangers-on. Candace Smith, then Gobin’s partner, was also suspicious of them: “Bloody white kids, trying to horn in on the black music scene.”

Marylee Smith, Jamaican, 81, used to visit her cousins in Liverpool. Interviewed for this article, she recalled Toxteth’s music scene then: “They was there all the time, you know, all the time, like they was looking for some black magic, pushing in, rough boys, unwashed sometimes. Jumping on to the stage, playing the pans like it was theirs. Some of us didn’t like that. But the musicians, they didn’t mind so much.” Woodbine was bohemian, free, left wing, incautious. He even had the boys performing in his strip club. It must have been madly exciting.

In 2008, McCartney recalled those times in Mojo magazine: “Liverpool being the first Caribbean settlement in the UK, we were very friendly with a lot of black guys – Lord Woodbine, Derry Wilkie, they were mates we hung out with.” More than that, actually. George Roberts, part Arab and another Liverpudlian promoter, observed that Paul and John not only liked being with people of colour, they were getting to know deep musical traditions and skills: “They had two passions. One was to learn authentic R&B and the other was to become famous. Lennon would never have got that in Menlove Avenue; McCartney would never have got R&B with his upright piano and dad.”

Other Toxteth musicians brought on the two wannabes. The Somali-Irish guitarist Vinnie Tow was seen showing John and Paul the seventh chord in the Chuck Berry style, says Roberts: “John was always asking Vinnie, ‘Show me this, show me that.'” The Guyanese guitarist Zancs Logie was another willing teacher. In 1995, Woodbine told Derek Murray, author of a forthcoming book on black music: “Zancs was always showing Lennon something. Until he died [1994] he was proud of how he taught Lennon to play guitar.” George Dixon thought The Beatles were “three-chord wonders. We were playing sophisticated 15-chord numbers. But The Beatles progressed and others didn’t so I admire them.”

Williams and Woodbine got The Beatles to Hamburg, then a happening place hungry for new talent. Williams had found some cash left behind in a club – instead of blowing it on themselves, they sent for the boys, shacked up in shabby rooms and got them bookings. The group fell out with Williams when they made a return trip to Hamburg and got bookings without giving him a cut. Later, as The Beatles found fortune and fame, people in Liverpool would say to Woodbine: “See your boys doing great, Woody”, and he did feel chuffed. He needed them less than they once needed him. That is a kind of victory.

That affection was not fully reciprocated. True, The Beatles always took a strong stand against racism. When he bumps into black Liverpudlians, Paul McCartney spontaneously remembers his “old friend Woodbine” and others. He has done an admirable amount for black and white musicians in his old city. But when Woodbine burnt to death in 2000, McCartney left it to his press office to issue a statement. The surviving band-members should have attended the funeral, or at least had a public memorial to honour the man. Better still, surely they should have seen him right when he was alive?

Fame brings all kinds of past and present hangers-on – people making wild claims of previous intimacies. Woodbine and the others who helped The Beatles never did. Their protégés were too busy, too wary, too rich, too famous to feel any sense of obligation to those who taught them to fly high with their musical wings. It is forgetfulness more than malice, but still can wound.

And so Woodbine’s becomes another sad story perhaps to turn into a blues song. Dr Helen Davies, lecturer in cultural studies, believes that he dramatises the way “‘authentic’ history is constructed. We see time and time again that the voices that are recorded are white, male and middle class.”

Not good enough, says the sociologist Max Farrar, who remembers the Toxteth clubs: “We were listening to black music – it was the start of the, some would say curious, some dubious, love affair that white people like me have with black people and the emancipatory culture they have created. It’s high time this debt was properly acknowledged.” If it was, we might get to celebrate Liverpool 8, its struggles, appeal, and the fantastic cross-cultural creativity that made The Beatles.

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TWO DADS

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When Todd Bachman’s daughter got married last weekend, he wanted to make sure that her stepfather was recognized at the wedding in some way. After all, her stepdad had helped raise her.

So when it came time to walk his daughter Brittany down the aisle, Bachman did something completely unexpected: He stopped the procession, ran to the front row and grabbed her stepdad Todd Cendrosky in order to share the honor of walking their daughter down the aisle.

The beautiful moment was captured by Ohio-based wedding photographer Delia D Blackburn, whose Facebook album of the Elyria, Ohio wedding has received more than one million “likes.”
“It was one of the most compassionate gestures toward a stepparent I’ve ever seen,” Blackburn told The Huffington Post. “The bride was in tears and overcome with emotion.” As the photos show, Cendrosky was as well.

In an interview with local news station WKYC-TV, the stepdad said he was totally taken aback by Bachman’s kind gesture.

“[He] came and grabbed my hand and said: ‘You worked as hard as I have. You’ll help us walk our daughter down the aisle,'” Cendrosky recalled. “I got weak in the knees and lost it. Nothing better in my life, the most impactful moment in my life.”
In the same interview with WKYC-TV, Bachman admitted he and Cendrosky hadn’t always gotten along. But extending the honor at the wedding just made sense.

“For me to thank him for all the years of helping raise our daughter wouldn’t be enough,” the biological dad said. “There is no better way to thank somebody than to assist me walking her down the aisle.”

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BRAIN CLEANING

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The brain can be a messy place. Thankfully, it has good plumbing: Scientists have just discovered a cleansing river inside the brain, a fluid stream that might be enlisted to flush away the buildup of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.

The researchers, based at the University of Rochester (U.R.), University of Oslo and Stony Brook University, describe this new system in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The study adds to the evidence that the star-shaped cells called astrocytes play a leading role in keeping the nervous system in good working order.

In most of the body, a network of vessels carry lymph, a fluid that removes excess plasma, dead blood cells, debris and other waste. But the brain is different. Instead of lymph, the brain is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid. For decades, however, neuroscientists have assumed that this fluid simply carries soluble waste by slowly diffusing through tissues, then shipping its cargo out of the nervous system and eventually into the body’s bloodstream. Determining what’s really going on has been impossible until recently.
In this study, researchers led by U.R. neuroscientist Maiken Nedergaard have identified a second, faster brain-cleansing system. Nedergaard an expert in non-neuronal brain cells called glia, has long suspected that these cells might play a role in brain cleansing.

Nedergaard and colleagues studied live mice with holes drilled into their skulls to gain an unobstructed view. To see how waste is carried by cerebrospinal fluid in a living mouse, they injected the mice with radioactive molecules that could be traced using laser-scanning technology.
The molecules’ journey began after being injected into the subarachnoid space, a cavity between membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The researchers observed that, like a river, cerebrospinal fluid carried these molecules rapidly along specific channels. Glial cells along the outside of arteries form these channels, creating a flume for cerebrospinal fluid that follows the brain’s blood vessels. In addition, the researchers found that these glial cells mediate the channel’s activity, assisting the flow of fluid through the channel.

From channels alongside arteries, the tracer-bearing fluid then passes through brain tissues. At the other end of tissues, it flows into similar channels along veins. The fluid follows these veins then either returns to the subarachnoid space, enters the bloodstream or eventually drains into the body’s lymphatic system. The researchers christened the network the “glymphatic” system, a nod to both glial cells and its functional similarity to the lymphatic system.

U.R. neuroscientist and lead author Jeff Iliff notes several surprises in the study: “I didn’t think we would see these jets of fluid going through the brain,” Iliff says. In addition, he explains that previous conception of cerebrospinal fluid’s role in waste removal suggested that the process was one-way, sending particle-carrying fluid from the brain into the body. Instead, they observed a recycling, as much as 40 percent of the fluid returned to the brain.

As a test of their work, the researchers injected proteins called amyloid beta into mice’s brains. In Alzheimer’s, this protein—present in all healthy brains—can accumulate and clump, developing into cell-damaging plaque. The researchers compared mice with a normal glymphatic system to those with a disabled gene that prevented glial cells from assisting in the fluid flow. They found that in the normal mice, the protein rapidly cleared from the brain along these channels, but amyloid removal diminished in the gene-altered animals.

Iliff hypothesizes that a faulty glymphatic system may bear the blame for the over-accumulation of proteins seen in Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative disorders—and further study may even reveal a way to dispose of these clumps.

Jaleel Miyan, a neurobiologist at the University of Manchester in England who did not participate in this research, stressed the significance of this finding by characterizing the analogy with the lymphatic system as inadequate: “What they have demonstrated is actually far more extensive and important to CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] biology.” The study clarifies discrepancies in past research and may lead to a better understanding of the functioning of the glymphatic system as a possible cleanser of the neural toxins that inevitably accrete and do damage as we age.

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It Was Twenty Eight Years Ago Today

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TONKA

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Tonka, a 7-year-old wombat, lost everything he ever knew: his home, his mom and any sense of stability in his life.

He was rescued by the Billabong Sanctuary, where he was diagnosed with depression — and ever since then, the one thing in the whole world that brings him the most comfort is his teddy bear.

Tonka was only a baby when his mom was tragically hit by a car, and he was taken in by the sanctuary in Townsville, Australia. In 2011, Billabong was hit by a cyclone and required massive repairs. All of this change and heartbreak was too much for sensitive Tonka. Now, back at the repaired sanctuary, the staff deals with Tonka’s depression the best they know how — with teddy bears.

“Animals that are clinically depressed likely have the same problems as do humans with the condition — the brains of all mammals are remarkably the same,” Kenneth B. Storey, a professor of biochemistry at Carleton University, told The Dodo.
Tonka is so attached to his stuffed friend that his comfort toy has to be replaced often, as he is constantly tearing holes through them. Occasionally, Tonka will even get a stuffed wombat, as his handler Samm Sherman posted about on her Instagram account.

Sherman, who has the most interaction with Tonka, is his best friend. A staff member at the sanctuary, she’s very affectionate with him and posts about him on her Instagram frequently with the endearing hashtag #mybestfriendisawombat.
Animals of course can’t tell us if they’re depressed, but evidence suggests that they most certainly do experience the blues.

“We measure interest in food that animals like a lot or in motivation for sexual activity. We also measure how they are interacting socially with other animals in the group, and changes in sleep patterns and daytime activities,” Olivier Berton of The University of Pennsylvania told National Geographic.

“Another behavior that has been used frequently to measure animal depression is whether they readily give up when exposed to a stressful situation,” he said.
We cannot know for sure exactly how Tonka feels, but at least his stuffed friends are able to bring him a little bit of joy.

 

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LET IT NOT BE

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WAFFLES JUNE 4, 2015
A false story circulating this week claims that four sons of members of The Beatles have joined to form a band called “The Shoots.”
SATIRE
The false story claims that four sons of former members of The Beatles – James McCartney, Sean Lennon, Dhani Harrison, and Zak Starkey – have joined forces to form a band called The Shoots. The story, however, was published by the self-proclaimed satire website The Stately Harold.

A disclaimer on that website’s “About” page clearly states its attempt at publishing satire.

The Stately Harold is a satirical website. None of the stories have a grain of truth to them and the opinions do not belong to real people.

Besides the satirical nature of the article’s source, there have also been no such announcements by the sons of the former Beatles, two of whom are currently on tour. Zak Starkey is currently on tour with The Who, while Sean Lennon is also touring with The Goastt (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger).

BOTTOM LINE

The sons of former Beatles members have not formed a band called The Shoots. The false report comes from a self-proclaimed satire website.

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FACES OR FLOWERS

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Human faces may hold more meaning for socially outgoing individuals than for their more introverted counterparts, a new study suggests.

The results show the brains of extroverts pay more attention to human faces than do introverts. In fact, introverts’ brains didn’t seem to distinguish between inanimate objects and human faces.

The findings might partly explain why extroverts are more motivated to seek the company of others than are introverts, or why a particularly shy person might rather hang out with a good book than a group of friends.
The study also adds weight to idea that underlying neural differences in people’s brains contribute to their personality.

“This is just one more piece of evidence to support the assertion that personality is not merely a psychology concept,” said study researcher Inna Fishman, of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, Calif. “There’s some broader foundation for the behavior that you see … implicating that there are neural bases for different personality types.”

Personality in the brain

There are many ways to describe someone’s character — from talkative to anxious to hardworking and organized. Psychologists have found that many traits often go together and have grouped these traits into five overarching categories — extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness/intellect.

Extroversion deals with the way people interact with others. Extroverts like to be around other people and generally enjoy social situations while introverts are the opposite. Previous studies have shown that people who are extroverted also tend to be more assertive, experiencemore positive feelings and get more out of rewards in general.

However, no one had looked to see whether extroverts are more sensitive to stimuli specifically related to social situations, such as faces.

To find out, Fishman and her colleagues recruited 28 participants ages 18 to 40 that ranged in personality from introverted to somewhat extroverted to very extroverted. Electrodes placed on the subjects’ scalps recorded the electrical activity in their brains, a technique known as electroencephalography, or EEG.

The researchers studied a particular change in the brain’s electrical activity known as P300. The change, which shows up as a deflection on a person’s EEG, can be elicited by certain tasks or by a change in the environment, such as when the room is very quiet and you all of a sudden hear a loud nose. The brains’ reaction occurs within 300 milliseconds, before the person is aware of the change.

To evoke P300, Fishman used a method known as the “oddball task” in which subjects see a series of very similar images, such as a bunch of blue cars, and then all of a sudden, a slightly different image appears, such as a red car.

In the current experiment, subjects saw a series of male faces and every so often a female face appeared. They were also shown pictures of purple flowers interspersed with pictures of yellow ones.

Faces or flowers?

The higher subjects had scored on a test for extroversion, the greater their P300 response was to human faces. In other words, extroverts pay more attention to human faces (P300 can be seen as an indicator of human attention, or how fast their brains’ noticed that something has changed.)

There was no link between scores on extroversion and the P300 response to flowers.

Introverts had very similar P300 responses to both human faces and to flowers.

“They just didn’t place a larger weight on social stimuli than they did on any other stimuli, of which flowers are one example,” Fishman said.

“[This] supports the claim that introverts, or their brains, might be indifferent to people — they can take them or leave them, so to speak. The introvert’s brain treats interactions with people the same way it treats encounters with other, non-human information, such as inanimate objects for example,” Fishman told LiveScience.

The results strongly suggest that human faces, or people in general, hold more significance for extroverts, or are more meaningful for them, Fishman said.

The study was presented in a poster session on Friday at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

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RUDY’S RED WAGON

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By: Alan Graham.

Rudy is ninety eight years old, that’s fifteen in dog years. As you can imagine his engine is running a little slow these days.

Recently I saw him taking his owner for a walk and we stopped to chat. Rudy is now deaf and blind and seemed to be confused or disoriented, and it was only when I drew close to pet him that he recognized me and started wagging his tail.

His owner told me that Rudy was now bumping into trees and other objects, but he so loved his adventure walks it would be very hard to stop taking him out.

My wife told me she saw Rudy on one of his walks, but this time he was being carried by his owner. The little fella was still smelling the air and listening to familiar sounds and was quite content to carried around like a royal dog.

A few days later Rudy got a package and inside was a new Radio Flyer red wagon with air filled wheels to ensure a comfortable ride.

Now he rides around town like a dog Prince in his royal red wagon.

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SMART OCTOPI

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The first octopus genome is now fully sequenced, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists stitched together the complex genome of the California two-spot octopus, and analyzed 12 different tissues in search of the genes that allow these unique cephalopods to change skin color and control eight arms independently. The findings may help explain how an ancient, ocean-dwelling invertebrate evolved into one of the most intelligent species on the planet.

“The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving capabilities,” said Clifton Ragsdale, a neurobiologist at the University of Chicago and coauthor on the study, in a prepared statement. “The late British zoologist Martin Wells said the octopus is an alien. In this sense, then, our paper describes the first sequenced genome from an alien.”

More Wine DNA Research Sheds Light On Why We Have Different Pinots

Aristotle was not enthusiastic about octopus intelligence. “The octopus is a stupid creature,” he wrote, “for it will approach a man’s hand if it be lowered in the water.” Nonetheless, we now know that octopuses are the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet—as demonstrated by real science as well as viral videos of whip-smart cephalopods escaping from jars. Since cephalopods have been around for at least 500 million years, scientist suspect that “they were the first intelligent beings on the planet,” said Sydney Brenner, Nobel Laureate and coauthor on the study, in a prepared statement.

But until now, we simply didn’t know much about octopus intelligence. Scientists already knew that they had enormous brains and way too many neurons, but nowadays experts agree that you don’t really know an organism until you’ve sequenced its genome. And it turns out that octopuses have weird genomes. The 2.7 billion base-pairs that make up the octopus genome look a lot like that of other invertebrates—except, mixed up.

“The octopus basically has a normal invertebrate genome that’s just been completely rearranged, like it’s been put into a blender and mixed,” said Caroline Albertin, a graduate student at the University of Chicago and coauthor on the study, in a prepared statement.

The octopus also has an abnormal number of genes controlling neuron development and interactions between neurons—processes likely associated with learning and intelligence. The octopus genome contains 168 of these special genes, known as protocadherins, twice the amount found in most mammals. Researchers suspect that the extra genes help bridge gaps between neurons, allowing octopuses to make better use of their complex, but limited nervous systems.

Taken together, scientists may be on the verge of finally understanding how a 500 million-year-old marine organism that lacks basic bone structure consistently ranks higher than most mammals when it comes to brain size, neuron count and learning ability. Perhaps with a little more time (and a little more science) we’ll eventually figure out that age old question—are you really smarter than an octopus?

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By Their Own Devises.

T.S. Eliot once said that “only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Unfortunately, the following inventors inadvertently went too far with their creations. In a cruel twist of fate, the innovative minds behind these progressive inventions fell victim to the risks they decided to take

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Marie Curie (1867-1934) 

Curie is an icon in the science world and is credited with inventing the process to isolate radium (she was able to do this after co-discovering the radioactive elements radium and polonium). Unfortunately, the dangers of radiation were not common knowledge at the time and she died of aplastic anemia as a result of her continued exposure to radiation from her research.

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Karel Soucek (1947-1985)
Soucek was a Canadian professional stuntman who invented a shock-absorbent barrel that he famously (and illegally) used to go over Niagara Falls in 1984. He used the same barrel to drop from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in 1985, a stunt which Evel Knievel described as the “most dangerous [stunt] I’ve ever seen.”  

He was fatally wounded when the barrel he was in hit the rim of the water tank that was meant to cushion his landing.

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James Douglas (1581)
Douglas was the Fourth Earl of Morton who lived in Scotland under the reign of King James VI. In a cruel twist of fate, he’s most remembered for being executed in Edinburgh by the Maiden, a Scottish guillotine that he himself had introduced to the country during his term as Regent of Scotland.

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Max Valier (1895-1930)
Valier was a pioneer of rocketry who lived in Austria. He’s best remembered for inventing a liquid-fueled rocket engine as a member of an elite German rocketeering society in 1920s Germany. In May of 1930, though, his own type of alcohol-fueled engine exploded on his test bench and struck him in the face, killing him instantly.

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Li Si (208 BC)
The Five Punishments was a series of physical torture methods that was prominent in Ancient China. Li Si was a prime minister during the Qin dynasty, during which time he introduced the Five Pains method of punishment, which included tattooing someone’s face, cutting someone’s nose off or having the victim’s body cut into four separate pieces.

In 208 BCE, Si was executed on criminal charges by the very method that he had helped create.

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Jim Fixx (1932-1984)
James Fuller Fixx was an American athlete and author who wrote the influential 1977 text “The Complete Book of Running.” He’s widely credited as being a founding father of the American fitness revolution.

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DOG BEDS

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Before lying down, dogs often circle their beds or wherever they’ve chosen to settle in for a nap. This curious canine behavior dates back to prehistoric times , when dogs literally had to make their own beds.

Although domesticated dogs have adapted to living with humans and can easily be housetrained, they’ve still retained some of their wild ancestors ‘ survival instincts.

“This behavior was hard-wired into the dog’s ancestors as a way to build a safe ‘nest,'” Leslie Irvine, author of “If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection With Animals,” told Life’s Little Mysteries

Doggy beds and pillows haven’t always been around, so wild dogs had to pat down tall grass and underbrush to make a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. The easiest way to prepare that night’s sleeping area was by walking around in a circle.

The rounding ritual may also have served as a safety precaution. “In the wild, the circling would flatten grasses or snow and would drive out any snakes or large insects,” said Irvine, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who specializes in the role of animals in society.

“I have also heard that circling the area and thus flattening it leaves a visible sign to other dogs that this territory has been claimed,” Irvine said. “Even though our dogs now sleep on cushions, the behavior endures.”

Pointer Dogs: Pups Poop Along North-South Magnetic Lines.

Dog owners have observed some odd behaviors among their pets — sniffing butts, eating garbage, giving unconditional love — but one habit has probably escaped their attention: Dogs apparently prefer to poop while aligned with the north-south axis of the Earth’s magnetic field.

That’s the surprising conclusion of an exhaustive study, conducted by German and Czech researchers, who spent two years watching 70 dogs while they defecated and urinated thousands of times. The scientists then compared the dogs’ behavior and orientation with the geomagnetic conditions prevailing at the time.

The researchers found that the dogs preferred to poop when their bodies were aligned in a north-south direction, as determined by the geomagnetic field. (True north, which is determined by the position of the poles, is slightly different from magnetic north.) [10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dogs]
And while dogs of both sexes faced north or south while defecating, only females preferred to urinate in a north or south direction — males didn’t show much preference while urinating (perhaps because males tend to lift their legs when urinating, the experts speculated, while females usually drop their hips in a position somewhat similar to defecation).

Animal magnetism

This latest set of findings, published last week in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, joins a long and growing list of research showing that animals — both wild and domesticated — can sense the Earth’s geomagnetic field and coordinate their behavior with it.

A 2008 analysis of Google Earth satellite images revealed that herds of cattle worldwide tend to stand in the north-south direction of Earth’s magnetic lines when grazing, regardless of wind direction or time of day. The same behavior was seen in two different species of deer.

Birds also use magnetic fields to migrate thousands of miles, some research suggests. A 2013 report found that pigeons are equipped with microscopic balls of iron in their inner ears, which may account for the animals’ sensitivity to the geomagnetic field.

Humans, too, might possess a similar ability — a protein in the human retina may help people sense magnetic fields, though the research into this and many other related geomagnetic phenomena is preliminary and therefore remains inconclusive.

How do dogs know?

The dog researchers used 37 different breeds in their study, from beagles and borzois to Transylvanian hounds. All of the animals were observed off-leash in open fields and other areas, so buildings, trees and other objects in the landscape wouldn’t force the dogs to face one way or another.

The researchers also noted that while most dogs preferred to poop while facing north or south, most dogs also avoided facing east or west. But why? The answer remains elusive, the scientists admitted.

“It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it ‘consciously’ (i.e., whether the magnetic field is sensorial[ly] perceived) … or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they ‘feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable’ in a certain direction),” the study authors wrote.

The researchers also found that when the Earth’s magnetic field was in a state of flux — it changes during solar flares, geomagnetic storms and other events — the dogs’ north-south orientation was less predictable. Only when the magnetic field was calm did researchers reliably observe the north-south orientation.

Further research is needed to determine how and why dogs (and other animals) sense and use the planet’s magnetic field. Their study, the authors wrote, also “forces biologists and physicians to seriously reconsider effects magnetic storms might pose on organisms.”

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LILO & ROSIE

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Life has been rough to Rosie, a little abandoned kitty. She was outside, alone and hungry. This 3-weeks-old kitten was in a bad shape, sickly, cold and maybe with only few more hours left to live. Then, her savior Lilo came around.
When Lilo sniffed out Rosie in some bushes, her owners had to take in the little kitten and try to save him. At first, all their attempts seemed futile, because the kitten was limp and rarely moving.
After some time, they put it together with Lilo and it all clicked. Lilo’s maternal instinct kicked in and she started licking, keeping warm and feeding her newfound baby. That did the trick and Rosie was back on her feet in no time.

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HEARTS AND MINDS

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In the moments before death, the heart plays a central role, conventional wisdom says. That is, as the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing, the rest of the body slowly shuts down. But new research suggests this view may be wrong.

Scientists studied the heart and brain activity of rats in the moments before the animals died from lack of oxygen, and found that the animals’ brains sent a flurry of signals to the heart that caused irrevocable damage to the organ, and in fact caused its demise. When the researchers blocked these signals, the heart survived for longer.

If a similar process occurs in humans, then it might be possible to help people survive after their hearts stop by cutting off this storm of signals from the brain, according to the study published today (April 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Beyond Vegetables and Exercise: 5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy]
“People naturally focus on the heart, thinking that if you save the heart, you’ll save the brain,” said study co-author Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. But her team found something surprising. “You have to sever [the chemical communication between] the brain and heart in order to save the heart,” Borjigin told Live Science, adding that the finding is “contrary to almost all emergency medical practice.”

Every year, more than 400,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest — which is when the heart stops beating. Even with medical treatment, only about 10 percent survive and are discharged from the hospital, according to the American Heart Association.

The researchers addressed the question of why the heart of a previously healthy person suddenly stops functioning completely, after only a few minutes without oxygen.

It turns out that even when a person in cardiac arrest loses consciousness and shows no signs of life, the brain continues to be active. In a previous study published in PNAS in 2013, Borjigin and her colleagues found that as the heart is dying, it gets flooded with signals from the brain, probably in a desperate attempt to save the heart.

This barrage of signals may be responsible for the near-death experiences some people report, Borjigin said.

In the new study, the researchers induced cardiac arrest in rats by having them breathe carbon dioxide or by subjecting them to lethal injection. The researchers then studied the animals’ brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) and their heart activity using echocardiography (ECG) in the moments leading up to death. The team also measured the signaling chemicals present in the rats’ hearts and brains throughout the experiment.

Initially, the animals’ heart rates dropped off steeply. But then, their brain activity became strongly synchronized with the heart activity. The researchers used a new technology they developed for measuring heart rate, beat by beat.

While the heart and brain were in sync, the researchers observed a flood of more than a dozen neurochemicals, such as dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure, and norepinephrine, which causes feelings of alertness. This flood of chemicals could explain why people who undergo near-death experiences describe them as “realer than real,” Borjigin noted.

In the rats, the brain and heart activity remained synchronized until the heart went into a state called ventricular fibrillation, in which the lower chambers of the heart quiver instead of contracting properly, preventing the heart from pumping blood.

But when the researchers blocked the flow of these chemicals from the brain to the heart, by severing the rats’ spinal cords before killing them, it delayed ventricular fibrillation. As a result, the animals survived for three times as long as the rats whose heart-brain connection was left intact.

Of course, all of this research was done in rats. Whether human bodies behave similarly is the million-dollar question, Borjigin said.

If researchers can find a way to “sever” the connection between the brain and the heart using drugs (rather than by actually severing the actual spinal cord), then it could be possible to administer these drugs to a person experiencing cardiac arrest. This would give health care workers more time to treat these patients, Borjigi

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LOST

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:11AM
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) — The last year has been a tough one for Sebastian Delgado. The 22-year-old began having seizures and was then diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

“They found a tumor in my head so I knew I had to get brain surgery,” Delgado said.

While doctors were medically saving his life, Delgado says, his dog, Maiden, was emotionally getting him through the ordeal.

“I took her walking, we went hiking, all that stuff, you know,” he said. “I just did everything with my dog.”

“The first thing that he asked me when he got out of surgery is, ‘Where’s Maiden?'” said Delgado’s girlfriend, Monica Tomer. “He could hardly talk or say his own name, but he remembered his puppy.”

But now, Maiden is gone. On Saturday, the 10-month-old pit bull found an open gate at the Riverside home of family friends and wandered off near Jefferson Street and Magnolia Avenue.

Delgado and Tomer have since been desperately searching for Maiden. With nowhere else to turn, Tomer’s sister contacted Eyewitness News by using #ABC7Eyewitness.

“She’s got big ears, a pink nose with like little brown freckles on it, green and brown eyes and she just looks funny, but she’s cute though,” Delgado said.

Delgado and Tomer have contacted every animal shelter from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. They’ve hung up fliers and posted signs as well. They’re now hoping someone will see Maiden and give them a call.

“It just breaks my heart because he deserves to have her,” Tomer said.

Delgado says he needs her as well. Doctors say his tumor will most likely come back, as will chemotherapy and possibly more brain surgery.

A man battling brain cancer is asking for the public’s help in finding his biggest supporter, his dog. Maiden went missing in Riverside Saturday, March 14, 2014.
Meanwhile, Delgado says, his focus right now is making sure Maiden is safe.

“I hope they’re not doing anything wrong to her because I know she’s a pit bull and a lot of people do bad stuff to them. I just hope they give her back to me,” he said.

Anyone with information on Maiden’s whereabouts was urged to contact Delgado at www.facebook.com/SebastianandMaiden or call (909) 450-6136.

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Ray Collins

 

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I AM FOX DOG!

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It may sound like the plot of a Disney movie – but Todd the fox really does think he’s a dog.
The animal was tamed after being rescued as a four-month-old cub and was raised as a domestic pet by owner Emma D’Sylva.
Since then the lovable fox has picked up a number of canine characteristics such as tail wagging, playing with toys and even walking on a lead.

The 11-month-old animal accompanies Ms D’Sylva’s pet labradors Sky and Oakley on walks, drawing double-takes from other dog-walkers when they see Todd trotting through the local park. 

He also sleeps in a kennel in his enclosure in the garden, plays energetically with the other dogs and even wags his tail when it’s feeding time.

Emma, 25, from Stanfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., said: ‘Todd has been captive-bred so he has never been in the wild.
‘I’ve had him since he was about four months old because his previous owners couldn’t look after him any more.
Emma adopted Todd the fox when he was four-months old

Canine customs: Todd enjoys going on walks, playing with dog toys and even wags his tail when he’s happy
Sleeps in a kennel: The 11-month-old domesticated animal spends his nights in a plastic kennel with blankets
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Sleeps in a kennel: The 11-month-old domesticated animal spends his nights in a plastic kennel with blankets
‘I get people coming over to me asking if he is a fox and if they can stroke him.
‘He was a bit crazy when he first came to me last year but now he has a really strong bond with me and he will walk on a lead.
‘He is very playful with me. He will run up to me wagging his tail when I go to feed him and he will roll over to have his belly tickled.
‘He will come into the house but he has got a purpose built enclosure and he much prefers being outside.
‘We got him a little plastic kennel in his enclosure with blankets which is similar to a dog bed.
‘He is similar to a dog but he is a bit more hyperactive. He gets on with my two dogs, and wants to play with them all the time.
Playful: The fox, pictured in the park with Ms D’Sylva, cannot be let off the lead because he is deaf
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Playful: The fox, pictured in the park with Ms D’Sylva, cannot be let off the lead because he is deaf
School visits: Ms D’Sylva has 40 pets and takes some of them, including Todd, into schools and care homes so that children and the elderly can interact with them
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School visits: Ms D’Sylva has 40 pets and takes some of them, including Todd, into schools and care homes so that children and the elderly can interact with them
‘He tries to do what the dogs do but I can’t let him off the lead because he’s deaf so I can’t shout him to come back.
‘At first he was bonkers but he is getting more used to being in the company of other people now.
‘If people or dogs come up to him in the park he will lie down at first and freeze but after a few seconds he will sniff around the dogs or sit patiently.’
Todd also lives with Emma’s menagerie of other creatures at her three-bedroomed house including a skunk, a raccoon, lizards and snakes.
She takes some of her 40 pets into schools and care homes to enable children and the elderly to interact with a range of captive-bred animals.
Emma, who lives with her partner Steve Johnson, 34, added: ‘Todd went out on his first school visit the other week and the children really enjoyed stroking him while he was in my arms.

Walking companions: Todd is pictured in the woods with Ms D’Sylva’s two labradors Sky and Oakley
‘He’s really getting used to things now and I’m looking forward to letting more and more people meet him.’
An RSPCA spokesperson said there were no legal restrictions on people keeping animals and pets in England and Wales as long as they were treated well.
He added: ‘Foxes have not been domesticated and a fox in captivity would have the same needs as in the wild.
‘Anyone who keeps these animals is under a legal obligation to meet their needs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.’

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MYSTIC JOURNEY

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Joseph Campbell’s Mythic Journey

by Jonathan Young

New Perspectives Magazine — July 1994
Mythologist Joseph Campbell was a masterful storyteller. He could weave tales from every corner of the world into spell-binding narratives. His lifelong quest from childhood days as a devout Catholic altar boy to fame as the world’s most noted scholar in comparative mythology makes for a fine heroic story.

The adventure picks up when young Joe Campbell sees the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1912. The future scholar soon became convinced that he had Indian blood. One of the striking details of the early years was Campbell’s youthful studiousness. He read his way through the children’s section of the public library and was admitted to the adult stacks at the age of eleven. He devoted himself to every available fact about Native American life, including the reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. By high school, he was already writing articles on Native American mythology, presenting many of the themes he would still be working in his eighties.

Campbell’s life was a passionate intellectual journey. College years at Columbia University were spent discovering literature while becoming a track star and playing in a jazz band on weekends. Graduate study in the Holy Grail legends of Arthurian mythology took him to Paris and Munich where he discovered the ideas of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as well as James Joyce, Thomas Mann and modern art. This is when he saw the parallels between mythic themes in literature and psychological lessons such as those revealed in dreams.

Returning to Columbia, Campbell wanted to expand the scope of his dissertation topic beyond the Grail myth to include parallels with psychology and art. His advisors made it clear that such a daring perspective would not be acceptable. The depression had set in and, with no job prospects, Campbell abandoned doctoral work and went off to Woodstock for five years of intensive study of the imagination. At every turn, Campbell met the interesting thinkers of the time – many of whom became friends, from the philosopher Krishnamurti to Adelle Davis, who was Campbell’s first serious romantic interest long before her career as a nutritionist. During a break from his period of unsponsored scholarship, Campbell travelled to California, where he met an unknown novelist named John Steinbeck and promptly fell in love with Steinbeck’s wife, Carol. Another part of his west coast adventure was a trip up the Northwest coast to Alaska collecting marine specimens with “Doc” Ed Ricketts who was later immortalized in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.

Teaching and writing

Finally, a job offer came from Sarah Lawrence College. This most experimental school provided the setting for the next 38 years of Campbell’s work. He became a master teacher and mentor to generations of notable women. He credits his students for bringing the element of personal application to his writing. His future wife, Jean Erdman, began as a student at Sarah Lawrence the same year that Campbell joined the faculty. She went on to star in Martha Graham’s dance company, then became a acclaimed choreographer in her own right and founded the performance dance department at New York University.

As these two prolific talents energetically pursued their creative careers they moved among the bright lights of New York’s artistic and intellectual circles. Composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham were particularly close. Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was such a kindred spirit that, upon his untimely death, Campbell was asked to edit and complete his works. Through Zimmer, Campbell met Carl Jung and participated in the Jungian Eranos Conferences in Switzerland.

It was the publication of The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1949 that established Joseph Campbell as the preeminent comparative mythologist of our time. He wanted the book to be a guide to reading a myth. Campbell explained how challenging experiences could be seen as initiatory adventures. It was this connection between ancient stories and the emotional concerns of modern life that was distinctive. As Campbell observed, “The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.”

Campbell’s prodigious scholarship went on to include the four-volume Masks of God as well as The Mythic Image and the lavishly illustrated series The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. As his influence grows, Joseph Campbell seems destined to join Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as one of this century’s great disseminators of the psychological wisdom of mythology.

Encounters with a storyteller

Coming away from the first seminar I attended with Joseph Campbell, I had a new sense that meaning could be found in every direction. The weekend had been filled with Campbell’s enchanting storytelling. He had explained that the great scriptures of the world’s religions could be understood as metaphors for psychological changes. It was a major turning point in my life.

One conversation with him that first weekend had been especially significant for me. We were sitting down to dinner together and I mentioned that I missed the ritual of saying grace before meals. I said that it just wasn’t clear to me at that time what I should give thanks to. Campbell gently suggested that I say my thanks to the animals and plants that had given their lives so that my life would continue. In a few words, he captured the essence of an old ritual and gave it fuller meaning. It was typical of his way of showing the significance of familiar details of everyday situations.

It might be worth mentioning that Campbell was also eating meat. He liked to tease vegetarians by saying they were people who couldn’t hear a carrot scream. His humor illustrated some of the most important points, like the comment that the mid-life crisis was getting to the top of the ladder, only to discover that it was leaning against the wrong wall.

The same evening that first seminar ended, I was to lead a discussion group at a local church. It was something I did often, but this Sunday was different. It wasn’t just the usual personal problems and philisophical questions. We ended up talking about the symbolic messages available in ordinary life. I realized that Campbell’s vision had really gripped me.

There would be many more seminars with Campbell. Usually I would be his aide, taking care of details and being his driver. I would seize any chance to spend extra time with him and ask one more question. Campbell’s style was profoundly natural. He would tell stories drawn from many traditions, often weaving several stories to show similarities. His lectures were usually illustrated with slides of the sacred images of each of the cultures involved.

One setting was an ecumenical retreat center. He would occasionally comment on the images on the walls of the chapel. Noting the crucifix, Campbell would describe some of the many resurrection stories from different cultures and comment on how the symbolism suggests personal spiritual integration. His ease in drawing on a wide range of material was striking.

During his visits to Santa Barbara it was sometimes my responsibility to get him away from the seminar for a quiet meal. One evening I took him to a restaurant out on the local pier with Jean Houston who was presenting with him that weekend. Joseph Campbell was every bit as charming at dinner as at the lectern. He looked out over the oceanfront and remarked on Santa Barbara’s great beauty and how sad he was about the decline of his native New York City. He noted that his new home in Hawaii was also a place of abundant natural loveliness.

Ritual as mythic experience

Campbell believed that participation in ritual could put you into a direct experience of mythic reality. One day he told a beautiful Native American story of the buffalo princess who let herself be married to a buffalo so that her tribe could eat. It showed the deep connection between the indians and the animals they relied on for survival. That evening, Campbell suggested that we enact the story as the indians had in one of their major rituals. When our group gathered to prepare it was decided that I would play the princess. I guess it was type – casting since I am bearded and six-foot-five. Campbell was delighted with our trickster approach and said none of his groups had taken that angle before.

It sometimes fell to me to take him out to Santa Barbara Airport for his departure. This was a prized task because I would have time alone to ask more questions. He was always gracious. One time he had recounted a story from Arthur’s round table in which a horse is cut in half as a knight is entering an enchanted city. I asked why the horse had to die. He explained that I was being too literal in my reaction. The horse was a symbol for our physical nature which was not the vehicle for entrance into the sacred realm. In a few words he explained a great metaphysical principle.

The last time was in 1985, two years before he died. The topic was the beloved of the soul. Campbell described the spiritual dimensions of romantic love. When The Power of Myth television series with Joseph Campbell was broadcast, millions of people were inspired by the wisdom of the late mythologist. Many lives were deeply changed by this amazing teacher. The world found out what a devoted band of Campbell’s students had known – that this man’s message was a great treasure of our time.

My training had been in comparative religion and, later, clinical psychology. Joseph Campbell showed the psychological dimensions of the great spiritual traditions. For me, Campbell was the one teacher who explained how it all fit together. My approach to therapy changed markedly to include story and soul. The seminars on creativity I had been giving became workshops on the symbolic wisdom of mythic stories. Passing on Campbell’s work had become a calling.

A few years later, the college in Santa Barbara that had sponsored the seminars with Joseph Campbell started a graduate program in psychology with an emphasis in mythology and religious studies. I eagerly accepted an offer to be one of the core professors. It was a chance to teach the ideas that Campbell had outlined to future leaders in the field of psychology. The program grew and now the Pacifica Graduate Institute has trained hundreds of therapists and has some four hundred students currently working on Masters and Doctoral degrees.

When the Campbell family was deciding where the archives would be located, Pacifica was chosen. Mrs. Campbell felt that it was the one college that was teaching the parallels between psychology and mythology in the spirit of Campbell’s pioneering work.

A mythic calling

The president of Pacifica knew that Joseph Campbell had been a mentor to me and offered me the task of building an appropriate repository for the papers and books. Beginning in 1990, my labor of love as curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library was to assemble the thousands of books and years of notes Campbell gathered in nearly seventy years of scholarship. Working in his studies in New York and Honolulu with Mrs. Campbell to understand how he used each book and how he arranged his files has been memorable. When I would come across outlines for the very seminars that had effected me so deeply, it was like finding lost jewels.

The library is administered by an independent, non-profit, corporation. The facility, which formally opened in January of 1993, has displays of religious objects collected by Campbell in his travels and an extensive photo exhibit of his life and work. Choosing the pictures from the family albums was especially rewarding. Most of them have never been published and can only be seen at the archives.

The personal aspects of folklore and mythology has been the theme of the seminars I’ve been invited to give around the country for the last ten years. My notes from the many occasions I was with Joseph Campbell as he addressed these issues have been the core of my presentations. It is one of those marvelous turns that life takes that I now have the opportunity to edit these materials that have had such a personal impact on my inner life.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have as I travel to present seminars on mythic stories is to meet the many people who have been inspired by Joseph Campbell and his work. Everywhere I go people tell me stories about studying with him at Sarah Lawrence College or meeting him after one of his lectures. Whether through seeing him in person, reading his books or seeing him on television, people describe the profound impact that Joseph Campbell’s ideas have had on their lives.

Campbell’s opus is not yet fully published. His literary executors have nine additional books in various stages of the editing process. These will be released over the next several years. Many hours of lectures on video are to be released in newly edited versions. Joseph Campbell’s influence on our understanding of mythology seems to still be on the rise. When the religious history of this century is written, the impact of Joseph Campbell will surely be a major event in our collective spiritual development.

Posted in Summer 2015, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE

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SOLE SURVIVER

desktop-1409865137-1-600x450Polly is the sole survivor of the three emaciated horses found abandoned in the UK. After six months of rehabilitation, she’s finally healthy and happy. But the beginning of her story is absolutely tragic.

Discovered initially by the RSPCA, Polly was the most emaciated horse the Horse Trust had ever seen. After being rescued, her heroes began to see her spirit shine through; Polly proved to be very affectionate, despite her nightmarish life and her battle with malnourishment and skin issues. Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive of The Horse Trust said “It seems such a long time since Polly came to us in February. Hers was a case of cruelty of the worst kind. Her condition was so terrible that we could never be totally sure if she would pull through until recently. Every day Polly enjoys from now is a bonus. It won’t be the end of treatment for her, but it is the beginning of her new life.”

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DOG CAT LOVE

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PENGUIN SWEATERS

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How long does it take to master a craft? How about 80 years? Because 109-year-old Australian Alfred Date has been knitting since the 1930s and his latest/most famous endeavor was making mini sweaters… for endangered penguins!

Back in 2013, Victoria’s Phillip Island Penguin Foundation asked for volunteers to make sweaters for the rare “little penguins.” Alfie, who has yet to learn to say no, pitched in.

Father to 7, grandparent to 20, he’s not only been an active knitter, but also a sportsman, having played golf till his 90’s.
His secret for longevity? “Waking up every morning”. See, he’s a joker, too!

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COP DOG

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Stephanie Gonzales, a crime prevention specialist for the Woods Cross Police Department, told TODAY.com her family adopted young Spot — full name, Spoticus — “right before Christmas,” when her husband’s co-worker had an unexpected litter of puppies. Soon thereafter, Gonzales had her reasons for bringing Spot to work.

“I wanted to show off my new dog,” she said with a laugh. “Of course, they thought he was the cutest little thing.”

And while Spot doesn’t have any official duties, he does offer a valuable service.

“The detective walked in, he was in a grumpy mood,” Gonzales said of Spot’s first day reporting for duty. “He’d just had a horrible call, and [Spot] just runs up and completely loves him. And [Spot] does that with every officer.”

The impression Spot had on her co-workers and visitors that first day convinced Gonzales to bring Spot along on a daily basis. “Everybody who came in the office — whether you work here or wanted to make a police report — has been like, ‘Oh, what a cute dog!'” she added. “Even if you’re in the worst mood, I mean, [there’s] a little puppy. How do you not love that?”

Spot’s greatest accomplishment during his short tenure was calming a young boy who’d wandered into the police station.

“We had a lost boy who was brought to the station, probably two weeks ago,” Gonzales said. “He did not know who police were, and was very, very reluctant to come in. But as soon as he was in here, and he saw the dog, he was like, ‘Oh, a dog!’ We let him throw [Spot] a toy. He completely warmed up, finally told us his name, finally got his phone number, and we were able to get him back to his parents.”

In addition to learning a few tricks ranging from “stick ’em up” to rolling over, Spot is described by Gonzales as “spunky, willing to learn and very energetic” — that is, when he’s not napping on a giant pile of stuffed animals. “As soon as he hears the door open, he jumps off my chair to the door to greet anybody who comes,” she added. “Not one person has complained.”

Back at home, Spot continues to be affectionate, palling around with Gonzales’ husband, four children and two bullmastiffs — all dwarfing the pup who goes by “Officer Spot” on the police department’s website.

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Not So Silly

 

bomsIt turns out that psychedelics aren’t just good for turning into an elf and jousting a car. Psychiatrists, psychologists and specialists in addiction and recovery from traumatic experiences have been investigating the use of hallucinogens in treatment programs, and the results indicate that psychedelics actually have practical therapeutic uses. And one drug has proven particularly useful. Repeated studies have found the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, can help people move past major life issues — like beating alcoholism and becoming more empathetic.
The research: One study concluded that controlled exposure to psilocybin could have long-lasting medical and spiritual benefits. In 2011, Johns Hopkins researchers found that by giving volunteer test subjects just the right dose (not enough to give them a terrifying bad trip), they were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers. This provoked long-lasting psychological growth and helped the volunteers to find peace in their lives, all without side effects. Nearly all of the 18 test subjects, average age 46, were college graduates. Seventy-eight percent were religious and all were interested in finding a scientific experience.
Fourteen months later, 94% said their trip on magic mushrooms was one of the five most important moments of their lives. Thirty-nine percent said it was the most important thing that had ever happened to them. Their colleagues, friends, and family members said the participants were kinder and happier; the volunteers had positive experiences ranging from more empathy and improved marriages to less drinking.
Lead author Roland Griffiths told TIME’s Healthland that “The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive.”
What’s more, the researchers say that those changes in personality are highly atypical, because personalities tend to be pretty set in stone after the age of 25-30. According to postdoctoral researcher Katherine MacLean, who contributed to the study, “This is one of the first studies to show that you actually can change adult personality.”
“Many years later, people are saying it was one of the most profound experiences of their life,” she continued. “If you think about it in that context, it’s not that surprising that it might be permanent.”
This is strictly do-not-try-this-at-home. Maclean says that “in an unsupervised setting, if that sort of fear or anxiety set in, the classic bad trip, it could be pretty dangerous.” But “On the most speculative side, this suggests that there might be an application of psilocybin for creativity or more intellectual outcomes that we really haven’t explored at all.”
More research: Within the past few decades, interest in hallucinogens has expanded from the counter-culture to dedicated, methodological research. For example, another study published in 2010 conducted research into whether psilocybin can lend some comfort to terminal cancer patients — finding evidence that it reduced death anxiety and experienced significantly less depression. According to study researcher Dr. Charles Grob, “Individuals did speak up and tell us that they felt it was of great value.” NYU’s Dr. Stephen Ross, who conducted a similar study, told SCPR that “To me it’s been some of the most remarkable clinical findings I’ve ever seen as a psychiatrist.”
Psychologist Clark Martin, Ph.D., who participated in the study as a volunteer, describes his experience below:

As well as participant Janeen Delaney:

As a result of the studies, a joint UCLA, NYU and Johns Hopkins team is conducting large-scale phase three trial next year.
Cluster headache patients say (with the backing of some doctors) that psilocybin and LSD provide them with significant relief, which researchers argue need further study.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found evidence that psilocybin “enhances autobiographical recollection,” suggesting psychiatric uses in “the recall of salient memories or to reverse negative cognitive biases.” A review of the pyschiatric research performed on psilocybin concluded that the risks of therapy were acceptable and that “most subjects described the experience as pleasurable, enriching and non-threatening.” And this year, Zürich researchers released a study in which they administered psilocybin to 25 volunteers. The treatment was found to be associated with an “increase of positive mood in healthy volunteers.”
So basically, there’s at least some hard evidence that this:

… Has the potential to be helpful, leading to introspection, self-reflection, and relief from psychiatric conditions.
Other drugs: Other illegal drugs have been linked to positive psychological outcomes. Trials with MDMA have had positive results in patients suffering from PTSD. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies founder Rick Doblin, who works with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, discusses why MDMA might be the first psychedelic to “open the door into traditional psychiatry and psychology”:

So why isn’t there more evidence? The federal government is only now beginning to loosen its restrictions on medical uses of mind-altering substances, and it’s doing so very cautiously. In 2013, a group of psychiatrists released a review saying government restrictions made even researching psychoactive drugs “difficult and in many cases almost impossible.”

 

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Let It Be (Sold)

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The childhood home of Beatles legend Paul McCartney is going under the hammer at Liverpool’s Cavern Club this month.

Fans of the icon can bid for 72 Western Avenue, in Speke, where Macca lived until the mid 1950s.

Paul was just four years old when his parents Jim and Mary moved into the humble three bedroom terrace – then a council house.

It is said to be the first house Paul remembers living at and he has spoken fondly of the six years he spent there.

The family became well known in the local area during their time at Western Avenue, due to Mary’s career as a local midwife.

Today, the ground floor of the house features a hallway, lounge, dining room and kitchen, while upstairs there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom. The property has gardens to the front and rear.

Beatles fans will have the chance to own the piece of history, when it is auctioned at a guide price of £100,000 plus, at the Cavern Club on February 26, 2015, at 7pm.

Stephen Giddins, regional sales director, of estate agent Entwistle Green, said: “We are delighted to be acting on behalf of the current owner of 72 Western Avenue, a property which has such a unique history. The Beatles, arguably one the biggest bands of all time, still attract thousands of visitors to Liverpool each year, so to get the opportunity to offer for sale Paul McCartney’s childhood home is very exciting.

“Taking into consideration the location, the property itself and the background we expect a lot of interest locally and internationally and would urge all interested parties to register their details as soon as possible to ensure they don’t miss out on this rare opportunity.”

In October 2013, John Lennon’s childhood home at 9 Newcastle Road in Wavertree, sold at auction for £480,000 and last October George Harrison’s former home 26 Upton Green, in Speke, where he lived from 1949 until the early sixties, sold for £156,000.

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MUDDSEY

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It was a normal day for the builders tasked with some routine ground work near London’s Canary Wharf. They had left a couple of ground holes open, so when they heard the cries of a young animal, they knew where to look. Lo and behold, they peeked into one of the deep, muddy holes and found a small helpless animal. They had no idea it was a four-month-old fox cub caked in mud and horribly petrified.

The fox had been trapped with no chance of escape, covered in thick layers of dried mud from head to toe. The builders rescued him, and then it was off to South Essex Wildlife Hospital. There, his saviors nursed him with food, water and a much-needed bath. He was christened ‘Muddsey.’ Whereas before Muddsey was hardly recognizable as a living creature under all that sludge, let alone a fox, to see his adorable face shine through after a good cleaning is simply amazing.

The staff said, “None of us knew how long he had been down that hole — it could have been all weekend.”

Check out Muddsey’s photos below. I’m so glad this poor baby was rescued; the world is more adorable for it. Please SHARE this story with your friends, and help spread the power of animal rescue!

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ADOPTED

We all have been adopted but there are many more who need your help, So, Please visit your local animal shelter and adopted a pet.

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TINY HOUSES

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Anyone who has house hunted in a major city recently has likely encountered one of two things: serious anxiety and a questionable amount of underutilized space. At least that’s what Dutch architecture firm Heijmans found when they ventured into their latest project — a set of affordable movable homes designed with budget-strapped renters in mind.

Much like the portable tiny home Spanish architecture firm Ábaton introduced to us back in 2013, the “Heijmans ONE” is a prefabricated home made out of solid wood frames and solar panels that can be built pretty much anywhere, in a single day. According to Heijmans, the compact, energy-efficient homes were designed to make use of the “derelict sites” (aka empty lots) that exist in cities like Amsterdam, and includes everything one would need to live, such as a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom and even an outside patio.

Carmen Felix, a test resident who spent three months living for free in a Heijmans ONE, told the Huffington Post that the homes are perfect for people who need a temporary home but don’t want to skimp on beautiful design. “The thing I love the most about the homes is that you get the whole package,” says Felix. “It looks small, but it’s everything you need and want in a house. And all the wood gives you an immediate ‘holiday in Scandinavia vibe.'”

Heijmans, whose previous work includes an innovative glow-in-the-dark road developed the homes for people ages 25 to 35 who find it “difficult to obtain financing for a house” and may not even desire to do so. The cost, at the time of publishing, is € 700 or around $800 a month. 30 units are set to be in use in the Netherlands this fall. To see how you can obtain one of these homes, contact Heijmans.

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GOOSE BUMPS

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Like sneezing, goose bumps (also known as the pilomotor reflex) represent one of your body’s automatic responses, meant to increase your chances of survival in the harsh world.

Cold environments and strong emotions (like fear) are both known to give your skin the texture of plucked poultry. When the muscle fiber connected to a hair follicle tightens, the skin surrounding the follicle puckers into a goose bump, pulling the connected hair straight up.

One effect is to generate warmth: straightened hair traps a layer of air against the skin, insulating the body. Unfortunately, human hair is so thin and short as to render the reflex virtually useless, but in hairier mammals goose bumps don’t just look silly. In fact, a cat or mouse’s battle-ready stance is related to our own pilomotor reflex. In their case the muscles are responding to perceived threats by making the animals appear larger.

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OLD CAT

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Missan, 29, may be the world’s oldest cat, according to its Swedish owner who says that aside from suffering from some minor back and kidney problems, there is no reason why her furry friend won’t make it to the grand age of 30.

Missan the Swedish farm cat is turning 30 this spring and may be the world oldest living cat. By far.

“I read an article about another cat that was supposed to be the world’s oldest, and I just thought to myself: ‘mine is older!’,” Missan’s owner Åsa Wickberg, from Karlskoga, told the TT news agency.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Poppy from Britain was listed as the world’s oldest cat last year at the age of 24.

Wickberg said she found Missan as an abandoned kitten in 1985, with the family dog quickly adopting her as one of her own.

“She’s a bit of a loner, and has always been a bit shy and a little cautious. But she likes dogs. She takes to them very quickly.”

Although Missan’s age has somewhat taken its toll on her, with some back and kidney problems, it has been nothing that some cortisone and new eating habits haven’t been able to fix.

Wickberg is convinced Missan will make it to the age of 30.

“It feels highly likely,” she said.

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EARLY CROSS-FIT

Outdoor Fitness Broadway's Healthiest Show Girl: Elsie Connor was elected as the healthiest Chorus girl on the New York stage, seen with her boxing gloves. USA. Photograph around 1930  (Photo by Austrian Archives (S) Fitness: Exercises for the stabilization of the backbone and the wrist in the Westminster Hospital School for Massage and Medical Gymnasts, Photograph, England, Oct, 24th 1929 Water cycle - 1928 slide_331897_3290116_free Mechanical Horse Take That Exercise Bike slide_331897_3290083_free slide_331897_3290082_free slide_331897_3290080_free slide_331897_3290044_free slide_331897_3290043_free slide_331897_3290041_free slide_331897_3290038_free slide_331897_3290033_free slide_331897_3290030_free slide_331897_3290028_free slide_331897_3290025_free slide_331897_3290021_free

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Buddah Mummy Skeleton

o-MUMMY-570Researchers examining a nearly 1,000-year-old statue of Buddha on display in Holland discovered something very unusual hidden inside: the mummy of a meditating monk.

Calling the mummy its “oldest patient ever,” the Meander Medical Center in the Dutch city of Amersfoort used a CT scanner to take images of the body inside the statue and an endoscope to examine the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

The mummy is believed to be that of Liuquan, a Buddhist monk who died in China around 1,100 A.D. During their examination, the researchers found that the mummy’s internal organs had apparently been removed and the space filled with “paper scraps that were printed with ancient Chinese characters,” the hospital said in a news release.

The statue was on display as part of the “Mummies: Life Beyond Death” exhibition at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands last year, and this was the first time it had been let out of China.

A brochure from the event says this may be a case of self-mummification.

These monks would typically subsist on water, seeds and nuts for 1,000 days, then roots, pine bark and a toxic tea made from sap of the Chinese lacquer tree for another 1,000 days while sealed inside a stone tomb, according to CNET.

They would breathe through a small tube and ring a bell to let everyone know they were still alive, Business Insider Australia reported. Once the ringing stopped, they’d be left inside for another 1,000 days.

Those who were mummified are said to have achieved enlightenment, Smithsonian reported.

It’s not clear whether Liuquan self-mummified, but the removal of the organs and presence of scraps of paper suggest that may not have been the case.

The statue is now on display in Hungary at the Natural History Museum.

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Dead…Or Meditating?

42-41376421.jpg__800x600_q85_cropIt’s weird enough to discover a mummy that’s been perfectly preserved in full lotus posture. But the story of a mummified monk found in Mongolia only gets stranger. Not only was the body discovered when a man tried to sell it on the black market, but some Buddhists claim that the mummified monk isn’t really dead at all.

The BBC reports that the mummy, which is being analyzed by forensics experts at the National Center of Forensic Expertise in Mongolia, was found wrapped in cattle skins and is remarkably well-preserved. That could be due to the freezing temperatures in far-flung Mongolia…or could something else be at play?

Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk himself and the physician to the Dalai Lama. He tells the Siberian Times that he thinks the mummy is in a state of “tukdam,” a deep meditative state that’s one step away from enlightenment:

I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state.

If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks—which rarely happens—his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes. Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a ‘rainbow body’. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha.

So how long might this trance have lasted? Some speculate that the monk was the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, a monk who was found mummified in 2002. Itigilov reportedly told his students he was going to die and ordered them to exhume his remains at a later date. He began meditating, died, and was found in pristine condition 88 years later.

The jury may be out on whether the Mongolian mummy is just dead or about to reach enlightenment, but one thing is clear: it’s not that weird to find bizarre human remains. From screaming mummies to bodies that still contain organs and blood thousands of years after they were buried, archaeologists find frightening remains all the time. Who knows what other mysteries lie buried beneath the earth?

 

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“Not With A Bang, But A Whimper”

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If a new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang.

In the new formulation, the universe was never a singularity, or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. In fact, the universe may have no beginning at all.

“Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite,” said study co-author Saurya Das, a theoretical physicist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
The new concept could also explain what dark matter — the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up most of the universe — is actually made of, Das added.

Big Bang under fire

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. All the matter that exists today was once squished into an infinitely dense, infinitely tiny, ultra-hot point called a singularity. This tiny fireball then exploded and gave rise to the early universe.

The singularity comes out of the math of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which describes how mass warps space-time, and another equation (called Raychaudhuri’s equation) that predicts whether the trajectory of something will converge or diverge over time. Going backward in time, according to these equations, all matter in the universe was once in a single point — the Big Bang singularity.

But that’s not quite true. In Einstein’s formulation, the laws of physics actually break before the singularity is reached. But scientists extrapolate backward as if the physics equations still hold, said Robert Brandenberger, a theoretical cosmologist at McGill University in Montreal, who was not involved in the study.

“So when we say that the universe begins with a big bang, we really have no right to say that,” Brandenberger told Live Science.

There are other problems brewing in physics — namely, that the two most dominant theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, can’t be reconciled.

Quantum mechanics says that the behavior of tiny subatomic particles is fundamentally uncertain. This is at odds with Einstein’s general relativity, which is deterministic, meaning that once all the natural laws are known, the future is completely predetermined by the past, Das said.

And neither theory explains what dark matter, an invisible form of matter that exerts a gravitational pull on ordinary matter but cannot be detected by most telescopes, is made of.

Das and his colleagues wanted a way to resolve at least some of these problems. To do so, they looked at an older way of visualizing quantum mechanics, called Bohmian mechanics. In it, a hidden variable governs the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles. Unlike other formulations of quantum mechanics, it provides a way to calculate the trajectory of a particle.

Using this old-fashioned form of quantum theory, the researchers calculated a small correction term that could be included in Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Then, they figured out what would happen in deep time.  The upshot? In the new formulation, there is no singularity, and the universe is infinitely old.

A way to test the theory

One way of interpreting the quantum correction term in their equation is that it is related to the density of dark matter, Das said.

If so, the universe could be filled with a superfluid made of hypothetical particles, such as the gravity-carrying particles known as gravitons, or ultra-cold, ghostlike particles known as axions, Das said.

One way to test the theory is to look at how dark matter is distributed in the universe and see if it matches the properties of the proposed superfluid, Das said.

“If our results match with those, even approximately, that’s great,” Das told Live Science.

However, the new equations are just one way to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. For instance, a part of string theory known as string gas cosmology predicts that the universe once had a long-lasting static phase, while other theories predict there was once a cosmic “bounce,” where the universe first contracted until it reached a very small size, then began expanding, Brandenberg said.

Either way, the universe was once very, very small and hot.

“The fact that there’s a hot fireball at very early times: that is confirmed,” Brandenberg told Live Science. “When you try to go back all the way to the singularity, that’s when the problems arise.”

The new theory was explained in a paper published Feb. 4 in the journal Physical Letters B, and another paper that is currently under peer review, which was published in the preprint journal arXiv.

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Forever Dogs

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Growling

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Growling is a valuable means of communication for a dog – something that dog owners should appreciate and respect rather than punish. Of course, we don’t want our dog to growl at us, but neither do we want him to fail to growl if something makes him uncomfortable; that’s very important information in a successful canine-human relationship.

Don’t punish your dog for growling; you need to know when he’s uncomfortable so he’s not pushed past his ability to cope. Note: Play-growling is perfectly acceptable. As long as you’re sure he’s playing, there’s no need to modify this behavior.

It’s very common for dog owners to punish their dogs for growling. Unfortunately, this often suppresses the growl – eliminating his ability to warn us that he’s about to snap, literally and figuratively. On other occasions, punishing a growling, uncomfortable dog can induce him to escalate into full-on aggression.

So, if you’re not supposed to punish your dog for growling, what are you supposed to do? The next time your dog growls at you, try this:

1.) Stop. Whatever you’re doing, stop. If your dog’s growl threshold is near his bite threshold – that is, if there’s not much time between his growl and his bite, get safe. If his growl doesn’t mean a bite is imminent, stop what you’re doing but stay where you are. Wait until he relaxes, then move away, so you’re rewarding the relaxed behavior rather than the growl.

2.) Analyze the situation. What elicited the growl? Were you touching or grooming him? Restraining him? Making direct eye contact? Taking something away from him? Making him do something?

3.) Figure out a different way to accomplish your goal without eliciting a growl. Lure him rather than physically pushing or pulling him. Have someone else feed him treats while you touch, groom, or restrain him. If you don’t have to do whatever it was that elicited the growl, don’t – until you can convince him that it’s a good thing rather than a bad thing.

4.) Evaluate the stressors in your dog’s world and reduce or eliminate as many of them as possible. For example, if your dog is unaccustomed to strangers, then having your sister and her husband and three kids as houseguests for the past week would undoubtedly stress your dog. Noise-phobic dogs might be under a strain if city crews have been digging up a nearby street with heavy equipment or there was a thunderstorm last night. The vacuum cleaner is a common stressor for dogs. A loud argument between you and your spouse could stress your dog as well as you, and your stress is stressful to your dog. Harsh verbal or physical punishment, an outburst of aroused barking at the mail carrier, fence fighting with another dog. The list could go on and on.

Keep in mind that stress causes aggression, and stressors are cumulative; it’s not just the immediate stimulus that caused the growl, but a combination of all the stressors he’s experienced in the past few days. This explains why he may growl at you today when you do something, but he didn’t growl last week when you did the exact same thing. The more stressors you can remove overall, the less likely he is to growl the next time you do whatever it was that elicited the growl this time.

5.) Institute a behavior modification program to change his opinion about the thing that made him growl. One way to do this is to use counter-conditioning and desensitization to convince him the bad thing is a good thing (see “Fear Itself,” WDJ April 2007).

Another way is through the careful use of negative reinforcement as in a Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) program to teach him a new behavioral strategy when presented with the discomfort-causing stimulus. (For much more detail about CAT programs, see “Building Better Behavior,” May 2008).

If you need help to create and implement a behavior modification protocol, contact a qualified behavior professional who is experienced and successful in modifying aggressive behavior with positive, dog-friendly techniques. Good places to start your search are ccpdt.org and trulydogfriendly.com, or my own trainer referral lists at peaceablepaws.com.

 

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HAPPY DIRT

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Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.

Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.

Soil Microbes and Human Health

Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

Serotonin has been linked depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.

Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener.

Mycrobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.

How Dirt Makes You Happy

Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group.

Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.

Posted in Summer 2015, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PUPS IN PAJAMAS

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DOGS QUOTES

column_what_are_the_most_famous_quotes_about_dogs“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe

Dogs are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend,” and 50 famous people also had choice and lasting words for our four-legged colleagues.

“You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’”
—Dave Barry (author, Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions)

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”
—Robert Benchley (humorist and actor, Broadway Melody of 1938)

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

“Hounds follow those who feed them.”
―Otto von Bismarck (1st Chancellor of Germany)

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
—Roger Caras (photographer and writer)

“Every dog has his day, unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak-end.”
—June Carter Cash (singer)

“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”
—Agatha Christie (author, Death on the Nile)

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
―M.K. Clinton (author, The Returns)

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
—Charles de Gaulle (former President of the French Republic)

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
—Johnny Depp (actor, Pirates of the Caribbean)

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”
—Emily Dickinson (poet, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”)

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President of the United States)

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”
—Jonathan Safran Foer (author, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

“There are three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.”
—Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father of the United States)

“Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.”
—Sigmund Freud (psychoanalyst)

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
—Robert A. Heinlein (author, Starship Troopers)

“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”
―Kristan Higgins (author, In Your Dreams)

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
—Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World)

“There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog — waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.”
—Lee Iacocca (former president and CEO of Chrysler)

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.”
—Franklin P. Jones (humorist and PR executive)

“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.”
―Barbara Kingsolver (author, Animal Dreams)

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'”
—Rudyard Kipling (author, The Jungle Book)

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
—Dean Koontz (author, Whispers)

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
—Ann Landers (a.k.a. Eppie Lederer; famous advice columnist)

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
—Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States)

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
—Jack London (author, The Call of the Wild)

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
—Groucho Marx (comedian)

“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
—Cesar Millan (dog trainer)

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe (actress, Some Like It Hot)

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.”
—Christopher Morley (author, Kitty Foyle)

“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.”
—Phil Pastoret (author, Our Boarding House)

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
—Gilda Radner (comedienne)

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
—Will Rogers (actor, A Connecticut Yankee)

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
—Andy Rooney (contributor, 60 Minutes)

“I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.”
—Rita Rudner (comedienne)

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
—Charles M. Schulz (cartoonist, Peanuts)

“If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.”
—George Bernard Shaw (playwright)

“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
—John Steinbeck (author, The Grapes of Wrath)

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)

“Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way.”
—Quentin Tarantino (director and screenwriter, Pulp Fiction)

“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”
—Elizabeth Taylor (actress, Cleopatra)

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.”
—James Thurber (author, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)

“A hungry dog hunts best.”
—Lee Trevino (golfer)

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
—Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
—Mark Twain (author, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)

“Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”
—Anne Tyler (author, The Accidental Tourist)

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.”
—Robert Wagner (actor, The Longest Day)

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”
—Robert Walpole (first Prime Minister of Great Britain)

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2015 Front Page

Coronado Clarion Winter Edition 2015 front cover900

Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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The Flying Doctor Happy Birthday

Dr William B Davis AKA The Flying Doctor is seventy seven years old today and still making house calls.

Happy Birthday Doc and many more to come.

Al Graham. 

Editor Coronado Clarion

FRONTCOVERPROOF

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Your Cheating Heart

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Coronado Company Cartel


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Excerpted from : My Life Inside The Coronado Company Cartel.

By Kimberley Dill-Graham

SENOR VILLAR

Senor Villar aka Luis Enrique Villar was a Spanish teacher as well as water polo/swim coach at Coronado High School in the 1960s.  He was a handsome man in his mid-20s with dark chocolate brown, wiry hair cropped close to his head, bright blue eyes, a charming smile, and wore black-rimmed eyeglasses or prescription Ray-ban sunglasses.  He stood about six feet tall.  He was slim and fit and looked quite dashing in his collegiate tweed sports jacket, black slacks, and crisp white dress shirt with a thin black tie, a standard uniform for him.  Always charismatic, he was a real charmer to both female and male students alike as well as his fellow colleagues, faculty, and the students’ parents.  He drove a bright red convertible Corvette and really stood out among the generic, drab staff of Coronado High School not to mention the community in general.  Like the generation he would teach, he was youthful and a product of the 60s’ bohemian lifestyle and influence.

When he arrived from the East Coast in 1964 to take the teaching position, he was only 26, not much older than the students he would teach.  As a result, he formed an unusual bond with his students bordering on older brother status and almost peer but more as to someone for the impressionable kids to look up to for camaraderie as well as guidance  — and in the case of water sports, a real coach.  He would learn to body surf alongside his surfer students and in time the distinction between he and his students became blurred.

Senor Villar came to Coronado High School from his alma mater Syracuse University in upstate New York.  He had been a college basketball star while attending the university and acquired his teaching credentials.  He would marry for a short time and divorce before leaving New York.  Born in Cuba in the late 1930s, he was from a family of landowners of Castilian descent.   His mother was a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, and his father he did not speak of very much.  When Castro took over the Caribbean island with his Communist regime, the land belonging to his family was confiscated by the military junta.  Luis’ family were displaced and suffered a severe fall from financial grace and social status.  His Aunt Maria would migrate to the United States soon thereafter bringing her favorite nephew along with her.  Luis was a young teenager at the time.  They moved to Brooklyn where the young Cuban had a very difficult time fitting in as he spoke not a word of English.  Ambitious and driven, he would soon learn the language and become a great achiever in school and with the ladies.  After graduating high school, he would attend Syracuse University on a basketball scholarship where he also excelled.

In 1968, Senor Villar would marry a local Coronado girl from a prominent naval family, Katherin Stocker.  Kathy was also a former student of his.  Luis Enrique Villar would now don the name Louis Henry Villar or Lou and had assumed the youthful helm by marriage of a reputable Coronado “old guard” family.  Lou and Kathy would have a big wedding with a full mass at the local Sacred Heart Catholic Church with no expense spared at the ceremony and reception.  It was a big “to do” in town and the talk of all.  With his nuptials to one of our local girls, Senor Villar would establish himself as “one of us” — kind of.

Lou and Kathy Villar became a “cool” couple of the 1960s, and the youth affiliated with the twosome would admire them and enjoy hanging out with them at their home or at school functions or at the beach for some water fun.  Kathy was pretty and young and a product of the times as were her peers.  She quickly became a “hippie” type from a varsity cheerleader-type smoking pot with her husband and donning the uniform of the hipsters and practicing Transcendental Meditation with Lou as well.  Lou traded in his shiny red Corvette for a green and white VW “surfer” bus, and together they were among the leaders of the march towards the unconventional lifestyle that was establishing itself in our community and the rest of our nation. 

I was nine years old when Senor Villar made his grand entrance to the Emerald Isle.  It would not be long that even I at this very adolescent age would become aware of the popular high school Spanish teacher.  One of my friend’s sister would ooh and aah about her dashing instructor at school.  She and all of her other girlfriends would become quite giddy at even the mention of his name.  Full of curiosity, a pack of pubescent girls would begin to visit this enigmatic educator at recess.  He was quite charming and we along with the older gals became quite smitten as well.  Senor Villar would flirt with us and welcome us into his classroom teasing us with Spanish tongue twisters asking us to repeat them back.  I sat in one of the student desks in my go-go boots and big-flowered Mary Quant dress out of my mind with curiosity and at the same time frozen in my seat with shyness.  I would just stare at him with my big brown doe eyes and hope he would never call on me.  Thank goodness he never singled me out and really did not take much notice of me in particular.  But it was obvious, that he loved all the attention and soaked it all up even from us who were still girl children.

Later on, the Villars would become best friends with my parents.  Both couples were like minded in the quest to be cool and hip and current with the changing times.  It was in this element, that I would soon become the “scandal” of Coronado for years to come as I evolved and was “coached” into the teen lover of Senor Luis Enrique Villar.

COOL PARENTS

Concurrent to my metamorphosis into a new creature unrecognizable as my childhood being, my parents were both morphing into a new breed of free thinkers or as many of my friends would call them “cool parents.”  Simultaneously, although I think my dad was taking the lead from my mother, they became extremely permissive and open minded with their parenting skills, a trend that had unwittingly begun a few years back.  Now they would consciously proclaim this enlightened approach.

Don and Jan Dill had at present donned the attire of the hippie movement.  They attended rock concerts like Elton John with us, both grew their hair out, and even began dabbling with marijuana.  Since my father had shut down his medicine cabinet and coffee addiction, he became more relaxed and for him a bit “mellow-yellow.”  My mother began entertaining the ideas of the women’s movement that had taken hold in this decade and was questioning her role as a housewife, wife, and mother.   She like many other women of the time “burned her bra.”

My dad, who was very much a racist as was his father before him often used the word “nigger” to identify a black person, started listening to the radio speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I found this interesting as I at the time had no idea what it all meant.  The true historical import of the late reverend and civil rights activist literally “king” of the movement was yet to be realized.  My dad may have become more open minded but he would still remain a racist and use the “n” word.  Fortunately for us kids and our embarrassment, Coronado had very few “n’s” so this misnomer did not come up very much.

Together they experimented in an approach to the mind and its mechanization known as Transactional Analysis aka TA aka “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.”  This was also the precursor of the “New Age” thinking, a huge trend that would take hold in the ‘70s and would affect all manner of organized religion, the approach to treatment in the professions of psychology with psychoanalysis taking the dominant lead, and everyday thinking in general.

At any given day and at any given time, there were always a collection of friends and their friends and strangers who were to become my parents and our family’s friends hanging out at our house.  Many times you would find them sitting in a circle in our communal den playing out transactional exercises to open up the soul being led by my newly found guru mother.

Our home became a go-to destination for all sorts of teenagers and young adults with problems at home and in life to come explore their feelings and options, many of whom were invited to not only hang out at our house whenever they wanted but also to stay with us.  

My father, who became somewhat liberal in much of his thinking as a physician and its approaches to medicine and various treatments and cures, began assisting family friends who were “in trouble.”  At the time, abortion was very illegal.  I remember sitting in the living room when our doorbell rang, and my beloved babysitter, would arrive in tears only to be comforted by my father who said he would assist her on the “hush hush.”  Arrangements were made to be followed shortly by another visitor.  This time a controversial Coronado character showed up at the front door.  I was wondering why Bud “The Butcher” could possibly have any reason for being at our house.  I would later figure it all out after my inquiries were sort of answered that our family friend was pregnant, still a teenager, she did not want to have the baby nor did she want her parents or anyone else for that matter to know of her “dirty little secret.”  The Butcher was the “go to guy” for all such matters.  

 In those days, the option for a pregnant teenager was either to be sent away to have the baby in quiet during which times adoption arrangements were secured or more dangerous methods were employed including fetus-mutilation by coat hanger.  At any rate, it was a rather dismal, inhumane situation to find oneself in.  Not only was the young girl’s reputation destroyed, but her self respect and self worth would be shattered for many years to come if not for always.  It was in these dark times that my father would become a Knight in Shining Armor to some of these damsels in distress arranging secret rendezvous with the local butcher.

The Dill parents explored new relationships with people they hadn’t normally associated with in the past including Lou and Kathy Villar.  The newlywed couple would become a fixture in our transactional analysis forums with Lou often competing as the leader of the sessions.  The Villars would eat and prepare meals with our family, establish craft making sessions in our backyard such as creating handmade candles and tie-dying T-shirts.  Camping became a ritual in an effort to get back to nature for all of us.  Lou and Kathy would become our troop leaders as my parents became rather incapacitated with their new found preoccupation of smoking pot and “trippin’.”  The cannabis was also supplied by our troop leaders. The usual vacations to Mexico and romantic getaways would be substituted with weekends in Idyllwild to attend folk music festivals with not only the Villars but other more progressive-thinking friends of my parents.  

It was in this environment of change and the metamorphosis of the construct of my home that I was sent away to an exclusive all girls private boarding academy for guidance and tutelage my parents felt unable to perform.

After her high school graduation, my mother no longer pursued any higher education as all of the focus was on getting my father through medical school.  This was not unusual in the 1950s for young women as the social expectation for the female was to marry at an early age to a promising beau with a path to a good profession that would provide financial security while they purchased their white picket fence home and began a family.  Women were to be seen and not heard and to work would only be out of necessity.

The primary focus for the up-and-coming housewife would be concentrated on developing their cooking and shopping skills, managing a household, a representative of a good family image with proper morality, and of course, the maintenance of the home itself.  Sewing skills were also preferable but not always necessary if you could mend, darn a sock, and be able to press a good pleat with a hot iron and spray starch.  Even when I was in school, one of the subjects of our curriculum was home economics — a definite prerequisite to the life of a married house woman which just enhanced the lessons passed down from their own mothers and grandmothers.  It was also very important to behave as a lady with physical sports not encouraged and coarseness in any form not a welcome trait.  Beauty was a key essential and if not naturally pretty, many products and salons were in place to elevate even the most dowdy of women to a state of attractiveness.  Besides hair spray holding every curl in place, mounds of make up was freely applied from bright scarlet rouge to a facial foundation with mascara, eyeliner, eyelashes, eyeshadows, eyebrows penciled in, and the finishing touch a dark red lipstick preferably.

Jan Dill had all aspects of professional housewifery down pat.  She was the envy of all for not only was she drop-dead beautiful, but she was a definite trendsetter on all fronts from the way she dressed, to how she decorated, to how she threw a fabulous dinner party, to how she amazed all men, to how she raised her children, and best of all as a magnificent arm piece to the very handsome and debonair Dr. Donald M. Dill, M.D. – a title my father insisted on.

Being the center of attention always, my mom, the “Reigning Beauty Queen of Coronado,” could afford to be dismissive of not only her husband’s doting attention and affections but the rest of the very generic, unappealing gentlemen that surrounded her in our town.  I can count on one hand any of the handsome, appealing “mad men” of Coronado.  Believe me, as I would entertain my own crushes on them.  The cutest men were the boys, and Jan, would flirt with them more so than the men in her peerage.

It was a surprise to all of us when one day Mom announced that she was going to take a night school class at the high school.  We all wondered what that could possibly be and worried for her as we weren’t sure whether she would be able to perform on an academic level.  The class she had designated was “Beginners Conversational Spanish.”  It seemed logical to us when we heard the subject matter because of my parents’ extreme fondness for anything south of the border and also since we had a live-in maid, Catalina, who knew very little English.  Mom also went to Tijuana often to work with the third-world artisans who would handcraft our furniture according to her designs.

This Spanish class would be taught by none other than the heartthrob of all the pre-teen and teenage girls of our town, Senor Luis Enrique Villar.  When I found this out, I almost asked my mom if I could go to class with her.  All my schoolmates prodded me to do so.  

Needless to say, when Mom brought Senor Villar and his newlywed bride home for show and tell, I was thrilled but frightened into a complete standstill position not only physically but mentally.  It was a good thing I could hide behind the fact that I was after all just a kid.

Lou was handsome and his wife was pretty.  You could tell my mother had definitely placed him in the category of worthy of her flirtations and over-the-top antics.  Jan was not used to feeling these dips into true romantic and sexual desire.  As a result, she became quite obvious in her superficial behavior and was no match for a professional flirter, who was more sophisticated in that skill than her usual male counterparts.  He was used to being a star.  He was used to receiving plenty of female attention and coquetry.  My mom had without doubt met her match.  Lou, although flattered, became bored quickly, and instead would set his sites on the youthful enigmatic innocent, me.  I hardly knew what flirting was, and I recoiled from my mother when she behaved in such a manner.  From a very, very infantile age, I had sensed this behavior as a definite threat to my security in her dedication and devotion to my father and her family, and I was somewhat right.

Senor Villar began to show me a very intense inordinate amount of attention as if this distillation process would somehow absolve him from the mediocrity of life both as a married man again or as a break-out conservative teacher seeking a more intriguing and challenging relay race.  When I would come in the room, he would light up shining his enormous smile upon me making it quite known that it was my presence that accounted for his exhilaration.  His blue eyes became saucers and would twinkle in accompaniment to his thrilled countenance.  He almost made a whistling sound or at least I always thought I heard one seething behind his ecstatic facial expression.

I was entirely confused and not at all flattered as I did not even begin to understand or identify with this behavior towards me.  I may not have understood it, but there were two people always in the room who did – my mother and his wife.

Work In Progress.

 

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PEOPLE DOGS

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METAL ANIMAL KINGDOM

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Born in Durango, Mexico, Ricardo has lived in California for the last 25 years. He has has been creating his metal animal kingdom since the release of the movie Jurassic Park III.

His daughter’s enthusiam over dinosaurs sparked his interest in the creation of these prehistoric beasts. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion to transform metal into incredible lifelike creations. Since then, Ricardo has become a well-known sculptor/designer. One of his largest collections can be appreciated in the city of Borrego Springs, California, where thousands of people from around the world come to see what everyone is talking about. They find out it is much bigger and amazing than what they have heard.

Contact: ricardoabreceda@gmail.com

Ricardo A. Breceda  38000 Highway 79 South  Temecula, CA 92592 Tel:  (951) 236-5896

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LIMITED EDITION HARD COPIES

LIMITED EDITION HARD COPIES 1-200  $39.50.

TO ORDER:  WWW.BEFORETHEBEATLES.COM

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VEG-ART

 

Before Reddit and DeviantART became the go-to havens for op art online, Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo set the standard for hallucinatory portraits that left the mind reeling.

Arcimboldo was born in Milan in 1524, and began painting stained glass window designs before transitioning to portraits.

Although from far away they resemble the human face, the artist’s beautifully arranged compositions consist of fruits, vegetables, birds, books and other elaborately arranged objects. His unusual vision, exceptionally given the era of his creations, led many to believe Arcimboldo didn’t just have a fanciful mind, but was possibly mentally ill. “A fine line separates sheer imagination from uncontrolled hallucinations,” the New York Times expressed in a 2007 diagnosis of his works.

Check out his deliciously weird portraits in the slideshow below, and keep an eye out for his clever interpretations of the four seasons and the four elements. Lucky New Yorkers can spy Philip Haas’s Arcimboldo-inspired “Four Seasons” sculptures at theNew York Botanical Garden in the Bronx from May 18-October 27.

 

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KIDS LETTERS TO GOD

kids k3 k2

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HERO’S GOODBYE

 

 

In March 1993, a series of 12 bombs went off across Mumbai.

The serial blasts left 257 dead and 713 injured.  But in the aftermath, an unlikely hero emerged. According to Reuters, a golden labrador named Zanjeer worked with the bomb squad and saved thousands of lives by detecting “more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades and 6,406 rounds of live ammunition.”  He helped avert three more bombs in the days following the blasts.

On the 20th anniversary of the bomb blasts, an image of Zanjeer being honored by the city’s police  has gone viral on Facebook.

The dog died of bone cancer in 2000, the Pune Mirror reported.  He was eight years old.  In the photo above, a senior police officer lays a wreath of flowers on Zanjeer as he was buried with full police honors at a widely-attended ceremony.

Mumbai’s police dog squad has been operational since December 1959, the Times of India reported. It began with just three Doberman Pinschers, who were used for tracking criminals.

A labor union leader and dog lover Dilip Mohite told Mid-Day that Zanjeer’s extraordinary detection skills deserved recognition.

“Policemen who die a martyr’s death  get accolades, but canine members go unnoticed,” Mohite told the newspaper.

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CORONADO CLARION SUMMER EDITION

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FINGERS REUNION 2012

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GLADIATORS ALL

 

In 2012 we still have giant arena’s, spectacular violence, corrupt politicians, and all the decadence of the Roman Empire.

Our idols are ultra violent cage fighters without weapons but none the less lethal.

They are football, hockey and baseball champions, but they are also our Rock Stars and Movie Giants.

Our entertainers are also Gladiators who also take blows and bear scars after each performance.

Not all  Roman Gladiators died in the arena and some were well rewarded riches and even freedom if they pleased the crowd. 

 In his last years, Elvis looked like an tired old worn out warrior doing battle under hot vegas lights, and like a Gladiator he was doing it not for the love of the performance, but for the money.

Johnny Cash Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard all wrote and sang about their own wars won and lost, with the battle scars of war chiseled deeply on their faces.

Jim Morrison once called the Doors “Erotic Politicians” and he knew full well that he was entertaining the crowds in a modern Roman game of death.

“The cleavage of men into actor and spectators is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish.  If all the radios and televisions were deprived of their sources of power, all books and …. One is spectacle. Like the Phantasmagoria, its goal is the creation of a total …” (Jim Morrison).


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