Monday, June 30, 2014

"But some day greater dragons will come into the world."

"How many things are now called the worst evil, which are only twelve feet wide and three months long! But some day greater dragons will come into the world."- FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

     Starring the incredibly talented Australian super hunk, Eric Bana (Lone Survivor, Troy, Munich) and Venezuelan heart throb Edgar Ramirez, a new American crime-horror story directed by Scott Derrickson debuts in theaters July 2nd.  "Deliver Us From Evil" is based on  the factual accounts of Ralph Sarchie (Bana) a New York cop who encounters a renegade priest, Mendoza (Ramirez), after being pulled into a supernatural case. The priest tries to convince Sarchie, against his religious beliefs, that all of the strange and horrifying occurrences are demonically related. Together, the unlikely duo collaborate to solve an epic mystery, combating paranormal forces working against them.

     The movie may conjure up weak comparisons to "Se7en", "Silence of the Lambs", "The Exorcist" and Derrickson's own "Exorcism of Emily Rose".  Bana and Ramirez make for a memorable team with HBO's Newsroom's gorgeous Olivia Munn and former Community star, comedian Joel McHale rounding out the cast .  If creepy, bone chilling and disturbing are your magic mix for a spooky thrill ride,  hold on to your popcorn and don't miss the darkness.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"As the moon follows the path of the stars."

 “Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.”- Ikkyu     

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"One person can make a difference, and every person should try."

“Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” – Jean Kilbourne

     On Monday June, 23rd, 168 children were rescued from sex trafficking abuse as part of a nation-wide investigation known as Operation Cross Country VIII. Additional statistics can be found on the FBI 's website .  Your local, state and federal law enforcement partners and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children took part in a week-long operation becoming the largest and most successful Operation Cross Country to date. The investigation spanned 106 cities, including areas in Illinois, Ohio and Missouri. The Innocence Lost National Initiative has resulted in the identification and recovery of approximately 3,600 children who have been sexually exploited. This year’s Operation Cross Country sweep was the eighth since its inception in 2003.
     As Americans we need to be reminded that sex trafficking is not just an illegal activity happening over seas or only involves children in third world countries. Child prostitution occurs in our own neighborhoods, to relatives, children you know, teach or interact with medically or professionally on a daily basis. If you suspect a child or an adult is in danger:
    Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline is available 365 days per year. The NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government. If you are reporting an emergency, call 911.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces."

Wake, butterfly -
It's late, we've miles
To go together.
- Basho

     Many of our lessons in resilience are learned simply by being alive as members of the human race.  Resilience is pushing through our own painful gauntlet, emerging stronger and slightly more irrepressible on the other side. Have you been injured in an accident? Do you have  children? Have you struggled with divorce? Have you experienced war or combat? Did the death of a loved one have a devastating affect on your childhood? Have you been the victim of neglect or violence? The list of circumstances is endless. Opportunities to build our strength and  continue to grow on our journey are presented to us every moment.  With patience, we may gain the personal insight and courage needed to develop our true wisdom and sustain our resilience.

     * Recognize that you have a choice. Remaining emotionally paralyzed versus learning how to overcome your fear is a choice.

     * Accept change. Change is a natural part of the universe. It is happening all around us and within us at all times. When we constantly struggle against change, mentally, we will do more harm than good. Do we surrender to ghosts of the past and fear an unpredictable future? We hopelessly joust an invisible force that doesn't exist right now

     * Let go of anger. Let go of any emotion that will fester and cause you shame, guilt, frustration or resentment. Learn to understand yourself and cultivate self-awareness. Show others compassion but most importantly show yourself compassion.

     *Learn to laugh. Put life and negative situations into perspective. Pessimism and negativity stem from our inability to poke fun at ourselves. Self-righteous people rarely laugh at themselves. Satire, parody and a healthy sense of humor comes from an appreciation and understanding of the beauty and absurdity of life. 

    * Develop a sense of meaning by forming deeper connections with strangers, loved ones, animals, organizations of interest to you and especially by your own personal expression of culture, music and art. Remind yourself  daily you are a unique and beautiful soul whom like the once frail, confined caterpillar has been steadily emerging with stunning grace and gratitude from the struggle.

“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces."
Blueprint for a Breakthrough
― Shane Koyczan

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

     Friday, June 20th is  " Take Your Dog to Work Day"-  

     We love our dogs because dogs, unlike most human beings, are non judgmental. They want to be with us whether we are rich or poor, Jewish or atheist, gay or straight, Democrat or Republican.  The silence we share is profound. When you are with your beloved companion you never worry about being entertaining, charming, topical or keeping up with current events. With a dog you will always have the right words. Love can be shown in actions rather than words. Love can be felt in silence. No office gossip. You don't need to impress your dog with your expensive house, car, trophy spouse or superior knowledge of  business or politics. Dogs want to be with you because they love you. Period.

     Dogs love us unconditionally. Is there any greater love? How often can we sit comfortably with another companion in complete silence without the wheels of our mind spinning out of control? What should I say? What are they thinking? Did I remember to put on deodorant today? What time are we eating? The self absorbed endless spinning thoughts are all about our self- perception and our fragile ego. Dogs are the opposite of ego. Dogs don't care how much money you make, if you attended Harvard, MIT, burp out loud or chew with your mouth wide open. Dogs are always happy to be with us. They encourage our creativity by allowing us moments of silence. That's why taking them to work can be such a special time to share with your best friend. They are present without intruding on our solitude. They make us happy and they keep our minds and hearts in the moment. They keep us honest.

      When I shared my life with dogs we would sit peacefully outside or walk in the sunshine of a cool cloudless day and there was such a deep loving connection. A deep loving wordless connection.               Silence. Our own pets teach us patience, responsibility, compassion and to think outside of selfish behavior. Dogs increase our own health and wellness by encouraging exercise and lowering our blood pressure by petting and hugging them. Who hasn't bonded and become more sociable because they love dogs? So take your friend to work if permitted and enjoy a beautiful experience!.

 Remember, even if your boss and co-workers occasionally make your life a living hell, your dog is a little slice of heaven who will always love you no matter what!

Check the link below for more details regarding 'Take Your Dog to Work Day"

“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.” 
Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"And there is no end to illusion..."

“Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . . ”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Chicago natives, OK Go have a portfolio of some of the most remarkably creative videos ever assembled including "Needing/Getting", filmed on a race track obstacle course with microphones strapped to the bands helmeted heads while maneuvering a speeding vehicle.  Being accompanied by a rocking out gang of high school marching musicians for the video "This Too Shall Pass"  endeared them to band geeks across America. The memorable and adorable "White Knuckles" featured the ensemble interacting with some truly talented canines.  The bands 2006 award winning video for "Here It Goes Again " was directed by choreographer, Trish Sie. The video was shot while the band members performed on treadmills in one long continuous take. 

     So it comes as no surprise that OK Go chose to debut "The Writing's On the Wall", the first video single from their latest album Hungry Ghosts ( due out in a few months which you can pre-order online) with a similarly clever mind boggling experience. Enjoy the optical massage. 

 To watch  OK Go's  brand new video for 'The Writing's On the Wall"  click on the link below:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

“This is a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before.”

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust

      Especially for Father's Day,  I am re-posting "Gratitude"  the beautifully stunning award winning film by cinematographer, director and producer Louie Schwartzburg. As a visual artist Schwartzburg has been creating the most gorgeous, breathtaking artwork for over three decades. The intensity of his inspirational masterpieces creates a hauntingly memorable experience you want to share with those you love. Who or what brings the gift of joy into your own life? The short film is a  moving reminder of thankfulness for each moment. Do we fully appreciate the beauty and wonder that surrounds us each day? For many artists this is what we are alive for.... 

  "Gratitude" includes profound narration by Brother David Steindl , a musical score by Gary Malkin and  Schwartzberg's captivating time lapse photography. Once again, enjoy. A gift to all. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"When I say nothing, I say everything."

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye...until we meet again”
― Jimi Hendrix
       Raise your hand if you had to look up the word "lazaretto" in an online dictionary.  A lazaretto is a place of isolation such as a prison or military hospital used to separate those patients with infectious diseases from the healthy folks . " Lazaretto"  (Third Man/XL Recordings/Columbia), White Stripes founding father Jack White's new solo album is worth the research and exploration. Speaking of infectious, the album will invade your ear canals exploding with bountiful beats and righteous riffs. The eclectic consummate showman has assembled an artful array of kaleidoscopic tracks for your listening pleasure. "Lazaretto" opens with "Three Women," a brash and bluesy hymn that transforms into a sexy, sultry meltdown  "I got three women – red, blonde and brunette,"  and "It took a digital photograph to pick which one I like."

      With bits and pieces of lyrics scraped together from his youthful journals, short stories and  personal heartaches, White has carefully crafted eleven distinct musical mind trips.  Songs flavored with reggae, country and pure pop power will keep audiences genuinely enthused and entertained. The beautifully melodic "Alone in My Home"  and the brilliantly blazing  "That Black Bat Licorice " keeps you captivated. The innovative, daring Detroit darling, White should be voted least likely to ever be boring or mundane in the world of contemporary rock. "Lazraretto " will find devotees  hitting play again and again. 

 ... and speaking of incredible musicians, Happy Birthday to my multi-talented nephew Drew on June 13th. Love you! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Heartbreak is life educating us."

"I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."-John Steinbeck

     According to recent data published by the Humane Society of the United States over 2.7 million perfectly healthy adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year. The Greek word "euthanize" means "good death" and although we may use euphemisms such as "put down" or "went to sleep" these softened complaisant words will never lessen the impact of knowing millions of animals are senselessly slaughtered due to irresponsible human behavior. The harsh reality is that human beings are the cause of pet overpopulation. Healthy, loving adoptable animals are paying for our mistakes with their lives. With spaying and neutering programs, responsible breeding and the abolishment of puppy mills we have the power to prevent overpopulation and a potential companion animals certain death sentence.

     Animals killed in US shelters are almost always euthanized by intravenous injection, typically using a very high dose of pentobarbital or sodium thiopental. Unconsciousness, respiratory then cardiac arrest follows rapidly, normally within thirty seconds. Observers generally describe the method as leading to a quick, painless and peaceful death. Leading up to the moment of death is another story. Some frightened animals may stay in a shelter for months or a mere week before death due to overcrowding. Organizations that lack room and resources will likely euthanize animals more quickly. If animals remain unclaimed or are not adopted out within a certain time limit they have no choice but to be killed.

     Euthanasia in an animal shelter is typically carried out by a veterinarian or a veterinary technician working under the veterinarian's supervision. Often animal shelter workers are trained to perform euthanasia as well.  Until the US and other countries around the world face the harsh reality and examine the root causes of overpopulation all efforts for its control will be less effective. For the sake of millions of innocent animals we cannot continue to look away.

"Heartbreak is life educating us." George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"This is a call to all.."

"I've experienced great things, I've experienced great tragedies. I've done almost everything I could possibly ever imagine doing but I just know that there's more."- Dave Grohl

     The highly anticipated Sonic Highways documentary series is set to debut this fall on HBO. Written by Foo Fighter's front man Dave Grohl with Mark Monroe, and produced in conjunction with Therapy Studios, James A. Rota and John Ramsay, the series will explore the magical aura and rich history of music studios around the country.
      Featured studios include Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago; Rancho de Luna in California; and Washington, D.C.’s Inner Ear Studios. Sonic Highways will interview the artists who recorded at the studios, revealing amazing tales of musical craftsmanship.  Heart's Nancy Wilson, The Eagle's Joe Walsh,  Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat and Paul Stanley of Kiss are rumored to be in the spotlight.

   Dave Grohl explained in a recent interview with Billboard, that Sonic Highways will be exploring the musical identity of each studio as well as the sights and sounds of the corresponding city.
      “It’s basically the history of American music broken down to the cultural roots of each place: Why did Chicago become a blues capital? Why did country go to Nashville? Why did the first psychedelic band, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, come from Austin? How did the second line rhythm make its way to New Orleans? It’s crazy.”
       Looking forward to the autumn premiere just might make summer's end a little sweeter.