Monday, July 30, 2012

John Cleese on Creativity

Fast Company published this article, "Four Lesson In Creativity from John Cleese," in their July August issue. A lot of worthwhile observations and insight into the creative process by one of the great creative humorists of our time, John Cleese.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Presidential Election Year, Part 2

I didn't write yesterday's post with any foreknowledge or thought of a "Part 2" but, as life is, a "Part 2" showed up this morning via Maria Popova's, author of Brainpickings post on 26 July 2012 celebrating Aldous Huxley’s 118th birthday

While in high school I read Huxley’s “Brave New World,” originally titled “Enemies of Freedom.” It was an enlightening read that was, along with George Orwell’s “1984,” a prophetic look at the future. A future that in many ways we are living in today.

In Popova’s Brainpickings post, she includes the Mike Wallace interview of Huxley. This interview provides a wonderful insight into Huxley. The interview is embedded below. It’s well worth the 28 minutes and 40+ seconds to view as it provides insight into Huxley and his brilliance as well as where we are now in this presidential election year as well as where our “democracy” is now.

I hope that watching the interview will provide insights for you the reader here as it did me.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Presidential Election Year

It’s presidential election time in the U.S. and one of the most annoying things to me is all the political ads. Most aggravating is the amount of money being poured into the ads! Can you imagine the good that could be accomplished by directing those monies elsewhere? There’s numerous places in our society and country they could be directed that would be much more beneficial than advertising on television, radio, internet, and print.

Thomas Friedman
Reading Thomas Friedman’s Op-Ed piece of 21 July 2012 entitled, The Launching Pad, Friedman asks, “Is there an integrated set of policies, and a narrative, that could animate, inspire and tie together an Obama second term?” Friedman goes on to elaborate on how he believes Obama could develop or create a narrative of how “America should be for the 21st-century world what Cape Canaveral was for America in the 1960s.”

Friedman realizes we aren’t going to have another era like we’ve had in the past but he proposes that the people have to be the creators of thousands of launchpads that will hire 5 other people per pad or business. It makes sense to me in so many ways.

Below are two individuals who have started something on their own out of their own passions, and need to provide for themselves.

One is the Nuclear Corner Kitchen in Abingdon, Illinois creators of the best tasting pies of a variety you won’t find anywhere else.

The second is Adonai Community Support Services in Aledo, Illinois with the goal to provide Veterans free support services through effective resources and usable information. These are just two individuals that I know of who have within the last six months or less begun their “launchpad” construction. I would hope they become so busy they find the need to employ others.

There’s much more to Friedman’s article than the small piece I wrote about above. But part of the message that comes through to me is that it’s really up to us and not the elected officials who get bought out, or the government programs that are in place or get put into place and become bogged down with red tape. It’s a roots thing. Get back to the roots of the founders of our country and all the folks that followed who dreamed, sweat out their dream and created a reality. Hopefully, the future reality will be brighter than the present. I believe it will based on the two individuals I spoke of above and writers like Thomas Friedman.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Java Java Cafe

The folks at Java Java Cafe in Davenport, Iowa have been hit with the problem a lot of small business owners encounter when infrastructure is in need of repair or replacement. Yes, it's road construction time here in the QCA and Java Java is sitting on one of the major pieces of construction that is occurring in Davenport at present. It'll probably last until October.

Unless one is a small business owner, one can only imagine the amount of business that is lost to a small business that exists on any main drag undergoing major construction. Folks have to find a different route to get to where they want to go, takes more time, the business owner's income drops drastically. Such is Java Java's current condition.

In a small effort to help out by supporting this small business, I'll be sipping some coffee and playing music - mostly fiddle tunes, maybe some songs - at Java Java this Saturday, July 21, 2012 from 9:30 until 11 a.m. If you're in the area, stop by and buy a cup-a-joe, or smoothie, or whatever else will satisfy your thirst and maybe there'll be some biscottis, or other side bits to bite into. I'll tell you what, when they get back to regular life at Java Java, their grilled sandwiches are top notch, but, to my knowledge, the construction  has curtailed any outdoor grilling! Darn it, anyway!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Obama A Socialist?

These days one hears a lot of folks saying Obama is a Socialist and that’s the direction our country is headed. Milos Forman, director of “One Flew Overt The Cuckoo’s Nest”

 and “Amadeus” has the best perspective on this claim since he experienced, firsthand, life in Czechoslovakia from his birth in 1932 until 1968 when he came to the U.S. You can read Forman's Op-ed piece here and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Art Abandonment

I came across the Art Abandonment movement started by Michael DeMeng. This movement struck me, as it has many around the world, as a fun endeavor. It involves creating a work of art and leaving it in a public place to be picked up by anyone that comes across it. The artwork also has contact information for the artist so the person who picks it up can let the creator know what they did with the art. All this and more is explained in the video below and at DeMeng’s Art Abandonment Blog

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Revelation

After being laid off from a factory job during the 1980s I decided to attempt to make a living at one of my lifelong loves and pursuits, music. There derived a great deal of success and gratification in this endeavor for myself and Kathy; best friend, partner, wife, and mother of our children, providing support and raising our three great kids to adulthood!

In the latter part of our child rearing adventure, I returned to school to learn graphic design. The job that resulted from this study provided support for my musical habits in the sense that I didn’t have to make a living as a musician performing or instructing. That significantly frees the creative musical spirit. Or, so I believe.

Pat, Howard, Pat, Joe, and Joyce making contra dance music.

Recently I’ve wrestled with the concept of playing music for a living versus playing music for the joy of it and the camaraderie of making music with other musicians at contra dances, in homes, centers, barns, backyards, pubs, etc.,. This is something that I’ve considered to be “community," or part of a community. Something that I, perhaps, romantically, believed to be the “norm” of life for people before the early days of the music industry.

An article from Brain Pickings' July 5, 2012 post ( covers a recently released book, Where The Heart Beats, by Kay Larson about American musical composer John Cage,
Larson writes that...

“Cage defined disinterestedness and equated it with ‘love’ in 1948: ‘If one makes music, as the Orient would say, disinterestedly, that is, without concern for money or fame but simply for the love of making it, it is an integrating activity and one will find moments in his life that are complete and fulfilled.’”

The quote nails it for me. More and more “moments in” my “life that are complete and fulfilled” seem to occur more and more frequently when playing with fellow musicians these days. Whether there’s just two of us in a coffeehouse playing on a Saturday morning, two to five of us banding together to play for an evening of contra dance music, or six or more musicians making music for a wedding anniversary, a birthday gathering, etc., They're all integrating activities with many "complete and fulfilled" moments.

LIFE is good!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Three articles came through from the desk of Dave Pell's NEXTDRAFT on Friday, July 6, 2012.

And they are...

1) The best weather report ever!

2) A great clip from Johnny Carson with Dom DeLuise performing a trick that's purportedly never been duplicated on television.

3) A man interviewing himself 20 years into the future. Well, he was 12 when he made the interview tape and answered it at the age of 32. Fun stuff!

Almost Two Months...

...since my last post.

Sheeesh. I feel like I should be ashamed but I don't. It's been a busy time at work, at play, at gardening, at outdoors, playing disc golf, playing music.

There have been some really excellent moments musically as of late.

Last night myself, Pat Oliver, Howard Hilliard, Pat Walke, and Joyce Spidle joined together to play for a contradance at a local Unitarian Church. It WAS GREATTTT!!!! Julie Ross posted this pic of the band and the dancing on Facebook.

A week ago, Kath and I were invited to a friends' 40th Wedding Anniversary. They perform music together as well as performed in their backyard for their anniversary with invited musician friends. It was a HOOT!!! A great deal of fun making music with other musicians!!!