Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cirque De La Symphonie

There is something very special about "live" music as opposed to electronically produced music. Tonight the Des Moines Symphony gave a New Year's Eve Concert to a sold out house. Des Moines is very fortunate to have this symphony and the citizens are very supportive of it. The program tonight was also special because of the Cirque acrobats and performers who performed with the orchestra. Their performances were choreographed perfectly with the music. The only problem I actually had with it was the people were so enthralled with their performance that they kept applauding and interrupted the music, But that was OK as I knew the music anyway.

We were treated to the following program
Light Calvary Overture - Von Suppe
Pablo de Sarasate - Zigeunerweisen OP.20
Performed (flawlessly) by Jonathan Sturm
Dance of the Rose Maidens from Gayne
Gopak from Gayne
Valse from Masquerade
Lezghinka from Gayne - All by Khachaturian
Bacchanale from Sampson and Delilah - Saint-Saens

Dance of the Comedians from the Bartered Bride - Smetana
Rhapsody in Blue - Gershwin
Performed by Colton Peltier - 13 year old Piano Prodigy
Saber Dance from Gayne - Khachaturian
Bolero - Ravel

When it was all over we were lead in a chorus of Auld Lang Syne

One of the neat things about going to the Symphony was running into people I knew. Don and Anne Dricoll, The Halversons and John Iiles were all there tonight. I even met a new person who told me that every year on her birthday she has a ritual of playing Rhapsody in Blue before she goes to bed. It got me to thinking about the various rituals that we all have. Do you have any that you do that you would like to share. Use the comments.

The Video below shows some of the same Cirque performers that we saw tonight. It also has some we didn't see. The ones we saw were marvelous - (Do you think I use "awesome". "marvelous" and some other words too often? I am sure there are other more descriptive words to use but these come to mind.)

It was absolutlpositively wonderful and a great way to end the year. I hope that 2009 sees great things for each of you. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE LOVED. Thanks for stopping by. Give someone a hug and give yourself one from me (and Bailey). - j-bear

The sixth Night of Kwanzaa

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Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Something to Ponder

God Vs. God
Click to enlarge. j


Cat and parrot

h/t Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge

Happy New Year

Bob's Grandson wishes you a Happy New Year

I raise my glass in a toast to you for the New Year

And Jib Jab gives us the year in Review.

I hope your 2009 is a better year. Happy New Year! From Jay, Bailey, Max and Cassie.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Kennedy Center Honors

There are one or two nights I watch TV and I don't answer the phone or do anything (except during commercials) One of those nights is the Tony Awards. The other is the Kennedy Center Honors. I sort of watch the Oscars but the Emmy's are a tape and fast forward show. Tonight the Kennedy Center Honored five more artists (really six) - My impressions and some links about tonight's ceremony.
Click on the picture to go th the Web Site to access biography information about the Honorees.

Morgan Freeman“I look for Characters that express the human heart and glorify the human experience.”

I love this actor. I first became aware of him in Driving Miss Daisy. He has a dignity and presence unequaled by any other actor. They had some blues singers honoring him and B. B. King.
Check his movie data base here.

Twyla Tharp - She’s thinking “I could make a dance our of this” She said. {Being a star} “wasn’t enough I want to be a galaxy.”

Dance to me is the ultimate expression of humanity. I have always loved it and am really sorry that the Arts and Entertainment Network has degenerated to the point where the Arts aren't shown as much as they used to.

Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey - Brothers in song – Musical warriors who fought for the fire of life.

George Jones

Still Country, still King. = Jones is in fact “the personification of cool,”

Barbara Streisand
“I wanted to stretch myself as a human being.”
Barbara Striesand is from November to April younger than me. I have loved her and followed her for over 40 years. She sang at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 and I went. She has broken every ceiling there is to break and she is a Democrat and she blogs. What more could I ask.

So once again the best night of TV has come and gone and Five (six) more individuals have had their names added to the wall of fame. Tomorrow night I go to the Symphony in Des Moines. I am excited. Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL. Hugs - J-bear

The Fifth Night of Kwanzaa

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Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Quote for Today

“Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society” and also “We’re not sexists, we’re chauvinists — we’re male chauvinist pigs, and we’re happy to be because we think that’s what men were destined to be. We think that’s what women want.”
Rush Limbaugh

And sometimes the quote is there to expose bigotry and ignorance -- but then I really did not have to expose anything from this ass.

h/t FiredogLake

Who's Gonna Drive You Home

This came on a list I am on with this message.
New Year’s Eve is coming. Don’t be stupid, and don’t be selfish. Practice Masonry. Enjoy the New Year’s Music, and WATCH the video this time.

Trying to Blame Clinton

I don't watch Joe. Now I know why. Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinsk tells the "stunningly superficial" Joe - about Palestine and Israel and why the last 8 years are to blame. Watch and learn.

The Treasure of Freemasonry

The Light is strong. We must remember that the shadows it casts are cast by ourselves as we stand revealed before it. Blind we begin our search but we learn to trust our guides as we walk the light and the dark.

From The Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians. An interesting article on the true "treasures" of Freemasonry.

Click the pic to read it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Wonderful Evening.

I went to Des Moines this afternoon. I picked up some new socks and a book I was looking for (and one I wasn't) then I picked up Kurt to go to Acanthus for Installation of Officers. Our friend and Brother Steve Hall was installed as Master of the Lodge. Steve is a great guy and we both wanted to show our support for him by being there. Steve has Abiff Apparel which has cutting edge Masonic clothing. I ordered a sweatshirt to send to a Brother in Afghanistan.

Before we went to the Installation we went to Sam and Gabe's for dinner. It is one of the nicest places in Des Moines to eat and I go there for special occasions. I really like eating there but don't like to go there alone so I was really glad that Kurt agreed to go there with me. Really it is the type of place you should linger over dinner for an hour or more and savour the homemade goodness of everything they serve. There is nothing from Frozen Food city there.

I had my camera with me but left it in the car and as there was ice in the parking lot I decided that I would skip the photos and just let you imagine. Acanthus has a web site with pictures from last year on it so you could go there and see the pictures and most of the officers remain the same. ( Steve is the guy on the left of the picture) There are a couple of new guys but I imagine that they will have pictures of tonight up there soon so you could see them. It was actually kind of nice not to take pictures. There were two other guys documenting everything so they didn't really need my efforts. I used to be a member of Acanthus so it was good to see folks there again and catch up with some of them. They had a very nice crowd.
Am I boring you yet?

Kurt got a concussion on Christmas day. Butting heads with his son. They were having a Nerf fight and Kurt bent over to pick up a Nerf dart and the Prince came around the corner and BOOM! The son was wearing his police helmet and Kurt wasn't so the kid won. It was nice to catch up with him.

I was pleasantly surprised when I go home that Jon was here. I was glad because Max is always glad to have him come over. He had a good Christmas (made out like a bandit) - He tells me that Cousin Matt is on his way to Israel. Not a place I would want to go right now.

Today was a good day. After a week of being forced to stay home because of crummy weather it was nice to get out last night for the movie and a Pizza at Jeff's (Thanks Trevor for turning me on to it) and then again today. I needed it. Tomorrow night I shall shut off the lights. Light my candles snuggle under my lap robe and watch the Kennedy Center Honors. Babs is getting honored (bout time) and I know I will love that part of it. Perhaps I shall TiVo it and keep it forever.

Did I tell you I had a TiVo? It actually isn't a TiVo it is a DVR (or some damn thing like that) from the cable company. I can record two shows at once and it is nice (now that I have it figured out) - The $30 Tape Recorder died and I decided on this. The disadvantage is that I can't keep the tapes and play them over and over. But you know I have a whole box of tapes that I have kept and never play. So this will meet my needs. Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL. Hugs, j-bear

P.S. I never go out on New Year's Eve.  Almost 40 years ago two friends were hit by a train and killed on New Year's Eve.  Since that time I have stayed in that evening.  Tonight I decided to break that tradition.  I went on line and purchased a ticket for the Des Moines Symphony New Year's Eve Pops performance at the Civic Center in Des Moines.  I am excited.

Monday December 29, 2008

Chanukkah ended at nightfall today. The oil has lasted eight days and new oil is consecrated and the light shines once again.

Hebrew MIDI
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)

The Fourth Night of Kwanzaa

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Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is investigating the link between Drug Companies and Doctors. You can read about it here.

Quote for Today

In one aspect, though, the Bush administration has proven the strength of our country. We have weathered eight years of the most inept, incompetent, ham-handed and nakedly partisan administration in living memory. We have suffered great losses in terms of lives squandered in a purposeless war and storm-damaged neglect; we have seen the Constitution treated like the bottom of a birdcage by the men and women who swore oaths to protect it; we have seen our banks and our economy and credit used as the playtoy of the rich and heedless, and we have become both the laughingstock and sworn enemy of many other nations of the world. And yet we had the strength to get through it and the good sense to reject wholeheartedly the opportunity to continue on the same path.

Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Third Night of Kwanzaa

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Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Sponsor an Executive

Movie Review

I will probably never understand Catholic Priests and Nuns and this movie did not help me with that. It did not help me to like Meryl Streep either. (At least her character -though I do love her) She played a perfectly awful nun principal of a school where the school's first black student is befriended by a priest. This causes one of the nuns to have doubts about his relationship with the student. (Plot summary here.)

You keep wondering if there might have been something to her accusations. Streep's character really has few redeeming characteristics. She rules the school with an iron fist and everyone is terrified of her. She decides to go after the priest because of her suspicions and feelings. She does so with a vengance. This is nothing like the fun-loving character she played earlier this year in Mamma Mia.

Philip Seymour Hoffman does a terrific job as the priest accused. He may or may not have abused the boy. That is where the title of the film comes in - Doubt.

This film will make you think and it will also entertain you.
Click the Menorah to learn about Chanukkah
The eighth day of Chanukkah
The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.

According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.

Dianne pointed me to a new blog. If you like Cats go take a look at the entries Cats Rule I and II. Well done. Oh, and Dianne, thanks for the compliment but I think you may need your prescription changed. j

The Cabinet

Click to go to an interactive page which will show you who is who in the new administration. Click on each department to read about the person in charge of each department (listed in order of presidential succession.

Sunday Wisdom

From One Mountain, Many Paths
An American Freemason Speaks Out for Peace
by Dr. Patrick Swift
Click book or here to go to the page and buy it for yourself,

We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications of things. We should (temper) our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others.

Tao Te Ching 4

When you come upon your enemy's ox or donkey going astray, you shall bring it back. When you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden and you would hold back from setting it free, you must help to set it free.

Exodus 23: 4-5
Judiasm & Christianity

These are tough ones. What do you think they tell us? Comments please.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Have a Foxy New Year

Red Fox
Bob says
The photo was taken at the native prairie west of Ames High School, and this mother fox tolerated me for quite awhile until she had enough of my presence, and they barked at me to go I did, still capturing her beautiful essence that you can see here.

Pork Tenderloin

For my money the best port tenderloin is obtained at the Suburban Restaurant at the Gilbert Corner north of Ames. If you are an aficionado of this wonderful sandwich I found a web site called Des Loines you might like to check out.

Dr. Joan Again

A comment on an earlier post
kenju said...
Jay, about the heart transplant memories: Edgar Cayce said many years ago that memories reside in each individual cell of our bodies, not just in the brain. Looks like he was right
dumbfounded me for a minute but then I realized that kenju had followed the link to Dr. Joan Bushwell's Chimpanzee Refuge and found this story about the human heart. What freaked me out was that I was just then watching this fascinating video about memories and tastes are transplanted with the human heart. It is worth the 10 minutes it takes to watch it.

I know that last year when I was going through some emotional trauma I could feel the pain in my heart area. I was really hurting and it was a very real feeling. I also know that I have gotten over it because now I no longer feel anything when I think back on it. Other than a little sadness because a friendship was lost. But I survived and am stronger for it and so I no longer "bother" about it. But it was real and it did hurt. I suppose my "heart has hardened" towards that person or maybe I just see things as they really are and feel some sorrow because he no longer has me for a close friend. I have other closer friends who give me awards (even if I don't deserve it and accompanied by a perfectly horrible picture - well maybe not that bad - it does look like me.) And so in true Blogaward fashion I give the award to two Brothers
Craig and Kurt. Two guys closer to me than blood brothers would be. Together we have done some exciting things this year and they seem to like me even when they know all about me.
Thanks for stopping by, ARTYAL. Hugs, j
True Brother Award to both of them.

The Second Night of Kwanzaa

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

The seventh day of Chanukkah

Presidential Pardon Needed

Dog shoplifter.

The Night Sky

When I was younger I used to sleep outside once in awhile and could lay on my back and gaze up at the stars. Today because of light pollution we can't see them as we used to (unless you live in Flagstaff where the above picture was taken) - Of course I had to put my glasses on to be able to see them but no matter it was awesome (overused word) and it made me feel very small (a good thing cause I have always been fat) but also a part of something enormous. If, like me, pictures of the heavens and astronomical phenomena turn you on go here to look at the Best 50 Astronomy Pictures of Year 2008.
h/t Dr. Joan Bushwells Chimpanzee Refuge

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Night of Kwanzaa

Click on Picture for information
Kwanzaa Symbol - Umoja (unity)
Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.


Found For Friday

I know what Victoria's Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 30 can fit into their stuff.

I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.
The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends.

Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.
Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like, 'You know, sometimes I just forget to eat.' Now I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, and my keys. But I've never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.

A friend of mine confused her valium with her birth control pills. She had 14 kids, but she doesn't really care.
Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks two sizes!
I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That is my idea of a perfect day