Category Archives: the brain

Sleeping and Music

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When people say it is best not to go to bed angry, I can understand

their logic. There is a saying, often quoted, derived from the Bible,

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to have a hard time

sleeping, while young,  if things were unsettled or unresolved in my life.

Recently, I read another way of looking at this,  a different perspective

being:  Why ‘battle it out’ while tired? Instead why not go to bed and

‘sleep on it?’

While we are sleeping, many neurons keep on firing in our brains.

Many people come up with book ideas, song lyrics or other creative

thoughts, along with going, “Ah ha!” and waking up refreshed and

having a whole different outlook on their life or problems. I know a

few people who have had a pad of paper and pen or pencil on their

bedside table, sometimes called a ‘night stand.’ The brain still practices

music, it is still active while we are still and deep in our REM mode of

sleeping. Instincts sometimes keep our mind alive, while we have a little

baby in our care, whether we are a parent, grandparent or babysitter.

Animals are on ‘guard,’ while we may be more sorting through our fears,

re-thinking and processing, our cautions may even become ‘fixed’ and

we may solve a way out of our danger, at hand.

While our bodies are slowing down, our metabolism also is slowing.

We have growth and cell repair sources released while we sleep.

Something scary that researchers are now filling us in on is that

those who are more likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia are people

who have gone through most of their adult life, lacking sleep, this would

apply to nurses, doctors, air traffic comptrollers and others who have a

busy and hectic schedule, allowing less sleep and rest in their lives.

 

Some positives gathered from several sources gained from our deep and

tranquil sleep:

Mathematicians solve algorithms and problems while sleeping.

Scientists figure our solutions, structures and finish ‘their daily work,’ in

their sleep.

When we make mistakes, our mind rolls the process around in our head,

we are much more cautious, an example given, when we approach a slick

piece of ice on a road, after we have had an accident.

 

We may have our best songs that we sing and our best pieces of art,

while creative minds were finishing their projects, organizing and

composing.

Leading me into the next subject. . .

There is a musical milestone that we past last February: 100 years of

ASCAP.

Many songwriters don’t get the money from our downloading ‘free’

music. This organization was created in 1914, representing currently

over 1/2 million songwriters. It ensures the rights to make money while

others may sing their songs.

I have known two local groups who write their own music, who joined

ASCAP.  Team KNYCE (a trio of rappers with some blues and jazz

influences) and Morgan Treni, who wrote all of her own songs on her

Fall, 2014 release of her Essays album. A group that plays locally folk

songs, whose advice I sought about this subject, also all are members.

 

The American Society of Composers, Authors  and Publishers is a long-

standing organization who has famous members, including Irving Berlin.

This is a world wide organization and it is emphasized by mentors of

musicians to join this, to protect your music. When performers sing the

Irving Berlin song, “White Christmas,” his heirs will get checks. It protects

performers who sing their own songs. Although artists get royalties from

sales of albums, there was a time when famous musical composers would

die, virtually ‘penniless.’

 

Just for your interest, I found out the estimated sales of the song, “White

Christmas” make it the most sung and highest number of all time, as over

50 billion song copies sold , with the second most being Elton John’s,

“Candle in the Wind,” at 33 billion copies sold.

 

The President of ASCAP is the well-respected and likable Paul Williams.

I was amazed when I saw him speaking recently on television of all the

wonderful songs he wrote. I enjoy his sense of humor, along with in the

past, numerous guest starring parts on television shows. Here are just

a few examples of Paul Williams’ songs:

Three Dog Night sings his song, “Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song.”

The Carpenters sang his song, “Rainy Days and Mondays.”

The theme song for “Love Boat” still brings Paul Williams some royalty

checks, as it repeats and reruns on television.

 

ASCAP President Paul Williams (composer and singer) says it is very

frustrating how many sources on the Internet ‘try to steal music’ and not

allow the original artist or songwriter to get their ‘cut’ or ‘share of the pie.’

An example of how many songs are streaming was 7 million streams of

one Lady Antebellum song in a short period of time, losing quite a lot of

money for the group and composer, too. Taylor Swift was interviewed

about ASCAP, saying she was pulling her songs off of “Spotify.” Garth

Brooks and Billy Joel were also outspoken while being asked about this

landmark anniversary of the organization. They mentioned Pandora,

as another source which is a concern of theirs, allowing access to songs

without paying for them.

 

So, when you listen to “The Music in Me” (written by keyboardist Bias

Bochell, of the Kiki Dee Band), “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel)

and Stevie Wonder’s “Dance to the Music,” you may not get these free

anymore.

There are some artists, musicians and composers standing up for their

rights, in the face of the internet. We will see if the songs that are pulled

off, will still reach the popularity level that others which are free and

available.

As fellow bloggers and writers, we must admire their integrity and

believe in their right to having their music kept original and protected.

 

Patricia Cornwell was a 1975 high school graduate. I graduated in 1974

which makes me feel like we could have been friends. My brother, Randy,

was a ’75 graduate so I hung out with a lot of his friends. She is an author

I deeply admire. I was interested in knowing how she reached her level

of writing and productivity. Her most recent book, “Flesh and Blood,”

was published in November, 2014.

 

I enjoy her murder mysteries that often dwell upon the forensics found in

the coroner’s office. Ms. Cornwell says her favorite book for years, one she

carried around everywhere, was titled, “The Inner Game of Tennis.” She

has been a tennis player yet never became a professional tennis player.

She suggests there is much to find in the book about life. She also slyly

mentioned in AARP magazine, that she may not play like a pro, but she

has through her writing and recognition been able to make friends with

Billie Jean King. Timothy Gallwey wrote this book Patricia admired and

studied.

 

Although she does not mention sleep and creativity, I imagine she would

say she discovered some of her best plot lines while sleeping. I contemplate

how rest can prepare you for reaching your own personal goals.

Patricia Cornwell on her personal motivation:

“After reading the book, “The Inner Game of Tennis,” I made it my ambition

to pay attention and not live a fear-driven life. When I sit down to write, I

remind myself to stay in the moment.”

 

J.M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” is often quoted:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able

to do it.”

 

Sometimes, as in Peter Pan, it is fun to be child-like. In “Downton

Abbey,”

Elizabeth McGovern portrays the character, “Cora,” Countess of Grantham.

In her personal life, she may not be so serious, as exhibited by this quote:

“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

 

Hmm. . .Or is this possibly a ‘slam’ on those who tend to act immature,

even as adults. . . up to your own interpretation.

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.