The Full and the Hollow

This poem by Sylvia (Mattingly, my niece) really touched a chord with me. During the past twelve months of pandemic many days have felt sorrowful, burdensome and hollow. I’m so grateful though, that there are days that which are full, full of love, caring, helping. Both kinds of days make up our lives for which we should be thankful. I hope your day if full of brightness and joy.


the full and the hollow

sometimes life leaves you hollow

and in that hollow,

sorrows fall and settle 

like snow…

burdensome

as they deepen…

blowing and drifting 

in empty silence 

across the icy landscape 

of a saddened heart

but…

sometimes life leaves you full

and in that fullness,

joys rise and radiate

like sunshine 

carefree 

as they uplift…

waltzing and fluttering 

to notes of music

across the melodic dance floor 

of a happy heart

and so… 

these opposing forces

abide in us…

completing us…

the yin and the yang…

the full and the hollow

Sylvia L.Mattingly, February 5, 2021

Photo by Pixabay

Lift Up Louisville

If you are from Louisville you will love this video of great music that also gives a glimpse of what our city is like. If you aren’t from Louisville, I think you might still enjoy the six  and one-half minutes of entertainment lead by Terry Abrams, Director of the Louisville Orchestra.

https://youtu.be/AcsiqH5AZ7g

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Music

“What does your music taste say about you?”

I like just about all types of music but I love Rock & Roll! I love the beat. I love memories connected with it. I love the performers. What does it say about me? It says I am young at heart.

lf25-JAN-elton-john
Photo by Pixabay

How about you? What does your taste in music say about you? Please share with us.

For more on music click here:  https://crookedcreek.live/2019/01/09/music/

 

Photos from Pixabay

Pat’s Haiku

Pat Bush is a faithful reader and frequent commenter on this blog. She was quick to answer the Haiku Challenge https://crookedcreek.live/2019/11/14/haiku/  with excellent poems. Here are Pat’s six Haiku.

Pat’s Haiku

The noise and the News.
I long for quieter times.
Silence is golden.

Feeling cold. I’m old.
Body aches and pains abound.
Better sore than dead.

I love challenges.
Especially ones with words.
The mind awakens.

Sue Baugh Mattingly.
Her blog is always nifty.
From it comes wisdom.

Cornucopia
What a wonderful concept!
A Horn of Plenty.

Eight whole notes; five, half.
Create all music we hear.
Amazing talent.

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The Internet

“Fifty years ago, two letters were transmitted online, forever altering the way that knowledge, information, and communication would be exchanged,” wrote Joshua Bote in USA TODAY October 29, 2019. Those letters were “l” and “o” and perceived as “hello” when the system crashed before the word “login” could be typed. They were sent by a professor at UCLA to another computer at Stanford Research Institute.

At that time only four universities had computers. They were room-sized and required under-floor air conditioning. In 1971, the first email was sent by an MIT researcher and was also the first time the “@” sign was used to designate a specific recipient of a message. I remember the early days when researching medical papers I had to go through a university (@edu) library which would search and produce the Internet address for the requested information.

The World Wide Web (WWW), as we know it, didn’t get invented until 1989 and it was 1991 before the first web page was published. Over the years other services that we are all so familiar with were created, Amazon (1995), Google (1998), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) among others.

Now the internet is as much a part of our lives as driving a car or brushing our teeth. We can access information on any topic, find the answers to burning questions, listen to music and see movies. When I see my granddaughter, a college senior, doing research and taking tests Online, I recall trips to the library and searching through a card catalog. Once the desired journal or paper was located we photocopied it for preparing our research papers. I am glad that she and all students have it easier than we did “back in the day.”

I am sure that I am not alone when I say I love the Internet, warts and all. We know that it can be corrupted, both operationally and politically but we would never go back to a time without the WWW.

Internet
Graphic Courtesy of Pixabay

Movie Review

“Rocketman”

If you are an Elton John fan, and I am, you have to like this movie. How much fans like it may vary. It had plenty of John’s music and more than enough of his outrageous costumes, however, I left the two-hour movie feeling a bit unfulfilled.

Part of my disappointment was in the way the music was presented in excerpts rather than full songs. Perhaps I should confess here that I don’t care for musicals and this was a musical. To me, it is just unnatural for people to break out in song while doing the most mundane of activities. OK! I know it was about music, but still.

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There was a clear depiction of his early life with a mother and father who either knew little about parenting or just didn’t care for the role. John’s early life was very sad. The actors who played him as a child were very good, especially the younger, adorable boy. Taron David Egerton who played Elton John as an adult was excellent. Surprisingly, he did his own singing and stunts, including one where he sang underwater.

It is not surprising when viewing a biopic of a rock & roll star that there would be problems with drugs and alcohol and this was a major focus of “Rocketman.” Even though the movie was long, it did not include his past twenty-eight years of sobriety, marriage and a family of his own.

Again, any Elton John fan will enjoy this movie. I did, in spite of believing that it could have been even better.

“The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star.”      Elton John

Photos by Bing

Music 4

Deathbed Playlist

In November 2016 The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/06/opinion/sunday/my-deathbed-playlist-and-yours.html published an opinion piece about the kind of music one would want to hear while dying. I have a list that I’d like at my funeral, but I had never given any thought to what I’d want to hear while dying. As I read the desires of others I began to put together my own “deathbed playlist.”

Of those who shared their lists some of the pieces were classical. I think classical music can be very comforting, but I am not educated enough in that kind of music to choose. Far more respondents mentioned rock pieces by specific artists or bands.  These I could identify with, such as Zeppelin, Cohen, Dylan, The Rolling Stones and others. 

After reading this article in the NYT by Mark Vanhoenacker I chose “When God Made Me” by Neil Young, for sure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5QjKLcod9Y It is not an especially comforting song, but one full of questions. I’ve always had questions and know they will continue until I draw my last breath. My hope is that the answers might follow. 

How about you? What music would you like to hear during your last hours on this planet? Please share with us. 

Funeral Playlist

I suspect that many of you know the music you’d like at your funeral. Am I right? I do, the list is in The Binder https://crookedcreek.live/2018/09/16/the-binder/I have listed songs I’d like my family to choose from and they include: “Remember” by Josh Grobin, an old hymn “It is Well with My Soul,” the aforementioned “When God Made Me,” and of course “Amazing Grace” by either Elvis, Andrea Bocelli or IL Divo. 

At the end of my cousin, Pat’s, funeral we were all surprised and jolted by “Spirit in the Sky.” We laughed and shared a moment of Pat humor. It was great!  

What music do you want at your funeral? Please share. 

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

 

Theme photo by Pixabay

Music 3

Deceased Artists

Isn’t it ironic that we miss music most after the death of a star musician? So many that we have lost over the past couple of years come to mind, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, and Chuck Berry. The day that Franklin died, I began to play her old CDs and continued for days.

“Space Oddity” and “Purple Rain” each still bring a tear when I hear them. It goes without saying that we often appreciate folks more after they are gone. That’s life, that’s death, but the music lives on and we are lucky to be able to hear any favorite anytime of day, thanks to the Internet and YouTube.

“Space Oddity” 

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
And put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
Engines on
Check ignition
And may God’s love be with you

This is Ground Control
To Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
If you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating
In a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past
One hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead,
Is there something wrong?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Here am I floating
Round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

Songwriter: David Bowie
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,T.R.O. INC.
For non-commercial use only.

Nostalgia 

Tom Petty “Won’t Back Down” & “Free Falling

Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy”

Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill”

Chuck Berry “Johnny Be Good”

Aretha Franklin “R E S P E C T”

Prince “Purple Rain”

Who do you miss today?

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare

Theme photo by Pixabay

St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia

Language

The Russian language is very difficult. I worked for months before the trip to learn as many words as possible. I listened to tapes (yes, cassettes) and gradually learned approximately 100 Russian words. Today after all those years, I remember about three or four: “No”, “Goodbye”, and “Thank You” for sure. Often when the people heard a visitor say a few words of Russian they then assumed that you spoke the language.  That could create problems without enough words to explain. 

                         Alphabet:fullsizeoutput_1688

Currency

The currency when I was in Russia was very weak.  A ruble was worth less than 1/10 of a penny. Each day would begin by standing in line at a money exchange kiosk. 

St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad)

Transportation 

There were few private autos in Russia during the 1990’s, but there were trolleys, buses, subways and a few taxis. Public transportation was dependable, but very crowded, especially the buses which were cheapest. Commuters were jammed tightly together but never looked one another in the eye.

The Metro (subway) was one-third mile underground. The escalators were efficient in transporting passengers to and from the trains. The trains ran at 100 MPH and were clean and safe. The interpreter I was with said that pick-pocket thieves were on the lookout for tourists, but I experienced no problems nor suspicions.

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The Arts

state-hermitage-museum-in-st-petersburg
The Hermitage

The Hermitage is one of the world’s most premier museums. It is filled with priceless art and at the time I visited it had no temperature or humidity control for protection of these precious pieces.

Patrons were asked to remove our shoes and use soft slippers provided to reduce noise. We were allowed to walk around with few to no guards or docents to prevent damage to the irreplaceable works of art. 

Music and dance are adored in Russia and I was fortunate to be able to enjoy both while in St. Petersburg.

The ballet Swan Lake was performed in a historic theater by a newly formed dance company which now performs all over the world. The theater was grand, but showed signs of age and lack of maintenance as evidenced by the restroom picture below. 

I also had an opportunity to attend a folk music show with traditional dance, costumes, and instruments. It was the first time I had seen or heard the three-stringed instrument called a balalaika. 

 

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Photo by Pixabay

Part 3 of 6

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

CHANGE vs. SAME

Change vs. Same

You have heard the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

This epigram has been running through my mind because we are discussing the subject of change. On its face, it does not seem to be true. Change is all around us from daily chores to possibly even the climate of planet Earth. 

One thing that has changed in past few decades is the ease with which we can do research. I must be honest and say that if I had had to go to a library and flip through a card catalog I would have been less interested in the origin of this saying, but access to the internet, being at the tip of my fingers, I quickly learned that it is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. He was a writer born in Paris, France in 1808 who apparently believed that change does not affect life in any permanent way. Do you agree? Do we, as a people, a society, stay essentially the same in spite of the changes around us? Are there basic beliefs that we hold regardless of the change that we experience?

While considering how true Karr’s long-lived statement might be I was surprised to learn that it has had a significant influence on music across many genres.  Just a few examples are work by Kenny Chesney, Jon Bon Jovi, Machine Head, and rappers Ludacris and Jay Z. Here is an example in some lyrics from “Put Your Records On”  written by Corinne Bailey Rae, et al. 

“Three little birds sat on my window, And they told me I don’t need to worry, Summer came like cinnamon, so sweet, Little girls, double-dutch on the concrete, Maybe sometimes we got it wrong, but it’s all right, The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same”

All right, I acknowledge this music connection proves nothing except that perhaps it works well with rhythm and rhyme.

Change is undeniable, but the last part, “the more things stay the same” is more debatable. When I was young, I remember I-65 being completed and riding with my grandfather (Pappy Sea) to Elizabethtown to visit relatives. The new road was great, straight and smooth, but it didn’t change Pappy’s driving habits. He still thought that his new-fangled turning signals, i.e. “blinkers,” were there to alert other drivers that he intended to change lanes. He didn’t look in his mirrors for other cars, just as he did not on country roads back in Anderson County.

Things Stay the Same

What other examples are there that things do indeed stay the same in spite of change? Some that come to my mind are: Status of women, inequality of people of color, animal cruelty, world hunger, weather disasters, gun deaths in the U.S. 

Realizing that I am coming close to violating my own “no politics rule,” I am trying to think of more positive examples so here are a few: cuteness of kittens and puppies, innocence of children, beauty of sunsets, sweetness of babies, sound of ocean waves, fragrance of roses, crispness of autumn leaves, silence of falling snow.

More to come!

 

We change, but do we change?

Collage

Part 2 of 4

 

Photos by Pixabay