Category Archives: art

March to Your Own Drummer

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As a child you may have made wooly lambs and snarling lions to

represent the calm way we wish to exit the month of March and

the wild, windy month we usually start with. I remember using

a large paper plate and cutting out eyes and gluing cotton balls

all over the plate for a lamb. I also remember having made a form

for my preschool students, the shape of a lamb out of brown or

tan construction paper. They loved using the glue and adding the

cotton balls that ultimately got stuck to their fingers, clothes and

everywhere except where they ‘belonged.’

Making lambs and lions with children, as an artistic endeavor,

spurs my desire to share Vincent Van Gogh’s thought:

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession

of small things linked together.”

Did you know Vincent Van Gogh lived a short and productive

life of only 37 years? He shared and created beauty through his

post- Impressionistic paintbrush strokes. You may wish to check

out this trio of sweet Spring flowering paintings. Van Gogh did

these in his final three years of his short life.

1.  “Cherry Tree,” (1888).

2.  “View of Arles, Flowering Orchards, (1889).

3.  “Almond Blossoms, (1890).

Hope this may inspire you to dabble with paint, chalk, crayons

or start a craft project.

Let’s hope the month starts as a roaring Lion and leaves as a

peaceful Lamb.

Here is a word from Thomas Kinkade, (2001):

“Prayer or simple meditation will nurture your spiritual connection

vital to evolving a focus that is truly personal and intrinsic to

your life.”

MARCH

Gemstone: Aquamarine

Flower: Jonquils

March 1st-

Sunday of Orthodoxy.

There is a complicated explanation about the meaning of this Sunday.

It meant that there was a movement or change among some faiths,

where icons or representations of various important elements could

be produced. This was in the 700’s, Jesus Christ and Mother Mary,

for examples could be depicted through artwork. This is considered

the first Sunday of Lent, 2015.

2nd-

Texas Independence Day.

Would it qualify for celebrating if I had some chocolate Texas sheet cake?

3rd- Town Meeting Day

Vermont likes to have their town meetings.

4- (Sundown) Purim begins. This lasts two days and ends on March

6th. This Jewish holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish

people into the Persian Empire, saving them from a plot to kill

them. This day is one which includes feasting and rejoicing.

5-

Full Worm Moon-

“Add compost to your soil to invite beneficial earthworms into your

garden.”

(2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.)

To make compost, we used to use the parings of our potatoes, fruits

and vegetables. These days, you consume so much of these, so scraps

of the rinds, stems and inedible parts of your food can be put into a

raised garden. You can till it from time to time, creating a rich place

for worms to thrive.

8- Daylight Savings Time (2:00 a.m.)

“Spring ahead. Fall behind.” This little saying helps me remember

the direction of setting my clocks each Spring and Autumn.

I think many of us will be joyous once the season gets warmer. I

hope this will be a season of renewal and ignite new passions and

interests.

“As we turn the pages of time,

we discover hidden mysteries

and triumphs in each chapter.”

(Flavia, 2003).

9- Commonwealth Day in Canada.

Friday the 13th- 2nd one ‘down,’ only one more to go this year.

This is not a big deal to most, except the superstitious ones.

15- Andrew Jackson Day (Tennessee)

17- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“Place stems of fresh white carnations into water with green food

coloring to dye the flowers green.” (2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”)

Do you pinch people who don’t wear green today?

Did you know the Episcopalians usually wear orange today?

Also, on the 17th- Evacuation Day (Suffolk Co., Mass.)

19- St. Joseph’s Day

“If it’s on St. Joseph’s Day clear,

So follows a fertile year.”

(Country  saying or Folklore)

20- New Moon

Vernal Equinox

Spring Begins.

“The fiddlehead, which looks like the tuning end of a fiddle

is the top of a young ostrich fern, tightly curled and sheathed

in a brown coating.”

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” uses ferns in March’s report.

29- Palm Sunday

Most palm trees require year-round temperatures above 40 degrees

outdoors.

30- Seward’s Day (Alaska)

Shall we have a slice of Baked Alaska, in your honor?

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” mentions a plant that is native to

Alaska and Canada,

“Tall Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium acutiflorum) tolerates drought

and creates a ground cover, commonly with blue flowers.”

Words to Live By:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable

combination.”

~Nelson Mandela

The Smithsonian Backyard series of books came with a

sweet stuffed bird. When I received this gift, my book’s

subject was inevitably about a robin, along with my toy

being a robin.

This book begins with a lovely Spring message and ends

with a helpful glossary of words and description of the

habits of each bird in the series.

“Robin at Hickory Street,” (1995) was written by Dana

Meachen Rau and illustrated by Joel Snyder. Read this

and it will give you a beautiful picture of the changing

of the seasons in nature.

“Winter’s song fills the backyard of the blue stone house

on Hickory Street. A honeysuckle branch taps a beat on

the kitchen window.  Wind whistles through swaying

spruces. Rhythmic drips of melting ice dot the snow.

Soon this chorus will be replaced by Spring’s. The sweet

murmur of honey bees, the rustling of chipmunks behind

the shed and the cheerful melody of a robin who will call

this yard his own.”

The book is 32 pages and in the description of the robin’s

song, it is given as: “Cheerily, cheer-up, cheerio.”

And on that note. . .

“Cheerio!”

Mark My Words

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There are so many ways we leave our ‘marks’ upon others’ lives and

upon some small part of the world itself. It may be through your

writing, you have touched someone’s mind and heart. It may be by

your creating a painting, taking a photograph,  preparing a special

food dish, making something old, ‘new’ again for someone or. . .

I found the word, “mark” in the dictionary and would like to share

what meanings it has, along with a few expressions that include

various forms of the word, “mark”in them.

 

The definition for ‘mark’-

noun:

1. A visible trace or impression, (line or spot).

2. A symbol, name or other identifier.

3. A name, logo or other indicator.

 

verb:

1. To mark a visible trace or impression, (spot, line or dent).

2. To form, make or depict by making a mark.

3. To supply with natural markings, (a tiger is marked by stripes.)

 

My favorite use of ‘mark’ is the one I used in the beginning. It means

to contribute to others by making our ‘marks.’ This means leaving

our legacy and how we helped make an impression upon another’s

life. There are many books in the library which are ‘marked’ as either

psychology or philosophy. They contain the current meaning and

suggestions for leading a ‘purposeful life.’

 

I enjoyed a pastime in high school and college, along with many

years of going to my youngest brother and  later in life, my two

daughter’s races. The excitement and anticipation of the races,

builds almost like a ‘frenzy,’ when I picture their putting a foot

into a wooden block to ‘mark’ their place.

 

Then, an announcer says these dramatic words:

“On your mark. . .

Get ready,

Set,

Go!”

There are other races, such as cars, horses and drag racing, where

the word, “Go!” are accompanied by a gun shot given to ‘mark’ the

beginning of the race.

 

I have had many dogs in my life, both female and male, ‘mark’ their

territory. This was especially noticeable with my parents’ male dog,

Nicky, who would do this while we were walking in the woods, once

we ‘disembarked’ from their small RV, (actually a Transvan). Nicky

would like to sniff all the other places animals had been ‘marking’

their own parts of the woods.

 

In concert and symphonic band, our musical teacher and director

would ask us to use a pencil to ‘mark’ our parts. Where I sat, I was

in the woodwinds area, with the clarinet section.

 

Since I was always a ‘second row player’ I needed to ‘mark’ a harmony.

Rarely was I able to ‘mark’ the melody.  In marching band, we would

have to count our steps, playing different marching songs, along with

a few popular songs peppered into the mix. We would find our place

on the field or our ‘mark’ before we would perform or make a pattern.

 

If the truth be told, I rarely played the first two games of the season.

I would march trying to be accurate in the precise places I needed

to be. Finally, in the third football game I would be confident in the

way I marched and could play my clarinet.  Two guys, Armin K. and

Mike C., were the only players who ever commented or noticed. Of

course, I had my clarinet in my mouth and looked like I was playing!

 

A side note, I love details about grandparents, so hope you will

appreciate my Grandpa Mattson who would call my clarinet, a

“licorice stick.” This is a popular slang term which some in other

countries may never have heard! I want to tell you I still have my

wooden Selby clarinet and can ‘wet my reed’ and perform simple

songs and scales.

 

If you have a story about music and remember ‘marking’ your place

or listening to the metronome during piano lessons, please share.

 

The younger Mark Ruffalo, with Jennifer Garner was one of my

youngest daughter’s favorite Mark’s in the film, “13 Going on 30.”

My oldest daughter followed, “New Kids on the Block,” band for

a short ‘minute’ and liked Donnie’s brother, Marky Mark (also his

claim to fame was wearing Calvin Klein jeans. We listened to his

band, “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s” version of the Beach

Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.”

 

There are countless other “Mark’s” such as Mark Harmon who

was a ball player, actor in movies and continues to be in “NCIS.”

 

There was “Mark Anthony,” who Shakespeare focused on, as

well as his being a part of history.

 

Our great American author, Mark Twain left his ‘mark’ upon our

country’s literature. He shared remarkable stories of life upon the

Mississippi and going out West. His wry perspectives of the times

he lived in, along with honest character portrayals made a ‘mark’

upon my thoughts and writing, too.

 

I am sure you can think of other famous Mark’s to add. . .

 

There are many who enjoy the dramatic colors and designs of a

young teenager’s graffiti.  They leave their own distinctive ‘mark’

under bridges, overpasses and other cement or brick walls. I don’t

mind graffiti, as long as it is not upon a historical monument, in

a cemetery where respect should be displayed or designations of

being a member of a  ‘Gang.’

 

I enjoy when my grandchildren take colored chalk and leave their

less than permanent ‘marks’ on sidewalks and the driveway. They

may ‘mark’ their place while playing hopscotch, by putting a rock

down on a square.

 

I did not see this in the definition but do think that ‘marking time’

can be a little like ‘sitting a spell.’ It could include putting slash

‘marks’ on a piece of paper, wall or even ‘marked’ by etching into

a stone wall. The ‘marks’ in prison or concentration camps can

make me weep.

 

When I buy a paperback book at a garage sale or the library

book sale, I don’t ‘value’ some of them as I should. If it is one

of those ‘beach’ or summer reading books, I may ‘mark’ my

page I left off reading by bending back a corner of the page.

Are you guilty of this ‘bad habit?’

 

In our ‘defense,’ sometimes it is easier than getting up to

find a piece of paper or a classy bookmark.

 

Book ‘marks’ can be such lovely decorative gifts. I have my

favorites in my ‘good’ books, which hold or ‘mark’ a special

passage I will read and re-read again. I have a silky one,

a cross-stitched bookmark, a metal one with a pearl-like

decoration and I have one which is in the shape of a paper

clip with a butterfly on the tip.

 

I have marked many passages in my Bible, since I received

it upon my high school graduation. The book has ‘marks’ and

underlined places. Tucked into the pages, there are several

pieces of paper with scribbles made by my children during

church.

 

One is quite funny, a ‘bunny ballerina’ by my oldest daughter

when she was 4 years old. The other is quite serious, drawn

carefully by my youngest daughter at around 8 years old of

Jesus on the Cross.

 

Although it is a name and therefore capitalized, I do like another

part of the Bible, which is in the New Testament which goes like

this: “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

 

I have to close this multiple usages of the word, “mark”

with something I really enjoy.

 

Are

you

ready

for

the

BEST

use

of

‘mark?’

 

I absolutely love going to a store where it has many large signs

after the ending of each season.

These all say, “Mark Down Prices.”

I like the neon yellow, neon orange and even neon green signs

found in different departments.

 

Now, even better than the ‘Markdowns’. . .

are the ‘Slashing Prices!’

 

 

“Capturing Camelot”

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In Columbus, Ohio many wonderful displays come to be shown at

“The Schumacher Gallery” located on the nearby campus of Capital

University. From January 19 through March 25, 2015, you may view

the artistic work of famous photojournalist, Stanley Tretick. This is an

exhibit I am going to try to see very soon.

Stanley Tretick was given the great and valuable experience of being

present at the White House during President John F. Kennedy’s

years in office.  John and Jackie Kennedy were revered for their

youthfulness, energy and attractive appearances.

They became what some would call, “American Royalty.”

Many still consider Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis one of

the historic American icons of fashion. She embodied the word,

“glamour.”

There was a serious, deeper quality of beauty shown in her face

and posture. Jackie demonstrated poise and class, while still

showing warmth in her smiles aimed toward her husband,

newspaper reporters and two children, John John and Caroline.

There was a combination of romance and storytelling in the

way the Camelot period is shown and told. It is a fascinating

piece of history, ending in tragedy. It captured so many of

our minds and eyes, while watching it unfold.  Finally, the

famous assassination and funeral were ones we could not

take our eyes off of either.

There are many movies I could recommend about the story of

Jackie and John Kennedy, including the piece in the recent

movie, “The Butler.” The film covered five different presidents

the butler served. In the movie, there is a poignant scene with

the butler concerned for Jackie and later, his bending down to

talk to Caroline, hoping to help her feel better by offering to get

her a snack or a toy.

We grew up watching the film, “PT 109” about John Kennedy’s

military service which included an accident. This played havoc

on his own personal ongoing pain that wracked his body. Cliff

Robertson did a fine job in his portrayal of JFK. I liked the

movie, “Parkland,” which depicts Jackie’s courage and ‘grace

under fire,’ when her husband’s bleeding head was in her lap

on her clothing. This is also a surprisingly well done piece of

history about the final moments at the hospital. Zac Efron

really redeems himself with this movie. It may erase his

horrible performance in the awful movie, “The Neighbors.”

The advertisement for the display of photographs come with

this riveting description:

“John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House and the

American people embarked on a journey of 1,000 days into

a mythical world that former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

would recall as Camelot.”

Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedy’s brochure

closes with these words:

“Capturing Camelot reflects the magic of an era that

continues to inspire affection and nostalgia.”

You may wish to check the hours and there is a Schumacher

Gallery Face Book page, as well as this phone number:

(614)-236-6319 or check out the website listed below:

http://www.schumachergallery.org

Seeing the exhibit is like seeing part of our own history,

the pieces we may wish to remember in this lovely way.

The personal photographs are ones which show the one

behind the fairy tale, give us their personal moments. We

all like to look at photo albums, famous or our own family’s.

There is a part of me, maybe possibly all of us who grew up

during the sixties, who will never forget the Kennedy family.

Remembering Camelot and all the possibilities, it seemed to

reach for the stars and into our dreams.

What’s happening where you live?

Do you like to look for exhibits and special events which come to

your area only once a year, like the “Home and Garden Show?”

This next weekend, Vanilla Ice is going to be at our “H and G Show.”

Have you checked out any local galleries or “One of a Kind” events?

Artistic Genius

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My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Conversation With Cliff

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We were talking about his boys, Cliff and I. It led into a new subject

for me to research. He had suggested in the 1800’s, President Ulysses

S. Grant had been one of the founders of the idea for National Parks.

We had had a few recent conversations about President Theodore

Roosevelt, his past and the post I had written. This was the one about

his personal tragedy of losing his wife and mother on the same day.

Which took Theodore out West to find an ‘escape’ and tranquility. The

area he had chosen to find refuge in, led him to his pursuit of natural

wonders and supporting National Parks.

 

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 and lived until July 23,

1885. He had throat cancer and died at age 63 years old.  He was born

in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He met his wife from a classmate during the

years after he attended military school. He had four children and his

legacy as President and during the times of Civil War and following

peaceful times, is with mixed reviews.

 

Time has slowly improved and healed some of the negative aspects

of President Grant’s memories. Historians and biographers have

become kinder over the years.

 

As a boy, Hiram’s father had Abolitionist sentiments. The family

did not have slaves. Later on, wife’s family did. When there were

times of financial hardship, Grant released his wife’s slaves. This

was despite the fact he could have made money by selling them.

He had enlisted their services on the farm they had owned and they

participated in helping to care for the land. Grant named his family’s

home, “Hardscrabble.”

 

While young, Grant did not attend the family’s Methodist church,

since apparently he was the youngest and did not have to. He chose

to pray privately all his life. He had a sensitive nature, shown in his

taking art courses from Robert Walter Weir. This artist’s paintings

were from the Romantics period. There are nine artworks of Grant’s

still surviving.

 

Hiram had a knack for handling and training horses. He was what

we would now call a, “Horse Whisperer.”

 

Another aspect of Grant’s softer side was when President Abraham

Lincoln was assassinated, he stood alone at the funeral and wept.

He said of Lincoln:

“He was incontestably the greatest man I have ever known.”

 

The only quote I could find from Lincoln of Grant was during the

Civil War, while Grant was very rough on his troops, trying to keep

them in line and some of the bloodiest battles were ones he led,

Lincoln said when others complained of Grant’s determination

and grit:

“I can’t spare this man, he fights.”

 

Going back to how Grant got his name accidentally changed. . .

When Hiram was only 17 years old a congressman who knew his

father, nominated him for the U.S. Military Academy in West

Point, New York. The friend knew his middle name was Ulysses

and his mother’s maiden name was Simpson, so he chose to write

his letter of recommendation for “Ulysses S. Grant,” to become

a military student at West Point.

 

At school, since his initials were U.S., some of his friends started

to call him “Sam” as in “Uncle Sam.” What a patriotic name this is.

Just imagine how it came to be and I like to picture him so much

more as the boy named, “Hiram.” When he went off to school at

West Point there are records of his weight and height:

He was 5′ 1″ tall and he weighed 117 pounds.

 

He was an average student who liked mathematics and geology.

 

A good friend and classmate at West Point introduced him to his

sister, Julia Dent. They became engaged and four years later,

“Sam” and Julia married.

 

At the time after the Civil War, Grant and his family traveled to

Washington, D.C. He was in Cabinet meetings and was given the

authority to be in charge of cotton and its sales in the district

where he and his wife’s family lived.

 

Grant was invited to join President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd,

for an evening at the theater. Instead, Grant and his wife and family

went to Philadelphia for entertainment and a vacation. When he

was called back to Washington due to the assassination, Grant

was bereft.

 

Some of the negative reports about Grant include that he may have

had a drinking problem during his academy and military career.

 

Grant also made a ‘bad decision’ in judging the Jewish people who

were involved in the district he was responsible to monitor cotton

sales in.   He “threw all the Jewish cotton dealers out” and this

Anti-Semitic decision has been often listed as one of the worst ones

he made.

 

Positive relationships with the African Americans post-Civil War

and the Native Americans have made President Ulysses S. Grant’s

memories and tributes less harsh over the years. When he threw

himself into the Civil War battles, Grant “found renewed energy in

the Union cause.” He led volunteer army he tried to rally and

discipline the Northern troops the best he could.

 

While President, Grant chose to create a position in his Cabinet

and nominate someone to be the “Commissioner of Indian Affairs.”

He wanted Peace among the tribes and Grant publicly ‘castigated’

Custer for his massacre of the Indians in the battle known as,

“Custer’s Last Stand.”

 

Cliff is my coworker who has two sons who are on the precipice of

being teenagers. He is struggling to find ways to continue family night

and enjoying all sorts of activities together. His wife is often ‘left at

home’ but he insists she prefers her personal space and encourages

the boys to spend time with their Dad.

 

Cliff has been trying to capture their attention by taking them to

parks, renting canoes, hiking in various places around the four states

of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. He has been considering a

trip to Pennsylvania, but has not decided if this is where they will go

for a summer vacation.

 

Cliff is the one who told me about Grant’s positive decisions to help

Native American relations and also, the Gold Rush. While people

were out West, panning for gold, some stumbled upon the lovely

Geysers and other notable natural beauties.

Cliff was also ‘sure’ that Grant helped to denote the land around the

Geysers out West, as National Park. He was also ‘sure’ that Yellowstone

Park was part of President Grant’s plan of becoming a National Park.

 

Cliff is a ‘simple guy,’ but an extraordinary father. I give him plenty

of positive encouragement, while not flirting or trying to take too

much time away from my order filling.  He is in Cycle Count, so is

often ‘in my way’ and  by talking to him, he follows me while I pick

the warehouse products and place them in the bins or hampers.

 

I had written a post some time ago, last winter I believe, talking about

his interest in the cartoon which had content for young people, “Johnny

Quest.” There were no copies of the series in his local library. He found

some, I believe on YouTube. He ended up showing his boys several

episodes and getting them hooked on “Scooby Doo.”

 

So was Cliff right? For someone who admits he only got “C’s” in  his

high school Geography and History classes, he has come a long way!

 

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant passed the legislation

for National Parks in an area about the size of Rhode Island and the

state of Delaware combined. “Yellowstone Park” and all of the area

is intended to be held as a National Park, preserved and protected

by the United States Government. This law that was passed into a

Bill made the Northwest Corner of the Wyoming Territory part of

the beginning of many other areas known as National Parks.

 

Some quick facts about Yellowstone National Park of note:

~Home of 1/2 the World’s geysers.

~Large mountainous region.

~High elevation lakes.

~Numerous species and abundant game and wildlife.

All are protected and preserved, due to President Ulysses S. Grant.

 

Just for extra information, Cliff shared with me that in Ohio we

only have one National Park. It is called Wayne National Forest

and is located in the Southeastern part of Ohio. It is an area of

240,101 acres. It is located on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau

and is part of a ‘reforestation program.’

 

Isn’t it amazing the things you can learn from a coworker?

 

Hope the research and information about President Ulysses S.

Grant showed you a different picture than the Civil War leader,

making him a more well-rounded character.

Go Forth: Go MOMA Art! Go Golden Globes, and Go Bucks!

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Tragedy struck us through our worldwide connections and in our own

personal, creative bones. We felt the shattering pain and anguish.

Many areas of the world are in our thoughts and prayers.

Especially France.

 

Please allow me to cheer you up with some ‘pieces’ of France being

shown on display here for all of us to view. . .

 

Go Henri Matisse:

Be Inspired!

 

This may not be appropriate but there is beauty to celebrate still.

The Museum of Modern Art has a fantastic collection of Henri

Matisse’s last pieces of artwork. The curator of MOMA gave us

a glimpse of the fine examples of his cutting with scissors and

designs. These were made at the end of his 84 years in life, when

he had become nearly an invalid, not venturing out very often

into the world. The curator told CBS Sunday Morning reporter,

Matisse continued sharing and

expressing himself through:

“Reducing colors to the essentials.”

Later, the curator who is giving a tour of the new exhibit of

Henri Matisse, lets us know where she stands about those who

may be stuck inside,

“An artist should never be a prisoner . . . or set away from the

outside life.”

Do you remember making mosaics out of cut paper? Do you

also remember how much fun it was to fold a paper in half

and produce a heart or a pumpkin?

I remember how wonderful it was to make little cuts into the

heart and make it become quite detailed and adding scrolls

and curlicues.  Try this with red or pink paper, making the

same kind of cuts you made while creating snowflakes.

 

One of the major cut paper works Matisse made was of a

great big mural of swimmers, some were diving, others

intertwined and still others, heading off into the pool of

water, solitary gymnasts.

 

Henri Matisse grew up bin the textile district of France.

Some of his cuttings became ones out of thin, sheer fabrics.

He hired assistants to pin the cut paper or fabric pieces up on plain

sheets of paper, giving directions to how they should be arranged.

There are black and white photographs capturing the over seventy-

year old man starting and planning this new way of expressing

himself, having put down the paintbrushes by this time.

 

Henri Matisse’s paper designs were incorporated into a lovely book

called, “Jazz” which if full of jazz musicians and musical notes. He

was commissioned to produce images that the onlooker becomes

absorbed into, viewing players and instruments of the musical

scene. You can almost hear the jazz notes and rhythms through

the flow of the brightly colored impressionistic designs. They are

modern and yet, so timeless found in the 1947 book. In the 1985

and 2003 editions, with fewer artistic representations, are ones

which were introduced by famous people. The circus and theater

were also influential in his imaginative portrayals of musicians.

 

Go Golden Globes:

Be Entertained!

 

I won’t tell you who will look the most beautiful nor will I

concentrate on the two amusing and beautiful hostesses for

this grand affair. I will tell you my personal favorite movies

and the song I will hope to hear winning Best Song. I will

choose the best actor and actress in both the dramatic film

arena and  the always odd combination of comedic/musical

presentations.

 

 

Best Actor in a Dramatic Film Role~

**I would hope that Eddie Redmayne would win this Best Actor

Golden Globe award.

“Theory of Everything” has the fine skill of transforming Eddie

Redmayne into a very debilitated Stephen Hawking. It is a very

upbeat and triumphant movie and Eddie’s ability to make you

believe he is actually suffering from ALS is incredible.

Although there are many worthy actors for this category, I felt

portraying Stephen Hawking in a believable manner was the

most challenging character role to fulfill.

If I were to choose others, “Selma” leading actor David Oyelowo,

Benedict Cumberbash would also get ‘nods’ from me.

 

Best Actress in a Dramatic Film Role~

Many would say Rosamund Pike is the one who really created

an eerie rendition of the main character in, “Gone Girl.” I would

agree she really portrayed this despicable character well.

I would also like to say if Amy Adams had not just won last year’s

award, (she was nominated for two movies last year) for “American

Hustle,” she may deserve this honor for the movie, “Big Eyes.”

I have not seen Julianne’s double movie roles in “Still Alice” and

“Maps to the Stars” but just watched her in the 2013 movie, “What

Maisie Knew,” which was a four star movie role. She played an out

of control musician from a rock band, who loves her daughter,

Maisie. The character is not able to grasp what is needed to carry

out her role as a mother. It was a very good and interesting role

for Julianne. I will try to see the more recent two movies that were

nominated for her performances.

**Overall, in my own experience, I would choose from my ‘gut’

reaction and hope that Reese Witherspoon wins for her role in

the movie, “Wild.”

 

Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Film:

Emily Blunt in “Into the Woods” is my favorite in this category.

(I wish James Corden could win, but this may not be his year.)

 

Helen Mirren is loved by actors, critics and audiences, so she

may win the Golden Globe in this category for her wonderful

character shown in “The 100 Foot Journey.”

 

 

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film:

I would say that Michael Keaton will win, he is the “favorite,”

for his role in (what I consider a dramatic/fantasy role) in the

movie, “Birdman.”

I think that Ralph Fiennes did a great job in the Budapest Hotel

movie and that Bill Murray showed humor and depth in his role

in “St. Vincent.”

 

2015 Prediction:

The song I liked the best was from the recent 2015 movie, “Unbroken,”

while the credits are rolling. The song and dramatic musical score

are haunting and beautiful. This movie is outstanding, telling the

true story of Louis Zamperini. It is very emotional and worthy of

winning Best Picture of the Year in 2016.  Bill and I saw this two

days ago and found it to be a powerful story of the triumph of the

human spirit. It will probably win for Best Director, Angelie Jolie,

Best Movie, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

Best Film of 2014:

“Boyhood,” took 12 years to make. It filled two entire pages in the

“Cleveland Plain Dealer” about the way Richard Linklater directed

this movie, choosing to follow a boy for twelve years starting when

he was little. It will win due to its being a ‘First of its Kind.” I have

myself on a ‘wait list’ at the library for this one. I want to watch it

at home, stop it, pause it, rewind it, since I will enjoy the story of

this boy’s life unfolding.

 

I felt this way about both the two other serious movies I saw since

2015 started. They came out late in 2014. “Theory of Everything”

shows motivation and strength of character. The reality of ALS,

after Stephen Hawking was told he would only live two years after

this disease started racking havoc on his body, then living past 72

years and hopefully going strong. An amazing and powerful story.

 

“The Imagination Game” shows Alan Turing overcoming prejudice,

obstacles and using his genius mind to ‘fight’ the Germans. This film

proved science and knowledge can be fascinating subjects for a movie.

 

Best Songs from 2014 Movies:

I cannot choose, I love both of these singers and songs.

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye singing, “Mercy Is” from the movie,

“Noah.”

John Legend and Common singing, “Glory” from the movie,

“Selma.”

 

 

In the Category of Animated Films, I would choose “Big Hero 6”

since my grandsons learned about compassion from this film. It

was a fun children’s animated movie where the idea of creative

thought is also presented.

For artistry and creativity, (yet not so entertaining for children),

I would recommend “The Book of Life.” This colorful and very

intriguing film had scary designs that resembled voodoo images,

but would be great for older children. This could inspire art projects,

too. The others in this category were all entertaining including “The

Lego Movie.”

 

 

 

 

Go Buckeyes:

Get Motivated!

 

Ohio State University is playing the championship game on

Monday night, so this may be the last of my posting. I will

head home after work, take a nap and hope we win over the

Oregon Ducks in the College Championships!

 

 

 

 

Art, Environment and Health News

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“I loved the title for this short entry in the “Natural Awakenings”

magazine: “Looking at Beautiful Art Bumps Up Brain Activity.”

At Japan’s Oita University there were outstanding research results

and I will share them with you. Another part of this article will give

you some natural choices to replace antibiotics in fighting those

winter illnesses. While looking at locally grown foods, the pesticide

levels are less in those choices over the ones found in stores. Also,

an interesting find that I came across had two ecological and ‘green’

facts to make sure we contribute to a better world.

How did they measure the increase of brain activity ? You may have

guessed that in the Japanese study of MRI scans, (which are magnetic

resonance imaging screenings) were the source for the scientific

results found in this research study.

I enjoyed the comparison of slides shown of still lifes and landscape

paintings to the actual real artwork of paintings in a museum. The

39 subjects were shown slides of art and later, presented with the

paintings. Another element they were researching was asking them

to express their feelings of the element of beauty in the  slides and

then again, what degree of beauty they felt the actual paintings were.

The most “beautiful” in the subject’s ‘eyes’ of ‘real art’ were rated

significantly higher in the pre-experimental phase over the slides of

paintings.  They called the slides of the paintings, “corresponding

photographic analogs.”

“The MRI’s showed that during the experiment, portions of the brain’s

frontal lobe, related to emotions, memory, learning and decision-making

were activated.” (November, Central Ohio; “Natural Awakenings.”)

Final significant results were that when the researchers compared the

“positive effects of aesthetic appreciation of the art paintings versus

the photographs, they noted more activity at the back of the subject’s

brain.” Which means both areas of the frontal lobes and back part of

the brain were stimulated but the back part was raised at a higher level

of activity.  The location in the back parts were in the bilateral cuneus,

which is a part of the occipital lobe and the left lingual gyrus or ridge.

This means the basic visual processing location and the visual memory,

logical ordering and dreaming areas were the most stimulated with

it being verified on the MRI’s.

When we eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to make

sure we are getting them from a ‘safe’ source. I think this is a fact we

are all aware of but the interesting facts were presented once again,

which prodded me to share this information here. Conventionally

grown foods contain pesticide residues that are 3-4 times higher in

organically grown foods. This was found in the “British Journal of

Nutrition,” where they conducted 343 research studies and published

last June. Since from the farm to the market is a continually growing

industry, it is nice to have facts that support this movement. The ones

grown on organic farms also were found to have higher levels of healthy

nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. Ones that are

grown with phosphorus fertilizers and not including mineral nitrogen

in their practices were found to contain higher levels of cadmium. The

study’s results confirmed this in the following statement:

“Results indicate that switching from conventional to organice crop

consumption would result in a 20-40 % increase in crop-based anti-

oxidants and polyphenolic intake levels.

The emphasis on Honey and Ginger being such healthy and natural

curative power sources even fought the drug-resistant bacteria which

have a list of long names:

“Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E Coli) and Klebsiella

pneumoniae.” Also known as “Super bugs.”

* Further clinical examination is needed to standardize the amounts

in these two ingredients for cold, flu and germ fighting. The research

was conducted at Ethipia’s University of Gondar College of Medicine.

I concluded, we may as well include healthy doses of honey in our

diet, along with including ginger while cooking. I love sauces where

the sweetness is balanced by the spice ginger, along with making a dark

black tea, with some ginger added for flavoring, honey for sweetening.

India’s green project to improve their environment, is focusing on the

areas along their 62,137 miles of highways. India’s Rural Development

Ministry is following their kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” America’s

noted man of  spreading apple seeds along different areas. India’s

hero is named Jadav “Molai” Payeng, an Indian man who. all by

himself, planted 1,360 acres of forest.

This project has three focuses: to help provide jobs for the rural poor

people, include youth in employment and improving the environment.

The country of India has been suffering from severe air pollution.

The World Health Organization released unfortunate statistics of India’s

youth unemployment rate being 10.2 percent and #6 on a list of World’s

Ten Worst Cities with air pollution. The Prime Minister Narenda Modi

has announced a goal of spreading electricity to every home by 2019,

which will rely largely on solar power. Other areas of health concern are

also being targeted for cleaning the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

 

Merry Christmas news for environmentally concerned:

“The Greenest Tree” is supporing buying locally grown trees,

preferable ones that will be grown outdoors, with a close

second being ones that are cut down in tree farms that are

purposely evergreens growing for resale.

Here is the reason:

85% of artificial trees are sourced from China and often contain

toxic chemicals.

Looking at the carbon trail is also important, meaning how much

effort and use of power and resources was used to get the tree to

your home.

Temporary sidewalk or street corner tree lots may be getting trees

where pesticides are used to create the Perfect Tree. These are not

good fro homes, again, comparing this to the natural sourced trees.

Sometimes, home-grown products are just about what we put into

our body for food, but what we breathe for a month while it is in

our living areas.

According to National Geographic Green Guide, Americans actually

discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays. Oh my goodness!

The wood is ‘wasted’ in landfills.  One state that is leading a better

way to go with old Christmas trees is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

where they collect them to combat coastal erosion. Way to go!

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose trees responsibly.

There are great places and resources to check up on facts:

http://PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org

http://GreenPromise.com

http://Tinyurl.com/65oqh9

There are detailed steps for care and planting potted trees at

http://WikiHow.com and other locations of the Tinyurl.com

website.

Do you mind letting me know if any of these facts were helpful

or ones you learned today? Also, any other Green Choices or

healthy suggestions are welcome here.