The Power of Love – Amor Vincit Omnia

22 03 2016

Well Phase 1 is complete. Saturday my love of late in life and I arrived in Denver at 11AM. March 19 ended what has been something you only do once in a lifetime. Vicky and I fell in love in Merida in 2012. A heart attack took me back to the USA last July for a triple bypass and valve replacement. Since then we spent 11 November days together in Merida. We began the process to get Vicky a Fiancee Visa to come to the USA on November 11. One week ago on March 15(the Ides of March and Ceasar’s demise), the Consulate in Juarez, Mexico agreed to grant the visa.

US closes its consulate in Ciudad JuarezConsulate

Where the relatives wait while the Consulate interviews the visa applicant.

Friday, the day before we arrived in Denver, a bus ride across the bridge between Juarez and El Paso took 2 hours. Most of the time we were stationary on the bridge while the Border Patrol did what they do. Another hour was spent waiting while the Border Patrol reviewed the documents the Consulate had sent as part of the Visa approval process. We spent 7 more hours of waiting in the bus terminal for the overnight from El Paso to Denver. The 14 hour bus ride ended in Denver in the welcoming arms of my son and girlfriend.

Running-in-Juarez-e1439220859377-375x500

A writer friend of mine well-versed in Latin and Greek quoted Vergil’s “amor vincit omnia” when I told him our saga had ended. His phrase has stayed with me since I heard it – not for the first time in my life, but for the most meaningful. I have the kind of brain where music is constantly playing and the phrase reminded me of…

Here are Vicky and I the day the Consulate approved the Visa…

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HAPPY IMBOLC!

1 02 2016

300px-Imbolc_Festival_February_3rd_2007

February 1 is the Feast of Saint Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints. It is also Imbolc, the Celtic celebration for the beginning of spring. It’s a little early to begin celebrating the arrival of spring but the Celts were always in the mood to party. If you’re interested in learning more go here…Celebrate

Saint Brigid has a seat at Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum.

The_Dinner_Party

The 39 women represented by place settings are:

Wing 1: From Prehistory to Rome

  • Primordial Goddess
  • Fertile Goddess
  • Ishtar
  • Kali
  • Snake Goddess
  • Sophia
  • Amazon
  • Hatshepsut
  • Judith
  • Sappho
  • Aspasia
  • Boadaceia
  • Hypatia

Wing 2: From Christianity to the Reformation

  • Marcella
  • St. Brigid
  • Theodora
  • Hrosvitha
  • Trotula
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Hildegarde of Bingen
  • Petronilla de Meath
  • Christine de Pisan
  • Isabella d’Este
  • Elizabeth R
  • Artemesia Gentileschi
  • Anna van Schurman

Wing 3: From the American Revolution to the Women’s Revolution

  • Anne Hutchinson
  • Sacajawea
  • Caroline Herschel
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Ethyl Smyth
  • Margaret Sanger
  • Natalie Barney
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Georgia O’Keeffe

To learn more about The Dinner Party this video is excellent..

 





They Sent A Message from Cielito Lindo and Lola La Grande

11 10 2015

concacaf

The mantra of my life as a young man was “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Not so much anymore. Last night it came back into my mind. Not that the quality of CONCACAF football is the equal of UEFA but Mexico reversed the trend of the agony of being defeated by the USA.

WHY?

As I watched I was amazed at the difference between USA and Mexico. Mexico played to win and the USA played to survive. It was not politically correct for the commentators to mention it but the frenzy of the Mexican fans and the pace of Mexican play had to be influenced by the attitude some Americans have toward Mexicans.

In American sport it’s a no-no to say something that gives the opposition an edge. We’ve all heard how coaches stick things on the wall to motivate their players. Mexico’s coach didn’t have to do anything; Donald Trump had taken care of that.

Living in Mexico for almost 3 years I grew accustomed to the place and the people. They have problems with government corruption and drug-related crime but their sense of family and culture puts the USA to shame. Their work ethic is extraordinary and I found the woman of my dreams there. I don’t root against my country of origin but last night Mexico deserved to win by more than one goal and it didn’t bother me a bit. As one gringo to another I’d like to tell Mister Trump he can disappear quietly and quickly. I’m sure the USMNT would agree.

concacaf2





My Autumn Serenade on JBR

19 09 2015

Come Sunday my novel…dcover

 

will be featured on Julie’s Book Review. Go here to see what they have to say about it…

http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/

Not one of the Songs of Icarus because it was recorded after the events in the story take place, Autumn Serenade is a favorite of mine from the album that paired Johnny Hartman with John Coltrane. If you have a special person in your life there is nothing more intimate to listen to than Hartman’s baritone vocalizations and Coltrane’s tenor improvisations. The autumnal equinox is this week so find that “special one”, listen to a masterpiece, and then read a book. I think you know what I’m getting at.





Risen from the Dead in Denver

11 09 2015

It’s been 2 months to the day since my last post on this blog. Today is 9/11. Not the best day to rise from the dead but that’s the “afterlife advice” I received from Andy Garcia. If you seen the film you’ll understand.

Denverdead

After a harrowing 4 hour plane ride from Cancun clutching a nitro inhaler to prevent another heart attack like the one I had in Merida I arrived in Denver 2 months ago. A triple bypass and aortic valve replacement was performed 5 days later by Dr. Jason Shofnos of St. Joseph’s Hospital (one of the top hospitals in the US for cardiac disease treatment). I owe my life to Dr. Shofnos, my 2 sons Bill and Mike, and Virginia Carrasco Silva. There are many others who helped me recuperate physically and psychically. Thanks to all of you for your energy and prayers.

I didn’t choose Denver, it chose me. My grandmother always said I had “the luck of the Irish.” She was right. Here I sit today in my top floor apartment with a view of Benedict Park. I can be in downtown Denver without a car in less than 15 minutes. There’s a gym in the apartment complex where I work out regularly. If you know me you might wonder but it’s not the Jack Kerouac Building (there is an apartment complex in Denver named after him). Growing up in Philly I used to hang in RIttenhouse Square drinking tea and cinnamon-sprinkled cider at the Gilded Cage and the Proscenium with my beatnik friends during high school. Later on in college it was Dirty Frank’s and McGillin’s Pub drinking adult beverages that took me back to my lost adolescence and that lost Beat Generation.

In the 50’s in Denver it was the Beat Generation….http://www.denver.org/things-to-do/itineraries/beat-legacy/ . Now it’s Hipsters…http://www.westword.com/arts/ten-best-denver-hipster-shops-5804964.

So where do I fit in? As usual I don’t. What I am doing though is emphasizing what I think is my best work since I’m still alive and well in the Mile High City. Julie’s Book Review http://juliesbookreview.blogspot.com/ will be featuring my novel “Songs of Icarus” http://booklocker.com/books/7143.html beginning September 20.

dcover





My Modern Day Modest Proposal

22 06 2015

A_Modest_Proposal_1729_Cover

Jonathon Swift wrote one of the best pieces of English satire in 1729 in reaction to England’s treatment of the Irish. I read it in college having chosen to major in English and wanting to be a writer myself. Without knowing the background of the work I initially thought Swift was seriously proposing cannibalism. Go here to find out why…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

My ‘modest proposal’ is in reaction to Donald Trump’s announced attempt to become the next POTUS and the number of racist hate crimes and police brutality happening there. I left Los Angeles for a variety of reasons. One of the primary was that the country, not Cali or LA, had become a place I’d rather be from rather than living in. I did it with a lot of thoughts, one of them being that I might live to regret it. The past 3 years have been just the opposite. No regrets, just amazement at the wrong-headedness coming out of the richest country in the world. If things keep going the way they are, the US will be the richest country with the lowest per capita income ever. Maybe it already is. As Edith Piaf sang, “Non, je ne regrette rien.”
I propose that there be a election in which Donald Trump run unopposed. Everyone who votes for him will then be moved to a now vacant spot on earth in which they can live. We’ll have to find a suitable place but that shouldn’t be too hard. We can consult Dante’s “Inferno” for the level of Hell best suited to them. We can call it Los Estados Unidos Contra Todo.

As for those who think that the killings in Charleston were anti-Christian rather than racist I suggest they listen to my all-time favorite “Modest Proposal.” If there were a country of undervalued artists I’d move there and vote for Mose Allison for President…





Song #2 from “Songs of Icarus” and the Reason Why…

13 05 2015

dcover

The book can be purchased here…booklocker.com/books/7143.html.

Why did I write a novel set in 1959?
First off it was a great year…”Kind of Blue”, “Mack the Knife”, “Lonely Boy”, “Mr. Blue”, “Mingus Ah Um”, “Come Dance with Me”, “Kansas City”, and “Beyond the Sea” to name a few songs popular that year.
The power of music is that it evokes emotion. Music heard at a specific time and place can make us “Alive Inside” for years after. I’m not talkin’ about “golden oldies” or “oldies but goodies.” The power and magic of music is therapeutic. I hope I’m wrong but I worry that the music of today does not have the soul of the music of the past. I’m not talkin’ “soul music” I’m talkin’ music that speaks to the soul. I listen to Cassandra Wilson’s tribute to Billie Holiday “Coming Forth by Day” and recognize the talent of the singer, the musicians and arrangements but none of it touches me like Billie does. I attribute that to an emphasis on technical production rather than reaching deep within the human psyche for the feeling of “Good Morning, Heartache” or “Strange Fruit” in the way of Lady Day.

billieh

cwbh

What’s missing from today’s music? Artists may be subconsciously relying on technology rather than their own talent and emotional depth.

That’s where Icarus comes in. The meaning of the myth itself has been argued over the centuries. There’s even an Icarus complex in psychology textbooks. Daedalus told Icarus 2 things…don’t fly too high…don’t fly too low. I’d call that middle-of-the-road advice. He didn’t heed the advice and for that I, like many other artists, admire him. Anne Sexton wrote…

To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Triumph

Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade,
and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn
of the labyrinth. Think of the difference it made!
There below are the trees, as awkward as camels;
and here are the shocked starlings pumping past
and think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well:
larger than a sail, over the fog and the blast
of the plushy ocean, he goes. Admire his wings!
Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually
he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling
into that hot eye. Who cares that feel back to the sea?
See him acclaiming the sun and come plunging down
while his sensible daddy goes straight into town.

Matisse’ Icarus is a puzzling image. Is he flying or falling? I’m not sure it matters in the end. I paraphrase Matisse’ words written on the page across from Icare in “Jazz”…upon graduation young people should fly to get another perception of the world they live in.

Icare

At the end of Chapter 1, Jim Collins, a modern day Icarus, wishes for something he doesn’t have.

SONG #2…








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