Back in June, I shared a post on how I had come to be reading books written by John Updike, John Steinbeck and other literary Titans. The post was titled: Lit Boy. My college Professor, John Vande Zande, is responsible. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away.
On Monday, two months after I had written the post, an email settles gently in my inbox among a stack of 30 or 40 others. I see the surname on the email address. My eyes lock-on “from Vande Zande.” My mind whirs back to the Lit Boy post. I read the email.
Thank you for the lovely tribute to my father, John Vande Zande, on your blog. I also had him as a teacher, but I’m not sure a son appreciates this the way a stranger does. Thank you for letting me see him through your eyes. It would mean a great deal to him to know that he inspired you so much. He was always skeptical of his role as a professor. He would say, “What business do I, a kid from Big Bay, have in being in front of a college classroom?” I think the best profs do doubt their business in being in front of a room of students. It keeps them humble and it keeps them trying. The worse profs are probably the ones who doubt the business of their students being in the room.
Jeff Vande Zande
John Vande Zande had a Son. He’s a English Professor. He’s a writer. (A published writer). And a poet and a screenwriter. (How proud would his Dad be of him today.)
And as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Hump Day Howl from Belka the Siberian Husky. 20 days old.
Thank you Lori.
(Update @ 2:06PM: I jinxed it…D*MN IT!)
Some things can’t be left unchecked. No Sir.
My youngest Brother Lorne replied to my post “I came that way. D0K” with this:
That was funny but don’t feel sorry for you. On a weekly basis I go through this. First name Lorne. Loren? No. Lauren? No. Lauryn? No. Mark? Mark…WTF! And the other day…Thor! Really? How our parents allowed you and my other awesome brother to name me I will never understand!!
JB: Full name please?
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: Full name please.
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: That’s your full name?
(Yes. Oh, yes. I know what’s coming next. This scene, played out, over and over. Hundreds of times. Blood pressure clickety clacking up.)
JB: Middle name please.
(She lifts her head to look at the Alien. And pauses, wondering whether to push forward. Then, courageously plows ahead.)
JB: You mean you weren’t given one at birth? Or you changed your name?
(I look down. Two arms. Two legs. Flip flops reveal 10 toes. How many years do I have to take this sh*t?!)
(I look up. Smile. Which way do I take this? High Road. Or Low Road. I count. One. Two. Three.)
There is something special here. Can’t put a finger on it. I introduced Cloud Cult earlier this month. (Their bio is worth checking out.) And when you can’t seem to get enough of something that good (ice cream, pasta, Cloud Cult), you just keep bringing it. Here’s three new clips from Cloud Cult: Chemicals Collide. You Were Born. Breakfast With My Shadow.
Find their album on iTunes here: Unplug
One needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig oneself in. The weather here has changed to heavy rolling mists and thick soft rain. The mountains disappear very beautifully, one by one. The lake has become grave and one feels the silence. This, instead of being depressing as it is in the South, has a sober charm. In the South there is too much light whereas exquisitely breathtaking fog is all I care about. This grass, too, waving high, with one o’clocks like bubbles and flowering fruit trees like branches of red and white coral. One looks and one becomes absorbed … Do you know what I mean? I feel, at present, I should like to have a small chalet, high up somewhere, and live there for a round year, luxuriating in solitude and harmony.
—Katherine Mansfield, from a letter dated 9 May 1921, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Four, 1920-1921
Michael Wade @ Execupundit shared his top 10 list of Bios and Auto-Bios. I dove into #1 on his list: Chronicles of Wasted Time: Number 1. The Green Stick by Malcolm Muggeridge. I had never heard of Muggeridge.
A wonderful obit in the NY Times describes Muggeridge (1903-1990) as a prolific British journalist, author, satirist and caustic social critic. “He delightedly described Cambridge, where he received a master’s degree, as “a place of infinite tedium,” and in the mid-1960′s his caustic attacks on the British monarchy (“Does England Really Need a Queen?“) lost him several writing jobs and nearly ended his career with the British Broadcasting Corporation. His opinion of world leaders was summed up pithily: “Everything that politicians say is without exception void — utterly empty”…Consistent with his egalitarian socialist beliefs, the elder Mr. Muggeridge refused to send his sons to Eton or Harrow or Charter House, but rather to local elementary and secondary schools. These were presided over, Mr. Muggeridge recalled later, by a “bizarre collection of aged and incompetent teachers” and “I emerged unscathed and largely unlettered.”“
Don’t take my word for it, read a few excerpts below and tell me what you think about the quality of Michael’s recommendation: [Read more...]
Start time was 4:00pm. We pulled into the parking lot at 3:40pm. We made it. But it wasn’t pretty. Torrential rain, back-ups on the NJ turnpike, standing water, all treacherous, extended our drive time by 90 minutes. Being late for this event was not a memory I wanted to bank. We walked briskly for a mile to get to The Pavilion, the venue for Rachel’s college graduation ceremony.
Late = no seats. Responsible parents arrived 60-90 minutes early. Susan (a member of the class of responsible parents) arrived earlier in the day, waited for us, and couldn’t hold our seats because we were late. I caught the scud with my chest. This time, I had no counter. Cut it too fine.
Susan found a seat. I stood at the back. Bad Dads in the back.
He had to be in his 80′s. He arrived on the arm of a Graduate, had to be his Grandson. A navy blue suit, oversized but neatly pressed. Black wing-tip shoes that had long since lost their gleam. A powder blue handkerchief peeked out of his suit jacket pocket. A taupe colored shirt with the tail hanging out. He dragged his right leg behind him, his Grandson offering ballast. (WW Veteran?)
He grabbed the chair in front of him and slumped down heavily. They were seated in my line of sight up 1 row.
The distinguished guests and the faculty processional was followed by a thank you to Parents, family members, and significant others. His Grandson softly nudges him.
The weekday frenzy slows to a drip.
A quiet sets in.
Zeke jumps on the bed, curls once, twice and falls, leaning into me. And sighs.
Going Down. Down. Down.
The great Unwind commences.
Credits: Image – Lulufrost
I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”
She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.
Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon. What a Stud! [Read more...]
“The paradox of Wu-Wei arises…”
The phone rings. I glance at my watch. 5:20 p.m.
We have a problem. We need your help.
Just one time, one time, it would be nice to get a different script at the end of the day. Dreamworks ~ The phone rings: “Hey DK, great news….”
My periscope is up and scanning the horizon. (Is the house burning or is it a pan on the stove that’s on fire? Fur is up.)
The interrogation commences.
Start from the beginning.
What options have you explored?
Did you check this? What about that?
Did you ask this? Did you ask that?
The team has done a thorough job in assessing the situation. (House is not burning. But it’s a large pan on the stove that’s smoldering.)
The anxiety is climbing. (Is that fear I’m smelling?)
The team, sensing a dead-end, is feeling out my receptivity for an exception approval. Meanwhile, I’m winding up the next series of questions and readying the cannon to fire:
If there was any doubt that Meryl Streep is the greatest living actress or that Julia Roberts possesses extraordinary talent, set it aside. This flick is highly recommended.
Here’s the “Meaning of Life.” ~9,000,000 people have watched this video in the past 2 weeks and seem to agree. I’m one of them. I was moved by this short film. (Be sure to check out Ana’s wonderful blog. She’s from Portugal. Her blog’s name is “Sol de Dezembro” (“December Sun”).
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.
— Beryl Markham, West with the Night
Beryl Markham (1902 – 1986) was a British-born Kenyan author, aviator, adventurer, and racehorse trainer. During the pioneer days of aviation, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. She is now primarily remembered as the author of the memoir West with the Night - – The Book Summary from Amazon: [Read more...]
Here’s the point: If you aren’t expanding your resume every year, you are likely being getting lapped in the sport of business by those that do. You can improve a resume without changing jobs. You can add areas of expertise or new areas of project work. You can add volunteer work, hobbies or interests. You can add professional associations you’ve joined and contributed to. All of these additions give your career a sense of momentum, which gives you the confidence to embrace change. My point is more salient for those reading this post born in my generations (Boomer and Echo Boomer). We become very comfortable with our titles, our financial stability and our status…
Read more on how here.
Image Credit: Thank you Carol
“Rugged, raspy, and roaring with charisma, Halifax’s Ben Caplan is to folklore what smoke is to bourbon. Perfectly coupled. Ben’s songwriting is as bold in range as it is in ferocity. Fueled by a quality of melodrama and powerful lyricism, it’s the romance and the manhood crashing with his voice that gives Caplan a truly innovative and experimental artistry. A sound that bridges the gap between controlled composition and unruly passion. Striding in pace with gypsy-inspired strings amid the sultry tones of clarinet and saxophone, Caplan has marked his place in the Canadian music landscape with a growling spirit similar to that of Tom Waits. Breaking between guitar, banjo, piano, and melodica, Caplan’s stage show is almost reminiscent of a burly and bearded Freddy Mercury; a raging, strong, and exploratory songwriter, it’s the blues in his soul, and the heart in your chest pounding as one that makes Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers an act not to be missed.” (Source: Audioblood)
Liked this? Check out Ben Caplan’s Under Control.
Find Caplan’s Album on iTunes here.
NY Times: Spite is Good. Spite Works:
…Evolutionary theorists have long been intrigued by the origins and purpose of spite, and a new report suggests that sometimes spite can make right.
…The new research on spite transcends older notions that we are savage, selfish brutes at heart, as well as more recent suggestions that humans are inherently affiliative creatures yearning to love and connect. Instead, it concludes that vice and virtue, like the two sides of a V, may be inextricably linked.
…human decency and cooperation require a certain degree of so-called altruistic punishment: the willingness of some individuals to punish rule breakers even when the infraction does not directly affect them — challenging the guy who broke into the line behind you, for example.
…“It could be that Nietzsche was right about punishment,” Dr. Forber said, “that it originated as spite and only later was turned into a mechanism for maintaining fairness and justice.”
“…If you get the reputation as someone not to mess with and nobody messes with you going forward, then it was well worth the cost.”
“…It’s like the Mafia,” he said. “They end up reducing crime in the areas they inhabit.”
Read full article in NY Times: Spite is Good. Spite Works.
Charles Murray’s 5 Rules For A Happy Life:
#4: Now that we’re alone, here’s where a lot of you stand when it comes to religion: It isn’t for you. You don’t mind if other people are devout, but you don’t get it. Smart people don’t believe that stuff anymore. I can be sure that is what many of you think because your generation of high-IQ, college-educated young people, like mine 50 years ago, has been as thoroughly socialized to be secular as your counterparts in preceding generations were socialized to be devout…I am describing my own religious life from the time I went to Harvard until my late 40s. I still describe myself as an agnostic, but my unbelief is getting shaky…Start by jarring yourself out of unreflective atheism or agnosticism. A good way to do that is to read about contemporary cosmology. The universe isn’t only stranger than we knew; it is stranger and vastly more unlikely than we could have imagined, and we aren’t even close to discovering its last mysteries. That reading won’t lead you to religion, but it may stop you from being unreflective. Find ways to put yourself around people who are profoundly religious. You will encounter individuals whose intelligence, judgment and critical faculties are as impressive as those of your smartest atheist friends—and who also possess a disquieting confidence in an underlying reality behind the many religious dogmas.
Read all five rules here.
Source: Hungarian Soul
This band from Iceland was formed in 2012. The sound of Hymnalaya is rooted in old Hymns which are combined with indie, ethnic and ambient textures. The band can be found on Youtube, Facebook and on their website here.
“…We’re now trained to expect the worst. Lies rule the land…They have numbed us to the core. They are, as Engber says, “the ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder.” Ergo, we believe nothing. Everyone is suspect. The authentic thing is never really authentic. Society’s collective goodwill, the natural human instinct to trust you when you say this is legit and honest and true – no really it is I swear – this instinct has been molested. Perhaps beyond repair. You think?
Maybe. Maybe our collective Hoax Fatigue has gotten so bad that we’ll soon reach critical mass, and it will all flip around completely, so when another “First Kiss” comes along, instead of feeling a giddy thrill in the heart, we’ll instead feel bitter and disbelieving, waiting for the rug to be pulled at any second. What a fun way to live.
The evidence certainly seems ample. It’s not just viral videos, after all: the interval between when any uplifting new offering – a video, a song, a movie, a romance, a president, a newborn puppy, you name it – is released, and when than thing is crushed by sarcasm or jadedness, this interval has been compressed in recent years to near-instantaneous, to the point of absurdity. To the point where nothing even matters and it’s almost useless to even try.
Almost. But not quite. Happily, “First Kiss”-style phenoms still light up the Internet, even in this bitter age. Thankfully, the authentic thing can still break through the ice of corrosive cynicism. Against seemingly impossible odds and for almost no budget, millions of people can still made just a little bit giddy in the heart. Amazing. And they didn’t even slip us the tongue.”
~ Mark Morford, A Kiss for the Hopelessly Jaded
Drip Maple is a small Canadian Syrup company. “In the cold North, we’re born to appreciate the small things. With the short few months of summer fleeting, we have a long & cozy hibernation to enjoy the simple pleasures of Mother Nature. Maple is our choice and we have scoured the land to bring you the very best certified organic & delectably delicious maple syrup possible.”
And DON’T MISS this clip…mouth watering.
Image and idea Source: swissmiss
George Ball is the chairman of the Burpee Seed Company and a former president of the American Horticultural Society. Here’s the intro to his article titled: “Spring Is Here. Why Take a Break?”
As Thursday is the first day of spring, it seems timely to ask, why does anyone go on spring vacation? It seems odd to fly to a tropical destination at the very moment that one of the great astonishments of life on Earth is taking place right at home. When friends tell me their spring-vacation plans, they mention the word “escape.” Really? You want to escape from spring? That’s like fleeing paradise. Far better to escape to spring.
You cannot access the season’s magic on your laptop or smartphone; you can’t watch it on TV or catch it on your radio or simply read about it. If you wish to apprehend spring in its ineffable splendor, you have to show up in person, with every one of your senses engaged, and personally participate in this annual miracle.
The media world in which we dwell offers us a shared spectacle of limitless images, constant chatter, endless noise, infinite information and mountains of data—at once a stimulant and a narcotic. What’s lacking in this man-made media galaxy is everything that matters: beauty, love, magic, mystery, grandeur, rapture, the miraculous. Not to forget poetry, delicacy, refinement, purity, splendor, intimacy, innocence, fulfillment, inspiration. And then there’s nuance, drama, poignancy, integrity, harmony.
Where will you find these? On your smartphone? Non. On your tropical vacation? Unlikely. Discover the magnitude, mystery and wonder of life at home, working in your garden, in springtime….
It gets better. Read the rest here: Spring Is Here. Why Take a Break?
Image Source: My Favourite Web Photos
“The Mastaba, a project for Abu Dhabi, will be the largest sculpture in the world, made from 410,000 multi-colored barrels to form a mosaic of bright sparkling colors, echoing Islamic architecture. The Mastaba is an ancient and familiar shape to the people of the region. The Mastaba will be 492 feet high, 738 feet deep at the 60 degree slanted walls and 984 feet wide at the vertical walls. The top of The Mastaba will be a horizontal surface 416 feet wide and 738 feet deep. (Note that an American football field is 360 feet long x 160 feet wide!) The colors and the positioning of the 55-gallon steel barrels were selected by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1979, the year in which the artists visited the Emirate for the first time. The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s only permanent large-scale work.”
CHRISTO: The Mastaba will be the most expensive because it will be the biggest sculpture in the world. It’s bigger than the Pyramid of Cheops. It is two avenue blocks by three city blocks and 500 feet tall. But you need to image what it will look like in the desert, with slanted walls, like the pyramids, so you can only see the one side when you look at it. It will be like the biggest stairway to heaven—a 500-foot-tall stairway.
CHRISTO: It will be the most expensive sculpture in the world. It costs maybe $350 million. We pay for it all ourselves. This is why we’re totally independent. I don’t ever do commissions. All projects are initiated by me. Curiously enough, it costs exactly the same amount as if we built the Eiffel Tower today. [Read more...]
Gregory Porter, 42, is a Grammy Award winning American jazz vocalist, songwriter, and actor. Gregory Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album, Liquid Spirit.
Find his album on iTunes here.
Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out
Here’s the critic’s leading selection for the 2014 Oscar Foreign film of the year. And what a film it is. Introspective. Astonishing cinematography (EYE CANDY). Overwhelming. And, Toni Servillo, oh what a performance. (The movie is long…strap in.) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
If tomorrow wasn’t promised,
what would you give for today?
Forget everything else.
Forget everything else.
Forget there was any sun light left,
what would you spend today thinking about?
We get one opportunity in life.
One chance in life to do whatever you are going to do.
To lay your foundation.
Whatever legacy you are going to leave,
Leave your legacy.
And its found through your effort.
Wins and losses come a dime dozen,
But effort, nobody can judge effort.
Because effort is between you and you.
Effort doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else.
Because every day is a new day.
Every moment is a new moment.
So now you’ve got to go out and show them
that I’m a a different creature, now,
then I was five minutes ago.
Because I’m pissed off for greatness.
Because if you aren’t pissed off for greatness,
that means You are ok with being mediocre.
And no man in here is OK with being mediocre…
SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. After Hammarskjöld’s death, U.S. president John F. Kennedy regretted that he opposed the UN policy in the Congo and said: “I realise now that in comparison to him, I am a small man. He was the greatest statesman of our century.”
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan,
stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark source.
As for me,
I don’t care
where it’s been,
or what bitter road it’s traveled
to come so far,
to taste so good.
~ Stephen Dunn
Adapted from Buffer
Excerpts from wsj.com: How Norway Scores So Much Olympic Gold?
…Norway itself is a Winter Olympics marvel: With only five million people, it has won 303 Winter Olympic medals, far more than any other country on the planet. To find a country smaller than world-leading Norway on the all-time Winter Olympics medal table, you have to travel down to Croatia, which ranks 24th with 11 medals. And this month, Norway is fielding one of its strongest teams in almost two generations, with some experts considering it the favorite to win both the highest gold and total medal count, a feat that it last achieved in 1968.
Other countries long ago took to shrugging off Norway’s Winter Olympics medal haul as the unsurprising inheritance of a people whose young are born with skis on their feet, as an old Nordic adage goes. But skiing is also fundamental to the culture of other Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, which has about twice the population but, with 132 total, not even half the medals.
Instead, many experts think the answer lies in the culture and lifestyle of the country, where an extraordinary egalitarianism runs through youth sports. Before age 6, Norwegian kids can only train but not formally compete in sports, and before age 11, all children participating in a competition must be awarded the same prize.
Still, most experts say the biggest reason behind Norway’s success is the culture that propelled it atop the medal table from the outset. Norway’s cities are relatively close to the wilderness, and children are encouraged to play outdoors even on the coldest days.
In those disciplines, attaining world-class status typically takes years of training. This is one reason that the Meråker school accepts students whose passion for sport may outshine their performances. In the long run, desire and perseverance will play the greatest roles in shaping future Olympians. The school’s coaches say the main lesson they teach is the importance of training relentlessly for years beyond high school.
In addition to physical work on the farm in the afternoons, weekends and holidays, he was regularly charged with what his father refers to as “incredibly boring stuff,” like picking stones from a field, just to improve his psyche. Every time he hurt himself, his father would tease him until he stopped crying. Eventually, he came to believe pain is cool. “My father taught me at an early age to tackle pain—I think that’s my strength. I can go for hours in pain without giving up,” he said. His childhood mentor, a star skier turned coach named John Thomas Rena, agrees. “I think a big part of Jenssen’s talent comes from the way he grew up,” he said.
Image Credit: Best and Worst Dressed Olympic Nations in Sochi
I was transported by this short film. Wonderful photography, paintings and family. These two have it together.
Painter David Marshak and photographer Sarah Tacoma talk about their love of art and each other as they describe the building of their “tiny little kingdom…
“And fulfillment is a different word from happiness, right. Fulfillment is an enriched experience that comes from several different angles …”
My journey from NYC to the West continues. A five hour flight is now rolling into 2 days and I’m still on the ground in New York. If you missed yesterday’s excitement, the posts can be found here: Just another manic Monday and here: Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.
And, the journey continues:
Note to Self: DK, they’re thinkin’ you’ve moved to fiction writing because you can’t make this sh*t up. (*Y.C.M.T.S.U.)
More insight here: 99U.