>> Friday, October 31, 2008


The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow: An authenticly American ghost story

Based on Washington Irving's classic short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Walt Disney recreated this colorful legend using music and animation for the silver screen in 1958. Featuring the vocal and narration talents of Bing Crosby, this version of Irving's tale is the most popular and beloved of generations of Disney fans.

Washington Irving was born in New York City (near present-day Wall Street) at the end of the Revolutionary War on April 3, 1783. His parents, Scottish-English immigrants, were great admirers of General George Washington, and named their son after their hero. He died on November 28th, 1859 and was buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

One of the reasons this story is so dear to me is that Washington Irving and I share the same ancestry. We are both descendants of the Irvines of Drum near Aberdeen, Scotland, a fact of which I am very proud!

Happy Halloween!


It all boils down to racism

>> Thursday, October 30, 2008

I just had a situation come up here at work that has me so pissed off that my heart is still pounding over it. A group of people from our office were sitting around the table discussing the upcoming elections and different things about McCain and Obama. The typical rumors and untruths about Obama came into play--he's a Muslim, he's a socialist, etc. One by one, a woman in our office of mostly McCain supporters dispelled the untruths. THEN the issue about the birth certificate came up. Thus far, I had kept quiet, going about my business of filing, etc. But on this one I couldn't be silent. I turned around and said,

"You know, I really don't understand what this whole thing about Obama's birth certificate is all about. There is an official copy of his birth certificate on line that shows he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. If you want to see it, I have the URL. But the fact is, it really doesn't matter WHERE he was born. He could have been born anywhere in the world because he was born to a U.S. citizen, and that makes him a U.S. citizen too. And the other thing is that no one seems to question John McCain's citizenship even though he was born in Panama. I wonder why THAT is?"

They all just glared at me like I had just committed treason so I turned and walked away.

The truth of the matter is that they just can't accept the fact that a BLACK man is about to win the U.S. Presidency and they'll use ANYTHING as an excuse. "Oh no, we're not racist!"

So if this isn't stemming from racism why do they not question McCain's citizenship as well?

Ulgy, ugly, ugly...


Haunted memories

In the 1997 animated feature, Anastasia, (Don Bluth, 20th Century Fox), we're treated to a spectacular scene in which Anya is confronted with the memories from a past she has long forgotten. As she sings the haunting, Once Upon a December, ghosts from her past as a child in the court of her father, Tzar Nicholas, burst forth from the paintings hung high upon the walls, and dance with her around the hall. It's an absolutely stunning scene, and remains one of my favorites of any animated film I've seen.


The Banshee

>> Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In Disney's 1959 classic, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, based on the book by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh, we are treated to the ancient celtic female spirit called the Banshee, (ban-SHE). Celtic legends of this wailing female ghost vary from region to region. In this particular film the Banshee is a grim reaper type figure who comes to steal the soul of one who is very ill or very old and dying. In other legends she is the ghost of a woman who died in child birth. Her wails are the cries of the birth pangs. As she wanders the earth confused, she is looking for her baby and in its stead, she steals the souls of newborn infants.

I only remember that when I saw this movie for the first time as a child the only thing I took away from it were nightmare producing memories of the Banshee!


Standing out from the crowd in a trendy world

>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One of the things that I hear quite often from people I meet is, "You and Steph are so unique! You're so interesting and creative!" It's true, we are rather unique, however we don't really strive to be different, it's just who and what we are. You see, we're not really concerned about fitting in so much as we are about being ourselves. We're quirky and we like that just fine. We also like quirky people. Steph is often heard saying, "I'm just a collector of human oddities." It's true. Get to know our close circle of friends and you'll know.

I found this article on 10 Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd and I thought I'd share. If you're seeking to be different, these are some great suggestions.

1.Be Creative – This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Case in point: Half the people out there with multiple tattoos and piercings do so to be different, but how does this make them different from all the other millions of people with hoops in their eyebrows? Following a trend doesn’t make you different, creating a trend does.

2.Show, don’t tell – Anyone can write an essay about how great he is. The people who truly stand out are the ones who go beyond mere words. Make a video or stream a radio program instead of a resume or application. Create a press package with a clever promotional idea. The possibilities are endless.

3.Be Daring – Many people are afraid to push the envelope because they don’t want to go overboard or offend. You can still be a little daring – don’t cross the line, but you can get close. Cheeky can be high risk, but it can also me memorable and break down barriers.

4.Be Knowledgeable – Talk about the things that don’t just interest you but fire you up with passion. Don’t pretend to know about things you haven’t a clue. What are your areas of expertise? What are your favorite subjects? What are your hobbies and interests? Take the things that come naturally and use them to get what you want.

5.Be Funny – Sob stories are for Oprah. The reality is hardship tales are a downer. Don’t be a clown, but do be funny. Humor shows creativity, intelligence and personality. The people who count always give points for wit.

6.Be Sure – Nothing is more attractive than someone who is confident. Market yourself in a matter befitting this confidence, but don’t be cocky. There’s a fine line between self assurance and an over-blown ego. Arrogance is offensive, assertiveness is praised.

7.Be a Leader – Look in a crowd, who do you notice first, the leaders or the followers? Set yourself apart from the rest by being a leader. Think about how you lead ,why you lead, and the traits in you that cause others to want to follow - then use that to your advantage.

8.Be Respectful – Even though you’re encouraged to be different, daring and funny, doesn’t mean you should be insulting. Don’t be a suck up, but don’t be disrespectful either. Be careful when and how you let your hair down, and mind your manners.

9.Don’t Seek the Wrong Attention – Taking your clothes off gets you noticed but also gets you noticed by the police. Rudeness does get attention but it’s not the right kind of attention. Aim for people to remember your positive attributes, helpful and intelligent is better than acting the fool.

10.Be Yourself – You really want to stand out in a crowd? Be yourself. There’s no other you. What are your best assets? What are your skills? What are the things that make you successful? Find them, channel them and use them. Complete this sentence “Unlike other __________, I am/do/act/provide _________ which is good because _______”.

Adding your own spin to something that’s been done before is fine, but it won’t win you any awards for being unique. You need to find a way to be original but in a way that adds something valuable, memorable, and something worth talking about.


A Christmas ghost at Halloween

In the 1970 musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol entitled Scrooge, Sir Alec Guinness renders one of the creepiest performances of the ghost of Scrooge's deceased partner, Jacob Marley I've ever seen. Complete with rattling chains and plenty of groans, this ghost may be foretelling of Christmas, but is most certainly welcome at Halloween.


Some ghosts are just practical jokers

>> Monday, October 27, 2008

This 1988 Tim Burton comedy/horror film centered around a disgusting character by the name of Beetlejuice, (Betelgeuse), featured an all star cast of Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffery Jones and of course, Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. The plot revolves around a recently deceased couple who seek the help of obnoxious "bio-exorcist" Beetlejuice in order to remove the new owners of their quaint New England house, a family of metropolitan yuppies from New York City. The featured scene is classic Tim Burton and is probably one of the most popular from the film.


Kiss my pumpkins

>> Sunday, October 26, 2008

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss


Of murder, mayhem, and haunted hotels

Who could forget the twins in the hallway scene in this Stephen King classic, The Shining? Come and play with us...forever.


Getting to know meme

>> Saturday, October 25, 2008

I found this meme over at Steph's blog. It's really fun and is a great way to give out some interesting info about oneself.

My uncle once: said that I was his prettiest and favorite niece and wanted me to marry my cousin who was his adopted son. Would that have made him my Uncle-Dad?

Never in my life: have I been more loved than I am now.

When I was five: I wanted to marry Mozart.

High school was: was a mixed bag of confusion, self-discovery, and good times.

I will never forget: August 29th, 2005--the day Steph and I boarded the plane for Vienna to be filmed for Mozartballs. That was also the day that hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Once I met: Rosemary Clooney backstage after a Maysville Community Theater, (Maysville, Kentucky), performance of Cole Porter's Anything Goes in which I played Hope Harcourt. She was home for the week visiting family and was good friends with our show's director. She came backstage specifically to meet me, and said, "You were great kid! You've got some talent!"

There’s this girl I know: who makes me laugh every time I see her!

Once at a bar: I did the chicken dance with a bunch of my crazy friends!

By noon: I'm ready to take a break and get some lunch!

Last night: I stayed up late and watched Twelve Angry Men on the OETA Movie Club.

If I only had:
the time and money to go everywhere in the world I want to go!

Next time I go to church: I would like for it to be Christmas Eve mass at St. Stephen's in Vienna.

What worries me most:
is the fascist direction in which our nation has turned over the last many years.

What I miss most about the 1980s is: not much.

If I were a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

A better name for me would be:
There is no better name for me. Mine fits me perfectly.

I have a hard time understanding:

If I ever go back to school:
it will be to get a master's degree in Western History.

You know I like you if: I engage you in long conversation.

Take my advice, never: marry a preacher.

My ideal breakfast is: Eggs Benedict with fresh fruit and Mimosas served in bed.

If you visit my hometown I suggest you:
don't come on an OSU home football game day.

Why won’t people:
just learn to live and let live?

The world could do without: fundamentalist religion of any kind.

My favorite blonds are: me, Ellen DeGeneres, and Glen Close.

If I do anything well, it’s:
making people feel that they are loved.

And by the way: I really like Mozart.


Mozart gets in on the ghostly act: The Commandatore scene from "Don Giovanni"

Considered Mozart's darkest opera, Don Giovanni, is the tale of the notorious Don Jaun. In the final scene, Don Giovanni is visited by the ghost of the Commandatore, who he murdered in the opening scene of the opera. The apparition comes to invite Don Giovanni to "dine" with him, offering the libertine the opportunity to repent of his wicked ways. Don Giovanni refuses and is dragged off to hell by a host of grotesque and frightening minions.

This fabulous 1990 production features Samuel Ramey as Don Giovanni, Kurt Moll as the ghost of the Commandatore, and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Giovanni's comic side kick, Leporello.


A message from Opie, Andy, and the Fonz

>> Friday, October 24, 2008

Ron Howard revisits the past to put out a message for change for America! The video features his past co-stars Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler. Get on board for CHANGE!

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


Are you Un-American?

This is a test to see if you're "Pro-American" or "Un-American".

1. Are you a straight, white, male, middle class or above, own a pick-up truck, a gun, and a couple of dogs, watch football religiously and go to church every Sunday? Give yourself 1 point for each one you can answer "yes".

2. Are you a working single mother? If so, do you receive any form of goverment aid--food stamps, income assistance (welfare), state health insurance for you and/or your children, WIC? Subtract 1 point for each "yes" answer. If you're black or hispanic, subtract 2 points for each "yes" answer.

3. Do you live in a "Red" or "Blue" state? Add 1 point if you answer "Red". Subtract one point if you answer "Blue".

4. If you live in a "Red" state but you're in a "Blue" district subtract 1/2 point.

5. Do you follow any other religion but conservative, evangelical Christianity? If you answer "yes", subtract 1 point. If you're an atheist, agnostic, or Muslim, subtract 5 points.

6. Are you registered Republican, Democrat, or Independent? If you're registered Republican add 5 points. If you're registered Democrat subtract 5 points. If you're an Independent subtract 2 points.

7. Are you a registered Republican voting for Barack Obama? If you answered "yes" to this question subtract 10 points.

8. Do you believe that Sarah Palin is unfit for the office of Vice President? If you answered "yes" to this question subtract 5 points.

9. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? If you answered "pro-life" add 10 points. If you answered pro-choice subtract 15 points.

10. Are you a college graduate? If you have a bachelor's degree subtract 2 points. If you have a master's degree subtract 5 points. If you have a PhD subtract 10 points.

11. Do you believe in evolution? If you answered "yes" to this question subtract 5 points.

12. Are you gay/lesbian, bisexual, transgendered/transsexual? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions subtract 20 points.

13. Were you born in Hawaii? If you answered "yes" subtract 10 points.

14. Were you born in Alaska? If you answered "yes" add 15 points.

15. Were you born in Panama? If you answered "yes" add 20 points.

16. Have you served in the U.S. military? If you answered "yes" add 10 points.

17. Are you a homeless Viet Nam vet? If you answered "yes" subtract 10 points.

18. Do you support the war in Iraq? If you answered "yes" add 20 points. If you answered "no" subtract 30 points.

19. Do you live in a "swing state"? If you answered "yes" add 20 points.

20. Are you voting for Barack Obama? If you answered "yes" subtract 50 points.

21. Have you ever read the entire U.S. Constitution? If you answered "yes" subtract 10 points.

22. Have you memorized any part of the U.S. Constitution? If you answered "yes" subtract 20 points.

23. Are you a Hollywood movie star? If you answered "yes" subtract 100 points.

24. Are you Rachael Maddow or Ellen DeGeneris? If you answered "yes" to either one subtract 150 points.

25. Have you traveled or lived anywhere outside of the United States? If you answered "yes" subtract 20 points.


Who ya gonna call?

Ghostbusters! That's who! This 1980's classic has gone down in history as one of the must successful comedy films ever. And with a team made up of such comedy greats as Bill Murry and Dan Aykroyd how could it be anything but insanely hilarious? Whodda thought that a 100 foot marshmallow man could command such respect?


4th of the 4th Meme

>> Thursday, October 23, 2008

Steph tagged me so here it is. In this particular meme, you have to go to your 4th picture file and choose the 4th picture and post it on your blog and tell about it. Kind of a "show-and-tell" thing. So here goes...

This is a London playbill featuring a portrait of Anna "Nancy" Storace from May 15th, 1797. Nancy was a very famous singer/actress of the late 18th century from London. When she was only 17 years old she was hired by the Emperor of Austria, (Emperor Joseph II), as the prima buffa of his newly formed Italian Opera Company and in 1786 became Mozart's original Susanna in his opera, Le Nozze di Figaro, (The Marriage of Figaro), as well as a dear friend and colleague of Mozart's. It is believed by some of the greatest Mozart historians, namely the late Alfred Einstein, that Mozart was in love with her.

Nancy is one of my obsessions, as I did my master's thesis on her life and career, as well as her relationship with Mozart. Nancy's birthday is October 27th, which is this coming Monday. The following clip is the duetto Sull'aria, featuring the Contessa and Susanna from Le Nozze di Figaro.


Technical Error

It seems something is up with my comments and people aren't able to leave any. I have my personal web master working on it as I write. (Thanks Steph!) So PLEASE return later and try again! I love reading your comments!


Steph fixed the comments problem so all is well! We're back up and runnin'!


Once again, Sarah proves herself to be clueless

Take a look at this picture of Sarah Palin in her new scarf. Besides the fact that it cost a small fortune, what else is wrong here?


Of masquerades, lovely maidens, and an opera ghost

What else but Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Broadway musical The Phantom of the Opera? I first saw this in the mid nineties when the Broadway touring company brought it to Tulsa. Then a few years ago the film came out and I took my girls to see it. And then when the Broadway touring company brought it, once again, to Tulsa this past summer, I had the opportunity to take my girls to see it on stage.

Although the film has some lovely and stunning moments visually, I still much prefer the stage version. Featured here is one of my favorite scenes both on stage and in film.


Ghostly organ music and bleeding portraits

>> Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who else could it be but Don Knots in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken? I first saw it when I was a child of around eight. Every summer The Leachman Theatre along with the Kiwanis Club sponsored a "Kids Day" where we were all given a free pass to see a selected film and all the free popcorn we could stuff into our grubby, little cheeks. It so happened that Mr. Chicken was the one selected for the summer of 1968. Needless to say, I had nightmares for a week afterwards. Still it ranks up there as one of my favorite Don Knots comedies, and this scene, of course is a classic. Who could forget the cobwebs and the blood stained organ keys? And they used Bon Ami! And of course, the portrait of the young Mrs. Simmons with garden sheers stuck in her throat, bleeding! I'll never get over it as long as I live!

Carro, carro, Saloman!


I confess: I donated $50 to the Obama campaign

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From today's National Post:

Mr. Obama announced Sunday he had raised US $150-million in September, shattering fundraising records he set earlier in the year and fueling a huge spending advantage of about four-to-one over Mr. McCain in recent weeks in battleground states.

Mr. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis criticized Mr. Obama for not disclosing the identities of hundreds of thousands of donors who have contributed less than US $200 to his campaign. Campaigns are not required to identify those small-dollar donors. The Obama campaign said it had added more than 600,000 new donors in September for a total of about US $3.1-million, with an average donation of US $86.

Are you happy now, Senator McCain?


Revenge of the ghostly kind: Tevye's dream

One of the greatest and most colorful ghosts in film history has to be Fruma Sarah, the one in the dream that Tevye made up to convince his wife Golde, that their daughter, Tzeitel should marry the tailor, Motel instead of the butcher, Lazar Wolf in the 1971 film based on the hit Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Featured are the great Topol as Tevye and Norma Crane as Golde.


W. the movie

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

It's not what I expected. I had the impressions from the T.V. trailers that this film was going to be a comedy, but knowing that it was an Oliver Stone picture, I should have known better.

I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be President of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors. -Oliver Stone

I'm not going to write a spoiler review for this film, as I know that there are many of you who will read this who have not yet seen it and plan on doing so. I will say, however, to be prepared to have some of your preconceived notions regarding G.W. Bush challenged, and even if you're not one of his most ardent fans, be prepared to deal with moments of empathy towards him. I wanted to walk out of this film hating him more. Instead I found myself digging deeper to understand him.

There are some great performances. It probably goes without saying that Richard Dryfus as Dick Cheney is phenomenal. In fact, Cheney is the only character in the film who I ended up hating more afterwards. And Toby Jones gives a chilling performance as the cynical and calculating Karl Rove. Thandie Newton's Condolezza Rice is dead on, and if you can get past hearing James Cromwell as the old sheep farmer uttering the line, "that'll do, pig", you'll appreciate his cool portrayal as George H.W. Bush. And of course, Josh Brolin is W., plain and simple. It's as if he channeled the man.

No official word yet, from the White House in regards to the film. I don't suspect that we will get one. But I found it interesting that Stone only covered the George Jr. presidency through the end of his first term in office. Perhaps Stone is leaving the rest for you to figure out.


That ghostly time of year

>> Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last year at this time I made a series of posts on the theme of Halloween music, so this year I decided to do something a little different and post scenes and/or montages of my favorite ghost flicks. Today I'm starting with one of my all time favorites, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, the 1947 version starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney.

This story has captivated me since I was a little girl. Being the romantic that I was/am, I dreamed that one day a ghost would come to me, too, and that we would fall in love just as the ghost of the old sea captain and Lucy, (or "Lucia", as the captain called her), did. A timeless and unapologetically romantic classic, it has remained one of the most beloved ghost stories of all time.


Yes We Can...Take Back America!

>> Saturday, October 18, 2008

We the people
of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Anyone for Leontyne Price?

>> Friday, October 17, 2008

Since my efforts to present the fabulous video of Jessye Norman have been thwarted, I decided to post this, of another magnificent African American soprano, Leontyne Price. As with Norman, Price offers a large, smooth, resonant sound that virtually sends chills down my spine. Featured in this beautiful recording of Franz Liszt's Oh, quand je dors, Price demonstrates complete control of her enormous instrument, and proves that tenderness and finesse are completely within her ability.


Turns out "Joe the Plumber" is a fraud who owes back taxes to the State of Ohio

>> Thursday, October 16, 2008

This just in from the Associated Press!

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer

HOLLAND, Ohio - Joe the Plumber's story sprang a few leaks Thursday. Turns out that the man who was held up by John McCain as the typical, hard-working American taxpayer isn't really a licensed plumber. And court documents show he owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes.

"Joe," whose name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was cited repeatedly in Wednesday night's final presidential debate by McCain for questioning Barack Obama's tax policy.

Wurzelbacher instantly became a media celebrity, fielding calls during the debate and facing reporters outside his home near Toledo on Thursday morning for an impromptu nationally televised news conference.

The burly, bald man acknowledged he doesn't have a plumber's license, but said he didn't need one because he works for someone else at a company that does residential work.

But Wurzelbacher still would need to be a licensed apprentice or journeyman to work in Toledo, and he's not, said David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection.

State and local records show Wurzelbacher has no license, although his employer does. Golis said there are no records of inspectors citing Wurzelbacher for unlicensed work in Toledo.

And then there was the matter of his taxes.

Wurzelbacher owes the state of Ohio $1,182.98 in personal income tax, according to Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records.

In January 2007, Ohio's Department of Taxation filed a claim on his property until he pays the debt, according to the records. The lien remains active.

At the debate, McCain cited Wurzelbacher as an example of someone who wants to buy a plumbing business but would be hurt by Obama's tax plans.

Wurzelbacher, a self-described conservative, had spoken to Obama at a rally Sunday near his home and asked him whether his tax plan would keep him from buying the business that currently employs him, which earns more than $250,000 a year.

"Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" Wurzelbacher asked.

Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.

McCain said Obama's plan would stop entrepreneurs such as Wurzelbacher from investing in new small businesses and keep existing ones from growing.

The McCain campaign posted a Web ad featuring the exchange between Wurzelbacher and Obama.

During an afternoon taping of "Late Night with David Letterman," McCain said he had not yet spoken to Wurzelbacher, and apologized for the press attention he had received.

"Joe, if you're watching, I'm sorry," McCain said.

Wurzelbacher had to deal with a clog of two dozen reporters outside his home on a narrow street lined with ranch- and split-level homes Thursday morning. No detail about the divorced father of a 13-year-old boy was too small: Was he a registered voter? Did he have a plumbing license? Whom will he vote for?

Leaning against his black Dodge Durango SUV, Wurzelbacher at first was amused by it all, then overwhelmed and finally a little annoyed.

"I don't have a lot of pull. It's not like I'm Matt Damon," he said "I just hope I'm not making too much of a fool of myself."

He indicated he was a fan of the military and McCain but wouldn't say who will get his vote. He is registered as a Republican, the county elections board said, because he voted in the GOP primary in March.

Wurzelbacher said a McCain campaign official contacted him several days before the debate to ask him to appear with the candidate at a Toledo rally scheduled for Sunday.

He told reporters he's unsure if he'll attend, since he's now scheduled to be in New York for TV interviews.

On Thursday in New Hampshire, Obama said McCain was misleading voters by proposing tax plans that favor the rich while criticizing an Obama tax plan that would raise taxes only on people making more than $250,000 a year, just 5 percent of all taxpayers.

"He's trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he's fighting for," Obama said. "How many plumbers you know that are making a quarter-million dollars a year?"

Wurzelbacher said he felt a bit overwhelmed by all the attention.

"I'm kind of like Britney Spears having a headache. Everybody wants to know about it," he joked.


How Racism Works

by Stephen J. Radosevich

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
And Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to? And Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization? And Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

You are The Boss... which team would you hire? With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc.

Educational Background:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?


Barack Obama with Ellen on balancing family

Last night, as Steph and I watched the last of the presidential debates on CNN, I noticed that almost consistently, Obama scored higher with women than with men. As I thought about it more, it was easy to understand why. Obama appeals to women because he has a genuine love and respect for them. It is reflected in his demeanor, in the way he lights up when he talks about his lovely wife, Michelle, and his two precious daughters. It is also reflected in his policies from his stand on Roe vs. Wade to his support of equal pay and treatment for women in the workplace. He also demonstrates a calm, gentle ,steady, strength, which is attractive to women and makes them feel important and secure.

I found a video this morning of Obama with Ellen DeGeneres, earlier this year, discussing the balance of family with his political career. Watch this and you'll see the appeal in action. Wouldn't you just love to have this family in the White House?


The World's most beautiful music: Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, Opus 14, 1st movement

>> Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I discovered this piece just a few weeks ago when I was looking for music to accompany my MySpace page honoring a little Jewish girl by the name of Mania Halef, who was murdered by the Nazis in the massacre at Babi Yar, which was a large ravine outside the city of Kiev. The piece was so tender, so touching, and so full of pathos, that I knew it would create the perfect mood for my page honoring not only the memory of Mania, but of the millions of others who have suffered at the hands of hate. It is a reminder to us that hate and fear are our worst enemies and that might never makes right.

Played here by violinist, Giora Schmidt with Izthak Perlman conducting the Israel Philharmonic, I pray you'll hear the message of peace so eloquently expressed within the music.


Doin' the Barack Roll

>> Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Everybody's doin' it!


A new look

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

You'll notice the template change. (Thanks, Steph!) It was time and I love this one. The header is of one of my favorite post-impressionist paintings entitled, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, and completely fits the mood of the peaceful, pastoral key of F major. The painting inspired a Broadway Musical by Stephen Sondheim entitled, Sunday in the Park with George in the early 1980's starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. It too, is one of my favorites!


Going Back to Birmingham

>> Sunday, October 12, 2008

My partner, Steph, wrote this song today. It says it all.

His face shines with triumphant light, with faith and dreams and pride,
His heart beats with a fervent hope for all he feels inside.
He says that we are better than fear and hate and spite,
As he holds out hope for all of us to conquer might with right.

And he's going back to Birmingham to reclaim what he's lost,
He never minds the danger and he never counts the cost;
He carries on the torch of hope, although the flame's been tossed,
Yes, he's going back to Birmingham, the road already crossed.

Her son has never known the hate upon dark hearts ingrained,
She would not have him learn that now after all that she has gained;
A daughter of the storm's recess, her hope now swells unchained,
As she teaches him to fully live the freedom that's remained.

And she's going back to Birmingham to reclaim what she's lost,
She never minds the danger and she never counts the cost;
And she still dares to have the hope upon her heart embossed,
Yes, she's going back to Birmingham, the road already crossed.


Our voices rise in one accord, "Equality for all!"
We will not trip or stumble, we will not shun the call;
Marching on the Freedom Trail with hope that will not pall,
Believing that the path we forge will lead to peace for all.

And we're going back to Birmingham to reclaim what we've lost,
We'll never mind the danger and we'll never count the cost;
And we still dare to dream the dream whose flame will not be tossed,
Yes we're going back to Birmingham, the road already crossed.

Going Back to Birmingham © 2008 S.K. Waller


Six things that make me happy

>> Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today I was honored by my new blog friend, Willow, with the Kreativ Blogger Award so to meet the conditions of acceptance I must, in turn, post six things that make me happy. So here goes...

1. I love the aroma of freshly percolated coffee. It reminds me of my Grandpa & Grandma's old Victorian farmhouse, and the aromas of coffee mingled with frying bacon & eggs. Happy memories from childhood...

2. The sound of Lauren's car as it pulls into the cul de sac, signaling that she's home for the weekend from college.

3. I love it on the weekends when Steph and I sit silently in our bedroom together, she in her chair at her laptop and me at the desk at my computer surfing the web, blogging, or whatever. Nothing has to be said or spoken. We're just together.

4. Watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and eating popcorn.

5. Wearing my gold & diamond "Journey Necklace" that Steph gave me for my last birthday.

6. Steph's laughter.


My Saturday morning retreat

Steph is the insomniac while I'm the morning person. I confess, even on Saturday I can't sleep in and am most generally up before 7:00 a.m.. I love my early morning weekends when the house is quiet and everyone is sleeping in. I feed the cat and then retreat back upstairs to my computer where I don my headphones and go searching for music videos on YouTube. I search for new pieces that I can use in my "World's most beautiful music" posts, as well as find favorites to feature in other posts. Last year I did a series on Halloween music that everyone seemed to enjoy and at Christmas I posted videos relating to my childhood memories of Christmas.

But today, in the midst of all of the political turmoil and fears of a faltering economy, I needed to find a peaceful oasis, so I found this from one of my favorite ladies with one of the most soothing and incredible voices ever, Rosemary Clooney. Just what the doctor ordered to calm the frazzled nerves.


Too little, too late

So now that you've incited your lunatic fringe extremist supporters to fear and violence, you decide you want to recant and change the rules of the game?



>> Friday, October 10, 2008

OK, Senator McCain, THAT'S ENOUGH! We've had it! This has gone way beyond political mud slinging and is now getting dangerous! We've had it with your slander, your hate mongering, your contempt, your thinly-veiled racist slurs, half-truths & accusations, and your inciting your support to voice violent words against your opponent. These are volatile and frightening times for the American people and now you prey upon those fears and capitalize upon them by using them against Senator Obama, which in turn places him and his family in grave danger.

THIS is not how we behave in America. We went through a bloody civil war over this. We fought Nazi fascism in World War II over this. We went through the civil rights movement and saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy because of hatred like this, and after all we've come through and all we've seen we ARE NOT going to accept this kind of reprehensible behavior from a man who is asking us to place our trust in him as our next president!

This is not only an affront to the good Senator at whom this poison is being hurled, but an expression of disrespect and contempt for the American people. And you, Senator McCain, should be ashamed!


Just for the fun of it

>> Thursday, October 9, 2008

I posted this last year around this time when I ran a series on Halloween music. It's of pianist Myleene Klass playing an arrangement of Bach's Organ Toccata & Fugue in D minor. Now you purists probably won't like it so don't even listen if all you want to do is complain about how awful it is. The reason I like it is because...I don't know... It's just fun.


SNL: The VP Debate

>> Tuesday, October 7, 2008

They just keep 'em coming in!


Home with a headache

I awakened this morning with a raging headache, body aches, and a slight fever. I'm not sure what was going on, but after I called in sick at work, I went back to bed and slept until around 11:30. I'm feeling somewhat better, albeit a little on the edge.

Needless to say, I don't have the mental energy to write a blog entry or to even go surfing the web for the latest political low down, so I'm just going to post this video of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite old movies from when I was a child, "State Fair" starring Jeanne Crane. The song, "It Might as Well Be Spring" describes my mood at present.


Kindness and gratitude returned three fold

>> Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Norwegian newspaper VG has reported a truly amazing story about a newly-wed trying to get to Norway to be with her husband, and the stranger who helped pay an unexpected luggage surcharge. The blog "Leisha's Random Thoughts" has translated the story.

It was 1988, and Mary Andersen was at the Miami airport checking in for a long flight to Norway to be with her husband when the airline representative informed her that she wouldn't be able to check her luggage without paying a 100 surcharge:

When it was finally Mary's turn, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
"You'll have to pay a 103 dollar surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway", the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had traveled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
"I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions", says Mary.

As tears streamed down her face, she heard a "gentle and friendly voice" behind her saying, "That's okay, I'll pay for her." Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.He had a gentle and kind voice that was still firm and decisive. The first thing I thought was, Who is this man?

Although this happened 20 years ago, Mary still remembers the authority that radiated from the man. He was nicely dressed, fashionably dressed with brown leather shoes, a cotton shirt open at the throat and khaki pants, says Mary.

She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.

Who was the man?

Barack Obama.

Twenty years later, she is thrilled that the friendly stranger at the airport may be the next President and has voted for him already and donated 100 dollars to his campaign:

"He was my knight in shining armor", says Mary, smiling.

She paid the 103 dollars back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker* in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.

Mary even convinced her parents to vote for him:

In the spring of 2006 Mary's parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.

And Obama replied:

In a letter to Mary's parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped 'United States Senate, Washington DC', Barack Obama writes**:
'I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I'm happy I could help back then, and I'm delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator'.

The parents sent the letter on to Mary.


Sarah Palin lied in the VP debate: She's not for GLBT equality

>> Saturday, October 4, 2008

GLBT Alaskans come out against Sarah Palin.


John McCain's Chatty Cathy Doll

>> Friday, October 3, 2008

Pull my string and I'll talk for you!

John McCain is a Maverick!...John McCain is a Maverick!...John McCain is a Maverick!

OK, I'll have to admit she didn't crash and burn. But come on people, I know to lower my expectations when I'm judging a high school debate tournament, (which I've done numerous times), but I certainly shouldn't have to lower them for a Vice Presidential debate!

Things Sarah still needs to work on:

1. The word Nuclear: It's pronounced NU-CLEE-AR
2. That fake folksy thing. OK for Hockey Moms, but not for VP's. *GAG*
3. Foreign policy. (We've talked about this one before, Sarah.)
4. Learn the definition of "Achilles Heel".
5. Get your head out of your notes. (That's really hard to do when you're operating on a week-long, boot camp crash course on Lincoln Douglas debate.)
6. Civics 101: About this expanding the legislative role of the executvie branch of government...uh, I don't think so. Ever hear of a thing called "checks and balances"?
7. Did I really hear you say that you support equal rights for gays? I'm pretty darn sure that Joe Six-Pack and Hannah Hockey-Mom are wincing about now.

But all-in-all, you did a lot better last night, Sarah--a whole hell of a lot better than you did with Katie Couric, (but that isn't saying much), so I'll at least give you that. But, the winner, by a long shot was still Joe Biden.


Of cyber balls, aching feet, hangovers, and VP debates

>> Thursday, October 2, 2008

I arrived home late last night from a lovely cyber ball at Willow Manor, (don't ask what time I got was late!), where a wonderful time was had by all. I danced with so many charming fellows that I hear my feet cry out in agony with every step. And my head is still floating about a foot off of my shoulders from all the fine champagne. I was taken aback when Paul Newman walked up to me out of thin air and asked if he could teach me a new dance he had only just learned called the "Heavenly Hop". And of course, Herr Mozart, who availed himself of much champagne and caviar, was the talk of the party, especially when he walked up and seized the poor violinist's instrument from him, declaring that he could play better in a wind storm and began to saw away furiously.

So today will be spent soaking my poor swollen feet, nursing this awful hangover, and gearing up to watch the bloodbath...I mean debate, tonight. (Oh, and somebody ought to tell Sarah that she can read up on Lawrence vs. Texas here. That might be one she'd be interested in!)


What I'm wearing to the ball

>> Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Today is the long anticipated ball at Willow Manor, and after days of contemplation and thought, I have finally decided upon a gown. Of course, the fact that my escort happens to be Wolfgang A. Mozart made it a much easier decision, but still, a girl has to think on these things a while, leaving room, of course to change her mind. But in the end, it was not difficult, for after all, just how many girls have a gown befitting of Marie Antoinette herself? So here I am all dressed in my 18th century finery, ready to be escorted to the ball by one of the 18th century's most gifted and charming composers. I'll be sure to give a full report of all of the festivities in a post tomorrow. Until then, don't wait up for me! ;)


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