Archive for Topics of Interest
Ruth Buzzi’s Review is Making the Rounds
Originally posted on Amazon.com, Ruth Buzzi’s beautifully personal review of Dear Austin – A Letter To My Son has been picked up by the widely read, and highly respected literary blog, The New Book Review.
Ruth’s review includes a recounting of her own departure from home at the age of seventeen, with her father putting her on a flight to Los Angeles to attend The Pasadena Playhouse for the Performing Arts. She credits her father’s faith in her judgment, as well as her own drive and high goals, for her subsequent success in her chosen profession.
Read her entire review, and post your own comment, at The New Book Review.
The following video, from Newsweek, covers the highlights and lowlights of the first decade of the 21st Century in just 7 minutes. It’s not quite Cliff’s Notes, but it’ll do. It may be preceded by a 30 second commercial. But then, what isn’t? Enjoy.
Last year, about this time, my most excellent friend, Jeff, got a call from his brother, Richard, in Cleveland. Richard suggested to Jeff that, since there was nothing they could give to each other for Christmas that either of them really needed, maybe they should take the money that would be spent and give it to someone, or some cause, that could really use it.
Jeff considered this, and thought it was not only a good idea, but one that deserved wider exposure. So, the cheap bastard called me up and asked, “How about if I don’t give you a Christmas gift?” After my initial outcry, and amid a hail of obscenities and protests that I had been really good all year, he finally got around to explaining the idea that his brother had hatched. Grudgingly, I allowed as to how it probably wasn’t a terrible idea. And, I agreed to approach my “gift-giving” circle of friends to see how they felt about it. I suggested that this moratorium on gifts should not affect the children on our lists but, that instead of the adults exchanging gifts, we make a donation of equal or greater value to whatever charitable organization we considered worthy.
Ryan and I estimated what our gift expenditures would probably amount to, and chose to give a few hundred dollars to the Valley Food Bank, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. What better use, we decided, than making sure that a few families who might not have a decent Christmas dinner would get one. Our friends responded in kind. Or, I should say, at the very least they did not give us a Christmas gift. We prefer to believe they donated to charity instead. Except for one or two. They know who they are.
But, I decided to take it one step further. I also contacted all of our friends that did not ordinarily exchange gifts with us, and recommended they float this idea within their own gift-giving circles. If this could be passed along, sort of like a chain letter, the amount of good that could come from just a few hundred dollars in each circle of friends could be increased exponentially. I got positive responses from several of them, indicating that they had also gotten family and friends to agree to this plan.
And so, here it is the holiday season again. With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and Little Richard’s birthday all coming in December, there is something meaningful being celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Whether you’re celebrating for religious, or secular, or personal reasons, this is the time of year when most of us try to find the good in the rest of us; when we attempt to put aside our social and political differences to come together, however briefly, to recognize our common humanity.
We do that, in most cases, by exchanging gifts with the ones we love, and by being a little kinder to those we just like, or don’t know at all. I’m suggesting that those you love already know that you love them. I also believe that most of them would be proud to participate in a scheme that would take the ten, or twenty, or fifty dollars you might spend on their gifts to help someone that you, and they, don’t even know, have a better Christmas, or Hanukkah, or (insert your holiday here).
Most of us are fortunate enough to be with family and friends for our holidays, and to share in abundant meals, good times, and the warmth that comes from being together. More families than you can imagine will not have that in this holiday season, and no matter how generous you have been throughout the past eleven months, more is always desperately needed at this time of year.
So, this should put my friends and family on notice. If you’re older than 21, no gift for you. And we don’t expect one from you. Where your particular slice of the gift budget will be going, we haven’t decided yet. We may, once again, choose the Valley Food Bank. But we’re looking at several others as well. We may give to more than one of them. If you think you might want to participate, but don’t have a cause in mind, I’ve included a few links below to a handful of excellent choices. You can also find others in your local area that deserve your help. Pick one. Give. You’ll have a more satisfying, more fulfilled Little Richard’s Birthday. Trust me.
Save The Children: Donate as little as $10 to help train new mothers, and to feed, clothe, immunize, and educate children living in rural poverty in the U.S. and around the world.
Valley Food Bank: A central hub that collects, processes, and distributes food at no-charge to a network of rescue centers, food pantries, and soup kitchens to provide hot nutritious meals and food baskets to the homeless and to needy families throughout the San Fernando Valley.
And for the children on your list:
Avatar Movie Toys is the place to check for prices and information on all things Avatar – The Movie. A hot Christmas toy collection for every Avatar fan on your list.
FineChristmasGifts.com offers a list of the “Hottest” Christmas gifts for kids for the 2010 season.
Transformers Optimus Prime can be found at this site. Apparently a “must have” for many kids, I’m guessing mostly boys.
Bakugan Maxus Dragonoid is apparently second only to Optimus Prime on the most wanted list this year. You can find him here.
FurReal Friends interactive pets, like Lulu My Cuddllin Kitty Cat, are listed here with links to best prices and vendors.
The MP3 file, linked to below, is a five minute Halloween soundtrack created by me and my son, Austin, about seven or eight years ago. The voices are ours, run through a pitch conversion box, and the rest came from a few canned sound effects. Click on the link below, or the graphic above, to listen to it. Once you’re there, you may download it and use it by clicking on the down arrow at the right end of the progress bar, and selecting ‘Save as source” or “Save as Quicktime movie.”
Burn it to a CD, put it on your iPod, or just play it from your computer. Set it to repeat indefinitely, and it will play all Halloween night. It’s long enough that it won’t repeat in front of your Trick-or-Treaters. It is a stereo mix, and the effects move back and forth across the stereo field, but it also sounds fine in mono. If you have the ability to set up a pair of speakers about 25 feet apart in your yard, you’ll get the best stereo effect. We hide our speakers behind the shrubs. Have fun.
This file may be used and shared freely, but it may not be
sold, alone or in conjunction with any other files or products,
nor given as a free bonus for buying any product.
Copyright ©2009 David M. Perkins
On This Day -
1954, Elvis Presley released his second single on Sun Records, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” a song made popular in 1948 by Wynonie Harris.
1964, The Temptations begin recording “My Girl” which went on to be their first number one and the first of fifteen Top Ten hits.
1965, “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire topped the charts and stayed there for a week.
1967, The Beatles record “Fool On The Hill” in London at Abbey Road Studios.
1968, Welsh singer Mary Hopkin was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with “Those Were The Days.” Hopkin had signed to The Beatles’ Apple label after appearing on the UK television talent show Opportunity Knocks.
1970, Ringo Starr releases his solo album “Beaucoups of Blues”
1970, the first episode of The Partridge Family premiered on television, featuring Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce.
Born On This Day -
1943, Gary Alexander, guitar, vocals, The Association, (1967 No.1 single ‘Windy’).
1945, Onnie Mcintyre, Average White Band, (1975 No.1 single ‘Pick Up The Pieces’).
1946, Jerry Penrod, bass player, Iron Butterfly. Their 17-minute ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ became a Top 30 hit.
Died On This Day -
1980, John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin, died at age 32.
Something You Didn’t Know -
In 1967 the BBC banned The Beatles “I Am The Walrus” from any airplay on radio and TV, convinced the song contained a drug reference somewhere in the lyric. Wow, ya think?
Read this. Amaze yourself. And then give your brain a little pat on the lobe for being a remarkable machine.
A new site is getting a lot of national attention for a new twist on a vintage theme; be kind to the planet. In the interest of full disclosure, the co-owner of Plum Journals (or co-plum, as she likes to call herself) is an old personal friend of mine, but that’s not why I’ve decided to give her site a plug. Besides, she hardly needs my help. I just happen to think it’s something visitors to this site might like to know about. I’ve also added it to my list of sites that I consider to be among the best, most interesting, and in this case, most eco-friendly uses of the web. I’ve put a link to Plum Journals under “Some of the Best Stuff” in the panel to the right.
So, what is a Plum Journal? In a sentence, it provides an easy and attractive way to keep a journal, or diary if you prefer, right on the desktop of your computer. No paper (unless you choose to print it out) or pen required. Now, the truth is, you can keep a journal in the word processor of your choice. Why should you spend nine bucks to keep it in a Plum Journal?
Well, one look at the time and talent that went into the designs at Plum Journals will answer that question. They are beautiful. It’s the difference between writing in a college ruled spiral notebook and writing on fine linen stationery. There’s something tranquil about it. You don’t get the tactile pleasure that comes with fine stationery, but you don’t get that with Microsoft Word either.
Okay, another disclosure here; I don’t keep a journal. I’d like to. I’ve tried to. But I don’t have the discipline to keep an active journal. And an entry every three or four months falls more into the category of random note taking than journaling. But, if you keep a journal or a diary, or think you’d like to, and you’d love a beautiful and convenient way to do it, this could be for you. And depending on when you decide to give it a try, their free trial offer may still be going on. If not, what the hell, it’s only $8.95 if you pay full freight. Skip a double mocha latte one day. You’ll be a better person for it.
According to PlumJournals.com you can keep your Plum Journal on your computer desktop, or on a USB flash drive, making it completely portable from one computer to another. They are platform independant, which means you can use them on a Mac or a PC, and once downloaded, you don’t need internet access to use them.
They are a gorgeous, paperless, and “green” alternative to traditional paper journals and diaries. On your desktop, they have the same look and feel of a real book. The pages even turn! So if you love your planet, and you love to journal, give my friend, Karen, a visit at http://plumjournals.com/.
The inventor of the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording, Les Paul, died today at the age of 94. Because of his hundreds of inventions and innovations, he is also considered the father of rock and roll which, if it existed at all, would certainly not have been the same without his contributions. He was still performing up until June of this year. He will be missed.
CLICK HERE to read more about Les Paul, his music, and his contributions to the instrument he helped to perfect.
In his New York Times column today, technical writer David Pogue explains how all major wireless phone companies use “The Mandatory 15-Second Voicemail Instructions” to chew up your airtime, and make hundreds of millions of dollars. BUT, he also explains what we can do about it. He’s organizing an email campaign, and has forewarned the phone companies that we’re coming.
If you are willing to spend 30 to 60 seconds of your time sending an email, Pogue actually thinks it will have an impact, and he has the correct email address you should use to share your concerns with your carrier. Read what you can do today at “Take Back the Beep Campaign.” It could well turn out to be worth far more than the time you spend reading.
If you haven’t seen the wonderful international music video “Stand By Me” you must click the link and go there now. Yes, it’s the old Ben E. King song, but it was recorded by dozens of artists all over the globe, and then cut together into a really creative and moving piece. Thanks to Lia Carmody for sending this to me.
You can CLICK HERE or use the link in the sidebar.