Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mesmerizing Video

The image changes and moves into something anthropomorphic and stunning.


Check out the artist Matt Pyke here.

Also the "Creator's Project" here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Argo Echoes

I saw Argo yesterday.   Excellent and riveting film.   Gripping and very very sad.  

I thought of my Iranian friends, the green movement of 2009, the hatred, the fear - the sense that in over 30 years nothing has changed.   I felt like I was 14 again.  Even the Warner Brother logo was the old one from those years.  I remember when those six were on the news.  I remember those yellow ribbons - the first yellow ribbons.  I remember writing an essay about the hostage crisis.  I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that the hostages had been released 20 minutes after Reagan was inaugurated.   I remember when the Iran Contra scandal broke and with it the rumors that Reagan had illegally and treasonously negotiated with Iran for their release after his election, to secure his election.   And in return he'd sell them weapons to fund his illegal war in Central America.  

Nearly my entire conscious political life has been influenced, if not animated, by tensions with and within the Middle East - 3 wars, terrorist attacks, 9/11.

I wept during the film and after.

Here is a fascinating interview with Tony Mendez, a quiet hero, with Fareed Zakaria last week ----

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hey Mom! Check out Liv!

My beautiful baby sister was on The Today Show this morning. Check out the clip.

Congrats Liv! You look just gorgeous!  And bit wry.   Perfect.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Sculpture Of Rain

From a terminal at the airport in Singapore.  Maybe someday I will get to see in person.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Analysis of Upcoming Debates

James Fallow's cover article for The Atlantic does what he did four years ago.   He analyzes the upcoming presidential debates.  (The dates are already on my calendar and are on October 3, October 16 and October 22nd.  The VP debate is on October 11th).  

His report, titled Slugfest is worth reading in full (also for the laugh out loud moments he reminds us of from previous debates).  

His main point:

One more factor is working against Obama in the debates. When the economy is bad and an incumbent is beset, the challenger’s task is simplified. He doesn’t need to belabor the case against the incumbent. Reality has already done that; everyone knows what’s wrong with the president they have now. All the challenger has to do is say: “Look me over. I’ll be okay in this job. You can feel comfortable with me.” This is what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, and Bill Clinton in 1992. Meanwhile, the incumbent has to work twice as hard, in order to make two arguments at once. He must prove something about himself: that, while battered, he’s still energetic, visionary, and up to the job. He must also prove something about his opponent: that he is bad for the country, unready, and overall worse.
And he must do all this without seeming defensive or tense; while appearing easily in command to those who see images without hearing words; and, in Obama’s uniquely straitjacketed case, while avoiding the slightest hint of being an “angry black man.”
Regarding Romney:
His strengths, again, are faultless preparation, crisp and precise expression, a readiness both to attack and to defend, and an ability to stay purely on message. His weaknesses are thin factual knowledge on many policy issues, a preference to talk in generalities—and a palpable awkwardness when caught unprepared and forced to improvise.
On Romney's biggest weakness: 
 “He gets prickled when he sees debates moving away from what he is prepared for,” Steve Bogden said. “He feels a need to be in character; and without planning, he doesn’t know what his character would say.” A man who worked closely with Romney in his years as governor told me, “He has strong core family values, and religious values. But he doesn’t really have core policy values. If you’re busy trying to remember what to say, it is harder to come across convincingly.”
And about President Obama, Fellows writes,
And what of the president? His advantages are obvious. He is the president; he has been on this stage before; there is almost no question or criticism he has not heard and handled in the past four years. Moreover, the consistent evidence about Romney’s strengths and weaknesses simplifies Obama’s strategy for attack. “It is very important to unbalance Romney,” as Robert Reich put it. “When you have someone who is that scripted and wooden, you have to push him into spontaneity”—with a factual-knowledge point, a new sort of criticism, or a policy choice that somehow Romney has not yet thought through. 
The main “known” of these debates is that they will probably matter. One major unknown is whether they will matter mainly because of a positive revelation, like Mitt Romney’s demonstrating, as Ronald Reagan did against Jimmy Carter, that he is a comfortable figure to whom people unhappy with Barack Obama can turn. Or because of a negative one, like Richard Nixon’s sweaty discomfort in 1960, Gerald Ford’s misstatement about Poland’s freedom in 1976, or Dan Quayle’s comparing himself to John F. Kennedy in 1988.   
Each candidate has strong incentives to “go negative.” The fundamental logic of Mitt Romney’s campaign is that the Obama administration has placed America on the wrong track. Probably in every debate, he will say: “The president said he would fix the economy; he didn’t; he has to go.” Barack Obama has no choice but to argue that, as bad as things might be now, under Romney and a Tea Party–powered Republican government they would be much worse.
In my view, Obama should compare the US economy to the rest of the world's (particularly Europe's), and not to try to compare to George W Bush or to what might happen.   He should point out that the policies Romney is proposing were tried - in Great Britain, and those conservatives are not fxcking nuts as ours are!   

Thursday, August 09, 2012

"Embrace" - A Video of Longing

This moves me.   it's unique, expressive and, for me, reflective of how pain, pain's darkness binds and constrains.

EMBRACE from Ashley Rae Pearsall on Vimeo.

Friday, July 27, 2012

US Swim Team Sings "Call Me Maybe"

I'm so excited for the start tomorrow and not only because of Romney's amazing gaffes today.

This, this video, makes me proud to be an American.   Go Team USA!!

(Did you know this is the first time female athletes outnumber male athletes on the US Olympic team?  Why?  Because our women's soccer team qualified while the men's did not!)

Here is the video:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A City Within a City Within a Country Within A Country!

In honor of the start of the London Olympics, enjoy this short video on the history of the City of London.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wow! A Friend's Choreography is Praised

I was not well enough to be able to attend either of my friend Stefanie's performances, but she promised me videos.   About a month ago I took my first dance class in years with her.   Her class was fun and fascinating and a wonderful experience.   And I managed not to completely embarrass myself.

So I was keen to see the performances this past weekend and very sorry to be unable to attend.   But I am so proud of her.

 Check out this review from today's Washington Post, which starts with

The Washington area is home to a veritable rainbow of ethnic dance troupes. You want Armenian folk dancers? You can probably find them, swirling around at a festival somewhere. A far rarer find is a choreographer who can successfully fuse ethnic traditions with modern technique and package everything into a performance that a wide audience will find compelling.
Stefanie Diahann Belnavis, a young Jamaican American dancer, may be one of those of those choreographers. 
I'm thrilled and happy for her.  The rest of the review is just awesome too and ends with this praise:
The second half of the show was pure performance art. “Sighted” explores Belnavis’s loss of vision in one eye. After exiting the theater for intermission, audience members were led back in small groups, following an onstage trail through a maze of lights. Dancers clicked the bulbs on and off. Televisions buzzed with static and black-and-white video of Belnavis describing her limited vision. For a choreographer with impaired vision, she offers viewers much to see.
She is leaving soon - moving to Cambridge to pursue her master's in Dance Movement Therapy and Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University.   Good luck beautiful lady!  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Perspective of Time

The part about Italy is really funny.   And about how video games affects how we should be teaching.  And about our understanding of consequences.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Morgan Freeman Discusses His Fibromyalgia

Esquire features an lengthy interview with Morgan Freeman, This Earth That Holds Me Fast Will Find Me Breath.

Here is the money quote, emphasis added:

Every so often he grabs his left shoulder and winces. It hurts when he walks, when he sits still, when he rises from his couch, and when he missteps in a damp meadow. More than hurts. It seems a kind of agony, though he never mentions it. There are times when he cannot help but show this, the fallout from a car accident four years ago, in which the car he was driving flipped and rolled, leaving Freeman and a friend to be pulled from the car using the Jaws of Life. Despite surgery to repair nerve damage, he was stuck with a useless left hand. It is stiffly gripped by a compression glove most of the time to ensure that blood doesn't pool there. It is a clamp, his pain, an icy shot up a relatively useless limb. He doesn't like to show it, but there are times when he cannot help but lose himself to a world-ending grimace. It's such a large gesture, so outside the general demeanor of the man, that it feels as if he's acting. 
"It's the fibromyalgia," he says when asked. "Up and down the arm. That's where it gets so bad. Excruciating." 
This means Morgan Freeman can't pilot jets the way he used to, a hobby he took up at sixty-five. He can no longer sail as well. There was a time when he would sail by himself to the Caribbean and hide out for two, three weeks at a time. "It was complete isolation," he says. "It was the best way for me to find quiet, how I found time to read." No more. He can't trust himself on one arm. He can't drive, not a stick anyway, not the way he used to — which is to say fast, wide open, dedicated to what the car can do. And he can't ride horses as much, though once he rode every day.
He never mentions any of it as a loss, though how could it be anything else? He never hints around about the unfairness of it. "There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land."
My mom would have appreciated this revelation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh La La! An Exciting Photographer in NYC

Christa Meola is another photographer; Natasha Lakos developed her visual identity as well.  

Christa is based in New York City, and I've already contacted her about doing my photos.  

She is writing a book on how to look great naked, which I just love love love.   She specializes in boudoir photography.  

I also loved and watched the interview she did with Nate, the creator of Sticky Albums which gave me a bunch of great ideas for my own new business.  I've corresponded with him about my ideas, and I can hardly wait to get started.

And to have some sexy pictures taken!    

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Lovely Paris Photographer

Carla Loves Photography and Italy and Paris and Life.  And I love her.

The wonderful talent, Natasha Lakos, who will be doing my visual identity for my new business venture launching early next year also did Carla's.

Since discovering Carla I have spent a lot of time on her site and even ordered her book - Italian Joy - which is really a joy!

I also love the before and after shots here.

And I also love that she told me about this exhibit here in DC on Amelia Earhart at the National Portrait Gallery.  Very cool.

I've not been to Paris since 1988, but next time I am there I am going to try and have Carla do a Paris photo shoot with me.

She's an Aussie too, always a good sign in my book!   They are the best.

Check out her site.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Sisters Cut Hair, Get Into Trouble

Jeff Cohen, an NPR reporter, interviewed his two young daughters to get to the bottom of what happened when Sadie, age 5, cut Eva's hair, age 3.  

The results of the interview are amazing.

When Sadie examined her work she knew "uh oh this is bad, bad, bad, bad."  I also like how Eva said her hair was itching her hips!

Click here to listen to the brief interview.

I promise you will smile.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ira Glass - How to Be a Storyteller

Ira Glass discusses the building blocks of story telling for television and radio.

He stresses the power of the anecdote, the sequence of events, with thoughts and ideas as part of it but the essence of this leading to that.   And how to create suspense and hear and feel through the form that something is going to happen.

Reminds me of old time radio which WAMU 88.5 used to play on Sunday nights.  I do enjoy his show.

Here is part 1:

He discusses how to find a good story here (this predates the retraction and fiasco of Mike Daisy and the Apple China factory)

On good taste, and how to develop good material

On two central pitfalls, how to talk like yourself, be yourself and also how be interested in others and in the world

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Private Sector Job Creation Under Obama

Just saying - if you want a job creator, elect a Democrat.   Facts are facts.

Friday, April 20, 2012

No Skyscrapers in DC

I agree often with Matthew Ig  but not on this!  Decidedly not on this -

America Needs Skyscrapers in the Capital

He forgets to compare the Washington Monument to the Eiffel Tower - both of which would be lost amid other high buildings.

No. No. No. No.

Just saying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swimming! Swimming! In My Swimming Pool!

I love swimming.  I have Lynn Sherr's book Swim: Why We Love the Water to a very dear friend, the actor Erik Todd Dellums.   I wrote about him on my blog last year after he was featured in the Washington Post.   Erik is a swimmer too.   We compare our swim routines and coaches.

Here is an article at The Daily Beast by Lynn Sherr Swimming to Health which discusses all the benefits of a swim routine.

I couldn't agree with this more -  the skin is our largest organ, so swimming is our most sensuous sport. Little wonder poet Paul Valéry described the sea as his lover: “In it, I am the man I want to be.”

Some other money quotes:
Movie star Esther Williams adds flatly, “Swimming is the only thing you can do from your first bath to your last without hurting yourself. When you’re in the water, you’re weightless and ageless.” No knees pounding the pavement. No joints slamming against a ball or a wall. Buoyancy protects the most vulnerable parts of our skeleton.
My swim coach is so young she had never even heard of Esther Williams!  I sent her this video last year.

And this I didn't know about Lord Byron:
For people with certain disabilities, swimming feels like a miracle. The poet George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, was born with a club foot, a contracted Achilles tendon that gave him a pronounced and debilitating limp. In the water, he moved like an eel. 
She concludes her excerpt with this poem (I love this!)

Consider the poetry of Dr. Edward Baynard, from 1764:
Of exercises, swimming’s best,Strengthens the muscles and the chest,And all their fleshy parts confirms.Extends, and stretches legs and arms,And, with a nimble retro-spring,Contracts, and brings them back again.As ’tis the best, so ’tis the sumOf exercises all in one,And of all motions most compleat,Because ’tis vi’lent without heat.

I am a proud Pieces.   That's enough for me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Heart NY

Over the weekend I rewatched the Sex and the City episode, I Heart NY.

This video is another homage to my other favorite city

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Great Podcasts to Enjoy

Here's a list of top 10 podcasts.   I'm already fan of the top two - and Slate's Political Gabfest as well as the Economist's on this list.   I'm interested in checking out some of the others.

I also like BBC 4 In Our Time - which covers history, philosophy, culture, religion and science.

BBC History Magazine
"BBC History Magazine’s podcast comes out each month, featuring interviews with notable historians talking about topics ranging from crusading knights, Tudor swimming, or the D-Day landings."  It's so British.  And really cool.  

and Sounds True Insight's at the Edge Interviews with leading spiritual teachers and writers about their latest challenges—the "leading edge" of their work.  I always learn a lot and her questions are good.  

A friend told me the Monocle podcasts are also good.  Any one try them?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Love this British LOVE Magazine

I don't know what exactly this British magazine is for but I do know it's very cool!

check it out here - LOVE.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Shadow Stories

Who didn't do this as a kid?  Create puppet stories with the shadows of hands on the wall.

But this is just amazing.  I've never seen anything like it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fantastic Flying Books!

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.   Now available.  It's just AWESOME!

And it won the Academy Award for best animated short!

It's all about how books and stories can heal and be curative.   My life philosophy!

Enjoy this.  You are in for a treat.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Snow Circles

Wow!  so beautiful.  And really makes me miss cross country skiing in Vermont.

Snow Circles from Beauregard, Steamboat Aerials on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

British Library Assembles Famous Love Letters

I just love the British Library (though I prefer the old one with the museum, with the old reading room).

Now they have collected famous love letters in this book Love Letters 2000 Years of Romance.

And The Daily Beast excerpts a good variety in this essay, 'Love Letters' Anthologizes 2,000 Years of Passion Put to Paper.   Love letters may be becoming extinct, but I still write them.  I love them.  

These excerpts are fascinating to read as a reminder that love, longing, pain, jealousy remains the same whether now or 2,000 years ago.  The human condition remains.

Friday, February 17, 2012

3 Year Old Recite Billy Collins Poetry

I learn about this on NPR - with this story, Love of Words Brings Child, Poet Together, which concludes with -
For the poet to affect a reader — well, that's the point. But for a reader to affect the poet, it took a small exceptional boy.

Here is the video of the astonishing child reciting our former US Poet Laureate.   It made me teary!  I love poetry and I love children!

You can follow along with the text of the poem from here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Political Ads Ever?

In the aftermath of the Clint Eastwood Superbowl ad, Roger Ailes, Joe Trippi, Mike Murphy and Pete Snyder pick the best political ads ever in this article in Ad Age.  

Of course the Daisy Ad is there.  The windsurfing of John Kerry.   And's Yes We Can.  

But not Willie Horton, which I find a big omission.  

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Body in Ballet as Art

From Oprah----

OWN Original Shorts: Ballet

Take a moment to watch these dancers create fine art with their bodies. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Awakening Possibility

Boston Terrier in Obama Sweater!

We had three Boston Terriers while I was growing up - Ebenezer, Hester and Woody.    And this Boston Terrier is wearing the Obama dog sweater I sent to my dad for his dachshund Leopold to wear as he prances around on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Love this photo from the Obama campaign Flickr photo stream:

Snapshot—February 2nd, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Books Come Alive at Night!

This reminds me of the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is the best iPad app ever as well as a short film.  

Enjoy!  It's just a delight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BBC Adapting Birdsong for Television!

Birdsong was one of my favorite books and one of my mom's favorites too.  Not sure about the casting, but regardless I am excited.   Here is the full notice from the BBC:

Eddie Redmayne (My Week With Marilyn, Richard II) and Clemence Poesy (28 Days Later, Harry Potter) star as the passionate young lovers Stephen and Isabelle, brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War, in BBC One's adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's modern classic, Birdsong.
Adapted by Bafta award-winning Abi Morgan (The Hour, Iron Lady), the two parter spans the decade of the First World War, telling the story of Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman who, in 1910, arrives in Amiens, Northern France, to stay with the Azaire family and falls desperately in love with Isabelle Azaire.
They begin an illicit and all-consuming affair, with huge consequences for them both. Years later in 1916, Stephen finds himself serving on the Western Front in the very area where he experienced his great love. As he battles amidst the horror of the trenches he meets Jack Firebrace, a tunneller who unexpectedly helps him endure the ravages of war and enables him to make peace with his feelings for Isabelle, who he is destined to meet again.
Eddie Redmayne stars as Stephen Wraysford, Clemence Poesy is Isabelle Azaire, Joseph Mawle is Jack Firebrace, Richard Madden is Weir, Laurent Lafitte is Rene Azaire, Matthew Goode is Captain Gray, Anthony Andrews is Colonel Barclay and Marie Josee Croze is Jeanne Fourmentier.

Who Is Your Favorite - Mom or Dad?

This video is amusing and well done.  Those Aussies!

My Theme for 2012 - Blossoming!

Life of flowers (Жизнь цветов) from VOROBYOFF PRODUCTION on Vimeo.