Soulful Sounds: The Greatest Ladies Of Jazz – Part 2

“You can do anything you want to do, if you know what to do.”Betty Carter Soulful Sounds: The Greatest Ladies Of Jazz – Part 2. Betty Carter sings Ray Charles & Betty Carter – Baby it’s Cold Outside Max Roach 5tet wt/ Abbey Lincoln – Triptych (Prayer/Protest/ Peace)includes”Freedom Now Suite” [1964] “Because jazz doesn’t make money quickly, a lot of people in power are not encouraging young people to really use the word `jazz.’ For a person who’s been out here as long as I have, they’re pretty much sick of me ...

On Fire: The Stylish Afro Blew Up In My Face…

“All things, oh priests, are on fire . . . The eye is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire; impressions received by the eye are on fire.” Buddha On Fire: The Stylish Afro rocks.... Ms. Hill Back in the days when sporting a huge Afro was not just a fashion statement but a sign of political defiance, I nursed a funky/kinky head of  hair to an impressive fuzzy Afro; the size of a basketball. My Afro was ...

Summertime: Seven Seasonal Favorites…

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time” John Lubbock Summertime: Seven Seasonal Favorites... Summer flowers ... orange flower Summertime: Seven Seasonal Favorites... summer chamomile flowers FLOWERS: With brightly colored flowers everywhere, who could resist the charm of summertime flora? What is your favorite season? When I think of my favorite time ...

Haiku: Christmas Is Love In Action

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” Ruth Carter Stapleton Christmas is: A helping hand at the brightly lit water fountain on 6th Ave Merry Christmas All Christmas is love in action Feeding the hungry Merry Christmas Friends Christmas is gratitude shared Gifts to the needy During Christmas and other Holiday seasons, there is excitement in the air as people rush around shopping and celebrating. While it is an exciting time for many, there ...

Beautiful Japanese Flower Hairpins

Boring bobby pins, move over! Say hello to Kanzashi! Kanzashi is the art and craft of the traditional ornamental hairpin worn by Japanese women. First introduced to Japan centuries ago, they were quite prominent during the Edo era, where hairstyles were larger and more complicated. Over time, the use of kanzashi has declined, as more women prefer a more Westernize style. In today’s modern world, kanzashi is worn mostly by brides and geishas. However, in recent years, the art of kanzashi ...

Reflections: 100 Is The New 78…

“A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of it bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.” Maurice Chevalier Reflections: 100 Is The New 78… Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman Dear 100 Year Old Me … and anyone out there listening, What a grand way to celebrate my big day! I always knew I’d live long but heck, not this long. I made it; even outlived that ...

Reflections: Speak To Us Of Children…

“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” Carl Jung Reflections: Speak To Us Of Children... children at play Children Chapter IV by Khalil Gibran And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’ And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you ...

On Gifts: Seven Made Just For You…

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Gautama Buddha On Gifts: Seven Made Just For You... You Win! All of us—even the darkest and unluckiest of us—get seven particular moments, those brief, unexpected times when the stars do more than align; they communally redirect their light expressly to illuminate the value of our wee, earthly existence. Leigh Newman Today, I was reading an article on Oprah.com that was so inspiring I had to share it ...

3 Kinds of "Doers" From the Bible

Charlton Heston as Moses: "Disobedient Doer" When my wife and I ask our daughters to complete a chore or task around the house they always do it, which is a blessing. But as I think about it, there are different ways they sometimes "do" a thing or complete a task - some of those ways are more honorable than another. In particular consider three examples of different "doers" from the Bible and their resultant outcomes, which can apply to any of us who ...

Blog Awards Dogs and YTT

Today I want to thank Karen Wojcik Berner of Bibliophilic Blather for the Versatile Blogger Award. Karen is the author of a wonderful book entitled A Whisper to a Scream which is the first in I believe a six book series. Karen’s an amazing lady and very supportive of the writing community. I must admit, I’m honored, but I usually avoid accepting these awards because they require me to do two very difficult things. One is to figure out how to ...

The Hunger Games Parody

Last week, the much anticipated  feature film version of The Hunger Games by author Suzanne Collins opened at a blockbuster pace earning $155 million in its first three days. I’m fairly certain that my blog post from last Friday – The Psychiatric Couch: The Hunger Games – was a significant driver for the movie’s third best opening weekend in history. You’re welcome, Ms. Collins! For the uninitiated, here is a three sentence summary of the popular book series: The Hunger Games trilogy is set ...

Celebrating Hanukkah With Cleverbot….

Several months ago I discovered Cleverbot, which is a web-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) application that supposedly has the ability to learn by conversing with humans via an instant messaging platform. While it’s a stretch to say that Cleverbot is actually intelligent, interacting with this particular “thinking” software can be mildly entertaining. Here’s the most recent interview I had with this bastion of (AI) idiocy last month: Veterans Day Conversation With Cleverbot Since today marks the third day of Hanukkah, I thought it would ...

2 Good News Updates…

Two great pieces of news. First I just registered for the 37th Annual Marine Corp Marathon (MCM). This race will be held on Sunday, Octocber 28th and runs all over Washington, DC. I ran in this marathon two years ago and it was by far the most fun of the five full marathons I’ve completed thus far. I missed out on last year’s running of the MCM because the race sold out in less than 48 hours and I dragged my feet ...

Happiness is overrated….

Famous Painting: Declaration of Independence - here was penned "...life, liberty & pursuit of happiness..." I got to thinking about the concept of “happiness” the other day and decided that I will no longer pursue it. Don’t get me wrong, the “…pursuit of happiness…” is very quotable, it sounds great and looks great on paper – especially when that paper happens to be the Declaration of Independence, which is where the phrase is found and was signed by our forefathers.But it was actually ...

Yet Another Reason I Hate Funerals….

Nondescript Casket My immediate family spent the majority of last week at my in-laws home in New York because my wife’s grandmother passed away. While I think it’s extremely important to celebrate the memory of the deceased; support and sympathize with the survivors and offer a degree of closure for the living via the various death-induced services and rituals – I hate funerals. As a former news reporter, I had to attend dozens as an uninvited gawker amidst grieving strangers and then trying to speak with someone on camera – yuck. ...

Our Due Date is Here…just not the baby

It seems that we’ve reached the end of our pregnancy as today marks the 40th week of Junior’s shack up in my wife’s uterus. So sound the vuvuzela and crack open the non-alcoholic champagne! The only teeny-tiny issue is that Junior has seemingly decided to take a page from the Occupy Wall Street movement and continues to Occupy the Womb. We’ve got our final scheduled exam with the obstetrician tomorrow – so hopefully we’ll get some perspective and timing on Junior’s secret exit strategy. In ...

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Grace and Poise on a Book Tour

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Lily King taught a week-long class I took in 2011 at the Stonecoast Writers Conference offered by the University of Southern Maine. (I blogged about it here and here.) Her students loved her. She shared personal pieces of herself alongside the professional, such that we could understand this important concept: Neither writing nor a life of writing is easy for anyone, but if it’s what you want to do, it’s yours to …

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Where are the words?

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What am I scared of? There is an endless pool of words waiting to be written, but they refuse to take to the page. The only emotion that surfaces during the process is terror – why? It has been about four weeks since I worked on either of my books, and to say my posting on this blog has basically been non-existent is possibly an understatement. Initially I could blame being …

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Life Around The Suburban Block

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Emma came round to say hello! One day, Emma wandered into my yard and I left my home to find her owner. I was concerned. I called the cops. I walked to the end of the cul de sac. I found her owner and we connected; neighbor to neighbor. In my determination to find her owner, I crossed a thresh-hold of dead solitude and found a smiling face. Life around the suburban block has barriers, but we lift them when we have to. …

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Technically Speaking

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A technical writer is a professional writer who engages in technical writing and produces technical documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences. According to Wikipedia, this defines the profession as preparing information that helps users who use a product. When, however, does the technical writer stop informing the user and begin to confuse them? Is there a limit to just how technical the writer …

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On the Imperfect Daenerys

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As a fan of George R. R. Martin’s books “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the cable series “Game of Thrones” I follow other fans in cyberspace, with spoiler Facebook pages for we readers (don’t worry, not in this blog), and the numerous fun fan pages with hilarious memes. Like it or hate it, Game of Thrones to me, as a series doesn’t take itself so seriously …

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Writerly Reflections

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I realized years ago that I wanted to write. My first attempts at short stories ran to three handwritten pages or so, and I would make my sister sit and listen, along with an audience of soft toys and dolls. She got quite bored with my tales of princesses lost in woods and toys that …

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On the Love of Intrigue

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So many aspects of stories reel in the readers of books or viewers of films or shows, be it action, fantasy, drama, horror, but on the short list of it all is the lure of intrigue, when we must know what happens next and a few hours sleep or loads of laundry won’t stop us. Many daytime television dramas I recall watching as a kid not missing them so much when school started, but during summer I hated …

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