Thanksgiving?


A student in her uniform balances on stones over sewage water on her way to class in the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


Notes:

  • Thanksgiving is a not a statutory declared holiday in Haiti.
  • Photo by Dieu Nalio Chery, AP. wsj.com, Nov 21, 2017

Red Lines, Banalities and Grumpy Middle Aged Men

Salons require appointments.
You call in advance.
You make an appointment.
You are slotted in a open 15 minute slot.
You show up on time. (Always on time.)
You wait.
5 minutes.
10 minutes.
15 minutes.
And finally, the red line is crossed.

20 minutes. [Read more…]

Uma

Uma Thurman knows that there are no retakes in theater, no postproduction fixes, no chances to dub in a line. When she strides onstage for “The Parisian Woman,” a play by Beau Willimon, the “House of Cards” creator, that opens Nov. 30 at the Hudson Theater, no flattering lenses or editing trickery will help her.

“Of course it’s exposing,” she said over dinner recently, “but no exposure, no challenge. You can’t test yourself in safety.” […]

“It wasn’t very difficult to cast her,” said Stephen Frears, the director of “Dangerous Liaisons,” speaking by telephone. “She was so striking, so beautiful and so fresh.”

She was also, as Mr. Frears said, “very formidable.” That’s a hallmark of her career and also maybe a clue to why that career has been so eclectic. Ms. Thurman isn’t a delicate actress or a melting one or the kind who comes right to the front of a movie screen and invites you in. There’s a remove in a lot of her best work (“Henry & June,” “Kill Bill”), a sense that she has emotions and ideas that are hers alone.

She has refused to be typecast as a siren or a femme fatale and has struggled to find roles that attract her. It isn’t that she won’t play wives and girlfriends — she will, she has. But these are women as likely to steal a scene as to yield to it.

Quentin Tarantino, who directed her as a gangster’s wife in “Pulp Fiction” and wrote the “Kill Bill” movies for her, compared Ms. Thurman to golden-age luminaries like Greta Garbo and Bette Davis. “There’s this year’s blonde and there’s last year’s blonde. Interchangeable. But to me, Uma has a quality that could rank with a Marlene Dietrich,” he said in a phone interview. He also called her, with affection, “a big, tall willow.” […]

Playing Chloe, she said, was taxing her more than any part in a decade. It was forcing her to use all of her actorly muscles “in a more total and protracted way.”

Is Chloe a siren? Maybe. A femme fatale? Depends who you ask. Happily, she is more than that, too.

As dinner wound down, with plates of vegetables and tiny bowls of tofu littering the table, Ms. Thurman considered the question of what a woman like Chloe really wants. “I think I’m still exploring that,” she said. Finally, she gave what she called “a most banal and bad answer.”

“I think she’s wanting and demanding to be fully alive,” Ms. Thurman said.

~ Alexis Soloski, excerpts from “Uma Thurman, Ready to Be Tested.” Hollywood’s “contempt and dismissiveness” toward women have led her to Broadway. In “The Parisian Woman,” she’ll be onstage for every minute of every scene. (NY Times, Nov 8, 2017)

Flying Over I-40 N. With Fitbit Step Challenge.

3:45 a.m. Alarm. Whoa. Laying flat on my back in darkness. Where am I? Not in my house. Not in my bed. Not on my pillows. Get a grip.

3:50 a.m. Grab iPhone. Check my position in the Fitbit Work-Week Step Challenge. On top at bedtime, slipping to 6,250 steps behind overnight. Irritating. Damn it.

4:45 a.m. Arrive at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Check in. TSA line. Security check. All uneventful. Check boarding pass: Gate C-14. Boarding, 6:15 a.m.

5:05 a.m. I walk. I step. American Airlines Admirals Club 100 feet ahead…soft seats, coffee, a Continental breakfast and 20 minutes of shut-eye. Stupid Challenge. Getting dragged into this stupid step contest by Rachel (daughter) a month ago, and I just can’t seem to Release. Three millennials and me, the Middle Aged Man who’s forgotten that he’s lost most of it. Release, Dummy. Eject. Three of the most difficult words for an Addict: Just let it go. I pass the Admirals Club, stepping heavily down the concourse, dragging my bloody luggage, wheels turning and with every fifth turn an irritating squeal. Gotta get my steps in.

In Week 1 (Oct 23-27), I fell behind the three young ladies, way behind – a whopping 42,228 steps behind on the final day – @ 2,000 steps per mile, do the Math. At 11:50 pm on Friday night, 10 minutes before the expiry of the last day of Week 1, I took my 42,228th step of the day to become the Week 1 Winner of the Fitbit Workweek Challenge – leaving the Millennials in silence, and me on the couch the entire weekend. But the message was sent, don’t be messing with Goomba, the Step-King.

(As to Week 2 and 3, we’re not talking about that. Let’s move on to Week 4.) [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly.

A very sweet light is spreading over the Earth like a perfume. The moon is slowly dissolving and a boy-sun languidly stretches his translucent arms…Cool murmurings of pure waters that surrender themselves to the hillsides. A pair of wings dances in the rosy atmosphere.

Silence, my friends.

The day is about to begin.

Clarice Lispector, “Fever Dream” from The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector


Notes:

  • Photo:Unfathomable Depths by Ibai Acevedo (via see more)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

Think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer here.

I’m listening (half listening) to this NPR podcast titled How Art Changes Us and half surfing.

I pause when I hear a familiar voice.  It’s Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.

For the next 10 minutes, he has my full attention.

So here’s the instructions:

  1. Listen to 10 minutes (from 40:22 to 50:40) of this podcast How Art Changes Us and then,
  2. For the next 4 minutes (from 12:35 to 16:45), watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“.

Or if you don’t have 14 minutes, jump Step 1 and move to Step 2.


And here’s a few excerpts that lead into the punch line:

Q: When can you remember a time when you played music for somebody and it had a profound change on what was going on around them?

Benjamin Zander: It’s hard for me to remember a time when I played music when it didn’t have that effect on people because that’s the given. I consider music to be a transformational experience. Mendelssohn said that music is a much more precise language than words. And when you think how easily we misunderstand words, and God knows there is enough evidence of that at this time. Music speaks directly to the heart. It speaks through the molecules. It is irresistible…

All the emotions that human beings are capable of feeling can be represented in music. It’s the music that generates the emotion that releases the human experience. It doesn’t go through the brain. It goes through the molecules…

It’s one thing to hear it in your earphones alone. It is quite another to hear it in a concert hall with 2000 other people who are all experiencing it together, and whose reaction and spontaneous enthusiasm at the end is part of the experience…

And on a tour, when you go from one town to another, you have the sense that people come out of the concerts with a different feeling about life, with a different perspective and with a different sense of being. And that’s why we do it and keep doing it and keep doing it. And as I approach my 80th birthday I have no intention to stop doing it at any point. It’s my life blood. That’s where I get my joy from. It’s the sense that people’s lives are really transformed.

Q: You play this piece by Chopin, but first you ask everyone to do something.

Zander: Yes. “Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there. A beloved grandmother. A lover. Somebody in your life who you love with all your heart. But that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind and at the same time follow that long line from B to E and you’ll hear everything that Chopin had to say.

(Now for the next 4 minutes from 12:35 to 16:45, watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“)


Photo of Benjamin Zander

Miracle. All of it.

“In this exclusive clip from this Sunday’s Blue Planet II episode, we see Clownfish working together to move a coconut shell, which they will use to lay eggs on. This behaviour has never been filmed before. This is the incredible moment a family of clownfish work together to bring a heavy coconut shell back home. Footage from Blue Planet II shows the fish using all their strength and cunning to move the shell across the ocean floor – – pushing large objects sometimes up to 10 times their own weight – an incredible feat for a tiny fish.  Of course there’s a serious reason for this peculiar behaviour. Clownfish – or anemone fish as they’re also known – need a suitable surface for their mate to lay their eggs on.

The anemone fish is surrounded by danger on the reef but finds refuge among the stinging tentacles of the anemone because it is immune to its poison.

The footage was filmed by producer Jonathan Smith and underwater cameraman Roger Munns using ground-breaking probe cameras. The lenses allowed the team to get right down onto the eye line of the clownfish. In total, the team spent 120 hours filming the fish in order to finally capture their collecting behaviour.”

Source: If you can’t see the video above, find it at Daily Mail.


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly.

For the flight of a single butterfly
the entire sky is needed.

~ Paul Claudel,  1868 – 1955, French poet and dramatist.


Notes:

  • Photo Source: My Modern Met. France-based street artist Mantra transforms multi-story buildings into gigantic butterfly specimen cases in a series of clever, trick-of-the-eye 3D murals. The enormous, hyper-realistic butterflies appear to be set within wooden-framed boxes, recessed into the side of each building. Long shadows and subtle details, which suggest a transparent glass surface, create a convincing level of depth that helps to enforce the head-turning optical illusions.
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Flying over I-40 N. With Cotton.

  • 2:38 a.m.  Alarm set for 3:30, Body set to go, Now.
  • 2:40 a.m.  Check Sleep App: 4 hr. 30 min. Could be worse.
  • 3:50 a.m.  “Good morning Mr. Kanigan. You’re off early.” No sh*t.
  • 4:00 a.m.  No car. Check calendar. I’m 30 minutes early. Wow. Nicely done.
  • 4:15 a.m.  I Shazam R&B tune coming thru hotel pipes. Leela James. Swept away.
  • 4:50 a.m.  DFW airport doors open. Insomniacs, airport workers and DK stream in.
  • 5:50 a.m.  Walk concourses. (Yes, Plural.) Fitbit Counter: 4,033.
  • 6:05 a.m.  Board AA# 1150 to NY LGA.
  • 6:25 a.m.  “We’ll be cruising at 31,000 ft.  Flight time: 3 hours. Expect a smooth flight.”
  • 6:37 a.m.  Eye lids heavy. Leela on loop crooning thru the earbuds.
  • 6:40 a.m.  Drifting to Bradbury‘s “country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.”

I’m flicking thru Netflix and spot him. Ray Liotta (Fields of Dreams / Goodfellas) in a 2016 movie titled Sticky Notes.  Papa Bear writes this on a Sticky Note to his daughter:

Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

I look out the window, and here we are…31,000 ft up and floating on fluffy, mountainous sized cotton balls.

Cotton balls. White. Cotton. Balls.

  • New cotton briefs. Stretch fabric. Contoured to snuggle it/them
  • New, cotton socks. Toes wiggle, happy.
  • Soft cotton twill Chinos, hugging the legs and thighs.
  • A velvety cotton, v-neck t-shirt wraps the chest and back.
  • A cotton button down shirt, hundreds of stitches, fitting just so…smooth.

“Whoever feels it deepest wins.”

Feels it deepest.

Wins.


Notes: Image: Perception is reality, Andrey Kasay

It’s been a long day


It is not always clear
these days whether between here and there,
I am supposed to break or
hold the line.

Cynthia Dewi Oka, from “Elegy with a White Shirt


Notes:

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