Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Is Not for Me

   I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween for me it's O.K. but it's no big deal for me. For a long time I couldn't remember why I didn't like Halloween, but in the last few years I have actually remembered and it is because when I was very young I was traumatized. I've told this story to my Daddy and the only point he corrected me on was age, I thought I was 5 years old when this happened but it turns out I was 3 years old. The story is as follows:

   When I was three years old and it is my first memory of going out trick or treating, my Mother was staying home to hand out the candy and so my Daddy was the one to take out on Halloween. Everything was going good until we went to this one house that had a screen door that has an aluminum bottom panel with the wooden front door shut ,well I rang the door bell or knocked on the door ( can't remember which) and I waited with a smile on my face so I could say trick or treat to the nice person ( and I'm sure they really were nice people)  that was going to answer the door. But when the front door opened, instead of the screen door opening  as well a devil mask came up from the aluminum part of the door. I was stunned for a few seconds and then I remember thinking that I had been a bad girl and that the devil had come to take me to Hell. I screamed, ran past my Daddy and started running down the sidewalk crying. Some how I thought to retrace our steps, so I'm going down the sidewalk doing this and I got to the point where my Daddy and I had crossed the road so I did that again, but by myself. I don't know if I looked straight at it or if it was my peripheral vision, but I remember the headlights and I don't think I stopped I'm pretty certain I just kept going because the next thing I remember I was in my Daddy's arms crying and wanting my Mommy. So of course I was taken home.

  I had been scarred by this incident ever since then. When I would go out on Halloween when I was a few years older something would happen that would trigger me and I would get all upset again. I think I was about  7 years old when I went out trick or treating for the last time. Can't say I felt like I missed anything, which may explain why I'm indifferent towards Halloween. And I guess it's a good thing I'm not that crazy about candy, because it has been known to go bad around me.

  Now a days I will go to the cemetery and put chrysanthemums at the headstones and make sure that the graves are all ready for All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day. There is nothing worse than a neglected grave, so I have heard a few times.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Raven

  "The Raven" by the American author Edgar Allen Poe was first published in January of 1845. It is often noted for it's stylized language, supernatural atmosphere and musicality.


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
 As of some one gently rapping - rapping at my chamber door. 
 ' ' Tis some visitor,' I muttered, ' tapping at my chamber door -
 Only this and nothing more'

 Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
 And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
 Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
 From my books surcrease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here forever more.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
 Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
 So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
 ' 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance st my chamber door -
 Some late visitor entreating entrance upon my chamber door, -
 Tis this and nothing more. '

 Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
 'Sir,' said I, 'or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
 But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
 And so faintly you came tapping - tapping at my chamber door,
 That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door -
 Darkness there and nothing more.

 Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
 But the silence was unbroken, and darkness gave o token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore!'
 This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word 'Lenore!'
 Merely this and nothing more.

 Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
 Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat louder than before.
 "Surely,' I said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore; - 
 Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more.'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he
But, with mien of lord of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and set, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' 
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore,'
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
 Though its answer little meaning - little relevance bore;
Fore we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
 With such a name as 'Nevermore.'

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered - before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, 'Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
'Doubtless,' said i, 'what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore
Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore
Of ' Never - nevermore.''

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself into linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking 'Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core,
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet violet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
 She shall press, ah, nevermore!

 Then methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
 Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
 'Wretch,' I cried, 'thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
 Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
 Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, an forget this lost Lenore!'
 Quoth the Raven, ' Nevermore.'

 'Prophet!' said I, ' things of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
 Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
 Desolate yet undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
 On this home by Horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore-
 Is there- is there a balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!'
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.'

 By the Heaven that bend above us- by that God we both adore-
 Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
 It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
 Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.'
 Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

 'Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked, upstarting
 'Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
 Leave no black plume as a token of the lie thy soul hath spoken!
 Leave thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
 Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

 And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
 On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
 And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted-nevermore!

Bust of Pallas

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monster Mash

  I'm not all that much of a fan of Halloween ( I'll explain later) but "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett is a must for me."Monster Mash"is a novelty song that came out on August 25,1962 and was recorded by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett. It was released as a single on Gary S. Paxton's Garpax Record label along with a full length LP called "The Original Monster Mash", which had many other monster themed songs. The "Monster Mash" single reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart on October 20, 1962, just in time for Halloween. It has been an enduring holiday favorite ever since.

I know the quality of the following video isn't too good but it is a 'live' version of Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and his facial expressions while singing the "Monster Mash" is spot on. Now there is a video of Boris Karloff 'singing' the song that someone mixed. It is surprisingly good. I will try and post that one as well.


I was working in my lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the Mash
He did the Monster Mash
The Monster Mash 
It was a graveyard smash
He did the Mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the Mash
He did the Monster Mash

From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where thee vampires feast
 The ghouls all came out grom their humble abodes
 To get a jolt from my electrodes

They did the Mash
They did the Monster Mash
The Monster Mash
It was a graveyard smash
They did the Mash 
It caught on like a flash
They did the Mash
They did the Monster Mash

The zombies were having fun
The party had just begun
The guest included Wolfman
Dracula and his son

The scene was rockin', all were digging the sounds
Igor on chains backed by his Baying Hounds
The coffin bangers were about to arrive
With their vocal group, the "Crypt-Kicker Five"

They played the Mash
They played the Monster Mash
The Monster Mash
It was a graveyard smash
They played the Mash
It caught on in a flash
They played the Mash 
They played the Monster Mash

Out from his coffin, Drac's voice did ring
Seems he was troubled by just one thing 
He opened up the lid and shook his fist
And said, "Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?"

It's noww the Mash
It's now the Monster Mash
The Monster Mash
And it's a graveyard smash
It's now the Mash
It caught on in a flash
It's now the Mash
It's the Monster Mash

Everything's cool, Drac's part of the band
And my Monste mash is the hit of the land
And for you the living, this Mash was meant too
When you get tomy door, tell them Boris sent you

Then you can Mash
Then you can Monster Mash
The Monster Mash
And do my graveyard smash
Then you can Mash
You'll catch on in a flash
Then you can mash
Then you can Monster Mash

Boris Karloff from1965 ABC show Shindig! - recreated


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brass in Pocket aka Brass in Pocket ( I'm Special)

  "Brass in Pocket" aka Brass in Pocket ( I'm Special)" , by The Pretenders, an English rock band fronted by American singer Chrissie Hynde. "Brass in Pocket" was written by Hynde and James Honeyman-Scott and produced by Chris Thomas. The song was released in November of 1979.

   "Brass in Pocket" is The Pretenders third single and first success. It was #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart for two weeks in January of 1980 (making it the first #1 single of the 1980's), in Australia it was #1 during May of 1980 and #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the U.S. ( which I find surprising) . The song's title is taken from an expression Hynde heard from a member of a Yorshire-based support band , Strangeways, who was looking for his money ("brass" meaning money). 

  In an interview with the British newspaper The Observer in 2004, Chrissie Hynde revealed that she was initially reluctant to have the song released : When we recorded the song I wasn't very happy with it and told my producer that he could release it over my dead body, but they eventually persuaded me".


Got brass in pocket
Got bottle* I'm gonna use it
 Intention I feel, inventive
 Gonna make you, make you, make you notice

Got motion, restrained emotion
 Been driving Detroit leaning*
 No reason just seems so pleasing
 Gonna make you, make you, make you notice me


 Gonna use my arms
 Gonna use my legs
 Gonna use my style
 Gonna use my sidestep
 Gonna use my fingers
 Gonna use my, my, my imagination

'Cause I'm gonna make you see 
 There's nobody else here
 No one like me
 I'm special, so special
 I gotta have your attention give it to me

 Got rhythm can't miss a beat
 Got new skank* it's so reet*
 Got something I'm winking at you
 Gonna make you, make you, make you notice me


Gonna use my arms
 Gonna use my legs
 Gonna use Style
 Gonna use my sidestep
 Gonna use my fingers
 Gonna use my, my , my imagination 

 Oh... 'Cause I'm gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
 No one like me
 I'm special , so special
 I gotta have some of your attention
 Give it to me
 'Cause I'm gonna make you see 
There's nobody else here 
 No One like me 
 I'm special, so special
 I gotta have some of your attention

 Give it to me

Ooh, when you walk.


*Got Bottle- Have Courage (English slang)

 *skank - move your body side to side ( more English slang I believe)

 * Detroit Leaning - Because Chrissie Hynde is from Akron, Ohio this term was a way of driving, not only in Detroit but throughout the American Midwest

 *Reet - Northern English for 'right' when used as an  adverb to positively pre-qualify a verb. Righteous

  If anyone wants to correct me on any of this or if I got all of the slang right, please write and let me know. 

And for a treat a live performance of "Brass in Pocket" from 3 years ago. Chrissie Hynde hasn't lost it. At first I was worried it had been lip sync but then I thought that was just a way too sacrilegious idea and listened closely. It is Chrissie for live. So I enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Without Love (There Is Nothing)

 "Without Love (There Is Nothing)" is another song that just makes me want to cry, like "Since I Fell for You". I don't know why but I just seem to have quite a few songs that can do that to me. I guess with this song it actually makes me stop and think that I shouldn't be sou busy and maybe a little closed and to love before it's too late. Anyway, "Without Love (There Is Nothing) was written by Danny Small and recorded by Clyde McPhatter, an original member of The Drifters, in 1957. It peaked at #6 on the R&B Best Seller Chart and # 19 on Billboard Hot 100 Chart.


 I awakened this morning, I was filled with despair
 All my dreams turned to ashes and gone
 As I looked at my life it was barren and bare
 Without love I have nothing at all.

 Without love I have nothing
 Without love I have nothing at all
 I have conquered the world
All but one thing did I have
 Without love I have nothing at all

 Once I had a sweetheart who loved only me
There was nothing, oh that she would not give, oh no
But I was blinded by her goodness and I could not see
 That a heart without love could not live

 Without love there is nothing
Without love there is nothing at all
Yes, I conquered the world
All but one thing did I have
 Without love I have nothing at all.

I thought I'd also include Elvis Presley's rendition of "Without Love ( There is Nothing):

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and this marks the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness. I would like to encourage you and those that are around you to be vigilant about getting mammograms and breast self-examinations about once a month. It is recommended that women start getting mammograms at age 40 but if you have a family history of breast cancer you may want to try and start getting mammograms at a younger age, 35 years old is the recommended age. If you have dense breast tissue you may be able to get an ultra-sound of your breast, as well as the mammogram. Please ask about it.

Some Breast Cancer Facts:

 Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the America.There will be an estimated 230,480  new cases of invasive breast cancer ( including new cases of primary breast cancer among survivors, but not a recurrence of original breast cancer among survivors).

 It is estimated that 57,650 new cases of in situ breast cancer ( including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) of those, about 85% were DCIS) DCIS is is a non-invasive breast cancer and LCIS is a risk factor that increases the risk for invasive breast cancer.

There will be approximately 2,140 new cases of  invasive breast cancer among men in 2011.

According to SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results) data from 2001-2007 , approximately 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer still alive after five years of their breast cancer diagnosis. Among black women approximately 77% were still living after their breast cancer diagnosis

 For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

 Compared to African-American women, white ( non-Hispanic) women are more likely to develop breast cancer, but they are less likely to die of it.  A possible reason may be that African-American women tend to get a more aggressive form of breast cancer, why this is so is not known. But other ethnic groups, Asians, American Indian and Hispanic have lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.

 Older women are more likely to have breast cancer than younger women. From 2004-2008, the median age for breast cancer diagnosis was 61 years old. Approximately 0.0% of women under 20 were diagnosed; 1.9% between 20 and 34;  10.2% between 35 and 40; 22.6% between 45 and 54; 24.4 between 55 and 64; 19.7% between 65 and 74; 15.5% between 75 and 84; and 5.6% 85+ years of age. (SEER data, 2011)

 A woman's risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister,daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20% - 30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer has a family history of it.

 Mortality rates have  dropped for women under 50 years old (by 3.2%) regardless of ethnicity. ( American Cancer Society, 2010)

 The current methods of treating breast cancer in the U.S. are surgery ( lumpectomy and mastectomy), chemotherapy, radiation,hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. ( ACS,2011)

 Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer. It may detect the disease before symptoms occur. It may also lead to over diagnosis and over treatment. ( Nelson, etal, 2009)

These are just some of the facts and figures for breast cancer. But I URGE you to get screened and treated if necessary. Don't be afraid or embarrassed, at least not too much, for it could save your life.

 Here are some links to sites that specialize in breast cancer:




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Since I fell For You

 "Since I Fell For Your" is one of most favorite songs. Hearing the crying in Lenny Welch's voice when he is left is so, well... cryable. Which I do tear up if not just out right cry. Just thinking hearing the song in my head makes want to start crying.

 "Since I Fell for You" was composed by influential jazz and New York blues pianist and bandleader, Buddy Johnson in 1945. The song was first recorded by his sister, American jazz and rhythm and blues vocalist, Ella Johnson.The biggest hit version of "Since I Fell For You" came in November of 1963 when it was sung by Lenny Welch. The song stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 months and peaked at # 4.


 When you give love 
And never get love
 You better let love depart
 And yet I know
 I can't get you out of my heart.

 Made me leave my happy home
 You took my love and now your gone
 Since I fell for you

 Brings such misery and pain
 I guess I'll never be the same
Since I fell for you

 Well it's too bad 
 And it's too sad
 But I'm in love with you

 You love me 
 Then you snub me
 But what can I do
 I'm still in love with you

 Well I 
 Guess I'll never see the light
 I get the blues most every night
 Since I fell for you

 Since I fell for you...

I've included a live performance by Lenny Welch of "Since I Fell For You"

Thursday, October 13, 2011


  "Ironic" is from Alanis Morissette's third,but first internationally released,album "Jagged Little Pill". "Ironic" was written by Morissette and the American songwriter/producer, Glen Ballard. He also produced "Jagged Little Pill". "Ironic: is the albums fourth single and was released February 27, 1996. In 1997 the song received two Grammy nominations , including 'Song of the Year'.

  The track topped the Canadian music industry publication, RPM Top Singles Chart for six weeks and reached the top five in Norway, New Zealand and Australia. In America "Ironic" reached # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 13, 1996 and is currently Morissette's highest- charting hit for this chart. Meanwhile, "Ironic" became her second #1 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, were it stayed for three weeks. The song topped Mainstream Top 40, reached # 5 on the Adult Top 40 and #28 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

  In it's eighth week in Australia " Ironic" peaked at #3 and stayed there for two weeks. It last appeared on the charts on July 21,1996 at #37. "Ironic" is Morissette's best charting song in Australia. On April 20,1996, "Ironic" debuted and peaked  in the United Kingdom at # 11. It left the charts eight weeks later at # 67. In the Norwegian Singles Chart the song debuted at #18 and rose to #5 in it's third week on the chart. It then peaked at #4 where it stayed for five weeks then dropped a spot to #5 and then stayed there for another two weeks. " Ironic" kept within the chart for a total of seventeen weeks. In Belgium it reached #6 on the Ultratop 50 in Flanders region ( northern region) and # 9 on the Ultratop 40 in the Wallonia Zone ( southern region).

  Now even though most critics  agree that the music video is very good, the linguistics of "Ironic" is another thing all together. Even though the song tried to describe "ironic" situations, some people noted that the song was not doing it. Earning parodies,critiques an corrections to make the song "ironic". Alanis Morissette  stated about the writing of the song: " For me the great debate on whether what i was saying was 'Ironic' was ironic wasn't a traumatic debate. I'd always embraced the fact that every once in a while I'd be the malapropism queen. And when Glen and I were writing it, we definitely were not doggedly making sure that everthing was technically ironic".

 I for one don't care if the linguistics of "Ironic" are correct or not, well maybe a tad bit, but that's okay  because I like the song and the video is amazing. That was done with just editing, no special effects. Plus I like the music. So here is "Ironic":

An old man turned ninety-eight
 He won the lottery and died the next day
 It's a black fly in your Chardonay
 It's a deah row pardon two minutes too late
 And isn't it ironic... don't you think

 It's like rain on your wedding day
 It's a free ride when you've already paid
 It's the good advice that you just couldn't take
Who would have thought... it figures.

 Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
 He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
 And as the plane crashed down hethought,
 "Well isn't this nice..."
 And isn't it ironic... don't you think.

 It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
 It's the good advice that you just couldn't take
 Who would've thought... it figures.

 Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
 When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
 You think everything's gone wrong and everthing blows up 
 In your face.

A traffic jam when your already late
 A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousnad spoons when all you need is a knife
 It's meeting the man of your dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife.
 And isn't it ironic... don't you think
 A little too ironic... and, yeah I really do think...

 It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
 It's the good advice that you just couldn't take
Who would have thought... it figures
 Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Lockout # ...

  Okay I 've about had it with both sides of this freakin' mess. Sunday there was an offer of 50/50  revenue sharing and the players turned it down and of course the owners, the league, or whoever are saying "NOO we never made such an offer. Right now the players have 57% of guaranteed basketball related revenue under the current collective bargaining agreement. By the way, didn't Dwayne Wade have a hissy fit because Commissioner David Stern shook a finger at D-Wade last week? If D-Wade is that sensitive, no wonder the Heat lost in the finals. Heck, it was probably dumb luck they got as far as they did. Sorry I got sidetracked. Anyway... Know what? WHATEVER!!!!

The first two weeks of regular NBA season has just been canceled and this includes all the games played through November 24. There is just three weeks left before the start of the season and both met for 7 hours Monday and couldn't, but in my opinion it's more likely WOULDN'T, reach an agreement. But both sides they intend to remain in contact, WHOOP-DEE DO, but no more talks have been scheduled.  (What else is new?)

 With this lockout happening there is some worry that the NBA could alienate fans (Does p*ssing them off count? I'm already there if it does.), because the fans are the one's who sent the NBA revenue and television ratings soaring.According to the Deputy Commissioner, Adam Silver, the league would lose hundreds of millions of dollars, but the union executive says that players will lose an estimated  $350 million a month while the players are locked out.

 Now for the normal workers, that both sides don't give a rat's butt about, such as the ushers, parking lot attendants, restaurant employees ,concession stand workers, and othersall stand to either have their hours cut or laid off. A few teams have already cut there staffs and there could be more layoffs coming down the pipe.

So as usual the rich want to be richer, the richer want to be the richest and if they trample on the backs of normal working people, well... what do they care? Seems like A LOT have forgotten their roots.

This is the latest from ESPN:

Now for an emotional outburst via pictures:

Sunday, October 9, 2011


  Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder" is from her solo album "Tigerlily", which was released on June 20,1995. In 1995 "Wonder" went to #16 on Modern Rock Tracks and #32 on Top 40 Mainstream. In 1996 the song was  #18 on Adult Contemporary,#1 on Top Adult Recurrents,#2 on Adult Top 40 and # 7 on Top 40 Mainstream.


 Doctors have come from disant cities
 Just to see me
 Stand over my bed
 Disbelieving what they're seeing

 They say I must be one of the wonders
 Of G_d's own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer 
No explination

Newspapers ask intimate questions
 Want confession
 They reach into my head 
To steal the story of my glory

They say I must be one of the wonders
 of G_d's own creation 
And as far as they can see
No explination

 O, I believe
 Fate, smiled and destiny
 Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
 Know this child will be gifted
 With love,with patience and with faith
 She'll make her way

 People see me
 I'm a challenge to your balance 
 I'm over yourheads
 I confound you and astound you
 To know I must be one of the wonders 
 Of G_ds own creation
 And as far as you can see me you can offer me 
 No explanation

 O, I believe
 Fate,smiled and destiny
 Laughed as she came to my cradle
 Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
 Know this child will not suffer
 Laughed as my body she lifted
 Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
 She'll make her way.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yom Kippur

  Yom Kippur also known as "Day of Atonement" is the holiest of all the days of the Jewish year. It falls on the 10th day of Tishri, the 7th month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year and the 1st of the civil year,occurring in September or the first half of October.

Yom Kippur central themes are repentance and atonement. Jews who do not observe any other Jewish customs will observe this day.The "books" that G_d has written our names in is sealed after His judgement is entered into them and on Yom Kippur. This day is in essence the last chance one has to change the judgement, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends. The laws relating to it can be found in Leviticus 16 and Numbers 29.

  Yom Kipppur is a complete Sabbat, for no work can be done on this day. For nearly 26 hours- from several minutes before sunset on Tishri 9 to after nightfall on Tishri 10 Jews "afflict their souls'. Which just means that they abstain from bodily pleasure, because they are prohibited on Yom Kippur. This is know as the Five Afflictions on Yom Kippur. They are as follows : fasting ( even water is not allowed) , washing or anointing the body (even deodorant), wearing leather shoes and no sex.

   Now if there is a health reason or a threat to life then these restrictions can be lifted. In fact, children under the age of 9 and women in childbirth ( from the time labor starts to 3 days after the birth of the child) are NOT ALLOWED to fast even if they want to. Older children and women from the third to the seventh day are allowed to fast, but if they feel that they need to break the fast they are allowed to do so.

Before Yom Kappur the Jews perform the Kapport atonement service ( discussed in my DAYS OF AWE post) ; receive honey cake, in acknowledgment that we are all recipients of G_ds world and in prayerful hope for a sweet and abundant year; eat a festive meal; immerse in a mikveh (a collection of water, such as a bath) and give to charity. A late afternoon prefast meal is eaten followed by a blessing of their children, light a memorial candle as well as the holiday candles and go to the synagogue.

 There are five afflictions correspond with the Torah which the Jews accept without allowing their physical needs to intervene. They also correspond with the five senses with which man performs a good deed and commits transgressions; to the five times the term nefesh (soul) is mentioned in the Yom Kippur Torah reading; to the five immersions of the Kohen Gadol (high priest ) on Yom Kippur when the sanctuary stood; and to the five prayer services prescribed for the day: Ma'ariv, the evening prayer, in which the solemn Kol Nidre service is done. Kol Nidre is a prayer in which Jews ask G_d to annul all personal vows made between the person making the prayer and G_d.Shacharit , the morning prayer that includes reading from Leviticus followed by the recalling of the dead service,  Musaf ( additional prayer) which includes a detailed account of the Yom Kippur Temple service, Minchah (afternoon prayer) which includes the reading of the Book of Jonah.

  Ne'ilah, the closing prayer, at sunset. The ark ( cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) remain open throughout this service thus one must remain standing throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayer of this service. The service is sometimes referred to as the "closing of the gates" because this is the last time to get a good word in before the end of the holiday.  The service ends with a long blast from the shofar.

  The Jewish congregation will say say the Al Chet confession of sins eight times in the course of Yom Kippur and recite Psalms at every available minute.

In the days of the Temple at Jerusalem the high priest offered sacrifices for the expiation of sin. At one point during the ritual the high priest placed his hands upon a goat as he confessed the sins of the people: the goat was then taken into the wilderness and thrown down the face of a cliff. This act symbolized the removal of guilt and G_d's forgiveness. The concept of the "scapegoat" originated in this ceremony.


It is customary to wear white on Yom Kippur  because it symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise shall be mad as white as snow.

 This is the only day in which the tallit, the four corner prayer  shawl with fringes that symbolize the 613 commandments, is worn in the evening.

 During Viddui, the communal confession, it is customary to beat on one's chest.

 It is said that "On Rosh Hashanah, it is written. On Yom Kippur it is sealed." Thus the traditional Yom Kippur greeting is "G'mar Tov" (finish well) or "G'mar Chatima Tov" (may you be sealed in the book of life.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Days of Awe

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur  are known as the  Days of Awe(Yamin Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious inward reflection , a consideration of the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kipppur.

  One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the idea  that G_d (A way of avoiding writing the name G_d so to avoid the risk of the sin of erasing or defacing the name), has "books" that He writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the rest of the year. The books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G_d's decree. The actions that change the decree are "teshuvah, (repentance) tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah (charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur. This idea of writing in the "books" is the source of the common greeting "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year".

 Among the customs of this time, is seeking reconciliation with people you have wronged during the previous year. The Talmund maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for the sins between man and G_d.  To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek a reconciliation with the person and if possible, right the wrongs you have committed against the other person.

  Now another observed,but rarely practiced, custom is the observance of kapport. Basically, you buy a live chicken or another kind of fowl, and on the morning before Yom Kippur you wave it over your head reciting a prayer asking that the fowl be considered an atonement for your sins. The bird is then slaughtered and given to the poor ( or its value is given to the poor). Today, some Jews substitute a bag of money in place of the bird. This tradition is observed in its true form by Hasidic and occasionally Orthodox Jews. But most reform and Conservative Jews have never heard of this custom.

Work is allowed as usual during the intermediate Days of Awe, from Tishiri (1st month of the year)3 to Tishiri 9, except of course Shabbat (Sabbath) during the week.

 Two lesser special occasions take place during the days of Awe :

 Tishiri3, the day after the second dayof Rosh Hashanah is the Fast of Gedaliah . This commemorates the killing of the Jewish governor of Judah, a critical event in the time of the downfall of the first commonwealth.

 The Shabbat that occurs in this time frame is known as Shabbat Shuvah (the Sabbath of Return). This is considered to be an important Shabbat.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sophia Loren

Born Sophia Villani Scicolone on September 20,1934 at the Clinica Regina Margherita, Ms. Loren was the daughter of Romilda Villlani, a piano teacher and aspiring actress and Riccardo Scicolone, a married construction engineer. Her father would never marry her mother but they went on to have another daughter, Anna Maria Villani Scicolone in 1938. Without support of any kind from her father Ms. Loren's mother moved herself and her daughters to Pozzuoli, Italy,near Naples, to live with Ms. Loren's grandmother.

  During WWII Pozzouli's harbor and munitions plant were bombed frequently by the Allies.While running to an air raid shelter Ms. Loren was struck by shrapnel on her chin. After this happened the family moved to Naples.

 After the war ended the family moved back to Pozzouli. At this time Ms. Lore's grandmother opened a pub in the family living room, selling homemade cherry liquor. Romilda Villani played the piano, while Ms. Loren and her sister waited on tables and washed dishes. The pub was a very popular place with American GI's stationed nearby.

 Even though Ms. Loren had a rough early life, by the time she was 14 she had entered a beauty contest in Naples and was a finalist in the pageant. It was here that she caught the eye of Carlo Ponti, an Italian film producer, some 22 years her senior. Under Ponti's guidance, Ms. Loren enrolled in acting classes and was soon playing bit parts in many movies per year. Including Mervyn Leroy's 1951 film "Quo Vadis"

Other film Ms. Loren appeared in was the 1952 movie " La Favorita" under the credited name "Sofia Lazzaro". In 1952 a friend of Carlo Ponti, Goffredo Lombardo, head of production of the Italian film production company,Titanus, changed her name from Lazzaro to Loren. Her first starring role was in the 1953 movie "Aida", which brought Ms. Loren critical acclaim. After playing the leading role in "Two Nights With Cleopatra",also in 1953, she appeared in what would become her breakout role as "Sofia" in the 1954 film "The Gold of Naples", directed by Vittorio De Sica. "Too Bad She's Bad", also released in 1954, became the first of many films in which she acted with Marcello Mastroianni. The first movie that gave Ms. Loren success beyond her native Italy was"La Donna del Fiume" it was released in America as "The River Girl". Because of this she was able to make her U.S. film debut in "Pride and Passion" in 1957 with Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. Other movies she made in1957 were "Boy On a Dolphin" with Alan Ladd and the movie "Legend Of the Lost" with John Wayne. While amidst all of her movies Ms. Loren married Carlo Ponti on September 17,1957 by proxy after his Mexican divorce from his first wife, that Italian officials deemed illegal because Italy did not recognize divorce at the time. In order to escape bigamy charges the couple had their marriage annulled in 1962. In 1965 Ponti was able to obtain a divorce from his first wife in France, allowing him to marry Ms. Loren on April 9, 1966. They later became french citizens the French president, Georges Pompidu, approved the couple's application for citizenship.

 With a five picture contract with Paramount Pictures in 1958 Ms. Loren became an international film star.  Starting with the 1958 movie "Houseboat" in which she appeared for  second time with Cary Grant. The movie's original script was written by Grant's wife, Betsy Drake and she was originally intended to co-star with Cary Grant in it. Instead, he began an affair with Ms. Loren while filming "Pride and the Passion" arranging for Ms. Loren to take Ms. Drake's place in "Houseboat" with a rewritten script, for which Ms. Drake didn't receive credit for. This of course led to Grant and his wife's separation. But his affair with Ms. Loren ended in bitterness while making "Pride and the Passion" ,which in turn caused problems on the set of "Houseboat". Cary Grant had hoped to resume his relationship with Ms. Loren but she instead married Carlo Ponti.

In 1960 she appeared on screen as a blonde for the first time in George Cukor's film, "Heller In Pink Tights". Also in 1960 came her Academy Award winning role in Italian director Vittorio De Sica movie "Two Women", in which she plays a widowed mother who tries to take her daughter and herself to safety from the Allied bombing of Rome to the mother's hometown of Ciociaria, a rural, mountainous province in central Italy. They make it to the mother's hometown where Ms. Loren's character,Cesira, comes to the attention of a you intellectual with communist sympathies. Unfortunately, he is captured by German soldiers who want to use him to get through the mountains. Meanwhile,Italy is liberated and Cesira decides that her daughter and she should return home to Rome, which is tial of survival, dignity and sanity, for even though they were harassed during the fighting for Italy both Cesira and her daughter are gang raped by Moroccan soldiers fighting in the Free French army, inside a bombed out church in which the two women had come seeking refuge. Her daughter, Rosetta, is severely traumatized and not knowing whether she can trust her mother to keep her safe.They accept a ride from a man, who he takes to his village and his mother's home for Cesira and Rosetta to stay. It is here that Rosetta decides to go to a dance with the man, who seems to be a pedophile because he has a 15 year old girlfriend and that same night that Cesira receives the news that her intellectual friend has been shot and killed by the Nazi soldiers. When her daughter finally decides to come home at dawn, Cesira yells at her about being gone and spanks her. She then tearfully apologizes to her daughter about not being able to protect her as much as they would have both liked and then she  tells Rosetta of the death of their friend... which seems to reestablish their mother-daughter bond.

In 1963 Sophia Loren appeared in another of her iconic movie, the 1963 movie "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. This was a comedy anthology film that was directed by Vittorio de Sica and co-starred Marcello Mastroianni . Mastroianni and Loren were one of the most enduring and successful screen couple in film history, appearing in 14 movies in over 20 years.

In 1964, Ms. Loren's career reached it's zenith when she received $1 million to act in "The Fall of the Roman Empire". In 1965 she received her second Academy Award nomination for her performance in "Marriage Italian-Style". This is another movie in which Ms. Loren was directed by Vittorio De Sica and co-starred Marcello Mastroianni.

 Sophia Loren Received four Golden Globe Awards between 1964 to 1977 as "World Film Favorite - Female".

1977 Golden Globes

 After years of trying to have children Ms. Loren she became pregnant in the Spring of 1968 and in December of 1968 Carlo Ponti, Jr. was born. His brother, Edoardo Ponti, was born in January of 1973. Now that she had her family, Ms. Loren worked less so she could concentrate on being a mother. Most of her acting during the next twenty years was in Italian features.

In the 1970's she was paired with Richard Burton in the last De Sica film 1974's "The Voyage" and a remake of the 1945 British film, "Brief Encounter". The film its premiere on U.S. television on November 12,1974 on NBC as part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series. In 1976 Ms. Loren starred in the disaster movie, "The Cassandra Crossing" which also veteran stars Ava Gardner, Martin Sheen and Richard Harris. In 1977 she made the Italian movie "A Special Day" that was directed by Ettore Scola and her favorite co-star Marcello Mastroianni. The film tells the story of a housewife and her neighbor who stay home in Rome the day Hitler visits Mussolini. For this movie Ms. Loren was nominated for several awards.She then starred in a couple of thrillers. "Brass Target" (1978) which is based on the Frederick Nolan Novel "The Algonquin Project" that deals with General George S. Patton's fatal automobile accident. Suggesting that it was not an accident but a conspiracy. Plus she appeared in the 1979 move "Firepower. Both movies had moderate success.

In 1980 Ms. Loren portrayed her own mother, as well as herself in the television biopic adaptation of her autobiography "Sophia Loren: Her Own Story".  in 1981 she became the first female celebrity to have her own perfume, Sophia. This was followed by her own line of eyewear. In 1982 she made headlines when she served an 18 day prison sentence for tax evasion and this did nothing to hurt her popularity or her career.

Through out the 1990's and 2000's Ms. Loren has been selective about her film work and has ventured into various areas of business including': jewelry,cook books, eyeware and perfume.  In 1991 Ms. Loren received the Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to the world of cinema and was declared "one of the cinema world's treasures". Ms. Loren presented Federico Fellini, in 1993, with his Honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments that have thrilled and entertained audiences worldwide.

  In 1994 she received a Golden Globe nomination for her part in Robert Altman's film " Pret-a-Porter" (Ready to Wear). In which she re-created her famous slightly strip scene from "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" Ms. Loren received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1995. Also in 1995 she acted with Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon  in "Grumpier Old Men".

  Ms. Loren received a Special Grand Prix of the Americas Award in Montreal World Film Festival for her body of work, in 2001. During this time she made two movies in Canada : "Between Strangers" an independent film that was directed by her youngest son, Edoardo, and the television miniseries " Lives of the Saints" in 2004.

 On January 10,2007 her beloved husband, Carlo Ponti, died of pulmonary complications.

Also in 2007 she appeared in that year's Pirelli Calendar at the age of 72.

After 14 years absence from the prominent  American film theater and five years off the set,Ms. Loren appeared in American director, Robert Marshall's movie version of the Broadway musical "Nine". It tells the story of an Italian director whose midlife crisis cause him to struggle to complete his latest film; he is forced to balance the influences of a number of formative women in his life, including his dead mother. Ms. Loren was the only one Rob Marshall considered for the role of "Mother".

 In 2010 Ms. Loren portrayed her own mother in a two part Italian miniseries about her early life, entitled "La Mia Casa E Piena di Specchi" translated "My House Full of Mirrors". It was directed by Vittorio Sindoni and was based on her sister Maria's memoir.