Sunday, June 28, 2009

Essence of Dalai Lama's Beliefs

"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."
~ Dalai Lama

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" is a documentary film featuring the Dalai Lama, narrated by actor Harrison Ford.

The film features well-known Western innovative thinkers interacting with the Dalai Lama, including Quantum Physicists and best-selling authors Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami. Other notable figures in the film include renowned and Social Scientist Jean Houston, and AGAPE International Spiritual Center founder Michael Bernard Beckwith, and many others.

Short Trailer:

Interivew of Dalai Lama by Charlie Rose (I love Charlie Rose's interviews with people).

Part Two:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, "Final Curtain Call"

Artistic expression begins as inspiration. Michael Jackson’s creative genius flowed into art and in his magical art he reached out to the world with love and healing in an incredible creative expression.

Michael Jackson peered beyond the finite into the infinite with a holistic view that apparently saw not only the big picture but many of the infinitesimal forces behind it.

I recall the 1993 exclusive interview Oprah did with Michael Jackson when she asked what he felt his purpose was and he said, “To give, in the best way I can, through song, through dance, and through music. I am committed to my art. I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. I believe that to be the reason for the very existence of art and I feel I was chosen as an instrument to just give music and love and harmony to the world—children of all ages, adults and teenagers.”

And when he spoke of nature, “I find in animals the same thing that I find so wonderful in children—that purity, that honesty where they don’t judge you, where they don’t want anything from you, just to be your friend—and I think that’s so sweet.”

When asked how he felt about standing on stage and feeling all the love from the audience he replied, “I feel lots of love and I feel blessed and honored to be able to be an instrument of nature that was chosen to give them that—what I give them—very honored and happy about that.”

It was during late 1992 when I read the book, Ryan White, My Own Story and was moved by Ryan’s story of his battle with AIDS (from a blood transfusion) and was especially struck by the friendship between Michael Jackson and Ryan and his family. The bond was strong and it appears both Michael and Ryan gained much from their friendship. Ryan White became a leader for gaining greater understanding and compassion for those with the deadly disease of AIDS. Ryan inspired Elton John to create the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Ryan died in April 1990.

Michael Jackson’s song, Gone Too Soon, written by songwriters, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan, is dedicated here to Ryan White. This video performance was before President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at the 1993 Presidential Inaugural Gala in January 1993, where AIDS research was highlighted.

Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race

It was also sad today that actress Farrah Fawcett passed after a courageous fight.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Author, Elmore Leonard on Writing and His Career

“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.” Elmore Leonard, Author

I don’t know if you’ve read Elmore Leonard’s books but if not, you’ve probably seen one or more of his movies.

He is one of the best writers when it comes to dialogue. His dialogue is so real, street-smart, down and dirty. He’s very talented. His writing over the years has covered various genres: Westerns, crime novels, thrillers, mysteries, short stories and screenplays. Elmore Leonard was recipient of the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award (videos below)

I had the honor of meeting him several years ago at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference where he had spoken. It was either 1983 or 1984. A little while after his talk he was sitting in the lobby quietly autographing a box of books. I had three of his books to be autographed and he invited me to join him, and we had a nice conversation. He was very laid-back, soft spoken, and modest. I liked him very much.

This month’s AARP Magazine has an article “Making it Up as I Go Along” by Elmore Leonard about his writing career. As a writer I really identified with it.

“At the time I begin writing a novel, the last thing I want to do is follow a plot outline. To know too much at the start takes the pleasure out of discovering what the book is about.”

“I think of characters who will carry a story. The plot comes out of the characters, their attitudes. How they talk describes who they are. Dialogue, in fact, is the element that keeps the story moving. Characters are judged as they appear. Anyone who can't hold up his or her end of a conversation is liable to be shelved, or maybe shot.”

Leonard writes with pen and paper, and then types it when it is what he wants. He does not use a word processor. Although I do identify with that as I once wrote that way, I cannot imagine going back to a typewriter.

He commented on how the characters let him know where the story is going next. How true that is. I love it when the characters take over the story and tell it their way.

I had commented on that to a friend the other day in wrapping up my new novel. Yes, I finished writing my Civil War period novel. It turned out bigger than I thought it might because those characters still had more to say. I have not yet gone into postpartum depression but that may come in the near future after I come down from cloud nine! I am very happy with the book. It is damn good, even if me and my characters wrote it—and say so. LOL.

Sometimes I swear I am channeling those people from the past. At least I wasn’t around the Civil War in this lifetime.

Previous life? I think so.

Interview Part One

Interview Part 2:

For more Leonard Interview videos


First Lady Michelle Obama on Volunteering

I sure like our First Lady Michelle Obama...
I must admit she is the first, First Lady I have ever really liked in my memory. She’s so down to earth, so real.

United We Serve:
“The President has said that the challenges America faces are unprecedented, and that we need to build a new foundation for economic growth in America.”


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grocery Shopping Ain't No Fun!

Today, feeling good and optimistic as I usually do, I returned home from an appointment to a message from my 90 year-old mother, 8 hours away in Southern California. She had been grocery shopping and someone stole her wallet from her purse while she was in the store. I could tell she was pretty upset. By the time I called back, a policewoman was at her home taking a report. My mother had already called the bank to put a stop on her debit card. The only other things taken were her ID card, and 20 dollars. She has no idea when her purse was violated. She thought it was close to her all the time. And of course she is trusting, too trusting, and apparently feeling safe in the store environment.

I began to get up tight about it and then thought, wait a minute. She is fine. It could have been worse—she could have been outside of the store and knocked to the ground and injured. So apparently someone thought they needed money worse than she did, (and maybe so). I don't like that the elderly are so vulnerable, yet I do want her, (and others) to have their independence. We soon realized it really didn't matter that much, just a little inconvenience—and another day of shopping as she could not pay for her groceries.

But what her experience brought to mind is what is happening here in California with threats of police officers and firemen being let go because there is no money to pay them. The Sacramento County Sheriff may have to let 200-300 officers go. Other cities are having the same problem. I don’t know if other states are going through this but it is shameful that we have this situation in California. I know one city has been able to avoid layoffs of their police force so far.

When unemployment is so high, new jobs almost nonexistent, people losing their homes, or places to live, it is absolutely no time to cut law enforcement. Crime goes up when people become desperate. We are already seeing that. So we all have to be more careful, more aware.

Live Large and Stay Safe...


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two Great Places to Eat, Winners

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” ~Julia Child

Today I read that two of my favorite places to eat came out on top in their category on the 2009 Zagat Food Survey.

Best Burger: In-N-Out Burger
I have eaten those great burgers since not long after they opened in 1948 in Southern California. They are still as good today as they always have been over all the years and I believe it is because of their on-going use of fresh ingredients. The California family owned business currently has 200 stores, but only in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. But for anyone coming out West be sure to try one. I previously
posted a blog about them.

Best Steak, Outback, National Full Service Restaurant Chains.
For a great steak dinner, they can’t be beat. I have never had a bad meal in all my times of dining there over the last few years. And it is hard to pass up their specialty appetizer, a golden fried seasoned onion. They have 900 restaurants worldwide.

“You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~Julia Child (1912 – 2004)

Now if you don’t want to spend the money for a reasonably priced In-N-Out meal: cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake; nor for a more expensive dinner at the Outback of a New York steak, baked potato, veggie and their Blommin’ Onion®, how about trying this—it will save gas money, and sure as heck save a lot for the price of the meal. This one would be about $.40 . Yes, that was Cents. And it only takes about three minutes before you have it on your plate. You could fix up a small salad or sliced fruit to accompany it probably for less than an additional .50 cents!

And the famous Chef, Julia Child will show you how....

And if you are interested in Cookbooks:


Friday, June 5, 2009

Elvis in 1956, How Things Change

June 5, 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on the Milton Berle TV Show, and his appearance triggered controversy as he sang his latest single, Hound Dog, with pelvis shaking movements that he then became noted for. The media, the Catholic Church, and many adults “jumped” all over his moves, calling them vulgar, and even “animalism,” and warning of moral danger. His fans loved his moves.

When Presley was scheduled to return for his third concert date at the San Diego Arena on June 6, 1956 Police Chief Adam Elmer Jansen was quoted in the San Diego Union, "If he puts on the same kind of show that he did last April, I'll arrest him for disorderly conduct. I've had enough complaints from parents to assure me that twerp is not doing the kids any good."

This is what all the ruckus was about.

I found this video of Milton Berle, Debra Padget, and Elvis. I had forgotten how funny Milton Berle was. I saw him once at a Writer’s Guild Awards dinner in Beverly Hills. My husband bumped into him rounding a corner (accidentally) and he was most gracious, and even funny.

Yes indeed, we’ve come a long way, baby. Just think what pelvises are doing today on TV!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Before Cars Were Cool? June 4, 1896

“Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried.”

~Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826)

Henry Ford’s first experimental motor car, June 4, 1896.

The Quadricycle

It is said the success of the small vehicle fueled Ford’s ambition which led to the founding of Ford Motor Company in 1903.

Maybe we’ve progressed too far??


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When American Cars Were Cool!

I was listening to the Tom Sullivan Radio Show this afternoon and a discussion of the downfall of the American Car Culture. Tom was asking if we remembered when American cars were cool? I sure do. In the fifties and sixties they were cool. Every year around September we would await the new look of the latest Chevy or Ford, by far the most popular American cars, or at least the most affordable in those days, and then for those who had more expensive tastes there were the other American brands. There was nothing like owning a ‘56 Ford or a ’57 Chevy. And if you were lucky enough to have a Ford Convertible you were almost in heaven, and then if you owned a Corvette that was heaven!

In 1954 my Dad decided to put money away to buy a new car. He gave up beer for one thing, to set extra aside. He did not believe in credit/charging, and was determined to save enough to pay cash for it. I believe it was about $1800 or less.

So what happened to the Car Culture we once had? We were proud to be buying American cars and occasionally a German VW Beatle or VW Bus would be around. (And I must disclose I had a Volvo in 1962. Guess I should have kept it as I hear they go for a pretty good price now, LOL. I also owned a Toyota in the 1970’s. ) But I have had Chevy pickups and Chevy sedans. The one I drive now is a 1991 and just turned 60,000 miles and is a great car.

In those early days of car ownership “pride” we saw advertising for the newest models in Life and Look Magazine and other magazines, there was television network advertising such as in 1956 the one hour program on NBC, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show. The program was extremely popular, and its theme song "See the USA in your Chevrolet...”; Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre; and there was the Ford Theatre a radio and television anthology series broadcast 1940s and 1950s, and named for its sponsor. Of course we had only three networks at that time so the marketing was pretty focused and became part of our everyday or weekly life.

Dinah Shore Chevy Show

There were a lot of songs related to cars at that time. Being a fan of Johnny Cash, I always liked his 1976 song, One Piece at A Time, about working in Detroit making Cadillacs. Actually a car of various pieces was built and given to Johnny Cash. The car is on display at Historic Auto Attractions. The rockabilly song was written by Wayne Kemp. Others that come to mind include The Beach Boys with their songs (below), Jan and Dean singing Little Old Lady From Pasadena, but there were many other songs related to cars including several of those early rock and roll songs about a car crash: Tell Laura I Love Her, Teen Angel, and many more.

Maybe the downfall of American car manufactures has to do with too much expansion, lack of good marketing, over supply, and greed, in addition to foreign automobiles taking over the market with product that beat most American cars on gas mileage. That has become such an issue since the ‘70s. It is sad that so many people have been impacted by GM cutbacks and bankruptcy, and the closer various automobile plants. With the unemployment rate at 12% in Michigan, that is painful. But now we, you and I, own part of GM and just maybe it will get back on track with reorganization and new blood in there. Let’s hope so. I heard they have buyers for divisions of the company, including that "tank" they build and call an automobile. China wants to buy that division. Oh dear.

Get out your lunch pails....and let's go to Detriot...

Get your surf boards out....or at least put on your flip-flops.