Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Music connects."

"You may be poor,  you may only have a ramshackle house,  you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope." - Nelson Mandela,  former president of South Africa

        As we celebrate a brand new year we are often inspired to create resolutions.  Allow 2016 to be 365 days of discovery beginning with opening a space in your life for more understanding, beauty and forming deeper connections with our fellow human beings.  "Musicians without Borders" is an incredible non-profit organization that allows communities around the world to heal the wounds of war through the power of music and song.

 Please read more at their website below. The video above may introduce you to the brilliant opera singer and "Musicians without Borders" Ambassador, Eva- Maria Westbroek

 Love and peace to my family and friends in America and across the globe. Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Change happens now."

"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long....America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it."- Barack Obama, President of the United States

               Did you know power plants are the number one source of carbon emissions in the United States, accounting for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions?  Since 2009 the U.S has been on a strong forward  track of reducing harmful emissions by enacting clean energy initiatives. Under President Barack Obama's administration solar electricity has greatly increased and the use of wind power has tripled. Public and private accountability will allow us to stay on the edge, developing even more crucial technologies in order to sustain our future economy.
               The U.S is leading the way to combat global climate change. Fighting for our planets survival by restoring our ecosystems, ensuring clean air and water for generations to come is our moral responsibility. The big picture of climate change includes all of the smaller ways we as individuals affect the Earth every single day. How are shifting weather patterns and the increase of flooding and powerful storms impacting your local communities? The choices we make right now not only determine our own health and welfare but the life cycles of thousands of animal and plant species we cannot survive without. What can you do right now?

 Going Green is more than just recycling-  Be aware of the emissions in your daily commute, the processed foods you purchase and the energy sources you use in your home. We are all personally accountable for the resources we waste.

Contact politicians-  With email and social media city,state and federal government officials are more assessable than ever before. Let them know reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for healthy communities, inspiring scientific innovation and job creation. Companies who fail to comply with emission standards should be taxed, fined or both.

Support Education  and Human Rights Around the World- If we fail to recognize the relationship between overpopulation, pollution, hunger, disease and loss of resources we are doing ourselves and future generations a grave and tragic injustice. There are simply too many people on the Earth. Every nation on our planet should have free access to birth control measures and fully support women's reproductive rights. Helping women and children move beyond poverty should be a global priority,

 Stay informed-  Check the top web resources for additional information. Here is a link to 101 of the best educational websites on climate change and the environment.

 Video "Who Cares About Climate Change?" courtesy of Vice News and YouTube

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Wage peace."

Peace always to family and friends around the world.

Who is looking up
on this silent night of stars?
Infinite wonder......

Christmas haiku by Lisa More
       December 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"You must travel it by yourself."

"Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass     

       Once during my elementary school years I relentlessly begged my parents to buy me the Police's album Ghost in the Machine. The first time "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" came on the radio, my love affair with Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland began. Seldom if ever being a demanding child my parents thankfully relented and the album became a Christmas/ early birthday gift. Along with my first drum set and a brand new pair of skates, listening to the album over and over has been a vivid, beloved childhood memory. You could say the intense fascination with the Police and wanting a drum set was comparable to Ralphie Parker's overwhelming mission for a Red Ryder BB gun in the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story.
     The album features the songs, " Invisible Sun", "One World", "Demolition Man" and " Spirit's in the Material World". The title, Ghost in the Machine was inspired by the book of the same name written by Hungarian-British journalist, Arthur Koestler. Many years later I purchased the CD Ghost in the Machine along with the Police's incomparable anthology and most of my early music history is safely stored on an iPod.
     Another powerful track from Ghost in the Machine is featured in the video above called "Secret Journey". The footage for the video was taken from the 1992 documentary film Baraka -A World Beyond Words directed by visionary artist Ron Fricke (Samsara -2011). The entire film is an incredible photographic journey of human life and religious ceremony. Although the song" Secret Journey" isn't featured in the film the images and music created for the video above complement and enhance a surreal experience.
       Sting called " Secret Journey" -" a quasi-mystical song, stating in a press interview," You have to do something, go somewhere, to get outside yourself. I read the book "Meetings with Remarkable Men"(G.I Gurdieff)  which says you have to make a journey. It doesn't have to be a real journey, it can be a mental journey."

         During the holidays, it's especially easy to become nostalgic or fondly reminisce of "better days".  Although we do adhere to traditions of the past we should also recognize and respect change. It's human nature to adapt and aspire, to take on challenges and study new ideas. So instead of lingering too long on Memory Lane feeling regretful or sad, recall all of the difficult twists and turns you've survived on your own unique path. Remind yourself of the knowledge, courage and strength you've gained. No one else has or ever will travel that road for you. Honor it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

" The only other sounds."

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 

  by  Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

     The human brain has amazing capacities bursting with unimaginable mysteries. Two people will read the exact same book passage or poem and come away with two entirely different interpretations. Among us this can create profound connections or result in tragic consequences. Poet, Robert Frost completed "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" in 1922  after being up all night writing a longer poem called "New Hampshire " which later became part of a Pulitzer Prize award winning collection. Despite being one of the most successful poets of his generation he was deeply in debt for most of his life. When I contemplate the last lines of the poem;
 " The woods are lovely, dark and deep." it reminds me of those deliciously rare moments when we are captivated by observing what we believe is beautiful. The concept of time seems to melt away. Being "lost in the moment" feels magical. But few who recite the poem will come away with the same view. When composing poetry, music or song lyrics that's the point. Recall the famous quote of author Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

     Imagine Frost standing with his gallant horse whom like all trusted animals we love so much remains wordless.  Looking over the expanse of a snow covered field he was in absolute awe. Sure his neighbor owned a lot of property he couldn't enjoy while Frost struggled to keep his own home but do we really know if he was envious or grateful? Dark and peaceful, the chill in the air was probably exhilarating to an exhausted writer. Those of us who grew up in frigid climates discover that even the most soot stained, industrialized city transforms into a winter wonderland following a snowfall. It gives us the illusion our dirty, smog filled cities are sweetly sugared or Frosted.

"But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."

   Perhaps  Frost was savoring his solitude, awake and alive before returning to work. One perfect moment of beauty and clarity was finally his to enjoy. And then suddenly...  cutting through the gorgeous silence.....bzzz, bzzz, bzzz  bzzzzzzzzzzz. Frost rolls his eyes as he scrolls over a few texts from his wife. "Robert, don't forget to pick up some Stella.", "You are out of coffee." Sad face emoji. "Where are you? It's late!" Okay, no he didn't. It was 1922. Read the poem yourself. However, a spouse must be kept happy, bills paid, children fed, a house cleaned, obligations met.  But all of us LIVE for those silent moments of beauty and clarity. We live for them.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"Don't let fear rule your life."

"How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared."-  Salman Rushdie, author


           Terrorism isn't a modern phenomenon. It has always existed with varying tactics to strike fear in the hearts and minds of citizens who want to live in a free society. For a brief moment terrorists may appear to be formidable. The violent acts employed by ISIL, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups lack real political power or relevant sustainable ideas. Like any gang or cult,  ISIL uses enticing recruitment rhetoric. ISIS produces slick Hollywood style movie trailer propaganda videos glorifying the perverted "illusion" of camaraderie or the bonds of unbreakable brotherhood. A terrorists organizations primary objective is to obtain power by fear, attempting to destroy what people in a true democracy live and die for- freedom. As a way of life given the choice between blind allegiance, constant oppression, violent threats, rape and murder or equality, education, art, dancing, music, love and freedom of expression which would you choose? And  yes, we do get to choose in this country. Choice is part of our United States Constitution and our universal human rights. Democratic principles have and always will allow human beings to live with the greatest sense of dignity, liberty and justice.
        Currently, the panic that many politicians, media outlets and religious groups are promoting across our country is dangerous and incomprehensible. Intimidation and fear play directly into the hands of what terrorists want to accomplish. Suggesting a preference of Christian over Muslim refugees, the immediate closure of mosques, Muslim data bases, torturing family members of suspected terrorists, a gun in every day care goes against everything this nation represents. Irrational fear mongering puts every American life at home and abroad in jeopardy including those in our armed services.
      Keeping proper perspective is essential especially if you have children. Why would you teach them to be afraid? Last time I checked we are still the land of the free and the home of the brave. Know the facts.There are many reliable resources to consult if you don't understand our own laws, a regions history, a religion or political philosophy. Don't assume or allow other people to influence your ideas about countries and customs they know absolutely nothing about. Education and diplomacy is the greatest weapon we have against terrorist ideology. We must work together in our communities and across the globe with strength, courage, compassion and understanding. What do terrorists fear most? Terrorists are threatened by education, equality and peace. Knowledge is truly the ultimate power.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Everyone has the right to freedom."

     “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”  United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

     December is Universal Human Rights Month with December 10th designated as Human Rights Day. How do we define "human rights"? What laws protect all of us? What do we do when our rights are violated? We may think we know our rights as citizens of our native countries or the world but what exactly constitutes our "human rights"? 

     Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, language, or other status. Human rights include political  and civil rights, the right to life, liberty and the freedom of expression. Human rights include social, economic and cultural rights. The right to participate in culture, the right to food, the right to education and the right to work are all included in the definition  of human rights. Human rights are protected and upheld by national and international laws and treaties.
   The universality of human dignity is the cornerstone of international human rights law. At first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, the principal of universal human rights has been restated in a number of international human rights resolutions conventions, and declarations.  For example, The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, reiterated that it is the duty of States(countries) to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems. But how do we make these statements a reality for billions of men, women and children  worldwide who continue to suffer horrible atrocities each day? How do we turn words into reality? It is imperative that we understand our human rights in order to protect ourselves and protect the rights of human beings all around the globe. 
     December 10th has been designated Human Rights Day commemorating the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clarifies 30 basic human rights:

Article 1.

  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

    • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Article 3.

        • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
       Please continue Articles  4-30  here:


      Saturday, November 21, 2015

      "Global challenges require global solidarity."

      "Climate change does not respect border; it does not respect who you are-rich and poor, small and big. Therefore, this is what we call 'global challenges' which require global solidarity." 
      -Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

                  Following the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon, Nigeria and Mali there is a  growing sense of solidarity among many formerly conflicting countries in the world. Prior to the tragic events on November 13th in Paris the COP 21 Conference was the greatest opportunity for governments and global leaders to unite for a common interest. Terrorist threats and  the fate of millions of refugees are now the priority. Another equally devastating issue related to global instability is human created climate change which affects every man, woman, child and animal species on the planet. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and the threat of coastal flooding has and will continue to cause damage, destruction or death.
                    The goal of  COP 21 which is an abbreviated form of 21st Conference of  Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, sometimes referred to as CMP11 is for the first time in years allowing these negotiations to establish universal binding agreements among all countries. Each nation will present their plan for lowering carbon emissions, sustainable energy, conservation, issues of flooding, drought, starvation and prevention of further animal extinctions.             After years of uncompromising frustration with talks ending in stalemate the time has come to finally institute a crucial concrete course of action. Despite the horrific attacks on the courageous, resilient residents of Paris, Friday November 13th, President of France, Francois Hollande will host nearly 50,000 delegates from 195 countries including two of the largest contributors to CO 2 emissions, USA and China. The international conference is the most notable ever organized by the French government. COP 21 begins Monday, November 30th, ending December 11th, 2015.


      Wednesday, November 18, 2015

      "Envoi de l'amour"

      Clouds come from time to time-
      and bring to men a chance to rest
      from looking at the moon.

      -Basho (Matsuo Munefusa 1644-94)

      Thursday, November 12, 2015

      "Every question leads to new answers."

      "How did we let an ideological resistance to inquiry become such a prominent part of our society?"- Bill Nye, Scientist, American Science Educator, from Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation

                Bill Nye released his new book "Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World"(St.Martin's Press, November 10th, 2015) to audiences of all ages as enthusiastic and passionate about facts and discovery as Nye himself. Everyone should own this book. As prolific author, educator, comedian, former science show host and mechanical engineer, Nye commands information and insight with exceptional qualifications to address the most critical issue we face as human beings- climate change.

              Given the overwhelming scientific evidence for global warming denying facts is not only incomprehensible but irresponsible. Climate change impacts every aspect of our lives from growing crops to healthy water supplies. We cannot sustain life on earth without these resources. As one of the worlds most technologically advanced countries we need to be a leader in environmental change and awareness. In order to design ways to reduce the damage we've inflicted on the earth and other animal species we must have activists, scientists, engineers and especially young aspiring students who think creatively without limits. All of us have a responsibility to save our planet. What could possibly be more important? Unstoppable stresses that politicians need to address the concerns of millennial voters because maintaining or establishing crucial environmental protection laws depend upon who they elect. Once again, it's their future at risk. Our survival depends upon our ability to exchange information, contemplate, explore and test new ideas. If we truly wanted what's best for our planet, our country and our children we have to stress freedom of expression and critical thinking. Now is the time to act.

      Saturday, November 7, 2015

      "Not to utter words but to live by them."

      "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. "- John F. Kennedy

                      As we honor our nations Armed Forces service men and women this Wednesday, November 11th, please take time to reflect upon a few unsettling facts. There is an estimated 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States with over a million at risk of becoming homeless in the future. Returning veterans face twice as much risk of homelessness than civilians due to lack of sufficient medical treatment, networking support and nontransferable military to workforce skills. Government services are becoming more restricted with over 40,000  homeless veterans currently receiving benefits or pensions. Tragically, this is not enough. According to the "National Coalition of Homeless Veterans", nearly half of our countries homeless veterans served in the Vietnam War. Today the number of homeless veterans is increasing as more and more service men and women return from Afghanistan and Iraq. Young veterans face a lack of social and community support upon reintegration to civilian life. On October 29th the US Senate passed the "Homeless Veterans  Services Protection Act" which safeguards veterans dismissed with "Other than Honorable" (OTH) discharges. Affordable housing and health care are still major issues for all returning veterans. The video above courtesy of a 2014 VICE News report is one of thousands of similar stories of suffering among our returning military members. (Contains strong language) 

                  Respectfully, we take time to thank our veterans for their service with solemn speeches,  free meals and gallant parades to honor courage and bravery on November 11th. As we should.  But as one of the most prosperous countries in the world who depends upon the vigilance, elite training and selfless actions of our military 24/7, 365 days a year for our constant safety and security, how do we justify over 50,000 struggling veterans?


      Tuesday, November 3, 2015

      " Through the dark."

      "Sometimes they just get caught in the eye
         You're pulling him through."-  Elliott Smith, Needle in the Hay

                    Ask the average American to describe a drug addict and you're likely to hear," dirty, toothless vagrant who wanders the streets begging for spare change." It's this kind of disturbingly uninformed impression that's contributing to a massive crisis in our country right now that typcially begins with legally prescribed pain killers. The state of Ohio doesn't have a heroin "problem". Ohio has a heroin epidemic.

                Recently featured on national news program 60 Minutes, "Heroin in the Heartland" is an honest, straight forward portrayal of young high school and college aged heroin users. When a child or adult becomes addicted to such a deadly substance it's more than family being affected. Entire communities in Northeast Ohio are devastated with most lacking the resources necessary to deal with an unrelenting disease.

          A video previously available on has been removed but you can watch "Heroin in the Heartland" in its entirety at this link to CBS news, 60 Minutes.


      Saturday, October 31, 2015

      "In this time of monsters and magic..."

      “It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.”- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein     

                Little candy begging monsters named Frankenstein won't be knocking at your door this Halloween despite frightfully shouting it in your face. It's a common misconception. In Mary Wollenstonecraft Shelley’s unprecedented horror novel, Frankenstein, Frankenstein is not the monster’s name. Actually, the monster was created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The poor mangled monster wasn't adorned a maniacal moniker. Frankenstein's name has become synonymous with the murderous villain -- and the wild ruckus of October 31st. Here are a few more little known facts regarding Frankenstein and the creepy creatures of Halloween.

           Vampires, witches, werewolves and goblins - Halloween is celebrated in countries around the world as a festival for the dead with origins in Celtic and Druid lore. The boundaries between the natural world and afterworld blurred as spirits roamed the earth freely to celebrate harvest season among the living. By dressing up as ghosts and zombies we control or eliminate some of the fear we may have with our own mortality. Like Dr. Frankenstein, we create our own monsters. The holiday allows us to celebrate the complex mystery of what terrifies us.

            What frightens us so much about the story of FrankensteinThe Modern Prometheus? Despite his brutish appearance, angry tormented attitude and intimidating eight foot stature formed from various stolen human and animal body parts, the novel's monster was portrayed as having a formidable intellect. His unrelenting request for the manufacturing of a romantic partner makes him appear needy rather than vicious. He scares us because he is us. At the time the novel was written, it was widely believed that humans could manipulate and mimic natural reproductive processes. 1818- biological science was still in it's infancy. Humanity's first breakthroughs came in the form of machines or monster machines created in a lab.

            Mary Shelley was only nineteen when she began writing the story of Frankenstein. The novel was finally completed and published anonymously at the age of twenty-one. The story began as a challenge by her soon to be husband writer Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Polidori and the author /poet George Gordon or Lord Byron. The highly creative eclectic quartet wanted to one up each other with spooky horror stories. Since that time period, Frankenstein has inspired more than 130 films, beginning with the silent Frankenstein in 1910 and including the 1974, Mel Brooks crafted comedy classic, Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder.

            It is said that the plot for Frankenstein came to Mary Shelley in a dream about a scientist who created a scary new life form. Dr. Victor Frankenstein was based on a real person named Johann Dippel, who was an actual physician and kooky chemist obsessed with creating life through scientific means. His birthplace was Castle Frankenstein, which is near Darmstadt, Germany. So if you harvested and stitched together some old body parts like a mad scientist could you really create a modern day "Frankenstein" monster? The answer is no.  When your heart stops, blood flow stops, cells run out of energy, and things fall apart. No amount of electric shocks can restore dead tissue, DNA isn't eternal and then there is the big brain dilemma. So we are all safe- for now. 

      Tuesday, October 27, 2015

      "This is wrong...."

      "I've never seen anything so nasty looking, so sick to the point that you know other students are turning away, don't know what to do and are scared for their lives." Tony Robinson Jr. -Spring Valley High School student who recorded assault video.

                  Here is a link to the Richland County, South Carolina local news story (WLTX) hours after a school resource officer assaulted a young woman in a high school classroom. The incident occurred Monday, October 26th at Spring Valley High School.

                       After viewing the video several times and listening to recorded first hand accounts of student witnesses it's clear the resource officer, Deputy Ben Fields used excessive force against a minor who showed no sign of threatening behavior. Tony Robinson Jr. a classmate of the assault victim recorded the resource officers actions on his cell phone. The teacher who appears briefly in the video had requested the student leave the classroom. When the student refused the officer was asked to escort the child from the classroom. Deputy Fields, as of this writing, is on administrative leave.

                Personally, I feel adamant that Deputy Fields be charged and fired. The police department, school district or both should be sued. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of violence against children in our schools. As a former administrative assistant, substitute teacher and teachers aide for disabled students, I am deeply disturbed by the way this child was violated. Students in the classroom were stunned. The teacher stood silently watching the child brutalized. Another child was arrested for standing up for the abused student. Charges against both girls should be dropped.
                As a society are we giving away our rights and our power to live in fear of a police state?  Don't speak out when you see something wrong or you'll go to jail? Threatened with violence, don't we all become a little more quiet, a little more afraid until a part of us is diminished, unemotional, uncaring, numb. Is that what we want? Don't give a damn? There is no justification that warrants this type of violent force against a young, defenseless child who was terrified and half the size of a brutal grown adult. If you're not disturbed by the level of violence in the video then you need to examine your conscience.




      Thursday, October 22, 2015

      "Memories are made of this..."

         Smell my feet.
         Give me something good to eat."-  Mary Wollstonecraft 

                My earliest  trick-or-treat memory was when at the age of three my Mom dressed me up as mini- Santa Claus including makeshift beard stretched from cotton balls attached with Scotch tape and a big jelly belly of rolled up winter scarves. In full action mode, pillowcase slung over my back, we were off on an incredible spooky adventure.  With my two older sisters in tow, we trekked miles through our neighborhood and beyond gathering our massive bounty of sweet treat treasures. Upon returning home we dumped our overflowing goody bags scattering their contents on our groovy green shag carpet. Admiring its luscious beauty we longed to roll around in our candy crush as if we were the greedy Three Little Pigs in a luxurious chocolate mud bath. Our own personal pots of child's gold. Eyes wide as the moon, we stared salivating over the mouth watering deliciousness of every variety of snack bar, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, Pixie Sticks, gross Necco Wafers, caramels, candy necklaces, wax bottles of  drinkable goo and the occasional sad box of raisins plastic encased popcorn ball. No rocks.

           The day after Halloween, stuffing my face with Snickers bars and Jolly Ranchers, I manically rode my tricycle on our front porch for thirty minutes like the little boy from The Shining, "Redrum! Redrum!"  My energy level measured  Breaking Bad, "meth addict" on the uncontrollable kid scale. This was soon followed by collapsing into a long sugar induced slumber while watching Sesame Street. C-is for cookie, C- is for coma. Candy wrappers littered our living room like the  driveway of a  Dixie trailer park. Next thing I remember was slowly waking up with sticky orange drool running down my chin. My stomach felt like it had been gut checked by Ronda Rousey and I had a Tootsie Roll lollipop suspended in my ponytail. So once a year let your mischievous monsters and ghostly goblins imagine they inherited Willy Wonka's factory and let it rain M&M's and Skittles. The memories are sure to haunt them forever.

      Sunday, October 18, 2015

      "Won't you come out to play..."

      "The Smiths was an incredibly personal thing to me. It was like launching your own diary to music." - Steven Morrissey, current artist, musician, former singer/lyricist for The Smiths.

                  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, Ohio announced their list of 2016      nominees earlier in October. The 15 candidates in alphabetical order:
      The Cars,  Chic,  Chicago,  Cheap Trick,  Deep Purple,  Janet Jackson,  The J.B's,                 Chaka Khan, Los Lobos,  Steve Miller,  Nine Inch Nails,  N.W.A,                                                   The Smiths,  The Spinners,  Yes

              Music aficionados are still surprised that a band with such great influence, longevity and commercial success as Chicago has yet to be inducted. Still others are wondering how quickly time passes when musicians such as R&B, pop diva Janet Jackson, Cleveland's own Trent Reznor's Industrial rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails or Indie icons, The Smiths are being nominated so soon. Learn how nominees are selected and vote for your favorite artists before December 9th at the official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website here :

              A love of music surrounds every memory of my childhood. My parents and siblings genuinely delighted in listening to their favorite bands and playing musical instruments.Tuned in and turned on, music and song lyrics constantly filled my ears, heart and soul. There isn't a composition I'll refuse to listen to at least once. We make the mistake of cutting ourselves off from different types of music because of our culture or an ego driven need to "appear" current. You will only succeed in doing the opposite. Know your music history. Listen to artists produced today, 25 years ago or even a 100 years ago if it gives you pleasure. When you have the opportunity to introduce new genres of music to people of all ages a natural love and enthusiasm immediately brings connection. Remove the limits. There is an overwhelming beauty and power which unites us behind our immersion in music, especially rock n' roll. Enjoy the discovery.


      Tuesday, October 13, 2015

      "What you seek is seeking you."

      "Sometimes change is too much to bear, but most of the time change is the only thing saving your life."- Unknown

                   October has been designated national  Adopt-A-Shelter- Dog Month. Why is adopting from a rescue or shelter so critical right now? The facts are heartbreaking. Approximately 2.7 million  perfectly healthy animals are euthanized in this country every year. Companion animals like dogs and cats are killed when there isn't enough room to house them in shelters. Most dogs are surrendered  or disturbingly dumped at shelters by previous owners for reasons such as aging, medical expenses or grooming costs, families having children, relocation's or re-trainable behavioral issues. A surprising 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are purebred. Many rescues are so full of unwanted animals, dogs and cats placed in a shelter have as little as one week to be adopted before they're killed. Despite the success of spaying and neutering programs in the past ten years homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. This statistic is tragic for both homeless families and homeless animals. How do we consider this acceptable in one of the most prosperous nations in the world?
                Every year I've tried to share as much information as possible on my blog regarding animal rescues, shelters and the sheer richness and pleasure dogs bring to our lives. From personal experience and avid research, as rescue, police, military, therapy and family companions these incredible animals are intelligent, capable,  protective, trusting and unrivaled in loving their humans. They provide physical health and mental benefits beyond  what we can statistically measure. What can we all do in October and all year long to help these beautiful animals?

               *    Decide if adopting a dog is right for you. Do your research. Dogs require time, affection, exercise and grooming attention but like any thing we love they are worth the effort. Check with your local shelter today. Once you adopt make sure the animal is spayed or neutered.

               *    If you're unable to adopt do whatever you can to help animals in shelters such as donate supplies or volunteer your time. Call your local shelters and ask them what they need most.

               *    Remember if you're looking for a purebred dog such as a Golden Retriever or Beagle 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Find a breed specific rescue in your area. Please- don't buy puppies from pet stores or pet shops online. Puppies bought and sold in stores and online are more likely raised in illegal puppy mills.

               *    Support spaying and neutering programs in your city and state. Population control is critical to preventing overcrowded shelters and senselessly killing healthy animals later.

                *   Use your own resources to help animals in need such as posting information on your Facebook, blog or Twitter page. Urge communities to offer programs which spay and neuter animals for reduced price or free. Population control is key.

              *  Teach children the importance of compassion and care for all animals. Dogs rely on our love and kindness for their survival. Please, do whatever you can to help even if you're unable to bring a new canine companion into your home this month.

           *  Please, take time to thank those brave enough to work in shelters and rescue organizations  every day. Most of us can't even imagine the amount of courage it takes to desperately try and negotiate temporary foster or permanent homes before an animals time runs out. Please, think of those doing a job most of us could never bear to do but what must be done. 



                  " What you seek is seeking you."- Rumi


      Thursday, October 8, 2015

      "Our voices are our most powerful weapons."

      "There is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up."
       Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, author, activist.

                              Opening Friday, October 9th at the "Hamptons International Film Festival" and everywhere worldwide, He Named Me Malala is the anticipated documentary of  Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousefzai. Directed by acclaimed producer Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, 2006), (Waiting for Superman, 2010) the film has been described as a compliment to Malala's  2013 autobiography, I Am Malala (Little Brown & Company 2013) with author Christina Lamb. October 9th is a significant date for Yousefzai. It is the day she almost paid the ultimate price for speaking out against the atrocities the Taliban were committing in her homeland. Having taken control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, the Taliban violently enforced uncompromising restrictions on families, especially the rights of women and girls to receive an education. In 2012 the courageous young woman who stood up in protest for her independence was callously shot in the face by a group of global terrorists who wanted Malala silenced forever.

                  Critics of the documentary which opened in limited release on October 2nd commented that the film appears to be more promotional than educational. There are memorable scenes where the truly amazing, wise yet playful personality of a young woman emerges. Malala Yousefzai is nothing short of an extraordinarily resilient and brave activist who continues her fight for women and girls not only in Pakistan but all over the world. The story needs to be told again and again and perhaps the criticism of  some writers and reviewers in the US is either due to our arrogance or our ignorance.
       He Named Me Malala is rated PG-13.


      Saturday, October 3, 2015

      "Something incredible is waiting to be known."

      "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,"- Carl Sagan, astrophysicist, cosmologist, astronomer, author

              The Martian opened to excellent  reviews  Friday, October 2nd topping all other movies at the box office this weekend. Legendary director, Ridley Scott's sci-fi epic is based on novelist Andy Weir's incredible story of The Martian (Crown 2011) number one on the New York Times Best Sellers fiction book list for the week of October 11th.
             Not all space-exploration fiction translates well to film but in the case of  The Martian starring Matt Damon (Mark Wagner) and Jessica Chastain, both featured in director Christopher Nolan's impressive intergalactic thriller, Interstellar (2014) the survival saga is already earning award worthy buzz.  As a novel, The Martian was well received due to the imposing amount of meticulous research double checked by author Weir himself. In the video above NASA scientists confirm the films attention to detail. Whether audiences choose to watch an impactful movie, read an inspiring novel or both, The Martian franchise promises to transport us on an unforgettable journey of discovery.

       Actor, writer and sci-fi icon, Will Wheaton provided his own accolades for The Martian novel by awarding it five out of five stars on Good Reads website:

          "Andy Weir does this incredible thing where he makes the reader feel the isolation that Mark Wagner feels, and he does it so subtly, we don't even realize that he's doing it until it's done."

      Tuesday, September 29, 2015

      "The power of a vote..."

      "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform."- Susan B. Anthony, social activist

                        In the United States we have a tendency to take our freedoms for granted until we are seriously challenged or threatened to have them taken away. If history teaches us anything it's to be less apathetic and more vigilant about the power we hold in modern day elections. We do love our films and this powerful story marches us arm in arm with millions of brave women who struggled with heartbreaking personal tragedies and injustice while demanding their human rights. Focus Films brings us in limited theater release October 23rd, Suffragette
              A suffragette is a woman who advocates for the right to vote in political elections. In the United States women were granted the right to vote in 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution. So believe it or not in less than 100 years women in this country have demanded their right to vote and have fiercely fought for reforms which allow us to maintain our independence and freedom. Freedom is independence."Independence is happiness.", rightfully attested  American activist, Susan B. Anthony. Still, in many nations today the fight against oppression is far from over.
                    In the United Kingdom the push for women's suffrage became a national movement as early as 1872. A full movement began in 1906. Marches and protests spanned a decade beginning in 1918 during World War I. After submitting and rejecting bill after bill, British parliament granted women over 30 who owned property limited suffrage. Finally, in 1928 all women over 21 were granted the right to vote.
                  Suffragette  retells the  saga of strong and relentless British mothers, daughters and rebels who sacrificed their lives for women around the world. Now in 2015, the fight continues. Written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady)( The Hour) and directed by Sarah Gavron (This Little Life), Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and the incomparable, Meryl Streep.

       The official movie trailer can be seen above. See full movie details and release dates here

      Friday, September 25, 2015

      "Keep feeling fascination..."

      "Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night."-  Hal Borland, author, journalist.


                                A Supermoon Lunar Eclipse is fascinating because it's a rare event in our human history. The last time most Earthlings witnessed a Supermoon lunar eclipse was in 1982 when TIME's "Man of the Year" was the computer, the first CD player was sold in Japan, the Weather Channel made its debut,  E.T and Chariots of Fire topped the box office, Michael Jackson released his Thriller album and the most popular song in the US was "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League.

              The next Supermoon lunar eclipse will occur 18 years from now in 2033, so if you have the opportunity don't miss this incredible visually breathtaking event, Sunday, September 27th between 9:07 PM and 12:27 AM.  Tweet photo's to # SuperBloodMoonLunarEclipse

        NASA will be providing a live feed on their website.


      Monday, September 21, 2015

      "Why are you here?"

      "Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others."- Oprah Winfrey

                          Why am I here? All human beings contemplate this question whether we hold doctorates in astrophysics or gather coins on a crowded street corner from strangers. At some point in our seemingly insignificant existence we want to know what the hell it's all about. Alone at night, gazing spellbound at the limitless sea of pulsating stars we wonder..tenderly searching the eyes of a loved one or beloved child and feeling our hearts burst with overwhelming warmth, listening to the orchestral echoes of waves as they ebb and flow on secluded sands, still, silent moments in solitude when we feel as if we are truly the only soul on earth...we question..WHY?  

             Religion, science, philosophy, art, literature, the power of rituals are fascinating to us because they give our lives meaning. There are so many breathtakingly beautiful images depicted in the  preview glimpse video of  Oprah Winfrey's,  "Belief"'  it left me eagerly anticipating more. In less than a month a seven part series will air on OWN beginning October, 18th. If you are a curious human being with much to learn about yourself,  others, and the world around you, I would highly recommend watching this program.

      Friday, September 18, 2015

      " The makers of magic...."

      "If I was any more on edge, I'd be Bono..."

      "I'm a tearless clown. If I were to get a tattoo it would be the two masks and they would both be smiling." -  Andy Samberg, writer, comedian, 2015 Emmy Awards emcee.

                        The 67th Emmy Awards ceremony will be held Sunday, September 20th at 8PM, EST airing on FOX. Hosted by writer, actor and star of the hilarious TV action comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Andy Samberg will be sure to keep audiences enthusiastically entertained. The live broadcast will be filmed from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. By the end of 2015 nearly 400 or more television shows are projected to be in production due to the meteoric rise in streaming services. This indicates the weekend binge-viewing public is enjoying and demanding more television scripts, which is excellent news for aspiring writers and actors.

                The 2013 and 2014 Emmy Awards have been two of the highest rated television variety shows in a decade. No doubt the charisma and charm of Samberg will carry the 2015 broadcast in the same dynamic direction. The video above contains the nominations for this year.

       The link to the official Emmy Awards show can be found here:

      Monday, September 14, 2015

      "Making history, one play at a time."

      "I was a little disappointed I didn't make a better kick. I was sure it was going right but it did go through. I'll probably beat myself up for that for a little while but it was awesome." Kent State Golden Flashes kicker, April Goss ( source: AP Sports)

                      When a university football team makes history it usually appears as a feature in national or local sports coverage but somewhere between the adoration of Urban Meyer's Ohio State dream team and the start of the NFL season a unique story was left benched in many areas of the country. Kent State may be an unfamiliar school to some but in Northeast, Ohio you can't throw a Great Lakes Brewing Company beer bottle cap without hitting someone who graduated or at least attended a branch of Kent State University- seven or more family members included. On Saturday, September 12th, Kent State Golden Flashes football player, April Goss became only the second female in college history to score in an official season game. As field goal kicker, Goss lifted the Flashes extra point to help dominate Delaware State in a 45-13 victory,   

              As a senior soon to graduate, April Goss may not have another opportunity to score a field goal during a  regulation game with her specialty teams. Goss has kicked down the door for other young women who may consider trying out for the Flashes in the future.  Along with her teammates, acknowledgment must be given to former Kent State four-year letterman defensive back and current coach, Paul Haynes, who has proven to be an exemplary leader and supporter of Goss.

      Katie Hnida was the first woman to score for an FBS program in 2003, kicking two extra points for New Mexico.