What I See ~

Kennedy ~ Huxley ~ Lewis

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November 22, 1963 Kennedy Assassinated…

…barely noticed that same day, C.S Lewis died of renal failure (loss of kidney function). Lewis, a prolific novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, and Christian apologist is perhaps best known for the series of seven books, ”The Chronicles of Narnia”.

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No that's not his dog!

No that’s not his dog!

C.S. Lewis stands for Clive Staples Lewis. When he was four he declared that his new name would be Jacksie (his beloved dog Jacksie had recently died). From then on his family and friends called him Jacksie and eventually Jack.

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A Taste of Jack:

  • You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

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  • Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
  • Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Illistrations (5)

  • Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
  • Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Illistrations (3)

  • Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.
  • If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

Illistrations (10)

  • Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.
  • We are what we believe we are.

Illistrations (15)

Narnia illustrations by Pauline Baynes

Joy Davidman

Joy Davidman

Later in Lewis’s life he first corresponded with and ultimately met Joy Gresham, an American writer and poet. Initially he regarded her as an equally intelligent companion and friend. He married her in a civil marriage contract April of 1956 so she could continue to live in England. Lewis was the kind of guy who would go to extraordinary lengths to help his friends, and he considered Joy a friend.

Lewis’s brother Warren wrote: “For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humor and a sense of fun.”

The couple fell deeply in love and greatly desired a Christian marriage. There were some glitches as the Church of England frowned on a divorcee being married in the Church. Lewis enlisted help from his friend, the Rev. Peter Bide who agreed to perform the marriage ceremony from her bed side in March of 1957. Tragically she died of bone cancer July of 1960.

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Steeped in sorrow and pain he wrote Grief Observed under the pseudonym N W Clerk. Ironically many friends recommended the book to help him deal with his own grief.

Epitaph C. S. Lewis placed on Joy’s grave:davidman_memorial_plaque

Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hope that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.

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Re-adjustment ~ C.S. Lewis

I thought there would be a grave beauty, a sunset splendor
In being the last of one’s kind: a topmost moment as one watched
The huge wave curving over Atlantis, the shrouded barge
Turning away with wounded Arthur, or Ilium burning.
Now I see that, all along, I was assuming a posterity
Of gentle hearts: someone, however distant in the depths of time,
Who could pick up our signal, who could understand a story. There won’t be.

Between the new Hembidae and us who are dying, already
There rises a barrier across which no voice can ever carry,
For devils are unmaking language. We must let that alone forever.
Uproot your loves, one by one, with care, from the future,
And trusting to no future, receive the massive thrust
And surge of the many-dimensional timeless rays converging
On this small, significant dew drop, the present that mirrors all.

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Snow in Madrid lotte-joy-davidman- Joy Davidman
Softly, so casual,
Lovely, so light, so light,
The cruel sky lets fall
Something one does not fight.
How tenderly to crown
The brutal year
The clouds send something down
That one need not fear.
Men before perishing
See with unwounded eye
For once a gentle thing
Fall from the sky.

Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, & C.S. Lewis all died on November 22, 1063

Kennedy, Aldous Huxley, & C.S. Lewis all died on November 23, 1963

…Of the People, By the People, For the People…

LincolnGivingGettysburgAddressFour score and seven years ago…

November 19, 1863: After a 2 hour speech by one of the most famed orators of the era, Abraham Lincoln made a few “appropriate remarks” that became one of the most brilliant and powerful expressions of the democratic vision ever written (spoken), the Gettysburg Address. It took him only 272 words, just a bit over 2 minutes to reflect on his belief that the Civil War was not only a fight to save the Union but a declaration of freedom and equality for all. [above: Lincoln giving his Gettysburg Address – painting by Fletcher Cransom]

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One of the only two confirmed photos of Abraham Lincoln (sepia highlight) at Gettysburg, taken about noon.

More than 45,000 men were killed, captured or injured during the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. 45,000… that’s a lot of blood.

DavidWillsAn attorney, David Wills (left) bought 17 acres of pasture land to turn it into a cemetery for more than 7500 Gettysburg dead. Wills invited the famed orator, Edward Everett, to deliver a speech and almost as an afterthought asked Lincoln requesting, “a few appropriate remarks” to concentrate the grounds.

Wills invitation to Lincoln

Wills invitation to Lincoln

Everett

Everett

Afterward Everett sent a letter to the President praising his speech for its eloquence and concision saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

Lincoln replied that he was glad to know the speech was not a “total failure”.

Often referred to as the "Gettysburg Portrait," it was taken in Washington D.C. eleven days prior to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Often referred to as the “Gettysburg Portrait,” it was taken in Washington D.C. eleven days prior to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Sarah A. Cooke Myers, an eye witness to the ceremony (she was 19 when she attended) recollected that the response from the crowd was hushed. When he stopped speaking there was initially no applause, “the applause was delayed, scattered, and “barely polite”. Pennsylvania Governor Curtin said, “He pronounced that speech in a voice that all the multitude heard. The crowd was hushed into silence because the President stood before them … It was so Impressive! It was the common remark of everybody.”

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Close up of Lincoln

Regarding the above picture, from author,Craig Heberton, his ebook- ABRAHAM LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG: A REVIEW OF ALEXANDER GARDNER’S STEREOSCOPIC PHOTOGRAPHS (2012).

An eyewitness to the event, Professor Henry E. Jacobs, then a student at Gettysburg’s Lutheran Seminary, recollected that:

“As Mr. Everett was closing his oration, Mr. Lincoln, I thought, was showing some of that nervousness, which, according to Cicero, characterizes all successful oratory. His mind evidently was not on what Mr. Everett was saying, but on his own speech. He drew from his pocket a metallic case and adjusted a pair of steel glasses near the top of his nose. Then, reaching into the side pocket of his coat, he produced a crumpled sheet of paper, which he first carefully smoothed and then read for a few minutes. By this time Mr. Everett had reached his final periods.”

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Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

drinkJoinesActually it was grape flavored Flavor-Aid…

…laced with cyanide and Valium, placed in barrels for members of the Peoples Temple to drink. This way, Jim Jones told them, they wouldn’t have their children and elderly tortured by those crazy, government people.

Don’t mean to bring you down, just a reminder, “he who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it.” On this day in 1978 the Jonestown Massacre was the single deadliest non-natural disaster in the history of the United States. Not until September 11, 2001 (9/11) were more people killed. It is also the only time in our history that a U.S Congressman was killed in the line of duty.

2771_final-report-jonestown-1_04700300-tmActually it was George Santayana (1863-1952), who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Jim Jones played off the concept of humanitarianism which his followers had initially been attracted to, used the cause of Civil Rights, and preached equality rooted in communism to feed on people’s fears and guilt’s. He promised to create a ‘rainbow family’ where everyone was truly equal.

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Teri Buford O’Shea, who escaped just weeks before the mass murders and suicides, recalled, “The first time I met him, I was convinced he could read minds, cast spells, do all kinds of powerful things, both good and evil. I was afraid of him and stayed afraid of him for seven years.”

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After all was said and done many of Jones’ followers still believed in his vision. A note from one woman who drank the Flavor Aid was found on his body, the note reads, “I agree with your decision — I fear only that without you the world may not make it to communism.”

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gal-assassinated-ryan-jpgU.S. Congressman Leo Ryan (left) from San Mateo, CA heard some reports of weird things going on in Jonestown so he, an advisor, an NBC film crew and some Peoples Temple relatives set out for Jonestown located in the South American country of Guyana.

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Ryan on the right

Initially everything looked fine but later that first evening someone slipped a note to one of the film crew saying some members wanted out.

The following day, November 18, 1978, Ryan announced that he was willing to take anyone who wished to leave back to the United States. Being terrified of the wrath of Jones, only a few people accepted.

When it was time to leave, a group of people scrambled to get on the truck. Ryan stayed back to see if anyone else wanted to go. Before the truck was out of sight a Temple member attacked Ryan trying to cut his throat.

Remembering Jonestown

The assailant failed, but it became obvious that the whole group was in danger as they picked up Ryan and raced off to the airport. They arrived safely at the airport but the planes were not ready to go. As they waited a truck and trailer pulled up and Temple members started shooting, killing Ryan and four others. Many others were severely injured. The rest escaped into the jungle.

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Back in Jonestown Jones gathered members and told them what had happened, that Ryan was dead. He was in a panic (he was nuts, IMHO) and pushed everything to happen quickly. He told them the U.S Government was going to send paratroopers to shoot and torture innocent babies and the elderly, saying, “If these people land out here, they’ll torture some of our children here. They’ll torture our people, they’ll torture our seniors. We cannot have this.”

syringes & cups

Now this M-F-er told everyone to hurry. Large kettles were filled with the Flavor-Aid spiked with cyanide and Valium. They brought their babies and children up first using syringes to squirt death down the throats of the innocents. Then the mothers drank.

The rest of the sheep congregation was next. Many were dead before the others even got their punch. If anyone was a little hesitant, guards with guns and crossbows were around to encourage them. It took about five minutes for each person to die.

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All in all 918 died, 276 of them were children. A handful of people survived by either escaping into the jungle or hiding somewhere in the compound. The coward Jones died by taking the easy way out with a gunshot to the head. It’s unclear whether he did it himself or not.

http://www.history.com/topics/jonestown/videos/jonestown-massacre

Lest we forget.

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Thar She Blows…

Boom-Big

Nov 12, 1970: Thar She Blows

Guys like to blow things up right, and George Thornton couldn’t wait to blow up a whale beached on a Florence OR, shoreline. Whoo-Hoo!

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Fin Whale

Fin Whale

Residents of Florence  found a dead 45-foot whale on their local beach. Originally thought to be a gray whale, then a humpback, or a sei whale, biologists now believe it to be a fin whale.

They figured it was too big to bury so decided to blow it up thinking it would disintegrate into pieces small enough for scavengers to clear up.

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George Thornton

George Thornton

A HALF TON of dynamite was lined along the shoreward side of the whale hoping it would blast the blubber back out to the sea. Frankly, Thornton had no idea how much dynamite they would need for the job so guessed more was better.

Laying Dynamite

Laying Dynamite

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It just so happened that Walter Umenhofer was on the scene looking for a manufacturing site for his employer. Umenhofer, a military veteran with explosives training, warned Thornton that the amount of dynamite he was planning to use was very, very wrong. Instead of 20 cases he suggested 20 sticks of dynamite. Thornton wasn’t interested in his advice.

An Odd Coincidence

Umenhofer had just recently bought a new Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regence from Dunham Oldsmobile in Eugene, OR. He bought the Olds during their “Get a Whale of a Deal” promotion. His 98 Olds was flattened by a chunk of falling blubber from the blast.

smashed-car

Paul Linnman

Paul Linnman

The blast was caught on film by cameraman Doug Brazil, with reporter Paul Linnman of KATU-TV Portland, OR. The explosion blew large pieces of smelly blubber up to a quarter mile away landing near buildings, parking lots and businesses in the vicinity.

Most of the whale remained on the beach to be cleared away by highway workers. Ironically, the scavenger birds they hoped would eat the remains of the carcass were all scared away by the blast.

In ending his report, Linnman noted that, “It might be concluded that, should a whale ever be washed ashore in Lane County again, those in charge will not only remember what to do, they’ll certainly remember what not to do.”

Charlize Theron Gets Hit By Exploding Whale

wilbur_the_washed-up_whale_607835 scientific-research large funny-pictures-auto-comics-spaceavalanche-364282 d9f180681ffa7d0 'Hey, nice hammock, Gary.' Whale Watch Tours. 'Call me paranoid if you like, but I feel as if people are watching me all the time...'

A Day Dedicated to the Cause of World Peace

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Veterans Day

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My Dad

World War I, “The Great War”, “The War to End all Wars” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. But that doesn’t reveal the “real” end of WWI. Fighting ended seven months earlier on… the eleventh hour… of the eleventh day… of the eleventh month, November 11, 1918.

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The U.S. Congress officially recognized the end of WWI passing a resolution on June 4, 1926:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

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Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

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Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

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An Act approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday ~ a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.

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Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

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Sung in a Slurry… Jazz, Pop, Soul, Rock

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Rickie Lee Jones 

Rickie Lee Jones was born today, November 8, 1954, on the north side of Chicago. The third of four children the family moved to Arizona in ’59. At age 10 the family moved to Olympia WA where her father abandoned them, ouch! Rickie Lee dropped out of school in the 11th grade but eventually took her GED and enrolled in college in Tacoma WA.Rickie+Lee+Jones+rickielee

On her 18th birthday she moved to Huntington Beach CA and then to Venice, CA where she enrolled in Santa Monica College studying anthropology and music.

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She met Tom Waits at the Troubadour (West Hollywood) in 1977. The two were lovers for a while but ultimately created a lifelong association.

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Tom Waits & Rickie Lee

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Waits, left, Weiss & Jones

Her first album, Rickie Lee Jones, was released in 1979 and was a major success, selling over 2 million copies in the U.S alone by June of 1981. It included the recording we all remember, Chuck E’s in Love, about one of her and Tom Waits close friends, Chuck E Weiss.

Accompanying her on that album (among others) were the likes of Dr. John, keyboards; Michael McDonald, vocals; Randy Newman, synthesizer; Johnny Mandel, arrangements.

Following the album’s release and returning from a hugely successful world tour, Jones appeared on a cover of Rolling Stone magazine that became the largest selling issue in the magazines history. Of note: that issue announced the death of George Lowell, founder of Little Feat, who had recently died of heart failure, June 29 1979.

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Rickie Lee got five nominations at the 1979 Grammy’s: Record of the Year; Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female; Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female; Song of the Year for “Chuck E.’s in Love“; and Best New Artist, which she won.

Rickie

Being the consummate rebel she decided not to attend the ceremony. At the last minute though she changed her mind, racing to the event with her mentor, Bob Regher, just in time for her to walk up and collect her award for Best New Artist. In her signature beret and boa, leather jacket and gloves she accepted the trophy thanking her lawyers and accountant which became a hallmark for her in forthcoming speeches. In contrast, the trend that year (from Dylan to Neil Diamond) was to thank God.

27match-booming-rickyleejones-articleLargeHer latest work, The Devil You Know, was released September of 2012. Rickie Lee moved to New Orleans in 2013 where she is working on a forthcoming album, the first music she has written in over ten years.

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Album Covers

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Rickie Lee Jones Official Web Site:

http://www.rickieleejones.com/

“…never yet met a man that I dident like.”

Will Rogers in famous vaudeville promotional photo.

Will Rogers Born November 4, 1879

“I never yet met a man that I dident [his spelling] like”, a line that became the trademark of Will Rogers, born today in 1879. Rogers expressed the views of the “common” man in America as he wrote and spoke from a non-partisan viewpoint and became a friend of presidents and confidant of the great.

will-rogers-circa-1905-courtesy-Will-Rogers-Memorial-MuseumThe cowboy philosopher, humorist and one of the most beloved entertainers of the early 20th century was born on a ranch in Cherokee Indian territory. Being ¼ Cherokee he often quipped, “that his ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat.”

A 10th grade dropout he wrote seven books, an autobiography, a regular newspaper column, thousands of newspaper articles, magazine articles and short commentaries called “daily telegrams”. He made 48 silent movies, 21 feature films. His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain’s, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

FDR+Son+Will-RodgersHe liked FDR and supported the New Deal legislation. He called the Supreme Court justices, “the nine old gentlemen in the kimonos”, when they struck down the New Deal legislation. He relentlessly ridiculed Prohibition, in 1920 warned Americans that they were living beyond their means and in 1930 predicted that Germany would re-emerge as a world threat.

will rogersRogers loved to fly, was a friend to Charles Lindbergh and became an advocate for the aviation industry. On August 15, 1935 he and famous pilot Wiley Post were planning to fly from Fairbanks to Point Barrow Alaska, the northern most point in Alaska. They weren’t far from Point Borrow when, not being sure of where they were, landed in a lagoon to ask directions. When they took off the motor failed, at such a low altitude with no room for error, they crashed into the lagoon ripping off the right wing and ending up inverted in the shallow water. Both men died instantly.

Will Rogers on the wing with Wiley Post in front of plane

Will Rogers on the wing with Wiley Post in front of plane

In his own words:

  • There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
  • Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
  • Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.
  • Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to somebody else.

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  • The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.
  • Why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.
  • We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.

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  • You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.
  • People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  • Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.

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  • You can’t say civilization don’t advance… in every war they kill you in a new way.
  • Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn’t have to advertise it.
  • When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states.
  • It’s a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.

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  • I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
  • Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.
  • The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, ‘How is the president?’

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  • The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.
  • Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.
  • Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.

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Micheal Crichton

MichaelCrichton

Born Today October 23, 1942

Had to give a tribute to one of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, who was born today in 1942. Jurassic Park, Lost World, Andromeda Strain, Rising Sun, Disclosure, Congo, Sphere, Timeline, Airframe, the list goes on. What’s your favorite?

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Crichton’s books have sold over 200 million copies… that’s a lot of books. He was the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in television, film, and book sales with ER, Jurassic Park and Disclosure, respectively.

Crichton was first published at the ripe old age of 14, it was a column related to travel published in the New York Times. He began his studies in 1960 at Harvard but having issues with the English department he switched his studies to biological anthropology and eventually Harvard Medical School where he graduated with an M.D.

Big Sisters Gala in honor of Kathleen Kennedy

Michael Ovitz, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Crichton (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage) He was a tall guy!

He worked clinical rotations at Boston City Hospital but grew disenchanted with the medical culture there and never obtained his license to practice medicine devoting himself instead to his writing career.

6a00d83451c20869e2010535dd8641970c-800wiCrichton grew up as an awkward adolescent and felt isolated because of his height. He Was 6’9”. During the 70’s and 80’s he consulted with psychics and gurus, eventually feeling more as ease with himself. He practiced meditation and was a deist.

As a workaholic he would take 6 or 7 weeks to draft a novel withdrawing himself completely to a ritualistic self-denial until he completed the work. As he got near to finishing he would rise earlier each day sometimes sleeping less than 4 hours… going to bed at 10 to wake at 2am and keep working.

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Crichton was a very private guy so us fans didn’t know he had lymphoma until he died. He was undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the time of his death. Physicians and family members expected him to make a recovery. He died November 4, 2008.

As a pop novelist, he was divine. A Crichton book was a headlong experience driven by a man who was both a natural storyteller and fiendishly clever when it came to verisimilitude; he made you believe that cloning dinosaurs wasn’t just over the horizon but possible tomorrow. Maybe today.

—Stephen King on Crichton, January 22, 2009

Novels adapted into films

Year – Title – Filmmaker/Director

  • 1971 – The Andromeda Strain, Robert Wise
  • 1972 – Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues, Paul Williams
  • 1972 – The Carey Treatment (A Case of Need), Blake Edwards
  • 1974 – The Terminal Man, Mike Hodges
  • 1979 – The First Great Train Robbery, Michael Crichton
  • 1993 – Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg
  • 1993 – Rising Sun, Philip Kaufman
  • 1994 – Disclosure, Barry Levinson
  • 1995 – Congo, Frank Marshall
  • 1997 – The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg
  • 1998 – Sphere, Barry Levinson
  • 1999 – The 13th Warrior (Eaters of the Dead), John McTiernan
  • 2003 – Timeline, Richard Donner
  • 2008 – The Andromeda Strain (TV miniseries), Mikael Salomon

As a screenwriter or director

Year – Title – Notes

  • 1972 – Pursuit (TV film)-Co-writer/Director
  • 1973 – Extreme Close-Up also titled Sex Through A Window-Writer
  • 1973 – Westworld-Writer/Director
  • 1978 – Coma-Writer/Director
  • 1979 – The First Great Train Robbery-Writer/Director
  • 1981 – Looker-Writer/Director
  • 1984 – Runaway-Writer/Director
  • 1989 – Physical Evidence-Director
  • 1993 – Jurassic Park-Co-writer
  • 1993 – Rising Sun-Co-writer
  • 1996 – Twister-Co-writer/Producer
  • 2001 – Jurassic Park III-Based on characters created by

Television series

Year-Title-Notes

  • 1980 – Beyond Westworld - Creator/Writer
  • 1994 – 2009 – ER -  Creator/Writer/Executive producer

Novels

  • Odds On                               (1966)
  • Scratch One                          (1967)
  • Easy Go                                (1968)
  • A Case of Need                      (1968)
  • Zero Cool                              (1969)
  • The Andromeda Strain           (1969)
  • The Venom Business              (1969)
  • Drug of Choice                      (1970)
  • Dealing                                 (1970)
  • Grave Descend                      (1970)
  • Binary                                  (1972)
  • The Terminal Man                  (1972)
  • The Great Train Robbery        (1975)
  • Eaters of the Dead                 (1976)
  • Congo                                   (1980)
  • Sphere                                 (1987)
  • Jurassic Park                         (1990)
  • Rising Sun                            (1992)
  • Disclosure                             (1994)
  • The Lost World                      (1995)
  • Airframe                               (1996)
  • Timeline                                (1999)
  • Prey                                     (2002)
  • State of Fear                         (2004)
  • Next                                     (2006)
  • Pirate Latitudes                     (2009)
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The Guggenheim

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Upside-down Cupcake

On this day in 1959 a giant upside down cupcake was opened as an art museum in New York City. A home to one of the world’s top collections of contemporary art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum boasts a ground breaking design by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. checklist_heald_03_800 The Guggenheim is located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, just east of Central Park on 5th Avenue and East 89th Street. It is the permanent home to an always expanding collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art. The museum also features special exhibits throughout the year. 7592434524_c0df47c9e4 Solomon Guggenheim loved art and had been collecting works of the old masters since the 1890’s. In 1926 he hooked up with artist Hilla von Rebay who changed his collecting strategy, influencing him towards abstract art. She felt it revealed a spiritual, utopian aspect to art… and she was kinda cute. Rebay was the unsung driver in creating the museum and is worth reading more about: [For more on Hilla von Rebay click here]

Hilla Rebay at the age of 45, New York, 1935

Hilla Rebay at the age of 45, New York, 1935

In 1943 Guggenheim and Rebay wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright asking him to design a structure to house his growing collection of contemporary art. It took Wright 15 years and 700 sketches to create the museum.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, Solomon Guggenheim at the unveiling of the model for the Guggenheim Museum, August, 1945

Frank Lloyd Wright, left, Hilla Rebay, Solomon Guggenheim at the unveiling of the model for the Guggenheim Museum, August, 1945

The spiral design recalled a nautilus shell, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another.[1] Wright explained, “these geometric forms suggest certain human ideas, moods, sentiments – as for instance: the circle, infinity; the triangle, structural unity; the spiral, organic progress; the square, integrity.” Guggenheim001-BM-Berlin-Tokio

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Museum under construction in photo taken on Nov. 12, 1957

The museum opened October 21, 1959, ten years after the death of Guggenheim and six months after the death of Wright. Although the museum was highly criticized before and during its construction, the building became widely praised and has inspired architects and museum design since its opening. A few works in the Guggenheim collection:

František Kupka, 1909–10, Planes by Colors, Large Nude

František Kupka, 1909–10, Planes by Colors, Large Nude

Paul Klee, 1922, Red Balloon

Paul Klee, 1922, Red Balloon

Amedeo Modigliani, 1917, Nude (Nu), oil on canvas

Amedeo Modigliani, 1917, Nude (Nu), oil on canvas

Alexander Archipenko, 1913, Pierrot-carrousel, painted plaster

Alexander Archipenko, 1913, Pierrot-carrousel, painted plaster

Jean Metzinger, 1912, Femme à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan), oil on canvas

Jean Metzinger, 1912, Femme à l’Éventail (Woman with a Fan), oil on canvas

Theo van Doesburg, 1918, oil on canvas

Theo van Doesburg, 1918, oil on canvas

Fernand Léger, 1912–13, Nude Model in the Studio

Fernand Léger, 1912–13, Nude Model in the Studio

Franz Marc, 1911, The Yellow Cow

Franz Marc, 1911, The Yellow Cow

2010-01-guggenheim-2000 [1] Levine, p 340

Meet Salix Amygdaloides, “Grandpa Tree”

Grandpa Tree

Meet “Grandpa Tree”

Recently a new friend mentioned a giant old tree she once visited that was fairly close to my neighborhood. She asked if I had heard of it. I decided to investigate and found a National Champion sleeping in the neighborhood.

From an August 1988 article in The Milwaukee Journal I found that the tree was first “discovered” by a guy riding past it on his bicycle. It was starting to get a bit chilly so Eugene Zanow stopped pedaling to zip up his jacket. He noticed a large clump of tree limbs and having a curious nature decided to investigate.

Eugene Zanow

Eugene Zanow

He crossed the stream and came across this giant peach-leaf willow (salix amygdaloides). Sensing he had found something special he notified the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who keep track of the biggest trees in the state. After verifying the species and taking measurements they notified the American Forestry Association out of Washington D.C. who verified the measurements and awarded it National Champion status for a peach-leaf willow. This tree is the largest of its kind in the country.

I had to see it for myself.

Guesstimating where it might be from the coordinates I found on-line I saw nothing but thick undergrowth, bushes and tree limbs. How could a giant national champion reside here? It should be easily seen right?

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Shuffling down a muddy slope that led to the edge of a small stream I saw the ghostly figure. There it was, just across the stream!

Grandpa Tree

Grandpa Tree

Big trees.

The General Sherman Sequoia in Sequoia Park is the largest living thing on earth. 83 feet in circumference and approximately 2500 years old.

General Sherman

General Sherman

There are about 826 species of native and introduced trees in the US. They are measured every couple years with the national record trees recorded and published by the American Forestry Association.

All but one of the country’s 25 largest trees are located in the West. The one Eastern tree is a bald cypress in Louisiana.

Louisiana Bald Cypress

Louisiana Bald Cypress

Florida hosts 148 national champions.

Wisconsin claims 4 National Champions; a gray birch, black spruce, silver maple and this peach-leaf willow.

Grandpa Tree -  Peach-leaf Willow

Grandpa Tree -
Peach-leaf Willow

Minnesota has three, the jack pine, red pine and white spruce.

Michigan on the other hand has 75 of the record trees.

Of our state’s national record-trees, the peach-leaf willow is the largest known tree in Wisconsin. It is also the eighth biggest tree in the eastern states. Known as the “Grandpa Tree” for many years by local people, it grows in Greenfield Park on the west side of 116th Street in West Allis, Milwaukee County.

116st

  • Circumference: 417 inches
  • Height: 58 feet
  • Spread: 82 feet
  • Points: 495-5
  • Location: Milwaukee county, in Greenfield Park, West Allis, on the west side of 116th St.
  • Nominated: 8/5/88 
  • Date last measured: 2000

Peach-leaf willows are not that common in Wisconsin. They grow sparingly in the southern two-thirds of the state mostly in wet woods bordering rivers. The peach-leaf is abundant in the Rocky Mountains growing along nearly all rivers that flow from the Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico.

Makes me wonder how many people have driven by this awesome tree without realizing that in that thick brush is one of the state’s largest trees. I like how poet William Blake (1757-1827) put it:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is, in the eye of others, only a green thing which stands in the way. As a man is, so he sees.”

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Me on back-side of tree

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