Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dancing with Wolves

A friend sent this to me, and I thought it so apropos for the New Year. It's called "Two Wolves". Enjoy.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson
about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness,
benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied,
"The one you feed

Monday, January 02, 2006

Remembering Shirley Horn

I had the enormous pleasure of catching Shirley Horn on the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center back in 2001. As I made my way to the South Foyer, I recalled reading about how Ms. Horn put the raising of her daughter before her music career, which only made more pronounced her prodigious gifts when she did find the time to record and/or go on tour. To the late, great Miles Davis, who discovered her, Shirley Horn was his favorite vocalist. When I entered the foyer, it was wall-to-wall people. The seats were filling up fast. I quickly scanned the front rows, hoping to find a seat, and becoming resigned that I might have to enjoy the show standing in back of the audience. Then I heard a woman's voice, "Here's a seat!" I turned in the voice's direction, and saw three well-dressed, middle-aged women, and the one proffering me the seat, beckoning me to come sit with them. It was apparent that these women were well acquainted with Ms. Horn, and wanted me to share in the experience up close. I offered up a silent prayer, and moved to claim my seat. A few minutes after sitting, I heard a buzz coming from the audience. I let my ears seek out the source of the commotion, and I saw a woman in white, glittering with diamonds, being wheeled out from the stage wings onto the stage. The buzz grew into enthusiastic, but warm applause, as Ms. Horn was positioned in front of an ebony concert grand piano, whose back faced the audience. All I could see of her was her exquistely coifed head, sparking with diamond earrings, her feet, and her long-fingered hands, which she began to flex. After a few seconds of this, her hands rose up out of view, as she simultaneously nodded to her long time bassist and drummer, Charles Ables and Steve Williams, and a luxurious sound of voice and chord followed. "This is heaven", I said to myself.

"Shirley Horn, the Grammy-winning jazz vocalist and pianist known for her intimate, whispery vocals and top-drawer piano playing, died yesterday (Oct. 20) at Gladys Spellman Nursing Home in Cheverly, Md., following an extended battle with diabetes. She was 71." Read more about Ms. Horn at BillBoard Magazine.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Martin Puryear: Evocative Minimalist

If you haven't heard of Martin Puryear, you must! Mr. Puryear, b. 1941 in Washington, DC, is exhibiting new sculpture at the Donald Young Gallery in Chicago, Saturday, December 10, 2005 to Saturday, February 11, 2006.

This is an artist whose work evokes the essence of things and ideas using the most unexpected media. As such, I personally find his work unique, inspiring, and a breath of fresh air in these politically-charged times when African American art, in order to be taken seriously, must limit itself to a literal expression of the 'black struggle', or various aspects of black culture. Martin Puryear showed me that African American artists have as much claims to creative license as any other artist throughout the world. "Puryear’s objects and public installations—in wood, stone, tar, wire, and various metals—are a marriage of Minimalist logic with traditional ways of making. Puryear’s evocative, dreamlike explorations in abstract forms retain vestigial elements of utility from everyday objects found in the world." Read more about Martin Puryear at Art: 21.

New Year's Eve

It's funny, but the reminder of our blessings on Thanksgiving, and our joy in The Birth of Our Holy Redeemer at Christmas, keeps the short, cold, monochromatic days of winter at bey. On December 26th, we awake and sigh, amazed at how quickly the most important day of the year has come and gone so quickly, and so ignominously. Yet, there's still hope. We have New Year's Eve to give us one last opportunity to extend the holiday euphoria. We brighten up, make some phone calls in search of that potentially perfect party, and dash off to our favorite wine and spirits store to stock up on Champagne, and other assorted booze. What is it about holidays that make us want to eat and drink more than we would on any other day of the year? In the midst of this self induced frenzy, we manage to keep the "realities" at a safe distance. We're still on holiday leave, so we don't want to think about the job; that romantic fling, that was sure to be our Winter's Love in Spring; or the annual fight with your brother-in-law when family gets together on Christmas. Perhaps, before we go a-partying, we will attend a New Year’s Eve Watch Night Service, where we can lay these burdens down.

So what is all this ruckus about? On the Cosmic Calendar, it's the quadrillionth tick of a decayed photon, after the Big Bang, that is real time. But with us Humans it's something relevant to our need to find solace in this big, cold, indifferent Universe. We are, at soul level, children crying out in the wilderness for an immense, all powerful parent figure to assure us that we are safe and loved. So we passionately embrace our myths, superstitions, and nightmares to remind us of our human weaknesses which condemn us to a life bereft of our unrealized potential. "Surely," we try to convince ourselves, "Heaven is a far more attractive place than exploring the dark regions of the Universe, in beautifully constructed spaceships?" Heaven and angel wings vs. Alpha Centuri and the challenge of building intergallactic hardware is the question. That said, the clock strikes midnight and Earth has completed its 365th revolution around the Sun. We rejoice, not in this primary physical (f)act, but for the alcohol that has allowed us to feel released from all the guilt and shame acquired over the course of all the years passed. "Good Riddance, 2005!", we might slur, and place our now drained glass on the bar. Now that we are brand new beings, with brand new shiny souls, our next mission is to find a face to kiss--if we're single; or kiss the face we're with, keeping our fingers crossed that in this new year, our partner will finally devulge his or her real salary.

Having said all of the above, I'll be at home, stroking my PC keys with a glass of my favorite Shiraz. It's been a pleasure commensurating with all of you with whom I commensurated with in 2005; and it is my dearest wish that 2006 will bring you a ton of money, and the love of a life time!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


It has long been my view that the Pharmaceutical Industry wasn't interested in developing an AIDS cure as long as it was making tons of money from the Insurance Industry through the development and sale of antiviral drugs that only "manage" the disease. These drugs have a low threshhold of resistance, making the patient dependent on newer, available, non-resistant antivirals. This cycle of dependence ensures more money for the drug companies for an interminable future. We tend to forget that drug companies are corporations, only responsible to their shareholders.

Now my fears and suspicions have been confirmed. "According to a high-ranking AIDS researcher, pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to create an HIV vaccine, and will more likely wait until the government develops one." Read rest of article at: http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=4203